Find it at your library!

Hark: Here be spoilers for the first book in this series, Three Dark Crowns, so if you haven’t had the pleasure of that book yet, best turn back now. You’ve been warned!

I read Three Dark Crowns in February of this year, and I loved it so intensely I read it again in July. I don’t know that I have ever in my life read the same book twice in a year. I am not a rereader by any stretch—I always want to move on to the next shiny new book. But these three teen queens totally captivated me.

Kendare Blake is not following any of the rules—it’s not clear to me even now which of the three, if any, I should be rooting for. Yes, Katharine fell in a pit and came back changed (still not entirely sure how), and she’s definitely embraced the idea of killing her sisters to claim the throne, but I’m not convinced she’s going to be the biggest bad of this story. The question that still hasn’t been answered is why the three queens have to fight to the death. Like, whose idea was this, anyway? And what happens if the queens break the whole “kill or be killed” paradigm? While One Dark Throne didn’t provide any of those answers, based on the ending, I think we’re going to find out soon.

And I have to mention, my girl Arsinoe is proving remarkably difficult to kill. It makes me love her even more. I really hope she explores her poisoner gift more in the next book. It was a little bit of a letdown to me that she spends so much time in this one hiding her gift to retain her strategic advantage. I get the reasons for that, but I’m ready for her to let the herbs and tinctures fly.

When is somebody going to adapt this for TV?? Because I need to see that CGI cougar stat!

Find it at your library!

This twisty thriller comes with an unusual premise that hooked me from the start: it’s set in an alternate world where once people hit adulthood, their ability to make new memories is drastically reduced, resulting in a stratified society where Monos, who can remember only one day prior to today, are second-class citizens to Duos, who can remember the past two days.

If you’re wondering how a murder mystery can possibly work under those conditions, well, I was skeptical too, but for the most part Yap pulls it off. Characters are dependent on their iDiaries (Apple and Steve Jobs are called out by name), which are cell phone-like devices on which they record each day’s events for review later on. Of course, you can see the problem with  a system like this--whatever a person chooses to write in their iDiary becomes fact for them in one or two days’ time, regardless of omissions or falsehoods. Hence the detective in the novel always tries his best to solve cases within a single day (which is probably the part I had the toughest time suspending my disbelief about).

Claire and Mark are a rare “mixed” marriage--she’s a Mono, he’s a Duo. A woman’s body is found in the river near their house, and the detective shows up to interview Mark. This stirs up all kinds of trouble, in their private and public lives. Mark is a famous novelist and aspiring politician, and any whiff of scandal could taint his name forever. If he was involved with another woman, let alone implicated in her death, Claire, needless to say, has questions.

I like mysteries and  thrillers, but as they can start to all feel the same to me, I’m always looking for ones with a little something extra. The memory-challenged world Yap has created felt fresh, and couldn’t have been easy to execute. If I rated this book using the Olympic gymnastics scoring system, I would rate it very high for starting difficulty and add moderate style points, with a deduction for a slight loss of form in the air. (Tortured metaphor? Perhaps. But I like it! I think I might start rating all books like gymnastic routines. How did I not see before that books and gymnastics are basically the same thing?!)