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review 2019-10-14 16:08
"Fledgling - Sorcery and Society #2" by Molly Harper
Fledgling - Molly Harper

 

 

 

 

Engaging YA fantasy with just the right mix of fun, fear and friendship

 

 

"Fledgling" is the second book in Molly Harper's new YA fantasy series "Sorcery and Society", set in an alternate Victorian England, ruled over by magical families calling themselves the Guardians, who have turned humans (called snipes) into surfs, bonded to a Guardian master.

 
 
 

The story continues on immediately after the climactic end to Changeling. I was pleased to see that, while it kept the same feel-good tone as the first book, it soon broke free from the confines of Miss Castwell’s Institute for the Magical Instruction of Young Ladies, where most of the action in "Changeling" took place. This opened up more of the magical and political world and provided new challenges for Sarah Smith, our young snipe-with-magical-powers-pretending-to-be-a-Guardian-Lady heroine, Sarah Smith.

 
 
 

Molly Harper manages to produce a story that is an uplifting blend of fun, fear and friendship. The teenage girls in the story face some difficult challenges but that doesn't stop them from having fun and behaving like... well, teenage girls, albeit ones with Victorian restrictions on their freedom.

 
 

One of the strengths of the book is how well the friendship between Sarah and her two closest friends is described. The banter works and the mix of personalities creates a believable dynamic where the girls encourage and support each other and each brings something different to the story.

 
 

The plot has enough tension in it to keep me turning the pages but never falls far into darkness. It has a few surprises and it promises a satisfying story arc for the next few books.

 
 

I also liked the fact that the adults that Sarah has most contact with aren't just ciphers. Sometimes, in YA stories, adults appear like the maid in Tom and Jerry cartoons: they swing partly into view but don't really take part. Sarah's parents and the Guardian couple who are sheltering her all make a contribution to Sarah's development and continue to be developed as real characters.

 
 

I found "Fledgling" entertaining and engaging and I'm looking forward to the next one.

 
 

 

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text 2019-10-08 22:16
Reading progress update: I've read 11%.
Fledgling - Molly Harper

 

I enjoyed Changeling, the first book in this series. Now I'm interested to see what Molly Harper does with the world she's created.

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review 2019-10-03 16:54
"The Devil's Revolver" by V. S. McGrath - exciting Weird West adventure
The Devil's Revolver (The Devil's Revolver Series, #1) - Sally V. McGrath

 

 

This is a Wild-West-With-Magic book that starts at 100mph and doesn't let up.  Two chapters in, I was already hooked.

 

There're enough things here that are familiar from Westerns that you slide into the world easy but enough that's different or unknown that your curiosity stirs itself, sniffs the air and says "Feed me."

 

The protagonist, Hettie Alabama is an easy to like seventeen-year-old girl with grit and a tomboy attitude. The baddies deserve to die. And there's a shadow of menace that I could feel from the start.

 

I liked that the challenges that Hettie meets and the things she learns about her family's past change her in believable ways. She was always tough and brave. She becomes more ruthless and less trusting. I also liked that her only focus was rescuing her sister. Hettie has no interest in romance.

 

The Weird West world-building is very well done. This is a West were magic, charms, amulets, sorcery of different types, is an everyday thing. The use of magic is taken for granted and become as much a part of the West as the railroad and the telegraph. This version of the West is not a nostalgic one. It's filled with violence, corruption, racism, misogyny and the routine abuse of power. I liked the I built up a clear picture of the world as I read the book but that I know there's more for me to learn in the rest of the series.

 

The baddies in this book are truly terrible people. The merciless brutal violence they meted out by the main gang at the start of the book is eclipsed only by the scale of the evil the man the gang works for is committing. These weren't the kind of pantomime baddies that you hiss and boo at. They were the sort of people you hope you never have to meet.

 

The demonic revolver that sits at the heart of the story is a great concept. It's not as simple as it first sounds and Hettie's relationship with it is pleasingly ambiguous.

 

The plot keeps a fast pace throughout while throwing surprises and threats that kept the excitement high. The book was a bit like the Devil's Revolver - it wasn't nice but once I picked it up, I didn't want to let go of it.

 

I'll be back for the rest of Hettie Alabama series.

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text 2019-09-20 16:39
Reading progress update: I've read 9%. -This is a LOT of fun
The Devil's Revolver (The Devil's Revolver Series, #1) - Sally V. McGrath

 

 

This is a Wild-West-With-Magic book that starts at 100mph and doesn't let up.  I'm two chapters in and I'm hooked.

 

There're enough things here that are familiar from Westerns that you slide into the world easy but enough that's different or unknown that your curiosity stirs itself, sniffs the air and says "Feed me."

 

The protagonist is an easy to like seventeen-year-old girl with grit and a tomboy attitude. The baddies deserve to die. And there's a shadow of menace. I can feel it coming. I don't know what it is yet but it's not going to be nice.

 

The link to Relics and Curiosities is a cursed revolver that I don't think has arrived on the scene yet.

 

The good news is that this is the first book in s series that currently has four books in int.

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text 2019-09-20 00:23
Reading progress update: I've read 83%. - this is much more exciting than I'd expected.
Cinder - Marissa Meyer,Rebecca Soler

I mean, it's a retelling of Cinderella. It's an affirmation of the Patriarchy. Handsome Prince rescues poor but worthy girl. How exciting can that be?

 

Except this re-imagining changes the dynamic. Cinder isn't waiting to be rescued. The Prince IS charming in cute but charismatic and self-deprecatingly egalitarian way. Then there's the evil Queen - far more evil than any stepmother, And there's the plague and the death it brings and cyborg stigma and and and.

 

And now it's approaching midnight. The Prince is in danger. Cinder is in motion.And I'm too tired to stay up until 01:30 to find out what happens.

 

But tomorrow... all will be revealed.

 

 

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