Saturday, August 30, 2014

Me on This Week's Book Week (118)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hi all! Summer reared its stupid head again this week. *melts*

I'm off to Edmonton tomorrow (Sunday) and won't be back until some point on Thursday. This means no regular Tuesday review or Waiting on Wednesday post, but the regular Friday review will go up. Because I'll be around to tweet the link. It's far easier to do that on my laptop than on my phone.

So I downloaded some e-books from the library, thinking I'd read those while I was away and take a break. And then I got the e-mails about some e-galleys I'd asked about. Now I feel swamped. I'm definitely going to review the books I've requested, that's for sure. But as for the ones I've received and not requested or ones I've borrowed or bought? Not for the next couple of months.

Does anyone else feel obligated to review the books they receive unsolicited? Every so often I get something I didn't request and go, "I'm only vaguely interested in you, I don't know what to do with you." What do you do? Review them if they sound interesting? Review them no matter what? Ignore them? Maybe I should do some mini reviews.

Reviews for the coming week will feature Winterkill by Kate A. Boorman (Friday). If you liked Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow, then I would really recommend you check out Winterkill. :)
Bought/borrowed/received: (apologies for the fuzziness of the top picture)
Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff (bought) (I want to review this, but with my busy schedule it might be a few weeks.)
Firebug by Lish McBride (from Raincoast Books)
The Spiritglass Charade by Colleen Gleason (from Raincoast Books)
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry (from Raincoast Books)
Mortal Gods by Kendare Blake (e-galley from Macmillan through Raincoast Books)
The Island of Excess Love by Francesca Lia Block (e-galley from Macmillan through Raincoast Books)
Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini (e-galley from Macmillan through Raincoast Books)
Infinite by Jodi Meadows (e-book borrowed from the library)
Just One Day by Gayle Forman (e-book borrowed from the library)
Just One Year by Gayle Forman (e-book borrowed from the library)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Me on Isla and the Happily Ever After

Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: August 14, 2014
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin imprint)

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Isla and the Happily Ever After is all about the honest ups and downs of falling in love. The smiles and the laughter, the bumps and bruises, the cuts and scars and hugs and kisses. Love is never easy. It never follows the rules we lay out at its feel or the plans we have for the days still to come. It just it. It happens slowly and all at once, catching us by surprise and staring us right in the face for years. It's two people coming together and becoming part of something. It's filled to the brim with happiness and stacked high with insecurities. There will always be laughter with love, and there will always be tears. Good days and bad days and impossible days. Love brings out the best in us and the worst in us, laying us bare in front of the people we care about.

When I started reading this book, I had expectations. I expected Isla and Josh's story, the story of their falling into love and the roadblocks and speed bumps they were bound to encounter. And while yes, that is what I found, it also wasn't. I didn't expect this story, didn't expect the ways in which they tumbled into love, the moments when they laughed and cried together. Love isn't easy. It's hard, it hurts, and it ruins the best of us. But it's worth it. Happily ever afters will always be worth it.

(I purchased a copy of this title.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (191)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Unraveled
Author: Gennifer Albin
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (Macmillan imprint)

From Goodreads:

Autonomous. Independent. Dangerous. They tried to control her. Now she’ll destroy them.

Things have changed behind the walls of the Coventry and new threats lurk in its twisted corridors. When Adelice returns to Arras, she quickly learns that something rotten has taken hold of the world and Cormac Patton needs her to help him reestablish order. However, peace comes at a terrible price. As the Guild manipulates the citizens of Arras, Adelice discovers that she’s not alone, and she must let go of her past to fight for mankind’s future. She will have to choose between an unimaginable alliance and a deadly war that could destroy everyone she loves.

