This showed up on my doorstep unexpectedly, and I gave it a chance because I'd seen some surprisingly positive reactions among friends. I say "surprisThis showed up on my doorstep unexpectedly, and I gave it a chance because I'd seen some surprisingly positive reactions among friends. I say "surprising" because I absolutely loathed Hush, Hush--suffice to say that years after reading it, I still don't know if there's a YA couple that I dislike more.
It's true that Black Ice is entertaining and kept my interest, more than most YA thrillers, though I'm admittedly hard on the genre in this age category. It's not unlike adult romantic thrillers you'd find from authors like Lisa Gardner or books in Harlequin's Mira imprint, in which the relationship drama gets a near equal amount of play as the fairly straightforward mystery. That's all perfectly fine, except that the characters are pretty ridiculous here--the BFF is an idiot and the adults are non-existent. Britt herself isn't entirely unredeeming, except that she's torn between her cocky ex-boyfriend and her lusty Stockholm Syndrome feelings for one of the guys who kidnapped her. The author does keep you guessing (I mean, I guessed correctly, but she did a decent job of drawing things out) who the culprits are, but it doesn't even really matter, because pretty much every guy in this book acts like a jerk at one time or another. Not quite Patch-levels of controlling behavior or abusiveness, but enough to make you want to give them a good hard shove out the door. Even if they are supposedly, as my friend Crowinator says, supernaturally hot.
I kind of wish this author would write books for adults. While I'm annoyed by women acting dumb over guys in most scenarios, and I certainly don't think YA needs to always model exemplary behavior, I'm so uncomfortable with romantic portrayals like this--it just feels especially icky when the book's audience is younger. At least Britt stands up for herself? Eventually? I guess? But the power dynamic still seems so off, and the tenor of the relationships is so negative and mostly animal attraction-based, that I just can't get on board with the romance--and when that's 50% of what's going on, that's a lot of letdown. Not to mention that there's a lot of male-fixation and sexist thinking.
So: the thriller parts are relatively diverting, but the relationships and characters annoyed me. And despite all this snow and isolation, there's not all that much talk about the survival aspects, which is something I would have enjoyed. But this serves to confirm that this author's just not for me. While the resolution for this one is better than the Hush, Hush series, these aren't the types of relationships I enjoy reading about--or the types I would necessarily be wild about impressionable young girls daydreaming over, either.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review....more
This was fitfully cute, but it does try a little too hard at times. Seems as though people like book 2 better, though, so maybe that'll hold more surpThis was fitfully cute, but it does try a little too hard at times. Seems as though people like book 2 better, though, so maybe that'll hold more surprises....more
4.5 stars Tamlin is going to set your loins aflame. Phew! My cheeks are still flushed.
I'm also fairly confident this book is going to help change the4.5 stars Tamlin is going to set your loins aflame. Phew! My cheeks are still flushed.
I'm also fairly confident this book is going to help change the face of new adult fiction. How awesome to see gifted writers shaping non-contemporary stories that have the coming of age/youthful perspective and vibe of YA books and combine that with the freedom that writing for an older target audience affords them. If you liked the mood and romance of (the excellent) CRUEL BEAUTY but perhaps mourned the missed opportunities of such a seductive premise, ACOTAR more than satisfies. (view spoiler)[ BITE MY NECK SOME MORE, SIR. (hide spoiler)]
Plus stunning action and gorgeous imagery and interesting characters, including a fascinating anti-hero I'm looking forward to learning more about. Serious Darkling vibes, my friends.
Maybe more of a review closer to release. If I can calm my racing pulse before then. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Creepy, complex, genuinely frightening, thrilling, sad, and unbelievably tender and hushed and beautiful all at once. This is a dark, violent fairy taCreepy, complex, genuinely frightening, thrilling, sad, and unbelievably tender and hushed and beautiful all at once. This is a dark, violent fairy tale, it's a mystery, it's a fantasy, it's horror, it's historical, it's gothic, and it's also the story of a girl trying to find a place for herself among a grieving family torn apart by war. The family dynamics and sister relationship are so well done, as are the way the book handles loss and longing. And on top of that? Feminism and jazz and tea shops and plates and plates of cake! (view spoiler)[Not to mention shrieking dolls, shudder-inducing but poignant consumption of various things, and a fantastic play on the fears of parents re: changelings. (hide spoiler)]
I haven't read a middle grade book with this much nuance and wild imagination and feeling since The Golden Compass--and I'm betting those who liked Coraline or the original Grimm's fairy tales will like this. I was thrilled by the intense creepiness and dread of the mystery behind Triss' illness, I was outraged by what she has to endure, and I teared up over what was to become of her. Best read knowing as little about the plot as possible--just enjoy the wonderfully descriptive writing, the perfectly paced plot, and the experience of not knowing where the story will go next.
