Review: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

6984678Title: A Game of Thrones

Author: George R. R. Martin

Publishing Information: August 1, 1996 by Bantam

Genre: Adult, Epic Fantasy, Adventure

Series information: Book one in A Song of Ice and Fire

Format: Hardcover, 790 pages

Source: Purchased for my e-Reader

Recommended For: Fans of high fantasy novels and readers who don’t mind picking their jaw up off the floor.

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

As you may know, I am reading the entire Song of Ice and Fire series for an amazing read along. This book is MASSIVE and is filled with ALL THE THINGS so I don’t want to even come close to spoiling ANYTHING. Therefore, instead of a traditional review I am going to just provide you with my THOUGHTS on the book, the characters, and the epicness that is this series.

*I am just going to say before we begin that I KNOW that I am not on the same page as everyone for the most part. I usually love the villains, and dislike the characters everyone else loves. *shrugs* I’m a Slytherin so one can only assume that I would be a Lannister as well.

I am a huge fan of the TV show Game of Thrones, and I was worried that I would be bored by the first book because I heard that it was so well done that the book and show were extremely alike. I’m not going to lie to you, HBO did an amazing job with season one of the show, and they were very alike. However, I am so relieved and thrilled to tell you that the book was so much better. I absolutely adored the way that the reader was able to get into the character’s minds and know what they were going through. I especially felt this way about Sansa, who I had a very hard time liking in the show. As I neared the end of the novel, I really felt for Sansa and I was surprised at the strength that she was able to show, I will definitely look at her differently while watching the show from now on.

Speaking of amazing characters, I LOVE DAENERYS. She is amazing in the book and the show and I WILL NOT SPOIL but WOW does she turn into a BAMF. Tyrion is fantastic, I love how witty and strong he is despite his disabilities. I also love Jon Snow with a deep burning in my being. Also Ghost. I can’t even. *dies*

I actually really like Cersei in the show, I know, I KNOW, she is appalling and “evil” but I don’t care I think she is strong and awesome (creeptastic elements aside), and I was kind of sad that we didn’t see her as much as we do in the show. Eddard is, of course, loyal and amazing. Arya, pigheaded and strong, yet she still bothered me, though not as much as she does on screen. Catelyn kind of annoyed me, I know she is supposed to be strong, and she totally is, but for the most part I was questioning everything that she did. Also I was happy to see that I enjoyed Bran more in the novel, I think this was largely because of ALL OF THE DIREWOLVES, YO!! I hope to see a lot of growth with his character in the future novels.

Anywho, in terms of plot, WE HAS IT. So many things happened and even though I knew most of them were coming I was still like “sayyy whaaa” at a lot of parts. I am absolutely giddy to see where things go. Many friends who have read the series in its entirety have told me on more than one occasion to not get too attached to the characters, and to be quite honest, I am equally excited and so scared to continue on. I will positively have hysterics if something happens to Ghost one of the direwolves.

In short, I loved the book.

Winter is coming, you guys, and I can’t wait for it.


Review: Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire

13521Title: Son of a Witch

Author: Gregory Maguire

Publishing Information: September 26th 2006 by HarperCollins

Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Fairy tales

Series information: Book 2 in The Wicked Years

Format: Hardcover, 337 pages

Source: Owned

Recommended For: Fans who have read Wicked and are looking for further insight into the political and emotional turmoil caused by Dorothy’s arrival.

Liir hid in the shadows of the castle after Dorothy did in the Witch. Left for dead in a gully, the teen is shattered in spirit and body. But silent novice Candle tends him at the Cloister of Saint Glinda, and wills him back to life with her music.
What dark force left Liir in this condition? Is he really Elphaba’s son? He has her broom and her cape – but what of her powers? Can he find his supposed half-sister, Nor, last seen in the forbidding prison Southstairs? Can he fulfill the last wishes of a dying princess? In an Oz under new and dangerous management, can Liir keep his head down long enough to grow up? (Via Goodreads)

Another review for Project Fairy Tale! If you want to learn more about this fun event head over to my intro post!

As I prepared my review for this book I realized how different this series is from others currently out there. The Wicked Years is a series of four books, but the novels don’t work entirely like a series or entirely like companion novels. They are their own entity, working on their own to tell a different piece of the story, yet also working in tandem to weave together a much larger tale.

