Sunday, March 31, 2013

End of March books (and Whitney YA Speculative)

I think I'm currently reading three books, which might explain why I didn't finish very many books this week!

44. Demons, by Heather Frost. I have to admit upfront that I have not read Seers (which is book 1 in this series)--however, I felt like the book did a reasonable job catching up readers who may not have read the first book, so I never felt too lost. The story tracks Kate, a seer who can read people's emotions in their auras, and her boyfriend Patrick, an immortal guardian who's assigned to protect Kate. Patrick's job is complicated by the fact that the Demon Lord wants Kate--although neither Patrick nor Kate know why. The two are just settling into their new relationship when they discover a disturbing rumor: Guardians are beginning to die of some mysterious disease. When Patrick contracts the disease, he and Kate struggle to find a cure before it's too late. I wanted to like this book more than I did--I think the premise is reasonably interesting, but I had a hard time getting into it. For me, a little more editing would have helped: the action lags in the middle and I felt like there were a few too many scenes describing Patrick's agony as his disease progressed (one or two would have been plenty for me). I would have also liked to see a more distinct voice for each character--the POV shifts between Patrick and Kate, but often the only distinction I could see was the name change at the head of the chapter; both their voices were pretty similar to me.

This makes the last of the Whitney YA Speculative books for me. (I read Endlessly, Everneath, and Feedback before the finalists were announced). This is a difficult year to judge, I think, because all the books except for Everneath were sequels--and I have to admit that I rarely like sequels more than I do the first book (some exceptions are Megan Whalen Turner's Thief Series and Cinda Williams Chima's Seven Realms book). Second books, in particular, are notoriously difficult because the writer has to set up the final book in the trilogy but still maintain the storyline. With this series, I wasn't particularly wowed by any of the sequels (most of them were good, but not great). That said, I'd have to say that Everneath is my favorite of the set.

45. My other book for the week is an unusual one: Jokai Mor's The Hungarian Nabob, originally written in Hungarian in 1853. The tone of the book is similar to a lot of English Victorian books, by turns humorous, whimsical, and tragic. (This may be because it was translated at the end of the 19th century). Jokai was one of the premier Hungarian writers of his day--and I read this b/c it helps me establish the setting for a novel I'm currently working on. Interesting look at 19th century Hungarian aristocracy.

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