Sorry for missing last week’s Monday Minis, it’s been a bit of a crazy time with visiting family, staying with friends and travelling back to the UK. But I’m back today with an interesting mix of YA and teen books for you! Many thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for providing me with eARCs for all of these titles, all opinions are my own as usual.
The Righteous by Renée Ahdieh is the third book in her The Beautiful series. And I’ve got a lot of mixed feelings about this installment – beginning with how I thought this was a trilogy and kept waiting for resolution that did not come, only to be blind-sighted by the story ending just after 90% and finishing on excerpts from ALL of Ahdieh’s series. Written in Ahdieh’s signature compelling style – I don’t think I’ve read anything of hers that hasn’t gripped me – this pivots away from the first two books a bit by focusing on Pippa and Arjun, two characters present in The Beautiful and The Damned. And I have to say, this is a choice that I really liked. They are great characters, and it made for an interesting change – however, this series is a bit all over the place. It started out as a historical vampire romance-y story, and now it’s more of a fairy story. Although I’m enjoying myself and they’re entertaining reads, I feel like I’m being conned to an extent, not necessarily in a bad way. I’m just not sure if I’d have picked up the series if I’d known where it’d go – and the ending to this particular volume made me grumpy. I was all set to give it four stars and then the very end changed my mind. So one to read if you’ve been enjoying the series, but no reason to pick up the series by itself.
Kelcie Murphy and the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts by Erika Lewis is a Rick Riordan-esque middle grade adventure about a girl who finds herself transported into a world of Irish mythology. Centred around Kelcie who grew up in Boston, knowing nothing about herself apart from her name, the story soon evolves into a fast-paced adventure when she finds her way to the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts and starts finding out more about her true powers and heritage. As is the norm with these sorts of books, she soon becomes part of an ancient struggle for the destiny of the world together with her friends. It is fun and a quick read – a very entertaining book that I think lots of readers will enjoy. However, I have to say it is not one that stands out, not in terms of plot, writing or characters. It is perfectly fine, but not one that I think I’ll be thinking about again or recommending to people much. If you think the premise sounds great, go for it, it may work better for you than it did for me though!
A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger is absolutely lovely. I adored their debut, Elatsoe, last year and so I was thrilled to be approved for the audiobook for their sophomore novel. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the blurb, and ended up positively surprised by a story that was nothing like any book I’ve read before and full of magic. Nina is Lipan, a teen in our world, trying to decode and translate a story she recorded before her great great great grandmother’s death, while Oli is a cottonmouth (yes, the snake) from the land of spirits and monsters. For much of the book, their stories are told in parallel, but then events happen in both their worlds to bring them together – and they find out that they are far more connected than they ever realised. My two favourite things about this – and Darcie Little Badger’s work in general – are the amazing character work – they really come to life – and the lack of adherence to western storytelling conventions. I love learning more about the Lipan Apache that the author is from just through how they tell their stories, through what is important to focus on.