Betrayals by Lili St. Crow

betrayals

Betrayals by Lili St. Crow

#2 in the Strange Angles series: Teenager Dru has spent her life first with her Gran, learning warding spells after her mother was murdered by vampires. Then she was reunited with her Dad full time tracking down and killing evil creatures. Now Lilie is traveling to a safe Schola run by Order group that destroys evil creatures in the Real World. She and her friend Graves, whom she met at school in the last town where she and Dad lived, are on the run after Dad was turned into a zombie and she and Graves were attacked by werwulfs and other dangerous creatures. As if that’s not enough intrigue, while Dru tries to fit in as the only girl at her Schola, attacks make them believe there’s a traitor in the Order.

I loved this sequel and will keep reading to find out what happens to all the characters. Lili St. Crow’s world building, of secret creatures and conflicts, keeps getting better.

Review by Ms. Provence

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

team human

Team Human by Justine  Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

The narrator Mel and her best friend Cathy live in New Whitby, Maine, founded by both vampires and humans fleeing persecution in Europe. Mel has no interest in knowing or being friends with vampires, who live in a separate part of town. When Francis, a vampire who was “turned” in the 19th century at the age of 17, enrolls at their high school, Cathy is totally smitten with him. Anna, a close friend of both Mel and Cathy, is missing her psychologist dad, who sent her a text message that he has run off with a vampire patient. Anna, also confides in Mel that her mother, who is their high school principal, has started behaving in a mysterious and worrisome way, so Mel especially wants Francis to stay away from Anna. When Mel warns Francis to stay away from Cathy or she will tell the real reason he enrolled in school, Mel doesn’t even know Francis’s real secret. Cathy is so heartbroken that Francis starts ignoring her she breaks into his house, where Mel and Cathy meet his “shade” (his vampire family) which includes Kit, a human boy who was abandoned on their doorstep and taken in and raised by them, rather than eaten.

All these characters and relationships may sound complicated, but they’re easy to follow in the book. The plot weaves together flawlessly, with a number of major surprises. No one element overpowers the story; if it weren’t for the vampires this could be a fairly normal YA novel. The authors includes a good amount of humor, which relieves some of the more stressful situations the characters encounter. Each of the authors has written other YA books; this is their first joint title.

Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson

unspoken          demon's          liar

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

coldest girl in coldtown

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

At seventeen, Tana’s world is different from our’s to say the least.  Instead of reading books about vampires, they have whole walled cities called Coldtowns where vampires can live legally, bound only by their imaginations.  One of them even live-streams his nightly parties at his spacious estate where human volunteers await selection by seductive vampires.  This unique take on the vampire genre will tantalize readers and hook them in for the whole roller coaster ride of a book.  In the thriller’s first chapter, Tana wakes up in a bathtub, stiff and disoriented.  Slowly she realizes that the last thing she remembers is being at a party in the house the previous evening.  Now, when she stealthily creeps out of the bathroom, she realizes she is the last human standing and begins a harrowing journey to save her ex-boyfriend Aidan who she finds tied down to the bed as a morning snack for the sleeping vampire boy on the floor.  Vampire attacks aren’t common anymore, but Tana realizes quickly that that is what’s happened here and the rest of her friends from the party are dead and drained laying throughout the house.  Desperate to save Aidan from “going cold” and becoming a vampire like her own mother did when she was only six, Tana strikes a deal with the vampire named Gavriel:  They will go to the nearest Coldtown and try to save Aidan.  The biggest problem might be that although what “happens in Coldtown stays in Coldtown,” leaving is almost impossible.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  It it fast-paced with completely interesting and unique main characters.  Black’s writing makes this book hard to set down, and I know our students will be fighting over it.  I recommend it to vampire and horror fan, but also to anyone looking for an engrossing title with something new to offer.  I could also see fans of Holly Black’s other supernatural books and Cassandra Clare readers loving this title.

Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

coldest girl in coldtown

Our first student book review of the year!!!

Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, at first seems science fiction, with the ‘Cold’ Virus and all that makes one a vampire and such. But if one continues to read this lovely, dark story, they might find that this book is so much more than just a virus.

