When I hear about husband and wife writing duos I automatically expect an authentic, emotional romance. In FROZEN, the first book in the new Heart of Dread paranormal/post-apocalyptic YA series from Melissa de la Cruz and husband Michael Johnston, the romance is just one of the many things that failed to live up to my expectations.
Genre: Science Fiction
There is always a challenge when it comes to characters who suffer from amnesia. It can feel like the reader is just as confused as they are. In CONJURED, Sarah Beth Durst handles this conundrum better than most by creating a hazy but still intriguing reality for her short-term memory challenged protagonist with surprising bursts of information well paced throughout the book. Oh and the literally magical kisses didn’t hurt.
When I finished ALL OUR YESTERDAYS, the first in the Cassandra Chronicles duology, you could have knocked me over with a feather, and I would not have noticed. This is one of those books where in the last few pages you’re given what you feel is closure, and then boom! The author turns around and smacks you- not with a cliffhanger, but with the possibility of so much more, the understanding that just because the specific story being told ended, doesn’t mean there isn’t more to these characters that we’ve come to know over the 400 or so pages.
Most YA series follow the same protagonist throughout the series, or they expand to include additional POVs. The Hourglass series has featured different protagonists for each book with increasingly minor cameos by the preceding protagonists. Whereas Emerson completely captivated in HOURGLASS, and to a lesser degree Kaleb in TIMEPIECE, neither Hallie nor Dune were compelling enough to finish this series on a high note in INFINITYGLASS.
Not having read the previous two books in the Grimnoir Chronicles, I hesitated continuing with WARBOUND as I found myself neck deep in a highly complex and almost confusing story but the story was interesting enough for me to carry on just to figure out what happening. I had a hard time placing this book into a genre and with interdimensional battles and magic I simply settled for mash up of sci-fi, urban fantasy, alternate history, and steampunk.
One of the biggest problems with any thriller set in a futuristic utopia is how the main character will be able to slip through the cracks. When everything is automated, when everyone is organized, where are the fringes that accommodate those on the run? When Elissa’s “illness” is revealed to be something more terrible than she ever imagined, the scope of this story expands from “teenage suburbia” to “the galaxy”, and it wasn’t until that change kicked in that I was really on board.
High concept YAs are everywhere. In my experience they either work really well (DELIRIUM, THE PROGRAM) or really not (PULSE, THE WARD). REBOOT surprising falls somewhere in the middle. There is a very cool world where resurrected teens are enslaved and forced to police humans. They have heightened senses but a lack of emotion that correlates to the length of time they were dead before rebooting.
There is no other way to say it- I inhaled this book. OBSESSION hit all my romance novel buttons, with the uber-alpha male, feisty female counterpart and loads of moments so sexy that I blushed. OBSESSION was one of those books where my inner feminist feels like she should be objecting to something, but then she gets a bit distracted by all the action and romance. In the end Serena brings Hunter to his knees anyways, so what if he’s a little bossy on the way?
I almost didn’t bother to read A DARK PLACE because I absolutely could not stand the whole Spike and the alien bugs plot line that first popped up in Season 8. I decided to give it a shot and, ugh, Spike’s still with his alien bug pals. Blah.
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.