'The Falconer' has been one of my most eagerly awaited debuts of the year. It's a stunning mix of fantasy and steampunk with a historical setting and...more'The Falconer' has been one of my most eagerly awaited debuts of the year. It's a stunning mix of fantasy and steampunk with a historical setting and the addition of evil faeries. The story rockets along, particularly in the second half, at breakneck speed and there is so much drama, tension and excitement packed into the book that you'll find yourself on the edge of your seat, biting your nails down to the quick.
Set in Edinburgh, the story features one of the best heroines that I've come across this year. Aileana Kameron is an aristocrat. The only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, she tries to pretend an interest in balls and dancing and all the other things that go along with her position but secretly leads a double life. She is determined to avenge her mother's death by killing the faerie that brutally murdered her mother and ripped out her heart. It soon becomes apparent how different Aileana is when she tracks and kills an evil faerie at a ball she is attending before the creature can ruthlessly kill one of the other guests. Aileana is a marvellous protagonist. She is not interested in trivial matters and although she tries her best to kept her father appeased, she is far more worried about protecting the city she loves and the people who live in it.
She has a complicated relationship with her fae mentor, Kiaran Mackay. He is a complex figure in the book and I feel like I have so much more to learn about him. He is not always forthcoming about himself and he seems to be hiding a lot of secrets but he and Aileana work well together and there are hints of romance in their future.
I adored Derrick the pixie who lives in Aileana's dressing room. He has an addiction to honey which often leads him to become honey drunk but although he is small, he will do anything to protect and defend her. He has some of the best lines in the book and provides a nice dose of light relief to balance the darkness that Aileana faces on a daily basis. I definitely want a pixie just like him!
This is the first book in a trilogy but I can't believe that I've now got to wait for the next instalment! I hope Elizabeth May writes very, very fast! (less)
It’s official! Alyxandra Harvey can do it all! After having successfully written about the world of vampires and ghosts, she’s now moved onto a new su...moreIt’s official! Alyxandra Harvey can do it all! After having successfully written about the world of vampires and ghosts, she’s now moved onto a new subject, faeries, weaving a captivating story of love and danger amidst the faerie realm. I found myself totally immersed in ‘Stolen Away’ from the moment that Lucas appears on the scene with his sword by his side and kneels at the feet of the main protagonist Eloise. He has vowed to protect her against the danger posed by Lord Strahan, the faerie king, who wants to use Eloise as a pawn in his battle to hold onto his crown.
There’s romance aplenty between Eloise and Lucas, but also some hot and sizzling moments between Eloise’s best-friend Jo and Eldric, the dark and handsome stranger that arrives on the scene to sweep Jo off her feet. I absolutely adored the relationship between the latter pairing as Eldric set my heart aflutter too. Everyone loves a bad boy! He’s quite an enigmatic figure and so at the beginning of the book it’s impossible to know whether or not he can be trusted but as his character is gradually developed we learn more about him and his own family history. I loved the way that he seemed as drawn to Jo as she was to him, like a magnetic force which is out of their control and he always appeared just when she needed him. There are plenty of hot kisses between them and an undeniable spark in the air whenever they're together. My only complaint was that I wanted to read more about them and I have my fingers firmly crossed that we may just see a sequel about them in the future.
Eloise and Jo are joined by their other best friend Devin who is right there by their side throughout the events of the story. Their friendship is rock solid and I liked the fact that even when they didn't necessarily agree with each others opinions or choices, they were always there to back each other up.
I love the writing style of Alyxandra Harvey and the way she paints such vivid pictures of people and places that I always feel completely transported into the story. 'Stolen Away' is no exception with wonderful descriptions particularly of the fae, including Isadora, the no-nonsense and feisty flower fairy, as well as the wasp and hornet riding fae who manage to be both endearing and fierce at the same time. There are also some fabulous passages conjuring up images of the realm of the fae which appears to be deeply magical as well as incredibly dangerous.
Harvey had me hook, line and sinker, captivating me completely with her tale of blossoming love amidst the world of the fae. This is another brilliant book by my current favourite YA Queen and I look forward to seeing what she'll turn her hand to next! (less)
This was a really interesting little book combining faeries with a lonely young boy and interweaving themes of survival, war, isolation and what it me...moreThis was a really interesting little book combining faeries with a lonely young boy and interweaving themes of survival, war, isolation and what it means to be an outsider.
