Waiting on Wednesday–Hysteria by Megan Miranda

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I loved Fracture, so I am eagerly awaiting Megan Miranda’s next outing, Hysteria.  In stores February 2013

 

Mallory’s life is falling apart. Her boyfriend was stabbed. He bled to death in her kitchen. Mallory was the one who stabbed him. But she can’t remember what happened that night. She only remembers the fear . . .

 
When Mallory’s parents send her away to a boarding school, she thinks she can escape the gossip and the threats. But someone, or something, has followed her. There’s the hand that touches her shoulder when she’s drifting off to sleep. A voice whispering her name. And everyone knows what happened. So when a pupil is found dead, Mallory’s name is on their lips. Her past can be forgotten but it’s never gone. Can Mallory live with that?(

What are you waiting on?

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Interview with Laura Powell, Author of Burn Mark

Our special guest today is Laura Powell, the author of Burn Mark.  This new Bloomsbury release features one of my favorite romance tropes – forbidden love!  Let’s see what Laura has to say about her new book.

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Laura Powell] I’m half-Welsh, half-American, and live in a London attic. I can read fortunes in tea leaves and Tarot cards, and like to bake cakes and binge-sleep in between books.

[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for Burn Mark?

[Laura Powell] It struck me that a witches’ coven is quite like the Mafia: they’re both secret criminal organizations, hunted by the law, a source of fear and loathing to many, but seen as quite cool and glamorous by some.

Since modern-day witches would make great gangsters, I thought there would need to be a specialist police force to protect people from black magic – the Inquisition. Once I’d got these two opposing forces, I decided that my heroine, Glory, should come from a famous crime coven, while my hero, Lucas, should belong to an equally famous family of inquisitors. When their worlds collide, sparks fly!

[Manga Maniac Café] What three words best describe Glory?

[Laura Powell] Stroppy, ambitious, brave

[Manga Maniac Café]  What are three things Lucas would never have in his pocket?

[Laura Powell] Any kind of discount voucher, a lock-picking set, lint

[Manga Maniac Café] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Laura Powell] The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood. She’s probably my favourite contemporary novelist. Now that I’ve finished that, I’m on to her post-apocalyptic thriller, The Year of the Flood.

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!

You can learn more about Laura by visiting her website.

Check out the trailer!

You can purchase Burn Mark from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below.

Review: Dead Reckoning by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill

 

   Title: Dead Reckoning

   Author: Mercedes Lackey  & Rosemary Edghill

   Publisher: Bloomsbury

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Jett is a girl disguised as a boy, living as a gambler in the old West as she searches for her long-lost brother. Honoria Gibbons is a smart, self-sufficient young woman who also happens to be a fabulous inventor. Both young women travel the prairie alone – until they are brought together by a zombie invasion! As Jett and Honoria investigate, they soon learn that these zombies aren’t rising from the dead of their own accord … but who would want an undead army? And why? This gunslinging, hair-raising, zombie western mashup is perfect for fans of Cowboys vs. Aliens and Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.

Review:

I haven’t read anything by Mercedes Lackey in a long, long time, and I don’t think I have ever read Rosemary Edghill, and that’s something I would like to rectify, because I enjoyed Dead Reckoning. Though there are some pacing issues at the end, and few too many convenient coincidences, I found my time  with Jett, White Fox, and Gibbons well spent. These characters were easy to like.  I do wish White Fox had been given more depth and more page time.  I loved Gibbons, and thought that she could probably talk her way in to and back out of Fort Knox with a bucket full of gold bars.  She was never content to take anything at face value; she had this all-consuming need to understand the how and the why of everything.  I loved how this drove Jett nuts.  She was more than willing to accept what she saw with her own eyes, and didn’t need to overthink anything.  Gibbons had an annoying habit of getting on her last, frayed nerve, and there was nothing Jett could do once her new acquaintance got on a roll.

