One of the few times when the phrase “shocking conclusion” has merit. This series has only grown more intricate, and with this, the finale to the trilogy, we are steeped in the realm of nightmare. Having Mara locked and restrained in a psychiatric institute, drugged repeatedly against her will, with no one believing the truth, is all very dark and makes for tough reading. The story does not stay in the darkness indefinitely, but it remains harrowing and intricately plotted. I recommend it, since I was unable to put it down, but this is among the darkest YAs I’ve ever read. Recommended for 17 and up, due to sex, violence, and nightmare fuel.
This fantasy is the first of a trilogy, but I found out, too late, that it is deep in an ongoing series. This makes it tough going early on, as you try to figure out who everyone is and learn about this firmly established world. But once all is established, the story leaps forward and doesn’t let go, focusing simultaneously on a quest for long-hidden magic and on the defense of a mostly-abandoned keep. There is a steampunk feel to the piece, with a medieval high-fantasy setting and airships flitting about.
Author Brooks has his world well in hand, and the POVs from multiple characters ring true. I’m hooked enough to keep going on this trilogy, and will consider starting from the beginning of this world’s series at a later date. For 16 and up, due to violence.
his YA series has grown much darker in this second novel in the series. 17-year-old heroine Mara Dyer remains an unreliable narrator as her life seems to crumble around her. With this novel, the series takes a leap into suspense, almost into horror.
Mara and her boyfriend Noah are part of the “kids against the world” trope, but it’s made much more realistic than usual, since none of the adults in her world believe her because she’s mentally ill. Is she really hallucinating? Has she made it all up? Or is she being gaslighted by parties unknown? Since the narrative is first person, we don’t know those answers either, and we feel the tension and fear along with Maya. For age 17 and up, due to sex, violence and the fear factor.