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
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
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
After growing up on a farm in Virginia, Walthingham Hall in England seems like another world to sixteen-year-old Katherine Randolph. Her new life, filAfter growing up on a farm in Virginia, Walthingham Hall in England seems like another world to sixteen-year-old Katherine Randolph. Her new life, filled with the splendor of upper-class England in the 1820s, is shattered when her brother mysteriously drowns. Katherine is expected to observe the mourning customs and get on with her life, but she can't accept that her brother's death was an accident. A bitter poacher prowls the estate, and strange visitors threaten the occupants of the house. There's a rumor, too, that a wild animal stalks the woods of Walthingham. Can Katherine retain her sanity long enough to find out the truth? Or will her brother's killer claim her life, too?
The Gilded Cage is a cold, deadly mystery, one centered around an expansive country estate and those who live there. Is there something haunting the house, stalking its prey, or is it all coincidence and accidents?
Katherine is a simple country girl turned heiress to an English country estate. In this new world of ballrooms and status, she's lost, trying to find herself when she's caught between the hard farm life she once lived and the privileged life she now leads. She cannot see the point in wearing nice clothes, in pleasing the eyes of strangers in order to keep them from gossiping, when she's only just arrived, when they know nothing about her. When her brother has died so suddenly. Katherine is certain it was no accident, and she will not rest until she learns the truth.
I found that the wintry setting, the ice in the water and the chill in the air, added to the mystery. Something external and unavoidable seeping into something rather internal and secretive. It adds to the story, makes the location seem even more dangerous.
This is certainly a chilling mystery, a tale of secrets and death and suspicion, but that's it. I expected something more from the gothic aspect, something more intangible and impossible, but it never appeared. Katherine certainly stands out as someone not from the same time and place as the others, as her cousins Grace and Henry or her new friend Jane. Her bold, brash, searching for the truth unsettled a number of characters. They were not expecting someone like her to constantly ask questions and hunt out answers. Her character and her determination were the only things that kept me reading, everyone else seemed uninteresting. Those looking for a quick read, for a mystery with a few twists and turns, might want to check this book out.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)...more
Tess Aubreyson can't run far enough or fast enough to escape the prophetic dreams that haunt her. Dreams bring nothing but death and grief, and Tess rTess Aubreyson can't run far enough or fast enough to escape the prophetic dreams that haunt her. Dreams bring nothing but death and grief, and Tess refuses to accept that she may be destined for the same madness that destroyed her mother. Until her disturbing dreams become the only means of saving Lord Ravencross, the man she loves, and her fellow students at Stranje House. Tess's old friend, the traitorous Lady Daneska, and Ghost, the ruthless leader of the Iron Crown, have returned to England, intent on paving the way for Napoleon's invasion. Can the young ladies of Stranje House prevail once more? Or is England destined to fall into the hands of the power-mad dictator?
Exile for Dreamers is a tale of mystery and investigation, of searching for answers and preventing invasions. Of a young woman running from a future she fears while protecting those she cares about more than herself.
Tess is afraid of the future, of what it may hold for her, if what happened to her mother is anything to go by. The future, to her, means a descent into madness and darkness. It means becoming overwhelmed by the prophetic visions and dreams that strike her with no warning or reason. She spends her mornings running, both literally and metaphorically. Running from the future. Running from the connection between Lord Ravencross and herself. Running instead of admitting that she needs help, that she needs the support of the other young women of Stranje House. But fear doesn't keep her frozen. It motivates her to protect those she holds dear, like Georgie and Jane, like Miss Stranje herself. Like Lord Ravencross. But she has to be careful if she makes the decision to sacrifice herself for them.
Here's a return to an alternate version of Regency England, to a version where Napoleon is free and plotting to invade England with the help of a group called the Iron Crown. To a place where standing in the way of said possible invasion is a house full of unconventional young women, each with their own secrets and curious abilities. Trained in the art of subterfuge and defense, it's these young women who will uncover secret plans and protect England from its shadowed enemies.
I was looking forward to how this series continued after reading the first book. I like the sound of this house, of these young women cast aside by family members and polite society only to end up in a place where they'll be taught, where their skills will be strengthened and utilized. Respected instead of feared or avoided. This is a house of secrets, of skeletons in closets and hearts left bruised. I'm definitely looking forward to the next book, to see how far the plots and plans stretch out towards England and what is invented next.
