Give me magic, gadgets, monsters, zombies, everything that seems impossible, and throw in some tough chicks with swords. That's the stuff.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New YA Fantasy Reviews

Last time, I listed some YA Dystopian/Sci Fi reads. This time it's Fantasy's turn. I have 2 book 2's - although one of them could just as easily be a standalone. I also have a book 1 in a new series.

Liar's Moon (Thief Errant #2) by Elizabeth C. Bunce

YA fantasy. This is the second book - and I really hope that there is more coming in the near future.

This one picks up some time after Starcrossed, with Digger back in Gerse. Her friends from book 1 are busy fighting a war to put their Prince on the throne. Now, in a "typical" Fantasy series, Digger would be fighting alongside them. But this isn't a "typical" series. Digger has spent a lot of time, well, drifting. She's stuck - stuck feeling guilty about Tegan, stuck in her guilt on not doing more to fight alongside her friends.

The book starts with Digger's arrest. She's put in a cell with a character we met briefly at the beginning of Starcrossed. The man who sheltered her during her initial escape from Gerse, and who started her allegiance with Meri's family from the first book. Turns out he has been accused of his wife's murder. And finally, Digger starts taking action, risks, and the story gets moving.

Like Starcrossed, there is  lot of politics here. We see what is happening with the nobles and citizens who are living in the city, anticipating war. However, you will not find any long, drawn out battles or sieges. If you really crave action, you aren't going to find it. I still got into it and it kept my attention, but while there is slightly more action in this one, if Starcrossed was too slow for you, I don't think you'll see improvement with book 2.

It is a different, slower pace than most of the YA fantasy I read, but I still got drawn into the characters and the intrigue. Maybe it's because of the difference that I like it so much.

The ending was definitely unexpected, verging on cliffhanger. Now I need book 3.

Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey

This is a slower paced YA fantasy romance. You have the maiden drawn into the forbidden wood, her friends, a mysterious Guardian of the forest, a stolen treasure, a cruel Lady, nefarious plots, fey and dragons.

There is danger, there is violence, but those parts are few. Mostly it's about relationships and politics and the coexistence of humans, fey & dragons on this island off the coast of Dark Ages Britain. Definitely character-based, it's also at a slower pace. There are some revelations, but they are not exactly unexpected. Also, not everything is tied up in a nice bow. This leaves room for further adventures down the line, but if the next book is anything like this one, it will be some time in the future with the descendants of characters from this book.

That was another plus for me. I read Dragon's Keep quite some time ago. I wouldn't necessarily call this one a sequel, since it deals with the grandchildren of the MC from Keep, and it does stand alone fairly well. It actually took me awhile to realize this was a book set in the same world, albeit a different time. Both books deal with different issues. That said, if you need a kickass heroine who brings the fight, you won't quite get that here. That's not to say she isn't strong (and she does spend most of the book with a knife at the ready), but she isn't a warrior woman. Just a woman sick of being beat down.
The Faerie Ring (Faerie Ring 1) by Kiki Hamilton

YA fantasy with romance. And there's THIEVES. Always a plus for me.

I really enjoyed this one and finished it fairly quickly. Tiki is an orphan and a thief in an alternate Victorian London. She survives with a band of other orphans and lives on the hope that they can all survive together, and someday make themselves a real home. She is also under the watchful eye of Rieker, a renowned thief among her circle, but with whom she rarely sees eye to eye.

Then she happens upon a party at an estate, steals a ring, and sets in motion events that might destroy the fragile truce between Faeries and Humans.

I enjoyed the characters. I liked that the the romantic couple hadn't just met. There was some history there. Most of all, I really liked that there was NO LOVE TRIANGLE. And there could have been. There were 3 other "potentials" but the triangle was not formed (I don't hate triangles per se, I just dislike when they feel arbitrary or like it's fulfilling some "YA checklist").

The Fae aspect was interesting. It feels like we've barely scratched the surface on this other world, so there's lots of questions that haven't been answered yet.

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