After Beth is kicked out of school for tagging, she runs away--only to save the life of the prince of the London streets, Filius. Filius is the childAfter Beth is kicked out of school for tagging, she runs away--only to save the life of the prince of the London streets, Filius. Filius is the child and presumed heir of the goddess of London, who mysteriously disappeared seventeen years ago and hasn't been seen or heard from since. He is in the midst of a battle with Reach, the Crane King, for control of London. Excited by the magic of the streets, and with nothing else to do, Beth declares herself his ally. But will her bravery and his powers be enough to defeat a being with an insatiable hunger for destruction?
I wasn't convinced by the fantasy worldbuilding here--I liked some of it, but the light beings just didn't work for me, and overall the descriptions of the various magical tribes of London felt a bit too tangled. I couldn't figure out how all these beings interacted and worked; I wanted there to be more of a sense of the ecosystem of magical London, I guess. The pacing and focus of this book felt off as well, as though the author flung every single issue he wanted to address (grief! betrayal! friendship! molestation! abandonment! loyalty! art! loneliness!) into the book but wasn't thoughtful about how much emphasis to give each part, or how to incorporate it into the overall narrative. I did enjoy parts of this, most particularly Beth's bravery and eventual powers, and her relationship with Pen. And the explanation for the goddess's absence was a great one that I frankly did not see coming. But the battles just didn't work for me as action sequences, and the ending is like fifteen epilogues all crammed one after another. ...more
Described as "A Duke (I think? could just be a common or garden-variety lord) marries a businessman's daughter because he needs her money to pay off hDescribed as "A Duke (I think? could just be a common or garden-variety lord) marries a businessman's daughter because he needs her money to pay off his debts. They agree beforehand to treat the marriage as a mutually beneficial arrangement, and then, as they get to know each other, start developing ~feelings~~~ Rose Lerner is very good at creating likable but believably flawed characters, and at integrating serious issues into her stories in an organic way -- in this book, estate management, a landlord's duty of care towards his tenants, the class divide between Penny and Nevinstoke -- without it feeling like she's getting up on a soapbox and lecturing you. Like Courtney Milan, but... better."...more
Knife is the only child in the Oak. Her people are slowly dying out, with little magic and too few numbers to sustain themselves. But Knife refuses toKnife is the only child in the Oak. Her people are slowly dying out, with little magic and too few numbers to sustain themselves. But Knife refuses to just survive, like her elders do. First she becomes the Queen's Hunter and then...she strikes up a friendship with a Human.
Paul is giving in to despair after an accident took the use of his legs, but his contact with a tiny fierce fairy gives him new hope and artistic drive.
The beginning and end of this book aren't that impressive or novel, but the middle section, when Knife is flying around stabbing crows and trying to figure out what caused the Sundering and the Silence, more than makes up for it....more
Grace is the sensible daughter of neglectful parents. Her only real hobby is to watch the wolves in the woods near her house. Then one day, one of theGrace is the sensible daughter of neglectful parents. Her only real hobby is to watch the wolves in the woods near her house. Then one day, one of the wolves reveals himself to be human--or, not quite. A werewolf. Turns out the wolf pack in Mercy Falls is made of werewolves, whose changes are determined by temperature rather than the moon. Sam is only human during the summer months, and as the years go by, the amount of time he's human diminishes. This is probably his last stretch of time as a human, and so he lets himself be wholeheartedly in love with Grace, who he's loved since they were children. But not all the werewolves are so romantic...
I really liked this. Grace and Sam's relationship moves very quickly, but it makes sense that it would. And I like all the side characters, who are each complicated creatures in themselves. Most of all, I like the way the werewolves work; it's a new and interesting (and wonderfully tragic) set up....more
At seventeen, at her very first ball, Nell caught the eye of the rich and handsome Cardross. A worldly man who'd taken many lovers and ruled his estatAt seventeen, at her very first ball, Nell caught the eye of the rich and handsome Cardross. A worldly man who'd taken many lovers and ruled his estate for years, Cardross never expected to fall in love--but he did, and despite his misgivings about Nell's impecunious and wild family, he swiftly married her. Each of them loves the other, but is sure that they only married for convenience. This misunderstanding is made worse when Nell realizes she owes a dressmaker an astounding amount of money and tries to raise the money herself rather than go to Cardross. She doesn't want him to think she married for money, but her tense face and odd behavior just raises Cardross's suspicions. Meanwhile, Cardross's flighty little sister Letty (who is a mere year younger than Nell herself, but Nell is nevertheless supposed to control her) causes huge amounts of trouble with her desperate but stupid plans to get Mr.Allandale to marry her.
This had the makings of a more enjoyable book. If only there had been more between Nell and Cardross and far, far less of Letty. The (slightly) more mature romance gets all of three scenes together, whereas the rest of the book is basically Letty swanning around ruining everything and giggling about it. Making matters worse is the way all the male characters are at least a decade or more older than Nell and Letty, while Nell and Letty are so dumb and innocent that they don't even know what "interest" is, or that stealing valuable jewelry and selling it is a crime. The narrative and love interests often refer to how childlike and adorable this ignorance is, but it just creeped me out....more
Miranda Darling is a quick witted wig-maker with a talent for accents. Smite Turner is the cold and precise magistrate who notices she's lying duringMiranda Darling is a quick witted wig-maker with a talent for accents. Smite Turner is the cold and precise magistrate who notices she's lying during a court case. It turns out, their oddities match up very well.
I was amazed at how much I enjoyed this book. It's enjoyable for any book, but downright fantastic for an early Victorian romance. First off, there isn't a ball in sight--their love affair blossoms during conversations about the nature of justice, judgmental comments during bad productions of Shakespeare, and a bout of blackmail from a self-appointed King of Thieves. The characters felt unique and had depth; they have actual struggles and communicate about things beyond just their affection for each other. Both Smite and Miranda have gone through frightening and traumatic experiences, but although they're open about how those experiences inform their current circumstances (Smite in particular, the very definition of an Iron Woobie) they also appreciate the person those experiences has made them; they each refuse to be pitied or feel pitiful, but instead try to be stronger and more useful.
All in all, a book I'm really glad I picked up. ...more
I loved this book when I was a child. Now all I can remember is that the main character is a tween-aged badass, last of a famed training technique thaI loved this book when I was a child. Now all I can remember is that the main character is a tween-aged badass, last of a famed training technique that churned out the greatest warriors the universe had ever known. The Legionnaires are betrayed and the main character alone can avenge them, I think?...more
Poppy was once one of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, and after her curse to dance every night in the underworld was broken (in Princess of the MidnigPoppy was once one of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, and after her curse to dance every night in the underworld was broken (in Princess of the Midnight Ball), she resolved never to dance again. But during an ambassadorial visit to Breton she becomes a side character in a twisted version of Cinderella, and realizes that she just might have to dance at at least one more ball to break the evil spells flying around the ballrooms of Breton.
I really liked Poppy, who is stalwart and sensible but far from a perfect princess. And I enjoyed the unexpected twists and turns this story took, from "Cinderella" being a sulky housemaid who hopes for better things, to the glass slippers being made from magical, molten glass. ...more