I feel that I am still a recent convert to zombie-dom.  I wouldn’t even consider reading a zombie book until after a few reviews of The Enemy and The Forest of Hands and Teeth prompted me to read outside of my comfort zone.  I’m so glad that I did, but I am still a bit squeamish when it comes to rotting corpses.  I can’t be too scared, or I start to feel anxious and worried and I am torn in agony over putting the book aside or mincing cautiously through the pages.  Dead Reckoning was downright creepy in a few parts, but the horror elements weren’t the focus of the story.  If you are looking for a gross out, zombie rampage, you won’t find it here.  Instead, you’ll find a western that’s more medical thriller than zombie apocalypse, with steampunk elements thrown in for good measure.

What made this book for me was the character interaction.  White Fox was the peacemaker between Gibbons and Jett, whose constant head-butting kept me turning the pages.  In the years just after the Civil War, Jett is desperately searching for her twin brother.  She doesn’t believe that he’s dead, and he’s the only family she has left after the devastating war.  Masquerading as a  boy, she pretends to be a gambler and gunslinger, thinking that she’ll encounter less trouble if everyone thinks she is a male.  Having witnessed the looting and destruction of her home by Northerners, she doesn’t have much trust for them.  Fleeing from certain death at the putrefying hands of a zombie army, Jett encounters White Fox and Gibbons – both Yankees and both to be viewed with suspicion.  When Gibbons, who is too clever by far, immediately sees through her disguise, Jett is even more wary of them.  Her continued safety depends on her ruse, and she doesn’t trust either of them to keep her secret.

Though they are very different, both Gibbons and Jett are strong, outspoken women.  Gibbons has gotten grief because of her “outlandish” ideas and demeanor, but she refuses to be something that she’s not.  She prizes science and thinks that if she only looks hard enough, she’ll find a rational reason for everything.  Even an apparent zombie horde.  She has no patience for simpering females, or their ridiculous clothing.  Jett, on the other hand, enjoyed wearing frilly gowns and attending parties.  She blames the war for changing her life so drastically, and she believes that after she locates her brother, she can go back to her idea of normal.  They couldn’t be more different, but they both share the courage and resourcefulness to try to stop the zombie army.  Neither of them has a personal stake in this fight, but they won’t ignore their moral obligation to save the countless lives that would be lost if they didn’t put a stop to it.  They made a great team, I would love to see them take on another fight in the future.  I feel that White Fox was seriously underutilized here, and would like another chance for him to prove his mettle.

Dead Reckoning is a fun read with zombies, a Western setting, and steampunk elements.  The pacing was a bit off near the end as the villain rambled on without end, gloating about his superior intellect and forthcoming victory. Despite that, this is a fast, popcorn read with a cast of diverse personalities that are thrown together and forced to stop a zombie army – even though one of their number doesn’t believe in zombies.    

Grade: B/B-

Available in Print and Digital

Review copy provided by publisher

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Interview with Melissa Walker, Author of Unbreak My Heart

Melissa Walker is the author of the enjoyable summer read Unbreak My Heart.  She also penned Small Town Sinners.   Recently, I asked Melissa a few questions about her latest book.  See what she has to say about Unbreak My Heart.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Melissa Walker] Author of teen books, magazine writer and editor, lover of iced-coffee, mix tapes, Friday Night Lights and Tarheel Basketball.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Unbreak My Heart?

[Melissa Walker] Sure! It’s the story of a girl named Clem who is spending the summer with her parents and little sister on the family sailboat. She starts out heartbroken because of an incident that happened last year, and she slowly works through her pain (with the help of the fam and a sweet guy she meets on the river).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Melissa Walker] I broke up with a best friend once, and it was (and is) truly painful. I wanted a way to get at that feeling, and these characters came to me as I thought about that situation.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?

[Melissa Walker] The story alternates between past and present (the year that broke Clem’s heart and the summer that heals it), so getting that balance right was tough. I rearranged chapters a LOT, and that can get confusing!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Clem?

[Melissa Walker] Introspective, regretful, hopeful

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things James would never have in his pocket?

