The City of Brass Review—A Tale of Deliciously Dark Djinn

My favorite part of being a book reviewer is when I find a brand new author to absolutely fall in love with. I stumbled upon S. A. Chakraborty a few weeks ago at a reading for the New York Review of Speculative Fiction. After hearing her read the first chapter of her debut novel, I immediately went home and requested a review copy so I could find out what happens next. The City of Brass is the first book The Daevabad Trilogy, a new adult fantasy series that delves deep into Islamic mythology, particularly those devious creatures known as the djinn. The book just came out on November 14th, so you can find it at your local bookstore or click the link at the end of this post to buy it online. Continue reading The City of Brass Review—A Tale of Deliciously Dark Djinn

Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra Review

Move over, vampires—it’s time for mummies to take the spotlight! This week, Anne Rice is back with the long-awaited sequel to her 1989 book The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned. Twenty-eight years is a long time to wait for a sequel, but was it worth it? I can’t speak to how the new book lives up to any expectations set up by the original, but as my first foray into mummy romance, I quite enjoyed it. Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra was co-written with her son, Christopher Rice, and comes out tomorrow, November 21. Continue reading Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra Review

Labyrinth Lost Review–A Bruja Bildungsroman

labyrinth-lost-coverAlex hates being a bruja, but after she accidentally banishes her entire extended family to the underworld, learning to control her powers may be her only hope of getting them back. After hearing this premise, I knew that Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova would be just my kind of book. Back in October, I wrote about seeing Zoraida speak at the Boston Teen Author Festival, where she discussed the recent release of Labyrinth Lost and how her cultural upbringing influenced the novel, particularly in her portrayals of magic and death. After getting my copy signed, I added it to the top of my to-read pile and soon found that it more than lived up to my expectations. Continue reading Labyrinth Lost Review–A Bruja Bildungsroman

Strangely Beautiful Review—New Life for a Strangely Beautiful Book

Strangely Beautiful coverAn amazing series is back from the dead—and full of new, vibrant life! You may have noticed by now that I love Leanna Renee Hieber’s gaslamp fantasy novels. I have previously read and reviewed Darker Still and The Eterna Files, the first books in her Magic Most Foul series and Eterna Files series, respectively. My obvious next move was to go back and read her first published series, the Strangely Beautiful saga. The only problem: it’s been out of print since the publisher went out of business several years ago. But we have good news! Leanna is re-releasing the series with her new publisher, Tor! Strangely Beautiful—the updated “author’s preferred edition” of the first two books of the series—comes out April 26th.

Preorder the book now, or pick one up from your local bookstore in just over a week. If you’re in the New York City area, you can also come hang out with me and Leanna for a Strangely Beautiful event at the historic and haunted Morris-Jumel Mansion on Saturday, April 30! Grab a book, get it signed by the lovely Leanna, and stick around for refreshments, storytelling, and sartorial extravaganza. And if that’s not enough Leanna for you, check back with The Gothic Library next week—I’ll be hosting a guest post by the author herself on the varieties of feminine strength as it relates to the protagonist of her Strangely Beautiful series. Continue reading Strangely Beautiful Review—New Life for a Strangely Beautiful Book

The Darkest Part of the Forest Review

“Come now, my child, if we were planning to harm you, do you think we’d be lurking here beside the path in the very darkest part of the forest?”

The Darkest Part of the Forest coverThese ominous lines by poet Kenneth Patchen serve as an epigraph to my new favorite faerie-based urban fantasy, by an old favorite author—Holly Black. You may remember my recent review of Holly Black’s morbid middle grade ghost story, Doll Bones. Well, Black has come back into the wonderful world of YA with one of her newest novels, released last year, The Darkest Part of the Forest. While nothing will ever replace vampires for me in the paranormal romance department (sorry, werewolves and zombies), faeries tend to come in second among my favorite supernatural creatures. Like vampires, they force you to confront the paradox of beautiful monsters. How can something so alluring be bad? And how can something so dangerous be beautiful? While confronting these paradoxes outwardly, the characters of The Darkest Part of the Forest also have to come to terms with the beauty and the monsters inside themselves. Continue reading The Darkest Part of the Forest Review

My Favorite Book of 2015: The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

The Raven Boys coverProphetic ghosts, kings from Celtic mythology, and our favorite gothic birds…what more could you want in a paranormal romance? Oh, I know, how about the threat of death should any romance actually occur. These elements and more are what made The Raven Boys, the first book in Maggie Stiefvater’s latest young adult series, The Raven Cycle, my favorite book of 2015!

