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My Need to Read

I love to explore genre fiction, and while I usually go for books with a romantic thread running through it, I just love great character and world building. And since I can hardly stand to let go of my favorite characters, I like series.

Thorn Queen - I guess I'll start this review by mentioning what I felt upon finishing this book: despair and pity. Despair for the seemingly unending chasm of time until the next book in the series is released; pity for the next book I was to read after this one, as I was most certainly going to punish it for not being this book. :o)So. As for the book itself. This second installment in the Dark Swan series revisits Eugenie Markham a few months after the conclusion of Storm Born. Though still the Queen of Thorn Land, she is absolutely staunch in her avoidance of the related responsibilities. She really only decides to break her extended absence from the Otherworld in order to attend the baby shower of (her boyfriend) Kiyo's soon-to-be baby-mama. While on that visit, she is introduced to a whole host of problems that she can't ignore: you know, small things like starving people, serial kidnappings, and general unruliness in the Thorn Land.Eugenie is again faced with the task of working out feelings on her dual heritage. I dig that she is (to a point) realistic about her situation, being fiercely protective of her humanity, but still allowing herself to reexamine that buildup of countless prejudices and preconceived notions about the gentry, a race of which she is technically a member. Moreover, this seems to be a long and thoughtful process and not some disingenuous "I see the light" resolution.I can't lie, though...what had me most excited about getting to read this book wasn't Eugenie but rather the chance to revisit Dorian and Kiyo. Richelle Mead really knows how to craft a compelling love triangle...one in which it's truly difficult to root for just one particular pairing. The two guys are, as portrayed, perfect foils for the two sides of Eugenie's character.Equally well-done was the main "mystery" of the book; it was not completely predictable (at least to me), and kept me eager to turn the pages.****major-ish SPOILER ahead, bewares!****I've got to hand it to Ms. Mead for her bravery in writing the climax to unfold the way it did. Having the main character go through prolonged imprisonment and abuse (including repeated sexual assault) is no small thing, and it could've been a disaster, given the tone and focus of the book (and series) thus far. Pretty heavy stuff, man. As it was, it was chilling, heart wrenching, and powerful. I was floored and touched by the strength of Eug and her fellow abductees.****End major-ish SPOILER section****All in all, my excitement for the next book in this series had been turned up even higher than it was after reading the first book, which I didn't think was possible. Bring it on (PLEASE), Ms. Mead! ^__^