If you ever tell me that Spooner and Kaufman are writing a book, you can bet your last dollar I will buy/read it. These two wrote the Starbound trilogy after all and I adored that series. I was super excited to get an ARC of this immediately started reading. It took me far longer to finish than it should have and I’ll explain why. This was an entertaining story but that was as far as it went for me.
This was pitched as Indiana Jones meets Lara Croft IN SPACE. Everyone lived in a time when aliens had made contact 50 years previous and invited people of Earth to visit their planet for treasures and knowledge. Nobody could resist that but it would not come without a cost. Mia was a smuggler on a mission to save her younger sister from a horrible life. Jules is the brilliant prodigy that was a linguist and the son of a famous scientist that swore that traveling to that planet would be a trap. Nobody listened so Jules was hellbent on restoring his father’s reputation. Together these two unlikely friends trudge forward to uncover untold secrets and mystery.
The first thing that stood out to me while reading this story was the overall plot. It is an entertaining concept but it was not delivered well. The “traps and tasks” sprinkled throughout this story are super weaksauce. They were supposed to be a bit part of the story but we were only given really small glances at what they were. Then, shortly after they were “discovered”, BOOM they were solved. magic… As the story progressed, the characters continued to solve these riddles but we were not ever told what they were. We read about it as the character said something like, “The day wore on and we solved several more puzzles, most were like the previous ones and easy to figure out.” UH, how about you let the reader know what they were like? Bring us along for the adventure, don’t just tell us that they were there. It made me feel disconnected from the story.
Let’s not overlook the characters and their involvement in this story. Mia and Jules were just okay characters. Neither one completely blew me away but they played their parts. One thing that really wore on me was the constant inner monologue these two characters had. They were constantly rehashing everything over and over and over throughout the entire book, as if reminding the reader of what took place just pages before. I get that Mia was worried about her sister but how can she progress as a character if all she does is repeat the same thoughts about her sister? The same goes with Jules. He tried to keep his identity a secret but you can’t expect me to believe a 17 year old boy is the master of nearly every language in the Universe and people won’t figure out who he really is? Talk about being convenient. Things for these two character just felt too convenient. They are stuck in a chamber and have no way out? BOOM. Mia can suddenly pick up on Latin and read tiles to figure a way out. They need to fill pipes with water so they can cross a dangerous bridge? BOOM. Mia just happened to have done this when she was younger and knows exactly what to do. I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes when that happened because it did not feel believable in this story.
Let us not overlook the romance we knew was going to bud in this story. It’s a trope that could not be ignored. Did I buy the developing romance? Not really. I didn’t feel the chemistry or connection between these two. The banter was just alright but would would have liked more. At the best of times it felt forced and awkward, like two teens meeting for the first time trying to be cool. It didn’t work for me.
This is a very short book yet it took me nearly a week to finish. Why? I never connected to what was happening. I wanted so much more from this story given Spooner and Kaufman’s track record with character development and engaging stories. Also, do not be fooled into thinking LaRoux doesn’t make an appearance in this story. Tie in, perhaps? Maybe we will see the ever lovely Lilac and my book boyfriend Tarver? Gosh, I hope so. That would be a story I would devour in a day. As it stands, I’m not sure if I’ll continue the series even though the ending was somewhat of a surprise.
It took me a lot longer than usual to pick up this story. Why? Because I didn’t want the story to end. I felt so much for Lilac and Tarver that I didn’t want to say goodbye to them. I had so many highs and lows with them throughout the first two books, that seeing how their story ends and knowing there would be no more books with them kind of broke my heart.
Their Fractured Light introduced the readers to the final set of starcrossed lovers: Gideon and Sofia. In true fashion, these two have a complicated relationship with so many secrets they are trying to keep. Gideon is an 18 year old computer hacking genius that works under another identity, one very well known and very much wanted by the authorities. There is no computer system that he cannot get in to. Sofia has an amazing charm and the ability to make people do whatever she wants them to. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the death of her father and is out for revenge. They are living in the aftermath of Flynn and Jubilee’s infamous Avon Broadcast. All eyes are on LaRoux Industries and during a botched security breach, Gideon and Sofia are forced to work together to escape. Neither trusts the other but they know they don’t have much of a choice. They quickly learn that their best chance of exposing LRI may be by working together and revealing who they really are.
There is not much I didn’t absolutely love about this story. Gideon and Sofia had a beautifully complex relationship. These two characters came from different backgrounds so their individual experiences played a factor in the fact they were hesitant to trust each other. These two spent nearly the first half of the book trying to ignore their feelings for one another, and that was kind of adorable. The wit and sarcasm that came from Gideon’s character made me want to be friends with him in real life. Sofia was so guarded yet so smart that nothing got past her. They were so different yet so much alike and they worked.
