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Saturday, August 04, 2018

Prime Meridian by Silvia Moreno-Garcia


Love, life, dreams, and a world beyond reach.

Amelia dreams of Mars. The Mars of the movies and the imagination, an endless bastion of opportunities for a colonist with some guts. But she’s trapped in Mexico City, enduring the drudgery of an unkind metropolis, working as a rent-a-friend, selling her blood to old folks with money who hope to rejuvenate themselves with it, enacting a fractured love story. And yet there’s Mars, at the edge of the silver screen, of life. It awaits her.

This novella length story set in a future where we have traveled to and colonized Mars is packed full of the desperation that many are feeling right now. It is the story of a young woman who put everything she dreamed of on hold to care for a sick parent, then never was able to pick it back up again after that parent passed, with a sister who takes her presence for granted, but tries to make her feel like the leech.  It is the story of a woman who finally takes her life back, with help from an unexpected source, in spite of everyone trying to convince her it's a bad idea, for their own reasons, not hers. 

While I cannot say this was a fun read, if you are expecting a sci-fi story about Mars, this is not the place, it was well done and evokes the emotions that the character is feeling so well.  Your heart just aches for Amelia, who can never seem to win, and constantly does for others, only to be chastised and unappreciated at every turn. 

I gave this a 4/5, and look forward to reading more from Silvia Moreno-Garcia.  I was very affected by the slice of a life she crafted here.

The English Wife by Lauren Willig


Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life: he’s the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor manor in England, they had a whirlwind romance in London, they have three year old twins on whom they dote, and he’s recreated her family home on the banks of the Hudson and renamed it Illyria. Yes, there are rumors that she’s having an affair with the architect, but rumors are rumors and people will gossip. But then Bayard is found dead with a knife in his chest on the night of their Twelfth Night Ball, Annabelle goes missing, presumed drowned, and the papers go mad. Bay’s sister, Janie, forms an unlikely alliance with a reporter to uncover the truth, convinced that Bay would never have killed his wife, that it must be a third party, but the more she learns about her brother and his wife, the more everything she thought she knew about them starts to unravel. Who were her brother and his wife, really? And why did her brother die with the name George on his lips?

I am a long time fan of Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series so I was excited to try something different from her. I was not disappointed! Far from the humorous adventures of the Pink Carnation's compatriots, this is a historical mystery that kept me guessing until the end!

The story vacillates from the past to the present, finally meeting in the middle as the murder is solved much differently that I expected!  The characters are well crafted, as are the elements of their lives, helping to create the tension and make you wonder what really happened!  I was interested from beginning to end, and still not entirely convinced about how the ending truly stands. 

I gave this a 5/5, I definitely need to read more of Lauren Willig's non-Carnation books!

The King of Bones and Ashes by J. D. Horn

From Goodreads:

Magic is seeping out of the world, leaving the witches who’ve relied on it for countless centuries increasingly hopeless. While some see an inevitable end of their era, others are courting madness—willing to sacrifice former allies, friends, and family to retain the power they covet. While the other witches watch their reality unravel, young Alice Marin is using magic’s waning days to delve into the mystery of numerous disappearances in the occult circles of New Orleans. Alice disappeared once, too—caged in an asylum by blood relatives. Recently freed, she fears her family may be more involved with the growing crisis than she ever dared imagine.

Yet the more she seeks the truth about her family’s troubled history, the more she realizes her already-fragile psyche may be at risk. Discovering the cause of the vanishings, though, could be the only way to escape her mother’s reach while determining the future of all witches.

The King of Bones and Ashes is an atmospheric story filled with mystery, voodoo and different types of magic. There is a lot packed in, and I can't help but compare it to Anne Rice's The Witching Hour, which is what I was hoping for, though not quite what I got. This story builds slowly, with a lot of character set up, starting in the past to set the stage and moving to the present where family rivalries and grudges are in full swing. Most of the action happens towards the end, so I expect that book two will not have the time dedicated to set up that this first book had. While I did enjoy it, some elements were confusing, and I feel that some were not as fully fleshed out as they needed to be. While the write up leads you to believe Alice is the main character, it really skips around between several stories, and Alice isn't as strong of a character as I would have liked. I'm mildly interested to see where it goes next, but I'm not sure I was as drawn in as by the author's Witching Savannah series of which I've read The Line and the Source, which I do intend to continue.

There is a lot of interest here, it may just be a little slower to get going. 3/5 stars.
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