Tag Archives: fantasy

Review of Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (Dead Things #1), by Martina McAtee

I’m embarrassed to say that I’m not sure where I got my copy of Martina McAtee‘s Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things. I don’t think I bought it, so I either picked up as an Instafreebie or won it somewhere. If I won it from you or your blog, thank you.

Description from Goodreads:
17 year old Ember Denning has made an art of isolating herself. She prefers the dead. She spends her days skipping school in old cemeteries and her nights hiding from her alcoholic father at the funeral home where she works. When her own father dies, Ember learns her whole life is a lie. Standing in the cemetery that’s been her sanctuary, she’s threatened by the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and rescued by two people who claim to be her family. They say she’s special, that she has a supernatural gift like them…they just don’t know exactly what it is.

They take her to a small Florida town, where Ember’s life takes a turn for the weird. She’s living with her reaper cousins, an orphaned werewolf pack, a faery and a human genius. Ember’s powers are growing stronger, morphing into something bigger than anything anybody anticipated. Ember has questions but nobody has answers. Nobody knows what she is. They only know her mysterious magical gift is trying to kill them and that beautiful dangerous boy from the cemetery may be the only thing standing between her and death.

As Ember’s talents are revealed so are the secrets her father hid and those in power who would seek to destroy her. What’s worse, saving Ember has put her cousins in danger and turned her friend’s lives upside down. Ember must learn to embrace her magic or risk losing the family she’s pieced together.

I have a really odd relationship with YA books. 9 times out of 10, I read them and dislike the book. But there’s that 10th one, the one I read that makes me wonder why I say I dislike the genre. (Then I read the next one, which I dislike, and the whole cycle starts again.) But that occasional YA book that I so enjoy is what keeps me coming back hoping the next one will be the good one, even if it’s usually not.

Well, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is the unicorn, the random and rare YA book that I truly enjoy. It was witty and funny and diverse. Not all the characters are white and there are both het and gay romances (even a poly among some side characters). It’s suspenseful and irreverent, playing with and making fun of YA characters and tropes, even as it used some of them.

The book could use a tad more copy editing (though it’s not too distracting, just the occasional double comma and such), it’s a little too long and ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, or at least doesn’t wrap up most of the threads. But it’s definitely one I’d recommend picking up and I look forward to more.

Review of Three Parts Dead (Craft Sequence #1), by Max Gladstone

I bought a copy of Three Parts Dead, by Max Gladstone.

Description from Goodreads:
A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.

Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.

Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith.

When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts–and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb’s slim hope of survival.

I enjoyed this, but didn’t love it. I adored Tara and Abelard. I thought quite a few of the quips were funny and the whole idea of wizard lawyers was interesting. I even liked a lot of the writing. But those parts of the writing I didn’t like almost ruined the book for me. Too often the prose becomes abstract and purple in an attempt to describe something happening on a magical plain or in some’s head or just magically in general and some of it is almost indecipherable. Similarly, things seemed to happen at breakneck speed with very little explanation, especially at the beginning.

All in all, this was a middle of the road read. But it was enough to tempt me to read more of Gladstone’s work.

Review of The Rule of Luck (Felicia Sevigny #1), by Catherine Cerveny

I borrowed a copy of Catherine Cerveny‘s The Rule of Luck for my local library.

Description from Goodreads:
Year 2950. Humanity has survived devastating climate shifts and four world wars, coming out stronger and smarter than ever. Incredible technology is available to all, and enhancements to appearance, intelligence, and physical ability are commonplace.

In this future, Felicia Sevigny has built her fame reading the futures of others.

Alexei Petriv, the most dangerous man in the TriSystem, will trust only Felicia to read his cards. But the future she sees is darker than either of them could ever have imagined. A future that pits them against an all-knowing government, almost superhuman criminals, and something from Felicia’s past that she could never have predicted, but that could be the key to saving — or destroying — them all.

Generally enjoyable, I liked how much Felicia stood up for herself and showed anger for her mistreatments at Alexei’s hand. And there were a lot of them. So many in fact that, even by the end, I had a hard time letting go and rooting for them as a pair. This was exasperated by the fact that the sort of love/lust developing is based on something other than who they are as people. (Think fated mates, but not.) This always annoys me, because it makes them interchangeable with anyone else who fills that demographic.

All in all, however, I liked Cerveny’s writing and the book itself. I’m not sure if I’m up for more of this series, but I’m sure interested in more of Cerveny’s writing.