A DEADLY EDUCATION
This novel is what you get when you mix Hunger Games and Harry Potter together. In fact, I could easily imagine that as the actual pitch for A Deadly Education. So if that combination sounds fascinating to you, you will likely enjoy this one!
The protagonist of this book, Galadriel (or El for short), is a student in a deadly, underground school where all the lessons are taught without teachers and monsters literally crawl up from cracks and lower floors in an attempt to eat the students who radiate power and magic. The students band together in alliance groups resembling raiding guilds or fellowships in order to have the power needed to survive their graduation day—when they’ll be forced to fight their way free from the school.
The writing style is a little more YA than Novik’s previous books, a style more in-line with recent series that have been incredibly popular. This comes from the easy, chatty first person point-of-view, her limited scope, and occasional unreliability as she views herself as a loner in the beginning and has to learn to truly understand the other students around her. There’s a lot of coming to terms with reaching out socially, seeking help when needed, as well as being willing to give of oneself in order to help the group as a whole in order to see wider success.
Please Note: there was some controversy over the use of the word dreadlocks in relation to being dirty and this is most definitely a line that is unsightly in the novel, however, the author has come out with an apology and future runs will not have the comment.
THE LAST SMILE IN SUNDER CITY
Want a little noir in your urban fantasy detective fiction? How about a lack of magic in your fantasy? In Sunder City, we have a bleak protagonist by the name of Fetch who doesn’t work for humans and, quite frankly, isn’t the best at taking care of himself either. But some of that is to be expected given his history and the recent destruction of all magic. Creatures and races that had once flourished have now become frail echoes of what they’d once been. The world has been upset in an awful fashion and Fetch is just doing what he can to help, even when nursing hangovers.
This novel is told in a present timeline with Fetch being hired to investigate a disappearance. As he goes about his investigation, the reader is treated to snippets of his history, of the world Fetch had lived in before the magic had been erased from existence. There’s a real loss of hope in this novel, a sinking feeling that permeates you as you read, a sense that no matter what Fetch does, it won’t make much difference, not to the people who need it most.
And yet, this isn’t a hopeless story, because Fetch is still going, still moving forward in the only way he knows how. And the rest of Sunder City is doing the same, some more successfully than others. You discover the answer to a couple mysteries by the end of this novel. You also get a beautiful sense that things can get better, that no matter how bad the world is, there are always ways to change the narrative, change the scene and move forward.
Posted in Recommendation
Tagged adventure fantasy, book, detective, fantasy, fiction, luke arnold, noir, novel, prose, reading, urban fantasy