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.
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.
WINTERBLAZE is a complex story, as evidenced by the fact that it took me a a few chapters to feel entirely caught up despite having read read Darkest London books 1 and 2. This orientation was a pleasure, however, as it was accompanied by the witty and sensual introduction of Poppy and Win, a formerly happy married couple, as the hero and heroine.