Monday, December 12, 2011
by Elizabeth Miles
It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But all is not as it seems...
Em is thrilled that the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend. And on the other side of town, Chase’s social life is unraveling and the stress of his home life is starting to take its toll. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel....And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.
In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. There are three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—to choose who will pay. Em and Chase have been chosen. (description from Amazon.com)
This book was interesting. I liked the contemporary stories dealing with Em's relationship dilemma and Chase's horrific betrayal. I liked the concept of the Furies punishing those who broke life's moral rules.
But, something felt like it was missing... I felt a disconnect - like the two parts of the story did not match up. Maybe part of it was that Miles wrote this knowing it was part of a trilogy, so not everything about the Furies needed to be revealed. I longed through this book for...more. More about where the Furies came from, more about how they choose their victims, more about where they go when their "job" is done.
I'm really hoping that in the next book in the series, much more will be revealed. I would love to see more of the mythology behind the Furies!
2011 Debut Author Challenge title
"If You Like…” is a feature highlighting blogger recommendations for books, authors, TV shows, movies, and music based on the things you already know and love.
This week's recommendations are all books, movies, TV shows, and music that feature "New Adulthood," the twenty-something years...the transition to college...becoming a real adult. A seriously underrepresented section in YA Literature! For our recommendations, check here!
Sunday, December 11, 2011
The Faceless Ones
by Derek Landy
Skulduggery Pleasant, book three
Valkyrie screamed, sprinting toward Skulduggery.
He looked up and reached out to her, but it was too late.
If you've read the other Skulduggery Pleasant books by Derek Landy (and you really should have read them by now), you've seen it all before: Some bad guy wants to bring about the end of the world, and Skulduggery and Valkyrie fight valiantly to stop it from happening. A few people get hurt, sure, but everything's all right in the end.
Well, not this time. (description from Amazon.com)
Though I really enjoyed the first two books in this series, I found it really hard to get into the third. I don't know if it was because I was reading it at work and so only read a chapter or so at a time, but there were a LOT of characters to keep track of and the plot didn't suck me right in.
I did like that Valkyrie is starting to have to reconcile her "real" life with her magical one. I also really liked the plot in the last quarter of the book. There were some cool chase scenes, but overall I was a little disappointed in this book.
However, the very end has a great hook and I may have to pick up the next one just to see what happens next. We'll see...
My Life in Pink and Green
by Lisa Greenwald
Twelve-year-old Lucy Desberg is a natural problem-solver. At her family’s struggling pharmacy, she has a line of makeover customers for every school dance and bat mitzvah. But all the makeup tips in the world won’t help save the business. If only she could find a way to make it the center of town again—a place where people want to spend time, like in the old days. Lucy dreams up a solution that could resuscitate the family business and help the environment, too. But will Lucy’s family stop fighting long enough to listen to a seventh-grader? (description from Amazon.com)
This was a very cute tween read. Perfect for a girl that wants to learn to become more confident in her own abilities. Great for a tween who's just starting to think about boys.
Lucy is a very sweet and smart girl. She makes a goal for herself and she sticks with it. She treats everyone as well as she can, even if she doesn't like them. She wants the best for her friends and family.
This is one of those books that you will breeze through and just end up smiling when you are done reading it. It probably won't stick with you forever, but if you're looking for a "beach" type read, this would be a great choice.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
by Kenneth Oppel
Ben Tomlin was an only child for thirteen years. Then his parents brought home a baby chimp.
It isn't long before Ben is Zan's favourite, and Ben starts to see Zan as more than just an experiment. His father disagrees. Soon Ben is forced to make a critical choice between what he is told to believe and what he knows to be true -- between obeying his father or protecting his brother from an unimaginable fate. (description from author's website)
I was really impressed with the majority of this book. I loved the relationship between Ben and Zan, Ben's friendship with the research assistant, Peter, and the troubled family dynamics that Oppel explored once Zan became part of Ben's family.
