Book Review: YA Extravaganza

Let's review some of the best YA I've read recently: Adamant by Kieran Wisser, Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza, and Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger.


This book is the first in a series that has a definite Percy Jackson quality mixed with some serious fangirl tendencies. I love anything that even fleetingly mentions Greek mythology so I was in love with the premise of this book when I first heard about it on Kieran's Tumblr. I will go ahead and warn you that this book definitely reflects the Tumblr fangirl mind (which I can definitely relate to, even at the ripe old age of 28!) and therefor may not appeal to everyone, but I would encourage everybody to give it a try. Kieran is such a great storyteller and despite some editing issues (it is her first book after all, and it is self published) I was captivated and I can honestly say that I cannot wait to read the next one. So go show some love to a writer just starting out. 


This is also the first book in a series. Mila is your average high school student, albeit one suffering from the traumatic loss of her father and the resulting amnesia blocking her past. At least that's what she thinks. If you can survive the beginning quarter of the book that is filled with a bit too much teen angst and references to the hot new boys amazing hair and skater shoes, then you will be rewarded with the teenage girl version of Jason Bourne. Yes, the angst is still there, although it morphs from why did my dad have to die and why are other girls so mean, to why am I an android and not a real girl angst. I did find Mila to be a bit whiny and and a little under-enthused about her super cool android powers. I also would have liked a bit less time spent on the discovery phase at the beginning and a lot more time focused on her action scenes. I'm interested to see how the next book pans out. I will say I am recommending this book like crazy at work because it's a very clean YA option. No cursing (there's one "day-yum") and no sex or sexual overtones (the poor little thing malfunctions every time anyone even gets close to kissing her). So if you are a voracious reader like me or are looking for something parent-friendly to give to a teen girl, then go ahead and pick this up. It's not the greatest, but it kept me entertained. 


Yet again, this is the first in the series. Unless you've devoured the entire Parasol Protectorate series like I have, then this is the first prequel (sort of). The book is set in the same steampunk universe as Parasol Protectorate, but 30 years in the past in the 1850s. The book ties in several well-known favorites, albeit in their much younger versions, very nicely and as a fan I squeeed with delight every time that happened. This particular series is YA, where Parasol was more adult fantasy in nature, and follows 14 year old Sophronia as she is shipped off to finishing school after her mother simply cannot deal with her  inappropriate antics any longer. I mean, what kind of lady reads books, takes apart the mechanicals, and climbs up the dumbwaiter? The finishing school turns out to be more than it seems, however. Sophronia will be expected to rapidly improve her curtsy while learning how to kill Vampires and werewolves and avoiding death threats from the Picklemen as well. I am honestly so excited about this series it combines so many great elements: Steampunk? Check. Fantasy? Check. No-nonsense heroines who are too smart for their own good? Check. Humor? Check. Definitely pick this one up. And if you've never picked up any of Gail's other books you should do that as well. Well worth the read.

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