I had both of those experiences in the last few months and with two books that were seemingly similar and so I thought it would be fun to compare them.
by Sarah Porter
Prince and his fairy courtiers are staggeringly beautiful, unrelentingly cruel, and exhausted by the tedium of the centuries ― until they meet foster-siblings Josh and Ksenia. Drawn in by their vivid emotions, undying love for each other, and passion for life, Prince will stop at nothing to possess them.
First seduced and then entrapped by the fairies, Josh and Ksenia learn that the fairies' otherworldly gifts come at a terrible price ― and they must risk everything in order to reclaim their freedom.
I read this one back in April and marked it as a 2 star read. I have to admit that I got sucked in by the premise and the stunningly creepy cover. I love dark fae stories so I thought this was going to be right up my alley... and it should have been. All the elements were there. Creepy, mean fae. Humans making sacrifices to save themselves and each other. Walking between the realms. BUT... although I loved the premise, something about the execution just didn't work for me. Neither main character was totally likeable (in fact Josh was downright aggravating) but that can work if done well (think The Cruel Prince by Holly Black) and the Fae weren't very well fleshed out. I was way more interested in the introspective journey Ksenia has to take that is largely self-directed, than the "punishments" or cruelties of the fae. I found myself anxious for the book to just BE OVER about two-thirds of the way through, and I powered through to the end since it was a shorter novel, but I didn't even find the end totally satisfying. I'd had high hopes for this one and sadly the reality fell very short.
|Here There are Monsters|
by Amelinda Berube
I devoured this one last night. I sat down to read at about 7:30 p.m. and finished it just before 10:30 p.m. A one-sitting read! I gave this book a 4.5 star rating.
Sixteen-year-old Skye is done playing the knight in shining armor for her insufferable younger sister, Deirdre. Moving across the country seems like the perfect chance to start over.
In their isolated new neighborhood, Skye manages to fit in, but Deirdre withdraws from everyone, becoming fixated on the swampy woods behind their house and building monstrous sculptures out of sticks and bones.
Then Deirdre disappears. And when something awful comes scratching at Skye's window in the middle of the night, claiming she's the only one who can save Deirdre, Skye knows she will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.
Now, this, THIS is what I'd been hoping for with the first book! This book held my attention from start to finish. It doled out backstory in dribs and drabs... just enough to keep whetting my appetite to read. I felt sympathy for both Skye and Deirdre...until I didn't... and even then, I could feel how trapped they both felt. This book explored their relationship to each other and everyone else in a brilliant way. And this dark fantasy had the perfect blend of goose-bump inducing setting and creepy creatures that made me shiver.
There was a gritty realism that I felt was missing in the first book, possibly because this one takes place in our world, while the other skips into a blend of ours and the fae, without truly committing to either. The resolution of Here There Are Monsters left me slightly heartbroken and perfectly satisfied which was exactly what I'd hoped for as the book went on. I hadn't been sure what to expect after reading the other book, and this type of slightly "horror" novel isn't my usual fare, but I really, truly enjoyed this book and I know I'll be recommending it to others in the future!!