I've really enjoyed this series, it's a different kind of sci-fi/dystopia. And it has a love triangle that works in that Adelice has feelings for both guys. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this book ends. :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Me on Girl Defective

Title: Girl Defective
Author: Simmone Howell
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster imprint)

This is the story of a wild girl and a ghost girl; a boy who knew nothing and a boy who thought he knew everything. It's a story about Skylark Martin, who lives with her father and brother in a vintage record shop in St. Kilda and is trying to find her place in the world. It's about ten-year-old Super Agent Gully and his case of a lifetime. And about beautiful, reckless, sharp-as-knives Nancy. It's about tragi-hot Luke, and just-plain-tragic Mia Casey. It's about the dark underbelly of a curious neighborhood. It's about summer, and weirdness, and mystery, and music. And it's about life and death and grief and romance. All the good stuff.

Girl Defective is honest, painful, and realistic. This book is an eye-opening experience for a number of characters, not just Sky, and a coming of age for her. Everyone is defective in some way, every acts and reacts differently in certain situations. Everyone is different.

Who is Sky? What is the world? She's trying to figure it all out, like why people do what they do. Like why her mom left, why her dad hides in records and beer, why Nancy lives carefree and parties, why her brother Gully won't take off that rubber pig snout, and why Luke is so distant and closed off. She's also trying to figure out herself at the same time, like what she wants to do and who she is. Why she keeps all of her mom's old clothes and leaves semi-cruel messages on her website.

The setting seems perfect for a rude awakening coming of age story. Sky's home, St. Kilda, sounds like it's caught between the past and the future. Slightly crumbling, old, rough around the edges. It's a little hard, a little harsh, but it's realistic and also unique. The record store was also an interested place, a number of important things happen in it and above it in the apartment. It's like a time capsule, where classic rock lives on.

Growing up sucks. It's hard, it's painful. It's something that, when we come up against it, we don't want to do it. But growing up is all about navigating those hard and painful times and, hopefully, coming out on the other side. Lessons learned and realized. I think that's what this book is for Sky. She's coming face to face with the idea that things aren't perfect, that people aren't always who she thought they were. That you can't keep things from changing.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Simon & Schuster Canada.)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Me on This Week's Book Week (117)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hi! After all the sun and the rain and the weird humid stuff, the weather was very average this week.

I saw someone tweet about how they had a lot of September ARCs and e-galleys to get through, that there were a lot of September releases. Does anyone else have that? With me it seems to be October, especially October 14th releases. I think it's up to 5 or 6 now. Which means there'll be 2 3 review weeks in October. I should really get reading.

I imagine lots of people will be seeing the If I Stay movie this weekend. I haven't read the books, you guys know me and my occasional relationship with contemporary. It sounds like it's a pretty good adaptation, which is good. I'm all for good book-to-movie adaptations.

Reviews going up next week will feature Girl Defective by Simmone Howell (Tuesday) and Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (Friday). :)
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (bought)
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma (e-galley from Algonquin Young Readers) (It's my first 2015 ARC/e-galley! I feel like a time traveler.)
Battling Boy by Paul Pope (borrowed from library)
The Almost Truth by Eileen Cook (borrowed from library)
Year of Mistaken Discoveries by Eileen Cook (borrowed from library)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Me on The Falconer

Title: The Falconer
Author: Elizabeth May
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Chronicle Books

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?

The Falconer is exciting and dangerous, filled with mystery and intrigue and magic. It's a whirlwind of a story, a story of one girl's strength and revenge, and it's only the beginning.

Alieana is a number of things. Strong. Serious. Vengeful. She's a girl on a mission, a rather perilous one, but duty has a way of ruining her plans. As the daughter of a marquess she leads a privileged life. She's expected to always act like a lady, polite and beautiful without a hint of anger. Instead she's caught between the immovable rock that is her father and the deadly hard place that holds the faeries slowly creeping out into the city. She cannot escape either, much to her dismay. It's rather obvious that, given the choice, she would leave behind the ballrooms and courtesies and never-ending dances with boring old earls and viscounts. Alieana has her qualities, her skill at fighting, her intelligence and inventions. She acknowledges her beauty but she doesn't focus on it. It's one of the last things she things about. But what she also has is her pride, her focus on one goal and one goal only: to kill the faery that slaughtered her mother.

