I read a total of 17 books  in May, and there were a bunch  that I didn’t review on the blog, mostly because several of them had been out for a while and have been reviewed so many times elsewhere. They were all books that I either bought on my own or grabbed from the library. Rather than publish individual reviews for each of them (thus backlogging June when I start working on those reviews), I thought I’d round them all up and do bite-sized reviews of just my basic thoughts.

The Iron WitchI’ve had The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney since it came out, but only just got around to reading it back in the middle of May.Donna Underwood is a teenager unlike any other. She’s part of a family and group of alchemists, tasked with protecting our world from the dark elves (or wood elves, as they’re often referred to) and guarding the mysterious Elixir of Life. When Donna was younger, she lost both her parents to the wood elves (her father was killed protecting her, and her mother went insane). She was also so badly wounded that a man simply called “Maker” wove iron under her skin in elaborates designs. The purpose of the iron is three-fold- first, it saved her arms from the severe burns she sustained during the battle. Second, it protect her from the elves more or less, as elves hate iron. Third, it enhances her natural gifts, making her stronger than a normal teenager. In a very short span of time, Donna discovers that the wood elves are back, has to explain her secret to her lifelong friend and then has to save that friend from a terrible fate, and meets a mysterious boy with a few secrets of his own. I really wanted to love this book. but the story moved entirely too fast for me to forge a real connection with the characters. But at the same time, it kind of felt like nothing major happened. One minute she’s spilling her guts to her best friend, and the next she’s entering a strange world to save him. It was fairly anticlimatic when all was said and done. The idea is original, the combination of alchemy and elves is something you don’t see every day, but I feel like it was never fully realized or fleshed out. Maybe the second book will tie it all together better and expand a bit more on the story. I’ll probably get it, mostly because I hate leaving a series once I start it, but overall, I really just didn’t feel a connection to this one.

Born At MidnightOn the other hand,Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter had me hooked from the start and left me dying for more. At first, it reminded me of an urban fantasy version of the Percy Jackson story, as the main character, Kylie, is sent off to a camp, where she discovers that she’s not the ordinary girl she always assumed she was. Now, I’ll admit, beyond the whole “trying to find out who or what Kylie is plot,” and the “which boy will she choose” plot, not a whole lot happens in this book. However, it does set up the next book in the series nicely, and I have great faith that things will really start to move in that book. Yes, I know, I just complained about the lack of action in “Iron Witch,” so it may seem strange that this very same issue didn’t bother me so much with “Born at Midnight,” but it was different, because even though nothing huge happened pretty much until the end of the book, I felt like I was getting to really know the characters and building up a solid connection that will carry me through the rest of the series. While the whole love triangle smacked a little of another rather famous paranormal love triangle, it does add a nice romantic element to the story, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it pans out. My only complaint is that I waited the whole book to find out what Kylie is, and still didn’t get my answer before the last page. I hope it isn’t going to be drawn out much longer.

 

I finally got around to reading Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, a book that has been sitting on my wish list since before it came out, but I haven’t been buying much for myself lately, so I waited until it was in at the library. Now that I’ve read this one, I’m definitely not waiting when the next one comes out. I loved Evie’s sweet, sheltered innocence. Despite the fact that she’s been working as a “bag and tagger” for the International Paranormal Containment Agency and facing down all the things that go bump in the night since she was basically a child, she still has a naivety about her that is endearing. Her special ability to see through the paranormal creatures’ glamour to what lies beneath makes her invaluable to the IPCA, but Evie always assumed that she was just a normal girl who could do an abnormal thing. Then she meets Lend, a strange being unlike any she’s ever known, and she starts to question everything she knows. Unlike “Iron Witch” and “Born at Midnight,” this book moves fast. Something happens every other page practically, and by the end of the book, you at least have a significant number of answers. Granted, there are still a few questions left to ponder, but it’s a trilogy, so of course all the answers aren’t going to come in the first part. “Supernaturally.” the second book in the trilogy, comes out the day before my birthday, so you know what I’ll be asking for this year!

I am way behind on the “Mortal Instruments” series by Cassandra Clare, as I just recently finished City of Bones and I think it’s up to the fourth book now. I never really had an interest in this series until I saw a ton of blog reviews saying how good it was. Still, when I read that it was about angels of a sort, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it. I assumed that it would have some sort of Christian element to it, and while that’s fine for other people, I’m a pagan, so it’s not really my thing. But once I figured out that these weren’t the angels of one religion’s making, I really got into the story. I admit, the whole “all witches have demon blood and are therefore evil” theory posited by the Shadowhunters almost made me throw down the book in a fit of rage (that sort of nonsense spurned the Burning Times, after all), but I was already hooked by that point, so I let it slide. Plus, I think it kind of shows the bigotry that the some of the Shadowhunters have towards other creatures, and that plays a major role in the story itself. The ending kind of irked me. I wont ruin it for anyone who hasn’t read the book yet, but seriously? Gross! I just bought the second book in the series and will be starting that as soon as I read a few others in line for review.

This post has gotten a little longer than I thought it would be. Maybe my reviews weren’t quite as “bite-sized” as I thought! More like “fun-sized.” I always like that size better anyway. I mean, how can a single bite of candy be as satisfying as a full-fledged miniature bar? It’s the summer, so I tend to burn through books at a rate of one every other day, sometimes more, so expect another post like this at the end of June.

 

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