[Melissa Walker] Ha! Love this question. He would never have: a banana (too smelly), a hole (he’s very put together) or a cigarette (he’s too into fresh air).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Clem’s single most prized possession?

[Melissa Walker] Probably her iPod. She needs her life to have a soundtrack.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Melissa Walker] I do watch a lot of TV and movies, and I read a lot, but I think "real life" is my greatest influence. Walking around, I catch snatches of conversation, see people act a certain way, watch how someone moves. That inspires me to sit down with new characters the most.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Melissa Walker] Laptop, iced coffee, and at least two hours of uninterrupted time.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Melissa Walker] The Difference Between You an Me, by Madeleine George. Best kissing scenes ever.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Melissa Walker] It would likely be Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. I could not get enough of Fudge.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Melissa Walker] Read! Yoga. Park walks. Baby snuggles.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Melissa Walker] On melissacwalker.com, on twitter @melissacwalker, on facebook.com/melissawalkerauthor and on pinterest.com/melcwalker

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thanks!


You can order Unbreak My Heart and Small Town Sinners from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the links below

Review: Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker

 

 

Title: Unbreak My Heart

Author:  Melissa Walker

Publisher: Bloomsbury

ISBN: 978-1599905280

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life.

Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now.

Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart?

Told in alternating chapters that chronicle the year that broke Clem’s heart and the summer that healed it, Unbreak My Heart is a wonderful dual love story that fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Susane Colasanti will flock to.

,

Review:

I read and enjoyed, with a few reservations, Melissa Walker’s Small Town Sinners.  The religious framework occasionally frustrated me, but Lacey’s coming of age was compelling.  I was curious to read Unbreak My Heart, to see if I would have similar reservations with this story about a high school student who betrays her BFF.  I did not.  I was immediately engaged in this book, and couldn’t put it down. This is a great summer read with compelling characters and rapid-fire pacing.

The book begins with a very sad, very depressed Clem.  She has made herself a social outcast, and worse, she has betrayed her best friend.  A school year of forbidden attraction and inappropriate flirting has alienated her from all of her friends.  She thinks that the world has ended, as she suffers from soul-shaking sighs of regret and beats herself up over selling out Amanda.  She is the star of her own pity-party, and this is one party that seems as though it is never going to end.

To make matters worse, she is going to be stuck on her parents’ sailboat with her younger sister all summer long.  The thought is enough to send her over the deep end.  All Clem wants to do is mope around and relive every lapse of judgment she exhibited the entire school year.  She doesn’t like herself, and she now believes that she deserves to be a universally despised.  Poor Clem!

Thankfully, Clem has a run-in with James and a basket of bananas early in the book, a scene that actually had me laughing out loud.  For all of Clem’s angsty dramatics, her younger sister, Olive, and the always smiling James, lighten the tone of the story and kept Unbreak My Heart from being a total downer.  Clem is a whiny baby-face for the first few chapters, but she is so pathetic that I couldn’t find it in myself to dislike her.  She already disliked herself enough for the both of us.  Seriously.

As the story unfolds, alternating between her summer prison term on the sail boat and her unwise but understandable behavior during the previous school year, Clem begins to accept that she isn’t perfect, and that she isn’t the sole cause of her year of indiscretion.  After all of the events are revealed, I found it difficult to blame her for anything.  She is never the instigator, and she is constantly stressing about her feelings for Ethan.

I loved the setting of this story.  Clem’s family is sailing part of the Great Loop for the summer.  Clem is disconnected from the internet, and even her cell phone can’t pick up a reliable signal.  Instead, she is stuck interacting with her family and the people they meet along their journey.   When I was younger, my parents had a small cabin cruiser.  I went with them to Cedar Point one year, and had one of the best family bonding experiences ever.  I got to know my younger brother better, and I still snicker when I remember the night he sat up, yelled, “Let’s ride it one more time!” and rolled over, still fast asleep.  Despite running out of gas in extremely choppy waters, being stuck in Toledo due to inclement weather, and the occasional frayed nerves, that really is a trip I will remember for the rest of my life.  As Clem got to know her family better, I felt assured that she, too, was making memories that would last her a lifetime.

