While I’m traveling & don’t have great signal to post a long post (and I’m finishing up my current read), I thought I’d recommend a book that I initially reviewed back in 2015, The Glittering World by Robert Levy. This is a great Spooktober read, in my opinion! It’s kind of a supernatural thriller/ dark fantasy with a great creep factor to it. It deserves so much love!!
Here’s the initial review of it:
Go! Read! Enjoy!
Author: Heidi Helig
Series: For a Muse of Fire
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Jetta and her parents are shadow players, and thanks to Jetta’s powerful ability, they have become the most famous troupe in Chakrana. Jetta, you see, holds the power of blood magic. She is able to see the souls of the departed and, using her blood, bind them to her shadow puppets (or paper, leaves, people…). This allows her to control the puppets without strings. It is also forbidden under the new regime. In their war-torn country, however, their skill is the best way for them to earn money and a way to Aquatan. Rumor has it that the Mad King found a spring there that helped to cure his melheur. Jetta needs that cure… As they are on the way, they are forced to join forces with a young smuggler (Leo) who has secrets of his own, and eyes that seem to see right through to the heart of Jetta’s secrets. As they make deals with one another, and attempt to make their way forward, they must all face decisions and truths that they never imagined and wonder if they will make it out alive.
This is the first book in a new trilogy from the lovely Heidi Heilig. It is much different from The Girl From Everywhere duology, but one can definitely tell that it is Heilig’s voice in this novel. It took me a little while to write this review, because I have a lot to say, but was not really sure how to start. First, the writing is absolutely beautiful. It moves at a smooth pace, and doesn’t ever really waver. There were no really slow parts, that books of this length can sometimes suffer from. It wasn’t overly wordy, it just had a lot to say. The story itself was interwoven with sheet music, letters, excerpts from plays, maps, and other documents that truly enriched the storyline. The world building was phenomenal. The rich Asian cultural elements mixed with the French-inspired colonialism paints a vivid picture. Once that it combined with the beautifully written folklore and Heilig’s writing of this fantasy world, it is definitely hard to put down.
Now, let’s get to the characters. As it should be, this was the heart of the story. These characters, not only the leading lady but the more secondary players as well, were so well written and multi-dimensional that I truly felt for them, and felt that I knew them, by the end of the book. Jetta, is struggling. It has been confirmed as canon that she is bipolar, but if you have ever known and loved someone who is bipolar you won’t need me to tell you that. She makes these amazingly impulsive decisions while in these high, manic periods that feel so right at the time that she is making them. She is sure that they will work out, and that she is doing the only thing that can be done. She then goes in to her depressive periods that leave her tired, weary, and questioning all of the decisions that she made while in her manic state. She believed that she was seeing things clearly, but it’s like everything slows down, and she can see it all in slow motion and truly grasp what has happened and the possible consequences. Heilig allowed this to be very visible to the reader, so it truly made Jetta a more relatable character and showed the drive behind her decision-making processes. On another note, the reader may catch that Jetta appears to be drawn to several different characters at different times- it has also been confirmed as canon that she is queer, which just makes her character even more interesting and well rounded. Leo is another wonderfully complex character. I mentioned earlier that he has his own secrets (which I won’t reveal here), but he is incredibly well fleshed out, complex, and so well written. Jetta’s parents, too, have their own secrets that they are hiding, their own struggles, worries, and concerns, and are very well rounded and relatable characters. You can feel their struggles as they are attempting to make the decisions that are the smart decisions, not the easy ones.
I can easily say that this is the best book that I have read thus far this year, and it is going to be very difficult to beat. If you are a fan of wonderful, rich fantasy, please give this one a try!
The review of For a Muse of Fire will be coming up this afternoon/evening. I just…it’s taking me a bit to get all of my thoughts organized to pull a cohesive review together for you. Stay tuned…
Note: I think this is my favorite book this year, so far…
You Guys!!! The Circle of Shadows (new love coming from the one and only Evelyn Skye) cover is here!!!
Isn’t it gorgeous??!! I am so excited about this new work from her!! As I’m sure you all remember, her Crown’s Game duology has a very special place in my heart (and on my shelf), so I can’t wait to see what she gives us with this! If you would like to read about it, here is the link to the GR page!
Publisher: WordFire Press
I was asked by one of the authors of this anthology to review this book for the release, and I am so glad that he asked me to do this! I absolutely loved it! The stories included in this compilation range from strange and creepy to outright scary, and there was not one of them that I can honestly say that I just didn’t enjoy. There were some, however, that stood out for me. One that really stood out for me was The Kraken’s Story by Robert J. McCarter. THe reason that this one stood out, in my mind, was the POV that it was told from: the Kraken’s. I do believe that this is the first time that I have read a story told from the POV of a Kraken, and it was very different (in a good way!). One of the stories that I just loved was Gregory D. Little’s A Marsh Called Solitude. The writing was beautiful, with wonderfully developed characters. It feels like he was able to put so much in to a short story. It is the writing that I have come to expect from him in a neat little package. One of my other favorites has to be Sea Dreams, written by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta. The writing was also very lovely in this story, and the underlying message of friendship is an important one.
If you love short stories (we all know that I love them by now!) and sci-fi/fantasy, I think that you will really enjoy this anthology. You are getting so much packed in to this one book!
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Series: Passenger Duology
Genre: YA Fantasy
Etta Spencer is a violin prodigy, determined to play her debut and make her way in the professional music world. In one night, everything that she knows and loves is ripped from her, as she is torn from her world and her time, and forced to travel years from her home. She didn’t even know that this was possible until her legacy was forced upon her. Nicholas Carter is living his life upon the open seas, free from a family and burden that have plagued him for years. The sudden arrival of Etta upon his ship, however, changes all of that for him. He must now journey through time with her to find a powerful object that this family believes that only Etta can find for them.
I decided to start the year out re-reading this fun novel that I read, but didn’t review, at the end of last year. I really, really enjoyed this story. The writing was beautiful. The character development was great. It was much better than I have been seeing in many YA novels of late. The world building was phenomenal! I felt that I was on the journey with them, and I wanted to keep going! Fortunately, I am about to re-join all of our players in the sequel of this duology, Wayfarer. You can look for that review to come sometime in February. One thing that I truly enjoyed about this YA was that, while there was a bit of a romantic element to the story, it wasn’t so heavy on the romance that it overtook the rest of the story. It also wasn’t an overly anguished YA romance, which was refreshing. If you enjoy time travel adventure in your fantasy, this is a great book to look in to!