After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister'After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister's treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed. When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first? After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife's edge—especially when the pirates' next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.
Windwitch is danger and deception, a search for answers and a determination to survive. Battered, sore, slightly broken, they must continue if they want to save the Witchlands from what's building in the north.
Merik is hiding in Nubrevna, depressed and furious. Focused on revealing the secrets of his sister, Vivia. They must learn what he knows. That she tried to have him killed. That he can save them. Iseult is on the run, on her way to Marstok. For that's where Safi is heading with her empress kidnapper. But the Bloodwitch Aeduan is on her trail, sent there by both his own desire to hunt her down and a sudden bounty on her head. With all the unspoken things between them, can they trust each other enough to make a deal? Or will one betray the other? Safi is stuck near the pirate lands of Saldonica with Vaness, Empress of Marstok. They have no ship, no crew, no supplies, and soon no water. But they are not alone. And a good pirate is always on the lookout for a good bargain.
Some of the plots and plans that drive certain characters were revealed in the first book, and some more were revealed here, but this seemed like more of a journey kind of book. Travelling towards a goal, towards answers, towards the hidden and the buried away. Everyone is searching, for a place or a person or an idea. For the truth. But the truths they find aren't the ones they expected.
There were some things that surprised me, some characters I was surprised to see. Like the ones who are hunting down Safi and Vaness. Like Vivia's new point of view. After only seeing her through Merik's eyes, it was intriguing to see Nubrevna from her point of view. To see her reasons for her actions. The romance aspect of the series takes a big hit to the point where there's only hints of it, and I can see why. I do think some fans will be upset at the lack of clever banter between Safi and Merik. But considering the events of this book, particularly the reveals and the explosions of the ending, I think they'll be desperate to read the next book.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)...more
After being falsely accused of spying by the nefarious Major Merrick, Delilah Dirk and Mister Selim sail to England to clear her name (and beat the taAfter being falsely accused of spying by the nefarious Major Merrick, Delilah Dirk and Mister Selim sail to England to clear her name (and beat the tar out of the Major while they're at it). But once on her home turf, Delilah encounters an adversary mightier than the entire British Army: her mother.
Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling is a brand new adventure with a familiar adventurer and her practical companion. But the situation is far stickier this time around, and it won't be as easy to escape from.
Delilah Dirk is back at it, righting wrongs and investigating treasure and inconveniencing Mister Selim. This time, the story starts in Portugal with the saving of a young boy from his controlling and battle-hungry father. But then, like always, Delilah and Mister Selim fall into a dangerous situation and have to fight their way out of it. Things are different this time around, there's a lot more to do with revenge and Delilah's personal feelings about the scum they come across. And then there's the added struggle of her having to navigate her investigating and adventuring around her unsuspecting mother.
There are hints of why Delilah has made a name for herself in Europe and around the world, why she's spent her days adventuring. She's not the kind of young woman who would sit around at luncheons, flit about at balls and dinners. She needs excitement in her life, she needs to do something. She won't be tied down.
There's some more plot going on in this book, compared to the first one. The first was certainly about Mister Selim and how his life changed after meeting Delilah. Now, things are complicated. The two have fallen, rather handily, into the gaze of an English Major looking to place some blame and espionage onto someone that isn't him.
The artwork is just as it was in the first book, the colours slightly muted once Delilah and Mister Selim arrive in England, the characters' faces expressive and constantly changing. It was obvious whenever Delilah was frustrated or Mister Selim feeling put out or inconvenienced by Delilah's decisions. A good follow-up to the first, a great showing at expanding this world, the time period and its problems, and an intriguing ending that hints at some possible revenge in the future. If you enjoyed the first book, you'll enjoy this.
(I received a finished copy of this book to review from Raincoast Books.)...more
What the junk-Jen is missing?! The Lumberjanes and Gotham Academy crew regroup at camp to figure out how to find their missing friends.
(A bit of a quiWhat the junk-Jen is missing?! The Lumberjanes and Gotham Academy crew regroup at camp to figure out how to find their missing friends.
