I’ve got three reviews for you today, one YA fantasy, one historical fantasy (or paranormal, I guess?), and one collection of short stories. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!
Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf
Series: Bring Me Their Hearts #1
on June 5, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: The Publisher
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, Some violence)
Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.
Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.
Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.
So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.
Winner takes the loser’s heart.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, but I knew I liked it right from the start. Zera is full of snark—just the way I like my YA MCs. I loved the fact that she was a sort of reluctant hero. She’s badass, but we also saw her truly genuine goodness underneath the mask that she holds up to hide her pain. Some of the elements of the story were predictable, I have to admit (hmmm… Zera’s supposed to make the prince fall for her and then steal his heart, I wonder how that’s going to turn out for her?), but I still enjoyed pretty much every minute of the journey. And that ending (again, not completely unexpected but still enough of a shocker to excite me) left me dying for more! Next book, please!
If you’re a fan of YA fantasy, you need this book in your life. It’s sure to delight!
(Plus, can we all just stare at that awesome cover for a little while?)
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
The Mermaid by Christina Henry
Published by Berkley on June 19, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
My content rating: YA (Characters have sex---after marriage---but it's not shown, Some mild violence)
From the author of Lost Boy comes a historical fairy tale about a mermaid who leaves the sea for love and later finds herself in P.T. Barnum's American Museum as the real Fiji mermaid. However, leaving the museum may be harder than leaving the sea ever was.
Once there was a mermaid who longed to know of more than her ocean home and her people. One day a fisherman trapped her in his net but couldn't bear to keep her. But his eyes were lonely and caught her more surely than the net, and so she evoked a magic that allowed her to walk upon the shore. The mermaid, Amelia, became his wife, and they lived on a cliff above the ocean for ever so many years, until one day the fisherman rowed out to sea and did not return.
P. T. Barnum was looking for marvelous attractions for his American Museum, and he'd heard a rumor of a mermaid who lived on a cliff by the sea. He wanted to make his fortune, and an attraction like
Amelia was just the ticket.
Amelia agreed to play the mermaid for Barnum, and she believes she can leave any time she likes. But Barnum has never given up a money-making scheme in his life, and he's determined to hold on to his mermaid.
A Little Mermaid retelling? Well, sign me up!
Honestly, this book didn’t resemble the Disney movie of my teenage years much, which is probably a good thing. Henry’s take on the story is a lot more feminist, and it weaves in the interesting life of P.T. Barnum. (With the success of The Greatest Showman, we’re all a little Barnum crazy, are we not? Though Henry states at the end of the book that she really wasn’t trying to portray an accurate historical picture of the man, so be prepared for that.). What I loved most about this book was Amelia’s outsider view of humanity. She was haunted the brutality and greed of humans, but she also formed bonds with a few special people who she saw attempt to overcome those baser instincts. I didn’t completely connect to the romance, but overall I really loved this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a unique retelling.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Ellen Oh, Elsie Chapman, Melissa de la Cruz, Julie Kagawa, Renee Ahdieh, Roshani Chokshi, Aliette de Bodard, Cindy Pon, Alyssa Wong, Sona Charaipotra, Aisha Saeed, Lori M. Lee, Shveta Thakrar, Preeti Chhibber, E.C. Myers, Rahul Kanakia
Published by Greenwillow Books on June 26, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Short Stories, Retellings
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, Some violence)
Star-crossed lovers, meddling immortals, feigned identities, battles of wits, and dire warnings. These are the stuff of fairy tale, myth, and folklore that have drawn us in for centuries.
Fifteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate.
Compiled by We Need Diverse Books’s Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman, the authors included in this exquisite collection are: Renee Ahdieh, Sona Charaipotra, Preeti Chhibber, Roshani Chokshi, Aliette de Bodard, Melissa de la Cruz, Julie Kagawa, Rahul Kanakia, Lori M. Lee, E. C. Myers, Cindy Pon, Aisha Saeed, Shveta Thakrar, and Alyssa Wong.
A mountain loses her heart. Two sisters transform into birds to escape captivity. A young man learns the true meaning of sacrifice. A young woman takes up her mother’s mantle and leads the dead to their final resting place. From fantasy to science fiction to contemporary, from romance to tales of revenge, these stories will beguile readers from start to finish.
For fans of Neil Gaiman’s Unnatural Creatures and Ameriie’s New York Times–bestselling Because You Love to Hate Me.
This collection of short stories focuses on Asian mythology and folklore, which made it delightfully unique. There were quite a few perspectives here that I haven’t seen before (for instance, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything having to do with Korean folklore before). I was actually surprised how complete these stories felt, considering their short lengths—the authors did a great job encapsulating the myths. I suppose the original stories were probably relatively short to begin with, which helps. At the end of each story, we get to see the author’s explanation of their inspiration and learn a bit more about the source story, which I really appreciated. Some of the stories stuck more closely to the source material than others (one or two barely resembled the original at all, and I think those were my least favorite, but that’s just my personal preference). But I actually enjoyed reading every single story in the anthology, which might be a first for me for a collection like this.
If you’re a fan of retellings and you’d like something fresh and new, you’ll want to pick up this book. The stories are short enough that you can read one or two here and there and have a satisfying reading experience even if you only have a short amount of time to spare!
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***