YA Urban Fantasy

All the book covers link to the Tattered Cover bookstore page for that book.

the huntThe Hunt, by Andrew Fukuda
I definitely enjoyed this. I thought the premise was intriguing, and even though I’m not a fan of vampire/zombie-type stories, that premise kept me going. I liked Gene, and I found it interesting which aspects of his humanity he retained as he pretended to be like the others. I suspected Ashley June’s secret pretty early on, but I thought her actions at the end were surprising (in a good way). I liked how the focus of the story slowly changed, and I’ll definitely pick up the next one. The story: Gene lives alone after his father was infected a few years before. He remembers all the protections his father insisted he memorize, and he’s careful to never let anyone see that he’s not a vampire like they are. But when the Hunt once again comes into play, Gene’s number is chosen, and he finds himself away from those protections and surrounded by blood-thirsty vampires intent on killing the hepers…and Gene is convinced they’ll realize he’s also a heper. Every moment holds tension and life-changing decisions, especially when Gene meets the hepers he’s supposed to ‘hunt.’ (YA urban fantasy, released 5/12, publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin)

destinedDestined, by Aprilynne Pike
This is a great end to the series, and like the others (beginning with Wings), it’s very clean and sweet (yes, there is some romance and a touch of violence, but it’s not graphic). I liked how Laurel slowly accepted her role as a faerie rather than as a human. And I found the resolution to the particular love quartet (ha) very realistic and satisfying. I would’ve liked a little more about David and the adjustments he was facing, but I thought the Author’s Note regarding him was insightful and beneficial. Really, although this is clearly the end of Laurel’s story (this section of it, that is), I could see having more books about Avalon and how they recover from this battle and the upheaval it brought to their entire society and its structure. I found the caste system (my term) of winter ruling over the other seasonal faeries to be very interesting, and I would be interested in reading more about it (especially more in depth about it). Still, this is a satisfying conclusion. The story: Laurel, David, Chelsea, and Tamani have captured Yuki, the winter faerie, but are no closer to discovering her goals or plans for Avalon. Before they can get anything out of her (other than her feelings for Tam), she escapes with Klea’s help, and the only safe place for the four teens is Avalon. However, humans aren’t allowed in Avalon…but when the exception is made, they discover that there has been at least one human — Arthur — and his sword remains, a sword which can only be wielded by a human. Using Excalibur, David joins the faeries as they prepare to fight for Avalon, though soon Klea’s trolls and her skills with poisonous potions bring the battle to an end…unless Laurel can find the counter-poison (especially challenging, as Tamani’s life hangs in the balance). (YA paranormal/urban fantasy, released 5/12, publisher: Harper Teen)

spell boundSpell Bound, by Rachel Hawkins
This is a great followup to the last one, and I enjoyed it thoroughly! Okay, maybe I wasn’t totally thrilled with the losses (ack), but I felt like it was realistic for the story. I also liked the twists with the Brannicks, Sophie’s mom, and learning more about the Eye and the Prodigium. Sophie’s kick-butt attitude is great, and I also enjoyed Elodie’s way of dealing with things (though I felt for Cal and Archer when Elodie got her hands on Sophie). The ideas behind the different magical abilities and the ways in which demons work becomes clearer here, as well — so for me, it strengthened the world-building even more. I felt like this tied up the current plot lines nicely, but there’s still room for more (I haven’t heard if there will be more or not?). The story: Sophie finds herself with the Brannicks after her escape (at the end of Demon Glass) — and her mom is there! Things are not going well, and Sophie is worried about her dad (whose powers have been revoked), Cal and Jenna, and of course, Archer. Worse still are her own bound powers (and Elodie’s insistence on ‘possessing’ Sophie for her own plans) and the new revelations about her mom’s relationship with the Brannicks — and what’s truly going on with the Prodigium and Lara’s plans for the demons. Although it looks like some things might be improving, then Sophie is ‘sucked’ back to Hex Hall — but a Hex Hall which is falling apart…and with magic dampening spells in place, even the reappearance of Archer (who’s being tortured), Cal, and Jenna can’t cheer Sophie up for long. She really needs her powers back… (YA paranormal, released 3/12, publisher: Hyperion)

