Though the world of SNOW LIKE ASHES by Sara Raasch is a bit uninspired in its construction, Raasch more than makes up for kingdoms named after seasons and capital cities named for misspelled calendar months with Meira and the other refugees of the Kingdom of Winter. An aspiring soldier, desperate to be important to her people and her lost homeland, sixteen-year-old Meira struggles with being kept off the battlefield and forced into a world of political machinations. She’s a pawn, she’s a symbol, she’s a hero – much like THE HUNGER GAMES Katniss, all Meira really knows is that she wants to survive. That, and she’s in love with her best friend, the once and future king.
Sucked in by the intriguing cover and blurb, I found myself captivated by STORM SIREN the minute I started reading. Though sometimes light on the world-building, in STORM SIREN, Weber creates a cast of fascinating characters, with lots of action, and tons of plot twists and turns to keep the reader on the edge of their seat.
In the vein of GRACELING or GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING offers a rich fantasy world chock-full of political intrigue, heart-stopping moments, and an unconventional heroine who I fell in love with on page one.
SCORCHED by Erica Hayes: wherein a young woman by the name of Verity Fortune is a telekinetic Batgirl in a city with a rogues’ gallery to rival Gotham’s. Appropriately nicknamed the Gallery – part mafia, part supervillain cabal – its members wage a never-ending war against the ‘augmented’ Fortunes, who run the multinational Fortune Corp by day, and masquerade at night in various superhero guises. It’s Verity who gives this novel its Christopher Nolan-esque grit right from the start, after she escapes an asylum where she was held and tortured for nine months, with a shattered memory and little control over her powers.
SEA OF SHADOWS is an action packed and kind of spooky departure from what I am used to with Kelley Armstrong’s writing. I really enjoyed the concept of a society that must keep angry spirits at bay with the help of specially born twins. Aside from dealing with the angry spirits there
CRUEL BEAUTY is the fairy tale retelling I didn’t know I was waiting for. Taking the Beauty and the Beast story and turning it upside down, spinning it around and still keeping it recognizable, CRUEL BEAUTY was entrancing and mind-blowing.
I love to see it when authors take already well know stories and remake them by adding their own unique touches. I didn’t read the previous book, THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER, which pays homage to THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU luckily HER DARK CURIOSITY can easily stand alone as we are told enough of what happened previously to get what is happening.
With many anthologies it tends to be hit or miss depending on which short story I am reading in it. DARK DUETS has an excellent idea with authors pairing up to write some seriously dark urban fantasy tales.
The two books that comprise the For Darkness Shows the Stars series are quickly becoming some of my favorite post-apocalyptic young adult books of all the options in the genre. Peterfreund is a wonderful writer, and ACROSS THE STAR-SWEPT SEA is a spectacular example of her talents. Keeping the reader hooked in a world completely different than ours, explaining back-story without info dumps, and mixing action with a touch of romance, ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA is one of those books you just don’t want to put down, and in my opinion even better than the first.
ONCE WE WERE is a wonderful follow up to WHAT’S LEFT OF ME, with twists and turns that kept me glued to the page for hours. The second book in The Hybrid Chronicles, ONCE WE WERE follows almost immediately after WHAT’S LEFT OF ME, with Eva and Addie in hiding, and goes from there. While the world continues to be fascinating and the concept original, it did take a little while for the story to get off the ground, but once it did, I was definitely hooked.