While THE SWEETEST DARK brought Abe’s Drakon into the twentieth century, marrying the poetry and mystery of their magic with bombings and black-outs and Europe at war, THE DEEPEST NIGHT took that springboard and lept to the next level. A strengthening heroine, a tender love story, and daring midnight flights over war-torn Europe, this book gave me all the tenderness and adventure and strength and magic I could have hoped for, all in a neatly paced story that leaves me anxious for more.
If prior books established this intricate, fascinating world, COLD STEEL is all about Cat and Vai living in it. Revolution convulses the land and the politics of their world is as much of a concern as the magic swirling around them. Cat continues to explore her heritage, Vai struggles to find a future, and together they work through obstacles and compromises that may offer hope of happiness.
SEA CHANGE takes the alien brutality of Grimm’s tales, washes them smooth and small with the hush of the sea, and transmutes the familiar pieces of magic and friendship, villainy and madness, love and happily ever after into something altogether new. Haunting, heart wrenching, and beautiful, SEA CHANGE is a book I won’t soon forget… or entirely understand.
Lilith Saintcrow’s flavor of simmering emotion, significant glances, and dramatic mystery is a perfect compliment to the Victorian alternate timeline that contains her Bannon & Clare series. And while this tone makes for deliciously satisfying unspoken devotion, both romantic and platonic, it can also obscure the magical elements of the story beyond understanding.
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.
An adventure of the purest form, EMILIE AND THE HOLLOW WORLD has stowaways, mysterious lands, foreign strangers, saboteurs, and intrigue, all flavored with just the right amount of magical steampunk technology. Though the pacing was choppy in the first few chapters, alternating between action and large chunks of exposition, once Emilie finds her place on this crew of adventurers and scientists, the story takes off.
The Ripper is still on the loose in RENEGADE, the second book in the increasingly ominous Ripper series. The creepiness factor of Max (aka the Ripper) is at an all time high as he stalks Arabella The mind games Max sadistically plays by subtly threatening her
Oh, how I adore this series. Where GRAVE MERCY seduced me into this world with it’s mix of god-touched heros and mortal politics, DARK TRIUMPH is a much more personal tale. Gorgeous, damaged Sybella dominates her story in a completely different way than Ismae, making this both a fantastic sequel and something brand new.
Series enders are challenging because readers expect not just a fresh story and character resolutions, but also answers to every question they’ve asked over the course of The Infernal Devices trilogy. At well over five hundred pages, CLOCKWORK PRINCESS is a large book, which is fitting since it tells not just a large story, but one that satisfies all the demands that the legion of fans this series has garnered have placed on it.
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.