ARC Review: “Charmed Vengeance” by Suzanne Lazear

Charmed VengeanceCharmed Vengeance (The Aether Chronicles #2) by Suzanne Lazear

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In the Faerie realm, Noli Braddock’s relationship with her best friend V has grown into something more. But V’s mother, Faerie Queen Tiana, has ruled that they are forbidden to see each other. Returning to the mortal realm, Noli joins the crew of her brother’s air-pirate ship, the Vixen’s Revenge. There she discovers that her brother has hired the scallywag Faerie huntsman, Kevighn Silver. While serving as shipmates, Kevighn and Noli learn that the Earth Court King plans to find a forbidden artifact–one that will bring destruction to everyone Noli loves.

Thanks to NetGalley and Flux for this eARC! This title will be released on August 8th, 2013.

3 stars

WARNING: This review WILL have spoiler for the first book! Read my review of Innocent Darkness HERE!

I’ll be the first person to admit that I wasn’t entirely thrilled by the first installment of this series, but I was interested enough to request the second book. Sadly, as many “middle” novels have been showing me these days, I sometimes think that some series should not be trilogies. Or people at least need some new conventions for middles of series.

Thanks to V’s intervention, Noli had not become the braindead sprite Queen Tiana was hoping for. Instead, Noli shares her mind with the consciousness of a sprite, and control of the body isn’t always hers. Determined to get rid of her meddling sons, Queen Tiana forces V to go a-questing with James for “something to amuse her.” While V is gone, Noli’s Grandfather discovers the squalor that her and her mother have been living in and tries to force them to go to Boston. Determined not to be married off by Christmas, Noli runs off with her brother Jeff to be the engineer on his airship. Imagine her surprise when Kevighn Silver signs on to be the ship’s new gunner.

So, middle book convention #1 is obvious: the male and female love interests get separated and have to go off on their own adventures. Personally, I found V and James’s quest pretty boring, and only interesting when it supplemented Noli’s. Noli’s adventure was the one with most of the excitement and the questions and answers. Also, the romance between Jeff and the ship’s female captain Vix was really cute.

Noli herself still makes me happy as a main character. Her new added problem of having a sprite in her head, trying to make her girly, was a fun addition. It was actually my favorite part of the novel. She continued to be my shining light throughout the novel, even when I started skipping.

And I did, sadly, start skipping. Like I said, James and V’s story just seemed to be filler, only letting us know that Queen Tiana had dropped the gloves. Otherwise, they were just running around and offering comic relief. I would skip through portions of their journey, because what was going to happen and how it connected to Noli was clear from the outset.

I did really like the switch of scene for Noli, and the family connection was nice. It was great to see a good steampunk side to this story for once, even though the focus was still on the fae. The questions and new elements that were brought in were also interesting. Like I said, I mostly read through and enjoyed Noli and the sprite’s problems.

Sadly, I had started skipping so much that I started skimming Noli’s part, too, just because I had so much figured out already. Nothing in the book really surprised me, and–again–it was more filler than anything else. I feel like all the exciting things will happen in the third and final installment, now that Noli and V have gotten their obligatory self-spirit-journeys or whatever out of the way.

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