I actually wanted to be friends with all of these characters in real life. They all were so wonderfully intense and fierce that they made me believe they could be real people. The way they all came together in the end, the way they were all connected was something that gave me gooseflesh. It is rare for that to happen to me when reading a book but Kaufman and Spooner just have that magic working for them. I read this hot on the heels of the first two books so things were fresh for me. I am glad I did it that way because the second time around… things made more sense. I still wanted more Tarver (WHO DOESN’T?!) and more of all of them. They were just such great characters that it hurts my soul a little to not be a part of their story anymore.
The ending of this book had me in freaking tears. I was crying in public for how everything came together and ended the way that it did. Lilac and Tarver, Flynn and Lee, Gideon and Sophia. All of these characters, along with their stories, brought me to freaking tears. I know that my feels will never, ever be the same. I will always have a special place in my heart and in my library for these books and characters. This is a series I will happily reread and read it as if it is the first time I’m being introduced to these characters. I hope you know I’m not going to give anything away but know THAT YOU HAVE TO READ THIS SERIES. Please, give it a chance. It is an emotional ride that you want to be a part of.
I didn’t know I had been waiting so long for a book like this until I read it. Beauty and the Beast has been my favorite fairy tale for as long as I can remember so I was cautious when I started this. Would Meagan Spooner do the story justice? Will the emotions for the story still be there? Will I be able to escape into this world? The answer to all of these questions: YES.
Yesa, whose actual name is Beauty, is her father’s daughter. She was taught by him to know how to handle herself in the woods. When she was young, Yesa’s father moved Beauty and her sisters away from the woods into the city in hopes of bettering their lives. Everything changes when her father loses the family’s entire fortune and they are forced to leave the city to live in a small shack in the woods. Yesa and her sisters are not overjoyed at the idea of living in the woods but they will make the best of it. Yesa’s father is determined to make things right by paying back the money he lost by selling the kills he will make in the woods. Everything goes from bad to worse when Yesa’s father does not return from the woods after a day of hunting. Everyone is afraid he has gone mad in the woods and something horrible has happened to him. Yesa knows she is the only one that can survive the woods and hunt down the monster that her father was originally tracking. Yesa quickly discovers that this monster is not an ordinary beast, it is so much more and it will change Yesa’s life forever.
If Spooner can do one thing it is weave a magical tale that will take a hold of you and never let go. This story sucked me in from page one. This was not the Disney-version I was used to. Instead, this tale was more based on the Rus/Russian folk tale using the Gray Wolf/Ivan myth. I was not as familiar with this version but quickly found it was just as encompassing as I had hoped it would be. It felt like a new spin on an old story. The world building of the woods, Beast’s castle, and the characters/animals within were enchanting. When Beauty/Yesa is locked in the dungeon after being captured, I could have sworn I felt the cold seeping from the brick walls. It was all so vivid that I often felt I was right there with the characters. That was impressive.
The characters of this story were brilliant. I felt as if every single one of them had a very distinct voice and personality. That goes for the mythical characters as well. Beauty/Yesa was so well developed. She acted and moved like a true woodsman hunter. When she finally comes into contact with Beast, their interactions were fluid. It seemed their banter came easily. Beast was used to getting his way and Beauty was just as stubborn. Beauty’s true strength came out more when she was fighting to stay alive in the dungeon. She fights every single day because knows she has to get through it in order to avenge her father and return to her sisters. Throughout the story Beauty seemed torn between saving herself and taking care of her family. She wants to save everyone but she knows that is not an option. The love and respect she had for her sisters was breathtaking. Beast’s character was so intriguing. Very little is given away in the early part of the story. You know he is a threat and very dangerous, but not where he comes from. Slowly his story comes out and you start to see him in a different light. You start to realize that he really isn’t as bad as he was made out to be. But throughout that, you want to see if these characters continue to grow and develop with every passing challenge.
I’m really, really trying hard to not give too much away with this story. I hope that everyone is excited for this release and will give it a chance. I enjoyed this book so much that I feel I am struggling to express myself properly. It is so full of magic, fantasy, adventure, family, relationships, sacrifice, self discovery, legends, myths, and more! Please, add it to your TBR if it isn’t already. Everyone needs to read this story.
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!
This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:
The Hunted by Meagan Spooner
“Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.
So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.
Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?”
How excited are you for a Beauty and the Beast retelling? I KNOW I AM!