Book Review: The Queen’s Choice by Cayla Kluver

The Queen's Choice

Title: The Queen’s Choice (Heirs of Chrior Trilogy #1)
Author: Cayla Kluver
Genre: Fantasy, Fae, High Fantasy,  Young Adult
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: 28th January 2014
Pages: 500
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
My life is no longer mine to control. By a single deed, I have become something more than I wanted to be.

When sixteen-year-old Anya learns that her aunt — Queen of the Faerie Kingdom of Chrior — will soon die, her grief is equalled only by her despair for the future of the kingdom. Her young cousin, Illumina, is unfit to rule and Anya is determined not to take up the queen’s mantle herself.

Convinced that the only solution is to find Prince Zabriel — who long ago disappeared into the human realm of Warckum — and persuade him to take up his rightful crown, Anya journeys into the Warckum Territory to bring him home. But her journey is doomed to be more harrowing than she ever could have imagined…

My Review:

The Fae Queen is dying and wants her sixteen year old niece, Anya, to be her successor. Ruling her people is not something Anya thought she would be doing and instead decides to venture into Human lands and find her wayward cousin, the Queen’s half-human half-fae son and true heir to the Chrior throne, Prince Zabriel. Misfortune favours Anya as she journeys through the human realm of Warchum but she needs to complete her self-appointed mission before it’s too late for the Queen and her son to reconcile.

Anya is a very interdependent and strong young woman. Having to face horrors with an alarming frequency but somehow she manages to emerge slightly damaged but still with a fighting spirit. She’s gone though so much and despite having lost so much somehow she has even more taken from her. She does tend to feel sorry for herself at times and whilst it’s entrely understandable, it doesn’t make her the most enjoyable character to read. This story really gets going once Anya meets Shea. Shea is every bit as strong as Anya but without the street smarts and a little more naive about the darkness of human (and fae) nature. The camaraderie between the two was a pleasure to read and I loved how they supported each other.

There is a lot going on in this book. A gorgeous pirate and his mischievous crew, faeries with an innate connection to the elements, political unease between the Fae and Humans, an adventure and a quest and a lot of hidden motives. And I enjoyed reading Anya’s journey throughout the Human realm. However I almost didn’t finish this book. I was a hundred pages in and I didn’t feel a connection to the characters and found the book to be a little convoluted and monotonous. The writing is very descriptive but a little long-winded. This book would have benefited from being a little more direct and to the point. I’m so glad that I didn’t give up because after the first 20% this book is great. It’s still a little slow at times but the characters Anya meets on the way and the way events play out were well worth it. One thing that surprised me was how much I enjoyed the romance – or lack there of. Anya is betrothed to a lovely young fae man but it doesn’t overwhelm the story. This is not just a book about a girl choosing the man she wants to be with. It’s about so much more. Duty to one’s people and family. Risking everything to do what you believe is right. And to never give up no matter what hardships have been bestowed upon you.

I’ve not read a Cayla Kluver novel before but I am delighted to have finished the Queen’s Choice. There are twists I didn’t see coming and have me eagerly anticipating the next books in the series. I have so many questions but they are the good kind of questions where I can’t wait to see just where Kluver is going to take Anya, Zabriel and the unrest between the two realms next.

 Thanks to Harlequin Teen and for the review copy. 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Chance on The Mortal Instruments

Lately I’ve been on a bit of a The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare kick.

It’s never too late to start a new series and with the last book, City of Heavenly Fire, being released in May – there is still plenty of time to get up to date with this fantastic series before it ends.

I thought I’d share five reasons with you why I recommend this series.

 

The Creatures

Werewolves may be your thing. Or perhaps you like to read about vampires. It could be book with Fae in them are what you crave. With the Mortal Instruments series – you don’t have to choose. Vampires, Were and Fae all manage to co-exist in this world although not entire peacefully. And you also get an incredible type of mystical being called the Shadowhunters. They’re descendants of angels and they are essentially demon hunters. They have a magic of their own and are so very kick-arse.