Love love love love love. And now I have to read everything else Frances Hardinge has ever written.
3.5 stars I love the way Amy Garvey writes. In the middle of a book about girl who brings back her boyfriend from the dead and here in its sequel, the3.5 stars I love the way Amy Garvey writes. In the middle of a book about girl who brings back her boyfriend from the dead and here in its sequel, there is a keen sweetness of emotion that swirls through the pages in a way that thoroughly pleases my sensibilities. Those who appreciated the surprisingly thoughtful, sad rumination on first love and sudden death in Cold Kiss will likely find this sequel to be just as appealing. While it offers a more straightforward paranormal story, its sincerity and prose still elevate it well above the typical YA fare.
She sees me, and even from all the way across the room, the weight of her gaze is a tangible thing. A touch, but not a heavy one--instead, it's sort of fond, fingers against the cheek of someone you love.
After the slow, somber mood of the last book, Wren is finally beginning to find some joy in her growing supernatural abilities. From the dizzying thrill of flying to the wonder of creating a lovely snowfall, she's testing both her abilities and her own courage. The problem is, her boyfriend Gabriel is uncomfortable with her powerful gift, and his seeming rejection of who Wren is sends her running to explore the more dangerous, untested side of her abilities with Bay and Fiona (who has a cotton candy cloud of hair), an alluring, mocking pair with secrets of their own.
Here are a few descriptions and passages that I really liked:
Being with Gabriel isn't like that at all. It's a taste of the cleanest, sweetest water you can imagine, cool and pure and addictive, rushing in to fill every crack, soothe every smarting, rough place inside.
Then he looks up and sees me, and his smile stretches out, warm and slow, the truth of it right there in his strange gray eyes. Happiness is a sudden star flare, so perfect it takes my breath away...I push my hair out of my eyes and let it come. It's nearly transparent, hovering in midair--a photograph, square and old-fashioned. The rippled edges make it look as if it's been torn from a sheet of paper. It flutters to the floor, and Gabriel, Jess, and Dar smile out at me from its face, soft and blurred like a wet watercolor. It's a picture torn right out of my head.
If you don't get the picture by now, this is a very romantic book and a very romantic author. I love the way Wren appreciates the many small details that make her boyfriend precious to her, the way Gabriel knows how to pick just the perfect gift for Wren, and how absolutely appealing their relationship is. (It's not all saccharine sweetness, though, there's definite humor and a bit of bite to the dialogue, too.) I also like the secondary relationships with Wren and her parents, though Robin got on my nerves a bit with her incessant complaints.
Like its predecessor, Glass Heart is fairly light on the paranormal aspects, however, and so it doesn't feel as well-rounded as I would have hoped. Just a little more time spent on the actual supernatural events and their aftermath would have been great, as many times we're brought to the brink of what promises to be an exciting moment, only to have the too-short chapter end and then we hear the event briefly recounted at a later date. Perhaps a stronger outlining phase and adding more detailed physicality would have helped with carrying the momentum and sustaining the reader's excitement.
I also think that in trying to expand the focus of the first story, this book takes on more relationships and issues without exploring most of them with enough depth, with the exception of Wren's relationships with Gabriel and with her parents. Those are, however, done very well, and I'm still love to see what the author does next.
There's a beautiful, sensitive heart in both of Amy Garvey's young adult books thus far, and that's the most elusive quality of all to capture in a novel. Finding a clearly defined, strong structure to carry that heart to us should be a fairly easy feat to accomplish.
Recommended for fans of Cold Kiss. An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.
P.S. Isn't the cover gorgeous? So icy and pretty! It's one of my favorites of this year....more