Review: Yuhi: Ceres Celestial Legend Vol 2 by Yu Watase

 

 

Title: Yuhi: Ceres Vol 2

Author: Yu Watase

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

Aya and her twin brother Aki thought they were going to a celebration of their sixteenth birthday at their grandfather’s home, but the funeral-like atmosphere tips them off that something’s not right. Their "birthday present" turns out to be a mummified hand–the power of which forces an awakening within Aya, and painful wounds all over Aki’s body! Grandfather Mikage announces that Aki will be heir to the Mikage fortune, and Aya must die! But Aya has allies in the athletic cook and martial artist Yûhi, and the attractive, mysterious Tôya. But can even two handsome and resourceful guys save Aya when it’s her own power that’s out of control?


Review:

I have mixed feelings about the second volume of Ceres.  On one hand, I love the legend of the Celestial Maiden.  Ceres is tormented with rage and longs for revenge against the man who stole her feathered robes, prohibiting her from returning to heaven.  Worse, he violated her, and she bore his children, trapped in an ugly place she couldn’t escape from.  Now, fate has caused both Ceres and Mikage to both be reincarnated as the twins Aya and Aki.  This has never happened before, and she’s obsessed with winning her vengeance.  Every time she sees Aki, Ceres wrestles control away from Aya and attacks him, even though he has no memories of his previous life.  I find this storyline so compelling.  For centuries, Ceres’s thirst for revenge has kept her trapped, reborn over and over into the Mikage family, only to be discovered and killed during the ritual as her host body turned sixteen.  When I think about how angry I would be after being thwarted time and time again, I am surprised that she hasn’t done more damage to the Mikages and their property as yet.  I would have gone absolutely ballistic, leaving the surviving Mikages to deal with harried property insurance adjustors.

Aya, though, is grating on my nerves.  Is it really wise to chase after Toya in not much more than her underwear, leaving her defenseless when her evil cousin Kagami gets his paws on her?  Ugh, ugh, ugh!  I would not feel like I was in a position of power in enemy territory while dressed in my panties and a bra.  Ugh!  That’s like the nightmare where you forgot to put your clothes on before rushing off to school.  And to so ardently declare her love for Toya, a guy she just met, and a guy who works for the people who are trying to kill her?  Aya, while Yuhi isn’t as interesting, he is a lot safer, so maybe you should go for him instead?  He is more than capable of protecting you, and he can cook!  Take him instead!

I was a little bored with this volume.  Whenever Ceres made an appearance or Kagami had page time, I was all interested again.  Ceres is fascinating because she reveals little tidbits of her history every time she manifests, and Kagami – ah, Kagami.  He is just so evil and conniving that you can’t help but like, even admire him, just a little bit.  He sees an opportunity for the Mikage family to gain immense power, and he’s going to seize it.  With both Aki and Aya in his control, there is nothing he can’t do, once he figures out how to tame Ceres and her incredible power. 

The second volume of Ceres was both irritating and compelling.  Aya drives me nuts, but legend of the Celestial Maidens kept me turning the pages.

Grade:  C+

Review copy purchased from Amazon

Review: The Centaur’s Daughter by Ellen Jensen Abbott

 

Title: The Centaur’s Daughter

Author: Ellen Jensen Abbot

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

ISBN: 978-0761459781

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

The Centaur’s Daughter is the sequel to Watersmeet, a book I read about a year ago and enjoyed quite a bit.  Fantasy novels like these are few and far between in the YA realm, which is unfortunate, because fantasy is one of my favorite genres.  Despite some minor flaws, this is a nice set of books that feature a strong female lead.  It has been rewarding to see the changes in Abisina, and to see how much she has grown as a person.  The Abisina from the first book was not a character that I especially cared for, but she was a product of her repressive,  prejudiced environment.  It’s only now, after she has been introduced to a society that is welcoming of all people that she has been allowed to grow and leave her old, rigid ways of thinking behind her.

After her father’s death, Abisina is just trying to get through each day as it comes.  She misses him terribly, and she sees how much the people of Watersmeet depended on his wisdom.  Now that Glynholly has taken her father’s place as the leader of Watersmeet, life has gotten a bit complicated for her.  Having turned down a request to step into her father’s place and fill the void in leadership, Abisina is bewildered by Glynholly’s animosity towards her.  With refuges flooding the land around Watersmeet, food is harder to come by, and the uberwolves are making even short trips outside of Watersmeet hazardous.

With the added pressure to feed the citizens of Watersmeet and protect them from outside threats, Glynholly begins to view Abisina as a rival to her authority.  When Abisina is abruptly cast out of the city with only a few of her friends at her side, the young woman decides to cross back over the Obrun Mountains to her homeland.  She has heard that the village of Vranlyn is struggling to survive.  She sees the importance of helping them overcome their difficulties; if Watersmeet is going to thrive, the humans in Vrania must learn the importance of getting along with the diverse beings inhabiting both Vrania and the lands to the North. 

Once again prejudice and discrimination are explored throughout The Centaur’s Daughter.  This time, Abisina has learned to embrace the diversity around her, but she is still haunted by her treatment at the hands of the Vranians.  When she discovers that she has the ability to transform into a centaur like her father, she is terrified.  How will her friends treat her?  Will they still accept her? Will they still be her friends?  Abisina is so afraid of their reactions that she keeps her new ability a secret, even when it would have helped her in her conflict with Glynholly.  After years and years of abuse because she looked different from the Vranian ideal, she has no self-confidence.  My heart really went out to her, because even though she has come a long way, she will always be influenced by her childhood and the lack of acceptance that she suffered.  Now that she is a shape-shifter, all of her old fears and doubts come crashing, convincingly, back into her mind.  It’s fear that keeps her from revealing her new skills to her friends, and it causes so much tension between all of them.

I found Abisina’s inner struggle very compelling.  I did not like her when I first met her in Watersmeet.  In this installment of the series, she is a stronger, more accepting character.  She has learned to value others for who they are, and not what they look like.  It’s herself she can no longer accept.  She is no longer comfortable with herself, or with what she has become.  Instead of putting her faith in her friends, she closes herself off from them.  I had so much sympathy for her in this book, which was a feeling I lacked for most of the last one.  I am now very invested in seeing how Abisina continues to mature as she gains more responsibilities and takes on a greater role in overseeing her new home.  Will she be able to work out a new, beneficial peace between Vranlyn and the rest of Vrania?  Will she ever be able to return to Watersmeet?

Fantasy fans will find a lot to like in The Centaur’s Daughter – mythical beings, romance, drama, and a strong, relatable female lead.

Grade: B+

Review copy provided by publisher

In stores soon!