RAGS & BONES is a gorgeously curated collection of short stories, as satisfying for the glimpses of each story’s origin story as the final product. Have you ever wished you could be a fly on the wall when your favorite author pitches an idea? See a little piece of art through their creative lens? As favorite authors distill classic tales to their essence, this anthology was immersive and thought provoking, a masters class in the creative process with an all star attendance list.
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
EAT, BRAINS, LOVE was a book I requested simply because, hey, it’s October. Gotta read something Halloween-y, right? Plus at the time I was going through The Walking Dead withdrawal and was all “Hey! Zombies!”.
The opening and closing tableau of POISON PRINCESS was so powerful, it dwarfs the rest of the book in my memory. ENDLESS KNIGHT, to it’s credit, is more about the overall high than any one, single moment. Evie survives danger after danger, interwoven with the strategy necessary to survive the Arcana, and unflinchingly faces the legacy of her card without surrendering agency or control of her current choices.
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.
The best moments of DARKER DAYS, the first book in Jus Accardo’s The Darker Agency, are like an early episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with snappy one-liners, balancing supernatural smackdowns with homework, and impossible romance. The weaker moments, however, are a little more prevalent and reveal Jessie’s grating immaturity and the worst case of insta-love I’ve read all year.
INDELIBLE starts off with a vivid flourish, claiming old fairy anew. I was quickly enthralled with the story, both for Joy and Ink and their fragile association, and the way Metcalf fearlessly began remaking all of magic and myth and folk into something modern, without losing any of their original wildness and danger.
There is a wonderful sense of mystery and intrigue throughout EARTHBOUND that perfectly compliments the utterly unique mythology that Aprilynne Pike has created. It is a complex story with a robust supernatural world that is as elusive to readers as it is Tavia for most of the book, but even though my head was spinning with questions while reading, all the answers were provided by the end.
Having established that I am a sucker for any book that may be even remotely a fairy tale retelling, OF BEAST AND BEAUTY was right up my alley. While ostensibly a Beauty and the Beast retelling, OF BEAST AND BEAUTY contains aspects of many well known tales, including the forbidden love of Romeo and Juliet and the girl locked away in a tower like Rapunzel. With all this, one might expect OF BEAST AND BEAUTY to be a bit scattered or unfocused. Instead, there is an intricate web of character development and plot.
Every genre has its pitfalls, its tropes that get repeated all too often. In YA, it’s an overdose of angst and the dreaded insta-love. SOME QUIET PLACE has a premise that not only eliminates even the possibility of those annoyances, but creates a protagonist that is utterly distinct–and all the more compelling for her uniqueness–from any other heroine the genre has produced.
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.