This certainly is the dangerous side of faeries. The vicious side. The mischievous evil side. Thankfully Alieana isn't completely alone, even if her allies are Kiaran, a rather secretive faery who instructs her in how to fight those of his kind who plague Edinburgh, and Derrick, a pixie who lives in her wardrobe and mends her clothes in exchange for honey. While they certainly appear to assist Alieana at times, they still shouldn't be trusted. Not with everything. Because they keep secrets in the way magpies keep shiny objects.

Alieana's inventions were interesting and different, her intelligence and her knack at inventing certainly set her apart from other heroines in other books. Her creativity when it comes to machinery and weapons seems to know no bounds, even if they are used for one purpose and one purpose only. But she needs to defend herself, she needs to defend those she cares about and the city, and so she crafts what she must.

As I read this, I wondered why I hadn't read it sooner. And I wondered why it felt so familiar. An odd sense of nostalgia overtook me while reading this and I had no idea why. Later on, I realized it was more nostalgia from reading a book I enjoyed to the core. A book with equal measure Victorian time period setting, fae magic, a strong heroine trapped between fate and duty, mystique, intrigue, a supportive friend, impossible to handle male counterparts, and the prospect of near certain death at the hands of the heroine's enemies. My only complaint is that it has an ending, an ending where the book ends and does not magically turn into the next book.

(I received a finished copy from Raincoast Books.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (190)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press

From Goodreads:

The third installment in the mesmerizing series from the irrepressible, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

*incoherent impatient sobbing* I'm not sure what I'm more excited for, reading it or being a useless mess at the end waiting another year for the last book.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Me on Now and For Never

Title: Now and For Never
Author: Lesley Livingston
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Razorbill Canada (Penguin Canada imprint)

Past and present collide on the high seas when Clare and Allie hurtle back in time once more in a perilous attempt to retrieve Marcus Donatus—Allie's blast-from-the-past crush—and put an end, once and for all, to the Time Monkey Shenanigans. But when Clare and Allie unexpectedly find themselves temporal stowaways on a Roman warship full of looted Celtic gold, sailing straight for the heart of a magic-fueled maelstrom, there's not much they can do but hang on for the ride—and hope Milo can tap into the Druid lore trapped in his genius brain to help bring them home, before it's too late. The only thing that's going to save Clarinet Reid and Allie McAllister now is if they join forces with old enemies, new loves, and unexpected friends.

Now and For Never is the conclusion of the epic adventures of two friends through time, of magic and Druids and Romans, of scheming plots and fate.

Clarinet Reid and Allie McAllister are two average teenage girls. They're friends who laugh together, argue with each other, and travel through time to stop an evil jerk of an enemy together. Well, a few evil jerks. Well, not evil, just misguided and drunk on treasure and/or power. I love Clare and Allie as a duo. They're friends who get each other, who accept each other's flaws and continue to roll on with the crazy, who are always there to help each other.

There's a moment near the beginning where Clare voices her concerns to Allie regarding Marcus. Their separate visits to the past were different, Clare's short visits with the Druids compared to Allie's long stop with the Romans. They're two sides of a brutal war, two different opinions. Clare has her prejudices against the Romans for what they did to Comorra and the Iceni people, and she tells Allie that. She tells Allie that she's biased against not saving him. She tells Allie that she doesn't like having those biased feelings. And Allie understands. Both of them understand. They might argue about sense and reason and whether travelling through time is a shimmer or a zot, but they'll always be friends.

I like how the author goes back in time with Clare and Allie, how she takes what we already know (or presume to know) about Ancient Britain and the Druids and Romans and fiddles around with it a bit. Yes, it's all implausible, but it's still exciting. This series takes history and time travel and, while still treating the history seriously, also pokes fun and makes it entertaining. There's a lot of pressure on Clare and Allie to right wrongs, to fix timelines, but there's still a sense of light-heartedness that runs through the book. It's serious but also fun.

