Thursday, August 2, 2018

Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier

In this third person epic fantasy novel, Isle of Blood and Stone, Lucier speaks to a reader’s sense of wanderlust and curiosity.  It’s unique in that while Elias is an adventurer, geographer, and mapmaker, the actual story takes place in his home, St. John del Mar. 
Elias returns from a months long journey to find himself thrust into a mystery with personal and political repercussions.  The author sticks to Elias in her narration which is perfect for the story told, and until more than half way through the book, leaves romance out of the story entirely.  The way she gets the romance in is entirely organic and works for this story without weakening or altering the original goals of the characters.
I truly enjoyed this fun other-world mystery and look forward to more by Lucier in future.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien

This is the third book I’ve read by Caragh O’Brien and the start of a dystopia trilogy.  It’s definitely in a different vein from her Vault of Dreamers books, but still has an addictive story and amazing protagonist.  Written in third person, this character driven story is a steady jog into the future.
What sets this apart from most other dystopias is the ambiguity of the conflicting groups.  The reader can easily side with the protagonist or the institution she’s trying to escape, to a certain degree.  It’s completely addictive and I can’t wait to read more.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Invisible Library

The Invisible Library is Genevieve Cogman’s debut and the opening of a new series in fantasy.  Told in the third person with a focus on Irene, a Junior Librarian sent to retrieve a specific iteration of Grimm’s fairy tales.
Shuttling between alternate dimensions, Irene and other Librarians are bound to protect individual works of fiction by collecting them to a secret library that rests between all the dimensions available.  This work reeled me in almost immediately, as it would for any bibliophile or fantasy aficionado.  Cogman uses distinct and intelligent language without putting comprehension beyond the reader’s grasp.
Evocative of Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, and The Dresden Files stylistically, The Invisible Library is adventurous, magical, and fun.  I sincerely look forward to the next book in the series.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising is a first person dystopic adventure reminiscent of Ender’s Game, Legend, and The Hunger Games series.  This type of story has been in vogue for about a decade, but still Brown managed to hook me in on page one.
Darrow was a Helldiver.  A Red.  A miner of precious minerals needed for humanity's expansion into the space.  What he finds out after the death of his father, his wife, and himself is that he’s a slave of the lowest rank.
Under the wings of those who helped him die, the Sons of Ares, he becomes Gold and infiltrates their most prestigious academy.  Brown has set up the academy like trials that can end in glory, shame, or death.  This faux war changes Darrow, draws his mind into a dark place.  When he is reminded of his purpose, of his wife and his family, he makes an unprecedented move against the administrators.
This is the making of Darrow.  He’s a Red Rising.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

War of the Cards

Dinah wants to be queen.  She NEEDS to be queen, but In order to get her crown from the tyrant she thought was her father, she must fight everyone, including herself. 
In this conclusion to The Queen of Hearts trilogy, I was not disappointed.  Colleen Oakes has further outdone herself with the continuing magic that created Wonderland and the characters that occupy it.  I started this book and could not put it down until I was finished.
Dinah’s internal struggles, her conquest of her puppet masters, and her stepping into her true place are things many young women can identify with.  Though it is a fantasy novel, its ability to connect with readers through Dinah holds it above YA realism with similar themes.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Veronica Roth does it again with the first book in her newest series, Carve the Mark.  Set a long time ago in a galaxy far far away (though she never uses that phrase), the author of Divergent sets her sights on a deeper world building goal.  As far as I’m concerned she pretty much nails it, as expected.
Told in alternating POV between Akos and Cyra two children of rival nations, Carve the Mark introduces new cultures organically through the protagonists.  Cyra’s part of the story is told in first person, much like Triss in Divergent.  Akos is a third person narration.
While the POV shift in part one didn’t seem to make much sense at first, the transition opens up new story and deeper character development especially with Akos.  The science fiction naming conventions Roth uses are a little confusing, but it doesn’t take away from the story at any point.
I loved it I can’t wait to read more.

Little Girl Lost by Wendy Corsi Staub

What do a cult, a cop, and a foundling have in common?  This is the question I spent the hours I read Wendy Corsi Staub’s newest novel, Little Girl Lost.
Staub writes in a limited third person POV which definitely works for this type of thriller, though I would have preferred fewer and deeper characters.  In the first few chapters, the plot leaps are somewhat nonsequetous, but once the three main conflicting stories are introduced, it evens out nicely.
This is the type of book I may have to read more than once to catch everything.  It’s intelligent, edgy, and twisted in that special way thrillers often are.  Any mystery or thriller fans will love this book.  Personally, I’m going to look into some more work by Staub, I thoroughly enjoyed it.