Monday, February 10, 2014

Review: Call to Arms - Elle Casey

Call to Arms
Elle Casey
Series: War of the Fae, #2
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Easy
On Goodreads

After a bit of rehashing and reflection that Jayne does in the beginning, our story begins.

Tony's gone, Jayne's fae race is mysterious, and Casey allows us glimpses of the Dark Fae and what may take place in the war to come. See, Jayne might be what is vaguely referred to as an Elemental, possibly of Earth and maybe, just maybe, of Water. But the Dark Fae have a Fire Elemental.

What I love about Call to Arms is the intricacy of the issues at hand. It follows the apparent structure (at least in the beginning) of the fantasy action sequel: the mysteries of the main character start to be divulged; the stakes are raised; conflicts of interest and of potential are introduced to further complicate things . . . you get the point. However, the underlying factors are what keep me reading. The structure of the books is particularly deceiving in that the apparent conflicts exist as they should in the typical novel of its kind, but one or two things throw it off enough to make my predictions crumble. Especially around the end of the first half of the book . ..  all the things that make Jayne the apparent typical protagonist make her dangerous as well.

It's rather rare, I suppose, nowadays to see a sequel that does a good job of not only entertaining the ideas of the first book but expanding on them, making everything go absolutely bollocks. This is where the stupid love interests should be, this is where the bad decisions should be made, this is where all the crazy gets crazier and doesn't just repeat the first book or reject it. *Cough cough The Matrix cough cough*.

Harry and Voldemort have to face off. The Ring's got to be taken to Mordor. But how? That's what gets us as readers and Casey does an excellent job of designing the 'how' around her characters individual interests. For instance, Jayne's desire to be extraordinary is deeply embedded into who she is and how she acts.

When she's told she might be an elemental, a part of me backed off and thought, well damn, this might just turn out like I predicted. But then there was the added dilemma of Jayne being either weak towards the Dark Fae Elemental or, if the Water affinity turned out to be correct, strong towards the Dark Fae Elemental. But Jayne immediately turns on herself:
'I had wished to be extraordinary. And my mother had always told me be careful what I wished for.'
And later
'But still, I was no warrior. I think it would be more appropriate to call me . . . a 'lucky klutz'.'

Jayne's disposition to want to be anything but that high school girl she used to despise being is internally thrown into the pit against the idea she has of herself that she is not extraordinary in a certain sense. She's not a warrior, but she still wants to be a Fae.

But a war's about to happen.

Do you get what I'm saying?

This is just one issue. Never mind the ever-deepening sexual attraction Jayne has to Spike, never mind Chase's odd visit in the middle of the night to say that, though Tony's gone, Jayne can still talk to him. Never mind Jayne's lingering hatred for the Fae for putting her through such a test, though even the stubborn dissenting dwarves agree she shows 'reason'.

And that's just the first three chapters. The plot landscape and character development are completely intertwined. The plot isn't just incidental to the characters and the characters are not just subjects of a wonderfully woven plot. The internal and external factors just make me go insane I love it.

A lot happens, and yet, it doesn't feel like infodumping, which is fantastic. It's simplistic, neat, and easy to follow. Though I might go so far as to say sometimes the reflection is unnecessary, it's only because I follow the story so closely. Most people might need the first chapter to think about all the hell that broke loose during the length of the first book.

I think that's all that needs to be said. There are just as many plot twists as in the first book (I won't forgive you for that cliffhanger, Casey!) and just as much cursing, if not more (shoutout all my B*tches in the lake and my dumbass faeries). But, like the first book, it doesn't take away from what happens. I won't spoil anything for you, go read it yourselves! GO AND LOVE SPIKE, THE CUTE, DREAMY MOTHERLOVER. AND CHASE IS SO ADORABLE BUT hey can we just talk a minute about how Elle Casey still does not make these romantic undertones something that hinders Jayne's psyche or somehow makes her incapable of logical decisions.

And Maggie. YES Maggie! All hail Maggie and her sass upon the loathed Tim! Also what the crap, Tony?

I do have a bit of a problem in that I wanted more people do just die and go limbless and suffer great psychological trauma . . . but hey . . . that's just me.

 Mother Nature is a bit psychopathic. Trees are not to be trusted. These novels are twisted.
- Marlon

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