This series has been a wonderful mix of time travel, British history, sass, geek culture quotes, and two best friends. I'm a bit sad to see it end, but their adventures are over. For now. And Stuart Morholt will always be a jerk.

(I purchased a copy of this book.)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Me on This Week's Book Week (116)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hi! I'm back from my week at the library, which was a mix of fun and weird humid rainy weather. But that also means I'm kind of tired and therefore don't have a lot to ramble on about. This past week was also a sad week for the world in general, so I can't really think of much else to day.

Besides *hugs*.

Reviews going up this coming week will feature Now and For Never by Lesley Livingston (Tuesday) and The Falconer by Elizabeth May (Friday). :)
Chorus by Emma Trevayne (Bought)
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (Bought. I was in Chapters on Thursday and it was there but I've already pre-ordered one of the signed copies with the buttons... and I folded like a house of cards. Sigh.)
Get Even by Gretchen McNeil (from HarperCollins Canada)
In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis (from HarperCollins Canada)
Beware the Wild by Natalie Parker (from HarperCollins Canada)
Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff (contest prize from the author)
Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater and Sinner book wrapper covered in Maggie's art (contest prize from Scholastic Canada)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Me on This Week's Book Week (115)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

It sort of cooled off about halfway through the week, which was awesome, and it looks like it's going to be cool again next week. I really really hope it is, riding public transit when it's really hot out just makes it even hotter and muggy and uggggggggh.

No reviews next week because I'll be off in downtown Vancouver doing the same library volunteer position I've done for the past few summers. My mom asked who the biggest name was of who was speaking or leading a workshop and I paused for a bit. Because it was a tricky question. Depending on who I talk to, it could be Rachel Hartman, author of Seraphina, or Billie Livingston, author of One Good Hustle, or Susin Neilsen of Word Nerd and The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen fame. Eileen Cook and Joëlle Anthony will also be there. Or the library's writer in residence, who hasn't been announced but apparently is a woman and writes for a teen audience. Who knows? I imagine I'll say on Twitter on Monday morning. ;)
Now and For Never by Lesley Livingston (bought)
Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour (bought)
Thornhill by Kathleen Peacock (bought)
Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst (e-galley from Bloomsbury through NetGalley)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Me on Fragile Destiny

Title: Fragile Destiny
Author: Suzanne Lazear
Release Date: August 8, 2014
Publisher: Flux Books

Noli and her true love V fear the worst if the Staff of Eris, a potent Otherworld relic, falls into the wrong hands. Broken into pieces and hidden in the mortal realm long ago, the staff bestows vast powers on whoever possesses it. Ciarán, the dark king, is trying to rebuild the staff, intending to use it to install a new queen. In a desperate effort to keep the Otherworld from falling into darkness, Noli and V plot the daring theft of a jewel Ciarán needs to complete the staff. But Ciarán is not so easily defeated. Through his devious machinations, he has set a plan in motion for a final showdown that will decide who rules the Otherworld once and for all.

Fragile Destiny is the third part of Noli's story, a story of epic and dangerous adventures. A story of mystery, intrigue, faerie magic, and unexpected revelations.

Noli and V are back, along with their friends and family (and manipulative enemies). They're still racing around, this time trying to keep the Otherworld safe (from those aforementioned manipulative fingers). They're still together, even if they are butting heads and arguing far more than usual. I was surprised at how often they clashed, how often they didn't tell each other everything and let things like stubborn pride and jealousy regarding Kevighn get in the way. I certainly didn't expect things to be easy for them, their lives are constantly wrenched out of their control and into someone else's, but I thought they trusted each other. Had more faith in each other after what happened in the previous books. And they have to work out their problems, they have to prove their strong enough to continue, or else everything they've worked towards will crumble.

