The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross

The Girl With the Iron Touch by Kady Cross“It seemed humans, the scientifically minded ones at least, were either tempting death or trying to prolong life. Surely that was an indication of madness.”

Emily is kidnapped by automatons who want her to transplant The Machinist’s consciousness into another automaton so that he will be resurrected. Finley and the rest of the group try their best to find out where Emily is being held, but meanwhile Griffin is being tormented by the Aether and isolating himself from the others. Finley seeks help from Jack Dandy, but must deal with his feelings for her and her feelings for Griffin.

I loved the previous two books in this series so I was really looking forward to this, but I was a little bit disappointed. I absolutely love all of these characters so I enjoyed this book regardless, but I felt like the book was a little bit repetitive of itself. Finley and Griffin kept having the same argument over and over throughout the book and after awhile I was tired of reading the same conversation again and again.

I loved Emily and Sam’s moments in this book though. It was nice to see them both finally realize just how much they care about each other–especially Sam since he was always so surly and aggressive. When Emily is taken, Sam will stop at nothing to find her and his dedication to her was really sweet.

Jack Dandy is one of my favorite characters, and I was glad he played a big role in this book. There isn’t really a love triangle in this book–Jack is mainly just a source of tension between Finley and Griffin–but I love what Jack brings to the group and I love his interactions with Finley. I can’t say I would be happy to see him involved with Finley romantically because I love her with Griffin, but the two definitely have chemistry.

A big focus of this book was Emily and her abduction by the automatons. I love Emily because what she lacks in strength and size, she makes up for in intelligence. While she still needs help from the rest of the group to end The Machinist’s plans, Emily uses her brain to delay his return and the others use Emily’s creations to find her.

Overall, The Girl with the Iron Touch was a fun story but a slight disappointment. I will still be continuing on with the series because I love this group of characters, but I hope the next book will bring something new to the series.

The Girl with the Iron Touch was released May 28, 2013 and is the third book in The Steampunk Chronicles.

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Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

“But you’re the only one, Scarlet. You’ll always be the only one.”

Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother has gone missing and the police have called off their search. But Scarlet doesn’t believe that her grandmother ran away–she thinks that something terrible has happened to her, and she intends to find out what it is. When Scarlet meets Wolf, a street fighter who seems to know something about her grandmother’s disappearance, she finds herself drawn to him even though she doesn’t trust him. She embarks on a journey to rescue her grandmother with Wolf’s help and on the way encounters Cinder, who has just escaped prison. Scarlet realizes that there is a lot more involved in her grandmother’s disappearance than she thought.

I loved this book! I really enjoyed the first book, Cinder, because it was such a different type of book than I had read before. Even though I enjoy science fiction, a sci-fi fairy tale retelling seemed a little bit strange to me. I’m so glad I gave it a chance though because it is such a fantastic and original story, and the sequel, Scarlet, was even better!

Scarlet is such a fantastic character! I love a strong female protagonist and Scarlet fills that role perfectly. She not only runs her grandmother’s farm, but she knows how to defend herself and is determined to rescue her grandmother no matter what. She initially doesn’t trust Wolf, especially once she realizes he knows more about her grandmother than she thought, but she and Wolf have an undeniable chemistry that keeps drawing them together.

It was also really interesting to see how Scarlet’s story intersected with Cinder’s. The book shifts back and forth between the two narratives and while I initially guessed at how Scarlet and Cinder’s stories related to each other I didn’t expect the twists at the end! The only complaint I would have is that I missed Kai–he’s not in as much of the book as I would’ve liked but I’m guessing he’ll play a bigger role in the next one. I did enjoy the little bit we did see of him in Scarlet because he was dealing with the aftermath of Cinder’s appearance at the ball and was conflicted between his feelings for her and his desire to do what is best for his people.

Overall, Scarlet was an amazing sequel with crazy twists! It was even better than Cinder in my opinion and I’m very excited to see what happens in book three!

Scarlet was released February 5, 2013 and is the second book in the Lunar Chronicles. The third book, Cress, is set to be released in 2014.

Angelfall by Susan Ee

Angelfall by Susan Ee

“I’ve never killed anyone before. What frightens me isn’t that I’m killing someone. What frightens me is how easy it is.”

Angelfall begins six weeks after the angels of the apocalypse destroyed the world, killing millions. Seventeen year old Penryn is trying to keep herself, her mother, and her little sister alive in California where gangs rule the street and food is hard to come by. When they are running down the street to find a new hideout, a group of fighting angels descends from the sky. They rip one of the angels’ wings off and when Penryn tries to help him so that her sister and mother can escape, one of the angels takes her sister. She teams up with the wingless angel, Raffe, agreeing to help him find the angels that took his wings if he helps her find her sister.

