Firethorn Chronicles

I’ve been really lucky with the fairy tale retellings – most of them have been very good, a couple have been great. But luck doesn’t last forever. I just read a couple that were disappointing.

The Firethorn Chronicles by Lea Doue are set in a land with dragons and sorcery. Sounds promising, right? Here’s what the description says:

“The Firethorn Crown, a re-imagining of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” is the first in the Firethorn Chronicles, a series of stand-alone novels inspired by fairy tales and other stories. Follow the sisters on their adventures in a land where sorcery is feared, women can rule, and dragons fly.”

The dragons that I encountered in the two books I read ranged from the size of a bird to large stone dragons. Both cool, but not exactly impressive. That’s kind of where I am with these books. The first is a retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses. Princess Lily is the oldest and for some strange reason, her mom is intent on announcing her engagement as soon as the king goes out of town. That’s never really explained either. There’s several suitors, a bunch of sisters, and an evil-ish sorcery type guy who places a curse on Lily.

You can tell how much I liked it it, right? It just didn’t make as much sense as it should have, but I thought that maybe I had just been in the wrong mood and I should give the author another chance. I did like the dragons. So I tried the next book, The Midsummer Captives. This one was based loosely on A Midsummer’s Night Dream and brought back the same evil-ish sorcerer. This time it’s Princess Gwen who gets tangled up in events and is trapped by the stone dragons I mentioned earlier. But the plot is just as confusing and if the antagonist is better characterized, there’s not enough description of anyone else to make them stand out. I won’t be reading more by this author.

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Creepy YA Horror!

Title: Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, Book 1

Author: Candace Robinson

Setting: Texas, present day and inside the vault

Deer Park, Texas isn’t unusual, except for two things – people have been disappearing, and there’s a new museum in town. Perrie Madeline doesn’t think the two are connected until her cousin gets a job at the new museum and never comes home. Then her ex-boyfriend goes missing. Perrie decides if the police can’t put a stop to this, she’s going to look for them. Only her new friend August believes her, and pretty soon, the two of them are trapped inside the vault.

I got this book for free from the author, which was extremely nice, because I hosted the  Mega Blitz Launch Party Giveaways. I was intrigued by the story and wanted to read more, but also, I admit it, I was mesmerized by that cover. Can you blame me? It’s really something! As you might guess, this has got elements from several fairy tales or folk tales in here. There’s Snow White, Rapunzel, Three Billy Goats Gruff, and then Jack the Ripper. It’s creepy and violent, not your typical YA retelling. Those are generally sweet Happily Every After type story. This is really, really not.

I did enjoy this book, and I give Robinson credit for embracing the horror element. I mean, she didn’t tiptoe around it. The ending is bloody, that’s for sure. But I think in the end, it wasn’t really a good fit for me. For that reason, I’m not going to rate it. I admire her; I think she took some risks with this book and I hope they pay off for her. If you’re into horror, give this one a try. It’s something different and I hope you like it.