Pass, Fail, Promise: Spring 2016 Edition

Pass: The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

This was the first Cat Winters book I’ve ever read, but purely by happenstance I wound up with several of her books on my list. The Cure for Dreaming is my first attempt at tackling that list, and I would like to proclaim it a rousing success.

I plowed through this one in a couple of days; it really helped me get my reading mojo back after a two-month slump.

Olivia Meade is a modern woman trapped in an old-fashioned Portland household in 1900. Her father finally decides that enough is enough when she gets caught at a suffrage rally. He hires a hypnotist to “cure” her of her unladylike inclinations–her desire to vote and go to college, her willfulness, her ability to stand up for herself.

Though disgusted by the prospect, Henri Reverie agrees to perform the “treatment,” but secretly conspires with Olivia to find ways of working around it, ultimately hoping to show Dr. Meade, as well as other members of Portland society, just how dangerous it is to rob a woman of her free will.

My only complaint is that some of the symbolism was a little heavy-handed in places, but it worked through most of the story.

Genre: YA
Sub-Genre: historical romance
Page Count: 352
Fail: the Enchanted Castle by Edith Nesbit

This is a classic children’s book. I didn’t realize that at the time I downloaded the audiobook.

The story is about 3 siblings who stumble upon a girl in a garden, who is in possession of a magic ring. The children spend the bulk of the story trying to figure out how to control the ring, and failing miserably, alternately turning themselves invisible, or into stone, or bringing things to life that shouldn’t.

I’ve read kids lit, and obviously I read YA all the time, but this one just didn’t do it for me. I thought it was utterly ridiculous, as well as dull. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I was the target audience, but it definitely didn’t translate well to an adult reader. I forced myself to finish it mostly to kill time until my next audio reserve came in.

Genre: juvenile/middle grade
Sub-Genre: classics, fantasy
Page Count: 291
Promise: The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber

The Eterna Files is the first book in Hieber’s new Eterna series (vol 2, Eterna & Omega, is due out April 26 from Tor).

This gas-lamp fantasy novel follows two teams, one in New York and one in London, as they search for a “cure for death” following the assassination of President Lincoln. With both the First Lady and the Queen in deepest mourning, the two teams race to provide results, with disastrous consequences.

Twenty years after the Eterna Commission’s inception, the entire team is suddenly wiped out under mysterious circumstances. At almost the exact same time, the English researchers mysteriously vanish.

Sensitive Clara and her guardian are left to pick up the pieces in New York, with the aide of a few trusted friends. In London, Detective Inspector Harold Spire is pulled off of a most pressing murder investigation to track down the missing scientists.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. There were some very unique characters, and lots of dark and mysterious doings. My only real complaint is that the chapters were not headed with a location (either New York or London), and the similarities between the two main characters on each continent could make it hard for me to get back into the flow of the story if I put the book down for any length of time. I will, however, say that while it took nearly a month for me to read Eterna (and adding to the confusion) that blame is entirely on me and not the story. I’d like to go back and reread this book when I’m in a better mental state to appreciate it. I’m very excited for the release of book 2 on April 26, especially since Missouri and I have invites to the release party!

Genre: historical fiction
Sub-Genre: fantasy
Page Count: 325