March 25, 2013

Recently Read: The Raven Boys, Shadow and Bone and another Who e-book


I likely won't be doing two Recently Read posts every month, but I seem to have been on a kick lately, particularly with new YA series (that I now have to wait impatiently for the rest of ...)

What have I been reading?


The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Here's a bit of the synopsis:
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love ... or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
I wasn't sure what to think about this book when I first started it; I thought I might not like the story at all until after the halfway mark. The book is unsettling at first—I wasn't sure what was going on or how the characters were connected—but as the book crossed the halfway point and more connections and discoveries were made, I got fully sucked in. The weirdness of the beginning makes sense now that I've completed it, and I'm looking forward to future books (but of course there are future books) in which we learn more about the secrets only briefly mentioned in this series starter.

I think I said this about Beautiful Creatures, too, but it's nice to read a YA book that isn't written solely from the POV of the girl. In Raven Boys, we get to see parts of the plot through the eyes of a couple of the male main characters, which adds background we otherwise might not get to see. And the four main "raven" boys are all so different and interesting. Out of the five characters that make up the core group of the book, the girl is probably third or fourth most interesting.

Also, the underlying plot of ley lines is intriguing. The idea has long interested me and this book reminded me of that—I need to look some nonfiction books up on the subject in the near future.

Genre: YA/Mysticism/Arthurian-like Mythology
For fans of: Psychics, Sword in the Stone, Stonehenge Apocalypse

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Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Here's the book's synopsis:
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha ... and the secrets of her heart.
Shadow and Bone was a quick and fun read. The main character can be a bit annoying at times due to her disbelief of her own worthiness, but I can overlook most of it since she's otherwise easy to connect with.

I suppose I should have realized the twist long before it was announced, but as a hopeless romantic, I guess I wasn't really looking for it.

The ending was open-ended, but not a cliffhanger. I'd definitely like to check out the next book in the series, but I'm not going to be counting the days with baited breath until the next one come out.


Genre: YA/Magic/Alternate Universe
For fans of: Folklore, Legend of the Seeker
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The Nameless City (Second of 11 Doctor Who 50th Anniversary e-Shorts) by Michael Scott

Here's the e-book's synopsis:
When Jamie McCrimmon brings the Second Doctor a mysterious book, little does he realize the danger contained within its pages. The book transports the TARDIS to a terrifying glass city on a distant world, where the Archons are intent on getting revenge on the Time Lord for an ancient grudge.
Much like I know nothing about the First Doctor, I know even less about the second Doctor (other than that he has seriously goofy hair). I really enjoyed the story in this e-book, however—more so than the first. This felt more like the Who stories I am familiar with. I've also never read anything by Michael Scott—my first thought when I read the name was of the Steve Carrell character from The Office—but he's got a gift for "show don't tell." The way he describes the Nameless City was really in-depth without being overly long. And the Archons are totally creepy, in a good/gross way.

The story had Neil Gaiman/"The Doctor's Wife" qualities, too, which makes me want to check out more of Scott's work.

Genre: Scifi/Short Stories
For fans of: Doctor Who, Doctor Who expanded universe stories, Doctor Who fanfiction

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What have you been reading lately? Anything I should add to my list?

4 comments:

  1. Ooh, these all sound interesting! I should just accept that my bookshelf will expand infinitely faster than I can read ALL THE BOOKS. I also really love the "for fans of" - really helpful. You've inspired me to get my own book reviews organized and on track xD

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  2. I've always got a stack of books "to read" as well as a list of books I should "read again." And I'm glad that helps! I should probably be a little less cheeky, but then it wouldn't be as fun. ;)

    Related: We have a print of this hanging in our library, and it's so perfect: http://wondermark.com/442/

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  3. I think the "to read" and "to read again" stacks are my problem - both keep growing, but I tend to reread A LOT. And also, a LOT more often than I should. Need to keep it balanced, y'know?

    The cheek is great! I think that's why I like it so much, haha. Cheek aside though, it really is helpful. I've always appreciated when people take the time to give a "kinda like" in any situation; helps me to get a better grasp on it.

    Also, that print is fantastic xD

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  4. I get ya. I've been on a new kick lately, but I can get into similar kicks with old friends.

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