Tag: book reviews

The Iron Daughter warrants a cold reception

The Iron Daughter warrants a cold reception

★★★☆☆

(3 stars)

After highly praising The Iron King, I knew I was setting myself up for a big comeuppance. After all, the Iron Fey IS a series from 2010-2011 (yes, the whole quartet came out within two years), and WAS quite cliche despite all the things I loved about book one. The ‘sequel series’, books five to seven, span 2013-2015, and the next book is due 2021. It’ll be interesting to see if/how the author evolves during the years and trends in YA, but the initial series of books is very dated to 2010. The Iron Daughter especially.

That’s not to say I hated this book at any point. It’s still notably engaging and of a better quality than the vast majority of books from this era, or really just books I’ve read. The side characters are fantastic and the world is a wild mish-mash of faerie mythos and lore that is extremely entertaining. Still, this books has to lose a bunch of points for the plot, and especially the romance. A lot less gets done in this book, and a lot more time is spent angsting over forbidden love and love triangles. It’s dumb and exhausting and takes up so much time.

While the book scurries over the normal ‘second book syndrome’, the useless romance, angst, lesser plot, and idiocy of the main character is exhausting enough on its own. At least Grimalkin is still perfect.

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Queen of Nothing review: I must sadly rescind my blood oath to murder Carden Greenbriar

Queen of Nothing review: I must sadly rescind my blood oath to murder Carden Greenbriar

★★★☆☆

(3.5 stars)

Call me the Queen of Fools, because I no longer despise Carden. After book one making me wish strangulation on the whole cast, and book two setting me in stone against the fae fool, I am ready to put on garish makeup and admit my wrongs.

Yes, you are hearing me correct: Carden is no longer a completely miserable excuse of garbage in the package of a generic YA love interest, and I liked him in this book, and I liked his relationship with Jude in a romantic sense. This admission weighs heavy on my soul after my many memes and posts on the matter, but rejoice! This change of tides can only mean a miracle is on its way. (And that miracle is that I will no longer be on the warpath to seek and personally destroy Carden Greenbriar).

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The Fandom Rising completes an excellent duology you’ve been missing out on

The Fandom Rising completes an excellent duology you’ve been missing out on

★★★★☆

(4.5 stars)

Back when I read The Fandom in February, I was genuinely surprised how engaging it was: a dark thriller based on fandom meta and dystopias. I was also intrigued to learn there would be a sequel at all. It feels very much like a one-off story- three friends who are brought into the world of a popular dystopian YA series which has become ‘real’ by the collective belief of the fandom around it, and how they must escape from the cruel reality of this once fictitious world.

At the end of The Fandom, Violet, Alice, and Katie awake from the week long coma they entered while they were transported to the world of The Gallows Dance, though Violet’s brother died in that world, trapping him in a coma. Violet and Alice have collaborated to write a sequel to The Gallows Dance- The Gallows Song- which was published by the publicity of their comic-con coma incident and Alice’s huge online following with her fanfic. Though none of the girls remember what actually happened while they were in their comas, they felt obliged to end the cycle of misery the world of the Gallows Dance was trapped in, writing a sequel full of hope and change- as well as writing Nate in as a new character.

However, trouble is coming to the living world of the Gallows Dance, allowing Violet to regain her memories. She also realizes that as Nate exists as a book character, he lives in the other world- and traveling back there might be her only chance to wake her brother from his year long coma. Especially now that their parents plan to turn off his life support in just a week.

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To be honest, Holly Black’s Tithe wants what The Iron Fey has

To be honest, Holly Black’s Tithe wants what The Iron Fey has

★★★★☆

(4.5 stars)

There’s only a mild chance this high rating is influenced by how many bad books I’d read before it.

I know I make outstanding threats against Carden Greenbriar and this is a provocative headline, but I am overall a Holly Black ‘fan’. However, reading The Iron King (book one of the Iron Fey series) was like a good punch of breath air. Specifically, it’s worth comparing this book to Tithe, Holly Black’s YA paranormal romance from the same era. Yes, The Iron King is very much a ‘regular girl turns out to be special and fey, finds feyroyal love interest, uses trickery and special-ness to avoid finale murder by someone supposedly invincible’ story. So is Tithe.