As I’ve said before, I am really over the whole angel genre, so I was definitely more than a bit skeptical about this book. I am happy to say that I was VERY pleasantly surprised to discover that Angelfall is not about fallen angels or a boring romance or a weak heroine trying to decide between dark and light. Angelfall is about the apocalypse, and Penryn Young is in no way weak. Her mother sent her to all kinds of self defense courses at a young age so Penryn is able to fight her way to her sister. She is willing to do anything to rescue her, even if it means fighting angels that are many times more powerful than she is.

Raffe is an angel and, like all other angels, he sees humans as lesser beings. Throughout the book his opinion changes as he gets to know Penryn and he begins to realize that there is much more to humans than he previously thought. Without his wings he is much more vulnerable and he has to learn to live like a human until he gets them back.

The romance between Penryn and Raffe did not happen instantly at all, which was great. At first they hate each other and are only working together because of a mutual goal. As they spend more time together and Raffe realizes that Penryn is not a helpless human but a girl capable of fighting alongside him, things change. I loved their relationship and I can’t wait to see where the next book takes them.

Overall, Angelfall was an amazing book and was definitely not your typical angel story! The ending was phenomenal and will definitely leave readers hungry for more!

Angelfall was released May 21, 2011 and is the first book in the Penryn and the End of Days series. The second book is still untitled but is set to be released in 2013.

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

“’I like a little fight in my girls.’
She grinned at him,causing blood to dribble down her chin.
‘Then you’re going to love me.'”

The Girl in the Steel Corset is about a girl named Finley in 19th century England who has a dark side that gives her the ability to knock out a grown man with a single punch. When she loses her job because of this very thing, she meets Griffin King, a young duke who has some abilities of his own. He sees her powers as special, and invites her to join his group of friends who all have some sort of ability. She decides to join them and help Griffin find The Machinist, a man who has been using automatons to do crime. What she finds, however, is a place where she finally belongs.

This was my first steampunk book! It was recommended to me by my friend Lisa and I am so happy that I finally picked it up. Finley is such a great character–she is brave and strong and does not feel that she needs to depend on a man to protect her. In fact, she can beat most men in a fight, however she is frightened by the power her dark side gives her and seeks Griffin’s help to learn to control it. She is a bit headstrong at times but she is loyal to Griffin and his friends even though they are unsure if they can trust her at first.

The best part of this book was all of the characters. I absolutely loved each and every one of them because they are so wonderfully written. The story is told from many points of view and it gives the reader an insight into many of the other characters, which I really enjoyed. They are all extremely well developed and they all work together so perfectly that it really makes the story what it is. I also loved the romance in the book and the fact that it wasn’t the sole focus of the story made it even better.

Overall, The Girl in the Steel Corset is a fantastic book full of so many different elements:  history, romance, paranormal, and of course–steampunk! Kady Cross herself has described this book as X-men meets A League of Extraordinary Gentleman. I would highly recommend this one, especially if, like me, you haven’t read many steampunk books.

The Girl in the Steel Corset was released May 24, 2011 and is the first book in the Steampunk Chronicles. The second book, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar was released May 22, 2012 and the third book, The Girl with the Iron Touch, is set to be released May 21, 2013.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

“My name is Celaena Sardothien,” she whispered, “and I will not be afraid.”

Throne of Glass is a debut novel for Sarah J. Maas and what an incredible debut it is! It is a fantasy YA novel about a young assassin, Celaena, who has been serving a prison sentence at a salt mine for the past year. She is called before the Crown Prince who offers her a chance at freedom. The catch? She has to participate as his champion in a contest to find the king’s new royal assassin. 18 year old Celaena must fight against other assassins and criminals (all men) and eliminate them all in order to win the competition and her eventual freedom. Once Celaena is living in the castle the prince begins paying extra attention to her, a girl different from any other he has ever met. But she is also drawn to Captain Westfall, who is the captain of the guard and her trainer in the competition. Soon after the competition begins however, a fellow competitor ends up brutally murdered. As more competitors fall victim to the unknown killer, Celaena must search for the killer before she becomes a victim herself.

This book had everything: sword fighting, political turmoil, romance, and a kick ass heroine. Celaena had a fantastic humor and spunk that made me like her immediately. She is strong and independent and able to defeat men twice her size. However, under her tough exterior she has a softer side that is still suffering from the wounds of her past. She lost her parents at a young age, trained as an assassin most of her life, and was forced to work as a slave in a salt mine as punishment for a year. But what I love about Celaena is that she doesn’t let any of that wear her down because she is determined to achieve her freedom in order to live her life the way she wants.

I loved the fantasy elements and the romance in this book. It’s rare to find a book that has magic, a ruthless competition, a murder plot, and romance all in one (other than Harry Potter of course), but Throne of Glass delivers all of that and more. I can honestly say that this is one of the best books that I have read this year, and is definitely the best fantasy book I’ve read in awhile.

Throne of Glass was released August 7, 2012 and is the first of a series. The author also has four published novellas available on the Kindle for those of us who are already craving more!