I recently went on a long reading binge, all of which are urban fantasy. Apparently, I’ve been missing out on a pretty awesome genre! I started with the Dark Cycle series, then went onto the Raven Cycle series, then the Creepy Hollow series (first three) and finished with the Fire and Bone just a couple of days ago. Just a heads up, all these books are darker than what I usually read (with the exception of Creepy Hollow) and have magic, blood, swearing, and heat. Some more intense than others. So if any of that bothers you, these might not be the best choice of books for you.
With that little disclaimer, I will continue on.
So, we’re talking about shipping today…in case you are unaware of that word, it’s short for relationSHIP, meaning, if you enjoy characters in a relationship you “ship” them or are “shipping” them. There’s some teen slang explained for ya.
In the Dark Cycle series by Rachel Marks, I really shipped Aiden and Kara. The heat was pretty intense in those books, so if you’re sensitive to that, beware. Also, the scare factor. Holy cow are these books scary! I normally hate scary things, but lately, I’ve felt the need to challenge myself and push myself into things beyond my comfort zone. I truly enjoyed these books and they felt like an exciting adventure rather than a struggle. That’s the way books should be.
Even if Aiden and Kara’s relationship was ‘forced’ in the beginning (because of Kara’s spell bond to him) they definitely had major chemistry. Aiden and Kara generally care for one another and it’s evident throughout the series. While Kara is strong-willed, and Aiden was split between different forces pulling him in opposing directions, neither of them were jerks to each other, and I appreciate that.
I’m highly looking forward to Rachel Mark’s next book which I *MAY* get the chance to beta read. It’s in the works people, and boy am I excited!
Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle series focused on the Raven Boys and Blue. Blue is a strange girl who falls into a group of boys from the local uppity prep school that she despises. Before long she realizes these boys aren’t as bad as she thought and they might even be pretty amazing. She falls hard for the leader of the group, Gansey, and while I *should* say I ship Blue and Gansey, I’m honestly going to say I ship Blue and Gansey, and Noah, and Adam, and Ronan and Henry. Why? Because she really fell in love with all of them.
They were a group who knew what it truly meant to be friends. You don’t find stories about real strong friendships too often, and this story has that. These teens love and care about each other and their friendship bond is unbreakable, no matter how bad things get or how much they might fight or disagree.
This series was full of dark magic and terrible language, but the characters and stories were so compelling I couldn’t put them down. Honestly, it brought back lots of nostalgia from high school and I could relate to a lot of it. I truly connected to Blue the most as I often fell into groups of guys where I was the only girl. She resonated with me up until the end when she turned into a tree, (that was just weird). Anyway, to be honest, I think she’d be a better fit with Henry-who doesn’t get introduced until the last book- instead of Gansey. But either way, I loved the group dynamics of these characters. It just worked well.
I read through the first three books in the Creepy Hollow series (there are six more I still need to read), and despite the name, these were the least creepy books out of all the ones mentioned here. They weren’t scary at all. More lighthearted and fun than anything. Not dark and gritty like the previous two series mentioned. It was nice to have this break from the darkness for a bit so I could breathe more easily.
The two I shipped here were Violet and Ryn. And while their relationship started off with a trope that I loathe (the I-hate-you-and-then-I-love-you trope) it ended up working. The author made the transition from hate to love believable which I feel too many authors fail to do authentically. There was backstory, explanation, and rational discussion about their feelings, and that made the whole thing wonderful for me. Usually, I can’t stand that kind of thing but Rachel Morgan made it work.
By the second book, I was firmly hooked on their relationship. A jerk became a softy when he realizes where his misconceptions and error in thinking came from. A strong-willed, stubborn gal becomes stronger as she realizes that it’s okay to have someone come alongside you and love you, and you don’t have to do everything on your own. Sometimes it might even *gasp* be easier and more pleasant to have a partner along for the ride.
While there was some heat in some parts I would say this series is okay for most teens. I think the previous two series may be for older, more mature teens or 20+, depending on what you can handle. I know I personally wouldn’t have been able to handle most of these series’ as a teen.
The last book that I just finished was Fire and Bone, also by Rachel Marks, who happens to be my new favorite author. Like I’ve stated, I really feel these books should be for more mature teens, and I don’t think they are appropriate for younger audiences. But that’s just my opinion.
Let me say Sage and Faelan are awesome! While they deal with the craziness going on around them they are also having to learn to deal with the feelings that are blossoming for each other. While both are afraid of these new feelings, they can’t seem to stop them from growing. By the end, a very sweet and passionate romance has bloomed and just when you think Sage is going to choose love, well…I don’t want to spoil the ending. But let me say it left me screaming at the book. Since this is a brand new release I’m going to have to wait FOREVER for the second book to come out. Just kill me now.
What characters have you been shipping lately? Tell us in the comments below and don’t forget to hit that FOLLOW button.