Time for MAY BOOKS! haha I am catching up! June books will be published on the blog at the beginning of July. In May I read 7 books, The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron, A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron, The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart by Leanna Renee Hieber, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, Delia’s Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer, Prodigy by Marie Lu, and Hidden: A child’s story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier, Marc Lizano, and Greg Salsedo. I am going to talk about The Winner’s Curse and what I liked about it and what I didn’t like.
Genre: YA Dystopia/Historical Fiction/Fantasy/Price: $17.99/ISBN: 978-0374384678/ Page Count: 368/Series: Yes, book one in Winner’s Trilogy.
Winner’s Curse has two main characters, Kestrel and Arin. Kestrel is the daughter of a powerful General and Arin is the slave she buys at market. Kestrel is part of the conquering society and Arin was one of the nation they conquered and thus enslaved. Kestrel has doesn’t like slavery, but she makes no moves to put an end to it. Really her only acts of rebellion are continuing her music lessons and avoiding marrying/joining the military. Kestrel quickly falls for Arin’s quick wit and humor. Arin…well he has plans that are alluded to and come to fruition later.
I was initially captured by the cover and wanted to read it because it was so gorgeous, but this book took me 3 months to read. It was really difficult and a lot of times I had to put it down. What bothered me was the consent issues in the book. Kestrel owns Arin and while she never truly initiates a romantic relationship with him, their romance really bothered me. Could he truly consent to this love when he is owned by her? It was a question that continued to plague me. I would have rathered them to have a friendship and her fighting for the rebellion, freedom for the enslaved people. Instead I was deeply disappointed.
However that is not to say that the book was bad. I believe that the author was true to the character. Kestrel wants to make her own life and decisions but due to her militant upbringing it is hard for her to act on those desires. Thus the actions fit the character perfectly. With further development I think Kestrel would be able to become an individual who recognizes the flaws in her government and makes the actions to change them.
I totally flaked and missed talking about February books! Skipped right to March. Probably because in February I only 2 books! I read Frozen by Melissa De la Cruz & Michael Johnston and First Born by Lorie Ann Grover (this one was an ARC provided to me at the ALA midwinter conference).
So let’s talk about Frozen (not to be confused with the Disney animated movie).
Genre: YA dystopia/fantasy/Price: $17.99/ISBN: 978-0399257544/ Page Count: 336/Series: Yes, book one in Heart of Dread series.
The premise is that the world collapsed due to freak weather and now we are in a semi ice age. There are two main characters Nat and Wes. And you guessed it, they have a complicated romantic tension. Romance is a huge hitter in the series. The journey for the story and how the two are thrown together is this, Nat is looking to get out of Vegas and Wes happens to be a smuggler/criminal and the only one cocky enough to try and get her to “The Blue” (a mystical land of promise).
This could be considered straight dystopia if not for the sideways fantasy weaved into the storytelling. But by the end of the novel fantasy has become to main conflict and how the two authors transition to that is great.
What I appreciated about this book was that there are no love triangles (I really get burnt out by that in YA) and that it isn’t just one genre. I will be giving the rest of the series a read once it comes out, or rather when I can get my hands on them.
In March I read a total of 8 books, Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede, Pawn by Aimee Carter, Ghost Train to New Orleans by Mur Lafferty, Resistance by Jenna Black, Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop, Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott, and Sisters Grimm: The Fairy Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley. On of my favorite reads of the month was Pawn by Aimee Carter (which will be reviewed, who could have guessed that).
Genre: YA Dystopia/Price: $17.99/ISBN: 978-0373210558/ Page Count: 352/Series: Yes, book one in her Blackcoat Rebellion
Pawn is set in a world where your life is set by a test that ranks you in a number hierarchy. Kitty longs to get the average number, but instead is forced into the III after her results are given back. She is confronted with the choice of living as a III or changing her life by becoming another to join the ranks of IV.
Kitty has to become Lila and stop the revolution that Lila was starting with her charm and political rallies, but Kitty starts to wonder, should she stop this revolution to overthrow the ruling family, or should she risk everything to continue it?
I loved this book because it was smart and more about Kitty than her relationships. There was romance, but it wasn’t the main focus of the plot. There were twists that seemed to come from no where, but worked for the book overall. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys dystopia and a female protagonist who while confused, does her best to make things right.