Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mini-Reviews: Recent Fantasy Novels

Lark Rising (Guardians of Tarnec #1)
Author:  Sandra Waugh
Publisher:  Random House Books for Young Readers, 384 pages
Publication Date:  September 24, 2014

From Goodreads:
Lark has foreseen two things—she will fall for a young man with sage green eyes, and he will kill her.

Sixteen-year-old Lark Carew is happiest close to home, tending her garden and gathering herbs for medicines. But when her Sight warns her that monsters called Troths will soon invade her village, Lark is summoned on a journey to seek help from the legendary Riders of Tarnec. Little does she suspect that one of the Riders, Gharain, is the very man who has haunted her visions. Or that the people of Tarnec have called her there for another reason: Lark is the Guardian of Life, the first of four Guardians who must awaken their powers to recover four stolen amulets. Together, the amulets—Life, Death, Dark, and Light—keep the world in Balance. To take back the Life amulet, Lark will have to discover her true inner strength and give in to a love that she swears will be her downfall.

A beautiful high fantasy filled with magic, romance, and vivid world-building.  Lark is a sympathetic main character who goes through a lot of character growth in this novel.  Her sight has kept her isolated from others because she has visions whenever she's around people and it's overwhelming.  So she's shy and timid.  But she rises to each challenge.

Loved the journey aspect of the novel as she sets out to save her village.  Loved the set-up between Lark and Gharain, with her having a vision of him killing her.  Yet she's still drawn to him (isn't that always the case?)  And Gharain acts like he hates her.  So there's tension, which I liked, but it still felt a bit insta-lovey to me (I can't say more without ruining it).  Even with the insta-love, I connected with the characters and I felt all the feels. 

Even though this is a series, Lark's story wraps up and it looks like each book will have a different main character (think His Fair Assassin series).  Definitely recommend.

Author:  Claire Legrand
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 464 pages
Publication Date:  September 30, 2014

From Goodreads:
New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor's ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother's murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted--by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they're to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets--and a need she can't define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won't leave Cane unscathed--if she leaves at all.

Loved this fantasy novel with Clara traveling to a different world to save her father.  The world-building is amazing.  It's vivid and complex, which is quite a feat given that this is a stand-alone.  I love this world that Claire Legrand has created!  

The romance.  It. Has. All. The. Feels.  Nicholas…oh Nicholas.  Loved how his relationship with Clara developed throughout this book.  She doesn't trust him, but she needs him.  Should she trust him?  He's definitely keeping things from her.  Is he just using her?  There are so many twists and turns in this book.

And the villain.  Not what I was expecting at all.  She's evil.  Or is she? 

This book made me so happy!!  Read it.

Posted by:  Pam


  1. Now, I definitely want to check out Winterspell. Thanks for these reviews! :)

  2. "Lark has foreseen two things—she will fall for a young man with sage green eyes, and he will kill her." That's some tag line! This wasn't on my radar but I might need to read this one. And obvs I love fantasy and magic!

    And I can't wait for my copy of Winterspell to arrive so I can read that one too!

  3. I've heard a lot of good about Winterspell and it's one I'm hoping to read soon :) Glad you liked it!

  4. I'm so glad that Lark Rising will be a companion series along the lines of His Fair Assassin (great comparison) - it means the no cliffhangers and the wait between books won't be so bad! I too enjoyed the first one - other than Lark thinking her friend was the one for Gharain I thought the romance was sweet. And the story itself is unique.
    Great review, girl!

  5. Ok you know how I felt about the first of these. I wanted to love it, but I was very conflicted. I'm hoping that the next in the series is a better read for me.

    As for the second one, several people mentioned a strange love triangle with the evil queen, that sort of freaked me out and turned me off from reading WINTERSPELL. But I've seen great things too, so I'm not sure if I'll pick it up or not. I like that you loved it though!

  6. Great mini-reviews! I haven't really seen many reviews for either of these but you've peaked my interest. Winterspell is the one I'd probably get to first.

  7. The plot and character development of Lark Rising sound so interesting that I might give it a go despite the insta-love.