endureEndure, by Carrie Jones
I enjoyed this! I think my favorite part was how Carrie handled the ‘love triangle’ between Tara, Nick, and Astley. I liked how realistic it was and how Tara’s feelings were true to the situation rather than based on the ‘typical’ teen momentary emotion (I know, that probably doesn’t make a ton of sense, but I don’t want to list spoilers). Anyway, the pixie situation was also interesting, and the twists were well done and the pacing strong. The story: Tara has found Nick and brought him back from Valhalla, but now that he realizes she’s a pixie, she fears he’ll never be able to love her again. While Tara struggles with her feelings of abandonment, she continues to search for Betty, who’s been in her tiger form since her friend Nix was killed — and as more people disappear, Tara and Astley realize they must find a way to end this struggle once and for all. (YA paranormal, released 5/12, publisher: Bloomsbury)

luminousLuminous, by Dawn Metcalf
I got to read this before publication, and I always enjoy seeing those manuscripts again as a book. One of the beautiful aspects of Dawn’s writing is her lyrical sense with words and phrases. I feel like I’m swimming in a lake of words when I read her writing, and when they’re as luscious as hers are, it’s a good thing! The story itself is unusual — and I like that too. I love the sweet and subtle romance (sweet but not at all passionless). I like the complexity of Tender, V, Bones — okay, all of them. I really liked the whole concept of the Flow and their work there. It’s just a unique story through and through, and although there’s some violence (and serious angst in places where my heart hurt for the various characters), there’s also an acceptance (at least for me) which moves throughout the book. The story: Consuela discovers she can remove her skin and go into a ‘between-the-worlds’ type place called the Flow, where she meets a number of unique ‘people’ with unusual gifts which protect the ‘real’ world. Her gift involves speaking to humans (in their thoughts) — those who are about to die. She is able to replace her human skin with various other materials (such a cool concept), as well. Before she’s settled in much, however, she discovers that someone is killing those who live in the Flow and perhaps even working to destroy the Flow — and she might be the only one who can stop it, even though her efforts could keep from ever returning home. (YA urban fantasy/magical realism, released 6/11, publisher: Dutton)

trialTrial by Fire, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
I loved this just as much as the first (if not more)! I thought the characters were strong, the story was arc was tense and well-paced, and the emotions were right there for me to feel with them! I loved the whole pack mindset and how Bryn and Chase still had their moments even within that. I loved the stakes and how Bryn had no easy choices. And honestly, I really liked the ending (which I won’t give away, of course), because even though I suspected that Bryn might make that kind of decision (I’m talking the very end, here), it still came as a surprise. The story: Bryn and her pack are settling into their new status with Bryn as the alpha, even though she’s only human. However, strange dreams coincide with a were stumbling onto her land — and this were came from the one person who hates her most (who also happens to be her second-in-command’s older brother). But Bryn doesn’t think she can refuse to care for the boy, and despite the cryptic ‘help’ from Callum, she pushes her way through — only to learn that Lucas is just the tip of the iceberg, and that her dreams will become all too real…and she doesn’t know who can survive, including herself. (YA urban fantasy, released 6/11, publisher: Egmont USA)

raisedRaised by Wolves, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Why did I love this? It’s truly a feel-good story. I enjoyed the mystery, and I loved the sweet romance between Bryn and Chase. Like many of Barnes’ characters, Bryn is strong and sweet together, and I definitely like that. Chase is also very sweet, and the two of them together make a great couple! Of course, there’s tension, as well, and the story was compelling. The story: Bryn lives with wolves — werewolves, that is. Her parents were killed in front of her when she was small, and she was adopted by the alpha of the pack. But things are changing, and the new boy in town, Chase, is proof of that change. Not only that, but he seems to know something about her parents, and Bryn is determined to learn all she can — even if it alters everything. (YA urban fantasy, released 6/10, publisher: Egmont USA)

