I really enjoyed the first novel in this series, THE SHADOWS OF ASPHODEL, so much so that I helped a tiny bit with Karen Kincy's Kickstarter for thisI really enjoyed the first novel in this series, THE SHADOWS OF ASPHODEL, so much so that I helped a tiny bit with Karen Kincy's Kickstarter for this novel, STORMS OF LAZARUS. While I think things were a little murky about archmages and the technomancy in the first novel, it is pretty straight forward in this novel. There is a war brewing and Wendel is needed for his necromancy powers to run the automaton army that the archmages have built. Several new characters are added to this novel but I really loved that we got to meet Wendel's family.
Wendel's family....I now understand why Wendel is so skittish and jokes about everything to do with them as if they mean nothing to him. Those scenes must have been so hard to write because they were very hard to read. I was choking people with my hands as I read. I wanted a weapon to knock someone out. And I felt like Ardis should have done so, but Ardis is much cooler headed than I am. Wendel is lucky to have her instead of me. He'd have no family left.
The funny thing about the war is that it is right on Wendel's ancestral home's doorstep. And he is asked to help the very people that have hurt him so much. But then his consolation is Ardis. The relationship is much more a forefront in this novel and a little more explicit. The banter back and forth between Ardis and Wendel is so frank during their lovemaking it makes me smirk and a little jealous at the same time. I wish I could be so direct and honest all the time. Though I am uncomfortable with love scenes with detail, I found these enjoyable because of the honesty and lack of drama. The banter continued out of the bedroom as well and made the relationship between Ardis and Wendel feel real rather than contrived for a plot device.
So now I will say, I loved this second novel in the series! I think it is completed though there is always room for more adventure. It has a definite ending which I need as a reader. The story moves quickly and happens over only a few days. The dieselpunk machines and magic are never over my head and really clever. I loved one in particular though I can't say. I highly recommend this novel if you read the first one and liked it, even it you thought it was so/so. If you are into steampunk, New Adult, (not too much explicit sex but some), alternate history, magic or just need to try something new, I highly recommend this series! And don't forget to enter to win a $25 Gift Card to Amazon! Then you can buy the series for yourself! ...more
This is a story about the darker faeries. It reminds me of Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely faeries. Capable of love and goodness, but tending toward theiThis is a story about the darker faeries. It reminds me of Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely faeries. Capable of love and goodness, but tending toward their dark side, manipulating people and doing truly awful things. It's dark, almost gothic, but not set in a house rather a town, and the darkest part of the forest. It is a place that can be familiar and foreign in an instant and both Hazel and her brother Ben have spent their childhood there fighting the evil creatures that do evil things. But then they left.
The story starts with grown versions of Hazel and Ben and winds itself back to their childhood. It isn't a pretty journey, in the woods, nor at home. But Hazel and Ben make the best of things and find their happiness in the stories they weave about the boy in the glass coffin, the boy they both love. I can understand escaping into stories, especially fantasy. But their faeries are real.
Fairfold is interesting, reminding me of a Southern town that sweeps the ugly bits behind closed doors. Keeps it's secrets so that the tourists don't hear the stories, or if they do, they don't seem to care enough to stop visiting the boy in the forest. The town makes a lot of business off of the tourists. The faeries are good for business so they never say a word about the changeling boy that lives with his brother, the one the faeries tried to steal. They never mind leaving milk and other gifts out for the faeries until someone breaks the boy out of the coffin. Until the attacks on the locals begin.
I love the way Holly Black takes a simple story, a family story, and explores it on several different levels. The relationship between siblings, brother and sister, brother and brother, the relationship between parent and child- mother and children, father and children, and family.
Hazel is the narrator and she is no girl to be rescued. She is smart, brave, and loyal. Hazel loves her brother and Fairfold enough to sacrifice herself if need be. She reminded me very much of the character in BEWARE THE WILD BY NATALIE PARKER, another girl that loved her brother so much, she went into a swamp to save her brother. This novel was just as atmospheric and held me spellbound as I read.
It was refreshing to see a LGBT character or more that were just characters, complete characters, no stereotyping. So don't think of this as an issue book. It isn't. Imagine, a book with diverse characters and it isn't an issue book. How lovely!
I highly recommend this novel to lovers of faerie tales, romances, family stories, This is a great story with a lot of action, a lot of unique fae, and some interesting retellings of old stories. Holly Black includes some of her sources in the back and an interesting list of authors in her acknowledgements. There is some violence in the novel, not gratuitous but this is the fae in what some would call their truer form. They are teens so the usual teen shenanigans happening as far as drinking and thoughts about sex. ...more
You know when you agree to do a tour book you never know what you are going to get. ARRGH is a true hidden gem! I loved this story! It's a quick easyYou know when you agree to do a tour book you never know what you are going to get. ARRGH is a true hidden gem! I loved this story! It's a quick easy read and perfect for young readers. But parents will enjoy reading it too. And you know, if you are a parent, that is sometimes hard to find, a book that is interesting to both you and your chapter reader.
The story starts out with a young orphan, Christopher, escaping from his situation and finding himself in an even worse situation. He overhears the plans of some traitorous pirates and is discovered by them, dragged onto a ship and sets sail for the Caribbean from London. Even though he has to scrub the decks with sand and water and sleep on the hard floor in the cabin with one of these pirates, he makes the best of his situation. Soon he's friends with the captain's daughter even though he has to pretend to be mute. He has help from a talking mouse and monkey as he uncovers the plans of the pirates he overheard on the docks. The author doesn't waste words or time with unnecessary information. Descriptions are brief, we all can imagine a pirate just from the word. But what scrubbing the decks is, that is explained. The plot is good, an air of danger is always there, with a slight twist at the end. I'd love to see more adventures with Christopher and Lucy. But the story is completely resolved at the end so it is a stand alone. Still, the kids are great together and I'd love to see them again!
This novel is one I highly recommend for middle grade readers. The chapters are good size so a confident reader could read it on their own or a beginner reader could read it with someone else. It's a great story for boys, but there is nothing that makes it specifically a boy's story. ...more