Where there were airships and journeys and roaming in the second book, this one seems to spend a fair amount of time in the Otherworld. And that means complicated royal faerie court policies. That means spies and bodyguards. That means lies and tricks and plots. It becomes a rather dangerous setting, not as peaceful or magical as I'd expected. In the end I wasn't surprised. Again, I didn't think it would be easy for Noli and V to find what they were looking for.

It's very reminiscent of the previous two books. Adventure and tricky faeries, clashing personalities, quests and journeys. Noli's uncommon personality, V's intelligence, and Kevighn's unwillingness to let go of the past. I did assume that this was the end of a trilogy, but considering the ending, considering what is resolved and what isn't, what questions I still have regarding  I wouldn't be surprised if there's another book in the future.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Flux Books through NetGalley.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (189)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Willowgrove
Author: Kathleen Peacock
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books (HarperCollins imprint)

From Goodreads:

Willowgrove is Kathleen Peacock's riveting conclusion to the Hemlock trilogy, a dark, romantic, paranormal suspense series that pits friendship against survival, and trust against love.

Ever since Mac's best friend, Amy, was murdered, Hemlock has been a dangerous place. But now that Mac, her boyfriend, Kyle, and Amy's ex, Jason, have investigated a mass breakout from Thornhill, a werewolf "rehabilitation" camp, the danger has only grown. Fear of the infection spreading is now at an all-time high, and anyone with a scar is suspected of being a wolf.

What makes Mac even more afraid, though, are the dark experiments that the warden of Thornhill was performing on wolves in a secret asylum called Willowgrove. Uncovering the truth about what happened may be the only way for Mac to save everyone she loves and end her nightmares for good.

I want this book so much. SO MUCH. I really enjoyed Kathleen's previous books and I'm looking forward to seeing what will happen to Mac and the others in the trilogy's conclusion.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Me on Pride & Prejudice (Manga Edition)

Title: Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen
Story Adaptation: Stacy King
Artist: Po Tse
Release Date: August 11, 2014
Publisher: Udon Entertainment

When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited, while he struggles to remain indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.

I found this to be an entertaining new version of the classic Pride & Prejudice, updated but still so familiar, so faithful to Austen's original tale. As the popularity of comics, manga, and graphic novels continues to grow, as well as the updating and modernizing of classic tales of literature, I see no harm in books like this. Even though I went in knowing the story, I turned each page with excitement, wondering how the story would be portrayed next through the artwork.

The language used by the characters was rather faithful to the time period, perhaps with a few modern terms or inflections. And the artwork is gorgeous, the characters all fully realized with differences to help tell them apart, the sprawling English countryside landscapes and grand country estates. I will admit that the artwork tends toward the romantic, emphasizing Elizabeth's charms and Darcy's expressionless brooding, Jane's loveliness and Bingley's exuberance. It reminded me of certain things found in shoujo (manga aimed at girls) and josei (manga aimed at adult women) manga: sweeping romances, emotions, relationships. On the other hand, the way certain other characters were portrayed made it hard to like them, like Mrs. Bennett would would obsess over marrying off her daughters to rich men so she would in turn be rich, waving her arms about, and the bumbling Mr. Collins, who looked more like a Who from Whoville and less like a human being.

This was so much fun to read, to see the classic tale portrayed in this way. The serious tone brought on by prejudice, wealth, societal customs and rules, status, and pride continued throughout the book, as well as the romance. As well as Elizabeth's learnings and lessons to not judge by appearance, to observe and listen, to take time before forming an opinion on someone. To look past flaws and see what kind of person is truly standing before her. I hope readers will go into this excited and optimistic.

(A note for future readers that this book reads right to left, as manga traditionally does, and to not get flustered. There is a small guide at the start of the book that will/should help with this.)

