Grimm Chronicles: Vol I and II

Christine Haggerty captivated me a few years ago with her blog. Through that we actually became friends, creating a small writer’s cult. Or circle. I mean really cult or circle all depends on what you do with the candles.

Then I was awed by her amazing YA series, which is being revamped to not be YA. I was able to beta read the book, and it took my breath away. I’m excited for her adult version.

Then she joined with another friend’s publishing company, The Crimson Edge (which you should also check out for their line of fantasy goods). She popped out a series called the Grimm Chronicles. I had read some of her twisted fairytales long ago through her blog when we were mostly playing at being authors, and when I saw her at a writer’s conference I had to pick these up.

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The first is Pretty Things. It’s the Robber Bridegroom. If you haven’t read the story, I don’t want to ruin it for you. Ultimately, there is a young woman who likes to romp around with men. She upsets her dad who more or less auctions her off to whatever guy says “I do.” Moral of the story? Never give your daughter away to a boy you just met.

In One, Two Blood on My Shoe, we have a Hansel and Gretel retelling. You all know that story. There are significantly more twists in this, though, running off script. Which I think is good.

Pretty Things gave a slow start up, but a very satisfying middle and end. The flow was exquisite, the tension kept me reading, and it definitely delivered on Christine’s general push for dark fantasy, in which there is definite loss, and the loss shows that no one is safe.

One, Two Blood on My Shoes went much further into the dark nature of the Grimm tales, as well as Christine’s own imagination. I was gripped from the very beginning in a sorrowful story and wrung like dirty sheets as I continued to digest the tale. She does a great job on organic reveals throughout.

The only thing I’m sad about is waiting for the next book in the series. Either way, you should check out Pretty Things and One, Two Blood on My Shoes as soon as you can. They’re both exquisitely told, as Christine doesn’t give anything short than a horrifying classic when her words touch paper.

Book Reviews: Vivatera

 

I was in Utah a few weeks ago and learned a lot. Also met a lot of cool people. A new habit I wanted to form was doing regular book reviews. A cool person I met was Candace J. Thomas, author of Vivatera. And that’s how we reached this review.

Vivatera

I was standing in line for coffee talking with Candace who I met maybe five minutes earlier. I asked about her book.

Basically what I got out of it was magic was a virus, a curse, and your ghost sticks around after you die because it stains your soul. There was more, but that was basically all I needed. After that I bought both her books, Vivatera and Conjectrix. It is a series, with the third book on the way. The review for Conjectrix will come later.

I went to my hotel early, due to a late night, early flight, lots of flying, and a very busy day filled with information and networking. By nine I was in bed with Vivatera. By midnight I turned out my light. Bad Paul.

I devoured the book as it kept me in the pages.

The primary reason I stuck around in the beginning was due to strong syntax and diction. The book was descriptive and a fluid read through quality of craft instead of simplicity of language.

The pacing was unique to most modern fantasy. It was a little more drawn out, though not quite Tolkien level of drawn out. Strong structure, the mysterious hooks for the plot, and interesting characters led to the pacing being enjoyable, where usually I greatly dislike slow pacing.

Our protagonist, Naomi, has a fascinating mystery behind her as she’s wanted by a prince, captured by a boy, and has magical powers that are sought after.

She is an excellent vessel for the reader as we have no clue what’s going on in the world, and up until page three or so, she was just an honest working girl trying to help her adopted family get by. As the story progresses, she learns more and more of the greater world, along with watching her become more powerful in her own right, as she fights with an internal demon.

My only two complaints consist of sometimes the PoV switches weren’t smooth and the ending had a bit of a deus ex moment, just enough that you noticed the fingers of gods playing in mortal lives.

I got past both of these based on the quality of craft and the compelling story.

I give it a 8/10.

Ultimately, buy Vivatera for the strong writing, good characters, and compelling plot, along with a fresh re-imagining of magic in a fantasy world. Along with that, I can assure you Candace is pretty awesome. So buy her books.