AN ALCHEMY OF MASQUES AND MIRRORS is a well-crafted, absorbing novel. In fact, Princess Isabelle might be one of my favourite characters. She kind, smart, and accustomed to the glares that come her way. Her disability and lack of magic make her an outcast.
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With its small doses of magic and potions, A SECRET HISTORY OF WITCHES is more a historical novel than fantasy. The novel follows six generations of Orchiére women handing down their witchcraft. As knowledge is passed down, elements are lost or corrupted. It doesn’t take long for ancestral rituals to be forgotten in the face of a changing society.
A police procedural should investigate the main characters, just as the characters are investigating a crime. In GRAVEYARD SHIFT, there doesn’t seem to be much individuality between its investigators, when there should be worlds of difference.
Who would have thought that the detached and distant Noir style would perfectly match that of a robot assassin? Ray Electromatic used to be in the detective business but turns out there’s a lot more money to be had killing people. With Ada, his monitoring computer, whispering in his ear, Ray drives around LA fulfilling his contracts.
WRAITH HUNTER is completely charming, walking the line between intense fight scenes and witty one-liners. Cal Kinsey is both self-deprecating and ambitious. He wants to be a key member of the DSI team, but PTSD has him second-guessing and acting rashly.
While I enjoyed STRANGE PRACTICE overall, I couldn’t help feel a little duped. The series carries Greta’s name but she’s one of six POV characters. It was a disappointing realization because Greta was my hook into STRANGE PRACTICE. A descendant of Van Helsing runs a medical practice for the supernatural? Yes please.
THE CITYBORN is fueled by its dystopian society. In a place only known as ‘The City’, there are clear lines between the rich and the poor. There can so much intrigue to a class-ruled dystopia. It’s always fun learn about how these strange societies are built ,and it’s even better to watch them fall. Unfortunately, the City was a cipher for too much of the book.
In A FACE LIKE GLASS your face will freeze like that. Maybe it’ll be stuck in Face No. 456, Joyous Rapture at Excellent Characters, or Face No. 943, Unbridled Excitement for Plot Development. Either way, you’ll be smiling throughout. In the world of Caverna facial expressions have to be taught. The poor only know a few expressions (happy and dutiful) while the rich learn all the intricacies.
Revolution is a messy, dangerous business and THE WAKING LAND doesn’t pull punches to depict it. After her father’s failed uprising, Elanna Valtai was taken from her home and placed as a ward within King Erylais’ household. Over 11 years, she learned to hate her homeland and its culture. When another revolution rises Elanna must become a figurehead and unite Caeris, a country that she doesn’t fully love or understand.
THE SUFFERING TREE has themes teens will identify with but the plot holes and writing style overwhelm and distract from the overall novel. Tori Burns and her family move to Chaptico when they are bequeathed a house and plot of land in a will. After her father’s death, Tori is depressed and angry. She’s a cutter who already feels like she doesn’t fit in, and living in the close-knit town just isolates her further.