July 3, 2013 by Heidi
You might have seen me go off about how much I adored this one in my June Rewind vlog, because dear lord it was good. The narrator, Steven Boyer, instantly made his way onto my ‘listen to anything they narrate’ list, and I immediately scrambled to track down audio for the next two books in the series. Filled with horrific imagerey and a rich prose that brings you to New Jerusalem and those cold men who abide there, The Monstrumologist held surprising emotions, and also boasted my new favorite character–Jack Kearnes. A man I love to read about, but never want to meet.
It took me a bit of time to grow accustomed to Lorelei King’s narration of the Mercedes Thompson series, but once I did there was no going back. In fact, I’m stalled after book three because my library has no copies of book 4 on audio and I’m holding out hope for an Audible membership for my birthday. Iron Kissed was an emotional gut punch in a way I didn’t realize the urban fantasy genre was capable of. Briggs deals expertly with the topic of sexual assault and survival, and let me just say, made me a massive fan of Ben.
After devouring nine books in this series on audio in a few short months, it was difficult to choose one favorite among them, but The Betrayal of the Blood Lily (#6) is at least tied for that position with The Deception of the Emerald Ring (#3) and The Orchid Affair (#8). If you’re looking for a smart, fun, literary historical set of romantic romps, please do yourself a favor and pick up this series. Oh…but I do have to admit to not liking the contemporary parts of these books whatsoever (there is a frame story). I um…skip them. Started doing so in book 3 and never looked back. However, Kate Reading’s incredible ease with accents makes the audio wonderfully atmospheric, and highly recommended.
I’d wanted to read The Freedom Maze since I began hearing wonderful things about it in 2012, and thankfully, it was nominated for an Audie award or I might have missed this stunning audio production. Set in two times with stirrings of cultural magnitude–just before the Civil War and just before the full swing of the Civil Rights movement–The Freedom Maze encompasses an astounding coming of age story paired with a deep understanding and discussion of what it means, and what it should mean, to be black or white.
You’ve all read it, and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for? Not even me–Miss. I don’t read series until they’re all out because I can’t stand waiting (at least that’s my maiden name, I’m dearly hoping to shorten it someday)–can wait on this one. Yes, it’s better than the first. Yes, it has a Mal-Captain Jack-Han Solo esque character in the part of Thorne (my other favorite character of the year besides Jack Kearne). And can any of you pass up a good wolf boy? I know I can’t.
I am so utterly, completely in love (and tatters) over this series. Read in January, it still holds frequent power over my mind and heart as I churn in an endless cycle of worry and hope for my dear Sadima and Haph. I have been known to eagerly await Kathleen Duey’s little crumbs of updates on the progress of book three. If you loved Harry Potter, but also love the darker, deeper side of things–the questions about human nature and a very subtle but potentially powerful feminist themes–pick up The Ressurection of Magic series.
This middle grade retelling of The Beauty and the Beast sucked me in from the first pages. And those aren’t even about the main character. I loved this story. Sure, it’s lacking a bit of emotional depth, largely as a result of the age group it’s aimed at, but that didn’t keep me from handing it all my feels. While yes, there is a romance there, The Hollow Kingdom is much more a coming of age story about one girl who learns the power of perception and importance of making one’s place.
If you had told me from the premise of this series that I would come to adore it as I have, I would have been quite surprised. But I do. Veronica Rossi weilds the power of character in a way that makes you care so deeply not only for her main perspectives, Perry and Aria, but for all those people who are in their lives. I often love secondary characters more than the first, but here is a rare circumstance where they are all on a level. I want desperately happiness for them all.
I’ve been too emotionally scared to pick up Sepetys’ Between Shades of Gray for years now, but after reading Out of the Easy that book has become an eventuality for me. Ruta Sepetys creates in Out of the Easy a striking blend of character and setting, pulling me into the French Quarter of 1950s New Orleans. It shows the kind side of shady and the cruel side of propriety, all through the eyes of one girl smart enough to want to get out.
All’s I have to say about this sixth installment of the October Daye series is, thank goodness it was released by the time I got there. If I had had to wait as long as those poor readers who were with Seanan from the beginning, I may have withered up and died in my longing for more Tybalt. And this one finally has more Tybalt. But of course that isn’t all, there’s also now a comfortable knowledge of what Toby has become in her power and person, and a desperate attempt to save Fairie from collapsing. I’m actually getting worried about where Seanan McGuire’s going to go from here–how much bigger can we get?
Yup, fawned all over this one in my June Rewind as well. Oh Maggie, how could I have doubted you? I was so put out after last year’s The Raven Boys. It wasn’t bad, but where was that Maggie Stiefvater I fell for in The Scorpio Races? Silly me, she was here all along, and The Dream Thieves exemplifies that extensively. With a shifted focus, rearranged feelings, and of course–all the love for Ronan, this second installment to The Raven Cycle was so much more than I’d hoped for.
Blake has found her stride in Antigoddess, a book that really shows her growth as an author. Yeah, she started out awesome with Anna Dressed in Blood, but here she’s really perfected that balance of horror and characterization that made Antigoddess impossible to put down. The imagery she conveys had my chest tickling and pained, and my mind full of barnacles and crazy. Blake takes the groundwork set down by The Illiad and The Odyssey and decides to shake things up in a way I could totally buy. When it comes to modernizations of the gods, I really couldn’t ask for more.
One of the best trilogy endings in recent memory. I loved this series from start to finish, and there really wasn’t a weak point; The Bitter Kingdom in no way disappoints. In this final book we get to see Elisa truly come into her own and be something more than the chosen one. This is why I adored this series, despite my general distaste for the chosen one trope, because Elisa is more than that. She is a leader in her own right, and has the power to do all she does despite her position as a bearer. Oh, and to all of you who have been waiting since book two came out? I commend you–I couldn’t have done it. But it will be worth it!