Good morning readers! Today we have a guest post from Justine Manzano to bring the hype for The Order of the Key! Book 1 of the Keys & Guardians series is on sale this week with the ebook at .99 and the paperback at $9.99
My first novel, The Order of the Key, has rereleased, Sword & Silk style, and in honor of this and the announcement of the sequel, The Skeleton Key, it’s time to get hyped. Toward this end, I’m delivering five books you can read to get yourself in the right mood.
This Savage Song by VE Schwab
The description: Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music.
When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.
How is it similar to Order: A strong female lead? Check. A dark but occasionally humorous tone? Check. Troublesome family politics? Check. Monsters? Check, check, check. If you haven’t heard of This Savage Song, I’m happy for you, because now you get to read it for the first time! Schwab creates characters with dubious likeability, and they both struggle with the expectations of who their parents want them to be. Dark, gritty, and often bloody, This Savage Song will get you hyped. You can read my full review of this one, here.
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
The description: When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing -- not even a smear of blood -- to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…
How is it similar to Order: I’ll be completely honest. I don’t care much for the main characters in this book, but I love the ensemble cast so much, and it’s one of the books that made me understand how to write ensemble books. It also has a group of monster hunters and surprise powers for the leader. Despite my frustrations with this book, there’s no denying that my love for some of the characters got me reading until the end of the series. You can listen to me and my sister, literary agent Megan Manzano, go on a long-winded rant comparing City of Bones to its movie and television adaptations on our old, defunct Youtube channel, here.
The Flame Never Dies by Rachel Vincent
The Church is everywhere. It runs the city. It defends the populace from the demons beyond the wall. But what if it's the church that should be feared?
Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul—hers is a world where they’re in short supply—but only she can protect her younger sister, Mellie, and Mellie’s unborn child, a child that the Church believes shouldn’t exist.
There are only two options. Mellie can pledge her life—and her baby’s life—to the Church. Or she and Nina can go on the run. They choose the latter. Because it's kill or be killed. To save her sister, Nina will need to put her trust in Finn, a fugitive and rogue exorcist. What they’ll do together will change the face of the world.
Holy hellfire, indeed.
How is it similar to Order: This book tackles a similar presence of the corruption of those in power and the dangers of trusting the wrong people during the rebellion. Also, this story involves a pair of devoted and protective sisters, which Order has in spades. For a deeper review of this one, you can visit here.
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
The description: Alex is a bruja and the most powerful witch in her family. But she's hated magic ever since it made her father disappear into thin air. So while most girls celebrate their Quinceañera, Alex prepares for her Deathday—the most important day in a bruja's life and her only opportunity to rid herself of magic.
But the curse she performs during the ceremony backfires, and her family vanishes, forcing Alex to absorb all of the magic from her family line. Left alone, Alex seeks help from Nova, a brujo with ambitions of his own.
To get her family back they must travel to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland. And while she's there, what she discovers about herself, her powers, and her family, will change everything…
How is it similar to Order: While the characters in Order don’t have nearly as rich a cultural history as Zoraida creates in this series, there are some things our stories have in common. A reluctant hero with abilities she never know she had? We stan that trope. Add the exploration of family ties and how they impact our lives? YES.
The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
The Description: My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.
All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost—and the ghost saw me.
Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It's up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House . . . before its skeletons come back to haunt me.
How is it similar to Order: A first person exploration as a girl moves into a new home and has to cope with budding powers and questionable allies? Totally my brand. Also, I learned everything I ever needed to know about writing in a character’s voice from reading Kelley Armstrong’s work. Her writing was how I realized there was room for narrative voices like mine in the world. So, you’ll definitely get a similar feel from this book.