(I borrowed a copy of this title from the library.)...more
After years of living in America, Clare Macleod and her father are returning to Ireland, where they'll inhabit the house Clare was born in—a house buiAfter years of living in America, Clare Macleod and her father are returning to Ireland, where they'll inhabit the house Clare was born in—a house built into a green hillside with a tree for a wall. For Clare, the house is not only full of memories of her mother, but also of a mysterious boy with raven-dark hair and dreamlike nights filled with stars and magic. Clare soon discovers that the boy is as real as the fairy-making magic, and that they're both in great danger from an ancient foe.
The Radiant Road is a magical and mysterious fairy tale rich with imagination and possibilities, of history and fireflies. Of hope and fear and purpose.
Clare is a quiet, lost girl. A lonely girl. A girl who locked away all of her memories of her mother and her mother's stories because it was too painful for her to remember. And so she stayed alone in her head, travelling with her father, writing her words in her secret notebook. Because not every child grows up with stories of making and of the Strange. Not every mother taught their daughters about faeries and magic and secrets tucked away in their commonplace books. Clare, with her stories and talk of faeries, is seen as weird and foolish by other kids, so she makes herself grow up fast. Until she and her father return to Ireland. Until she sees the boy with the black hair, until she remembers it isn't all stories and nonsense.
There is a rich world here full of faeries, if that's what you call them, magic, and creation. There is a realm of possibility living alongside Clare's human world, a realm that invites dreaming and making the impossible. A realm of wonder but also of deep, dark, dangerous secrets. With the human world growing, changing, this other world needs protection. It needs Clare and her glorious house with a tree inside of it.
Clare is caught in that space between the fantasies of childhood and the harsh realities of purpose and decision-making. Between possibility, between running through the streets barefoot and fancy-free, and hitting those teenage years when you're forced to start thinking about your future. High school, college, jobs. But in this space Clare discovers who she is, what she can do. What her true purpose is in this little hill house with the yew tree inside of it. I would recommend this to fans of magical and almost poetic storytelling, to those looking for a lost heroine who's on a hard road to find her way again.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Penguin Random House Canada.)...more
Two weeks. That's how long it took for Avery West's ordinary life to change forever: In two weeks, she discovered she was heiress to a powerful secretTwo weeks. That's how long it took for Avery West's ordinary life to change forever: In two weeks, she discovered she was heiress to a powerful secret society known as the Circle, learned her mother was taken hostage by the Circle's enemies, and fell for a boy she's not allowed to love, just as she found out another was her unwelcome destiny. Now, Avery crosses oceans in private jets to hunt for clues that will uncover the truth about the Circle, setting her mom and herself free before it's too late. By her side are both the boys: Jack—steady, loyal, and determined to help her even at the expense of his own duty—and Stellan, whose connection to Avery grows stronger by the day despite her best intentions, making her question what she believes at every turn. But at the end of a desperate hunt from the islands of Greece to the red carpet at Cannes comes a discovery that not only changes everything, but could bring the whole world to its knees. And now Avery is forced to face the truth: in the world of the Circle, no one is what they seem.
Map of Fates is a thrilling chase for clues and secrets. A race around the world, a race against time. A race against fate?
Avery is focused, determined. She has one main goal: save her mom. To do that, she has to find something lost for hundreds of years. The tomb of Alexander the Great. She's trying hard to solve riddles, to uncover clues. Trying to avoid the unspoken words that pass between her and Jack, between her and Stellan. Trying to find friends and allies in a world of secrets and spies, enemies who would use her for their own gains. The stress and strain grows and grows, weighing her down. But she can't do it alone. She needs those close to her, those ready and willing to help her, in order to complete her search.
This continues the race around the world that started in the first book. As with the first, I'm intrigued by the mystery aspect, by the clues hidden in history aspect. By the myths and legends passed down through the ages, by a sort of prophecy that seems inescapable in the modern day. But will it all come to pass that way? Must Avery join together with someone not of her choosing? Has her future already been determined? She's not stupid, but with her mother taken from her she's emotional. Worried, nearing desperation. She would do anything, perhaps even work with anyone. But would it be worth it? Could she truly trust them?
In a series like this, a series of secrets and myth, of mystery and puzzles, of families drunk on power and status, it's hard to trust anyone who isn't Avery. The reader sees everyone through her eyes, notices the way they speak and the way they act. The words they say, the names they mention. But only when Avery is looking that hard. In a world this dangerous, how can Avery trust anyone? Because she has no choice. Because she can only do so much as a teen girl in Europe. Searching. Hoping that no one she cares about will die. A book for those looking to continue a tense series of international intrigue and complicated emotions.
