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Book Whimsy: Fates, Safekeeping, The Winner’s Curse

book whimsy 2A lot of the books I review on Writing Whimsy are contemporary, often young adult, because honestly that’s the genre I tend to read the most of–but those aren’t the only books I pick up. Today’s post consists of three different genres– there’s a Greek mythology, a dystopian adventure, and a fantasy. Unfortunately, there’s only one I’d really recommend, but it’s amazing and was definitely a great reminder to read outside of my comfort zone every once in awhile.

81KGFz3mVsL._SL1500_Fates by Lanie Bross*: I was actually looking forward to reading Fates for quite awhile before it was released and I picked it up, but unfortunately it wasn’t nearly as unique or interesting as I expected. Bross’ debut is a twist on Greek mythology, where Corinthe is exiled to the human world and her job is to make sure people meet their fates. In order to finally return home she has one last job–kill Lucas Kaller. This is the most difficult task she has had so far, because the two of them are falling in love.

Although the premise and the mythology twist had my interest, Fates got both confusing and predictable, making the plot difficult to follow, but at the same time, unsurprising. It just all becomes so melodramatic, and the relationship between Corinthe and Lucas is just so expected. The book is full of cliche and insta-love and honestly I was pretty tempted not to even finish it at all, but I really hate leaving books unfinished especially when they aren’t very long. There’s a sequel, Chaos, coming out in January, but I’ve learned my lesson and I won’t be reading it.

SafekeepingSafekeeping by Karen Hesse* One of the books that first got me into reading young adult was Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, so I was definitely interested in picking up Karen Hesse’s novel Safekeeping if only for the fact that it was Anderson called it “a treasure”. Add in the fact that the book includes 50 photographs from Hesse and a bleak setting as the main character, Radley, treks across New England looking for her parents, and Safekeeping had my attention. It just didn’t really manage to keep it.

In Safekeeping, Radley flies home after the president is assassinated and the country is in turmoil, setting up for a desolate book where not much happens. Radley spends a lot of time walking to find her parents, but even afterwards, it felt like the book kept going aimlessly. The photos, which seemed like a cool idea, don’t really help, because although they are often in line with the mood, their actual imagery felt random or like it had been included as a forced afterthought, rather than a true inspiration. Safekeeping didn’t take long for me to read, and Hesse’s writing was poetic and lovely at times, but the actual story was meandering and I never truly felt an intense connection with the characters.

16069030The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski: I don’t read a lot of fantasy novels but I had heard how good The Winner’s Curse was so I decided to make an exception for the first book in this new trilogy. In it, Kestrel is the seventeen-year-old daughter of a General, living in an empire that conquers and enslaves, and she has two choices: join the military, or get married. She buys a slave, Arin, in an auction on instinct, and quickly finds her affection for him growing. But Kestrel isn’t the only one with a secret.

The relationship that grows between Kestrel and Arin feels so real and genuine, and I couldn’t help rooting for it. It also explores complicated issues because of the master-slave dynamic, and the fact that they each have their own responsibilities they take seriously. Rutkoski’s world-building isn’t incredibly elaborate, but everything feels real and easy to follow. I also just love how smart Kestrel is. Overall, The Winner’s Curse is intense and wonderful and all I can ask is, why isn’t it 2015 yet because want to read the sequel, The Winner’s Crime, already!

What have you been reading lately?

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