historical fantasy

The Heartbreaking “Winner’s Crime”

20443207.jpgThe Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Farrar Straus Giroux: March 3, 2015
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Source: Free From Library

I’d go there again!
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On Monday, I posted my review of The Winner’s Curse, and naturally, I jumped straight into book two, The Winner’s Crime. From the first page, it was clear that this was not going to be a happy book. There was such a sense of sadness and hopelessness about The Winner’s Crime, that I struggled to read it. But, read it, I did.

The Winner’s Crime picks up directly after the events of The Winner’s Curse. Kestrel is now engaged to the crown prince of Valoria; which is the price she must pay to the emperor for his agreement to back off in warring against Herran. For Kestrel, this means that she must convince Arin that she cares nothing for him, a fiction that Arin eventually believes.

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On the Bandwagon with “The Winner’s Curse”

16069030The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Farrar Straus Girou: March 4, 2014
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Source: Free From Library

I’d go there again!
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So, I’ve finally jumped on The Winner’s Curse bandwagon, only committing to read the first book in the trilogy now that I have both the second and third on hand (cliffhangers, I’m no friend of yours). For the most part, I think Winner’s Curse lives up to the hype that it has received. The writing is gorgeous, and that alone will have me picking up the second book.

For those that have been living in a cave and haven’t heard of this trilogy, let me summarize. Kestrel is a general’s daughter, and it was her father that conquered the Herrani on behalf of his emperor. Now, ten years after the war, Kestrel is living in the city of the fallen and the Herrani serve the Valorian as slaves. When Kestrel purchases a young man at an auction, she sets off a chain of events that leads to revolution. (more…)

Not Stepping Into These Woods: “Empire of Night”

21480854Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong
HarperCollins: April 7, 2015
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Free From Library

I’d go there again!
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Empire of Night is Kelley Armstrong’s second book in her Age of Legends trilogy, and it’s a book that leaves me anxiously awaiting the final installment’s publication.

Empire of Night picks up soon after the events of the previous book, Sea of Shadows. Moria and Ashyn are more or less prisoners in the opulent court of the Emperor. Both young women are frustrated at the Emperor’s lack of action on behalf of the missing children of Edgewood. However, soon both Moira and Ashyn are able to strike out and discover the truth when they are sent by the Emperor to discover what Alvar Kitsune has done with the missing children.  (more…)

The Bachelor Goes Beast Slaying in “The Great Hunt”

22428707The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins
HarperTeen: March 8, 2016
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Source: Free From Publisher

Beach Vacation
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The Great Hunt is a romantic, historical fantasy, and as a romance, I thought this one was pretty good. However, there were several times I felt that suspension of disbelief was required and because I really couldn’t shut off the logical side of my brain, I had a hard time enjoying this one as much as it deserves.

There is a beast stalking the kingdom of Lochlanach. The commoners are being targeted and its only when the betrothed of the king’s niece is killed that the king finally decides to act. The king’s army can’t kill the beast, and the king is losing the support of his subjects. To gain the manpower to track and kill the beast, the king offers his eldest daughter, and heir to the throne as the prize. The hunter that successfully kills the beast wins Princess Aerity’s hand in marriage.

Entering the contest is Paxton Seabolt, a young man of nineteen that wants to kill the beast that is ravaging his people and avoid marriage to the presumably pampered princess. Alongside his brother and the other contestants, Paxton hunts for the beast only to discover that this is no natural beast; there is something otherworldly about it, something that will have huge repercussions for Lochlanach. (more…)

Winterwood: Pirates, Magic, and Shapeshifters Oh My!

25489511Winterwood by Jacey Bedford
DAW: February 2nd, 2016
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Source: Free from publisher

I’d go there again!
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This book has so many of the elements I love in a good fantasy: pirates, fae, magic, a wolf shapeshifter, a heroine who disguises herself as a man, adventure, romance, an alternative historical setting… really, this book is just my thing.

Rossalinde (Ross) Tremayne, is introduced as she works her way to her mother’s house, where her parent lays dying. Ross and her mother have had a difficult relationship for as long as Ross can remember, and she goes reluctantly. When she arrives, she discovers that her mother sent for Ross to trick her into taking up their family’s heritage – a curse in the shape of a magical winterwood box. If Ross were to take up her destiny, she would restore balance to the world and in the process, drastically alter England., (more…)

Desert, Guns, & Magic: “Rebel of the Sands”

24934065Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Penguin: March 8, 2016
Genre: Historical Fantasy; Young Adult
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!
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I wasn’t really sure what to expect with Rebel of the Sands. Basically, the whole idea of a YA novel being set in the desert hooked me as did a gun-toting young heroine. I was not disappointed.

