Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
I liked this one SO MUCH more than Wild Magic! Which is really great, because I still rated that one fairly high despite my dislike of certain aspects. If you’re new to Tortall (like me) I’d say Alanna would be a good place to start. It’s the same sort of coming-of-age story, but with a twist: the protagonist is a young girl disguised as a boy, training to become a knight in a world where women mostly aren’t. And it totally works! (Perhaps because she starts her disguise before puberty set in.) I had to take a lot of things for granted, sure, but getting to know Alanna and co.…
The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson
I really wanted to like this book more than I did! The first third of the story is kick-ass: contemporary setting with wonderful characters, strong protagonist voice, and mysterious foreshadowings. Then the rest of it happened, and I lost the plot. Part of the problem is that the first third is so VERY strongly rooted in contemporary YA language/style. It’s Real Life and it’s totally convincing. And then the Chaos incident happened and things got weird.
The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine
I love GV’s previous book, Mechanique, and I absolutely adore fairy tale retellings, so I was fairly certain The Girls at the Kingfisher Club would be a huge hit with me. No surprise: it was! It’s not just the fact that it’s a retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales, the 12 Dancing Princess. It’s because the writing was so beautiful, the setting so interesting, the characters so lovable in a tragic kind of way. True, the father-villain was over the top with his nutsoid views about family and heirs (surely 12 healthy daughters are better than any nonexistent son?) but such is the world of the fairy tale…