While I think there’s plenty of fun (and merit) in dissing YA tropes and cliches, it is also true those things became common for a reason. Where many other YA books from this era fail on the same ideas and plot beats, The Iron King succeeds smoothly: The love interest(s) are not toxic, the MC has a personality, the world-building is unique and original, and the writing is solid. I really enjoyed reading The Iron King, and I expect I’ll be reading the rest of the series. It’s fun, perfectly middle-ground YA with a lot of neat faeries and characters. The world needs more all powerful sarcastic cats.

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There’s a non-zero chance Evermore is not bad YA, but masterful satire

There’s a non-zero chance Evermore is not bad YA, but masterful satire

☆☆☆☆☆

(.5 stars)

Evermore is about as generic as paranormal romance can get. It’s pretty much identical to the other genre books from the same time frame- Evermore, Hush Hush, and Fallen all were published in 2009, though bizarrely in that order. I was rather shocked to learn Evermore actually came before the other, more notable YA paranormal books at the time- it feels at times so strange and parodist that I figured it must have been a cash-in rip off.

Yet Evermore stands, strangely, in the early days of the paranormal romance bubble. I’m no expert, but the zenith was 2009, and Evermore is from February. We can proudly stand Evermore as early and (non) notable in the genre.

The reason I’m so fixated on when Evermore came out is simple: This book feels exactly, literally exactly, like satire of the para-ro genre. At first I dismissed the book as I read it, but then I sat on it for a day. I realized it was almost the same as how I’d write a parody book- the generic plot of the ‘not beautiful’ beautiful blonde main character, the mysterious bad boy new kid, the unexplained powers, the sheer number of powers, the I Love You exchange early on, the bizarre goth friend, the ridiculous names, the mean girl stereotypes, the stupid richness of the main characters, the fated/reincarnation storyline… All of it is so perfectly predictable and at points slightly more absurd than normal that I can safely conclude there is a non zero chance this book is a satire.

Beyond the fact it came first.

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Ironside is, at last, the kind of fae book we need more of

Ironside is, at last, the kind of fae book we need more of

★★★★★

(4.5 stars)

There’s one thing to note before I shimmy down into this: The Modern Faerie Tales is a very bizarre trio of books. Yes, it goes Tithe, Valiant, then Ironside, but you do not need to read Valiant at all, and Tithe/Ironside are far more of a duology. At this point I don’t know if I’ll read Valient or not, hence me skipping it.

I suppose I should also note the irony of me declaring this a ‘good fae book’ when I read my first fae book in 2017 and… actually, all but one of the books I’ve read HAVE been by Holly Black. I’m no expert in the genre technically, but I have been doing reading and research since I am writing a book with fae in it, plus DND has exposed me to it… as well as my hatred for SJM’s fae. So I’m not well read, but I know what a good faerie portrayel should contain, and Ironside has finally hit that mark.

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I desperately miss books like Max on Earth

I desperately miss books like Max on Earth

★★★★★

(5 stars)

My girlfriend picked this up for me. I think I’ve allured her into the world of buying random pulp books, though I’m the one who ends up eventually reading them. This one was picked up for the cover- delightful, as you can see, even though no good HD versions appear to exist online.

OUT OF THIS WORLD #1: Max on Earth is the tiny, short book from about 1980 when YA fiction was… well, like this I guess. An alien named Max shows up and befriends Randi, a normal teen girl, and that’s it. I honestly used to read a lot of books about this length and style when I was younger, since the library would have them. I think admittedly I was more 12 at that point, but 12 year olds do count as YA, and kids that age and younger read modern YA as well. I can’t quite recall the names, but I remember books about like an alien who interrupted baseball, a mirror that turned a kid invisible, a teacher who was secretly an alien, and a girl who was secretly an alien princess. I guess I read a lot of books on aliens, looking back. These were all MG/YA that I generally read when I was younger, being a Super Advanced Reader in elementary school and all. They rocked.

Ahem. Is this book good? No, not really. Have I given it five stars? Yes. What are you going to do about it?

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