It’s March already! How did that happen? You know what this means, right? Six weeks til taxes are due. Oh, I’m sorry. Was that depressing? How about this instead: SIX WEEKS TIL TAKEN COMES OUT!
Ahem. Maybe I should just move on to reviews. Here’s what I read in February:
I enjoyed Marie Lu’s LEGEND. I really did. But I loved PRODIGY. Day and June are back in action and the stakes, too, are higher. They’ve joined (or rather escaped to) the Patriot rebels, just when the unthinkable happens: The Republic’s Elector dies, to be immediately replaced by his son, Anden. In exchange for safety among the Patriots (and medical attention for Day), the two agree to certain terms: they will assassinate the new Elector.
Told again in alternating POV’s, June heads back into the Republic’s hands to help steer Anden to the assassination point, while Day stays with the Patriots to work as a runner. He’ll be the one to pull the trigger on Anden if all goes as planned. Of course, it doesn’t. ;)
Lu’s world-building is unbelievable in this sequel. Everything about the Republic and the greater world came to life, and the plot and pacing is taut. These two characters have faced a lot. There are moments when they seem perfect for each other, and others where we see how very different they are, how the odds seem completely stacked against them. I still find myself picturing them far older than 15 given how mature/strong they are, but hey, that’s why Day is a legend among the poor and June a prodigy among Republic soldiers. In this sequel, secondary characters–Tess, Kaede, Razor–are also fantastic, both from an individual perspective, as well as how they weave into and add complexities to Day and June’s story. And the ending! So perfect, if not a little heartbreaking. I am incredibly anxious for the final installment!
I don’t read a lot of angel books (or paranormal in general), but I fell in love with UNEARTHLY when I finally picked it up after many other readers’ nudging. This month, I finished the series and am pleased to say that Cynthia Hand’s BOUNDLESS was a lovely conclusion to Clara’s tale.
I really don’t want to say much about this, because I worry I’ll spoil things for readers still making their way through the series. Things came together wonderfully in this though. Secondary characters became more important than ever, and relationships were tested. (I will always have a soft spot for Jeffery, Clara’s brother, and the way the two interact.) Tucker doesn’t have a lot of page time in this novel, and as a Tucker fan, this pained me a little, but I was still incredibly satisfied with this final installment. Clara has never had an easy choice ahead of her, or a clear path to walk. It was wonderful to watch her grow and struggle and overcome. I’ll miss the Jackson Hole crew.
I flew through Kiera Cass’ THE SELECTION last year, and I flew through the sequel, THE ELITE as well. This picks up where book one left off, the few remaining girls at the castle still battling for Maxon’s heart and hand in marriage. America is still trying to figure out who she wants to become and if she could every possibly fit into life as a One. A future with Maxon seems like a very real possibility, and yet Aspen (still serving in the guard) is a constant reminder of her old life. And when after a shocking and unexpected revelation, she’s left to second-guess everything.
We get a bit more information on the rebel forces beyond the castle in this book, and America’s family see a bit more page-time, especially her father (which I found an endearing touch). Fans of THE SELECTION are sure to be pleased with this sequel.
I went into Kate Karyus Quinn’s ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE without knowing much about the novel, and I think that was for the best. This is a dark, twisted, deliciously creepy read! The story follows Annaliese, who was last seen stumbling out of the woods at a house party in upstate New York, drenched in blood. She went missing shortly after, for many months, only to be found in Oaklahoma, with no memory of what happened that night. No memory at all. In fact, she has only one possibly theory as to what happened and speaking it aloud is not an option: She fears she is not the real Annaliese.
The structure of this novel was so unique: the current timeline interrupted by flashbacks and memories, all of which are punctuated by stark, haunting poems. As the truth is slowly discovered, the reader realizes how truly mangled and complex Annaliese’s situation is. This novel is creepy, creepy, creepy, and still, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Solving the mystery of Annaliese’s past alongside her is addicting, even when the discovers are difficult to swallow. Highly recommend!
I did some beta reading for my critique partner this month. April Genevieve Tucholke’s BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA doesn’t come out until August, but I had the pleasure of reading its sequel, BETWEEN THE SPARK AND THE BURN. Guys, I love this book. I loved it more than the first. I probably shouldn’t even be reviewing it as it will undergo rounds of revisions before publication, but what I read still knocked my socks off.
All the characters I loved are back and things are as creepy as ever. I truly cannot say much without spoiling both this book or its predecessor, so I’ll say just this: You want to read this two-book series. April’s prose is haunting and gorgeous and visceral and it gives me extreme writer’s envy. Extreme. I want to curl up in these pages and live there forever. Stunning writing. Captivating plot. Unique, morally ambiguous characters. This book has it all, and I can’t wait to read whatever April publishes next.
Hooray! So that’s my February. What did you read and love last month?
And while you’re here, a few timely links that may be of interest: