In addition to the various readalongs and the classics I’ve been reading, I read some newer books. September was a phenomenal month for new releases in the Young Adult category. I am lucky enough to have a group of close friends who share a book club account on amazon, to which we each contribute a $25.00 gift card every month. This gives us an enormous amount of buying power. Each participant has the opportunity to pick one book for purchase, no questions asked, and then we propose, discuss, negotiate, and select the rest of the books we are going to buy through a process in a goodreads group that is almost as much fun as reading the books themselves.
So, a couple of rapid recaps: Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier, which was released on September 11, was my September pick. I love Juliet Marillier – her books manage to be both fantastical and familiar simultaneously. I think that it is her use of Celtic legend and ancient Irish/Scottish settings that provides that sense of dreamy familiarity, but whatever it is, I love it. Shadowfell is not her best work, but it is still a well-told tale with an appealing heroine, and a strong and compelling hero.
Marillier’s stories often have elements of chaste romance, and this was no exception. Neryn, the main character, and Flint, the male lead, have a lovely developing relationship that is sure to be further developed in the forthcoming additions to the series. Marillier is an auto-buy for me at this time, based in large part on her gorgeously written retelling of the Six Swans fairytale, Daughter of the Forest, which begins her Sevenwaters series. Daughter of the Forest and Son of the Shadows are exceptional books. The downside to buying and devouring the first in a series upon it’s release is the waiting that ensues upon setting the book down after finishing it!
I also read Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin, which had been on my kindle for a while. The cover is absolutely gorgeous, and it is a retelling of the rather famous, albeit very short, story written by Edgar Allen Poe. This one had a lot of potential: elements of horror, steampunk, and dystopia, all wrapped in a fairly glittery YA package. It rather failed in the execution, though, in my opinion. Not a bad book, but it dragged in places, the main character wasn’t particularly likeable, and Ms. Griffin fell into the must-write-a-YA-love-triangle trap that seems so ubiquitous at this point. I have gotten to the point of really hating the YA love triangle because it is so overdone, and, in this book, neither of the love interests were particularly compelling. The villain, Prince Prospero, was also one-dimension of evil.
I had not read Poe’s famous story before reading this book, but I picked up a Poe anthology after reading it so I could compare it to the source material. The Masque of the Red Death by Poe is a very short story, about 5 pages long. It did have a lot of potential as something to mine. The book by Ms. Griffin seemed almost to be a prequel to the story. I am not sure that there was enough content to the Griffin book to sustain a series. It wasn’t a bad book, but it also wasn’t a great one.
Four more September releases waiting for me on my kindle! I love Maggie Stiefvater, and The Raven Boys is up next