Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Story Continues: The White Rose, Burn, & Night Study

We have three sequels for you today. All are fantasies. I loved the first book in all these series (posts here, here, and here). Let's see how the second book fared.

The White Rose by Amy Ewing 

Publisher/ Year: HarperTeen - October 2015

Genres: YA Science Fiction/ Fantasy

Source: ARC through Edelweiss

Amazon | Goodreads

Last year the first book in The Lone City Series, The Jewel made my list of favorite debuts of 2014. (posted here) The biggest problem with The Jewel is that it ends in a horrible cliffhanger, so I was eager to find out what happened next.

The White Rose picks up right where The Jewel left off. Violet and Ash have been discovered and must be whisked to safety by the resistance known as The Black Key. The White Rose definitely has a middle-book feel to it--in that there is a lot of set-up and not the same amount of high-intensity danger that we felt in the first book. However, I think the characters manage to pull it off. I am especially intrigued by Raven and Garnet. I could definitely do with more Garnet. He is a complex guy.

Once again, Amy Ewing leaves us with an awful, evil cliffhanger.  The agony.


Burn by Elissa Sussman

Publisher / Year: Greenwillow - January 2016

Genres: YA Fantasy

Source: ARC through Edelweiss

Amazon | Goodreads

Burn, the second book in the Four Sisters series, is more of a companion novel than an outright sequel. Stray, the first book in the series, also made my list of favorite debits of the year in 2014. It's a twisted fairy tale with a feminist flare that gives us a new take on fairy godmothers. I eagerly awaited the next addition to this world, but it didn't quite live up to my expectations.

In Burn Elanor, one of the Orphans who helped Aislynn escape in Stray, returns to the Mountain. And then nothing really happens for a long time. Sure Elanor hears that people are planning on leaving, she participates in a raid, and rescues her brother and a stranger from Josetta's castle, but none of this feels essential or helps to build any sort of tension whatsoever. None of the side characters have any depth at all, not even Aislynn, who was the main character in the last book and surely has some internal motivation.

The last fifth of the book does pick up, and, in a series of reversals, suddenly things are pretty darn exciting. The sad part about this is that it only served to show me how interesting the world of Burn could have been if only it were a bit more fully developed.

Burn is a short novel. Too short, in fact. It reads more like a novella than a fully fledged stand-alone book. I guess the good news is that it only took me an evening to read.

Night Study by Maria V. Snyder

Publisher / Year: Mira - January 2016

Genres: Fantasy

Source: ARC through NetGalley

Amazon | Goodreads

As a long time fan of Maria V. Snyder's Study series (Poison Study, Magic Study, Fire Study), I am absolutely delighted that Ms. Snyder is continuing the series now, several years later, with what looks like at least three more books in the Soulfinder series.

Last year I read the first in the Soulfinder series, Shadow Study, and it completely renewed my love this world and these characters. I'm happy to report that Night Study kept that love fest going.

Night Study picks up right where Shadow Study left off. Owen Moon has been foiled but not captured. With Yelena's powers still mysteriously missing, Yelena agrees to return to Ixia with Valek only to find that Ixia is not a safe haven either. Tensions between Ixia and Sitia are heating up and allies are falling fast.

Night Study, following in Shadow Study's wake, continues to explore Valek's past with some surprising and very satisfying developments. I, like most Study Series fans, absolutely love Valek, and the more time I spend with him the more I love him. Valek makes some decisions in this book that are cause to cheer. Also, there are many lovely moments between Yelena and Valek. I am so happy to see them this devoted and happy together.

I continue to adore the side characters, as well. As Janco says, they have become a little misfit family. Janco, Leif, Ari, and Fisk, are all well represented in this book. Plus, we have the addition of a few new characters that I think readers will find quite intriguing.

Night Study is intense in the best of ways. So much happens in this book and with every page the conspiracy seems to thicken. I kept thinking, "Oh, things can't possible get any worse." And then they would not only get a little worse but much worse! How our characters are going to turn everything around, I just do not know. The set up for the next book is quite well done. I'm going to snatch up Dawn Study as soon as I am able.

P.S. The first in the series: here, here, and here.

All books reviewed by JoLee.

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