Synopsis: Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. The goddess will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But Liyana’s goddess never comes. Abandoned by her angry tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her. Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. For the desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale. The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice: She must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate—or a human girl can muster some magic of her own. ________________________________________ Review: Liyana is a sweet, humble girl who immediately forms a connection with Korbyn, the trickster god. Though, Korbyn never really comes across as a light-hearted trickster, as his sole mission is to find and save the other desert gods. Instead, Korbyn sees something different in Liyana that he’s obviously attracted to. She’s a natural leader, brave and resourceful. Their search for the other vessels before hunting down the missing gods has the feel of a quest-based fantasy. But once they leave the desert, politics come into play, and the plot gets more complex.
Vessel is a coming of age story that fantasy fans of all ages should enjoy. This fantasy adventure is a unique story with plenty of magic, suspense, drama, and heart. The conflict will make readers think, as there isn’t a clear-cut sense of good versus evil at first. In fact, the numerous twists and surprises kept me on the edge of my seat till the very end.
Synopsis: Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally. Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can’t. Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he’s not doing it. And no one seems to believe him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Layne understands family problems, and she understands secrets. She has a few of her own. Gabriel can’t let her guess about his brothers, about his abilities, about the danger that’s right at his heels. But there are some risks he can’t help taking.
Review: Gabriel is not a likeable guy. In fact, he’s a hotheaded jerk most of the time. I’m not sure how he gets away without getting slapped constantly. After alienating himself from his own brothers, the only one who can break through his tough exterior is quiet girl named Layne who offers to help him with Math. Layne is a stereotypical, mousy, geeky girl who tries to hide behind glasses and turtlenecks. And she and her younger, deaf brother are constantly bullied. When Gabriel stands up to the bullies, Layne begins to see a different side to him. Meanwhile, Gabriel forms a surprising friendship with Hunter who pushes Gabriel to practice his ability to manipulate fire. But in doing so, the boys put themselves in danger.
Spark is a well-paced, exciting sequel that I enjoyed even better than the first in the Elemental Series. Gabriel is a bad boy who really surprised me. He’s still a hothead who doesn’t think before he speaks, but I love how the author developed this character and let him evolve throughout. I’m excited to see what Kemmerer does with the other young men in future installments. This urban fantasy for young adults has plenty of suspense, drama, angst, and sweet romance. An overlying story arc that started in Stormcontinues and leaves off on a bit of a cliffhanger that will leave readers excited for the next in this riveting and thrilling series.
The 14th and final installment of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, A MEMORY OF LIGHT, will be released both in print and as an audiobook on January 8, 2013. Macmillan Audio is offering to anyone who pre-orders the CD audiobook a FREE custom iPhone case with the wheel of time logo up until 12/7!
Here’s a link to the website with all of the rules and regs: http://us.macmillan.com/macmillanaudio/promo/molpreorder
Synopsis: Thomas Kilbride is a map-obsessed schizophrenic so affected that he rarely leaves the self-imposed bastion of his bedroom. But with a computer program called Whirl360.com, he travels the world while never so much as stepping out the door. He pores over and memorizes the streets of the world. He examines every address, as well as the people who are frozen in time on his computer screen. Then he sees something that anyone else might have stumbled upon—but has not—in a street view of downtown New York City: an image in a window. An image that looks like a woman being murdered.
Thomas’s brother, Ray, takes care of him, cooking for him, dealing with the outside world on his behalf, and listening to his intricate and increasingly paranoid theories. When Thomas tells Ray what he has seen, Ray humors him with a half-hearted investigation. But Ray soon realizes he and his brother have stumbled onto a deadly conspiracy.
Review: Ray is a sympathetic character who feels responsible for his brother now that his father has passed away. Thomas shows more signs of a higher functioning autistic than schizophrenic, but that’s the author’s prerogative. The story jumps around a bit between Ray’s point of view and a few other characters. Each are well developed and complex, especially the killer.
This is the first book I’ve read of Barclay’s. The story dragged out a bit at times, with some unnecessary diversions from the main plot. But it was still a riveting thriller interesting characters and plenty of suspense. There were several fun twists that I didn’t see coming. With just as much drama as there is intrigue, this was a fascinating read that didn’t disappoint.