Blue Sargent has been raised by a family of psychics who have been warning her for as long as she can remember that when she kisses her true love, he will die. This prediction has turned Blue quite off the idea of romance, and she is content to never kiss anyone. But then Blue, not generally prone to psychic powers herself, sees a vision of a beautiful boy dying. He is wearing the raven-emblazoned uniform of the local pretentious prep school, and he says his name is Gansey. Could he be Blue’s true love? Continue reading My Favorite Book of 2015: The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

A Discovery of Witches Review–Paranormal Romance Beyond High School

A Discovery of Witches coverWitches, vampires, and demons, oh my! I can never resist a good paranormal romance/urban fantasy. I’ve been seeing this Deborah Harkness series absolutely everywhere, and though I had no idea what it was about, I decided I needed to buy the first book just based on the number of times I’ve seen its intriguing cover. And now that I’ve read A Discovery of Witches, I can tell you it does not disappoint. It’s got everything—a variety of supernatural creatures, a centuries old mystery, secret organizations, magic, time travel, romance… On that note, the love story here is rather Twilight-esque, so if human women swooning over hot vampires is not your thing, this book might not be for you. But A Discovery of Witches stands quite apart from your average teen vampire romance—mainly because, well, it’s not about teens. Continue reading A Discovery of Witches Review–Paranormal Romance Beyond High School

Modern Takes on the Vampire Classic, Carmilla (Part One)

Now you may remember that back when I wrote my Vampire Literary Canon post, I had yet to read one of the celebrated classics of vampire literature—Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. An early vampire tale, this novella was written decades before Bram Stoker dreamed up Dracula. And now that I’ve finally gotten around to reading it, I can say that in my personal opinion, it’s significantly better than Dracula, too. Perhaps simply because it doesn’t drag on as much. And it also seems somewhat better suited to a modern context. For those of you that don’t normally spend your Sundays reading tomes from two centuries ago, you can still enjoy this charming vampiric classic. In this post, I will review the fun illustrated version I found, which would fit in on your bookshelf right beside your twenty-first century vampire novels. If reading the classics still isn’t your thing, stay tuned next week for my post on the modernized Carmilla webseries! Continue reading Modern Takes on the Vampire Classic, Carmilla (Part One)

Netherworld Review–A Victorian Demon-Slaying Romp

Netherworld coverI’m finally really getting started on my BEA haul, which I first wrote about back in June. One of the books that I was most excited to read was Netherworld by Bram Stoker Award-winning author, Lisa Morton. This little 282-page novel promised to be one of the quickest reads in my pile and a fun little romp through Victorian demon slaying. Netherworld tells the story of Lady Diana Furnaval, whose world changed forever when she married her beloved William. Her late husband had been the guardian of a portal to another world, and he taught her all about the gruesome and dangerous creatures that sometimes cross over. But then William fell victim to some of those creatures, himself. Now it is Diana’s job to take over the family business, find out what happened to her husband, and try to stop the forces of evil. Continue reading Netherworld Review–A Victorian Demon-Slaying Romp

Afterworlds Review–All of the Genres

Some of you may be familiar with Scott Westerfeld from his delightfully disturbing dystopia series Uglies. In Uglies, we saw that Westerfeld has the potential to get very dark in the doom and gloom of a futuristic totalitarian government kind of way. Westerfeld’s latest book, Afterworlds, goes down a completely different path, but may be equally entertaining to dark-minded readers.

Afterworlds coverI don’t even know how I would classify the genre of this book. There are really two different stories going on in alternating chapters: a simple realistic coming of age story of Darcy Patel—a teenage writer struggling to navigate the adult worlds of New York City, publishing, and true love; and then you have the story of Darcy’s novel about a teenage girl named Lizzie who becomes a psychopomp and falls in love with a death god as she struggles to come to terms with her new relationship with the dead. It’s really in this second story that the darker elements come into play.

Continue reading Afterworlds Review–All of the Genres