Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Reading on a Theme: Girl Assassins and Avengers

These girls aren't just fighters, they take their training to the extreme. Stealthy, tough, and deadly, you don't want to be on their bad side.

Faeries Beware:
Aileana hunts faeries, beings that feed on human energy. The Falconer is a steampunk tale of a damaged, tough, headstrong girl. The book takes place in 19th-century Scotland, and I liked reading about the Aileana's delicate (or not so delicate) balancing act between her place in society and her duties as a Falconer. Derrick is a real treat, and I thought things started to get really interesting once Gavin was introduced. Then there's Kiaran Mackay, a fae with a lot of secrets who's training Aileana. Mackay's secretive past, and seemingly contradictory nature, was one of the most gripping parts of the story. The Falconer is Elizabeth May's debut novel. The book is out May 6th, 2014. Review copy from Edelweiss.

Covert Operations:
In a post-apocalyptic United States some children are born with "talents," supernatural and super-sensory abilities. Talia Lyons, a mind manipulator able to foist thoughts and feelings onto others, is training to become a Hunter, an elite force of talented covert operators. Her goal is to take out the men who murdered her parents. Sophie Davis's novel is one of the best self-published books I have ever read. The book is a little longer than necessary, but the writing is very clear. Much of Talented takes place at the training facility, and I enjoyed reading about Talia's friends and partners. Talented is the beginning of a four-book series, and I am curious to know what happened next. Review copy from NetGalley.

Comic Book Capers:
Rinnie Noelle is a Psi Fighter, a practitioner of the mental arts. She uses kung fu and mental powers to fight bad guys. The worst of the bad are the Walpurgi Knights who murdered Rinnie's parents when she was six. When evil infiltrates Rinnie's high school, she goes undercover to flush them out.  D.R. Rosensteel's Psi Another Day reads like a comic book. It's got a stylized feel to it, lots of cool technology, and kick-butt fights. In fact, I think that the book probably would be better as a graphic novel. I would love to see this story told alongside pictures. Names like Dalrymple, the Kilodan, Scallion, Captious, Munificent, and Egon are just begging to be drawn. Psi Anther Day is out May 6th, 2014. Review copy from NetGalley.

The Assassins' Caverns:
With her magic disappearing, Ileni accepts the dangerous position of tutor of magic for a community of assassins.The last two teachers perished in the caverns, and Ileni is determined to find out who killed them or die trying. Death Sworn pulses with danger. Without her magic, Ileni is very vulnerable, but she is clever. Sorin has been assigned to protect Ileni by the master, but can he be trusted? Ileni comes to the caverns convinced that the assassins are pure evil, but how long can that mindset persist once the assassins have a face and a voice? Leah Cypess's book is quite beautifully written. It's clear from the beginning that the caverns hold more than Ileni expects. Death Sworn is clearly only the beginning of the story. I can't help but wonder if Ileni will become a powerful assassin in her own right. Review copy from Edelweiss.

Daughter of Death:
Ismae is the daughter of Mortain, the god of death. She is trained at his convent as an assassin. On assignment, Ismae becomes embroiled in the troubles of not-yet Duchess Anne of Brittany. I love alternate histories, and books, like Grave Mercy, that inspire me to do a little bit of research. Robin LaFevers's book has a good amount of court intrigue, and 15th-century Brittany is a very interesting period. As an assassin, Ismae is definitely not your typical 15th-century girl. Gavriel Duval, our other main character, is also pretty darn awesome. I did, however, guess the villain long before Ismae did, which was a bit of a disappointment. Also, the plot takes its time winding up, but the action is well worth the wait.

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