Yes, in case you’re wondering, it really did take me this long to finish another (two) book(s). I think I overdid it, pushed too hard, and burned out for awhile. But I finally finished two books I’ve been reading for awhile now, so time to share them with you.
I was really excited to see Enthralled at the library, and started reading it as soon as possible. Like usual, I skipped around instead of reading in order, and as usual I liked some stories more than others. I found the central concept (of travel/ diversions/ road trips) a tenuous connection between stories, at best. And, like much of fantasy writing in general, there were way too many obnoxiously snarky heroines who were headstrong and impulsive to the point of foolishness. Hard to root for. Also, just my own personal opinion, but there were too many stories set in Texas. No thanks. But that’s just a personal prejudice. Overall, not a bad collection. But not a great one either.
Here’s a breakdown by specific authors:
Claudia Grey: Giovanni’s Farewell was a strange, bittersweet story about two inseparable, peculiar, globetrotting identical twins with supernatural abilities. I wasn’t surprised by the twist, but even so I really enjoyed the story and would love to read more about Ravenna and Cairo.
Carrie Ryan: Ryan writing about zombies? No, surely not. How shocking. Consistent subject matter aside, this was a good story, at least with a slightly different setting than her other stories I’ve read. I liked and was rooting for the main characters.
Kami Garcia: a decent ghost/ murder/ revenge story. I thought that ending glossed over everything a little too much, both good and bad. Otherwise OK.
Jackson Pierce: a strange story about a gay college student and the super hot, but very logical, unemotional female jinn who guards him for awhile. I just don’t think I really GOT the story.
Rachel Vincent: another story about banshees and Sabine and Nash (at least indirectly). I liked Sabine less in this story, as pretty much her whole motivation was her obsession with Nash and being with him again, regardless of whether he was happy with someone else or not. The banshees were interestingly creepy, but it didn’t make up for the Bella-level romantic obsession.
Melissa Marr: This fairy story tied in with her Wicked Lovely universe was hands down the most boring story in this book, simply because NOTHING HAPPENED! Two characters really really really love each other, in case you’re wondering, and they like spending time together. it’s like being with a group of friends, and two of them won’t quit doing baby talk and making out in front of everyone. Boring.
Kelley Armstrong: Another supernatural powers/ evil biogenetics corporation story, that seems to be tied in with one of her series. The main character is one of those headstrong, snarky, slightly annoying YA fantasy heroines, and the story didn’t really seem to go anywhere. Also, it was set in Texas.
Sarah Rees Brennan: my biggest gripe about the boy-band-with-a-vampire-member story was that the beginning was so similar to another story I’d read that I thought it was the same one, and almost skipped it. I’m thankful I didn’t. I find the band mates interactions laugh out loud funny sometimes. Christian is tiresome sometimes, but you feel a little more sorry for him in this, and Bradley and Faye and the stoner (Chaz?) are still their fun, oddly likeable selves. Even the nervous band member grew on me this time. The road trip format of the story made for sort of jerky, disconnected reading, and the final element of the story was kind of lame, but the characters still win me over.
Jeri Ready-Smith: Verse/ poetry format is never my favorite, but this story was so well written I ended up really liking it, getting invested in the bittersweet ghost story, and wishing well for the family and new friend left behind. The mythology of the story is interesting too, and something about which I’m interested in reading more.
Kimberly Derting: Fairly engrossing story about a boy with premonitions and the girl he loves. I felt the story could have used more world building, explanations of why he has an FBI agent on speed dial, for example. I assume that it’s part of a greater series that explains things more thoroughly. Otherwise it was interesting.
Allie Condie: I was really excited to see what she would write other than Matched. This was another futuristic dystopian story, but different from Matched. I still hate time travel, but this story about a girl determined to follow her father out of their dome life by any means necessary was creative, interesting, and ambiguously hopeful. Also, Elio was sweet.
Jessica Verday: the snarkiest of the snarky heroines of the book, in a story that tried too hard to be funny, with its defanged Rocky Horror Picture-loving vampires, and just ended up seeming cheesy. The demonic Frankenstein was creative, at least, and not totally silly. But overall not a win.
Margaret Stohl: The creepiness of the story and general unlikableness of the main characters made this story one of my least favorite. I suppose she captured a world and mentality well, but it creeped me out without anything positive to show for it.
Mary E Pearson: This reimagining of gargouilles in an ancient European sort of setting was lyrical, sad, beautiful, and romantic. I loved the gargouilles concept, and the love that wouldn’t die or be forgotten.
Jennifer Lynn Barnes: I think this was a story about angelic possession vs demonic possession, but I’m not awfully sure. It needed more explanation, and I’m guessing is related to a series. Nonetheless, the two sisters were interesting and likable, and the idea of “pulses” was new and creative.
Rachel Caine: Small town Texas settings always cancel out much of even good stories for me. The main character in this vampire story is well-written, and I want things to work out for him and his human girl, but neither that nor the blood vending machine and related conspiracy/ test was enough for me to really care or read the rest of the series.
As much as I may complain about some of these stories, I found some new authors I enjoyed and will check out further, and I’m sure I’ll be reading the next short story collection Marr and Armstrong release.