Son of a Witch works more as an individual story, telling the story of Liir, Elphaba’s son and how he moves on after the death of his mother. The parts I genuinely liked about this novel were when Lirr was coming into his own. He was recognizing himself as more than “The son of the witch,” and he was cowardly, childish and mean at times but he came into his own and grew as a character. I do have to mention that I am reading Out of Oz right now and I am finding Liir to be much more likable in this novel, but we will get into that when it’s time for that review! I thoroughly enjoyed the relationship between Liir and Candle and I was happy with the action of this novel, it seemed as if things were continuously moving forward. When I first read Son of a Witch I didn’t know that there was going to be a third book in the series and I was seriously disappointed and confused by the ending. Thankfully we all know that there are two more books after Son of a Witch and with that knowledge I can say that the ending of this novel was genius and captivating.

I enjoyed Son of a Witch as much as Wicked, however it was a different sort of novel, telling the story of the growth of a man and not the fall of a witch.

“Happy endings are still endings.” 

Review: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

Title: The Book of Lost Things

Author: John Connolly

Publishing Information: November 7, 2006 by Atria Books

Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Horror, Fairy-Tales

Series information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 339 pages

Source: Borrowed from my local library

Recommended For: Those in the mood for a fairy tale with some dark twists


High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own — populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things. (Via Goodreads)


The story begins with David, obsessing over his “routine” (see: OCD) that he believes will save his mother from her life threatening illness. Unfortunately, David is unable to save her and his mother succumbs to the illness and dies. Some time after (side note: a little TOO soon after the death of David’s mother, if you ask me) David’s father remarries a woman named Rose and nine months later she gives birth to a son. It is around this time that David begins having “episodes,” moments where he blacks out and wakes up with no recollection of what happened while he was asleep. Poor David feels as if he is all alone in the world, as his father is working for the government and therefore is never home. So David is stuck in Rose’s giant house with just Rose, (who he loathes) and his new brother Georgie for company. David does his best to avoid these two and instead buries his nose in his books, as they remind him of his mother.

Rose tries her best to make David feel comfortable, and even gives him the room of her late uncle, Jonathan Tulvey. The room is filled with Jonathan’s books and trinkets and David takes comfort in seeing that someone is as connected to stories as he is. David becomes curious and asks Rose about Jonathan and she explains that when he was younger he and his little sister vanished into thin air one day. David becomes intrigued by this and as time passes he begins to hear the books in his room talk to him, and he begins to dream of a very sinister man, whom he names “The Crooked Man.” These dreams become twisted with reality and as time passes, David travels to another world in which the fairy tale characters he has grown up reading about exist. However, these characters are not the same kind and caring versions that he has grown up to love. They are sinister and grim versions, each twisted into a new form.

These characters were one of the absolute best parts of the story. I don’t want to spoil the fun for you so I will just touch upon some awesomeness. First, Snow White is a fat, disgusting and mean person. Second, Ever wonder where werewolves came from? Little Red Riding Hood had some issues with bestiality (I promise the story does NOT go into detail at this point, thank goodness, because, EW.) and the Crooked Man is quite possibly one of the creepiest villains I have yet to encounter (Rumple who?) There was also a rather kind woodsman, a loyal knight and an extremely creepy Sleeping “Beauty” thrown into the mix. All of these characters David met on his journey to see the King, the ruler of the land, who was having a very hard time ruling. David learns something from each encounter and it is through these extremely trying situations that the reader is able to see him grow from a spoiled, selfish child into a mature and kind young man.

When pondering the setting to this story I realized how unique John Connolly writes. Ultimately, he was just writing about a vast forest, a small town, and a few huge castles. Yet, in my mind I saw a darkness creeping from the corners of my imagination toward David. I saw lights extinguishing behind him as he walked down the long corridor, I saw the trees sway when there was no wind. These are things Connolly simply hinted at yet I was able to pick up on these subtle images and make them into something that made me afraid as if I was the one walking through this land.

The Book of Lost Things is harrowing and phenomenal. I haven’t been so enthralled by a novel of this genre since reading The Child Thief by Brom. It was deeply imaginative and sinister enough to have even the bravest adult looking over their shoulder while reading.

“These stories were very old, as old as people, and they had survived because they were very powerful indeed. These were the tales that echoed in the head long after the books that contained them were cast aside” (Page 10).