(I borrowed a copy of this title from the library.)...more
England, 1882. Evelyn is bored with society and its expectations. So when her beloved sister, Rose, mysteriously vanishes, she ignores her parents andEngland, 1882. Evelyn is bored with society and its expectations. So when her beloved sister, Rose, mysteriously vanishes, she ignores her parents and travels to London to find her, accompanied by the dashing Mr. Kent. But they're not the only ones looking for Rose. The reclusive, young gentleman Sebastian Braddock is also searching for her, claiming that both sisters have special healing powers. Evelyn is convinced that Sebastian must be mad, until she discovers that his strange tales of extraordinary people are true—and that her sister is in graver danger than she feared.
These Vicious Masks is a combination of the mysterious, the paranormal, and the adventurous, carried along by a quick-witted heroine with a clever tongue.
Evelyn is intelligent, opinionated, and head-strong. When her sister disappears and heads off to London, she refuses to sweep it under the rug. Refuses to not know the truth, to not be able to help and possibly rescue Rose. Which means a quick trip to London. Which means having to uncover secrets with the assistance of two rather different young men who annoy her for different reasons. But if she didn't work with them, find them irritating, begrudgingly accept their help when she needed it, she wouldn't have discovered the truth about them. About Rose. About herself.
The premise intrigued me, a mixture of Victorian sentiments and social movements mixed with a bit of the unexpected. It sounded like something I would read. The spirited heroine and the men who confound her, the search through the good streets and the bad, the shine of polite society and the harsh reality of the side streets and the docks. I had fun reading about Evelyn's moving between the two parts, struggling to keep them separate.
There were a number of times when I chuckled at the witty banter between Evelyn and Mr. Kent and Evelyn and Mr. Braddock. Both push her, annoy her, infuriate her, and she's able to do battle with them quite expertly. Considering I've recently read The Dark Days Club, I could say that there's a similarity or two, for those looking for something comparable to read, but this had much more humour and clever banter. I felt both amused and excited as I read on, curious as to what Evelyn would discover next on her search for Rose. I would recommend this to those looking for a race through Victorian London with some intelligent characters with some intriguing abilities. I'll be happily waiting for the next book.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)...more
Candace "Candy" Pickens has been obsessed with the swamp lore of her tiny Louisiana town for... forever. Name any ghostly swamp figure and Candy willCandace "Candy" Pickens has been obsessed with the swamp lore of her tiny Louisiana town for... forever. Name any ghostly swamp figure and Candy will recite the entire tale in a way that will curl your toes and send chills up your spine. That doesn't mean Candy's a believer, however. Even though she and her friends entered the swamp at the start of summer and left it changed, Candy's the only one who can't see or feel the magical swamp Shine. She's also the only one who can't see the ghosts that have been showing up and spooking everyone in town ever since. So Candy concentrates on other things—real things. Like fighting with her mother and plotting her escape from her crazy town. But ghosts aren't the only newcomers in Sticks, Louisiana. The King family arrives like a hurricane: in a blur and unwanted—at least by Candy. Mr. King is intent on filming the rumored ghostly activity for his hit TV show, Local Haunts. And while Candy can't ignore how attracted she is to eighteen-year-old Gage King and how much his sister, Nova, wants to be friends, she's still suspicious of the King family. As Candy tries to figure out why the Kings are really in town and why the swamp that had previously cast her aside now seems to be invading every crack in her logical, cynical mind, she stumbles across the one piece of swamp lore she didn't know. It's a tale that's more truth than myth, and may have all the answers... and its roots are in Candy's own family tree.
Behold the Bones is a haunting tale. The smell of the swamp is thick in the nose, the swamp mist creeps up and over between the words on the page, and the mysteries are rich and begging to be uncovered.
Candy is brash and sharp with a quick tongue and quicker one-liners. She doesn't see what the fuss is about the Shine or any of the rare and random ghosts that happen to pop up in Sticks because she can't. Because the Shine doesn't affect her. Which is fine, even if it makes her feel left out when Sterling and Abigail do see something. It's when her mother tries to sit her down to talk about her lack of a period and infertility that she gets angry over someone wanting to make decisions about her body. It's when Sterling and Abigail lean on her and she leans on them that you see that this book is also about friendship. It's when the King family comes to town that she gets suspicious. Suspicious of their ghost hunting TV show plans. Suspicious of the new teens in town, Nova and Gage. Suspicious of the voice in her head, calling out to her. Singing to her.
