Tag: YA fiction

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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Tithe is just the beta version of the rest of Holly Black’s novels

Tithe is just the beta version of the rest of Holly Black’s novels

★★★★☆

(4 stars)

I’ve enjoyed Holly Black to pick up Tithe blind, and I have to say, it was puzzling at first. People swoon over Cruel Prince and Darkest Part, but Tithe and the other Modern Faerie Tales are the awkward teenager stage between those and her beginnings in children’s fiction. Tithe often feels like it was written by a teen who just realized they could do anything they wanted in a book- there’s a lot of swearing, smoking/drinking, and sexual content right off the bat. Still, there’s a lot of likable things in this book, and a lot of the time the grime felt authentic rather than needlessly dark.

What stood out to me most by the end, however, was that this book is pretty much the same book as Darkest Part Of The Forest, which Black published 13 years later. I read and reviewed Darkest a while ago, and found it fine but not too compelling. I liked Tithe more, and there’s enough differences I couldn’t call it self-plagiarism, but the many story elements and plot points are present in both.

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The Kingdom: A fantastical, dystopic, nightmare

The Kingdom: A fantastical, dystopic, nightmare

★★★★★

(5 stars)

I very rarely buy physical copies of books. New, at least- one reason for my spurges of bad YA recently has been because those are the easiest books to find thrift. Good books, especially new good books, rarely show up in charity shops. However, I went ahead and paid full price for The Kingdom without reading any reviews, and I’m glad I did.

I knew I would like this, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t pleasantly surprised how much I did. My favorite movie is Ex Machina, and one of my favorite books is Only Ever Yours, and this book is a perfect blend of both, but also set in a theme park. And books set in theme parks are the best books.

Plainly, I would recommend this book to anyone (and already have). It’s a good length suspense about the meaning of being alive, AI, morality, and advanced technologies, and the only major downside to me was the ending, which seems to set up more for a possible sequel rather than embrace a clean, tidy ending.

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Abandon represents a fun- yet troubling- genre mix-up

Abandon represents a fun- yet troubling- genre mix-up

★★★☆☆

(3 stars)

The author of the book is for once very important to this review: Meg Cabot! I’ve never read anything by her, but I know the name, and realizing she’d written this generic-looking para-ro book gave me pause. She wrote the Princess Diaries, a series which became a movie which I have seen heaps of nostalgia for and love. Without ever touching any of her contemporary teen-tween girl books I knew she was known for humor, lightness, fun, and quirky narration.

So what was she doing writing Abandon? This book screams para-ro boom of the early 2010s, from design to title to plot, yet is met in the middle by Cabot’s signature style. In the mix of an ugly love interest and his fairly abusive actions is genuinely funny dialogue. Despite the insta-love romance, there are bits of satisfying, true emotional moments regarding coming of age and being a teen girl. Even with the confusing, cartoon-ish bits, there’s real wit and good writing shining through.

Like, maybe I just liked this because I’d just finished a particularly bad quartet, but the writing is so good I found myself not caring as much as I should have about how bad the romance was. I liked the voice too much. Plus, it’s a short and snappy read.

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YA literature can do worse than The Beholder… so at least there’s that

YA literature can do worse than The Beholder… so at least there’s that

★★★☆☆

(3 stars)

This (The Beholder, Anna Bright) is not a book I would have ever picked up, but I got it in a book crate and felt I ought to give it a go. It’s…. well, it’s not very exciting, and there isn’t a ton to talk about. I don’t hate it or have much to dislike, and generally enjoyed reading it, but it’s also not very engaging (or plot focused). The world building is a wonderful idea, but the execution is at times head scratching.

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Sweet Reckoning means Sweet Release from me having to read this horrifying series

Sweet Reckoning means Sweet Release from me having to read this horrifying series

☆☆☆☆☆

(0 stars)

Is ‘horrifying’ the right word? I typed ‘horrible’ at first, but then… this book, and the series as a whole, is so absurdly bad it sounds fake. How else can I discuss a book  with extreme christian themes and yet super horniness, where the bible saves the day, the love interest is a canonical child rapist, and panty-sniffing virginity-sensing demons are a key plot point?

There’s actually a fourth book, a companion to the trilogy from the viewpoint of the love interest, but right now I don’t have interest in reading it.

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