Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review: The Secrets of the Vanmars by Elisabeth Wheatley

Goodreads description: After her adventures with the Key of Amatahns, sixteen-year-old Janir Caersynn Argetallam returns home to find Brevia on the brink of war with a neighboring country, Stlaven. Her foster-father and even Saoven—a brave young elf warrior—think it will be safe at the castle where Janir grew up. However, while trying to unravel a looming mystery, Karile—self-taught wizard and Janir’s self-appointed best friend—becomes certain that there is danger in the mountains surrounding Janir’s childhood home and that it has something to do with Stlaven’s most powerful family, the Vanmars…

The Secrets of the Vanmars was definitely better than the first book, The Key of Amatahns. I felt like my attention was held a lot more during this book, I enjoyed reading it more. Just overall, it was a better reading experience this time around.

Janir is still the same, brave girl. She fights to survive. I completely respect that. You’ve got to see that the way the book is set, girls during that time were supposed to be all proper and depend on knights to rescue them. Nahh Janir won’t do that. In the book, there are actually a few times when Janir points out that her lack of manners aren’t because she’s just a rude girl, it’s because she was raised around a bunch of men, warriors. Really, deep down, Janir is a good girl and is polite to her elders and people of high standing. She just won’t stand down and take anyone’s crap.

Speaking of the setting, I have to applaud that. I mentioned in my review of book 1 that I am amazed that the author is the same age as me- just 17. What she’s done with the setting is incredible. For authors, it should be super easy to write a story in this time period, with realistic conditions. But Elisabeth? She couldn’t settle for some boring modern day stuff. She threw in some medieval stuff, magic, elves, dwarves.. Ahh it was mind blowing.

What I am needing more of, however, is some romance. Many of my favorite books make it to that favorite spot because of the relationships between characters. Example: I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the Fallen series (Lauren Kate) as much if there wasn’t that star-crossed lovers element. With The Secrets of the Vanmars, there was a hint to a possible romance in the future. Book 1 was lacking that, and maybe that’s why I enjoyed book 2 more. But I really want to see this romance grow in future additions to this series.

Overall, like I said, this was better than book 1, in my opinion. So if you haven’t read this series, or if you’ve just read the first book, definitely give book 2 a shot. I believe it was worth my time and hope you will, too.

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