The story takes places in England, 1939, shortly after the events of Kristallnacht (Crystal Night) in Germany when the Nazis attacked the Jews. Franz and his parents are now living in England after leaving their home in Berlin behind. Franz feels alone and estranged from his parents, who he believes to be loyal Nazis, capable of turning their backs on those in need. He nicknames them The Wolf and The Squirrel and carefully guards his feelings from them but there are some surprising revelations in store for him regarding his family.
Franz's story is mirrored with that of Edrin, an ice maiden who lives on the common and who feels set apart from the rest of her tribe. She's not your usual happy and carefree faery. She's actually far from the stereotypical image and along with the rest of her tribe, is vicious and ruthless and intent on murdering her rivals before they can put an end to her. When she and Franz come together there's a surprising conclusion to their story, as they come to help each other when they both need it most.
This book was very different from anything else I've read lately and actually has a serious message to convey about the morals of right and wrong and good and evil. It teaches about aspects of German history and the persecution of the Jews but in a careful and thoughtful way.
'Ice Maiden' is the Prequel to 'Cold Tom' by Sally Prue, so I'm hoping that it explains more about the history of the Tribe and possible provides more of the back story of Edrin. (less)
I previously enjoyed the first book in this trilogy so I was looking forward to the sequel and finding out what was going to happen to Donna Underwood...moreI previously enjoyed the first book in this trilogy so I was looking forward to the sequel and finding out what was going to happen to Donna Underwood next. 'The Wood Queen' was an extremely entertaining read and I think even better than it's predecessor. I picked up the thread of the story right away and immediately felt plunged back into Donna's world. She's now on trial for her involvement in destroying the last remaining drops of the Elixir of Life but is still intent on finding a cure for her institutionalised mother who she believes is under a curse.
I love the world that Karen Mahoney has created in this series. Vivid imagery made the wood elves and Ironwood come alive on the page and made me believe that there are more things out there than humans can normally perceive. The four Orders of the alchemists - Crow, Lion, Dragon and Rose are equally fascinating and each have a hand in the book in deciding Donna's fate.
Donna's best friend Navin really grew on me throughout the story as I wasn't too keen on him in 'The Iron Witch'. There's a very amusing transcript between him and Simon Gaunt at the end which made me laugh. I admire his loyalty to Donna and the courage he shows, plus the way she can spring almost anything on him and he'll try and take it all in his stride.
There's romance in the book as well between the mysterious Xan and Donna. He's definitely hiding things from her and I can't wait to find out what they are, but in the meantime there's also trouble in paradise with the introduction of a new character called Ivy who shares past history with Xan.
'The Wood Queen' is a dark and bewitching tale of magic and power and an impressive sequel which has left me wanting more. Donna is faced with trying to sort out her future and what path she should take and I'm intrigued to see where Donna's adventure will lead her next. I hope that the story will relocate to London as it would be brilliant to see her on British soil. (less)
I was so excited to get an advance review copy of this book. I'm such a massive Carrie Jones fan and I've been telling anyone who'll listen (and plent...moreI was so excited to get an advance review copy of this book. I'm such a massive Carrie Jones fan and I've been telling anyone who'll listen (and plenty of people who don't as well!) that they must read this series. I couldn't wait to pick it up and get stuck in but I also wanted to prolong the enjoyment of starting it. Finally, I had to cave in because the suspense was killing me!
Zara is now the Pixie Queen after being turned by Astley and she's having to cope with not only the reactions of her friends and family but also her own feelings about what she has become. She's made a monumental sacrifice to try and save her boyfriend Nick, but now she's not even sure if he'll want her anymore. He obviously dislikes pixies intensely and she worries that he'll be horrified by the fact that she is one. I love the way that although she's scared she still goes out there and not only kicks some pixie butt but also never gives up on finding a way to get Nick back. She's determined and brave and not afraid to do what she believes is right, even when people tell her otherwise.
My only disappointment with 'Entice' was that although the book is about Zara's hunt to find Nick, there is very little of Nick himself. I love his character so much and although Astley has definitely grown on me, there's only one true soulmate for Zara and that just has to be Nick! I'm hoping that book 4 will deliver all the Zara/Nick scenes that I'm craving. If they don't end up together then I'm going to be so disappointed!
Astley's character is definitely developed more throughout. He's protective and caring towards Zara and not only does she get to see another side to him, but we, as readers, also get to see the softer, more fragile, aspects of his personality. He's got serious mother issues too which come to the fore in the story and we learn about some of his backstory before meeting Zara which was interesting and intriguing.
Zara and Astley, with the help of Issie, Devyn and Cassidy, are looking for a way to Valhalla, where they hope to rescue Nick. Their journey unfolds throughout the book as they have to overcome a multitide of obstacles in their path. Zara never becomes defeated though and through her struggle to be reunited with Nick, she learns a lot about herself and her new responsibilities as the Pixie Queen.
