Lately I have not been as busy reading as I should be, but I have managed to fit in a couple of new things. I am in no way completing my 85-book challenge, though.
As a huge Hex Hall fan, I immediately scoop up anything Rachel Hawkins, the series’ author, writes. Imagine my excitement when I found out that she has published a short story called “The Ties That Bind” on the These Dark Things blog. The story takes place in the Hex Hall world, but is way before the series takes place and includes not a single familiar character. It is also lacking some of the familiar traits of a Hawkins story: snarky, hilarious characters and hot bad boys/steamy make out sessions (real or imagined). “The Ties That Bind” is still worth reading, however, and is actually based on a true story (creepy!). Here’s a snippet of the story, but you’ll have to check out These Dark Things for the work in its entirety.
Ruth Scott had killed lots of things- countless bugs, several chickens, and the autumn her father died, a pig. But she’d never killed a witch before, and Ruth had a feeling that was going to be more difficult than slaughtering a hog.
Ruth sits by the fire, but she is still shivering when Oma hands her the strange knife, its blade made from some kind of dark glass. “You aim for heart,” Oma says. “Blade pierce witch’s heart, witch dies. Blade miss? You die. So you do not miss.”
“Why a knife?” Ruth asks, turning the weapon over in her hands, watching the firelight play in that strange, black glass. “I’m a witch, too. I’ll fight her with my powers.”
Oma wrinkles her nose. “No, she is dark witch. You white witch. Magic not as strong, and then what happens? You end up like brother, big hole smashed in back of head.” Ruth’s throat moves convulsively at that, but she does not cry, and she does not ask why Oma did not give this knife to David when she sent him to kill the witch. Oma wraps her fingers around Ruth’s, and they hold the hilt of the knife together between them. For a moment, Oma looks at Ruth with something like tenderness. “This weapon very special. Only women in my family can wield it, not men.”
“But we’re not family,” Ruth says, and Oma smiles.
“Now that I give you knife, liebchen,” she whispers, “we are.”
The knife was strapped to Ruth’s thigh, accessible through the special pocket Oma had sewn into her dress. Ruth could feel it there, pulsing like a second heartbeat as she dipped a piece of biscuit into her greasy bowl of jackrabbit stew. She made herself chew, even though the food sat in her stomach like lead. And she made herself smile at the witch who had murdered her brother, even though magic and rage pounded inside her.
Right before I started The Flint Heart, I devoured The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann. I was a little apprehensive about starting this one; I’m not the biggest fan of her Wake series and Cryer’s Cross was almost too creepy for me (I’m a huge baby). But, I LOVED The Unwanteds! It sucked me in from the first page and was as delightful and wonderous as Harry Potter. There are some comparisons with The Hunger Games, but that’s only because there is some fighting. The tone of the two books is completely opposite from each other. There’s also a trailer for this book, so I’ve posted it below. After reading The Unwanteds and wishing it wasn’t a standalone, I found out it’s turning into a series! I can’t wait for the next one!!!