To truly appreciate some aspects of this book, you have to remember that it's set in the 1970's. Oppel drops a lot of great hints, but it's not until a small, but significant portion of the book has been read, that Ben confirms the year. It was nice to finally know for sure that this was the 70s.
Once you knew the setting, though, it makes the perfect backdrop for not only the familial issues that Ben was experiencing, but also for his troubled romantic life. The sweetness of his attempts to worship the pretty, popular girl and his complete and utter failure to finally win her. (Don't worry...not a true spoiler! There are other happenings in the cards for Ben!!)
The real star of this book, though, will always be Zan. Not only is he unique and interesting simply because he is a chimpanzee, but he is lovable and sweet because of who he was raised to be. Zan is his own, fantastic character that steals the show 100%.
City of Orphans
The streets of 1893 New York are full of life: crowded, filthy, dangerous.
If you are a newsboy like thirteen-year- old Maks Geless, you need to watch out for Bruno, leader of the Plug Ugly Gang whose shadowy, sinister boss is plotting to take control of all the newsies on the lower East Side.
With Bruno’s boys in fierce pursuit, Maks discovers Willa, a strange girl who lives alone in an alley. It is she, stick in hand, who fights off the Plug Uglies--but further dangers await. Maks must find a way to free his sister Emma from The Tombs, the city jail where she has been imprisoned for stealing a watch at the glamorous new Waldorf Hotel. Maks, believing her innocent, has only four days to prove it.
Fortunately, there is Bartleby Donck, the eccentric lawyer (among other employments) to guide Maks and Willa in the art of detection. Against a backdrop alive with the sights and sounds of tenement New York, Maks, as boy detective, must confront a teeming world of wealth and crime, while struggling against powerful forces threatening new immigrants and the fabric of family love. (description from Amazon.com)
I thoroughly enjoyed this historical adventure.
Maks and Willa were both strong, interesting characters. Their friends and family were also fascinating and well fleshed out. There were people representing all facets of live in New York City in the 1890s.
Avi did an amazing job creating a vibrant and living historical New York City. It felt as if you could walk right into the lobby of the Waldorf. You could smell the garbage on the streets. You could feel the cold, hard floor that Willa slept on...
Though I was able to connect all the mystery dots before the end of the book, it was so intriguing to see everything actually play out that I did not mind at all. I loved watching Maks and Willa actually put everything together as they figured out pieces of the puzzle.
What’s the Buzz about 21st Century Libraries? A Virtual Panel Discussion - From Jonathan Maberry's Big, Scary Blog
For those of you in the CT area, not only was I interviewed, but two of my great friends in the YA community, Geri DiOrio from the Ridgefield Public Library, and Andrea Ingala from the Windsor Public Library, were also participants!!
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
by April Henry
Sixteen year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of a car while her mom fills her prescription at the pharmacy. Before Cheyenne realizes what's happening, their car is being stolen--with her inside! Griffin hadn’t meant to kidnap Cheyenne, all he needed to do was steal a car for the others. But once Griffin's dad finds out that Cheyenne’s father is the president of a powerful corporation, everything changes—now there’s a reason to keep her. What Griffin doesn’t know is that Cheyenne is not only sick with pneumonia, she is blind. How will Cheyenne survive this nightmare, and if she does, at what price? (description from Amazon.com)
This was a really well done book. I was impressed by how Henry really gives insight into what it's like to lose your vision and then having to relearn how to do everything without sight. Cheyenne's struggles to have a regular day to day life and completely compounded by her victimization. She is a strong character that you couldn't help but root for through and through.
This book also brought up a lot of really great questions - about morality, about what makes a person good or bad, whether or not you can be forgiven for making a serious mistake. Can Griffin overcome the horrible things he was taught by his father? If Griffin kidnapped Cheyenne, but then tries to help her, is Griffin a good guy or a bad guy? Is anyone really good or bad?
Finally, as a dog lover and someone who has two dogs that are both part bully breeds (pit bull, basically), I loved the dog component in this book. Not only do you hear a lot about Cheyenne's seeing eye dog, but she ends up rescuing a junk yard pit-bull. She proves that dogs are not inherently mean, but are taught to be by bad people... I loved it!
