Mini-reviews: Lady Renegade, Forest of Ruin, and The Case of the Fire Inside

Today we are introducing a new feature here at Wordcandy: mini-reviews of the various sequels/series installments/comic books we've read during the week. Basically, I get tired of recapping everything that's happened in, say, the previous seven books in a particular series, but I still might want to complain or enthuse about book number eight. These mini-reviews will give me a chance to do that, but they probably won't mean much to anyone who isn't already familiar with the series in question.

So, here we go:

Lady Renegades, 3rd and final book in Rachel Hawkins's 'Rebel Belle' series

Review of the first installment available here.

In her Acknowledgements, Hawkins says she likes writing about Ladies Getting It Done, and this book is an excellent example of that. It's more serious in tone than the first installment, less romantic than the second, and the plot resolution felt like the author wanted to have her angst and eat it too, but this is a worthy ending to a satisfying, action-packed, Bechdel Test-passing YA series (which are more rare than you'd think).

Forest of Ruin, 3rd and final book in Kelley Armstrong's 'Age of Legends' series

Review of the first installment available here.

I'm genuinely not sure how I feel about this. In an unexpected move, Armstrong chose to pair up two different characters than I expected after reading the first book, although she leaves the door open for an eventual relationship between the original couple. I applaud this idea in theory (and the newer relationship is undeniably healthier), but Armstrong's decision to flout the conventions of fantasy/romance writing left me feeling like her series wasn't truly finished—the original pairing might have been deeply messed up, but I've been conditioned to expect a happily-ever-after ending anyway, and getting a “Maybe they'll get together one day! Meanwhile, try” instead is downright unsettling.

Bad Machinery, Vol. 5: The Case of the Fire Inside, by John Allison

Reviews of first and second installment of the 'Bad Machinery' series here; review of third installment here.

With its focus on death and aging, loneliness and unhinged romantical choices, The Fire Inside is darker and more melancholy than all the previous 'Bad Machinery' installments combined, but still magically averages a solid .75 laughs per page. Once again, whoever does the packaging and graphic design for these editions deserves... whatever award is given to book-design specialists. These are both a delight to read (tribute to the author) and a tribute to the publisher, who has clearly spared no effort or expense to make them contenders for the title of loveliest coffee-table books in all the land.
Posted by: Julianka


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