This book was so good! I've really enjoyed this series so far. This one is darker than Grave Mercy, I think, but it was still readable. Sybella was aThis book was so good! I've really enjoyed this series so far. This one is darker than Grave Mercy, I think, but it was still readable. Sybella was a great heroine, and I loved the romance. I'm dying for the third book now!...more
First thing you need to know about this book: there are cowboys. Second thing you need to know: it's really well researched. And third thing: it's SOFirst thing you need to know about this book: there are cowboys. Second thing you need to know: it's really well researched. And third thing: it's SO FUN.
I honestly don't think I've ever read a YA book like this one. There just aren't that many YA westerns out there. But this book embodies everything great about the genre and time period, with survivalist situations, outlaws, and dangerous animals. Also, did I mention the cowboys? Like, how often are there cowboys in YA? So cool!
Another great thing about this book is the cast of characters. I loved Samantha, our MC, and Annamae, the escaped slave; I also loved the three cowboys they start traveling with. Each had his or her own distinct personality, and they were all lovable. I especially loved Annamae. Like seriously, I want her to be my best friend.
Because the MC is of Chinese descent, Stacey was able to add another layer of culture into the story. I loved how Samantha would talk about the years people were born and how that affected their personalities; it was fascinating. And it was really cool that Stacey stuck with that theme throughout the novel.
Historical is one of my favorite genres, and I've read a lot of them. Western expansion is also my favorite time period in American history. I get frustrated with a lot of novels that I think rewrite the past, with characters that act and do things that they wouldn't have done back then, but Stacey's book never fell into that trap. She stays true to the time period and also the characters, and she almost makes me want to go back in time and travel with Samantha and her friends.
...you know, except for the outlaws, the rattlesnakes, the disease, and the uncomfortable travel arrangements. ;-)
Read this book if you're looking for your next page turner. Its pacing is fast, its characters endearing, and shot of racial diversity just plain awesome. One of my favorite YA historicals for sure!...more
This is an impressive debut! I was completely enthralled by the historical details and the intrigue that Anne Blankman maintained throughout the entirThis is an impressive debut! I was completely enthralled by the historical details and the intrigue that Anne Blankman maintained throughout the entire book. I loved how she interwove a fictional murder mystery into what actually happened in 1930s Germany.
Although the description of the book mentions a romance, I didn't think it was a huge part of the storyline. Rather, the main conflict revolves around Gretchen and her ties to the Nazi party. I really loved her character, and it was fascinating to watch her realize who Hitler truly was. I especially liked how Anne Blankman described Gretchen's "Uncle Dolf" - how he could be incredibly charming and charismatic. I think this book really shone in that regard, in making us believe Gretchen as one of Adolf Hitler's favorites and her transformation to seeing him for who he really was.
Also, I've never read a YA book with a completely bibliography at the end! And I enjoyed her author's note at the end, which detailed which characters in the book were real people and who she created.
Overall, a fascinating read, and I can't wait to read the next two books in this series!...more