Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Safe-Keeper's Secret by Sharon Shinn

The Safe-Keeper's Secret by Sharon Shinn is the first book in a series about a country called Merendon. In this country there are three types of special people: Safe-Keepers, Truth-Tellers, and Dream-Makers. Safe-Keepers are known for keeping any secret told to them, no matter how horrible. Truth-Tellers instinctively know the truth and will tell it aloud, and are often used to settle disputes if one is available. Dream-Makers are a bit different because there is only one of them at a time, unlike the Safe-Keepers and Dream-Makers. They have magic they do not control, but they help others around them because they are able to make others wishes come true.

In this story right after a Safe-Keeper gives birth to a child a mysterious rider drops one off at her doorstep and implores the midwife to keep it safe. Both children are raised by the Safe-Keeper and consider themselves siblings although the boy has a bit of wanderlust and wants to know who his father is while the girl wants to be a Safekeeper like her mother. Both children grow and learn about themselves as well as others. After their mother has passed they encounter a startling revelation that changes both of their lives forever.

This book is wonderful. There aren't too many characters, but there are enough that it stays interesting. You get to learn about everyone but really only get in-depth with the major characters. I feel Sharon Shinn did a great job because there are some characters you like and some you don't. Overall I rather enjoyed this book and I believe there was just one romantic pairing I was iffy on.

I give this book an 7 out of 10 and recommend for readers of YA Fantasy.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

In the Coils of the Snake by Clare B. Dunkle

In the Coils of the Snake by Clare B. Dunkle the story of two women who have had difficult lives intertwines and affects the future of the goblin and elven races. One is told they have a specific destiny only to supposedly have it taken away from them and the other is given apparently into her doom. Both women have to find strength, courage, and happiness as they settle in their new lives while the goblins and the elves relationship is at a breaking point.

This is a thrilling conclusion to the Hollow Kingdom Trilogy. There is a lot going on in this book, it's centered around two girls who are basically pledged to leaders of two different kingdoms and how they adjust to their new lives. The elves are starting to make a comeback and there are tensions with the goblins. Both Miranda and Arianna are shocked when their lives make an abrupt change and their future becomes nothing like what they thought it would. Catspaw, who is Marak after his father dies, does not like this elven lordling and the feeling is mutual. In the end, a shocking revelation is made and all parties end up rather pleased with the outcome.

I really did enjoy this book, although I didn't necessarily like how the elf leader did some things. He scorned the goblin king but really wasn't all that much better than him in that regard. But I think that was the point of the book, to show elves and goblins weren't all that different.

I give this book a 9 out of 10 and highly recommend it for readers of YA Fantasy.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Close Kin by Clare B. Dunkle

Close Kin by Clare B. Dunkle is continuing the story of the goblins, Kate, and Emily but this time the focus is on Emily. Her close friend, Seylin, proposes to her but she doesn't take him seriously so he leaves. She ends up following after him, with an unwilling chaperone, and both Seylin and Emily learn some lessons about themselves and others.

Emily is rather oblivious to Seylin's feelings for her, and she is too busy taking care of children goblins to think about how she feels about him. After a miscommunication Seylin asks permission to go search for elves, thinking he'd fit in better there. He is rather disappointed when he finds them because they have lost the old ways of doing things but he decides to stay with them anyway. Emily, in the meantime, decides to go after him but is required to go with a goblin who doesn't like her and she doesn't care for either. I really enjoyed how Emily interacted with Ruby and how both of them learned something new as they traveled. Both storylines are written well and it's not confusing when you switch between them. They come together well in the end and you get a little bit more of an ending afterward, which is always nice to get.

I think the only thing I didn't like was the relationship of Catspaw and Til, the Goblin King & Queen's son and their adopted daughter. But it does set up for the third book so I guess it makes sense. Other than that the characters were all well written, even if I didn't necessarily like the characters themselves!

I give this book a 9 out of 10 and recommend it for readers of YA fantasy.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle

The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle is the first book of the Hollow Kingdom Trilogy. It brings the worlds of goblins and elves into the human world. Two sisters, Kate and Emily, are going to live with their closest living relatives after their father passes, and they find that the goblin king is looking for a wife in Kate, who is the eldest. She ends up going to him to help her sister and they have to acclimate to life underground and amongst the goblins. They find they actually like it with them and Kate, despite being married to the goblin king, learns to love it there as well.