Saturday, December 3, 2011
by Hilari Bell
The Raven Duet, book two
Publication Date: March 20, 2012
When Jason catches the small bag that a girl throws to him at the Canadian/Alaskan border during a gun fight, all he can think is that the bag must contain drugs. But if the small, brown powder is some sort of illegal substance, it's certainly nothing he's ever seen before.
Jase is half right. He's never seen this stuff before, but it's not drugs. The bag contains magical dust, a substance so powerful, it can heal the earth.
So powerful, certain creatures think nothing of killing him to get it. (description from back jacket)
I have to admit that I have not read the first book in The Raven Duet, Trickster's Girl, but now having read its counterpart, eventually I want to go back and eventually get to it. I haven't actually read anything by Hilari Bell before, but I liked her writing style.
First of all, this book was surprisingly short. In the new days of most YA books coming in easily at 300 pages, this one is only just over 200. And yet, it packed a lot of punch. The characters were interesting, the world was intriguing, and the danger was scintillating.
This book is set in Alaska in the 2080's. The world has become very technologically advanced and dependent, yet because of the native Alaskan tribes, Jase's world is a mixture of the old beliefs and magics, and the new. His family is in turmoil, precisely due to this dichotomy.
The world is also suffering. Humans have literally poisoned the planet (the environmental message is strongly present in this duet) and it's up to the mysterious Raven to get humans to help heal the earth. The spirit worlds lie alongside ours and certain people, like Jase, can actual travel them.
This book will not appeal to everyone, but if you are intrigued by the idea of spirit travels, magic, and environmental issues (almost like Fern Gully!), you might want to check this book, and its predecessor, out!
Full disclosure: ARC received to review for SLJ
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
by Sophie Jordan
Firelight, book two
An Impossible Romance.
To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.
Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love? (description from Amazon.com)
I loved that this book took place within the Draki Pride. We got to see so much more of how their day to day lives worked...their secrets...their rituals. There was more description of the different types of Draki and we got to see them in action. <3
My heart broke for several of the characters. There's a lot of unrequited love (/stalker-esque obsession/passion) going on in this book. Without giving spoilers, I can really only say that I am SUPER intrigued to see how the group that leaves the Pride at the end is going to interact later as they all have some very convoluted feelings...
I cannot wait for the next Draki adventure!! TEAM DRAKI all the way :)
Full disclosure: ARC received from NetGalley
Monday, November 28, 2011
by Rachel Caine
The Revivalist, book one
Bryn Davis was killed on the job after discovering her bosses were selling a drug designed to resurrect the dead. Now, revived by that same drug, she becomes an undead soldier in a corporate war to take down the very pharmaceutical company responsible for her new condition... (description from Amazon.com)
This was a surprisingly believable version of a zombie tale. It was one I picked up for fun because I love Rachel Caine's books and because I've become somewhat obsessed with the zombie apocalypse concept...but, I really, really enjoyed this one - and not just as the "breeze through it" kind of read!
Bryn was a really interesting, really strong character. A former soldier, she chooses to honor the dead that she saw so often on the battlefield by going into the mortuary science field. Unfortunately, she doesn't last through her first day at work. Now, she has to figure out how to live with being undead. *smirk*
What surprised me most is that there is a romance component to this book and rather than being totally turned off, I found it really sweet! They even really address the issue like adults (that was a slightly hilarious scene)...
All in all a fun read. I think I'll pick up book two when it hits the shelves.
2011 Zombie Reading Challenge title
by Caragh O'Brien
In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the wall and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife, Gaia Stone, who live outside. Gaia has always believed it is her duty, with her mother, to hand over a small quota of babies to the Enclave. But when Gaia’s mother and father are arrested by the very people they so dutifully serve, Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught to believe. Gaia’s choice is now simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying. (description from Amazon.com)
I really enjoyed this dystopia. I thought that O'Brien did a really great job slowly revealing where and when this took place. (I really enjoyed having the included "map" of the area to reference, too...) I thought it was an interesting conundrum to address...what would happen if an insular society kept breeding only within its own walls...
