shadowfireflame: (Sherlock in Molly's lab)
[personal profile] shadowfireflame
It’s been a great summer of books for me, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites:

-- The Oliver & Jack series by Christina E. Piltz (starts with Fagin’s Boy)
After I finished C.S. Pacat’s astounding Captive Prince series, I was desperate for something to fill the gap, and this series did it for me. Yes, it’s basically a continuation of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist novels but with a very, very slow-building romantic relationship between Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger (Jack Dawkins here). Absolutely incredible, meticulously researched historical m/m that has a lot to say about life in the Dickensian era and class-based hardship. The fifth novel in the series has just been released. The parts in the workhouse reminded me of one of my favorite Sherlock fanfics, Chryse’s brilliant The Frost is All Over.

--The Temeraire series by Naomi Novik (who also helped found AO3 and writes great fanfic, which is how I found out about this series!)
I very much liked her novel Uprooted, but I just adored this series and its two adorable main characters to pieces. This is an alternate history set in the early 1800s in which the British are fighting Napoleon…via exciting aerial combat on specially trained dragons! Will Laurence is a stiff and proper navy man, captain of his ship, when they engage in battle with the French and capture a precious dragon egg. When it hatches onboard, Laurence names the dragon Temeraire, and they form a special lifelong bond (the dragon talks!). This series just flew by: the world-building is rich and the action scenes are thrilling, but it’s really the three-dimensional characters that make the world come alive. There is a little het romance (because there are awesomely badass female dragon riders), but the novel focuses more deeply on the bonds of friendship, community, and duty, and the deep relationship between Laurence and Temeraire. Fans of the Horatio Hornblower miniseries will love this! I’ve been told I should tackle Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey & Maturin series after this, so it’s on my to-read list. EDIT November 2016: I'm reading this series now and totally loving it!

--We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
All is not what it seems in this suspenseful family drama featuring four teen friends from a wealthy family and the summer everything went wrong. Cadence (Cady) Sinclair, her cousins Mirren and Johnny, and her boyfriend Gat form the “Liars,” a tight-knit group that meets every summer on a private island off Martha’s Vineyard owned by Cady’s grandfather. While Cady’s narration is often strange and stilted, it’s worth fighting through it for the realistic portrayals of old-money problems (the horrors of racism, secrets, and masks for the preservation of the family’s “image”), the foreboding atmosphere, and the devastating ending (worthy of Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief) that brilliantly ties everything together.
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