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Shorter Musings: YA Fantasy

Here are some shorter musings on some recent YA fantasy reads.

His Hideous Heart by Various
I was excited to read this because it is a unique idea, and I love Edgar Allan Poe. Unfortunately, all the things that make Poe's stories great are watered down in these new reworking, making them just the same as any other modern day horror. I also have some serious issues with how a couple of them handled the psychology of the stories. I'm especially not comfortable with the apologist attitude of a couple of the stories that changed the murderer to angry girls. Torturous violence and murder is never justified in my opinion.  My favorite is by far the first one, and it's based on a shorter, not as well known Poe. I wish I had stopped there.

The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen
This book was almost a new book of my heart. I thoroughly enjoyed the beginning and everything about the voice. And the SYMBOLISM. I could write a paper on that. The way the symbolism brought out the themes was great too. However, it started to drag toward the middle and took forever to get where it was going. Part of this was to slowly fan the flames of the slow burn romance. I typically enjoy a good slow burn. But there's slow burn, and then there is freezing the plot in molasses, so the reader loses interest in everything including the romance. (Except not really. Because the romance really did work for me.) I was just bored with most everything else by that point. I'm okay with the way this ended too, and do not feel at all compelled to read the sequel (especially given its title).

Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Manon
I was really looking forward to this as I love Sandhya Menon's contemporary reads. Finding out she was writing a whole series of fairy tale retellings was so exciting. Then I read this. I just cannot handle books where one of the people is flagrantly deceiving another. I don't care how bad they feel about it. In this case, it took too long for Jaya to get to a place where she felt bad about that. And then it took her too long to try to make amends for it. Then it wasn't even at her instigation-her friend and sister insisted she try. What kind of "Beauty and the Beast" reworking does that? Grey as a result was always rather a flat character to me. He is so broken. She betrays him through deceit. He can't forgive her until he can for contrived reasons that are spoilers. I just...feel an overwhelming disappointment. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I don't think I'll be reading the rest of this series.

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
This was delightfully fun. It is a romantic fantasy with magical intrigue, a dash of politics, and libraries. Elizabeth is a girl who grew up in a library surrounded by books of magic. As an apprentice warden of the kingdoms most dangerous books, she is untrusting and of magic and the sorcerer's who wield it. Accused of a crime she didn't commit, Elizabeth finds herself having to rely on one of those dreaded sorcerers to help her unravel the mystery of who is seeking to unleash horrifying terrors on the libraries and why. Said sorcerer is the ultimate snarky emo boy sorcerer who wants to keep Elizabeth at arms length because she makes him feel things, and he doesn't want any of that thank you. But he also can't resist because she is having none of his nonsense. Basically this book is tailor-made Brandy catnip. I lapped it up in one sitting. it's not a perfect book. There are way too many info dump types of magical explanation and what not. But I had fun and the romance was exactly what I wanted.

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