She tweets. A lot.
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She’s the executioner.
As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.
But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.
However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?
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So, these are my absolute favourite YA books, and why I love them so much!
Shadow and Bone/Siege and Storm/Ruin and Rising I can’t pick a favourite one, the whole series is absolutely stunning and I’ve already read it through three times. The world is like nothing I’ve ever read before, elegantly, intricately written, with a gorgeous, subtle nod to Russian culture. I love the way the small sciences work, and the divide between those who can and those who can’t. I love the way Alina grows over the series, becoming stronger and more assertive, and yet always retaining her essential Alina-ness. The supporting cast are amazing and the BOYS. Do not get my started on how painfully sexy the Darkling is, and how real Mal is. But the award for Best Boy goes to Strumhond. He’s sassy and he’s clever and I love him.
Anna and the French Kiss I didn’t read this for the longest time because I am an idiot. When I finally did read it, I ended up blushing on a train because Etienne St. Clair is SO HOT. My stomach was aching at times because the tension building between him and Anna was almost unbearable. When I finally finished I had a lot of difficulty understanding how I was on a train and not in Paris. So I ended up booking a trip to Paris and my best friend and I went around looking at all the locations and fangirling. I love both sequels/companion novels too, but it was AatFK that I really fell in love with.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone Again, an incredible world, unlike anything I’ve ever read before, or since. The first time I read it shivers ran down my spine at the strangeness of Karou’s life and the high stakes she was playing for, the plot unfolding like a flower, twisting and turning and shocking to the core. Again, I love the entire series, but for me it was this first book that absolutely blew me away with its premise and its execution. I’ve re-read this a fair few times too – I’d love to visit Poison Kitchen, and Zuzana is my favourite fictional best friend ever – loyal and entirely her own person.
Fangirl Cath is pretty much my spirit animal, so of course I loved this book. Rainbow Rowell was absolutely spot on with her rendering of fandom and fan-culture, and it was such a treat to read about it in a way that wasn’t dismissive, or disparaging, but instead embraced it and showed fans have lives outside of the Internet too. Also Levi. What a guy.
The Scorpio Races I absolutely love Maggie Stiefvater’s lyrical writing style, but this book made my heart beat strangely. It was beautiful and wild and unpredictable and I think about it a lot. It’s hard to say why this one most of all of her works, but this is the one that got under my skin.
Tiger Eyes This was the first real YA novel I can remember reading, and it’s still one of my favourites. Everything about it, from the heart-breaking opening, to Davey’s struggle with her grief, and meeting the mysterious Wolf, chimed with me in a way that made it seem almost cruel when the story finished. I could have kept reading about Davey for days.
The Hunger Games The first time I read The Hunger Games I couldn’t stop. I kept reading it while I made tea, I kept reading it when I answered the door to the postman. I quite literally couldn’t put it down, couldn’t step away from the brutal and bitter world of the Capitol and Katniss’s struggles. As soon as I finished it I started it again. I had never read anything like it before, and haven’t since. It’s an astonishing novel and I’m so glad that everyone else in the world thinks so.
I Capture the Castle I Capture the Castle is an absolute classic, a beautiful gem of a novel that is perfect for reading on rainy afternoons with a blanket over your knees and a huge mug of steaming hot chocolate. It’s the YA novel equivalent of a Weasley jumper. I end up re-reading it once a year, usually when I’ve got a terrible cold, because indulging in Cassandra Mortmain’s world is a real treat and I always feel better afterwards.
The Northern Lights Series Everything about this series is a work of art. While I’ve been writing this post I’ve realised just how important the world that a story is based in is to me, and this is one of the best ever created. Spanning alternate dimensions and incorporating religion and politics, Phillip Pullman’s Northern Lights trilogy is a soul-destroying, game-changing series. I read the whole thing over the course of three days the first time I read it, and by the end I was a mess. It’s one of those books that temporarily makes everything around it seem dull by comparison.
Ink Exchange Books about fairies – real, nasty, amoral, fairies draw me like a moth to a flame. So many have thrilled me to the bone; the rest of the Wicked Lovely series, Holly Black’s Tithe, Valiant and Ironside, Liz de Jager’s Blackheart Legacy series, The Falconer by Elizabeth May. But Ink Exchange is the one that holds my heart, because the king of the Dark Court is delicious and the story is unashamedly bleak and dangerous, and the fairies are the stuff of nightmares. This is a real walk on the wild side of fairy lore and I love it for it.
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