Review: Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire

Sparrow Hill Road (Ghost Roads, #1)Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

[Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley for review purposes.]

I have only discovered Seanan McGuire in the last year, but boy howdy has she quickly become one of my favorites. I am not usually into ghost stories because, well, they freak me out. But this sounded so interesting, I couldn't help myself.

The notes at the end mention that this book was originally a series of short stories and then turned into the novel it is now. Which makes the book make a little more sense in my head. Instead of a linear narrative, it moves around in history through Rose's time as a ghost, and tells what seem to be unrelated stories (but which connect, somehow, in the end). Rose is an interesting character. She died at age 16, and has never aged, but when I read her voice she sounds much older. Much harder. Of course, she would have to be to survive as a road ghost, a hitcher.

Rose's path is fascinating, not only to see how she will help those she's sent to help, but also how she may fail them. Even for a ghost there are still dangers, and if she doesn't want to be wiped away, she needs to abide by the rules and keep an eye out for Bobby Cross. And there are a lot of rules, which show up at different points. The narrative takes the form almost as a field guide to being a hitcher, which kept me reading even when it got a little creepy. I liked some of the vignettes more than others, but the one that really got to me was at the end, with Gary.

Knowing that this is book 1 of 2, I can forgive the ending not being a complete wrap-up. There are loose ends left, which I was hoping meant there would be a sequel. I wasn't quite ready to put Rose down, even though the book was very packed and dense. I'm looking forward to reading The Girl in the Green Silk Gown when it's released later this year.

Highly recommended to fantasy and ghost fanatics alike. I loved Rose and her story, and can't wait to dive deeper into her "life" as a ghost.

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Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a KingdomTo Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

[Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley for review purposes.]

Waffling between 3 and 4 stars, but giving 4 because I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

*****SEMI-SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT*****

Despite being completely predictable, it still managed to have enough action and suspense to carry it. I do think that too much time was spent in the various stops along the way and not enough time actually on the mountain, but if there had been more pages devoted to the mountain then the book would have ended up too long for my liking.

There is a lot to like here - a reworking of siren mythology; two protagonists who learn enough through their journeys that they realize they don't want to be who they were anymore; an interesting same-sex marriage of royals; and pirates. I wasn't surprised by much, but it was fun all the same.

If I were to criticize this book in any significant way, it would be the chapters. They were written from either Lira's or Elian's perspective. Most of the time you don't know who is speaking for a few sentences or even paragraphs. One chapter it took an entire page before it was revealed which perspective it was from. It would have been much more helpful (and left me much less confused) if the narrator's name were in the heading of the chapter. I also thought that some of the action was a bit too drawn out - it felt like I was reading and watching it in slow motion, when it was supposed to be moving along a lot faster.

Overall, a pretty good book. Predictable but interesting. I liked the way we get to watch redemption progress. And I'm a sucker for a happy ending.

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Review: Dance of Thieves by Mary Pearson

Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson My rating: 5 of 5 stars I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley for review purposes. ...