Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Faerie Wars Chronicles by Herbie Brennan

Phew! What a rip-roaring ride that was! I first read The Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan several years ago and loved it so much I had to run out and buy The Purple Emperor. Flash forward: I totally forgot about the series after that. It tends to happen. I mean, in the case of some stories, years pass before the next installment is released. Who has time to keep up with that? I need to be notified when the next book comes out, dammit! So it wasn’t until I was sorting through the IMMENSE pile of books in my living room that I rediscovered the treasure that is the Faerie Wars Chronicles. And a few days later, I had the next three books waiting for me at the library.

The series follows a handful of characters:

  • Henry–a British teenager with a crappily mundane life.
  • Mr. Fogarty–Henry’s grouchy old ex-bank robber neighbor.
  • Pyrgus Malvae–Crown Prince of the Faerie Realm
  • Holly Blue–Princess of the Faerie Realm (Pyrgus’ little sister)
  • Lord Black Hairstreak–To put it simply…The bad guy. (He’s the one messing up everyone’s plans for 5 different books…)

There really are too many to name, but the gist of the story is that Henry rescues a “butterfly” from the mouth of Mr. Fogarty’s old cat, Hodge. It turns out that this is actually Crown Prince Pyrgus, next in line to rule the Faerie Realm. This starts Henry off on a journey that will change his destiny forever. Will he stay in the Analogue World (with the boring humans) or decide to forsake the mediocre life that is expected of him? Hmm… Spineless dad and newly-out lesbian mom or fame in fortune in another (much more awesome) world? Hmmm… I wonder which I would choose. Henry finds danger, adventure, new friends (and enemies), as well as love and sorrow in the Realm. Not to mention that he is now involved in one of the biggest and most lethal wars the faeries have ever seen.

TFWC spans several years, and I actually really like how Brennan laid it all out. Henry pops in and out of the Realm multiple times, it frequently being a couple years in between visits. I liked that because it seems as though most series revolve around one major event that takes place in a few days or weeks versus years. The Faeman Quest actually takes place 15 years after The Faerie Lord. That means we follow Henry, Blue, and Pyrgus from their teens to their early thirties. It was interesting to watch how the passage of time changed the characters (or didn’t change them at all in Pyrgus’ case!)

Also, Brennan definitely knows how to keep someone turning the pages. Each chapter tends to be quite short but each ends in a cliff-hanger, moving the story along quickly (and seemingly effortlessly). That being said, I wasn’t necessarily a fan of Brennan’s method. The way the chapters were organized made the story flip back and forth between the viewpoints of every main character–which gave the story much more range–but it also made it difficult to remember who was doing what when you got back to their chapter. I give him mad props for being able to keep track of that many people, though.

I think that TFWC is one of those series that appeals to a large audience. It just has SO much in it. There are aliens, demons, wars, time travel, inter-dimensional travel, good faeries, bad faeries, political intrigue, and even a little romance for the ladies… *wink wink* It truly is staggering as to how Brennan came up with such an unconventional take on Faeries (because these are definitely not the Brian Froud kind…) and at the same time managed to create such an elaborate world.

I really thought that the 5th book would be the last, but the way it was set up definitely leaves room for more dastardly deeds, demonology, alien abductions, and runaway cross-dressing princesses.

Find it. Read it. Love it.

5 glue factory kittens out of 5

First Beach Day of 2012

“Palm trees, ocean breeze, salty air, sun kissed hair. That endless summer, take me there.”

I am Number Four: The Lost Files by Pittacus Lore

ImageI am a huge fan of the I am Number Four Lorien Legacy series and am excitedly awaiting the third installment The Rise of Nine–due out August 21, 2012. So of course, I need something to tide me over in the mean time.

Both of the Lorien Legacy “Lost Files” for Number Six and Nine are only available in ebook format–at a hefty $3.99 each, I might add. (Typically “short stories” are anywhere from $00.99-$2.00 in my experience). But, what the heck, I love this series, so I have to know more about it.

I am Number Four: The Lost Files-Six’s Legacy is not worth the money, frankly. I have already read The Power of Six, so I’ve already learned Six’s tragic back-story about her Cêpan’s death and her lengthy imprisonment by the Mogadorians. When her invisibility Legacy developed, she made a cunning escape. *yawn* Old news. The ebook does contain a two-chapter sneak peek of TPOS, but as the book has been out for over half a year, it’s pretty pointless. Save your money for Nine’s Legacy.


