Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

October 11, 2012 Reviews 0 ★★★½

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta SepetysBetween Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys Published by Philomel on March 22, 2011
Genres: YA Historical
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
three-half-stars
Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously--and at great risk--documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

Just like all the reviews say, this is a story that absolutely needed to be told. When we think of atrocities committed against humankind during World War II, we think of the Holocaust, not Stalin’s deportation of millions of Latvians, Estonians, Lithuanians, and Finns in order to put them in prisons and labor camps–and eventually kill many of them. It’s something lost to the wilds of history. Sepetys brings it to the forefront in her novel about survival in hellish times.

From the very start, Sepetys establishes who her characters are and keeps them consistent throughout the novel. What they go through tears at your heart and as more people die, either of disease or because the Soviets shot them in the head, chills run up your spine. Sometimes, it all feels so bleak and hopeless and real. Unfortunately, some of it also feels rather detached and sanitized. The novel packs a strong emotional punch, but not as much of a punch as it should.

These characters never really grow, though. They’re well-established, sure. They harden, they survive, and sometimes they die, and we always care about what happens to them, but they never truly develop beyond who they are established to be at the start of the story. There’s not a plot to move the story along either, so without a character or a plot to drive the novel, it can be easy to put the novel down and not come back to it for a while. Still, as I tend to do with novels I’m rather disinterested in but still want to read, I was able to read it in large gulps here and there.

The ending is also very abrupt. We are carried from the end of their first winter in the Arctic Circle to fifty years later, when a time capsule is unearthed by Lithuanian construction workers and they find Lina’s words. We can surmise a little of what happened to her, but there are more questions than answers.It’s frustrating, really, and it doesn’t quite fit the story.

Still, I’d read more of Sepetys’s work thanks to her subtle characterization skills, which were observed in this book and in her upcoming release Out of the Easy (which I already read and OH MY GOD, YOU GUYS, MY HEART! MY HEART!).

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Crewel by Gennifer Albin

October 10, 2012 Reviews 0 ★★

Crewel by Gennifer AlbinCrewel by Gennifer Albin Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux on October 16, 2012
Genres: YA Dystopian, YA Sci-fi
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: print ARC from Amazon Vine
two-stars
Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.

This book makes me tired.

There are a lot of things in YA that I’m tiring of: slut shaming; girl/women hate; abusive relationships being gussied up as “edgy” and romantic when they’re not; me saying no to a book only for friends to say it’s great and then I realize my gut feeling was right when I read said book; bland love triangles that don’t really capture how difficult being in that situation can be; and so many more that I can’t even remember at the moment. Crewel, thank God, does not have all those elements to it, but it does have a few. A few too many, sadly.

The bright lights in this experience are the worldbuilding and writing of Crewel. Albin’s world is fascinating and will draw many readers in with its fairly original concepts, though certain pieces can be a little derivative of other novels, and the idea behind the looms. And ooh, what delicious writing! The scenes describing how it felt to work on the looms made me feel like I was eating the most decadent chocolate to ever exist. It was beautiful to the point of almost being torturous, it was so good.

Fantastic writing and compelling worldbuilding, no matter how great, are unable to save this novel from its weak characters, lack of explanations, and how tired I am of seeing these dystopians aim for women in particular.

Perhaps I’ve read too many novels lately where women are once again forced into obedience to men. I can’t do it anymore. I really can’t. Seeing this time after time in novels, even though Crewel and most other novels end up objecting to this nasty treatment of women, has gotten depressing and at some points, it made me not want to read anymore. Even calling Adelice and girls like her Spinsters when that is such a loaded term to me hurt, though I’m sure the author used it with its negative connotation in mind–which will be great writing and something I thumbs-up her if it’s true. It’s stressing me out and I can’t keep doing this. I really can’t. (But none of this counts against the novel. I just needed a moment.)

The weak characters make it difficult to keep going despite the novel’s strong points. Adelice lacks the distinctive personality to really make her pop off the page and the supporting characters, to the two bland love interests that make up the love triangle to the shallow cartoon villains, are no better. She flip-flops between Jost and Erik and I simply don’t care. There’s no life to it.