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Udon Entertainment through NetGalley.)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Me on This Week's Book Week (114)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Summer's back. Uggggggggh. *turns on all the fans* *drinks all the ice water*

Did anyone else take part in the pre-order campaign for Isla to get a signed copy, fun buttons, and possibly a tote bag? The 2 Canadian book stores taking part are out in Ontario and I'm in BC, but I'm willing to pay shipping for this book. No idea when it'll arrive, though. I really doubt it'll arrive around the release date. I fully expect it to arrive right at the end of August or the beginning of September. If I'm lucky enough to get a tote bag, fine, but I want the book more. And the buttons. ;)

I heard yesterday that Maggie Stiefvater's Blue Lily, Lily Blue has been moved up a week to October 21st, which is good news, there's a week less of waiting. But I also saw (I think) Maggie say something about no ARCs. If that's true, then fine. I went out on release day to buy the first two, I fully expect to do it with these last two. Online pre-order discount be damned, I will pay full price for a Maggie book. And a Tessa Gratton book. And a Brenna Yovanoff book. Books by authors that have ruined be emotionally deserve full price.

It looks like I'll be in Edmonton the first week of September, if any Edmonton book nerds want to grab coffee. :)

Reviews for the coming week will feature Pride & Prejudice: Manga Edition (Tuesday) and Fragile Destiny by Suzanne Lazear (Friday). :)
Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King (from Hachette Book Group Canada)
Fan Art by Sarah Tregay (borrowed from the library)
Rebel by Amy Tintera (borrowed from the library)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Me on The Girl from the Well

Title: The Girl from the Well
Author: Rin Chupeco
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks

A dead girl walks the streets. She is a lonely soul. She has wandered the world for centuries, freeing the spirits of the murdered-dead. Once a victim herself, she now takes the lives of killers with the vengeance they're due. But releasing innocent ghosts from their ethereal tethers does not bring her peace. Still she drifts on. Such is her existence, until she meets Tark. Evil writhes beneath the moody teen's skin, trapped by a series of intricate tattoos. While his neighbors fear him, she knows the boy is not a monster. Tark needs to be freed from the malevolence that clings to him. There's just one problem: if the demon dies, so does its host.

The Girl from the Well is disturbing and dark, an atmospheric horror story. With its unconventional narrator, its unique story, and the mythology it draws on, this book certain sets itself apart from others inhabited by dangerous ghosts and aging secrets.

The ghost, the spirit, the dead girl. She is a rather interesting and unexpected narrator. She's observant, very observant. Rational without being devoid of emotion. Very intelligent. Rather strong, physically (if ghosts have a physical strength) and mentally. But she is somewhat detatched from the story. She is relating what she sees, only getting involved when she wants to, needs to, desires to. When she finds someone who must be punished, a murderer of the young and innocent. Few things happen directly at or to her. Most happen to Tark or his cousin, but she is drawn to them for inexplicable reasons. And so, simply but so complexly, she becomes part of their lives. (She does reveal her name, but I'm not saying what it is to keep the mystery going a bit longer.)

I imagine hers is somewhat of a traditional Japanese ghost story, or that her story has been greatly inspired by them. In some ways, she is pushed by vengeance. She gets revenge on behalf of the dead, on behalf of those brutally murdered. On purpose, by accident, it doesn't matter to her. She drifts in and out, finding those with the dead leashed to them, unable to escape their captor, and kills them. Ghost stories like this, like hers, highlight the power of emotion and intention. How we can desire something, care for something, hate something so strongly that it transcends death. That our strong emotions could keep us with the living instead of moving on to wherever we go after we die, tragically or not.

I found this book to be descriptive and atmospheric. Narrated by the girl, by the ghost, she's both part of the story and not part of it. She observes the world around her, relating to the reader certain events. At times the line between first person and third person blurs and there were moments when I forgot that she was telling the story. It's such an interesting way of telling the story. She knows and sees so many things that the others don't, but she doesn't know everything. I would certainly recommend this book to readers looking for a different kind of ghost story and to fans of Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Sourcebooks through NetGalley.)