Friday, 26 June 2015

June Reading Round-Up

Hidden Huntress (The Malediction Trilogy, #2)

Stolen Songbird was one of my top YA fantasy reads last year, and I was really excited to read the sequel. In Hidden Huntress, Cecile has returned from Trollus with the goal of tracking and killing the witch who cursed the trolls to spend eternity trapped inside the mountain, while also pursuing her singing career under the watchful eye of her estranged mother. She and Tristan are separated, but we also get Tristan's viewpoint as he is held captive by his own father and tries to fix the injustices towards half-bloods in Trollus. The tension is high throughout and there are plenty of twists, though I did guess the identity of the villain. I really like the magic system in this series, as well as the reimagining of trolls and legends. I liked the plot of Stolen Songbird more, but the world inside and outside Trollus is as complex and compelling as ever.

The Stars Never Rise (Untitled Series, #1)

Wow, this was different! Finally, a YA paranormal that lives up to its awesome premise. THE STARS NEVER RISE is set in an alternative world where soul-eating demons have reduced humanity to hiding in walled towns, obeying the commands of the Church, whose exorcists won the war against the demons. Nina finds herself in a predicament when her sister reveals a shocking secret, and ends up on the run from both the Church and the zombie-like demons, joining up with a group of rogue exorcists to save her sister. 

The worldbuilding is clever and chilling, and the plot is action-packed. I was riveted from the first page to the last and there was a refreshing lack of cliches in the setting, plot, and demon mythology. The characters are three-dimensional and there are some fantastic twists I admit I didn't see coming. This is an absolute must-read for anyone looking for a YA paranormal or dystopia that stands out from the crowd!

The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

Witch Hunter was entertaining, but I didn't connect with it the way I'd wanted to - maybe because I've read too much YA in the same genre and it didn't have enough unique elements to make it stand out for me. The book had a few too many YA cliches and the characters were a little flat.

Nobody's Goddess (The Never Veil #1)

Nobody's Goddess is set in a village in which all the men wear masks, and each serves only one woman, his goddess. If she returns his love, he can remove the mask. I really liked the way the author dealt with all the possible implications of the curse (men can only love one woman, while if the woman rejects him, she faces a lifetime alone). This is an imaginative and complex page-turner with ever-building mystery, and I couldn't wait to see how it all worked out. A must-read for anyone looking for a unique YA fantasy!

Never Fade (The Darkest Minds, #2)

As I'd already read (and loved) The Darkest Minds, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the sequels. Heartbreaking and gripping, they held me captivated from beginning to end and left me with a hell of a book hangover. I can't even write a coherent review, but this has to be one of the best YA dystopian/paranormal series I've read.

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)

I've seen mixed reviews of this, so I decided to give it a go. It was difficult to get into the story because the writing style is a bit overly wordy and goes down unnecessary tangents. I also felt the worldbuilding wasn't well thought-out in places and some elements bordered on preachy. The story moves slowly and the heroine is a little too naive and trusting. It's a shame, because there's nothing wrong with the concept, but I just couldn't connect to the story like I hoped to.

Two Serpents Rise (Craft Sequence #2)

I read the first in Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence last year, Three Parts Dead, and loved it. Two Serpents Rise takes place in the same world but with different characters, allowing the author to explore the different areas of the truly unique world of the series. It's like a fantasy/steampunk/sci-fi mashup, more modern than medieval. As with the first book, the plot is engaging and the characters are three-dimensional and likeable. Highly recommended for fantasy readers who love clever worldbuilding and creative magic systems.

Time Salvager

Time travel stories can be tricky, but Time Salvager is an accessible, character-driven thriller. In Earth's distant future, James works as a chronman, a time-traveller who jumps into Earth's past to recover resources and treasure. But when he breaks a fundamental time-travelling rule and saves a woman's life, he finds himself on the run. The worldbuilding is great, with just enough detail to immerse the reader in the story without confusing with the time-travelling aspects. James is more of an antihero than a hero, but he still becomes a sympathetic character. The settings are well-drawn, especially the grim and haunting future most of the book takes place in. This is a fast-paced thriller with a time-travel twist which explores some fascinating issues. A must-read for sci-fi fans.

A Magic Dark and Bright (The Asylum Saga, #1)

A Magic Dark and Bright drew me in from the first page. I love a good creepy ghost story, and the small town setting is wonderfully atmospheric and packed with history and secrets. The characters are really well-drawn, too. Everyone has motives and complexities, even the side characters, and the main characters are flawed yet likeable. The romance is sweet and the author perfectly captures adolescent awkwardness and first love. This is a page-turning mystery with some nail-biting moments and plenty of suspense.

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)

So I've managed to get sucked into another series where I'll probably have to wait years for the next book (just as I was getting over GoT...). It's the kind of book where you walk around doing everything one-handed because you can't stop reading it. If you love fantasy of any kind, I'd highly recommend The Name of the Wind.

1 comment:

  1. Will definitely check out some of these! Thanks for the round-up. :)