Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Strange Maid

The Strange Maid
(image from its page)
Tessa Gratton

(Trigger Warnings for the book: Death, alcohol)

(Gif warning for the review)
Signy Valborn climbed the New World Tree when she was seven, looking for Asgard at its top branches. It wasn't there, but the Allfather was. He promised her that if she could solve a riddle, she could join the ranks of the Valkyries. For ten years, Signy has trained to become a Valkyrie, trying to solve her riddle all the while. After running from home to live in the streets of Chicagland, she's not eager to trust Ned Unferth, who claims to know the answer. A Greater Mountain Troll, he claims, will hold the solution. Signy knows she's running out of time. She'll have to trust him.

You know, I was so proud of my summary for The Last Mango (If you're confused, read the review for the predecessor book- then you'll know why I refuse to call it by its real title.). Not sure what went wrong this time.

(image from Pintrest)

Yes, kid, this is a kissing book. There is lots of kissing. You're going to have to get used it. But, hey, there's a plot, too, so get over yourself. Here are the characters who may or may not have kissability:

Signy Valborn- KISSING RATE: HIGH- Finally, a strong female character that isn't a) basically a male character that the author decided should be female, or b) a sex object hiding under the strong female character guise. Signy was a genuinely interesting and cool character to read about. She had almost all the traits you want in a female character, without the chaser of "stage seven Other Girls syndrome" and "magically fails to do anything when Love Interest comes along". A+ main character.

Ned Unferth- KISSING RATE: Lower than Signy, but higher than, say, Sharkman- This is ~Love Interest~. You can tell just by those squiggles that I have a bone to pick. However, I actually have no reason to pick that bone other than Ned's brooding and angst. And the brooding and angst was reasonable too. So, while his character wasn't my favorite, there's no reason to actively hate him. Sad, I know.

Soren Bearstar- KISSING RATE: haha your girlfriend got turned into a goddess everybody point and laugh- I actually liked him better in this book than in the last. Is that weird? He was the MC of the last book. Anyway, he felt more sympathetic and real this time around.

Sharkman- KISSING RATE: Lower than Ned, but higher than Soren- Not important, I know, but for a secondary Love Interest, he probably should have shown up more. Or at least had a personality. Or something.

Baldur- KISSING RATE: Probably still higher than Soren- Okay, I'm only putting him down because I thought he was cool. He only showed up once.

The writing style wasn't too compelling. It wasn't really boring, but it didn't demand my attention. I felt like the narrator could have been a little less detached. However, it was good to see some real emotions from this main character, even if they felt a little bit at a distance. Perhaps third person would fit the style a bit better.

Ooh, ooh the twist near the end! I love end twists! That was pretty darn great. And it made sense, but wasn't obviously going to happen from the beginning. If there were more plot twists like that, reviews would be a happier place.

The balance of action and character development was pretty sweet. Not summer blockbustery, but also not romantic tragedy. Realistic, without one subplot beating out another. Or, well, as realistic as a fantasy book can get. You know. Anyway, veddy veddy good, Ms. Gratton, veddy veddy good.

On the romance: Let's face it, even though I have no practical reason to dislike Ned, I disliked Ned. The air of father figure/mentor and also Love Interest was unnerving. If he stuck as mentor and Sharkman became the Love Interest, I think I'd take it better.

I'm torn whether I liked this book or the last book better. The last one I liked the characters and plot better, but this one didn't have the same problems that bothered me last time.

(Let's face it, if my immune system was better, you guys wouldn't get anything.)

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