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Pub Date: 1-17-23
YA - Fantasy

Queen Among the Dead- Lesley Livingston: The kingdom of Eire was once rife with magic, but then it was outlawed by the King and hoarded by his Druid priests. Neve is the youngest daughter of the King and has always felt out of place in his court. In her heart, she is a warrior first and a princess second. She'd rather spend her days training than attending to courtly duties. After a run-in with Ronan, a former Druid apprentice-turned-thief, Neve discovers the pair are tied together by a mysterious magic mark. When the land of Eire is threatened by a dark power, Neve has no choice but to team up with Ronan to secure her birthright before it's too late.

I think it was a good book, but not one that will stick with me. I loved all the nods to Celtic lore, but there was too much going on that it felt chaotic and exhausting. A lot of the world-building--especially in the beginning-- felt info-dumpy, so it took me a while to get my bearings within the story. I did enjoy the characters, both the main characters, Neve and Ronan, and the secondary characters, such as Sakir and Una, but none of them made much of an impact on me. However, I did like the relationship between Neve and Ronan and thought they had fun banter that helped to lighten the mood. Despite not blowing me away, I'd still recommend it if you enjoy Ya fantasy with a mythological spin.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 3-7-23
Adult - Historical Fiction

The London Séance Society- Sarah Penner: After the death of her sister, Lenna Wickes heads to Paris for answers. She becomes an apprentice to the famed spiritualist Vaudeline D’Allaire who has a reputation for conjuring the spirits of the recently deceased. Lenna has always been skeptical of the occult but still hopes Vaudeline will be able to uncover her sister's murderer. When Vaudeline gets called back to London to assist with a high-profile murder investigation, Lenna accompanies her as her understudy. The women begin to work closely with members of the exclusive London Séance Society but quickly realize the killer they're searching for is closer than they thought.

I'm a sucker for a historical mystery with spooky vibes, so the premise sounded right up my alley. I thought Penner nailed the atmosphere and liked how she depicted all the occult aspects. The mystery was intriguing, and there were some twists I didn't expect. I also liked the alternating POVs. It helped to flesh the story out even more. My main issue was with the pacing. I thought the first half was incredibly slow, and it wasn't until about the halfway mark that I felt it truly hit its stride. I did end up liking it, but I just wanted it to get to the point quicker.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 2-21-23
Adult - Historical Fantasy

The Magician's Daughter- H.G. Parry: It's 1912, and while the rest of the world hasn't known magic for the last seventy years, it's all Biddy has ever known. Orphaned as a young girl, Biddy was taken in by a magician named Rowan and grew up on a remote isle called Hy-Brasil. Biddy has spent her life hidden from the rest of the world, but as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she longs for an adventure. One night, Rowan doesn't come back from his travels, so Biddy uses magic to sneak into his dreams to find out what happened. Nothing could've prepared her for what she would find. Biddy's only hope of rescuing her guardian from his enemies is to restore magic to the world. Her journey will take her from the slums of Whitechapel to a secret castle beneath the streets of London, all the while uncovering more secrets than answers. When Biddy comes face-to-face with her past, can she find the strength within to do what must be done?

I've read one other book by Parry that I didn't enjoy, but I wanted to give this one a go anyways. It was fine. My main issue was the same as I had previously where I thought the premise was great, but the execution was lacking. The setting and magic were interesting, and I liked the characters, but I was so bored. The pacing was too slow, and there were parts, especially in the middle, that dragged on. The writing also skewed more on the YA side, but that didn't bother me as much. I think Parry nailed the atmosphere here, but the plot needed a bit of polish.

Rating: 3/5


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