So, I'm a bit late in posting this up, but my partner (A Fangirls View) and I read two books for the first battle in the second judging round and here is what we came up with.
Starcrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Digger thrives as a spy and sneak-thief among the feuding religious factions of Gerse, dodging the Greenmen who have banned all magic. But when a routine job goes horribly wrong and her partner and lover Tegen is killed, she has to get out of the city, fast, and hides herself in a merry group of nobles to do so.
Accepted as a lady's maid to shy young Merista Nemair, Digger finds new peace and friendship at the Nemair stronghold--as well as plenty of jewels for the taking.
But after the devious Lord Daul catches her in the act of thievery, he blackmails her into becoming his personal spy in the castle, and Digger soon realizes that her noble hosts aren't as apolitical as she thought... that indeed, she may be at the heart of a magical rebellion.
I absolutely fell in love with this book. The writing is fantastic and the author does a excellent job of drawing you into the story quickly and reveals a little of Digger's past slowly over the course of the book. The characters were unique and intriguing, especially the bad guys. I really remembered their names even if the characters were minor. The plot itself twisted and turned and really widened into this huge plot that made me glad to find out that this is a series. I am dying to read more about Digger's adventures and a little more play on the other characters she met briefly who should play a larger role in the second novel.
Inside the Shadow City (Kiki Strike #1) by Kirsten Miller
Life will never be the same for Ananka Fishbein after she ventures into an enormous sinkhole near her New York City apartment. A million rats, delinquent Girl Scouts out for revenge, and a secret city below the streets of Manhattan combine in this remarkable novel about a darker side of New York City you have only just begun to know about…
I wasn't expecting this book to be as dark as it was. Or maybe it was just something off that really gave me that thought. I felt like the characters were very ... comic-book like and not very realistic ones. Very flat and also right on with stereotypes. There's the mean girl, the smart girl, the edgy girl. . . and the parents of Ananka just killed me. Whose parents neglect their child so much? I just felt it was way off. The whole book had a bit of this weird vibe to it. It definitely was an interesting book and I love the girl power theme, but it just was way too unrealistic character-wise and I like being able to relate to the characters and I wasn't able to in this novel.
After some discussion we both decided that Starcrossed was the better book.