Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Gods of Gotham

Atmospheric suspense featuring one of NYs first "copper starred" policemen

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye

Published March 2012 by Putnam

Set in 1845 in New York City, The Gods of Gotham weaves the first-person account of Timothy Wilde, an astute bartender saving his hard-earned dollars so he can ask the woman he loves to share a life of promise with him. After a raging fire and an explosion that reduces much of Manhattan to cinders and disfigures him, Tim reluctantly takes on a job as a "copper star" -- a member of the first government funded police force in NYC. His first big case involves multiple child murders, and as Tim gets involved, his skills of observation and his moral compass become important factors in uncovering the truth.
The Gods of Gotham is an exquisitely written and deeply researched historical mystery novel that turns mid-1800s NYC into a character as vibrant as Tim, his mentally unstable brother Val, Tim's unrequited love Miss Underwood, the irascible little orphan named Bird, and many, many other remarkable characters. It reads as if the author read meticulously through the dusty history tomes, picked out some interesting threads of stories and characters of the times, and breathed life and plausible imagination into them. I look forward to reading more works by Lyndsay Faye.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Raven Boys

Spunky, magic amplifying teen girl meets boarding school bad boys

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Published September 2012 by Scholastic Press

This is the first I've read by Stiefvater, upon recommendation by a trusted friend, and the trust was warranted! The Raven Boys is a young adult fantasy novel with a new and fresh premise that involves Celtic mythology, psychics, spellcasting, the spirit world, and other paranormal aspects that perhaps haven't been fully fleshed out yet (it's a series). The main characters are Blue, a 16 year old girl who has the gift of amplifying the paranormal gifts of others and paranormal energy in general, and The Raven Boys: Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah, all very different and with their own developed backstories. It's been prophesied that if Blue kisses her first true love, he will die. Gansey's on a quest to find a mythical king whose legend says the one who wakes him from his very long slumber will get a wish granted. The others are all interested in the quest for their own reasons. The Raven Boys gets the tale laid out and peaks with some real world changing events, but doesn't answer every question and even adds new ones to be unraveled in the next book, which is called The Dream Thieves. I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of The Raven Cycle series.