Just like in 'Captivate' there are a lot of unexpected plot twists and I love the fact that I can never predict what's going to happen. I've given up trying to guess - I just sit back and enjoy the ride! Carrie Jones is an incredible writer. I love the world she's created and the characters that inhabit it and I'm going to be on tenterhooks waiting for the next installment. I hope she writes quickly! (less)
I'm going to preface my review of 'Lament' by saying that overall I did thoroughly enjoy it. I'd definitely give it four out of five stars and I'm now...moreI'm going to preface my review of 'Lament' by saying that overall I did thoroughly enjoy it. I'd definitely give it four out of five stars and I'm now going to read the rest of Maggie Stiefvater's books. But (you knew this was coming!)...although I enjoyed it, I wanted to love this book so much. I wanted to be gripped by it and swept away by it but I found that I still had one foot on the ground the whole way through. I wasn't completely engulfed by the story and I didn't feel like I wanted to immeditely rush out and buy a copy for my own collection. I hate saying that because I know so many people love this book but I didn't have that total emotional connection to it.
However, even saying all that, I still think that this is a cracking addition to faerie lore and I adored the style of Maggie Stiefvater's writing - dreamy and inventive and poetic with a very magical quality to it. I loved the main character, Deirdre and the development of her relationship with Luke, the gallowglass, although I wasn't totally satisfied with the ending. I liked her self-effacing nature and her insecurities and the way in which she matures and grows in confidence. I would have liked to have seen more of the background and relationship with her family developed further, particularly what happened to her mother and aunt when they were younger, but I accept that Stiefvater probably left some of that out to concentrate the story firmly on Deirdre herself.
I thought that the relationship between Deirdre and her best-friend James (who is funny and clever and witty) was well written and extremely realistic and it will be interesting to read 'Ballad' which is told from James' point-of-view.
I'm disappointed that I didn't love it but I may well give it a few months and then read it again. You never know, it might just win me over next time around! (less)
Magical, mystical and marvellous! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and even though I haven't read the first in the series it didn't spoil my enjoyment....moreMagical, mystical and marvellous! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and even though I haven't read the first in the series it didn't spoil my enjoyment. I'm eagerly anticipating the next installment now. I loved the relationship that was built between the two central characters and the story was exciting and intriguing. I can't wait to see what's going to happen next! (less)
This is the second book in a trilogy which began with ‘The Thirteen Treasures’. Yet again, I’ve read book 2 first but it really didn’t matter because...moreThis is the second book in a trilogy which began with ‘The Thirteen Treasures’. Yet again, I’ve read book 2 first but it really didn’t matter because I immediately got swept along with the story. ‘The Thirteen Curses’ is an imaginative romp through the faerie world. Michelle Harrison has crafted a magical world of faeries and goblins that is so absorbing I forgot where I was at times! The first few pages take the reader straight into the flow of the story and we join Red as she attempts to rescue her younger brother James, from the faeries who whisked him away from. She’s assisted by various characters that were introduced at the start of the trilogy, but although these were unfamiliar to me at first, it didn’t take long before I felt like these were old friends. There’s Tanya and her good friend Fabian, Warwick the groundskeeper, Tanya’s grandmother Florence, who also has the second sight and housekeeper Nell. Harrison spends sufficient time in exploring the characters of each of these figures, even as the narrative rockets along, throwing up a multitude of twists and turns. There’s almost no opportunity to stop for breath when reading this book as it’s a real rollercoaster of a ride!
The story alternates between the human and faerie world and interspersed throughout are a series of flashbacks, narrated by Red and unravelling the tale of her and her brother and how she first came to encounter the many fey that feature throughout the book (I particularly loved Brunswick, the goblin that lives in the gardens. He’s so sweet!) This was good because it filled in a lot of useful background information and made the story even more vivid. Without giving away any spoliers, I would say that I wasn't entirely happy with the ending, but I think it's just a case of personal opinion (and that's the only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5). Everything else about it, I absolutely loved!
Elements of the book at the very beginning, reminded me a little of ‘The Book of Lost Things’ by John Connolly and it had that same fairy-tale feel but the story was so original and exciting that it stands alone as a superb addition to the YA genre by an amazing new author.
I’m thrilled to know that Michelle Harrison’s third book in the trilogy, 'The Thirteen Secrets' is being published by Simon & Schuster on February 3rd 2011. I wonder where she’ll take the story next! (less)