Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Stolen Away ~ Alyxandra Harvey (eARC) review

Stolen Away
Walker Children's
January 17, 2012
288 pages
add to Goodreads/buy on Amazon

After bringing us humor, romance, a little violence and a lot of adventure (along with some some vampires) in her Drake Chronicles series and romance, humor and a very swoon-worthy boy in the spiritualist era stand-alone Haunting Violet Alyxandra Harvey is back, this time with the fae, in Stolen Away.

Eloise is a normal seventeen-year-old, spending early days of fall with her friends, trying to escape the oppressive summer hear that won't seem to break. She is eating ice cream with her best friends Jo and Devin when a strange young man approaches her. It's his attire (easily something more out of A Knight's Tale era than today), calling her Lady Eloise while kneeling, and insisting she come with him to be safe that disconcerts Eloise. Of course, he is gorgeous, too, but that's not really of issue at the moment.

The three friends are able to get away from Lucas. But it's definitely not the only time they see him and he is definitely not their only problem. In fact, his warnings might have been right.

Eloise is stolen away by Lord Strahan and imprisoned in his Rath. She knew little to nothing about the fae beforehand but now she is their prisoner. Strahan is only meant to rule for seven years, as faery law dictates but he refuses to comply. He hopes to use Eloise to lure her, somewhat elusive and mysterious Aunt Antonia, his wife to him as she is the only thing threatening to end his reign. A continued reign that is wreaking havoc on both worlds.

Eloise knows, as everyone works to rescue her, that she is going to have to rescue her aunt - even if it means working with the fae.

Stolen Away  is another absolute stunner of a book from Alyxandra Harvey. She has taken all of her strengths from her previous novels, the humor, the romance, the action and adventure and introduced them - and readers - to an entirely new world and characters. And the fae.

Harvey has a talent for writing best friend relationships that seem so absolutely real that you, as a reader, just almost need to be their friend, too. There's closeness, humor, background, history, jokes, sometimes fights, everything in those relationships that make them honest and realistic and amazing. She writes my favorite best friend relationships in books. (Besides the friend relationships in The Drake Chronicles and in Haunting Violet, the only other best friend relationships that good are in Jennifer Lynn Barnes' Raised by Wolves series - maybe it's something with the Devon/Devin name?)

I think I really, truly adore that Alyxandra Harvey's books have characters that are sneaky and backstabbing and manipulating . . . unless they're supposed to be.

This is a story that - when it's not making you just that little bit anxious as to the outcome and sometimes even then - makes you happy to read. There are lines that make me smile, the characters interactions are sweet or snarky - or both. The way they work together is brilliant and refreshing. It's a book that will make you smile.

The only, only thing I didn't love to pieces was that I thought Jo was 'in love' a little fast with her guy. I don't think it affected the plot any (in fact, I think it actually helped it) but I just wasn't seeing where her words came from, personally.

The faery lore used is really great. While I don't read a ton of fae themed/focused books, I do read quite a few and there were several things in Stolen Away that either I hadn't heard before (or had possibly forgotten) or they were things that were rarely, rarely used. Alyxandra Harvey really draws from outside of the commonly used faery mythology in Stolen Away.

After reading Stolen Away (and Bleeding Hearts just about a month ago), Alyxandra Harvey is in my top three favorite author - if not the very top!

Rating: 9.5/10  . . . so we'll round up for tagging purposes and such ;-)

Thank you to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for my digital galley

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