"The Casual Vacancy" by J.K. Rowling
This was the highly anticipated "J.K. Rowling's book for adults." It seems to me that since finishing Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling did nothing but watch "EastEnders" and reading the sensational bits of British papers. It's as if she really didn't want to be pigeon-holed as a writer of fantasy for children, so she threw in some sex and swearing and wrote about the most "real" lives possible.
The beginning of the book is hard to follow because there are SO MANY CHARACTERS. Rowling never really focuses on one character, unless you count Krystal Wheedon, but she spends so much time hopping around telling little tidbits about the many people in this little village, who all have problems with each other, that it's hard to even care about any of them. If Harry Potter is a tale about good winning over evil and true friendship, then The Casual Vacancy is about how shitty people can really be to each other. C-
"Days of Blood and Starlight" by Laini Taylor
This is the sequel to "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" that I liked so much. Karou and Akiva have been separated, and, each sure that the other is dead, attend to the warmongering of their respective races. They serve their commanders somewhat against their wills, but still hold the secret wish for there to be peace between angels and chimeras. Each finds out that the commanders are secretly condoning acts of brutality. The lovers' stories work in parallel until they are reunited, unsure of how their relationship will proceed. I feel like this whole book was a bit of a placeholder for a big showdown of love in the third book. Reading it, I just kept thinking, "war, strategy, war, war, more war, when are they going to reunite?" The creation of the worlds in Earth and Eretz is really imaginative though, and it leaves off with a huge cliffhanger that I really hope pays off. B
"Ash" by Malinda Lo
This book takes place several hundred years after "Huntress." Like "Huntress," it is YA lesbian fantasy fiction based on a previous work, which, from the title, is obviously Cinderella. It differs from the traditional tale in that the fairy godmother is a male fairy trying to trap her into promising her life to him. Ash also doesn't fall in love with any prince, but the King's Huntress. It's creative, but since the story is so well known, it's harder to accept than "Huntress" was. Ash also just seems like a wretched creature, more pathetic than I like my female characters. C