Review: The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey

Title: The Black Swan

Author: Mercedes Lackey

Publishing Information:  May 1st 2000 by DAW (First published in 1999)

Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Retellings

Series information: Standalone but part of a series of fairy tales

Format: Hardcover, 416 pages

Source: Bought for my own collection

Recommended For: Fans of deeply layered fantasy books that pluck the heart strings

After his wife’s untimely death, a powerful sorcerer dedicates his life to seeking revenge against all womankind. He turns his captives into beautiful swans–who briefly regain human form by the fleeting light of the moon. Only Odette, noblest of the enchanted flock, has the courage to confront her captor. But can she gain the allies she needs to free herself and the other swan-maidens from their magical slavery? A monumental tale of loyalty and betrayal, of magic good and evil, of love both carnal and pure, and of the duality of human nature, The Black Swan is a rich tapestry, which is sure to become an all-time masterpiece of fantasy.

The Black Swan is part of Mercedes Lackey’s Fairy Tales series and it is a loose retelling of the story of Swan Lake. Like the original story, the princess Odette is turned into a swan by a sorcerer who vows that she will be turned back into her original form if her lover, Prince Siegfriend remains faithful to her. The sorcerer, Baron Von Rothbart, uses his daughter to trick the prince into betraying Odette so that she will be forced to remain in her swan form.

I am not extremely familiar with the original story (Okay, so I’ve only seen the Barbie version) but like most retellings, Mercedes Lackey molded this story into her own. The characters gain more depth and the reader is able to understand their motives. Even the Baron becomes a more solid character, as his motives are made clear though still rather unjust. I was extremely impressed with Lackey’s addition of another villain in the form of Queen Clothilde. She was the epitome of evil and made The Baron look almost innocent in his wicked ways. Prince Siegfried is a rather hard hero to fall in love with as he is represented as a womanizer and to be quite honest, I hated him for most of the story. Furthermore, though the reader thinks this story to be centered around the swan maiden, Odette, it is really Odile who takes center stage in the tale. Odette plays her part as the pure maiden seamlessly but it is Odile’s inner turmoil and growth that really draws the reader and helps one become invested in her tale.

This was one of the first fantasy books I picked up as a young adult, I read it so many times that my paperback fell apart and my mother bought me a hardcover as a replacement. I hadn’t picked this up in years but once I started reading it again I was immediately drawn in as I was so many years ago. I love the relationship between Odile and her father and I love the strength she gains as the story progresses. Each character grows in a different way and the relationships between everyone progressed in relatable and interesting ways. I also adored the land that Lackey creates. At one point Odile is using magic to carve out a “home” out of a treen for herself and the swan maidens and for some reason it is a part that stuck with me for years, the image is forever etched in my mind.

I still have yet to read anything else by Mercedes Lackey but I hope to read the rest of her Fairy Tales as well as her Elemental Masters series because I have heard wonderful things about both. This novel comes highly recommended to lovers of fantasy, strong female characters and those who love their fairy tale retellings as much as I do.

Review: Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier


Title: Heart’s Blood

Author: Juliet Marillier

Publishing Information:  October 2nd 2009 by Tor

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Series information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 405 pages

Source: Purchased for my personal collection

Recommended For: Readers looking for a unique and gorgeous retelling of an age old tale

Whistling Tor is a place of secrets, a mysterious, wooded hill housing the crumbling fortress of a chieftain whose name is spoken throughout the district in tones of revulsion and bitterness. A curse lies over Anluan’s family and his people; those woods hold a perilous force whose every whisper threatens doom.

For young scribe Caitrin it is a safe haven. This place where nobody else is prepared to go seems exactly what she needs, for Caitrin is fleeing her own demons. As Caitlin comes to know Anluan and his home in more depth she realizes that it is only through her love and determination that the curse can be broken and Anluan and his people set free.

Caitrin is a young woman running from the horrors of her household. Her father has died, her sister has married and gone and all she has left are kinsmen who are abusive to her both mentally and physically. Under their abuse Caitrin has become a ghost of the strong scribe her father taught her to be. It is a dreary, cold evening as Caitrin ventures toward Whistling Tor, a secluded village which houses secrets of its own. It is in this village that Caitrin overhears that the local chieftain is in need of a scribe who can read and translate Latin. Though the stories surrounding this chieftain and his household are enough to make any brave warrior wary, Caitrin believes this is her best hope of escaping her kinsmen who she believes will certainly come looking for her.

Caitrin makes her way up to Anluan’s home and finds that it is a curse that plagues the chieftains of the Tor. A curse that no one believed would ever be broken, until Caitrin came. Caitrin comes to love the Tor and its inhabitants and with her hope she acts as a beacon of light to those plagued by centuries of darkness.

