Sunday, May 22, 2011
published March 2009 by Harper Collins
272 pages (paperback), YA
YA Reading Challenge ; Shifter Challenge
A little while ago, I had a serious werewolf book craving. I haven't been reading very much lately as life has kept me plenty busy, so having any sort of literary craving was good news to me. Except that I couldn't believe how difficult it was for me to find the kind of story I was looking for - that I hadn't read already. Has there not been a werewolf craze yet? Really? There's a handful of our furry friends in contemporary YA novels, and the rest are all adult romance - which I like too, but it wasn't what my mood called for. Anyhow, I was happy to find this series, the Dark Guardians, by Rachel Hawthorne because it was unique and exciting enough to captivate my attention.
So, I use the term werewolf incorrectly because in this story, the characters label themselves as shifters - even though they do in fact change into wolves. This pack lives and works in a national forest, where they preserve nature and their own secrets. Kayla visited the park last year with her adoptive parents in order to deal with her devastating past - when she was very young, her parents were killed by hunters in that forest. This year, she has come back on her own as a summer employee to enjoy the beauty, make friends, and continue to heal. The group ventures deep into the forest, leading a group of academics doing research, unaware of the danger that awaits them.
Hmm, a synopsis isn't quite enough for this story. I liked it quite well. It was fast-paced when it needed to be and slow and thoughtful at other times. I do want to read the rest of the series because each book follows a different character, which I do appreciate.
published April 2011 by Little, Brown
384 pages (hardcover), YA
YA Reading Challenge
I remember really loving Ash by Malinda Lo when I first read it. I recommended it to just about everyone and could not stop gushing about it. I didn't re-read it because this book takes place centuries before Ash, even though the setting is the same.
Huntress is the story of a kingdom that is slowly dying - the Xi (the Fay) have been toying with magic and upsetting the balance of the earth. The seasons are off kilter, which disrupts food production, leaving the people hungry, poor, and a little angry. So the King sends his son and two girls who are studying to be sages (one with quite a bit of talent and the other with fairly none at all) on a journey to meet with the Fairy Queen, where they will hopefully figure out what is causing this unbalance in their world. Kaede is the untalented one, though she has spirit and some basic fighting skills. She is forced along on this trip because Taisin, the gifted sage-in-training, saw her in a vision of this quest, an upsetting vision in which the prince and Taisin must leave Kaede alone to paddle across an icy river to a foreboding fortress of ice.
I read an absolutely beautiful review of this book recently, over at Reading in Color, and I recommend that you go read it too. Admittedly, I didn't love this book as much as Ash, and I know it's unfair for me to compare. I'm not really into the quest storyline, so this book was slow going for me. I liked the characters but wanted to know them better. It took me over a week to read it, but what I loved is that I was instantly transported back into the story every time I picked it up. That's something serious! I just wish I could have connected more to it - but that also has a lot to do with me and not necessarily a flaw of the writing.
In other news...
I've been away so much because the end of the school year is rapidly approaching (five more days!), and I have tons to do. And instead of being a lazy bum this summer, lounging around my town and reading all that I didn't have time for before, I decided to spend two months in Italy. I leave in a week and a half! I'm excited and fretful and a bundle of nerves, and one of my major worries was actually - how am I going to read without my public library!?
So, my mom generously bought me a Kindle for my birthday, and while I won't be doing all of my reading on it, it is so nice to know that if I run out of print books, I have a backup! Is that horrible to consider my Kindle a backup? Sorry e-reader enthusiasts, but I still love me some paper. I have a handful of books that I plan on taking with me, if I can make those luggage weight limits. So if it seems like I've fallen off the face of the planet, I haven't - I'm just across an ocean, enjoying my summer. :)