**spoiler alert** I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Kate Elliott's adult fantasy/SF novels have never had**spoiler alert** I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Kate Elliott's adult fantasy/SF novels have never had a shortage of plot, and this is no exception. Now that the world and the overall plot has been set with the first book, it's the job of the second book to trip you up and break some hearts, and this does it well.
Jes has become an Adversary, essentially the journeyman level of the competitors on the Fives court. But while she's fighting for fame (and to not be auctioned off as a prize to the right political ally of her stable's patron), she's also trying to save her family and unravel a plot against the throne.
This trilogy started strong, but this book wobbled a little. Personally, I think it didn't need the love triangle between Jes, Kal, and Ro-Ennu, but because it's YA, I assume someone thought it should be shoehorned in there. Who cares about boys, Jes is more badass than either of these guys. I do love the subplot of Jes' twin's loyalties, but this book just didn't grab me as hard as the first book. I still enjoyed the hell out of it, and I'm still recommending the trilogy to anyone who wants more complicated YA fantasy, but the romance subplot just slowed me down a lot. Normally when I get a new book I've been anticipating, it's a three day read for me. I put this down at 15% and came back two weeks later without feeling like I was missing much....more
This vacillated between one star (SO much Kurt Cobain/Nirvana infodumping) and four stars (for the very human story of Nico's mom, dad, and her copingThis vacillated between one star (SO much Kurt Cobain/Nirvana infodumping) and four stars (for the very human story of Nico's mom, dad, and her coping/not coping with loss). It felt like it would mean more if I was fourteen....more
**spoiler alert** I received a digital advance copy in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss.
I was super excited about this trilogy when I firs**spoiler alert** I received a digital advance copy in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss.
I was super excited about this trilogy when I first read about it. It's hard to find western-set YA, which was a huge plus for me. Carson's Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy had such a fantastic main character, I wasn't sure that Leah could live up to Elisa.
I was totally wrong. Leah is a flawed, strong, fun character and one that wouldn't work for me anywhere but in a Old West setting. I love the California Gold Rush as a setting for YA, I think it's underrated and ripe for coming-of-age stories.
The book opens in California, where the remaining folks of the wagon train have started to settle, tentatively calling their home Glory, California. But because nobody can be happy, Leah's Evil Uncle Hiram (I seriously picture him twirling his mustache 24/7) decides to give everyone hell because he wants Leah to come be his witchy woman, as opposed to her own witchy woman.
Guys, Uncle Hiram is SUPER CREEPY, and he has a weird fixation that is bordering on Donkeyskin for me. I don't want to be specific and nothing explicit happens, but I spent a lot of the book going NOOOOOO. Dude is just WRONG.
So the book is Leah being Hiram's gold witch on call, and her trying to figure out how to GTFO and take Jefferson and Tom with her (because of COURSE they need hostages to ensure her good behavior).
There's some discussion of the enslavement of local Native American tribes, despite California nominally being a free territory/state. The conditions that they're kept in are brutal, and not shied away from. But I'd like to know more about Carson's research into the times and the tribes, something that I also wanted in the first book (which would have concerned different tribes in different areas). Y'all, this is what reading Debbie Reese does for me (and it's a good thing!), it makes me question all portrayals of Native Americans in books. There's only so much you can cover in a YA book but I wanted to know more about the Maidu and their role in the gold rush and what they dealt with.
That said, there's even less discussion of the role of Chinese laborers in the Gold Rush, despite having a camp of laborers at Hiram's mine. The only Chinese character with a name and backstory is Mary, Hiram's cook and camp prostitute (because of COURSE :-/ ).
I'm still recommending this series to teens who don't want your typical YA fantasy books (and I still enjoyed the hell out of it!), but for a time period that's pretty rich with multiple ethnic/racial groups, I'd like more about them, not just as props to Leah's journey, but as their own people....more
I got an advance readers copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
First: I'm a Lackey fangirl for over 20 years, ever since my uncle gaveI got an advance readers copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
First: I'm a Lackey fangirl for over 20 years, ever since my uncle gave me the Arrows of the Queen trilogy for Christmas when I was 11. For years she was an auto-buy for me regardless of the book. Lackey can write really entertaining and original high fantasy, urban fantasy, and historical fantasies, but she always falls short when attempting whatever the new trend in YA is (Shadow Grail felt like it was piggybacking on House of Night and Vampire Academy), and this is the same thing: an almost grasping attempt at YA dystopia, this time with magic.
The main character, Joyeaux Charmand, is well-drawn, and reminded me of the best of the Lackey heroines-- moral without being preachy, determined, and smart. But the world feels shallow and there's no good backstory that I could get into.
I wanted to love it. I was so excited to get an ARC. But it's been sitting at 28% on my kindle for almost two months and I can't bring myself to go back....more
I'm not going to lie, I definitely had daydreams about one of the boys from whatever band I was into deciding they were into me too (god help me, it wI'm not going to lie, I definitely had daydreams about one of the boys from whatever band I was into deciding they were into me too (god help me, it was Billy Corgan, okay?). This book is pure fluffy wish fulfillment, and that's fine. I didn't felt like it reached beyond its limits, but within them, there's a sweet and fun story about a girl both finding herself (as opposed to 1/3 of a set of triplets) and falling in love (with a cute and talented boy who pursues her).
I would absolutely recommend it to younger teens looking for romance, and to any sad One Direction fan....more
I'm going to give this four, but if I subtract the internal squealing I did over much of this, it's probably a solid 3.5.
Kate's mom died last year, seI'm going to give this four, but if I subtract the internal squealing I did over much of this, it's probably a solid 3.5.
Kate's mom died last year, sending her from South Central LA to South Carolina to live with her uncle and aunt. Still grieving, she's nonetheless gone on with life, and is just finishing her junior year of high school in an election year when the unthinkable happens.
Suddenly, Kate Quinn, orphan, is Kate Quinn Cooper, unkown love child of the very much married Republican nominee for the presidency.
What do you do when your life is overturned yet again, and what if the only person who understands is the last person you should see?
I loved the familial relations, both relaxed and stiff. I couldn't work up to caring about the romance. I also really enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look at a campaign, which is probably why I'm watching The West Wing again....more
This trilogy was so, so good. I love the concept of a order of holy assassins, even more so that they're all teenage girls (and there's no value placeThis trilogy was so, so good. I love the concept of a order of holy assassins, even more so that they're all teenage girls (and there's no value placed on virginity!). ...more