(A bit of a quick note: I'll be doing brief reviews as the single issues come out, so they might be a little non-standard if you're used to my review layout/format.)
We're getting into the mystery now! Well, a little. There are two groups trying to figure things out. The first is Olive and Jen, who've just woken up to an invitation to dinner in a time capsule of a bedroom supposedly in Greenwood Lodge. The second is everyone else, the Lumberjanes and the rest of the Gotham Academy squad, who've made it back to camp and are currently trying to figure out their next course of action.
There's a bit of a clash between the Lumberjanes and the Academy students, the latter wanting to head back out to save Olive while the former has been in this situation before and knows they need to stock up and plan before leaving. It didn't really appear in the first issue, their different styles when it came to investigation and mystery-hunting, but it definitely does here as the story moves along.
The art is the same as the previous issue, a little cartoonish and fun, with brighter colours that lean more towards the Lumberjanes style. With the mystery moving along, with Olive and Jen now in Greenwood Lodge, slowly learning why they followed Rosie and Professor MacPhearson there, things will definitely get interesting as the series goes on.
Ansa has always been a fighter. As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her placAnsa has always been a fighter. As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her place next to Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. She fought for her status as a warrior in her tribe: blood and victory are her way of life. But the day the Krigere cross the great lake and threaten the witch queen of the Kupari, everything changes. Cursed by the queen with fire and ice, Ansa is forced to fight against an invisible enemy—the dark magic that has embedded itself deep in her bones. The more she tries to hide it, the more dangerous it becomes. And with the Krigere numbers decimated and the tribe under threat from the traitorous brother of the dead Chieftain, Ansa is torn between her loyalty to the Krigere, her love for Thyra, and her own survival instincts. With her world in chaos and each side wanting to claim her for their own, only one thing is certain: unless Ansa can control the terrible magic inside her, everything she's fought for will be destroyed.
The Cursed Queen is dangerous and deadly, a story coated in blood and betrayal. Ansa knows she is a warrior, knows she would do anything for the tribe. For Thyra. But what if she had magic? What if she was the enemy? What if she had no way of controlling it?
Ansa is rough and ragged, dangerous. Tested as a fighter and a warrior. A raid prize as a young girl, she's had to fight for everything her whole life. She's proven herself to the tribe, the kills are marked on her arm, and she's ready to fight with them against their enemy across the lake. The Kupari. But it's never that simple, and what follows for Ansa is something she struggles to hide. The fire and ice that come from her is unnatural. It's dangerous. She struggles to control it. And when the tribe is in danger, when they travel closer to Thyra's deceitful uncle and his twisted schemes, Ansa finds herself lost. Losing control at every turn.
It's not hard to see where this book takes place alongside The Impostor Queen. When the Valtia sails out towards the Krigere ships, when the coronation goes wrong. While Elli is lost in confusion and panic, when she runs, Ansa is struggling to control what she thinks is a curse laid upon her. It's interesting, seeing this other side of the story, a different part of this world. Different groups and cultures have their own customs, their own grudges and battles. It was also interesting to see the social structure of the Krigare, the couples made up of one fighter and one smith and nurturer. Couples that weren't always made up of one man and one woman. How Ansa and Thyra struggled with their relationship not because they were both women, but because if they became a pair, one would have to stop being a warrior. I thought their relationship was complicated and honest, tugging at them when their instincts pushed them a different way.
As someone who enjoyed the first book, I was intrigued by this. Seeing the other side was welcome. There's always more than one story to be told in a battle, in a war. In an uprising and a rebellion. I do think that the story does drag at times, full of Ansa's worries and anger, full of different layers of plots and plans and spies. Ansa has trust issues, a lot of them. She wants to be needed by Thyra, trusted by her. Loved by her as Ansa loves her. I can see why Thyra does what she does, but there were times when I felt that their arguing and stubbornness slowed down the story. Knowing that there will be a third book, I'm very curious as to where it will go. What will happen to Ansa and Elli. Both have enemies they must face, and I'm thinking they'll have to come together in order to defeat them.
