Newt’s Emerald

December 7th, 2013 | Posted by Paola in Fantasy | Historical Fiction | Review | Romance - (8 Comments)

newtsemeraldTITLE: Newt’s Emerald

AUTHOR: Garth Nix

GENRE: Fantasy/Historical Fiction

PUBLISHED: 2013; Jill Grinberg Literary Mgmt

FORMAT: eBook, 200 pages

Lady Truthful Newington is used to dressing as a boy. After all, how else is she supposed to have any fun? It’s hard to go on adventures with your three rambunctious male cousins while dressed in skirts and having to worry about a corset. But all those childhood escapades are nothing compared to the adventure in store when the heirloom of her family, the famed Newington Emerald, is stolen during a storm obviously conjured by magic. Truthful embarks on a quest to reclaim the emerald, disguised as a man by day and donning ballgowns come nightfall. Will she survive the harrowing experience of hunting down a malignant sorceress AND getting through her first London season??

GUYS. This book is utterly, supremely delightful. I can’t even. I had so much fun reading it that I genuinely lamented the fact that it’s only 200 pages long. I’m sure you all know that I’m not the biggest reader of ‘Regency romance’ as a genre, but I do love fantasy, and I definitely love Garth Nix (author of some of my favorite books ever, notably The Old Kingdom trilogy), so when I realized this was out I immediately threw $3.99 at my iPad and ordered it to download the eBook ASAP. (No one else throws money at their tablet around here? Oh, fine.)

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The Coldest Girl In Coldtown

October 15th, 2013 | Posted by Paola in ARC | Fantasy | Paranormal | Review | YA Fiction - (3 Comments)

coldestgirlTITLE: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

AUTHOR: Holly Black

GENRE: YA Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

PUBLISHED: 2013; Little, Brown BFYR

SOURCE: Netgalley

 Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

It’s been such a long time since I read a vampire book I enjoyed this much — I was well and truly impressed with the gritty and yet oddly glamorous world of Holly Black’s vampires and the humans who co-exist with them. I loved that the story was full of both beauty and blood. I loved the entire pop culture phenomenon she created around vampirism. I loved her heroine. I JUST LOVED IT OKAY.

The thing about the world we see in this novel is that it’s so very believable, especially when you consider modern culture and the things society values and finds entertaining right now, as we speak. Holly Black’s vampires are relegated to Coldtowns, where they are walled away from the rest of the population but still the center of a universe that is inexorably drawn to their allure. Magnetic, fascinating, and infinitely dangerous, they are both feared and yet hopelessly admired. It was crazy seeing vampirism from this angle. There are vampire tourist traps, vampire blogs, vampire hunter shows littered with crossbows and imagery that ranges from the grotesquely fascinating to just plain grotesque.

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The Burning Sky

September 26th, 2013 | Posted by Paola in Fantasy | Review | YA Fiction - (6 Comments)

burningskyTITLE: The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy, #1)

AUTHOR: Sherry Thomas

GENRE: YA Fantasy

PUBLISHED: September 2013 – Balzer + Bray

Prince Titus has known for years that his fate is to find and protect the next great elemental mage of his generation. He’s been preparing for every eventuality, rightly anticipating that this task will be far from easy. Such a powerful mage would be ruthlessly hunted, especially because a prophecy exists that says they will be the savior of the Realm — the one to finally end the tyrannical rule of the Bane, who currently controls even Prince Titus with an iron fist. But a complication of epic proportions arises when Titus finally crosses paths with this prophesied hero… and things turn out to be nothing like he expected.

I am so stupidly in love with this book that I can’t stop the crazy urge to giggle and flail around as I write my review. I’m sure you all know that while I read other genres too, my heart belongs with Fantasy and I feel most at home when adventuring through the countryside in search of dragons to vanquish. (Would I be any good at actually vanquishing dragons in real life? No. That would be a disaster. Also it is beside the point~) The Burning Sky contains clever characters, fascinating magic, harrowing political schemes, adorable boys in school uniforms, and a feels-inducing romance. In short, I WANTED FOR NOTHING.

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Kinslayer

September 11th, 2013 | Posted by Paola in Fantasy | Review | Sequel | Series - (2 Comments)

kinslayerTITLE: Kinslayer (The Lotus Wars, #2)

AUTHOR: Jay Kristoff

GENRE: Fantasy, Steampunk

PUBLISHED: September 2013; St. Martin’s Griffin

SOURCE: ARC from Publisher, 437 pages

PRECEDED BY: Stormdancer

The fate of Shima hangs in the balance, with the Imperium on the brink of civil war and people of all walks of life rising to answer the Stormdancer’s call. Yukiko and Buruu are living legends, carrying the rebellion’s hopes on their shoulders. But Yukiko, still reeling from grief and regret, must now also find a way to control her abilities before they do lasting damage. Fueled by rage, she leads the charge against the Lotus Guild and the failing Kazumitsu dynasty at the risk of completely losing herself in the process.

The sequels this year are KILLING ME. SERIOUSLY. I mean, I’m sitting here right now staring at the screen, trying to figure out how to articulate the intense experience that was Kinslayer and just utterly failing. It’s hard to write a review when you’re sort of still peeling yourself off the floor and trying to salvage what’s left of your crushed heart. I thought Stormdancer was epic, heartbreaking, GLORIOUS — but its sequel somehow found a way to be all those things and more.

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