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Take 10: Myths Made Real, when the world of myth invades the real world

“If I wasn’t careful, I had no doubt this monstrous wonderland would swallow Alice whole . . .” – My Soul to Save, Rachel Vincent

With All My Soul, book 7 in the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent, is scheduled for publication on April 1, 2013.  Soul Screamers is an urban fantasy about bean sidhe (banshee) Kaylee Cavanaugh.  Kaylee must balance her life as a high school student while trying to prevent the Netherworld from bleeding over into it.  There are hellions, reapers and more out to steal her soul.  Oh yeah, and we people are about to die, she starts screaming.

A Banshee is a woman from Irish mythology who begins to wail when someone is about to die.  A banshee is considered by some to be a type of fairy or a representative of the Underworld. You can find out more about the Soul Screamers series at http://rachelvincent.com/soulscreamers.htm.  Also, The Soul Screamers series has a huge following on Tumblr so check it out.  If you are not reading the Soul Screamers series, you are missing a great paranormal series that has developed a complex mythology based on characters not typically seen in today’s paranormal romance; there are plenty of vampires, werewolves and angels, so I recommend that you try Soul Screamers for something new and very interesting.

Want to dip your toe into more of the underworld? Check out these books.

The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa
Megan Chase finally learns the reason she has never felt like she truly fit into this world, she is the daughter of the mythical faerie king.
“I licked my lips and whispered, “Is this where you say you’ll kill me?”
One corner of his lips curled. “If you like,” he murmured, a flicker of amusement finally crossing his face. “Though it’s gotten far too interesting for that.”  – The Iron King, The Iron Fey book 1
Misfit by Jon Skovron
Jael discovers that she is part-demon the same time that she discovers that there are those among the demon world that want her dead.
“The stuff you do is way more important than the stuff you believe.”
The Fury Trilogy by Elizabeth Miles
Three strange girls visit the town of Ascension, Maine during a snowy winter and life is never the same as a deadly plan for revenge is put into place.
“Sometimes sorry isn’t enough . . .”
Croak by Gina Damico
Lex gets shipped off to live with her uncle who decides he is going to teach her the family business: reaping.
“Life isn’t fair. Why should death be any different?”
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Kate must pass a series of seven tests in order to make a deal with Hades and keep her dying mother alive.
“Me?” The corner of his mouth twitched. “I rule the dead. I am not one of them” 
The Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr
Aeslyn has always seen the faeiries, but they suddenly seem to be taking an interest in her.
“And he smiled at her, truly smiled- wicked and lovely…” 
Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
A family curse, a haunting mystery, and the tragic love between a mermaid and a mortal weave their way into this haunting tale of love and death over the years.
“The more she loved, the more she ached.” 
The Reaper Diaries by Michelle Vail
At the age of 16, Molly is sent to an elite boarding school where she is trained to be a necromancer.
“The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird . . .”
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Blue is drawn to the Raven Boys, who are on a quest of their own to wake a sleeping spirit.
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve, Neeve said. ‘Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

YA Greek Mythology on Goodreads
YA Mermaids on Goodreads

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Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

“Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she’d been told that she would kill her true love.” – first line, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Scholastic Press, September 2012
ISBN 978-545-42492-9

All souls that will die in the next 12 months travel the ghost road on St. Mark’s Eve, which is where you will find Blue Sargent.  Although Blue comes from a family with intense psychic powers, the only power Blue has in the power to emphasize theirs.  She does not see what they see until the night she sees a spirit who identifies himself only as Gansey on the path.

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

Soon, Blue and Gansey are joined together in a quest to find the ley line, a place of intense magic and deep, powerful secrets that runs through their town.

The Raven Boys is pure, magical storytelling; rich in its use of language and fully fleshed out characters.  Even the shadows and the auras around the edges of the characters have meaning.  Every flick of the wrist, every thread out of place, every accent on the tongue – they all have meaning.  And each character plays off of the other like the pinball bouncing around inside the game, every action causes a reaction and even the details that you think don’t matter sometimes do.  In fact, you will want to re-read this book simply to see the pieces that you missed and see how they all fit together.

I have often said that I wish that I reviewed books based on their quotability factor (or at least I have thought it in my head), and The Raven Boys was full of quotes that I read over and over again.  My favorite was the way that Stiefvater the various Raven Boys; Noah is smudgy, Adam has a weathered look to his uniform that indicates his real status in life, Ronan is sharp and Gansey has layers that sometimes slip.  In fact, each of the 4 Raven Boys are their own treasures to uncover and each page you turn brings new insight.  Each of the boys will break your heart in their own ways, not just in swoony ways, but in the depths of their stories and in the revelation of their secrets.

I don’t even have the skill to tell you how amazingly good this book was.  It was lush.  It was haunting.  And in many ways, for me, it is this generation’s It by Stephen King; here is a story about a group of people who become friends, drawn together by a magical quest with their fates tied into one another in ways both horrific and divine.  This time there is no clown in the sewer, but very real people motivated by greed to unlock a magical door that can only be compared to Arthur attempting to pull Excalibur out of the stone.  And like all magical quests, things are often not what they seem, nor are the people who take them.

Anyone who has ever entered the woods and felt that they were in a magical place will recognize at once the glory that Stiefvater brings to The Raven Boys; here the woods are truly magical and time acts as if there are no rules.  Here there are legends of sleeping kings who offer a promise and trees that speak in Latin.  Here is the glory of fantasy right in a town that looks like yours or mine – and that makes the magic that much beautiful because, for just a moment, you think you can walk outside and find it yourself.

Your teen readers will devour this book, more than once I imagine.  5 out of 5 stars for its magnificent storytelling and amazing character development.  Highly recommended.