Have you ever wandered the library with nothing available on your hold list and not a single name of an author in your head to look up? I was wandering the YA section and decided to go completely on the recc’s by the library staff and being superficial as I am, also by picking out the most interesting covers. And these are the books I found:
Elphame’s Choice by P.C Cast
Procession of the Dead by Darren Shan
Based on the covers and brief descriptions I really thought I would dig them both.
Oh……dear readers, how wrong I was.
Let’s start with Elphame’s Choice.
I was marked from birth as belonging to the Goddess Epona–but that didn’t make my life easy. Because of my “blessings,” I was set apart, worshipped, unable to make real connections with others. Then came the Feeling, and with it a glimpse of my destiny. It led me to the MacCallen castle of legend, deserted since the terrible Fomorian war.
I followed the wordless call to breathe new life into a place long dead, but I didn’t realize there were dark remnants of the war lingering in the nearby forest–victims and survivors who remained hidden. Others marked as different, powerful. Feared.
My choice was now twofold. I could keep to the happiness and safety of my newfound home, or I could choose a path that led to something more terrible, more dangerous, more thrilling than anything I’d ever expected.
And in that future I might never be alone again. . .
See – pretty girl on cover, fantasy, mythical creatures…I was all in! But then, with the weird Scottish/English/Irish accents and places and history as well as some seriously strange Vampire/Greek Goddess/Narnian beasts, even my overactive imagination was spinning. It was strange, but I stuck with it and continued to read. The funny thing is – I didn’t care much for the main characters, and instead was more interested in the side stories and characters of Brighid, Brenna and Cuchulainn. Which is why, for whatever crazy reason, I went ahead and read the second book of the series: Brighid’s Quest.
Fleeing her centaur clan’s increasingly militant beliefs, Brighid Dhianna has begun to find peace and acceptance among the humans of Clan MacCallan. Still, she agrees to leave her newly formed friendships to guide her clan chieftain’s grieving brother home.
As she journeys, Brighid discovers that the long-dormant Shaman blood that runs so thickly in her veins will no longer be silenced. As seductive new powers begin to beckon, Brighid glimpses a future that is more impossible — and more magical — than any she could have dared to imagine.
But when tragedy summons her back to the Centaur Plains, Brighid must make a decision that will affect not only her friendship with the humans, but the centaur herd and indeed the world. For the Great Goddess Epona has set her on a new path that demands everything she has to give.
When the whole world is turning to her for help, healing the heart of a warrior doesn’t sound so daunting . . .
Here is the deal. These books are in the YA section. I know that it can range from 12 year old age appropriate books to, say, 21 year old age appropriate books (and beyond! I’m 33!). But my main gripe about these books revolves around the fact they were written for the reading level of a 15 year old, as well as including moral lessons (“Believe in yourself!” “It’s ok to be different!” “Don’t have sex until you’ve hand fasted, I mean married a stranger you have only seen in dreams and met twice in real life!”) and yet through some serious steamy sex scenes are in there. Yes, people, there is releasing, seed spilling and oral pleasuring, etc. But it’s kind of hard to get all excited about that because it’s a winged vamp thing with a satyr like thing and a human with a centaur and they are so strange and confusing, it just doesn’t make any sense.
I know that’s harsh – but I just couldn’t quite figure out what my main hang up was. I have read way worse books in my life, and on Goodreads I said they were OK (2 stars). But really, would I let my hypothetical teenage daughter read this – heeeeeck no! Would I recommend it to my adult friends – again a no. I hate knocking someone’s creativity, but I kept thinking throughout this whole book, “Why can’t she pick YA or Adult? Cut the cheesy “Beeeeee yourself!” stuff and keep the sex or vice versa. And then I don’t think it would have been so bad.
So let’s move on to the surprise find of Procession of the Dead.
What had I done before coming to the city? I couldn’t remember. It sounded crazy but my past was a blank. I could recall every step since alighting from the train, but not a single one before.
Young, quick-witted and cocksure, Capac Raimi arrives in the City determined to make his mark in a world of sweet, sinister sin. He finds the City is a place of exotic dangers: a legendary assassin with snakes tattooed on his face who moves like smoke, blind Incan priests that no one seems to see, a kingpin who plays with puppets, and friends who mysteriously disappear as though they never existed. Then Capac crosses paths with The Cardinal, and his life changes forever.
The Cardinal is the City, and The City is The Cardinal. They are joined at the soul. Nothing moves on the streets, or below them, without the Cardinal’s knowledge. His rule is absolute.
When Capac discovers the extent of The Cardinal’s influence on his own life, he is faced with hard choices and his own soaring ambition. To find his way, Capac must know himself and what he is capable of. But how can you trust yourself when you can’t remember your past?
I have to note that I’ve been reading so many female authors; it was refreshing to read the voice of a man. This story had plenty of violence (it actually wasn’t in YA – but close by as he writes both YA “Cirque du Freak” and “Demonata”), F-bombs, violence, creeptastic characters, violence, Aztec legends, sex, paranoia, and a bunch of twisty twists. Did I mention violence?
And I loved it! I’m afraid to say too much because I don’t want to spoil all the creepy fun twists – so this review is SHORT! I thought it was very clever, and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.