I really enjoyed how sheltered Gaia was initially and how she slowly begins to piece together the moral horrors of her "perfect" enclave society. It made her seem a much stronger character that she was just innocent of the knowledge originally and then as she came to learn things, she faced them head on, refusing to back down from what she knew was right.
I really felt like all the secrets connected to her nuclear family really brought home all of the dysfunctions of this society, too. Gaia was not above dealing with any of the issues, because each affected her directly in some way.
Well done. I'm looking forward to reading Prized soon!
I am super excited.
It's finally official.
I gave my notice at my current job today, and the countdown is on...
Starting the week after Christmas I will be the new Youth Services Librarian at the West Springfield Public Library in Massachusetts!
It's hilarious because, even though I live in CT, I already live close enough to the Mass border that my new job will be a closer drive, even though it's technically a state away! LOL.
I'm excited to see all of the new, exciting things that I will get to experience in a new place, and though I will sincerely miss all of my CT Librarian friends, I'm not moving away, so I'm sure we'll still find ways to get together!!
Sunday, November 27, 2011
by Christopher Paolini
Inheritance Cycle, book four
Not so very long ago, Eragon—Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider—was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders.
Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chances.
The Rider and his dragon have come further than anyone dared to hope. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to Alagaësia? And if so, at what cost? (description from Amazon.com)
It's going to be hard to write a decent review of this book without being spoilery, but I'm going to try.
As with Paolini's second and third book, there were moments that I felt dragged a little. It's hard not to have that happen, though, when you are writing a book about such an epic journey to the destruction and recreation of a kingdom. Even Tolkein's epic Lord of the Rings trilogy had moments that felt too long.
However, aside from some slight draggishness in certain parts, I thought Paolini did an excellent job ending this series. There were no easy outs. It was a very difficult and illuminating journey. Many of the characters suffered and learned new things about themselves and where they stand in regards to the other Alagaesians. Though my heart ached in spots, this was a very realistic ending.
While parts made me tear up, and I somehow wished that the ending could have been changed just a little (even as I fully acknowledged that this ending was right), other parts made my heart sing. For every shred of doubt and darkness in this book, there is a shining beacon of hope. It is very well balanced.
When I finished, I was satisfied. Though there are a few more things I would like to learn....I have my suspicions about a few things, too (like who Angela the herbalist may really be...), and thankfully Paolini says in his author's note that though there will not be any more books featuring this specific cast of main characters, he plans to someday revisit Alagaesia and perhaps shine some light on those questions unanswered. YAY!
Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for AudioFile
Friday, November 25, 2011
Just for Fins
by Tera Lynn Childs
Fins series, book three
Isn't this another fantastic cover for a mermaid book??
Publication date: July 3, 2012
When Lily Sanderson decided to remain Crown Princess Waterlily of the mermaid kingdom Thalassinia, she knew she couldn’t just coast along in the current. But since she’s spent the last couple of years on land—with gorgeous human Quince by her side—Lily’s not sure she has the fins to lead a kingdom. Even her maddeningly pretentious cousin Dosinia seems to know more about ruling than she does.
But Lily has to dive in deep to keep her promise to Tellin, her mer bond in name only, whose kingdom is suffering in the changing ocean climate. Lily knows this is a seven seas–sized problem: from sea animals dying to oil spills and threats to humans. They’ll need to create some serious waves to make the mer community aware and get it to join together to make things right. Even if that means facing one of the iciest queens in the mer kingdoms.
Just when Lily thinks her double life on land and sea can’t get any more complicated, an ancient mer law might separate Lily and Quince after all. It feels as if the pair is up against a solid tsunami wave!
In this third installment in the series that began with Forgive My Fins and Fins Are Forever, Lily will have to find a way to balance safety and justice for the mer people as well as for the humans she loves. (description from Goodreads.com)
Lola and the Boy Next Door
by Stephanie Perkins
companion to Anna and the French Kiss
For budding costume designer Lola Nolan, the more outrageous, the outfit-—more sparkly, more fun, more wild-—the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins move back into the house next door.
