The Scorpio Races- Maggie Stiefvater
I waited a long time to pick up this book, but I am SO SO SO glad I did. I have always loved Maggie’s writing and her stunning prose continues in The Scorpio Races. She has a talent for stringing words together in a musical way. I actually listened to this book as an audiobook which is harder for me to like generally. However, the writing was so lovely and the narrators’ voices so perfect for the characters, I refused to get out of my car because I needed to keep listening. Seriously, I sat there for an hour just to hear more. Steve West should make a recording of him reading the dictionary because I’d buy that just to listen to the soothing timbre of his voice. I don’t think I’ve been that relaxed in ages. Fiona Hardingham is amazing too.
But I digress, the story of The Scorpio Races is unique. The capaill uisce are dangerous sea horses who who run on blood lust and the siren call of the sea, and they are as lethal as they are beautiful. Sean and “Puck” are beyond endearing protagonists. They are both loyal, protective, fierce, passionate and stubborn. It’s a perfect match. I am head over heels for this story, for the Thisby island, for Kate Connolly and Sean Kendrick, and for the deadly Scorpio race that rules them all. I only wish I had entered their world sooner.
This book is out now from Scholastic. The audiobook is from Scholastic Audio. You can get your copy here.
The City’s Son- Tom Pollock
Friendship is man’s greatest good. It’s a sentiment from time immemorial or at least back to Socrates. And most wondrous strange, The City’s Son feels like an old friend already. Though it is completely new and wholly unique, it sings the song of old human truths—of friendship and love, sacrifice and bravery, of fear and loss. It is the type of book that has you holding your breath to the very last page, and upon coming to that end your exhalation brings painful, blissful relief. The plot reminds me of an epic saga though I suppose stories of war and friendship when done right should remind one of the rage of Achilles, the friendships of The Shire, the love of Odysseus, the bravery of the kings and queens of Narnia, and the dangers of Mordor. It is impossible not to love and cheer for Fil, Beth and Pen. It is impossible not to fight with them, cheer them in their triumphs and cradle them in their fragility. Even the parental element was well done, which is so rare in YA these days.
Pollock writes as though he were the boy with the city in his skin. He gets it—the allure of iron and concrete and towers that reach to kiss the heavens. He sees the magic they hold. For a long time I’ve held that each city has it’s own pulse-a heartbeat you can hear if you’re listening for it. New York’s is the fluttering beat of hummingbird wings more of a constant buzz then a drumbeat. New Orleans sounds more like the slow, lazy upward tilt of a jazz song (I always think of Datri Bean’s “Slow Down Summertime” when I’m there). I’m convinced Pollock can hear the city’s pulse too, and what is more he can help others hear it.
The prose is practically poetry all at once both searing and subtle. It resonates to the core of universal truths and expresses what before had been ineffable with such stunning grace it honestly stole my breath. On nearly every page was a phrase that needed underlining; a glimpse into brilliance itself. I can’t quote everything because it would ruin the loveliness for you when you experience it the first time but I will say these pages I’ve dog-eared and underlined in my book: 53, 124, 129, 182, 188, 193, 261, 276, 334, 380, 398. And those are just the dog-eared pages, forget about the ones where I annotated the margins.
At the end what matters is this: the story, the characters, the writing are exceptional and far exceeded any expectations I had. To say The City’s Son is a must read doesn’t even do justice to the book; it is a read that conveys what it is to be human and more so what it is to be human in this awe-full world of cities. Can you say PRE-ORDER?
Overall: A++ (Yes two pluses are necessary)
P.S. Thank God there are two more books coming.
P.P.S. I actually edited out whole paragraphs of this review so you can thank me for that but honestly there is so much I want to talk about with this book. So please read it and ask me so we can talk about it, dammit.
P.P.P.S. Bonus points if you know where the title of this post comes from. If so, color me impressed. Googling does not count.
ARC provided gratis at BEA.
Legacy- Cayla Kluver
Legacy melds historical fiction with fantasy. It took some time for me to appreciate Alera. Eventually I came to enjoy her voice. What kept me reading through that wavering phase was Narian’s story. Narian is charming and mysterious, and frankly, still an unknown factor by the end of the book. Is he a threat or a savior? There are lots of questions still to be answered. Kluver has a great attention to detail, though at times I felt a bit hit over the head with the whole “women don’t have any rights” thing. I sincerely disliked this ending. It actually made me question whether Alera was the girl that I had come to appreciate or if she was a snivelling git to be bossed around. Also, small pet peeve, this is clearly set in a different world yet they celebrate Christmas? It confuses me a bit. Apart from those small issues for me, Legacy was a great debut in the historical/fantasy genres.
This eGalley provided free by Harlequin Teen via Netgalley.
Apparently, Zombies vs. Unicorns is an age old question that needs answering, well at least according to Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier. Their new anthology of zombie and unicorn short stories by some of the best writers in the YA paranormal and fantasy field attempts to answer once and for all which is greater: the zombie or the unicorn? Holly supports the unicorn and Justine the zombie as they quip at each other throughout the book. Their comments alone make this book worth reading.
In a few stories I had some confusion over gender until at least midway through and a few in which I didn’t really bond with the protagonist. There were a few standout tales, including “Princess Prettypants” by Meg Cabot and the cleverly titled “The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn” by Diana Peterfreund. Perhaps if I liked zombies or unicorns, I would have enjoyed these stories more.
Bound Manuscript free at Book Expo America
I just finished Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
There is nothing I dislike about this book. Not a single thing. The characters Lena and Ethan are enchanting; I was mesmerized and engrossed by their story. The ferocity of their love and the rawness of their emotions is articulated with such spectacular clarity and depth. The plot is scintillating, with classic themes like good vs. evil, love vs. hate, and sacrifice. The portrayal of small town life is disturbingly accurate (having been raised in a small town myself). While I am not a expert on the South, I believe their portrayal goes beyond the cliche and superficial. The writing is precise and brilliant. The true test of a book for me is whether or not I can figure out the ending in advance. I was so caught up in every word, every page of this book that I didn’t even think about the ending, making it all the more magnificent when it occurred. I cannot wait to read the sequel. Heck, I can’t wait till tomorrow to re-read this one!
Soundtrack Song: Sixteen Moons (from the book itself) or "10,000 Nights of Thunder" by Alphabeat.