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Thursday, March 2, 2017

March 2017 Review: The Falconer

THE FALCONER

By Elizabeth May

~Book Review~



Warning! Spoilers!

LADY AILEANA “Kam” Kameron lives in 19th century Scotland where the fey are not nice pretty things but deadly. A particularly nasty one kills her mother, who is a Falconer, one of the gifted humans who can sense and kill fey. Now Kam is the last of her kind, and with the help of the mysterious fey royal Kiaran, sets out to find her mother’s killer.

The pacing in this book was very awkward. The author seemed to take for granted that her audience is well-read in the lady-by-day, fey-hunter-by-night trope and hits you over the head with everything all at once, which left me feeling like there was a distinct lack of world-building. Instead of seeing Kam meet her mentor Kiaran for the first time and build a grudging trust, we’re instead plopped right into one of their encounters and expected to buy that she would be fine with an extremely powerful faery teaching her after just telling us that her mother was murdered by one of these creatures. Also, we’re told that Kiaran is a hottie, rather than shown their connection.

Buuut the author is right. We have seen The Falconer story and its characters before. The pixie is Jenks from The Hollows series by Kim Harrison, Kiaran is Ash from Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, and Kam is Mac from Karen Marie Moning’s Faefever series. The plot is eerily similar to Faefever, but more of a toned down YA version. In the end, the plot was too derivative and the creative world-building came too late. Plus, it never seemed like Kam really had to strain too hard to keep her two lives, one as a lady of the court, and the other as a fey hunter, truly separate and balanced.

That being said, I did read Book Two in the series, The Vanishing Throne, and it was like the author was suddenly given free reign to tell the story she wanted. It gets much darker, much more creative with the types of fey introduced and their mythology, and the stakes are raised. As such, move through Book One as quickly as you can and then enjoy Book Two.


Recommend for fans of: Karen Marie Moning, Julie Kagawa (haha, I love to recommend her), and Rae Carson

Upcoming Book Review: Alpha Goddess by Amalie Howard 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

February 2017 Book Review: Firewalker

FIREWALKER

By Josephine Angelini

~Book Review~



Warning! Spoilers!

SOMETIMES I READ A SERIES OUT OF ORDER. In this case, I couldn’t help it. The library only had Firewalker, Book II of the WorldWalker Series, and the cover was so pretty that I couldn’t resist.

So, at first I was a bit confused digesting that a witch burning on a pyre could world-jump into alternate realities, but then I thought, cool. Now, Lily and Rowan aren’t my favorites. Rowan is pretty awesome but too perfect. He never messes up and he always knows best. Lily is a breed of witch known as a Mary Sue. She is so perfect that I was rooting for her evil alternate dimension twin, Lillian, just because she was much more of a flawed badass. But the world-building and creativity in this book made me so excited. I felt like I was reading The Golden Compass for the first time, except without the soulful characters.

Lily is a witch and the only one who can stand against her twin Lillian, a powerful other version of her that rules alternate Salem, in a world where warfare and terrifying Woven beasts have destroyed much of the known world. Interestingly enough, this means that First Nations peoples never experienced reservations and still have their versions of tribes, one of which Rowan is from. Rowan used to be in love with Lillian before she turned into a power-hungry dictator who hung scientists. In this book, we see what drove Lillian’s decisions by experiencing Lillian’s visits to Cinder Worlds, which again, is a very neat idea.

Much of this book is slow. Lily recovers, talks to Rowan, sleeps, talks to her mother, eats, talks to her sister about a vague threat from a government agent, and then recovers some more. Finally, her Earth friends Tristan, Breakfast, and Una say, “Enough already, tell us what the hell is going on.” Interestingly enough, they all show signs of being Mechanics, warriors who all specialize in certain abilities like healing or fighting which are heightened once they are claimed and fueled by a witch. Or that’s my Book II understanding of it, anyway. Still majorly cool. They world-jump with Lily back to the Salem that’s in trouble and start making their battle plan to stop Lillian before nuclear warfare breaks out and the visions of a dead Cinder World comes to pass.

The hands-down most awesome part of this book was The Hive. These are Woven who are yep, you guessed it: killer bees! But not just any killer bees. Their main fighters are the “Warrior Sisters,” who are as tall as humans, have poisoned whips, and are supernaturally fast given their insectoid eyesight and wings. Freakin’ awesome. I was riveted the entire scene when they encounter The Hive. Usually fantasy novels speak with fear to hype up certain mythical beasts and I think, yeah, yeah, so scary. But in this case, the characters’ fear truly felt real.

