Reflections by Seanan McGuire

51php67m4il-_sx331_bo1204203200_Rating: 4 stars

Series: Indexing #2

“[F]airy tales are deadly, capable of rewriting reality in order to get what they want–and what they want is rarely good for anybody who’s not on the short list for a happy ending. Fairy tales are not for children, and they don’t care who dies. They never have.”

Fairy tales have a habit of endangering people. The people trapped in the narrative of some stories have to be locked away, so they don’t pose any danger to society. Obviously the people who are locked up don’t want to be. They didn’t ask to be part of a fairy tale; it was thrust upon them. For the first time ever, someone managed to break out of the special fairy tale jail, which shouldn’t have been possible.

I liked this better than Indexing. The storytelling improved greatly. Like Indexing, this was a serial where each chapter was released every two weeks. Seanan McGuire obviously learned how to use this format more effectively. The story was more cohesive and wasn’t as choppy. It jumped into the story right away.

Henry finally began to seem like a person beyond being born Snow White and being a workaholic. She does remind me of Toby Daye (the MC from another series by Seanan McGuire) because she is a hero type and runs head first into danger without considering the consequences. She’s way more bland than Toby although I liked her better in this. Sloane’s history was revealed! I fucking love her. She’s mouthy and bitchy in a manner that is more entertaining than obnoxious. Despite being an evil stepsister, she’s loyal to her friends. The friendship between Sloan and Henry is interesting. They should hate each other, but it’s an opposites attract type of situation. Aside from the two of them, the rest of their ATI crew is in dire need of character development. Some of them have funny lines every now and then, but they still don’t feel essential to the story.

The end left things open for another book. There wasn’t a cliffhanger, but not everything was thoroughly explained. What are the ramifications of the events that occurred? How will Sloan and Henry deal with what happened to them? I’m hoping there will be a third book eventually.

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Rose Petal Graves by Olivia Wildenstein

18611658-_sy540_Rating: 3 stars

Series: The Lost Clan #1

When Cat’s mom died unexpectedly, she went home for the funeral. She didn’t believe her mother’s death was as simple and innocent as it seemed. It didn’t take long for some bizarre things to start happening. She began to learn there may have been more truth to her mother’s supernatural beliefs than she ever could have imagined.

The story unraveled too quickly. Anytime something strange happened it was explained shortly after. It took away some suspense. I wasn’t compelled to keep reading to figure out what was going on. The only thing I was unsure of was who Cat could trust. She had two people telling her different things about the supernatural world, so it was important to trust the right person.

Cat was extremely cynical especially about anything supernatural. I liked her, but there was a hardness to her. She wasn’t rude but wasn’t warm and friendly either. It’s possible there could be a love triangle. Cruz who was new in town was interested in her, and so was her long time friend Blake. It may not evolve into a love triangle since Blake’s feelings weren’t reciprocated, but things could change at any time.

This was a short book. It did end on a cliffhanger. The worst part about the ending was how abrupt it was. It felt like it ended halfway through the book. Plenty was left unexplained, but too much was explained in this to make me anxious to read the next one.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Indexing by Seanan McGuire

17907054Rating: 3.5 stars

Series: Indexing #1

I’m not so sure what it was I had liked about this so much the first time I read it. I don’t think it’s bad, but it’s just not all that great either. The world building is where this story excels. Fairy tales are real. They can control people’s lives and dictate what they do. Most people don’t know fairy tales are real. They can be dangerous. To protect people, the ATI Bureau tries to prevent fairy tales from happening.

This was written as a serial, so it wasn’t as cohesive as Seanan McGuire’s other books. The first half was repetitive and slow moving. Henry’s team at the ATI Bureau investigated several fairy tales that were about to happen. It didn’t seem like the story was going anywhere for a while. Then fairy tales started going wrong, and they realized someone was behind it.

The romantic angle was extremely minor. It didn’t add anything to the story. If anything it felt out of place. There were two couples, but their feelings developed quickly with no build up. I’m guessing these relationships will have a bigger impact in the next book.

I loved the idea for this. The world was unique, but the characters needed some work. Except for Sloane, none of them had much personality. They were all boring office drone types. Sure everyone had some entertaining lines here and there, but it wasn’t enough to really make them stand out. Henry (short for Henrietta) was Snow White. Unlike most of the characters, she was willing to bend the rules, but she wasn’t bad ass because of it or anything. Jeff, Andy, and Demi were insignificant. They were mainly just there to fill a role.

Sloan kicked ass. She was a wicked stepsister. Evil was her second nature, and she constantly fought it although not always very well. She was the only character who was unpredictable. Her bitchy attitude was very entertaining. Although she was bitchy, she didn’t treat people like shit aside from being mouthy sometimes. She was bad but good underneath it all. It was her character that made this book worth reading.

Alice by Christina Henry

51r8cqtafyl-_sx330_bo1204203200_Rating: 5 stars

Series: The Chronicles of Alice #1

I never read Alice in Wonderland. I never particularly liked any of the movies either. For some reason I really wanted to read this, and I’m so glad I did. It was dark, disturbing, and gory. I loved it!

In this story, there is no Wonderland. Alice grew up in the New City where she was safe and protected. One day she went to the Old City where danger lurked around every corner. It was a hellish place particularly for women. The people who ran it were evil. Women were used in the most horrible ways. Things did not work out well for Alice in the Old City.

“Two weeks later came Alice, covered in blood, babbling about tea and a rabbit, wearing a dress that wasn’t hers. Red running down the insides of her legs and blue marks on her thighs where fingers had been.”

Memory loss and emotional trauma landed Alice in a mental institution. A relationship was developed with Hatcher, the guy in the room next to hers. A small hole in the wall made it possible for them to speak to each other. Hatcher had plenty of his own issues. He loved bloodshed and was far more insane than Alice. Despite everything Alice trusted him.

One day the opportunity arose for them to escape. They weren’t free or safe on the outside. There was no one to trust but each other. They were thrust into a world of magic where powerful people did whatever they wanted. Surviving meant being brutal.

I loved Hatcher although I’m not quite sure why. He was disturbed and unstable. Killing made him happy, and he had no qualms about doing it. Normally I wouldn’t ship a sociopath, but his love for Alice was endearing although completely unconventional.

“I won’t let anything happen to you, Alice. I will kill you before I let the Walrus or anyone else take you away from me.”

Sounds weird but that was a touching scene. The place they were in was so screwed up you wouldn’t want to live if you couldn’t be protected. Death was a far better fate than being at the mercy of those in charge.

Alice and Hatcher were different yet similar. They both had the will to live and were brutal when necessary, but Alice was able to empathize with other people in a way Hunter couldn’t. They were a good balance for each other. She grew emotionally and strengthened her abilities greatly by the end of the book.

The amount of bloodshed was astonishing. So much blood and gore. They were covered in blood for half of the book. I don’t remember the last time I read a book where so many people were killed. What was worse than the murders was the torture and rape many women were subjected to. None of it was described in extensive detail, but enough was known to be deeply disturbed by what was happening.

I loved the writing. The descriptions created interesting, creepy visuals in my head. Not everything was wrapped up in this book. Their journey isn’t over yet. I think there will be more in store for emotional and relationship growth with Alice and Hatcher. I can’t wait to read the next one!