The setting of this book was something I was very interested in. I love Juliet’s Sevenwaters series and adore that it centers on the forest, however, I was happy to find a more unusual setting and time period. Another significant change in this book was the element of magic. True, all of Marillier’s books focus on magic in some way but most center around “Other” magic, whereas Heart’s Blood is rooted in dark human sorcery. Caitrin must do her best to unravel the mysteries of the house and find a way to break the curse in order to help the friends she has come to love.

Another difference in this story is the way Caitrin must go about breaking the curse. In many of Juliet Marillier’s books the central female character must overcome certain tests usually given to her by Otherwordly beings. In this story it is a much more direct approach in which Caitrin must educate herself on the past wrongs done by the chieftain’s and arm herself with knowledge and strength in order to defeat the evil still dwelling there. Though I absolutely love reading tales regarding the “Old Ones” I also really appreciated the way this story was a tad more paranormal.

The secondary characters in this story were so fantastic I can hardly describe them. Some were rather creepy, the mysterious Muirne gave me a chills a few times as did the ethereal child who became attached to Caitrin and cried when she was left alone. Eichri and Rioghan were dependable and quite funny. Fianchu, whose name means “hound of a warrior band” was a huge, sweet and mysterious dog (think Dire Wolf) that I loved immensely. One cannot forget Magnus who was like a father to Caitrin and though very strong and dependable had an immense heart that showed throughout the novel.

As is her style, Marillier included some dark elements to the tale that really drew me in as a reader. I was invested in the characters, I felt their pain and disappointment as they did and found myself on the edge of my seat hoping for a happy ending. Reminiscent of Son of Shadows and Heir to Sevenwaters, both Anluan and Caitrin have things to learn and many ways in which they can grow. It is Caitrin’s strength that shows Anluan how to be a good chieftain and defeat the evil taking over his heart and home. Anluan helps Caitrin grow back into the woman she used to be before her father died. As many of you know, Juliet is the queen of slow burning romances. This story did not disappoint, every look and small gesture radiated with something more and as always, Marillier broke my heart a little just to put it back together.

Heart’s Blood was an obvious choice for me, Beauty and the Beast rewritten by the master Juliet Marillier was sure to be a hit in my mind. However I am always wary reading books by an author I love because my hopes are so high I fear that they will never be met. Thankfully, Juliet Marillier made my heart sing per usual. She stayed true to her path of weaving so many elements into a beautifully layered story. She creates friendships between characters (both human, Other and animal) that bring tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart.

This book comes highly recommended; it is an absolutely unique and gorgeous retelling of an age old tale. For those of you who have read this and are looking for another retelling by Juliet Marillier, check out my review of Wildwood Dancing!

Review: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan


Title: The Lover’s Dictionary

Author: David Levithan

Publishing Information: January 4, 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Series information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 211 pages

Source: Borrowed from my local library

Recommended For: Readers looking for a very different type of novel focusing on the ups and downs romance

How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.

This book is more like a set of poems than a regular novel and that is part of the reason that it is so beautiful. Each page of this book contains a different word and a “definition” for the word. The definitions mold together like clues to create a love story with both happy and heartbreaking parts. It shows both the ups and downs of the relationship and as you read you really feel with the narrator and relate to the angst and bliss he or she is feeling.

Though this book is a quick read it is still one that you should take your time with, read each page slowly and ponder its meaning to the author but also if/how it relates to your life. The language is superb, not too sad or too happy but the perfect mix that will really play with your emotions.

It is near impossible for me to explain the splendor of this book so instead I will provide some examples:

Basis, n.

There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with person or in love with the feeling of love itself.

If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it – you’re done.

And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.

Elliptical, adj.

The kiss I like the most is one of the slow ones. It’s as much breath as touch, as much no as yes. You lean in from the side, and I have to turn a little to make it happen.

Love, n.

I’m not going to even try.

Scapegoat, n.

I think our top two are:

1. Not enough coffee.
2. Too much coffee.

I recommend this book to all; it is all things good and bad in relation to love and is extremely relatable.

Review: The Plucker by Brom

Title: The Plucker

Author: Brom

Publishing Information: October 1, 2005 by Harry N. Abrams

Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Horror

Series information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 156 pages

Source: Borrowed from my local library

Recommended For: Readers wanting a beautifully illustrated novel that reads like a children’s picture book yet brings adult terrors to life.