When the family returns and Cricket-—a gifted inventor and engineer—steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. (description from Amazon.com)
Stephanie Perkins truly has a gift! She writes budding romance like no other currently in contemporary YA. Her romances are natural, realistic, believable, and swoon-worthy.
I was beyond delighted with many facets of this book. First off, can I just say, HOORAY for a love for the BOY NEXT DOOR!! I am a HUGE fan of this type of romance - boy next door, best friend since forever, etc. - and definitely feel that these nice guys do not get the recognition and love that they deserve often enough. Super huge kudos for that.
Second, I loved that Lola had two Dads. I loved that it was just the make-up of their family and there was no drama about that. It's just who they were. I loved that they were the guys that they were, too. They were both good, caring, fun Dads.
I loved that Lola was...well, Lola. She was fun, she was free, she experimented, she pushed the envelope, and she didn't apologize for herself. I felt so bad when someone else caused her to begin to doubt herself, and was so glad when Cricket reminded her that who she was...was just perfect. <3
I loved the way that Lola and Cricket interacted with each other. I loved the way that they strengthened each other. I loved the way that though they may have each doubted themselves, they never doubted each other. I loved their love. Every time I look up into the sky at night from this day forward, I will look at the stars and think of Lola and Cricket.
Worthy of a gold star? Absolutely. You should read this one immediately.
by Rebecca Barnhouse
companion to The Coming of the Dragon
Publication date: March 27, 2012
Sixteen-year-old Hild has always been a favorite of her uncle, king of the Shylfings. So when she protects her cousin the crown prince from a murderous traitor, she expects the king to be grateful. Instead, she is unjustly accused of treachery herself.
As punishment, her uncle sends Hild far away to the heir of the enemy king, Beowulf, to try to weave peace between the two kingdoms. She must leave her home and everyone she loves. On the long and perilous journey, Hild soon discovers that fatigue and rough terrain are the least of her worries. Something is following her and her small band of guards—some kind of foul creature that tales say lurks in the fens. Will Hild have to face the monster? Or does it offer her the perfect chance to escape the destiny she never chose? (description from Amazon.com)
I thought that Hild was a very brave and honorable character. She is accused of great treachery and banished from her home, yet she still does what she knows is right and saves the lives of those who do not care for her. She manages to earn their respect and love. As she becomes resigned to the fact that she cannot change her fate, she chooses to embrace it and the good that it will mean someday to her new people.
I really enjoyed the slightly magical adventure that is Hild's journey to her new kingdom. I would be very interested to read a sequel, though, to see how things progress as Hild becomes Queen. I also want to go back at some point to read the story of the dragon that destroys what is to become her new home.
This reminded me in a lot of ways of Megan Whalen Turner or Shannon Hales' books, though not quite as standout. More of a way to ease into this specific type of historical fantasy.
Full disclosure: ARC received to review for VOYA
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
by Claudia Gray
Eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, troubled family she serves. It’s 1912, and Tess has been trapped in the employ of the Lisles for years, amid painful memories and twisted secrets. But now the Lisle family is headed to America, with Tess in tow. Once the ship they’re sailing on—the RMS Titanic—reaches its destination, Tess plans to strike out and create a new life for herself.
Her single-minded focus shatters when she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets of his own. He’s in a hurry to leave Europe, and whispers aboard the ship say it’s because of the tragic end of his last affair with the French actress who died so gruesomely and so mysteriously. . . .
Soon Tess will learn just how dark Alec’s past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves exist and are stalking him—and now her, too. Her growing love for Alec will put Tess in mortal peril, and fate will do the same before their journey on the Titanic is over. (description from Amazon.com)
To be totally honest, I had no idea if I was going to like this book or not! It's one of those premises that I was like, "this could be totally AWESOME, or it could really suck." Thankfully, it turned out really good!!
