The end is in sight, peeps! I’ve now caught up to books released in November, of which there were many. I’m ready to be done and promise never to let myself get this far behind again.
Silver in the Mist by Emily Victoria sounds promising on paper but was not as impressive as I hoped upon finishing it. While the story is entertaining enough, I feel much of it lacks the depth I’ve become accustomed to experiencing when reading young adult fantasy. The characters lack development, and the plot is very straightforward. Again, this isn’t bad, but it is not what I’m used to reading in YA. I did enjoy Silver in the Mist but didn’t love it.
The Luminaries by Susan Dennard is precisely what I want and expect from young adult fantasy. In actuality, it is everything I want in any novel. From the characters who are much more than they appear to be on the surface, to the rich setting, to the monsters who quite literally spring up from the ground each night, to the apparent haves and have not of the insular community, to the secrets that exist but remain unknown, The Luminaries is perfection. Ms. Dennard’s world is rich in description and development, while Winnie is amazing in her bravery, determination, and longing. I believe there is a bit of Winnie in all of us, which makes her more sympathetic. For all the terror Winnie undergoes during the Hunter trials, the Luminary society is a fascinating one, and I know we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. Given the last thing Winnie learns, it will be a very long wait for book two!
I wondered how Freya Marske would continue Edwin and Robin’s story in A Restless Truth. It turns out that she doesn’t. Instead, she focuses on Maud Blyth, Robin’s sister, for a new adventure while still progressing the story of the mysterious Final Contract. Occurring on an ocean liner, Maud proves how much she is like her brother in her ability to get into trouble. Once she pairs up with Violet, shenanigans become the name of the game, as does the very real danger they uncover. As with the first book in the Last Binding series, the spice is hot, and the action is almost nonstop. Also, we get a few more answers. Most importantly though, Ms. Marske sets up the series for one hell of a finale. I, for one, cannot wait to see what she has in store for her readers.
Cruel Illusions by Margie Fuston is a novel that I have not seen get a lot of press, and that surprises me because there is a lot to like here. Yes, I know I am biased toward liking anything involving vampires, but they are superficial to the story. At its core, it is a story about magic and power dynamics with a bit of revenge thrown into the mix. What Ava learns about the secret society she is so desperate to join had me sitting up and buckling in because I knew I was in for a ride. I was not expecting at least some of the twists. Anticipating the others did not bother me or detract from my enjoyment of the story. I finished Cruel Illusions with that sense of satisfaction a good story brings and also wanting more from Ms. Fuston.
Cursed is Marissa Meyer’s anxiously-awaited finale of her Rumplestiltskin retelling, and for me, it more than lived up to my expectations. It was dark and vicious, violent and tense; in essence, it is everything I love in my stories. I appreciate that Ms. Meyer took us out of Adalheid Castle and into a different part of the country as we learned more about the Erlkönig’s past. While others might complain about the slow pacing, I look at it as the calm before the storm because once Serilda and Gild figure out what the Erlkönig plans to do, the story rockets to the finish line. Overall, Cursed gave me everything I hoped for and more. I couldn’t ask for a better ending, and Ms. Meyer ties all of her storylines together neatly and in ways that make sense and fit the characters. With this one duology, Ms. Meyer is now on my sacred auto-buy list.