We’re doing things a little differently this week. As we said last time, we’re having a lot of trouble finding novels to write about in May. Part of this is the fact that most novels came out in the first 2 weeks and almost nothing came out later. The other reason is that what little did come out later in May either made us gag or put us to sleep just from reading the summaries.
We figured we were better off not writing about those. So we decided to look at some of the novels that had already been released this month, but we haven’t read yet. In fact, for two of these we couldn’t even determine a release date beyond ‘sometime in May.’
At any rate, we found three that are well worth talking about once again and we hope you’ll enjoy reading. Next week we’ll be looking at June, so let’s hope next month will give us less trouble.
‘When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.
Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?
Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.’
This first one is interesting. It claims to be inspired by the fairy tale of Red Riding Hood, but the connection isn’t quite clear in the summary. Either we completely missed something in the fairy tale, or there was no dark magic or great evil in Red Riding Hood.
Sadly, that also seems to be the most interesting part of the story. The rest doesn’t appear to be boring, but it doesn’t appear to throw anything particularly new at us either.
Granted, we still want to read it. We want to see this evil force, we want to see how Rachelle binds herself to it and why she winds up hating Armand. The ‘love that may be their undoing’ could mean that this is little more that schlock for people who want to screw characters from fantasy novels, but it could also be genuinely good relationship developed over the course of the plot.
However, if there’s anything we learned from browsing through upcoming novels it’s that the ones that try to present themselves as more than what they are, that being fantasy porn, are generally much more blatant about the fact that there will indeed be boning in the story. As this one is not, we are hopeful that it’ll actually develop a nice relationship.
The Fantasy genre is Rosamund’s bread and butter, so no worries there. The fact that she refers to her novel Cruel Beauty as “Greek mythology meets Beauty and the Beast” does dampen our hopes for a good relationship in this novel a bit, but you never know. As you might have noticed from that description, this isn’t the first time she’s drawn inspiration from a fairy tale, so she’s clearly writing within her comfort zone.
‘A dying king. A mysterious invader. The seer’s vision was clear: find the lost shard from the Spire of Peace or the realm would drown in blood.
The problem: eight hundred years ago the elven hero Kathkalan took the shard with him into the lair of the most vicious dragon ever known to mankind…and he never returned.
Reluctantly drafted to lead the quest is the minor noble Midas, torn between his duty to the realm and the desire to protect his sons. With an unlikely band of heroes, including two elderly rangers and a young tinker’s son, Midas must risk losing everything he loves if he is to locate the shard and save the Known Lands.’
Ah, prophecy. It’s like an old friend. The fantasy genre just wouldn’t be the same without it. How else would the villains know what random child to go after before they can stop their evil plans?
Well, we joke, but this story does seem kind of appealing. It’s about an older man struggling with not just a duty to the realm, but to his sons as well. Sure, you can’t do nothing because that’ll doom everyone regardless, but that doesn’t make the choice to leave your children behind much easier.
While older male heroes aren’t in any danger of dying out, they are at least a little more rare than teenaged heroes appointed by prophecy or dumb luck. The connection with his children could make Midas a very sympathetic character and the decision to include a younger character in the part could help, as they could play well off of each other.
Granted, we have to wonder why anyone would take something like the shard with them if they were going to face down a dragon, considering how important it is. Apparently, in this world, elves are idiots.
While of course we can’t claim to know the man, we do feel like we can see where Ted Cross’ inspiration for at least part of this novel came from. As a diplomat, Ted has visited over 40 countries and we assume that means he’s spent a fair bit of time apart from his wife and two sons. It seems very possible that this is what he based Midas’ relationship with his own children on.
That’s probably a good thing, if it’s true. It’s always best to write what you know, after all. Ted’s also written two other fantasy novels, so while he’s not the most experienced author, he’s not entirely green either. We hope some of his experiences with different cultures from his job will have made their way into his novels.
‘Rowena thinks the Grimm’s infamous podcasts are simply another teen fad until she finds herself trapped in a land of nightmarish storybook characters. She tries desperately to flee Mezzanine and return home, but Dresdem, Mezzanine’s wicked monarch, plans to use Rowena’s access to her world to bring dark magic and absolute rule into Georgia and beyond.
But when Rowena’s dear friend Madeline falls into Dresdem’s grasp, her battle with him becomes war, and all hopes of home are temporarily thwarted. With the help of an invisible hero, a beast, and an owl, she sets out to free Madeline from a deadening sleep. But Rowena must become her own hero when she finds herself bound by the kingdom’s darkest family. She must make the ultimate choice – align herself with her enemies or live on the run forever.’
While Rosamund Hodge is more concerned with the romantic themes of fairy tales, Vanessa appears to have realised that the original versions of most fairy tales are really screwed up and disturbed. This certainly seems like it’ll be an even more messed up version of Alice in Wonderland, in any case.
We’ve seen characters like Rowena in quite a few other young adult novels. However, that’s not a bad thing, because there’s a lot of potential for her to be a very likeable character. While there is of course the looming threat of letting something evil into our world, there’s also the far more personal and immediate threat to the safety of her friend.
Very few details are given on the rest of the party and, while that can make people want to read the novel, it also kind of makes them sound like they should be walking into a bar somewhere at the start of a bad joke.
Vanessa is definitely one of the more impressive authors we’ve seen so far, as she won a short story contest at age 6 and was first published at age 13. We’re not quite sure exactly what was published, though, and her site doesn’t really help there.
At any rate, Vanessa has clearly built her life around reading and writing. Fabled might be her debut novel, but we still think we can expect something quite good here.
So, what did you think? Do you like Vanessa’s darker take on fairy tales or do you prefer Rosamund’s more romantic approach? Do you not want anything to do with either and do you prefer Ted’s work? Let us know in the comments below!
Be sure to follow the Fanbot, so you’ll be the first to know when we upload new content! If you want more from the Fanbot, be sure to go to our Facebook, Twitter and Youtube pages and we’ll get you sorted!