Firstly, let me say I just finished a review of Pharaoh's Daughter by Julius Lester for the Historical Novel Society. I can't say much here, but it's definitely a good read I could recommend. Very quick and good.
I spent over 200 pages trying to will myself into liking Figures in Silk by Vanora Bennett. I wanted to get into it, and at times I mostly succeeded. It's a very different take on Richard III; I could've gone along with it more easily if I'd liked the voice of the narrator. It just never seemed to have much of a focus for me. Hate it when that happens: a story with promise becomes an epic fail in the end. See my full review at http://www.amazon.com/review/R2OWUZP4E11KO6/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm.
Finally, though, I have a novel I recommend without reservation: Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr. I'll admit I almost didn't pick this one up since I found the second novel in the series, Ink Exchange, a less than riveting follow-up to Wicked Lovely. This one, however, just knocked my socks off for 95% of the book. The one problem I had would be a major spoiler to write here, but let's just say it involves Seth and Sorcha. There seems to be an unnecessary addendum to their relationship and that's all I'm gonna say. Below is my full review; let me know what you think.
I read Wicked Lovely a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it; Ink Exchange was a bit of a letdown for me when I picked it up last summer. So I almost didn't give Fragile Eternity a chance when it came out recently, but decided that since it was focusing on Aislinn and Seth, I'd see if the series had picked back up. I'm so pleased that now, four days after closing the final page, I'm still thinking about this one! It definitely marks a return to form in the series.
Picking up not too long after Ink Exchange, we're back watching Aislinn, Seth, Keenan and Donia balance their delicate relationships in the world of the faeries. Keenan, true to form, is obsessed with having Aislinn as his "true" queen now that she has indeed become a faery, but Aislinn and Seth have vowed to make their relationship work. Seth sees the Courts from a human's viewpoint, and he has begun to realize that Keenan isn't going to accept Aislinn's refusal to take their alliance to the next level, nor does he fail to understand that Aislinn's resistance is slowly being worn down. Even though Seth's been given a charm to help him see the faery world, his outsider status begins to wear on both he and Aislinn, and when his faery friend Niall refuses to help him, Seth sets out to find a way to join the faeries permanently.
Peopled with familiar characters, Fragile Eternity explores the conflicting emotions among the Courts, giving us more insight into personalities and faery manipulations. Donia is revealed to be a jealous lover; Bananach is the ultimate stirrer; Sorcha brings depths unsuspected as she interacts with Seth. What might have been silly and unimaginative is instead a tale filled with intrigue, longing, and unexpected turns as the pages fly by. I will admit that I was less than thrilled with the events surrounding Seth's plea to Sorcha; the conversations between those two as the book progressed actually detracted from my overall enjoyment as I felt we'd gone beyond the teen relationship at its core into something vaguely...well, icky.
Marr has given us a truly creative world and her focus on the depth of Aislinn's and Seth's feelings help to keep everything grounded. At times I felt sympathy for the despicable and outrage at the heroic; Marr never gives us the straight and simple path. Despite my problems with the Sorcha situation, it's rare for a book to make me think about it during work and after I've closed my eyes for sleep. This one merits a solid 4.5 stars, but I'm rounding it up because of the enjoyment I received from 95% of it. I can hardly wait for the next one.