(I received an advance copy of this title from Simon & Schuster Canada.)...more
Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy #1 is a fun and mystery-filled matchup of mystery seekers and monster finders.
It's a quick jump into the story, into GothamLumberjanes/Gotham Academy #1 is a fun and mystery-filled matchup of mystery seekers and monster finders.
It's a quick jump into the story, into Gotham Academy's Olive Silverlock and Maps Mizoguchi, along with their friends, looking into the sudden disappearance of Professor MacPherson while the Lumberjanes head out into the woods to search for camp leader Rosie. And it's a quick jump into the action because soon they all fall into something a bit mysterious, as evidenced by the mysterious things they find in the forest. Story-wise, I think this crossover series will be good. Both series on their own have a fair number of similarities. Lots of things to investigate, lots of questions to ask and answers to find. Lots of clever, diverse, complicated characters. But because it's a limited series, I imagine it'll focus so much more on the plot than the characters themselves.
The artwork is bright and reminiscent of Lumberjanes, maybe not so much Gotham Academy. The latter is often serious and somber, the former more about friendship and support and fun. What appeals to me about Gotham Academy is mostly the art, is Karl Kerschl and Mingjue Helen Chen's different art styles. The art here by Rosemary Valero-O'Connell is still great, still clear and expressive and bright, thanks to the colours done by Whitney Cogar. It just makes me think more of the hijinks of Lumberjanes than the mysterys of Gotham Academy.
As a reader of Gotham Academy and an occasional reader of Lumberjanes (I've fallen behind, waiting for the trade volumes in order to catch up), I was excited when I heard about this six issue crossover. It's the coming together of two groups of clever teens who spend their days investigating the occult and the bizarre, of falling into trouble and rescuing their friends. If you're a fan of either series, I would suggest giving this a read, either now while the single issues are releasing (in print or online) or in March 2017 when the trade volume comes out. I'd recommend this to fans of both series, to hijinks and mystery fans, and to tweens and teens looking for something fun to read over the summer break. I would also suggest a read of at least the first trade volume of each series to new readers, just so you know who everyone is.
People have always treated seventeen-year-old Mana as someone in need of protection. She's used to being coddled, being an only child, but it's hard tPeople have always treated seventeen-year-old Mana as someone in need of protection. She's used to being coddled, being an only child, but it's hard to imagine anything could ever happen in her small-town, normal life. As her mother's babying gets more stifling than ever, she's looking forward to cheering at the big game and getting out of the house for a while. But that night, Mana's life goes haywire. First, the hot guy she's been crushing on at school randomly flips out and starts spitting acid during the game. Then they get into a knockdown, drag-out fight in the locker room, during which Mana finds herself leaping around like a kangaroo on steroids. As a flyer on the cheerleading squad, she's always been a good jumper, but this is a bit much. By the time she gets home and finds her house trashed and an alien in the garage, Mana starts to wonder if her mother had her reasons for being overprotective. It turns out, Mana's frumpy, timid mom is actually an alien hunter, and now she's missing--taking a piece of technology with her that everyone wants their hands on, both human and alien. Now her supposed partner, a guy that Mana has never met or heard of (and who seems way too young and way too arrogant to be hunting aliens), has shown up, ordering Mana to come with him. Now, on her own for the first time, Mana will have to find a way to save her mother--and maybe the world--and hope she's up to the challenge.
Flying is an exciting and dangerous race to find the missing, to find the answers to Mana's sudden questions. Like where her mom is. Like why the guy she was crushing on can suddenly spit acid. Like what's happening to her.
Mana is snarky and quirky, a great friend and a great daughter. A little coddled by her over-protective but also supportive mom. Being kept from a number of things as she grew up, she's curious. Inquisitive. Maybe a little nosy. She refuses to back down when it comes to finding her mother, when it comes to finding out the truth. And when it turns out her mom is an alien hunter, that she works with this abrasive guy named China who's been sent to take Mana to their people in order to help them out? Mana's all in. Anything to save her mom. Which pushes her head-first into a fair amount of danger.
