Fantasy

The Girl in the Green Silk Gown – Seanan McGuire

4.5 stars

I am TRASH for anything Seanan McGuire writes and Rose Marshall is no exception. I’m dying for more already.

36384411.jpg
Cover from Goodreads

The second book in the Ghost Roads series returns to the highways of America, where hitchhiking ghost Rose Marshall continues her battle with her killer–the immortal Bobby Cross.

Once and twice and thrice around,
Put your heart into the ground.
Four and five and six tears shed,
Give your love unto the dead.
Seven shadows on the wall,
Eight have come to watch your fall:
One’s for the gargoyle, one’s for the grave,
And the last is for the one you’ll never save.
 
For Rose Marshall, death has long since become the only life she really knows. She’s been sweet sixteen for more than sixty years, hitchhiking her way along the highways and byways of America, sometimes seen as an avenging angel, sometimes seen as a killer in her own right, but always Rose, the Phantom Prom Date, the Girl in the Green Silk Gown.

The man who killed her is still out there, thanks to a crossroads bargain that won’t let him die, and he’s looking for the one who got away. When Bobby Cross comes back into the picture, there’s going to be hell to pay—possibly literally.

Rose has worked for decades to make a place for herself in the twilight. Can she defend it, when Bobby Cross comes to take her down? Can she find a way to navigate the worlds of the living and the dead, and make it home before her hitchhiker’s luck runs out?

There’s only one way to know for sure.

Nine will let you count the cost:
All you had and all you lost.
Ten is more than time can tell,
Cut the cord and ring the bell.
Count eleven, twelve, and then,
Thirteen takes you home again.
One’s for the shadow, one’s for the tree,
And the last is for the blessing of Persephone

Bobby Cross is a mostly-off screen villain and boy do I want to run that jerk over and give him a taste of his own medicine. Stalker-dude schemes to get Rose once and for all, and if he weren’t actually good at it, it’d be comically cliche.

Rose has been dead for so long she can’t cope with the problems of the living and oh, does she describe them to us in all their squishy detail. To thwart Bobby’s schemes, and he’s got them coming and going, Rose will have to team up will familiar allies and familiar enemies. There’s a lot on the line if she doesn’t pull this off.

The Girl in the Green Silk Gown is more linear than Sparrow Hill Road, which makes sense once the story gets going. Time doesn’t mean much to the dead. Despite being more linear, it’s no less melancholy, romantic, nostalgic and full of moments both heartwarming and heartbreaking. You might want to have a box of tissues nearby.

I do have to note, I knocked off half a star in this rating because the ending was abrupt. We were truckin’ along and then suddenly there are no more pages, no more story and it was as if Seanan had slammed on the brakes, turned off the car, jumped out and run down the road with her hands in the air, leaving me stunned in the passenger seat with a minor case of whiplash.

That aside, I still LOVED the story, and am looking forward to a third book in the series (I hope, oh goodness please tell me there’s another!)

 

Advertisement
Fantasy

Sparrow Hill Road – Seanan McGuire

4 Stars

For someone who doesn’t drive, Seanan McGuire can sure wax poetic about the open road.

Sparrow Hill Road was first released in 2014, with the cover on the left, but is getting a gorgeous new cover (on the right) in anticipation of a sequel! In my own anticipation, I reread Sparrow Hill Road.

17666976.jpg36471699.jpg

Covers from Goodreads, and while we’re there, let’s review the synopsis:

Rose Marshall died in 1952 in Buckley Township, Michigan, run off the road by a man named Bobby Cross—a man who had sold his soul to live forever, and intended to use her death to pay the price of his immortality. Trouble was, he didn’t ask Rose what she thought of the idea.

It’s been more than sixty years since that night, and she’s still sixteen, and she’s still running.

They have names for her all over the country: the Girl in the Diner. The Phantom Prom Date. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown. Mostly she just goes by “Rose,” a hitchhiking ghost girl with her thumb out and her eyes fixed on the horizon, trying to outrace a man who never sleeps, never stops, and never gives up on the idea of claiming what’s his. She’s the angel of the overpass, she’s the darling of the truck stops, and she’s going to figure out a way to win her freedom. After all, it’s not like it can kill her.

You can’t kill what’s already dead.

Sparrow Hill Road is set in the InCryptid universe but is completely detached from the events of any of the InCryptid stories, so even if you’ve never read a single InCryptid story, you’ll feel right at home in these pages.

McGuire is absolutely in her element in Sparrow Hill Road, her poetic prose driving the story forward, one heartbreaking page at a time. Part love poem to the open road and freedom, part ghost story, Sparrow Hill Road is gripping and lovely and made me cry while keeping me on the edge of my seat.

The story isn’t entirely linear and is full of interconnected vignettes that form the skeleton of Rose’s ghostly existence. Instead of her day to day existence, we visit Rose during the most important parts of her unlife.

The Girl in the Green Silk Gown, the sequel to Sparrow Hill Road, is due out July 3, 2018 and I am so excited!

Urban Fantasy

Silence Fallen – Patricia Briggs

3 Stars

It pains me to rate this book so low. I love Mercy and the Mercyverse and greatly anticipated the release of Silence Fallen, but this was just not the strongest or most compelling installment in the series. Overall, the Mercy Thompson series is a strong series, well written and engaging. Sadly, Silence Fallen didn’t quite stick the landing.

A photo of the cover of Silence Fallen.
My copy of Silence Fallen.

I found some of the nerdy references in the book to be heavy handed and not quite fully researched. The opening scenes with the pack playing a “LARP videogame” made me cringe. As a gamer and nerd myself, the details were just wrong enough to grate. 

Three solid stars because the plot was interesting and kept me reading, but two stars off because of what I wrote above.

Silence Fallen is the 10th book in the Mercy Thompson series.

A version of this review first appeared on Goodreads on March 10. 

Urban Fantasy

The Furthest Station – Ben Aaronovitch

 

I received an e-ARC from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I also purchased the Deluxe Signed Edition from Subterranean Press, which was released June 30. A non-deluxe release is planned for September 8, 2017. 

5 Stars

A fun installment in the Rivers of London/Peter Grant series, The Furthest Station is a satisfying jaunt away from the main thread tying the series together. In this novella, we spend time with Peter’s cousin Abigail – who I was delighted to see more of – and learning about ghosts.

A photo of the cover of The Furthest Station.
My copy of The Furthest Station.

As with the rest of the series, Aaronovitch spends an unusual amount of wordcount describing locations and buildings for an Urban Fantasy series. However, since geography and locality play such important roles in the overall series, it doesn’t feel like wasted space. I always finish a Rivers of London story having learned something new about architecture (though if you take note of Peter’s opinions, you’d think England had nothing but terrible buildings throughout).

If you’re a fan of Rivers of London/Peter Grant, definitely pick up The Furthest Station – it’s a satisfying story to tide us over until the next installment of the series comes out, whenever that may be.

The Furthest Station is a novella set between books 5 and 6 of the PC Grant/Rivers of London series.

This review was originally published on Goodreads April 20, 2017.