Demonglass, by Rachel Hawkins
I enjoyed this one even more than the first (Hex Hall). I really like how Sophie is struggling with her heritage (as a demon) and how she remains true to herself and her longings throughout. I also like how she uses her head — all too often, it seems, characters do something that everyone can see is stupid, and it’s explained away because of their teen emotions. Well, Sophie has strong emotions, but she tries to do the right thing, despite what she really wants. I also like how clean these books are — there’s little to no swearing, and the violence is distanced (rather than graphic). And now I can’t wait for the next one! The story: Sophie agrees to go to England with her dad, although she’s still determined to have the Removal. Her dad begins working with her to control her demon powers, but he’s distracted by the two other demons living in the castle with the Council — demons who shouldn’t exist. Before long, Archer resurfaces, and Sophie is torn between her continued feelings for him and her father’s goals for her and the Council. But above all, they need to discover who is creating the new demons — and soon, Sophie discovers that her loyalties can’t be as obvious as she’d hoped. (YA urban fantasy/paranormal, released 3/11, publisher: Hyperion)

The Demon’s Surrender, by Sarah Rees Brennan
I so enjoyed this final book in the trilogy (which begins with The Demon’s Lexicon). At first, I struggled to get into it because I’d been hoping it would be in Jamie’s POV (um, even though I now recall reading that it wouldn’t be) — BUT once I got into it, I really liked it! Sin is a wonderful narrator, and we do get to see a fair bit of Jamie (and Seb). Brennan is so good with humor and tension and magical world building…it was a joy :) The story: Sin and Mae are competing with each other to lead the Goblin Market, and Sin discovers that she has deeper feelings than she realized before for Mae’s friends Alan and Nick. At the same time, she fears Mae’s younger brother Jamie, who has joined the Magicians and appears to be consumed with power (and greedy for it). Sin fears when she’ll have to sacrifice, but it’s not her sacrifices which matter in the end. (YA urban fantasy, released 6/11, publisher: Margaret K. McElderry)

Defiance, by Lili St. Crow
I definitely enjoyed the fourth book in this series(which opens with Strange Angels). I really like the world-building and the way Dru is growing and changing — not to mention the shifting loyalties at the Schola. I feel for her, as she really can’t tell who to trust, at this point — so I’m definitely looking forward to the next one. The story: Dru wants only to find Graves, but Christophe prefers that she train and strengthen her skills — then he says they can look for both Graves and Anna (the other svetocha). But while Dru listens at first, when strange things begin to happen — and when she senses that there’s more to the story than she’s being told — she finally loses patience and takes off on her own, desperate to gain some control in her life and get Graves away from those she fears could be killing him. (YA urban fantasy, released 4/11, publisher: Razorbill)

Stork, by Wendy Delsol
I really enjoyed this! I liked the bits of mythology thrown in. I didn’t realize (until I’d finished) that it was loosely based on The Snow Queen, so if I did some research (as I’m not that familiar with the story), I’d probably understand more of what happened at the end. But I still enjoyed the characters (including the character of the town) and the plot — and definitely the passionate and sweet romance between Katla and Jack. There seemed to be a lot of symbolism in this too, and I always love books where I can figure out stuff :) I’m guessing there might be another one coming? (There’s room for more, although this story comes to a satisfying ending.) The story: Katla moves to her mom’s childhood town after her parents’ divorce. Once there, she’s pulled into a strange (bizarre, really) group of older women who call themselves Storks. Katla begins having dreams about a baby, and along with the other Storks, she has to learn how to give the baby the right mother. On top of that surreal twist, Katla learns that she almost died the last time she was in the town — and that a boy named Jack tried to save her (and almost died, as well). Her reaction to him is stronger than she’s ever experienced, and she has to wonder what’s really going on in this small, Minnesota town… (YA paranormal/mystery, released 10/10, publisher: Candlewick)

Haven, by Kristi Cook
This is a very engrossing book (especially for my type of reader). It has the boarding school; it has the strange abilities; it has a cool romance. The only thing I didn’t LOVE was the vampire aspect, BUT I felt she did a nice job of adding something new to it. The story: Violet chooses a private school when her step-mom gives her the option between that and moving to live with her gran. Violet would love a new start and a chance to hide her ‘freakiness’, but to her surprise, the others at her new school begin asking about unusual abilities right off — and when Violet attracts the attention of a hot boy, she learns more than she ever expected about her own abilities and the world around her. (YA paranormal/urban fantasy, released 2/11, publisher: Simon Pulse)

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About Robin

I'm a reader, a writer, a mom, a writing coach...and someone who loves the outdoors.
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