Maas's land of Prythian encompasses mysterious creatures, ancient villains, and the everyday strife of life in a village where the rich only get richer. The story centers on Feyre, the middle daughter of three children, and the sole provider for her family after her father is injured by debt collectors. While out hunting for her family's dinner, she shoots and wounds a large wolf. As it turns out, the woods are home not only to animals, but also to Fae, who demand retribution for Feyre's injury to one of their own. As Feyre discovers, these creatures have their own issues and are cursed and trapped by another, evil Fae. Feyre must help them free themselves from this evil and in doing so discovers that she might be more capable than she first thought. This opening installment of Maas's quartet does a fantastic job setting up the cast of characters that will follow you through the subsequent volumes and future spin-offs. Feyre has become one of my favorite female characters for her strength and wit, and this book is the perfect start to her series.
As a maid at a fancy hotel, Molly is aware that a lot goes on behind closed doors, but all she cares about is returning each room to its state of pre-occupancy perfection. Then one morning she is astounded to discover a dead body in a room inhabited by regular guests. Framed for the murder, Molly starts digging to find Mr. Black's real killer. For this and many other reasons, Molly is a great protagonist, one I was eager to root for all the way through the book, which is expertly paced with plot twists to the last. I can honestly say I thought I knew where this was going but was pleasantly surprised when all was revealed.
Maxwell's sci-fi romance centers on Keim and Jainan, two young men thrown together by myriad circumstances. Kiem, a Prince of Iskat, is told he must marry Count Jainan--reeling from the death of his husband, Taam--both to save his reputation and solidify the future of a treaty with Thea. Together, the pair embark on an adventure to uncover Taam's murderer and smooth relations between Iskat and Thea before war threatens the stability of the entire galaxy. Maxwell does an excellent job crafting characters and setting them loose in a world so vivid it jumps off the page. This is a book that I will be rereading many times, I can already tell.