This is the fifth book on the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. Set in pre-historic times, it is aimed to children/young adults, but it is such a beautiful story that I think everyone should read it.
This book deals with revenge and hatred, and is great because it teaches that it is never the best option:
"Vengeance burns, Torak. It burns your heart. It makes the pain worse. Don't let that happen to you."The characters are amazing, both good and evil, but my love goes to Wolf, because it is not a talking animal, and is not anthropomorphized in any way. He is a wolf, no doubt about that. He has a way to communicate, and he has thoughts of his own, but those are clearly not human. The way he describes things is probably the best: Tall Tailless (Torak, his human "brother"), Bright Beast that Bites Hot' (fire) or Fast Wet (river).
It is a well paced story, that never leaves you wondering if, had it been an adult book, there would be more depth to it (it probably wouldn't).
21 - Ghost Hunter by Michelle Paver
The last book in the series. It is a brilliant ending to a brilliant series. It deals with darker themes, of death and ghostly things.
I loved following the struggle of Torak, Renn and Wolf. Being the last book in the series, it featured the last battle against the last of the Soul Eaters. It was mesmerizing and hard to put down the book, the pages flew by, as I always wanted to know what happened next. With all the bad things happening there I was craving the happy ending that I felt was so much deserved.
It is truly a wondrous series, with an amazing storyline; fantastic characters, believable and likeable; and beautiful covers (I only bought the first one because it was so pretty!).
One complaint (not really): Why introduce such a great character in the end of the last book? Now I want to know more about him!
Recommended! Go read the entire series.
22 - Secrets of Surrender by Madeline Hunter
This was borrowed from a friend, and not exactly my kind of read. Too much on the chic lit side for my tastes.
The story goes like this: a girl has fallen prey to a very bad man that treats her as his plaything, even auctioning her off in a dinner party. The man who "buys" her turns out to be a gentleman and to save her from greater misery (because appearances are so very important) he proposes to marry her. There is no great mystery, there is only a story of falling in love and trusting each other, and the occasional (tasteful) sex scene.
It is a nice book if you are into that sort of thing, which I am not.
23 - Son of Shadows by Juliet Marillier
Another Juliet Marillier re-read (yes, I guess it is that time in the year). This is a personal favourite, and every once in a while I pick up this book to read my favourite parts. For me it's hard to review it without repeating myself: I love Juliet Marillier's writing; the historical element allied with some fantasy, but that still renders the story believable; and the complexity of the characters and their relationships.
The characters on Son of Shadows are actually one of the things that makes me continually pick this book up. I love that there is not a clear evil character thwarting our hero's plans, there are simply people with different opinions and on different sides. Liadan is probably one of my favourite female characters, strong in her convictions, making her own path and letting no one, be they human or fey, dare separate her family.
Loved it, as always.
24 - The White Raven by Diana L. Paxson
This is a re-telling of the Tristan and Iseult legend, here with the names of Drustan and Esseilt. I was not very familiar with it, but this book didn't make me want to know more. It was told from Esseilt's cousin, Branwen, point of view (in the 1st person), but it was about Esseilt herself.
I felt distanced from the romantic pair, but to tell the truth, I was not very intrigued by them either. Esseilt was only a spoilt child, who never seemed to realize that Branwen was an actual person with feelings. One other aspect that I didn't like (but that is not really the author's fault, it's part of the lore) is that Drustan and Esseilt's love is due to a love potion. This robbed me of my favourite part in any romance novel: the falling in love part. One moment she was trying to kill him, the other she was deeply in love with him, and falling into bed with him. Also, much of the misery and angst could have been avoided had the characters talked (I mean, really talked) among themselves.
I wish there was more to Branwen's story, it had potential. There were hints of a story there, between her and the king, with mystical elements (in short, what I really like).
It was an ok book, that could have been so much better if it wasn't so focused on Drustan and Esseilt's story.