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.
Posts Tagged: 1st person
Mix the short-lived NBC show Awake with the Gwyneth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors, and put the protagonist in high school, and you get ONE PAST MIDNIGHT by Jessica Shirvington. Unlike Jason Isaacs in Awake, however, Sabine has been shifting between two lives for as long as she can remember. Though there’s some confusion early on about the mechanics of Sabine’s double lives, not to mention the unlikely reality of a young girl living in two universes without going mad, Shirvington paints a beautiful portrait of a lonely, desperate girl struggling with a lack of identity. Despite the extraordinary circumstances, the push to meet other people’s expectations at the cost of personal expression is something a lot of adolescents can relate to.
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.
TURNING TIDES by Mia Marshall is framed as a locked room murder mystery where the ‘room’ is an isolated island full of water elementals, and the primary suspect in the deadly explosion is the only person present who can control fire. Even though most of the crowd think the answer is obvious, the question of whodunit is paced nicely throughout the novel, and the unmasking of the culprit at the end would do Hercule Poirot proud. By then, however, the book is about much more than a single death, and I expected the punishment to better fit the crime.
Downton Abbey by way of Anne Rice, THE MIDNIGHT WITCH is a touching period romance, set against a backdrop of a dying class system and a secret magical war over the ability to raise the dead. Though the exact purpose of the Lazarus Coven and their sorcerer rivals, the Sentinels, is vague, Brackston does an excellent job of painting Lilith Montgomery’s classic struggle between her duty to her craft and her heart.
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.
Pure fun. That’s what Natalie Whipple’s TRANSPARENT is. Universal themes regarding identity and independence are explored alongside twisty fun supernatural abilities like flight, the protagonist’s invisibility, and all the way down to seemingly trivial powers like fear induced stink. More series issues arise thanks to Fiona’s crime lord father and ‘jobs’ he literally charms her into carrying out for him.
Fans of the Delirium Trilogy, look no further than Suzanne Young’s THE PROGRAM for the next unbelievably heartbreaking dystopian. This book delivers a story with a deeply unsettling premise and a devastating romance. Powerful, provocative, and unputdownable.
Whereas UNRAVELING was a character driven story dealing with family heartache and the blissful agony of first love mixed up with plenty of mystery and sleuthing, UNBREAKABLE is a nonstop action adventure that downplays character for the sake of adrenaline. The sci-fi elements that were revealed at the end of debut dominate the sequel to such a degree I probably wouldn’t have thought it was the sequel to UNRAVELING if the names hadn’t been the same.
WHEN WE WAKE is a very political book, and, to a lesser degree, a very religious book. Those aren’t necessarily bad things. But when the politics and religion are preachy, it becomes much harder to enjoy the story hiding underneath.