Michael M Jones (oneminutemonkey) wrote,
Michael M Jones

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Realms of Fantasy YA Review Column - June '08

Due to circumstances beyond my control, the YA review column that should have appeared in this month's issue of Realms of Fantasy was cut, and I didn't find out until the issue came out on the stands. Therefore, I hereby present the contents for your enjoyment. My apologies to one and all for this not appearing in print like it should, but apparently I lost my space to the marketing department. Things being as they are, I'm finishing up -next- issue's column, and don't have the time or spare brainpower to expand any of these into longer reviews. So let's call this the Realms of Fantasy June '08 errata, shall we?

Hallowmere #3: Between Golden Jaws, by Tiffany Trent (tltrent), Mirrorstone, March 2008
The ongoing struggle between Corrine and her allies and the vampiric Unhallowed Fey heats up as both sides attempt to gain mastery of the powerful rathstones, with the latest round taking them to London in search of the fabled Stone of Scone. Things get even more complicated as another faction makes its presence known, a kelpie gets loose, Father Joe goes missing, and the Unhallowed Prince tries to exert his charm and influence over Corrine. Magic, adventure and intrigue abound in this excellent installment of a splendid dark fantasy series. Hallowmere just keeps getting better and better, and I can't wait for the next installment.

A Curse Dark As Gold, by Elizabeth C. Bunce (elizabethcbunce), Arthur A Levine, March 2008
When her father dies, Charlotte Miller takes on the burden and responsibility of running the family mill. However, in trying to keep the business solvent, she becomes entangled in the machinations of a rival mill and the threads of a centuries-old curse. The appearance of a mysterious man who can solve her problems with magic, for a price, could save or damn her family, if she dares accept his bargains. This dark, richly-textured retelling of Rumpelstiltskin takes full advantage of the old fairy tale's potential, and produces a fascinating, complex story. An extremely strong debut for Elizabeth Bunce, and I'll be keeping my eyes open for her future efforts.

A Posse of Princesses, by Sherwood Smith (sartorias), Norilana Books, March 2008
Rhis, a romantic, rebellious princess of a small but prosperous kingdom, finds both friends and rivals when she's sent to spend time in a nearby kingdom for a coming of age party, along with numerous other princes and princesses. After one of their number is kidnapped, she leads a small band of her new friends in a daring quest in which they explore self-reliance, independence, and the bonds of friendship. With multiple heroines to root for, and a skillful blend of magic, excitement, romance and courtly intrigue, this is a lovely, highly pleasing story, and I hope we'll see more set in this world.

Unleashed, by Kristopher Reisz (kris_reisz), Simon Pulse, February 2008
Daniel appears to have a perfect life, with a gorgeous girlfriend and Cornell in his near future, but deep within, he's discontent and looking for something more. Then he starts hanging around Misty and her friends, a wild and rebellious group with a dark secret: they've learned how to become wolves, roaming the streets of Birmingham at night. Soon, Daniel's one of them, casting away all the aspects of his normal life as he embraces a new romance with Misty, and his inner wolf, but will it cost him too much? And can he prevent things from turning into tragedy when the price of power becomes too high? Reisz delivers a powerful, feral tale of magic and choice set in the streets of a dying city. A thoroughly satisfying dark urban fantasy, I couldn't put Unleashed down once I started it.

City of Ashes, by Cassandra Clare (cassandraclare), McElderberry Books, March 2008
Still reeling from the events which left her mother in a coma and her true father revealed as a cunning, ruthless villain, Clary Fray struggles to accept her new status as a Shadowhunter, even as she attempts to juggle the feelings she has for two very different men: one of whom is her best friend, the other her newly-discovered brother. Events cascade out of control when Clary's father launches an ambitious plan to use an army of demons to slay the vampires and werewolves of the Underworld, just as internal strife within the Shadowhunters threatens those closest to Clary. In order to avert a disaster, the secret supernatural world of New York will be drawn into war. One of Clary's closest friends will undergo a dramatic change, and another may just betray them all before all is said and done. In this book, the second in the series, Clare continues the epic tale of love and demon-fighting. Part soap opera, part urban fantasy, it's a thrilling story, full of twists. I'll be looking forward to the next one to see how things turn out.

Dingo, by Charles de Lint, Firebird, March 2008
Seventeen-year-old Miguel's life is thrown into upheaval when he meets Lainey, a mysterious, gorgeous red-haired Australian girl whose family, newly arrived in town, hides a number of secrets. Unfortunately, their mutual attraction is threatened by various factors, including the curse which could claim Lainey at any time, thanks to a wayward ancestor. Miguel and an old enemy of his are drawn into a series of bizarre, magical events as they try to unravel the mysteries surrounding Lainey and her family. As always, de Lint weaves the mundane and the magical together with his traditionally elegant style, focusing on the upbeat and the positive and the magic within us all. If anything, this book is too short, as there's plenty of room to further explore the characters and the setting, but I'm rarely disappointed by de Lint and this is certainly no exception.

Worldweavers: Spellspam, by Alma Alexander (anghara), Eos, March 2008
Even as she explores her new magical abilities, Thea, along with her friends, is drawn into a bizarre adventure when spam e-mails trigger bizarre magical effects upon those who read them. Now Thea has to hone her powers in order to deal with the originator of the messages before they wreak even more havoc, a being capable of rewriting reality itself. Spellspam is a clever, imaginative, worthy sequel to Gift of the Unmage, and a great deal of fun in general.

Genius Squad, by Catherine Jinks, Harcourt, May 2008
Cadel Piggot's life is once again thrown into turmoil when he's recruited into a top-secret group dedicated to bringing down an evil organization through high-tech means. Nothing is as it seems, and trust is in short supply as Cadel does some investigating of his own, leading to a deadly showdown with the evil genius who might be his true father. A satisfying follow-up to Evil Genius, this book is full of twists and surprises, the story playing out on a number of levels.

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