Vampire Academy Spin-Off Countdown plus a Contest to Win a Meeting with Stephenie Meyer...

1:22 PM 1 Comments A+ a-

First things first, the countdown for Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy spin-off series, Bloodlines, has been announced and there's even a countdown website for the late August publication date.

At our library, we are waiting with bated breath for this series to come out.  With Rose's story pretty much concluded, all the VA fans at our school are excited at the idea of Adrian's story continuing, with particular affection for Sydney as the narrator. Here's a video of Richelle Mead talking about the new series.  Last Sacrifice was brilliantly written (it is the best ending to a series I've read in a while, and everyone knows how much I enjoyed Melissa Marr's ending to the Wicked Lovely series!) as it left enough of an opening for the future series.  While our favorite characters may not be the protagonists any longer, the political and personal situation surrounding Lissa is so frought with tension and conflict that it's easy to see how Mead could continue that world in her usual page-turning way. 

Has anyone ever read Stephenie Meyer's "blog"?  It's deserving of quotes, because she clearly doesn't write it herself - it's merely a vehicle for her publicist to make unexciting announcements every three months or so.  But every now and then you'll get a good tidbit of information, and this latest one is a jewel.  Meyer is quoted in the release as saying that the thing she really misses is how on her first book tour for Twilight, prior to its phenomenon status (back when it was mostly *cough* cool librarians and booksellers promoting it to patrons) she would connect with 10 or 20 people in a bookstore and really get to know them.

Along those lines, and due to the release of the Meyer-endorsed, The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide, her publishers are offering a contest - to win a meeting with Stephenie Meyer (a total of seven people from all over the world)!  You can enter at the official Twilight Saga website and one person will be chosen from the United States and one from Canada.  Other lucky individuals will be selected from the contests based out of other countries publishing her book (like Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom).  I've never jumped on the anti-Twilight backlash wagon because 1) I like the books because they are romance novels, people, 2) I didn't watch the movies because I know that these actors wouldn't pull it off, and 3) 99% of the people who say they "hate those books" actually have never read them.  So I'll totally be entering to win - I have some very nice things to say to her and lots of questions to ask!

Book Review - Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr is as Magical as her Faeries...

12:09 PM 2 Comments A+ a-

You might remember that I spent an inordinate amount of space kvelling about Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series - five amazing books about both mortal and faerie characters that are like nothing I've read before.  Melissa Marr has the ability to draw out adult emotions and themes from her young characters (perhaps drawing upon their proximity to the ancient ages of her faeries for this process), so these books are mature for a teen audience and highly appealing to adults.  Fantasy, romance, and action (there's a lot of great fighting) admirers will each find something to love about these books.  Imagine my delight when Melissa Marr read my previous review and offered to include me on the list of a traveling ARC of the final book, Darkest Mercy!  Color me there.  I started shrieking in the library when it arrived and I decorated the envelope for the next person today with all kinds of colored markers, etc.  It should be pretty on the outside when you get such a present, right?

Previously, the books focus on specific characters and their relationships to one another, with the first couple of books focusing on two mortal girls (who are also good friends) and their tangled lives with the faeries thrust in their path. In Darkest Mercy, the power balance between the various courts, the Summer Court, the Winter Court, the Dark Court and the High Court, is called into question as Bananach becomes more powerful, spreading war and violence in her wake. 

It's hard to say "coming of age" novel when several of your main characters are hundreds of years old, but there was a quality like that in this wonderful series conclusion.  Each character seems to find a away to understand and access their true power and as a result are able to affect the change they feel necessary to save their world.  Each character has doubts about themselves, but they manage to overcome their fears to do what they think is right, no matter what the cost.  While filled with battle and gore for the most bloodthirsty action reader, this book still insists on displaying the power of true love, not only for one individual but also for a people or a world.

Which brings me to the non-spoilery verdict - this book manages to tie up multiple storylines without giving you the feeling that Melissa Marr has wrapped all her plots and characters up with a tidy but unrealistic bow, something I think only a very talented writer can manage.  You feel a sense of strong resolution at the end of the novel (yet the worlds and questions continue - I can definitely see room for a spin-off series, should she decide she can't stay away from her characters) but nothing feels contrived or forced.  My only disappointment was not seeing Devlin or Ani, but it's natural they wouldn't be there since their destiny was fulfilled in the last book, Radiant Shadows

This is a fabulous, fabulous conclusion to one of the best faerie series out there!! Great job, Melissa!!!