World-renowned dark fantasy artist Brom in this illustrated novel intimately combines his dramatic storytelling with his uniquely arresting images, to create a work of striking imagination, a world where fairy-tale tradition collides with vileness and depravity, love and heroism, suffering and sacrifice. A shadowy land of make-believe where Jack and his box are stuck beneath the bed with the dust, spiders, and other castaway toys, forced to face a bitter truth: children grow up and toys are left behind. Jack believes this is the worst that can happen to a toy. But when the Plucker, a malevolent spirit, is set loose upon the world of make-believe and Jack is thrust into the unlikely role of defending Thomas, the very child who abandoned him, he finds out there is worse that can befall a toy-far worse. As desperation mounts, Jack is thrown together with Thomas’s other toys-Monkey, the Nutcracker, and the ethereally beautiful porcelain doll Snow Angel-as they struggle to rise above their simple roles as playthings in an effort to save the boy they love.

Plucker is an illustrated novel by Brom and it is a dark, twisted tale about children’s toys and their love for children. Don’t think of this as another Toy Story, it is absolutely NOT a children’s book.

This is the story of Jack (as in, Jack in the Box) who lives in a room with dozens of other toys who belong to Thomas. These toys come alive once Thomas is in bed and gallivant through his room, living it up as toys do. The only problem is that Jack has been shoved under the bed and is now a discarded toy that is to be shunned from all the others. Soon after Jack is shunned, Thomas is brought a spirit doll from his father. They place the doll above his bed and it falls, cracks open and releases a Soul Plucker who needs to feed on children’s gusto to flourish and survive. Jack becomes transformed into a Plucker killer and he sets out against the evil taking over the child’s soul.

I was very excited to read this book. I loved Brom’s The Child Thief and I think his illustrations are absolutely amazing. However this story was very different from The Child Thief, it read more like a picture book than a novel but the illustrations completely complemented the storyline.

Jack was transformed from a child’s toy who cowered in his box for comfort to a killer with a snake’s heart. African magic and voodoo play a significant part in the story and it helped create more depth, giving the story a little more than a straightforward path.

Some of the Plucker’s “minions” were gruesome and maggot filled and I found myself physically gagging over the intense descriptions. But that’s part of the reason that I enjoyed it, I love a good horror story filled with vivid imagery. Jack’s illustrations were also incredibly intricate, even his stitching was beautiful. I recommend this book to any fans of Brom or for those who like a twisted re-telling of a childhood fable.

“All around the mulberry bush,
The monkey chased the weasel,
The monkey thought ‘twas all in fun,
Pop goes the weasel.”

Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Night Circus

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Publishing Information: September 13, 2011 by Doubleday

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Series information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 387 pages

Source: Received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

Recommended For: Readers looking for a beautiful love story surrounded by a beautiful landscape.

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

The Night Circus is the story of Celia and Marco, two magicians (for lack of a better word) bound together by an oath made during their childhood. This oath bounds them as opponents, but upon meeting they immediately fall in love. Their love for one another is not appreciated by their guardians who bound them to be opponents as their magic dual is inevitable to end in the death of one of them. Their life-long contest is set in the venue of a traveling circus that arrives without warning and is gone as quickly as it comes.

This circus is not like a traditional circus that involves colorful clowns and prancing ponies. Instead, the circus consists only of black and white accents and is really a maze of tents consisting of enchantments from both Celia and Marco. There is a beautiful tree covered in candles meant to represent wishes from all who visit, an enchanting ice garden that smells of roses, ice and sugar, and a fire eater who is able to sculpt fire from her bare hands. Erin Morgenstern writes with such detail that it really feels as if you are transported to the center of the ice garden where Celia sits, longing for Marco.

I loved this book. I first bought the audio book because helloooo it is read by Jim Dale!!! I took my time listening to it and honestly, I was hesitant to finish it because it was that good. So good, that not only did I not want it to end but after I did finish, I went out and bought the hardcover! The imagery in this book was beautiful and the love story was absolutely heart wrenching. Celia and Marco’s first kiss was magical and it set the standard for their love affair in a beautiful way. Though I wanted more after the novel completed I enjoyed the way in which Erin Morgenstern tied up all of her loose ends and fleshed out all of the necessary characters. The conclusion didn’t frustrate me, but made me think of the circus as a very pleasant dream.

Check out the author’s website for some awesomeness!!



Review: Graveminder by Melissa Marr

Title: Graveminder

Author: Melissa Marr

Publishing Information: May 9, 2011 by HarperCollins

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror, Supernatural, Romance

Series information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 324 pages

Source: Borrowed from my local library

Recommended For: Fans of paranormal mysteries with endearing bits of romance


Three sips to mind the dead . . .

Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the attention her grandmother Maylene bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the small town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn’t a funeral that Maylene didn’t attend, and at each one Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: She took three sips from a silver flask and spoke the words “Sleep well, and stay where I put you.”

Now Maylene is dead, and Bek must go back to the place she left a decade earlier. She soon discovers that Claysville is not just the sleepy town she remembers, and that Maylene had good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in Claysville the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected; beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D. If the dead are not properly cared for, they will come back to satiate themselves with food, drink, and stories from the land of the living. Only the Graveminder, by tradition a Barrow woman, and her Undertaker—in this case Byron Montgomery, with whom Bek shares a complicated past—can set things right once the dead begin to walk.

Although she is still grieving for Maylene, Rebekkah will soon find that she has more than a funeral to attend to in Claysville, and that what awaits her may be far worse: dark secrets, a centuries-old bargain, a romance that still haunts her, and a frightening new responsibility—to stop a monster and put the dead to rest where they belong.

Graveminder is best selling young adult author Melissa Marr’s first novel for adults, though it has been said to be “a young adult book for adults” as the genres can overlap at times and the storyline is relatable to both young adult and adult readers. The atmosphere of this story was very interesting, the way in which Melissa Marr describes the alternate world ruled by Mr. D was extremely detailed and really heightened the intensity of the story. I really felt for Bek as she struggled with her choices in this story and I appreciated how conflicted she was as she worked to find her proper place in the world. This story is filled with love, through many different types of relationships, but it is also a horror story filled with murder mysteries and the residents of Claysville rising from the dead. A good mix, I must say!

Overall, Graveminder is a richly imagined story with a relatable and interesting plot filled with likable characters. Melissa Marr sets up the story so it can be turned into a series if she wishes. Personally, I hope the author runs with the story and decides to continue the story of Bek and Byron!

Review: The Child Thief by Brom

childthiefTitle: The Child Thief

Author: Brom

Publishing Information: August 25, 2009 by Harper Voyager

Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Magic, Paranormal, Retelling

Series information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 476 pages

Source: Borrowed from my local library

Recommended For: Readers looking for a dark new perspective on a childhood tale, fans of having your heart ripped to pieces.

I first saw this book showcased on the shelf when I was working at Barnes & Noble. I was immediately intrigued and drawn in by the illustration on the cover. I thought to myself, “That looks like Peter Pan!” and lo and behold, it IS Peter Pan! Kind of…

Based in our modern world, Peter searches for children needing an escape from their brutal lives. Peter finds the desperate children, the ones grasping for any sense of light in a dark world. Peter waits until the opportune moment to reveal himself, knowing that at that time the children are most likely to follow him into the “paradise” he promises. However, as these children follow Peter they find that this paradise he promises is really a terrifying wilderness filled with things from your worst nightmares.

As time progresses, the children learn that this world, the world of Avalon, is slowly dying. Peter is dedicated to saving this world, his paradise, and the Lady that lives there. Peter believes the only way to save his world is to amass an army of children called the “Devils” to fight for the land he loves.

A little disclaimer: This story is NOT for children. It is NOT the story of Peter Pan from your childhood. It is harsh, sadistic and at times over the top. The children (and they are children) swear, maim and kill and they are tortured and killed in gory detail. That being said it is also one of the best books I have ever read.

Brom completely re-imagines the tale of Peter Pan, turning it into a thoroughly detailed and layered story. Avalon was once a magical and beautiful paradise, until man showed up on its shores. The “man” in question being the Captain and his crew (saw that one coming, didn’t you?) The crew is made up not of not savage men, but puritans (but really, what’s the difference?) looking to start a new civilization. As the story progresses these men do turn into beasts but the Captain remains whole and the reader gains a glimpse into his mindset. The question of who (or what) is evil is presented and as a reader I found myself wavering between the two, into an almost gray area. Brom tells the tale of horror, betrayal and dedication through a child narrator named Nick, a narrator I quickly fell in love with. Nick is a strong minded boy, who attempts to stand up for what is right while shirking away from what would be “easy.”

Although this was one of the best novels I have ever read I do admit that some parts were not so perfect. Most of the characters are extremely developed and layered with a detailed back-story. However, the character Uthger is barely fleshed out though he pays a very important part in the overall story. Also, I did not enjoy the ending. At all. I can’t go into much detail here but I will say that overall it felt rushed. The whole story leads up to this final act and suddenly it is over with no pretense. I do understand why the book ended in this way, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it!

Check out Brom’s website for a gallery of his amazing illustrations, many found in The Child Thief!