Three YA fantasy novels I read last year – one didn’t quite work for me, but the other two were just right.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
By rights, I should have loved this book. It had all the elements that I love – it’s a YA fantasy with an independent heroine, there was a sprinkling of romance against a background of rebellion and danger, and finally, there was a murder mystery to be solved.
But in the end, the story just felt a bit too passive, and I never connected with the characters, while the romance never felt real. I was left wondering how the most-wanted people appeared to wander freely through the city without ever being caught. I’m not invested enough in Digger or her story to continue – even with the slightly cliff-hangerish ending.
This is the second book in the series. I had some reservations after reading the first book STAR CROSSED (way back in 2010), but decided to give the series another chance – LIAR’S MOON didn’t really change my mind. I wanted more.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a reread for me – after reading Thea’s review at The Book Smugglers, I was tempted into buying the revised e-version (with an extra chapter) and had no regrets.
This felt a bit like a high school story translated to a fantasy setting, with cliques, bullying, and secrets galore – however, Sherwood Smith pulls it off and I loved how Rhis and girl power came to the fore. And I really liked how the HEA in this book was a realistic one for a story where the main protagonists are teenagers. The high fantasy world will be familiar to long-time readers of Sherwood Smith’s fantasies, but at the same time, I think it works perfectly as a standalone.
I remember liking this well enough the first time I read it, though it wasn’t a standout at that time. I’m not quite sure what changed – maybe I was just in the right mood for this kind of story, but I really loved it the second time around.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’ve been remiss about not posting about this earlier, bearing in mind how much I enjoyed the book. In a way, STAINED GLASS MONSTERS reminded me of Sharon Shinn’s Summers at Castle Auburn, which happens to be one of my favourite YA fantasy books.
I loved the story in this one – it had a really imaginative plot and is something quite different to other fantasy stories out there. I liked how the author trusted you to get the world, instead of spelling out every single detail. The dual POV worked well for me – both Kendall and Rennyn were strong females at very different stages in their lives, and that contrast in perspectives gave two different views into the story. And while I did not necessarily like every single character, I could empathise with each one.
I read this straight after Andrea K Höst’s The Touchstone Trilogy, and although I did see certain similarities in descriptions and characterisation, I do like how she gives us a very different story each time.
All in all, STAINED GLASS MONSTERS is one book I would re-read, and while it worked really well as a standalone story, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there will be more stories set in this world.
I admit that I’m not entirely sure this is YA fantasy – I think it straddles the border between YA and adult. I certainly would have loved reading it as a teenager. I read this during my Höst glom last year. Good times.