Fixing and being fixed. Being whole and being broken. Candy doesn't see herself as a failure when it come to her never having a period, but she can see something in her mother's eyes. In her expression. When the talks of doctors and therapists come up over and over, Candy sees disappointment and fear coating the love and support of her parents. She doesn't see herself as broken, as someone who needs fixing. As a young woman who won't feel complete until she has children. It's not something that's as important to her as it is to her mother. What is important to Candy? Discovering the truth behind the Kings. Behind the sing-song voice.
The swampy southern setting drips from the page. The heaviness in the air pushing down, compressing, magnifying the summer's heat. The sounds and sights of the swamp, the mud and the grass. The eternally flowering cherry tree.
This book brings up at a number of things that don't often appear in YA. It discusses teen girls menstruating without shame and not behind closed doors. It pushes at friendships and relationships. It highlights a small town full of guns and moonshine without derision. Many of the people of Sticks are conservative, wary, old-fashioned, but they're not stereotypical clichés. Enjoy the previously released companion Beware the Wild? Looking for a different kind of ghost story? Then by all means, give this a read.
(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)...more
Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are not your average campers and Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady-TypesJo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are not your average campers and Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady-Types is not your average summer camp. Between the river monsters, magic, and the art of friendship bracelets, this summer is only just beginning. Join the Lumberjanes as they take on raptors and a sibling rivalry that only myths are made of.
Lumberjanes Volume 2 is the further adventures of the Lumberjane scouts, the continuation of the mystery they first discovered in the forest.
The girls are back. Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley. They're still bright, still ready to save the camp from evil creatures. Still falling into dangerous situations, acting too quickly and not thinking everything through. But still helping each other out, saving each other when they're trapped or captured. There's a fair amount of thinking about others and not about their own safety, which is reckless but shows how important they find their friends to be.
The art is still wonderful. Still bright and fun. The lines are a little sketchy, a little rough around the edges, and that only adds to the charm. To the frantic running and chasing that happens so much in this volume. And the over-eager excitement that seems to spread out from Ripley. I love the colours of this series, bright and bold, highlighting the peak of summer hijinks.
This is definitely the end of the story arc that started in volume 1. The mystery behind the creatures with the glowing eyes, the secret messages/anagrams. But there are still questions to be asked. And, considering the dynamic of the five girls and how quickly they, but mostly Ripley, get into trouble, the adventures to come are bound to be just as wild, magical, and complicated. A great read for the summer, or for any time of year. Would definitely recommend to middle grade and teen readers looking for comics with excitement and mystery.
(I borrowed a copy of this book from the library.)...more
The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and RussiaThe year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball. Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele's twin brother, and Luka, Adele's former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?
Wolf by Wolf is dangerous. Deadly. Deceptive. It's a race against time, a race towards revenge and away from the past. A race of secrets and lies and plots and plans.
Yael is a survivor of the death camps where German troops sent Jews to die. Yael is a soldier for the resistance, their secret weapon in a highly dangerous but hopeful plot of assassinating Adolf Hitler. Yael is an impossible thing, experimented on in the camps and made to be able to skinshift, to shed her own appearance and take someone else's. Yael is strong, powerful, passionate. She knows pain, suffering, death. Few things can break her. She rarely shows her true self to the world, the part of her that lives inside herself. The little girl that spent days on a train. The girl that was filled with chemicals until everything she was was stripped from her. She will get her revenge. But first she must survive the race.
This is the plot of the Reistance: to win the Axis Tour with Yael as Adele. But plots and plans are never so simple, never without complications. Disguise herself as Adele Wolfe? Yes, Yael can do that. Learn Adele's mannerisms and habits? Days are spent studying the files created on her, detailing her life. Recreate the secrets and relationships she had with those racing with her? With Luka? With Felix? Impossible. Yael can only hope that she says the right thing, knows the right thing. But secrets are called secrets for a reason. There are some things Adele Wolfe kept so hidden no one else knows. Yael's job goes from highly difficult to nearly impossible when these two appear in the race, up in her face. Yael knows how to fight, not how to handle family and personal relationships.
