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Redemption by Veronique Launier April 29, 2012

Posted by echslibrary in Not held at East.
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This is an ARC and will be published in September 2012.

Redemption combines Native American and French Canadian cultures in a paranormal way.  Guillaume (no idea how to pronounce this name) is a gargoyle, but not in the sense that we know gargoyles.  Apparently hundreds of years ago a tradition began where witches “made” gargoyles to protect them.  In exchange for their protection, the witches kept the gargoyles alive by providing them with an “essence”.

Guillaume and his “dad” and two “brothers” were awakened by Odd.  Her real name is Aude, pronounced Ode.  Guillaume follows her to get to know her and find out how she awakened him.  They become close friends and through a Native American water drumming class are able to find a Shaman who is able to answer lots of their questions.

There are some great twists and turns in this book.  I’m not sure if it’s a stand alone or the first in a trilogy.  The book ended in a way that left it open for either one.  I liked how Odd accepted her role in the book with an amazing amount of grace.  It was like all her questions about herself were finally answered.  She almost seemed relieved.  Once she was able to let go of herself, she really opened up to her heritage.  I liked Guillaume, but would have liked to learn more about him as a person/gargoyle throughout history instead of one instance they kept focusing on, but if it’s a trilogy maybe we’ll get more of him.

Some technical criticism: I know this is an ARC, but it didn’t say uncorrected proof.  I found tons of grammatical errors in this book.  At one point, Kateri’s name is spelled wrong.  “Alright” is not academically accepted and it is used in this book hundreds of times.  The uses of “I” vs “me” need to be evaluated throughout the book as well.  There were several times they were used incorrectly.  I think with a couple of good grammar edits, the book will be much better.  Because I am a self proclaimed grammar witch, grammatical mistakes jump out at me and I have a hard time enjoying the story.

I would recommend this book to students who enjoy paranormal and Native American history.  It took several chapters to connect with the characters, so I will have to encourage students to keep reading through that because the book gets much better midway through and until the end.

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Skylark by Meagan Spooner April 26, 2012

Posted by echslibrary in Not held at East.
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I will start by saying I will definitely recommend this books to students who enjoy dystopian and/or fantasy and/or paranormal books.  This book touches on all three.  I enjoyed the book immensely.

However, I felt like something was missing.  I don’t know exactly what was missing, but some sort or prologue that introduced a bit more of why that society is like it is would probably fill in that hole.  Lark’s knowledge of her society is certainly lacking, but I realize that’s partly because no one is really told what is going on behind the magic.  But as a reader, I expect to know a little more than the characters do.

As far as plot, I enjoyed the unique twist about Oren.  The magic Lark has reminds me of a couple of other characters in YA books I have read, but her type is just different enough to make her stand out among magic-users.  The fact that she really doesn’t have much to keep her in the City is the biggest driving force to her journey and while a bit sad to think about, I am excited for what will happen in her future journeys.  I only hope that she does find Basil and there is a happy reunion for her.

Skylark is a standout when it comes to a strong female heroine and her innate desire to do right, even though doing right means she must fight the system, both literally and metaphorically.  Meagan Spooner has certainly crafted a tale that morphs past, present, and future societies into one beautiful, horrible time.  It is all three rolled into one, with glimpses of all three tenses in every scene.  The attention to detail is amazing and Spooner leaves nothing lacking in her description of each scene, down to the shimmer of magic.

I give this book 4.25 stars out of 5 and like I said before, I will definitely recommend this to my students.