Tag: YA

Awaken is like waking from one of those dreams you instantly forget

Awaken is like waking from one of those dreams you instantly forget

★★☆☆☆

(1.5 stars)

I have a small confession to make: I went on vacation the day after finishing this book, and am only writing this review now. While I take a few notes, much of my reviewing is done on pure inertia, and in the last two weeks I’ve forgotten almost every detail of this book.

Rather than chide my memory, I’m going to make a point: Awaken is such a non-event I’m not confident there was anything for me to remember in the first place. Book three of a trilogy, it delivers on the typical era thoroughfare- a long fight at the end, happy ever after endings, obligatory promise of marriage and children- and contains little else. There’s a bit about a Greek god possessing a family line and how his give away is based on polo shirts, but that’s about it.

Continue reading “Awaken is like waking from one of those dreams you instantly forget”

Underworld: Incredibly abusive romance and absolutely nothing else

Underworld: Incredibly abusive romance and absolutely nothing else

☆☆☆☆☆

(0 stars)

It’s been a while since I read Abandon, the first book in this afterlife para-romance vaguely based on the Hades/Persephone myth. At the time my library didn’t have either of the next two books, and I was happy to move on from the series. While I actually gave Abandon a high rating (3 stars), that was mostly because Meg Cabot is a strong writer of teen contemporary, and I enjoyed her style enough that the troubling aspects of the romance weren’t so bad.

That changes, hard left, in this book. For one, it’s a slog to wade through, with almost nothing happening and a climax so poorly defined… well, I’m not sure it counts as a climax. Cabot had me feeling for the characters last time, and the strong voice of the narrator, but this book is absent of humor or heart. It is a heartless, boring story of false information, lying, unsubstantiated threats, and bewildering magic.

Perhaps the largest threat to the sanctity of my sanity (and this book having any redeeming factors) is the romance. I’ve read through quite a lot of bad romances in my time in the 2010s para-ro bubble, but John takes the cake of creeps. He displays in this book inhumane levels of skeevy, controlling behavior- from shouting to lying to manipulating Pierce into thinking she’s in the wrong. This is textbook one of the most abusive relationships I’ve ever seen being treated like it’s okay.

Continue reading “Underworld: Incredibly abusive romance and absolutely nothing else”

The Iron Queen goes nowhere new and I’m okay with that

The Iron Queen goes nowhere new and I’m okay with that

★★★★☆

(4 stars)

One of the scariest things for me about reading books I enjoy is how little I have to say about them. The Iron Fey did not begin this way, but by book three I feel I’m running out of talking points. This is not a good or a bad thing, there’s simply not a lot to discuss, especially as there’s no real ‘developments’. The plot in these books moves exactly where you expect it to, with no real push or pull suggesting anything else. If I’d made a bullet list of what I expected to happen in this book, I’d have gotten every mark correct.

Still, there’s no denying these are also great books. Yes, predictability can be a curse, but it works for this series. It’s a popcorn book, a blockbuster event which lacks a certain substance but does nothing ‘wrong’. The world of wild fae mythos and original iron fey is fun, the monsters and ideas around them are fun, the action and battles and powers are… fun. This is a book where metal beetles march forward on the battlefield crewed by musketeer fey, where Puck throws balls of fur which turn into full size grizzly bears, and where, again, a fairly regular housecat is invulnerable to danger and every immortal being appears to owe him a minor debt.

These books do not need to be edgy, twisty, dark messes. They work just as they are- cliche romance bordered by great concepts, worlds, and creatures, where the ordinary teen ends up being queen and all the bad guys are vanquished forever.

Continue reading “The Iron Queen goes nowhere new and I’m okay with that”

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.

Continue reading “The Iron Daughter warrants a cold reception”

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).

giphy (1)

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

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.

Continue reading “The Fandom Rising completes an excellent duology you’ve been missing out on”

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.

Continue reading “To be honest, Holly Black’s Tithe wants what The Iron Fey has”