We're entering the second month of 2013, and so far nothing tragic has happened (as far as I know). January has always been a dark, uneventful, and overall boring time for me - nothing happens! - but it's also an excellent reading month, especially since I don't have to think about college anymore (yay!). So, here are the best books The Reading Hedgehog and I read through this chilling, wet, and depressing month!
Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale (4/5)
The sequel to Princess Academy, this book was every bit as good as the first. It was also completely different. Miri finds herself caught up with revolutionaries, which deliberately and cunningly echoes the French Revolution, and we Readers are swept up in one smashing adventure. Filled with all of the characters we remember and love so well from Princess Academy, and some new faces, Palace of Stone offers a wide range of characters, action, court intrigue, a little romance as Miri struggles between her love for Peder and her fascination with the radical Timon, and a conclusion that will leave Readers simply thrilled. Girl-read, any age, recommended to fans of Shannon Hale's books, especially Princess Academy.
Jepp, Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh (4/5)
A thrilling new historical fiction novel, Jepp, Who Defied the Stars is a deep look at the lives of court dwarves in the sixteenth century, as well as a coming-of-age story and discovering one's identity and place in the world. Jepp is an easily liked protagonist, whose life seems to take one unfortunate turn after another, when all he wants is to better himself and know the identity of his father. While the majority of the book is in present-tense, it is still narrated with a very authentic voice in which I quickly lost myself. Fans of fiction that deals with obscure historical characters will enjoy this, girl-and-guy read, appropriate for ages fourteen and up.
By Blood or By Bond by Hazel West (4/5)
Written by self-published Author Hazel West, By Blood or By Bond is a story of camaraderie and brotherly love despite the huge rift between the protagonists, Viggo Aulus Callias, a Roman who is part of an invading force, and Caolan, a Celt and consequently on the opposing side of Viggo. To make matters even darker between them, Viggo has slain Caolan's father and taken Caolan as a slave in retribution for his son, Aulus' death. The Author takes after masterful writers such as Elizabeth Alder and Rosemary Sutcliff in writing style, and she expresses her skill with character development and emotion, as the Reader is able to deeply connect with Viggo's grief and Caolan's desire for vengeance. Girl-and-guy read, any age, perfect for Sutcliff fans.
Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George (4/5)
The finale to the Princess of the Midnight Ball trilogy, this addition offers just as much excitement and fun characters as the first. Petunia is a strong-willed protagonist; spunky and willing to face danger if it means protecting herself and those she loves. While not Galen, Oliver is every bit as lovable as him, brave and gallant, even if things don't always turn out the way he planned. The Author deftly weaves elements of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Little Red Riding Hood, and Robin Hood into this one glorious story, bringing back a villain we fans know and love, and concluding this tale of love and loyalty and magic in one thrilling final show down. Girl-read, thirteen and up, perfect for fans of Jessica Day George's previous books, as well as Readers of Entwined.