I would agree that this does read like Buffy meet Men in Black, a plucky, snarky cheerleader somehow falling in with aliens and alien hunters and plots to kill all humans. There were parts I found interesting, like the beginning when we're introduced to Mana, to her friends Lyle and Seppie. The moments of banter between Mana and China. It definitely felt a bit different than other books I've read recently. The stakes are high, the tension is building, but the repeated moments of adult characters refusing to explain anything to Mana near the beginning of the book slowed things down. The silence and runarounds only made Mana annoyed and angry and made me annoyed for her.
(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Macmillan thought Raincoast Books.)...more
Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They've managed to cast a spell over not just theEveryone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They've managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town—and they're rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you're not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She's different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. And what the Graces don't know is that River's presence in town is no accident.
The Graces is a complicated, haunting tale of wanting, mystery, and magic. Of searching for a place to belong and refusing to let go of it.
River, as she now calls herself, sees herself, is searching. She's lonely and lost, looking for friends. Looking for someone to care about her, support her, help her, and she knows the Graces can help her. How fascinating are they, with their auras and their attitudes, with their secrets and their customs. They just have to be witches, right? They just have to understand her, make her feel like she belongs.
I think this book nails a certain aspect some experience while a teen (that can also extend into adulthood), the aspect of being alone, of having no one close to you who you can lean on, and going out and finding that support. River is new to town, new to everything around her. She knows what's in her past, the secrets she keeps locked away deep inside, and when she looks at the Graces she sees people who might understand. People who can help her, who will support her and who she can support in turn. She's looking for a connection, for friendship. For love. And soon she gets what she wanted. But she hasn't taken into account the secrets the Graces are hiding. Or that her own secrets are far more dangerous.
I struggled to get into this. River sounded whiny, sounded childish. Maybe a little stuck-up. Definitely obsessive. Definitely repetitive. As the book went on I was curious as to what was going to happen, what magic there was. If it was real or if River was making it all up in her head. I was certainly surprised as the story progresses, as events unfolded and secrets were revealed, but there were moments when it dragged. It's like a darker version of the movie The Craft, if such a thing is possible, set in a small town somewhere in what I think is Great Britain. Knowing this is book 1 of a duology, I'm intrigued as to what will happen next, but I don't know if I'm desperate to know.
(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Amulet Books through NetGalley.)...more
They've left the cage—but they're not free yet. After their failed escape attempt, Cora, Lucky, and Mali have been demoted to the lowest level of humaThey've left the cage—but they're not free yet. After their failed escape attempt, Cora, Lucky, and Mali have been demoted to the lowest level of human captives and placed in a safari-themed environment called the Hunt, along with wild animals and other human outcasts. They must serve new Kindred masters—Cora as a lounge singer, Lucky as an animal wrangler, and Mali as a safari guide—and follow new rules or face dangerous consequences. Meanwhile, Nok and Rolf have been moved into an enormous dollhouse, observed around the clock by Kindred scientists interested in Nok's pregnancy. And Leon, the only one who successfully escaped, has teamed up with villainous Mosca black-market traders. The former inhabitants of the Cage are threatened on all fronts—and maybe worst of all, one of the Hunt's Kindred safari guests begins to play a twisted game of cat and mouse with Cora. Separated and constantly under watch, she and the others must struggle to stay alive, never mind find a way back to each other. When Cassian secretly offers to train Cora to develop her psychic abilities—to prove the worthiness of humanity in a series of tests called the Gauntlet—she'll have to decide fast if she dares to trust the Kindred who betrayed her, or if she can forge her own way to freedom.
The Hunt is a dangerous game, a dangerous mission of survival. The tension is still high, their chances of getting caught or killed is still high, and the thought of escaping and returning to Earth is drifting further away.
Cora knows more of what's true now, now that they're outside of the cage. Now that she knows who Cassian really is. Now that she knows she can't funny trust him. But to be able to leave, to be set free, she has to work with him, let him teach her how to use her growing abilities. She needs him, and she's willing to lie to him. But is that really for the best? Out of the cage, Lucky and Mali are now part of the Hunt, part of the meager workforce of a safari-type area. Where the animals are the least dangerous creatures. Leon is off running packages for a dangerous alien, learning who he can really trust, who he can call family. And Nok and Rolf are being watched because of their unborn baby, because a scientist is extremely interested in their baby. Because they want the baby. Out of the cage, no one is safe.
