Tempestuous

I received Tempestuous as a submission for the YABA

It’s been a long time since I read the previous books in this series (well not in terms of time exactly, but I’ve read a lot since then and a lot has changed in my life) so I found myself a bit confused at the beginning of this novel, having trouble remembering where Darklight left off. I don’t think this novel stands well on it’s own, you have to be familiar with the rest of the series for it to work and while I was at one time I have become disconnected and found I didn’t really care about the characters anymore.

I had high hopes for this novel but I slugged through it, not really caught up in the action. The second half was better than the first, because I preferred Kelley’s part of the story to Sonny feeling sorry for himself that Kelley said she didn’t love him. I don’t think that Livingston lived up to her potential with this book. Once Every Never was more compelling in language, plot and emotion.

Contemporary takes on Shakespeare, dark faeries and urban fantasy are very big right now making this an in demand series. However while I love the genre and what this sets out to do I’m not sure this particular novel lives up to the hype.

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Captured

I received Captured by Maggie L. Wood as a submission for the YABA.

“Fifteen-year-old Willow Kingswell has been listening to her Nana’s tales of faeries and enchanted kingdoms for as long as she can remember. But when she is magically transported to the realm of Mistolear, she is stunned to learn that the stories were true, and that she is actually a princess. Suddenly, Willow has to fit into a royal family she didn’t know she had, deal with customs she doesn’t understand and sort out her feelings for Brand, the handsome knight who has sworn to protect her.

On top of everything, she may also be the key to saving Mistolear from a terrifying spell. The nefarious faerie prince Nezeral has pitted two kingdoms against each other in a life-or-death chess match, in which people are the game pieces. As a pawn, Willow now glows with the light of the game and must find the courage and cleverness to battle Nezeral before her loved ones fall. Could a meager pawn really be the most powerful piece on the board? Captured is the first book in the thrilling Divided Realms series.”

I initially found the concept of people being linked to chess pieces in a large scale game of wizard chess to be silly and strange. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the novel and think it was well executed. This style of fantasy that combines our world with a fantastic one is very effective for teens. It allows them to deal with issues like war and family drama at a safe distance. At at the same time they feel close to the action because of the character from our world who sees things as they would and uses contemporary slang amongst the backdrop of knightly banter. I usually prefer this type of story to be in 1st person narrative but Wood did a good job of making it work without this.

I thought the ending was original, creative and appropriate. It defined the book for me and I think I would have preferred for this to be a stand-alone novel rather than a trilogy because it’s rare I’m so pleased with an ending. The novel flowed nicely so I finished it quickly but it had some memorable parts, separating it from other quick reads.

Iron King

Iron King cover art

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa.

What It’s About

Meghan is a teenage girl who lives in the country with her mother, stepfather and her little half-brother. On her sixteenth birthday her brother is replaced with a changeling and her best friend is revealed to be more than he appeared. He leads her to the world of the faeries so they can rescue her brother. During this adventure she discovers why she has never fit in and no one ever seems to remember her.

What’s Good About It

  • The two traditional Faery courts are represented, giving the story of a familiar feel
  • A new (at least to me) third court is introduced
  • There is a Lord of The Rings feel to the book, with the corruption by iron, the creatures from nature and the creatures resulting from technology. The new faeries reminded me of orcs, not so much in their appearance as what they represented
  • The cover art is fantastic. I love the wisps of green, the font that curls into the art, a beautiful girl with an eye-catching eye…it pulls readers in. I like that the top of her ears are covered by her hair, leaving things ambiguous.
  • I liked Robbie

Over-all impression

A decent story, with decent characters but I was never fully engrossed. I don’t know if it’s that I’ve read so much lately that it is getting hard for books to stand out to me but I wasn’t as compelled as I would like to have been. I can’t think of anything particularly wrong with the book but it wasn’t overly memorable.

Her family dynamics were interesting and I found the Iron aspects intriguing, I hope these are expanded on in the sequel.

Read-Alikes

wondrous strange

tithe by holly black

A Modern Fearie Tale

cover art of Tithe by holly blackIn┬áthis modern faerie tale the teenage heroine doesn’t mop the floor and sweep the chimney, she takes care of her alcoholic mother and deals with dropping out of school to pay the bills. This is no Disney story with a completely happy ending so be prepared for a bit of gore and some sex.

That being said, I love the gritty reality of Holly Black’s Tithe. It was thoughtful and well written, to the point where I read most of it in one sitting. If you have already read Tithe check out The White Cat.