Not featured is the book I somehow forgot about, Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu.
I really have to start putting my thoughts down when I finish my books, not three days later!
I really enjoyed this book, more than I thought I would, if I'm honest. It's The Godfather meets Ninjas and Yakuza clans in a 1950's-ish time and on the Island of Kekon where jade is magical, giving enhanced abilities to some who are known as the Green Bone Warriors.
I found the first maybe third of the book a little slow, as things got set up and we meet the main players, the Kaul family, as well as the a slew of secondary characters. It's a typical clan type family, I guess, with the 'retired' grandfather who is having difficulty letting go of his power. His three grandchildren, Lan, Hilo, Shae and the adopted Anden. Lan, the eldest, is the new Pillar or head of the No Peak clan, Hilo is the Horn, the second-in-command. Their sister, Shae, has been away from the island and the clan for a while and has been living without her jade. Anden, the youngest, about to leave his teen years behind is a senior at the Academy, just about ready to graduate and take his jade as well as his position within the family.
Once we begin to know all the characters and get somewhat of a handle on them, the story really kicks in. We're talking murders, assassinations, stolen jade, government scandals, love affairs, clans heading to war and maybe even the total collapse of their island and way of life.
The world-building is intricate and terrific and the characters, main, secondary and even the walk-ons are deftly drawn. Once we get into things, the plot moves along quite nicely with twists and turns and surprises along the way. Some good and some bad. Some I saw coming, some I did not.
So, yes, this is one of those books where I wish I could write a decent review because I feel like I'm not doing it justice. It's a terrific book and I can't wait for the second book to come out.
Disclaimer: Reviewing uncorrected proof on NetGalley
This seemed like one of those genre-bridging stories that you're technically not supposed to do, but that often work so well. There are elements of Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, and Contemporary Fantasy in the mix, and it sort of hovers on the edge of YA/NA/Adult Fantasy.
I found it a little hard to get into at first. The narrative switches perspective between the MC, a homeless teen on the streets of LA who discovers unexpected, uncontrollable powers, and the man (immortal Irish magical something or other) who protects her. The voices aren't necessarily all that distinct, and at the beginning it feels like there's a bit more information to get caught up on and angsty internal monologue than I really needed, but I'm glad I stuck with it, because by the end I was ready to pick up the sequel immediately!
The magical worldbuilding, with gritty back alleys, glitzy clubs, and luxurious, at times otherworldly, retreats, is quite well done, and the mixed supernatural/fantasy cast of gods and goddesses, their powerful children, fae, vampires, and other creatures actually fits together pretty seamlessly. Part of what makes it a hard read at the start is that the main character/viewpoint character doesn't have a clue what's going on, and you have to follow through with her as she stumbles, fights back against those who could help her, and generally suffers a lot before finding her balance.
I liked the twists - there's some really interesting stuff happening with identity, memory, and purpose. I was worried about this tipping into explicit NA territory, but while there's some sexual situations, lots of ink spilled on romantic mishaps, and some language/violence etc. that ranks a mature rating, it never goes too far - though I wouldn't be surprised if the main characters hook up at some point in the series. So, for me, that was a count in its favour that all the romantic stuff didn't get detailed.
Weirdly, this kind of reminded me of a Sarah J. Maas book, with a bit of a slower start and wild, power-move twists at the end. There's a lot of potential here for an intense series and I'd be up to see where things go.
If I said that The Bone Season is like a roller-coaster, I would be lying. Most people would think this is a bad since roller-coasters are the most exciting rides at amusement parks. Well, most people are wrong. I am of the opinion that roller-coasters are just metal death traps with a deceiving name. We should not tempt fate by flinging ourselves in the air at unnaturally high speeds just for the sake of an adrenaline rush.
Anyway, The Bone Season is more like bumper cars. You are shoved into a small, mostly dark arena and told to smash into other people. There is no real structure to the madness. Due to conservation of momentum and other principles of physics that I vaguely remember from high school, as soon you crash into each other, both of you are repelled from each other. In The Bone Season, as soon as you touched something interesting, you are immediately pushed away. You bump into a lot of other people (or a lot of people bump into you if you are a rookie) but in the end you don't really accomplish anything.
Click the link above to read more of my thoughts on The Bone Season and my final rating!