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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Posted by Cyn | Filed under Friends
Current Mood: Flirtatious
Then I spent several hours chatting with an old friend online. We got all caught up and he taught me something, too. We shared some great memories. I’ll be going to be remembering a certain velvet and satin dress and Maroc, the perfume I wore when I met him.
Current Mood: Bored
Chance must have thought readers were bored with the Cassandra/Mircea match, because much of this book is spent with Cassie falling for Pritkin without really being aware that she’s getting into dangerous territory.
Palmer isn’t one of my favorite characters. She isn’t an ass-kicker, but she’s probably somewhat more realistic than most paranormal heroines for that fact. She’s coming into her own by standing up to Mircea more in this volume, but she does it in childish ways. I find her annoying partially because I’d hate to try protecting her from herself, much less anyone else.
I don’t honestly understand why Mircea and Pritkin are attracted to her, either, but part of the romance formula is the heroine has to be irresistible to at least one, preferably more than one man. I do find Mircea and Pritkin interesting (they just have bad taste in women), so they and the plots hold my interest.
To be fair, Cassie seems to be growing up a little bit. Not entirely, but she’s growing a little. She does vehemently claim to care about whether or not other people get hurt trying to protect her.
This book also serves as backstory time for Mircea and Pritkin, as we learn a lot more about their pasts. Things drag a bit while they relate their stories, and in fact there seems to be little point in what we hear from Mircea (readers of the series already know a lot about his family and history).
Altogether, I wouldn’t have read it if I weren’t already so far into the series. I do wish Chance would switch focus to another character. (I’m aware of the Dorina Basarab series set in the same universe, and consider them to be better books in general). I suppose that’s unlikely, seeing as it’s the Cassandra Palmer series.
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At the end of Waking the Witch, Savannah silently thought that if it would reunite an orphan with her grandmother, Savannah would gladly give up her powers. Something heard her and took her up on that unintended deal, and she finds herself powerless for the first time in her life.
Savannah has always been so very powerful that she has counted on her spells more than most witches or sorcerors do, so she finds living without them to be very difficult — especially since a witch hunter and others are after her. There’s a Supernatural Liberation Movement that wants to use her as one of its figureheads, with or without her coÃ¶peration, in their quest to bring supernaturals out of the closet and into the spotlight. She has to do some serious soul-searching and growth in the process of avoiding enemies and getting creative about staying alive.
The plot moves extremely quickly, so much so that I couldn’t keep track of what day it was in the book. In fact, it moves right into the plot of 13. I’m having fits because I don’t have it on hand, and I just can’t wait for the library to get around to me on the hold list — I might have to break down and buy it instead.
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Current Mood: Cool
Leave it to Aguirre to take her heroine in a direction that is apparently pissing off at least half of her readers (those who expected romance). Sirantha Jax is in fine form in Aftermath, staying strong and true to herself through an all-new set of trials (literally) and troubles. Loyal Velith stays by her side throughout, continuing to depict a friendship that goes beyond mere romance.
I don’t normally mine books for quotes as I read them, but two bits stuck with me from this book. Musing, Jax thinks, “… the world moves on, even when you don’t want it to, even when change feels like the end of everything. It never stops. That’s harsh and magical and somewhat comforting because nothing is immutable, however much we want it to be. Moments cannot be caught like fossils in amber, ever-perfect, ever-beautiful. They go dark and raw, full of shadows, leaving you with the memories. And the world moves on.”
Later, Velith says, “The heart is not a glass of water, but more like an endlessly pumping spring.”
There is so much wisdom about love and relationships in those words that I will remember this book far longer than the plot details will necessarily stay with me.
The plot is, of course, as can always be expected of Aguirre, good. It hangs together well. There was a little drag this time, but not much. I am eagerly awaiting the release of Endgame later this month, and will be purchasing it as soon as it’s released.
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