There is a key cliffhanger involving The Hive at the end of the book, and so I’ll have to get my hands on Book III: Witch’s Pyre just to see what happens. This is truly an imaginative book. The characters don’t get much depth beyond what we typically see in YA Fiction, but Rowan, Breakfast, and Una specifically are an endearing bunch, and the world-building is top-notch.

Recommend for fans of: Philip Pullman, Julie Kagawa, Susan Ee

Upcoming Book Review: Fate Fallen by Sharon Stevenson 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

January 2017 Book Review: The City Darkens



THE CITY DARKENS

By Sophia Martin

~Book Review~



 




Warning! Minor Spoilers!



THIS IS A DELICIOUSLY DARK NOIR where class politics mix with cries for revolution in an alternate Scandinavian decopunk world. Myadar is an endearing highborn protagonist who knows little of the games the court plays but will stop at nothing to get her son back.

It is rare to find a book that distinguishes itself, but The City Darkens has a voice all of its own and no shortage of creativity when interweaving gods with robots and fleshing out the religious and political issues that have reached a turning point amongst the people.

Myadar is content to raise her adorable son Bersi in the countryside. However, then her devious mother-in-law shows up and demand their appearance at court. This means reuniting with her cruel husband. As all loyal supporters of Game of Thrones’ Ned Stark know, going to court is always a very bad idea. However, Myadar has no choice and later watches in horror as her son is taken from her and used as a pawn against her to force her to toe the line with her husband’s political agenda. Luckily, Myadar begins to explore the world around her to create a space for her choices, choices that will change the fate of the court and their people in ways none of them, even Myadar, could expect.

This is an atmospheric novel that combines intrigue with passion. Myadar quickly grows on the reader as a capable heroine open to exploring her sexuality with multiple partners, several of whom she must tread carefully, as they have scheming motives of their own. All in all, this book succeeds at capturing an air of danger as Myadar must work fast to turn the tables on her enemies and navigate a just as swiftly changing world.



Recommend for fans of: The Kushiel Dart series by Jacqueline Carey
Upcoming Book Review: Fate Fallen by Sharon Stevenson

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Year of the Boar (Changeling Sisters #1.5) Now Available for Nook, Sony, Kobo Arc

Hi Everyone,

Year of the Boar (Changeling Sisters #1.5) is now available on Smashwords.com, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Apple for eBook download. 


A young girl suffering from a mysterious illness teams up with a vampyre prince to stop an ancient evil invading the tropical shores of Hawai'i, and in turn, learns the truth about her heritage.

Happy Reading!


Monday, January 2, 2017

January 2017 Book Review: Wake



WAKE

By Amanda Hocking 

~Book Review~




Warning! Major spoilers!

OH, CANNIBALISTIC SIRENS.

Amanda Hocking knows how to create great hooks. In Wake, there are four beautiful and mysterious girls with entrancing voices who seem to have an unhealthy obsession with swimming at night. But one day, one of them disappears. Cursed to always have four sirens in their pod (?) lest they should die, these scaly mean girls are looking for a replacement…

Like I said, great and creepy idea, but the execution lacked. The writing style is superficial, and it was difficult to connect to Mary Sue— I mean, Gemma—let alone her protective older sister, Harper, who spends her days mooning over a boy. Gemma is beautiful, sensitive to others’ feelings, and a supernaturally good swimmer. The siren Penn, the most interesting character in the book, evilly plots to transform her into a flesh-eating siren, and I was just hoping she would hurry up to get to the action.

Considering they have existed since the time of Greek gods, the three villainous sirens are vain and don’t seem to have learned much. Hocking tells their back story in one info dump: they failed to protect a rather catty goddess, and thus they were cursed to be immortal and seduce men to their doom, but will never be loved in return. There is an easy way to break this curse: if they don’t have all four members by the full moon, then they die. However, Penn thinks their immortal siren lives are pretty great and has no interest in breaking the curse. She threatens Gemma’s family so Gemma is forced to go along with their wicked ways.

I found myself skimming repeatedly. The first chapter was neat, but after that, Gemma and her cardboard family go about their normal lives and say repeatedly that there is “something not right” about the siren girls without connecting the dots until halfway through the book. Right when the story gets interesting toward the last pages, it ends. However, due to the lack of caring about any of the characters, I won’t be checking in for what happens next in Lullaby. This is more for younger fans of urban fantasy lite books.

Recommended for fans of: Colleen Houck, Alexandra Adornetto, and Lauren Kate
Upcoming Book Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson