Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor

Hodder Paperback

Release date: August 26th 2011 
Pages: 418
ISBN: 1444722654


"Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things.
When Brimstone called, she always came."

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.


Cinder, by Marissa Meyer

Feiwel & Friends

Release date: February 4th 2014
Pages: 550
ISBN: 0312642970


Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard. 

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.


The Diviners, by Libba Bray

Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Release date: September 1st 2012 
Pages: 578
ISBN: 031612611X


Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City - and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It's 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfield girl, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he'll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.


Little Bones, by Janette Jenkins

Publisher: Chatto & Windus
Release date: January 5th 2012 
Pages: 288
ISBN: 070118194X


It's 1899. London. A young girl is abandoned by her feckless family and finds lodging and work assisting a doctor. But Jane Stretch is no ordinary girl, and Mr Swift is no ordinary doctor...

Jane does her best to keep up with the doctor, her twisted bones throbbing, as they hurry past the markets, stage doors and side shows to appointments in certain boarding houses across town. The young actresses who live there have problems, and Mr Swift does what is required, calmly and discreetly. Grateful to her benefactor and his wife, Jane assists him and asks no questions - the desperate young women not minding that it is a cripple girl who wipes their brows...

When this unlikely pair becomes involved with a rakish music hall star, Johnny Treble, who calls on Swift's help for his rich mistress's predicament, it seems that Jane's spell of good fortune is not going to last. The police come knocking - how will the doctor explain the absence of his medical certificates? How will they explain their connection to Johnny Treble's sudden death? And how will Jane argue her innocence? It seems that no amount of wand waving will make their problems disappear.


First and foremost, there are two things I need to say. The first is that I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. The second is that I do not usually read historicals, and when I do, they're mostly classics; as such, this book was a bit of an adventure.

Little Bones by Janette Jenkins tells the story of Jane Stretch in the end of the Victorian era. A cripple deemed wiser than her years, she is abandoned by her irresponsible parents, and later by her sister in the apartment her family had rented in London. One belonging to a doctor in need of a helping hand. With nowhere to go and the offer of work and a home, Jane becomes the doctor's assistant. She follows him to houses upon houses of girls whose hands she holds as they go through the worse of their sickness.

Throughout the book, we are told not only Jane's and her family's story but also that of the girls, the doctor's and of multiple other characters. We stumble upon beggars and priests, artists who made it and artists who did not, common folk and bourgeois. In this way and aided by a lyrical and adjective rich language, Jenkins recreates a vivid image of the London of old to the point where it is easy to see the streets Jane walked when running errands for the doctor and his wife, or the view out of her window. This, I believe, is the biggest strength in the book.

However, it is also this strength that failed the book. There were moments when I felt like the scene did very little for the story itself. It was only just something more to characterize an era or a character described well enough already. Indeed, there were too many moments of Jane's past that served no purpose, such as the hundreds of different times Jane revels over every person who spoke of India in her presence. This dilutes the book quite a bit, and often dragged me out of the world instead of pulling me into it. I lost count of the times the question "and the point is...?" ran through my head. 

Seeing as Jenkins's cast is diverse in many ways, it seems to me that she tended to focus on the unnecessary and lost many good opportunities to write a richer and more enveloping world.

This, and a couple of other things I cannot discuss here for fear of spoiling the book for those who didn't read it, detracted me from sympathising with Jane when the consequences of her actions unfurled. It also did not help that, even though spoken as particularly intelligent by nearly all who met her, Jane did not feel to be so. Her intelligence seemed average, which makes me wonder if the author could not portray it or if it had been her intent to make it sound that people thought that a female of average intellect was rare. If the last is the case, her tone did not convey that critique properly (and I will assume it as so).

Other criticisms, however, I cannot admonish. Indeed, I do like how she presented the treatment of cripples and the poor, as well as other social problems, most of which still plague humanity. She was clear and did not do such common things as demonise the rich for having money or the women who want to escape (from what, I cannot say. You'll have to read the book). In this, Jenkins was a breath of fresh air.

In short, Little Bones has its flaws and its strengths, just like any other book. But it is also one with an author who has a lot of space and a clear capacity to grow in her writing. I definitely look forward to reading more of Jenkins's work in the future.

The book in a quote

"I am sorry you got caught. I know what it's like to be trapped. You are not wicked. You are not the only one."