I am Number Four: The Lost Files-Nine’s Legacyis the one worth reading. Nine is a new Garde introduced briefly towards the end of TPOS, whom we knew nothing about. I liked reading his story because not only was it much longer and more well-developed, itdemonstrated the extreme differences in the Cêpan/Garde relationships. It seems as though each Cêpan had a different method for keeping their “young ward” safe, whether that be a nomadic lifestyle or “hiding in plain sight.” It also caught us up to speed on Nine’s perspective right where the second book left off.

Bottom line, skip Six (you’ll already know plenty about her) and definitely read Nine.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Gaspar's Grotto "The Invisible Leprechauns"

“May you enjoy the four greatest blessings:
Honest work to occupy you.
A hearty appetite to sustain you.
A good woman to love you.
And a wink from the God above.”

Happy St. Patricks Day to all! 🙂

(He’s pointing because apparently my hair was his “gold” lol)

The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Reading the Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl just makes me wish I had a writer BFF that I could sit down and brainstorm with. This was a great collaboration of two minds, and I recently picked up the series again. I read the first book back in 2009 and am happy to have “finished” it now. (There will be another installment in the series, Beautiful Redemption, out in late October 2012). I also decided to by the ebook short story of what happens to Link, Dream Dark… But no spoilers for you!

Beautiful Creatures introduces us to Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes. Ethan’s only wish is to graduate high school and leave his boring town of Gatlin, South Carolina forever. That is, until he begins to dream of saving a beautiful girl with black hair and green eyes. So imagine his surprise when he runs into her in the halls of Jackson high. Her name is Lena and she’s a school outcast because of her strange habits and relation to “Old Man” Ravenwood–the town’s creepy recluse. Little do they know, their lives will be changed forever by their involvement in the struggle between the world of Dark and Light Casters. Lena learns that she will one day have to choose her own path–good or evil– and Ethan learns that he will have to put himself in Mortal danger if he is to save the girl he loves.  Sleepy old Gatlin will never be the same again…

The two lovers take an unexpected turn for the worse in Beautiful Darkness. Lena begins to pull away from Ethan as her powers intensify. She has little hope that they could ever truly be together because he is a Mortal and she is a Caster–who for all intents and purposes seems like she’s going Dark. Ethan can’t even touch her for too long because her strange electricity burns his skin and stops his heart. His nagging fears are confirmed when she disappears from his mind (they can speak telepathically, btw) and starts hanging out with her Dark Caster cousin Ridley. A whole new level of betrayal is added when she is spotted hopping on the back of another guy’s Harley–John Breed–the….Something… Will Lena choose Darkness as her path, thus killing all of her Light family members? Or will she choose Light and kill all her Dark relatives, including her beloved cousin?

I thought that Beautiful Chaos was the culmination of the series–but thank God I was wrong! Because I just about screamed out loud at the ending! Lena has made her choice, for the better or worse and now both worlds, Caster and Mortal, are paying for it. The Wheel of Fate crushes us all. John Breed is still in the picture, as well as Liv–a British Keeper-in-Training. Ethan’s grandmother-figure Amma has made a deal with the Devil, so to speak, and everyone is scrambling to stop the chaos that may signify the end of the world. A sacrifice must be made, but who?

I really enjoyed this series. I loved the portrayal of a boring Southern town turned on it’s head by magical forces. I wish I could’ve said the same about the hill-billy town I’m from… Ethan and Lena’s relationship is a bit strange to me, because I don’t see how they can be together forever if just making out nearly kills him. To each his own, I guess.  I really liked Liv, and could’ve seen a good relationship between her and Ethan forming if Lena left the picture forever. My all time favorite character was Ridley the Siren, though. I loved her badness and her tantrums. I would totally be her if I was in their world. She definitely kept things interesting. I really appreciated that Garcia & Stohl kept things very consistent throughout the novels, and each of them were equally good. Normally the first is my favorite, and things begin to taper off after that. The description of small town life was spot on, and I loved the cultural undertones and slang (that I recognized from my youth). I was definitely left craving some fried chicken and peach pie, that’s for sure!

There were some in between parts that did tend to drag a little, and I would notice my eyes were at the bottom of the page but I didn’t remember how I got there. That being said, there were plenty of bad guys to watch out for, including Lena’s mother Serafine. Not to mention Abraham, the most powerful Incubus. And Hunting and his Blood Pack. And let’s not forget the Jackson High Cheerleaders… I would also like to point out that it is COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY to buy the ebook of Link’s story. It’s like 3 chapters long and is mostly a preview of Beautiful Chaos. You don’t find anything out about Ethan’s best friend that you didn’t already know or that was monumental to the plot line. Skip it and save your money.

I would highly recommend this series to all fans of YA Paranormal Romance, or even just fans of stories that take place in the South. If you like a little dark magic mixed in with your collard greens, this story’s for you.