Tana is a regular, ordinary party-girl who spends her time at parties and losing herself amongst people and avoiding her ex-boyfriend, Aiden. In the last party, Tana finds herself in a bathtub in the bathroom, and when she comes out, she finds herself surrounded by corpses of the kids from the party. She also finds her ex-boyfriend infected with ‘Cold’, and another person along with Aiden, chained to the room. She can’t free them without knowing the fact that these two are not human. So the three of them have to go to the place Tana would expect the least to go to — Coldtown. Coldtown is a place where one gets in and never gets out — its the main place where vampires live freely, where the infected go to and live, either choosing to remain a human after eighty eight days or turning into a vampire.

The setting is set in an almost unknown future, the characters are well-thought of and their personalities are just perfect for a story like this.
There’s a kind of originality of vampirism, but it still takes the same main theme — vampires are vampires. This book seems to explore the meaning of ‘monster’ — be it a real one or the one inside of a human’s heart — through Holly Black’s characters.
This is a really good read for fantasy paranormal lovers, horror lovers and the fans of Holly Black.
Reviewed by an anonymous 10th Grader

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

clockwork princess

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

This conclusion to Clare’s Infernal Devices trilogy will have her hordes of fans begging for more books.  Luckily for them, the City of Bones movie will be released this summer.  The writer’s Facebook presence and fan websites are going berserk, most of us are just hoping that the movie lives up to all this hype.  Back on point, this book is a  thrilling and satisfying conclusion to the first two books.  All the important plot points are in place:

  • An engagement between Tessa and Jem
  • The love triangle still simmering between Tessa, Jem and Will
  • Mortmain has decided that marrying Tessa will somehow solidify his plans to take over the  worlds of the humans, the downworlders and the Shadowhunters
  • And he is up to even more despicable tricks this time, including launching his endless army of merciless automatons
  • And everyone’s favorite vampire Magnus Bane makes a brief appearance.

clockwork angel          clockwork

The Night Eternal by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

The Night Eternal by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

This conclusion to del Toro’s Strain trilogy will not disappoint his loyal fans.  The story continues to follow the struggle between Dr. Eph Goodweather and his friends fighting the all powerful, manipulative vampire Master.  One of the major differences is that now the world is in a state of nuclear winter, allowing the vampires to roam freely for all but about two hours per day.  In addition, the Master has Eph’s son  Zack, and seems determined to inhabit the boy’s body as his next host.  In counter balance to this, Mr. Quinlin (the half-vampire son of the Master) has joined the human freedom fighters in their quest to destroy his father and his new world order ruled by vampires and willing humans.

I recommend this to readers of the two previous books, and vampire and horror fans.  Although it is not the strongest book of the trilogy, the ending is logical and satisfying.

The Twelve by Justin Cronin

The Twelve by Justin Cronin

In this long-awaited follow-up, author Cronin continues his 2010 epic novel about evil vampires trying to take over the world.  What’s different this time is that they seem to have some human help in their quest to dominate humanity.  Readers will once again follow the exploits of their favorite characters from the first installment: Amy, the girl from nowhere who seems to be a key to beating back the virals, Peter Jaxon from the Colony who’s become an Expeditionary soldier committed to hunting and killing the virals, and Alicia, the kick-butt fighter who knows Peter from their days in the colony.  New characters also appear to maneuver through the blood and chaos of the new world order.  Readers will be enthralled with Lisa, a pregnant doctor who’s been traumatized by virals in a Emergency Room attack, Kittridge who’s been dubbed “Last Stand in Denver” for his determination to take out as many virals as he can from the penthouse apartment he’s barricaded himself into and Horace Guilder, a veteran of the original experiment in Colorado who sees the virals as a way to save himself from the deadly disease which is quickly taking his life.

I liked this book almost as much as The Passage and know fans will be thrilled with this title.  The action is relentless, moving from character to character, and readers get a first-hand view of the pockets of resistance throughout what’s left of the United States.  I highly recommend this to fans of the first book, Stephen King fans, and readers who love horror and scary vampires.

Click here for our review of The Passage.