So, this is a series about four families who were cursed by a witch centuries ago and now a family member is chosen every year to face the witch. The family member is chosen by receiving a music box. The members of each of the four families that are chosen then have to hike through the ancestral woods of the witch (and the families) to search for keys and to lock the music boxes. If they don’t find their keys, a demon will escape and they’ll be tormented forever.
So, the premise was good. The main characters we’re likable. The villains were villainous. This was a fun little read to prepare for spooky season. But each of the novellas ended quite abruptly. I suppose we could call them cliffhangers, but it didn’t feel cliffhangery. It felt unfinished. This was a little disappointing because there were storylines I would have liked to know a bit more about.
I would read more by this author (or more in the Scare Street series… if only because I love that they’re knock-offs of Fear Street) but I’m in a hurry to do so.
So, 6/10. Entertaining and quick but nothing that will really stick with me.
For anyone who has seen Encanto will find many of the stories themes familiar. Especially from the beginning. It starts with the Matriarch of the family, Orquidea Divina invited her family back to her magical home for her death. The Montoya’s grew up in her home that always had everything they needed and they never questioned it. When they arrive, things are a miss and her death doesn’t go as planned but family pulls together to send her off. Orquidea was a complicated woman, like most people are but even more so to her family. She was a loving woman who gave all to her family but she was also very secretive and leaves the family reeling if they even knew here. Marimar, her granddaughter in particularly has some feelings about her Grandma. As does her cousins, Ray and Tatinelly. Seven years after her death, they are forced to go to Ecuador where Orquidea was born to discover her past to save their futures. Its basically a story of family trauma and family healing. Again, a lot like Encanto.
That’s where the comparisons end though. This story goes back and forth and the “present day” and the Orquidea’s past. Both storylines entwine to tell the story of Orquidea and the Montoya’s. Before she passes, she tells her family that she can’t tell them who is coming for them and they must find who. Marimar is to me the main character. She inherited the house and rebuilds. I feel like she is the one that is most connected to her. She goes through the wringer in this book but really comes out of it better. She is quite a extraordinary person. She starts out to be very guarded and for awhile she really starts to shut herself off. It’s her way of protecting herself but when tragedy strikes the family and she has to move, she does. It’s really through her eyes that we get to know Orquidea and the Montoya’s family and who they were and what they will become. So, if you like magical realism and Encanto, I think you will like this book too.
I mentioned earlier that I was surprised to find out this book was a trilogy because I thought it wrapped up pretty nicely in the last book. They found Toby, the missing Hawthorne. Avery had picked between Jameson and Greyson but I guess her year wasn’t quite over yet and hadn’t officially inherited the Hawthorne fortune yet and I guess we still hadn’t found it why she was picked. Well all of that was answered and some of it was good and some of it was okay. The fast pace nature of the story telling is still there. The puzzles were more complicated and we have a new antagonist to play against. Tobias Hawthorne was an asshole but I can’t imagine anyone who accumulated that much wealth is a decent person. What he did to Avery is kinda cruel but I do like what she did with the money at the end. How people can play with other people’s lives like this is just horrible? I get that in his way, he was protecting his family but at Avery’s expense. Anyway, Avery got the upper hand so good for her. The Hawthorne brothers got the closure and healing they needed though I do hope they all are in therapy after all of this. And I like how it’s been left open for future books if the author ever wants to return to. So yes, this was a fun mystery series. I highly recommend it.
Ning is on the run with the Princess and the banished Prince has taken over power. Ning knows who is responsible for the poisoned tea across the country but since she has been branded as the enemy of the state she doesn’t have many allies. So she goes with Princess Zhen to find solutions. Meanwhile, Kang wants desperately to get his father’s approval but he also can see that some things are a miss. They soon discover a magical conspiracy centuries in the making and only Ning’s Shennong-shi powers can save them. I like this. I thought it was a good sequel to the first book. I’ll admit, I wasn’t quite in love with Kang’s POV as much as Ning’s but it was necessary for us to know what was going on in the capital since Ning was no longer there. I love Ning’s strength and self doubt. She was real She is dealing with other worldly powers and she isn’t even a trained Shennong-shi but she persevered through it. Her sister, Shu was a welcomed addition to the story and I adored Princess Zhen and Ruyi’s relationship. So, if you are looking for a fantasy that is not based on western mythology or world building. I highly recommend this series.
I like this book but it was a bit too long. So Alessa is the only standing between her people and the threat of the Gods. All She has to do is find a partner to help fight them with her but she already married and buried three partners so far and time is running out. And then there is a new threat of fundamentalist who believe that she is more of a threat then savior and is trying to kill her. So she hires Dante to be her bodyguard. Of course they fall in love and of course he is not what he seems. He has a dark secret. Okay, this is right up my alley and I was loving it but She finds a partner to fight the bad guys and there are still 100 pages left and it starts to drag on. Which was a shame because it really started to take me out of the narrative and I started to get disinterested. When the ending came, I was more relieved then anything else. I’m still going to read the sequel because I’m curious to see how they resolve the cliffhanger but I hope the pacing will be better.
I don’t know why I have waited so long to read or at least listen to his book. It’s just a fun world that Neil Gaiman has created. We have Dream. A cranky, emo boy who gets himself kidnapped and then has to rebuild his world and meet the most interesting and somewhat unhinged characters. Even though some of the stories are short and at times not connected to each other it was still a lot of fun. The audio production with voices of James McAvoy, Kat Dennings and Michael Sheen really brings out the story and brings even more life to the story.
I think I what I liked the most about the story is how messing Morpheus is. For a being that is eons old. He has no idea about who people are or who he is either. He has a long history of falling in love with human history only to spurn them when they don’t reciprocate his feelings or do as he wishes. The most egregious example is the story of Nada, an African Queen. They fall in love but when Nada realizes who he is and how impossible their relationship would be tries to break up with him and eventually kills herself. Upset that she choose to end her own life instead of being his Queen, he condemns her to torture in hell. For Thousands of years she suffers and he still feels that she wronged him until he is finally called out by his own family and he goes to free her. Speaking of her family, the Endless are the dysfunctional family we all love. They equal parts love each other as much as they hate each other. While they support they also scheme against each other and it’s fun. Not to human characters who get stuck in the middle but for us as readers. Desire, doesn’t have a big of a role so far as I thought they would but they are a treat all the less. They like the drama and I’m here for it. So yes, I do hope that Audible releases a volume 3 soon because I do love listening to it.