Posts Tagged: Fairies

Book Review – Dreams and Shadows (Dreams & Shadows #1) by C. Robert Cargill

December 6, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 13 Comments

Book Review – Dreams and Shadows (Dreams & Shadows #1) by C. Robert CargillDreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill
Series: Dreams and Shadows #1
Published by Harper Voyager on February 26th 2013
Pages: 448
Genres: Horror, Urban Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Queen of the Dark Things, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories, Sea of Rust

four-half-stars

A brilliantly crafted modern tale from acclaimed film critic and screenwriter C. Robert Cargill—part Neil Gaiman, part Guillermo Del Toro, part William S. Burroughs—that charts the lives of two boys from their star-crossed childhood in the realm of magic and mystery to their anguished adulthoods

There is another world than our own—one no closer than a kiss and one no further than our nightmares—where all the stuff of which dreams are made is real and magic is just a step away. But once you see that world, you will never be the same.

Dreams and Shadows takes us beyond this veil. Once bold explorers and youthful denizens of this magical realm, Ewan is now an Austin musician who just met his dream girl, and Colby, meanwhile, cannot escape the consequences of an innocent wish. But while Ewan and Colby left the Limestone Kingdom as children, it has never forgotten them. And in a world where angels relax on rooftops, whiskey-swilling genies argue metaphysics with foul-mouthed wizards, and monsters in the shadows feed on fear, you can never outrun your fate.

Dreams and Shadows is a stunning and evocative debut about the magic and monsters in our world and in our self.

‘If you remember one thing, even above remembering me, remember that there is not a monster dreamt that hasn’t walked withing the soul of man.’

Dreams and Shadows tells the tale of two young boys: Ewan, who was stolen from his family by fairies when he was a baby, and Colby, who befriended a djinn that granted wishes which changed his life forever. The fates of both become entwined the second they meet and a battle between magical forces ensues.

This could have honestly been a disastrous affair what with the strange mixture of fairies and changelings, angels and the Devil, sorcerers and genies, and the list goes on. But it’s far from a disaster. This was an absolute delight and the exact type of fantasy that I yearn for. I have to make note that despite the inclusion of angels and the Devil this is far from religious and never digs in deep to that aspect; they were just supporting characters of a sort. The characters were fictitious and fanciful but managed to be extremely well-crafted and developed. The male characters were at the very least. It didn’t occur to me until later that the female characters all seemed to be incredibly weak and only described in terms of their looks with the one exception to that statement being Ewan’s scary-as-hell mother. All in all, it’s easy to overlook because of the thrilling plot.

My least favorite aspect of the book ended up being my favorite. In addition to the story being told from three separate points of view, there are excerpts from a book titled ‘A Chronicle of the Dreamfolk’ by a Dr. Thaddeus Ray, Ph.D. They are surprisingly informative pieces on the factual aspects of this fantasy world but it’s initially unclear as to why they’re included. It’s a vital piece of the puzzle that becomes clear late in the novel so don’t skip these sections.

Dreams and Shadows is a story full of magic and mystery and outlandish horror. I so enjoyed the rawness and twisted darkness of this tale and the unique and unusual world-building that fortunately isn’t lacking in detail. Dreams and Shadows possessed a plot with room to grow and is one instance where I’m thankful for it being a series. Queen of the Dark Things is the next installment which is due out in mid-2014. I cannot wait.

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Early Review – The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente

October 1, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012, YA 0 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. ValenteThe Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente
Series: Fairyland #2
Published by Feiwel & Friends on October 2nd 2012
Pages: 258
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings, Fantasy
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two

four-half-stars

“One of the most extraordinary works of fantasy, for adults or children, published so far this century.”—Time magazine, on the Fairyland series

September has longed to return to Fairyland after her first adventure there. And when she finally does, she learns that its inhabitants have been losing their shadows—and their magic—to the world of Fairyland Below. This underworld has a new ruler: Halloween, the Hollow Queen, who is September’s shadow. And Halloween does not want to give Fairyland’s shadows back.

Fans of Valente’s bestselling, first Fairyland book will revel in the lush setting, characters, and language of September’s journey, all brought to life by fine artist Ana Juan. Readers will also welcome back good friends Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday. But in Fairyland Below, even the best of friends aren’t always what they seem. . . .

