Welcome back to another week of Monday Minis, full of supernatural creatures – vampires, ghosts and monkey kings. Many thanks to the respective publicists for sending me (e)ARCs of these titles – all opinions are my own as always.
I loved The Coldest Touch by Isabel Sterling. This is the exact kind of contemporary YA fantasy that I will just devour like a vampire devours fresh blood – fitting, because this is a vampire book. But this aint Twilight. It is a fast-paced story about humanity, family and friendship, and also a tender love story between two girls, one of whom first needs to realise that she might not be quite as straight as she thought she was. Big yay for bi rights! It isn’t high literature, but it is incredibly compelling, with complex characters and an interesting magic system. While this is a standalone as far as I can tell, it could also work as the opener of a series, and I could totally see this being turned into an epic TV show too. Think The CW, but smarter. And more charming. I kind of want to reread it already.
Ghostcloud by Michael Mann is a middle grade adventure set in a futuristic London, one where children are forced to work in factories that are more reminiscent of the nineteenth century than the future. Luke and his friends are shoveling coal under a bombed Battersea Power Station, when he meets Alma, a ghost-girl and learns that he himself is a half-ghost. With the help of Alma, he finds out about the evil plans of overseer Tabatha, and that they may all be in far bigger danger than the mundane risks of hard labour. It’s fun, it’s fast-paced, and I really liked Alma especially. I did feel like the concept was really cool and quite unique, but the writing didn’t completely convince me, and I felt like the characters were a bit flat. It’s a solid story, not an exceptional one, and thus probably not one I’d go out of my way to shill to people. And I slightly hate myself for this, because the cover and the inside illustration/decoration is absolutely gorgeous and I am a very simple Fab, and I like pretty shinies!
Monkey Around by Jadie Jang is unfortunately a book I didn’t get along with at all. I realised very early on that this was likely going to be a DNF for me, but I still kept trying and made it around 100 pages in before capitulating. In terms of content, it is certainly an interesting one, blending South East Asian mythology with contemporary urban fantasy, set in San Francisco. But the voice is one that annoyed me – it is the kind of artificial humour and overt comedy that grates on me in any sort of context. Asking around in my group of friends and especially reviewers, this one has been a bit of a hit or miss, so if the idea of a modern Monkey King who doesn’t know what she’s doing intrigues you, do have a read of the blurb and see if that tone works for you – it is a good indication of the tone throughout the book. And if you’re looking for a more detailed and positive take on this, have a look at this review from Womble at Run Along the Shelves.