The Falconer by Elizabeth May

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One girl’s nightmare is this girl’s faery tale

She’s a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.

She’s a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she’s leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She’s a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She’s a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother’s murder—but she’ll have to save the world first.

The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller combines romance and action, steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.

THIS IS A SPOILER FREE REVIEW

I don’t think I read the description before I started reading it.  It’s a habit that I’ve gotten into that I’m grateful for, because more often than not, the jacket summary gives me a set of expectations before I go into it, and the story is typically different from the expectations that the jacket summary gave me, sometimes better, sometimes worse.  In The Falconer‘s case, my expectation of a story borne of wish fulfillment would have been spot on. Continue reading

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart …

THIS IS A SPOILER FREE REVIEW

Why is this familiar?  Haven’t it seen this somewhere before?  Oh, yeah!  Everywhere.  Here is another book that did not live up to the hype at all.  I didn’t see anything particularly special about it, the thing that has apparently captured so many people’s intrigue and respect.  I thought it was just another paper cutout of a story, a story that deviated little from others of its ilk.  I wasn’t emotionally attached to the main character (or any of the characters), the writing did nothing for me, and the world didn’t pique my interest at all. Continue reading

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

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Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic… forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined — animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner — a practitioner of dark, flesh magic — invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

THIS IS A SPOILER FREE REVIEW

I could have really enjoyed The Paper Magician, if only for the fascinating world with a form of magic I’ve never come across before: the manipulation of paper.  You could animate stories by reading them aloud, see the future by using that paper fortune teller thing we played with as kids, and create entire gardens out of various sizes and colors of paper.  But the nifty idea was not enough to carry this story for me.  While some aspects were relatively solid, most of it was underdeveloped and fell flat, from the characters to the plot. Continue reading