Vale

STACEY L. PIERSON Stacey L. Pierson’s Vale is a YA paranormal murder mystery about a group of teens who are all hiding something regarding the disappearance of an old friend. The first thing that struck me about this book was the TV-script style of Stacey’s writing. It reads like I’m watching a television show; the layout, the immediacy of the writing, the fast pace, is all reminiscent of a TV show. And it works perfectly for the large cast.  The second thing that struck me was how well Stacey has characterized Vale High School. The High School itself feels like a living organism, as all the students are described in dispassionate terms of how they function in the school. And the school feels like it’s watching them. Lastly, I love how Charles’s epilepsy is drawn. Stacey has mentioned this aspect of the book is #ownvoices and it reads as an authentic portrayal. So many books that feature characters with disabilities or conditions [ . . . ]

The Rarkyn’s Familiar

BY NIKKY LEE I received a free ARC from the author and am leaving a voluntary review. Wow. What a ride this was. The Rarkyn’s Familiar by Nikky Lee is a YA: High Fantasy. It follows orphan, Lyss, who accidentally finds herself in a blood-pact with a beast from “the other world”: the rarkyn named Skaar. The magic bond she has with Skaar will drive her insane if she doesn’t find a way to break the pact.  First thing I want to clarify. I’ve heard this book being compared to Sarah J. Maas’s books. This is NOTHING like her books. The style, the content, the characters feel more in conversation with The Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan.  Now that’s out of the way…  The world-building is incredible. There’s so much history, lore and politics packed into 496 pages and a prose-style that zips along. Nowhere did I feel bogged down. And that’s amazing given Nikky Lee has created a made-up language, a foreign [ . . . ]