While Clem’s family was a little too perfect, her flaws more than made up for their lack of them.  James was just what Clem needed, too.  He is a walking ray of sunshine, always ready with a smile and a laugh.  Despite her vow to stay away from boys, Clem can’t help but be drawn to him.  I liked James, too.  He’s open, kind, and fun to be around.  I never suspected that he had dark troubles of his own, but once they were revealed, I liked him even more.

Unbreak My Heart is a fast, satisfying read.  It’s a perfect addition to your beach bag book collection.  While  Clem was occasionally irritating as she struggled to forgive herself for betraying her BFF, but I just couldn’t find it in myself to dislike her for being such a drama queen.  As her summer drifted by, she discovered insights about herself and her friends that helped her cope with the decisions she made that altered her relationships forever.  I liked the Clem at the end of the book, and enjoyed seeing her mature.  I think you will, too.

Grade: B

Available in Digital and Print

Review copy provided by publisher

 

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Review: Endure by Carrie Jones

 

Title: Endure

Author: Carrie Jones

Publisher:  Bloomsbury USA

ISBN: 978-1599905549

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

It’s all-out war (and no-holds-barred romance) in the climactic conclusion to Carrie Jones’s bestselling series.

Zara is at the center of an impending apocalypse. True, she’s successfully rescued Nick from Valhalla, but it simply isn’t enough. Evil pixies are ravaging Bedford, and they need much more than one great warrior; they need an army. Zara isn’t sure what her role is anymore. She’s not just fighting for her friends; she’s also a pixie queen. And to align her team of pixies with the humans she loves will be one of her greatest battles yet. Especially since she can’t even reconcile her growing feelings for her pixie king . . .

Unexpected turns, surprising revelations, and one utterly satisfying romantic finale make Endure a thrilling end to this series of bestsellers.

Review:

I have mixed feelings about the final volume of Carrie Jones’ NEED series.  Endure is a page turner, but despite the rapid pacing, there was something missing for me.  The earlier books in the series introduced a scary new paranormal creature to me – Pixies.  Prior to reading Need, when I conjured pixies in my mind, they were little impish creatures, hardly worthy of concern.  This series charged that vision into a nightmare.  Large, powerful pixies, ruled by an all consuming need, turned out to be pretty frightening after all, especially when paired with an isolated, snowy landscape.  I loved the Maine setting, and the pixies,whispering enticingly from the shelter of the woods, freaked me out.

In Endure, Zara has sacrificed her humanity to save Nick from Valhalla, and here is my major dislike of this story.  Nick has turned his back on Zara, and now considers her a monster.  I just wanted him to get over himself!  Dude, Zara gave up everything to bring your sorry butt back to life, so the least you could have done was thank her.  Geez!  Instead, Nick puts on a pout, tells Zara he doesn’t know who she is anymore, and treats her like…well, a pixie.  Really?  This is how you display your love to the brave young woman who was willing to give up everything for you?  Who was willing to face her nightmare opponents head on, to save you? So disappointing!

I liked Astley better than Nick, and that surprised me.  Up until this volume, I loved Nick.  He is so bad ass.  He’s a werewolf, and until his visit to Valhalla, he would have done anything to protect Zara and his friends.  Just like she was willing to do for him.  Until all of that turned out to be a lie.  Then Zara was left with Astley, a kind and good pixie.  A kind and good pixie king.  The kind of guy who accepts you for who, and what, you are.  Astley did not care whether Zara was pixie or human, and that’s when I jumped onboard with Team Astley. He was always there for her, whether she wanted him to be or not.  He was always supportive, always willing to put himself in harm’s way to keep her safe.  Zara wasn’t the only one willing to takes risks for those she loved, and that’s what endeared Astley to me.  Nick, you can learn a few lessons from him.

