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Review, Young Adult / November 8, 2013
The Falconer by Elizabeth MayThe Falconer
Author: Elizabeth May
Series: The Falconer #1
Publisher: Gollancz
Date: September 2013
312 pages
Source: ARC from publisher
Genres: Historical Fiction, Paranormal
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Heiress. Debutant. Murderer. A new generation of heroines has arrived.

Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844

Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother.

Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.

But the balance between high society and her private war is a delicate one, and as the fae infiltrate the ballroom and Aileana’s father returns home, she has decisions to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Aileana go for revenge?

If you think you’ve read too many faerie books, well, think again because there’s one book that’s an absolutely must read this year. The Falconer is the freshest, most well-crafted story I’ve read in a while, faeries or not. You will be delighted to enter Lady Aileana Kameron’s gritty, steampunky world.

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By: Daphne
Review, Young Adult / July 29, 2012
Bitterblue by Kristin CashoreBitterblue
Author: Kristin Cashore
Series: Graceling Realm #3
Publisher: Gollancz
Date: May 2012
576 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy
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Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisers, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck's reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle--disguised and alone--to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck's reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn't yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

I was so excited for this book. I’ve been waiting for it for what seems like forever and now that I’ve finally read it, I feel quite disappointed. I don’t really know what I was expecting but Bitterblue certainly didn’t wow me or carry the greatness of either Graceling or Fire.

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By: Alison
Adult, Review / December 9, 2011
Magic Bites by Ilona AndrewsMagic Bites
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #1
Publisher: Gollancz
Date: September 2010
260 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
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When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate's guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta's magic circles.

The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate's guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she's way out of her league—but she wouldn't have it any other way…

I don’t know what I was expecting from this book, but what I got certainly wasn’t it! I didn’t love it, but it grew on me a bit the further on I read. I think my main problem was that I didn’t fully understand everything that happened in the story.

So I’m not even going to attempt to try and describe briefly what the plot is about because I really don’t think it could be done briefly. There was just so much happening!

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By: Alison
Review, Young Adult / November 21, 2011
Graceling by Kristin CashoreGraceling
Author: Kristin Cashore
Series: Graceling Realm #1
Publisher: Gollancz
Date: September 2009
352 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy
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In a world where people born with an exceptional skill, known as a Grace, are both feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing.

Feared by the court and shunned by those her own age, the darkness of her Grace casts a heavy shadow over Katsa’s life. Yet she remains defiant: when the King of Lienid’s father is kidnapped she investigates, and stumbles across a mystery. Who would want to kidnap the old man, and why? And who was the extraordinary Graced man whose fighting abilities rivalled her own?

The only thing Katsa is sure of is that she no longer wants to kill. The intrigue around this kidnapping offers her a way out – but little does she realise, when she takes it, that something insidious and dark lurks behind the mystery. Something spreading from the shadowy figure of a one-eyed king...

Fierce heroines are few and far between in young adult fiction. Sure, there are examples like Katniss in the Hunger Games or Annabeth from the Percy Jackson series, but generally most heroines are better described as feisty or resilient and most heroines definitely need the help of their hero, not defeat them daily.

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By: Daphne