2014 is currently peeking around the corner every few seconds to see if we're still watching, so that it can pounce on us when we're not expecting it, full of new promises and no few disappointments. I started this blog at the end of June and I've been less than diligent in keeping up on reviewing books, so there really isn't much to summarize for the year. Instead of doing a, "My Favorite Top 10 Greatest Books of 2013 Ever!" post, I'm going to give you three quick reviews for books that I didn't review, for whatever reason, in 2013.
Review #1: Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest
Reason not reviewed: Not YA! Not new in 2013!
Publication date: September 29, 2009
Goodreads link: Boneshaker
derives its title from the Bone-Shaking Drill Engine, a device designed
to give Russian prospectors a leg up in the race for Klondike gold.
Unfortunately, there was one hitch: On its trial run, the Boneshaker
went haywire and, long story short, turned much of Seattle into a city
of the dead. Now, 16 years later, a teenage boy decides to find out what
is behind that mysterious wall. Can his mother save him in time? Zombie
lit of the first order.
This is a great novel for introduction into the Steampunk genre. The setting is America during a time that everyone is familiar with, but the addition of Steampunk properly throws the history we know on its ear. The idea of walling off a section of the city with a wall tall enough to keep the gas in took a little adjusting to, but there was definite believability in almost every other aspect of the story. The zombies play a very small role in the story, much less so than the summary would have you believe. I preferred this, because it gave the story room to become more than just a steampunk-era survival horror story. It becomes a story about family and legends, and how you can never really know the full truth unless you seek it out for yourself.
Review #2: A Latent Dark, Martin Kee
Reason for not reviewing: Not YA, not published in 2013, and possibly not even read in 2013.
Publication date: August 22, 2012
Goodreads: A Latent Dark
Skyla has lived secretly
within the city walls of Bollingbrook for eleven years, playing among
the airship factories and trainyards. As one of the Gutter District’s
nameless destitute, it has gone undiscovered that she has a unique
talent: when Skyla looks at a person’s shadow she sees through it and
into another world. She can see people’s fears, desires, their past
sins--all as swimming, living creatures.
Her mother has never
told her the real reasons why they must remain hidden, never explained
the true dangers that exist outside the city walls. But when her
mother’s past catches up with them both, Skyla finds she must flee out
of the city and into a world still recovering from a second Dark Age, a
world of adults with secrets only she can see.
For a stranger has
recently moved into Bollingbrook, a man some call the Pope of the
South, a witch hunter to some and a hero to others. When more children
begin to disappear, suspicions are raised and an unlikely search party
is formed to find Skyla in the hopes that they aren’t already too late.
I picked this book up as part of an ebook bundle and it took me awhile to get to it, but I've read it twice this year and loved it both times. It looks like steampunk on the cover, but much of the aesthetic comes off at Gothic more than gears-and-wires. This is a very dark world, full of monsters that almost always look human at first glance, and Skyla is one of the only ones who can see the monsters for what they are. The main character fits the young-but-clever trope, but you never forget that she's still a child.
Just reviewing this book makes me want to read it again for the third time. Good thing I'm off from work until Thursday!
Review #3: Howl's Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones
Reason for not reviewing: Not published in 2013 (not even close)
Publication date: 1986 (see?)
Goodreads: Howl's Moving Castle
Sophie has the great
misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail
miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she
unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds
herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her
only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills:
the Wizard Howl's castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must
handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet
the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that
there's far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.
The highlight of 2013 was discovering Diana Wynne Jones for the first time. How did I make it all this time without reading a single book of hers? I really have no effing clue. The movie of Howl's Moving Castle has been a favorite for years and, much to my joy, the movie watches like reading the book and the book reads like watching the movie. Jones' writing style is as whimsical and gorgeous as the art in the movie. Since reading Howl's over the summer, I've devoured the rest of this trilogy, in addition to The Dark Lord of Derkholm and The Year of the Griffin. If you've wondered why I haven't blogged much, it's because much of my reading has been books that are so old, you should have read them by now.