Reading this book is a commitment and its 825 pages is a bit daunting but one that is well worth your time and effort. The creation of this new world needs that many pages and Samantha Shannon shares this rich world full of good queens, assassins, misguided alchemists and wonderful dragons and their riders. It is a clever mix of medieval history and alchemy mixed with world religions, an ancient unknown force and the power and majesty of dragons. This is why it works so well - there is just enough of the familiar but it is still a yet unknown world for the reader to explore. The powerful female characters are clearly the decision makers- power driven and in one with their world. There is plenty of magic, violence, politics, and love - all the ingredients you need for a new fantasy series. This is for fans who appreciate total fantasy world-building in the style of Martin, Sanderson, and Rothfuss. For those of you like myself who get lost along the way, the list of characters, timeline, and glossary was very helpful.
Young and stupid, drunk and or high college friends in New York in 2009 live without a care in the world until the night their friend commits suicide. Years later when Lindsay runs into one of the old group questions rise to the surface. Going back over what happened that night with the people involved plus a disturbing video brings Lindsay to a sobering thought - what if Edie didn't commit suicide but was murdered and what if Lindsay was involved? This is the kind of book that makes you cringe when you think of all the dumb things you did in college and came away whole. Tightly written in an intense plot with more questions than answers, you won't come up for air until the crazy twist at the end you never saw coming.
Every once in a while you come upon an author whose first book took you completely out of your life and thrust you headfirst into theirs. I didn't think that I would enjoy THE HUNTRESS more than I did THE ALICE NETWORK - I was wrong. THE HUNTRESS is not just another engaging WWII novel. The all-female Soviet pilots of the Night Witches were as ferocious as their male counterparts and the war crimes committed throughout Europe were horrific and the Nazi criminals that fled to America after the war and tried to hide their past have been documented many times but Kate Quinn brings these stories to life and makes you feel the pain, anger, and uncertainty of their violent lives. The characters from the razor-wielding Nina to Ian in dogged pursuit of war criminals to Jordan, the young woman who sees a shadow in her new stepmother's face that looks sinister all fit perfectly in the story. This is a one sitting book that you wish will never end.
This is a story of devotion and love between a teacher and her young student. Maggie leaves a job she hates and jumps head first into a job she was meant to do - teaching English to middle schoolers. Forging a love of reading and writing in these kids is her goal but what she learns is love, compassion and profound knowledge from the one boy who is set apart from the class. Maggie agrees to tutor Yuri who suffers from a serious heart ailment and can't attend school or even be outside of his house for long. His parents give him total love, support and devotion but what he really needs is a connection to kids his own age. The result is a total tearjerker in the style of Jodi Picoult. Maggie's world and that of her class are broadened by a boy whose world is defined but whose heart is very large. There is also a romance and Maggie gets her life priorities in order.
Charles Lenox is a nobleman who is working in a very unusual profession for someone of his status - that of a private detective. London in the mid-1800s is clearly divided by class into the aristocracy and lower working classes and they do not do business together. Lenox with the help of his best friend who just happens to be the love of his life and happily married solves the case of a theft, murder, and treasure that has been kept a secret for generations. Somehow they manage to do so amidst the parties and social gatherings one must attend as nobility. I love the relationship between Charles and Lady Jane Grey as well as the antics between Charles and his 12-year-old precocious visitor Lancelot. Witty, stylish and so true to character, this is a who-done-it with sophistication and fun. This is a prequel to the series but can easily be read as a standalone.
Family is what is left when you have done something good or in Althea and Procter's case, something really bad. With both of them in prison for embezzling charity funds, it is up to Althea's sisters and brother to step up and take care of their two young daughters. Staying in a town that doesn't want anything to do with you is hard enough but when your mom doesn't want to see you it makes the hurt tenfold. Each sibling is doing what is in their power to help the sister who was more like a mom to them but old ghosts and new responsibilities weigh them down. Heart-breaking but unflinchingly truthful, this is a study of mothers and daughters each quietly needing so much - ravenously hungry girls needing emotional nourishment.
A young Hawaiian girl is adopted by a Japanese couple and then grows up in California. Life is very different for the immigrant family than what they knew in Hawaii and they work hard to overcome obstacles until Pearl Harbor changes their lives forever. They lose everything and are forced to live at the internment camps. It is only years later that Ruth learns of her birth mother and why she and her husband were forced to give her up. This is historical fiction at its best. Alan Brennert is a master at giving us the lush beauty of Hawaii and the forced internment of the lepers contrasted to the harsh climate of the Japanese-American internment camps and the racism and fear in both. A true story of immigration and the difficulties they faced - the quest for a better life for yourself and your family where hard work and allegiance to your new country was met with fear and ignorance. It is also the story of the love of two mothers and the courage of one hapa woman to understand and embrace her dual heritage. This is book two in the series but can easily be read as a standalone.
Cherokee, called Aunt Check or Check, is part of the Cherokee Nation and married to a white man. Her husband is dying leaving Check to raise her three boys and servants alone. There is an interesting mix of white, Native American and blacks living peacefully but when racial squabbles happen that peace turns out to be a thing of the past. A child is found hurt and a well-respected man is killed drawing a line in the sand between the Nation and the rest of the world. It is a hard life and secrets make it that much harder - better to bury them in the marsh. Based on actual people and common events, CHEROKEE AMERICA is raw, gritty but honest historical fiction.
A dystopic look at the pitfalls of civilization, society, and love. Rules on this planet are strictly enforced so when some young students are caught holding a subversive meeting, one of the girls is run out of the colony at gunpoint and cast out over the wilderness to be eaten by alien creatures. Sophie ends up being saved by the lobster looking crustaceans and befriends them. When she eventually meets up with her friends and other revolutionaries, Sophie tries to convince them that they need to work with the Gelet but they only see how the species can be dominated. Her relationships with Bianca, who she secretly loves, and with Mouth and the others seem to skirt between revolutionary, outlaw and survivor. This is a wild ride of man-eating creatures, thieves, pirates and people desperate to understand their place in this alien world. There is much to fear in the darkness.
Mildred has been put down, belittled and relied on for everything by her mom and sister. Left to care for her cranky mom with the venomous tongue, she sees her chance for a future and accepts a job at a secret government plant just far enough from her family. Milly is not a social butterfly but she does make a good friend in her roommate. The fact that Milly has powerful visions that make her say odd things, behave strangely and the fact that she sleepwalks, gives her roommate and others cause for concern. Soon Milly is very aware of just what the "secret" product is that they are building and the destruction that will be left in its wake. Her fears give rise to more intense visions and terrors until she is unable to separate reality from her strange, scary world. When a brutal attack happens and it is brushed aside she will lose the people closest to her as well as her tenuous sanity. A powerful horror story that is expertly blended with enough historical fact to make it truly frightening.
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