THE ASSASSINS OF ALTIS starts right where THE HIDDEN MASTERS OF MARANDUR left off, and the action, romance, and political intrigue of the previous books continues superbly in this one. My number one fear for THE ASSASSINS OF ALTIS was that the plot would start to stall. I’ve seen this happen with a lot of books like this, but Jack Campbell clearly has the whole Pillars of Reality series thoroughly plotted out, because I never felt it stall.
Genre: Young Adult
With high action, loveable characters (and some quite despicable ones), and an Austen-like setting, NEWT’S EMERALD is a fun ride that is perfect for younger readers, while still having enough to interest adult readers.
It’s a good thing that Truthful grew up with a gaggle of boisterous boy cousins; when her family’s heirloom emerald is stolen, dressing up as a boy to scour the streets of London is as easy as donning a glamour-enchanted mustache and imitating her cousins.
So I’m a bit biased, as I tend to love books with robots and artificial intelligence, but THE SCORPION RULES was spectacular. Full of intrigue, plot twists, drama and robots, it felt intense from beginning to end, keeping me on the edge of my seat as I breathlessly rushed to finish it.
Thief’s Covenant is an amazing young adult novel, one of the best I’ve read this year. This book is a very dark young adult book, and because of that I feel a lot of adults will be able to appreciate this story as well.
POISONED APPLES opens by warning its readers, “You can lose your way anywhere,” and for anyone underestimating this slim volume of YA fairy tale poetry, consider yourself fairly warned. It’s a solid little book, some offerings packing more of an emotional punch than others, some fitting the fairy tale theme better than others. But taken as a whole, it delivers raw and sometimes brutal commentary on what it means to be a teenage girl today.
BLACK DOG was my favorite book of 2014, and PURE MAGIC is everything I could have hoped for in a sequel. The black dogs of this world are a little darker, a littler more demonic than Urban Fantasy’s usual shapeshifters. With sulfur and fire and violence in their hearts, they flow up through the human body, and burst into our world.
In the original description I read of THE ARTISANS, this crucial sentence was at the end: “The Artisans is a delectably rich, layered and dark YA Southern Gothic inspired by Jeanne Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s classic Beauty and the Beast.” Generally anything promising a retelling of Beauty and the Beast (my favorite fairytale) is an instant win for me. And while I can definitely see the parallels between THE ARTISANS and Beauty and the Beast, THE ARTISANS had quite a bit more going on, that in fact, at times I felt like there was almost too much going on.
SILVER IN THE BLOOD was a book I was very much looking forward to reading. The beautiful cover and author alone (I loved DRAGON SLIPPERS) was enough to intrigue me, and I didn’t even bother reading the description. So going in a bit blind, I was very happy when SILVER IN THE BLOOD lived up to my expectations.
This is a fabulous story with fabulous characters. Molly, the “Wicked Witch” who comes to Castle Hangnail to govern it, is smart and ready to face the difficult tasks ahead – most important of which is getting the minions on her side!
Whether it’s the minotaur cook in the kitchen who hates anything to do with the letter Q, a stitched together (more than once) majordomo or the pin cushion doll with a hypochondriac goldfish, Vernon makes every secondary character interesting.
I’ll admit to being a bit wary of a book based on a comic. In fact, I had very low expectations for HEXED: THE SISTERS OF WITCHDOWN. And while it didn’t blow my mind, HEXED was still an enjoyable young adult read with some fun characters and creative mythology.