This book is good on so many levels. The character and plot development are both great, and the characters are intriguing enough that you know who they are but there aren't so many that you get confused about things. Marak is one of the best characters, he has a great sense of humor but is able to be serious when necessary. I loved seeing how the characters developed and changed throughout the story, it was very well done.

I don't really have a complaint about this book, but if I did I guess I could say that the goblin way of doing things isn't exactly favorable. The kings kidnap their wives and they are forced into marriage right away. Now they aren't forced into bed, which I appreciate, but still.

I give this book a 9 out of 10 and recommend it for readers of YA Fantasy.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May

The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May was an amazing conclusion to this trilogy. I really have no words to describe the emotions in my heart as I try to process this book. Aileana wakes up with no memories and has to figure out who she is and how to break the curse of Kiaran. They end up encountering the Morrigan, a very powerful and evil fae who wants to be free of her prison. The price for defeating her, though, is steep and Aileana has to decide if she's able to pay it.

There are so many emotions and so many things to learn about the characters in this book. It's really interesting to think back on the first book and remember the impressions you had of the characters there and then look at them in this one to see how incredibly different you view them. I cried at this book, so may raw emotions come out in this book. I don't want to give spoilers, you'll have to read it to get more.

The thing I didn't like is someone died who I didn't want to! But I can't give anything else away. It was a good emotional impact in the story, but I still didn't want this character to die. But it fit the story so this is just me being an emotional wreck 20 minutes after reading it.

I give this book a 9 out of 10 and recommend it for readers of YA fantasy and faerie books. Again this book is violent and has sexual implied scenes so I recommend parents read this before allowing younger young adults to read this book.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May

The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May is an exciting and action-packed sequel. Aileana finds herself captured by one Lonnrach and is subjected to his torture until she is rescued. Time passes differently in the fairy realms though, and it is hard for her to come to terms with how long she was gone. She has to regain the trust of people who knew her and figure out herself how to deal with the trauma she endured at the hands of Lonnrach. Aileana also learns a great deal about herself and how the whole mess between the fairies started. She ends up unlocking her power and is very powerful. However, at the end of the book it's not quite enough and she has to accept something else.

Oh my goodness this book was such a good read! I really just charged through this book, it was very well done! Thankfully Aileana is reunited with some of her friends when she comes back. It is hard because she has a lot of darkness she has to deal with and she gets the truth about things which makes it hard for her because the truth is never easy. The magic and the fighting and relationships are all incredibly well written and very enjoyable. I think Aithinne is the best character ever, and I would love to meet her if that was ever an option.

The only thing was that I was a bit confused in the beginning about what exactly had happened, but I guess Aileana was too so it kind works? But I was a little confused. And I was kinda hoping the romance would go a different direction but what she did makes sense and is good so not really a complaint :)

I give this book a 9 out of 10 and recommend it for readers of YA Fantasy and faerie stories. This book does have violence and some sexual implications, I recommend parents read it before letting younger young adults read it.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Falconer by Elizabeth May

The Falconer by Elizabeth May is a fascinating story about a girl destined to kill faeries. It's set in the mid-1800s in Scotland and has a bit of a steampunk vibe to it. Aileana is the only daughter of a marquess and finds out after her mother is murdered that she has powers specifically suited to killing faeries who want to kill humans. She has a fairy mentor who teaches her and a pixie who lives in her dressing room, giving her advice. She has to deal with her own feelings, her abilities, and mixing with society while trying to make sure her reputation isn't damaged as she hunts the evil faeries.

This book is very enjoyable because the characters are so vivid. Aileana is struggling with how to handle her mother's death, and the main way she does that is to kill faeries. She goes against her instructor's warnings and kills without him which alerts the faeries to her existence. Aileana also has to figure out her feelings for her instructor, who is a faerie and therefore warns her not to humanize him, and also for a childhood friend who is come back from college and happens to have some powers of his own. I think Aileana's emotional struggle was very well written, especially at the end when she is trying to save the city. There is, of course, a cliffhanger so I suggest having all three books in the series on hand so you can just dive right on into the next one.

I can't necessarily think of anything to dislike right now, I think the author did a good job of keeping the time period while adding steampunk into it. I might have something later, but at this point I really enjoyed the book!

I give this book a 9 out of 10 and recommend it for lovers of YA steampunk fantasy and faerie stories.