Romantic triangle and personality shifts aside, the other problem I had with Endure was the sheer density of the plot.  Pretty much every plot device is packed into this book, from evil, psychopathic bad guys, to global goose chases, to cataclysmic shifts in weather patterns,  to Norse gods, giants, weres, elves, and…well, I’m sure you get my drift.  There was just too much for me to absorb at times, and it made the plot feel cluttered.  Sometimes, too much of a good thing is just too much.

Overall, I enjoyed the NEED series very much.  The ending left me satisfied, content that Zara and her friends had saved the world from evil pixies, prophesies, and the rage of Loki.  I’m looking forward to seeing Carrie’s next project, because I find her writing style compelling, and I can identify with her characters.

Grade: B-

Available in both Print and Digital

Review copy provided by publisher

 

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Interview with Carrie Jones, Author of Endure

I’m delighted to have Carrie Jones, author of the NEED series, back for another round of interrogation.  NEED is one of the first YA paranormal series that I picked up, and it showed me how scary pixies can be.  I mean, really – pixies?!  Yes, pixies!  They are evil, and scary, and dangerous, and Carrie’s vision of pixies totally rocks out.  I am sad that one of my favorite series has come to an end, but I am looking forward to future projects from Carrie.  Let’s see what she has to say about Endure, the series finale for NEED.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Endure?

[Carrie Jones] Endure is about a group of friends trying to save the world from evil pixies who are trying to start the Norse version of an apocalypse.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?

[Carrie Jones] It was hard to let go. It’s the last book and I am terribly in love with all the characters – even the bad ones – so it was hard to stop writing, to stop revising, to let it go free. Hold on. I have to go get a tissue.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Zara?

[Carrie Jones] Kick-ass former pacifist

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Nick would never have in his pocket?

[Carrie Jones] Ha! That’s such a funny question.

Strudel – far too gooey

Dog whistle – far too annoying

Wolfsbane – far too lethal

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Zara’s single most prized possession?

[Carrie Jones] Her Amnesty International Membership pin. Woot! She may kill pixies, but she is still pro human rights.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Carrie Jones] I am heavily influenced by music, by Doctor Who (Should I admit that?), and I tend to troll around the woods where I live, which is by a national park. Oh… and eavesdropping. I am always always eavesdropping. Someone will eventually notice and beat me up I am sure.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Carrie Jones] My brain.

My fingers.

Words?

That’s really it. I will write anywhere on anything – even skin. My own skin! Do NOT imagine some horrible Hannibal Lechter scenario here.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Carrie Jones] I wear mismatched socks and they are hard to knock off, but…. Hm…. I loved Sherman Alexie’s FIRST INDIAN ON THE MOON, which I just reread. I think my socks pretty much fell off on their own accord during that one. They sort of slinked really.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Carrie Jones] I’ve been reading since I was two, so I don’t actually remember. I am so sorry! I feel like such a failure for not being able to answer this. I read all the time when I was little because we were poor and lived in the woods and didn’t have cable. So, I would read absolutely everything. I think the books that made me the happiest back then were A WRINKLE IN TIME and embarrassingly enough this book called ILLUSIONS, which was about a reluctant messiah and very New Agey. I think it was because those books both made me believe that there could be magic in science and math and every day life that I loved them so much.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Carrie Jones] I walk my dogs. A lot. And I kayak. And I cook. And then I imagine zombie invasions.

That sounds soooo boring, doesn’t it?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Carrie Jones] The best way is Facebook right now. I’ve maxed out on my friends but I’ve someone started an author page, so I’m trying to cross post. Or by commenting on my Livejournal. Or you can go to my website. Any of those. I am best at Facebook though. I babble too much for Twitter.

http://www.facebook.com/carriejonesbooks

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Carrie-Jones/59917341808

www.carriejonesbooks.com

https://twitter.com/#!/carriejonesbook

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thanks!!


You can purchase all of the books in the NEED series from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below.

All of the books are also available as eBooks – as of this writing, NEED is only 3.99 for the Kindle!  Buy it now!

