Even more YA fantasy series! Continued from Part I.
The Woodcutter Sisters #3
This is going to be an extremely unfair review, because this book was not what I was expecting, and that inherently biases me against it.
After reading Hero, the previous book, I was excited for the story to keep going. For some reason I thought this would be a trilogy, and Dearest would wrap everything up from Friday’s point of view.
In real life, the author is planning a book for each sister (7 total), and at least one spin-off for their brother Trix. Phew. This story, Dearest, actually takes place mostly concurrently with Hero, and doesn’t touch on, let alone resolve, the threads from that book. So that was a bummer.
As with the previous books, I enjoyed the fairy tale mash-ups in the story. Some prominent ones were the Wild Swans, the Swan Princess, Goose Girl, and Peter Pan. The book opens with Conrad (a character from Goose Girl, hence dear to my hear), gives him an interesting backstory and important plot function…and then wastes him for the rest of the book. Friday “loving and giving” Woodcutter is not as good of a protagonist as Saturday, but I liked her because I have a similar personality in some ways (strong empathy).
These books always have an element of insta-love, but I felt it was particularly prominent (and problematic) here. Tristan, one of the Wild Swans, was not all that interesting (in fact, pretty much any one of his brothers was more interesting). After the book opened with Conrad, I was hoping he’d actually turn out to be the male lead. Can you tell I’m on Team Conrad?
Last, I want to point out that this book has a major subplot about refugees and the author herself has some really interesting things to say about that.
Anyways, I didn’t like this book as much as Hero, but I suspect I will like it more upon re-reading, when I have no preconceptions. And I will definitely be looking for more adventures of the Woodcutter sisters.
Snow Like Ashes series
1. Snow Like Ashes—(3/5 stars)
2. Ice Like Fire—(2/5 stars)
3. Coming out this year?—(Not reading it)
Now we’ve reached the “meh” portion of the reviews. Remember the “special girl protagonist saving the world while in a love triangle?” Well, she’s back, in the form of Meira, a refugee from the conquered land of Winter (their capital was named Jannuari, no joke). She even has her own unique weapon, the chakram, but I’ve never seen Xena: Warrior Princess, so this didn’t strike me as any more than vaguely interesting.
After the first book, I had no strong feelings about Meira either way, and the love triangle aspect wasn’t terrible. The antagonist, though–the evil king of Spring–I found to be totally flat and boring. I did think the ideas and concepts of the way the magic worked in this world were cool, and the book did have some interesting twists.
So I moved onto the sequel, where I found one interesting character introduced (Ceridwen of Summer) and a lot of eye rolling by me. The author attempted to introduce some politics into the story, and it did not work for me. Game of Thrones, this is not. Frequently, Meira would have some kind of strategical revelation, and I would be totally confused, like “Wait, what? That’s what you got out of this?” The concepts of the various countries in the world seemed cute at first, but I didn’t find substance under the style.
And the love triangle gets more obnoxious. I like Mather fine, but we get some of his viewpoint in this book, and I think it’s specifically to up the romantic tension. Please, no.
In any case, this series just wasn’t for me, and I won’t be continuing with it.