I felt an immediate connection to Tess and just kept hoping against hope that she would be able to get herself out of the awful situation that she was living in. Surprisingly, what I had been worrying about the most, the werewolves...on a ship..., turned out to be pretty believable. I really liked the mythology behind the werewolves and the explanation of why they might end up on a transatlantic cruise.
I also really liked the fact that though Tess and Alec meet and develop feelings for each other very quickly, that the author went to pains to make their interactions feel realistic. Tess wanted to avoid all confrontations, but kept getting thrust into dangerous situations. Alec wanted to keep Tess, a strange and vulnerable girl, safe, but as he got to know her inner strength, he came to want to spend time with her. It was NOT instant goo-goo eyes love. *thank god.*
The very end felt a little too easily wrapped up in some ways, but I enjoyed the beginning so much that I'm hoping the author will follow this book up with another Tess and Alec adventure!
2011 Shifter Reading Challenge title
As announced in the Locus' website, Anne McCaffrey was the first woman to win both the Hugo and Nebula awards. One of her Pern novels was the first hardcover science fiction novel to make the New York Times Bestseller List. She was in a word, EPIC.
What this article does not have, though, is the human touch. A real story of how Anne McCaffrey touched someone's life. Well, here's mine:
Anne McCaffrey's three Pern novellas for children, Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, and Dragondrums, are literally the first three real books that I can remember reading. Technically, I wasn't even reading them originally. My mom would read them to me as bedtime stories. I literally bonded with my mom and grew up on Anne McCaffrey's earliest Pern stories. (*This is also where I first originally decreed that I must have a little dragon to cling to my shoulder with its tail wrapped around my neck!! Years before I read anything by G.R.R.M.)
As I got older, I got hooked on McCaffrey's Crystal Singer, The Tower and the Hive, and Petaybee series. I loved each in different ways. I loved them all because they were written by Anne McCaffrey.
Her work will truly be missed by the world, and by me.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns
by Rae Carson
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.
But she is also the younger of two princesses. The one who has never done anything remarkable, and can’t see how she ever will.
Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs her to be the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies, seething with dark magic, are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior, and he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. (description from Amazon.com)
My gut reaction to this book was so strong and so LOVING that I already tweeted/emailed the author to tell her... I swear I'm not stalker-y like that all the time, but guys, I loved this book HARD!
As I told Rae Carson, I can only compare how I felt finishing this book to the first time I felt finishing Tamora Pierce's Alanna: The First Adventure, and that is my ALL-TIME favorite book and one of the only ones that I reread fairly consistently.
There is no denying that I trend toward a certain type of book. I am a hardcore fantasy/sci-fi reader, but within those genres, I am fairly picky. I like plucky heroines, action, "realistic" (can I even say this??) magic, not too tech-y science fiction, and if I don't like it, I tend to really not like it. It's a gut reaction thing.
Well... Elisa is the underdog, who comes to lead an army, a country, and the hearts of those around her. She is a girl who figures things out and saves the day, herself! My favorite kind of heroine. She is still touchingly unsure of herself at times and the poor girl gets her heart broken...twice.
She lives in a world with a fascinating religion, a strange new type of magic, and a mixture of interesting peoples. Her travels across her home country to the desert regions of her new home were vivid and felt so tangible that I kept trying to wipe sweat off my own brow, or to rub my aching feet.
Trust me, if you love fantasy books by authors like Tamora Pierce, Kristin Cashore, or Megan Whalen Turner, you want to check out this author's awesome debut. It's getting a gold star here!
I loved this book so much that I immediately purchased a copy for myself to keep on my Nook, even though I am on a spending hiatus. I also double checked to see if there is a sequel and I am happy to report that book two in the trilogy, The Crown of Embers, will be coming out in Fall 2012. I will definitely be on the pre-order list for that one!!
Full disclosure: ARC received from Netgalley
2011 Debut Author Challenge title
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Words are the most dangerous weapon of all.
In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she’s spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in.
It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can’t be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country’s only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.
Even my dog, Noel, cannot wait to be part of the world of The Pledge. She's got her passport and is waiting anxiously...