Not everything about this worldbuilding makes sense. The neighborhoods are segregated so that boys and girls rarely, if ever, meet before it comes time to set up courtship appointments when they’re sixteen and older. Yet fathers live with their daughters and mothers presumably live with their sons. There’s sense in keeping that family unit together because the Guild likes the family unit, but that sense disappears when we remember the sexes are segregated to keep the girls’ purity standards in place. What, like adult men and adult women don’t ever sexually abuse children–even their own children?

More questions, such as what happens when married couples have sex and conceive without permission, the full limits of what Spinsters can do,, how these social dynamics came about, how people began to develop the ability to be Spinsters and Crewelers in the first place, why the men are still in control when it’s the women who really have the power, and more are left unanswered. These questions and Crewel‘s cliffhanger ending are perfect lures to bring readers back for book two in the Crewel World series, but readers who are unenthralled by the book may not want to come back.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Rewind

October 9, 2012 Top Ten Tuesday 0

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s topic is Rewind, meaning I can choose from any past topics, and I decided to go with Top Ten Series I Haven’t Finished. I’ve also included links to my reviews of books in these series when able.

1) Experiment in Terror series by Karina Halle

I really like this series and I have all the books but the upcoming sixth book Into the Hollows on my Kindle, but there aren’t enough hours in the day or free time in the world for me to read them all when I want to! [my review of Darkhouse] [Red Fox] [The Benson]

2) The Violet Eden Chapters by Jessica Shirvington

Aussie books generally rock my socks off, but this is an exception. If I remember correctly, I skipped about sixty pages just so I could get to the end and find out what happened. This was one book I didn’t want plaguing me with questions about how it ended (because that’s the hell I go through when I DNF books). [Embrace]

3)The Divergent series by Veronica Roth

I was one of those people left unimpressed by this hyped-up dystopian novel. I don’t plan to read Insurgent or even try to find out how it all ends. I just don’t care. [Divergent]

4) The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

It’s not necessarily a great series, but I had a lot of fun reading it and I’m looking forward to the next book. Unlike another book with beginnings on Fictionpress that eventually led to a major publishing deal [glares at Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens], I can see where Throne of Glass got its fans. [Throne of Glass]

5) The Shadow Falls series by C.C. Hunter

I read three books of this five-book series and I am stopping there. I’m supposed to be a good girl and not read a book solely to snark it anymore. (It’s still fair game if a book I expect to like becomes snark bait.) Besides, slight improvement in the third book showed me the series isn’t going to be my go-to fun for a train-wreck read anymore. It’s still going to be as offensive and badly written as ever, I assume, but I don’t care anymore. [Born at Midnight] [Awake at Dawn] [Taken at Dusk]

6) The Cambion Chronicles by Jaime Reed

The first book was a lot of fun, but admittedly, money and a lack of motivation are keeping me from getting the second book. [Living Violet]

7) The Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick

-stifles nausea-

Let’s not talk about it, m’kay? [Hush, Hush] [Crescendo]

8) The Hybrid Chronicles by Kat Zhang

… -shakes laptop-

Damn you, books, I wish you could come out more quickly! But I know you can’t because Zhang is a busy college student like me and there’s the publishing process to get through, so I will wait. Impatiently, but I will wait so you can be fantastic.

(Seriously, I admire Kat Zhang and her ability to get this published while in college so much. I can barely find time to write, though that is in part due to health problems stealing all of my energy.) [What’s Left of Me]

9) The Angelfall series by Susan Ee

Pretty much half the YA blogging world is waiting for the second book in this series to come out–including me. Her bleak world, unique worldbuilding, and fantastic characters are droolworthy. [Angelfall]

10) The Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Seriously, what is the big deal with this series? I’m at a loss. [Obsidian]

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Two and Twenty Dark Tales by Georgia McBride and Michelle Zink