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

City of Bones – the first book in the Mortal Instruments series

 

The Characters

It’s hard for me to pick a favourite because there are so many incredible characters in this series. The main character, Clary Fray, is learning about the Shadowhunters and all that goes bump in the night and as a reader we get to learn along with her. Her best friend Simon, a mundane, is by her side as they both discover that things were a lot simpler before they knew the stuff of horror films exists. All of the shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves, fae, mages (and even the mundanes) are great characters. I think every single person who appears in these books has their flaws. They are not perfect people. They are selfish and make mistakes but they adds to their realism and appeal.

Simon, Isabelle, Alec, Jace and Clary – the main characters of the series

The Plot

There’s a lot that goes on in these books. So much action and drama, romance and tragedy. But it is a series that feels planned. The surprises are shocking to me as a reader but I can tell that the authors knows exactly what she is doing. I’m eager to read on and see what is next for Clary and co. despite the pain and anguish Ms. Clare puts them through. I know that there is a lot more excitement ahead.

Valentine

He’s diabolical. He thinks his way is the right way and will stop at nothing till he gets what he wants. And somehow – despite how much I despise what he’s doing to my favourite characters he’s admirable with his abysmal and atrocious actions.

The Spinoffs

While the Mortal Instruments series might be coming to a close, it’s not the end if you want more Shadowhunters. There is a prequel series, The Infernal Devices, which already has three novels out and another spinoff called The Last Hours which is set in  Edwardian London and fin de siècle Paris and is set to publish in 2017.

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)

Clockwork Angel – the first book in the Infernal Devices series

There you have it. My five reasons why I love this series. I’d love to hear your reasons for enjoying Cassandra Clare’s writing or why you aren’t as much of a fan as I am.

Book Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Title: Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1)
Author: Kiersten White
Genre: paranormal romance, vampires, urban fantasy, werewolves, magic
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: October 2010
Pages: 320 pages
Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

My Review:

Evie is a very interesting character – she’s confident about her job but at the same time she’s just naive teenager trying to make her way in the world. Having lived inside the International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA) since she was a little girl, werewolves, vampires and fae are a part of her every day life. Her best friend is a mermaid and Evie is the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

Then one day everything changes. There’s a break in at the Agency and Evie comes face to face with a paranormal she’s never seen the likes of before. A shapeshifter who can take the form of any person or paranormal being. Good thing Evie can see though his shifts.

When paranromals are being murdered, a stranger mysterious shape changing boy infiltrating Evie’s thoughts and Evie’s abilities mutating – her life will never be the same. And to think – Evie thought the world was boring and would give anything to have a locker and go to Prom…

This book has a lot of promise. It’s a fun world where the fae are manipulative and somewhat sinister. Vampires are neither sophisticated nor do they sparkle. And werewolves are no more than the hired help who get furry once a month.

Evie is both jaded by the world she lives in and yet completely naive and excited by the mundane. I thought it was adorable that her favourite show was a Gossip Girl type teen drama. Who would have thought a girl could be so excited by school lockers and driver’s licenses! But whilst I adored the sweet side of Evie, I found her professional demeanour somewhat off-putting. With her trusty pink taser “Tasey” by her side, Evie felt way too immature and slightly irritating.

The shape shifting boy – Lend – was the stuff teenage dreams are made off. He was the prefect match for Evie. The other minor characters were interesting and I liked the small plot deviations they brought about. Vivian was vibrant and I can’t wait to see her in the future.

For a first book in a series – Paranormalcy does a great job at setting the scene. I loved the variety of creatures and how they interacted with each other – especially the Fae! I already have a copy of the second book, Supernaturally, and can’t wait to start reading.

 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 

Read as part of the:

Eclectic Reader Challenge (urban fantasy)

2013 TBR Reading Challenge