This is an exploration of survival and resistance, of oppression and hatred. Of defiance. The crimes of Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists were great and horrific. No human being deserves to be treated like that. Like they were unclean, trash, less than human, because of the colour of their skin, hair, or eyes. Because of their faith. Because of something they have no control over or cannot change. This alternate world is frightening, steeped in fear and caution. A must-read for historical YA fans, for fans of alternate histories. For those looking for a fast-paced story about a survivor and the lengths some go to for revenge.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Hachette Book Group Canada.)...more
10:00 a.m.: The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouragi10:00 a.m.: The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve. 10:02 a.m.: The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class. 10:03: The auditorium doors won't open. 10:05: Someone starts shooting. Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.
This Is Where It Ends is tense, explosive, shocking, and heartbreaking.
The way this book is written is striking. The reader is shot between different points of view, inside the auditorium, outside, way from the school, and back in so fast it's like time isn't passing. Because it isn't, not quite. So many things happen during these 54 minutes. So many thoughts, worries, fears, tears, hopes. So many tears cried. So few words spoken aloud for fear of being the next victim. For not wanting any of it to be true. But it is. We only get glimpses of the characters, who they are in those moments and what they're thinking about, who they're worried about. That's all we get. Which is okay for me. That's what I expected. Of course, I do still wonder what might've happened next, what questions would've been asked in the days to come. Who would've survived and who would've been lost, physically or mentally.
It's very likely that this is the most frightening book I've read in the last few years. It comes from the news events of the last few years, the increase in gun violence, the immediacy that social media has brought to events like shootings and riots and press conferences. This story feels so honest, so real. And it's sad that I'm not surprised by how real it feels. How easy it was to believe that, yes, this could absolutely be a real shooting at a read high school in America. That is what scares me.
It's hard to talk about this book objectively. I think it's safe to say that this isn't the kind of book I generally read, a hard-hitting, realistic YA. Did I like it? I'm not sure. Would I recommend it? Yes. This book is sad and surprising and full of terror and fear, but it's one of those frighteningly honest stories that I think people should read.
(I received an e-galley of this title from Sourcebooks through NetGalley.)...more
For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She's been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raiFor Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She's been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas's first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas's dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water. There's no time to mourn. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on her ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea. But Cas has fought pirates her entire life. And she's not about to stop.
The Abyss Surrounds Us is a futuristic adventure on the high seas, a tale of harsh pirates and frightening sea monsters. Of danger, fear, and strength.
Cassandra is a smart girl caught up in a dangerous situation. Kidnapped by pirates, forced to raise their stolen Reckoner pup, watched by a rough pirate girl, her back is against the wall in more ways than one. But she has her ideas. She has a plan or two. She knows Reckoners, how they grow up, how to train them. Cas could use this situation to her advantage. But pirates are treacherous, none more so than Santa Elena, and sometimes appealing, like the street smart but possibly helpful Swift.
This is a different sort of science fiction, the kind that's grounded on Earth but pushing the limits of current technology. Like the Reckoners, genetically engineered marine creatures bred to grow, to protect and defend ships out on the high seas. Some things, like pirates, will never disappear over time. There will always be scavengers and dishonest hunters out there, searching for unsuspecting victims and a bounty they can use until the next battle. The pirate fill the book with their standard shades of grey when it comes to morals. Yes, their actions are criminal, and yes, they know what what they're doing is wrong, but everyone has a family to feed. Everyone protects their home, their way of living. The longer Cas spends on the ship, the longer she treads water in those murky grey waters.
I wish books like this were more common, genre fiction with heroines of colour who are attracted to other girls. There are so few main characters in sci-fi and fantasy who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, and all the other terms that are part of the LGBTQ spectrum. More of their stories are being told, being published, in a contemporary setting, but what about in genre fiction? I would love to read more YA like this, to find more fantasy settings and futuristic settings with main characters where are anything but white and straight.
I found this book to be dangerous and exciting, full with rocks and hard places and seemingly impossible decisions that Cassandra was forced to make. I loved the futuristic setting, the ships and the Reckoner on the wide open ocean. I loved how Cassandra's attraction to Swift was just there, how it didn't feel the need to explain or justify itself. How it said 'this book is going to be about sea monsters and pirates and a girl who want to make out with another girl.' It shouldn't feel so refreshing to find a book like this, it shouldn't be so rare. If you're looking for something different, a book about sea monsters and pirates, a book full of complicated female characters, for a massively diverse genre fiction YA, then read this book.
(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Flux through NetGalley.)...more