Current Mood: Happy
I half-listened to part of this book as Sam Chupp podcast it, chapter by chapter. For some reason, it just didn’t catch my fancy back then. I think I didn’t let it catch my fancy, because of knowing that I would have to wait for each chapter to be released. Now, though, having it all finished and edited, it’s clearly a polished Lee and Miller novel of the Liaden Universe, and I love those.
It’s also something of a young adult novel, but don’t let that put you off. Theo is an interesting character who begins growing up in Fledgling (Theo Waitley, #1). She’s 14, and she has never been off Delgado, a Safe World. Her own world is made up entirely of the University and academia, with both parents being professors. The fact that her parents live outside the Wall, in a house rather than in University housing, is unusual.
As the book opens she has to deal with major life changes. For the sake of her career, her mother, Kamele, has chosen to leave her father’s house and move back to the University with Theo. Delgado is a matriarchal society, and Theo is expected to stop acknowledging her father as anyone but Professor Jen Sar Kiladi.
To make matters worse, Theo is considered “physically challenged,” with too-fast reflexes that cause frequent accidents. The University wants Kamele to agree to drug Theo “for her own good,” but the supposedly safe drugs have unacceptable and permanent cognitive effects. (Those familiar with the Liaden Universe novels will recognize Theo’s “problems” as coming of growing into pilot reflexes.) Kamele’s career situation has political ramifications that blow back onto poor Theo as well, which the girl doesn’t need.
Theo deals with all of the above and more in believable and admirable ways. She stretches and shows herself to be growing into a remarkable young lady, fit to be the subject of a Liaden Universe novel. I’m glad I have Saltation (Theo Waitley, #2) on hand, because I look forward to seeing more of who she grows up to be.
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Well, Armstrong definitely closed the series with a bang. I enjoyed this volume so much that I’m tempted to go back and re-read the entire series just to have more right now.
All the characters we’ve gotten to know are back: Clay, Elena, Jaime and Jeremy, Hope and Karl, Paige and Lucas, Eve and Kristof, Adam, Sean, Bryce, and Benicio. Savannah, however, is the center of this novel while the others weave in and out of the action.
Savannah Levine was a child when she was introduced in one of the earliest books of the series, Stolen. She is definitely a full adult now, capable of holding her own with or without spells. She is also an incredible nexus of influence — and those who want to use or influence her just don’t take “no” for an answer no matter how forcefully she says it.
The Supernatural Liberation Movement (SLM) wants to use Savannah in their quest to bring supernaturals into the open, but she isn’t interested. She’s been fighting their agents since Waking the Witch, but some of the plots their primary members are associated in go all the way back to Stolen. These are the people who killed Eve, so why would Savannah help them?
Armstrong has done a masterful job of weaving little threads together from all the different books so that they wind up in one neat package. I was enthralled from the first word through the last, but satisfied with where she left the characters. I look forward to reading any new stories she chooses to tell in the Otherworld, but I can see that this round is finished. Kudos to her for a job well done.
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Current Mood: Happy
I’m so pleased that Lee and Miller decided to give us the story of Daav and Aelliana after Pilots Choice. (Earlier they had claimed that there was nothing to tell there.)
The story is a lovely one, definitely romantic, told almost entirely from Aelliana’s point of view. Those who have read the other Liaden novels know how it will end, but the details are well worth reading. It fills in some details that are helpful to know leading up to Fledgling (Theo Waitley, #1).
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Current Mood: Happy
I’m spending the next few days with Katie, so I won’t be online much. See y’all at the end of the week! (I’ll try to schedule a few blog posts to fill in.)
Journeys, literal or otherwise, are the theme of this young adult anthology. Appropriately enough, it was conceived as the result of a book tour.
“Giovanni’s Farewell” by Claudia Gray is a sweet, coming-of-age story of sorts. The twist is that it features a brother and sister, twins, rather than just one person. They visit Rome with a school group while dealing with major changes in their lives. There was too much background crammed into a short story, but it was interesting.
Carrie Ryan’s “Scenic Route” is a disturbing, post-apocalyptic story set in the world of The Forest of Hands and Teeth about two young sisters trying to survive in an isolated cabin. The older sister keeps the younger one occupied with the planning of a road trip that will never happen, always hoping against hope that the girl won’t realize what their reality is. How long can they stay isolated enough to survive? Bloody, frightening, and visceral.