October 9, 2012 Reviews 0 ★★★★

Two and Twenty Dark Tales by Georgia McBride and Michelle ZinkTwo and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes ed. by Georgia McBride and Michelle Zink Published by Month9Books on October 16, 2012
Genres: Anthology, YA Horror, YA Paranormal
Pages: 340
Format: eARC
Source: eARC via NetGalley
four-stars
In this anthology, 20 authors explore the dark and hidden meanings behind some of the most beloved Mother Goose nursery rhymes through short story retellings. The dark twists on classic tales range from exploring whether Jack truly fell or if Jill pushed him instead to why Humpty Dumpty, fragile and alone, sat atop so high of a wall. The authors include Nina Berry, Sarwat Chadda, Leigh Fallon, Gretchen McNeil, and Suzanne Young.

Note: There are five stories I did not review. Three of them were not in my ARC but will be in the finished copy and two were stories I chose to skip due to personal reasons regarding their authors.

“As Blue as the Sky and Just as Old” by Nina Berry: 2.5/5. Berry had a great idea, but a lack of development and a heroine whose levels of dumb break the scale ruin it. Am I really supposed to go with it when Girl meets Guy, they talk for less than five minutes, and she agrees to go with him somewhere secluded just like that, implying that she’s following him just because he’s really hot? It’s clear she did that just because the story required her to.

“Sing a Song of Six-Pence” by Sarwat Chadda: 4/5. I really liked Chadda’s Billi SanGreal series and the same reasons I liked them are why I liked his short story. It’s well-written, delicious, and isn’t afraid to say that sometimes, there is no winner.

“Clockwork” by Leah Cypress: 4/5. This story, where the mouse climbing up the clock is actually a girl transformed by magic, was full of fun twists. The storyline was great, but it was too simplistic and easily solved even for a short story.

“Blue” by Sayantani DasGupta: 1/5. There simply wasn’t anything to this story that interested me or compelled me to put some thought into it like the others did.

“Pieces of Eight” by Shannon Delaney with Max Scialdone: 2/5. It’s well-paced and actiony as Marnum tries to get to the Dreamland Tree and meanwhile discovers where he came from, but “actiony” is half-compliment, half-complaint. Stuff happened, but there was no development. Marnum was kind of an ass and I didn’t like the writing style.

“Boys and Girls Come Out to Play” by Angie Frazier: 4.5/5. As one sister ventures into the woods to save the other from the witches’ beckoning, I found myself invested in what would happen to them and feel the story was well-thought-out. A small plot hole is all that keeps it from a 5. I admit, this gives me motivation to try and move Frazier’s novel Everlasting up the reading line (even though I don’t exactly have the freedom to pick and choose what I’m reading right now; certain books need to be read ASAP).

“I Come Baring Souls” by Jessie Harrell: 3/5. There’s really not much to say about this story, where three people with the roles of the Egyptian gods Anubis, Bast, and Hathor past judgment on the souls of the dead. I wish there were more to it.

“The Lion and the Unicorn: Part the First” by Nancy Holder: 4/5. It’s well-written and interesting, but I felt it was a bit iffy to set a story during a time of witch hunts without giving even a second of thought to innocent people persecuted as witches (and the existence of real, live witches in the story changes nothing). As “Part the First” implies, the anthology splits this into two stories, but my ARC didn’t have the second part in it.

“Life in a Shoe” by Heidi R. Kling: 3/5. Kling’s story has more of a dystopian twist to it, with the old woman and her many children in a shoe being in a small apartment instead, living in a place where women are forced to have children that will one day be raised to fight in the wars. The story suffers from a common flaw in dystopian stories: worldbuilding and plausibility. I cannot see this ever happening and nothing about how things came to be in such a state is not explained.

“Candlelight” by Suzanne Lazear: 2/5. Too anvilicious to be enjoyable. Yes, we know children and teenagers shouldn’t be brats over not being able to go to parties or being grounded because there are always people who have it worse and bad things can happen.

“One for Sorrow” by Karen Mahoney: 1/5. I couldn’t enjoy this for one second. The incredibly immature main character killed it for me.

