Did you miss me? I’ve been reading. Here are some paranormal goodies for cozy autumn nights.
Blythewood by Carol Goodman
Avaline Hall survives. I was going to say what she survives, but there are so many things: grief, the mystery of her mother’s past, hard work and humiliation and the terrors of the Triangle Factory fire. By the time I got to that point in the book, I already admired her strong spirit and intelligence, and the story had barely begun. Blythewood itself is a wonder; the school, the book, the new mythologies within. There are weak points, but I frankly don’t care. It’s a ripping good story: well set, well told, and I look forward to more.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
I was trying to figure out why I didn’t write a review the first time I read this book, and I think (having reread it) that it’s the overwhelming scope of the story that is hard to wrap a review around and do justice to it. There are just so many elements to it — love and magic, yes (doesn’t that make it sound insipid? It’s not), but also deep mysteries and earthworks and murders and wonderful friendships between difficult engaging characters. It’s Stiefvater at her best, and I think what I love more than all of those things (understand that I love those things very much) is that this is an effortless read — a perfectly designed slide into another reality, one so close as to be utterly seductive in all its parts. Like Holly Black, she is always giving me a story I could never have predicted — spiky and satisfying and impossible to walk away from. Book two just came out and The Dream Thieves is likewise fantastic.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Speaking of Holly Black: she just doesn’t disappoint. She wrote fairy stories, and never forgot to make them as scary as all the traditional tales. She wrote stories about psychic powers and kept the dark troubled edge that mind powers inherently imply. Now she writes a vampire story as true to the cold and terrifying as true can be. All of her characters in all of these books are people with agonizing choices and stubborn, self-knowing hearts. She makes us love them, and we follow them down all the dark and twisty roads. Well done, Holly Black, well done.
Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
Phenomenal world-building, here, and wonderful, interesting characters. In this future the world has become a much smaller place, one ruled by careful genetic mixing and government mandated atheism. What happens, then, when the gods want to come back? After a series of unexplained murders, disgraced investigator Justin March teams up with super-soldier Mae Koskinen to try and save the next target. No matter what they want to believe, the evidence is leading them to a dark and unexpected place. Science fiction? Murder mystery? Urban fantasy? Paranormal? Yes, all of those and completely riveting.