I’m picking an oldie but goodie read to spotlight for April’s Book of the Month. Although Storm Glass by Maria V. Synder came out in 2009 (wow, I can hardly fathom that), I still remember the book and the trilogy it’s a part of with very fond memories. YA fantasy ruled my life then and Storm Glass, well, took my young bookish heart by storm (pun much intended).
A few things I loved: The main character, Opal, comes from a family of glassmakers. A new kind of magic emerges that has far-reaching effects. Kade, a Stormdancer and love interest, is as wonderful as he is confident. Teen me was certainly smitten. And, overall, the story was an engrossing, magical adventure.
I would recommend Synder’s Glass trilogy for any YA fantasy lovers.
Title: Storm Glass Series: Glass #1 Author: Maria V. Synder Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Publisher: Mira Recommended?: Yes
ABOUT: As a glassmaker and a magician-in-training, Opal Cowan understands trial by fire. Someone has sabotaged the Stormdancer clan’s glass orbs, killing their most powerful magicians. The Stormdancers—particularly the mysterious and mercurial Kade—require Opal’s unique talents to prevent it from happening again.
But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap into a new kind of magic. Yet the further she delves into the intrigue behind the glass and magic, the more distorted things appear.
With lives hanging in the balance—including her own—Opal must control her powers…powers that could lead to disaster beyond anything she’s ever known.
Title: Poison Study Series: Study #1 Author: Maria V. Snyder Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Publisher: Mira Recommended?: Yes
Goodreads Summary:Choose: A quick death… or slow poison…
About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.
And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.
As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…
Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce (Beka Cooper, book 2) Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely, book 5) Fade to Us by Julia Day Forest Born by Shannon Hale (The Books of Bayern, book 4) Once and For All by Sarah Dessen Paintbrush by Hannah Bucchin The Last Battle of the Icemark by Stuart Hill (The Icemark Chronicles, book 3) Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder (Healer, book 3) Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder (Glass, book 1) Violet Eyes by Debbie Viguié (A Retelling of The Princess and the Pea) Wings by Aprilynne Pike (Wings, book 1) With Every Breath by Lynn Kurland
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy Series: Study, book 6 Rating: 4/5 Recommend to Others?: Yes
War between Ixia and Sitia appears to be proving more and more imminent as the Cartel’s influence continues to increase. Finding allies is becoming increasingly harder for Yelena, Valek, and the herd. Uncovering intricate and cunning plots and defeating dangerous enemies will take all they have. Survival is now all or nothing if peace is to be restored.
I didn’t know just before I started reading that this was the final novel of Yelena’s and Valek’s story, so I was experiencing high emotions while reading this. It’s hard to say goodbye to characters you’ve grown to love so much. But I made it through all right with only minor disorientation by all the feels I felt – can’t say the same for the state of my aching heart.
According to Maria V. Snyder, this was “a beast of a book, and not only is it longer than my others, but it was also difficult to write.” It shows throughout its 478 pages of non-stop action and intrigue and deception. Because there’s so much content it’s very hard to talk about this book without spoiling anything, but I’m going to do my best to give you my full opinion.
The storyline was amazing and suspenseful. I thought, Holy guacamole! That just happened. and Oh no! and What in the world?! and Please tell me there’s a way out of this. I had no idea what would happen next or how characters would overcome, which made me feel fearful for everyone involved. The strain of it was exhausting but I enjoyed every minute of it. It was an entertaining story.
The biggest surprise for me was the actions of a certain individuals. I didn’t expect them to do certain things based on what you’d normally expect of such characters. So that was a nice surprise.
You know I’m a hopeless romantic and enjoy a good romance. However, I had a problem with the moments of intimacy between couples in this book – the PG-13 kind where you know a couple is about to be intimate with each other but you don’t see it and it’s not described (if you know what I mean). To each his or her own concerning intimacy in books, but for me this level of intimacy happened more than I expected it. In fact, it occurred way more than in any of her other books – which was fine because I understood how deeply in love these couples were.
Most of the time it seemed (to me) to occur at not the right times based on what was happening at the moment and where they were. Like singing in a university library when others are trying to study for finals – sure you may sound great but that isn’t the right place and time to be bursting out into song (I know, a ridiculous example but you get what I’m trying to say). Not to be prude (ironic ’cause it’s obvious what word I won’t say) but it felt overplayed or too much in a way (for lack of better words) – like when a song (good or bad) is on every radio station all the time.
In those moments, I didn’t understand how they could do that considering the circumstances. Yes, there is that sense that this could be the last time a couple can truly be together, but it quickly became redundant.
My other critique is that the resolution of one conflict was a letdown. I kind of don’t trust that things are actually resolved based on everything that’s happened over the course of six books.
I’m sad to see this story/series come to an end but “all’s well that ends well” as the saying goes. I still would highly recommend this series and any other of Maria V. Snyder’s books.
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy Series: Healer, book 3 Rating: 4.5 Recommend To Others: Yes
In this third and final installment of the Healer series, the action in Taste of Darkness certainly picks up, pushing Avry and her friends to think more outside of the box more than ever in order to win the war. King Tohon has been temporarily neutralized, which should be a blessing. But there remains plenty of enemies that need to be dealt with. The Skeleton King is on the rise and Tohon’s troops still pose a threat. Moreover, Kerrick has gone missing without a trace. Avry’s skills, courage and loyalty are put to the test. She must delve deeper into danger so that the war can be won; there will be much to lose if her enemies get the best of her and her friends.
I really admired Avry’s courage and determination in this book. She took every obstacle head on and never wavered in the face of danger. Even when things seemed impossible she was able to pull through. She is a strong protagonist who sacrificed a lot to save the Fifteen Realms from disaster. She is one of my favorite female protagonists.
The challenges Avry and her friends had to face kept me on the edge of my seat. The suspense was high, leaving me to wonder time and again how they will get out of these sticky situations. At times the opposition seemed unbeatable and impossible to overcome. How will they get out of this mess?, I would ask myself. What will Avry do to solve the problems she faces? How will the heroes succeed? It truly was a guessing game, which made the story that much more enjoyable.
Taste of Darkness was an amazing book to read with nonstop action. The characters and plot were great and there was the right amount of tension and suspense. I think Maria V. Snyder did a fantastic job with the series as a whole. It’s sad that this series is over but luckily Snyder has more books in the works. I look forward to reading Night Study sometime in the near future.