Clarion had a difficult time keeping track of how many days had passed. It was easier to pick up on feelings. Snatches of conversations. Glimpses of what went on around her. “What is this slop?” A bowl clattered against a table. “You call this food, woman? Did you ever learn to cook?” “No, I did not . I had people to do that for me. Starve, for all I care! What do I those voices, and she’d remember: Mack and Elena. She’d done something, wished something… For both of them. But then part of her would slowly come to understand what they said and how they said it, and her cognizance would wither again.
I was emailed by Amy McNulty to do a cover reveal and a pre-review her newest book, Ballad of the Beanstalk. She has several other books out, so check her out!
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the writer in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
Clarion is the only daughter to a widow on a struggling pig farm. Despite that, she keeps her spirits up by playing her family’s heirloom harp any chance she gets and by hanging out with her friends when possible. When a lord’s dashing son, Mack, arrives into town so that Clarion’s friend and sometimes sweetheart, Elena, can be arranged to marry him, Clarion finds herself drawn to a boy for the first time. Mack is drawn to Clarion and her music alike which causes tension between Clarion and Elena.
A giant beanstalk appears in the town witch’s yard and Mack soon vanishes up it. When no one believes her about its existence and even the witch herself won’t help, she is determined to travel up the stalk herself to find Mack and prove that she can protect herself and others. What she wasn’t prepared for was the world she found in the clouds and the dangers that accompany it.
This is a prequel to the classic Jack and the beanstalk tale and I really enjoyed it! A fair amount of it has the nice comforting feel of the old fairytale but McNulty adds new details and a new storyline that breathes life back into it. The ending was a surprise to me, but once I read it, I couldn’t see it ending any other way.
The only complaint I have is that the relationships between really any of the characters feels forced and a little dry. This doesn’t take away from the book like you would expect it to, but it does give the feeling of wanting more. More background on the characters, more understanding of motives, and more passion, believe it or not. Usually I’m rolling my eyes at the unbelievable passion between teenagers in books, ha.
Overall, I’d recommend it! It’s a good book for probably 15 and up, I can’t remember perfectly but I think there was some language in it that wouldn’t necessarily be deemed appropriate for younger readers.
“A girl with a secret talent must save her village from the encroaching darkness in this haunting and deeply satisfying tale.
Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village.
These soul eaters, twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human, devour human souls. Alys, and all the other children, were spared—and they were sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.
Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch. When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from the outside—and from within her own heart and soul.”
It looks really good! And the great news is that I’m the first to request the hold at the library so I will be able to finish it by the end of March! YES! That excites me waaaay more than it would a normal person. I’m getting closer to having January and February’s picks in my hands, though, so be on the lookout for reviews of those as well.