Tag Archives: mind control

The Diviners by Libba Bray

5 Nov

Remember way back when I said I was super duper beyond excited to read Libba Bray‘s The Diviners? Well, that happened, and it was awesome. So awesome that when I left my library copy at home when I left to fly to New York I bought my own copy from the airport bookstore. Yes. I dug it so much that I couldn’t stand not being able to read it for a week and spent actual dollars on it.

In a town house at a fashionable address on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, every lamp blazes.

It’s the roaring twenties, and free-wheeling modern gal Evie O’Neill has been sent from small town Ohio to New York City to live with her uncle while a scandal she was involved in cools down. You see, Evie has a gift which allows her to see into people’s pasts by touching something that belongs to them and, being the attention-hog that she is, sometimes she hits the sauce a little too hard and whips out her gift, exposing secrets better left buried. Unfortunately for Evie (and fortunately for the reader!) Evie doesn’t have much hope of hiding her gift when she’s living with her uncle, curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult (i.e., the Museum of Creepy Crawlies) and the city is being haunted by Naughty John, a muy muy loco serial killing spirit made manifest by a poorly-timed Ouija game (yes! yes really! I love you, Libba Bray). Evie isn’t the only gifted teen being drawn into the supernatural maelstrom that is enveloping New York; as their stories begin to entwine, it becomes clear that Naughty John’s gruesome murders are just a small slice of a greater evil that is approaching and luring in the Diviners, one by one.

God, where to start. OK, how about this: I FREAKING LOVED THIS BOOK. It was one of those stellar bits of paper and glue that I couldn’t stop gushing about to everyone who had the misfortune of talking to me for more than two minutes. It has everything: mystery; plucky, dynamic characters; seriously SCARY parts (I actually had nightmares); and some VERY slow burning and STEAMY romance. And. AND. It’s Libba Bray, and she is one of my particular favorite writerly flavors.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

23 Aug

When he grabs Mama’s wrist and yanks her toward the wall-hanging like that, it must hurt.

Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away I was a naive library school student doing my practicum in New York Public Library’s amazeballs Teen Central. During a discussion of what to recommend to teen girls to get them reading about strong female leads rather than dippy, self-loathing Bella, the lovely librarians of Teen Central introduced me Kristin Cashore‘s Graceling Realm.

For the uninitiated, and because this is the third book in the sequence (though the second book, Fire, takes place before Graceling or Bitterblue), let me try to do a brief summation: gracelings are people born with preternatural abilities.  Leck, who features in all three novels and is one of the most terrifying literary figures I have ever encountered, ruled the kingdom of Monsea for decades without anyone knowing he was graced. You see, Leck had the ability to control minds, to make people believe everything he said to them. He manipulated their memories and their free will just to please his psychotic whims until Katsa, the heroine of Graceling (graced super power: survival and general badassery) threw a dagger through his open mouth and killed him (holler!), thereby rescuing his young daughter, Bitterblue, and liberating Monsea from a sadistic tyrant.

Bitterblue is the story of the eponymous young queen, now eighteen, who inherited her psychopathic father’s throne after Katsa assassinated him. Stifled by her four overprotective advisers (who are all suffering from varying degrees of PTSD, I should add) and wanting desperately to help her kingdom move forward from its collective trauma but feeling woefully out of touch with the reality of her city,  Bitterblue makes like a teenager, disguises herself as a commoner, and sneaks out at night. She spends evening after evening in her city’s storyhouses, listening to tales of her father’s tyranny and her friends’ heroism. She meets two young men, Teddy and Saf, a printer and a thief,  and as their friendship develops a conspiracy begins to unfold that threatens her life, her kingdom, and the healing it so desperately needs.

Continue reading