As with the last book, no one can really be trusted. Certain people can, certain humans, but that's about it. How can you trust those who imprisoned you, who tested you, who put you in danger over and over again? The betrayal, the lies, all the moments of doublespeak, are fresh in Cora's mind, in Mali's and Lucky's, in everyone's. They just want to go home, to leave the station and go back to Earth. And as with the last book, it's all about staying alive. Being quick and clever. Being strong.
I was never sure on what would happen because I could never predict the choices of the Kindred. Aliens with a moral code. They would do what they thought was best, but it wasn't always the human choice. I'm curious as to what the last book will bring, what will happen and how it will all end.
(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)...more
Evie Tanaka is the put-upon personal assistant to Aveda Jupiter, her childhood best friend and San Francisco's most beloved superheroine. She's greatEvie Tanaka is the put-upon personal assistant to Aveda Jupiter, her childhood best friend and San Francisco's most beloved superheroine. She's great at her job—blending into the background, handling her boss's epic diva tantrums, and getting demon blood out of leather pants. Unfortunately, she's not nearly as together when it comes to running her own life, standing up for herself, or raising her tempestuous teenage sister, Bea. But everything changes when Evie's forced to pose as her glamorous boss for one night, and her darkest comes out: she has powers, too. Now it's up to her to contend with murderous cupcakes, nosy gossip bloggers, and supernatural karaoke battles—all while juggling unexpected romance and Aveda's increasingly outrageous demands. And when a larger threat emerges, Evie must finally take charge and become a superheroine in her own right... or see her city fall to a full-on demonic invasion.
Heroine Complex is exciting and dangerous. It's a fast-paced adventure across San Francisco and an honest look at friendships and having the confidence to stand up and fight for those you care about and what you believe in.
Evie is caring and supportive, working as hard as she can to save money for her and her sister. Working as hard as she can to make sure that superheroine boss Aveda Jupiter only has to worry about kicking demon butt and looking awesome while doing it. It's her job to keep all the darker secret stuff hidden away, like the fact that Aveda can fall into tantrums quicker than a toddler, like how she worries all the time about money and her sister's acting out. Like how Evie has her own superpower that she's afraid of. Evie's strong and smart but a total pushover. Her sense of self-worth and confidence in her abilities needs a real shot in the arm, especially if she's going to help save the city from an invasion of demons, but doing that might mean saying the things she's always wanted to say to Aveda to her face.
This is a book about superheroes, about what makes them in terms of mystical superpowers and in terms of personality and drive. It's been a long-running requirement of saving the world from villains and demons that superheroes be physically strong, that they be able to both throw and take a punch. But what about the strength that comes from being confident with yourself and your abilities. Both Evie and Aveda are insecure about a lot of things when it comes to themselves and their abilities, which makes them great at being flawed heroes. The hardest thing for them might be to be completely honest with each other and those around them.
I did find this book fun, this is a fresh look at being a superhero in a modern day setting. There's a lot more interpersonal relationship talk than I was expecting, but the moments of fighting and saving the day do balance it out. I wasn't necessarily a fan of the times Aveda would talk down to Evie, how Aveda would always need to have her way, but all those moments worked with her personality, with her needing to be in the spotlight. I would recommend this to urban fantasy and paranormal fans looking for something new and different.
(I received an e-galley of this title to review from DAW through NetGalley.)...more
Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fiSixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule. But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn't enter Elli. It's nowhere to be found. Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.
The Impostor Queen is a tale of magic and fate, of the intended and the unexpected, of will and servitude. A tale of making the choice that will let you hide from war and death versus making the choice that will save a kingdom.
