THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST is the perfect update to the fairy tale worlds of childhood. A little darker, a little sexier, and with heroes and heroines just a half step away from what is expected.
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
If you missed Sophronia Temminick’s Finishing School adventures as much as I did, you’ll love Gail Carriger’s latest trip to Madamoiselle Geraldine’s and the lessons in proper spycraft within the pages of WAISTCOATS & WEAPONRY. The wider supernatural world closes in on Sophronia and her friends as the werewolf drama that sets the events of Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series into motion happens while the ladies are learning the art of the bladed fan. With her friend Sidheag personally affected by pack dynamics, Sophronia has no choice but to get involved herself. It’s always a delight to go back to school with Carriger, though, like Sophronia’s first outing, WAISTCOATS & WEAPONRY feels more like a stepping stone in a larger story than its own novel.
SALT & STORM sounded so good, but unfortunately, the description and the book don’t actually match up, and not for the better. With a whiney heroine, strong deviation from a typical romance plotline, and some frustrating questions left unanswered, SALT & STORM isn’t a book I’ll be revisiting.
Whereas ICONS was a fast-paced, rush of a novel, IDOLS is a slow burn, with bits and pieces offered to the reader throughout, until the big reveal at the end. While not a bad thing, my expectation was for a higher level of action, and I was mildly disappointed at the resulting slowness.
Before starting ERASED, the second book in the Altered series, I was tempted to go back to ALTERED for a skim-type of refresher, or to reread my review. I did neither and as it turns out, I didn’t need to. ERASED did a beautiful job of getting me back into Anna’s life, her world, and the events of the previous book. It also managed it without the sometimes off-putting repetition I’ve seen in other series books (Mythos Academy comes to mind).
While not normally drawn in by retellings of the The Snow Queen (Beauty and the Beast is more my style) COLD SPELL surprised me with its originality and unique take on a lesser known fairy tale. I enjoyed the twists and turns in the story and the way Pearce spaced it out, giving the reader small bits and pieces as the story progresses. With a strong female lead character, action and a tender romance, I couldn’t have asked for anything more from COLD SPELL.
As charming and quirky as Gail Carriger’s Soulless series, CURTSIES & CONSPIRACIES delves back into all the ways that society, science, and magic can collide. Sophronia’s perspective on manners and intelligence gathering is a fantastic window into this world, which is as interesting for the social dynamics as for the dirigibles and mechanimals.
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.
THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN is a love song to the vampire stories I loved in adolescence. It is all the delicious, dark danger of vampire mythology wrapped around a teenage heroine who I loved dearly. Amidst the drama and the death and the danger, Tana is a battered hero, made stronger by past damage. Intent on “doing the right thing”, even as that one, true thing becomes amorphous and shadowed, I was breathlessly enthralled by her from beginning to end.
I’ve read quite a lot of popular, YA fantasy over the years. Anything my younger sister likes, I pick up and read along. Some of these collaborations have been great (she gets credit for Harry Potter, to be sure). Some have been disappointments… either too juvenile or too derivative to hold my attention. I approached LOKI’S WOLVES holding my breath, hoping not to find a Norse Percy Jackson, and within one chapter, all my fears were allayed.