Yes, two book reviews. I’ve been rather behind on these lately, and I’m at last catching up.
Being framed for murder and forced to flee the country sort of takes the fun out of vacations.
Reformed cat burglar, Nyssa Glass, wants to lead an honest life as an electrician’s apprentice. Instead, she’s on the run with her new friend, Ellis, implicated in a crime she didn’t commit. The pair ends up stowing away on a zeppelin and meeting Renard and Amara, two teens running away to be married. But the mysterious couple is hiding something—and it might get Nyssa and Ellis killed. (from Amazon.com)
Tada! The second book in the Nyssa Glass series of novellas that H.L. Burke is cranking out. Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors hooked me so much I blew past my bedtime. Thus, I went into this second novella with high hopes–and this novella delivers! While lacking the crisp, creepy originality of the the first book, Nyssa Glass and the Juliet Dilemma is a thoroughly enjoyable second book that features a pair of characters you truly want to root for and a plot that moves briskly to a satisfying conclusion.
Nyssa Glass and the Juliet Dilemma is true to its title, and I loved Burke’s snarky pokes at the young lovers, Renard and Amara, while valuing the honest friendship and intellectual chemistry Ellis and Nyssa share. If the first book had a touch of horror, this book has touches of romance, all sandwiched in a fast-paced plot that is perfectly suited to the zeppelin location. If I had one quibble, I would have appreciated a little more detail. This is ironic since I enjoy how quickly and easily Burke’s novellas read, but in this case, it almost went too quickly for my taste. Still, enjoying an author’s world so much that you want to stay there longer is hardly a true downside. A solid, clever YA read!
Cora’s a young girl with two dreams: to be a dragon jockey when she grows up and to own a pet dragon now. She constantly buys “egg packs” at the dragon emporium in hopes that one will hatch into a rare pet-sized dragon, but only gets short-lived mayflies. However, when an unexpected egg does develop into something new, Cora may be over her head. (from Amazon.com)
I don’t read middle grade fiction as a rule, but this book certainly qualifies as a great exception! I downloaded an eCopy of Cora and the Nurse Dragon on a free book day, and I am very glad I did. It is an entirely appropriate MG/YA fantasy story with authentic characters, great dragons, and Burke’s characteristic clean writing voice.
First of all: DRAGONS! I love dragons and so does this author. Her dragon world-building is perfectly integrated into the story. It is also unique and yet easy to understand. I thoroughly enjoyed how Burke explored the concept of free vs. kept animals, and the responsibility of humans to their environment. The theme is effortlessly woven into the plot and adds depth.
There are some intense scenes at the end, but they make sense with the story, so just keep an eye out if your kids are on the younger side or sensitive. Otherwise, entirely suitable for the audience and enjoyable for readers young or old!