So many outstanding reviews to write. Here are just a few.
Scorpica by Greer Macallister is a celebration of women and our myriad motivations. Because it spans decades, the world-building is lengthy but worth it given the depth of detail and vividness of that world. In addition, the character development is simply lovely, exploring the gray areas that exist in everyone. Grandiose and power, Scorpica is a welcome epic that highlights the awesomeness of matriarchal societies and their pitfalls.
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner is a unique look at women’s plight in the 1700s without the same rights or freedom of today and how they worked around the system, with a little bit of magic added. Told in two parts, past and present, the modern portions of the story are not nearly as engaging as those in the eighteenth century. Although, it does make for a great reminder to take advantage of those freedoms while we have them.
Autumn’s Tithe by Hannah Parker left me with mixed feelings. I wanted to love it. Unfortunately, I had some issues with the pacing, the predictability, and some of the relationships. Everything happens within two to three days, and everything seems SO fast. Some of this Ms. Parker achieves through the use of magical portals, but it still feels a bit too rapid for what occurs. In addition, while I don’t mind the use of tropes, and Ms. Parker uses almost all of them, I do mind when an author does not use them in a way that feels new. Instead, I felt like I could go down a YA fantasy checklist with Autumn’s Tithe. Lastly, the relationships left me confused. While there are hints that Larken’s relationship with her BFF is more than friendship, it also seems like her reaction to losing her friend seems extreme. Combine that with the insta-love with Finder, which seemingly counters her feelings for her friend, and it makes for a headscratcher. In all, Autumn’s Tithe is a bit too superficial in almost every aspect for me.
King of Battle and Blood is my first Scarlett St. Clair novel, and it won’t be my last. Vampires, witches, fierce women, court intrigue, enemies to lovers, and so much spice. Yes. Please.
Gallant by Victoria Schwab is dark and heart-breaking on several different levels. There is so much complexity to it, even though it is a relatively simple story. One great example of this is that it would have been easy for Ms. Schwab to make Olivia a tragic figure, given her background. Instead, she is anything but pitiable; instead is fierce, independent, and a figure to admire. In Gallant, Ms. Schwab proves once again that she is a master at creating atmospheric novels in which she blurs the lines between good and evil and heroes and antiheroes.