Elli is meek and clueless about the world outside the temple, but she is inquisitive. She wants to know more, more about the magic that will fill her body when she takes over as the Valtia, more about the Kupari out in the city, more about the rumours of conflicts between bandits and miners. More about the possibility of war against the Soturi. But then, when she's found to have not taken in the magic of the former Valtia, she's discarded. Nearly killed. She survives because she doesn't want to die, she's lost and confused but wants to continue living. Of course, she didn't expect that she'd end up in the outlands, to end up in the company of thieves and the banished. She didn't know that she'd discover more truths outside the temple rather than inside. She didn't know she'd have to decide on whether or not to go back.
What first interested me in this wasn't the world-building or the magic, but they did intrigue me as the book went on. As Elli moved from a position of honour and importance to one of fear and possible death, as she was kicked out and left to somehow survive in the outlands as winter starts to creep across the land. The idea that the magic of the Kupari is only fire and ice, only those two elements, was curious. This world has magic, but specific types of magic. That usually isn't the case in terms of fantasy settings with magic, and I found this to be rather unique.
What first interested me in this book was that Elli was described as a bisexual princess, which is true. I was so surprised. Elli has lived a lonely life with only wizened elders and her handmaiden at her side. It was so nice to see this part of Elli, this sexual and romantic attraction to both men and women, described as something real. As something she would've acted on, if their positions had been different. If she'd found the courage to say something before everything changed. That alone made me want to read this because it's something that, unfortunately, appears so rarely in fantasy. I would definitely recommend this to fantasy fans looking for something different. Knowing that the next book is more of a companion novel than a sequel, I'm interested in seeing this world from a different side, interested in seeing how they come together.
(I borrowed an e-book copy of this title from the library.)...more
Okay, so just know from the start that it wasn't supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near The Ruperts, our favorite boy band. We didn'tOkay, so just know from the start that it wasn't supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near The Ruperts, our favorite boy band. We didn't mean to kidnap one of the guys. It kind of, sort of happened that way. But now he's tied up in our hotel room. And the worst part of all, it's Rupert P. All four members of The Ruperts might have the same first name, but they couldn't be more different. And Rupert P. is the biggest flop out of the whole group. We didn't mean to hold hostage a member of The Ruperts, I swear. At least, I didn't. We are fans. Okay, superfans who spend all of our free time tweeting about the boys and updating our fan tumblrs. But so what, that's what you do when you love a group so much it hurts. How did it get this far? Who knows. I mean midterms are coming up. I really do not have time to go to hell.
Kill the Boy Band is outrageous, full of four teen girls, their current obsession, and the lengths they'll go to to meet them. Only things go a bit weird and nothing goes according to plan.
This book is all kind of insane. I knew going it that it was going to satirize fandom, that it was going to highlight the dark dark DARK side of fandom. The obsessive side, the oblivious side, the nasty side. Everyone seemed like they'd lost their minds. That for the four teen girls, consequences didn't matter. Than they could kidnap a member of a boy band. That they could tie him up. That they could ransack his hotel room.
There's always going to be a dark side to being a fan, unfortunately. To be part of a fandom. There will always be people who spend all their time on their fandom. Who go to every concert or event. Who try to get backstage. Who follow them. Who send them creepy-sounding messages. It's not healthy. This book shows how unhealthy it is, what it does to people. It makes them vicious, like Isabel, or in denial, like Apple, or regretful, like Erin. Or thoughtful, like the narrator. The narrator, by whatever name she goes by, seems to be the most sensible. She's shocked at every turn when her friends do something crazy. Like kidnap Rupert P. Like go through his pockets. Like go up to the band's hotel room. But she still goes along with it. She wants to know. She wants to see.
I can see where many will find this book funny. It's outrageous, both in plot and in the different characters. In the beginning, I thought it was fun. But I kept waiting for common sense to kick in with someone, anyone, and it didn't. I think that's where I went wrong with this book, that I had to suspend my common sense, and I couldn't fully do that. This book just wasn't it for me. BUT. But. If you were already interested in reading this, if the summary grabs you, if you're looking for a dark comedy about being a crazed fan, then by all means give this a read.
