The next round: A selection of quick blurbs about some titles starting with C, D, E, or F, and one that I wasn't done reading from the A group. (Note that some titles starting with "The" will come up under T, I think.) Books marked with a * are my favorites in this list. My favorites don't necessarily reflect any discussions or preferences of the other first round Cybils judges--nor do they represent any opinions but my own.
When the apocalypse comes, it's coming from Yellowstone. I can't turn off the TV when volcanic disaster shows are on, and I couldn't sleep after reading Ashfall, because I was too busy figuring out the priority order of life-saving tasks in the event of an eruption. If there's just one of me, I do this, and if there's a friend around, we have to buyupfoodcovertheventsfillthebathtubfinddustmasks... I've seen two eruptions in the past (from a safe distance), but it's only a matter of time.
Briony would like to confess and be hanged. Now, if you please. Chime covers a lot of ground on emotional manipulation without necessarily focusing on abuse, and the prickly, unreliable narrator seems to be a tough one for a lot of readers. But if Charlotte Brontë wrote fantasy, this is what she'd write. Fabulous language.
Dark of the Moon
Theseus and Ariadne retelling. You know you need more minotaurs in your life!
*Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Lush, non-linear romance. Quirky Karou, an art student, draws amazing creatures in her sketchbooks, and her friends think she's got quite an imagination. Not exactly; instead of going home to milk and cookies, she goes home to monsters and demons, her much-beloved family. And she's not imagining the angel, or the closing of the doors she uses to jump around the world, running errands that involve gathering human teeth and getting paid in wishes. Her imagination only goes so far, though, and the biggest mystery to solve may be her own origin.
Drink, Slay, Love
Sarah Beth Durst
Margaret K McElderry
Vampires, vampires, everywhere--and this has a funny, my-family-is-unbearable take on the genre. After a run-in with a unicorn, safe-in-the-daylight Pearl is tasked with attending to high school, all the better to lure unsuspecting victims to the biggest vampire foodie event of them all.
Dust and Decay
Simon & Schuster
A worthy follow up to Rot and Ruin, one of my favorite reads from last year. The gang's back together and the simply can't stay in their isolated Californian town, waiting for the zombies to get them, so they take off in the hope of finding somewhere safe--and as always, the undead are waiting in the wings.
Tess has to be an obedient servant until she and her employer reach the other side of the Atlantic, and from there, she has grand plans to make it on her own. The only problem is that they're not riding the waves on the QE2, but on the RMS Titanic. With werewolves. I love the details of everyday life in the past; I'm much more interested in stuff like fashion and food than who won what war, so this speaks to my particular historical interests.
London's memory works backward. Each day, her past is gone, and the future spools out ahead in her mind. Careful note-taking helps her get by until she meets a boy she can't remember. She's tired of waiting out fights with her best friend and wondering whether she's losing her future mind, and tries to change things in order to bring her world to come into alignment.
*Fury of the Phoenix
Where Silver Phoenix was an adventure, Fury of the Phoenix is an emotional journey as much as a physical one. Ai Ling follows Chen Yong on a boat trip to find his family, and is overwhelmed by visions of her past as Silver Phoenix. Long ago, she and her tormentor, Zhong Ye, were lovers; she slowly remembers his descent and fall. This is still, I believe, based in the wuxia tradition, but from a different angle than that taken by Silver Phoenix. Pon's writing and skill at storytelling is improved by leaps and bounds in this sequel, and the story is successful in charting the tragedy and romance of the story-world's past.