Review: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J Maas

 

Title: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

Author: Sarah J Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury

ASIN: B006ZVW3T4

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

On a remote island in a tropical sea, Celaena Sardothien, feared assassin, has come for retribution. She’s been sent by the Assassin’s Guild to collect on a debt they are owed by the Lord of the Pirates. But when Celaena learns that the agreed payment is not in money, but in slaves, her mission suddenly changes – and she will risk everything to right the wrong she’s been sent to bring about.

Review:

I was disappointed with this Throne of Glass prequel novella.  While the first chapter set a hard-edged tone for protagonist Celaena, the rest of the story failed to deliver on a tough, ruthless heroine.  I found it hard to believe that Celaena could ever possibly be strong enough to take over the leadership of the assassins guild.   She is a complete bad a$$ in the opening pages, threatening to take out a fellow assassin for failing to retrieve the corpse of her weapons master, and then she vows to get it herself, come hell or high water.  I loved that about her.  She oozed confidence in her skills and wasn’t afraid to tackle a dangerous, almost impossible task.   Right after that chapter, though, her character softens up, and she loses that ruthless streak that I found so intriguing.

Sent to negotiate with the pirate lord, Celaena is dismayed to learn that she and fellow assassin Sam are not there to collect payment for the untimely demise of some assassins, rumored to have been killed by pirates.  No, they are there to bring back a ship full of slaves.  Prior to discovering the real reason for their trip to the pirates’ island, Celaena comes across as an arrogant, pompous jerk.  Worse, she enjoys coming across as an arrogant, pompous jerk.  She likes the thought of people being afraid of her, with her mask and concealing garb, and this only made her seem like a bully to me.  She hasn’t earned the respect that would have made her truly intimidating.

Appalled at the thought of transporting her new charges into a life of slavery, she decides that she isn’t going to go along with the plan.  She is going to abort the mission. She is going to free the slaves, because most of them are spoils of war; they aren’t soldiers or warriors, they are just innocent people who are the victims of terrible circumstances.  Now, being a compassionate person myself, I don’t see anything wrong with wanting to rescue a ship full of innocent people.  What I didn’t get was that Celaena would actually set a plan into motion to do this.  She is supposed to be a harden killer, soon to be the leader of a group of hardened killers.  It is also her duty to carry out her mission.  Will she not complete a hit because she feels sorry for the target of the contract?  I must have been missing something with this storyline, because it didn’t make sense to me, in the context of Celaena’s profession.  Remember, she likes being frightening and intimidating.  Why would she act so out of character and save a bunch of strangers?

At one point during her covert operation to rescue the slaves, Celaena points out that she is not a murderer.  This struck me as an odd opinion for her to have, as money is accepted on her behalf for her to assassinate people, and she has ambitions to be the leader of the assassin’s guild.  When she meets the pirate lord, she wonders which of them has killed more people.  There is no moral high ground for her here.  Someone who accepts payment to kill another person is a murderer, plain and simple.  That’s what attracted me to the story in the first place.  I wanted Celaena to be cold and ruthless, to have no qualms about herself or what she does.  In the first chapter, this is exactly how she is presented.  She is unrepentant in her thoughts and a hair-trigger’s step away from exploding into violence.  She seems to enjoy what she does.  It’s only when we move on to her mission with Sam that the waters are muddied, and she makes the distinction between what is murder and what is not.  I didn’t like that.  I wanted to see a character that I haven’t read about before, one who almost revels in her ability to commit chaos, fear, and mayhem.  That is not the character in this book.

While this novella did not work for me, I did like premise.  I still am intrigued by the thought of Celaena being a cold-blooded assassin.  I wonder if she will find redemption from her life as a murderer for hire in later installments.  But for any kind of repentance to have any impact, she has to actually deserve forgiveness for the terrible things she has done.  So far, she hasn’t come across as a criminal.  She just came across as young and naïve, with a huge dose of overinflated self-importance.

Grade: C

Review copy purchased from Amazon

 

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