“Red Run” by Kami Garcia is the story of a girl who has lost the only person she loves in the world, and the trip she takes to avenge his death. How do you hunt a ghost? Maybe it isn’t fair, coming right after Ryan’s story, but I didn’t truly feel the main character’s feelings.
Jackson Pearce’s “Things About Love” is a sweet story involving a jinn researching love. I felt like I’d come into the middle of something, so I checked and found that she’s written a novel, As You Wish, in the same setting. While this story technically stands on its own, it would probably be enriched by having read As You Wish.
“Niederwald” by Rachel Vincent is the first story I’ve read in her Soul Screamers series. Sabine, a macha (nightmare), takes a road trip with a human acquaintance and detours to Niederwald, Texas, home to the harpies. No, there’s no way that could go wrong. Of course you know from the moment they hit the parking lot that it will go wrong, but at least it’s an interesting sort of wrong.
Melissa Marr’s “Merely Mortal” feels as though it’s probably set in the same world as her Wicked Lovely series.
“Facing Facts” by Kelley Armstrong is set in her Darkest Powers universe. I read the first of those books, but obviously a lot has passed since then, and there were spoilers in this story. It really centers around Chloe and Tori, with a little Derek tossed in. Tori learns something she doesn’t want to know and reacts badly, running off on her own, which is dangerous. Chloe goes after her and they get into trouble. That seemed rather predictable to me, but at least the type of trouble wasn’t what I expected. Tori doesn’t seem to have changed since the first book, but Chloe is coming into control of her abilities.
Sarah Rees Brennan’s “Let’s Get this Undead Show on the Road” is about a boy band that features a vampire, Christian. He’s an unusual vampire, all alone without a nest or a sire. His journey seems to be about his identity as a vampire, although the band is on tour and has another sort of journey to make, as well.
“Bridge” by Jeri Smith-Ready is told from a ghost’s point of view, 233 days after death. It’s frustrating being a ghost, because most people can’t see or hear you. There are things you have to accomplish before moving on, though, that require communication with the living. Finding a “bridge” and working things out takes a lot of effort. This was a touching story, bittersweet and well-told.
Kimberly Derting’s “Skin Contact” nearly broke me. Rafe is looking for his girlfriend. He knows where he needs to go, and he’s guided by dreams. This story nearly broke me. It’s told sparingly, and something feels perfectly right about it, but it hurts. According to her author biography, Rafe was introduced in her novel Desires of the Dead.
“Leaving” by Ally Condie is a very literary story, about a girl left behind after her mother dies and her father leaves. She spends the story preparing to go after her father. It’s hard to describe much more than that, or to have much of an opinion. It was well-written and I think I’ll probably remember it for a long time.
Jessica Verday’s “At The Late Night, Double Feature, Picture Show” is a darkly funny story about a girl from a family of monster hunters. She’s usually the bait, but tonight she has decided to be the hunter — without backup. I’d like to read more from Verday.
“IV League” by Margaret Stohl just didn’t hit me right. It’s the story of a bunch of southern vampires on a college tour, which could have been funny but wasn’t written that way. The whole thing just didn’t sit well with me, perhaps because the main character seemed too unrealistically out of touch for someone who obviously had access to television and the internet.
Mary E. Pearson’s “Gargouille” is the most touching love story in the collection. Just read it.
“The Third Kind” by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is, on the surface, about a road trip to San Antonio. The real journey is much deeper, one of coming to understanding one’s calling.
Rachel Caine’s Morganville is the setting for her “Automatic.” I think I’ve read a Morganville novella, but my memory of it is dim. The Morganville Blood Bank introduces an automated withdrawal machine, essentially a soda can dispenser. Michael Glass is ordered to try it first, as a demonstration for the older, more traditional vampires, with unexpected results. His journey is one of self-knowledge. I didn’t really care much about him, his journey, his girlfriend, or anything else. The setting and characters do nothing for me, but your mileage may vary.
Altogether, the anthology was worth reading. There were some low spots, but that’s true of any collection. To be fair, I’m sure someone who is more enthusiastic about young adult fiction would also be more enthusiastic about the works here.
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