“Those Who Whisper” by Lisa Mantchev: 5/5 . This author is the main reason I wanted to read this anthology. She’s one of my favorites! With a slight Snow White feel to it in that the main character Sida can talk to animals and a clear, lovely writing style, this is my favorite story of the anthology by far.

“Little Miss Muffet” by Georgia McBride: 3/5. Shape-shifting spiders? …Okay! Would have been a little more highly rated if the main character hadn’t called another girl a tramp.

“Sea of Dew” by C. Lee McKenzie: 3/5. This story of four teenagers adrift in a lifeboat after the ferry they were on capsized is the good kind of bleak, but it didn’t really make me feel anything. What happens to them and how it worsens over time is sad, yet something was lacking.

“Tick Tock” by Gretchen McNeil: 5/5. This story of a babysitter going out to a house on assignment and finding some very creepy children there was fantastic! Creepy and horrifying and just right. Not exactly unique, but I like it anyway.

“The Well” by K.M. Walton: 4/5.  Jack and Jill reimagined in a post-virus world where the siblings hate each other. The nuances of their complicated relationship were very well done and I liked the ending.

“The Wish” by Suzanne Young: 4/5. Insta-love put a damper on a story I would have otherwise liked, one about a girl miserable after a break-up, the death wish she makes on a star, and the new guy she spends her night with. It reminded me a little of the urban legend where a girl ends up dancing with the devil.

“A Ribbon of Blue” by Michelle Zink: 3/5. I admit, I knew what was going to happen to Ruby from the time the fortune-teller told her she’d find light, love, and freedom in a boy with a whistle, a ticket, and a blue ribbon. I felt a little bad for Ruby, but I didn’t feel much else because I lacked emotional investment.

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Easy by Tammara Webber

October 5, 2012 Reviews 0 ★★★½

Easy by Tammara WebberEasy by Tammara Webber Published by Self-published on May 25, 2012
Genres: NA Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
three-half-stars
A girl who believes trust can be misplaced, promises are made to be broken, and loyalty is an illusion. A boy who believes truth is relative, lies can mask unbearable pain, and guilt is eternal. Will what they find in each other validate their conclusions, or disprove them all?

When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she's single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex's frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night--but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.

When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he's hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.

Things I learned from Easy:

Ways in which you should not victimize women include:

  • Sexually assaulting them
  • Saying they were asking for it
  • Ignoring her boundaries and acting like no means yes
  • Saying it’s not a big deal they were raped because they weren’t a virgin in the first place
  • Caring more about the damage it will do to the accused’s reputation than what happened to the victim
  • Trying to convince a victim not to testify because of what it will do to the school’s/fraternity’s reputation
  • Having sex with them when they are drunk (because THAT IS RAPE, PEOPLE)
  • Blaming them for anything sexual abuse or assault they suffer
  • Probably many more things I’m forgetting because my arm started hurting from all my feminist solidarity fist-pumps

Ways in which you should victimize women include:

  • Calling them sluts/whores/skanks/hussies/etc. because she does something you or your friends don’t like.

Wait, what?

Exactly. A novel hyped as the book women need to read okays slut shaming. Let that sink in.

This contradiction held throughout the novel is the biggest problem Easy has. As the lists show, this book carries a lot of heavy feminist themes that make absolutely valid points more people need rammed into their skulls. Most of these messages aren’t terribly anvilicious and that makes it a great way to teach people. Most people will digest a subtle, personal approach more easily than an in-your-face approach. Slut shaming is never okay and is not empowering for women whether they’re doing the name-calling or suffering it.

Other than that gigantic, book-breaking snafu, Easy has a lot going for it. Webber’s writing is powerful and can wrench a wide range of emotions from readers. Smiling because Lucas and Jacqueline are so adorable, choking up because what Jacqueline suffers through after Buck nearly rapes her is so awful, and making my heart pound because the romance is pretty fantastic. Why can’t more books pull such a wide range of emotions from me?

