Fantasyvampires and witches and dragons, oh my!
Things are going great for Colin. He’s the star of his high school baseball team, he has a killer motorcycle, and his mom’s career as an artist is finally taking off. Then, a chance encounter with a leprechaun reveals that nothing in his world is as it seems…
Soon, Colin and his friend Jesse are tasked with taking out the evil creature who cast a spell over their town, the ancient Irish vampire known as the Avartagh. Now, they’re being hunted by the unseelie fae, “fairies” who are are deadlier, real-life versions of their fairy tale counterparts.
Thus they must attempt the impossible, and save their town from the evil fae who’ve taken it over. And if Colin and Jesse don’t stop the fae, the Avartagh will destroy everyone and everything they love… and he’ll kill them in the process.
This was a fun little romp stuffed full of Irish myths. The characters are in high school and the book is described as YA, but it felt more middle-grade to me – I would’ve pegged Colin and Jesse at around 12 years old if I hadn’t known better.
But I like middle-grade, and the actual vs. perceived age thing didn’t really affect the story, so no great loss there. Of course, if you’re not into the genre, your mileage may vary. Druid Blood is a prequel for the more adult Junkyard Druid series – if you like the look but not the age group of this novella, maybe try the main series instead.
Once a respected wizard, Finster is now a drunkard and a con man living anonymously amongst simple, easily manipulated village folk. But his self-serving cunning cannot save him when soldiers of the Magus Supremeus of the High Order burst in to drag the disreputable mage to the dreaded Red Citadel.
Finster’s captor, the new Magus, is none other than Ingrid the Insane, his former acolyte, a young woman of cold heart and ruthless ambition who has already murdered numerous magic-doers in her quest for ultimate power. The only reason Finster still lives is Ingrid’s belief that he knows the whereabouts of the Founders Stone, a magical artifact that could make her invincible.
Rendered powerless by a scarab beetle attached to his back, Finster realizes he is doomed unless he escapes and recovers the Stone before Ingrid does, and he turns to his dungeon cellmate for help. But the hulking, mute, barbarian youth he calls “Moth” is inscrutable and unpredictable. And their ultimate survival—and the survival of an entire kingdom—may require the cowardly wizard to assume a most unfamiliar and uncomfortable role: hero!
Oh, this was fun. Fast-talking, irreverent wizards are the best wizards, first of all. The Scarab’s Curse was non-stop action that had me frantically flipping pages. It might be a touch too gory for some – let’s just say that there’s a lot of blunt-force trauma and swords flying around.
If you don’t mind that, though, I think this is a nice one-sitting read for fans of swords and sorcery. Check it out!
Cytriah’s songs can enslave souls in dead bodies.
It’s not a gift, or a curse.
It’s what’s expected of girls born on Daemon-controlled Malvaar Island, where failure is punishable with the worst any woman can fear.
Whilst Cytriah strives to join the elite of soul-catchers, a chilling secret from her past rips her life apart. Trapped between dangerous men, she’s left with one choice: to pact with a Daemon.
It is forbidden.
And it may bring her something far worse than death…
Oh. My. God. I’ll preface this by saying that Incanta is probably more for adult audiences than YA, and also not for the squeamish, but holy hell. I was captivated.
Adams has built a rich and intoxicating world – a dark gothic fantasy that gave me vibes of Laini Taylor mixed with the lovechild of Tim Burton and Stephen King. I adored every word. The writing is lush, the characters came to life on the page, and the atmosphere was so well-crafted as to be almost cinematic. Incanta pulled me in and refused to let go, so please just go and snatch a copy.
…unless you’re squeamish.