Fairyland series

Hardly a day has passed since September hasn’t thought about Fairyland and Ell and Saturday and the Green Wind. Sometimes she even wonders whether she imagined the whole thing, but it was all so very real because September’s shadow is gone; she left it behind in Fairyland. But she’s thirteen now, and so much time has passed and she begins to think she’ll never make her way back, until one day she sees a rowboat floating across the fields behind her house. She knew this was her opportunity and hastened to follow them to wherever they were going. Upon her return, she realizes that Fairyland is quite different from when she left it several months ago and that September is not the only one missing her shadow now.

“…your light side isn’t a perfectly pretty picture, either, I promise you. You couldn’t dream without the dark. You couldn’t rest… You need your dark side, because without it, you’re half gone.”

September was once again an incredible character: full of heart, strength, and loyalty. Realizing that the problems in Fairyland stemmed from her actions from her previous visit, she didn’t hesitate for a second before starting her adventure to make things right. I loved the implications of the purpose of shadows and how their importance reaches far beyond their physical presence. Very mature topics that I see as being a fantastic ‘learning opportunity’ for children during a potential read-along with their parents. The writing is not just full of beautiful prose but manages to also have substantial meaning behind every word.

‘She did not know yet how sometimes people keep parts of themselves hidden and secret, sometimes wicked and unkind parts, but often brave or wild or colorful parts, cunning or powerful or even marvelous, beautiful parts, just locked up away at the bottom of their hearts… all of those brave and wild and cunning and marvelous and beautiful parts they hid away and left in the dark to grow strange mushrooms–and yes, sometimes those wicked and unkind parts, too–end up in their shadow.’

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland was wonderful, original, and full of incredible prose and The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland doesn’t disappoint. If anything, the second installment is even more brilliant. The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland will be well received by children but I so love that it’s equally (if not more so) able to be enjoyed by adults. Catherynne M. Valente has definitely done it again; full of adventure mixed with a new take on old-world fairytales.

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Book Review – The Shadow Reader (McKenzie Lewis, #1) by Sandy Williams

December 3, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 1 Comment

Book Review – The Shadow Reader (McKenzie Lewis, #1) by Sandy WilliamsThe Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams
Published by Ace on October 25th 2011
Pages: 320
Genres: Romance, Urban Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Shades of Treason

four-half-stars

Some humans can see the fae. McKenzie Lewis can track them, reading the shadows they leave behind. But some shadows lead to danger. Others lead to lies.

A Houston college student trying to finish her degree, McKenzie has been working for the fae king for years, tracking vicious rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn’t her only secret. For just as long, she’s been in love with Kyol, the king’s sword-master—and relationships between humans and fae are forbidden.

But any hope for a normal life is shattered when she’s captured by Aren, the fierce and uncompromising rebel leader. He teaches her the forbidden fae language and tells her dark truths about the Court, all to persuade her to turn against the king. Time is running out, and as the fight starts to claim human lives, McKenzie has no choice but to decide once and for all whom to trust and where she ultimately stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.

I was ridiculously hooked to this book from the very first page. Great characters, exciting storyline, and more important an original storyline.

McKenzie is a hot commodity in the faerie war. She’s a shadow reader who is able to track faeries that fissure out. She’s been assisting the faerie King since she was 16; it’s now been 10 years. For those past 10 years McKenzie has also been pining over Kyol, the king’s swordsman, who is forbidden from being with a human. They share kisses and private moments but they’ve never gone further as Kyol’s loyalty to the King keeps him from doing so. McKenzie herself has been loyal to the King for the last 10 years and when she is abducted by the faerie rebels and discovers pertinent information that’s been kept from her for all these years her loyalties begin to divide.

The emotional bonding with a captor or an abuser known as Stockholm syndrome was referred to in this story after McKenzie began having feelings for Aren. I felt that the fact that she could have had Stockholm syndrome would have been better left implied rather than stated so bluntly. Also, do victims even realize they have Stockholm syndrome? McKenzie kept referring to it almost like it’s a third person. Open for discussion on that because I’m really not sure.

’Damn this Stockholm syndrome. There’s got to be some cure for it.’

Other than that, I really didn’t have any problems with this story.

I’m sure we all know by now how much I despise love triangles and I know I’m not the only one that feels this way. This one wasn’t the worst by far; I believe it was one of the most well-handled love triangles I’ve read to date.

I loved the originality of the story. I feared that this would end up being a variation of the Iron Fey series, just with adult alterations. I ended up being quite wrong in that assumption, quite wrong and pleasantly surprised. I also loved how it wasn’t your typical badass heroine stories where she’s unbelievably powerful, super-hot, and can kick everyone’s ass. This was not the case. McKenzie may have had a super awesome power that came in handy and made her super important to a large number of people, but she was still vulnerable and real. At first I was kind of irritated at the fact that she seemed to be a major weenie, but it made the story and McKenzie more realistic in my opinion.