This novel and Jacqueline connected with me in an unexpected number of ways: as a fellow woman, as a college student, as a victim of sexual abuse (though of a different variety than Jacqueline’s), and as someone who suffered with what happened to her for so long before she was finally able to tell someone. If Jacqueline and I weren’t so similar and those parallels made it impossible for me not to see the good in this book, it would be down another half-star. As it is, Jacqueline’s growth from a young woman afraid after her near-rape into a capable young woman who has found what–and who–she wants and no longer lets what happened to her hold her back is beautiful.

The secondary characters can sometimes be weak, but they usually have strong, memorable personalities as well; Erin serves largely in the supportive-roommate role, but she is so enjoyable as a character because she helps Jacqueline so much and delivers some of the best lines of the book. NUTSACK! Quite a few of the necessary lessons in this book are served on a silver platter to Jacqueline by her.

Lucas and Jacqueline’s romance, while incredibly cute, is also somewhat typical in certain respects. I saw their couple dramas with the tutor thing and his mom coming a long ways away because it has been done in so many other novels. Kinda made me roll me eyes. Lucas also has a small creepy moment when he revealed he keeps a drawing of Jacqueline on the wall next to his bed so he can wake up to her every morning. This is only at the beginning of their relationship. Beyond that, he is a fantastic love interest and gets some pretty good character development of his own.

My interest in Webber’s other books is high after this, but if she pulls the same sort of shenanigans with book-breaking contradictions, there will be hell to pay.

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Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi

October 3, 2012 Reviews 0 ★★★

Destroy Me by Tahereh MafiDestroy Me by Tahereh Mafi Published by HarperCollins on October 2, 2012
Genres: YA Dystopian, YA Paranormal
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
three-stars
Perfect for the fans of Shatter Me who are desperately awaiting the release of Unravel Me, this novella-length digital original will bridge the gap between these two novels from the perspective of the villain we all love to hate, Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.

In Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, Juliette escaped from The Reestablishment by seducing Warner—and then putting a bullet in his shoulder. But as she’ll learn in Destroy Me, Warner is not that easy to get rid of. . .

Back at the base and recovering from his near-fatal wound, Warner must do everything in his power to keep his soldiers in check and suppress any mention of a rebellion in the sector. Still as obsessed with Juliette as ever, his first priority is to find her, bring her back, and dispose of Adam and Kenji, the two traitors who helped her escape. But when Warner’s father, The Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, arrives to correct his son’s mistakes, it’s clear that he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner simply cannot allow.

Set after Shatter Me and before its forthcoming sequel, Unravel Me, Destroy Me is a novella told from the perspective of Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.

Shatter Me. For a reason I can’t remember (Google searches turned up a “major pre-empt” and the movie rights being bought; according to my ARC, it had a $150,000 marketing campaign too), it was one of the most hyped-up novels of 2011 and I gave it three stars, though it has now been downgraded to two in my head. Destroy Me went on my list for one reason only: Warner.

I mean, come on! The guy has absolutely no marbles to speak of and in a book full of bland characters, I liked that. His obsession with Juliette had more to do with why I liked him, though; I find obsession and what it does to people morbidly fascinating. Besides, his character reminds me of one of my own and I want to see how another author did it. And so I dove into Destroy Me.

It’s written in normal prose rather than the over-the-top ultraviolet prose of Shatter Me, and I was excited to be in Warner’s head from the very start. If it wasn’t clear before, it’s clear now that he is head-over-heels obsessed with Juliette. He thinks himself in love like more than a few obsessed people do, but I know better! He’s the kind of guy one would call the police on in real life, but here, it’s good. Knowing the boundary between what’s okay in fiction and in real life is always good.

The problem with this novella is that it is completely unnecessary and doesn’t give me any richer knowledge of the world of Shatter Me. We get a little more insight into Warner’s other obsessions like his need to be clean and some hints at how he grew up, but most of what Destroy Me reveals is stuff I’d already put together. His dad sucking? Check. The poor conditions of the people? Check. If any fan who refused to read this because they hate Warner skipped it, they would miss absolutely nothing. The Reestablishment is still a typical dystopian society with little to no plausibility and it is therefore too easy to put together what their world is like.