Sixteen-year-old Amani is out of options. After overhearing her aunt and uncle discuss their marriage plans for her, Amani desperation transforms into action. When she inadvertently teams up with a handsome foreigner, Jin, Amani finds herself on the adventure of a lifetime and swept up into a rebellion. (more…)

“Revenge and the Wild”: Western Adventure Falls Flat

21843165Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto
Balzer + Bra: February 2, 2016
Genre: Western; Steampunk
Source: Free From Publisher

The view was nice, but the food was bad.
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Revenge and the Wild had a really awesome premise: girl tracks down the cannibals that ate her family. And, it’s also a Western for teens. I’ve been seeing a few Western style YA books out there recently (i.e Vengeance Road, Wake of Vultures etc.), but Revenge and the Wild is the first that I’ve read. There were elements of Revenge and the Wild that I liked, but as a whole I found that there was something lacking.

Westie is seventeen years old and as a child she lost her arm when cannibals attacked her family. Westie was the only survivor. Now as a young woman, Westie continues to search for these cannibals only to discover that they have actually come to her. Her guardian, Nigel, has invented a machine that will amplify the magic in the area, protecting the Native population that live near as well as the magical creatures that share the town with the humans. When a wealthy family comes to town to invest in Nigel’s machine, Westie recognizes them as the cannibals that killed her family. Of course, Nigel (and everyone else) is reluctant to believe that the folks with money are the bad guys, after all, they need the investment. But, Westie refuses to back down on her suspicions and when a few folks wind up dead, it goes a long way to convincing the naysayers. (more…)

Crowning “The False Prince”

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The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen
Scholastic: April 1, 2012
Genre: Children’s Fantasy
Source: Free From Library

Beach Vacation
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The False Prince is a bit of a departure from what I normally read. It’s children’s fantasy and I usually stick to YA or adult reads. However, with a new job in the children’s department of the library comes new forays into fiction reading.

Sage is an orphan and has been “rescued” from his sad life by nobleman, Connor. Along with two other boys, Sage will have to compete for the right to be crowned Prince Jaron, long thought to be dead. The royal family of Carthya has been murdered and Connor plans to fill that power vacuum with a prince that he can control. In choosing one of the three orphans he has selected, Connor plans to crown one as the lost Prince Jaron. Unlike the two other boys, Sage is not inclined to play by Connor’s rules even if it means that he will be crowned king. (more…)

Historical With a Twist: “Dark Days Club”

15993203The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
Viking Books for Young Readers: January 26, 2016
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Review: Free from publisher.

The plane was delayed, the luggage lost, and the museums closed.
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It’s rare that I don’t finish a book, and I’m sad to say that this was the case for The Dark Days Club. Never have I been so disappointed that I did not like a book. I should have loved Dark Days; the setting alone is my particular brand of literary catnip. Alas, there was something about Dark Days that did not jive with me; a case of “it’s not you, it’s me,” if you will.

Lady Helen is about to make her curtsy to the queen and embark on the husband hunt in Regency London. After a maid from her uncle’s household goes missing, Helen vows to investigate and learns about her own secret heritage. It turns out she’s a bit of a demon hunter and some lofty Earl, Lord Carlston, is supposed to teach her what that means. Oh, and did I mention that said Earl is suspected of murdering his wife. So, not only does Lady Helen have to contend with her entrance into society but also the discovery of a whole other society hidden beneath the surface of the ton, sworn to protect the masses from the supernatural. (more…)

Joint Review: “Dreaming Death”

25476118Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney
Roc: February 2, 2016
Genre: Fantasy; Mystery
Source: Free from publisher

The last joint review we shared here ended up being a “duel” review. With City of Light, Jaclyn and I couldn’t have been further apart in our reactions to the book. This was absolutely not the case with Dreaming Death. In fact, we both want to go back to the world that Cheney has created.

The Book…

Shironne Anjir’s status as a sensitive is both a gift and a curse. Her augmented senses allow her to discover and feel things others can’t, but her talents come with a price: a constant assault of emotions and sensations has left her blind. Determined to use her abilities as best she can, Shironne works tirelessly as an investigator for the Larossan army.

A member of the royal family’s guard, Mikael Lee also possesses an overwhelming power—he dreams of the deaths of others, sometimes in vivid, shocking detail, and sometimes in cryptic fragments and half-remembered images.

But then a killer brings a reign of terror to the city, snuffing out his victims with an arcane and deadly blood magic. Only Shironne can sense and interpret Mikael’s dim, dark dreams of the murders. And what they find together will lead them into a nightmare…  (more…)