If you're seeing this post, it means I have fallen on hard times. Over the past summer, there was a time when I had a wealthy backlog of reviews (oh, how I miss those days!), which meant that I crusaded around GoodReads, writing brief, short sentence "reviews" conveying my thoughts on a handful of novels I was too lazy to review in their entirety. I've gone back through those "mini-reviews" and compiled a small list of the better ones to entertain you, dear readers, with until I can get around to writing and posting a proper review. Either way, I hope you enjoy. :)
Title: Hawksong (The Kiesha'ra, #1)*
Author: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Rating: 4 Stars
Hawksong is possibly one of the most under-rated fantasy novels I've come across. In fact, this book simply seems to fall under everyone's radar - much to their own loss, I must say. Atwater-Rhodes is a brilliant writer, creating a world rich in lore, myth, and tradition. Danica, the queen of her hawk people, and Zane, the king of the cobras, are shapeshifters who marry to end the centuries-old feud between their people. Both Danica and Zane are tired of war, but their marriage will prove more difficult than either can imagine. Both the hawks and cobras share different traditions and as Zane and Danica grow to fall in love with one another, they also learn to assimilate their cultures and their people. Atwater-Rhodes writes world-building as a mere extension of her story, not as an overwhelming portion of info-dumping. With subtle legends and traditions, she manages to create and encompass the depth of these two races. Although I felt as if Hawksong ended a little too early, with both Danica and Zane falling in love slightly faster than I wished, I cannot deny that this is solid fantasy, full of the characters and type of complex world I love. Atwater-Rhodes, my friends, is not to be missed.
Title: Nine Coaches Waiting
Author: Mary Stewart
Rating: 4 Stars
Title: Crossing Stones
Author: Helen Frost
Rating: 3.5 Stars
I've been on a bit of a verse novel binge lately, not to mention one of WWI (especially since I finished all three seasons of Downton Abbey in a record three and a half days!). Thus, it's almost not a surprise that I enjoyed this; it's merely a surprise that I enjoyed this as much as I did. Frost writes beautifully, choosing three separate styles to bring us the story of Muriel, a headstrong girl who isn't afraid to speak her mind; Ollie, her older brother who enlists for war despite being underage; and Emma, the sweet girl next door. With this short novel composed of poems, Frost is able to relate the horrors of war, the struggles of women, and the tension of those who remain home in such a way that it is bearable to us as readers. Not only is Frost's tale historically accurate, but it is also unexpectedly heartfelt.
Muriel, a young Alice Paul if you will, was my favorite narrator in the novel. I loved her outrageous opinions, her inability to accept the reality of her time, and her courage in standing up for her beliefs. Muriel is easily the most flawed of our three narrators which makes her, for me, the most realistic. Ollie provides us with the sole male perspective in this novel, one filled with the harsh realities of war and the peer pressure that men face to enlist. Emma, on the other hand, is possibly the dullest character. Although her poems had substantial depth, she herself is a relatively simplistic character, representing the average American women who was comfortable with her role in the house. With this novel, what Frost excels at is building the era both with war and politics. Granted, the characters aren't as fully fleshed as they could be, but as a piece of historic fiction this is one of the better - and more creative - ones.