4 pieces of Amma’s fried chicken out of 5

Quote of the Day: Plato

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”


The Red Glove by Holly Black

The Red Glove by Holly Black is her second installment in her Curse Workers series. I read The White Cat cover to cover a few years ago on a long flight to California, so I wanted to follow up with the second book. The third book, Black Heart isn’t released until April of this year.

The series follow Cassel Sharpe, a curse worker in a world much like our own. Except bare hands are dangerous weapons because you never know who is a “worker”–someone who can lay a curse on you with a mere brush of their hand–and who isn’t. Everyone is forced to wear gloves in public places at all times. Workers are fighting for equal treatment, and the prejudices that non-workers had for workers are very similar to those between the whites and the blacks during the Civil Rights Movement in the 60’s.

Of course, the curse workers’ case isn’t helped by the fact that many of them are members of organized crime families–exactly like the mafia, but with magic. Cassel is a con artist, and comes from a worker family that are all con artists. His mother is an emotion worker, his brother Barron is memory worker, his oldest brother Phillip is a physical worker, and his grandfather is one of the scariest assassins of all–a death worker. But what is Cassel?

The second installment of the book focuses on Phillip’s death and the horrific realization Cassel comes to when it dawns on him that his brothers were making him commit atrocious crimes (and subsequently forget about them). And, does Lila really love him or is it just emotion work? Her mob boss father wants him as an assassin and the Feds are on his trail. What decision do you make when each one means hurting someone you love?

I love all things Holly Black. I’ve been following her since her Livejournal days. Her Modern Faerie Tales series was amazing and remains one of my favorites to this day. Curse Workers definitely has a different feel to it (with a male protagonist) but Black captures Cassel’s voice well. Her language is not quite as lyrical in this series, but you wouldn’t expect poetry from a mob boss or a con artist, would you? Her idea for this story was great, hands as weapons…excellent. While her MFT series entralled me, the CW series simply entertained me. I will read the third book but I’m not dying for it to come out the way I was for Valiant and Ironside. I do appreciate her ability to tell an unpredictable story, because usually it’s too easy for me to predict “whodunit” and that ruins the fun, doesn’t it?

I would recommend the Curse Workers series to Black’s male audience, simply because the story seemed geared more for teen guys then her previous works. Anyone looking for “fantasy-lite” may also be served well by this. In my opinion, Black is a master of the urban fantasy genre and I will continue to read whatever she produces.

3 of 5 stars

The Darkest Powers Trilogy by Kelley Armstrong

The Darkest Powers Trilogy by Kelly Armstrong includes: The Summoning, The Awakening, and The Reckoning. I’m really glad that Kelly Armstong has started to dabble in the world of YA fiction, because when I was younger I was really into her Women of the Otherworld series–which was great. That being said, however, I did notice many more weaknesses in this series than in her adult series…

TDPT follows Chloe, Simon, Derek, and Tori—all of whom learn that, not only are they not at a mental institution they are actually all supernaturally gifted. Chloe is a necromancer (she can raise/control the dead), Simon is a warlock, Derek is a werewolf, and Tori is a witch. After the relief of finding out she is not schizophrenic, Chloe now has the new concern that the Lyle House is not what it seems. After her roommate mysteriously disappears and  Chloe “summons” her–meaning she’s been murdered–the teens realize they are in grave danger and must escape ASAP. This escape is charted throughout books two and three. On top of that nonsense, they learn that they have been genetically modified by the Edison Institute and their powers are exponentially greater, yet harder to control.

I liked that Chloe was a film buff and her sarcasm about her typical girl-in-a-horror-movie predictable behavior (“No, wait, don’t do that! Don’t go out there! GAAAHHH. You’re so stupid!”) was amusing. Tori was bitchy, in an unbelievable way. And that’s not a compliment. I think Armstrong needs to work a bit harder on her teen voice, because some of the dialogue was a bit too contrived for Tori’s role. Simon’s character felt really flat throughout the whole series, and I couldn’t have cared less about him. The only one I really liked was Derek, because he was so moody–flashing back and forth between protector and verbal abuser. I liked that–it rounded him out.

All of the betrayals in the books should have been followed by an ominous  BUM BUM BUM noise, because they all felt kind of forced too. I always gauge a good book by whether or not I would care if a character died, and since the only one I would have felt bad about was Derek…this series fell flat. That being said, I love Armstrong’s other work, and I plan on finishing the Women of the Otherworld series, as well as starting her latest teen work, the Darkness Rising series. Hopefully, she grew more as an author after TDPT and strengthened her teenage viewpoint.

I enjoyed the series in a casual, light-hearted way, but it’s not something I would re-read in the future.

3 of 5 stars