Wonderful YA Dark Fantasy/Sci-Fi

TheArchivedThe Archived (The Archived, #1)

by Victoria Schwab

I’m ashamed to say I read this book and forgot to write a review when it was fresh in my mind.   But, as I think back, all the elements of the story are still clear as a bell, even though I have probably read 50 books since this one.

The story contains a wonderful plot that combines the love of a child for her grandfather, the sorrow of losing that grandfather and then her younger brother, dealing with her mother’s inability to accept her brother’s loss and trying to handle her duties as a Keeper that were passed to her when her grandfather died.

Her grandfather was a Keeper, one of those charged with keeping the souls in the Archives, shelved similarly to books in a library, where they belong, retrieving new souls unable to get to the Archives the “normal” way and tracking down and returning souls who manage to get out of the Archives for any number of reasons, most of them not good.  She is too young to be a Keeper but that doesn’t seem to have stopped the power from descending to her from her grandfather when he passed away.  Even though he had been training her for several years, there is still a lot she does not know and she needs to learn fast!

After moving with her parents to an old residential hotel where her mother intends to open a coffee shop (can you say “geographical cure”?), she is even busier trying to keep up with her duties as her ability to “read” events of deaths that occurred in a certain place blossoms.  She meets a boy about her own age also living in this antique building, who is very different from most of the friends she just left behind, who seems to be showing up at the most interesting times.

The author’s description of the Keeper’s duties trying to corral souls who do not understand what has happened to them or who refuse to accept the fact that they have died are truly amazing and somewhat terrifying. This is a book I would recommend to teenage readers or adults with a liking for dark and mysterious doings.  I look forward to the next books in this series.

THE DRAGONEERS SAGA by M.R. Mathias

 

 

 

 

PREQUEL NOVELLA:  THE FIRST DRAGONEER

BOOK ONE: THE ROYAL DRAGONEERS

BOOK TWO:  COLD HEARTED SON OF A WITCH

BOOK THREE:  THE CONFLICTION

This review applies to the entire trilogy of the Dragoneers, not just the first book. The series is a really good YA trilogy, with real characters who have real foibles, dreams, fears, desires, unkind thoughts and everything else that comprises the range of human emotion. There are no “Mary Sues” in this saga. The female characters are smart, strong and emotional; the male characters are confused, brave, and scared. They are all elated at the bond they share with their dragons and absolutely terrified of the alien menace that reveals itself gradually through all three books. There is no “magic bullet” or “super-mage” that comes along to make an end to the devastating problems faced by all characters (not just the Royal Dragoneers). The solutions come along gradually with trial and error; various other entities decide to help or not as the story unfolds. I would definitely recommend this series (and the short stories that accompany it) for anyone whose teens/young adults are looking for something other than vampires, magical solutions, or werewolves but still want to read good fantasy.

http://www.amazon.com/Royal-Dragoneers-Book-Saga-ebook/dp/B0046H9GBW/ref=cm_cr-mr-img

LIGHTMASTERS 13 by M.G. Wells

I frequently read YA because I have a young niece (also a reader) and I like to be able to recommend books she would like, that are appropriate to her age and maturity level.

I found Lightmasters 13 to be a really fun romp from the perspective of a young girl who finds herself thrust into a situation far from her previous experience. Her grandparents, who take over her custody when her parents die, are great characters but Jessica is not familiar with them and their eccentricities or their small, insular town far different from her prior home. So Jessica has to learn to deal with her grandparents, a new school with schoolmates who, naturally, scorn this new, smart, unusual student, and the grief of her parents’ loss, all at the same time.

Jessica also discovers on her 13th birthday that she has been “blessed” with hereditary powers she was previously unaware of – that throw her for a huge loop.

This story of her receipt and acceptance of these powers, adaptation to their odd side effects, and the danger in which they place her is very fast-paced and highlights the slightly tongue-in-cheek angst and hyperactivity of a very young teenager whose journey to come to terms with just growing up is made even more difficult than normal by the additional complications of coming to terms with her powers.

I look forward to following Jessica’s journey as she explores her powers and the high-stress world of the much-anticipated high school “experience.”

http://www.amazon.com/LightMasters-Number-13-ebook/dp/B004A155VE/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

THE FISH THE FIGHTERS AND THE SONG-GIRL by Janet Morris and Chris Morris

The Fish the Fighters and the Song-Girl contains the first new novella from the author of all the Sacred Band of Stepsons stories and novels in 25 years! To those of us who followed Tempus and his Sacred Band of Stepsons through the Thieves’ World shared universe series and then off on his own in the Sacred Band ‘Beyond’ novels, having new material to devour is absolutely the greatest treat imaginable. New characters are introduced, some who had joined the band from The Sacred Band of Thebes in “The Sacred Band” written in 2010, wherein Tempus goes back in time to rescue the 23 pairs of fighters whose remains were not contained in the cenotaph erected to honor the Sacred Band of Thebes, where they were killed, to a man, in the battle of Chaeronea in 338 B.C. Some new characters enter the picture directly in ‘the Fish the Fighters and the Song-Girl” and we are treated to some new information about some new and some older characters.

Tempus takes the band north out of Sanctuary, he hopes for the last time, and uses the journey to help the newer members become assimilated into the new United Sacred Band of Stepsons, and so he can also get to know these new members a little better. Since this book additionally contains a number of short stories originally appearing in Thieves’ World, the author has employed a unique form of integration by writing interstitials that continue the story of the new journey and bring the older information into the book in a cohesive format that new or old readers should really enjoy.

The writing in this book displays the finest standards of Janet Morris and her husband, Chris Morris, when exploring the character Tempus and allowing the reader to see into his motivations and learn more about this amazing group of warriors. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for lovers of fantasy, sword and sorcery, science fiction and epic fantasy. I thoroughly enjoyed this new book and the old stories as they were set within the framework of explaining to the newer members of the band how certain things came about, before they encountered the band.

New or old readers of The Sacred Band and Thieves’ World will not be disappointed!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Fish-Fighters-Song-Girl-Stepsons/dp/0985166835/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

BEYOND SANCTUARY by Janet Morris [First of The Sacred Band “Beyond” novels]

Beyond Sanctuary was the first authorized novel spinoff from the “Thieves’ World(r)” series in the mid-1980s. This is an absolutely beautiful Author’s Cut release with some new material and revisions the author had wanted to make for a couple of decades, and a gorgeous new cover! This represents the first new release in the “Beyond” series – Beyond the Veil and Beyond Wizardwall will also be released over the next year or so.  Beyond Sanctuary begins the “Beyond” series with Tempus and the Sacred Band leaving Sanctuary to travel to Tyse, join with allies from the earlier war in which Tempus helped overthrow the ruler of Ranke, and then assault the mages ruling from Wizardwall who hold three countries hostage to their powers. There is great action involved and viewpoints from both the Sacred Band and the mages and witches, making this a truly riveting book you do not want to put down. The ethos of the Sacred Band is explored and described on a basic level, and some of the continuing characters in the Sacred Band stories begin to come into their own. An excellent read with more to come!

Highly recommended.

http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Sanctuary-Sacred-Stepsons-ebook/dp/B007GIWCYG/ref=cm_cr-mr-title