So it’s RITA month on Paranormal Unbound! Shamefully, I, an adult paranormal romance author, haven’t YET read any of the books in the adult paranormal category but I’ve been on a cuh-razy YA kick lately (I’m in it for the angst. There, I said it.). And as Angela Quarles pointed out in last week’s post, three of the four YA finalists were paranormals. Big ups to all the authors in this category (including Katie McGarry who’s Pushing the Limits was not paranormal, but it’s a fabulous book and there was some great emotional intensity and enough stuff of the oh-holy-s#!% variety that it nearly could have been)!
Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)
by R.L. LaFevers
Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.
Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?
by Erica O’Rourke
Mo Fitzgerald has made her choice: A life in Chicago. A future with Colin. To leave behind the enigmatic Luc and the world of the Arcs.
But the more she struggles to keep her magic and mortal lives separate, the deadlier the consequences. In the end, Mo must risk everything–her life, her heart, her future–or lose it all.
by Emily McKay
Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…
And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.
Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…
Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race…
All of these novels to me were gripping, compelling, and original. Even, and I would go so far as to say especially, the one with the vampires. Call me biased—I’m a vampire writer after all—The Farm was definitely my favorite. When they say there’s nothing new in vampires, I can point to this book. It was creepy, and kept me on the edge of my seat, turning pages long into the night until I literally couldn’t hold my head up. As much as I love to write about vampires as the sexy heroes of romance, it was fun to see vampires come full-circle as a mindless horror creature re-imagined. That said, every book listed here is fabulous. Grave Mercy sucked me in immediately from page one, and Bound is an engaging end to a trilogy with a young woman caught between two worlds (and two guys).
I gotta be honest; I used to be the kind of snobby reader who didn’t read young adult books (nope, not even Twilight). Wasn’t my bag, baby. I didn’t figure romance could be any fun without the sex and salty language thrown in there. Well, frankly I still do enjoy the sex and salty language. And sometimes YA has some of that stuff, but there are also fun things like angst and feelings and a young woman deciding somewhat spur of the moment to become an assassin on behalf of death because she’s never going to want to get married anyway, right? That stuff can make a book fun too. Just a different kind of fun. All depends upon one’s mood. So take a closer look at this year’s paranormal YA selections. You won’t be sorry.
I’ve been reading a lot of YA too lately (my latest blog also discussed it) but I just finished Compliance by Maureen McGowan (#2 in the The Dust Chronicles series), and now I have to wait for #3. What am I going to do???
Waiting for the next book in your favorite series is always hard. Sometimes re-reading the series helps, or… *gulp* finding another good one. But then you risk getting hooked on too many, which is how they get ya. 😉
These look great, Elisabeth, and I agree: I like how unique they are. The premise of each feels totally fresh, but I’m especially drawn to Grave Mercy. More for the TBR…
The TBR is neverending these days, isn’t it? I loved Grave Mercy, but there was just something about the desperate dystopian feel of The Farm that got me. All great books though, without question.
Okay, wow, I rarely read YA but these sound great. And gorgeous covers, too.
The genre is definitely not what I remember it being as a kid. It’s dark, and they play with a lot of edgy themes. Some of the books are really amazing.