In this retelling of ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,’ Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Day Al-Mohamed have mixed a little machinery with magic while delving into the Arabian culture, and bringing us a protagonist whose heroism is in his dedication – dedication to his craft, his family, and his desire to to what’s right. BABA ALI AND THE CLOCKWORK DJINN is a breath of fresh desert wind, and if the book suffers from some plotting and pacing missteps, it’s still a charming oasis for fantasy lovers looking to enjoy something a little less Western.
One of the best things about GUNPOWDER ALCHEMY is the fact that the worldbuilding takes place in China during the Qing Dinasty. I so rarely read books predominately set in Asia so it was refreshing to see steampunk mixed in with Chinese customs and history. I enjoyed seeing some of that culture play a role in the fast paced plot such as the
At slightly over 400 overwhelming pages, WHISPER THE DEAD took a few chapters for me to fully immerse myself. Once I did, however, I was rewarded with a mystery that managed to be consequential and yet a story that felt lighthearted, all at once.
Ardent fans of Patricia Briggs may have already pieced together parts of this collection, housed in beat up paperbacks and anthologies already published. To have these existing stories and more gathered and carefully arranged by series timeline, makes this lovely hardback a treasure for any collector to have on the shelf.
CROWN OF ICE offers so much more than just the tale of The Snow Queen with a change of perspective. A solid YA adventure with teenagers who learn so much about themselves, and each other. Even the expected happily ever after offers believable surprises that underscore the maturity and independence they each have gained.
It’s hard to be anything but seduced by the magical beauty of the WINTERSPELL cover. Luckily, the story that Legrand crafts has a magical beauty to match. Clara’s journey through Cane, coming into powers she didn’t know she had, her quest to save her father, and the delicate romance between her and Nicholas are all fascinating parts of this fairy tale.
SALT & STORM sounded so good, but unfortunately, the description and the book don’t actually match up, and not for the better. With a whiney heroine, strong deviation from a typical romance plotline, and some frustrating questions left unanswered, SALT & STORM isn’t a book I’ll be revisiting.
Sword and sorcery with a kickass heroine that would do any urban fantasy proud, THE BLOODBOUND offers romance, intrigue, and a fast moving plot that will immerse readers in this new world.
When a wicked bishop starts a witch hunt in Bavaria, orphan Rune finds herself targeted – but unlike most of the so-called witches caught in the net of hysteria, Rune really does have powers, and a reason to fear for her life. She also has an ally in the son of the local magistrate (called the Electorate), after he nearly tramples her with his horse. What follows in FOREST OF WHISPERS by Jennifer Murgia is a young adult romance, but, more importantly, a story about confronting the past, accepting where you come from, and embracing your strength.
It’s got to be a daunting prospect to retell the Beauty/Beast plot, considering how many times it’s been replayed, and not just in movies but in other books, too. (Beastly comes to mind.) But BEAUTY’S BEAST does a fairly good job of giving the Beast a new spin and sets the story in a nicely vague old world setting. In the end, though, it mostly pales in comparisons.