After I called CRUEL BEAUTY my top YA read of 2014, I wasn’t sure that CRIMSON BOUND could live up to the mightily high expectations I had for it. I mean, this is a book that I requested before there was even a description to go with the lovely cover. And, while I’m afraid that for me, CRIMSON BOUND doesn’t top CRUEL BEAUTY, it is still a magnificent story, well written with some great characters.
I need to preface this review with a confession: I have read most, if not all, of the Argeneau vampire series, and if I hadn’t, I am not sure I would have enjoyed THE IMMORTAL WHO LOVED ME as much as I did. Still, there are a bunch of things to like in this latest instalment.
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.