(I received an advance copy of this title from Scholastic Canada.)...more
Eleven-year-old Quinn has had some bad experiences lately. She was caught cheating in school, and then one day, her little sister Emma disappeared whiEleven-year-old Quinn has had some bad experiences lately. She was caught cheating in school, and then one day, her little sister Emma disappeared while walking home from school. She never returned. When Quinn's best friend Kara has to move away, she goes on one last trip with Kara and her family. They stop over at the first hotel they see, a Victorian inn that instantly gives Quinn the creeps, and she begins to notice strange things happening around them. When Kara's parents and then brother disappear without a trace, the girls are stranded in a hotel full of strange guests, hallways that twist back in on themselves, and a particularly nasty surprise lurking beneath the floorboards. Will the girls be able to solve the mystery of what happened to Kara's family before it's too late?
The Inn Between is a clever, mysterious journey through a hotel full of secrets. At the heart is Quinn, a girl with regrets in her heart, and as time passes she knows that something is going on. But will they be able to escape with everyone?
Quinn's looking for some time to herself. After the disappearance of her younger sister, she needs to get away from her parents. Parents who see her as a disappointment. Parents she feels that she's let down. She doesn't want things to change, and with Kara moving over the summer, she won't have anyone close that she can share things with any more. But then Kara's parents drive their van up to the Inn Between, a sudden paradise in the middle of the desert, and Quinn wonders if it's too good to be true.
There's a haunting, mysterious tone to the book that doesn't let up. Even at the beginning, Quinn is a bit absentminded, her thoughts somewhere else. Thinking about Emma. Then her thoughts turn to the people in the hotel. The suspiciously friendly woman behind the front desk. The couple with the little girl in the restaurant who think it's far too hot. The sad man in the baseball cap. They're only seen in glimpses, pieces, as Quinn and Kara try to uncover the truth about the Inn Between, about the reason why Kara's family was suddenly gone the next morning.
This definitely edges towards the creepier side of middle grade, which in its own way was refreshing to read. Sometimes there are ghost stories, stories like this and Holly Black's Doll Bones, and they can delight as much as others. I was intrigued as I read this, following Quinn and Kara along as they searched for answers, as they wondered where they were and what was going to happen to them. I would definitely recommend this to those looking for some haunted middle grade....more
Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last 6 weeks should bEighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last 6 weeks should be. She comes to discover she was involved in a fatal accident while on a school trip in Italy three days previous but was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident... wasn't an accident. Wondering not just what happened but what she did, Jill tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.
With Malice is tense, a book of hidden memories, of stories and rumour. Of assuming the worst and hoping for the best. Of never being sure what's true and what isn't.
Jill wakes up lost, confused, in pain. She's wondering why she's in the hospital, where her memories of the last six weeks have gone,where her best friend is. If she's the reason why Simone is dead. Jill is floundering is a sea of doctors, headaches, amnesia, and a number of people who think they know better. People like Jill's dad, like Jill's lawyer, like the hundreds of faceless Internet trolls who think Jillhad something to do with Simone's death. All Jill wants are answers and for someone to tell her what happened, what's going on, but they can't. No one really knows what happened.
There are many sides to a story, to an event, shown by the snippits of police interviews and revealed text messages. It's hard to know if Jill and Simone were still close friends, if they were fighting, if they were friendly, if they were cold and aloof. If Jill was excited about university in the fall, if she wanted to run away. If Simone was excited for Jill, if she was jealous, if Jill was the jealous one. Everyone saw something different. Only two people know the truth. One of them is dead and the other can't remember what happened.
I think this book says a fair amount about how we judge people when we don't know all the facts, about how we assume the worst and them proceed to smear them with even more dirt and mud. How we assume the worst when the accused is a woman, how the media is quick to pain women as treacherous and plotting while men are expected to screw up every now and then. Because of the change in how most get their news and the rise of social media, more and more people are tried in the court of public opinion. In the court of the Internet, where anyone can give an opinion on something they no nothing about. It also reminded me of the Amanda Knox trial (which I do suggest you look up if you don't know much about it/haven't heard of it). I think thriller fans and mystery fans will love this.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)...more