Monday, July 14, 2014

Book Review: Cast in Flame

Cast in Flame (Chronicles of Elantra #10)
By Michelle Sagara
eGalley provided by NetGalley

"On the second day after her return to Elantra, the city she policed as a groundhawk, Private Kaylin Neya fell out of bed, daggers in hands, knees bent. After one confused moment, she sheathed her daggers, took a brief look around the otherwise empty royal guest chambers that served as her temporary home, and let loose a volley of Leontine curses." --Cast in Flame, Michelle Sagara

I really, truly love this series. Every time I pick up a new book in The Chronicles of Elantra, I think that I should re-read the previous titles to refresh the story (these books are dense and a refresher would be helpful), but I can never put off reading the newest book! And after a chapter or so I'm so deep in the world that it doesn't matter anymore.

In every fantasy world there are rules for how the world works, and generally those rules center around some kind of magic. In Sagara's world, there's plenty of magic, but the power in the magic is in "true words." I love that there's a whole fictional world built on the power of words. I also love that Kaylin (our heroine), though armed, generally saves the day by compassion and hope, rather than epic sword-fighting or laser-beam eyes.

In Cast in Flame, Kaylin has just arrived back in Elantra after her eventful trip to the West March. She's still homeless and living (uncomfortably) in the Palace. Her dragon roommate is having issues with the Dragon Court, and the Barrani that returned from the Green are causing trouble, too. Kaylin has to sort out a new threat AND find lodging that will accept a dragon and the Dragon Court's intrusion, and she's not sure which job will be more difficult.

A great addition to a great series!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Book Review: Fangirl

By Rainbow Rowell
“To really be a nerd, she'd decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.” ― Rainbow RowellFangirl
I'm not sure I know how to put into words the love I have for this book and the joy I took in reading it. I devoured it the way that Magicath's fans devoured her entries of Carry On, Simon. I felt connected to Cath in a way that I haven't felt connected to a character in...well, maybe ever. 

I don't want to go into too many details, since so many of the situations that affected Cath and who she was and how she related to the reader felt more powerful for me not knowing about them in advance. But a quick rundown: Cath, full name Cather Avery, is an identical twin (her sister is Wren), a freshman in college, and a majorly popular fan-fiction author of Carry On, Simon (fic for Rowell's fictional story-within-a-story creation similar in feel and popularity to the world of Harry Potter).

Fangirl follows Cath as she struggles through her freshman year. The story sucked me back into my college years (which aren't terribly far removed, but still pre-YouTube) and the excitement and anxieties (especially those) related to that time in my life. And if I had known that fan-fiction was a thing, I totally would have been involved in it; maybe not as a writer, but definitely as a reader. So while my experiences weren't like Cath's, I feel like we're almost a little kindred. 

I don't feel like I'm doing this review justice; it may be too close still for me to coherently express my feelings, other than grunt "unngg, LOVE." But I will add this: Levi is my new book boyfriend. He rates right up there with Gilbert Blythe and Forney. No, actually, he wins. 

This book completes me.

P.S. I love the fact that this is a stand-alone novel, that the story is complete and I don't have to wait for the next installment, but I do wish it could go on (I guess that's what fan-fiction is for).

P.P.S. Isn't that the best cover ever? I think it's the best cover ever.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Book Review: Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet

Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet (Charley Davidson #4) 
By Darynda Jones

“I lowered the gun but didn’t holster it. Not just yet. She could turn out to be psychotic. Or a door-to-door salesperson.” 
― Darynda JonesFourth Grave Beneath My Feet

A little background on the series: Charley Davidson is a PI and helps out the cops as a consultant, namely her dad as she was growing up and now her uncle. It turns out it's a lot easier solving homicides when you can talk to the murdered folks. Charley not only sees dead people, but she's the grim reaper -- she helps the dead with their unfinished business and they can pass through her to the other side. She's also incredibly sassy, which I love. Oh, and she's kinda dating the son of Satan (literally, not figuratively).

Back to Book #4. In most urban fantasies, the main character goes through a lot -- much of it violent and bloody -- but generally they bounce back from horrible events pretty quick. In Third, Charley was tortured. In Fourth, there are actual ramifications for that torture. One thing I really liked about this book is that Charley suffers from PTSD; she's afraid of leaving her apartment and feels fear with the slightest provocation. It brought more reality to the fantasy.

Now, it's a rare event for me to guess the mystery before it's revealed, so it's not strange that the mystery and twist with the PI investigation came as a surprise to me, but I still like it when that happens. And the danger-level (as well as what Charley is able to do with her as yet undiscovered powers) was also raised this time around, so I'm looking forward to where the story goes in book five.

Highly recommended.