Richelle Mead has proven herself to be a fantastically creative author time and again writing impossible love stories, dynamic characters, and sweepingly epic stories. But GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS, which promised to deliver Mead’s trademark excellence, fell so completely flat and tedious that I can hardly believe it’s the same author.
As a person who has enjoyed fairy tale retellings my entire life, I was looking forward to TOWERING. I was curious how Flinn would retell the story of a girl who lived in a tower in a modern day setting. It seemed like quite the challenge. Unfortunately, it ended up being a completely implausible and awkwardly written story that was very disappointing.
I’ve read quite a lot of popular, YA fantasy over the years. Anything my younger sister likes, I pick up and read along. Some of these collaborations have been great (she gets credit for Harry Potter, to be sure). Some have been disappointments… either too juvenile or too derivative to hold my attention. I approached LOKI’S WOLVES holding my breath, hoping not to find a Norse Percy Jackson, and within one chapter, all my fears were allayed.
I’ll readily admit that my expectations for PROMISE OF BLOOD were set fairly high. The idea of introducing flintlocks and gunpowder to a fantasy setting sounds like it could be a fantastic take on magic. On this, PROMISE OF BLOOD both delivers and… doesn’t.
QUINTANA OF CHARYN was the kind of book that inspires haunting the internet, keeping an eye out for pre-orders and strategizing to outsmart regional publication dates. Here in this last story, the rhythms of the trilogy transmuted to something new. If FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK gave me Finnikin and Evangeline, if FROI OF THE EXILES broke my heart and reassembled the pieces around Froi and Quintanta, QUINTANTA OF CHARYN is the story of all of these characters. Of their kingdoms and politics, of their past loses and vengeful anger, of the danger and passion that no sword can fend off.
Shana Abe has an unmistakeable lilt, a mystery and music to her writing that transcends individual stories and knits together the whole. Like Robin McKinley, Abe lets time and distance deepen the mysteries between her books, she employs the realistic vagaries of history to make each new story a haunting new landscape.
My initial response to STRANDS OF BRONZE AND GOLD was and up and down of emotions. I was excited to read this variation of the Bluebeard tale, made new by featuring Bluebeard’s goddaughter rather than a wife.
What has consistently been so fun about The Drake Chronicles is the smart and clever dialogue combined with the shifting romances between the various members of the Drake family.