I’ll be reading on to Unravel Me, which looks like it will be just as purple prose-filled as Shatter Me if the excerpt is anything to go by, for the same reason I kept with this novella: Warner.

He better not find his marbles and/or become a serious love interest. I mean it. If he does, he’ll get boring and then I’ll be done with this series.

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The Torn Wing by Kiki Hamilton

October 1, 2012 Reviews 0 ★★

The Torn Wing by Kiki HamiltonThe Torn Ring by Kiki Hamilton Published by Self-published on August 9, 2012
Genres: YA Historical, YA Paranormal
Pages: 313
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
two-stars
London 1872 -

A bloody escape, a deadly threat, a shocking revelation...

As an orphan who stole the Queen's ring - only to find the ring was a reservoir that held a truce between the world of Faerie and the British Court - Tiki’s greatest fear suddenly becomes all too real: the fey have returned to London seeking revenge. As war escalates in the Otherworld, Queen Victoria’s youngest son, Prince Leopold, is attacked. In order to protect her family and those she loves, Tiki needs to know the meaning of an fáinne sí, the birthmark that winds around her wrist. But will she be brave enough to face the truth?

The Faerie Ring didn’t impress me much when I read it in February 2012, but I wanted to read on for two main reasons: I felt like Hamilton had the ability to improve upon her story and I wanted to see where it would go. Nowhere much, I can say now that I’ve finished the novel. The Torn Wing feels more like set-up than the previous book ever did and it covers very little new ground that is of interest to me.

Admittedly, the only thing that still attracts me to this series is the writing. I love how easily Hamilton’s prose flows, but the decline in quality between the traditionally-published first book and the small-press-published/self-published (my research has not brought me to a conclusion on that one) second book is clear, though most of the flubs are in grammar. Dropped punctuation (more than a few quotation marks are missing), wrongly used punctuation (like using the possessive form of something when it wasn’t needed), formatting errors,… I almost wanted to take a red pen to it, but consider I plan to pass this on to someone, marking it up is a no-no.

One of my complaints about The Faerie Ring was its lack of depth and genuine feeling, and this issue also pervades The Torn Wing. Tiki isn’t very introspective and I suppose that’s part of her character, but when Larkin tells Tiki she might be the rightful ruler of the faeries and Tiki never stops to think about what it might cost her if it were true, that becomes a problem. If I were told I might be a faerie queen, I’d sure be thinking about what taking up the throne would cost me! People are selfish like that, and I’d think Tiki would be too as an orphan who had to fend for herself on the streets for a good while. Her maddening way of forgiving people didn’t help much.

The story also gets a little more indulgent in cliches than it was in the first book. I’m glad it didn’t go the route of a love triangle with Leo, Tiki, and Rieker like I fear (though Leo does still like her), it seems like there’s set up for another love triangle with a new character named Dain. It gets more cliche than that, but revealing that would be a spoiler and I don’t feel like revealing it.

I like how the Ripper murders and the royal hemophilia were tied in with the story, but I have a big problem with the latter. See, Prince Leopold gets attacked by a faerie and the wound won’t stop bleeding because it’s a faerie wound. It is covered up by calling it hemophilia, and the problem here is that royal hemophilia is an established issue that goes beyond Leo. Princesses Alice and Beatrice were confirmed carriers of royal hemophilia and there are well-documented cases of their descendants carrying on/suffering from that gene. Like Alexei Romanov? He had it. His grandmother was Princess Alice. The implication of Leo’s well-established hemophilia being only a cover-up and hemophilia not actually being in the family contradicts solid historical fact and it bugs me.

Yeah, I’m taking issue with how a historical fantasy contradicts historical fact. When the novel is trying to present itself as if it actually happened within our timeline but was kept secret from everyone else, I can do that.I might read The Seven Year King, the third book of this series, but right now, I’m not sure what I’d be reading on for. I gave The Torn Wing a shot because I hoped for improvement and there was absolutely none. It was nothing but set-up. I can be a bit of a sucker sometimes for books, but I’ve got my limits.

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