I look forward to the next book in the series coming out. The author already released the name of the next book in the series… ‘The Shattered Dark’. Sounds fabulous! I can’t wait! 😀

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Book Review – The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey #2) by Julie Kagawa

October 24, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 0 Comments

Book Review – The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey #2) by Julie KagawaThe Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
Series: The Iron Fey #2
Published by Harlequin Teen on August 1st 2010
Pages: 361
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Iron King, Winter's Passage, The Iron Knight

two-stars

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey - ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

I really feel like I’m missing something with this series. I started reading it based solely off the declarations of love and whatnot and I’ve since become sorely disappointed.

The Storyline
In The Iron Daughter, Meghan has become the prisoner of Queen Mab the Winter Faery Queen. After Meghan witnesses the death of Queen Mab’s son by the hands of the Iron Fey she once again gets entangled in that drama. Meghan and a few friends set off in search of the Iron Fey where all kinds of predictable fun is in store for them.

The ‘Romance’
Is there some manual out there for aspiring YA writers? Is there a requirement listed that in order for a YA book to be successful there must be a love triangle? I don’t know who started it (My hunch? It’s all Twilight’s fault) but the idea that love triangles are fun, exciting, and makes a book all sorts of romantical is so so wrong. But I’m not picking sides! I’m going to go a complete different route.

Team Grimalkin! One bad ass kitty cat. Even though he is kind of a shit.

Bottom Line
I feel so entwined in this series that I feel I must continue, but I can’t promise I won’t complain the entire time. Meghan’s character is the WHINIEST person I have ever had the unfortunate opportunity to read about. I understand she’s like 17 or something but COME ON. Between the constant whining and crying about Ash, and the whining and crying about Puck, and not having powers, and wanting to go back to high school, wanting to go home, some more whining about Ash… it really got old. I feel no connection with this main character and honestly? Somebody really needs to slap some sense into that girl. The ending was somewhat redeemable though… what with Meghan turning into kind-of a badass. I did say kind-of. I can only hope for more in the next book.

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Book Review – Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1) by Kiersten White

July 16, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 0 Comments

Book Review – Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1) by Kiersten WhiteParanormalcy by Kiersten White
Series: Paranormalcy #1
Published by HarperTeen on August 31, 2010
Pages: 368
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie’s always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

Okay so the main character Evie is like some Paranormal Agent for the International Paranormal Contaimment Agency (IPCA). Right off the bat this book reminded me of Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series…just with a vampire here and a mermaid there. It’s an easy read but I have a hard time with YA novels that are extremely immature. For example, one of the intro lines about her taser is pink with rhinestones and named Tasey. That was almost too much for me.

The story continues with Evie doing her job to capture paranormals and bring them back to the agency for their protection or if they’re wreaking havoc on humans. All kinds of paranormals too; werewolves, vampires, mermaids, shapeshifters, banshees… hags? There’s also an underlying story about Evie and her kind of ex-boyfriend faerie. I found him extremely creepy and didn’t like him one bit. Or Raquel. That woman sighed way too damn much.

Once the story picked up around the halfway point, it actually got pretty interesting, but there was just something about this story that didn’t click with me. Not sure what exactly. Maybe it was the continued reference to Tasey and her pink knife.

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Short and Sweet Review – The Iron King (Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa

July 16, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 0 Comments

Short and Sweet Review – The Iron King (Iron Fey #1) by Julie KagawaThe Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Series: The Iron Fey #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on January 26th 2010
Pages: 368
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Winter's Passage, The Iron Daughter, The Iron Knight

two-stars

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny--one she could never have imagined...

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school...or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth-- that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face...and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

The story is about Meghan Chase, a normal girl living in a small town with poor parents and her 4 year-old brother. Meghan discovers that she’s the daughter of a mythical faery king and of course gets involved in a faery war.

For some reason I couldn’t get into The Iron King no matter how hard I tried. It took me almost a week to read and for me that’s pretty much unheard of. I had heard such great things about this entire series and I was really looking forward to it but the storyline was just so-so. I loved the parts about Ash. I had heard everybody rave about Ash so I couldn’t wait for him to be introduced… unfortunately that didn’t even happen till almost halfway through the book. The story just lacked originality for me and I would like to continue the series, I just won’t be doing it immediately.

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