Official Review: Slaying a Harpy by L.A. Matthies

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Official Review: Slaying a Harpy by L.A. Matthies

Post by desantismt_17 » 23 Aug 2018, 08:24

[Following is an official review of "Slaying a Harpy" by L.A. Matthies.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Slaying a Harpy by L.A. Matthies is the follow-up novel to Surviving Curtis Hall: Lure of Blood and a great read for those seeking romance, action, and intrigue packaged in a paranormal magic school setting.

After being forced to bond with the vampires that run Curtis Hall to survive, Tristen and his friends, Sasha and Bryce, are now faced with learning to deal with new and startling emotions while still having to keep the truth about their school a secret from some of their closest friends. Marcella, the vampire who runs Curtis Hall, has growing feelings for Tristen she’s unsure if she should act on. She also has the pressing problem of her brother, Pietro, who wants an elixir that gives vampires the ability to walk in the sunlight. If he doesn’t receive the elixir, Pietro promises to rain destruction upon Curtis Hall. Meanwhile, from an unexpected corner, a harpy—ancient and terrible mythological creature—worms her way into the psyches of Curtis Hall students, bringing her own threat. Can Tristen, Marcella, and their companions keep Curtis Hall from crumbling around them?

I stepped out of my comfort zone a lot with this book. While I often enjoy books involving schools of magic, I’m not big on vampire stories. I also don’t often read books in a series out of order. All this said, I found myself enjoying this more than I thought. I was a bit confused in the beginning, and there were some things that didn’t make sense. However, I believe that much of my confusion would be fixed by reading the first book. Otherwise, the story flowed well, and my confusion didn’t hinder my reading experience.

Matthies’ take on vampire/human love is refreshing. At one point, Marcella thanks a compatriot for pulling her away from Tristen to do something important, saying time apart will help Tristen learn to appreciate the time together more. This was a nice depart from the more popular vampire love where “I can’t be away from you for more than thirty seconds or my heart will shrivel and I will suffer a fate worse than…whatever undead creatures suffer instead of death.” There is also plenty of vampire/human romance, including some pretty intense emotional scenes involving blood. Your inner paranormal lover will not be disappointed.

There’s also some Greek myth mixed in here. Mythology is something else I love reading, and I ate up the connections to Greece. I wished there’d been more. Also, some of the passages integrating the Greek myth into the story felt a bit long. They were interesting, though, so I didn’t mind them. For those who dislike that kind of thing, be advised it happens every so often.

My favorite part of this book, though, was the characters. Tristen has been friends with Sasha and another Curtis Hall student, Billy, for years, and I felt the strength of their friendship. The tension of all that is shown very well without overtaking the story. Bryce, who’s never been a very physical person, is grappling with wanting to hunt rogue vampires, and his transition is amazing to watch. The character arcs are paced wonderfully throughout the story. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can say the same for the harpy. Though featured in the title, the harpy angle seemed to come into the story late and then felt rushed. The conclusion worked, but I wish the harpy’s psychic manipulation had been woven in more with the mixed emotions earlier in the book. It could have made for some truly epic tension.

All in all, I rate Slaying a Harpy 3 out of 4 stars. The characters are easy to empathize with and care about. There’s a lot going on, which gives the story multiple layers. I couldn’t rate this 2 stars. The late-coming of the harpy and some grammar errors, though, keep me from giving it 4. I recommend this to lovers of vampire fiction and paranormal teen stories. If you’re the type who wants their vampires to be true monsters or take issue with immortal teens (who are kind of adults) getting together with mortal teenagers, you may not enjoy this. Even if you’re like me and aren’t a vampire fan, give this a try. It’s refreshing and different and worth a read.

Slaying a Harpy
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Post by jcoad » 24 Aug 2018, 07:03

I'm not sure I could go this far outside my comfort zone. It reads like a bad TV show on CW. Are you going to go back and read the first book or was this one enough? I really appreciate your through summary and review of the book.

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Post by AmySmiles » 24 Aug 2018, 15:21

I don't think I have enough interest in this one to add it to my growing to read list, especially since I haven't read the first one either. Thanks for the review though.
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Post by kandscreeley » 27 Aug 2018, 08:25

This sounds strikingly similar to the House of Night series which I very much enjoyed. Still, I'm just not sure that it's a book that I'm up for at the moment. I'm glad there are some unique aspects of the story and romance as this has been done quite a bit. Thanks for a great review.
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Post by daydreaming reader » 29 Aug 2018, 19:55

There are some aspects of this book that I find interesting and some that are personal turn offs. I have not been interested in reading vampire books for a while, however, I do enjoy books that use mythology in their plots. Regardless, thank you for you insightful review.
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Post by topdan30 » 07 Sep 2018, 09:26

This would be an interesting book as you stepped out of your zone and still got entertained. Thanks for the review

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Post by trajoe1206 » 12 Sep 2018, 18:39

Thanks for the great review. I read a similar paranormal school series. I can't remember the name now - anyway I really enjoyed it so may have to give this one a go :)

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Post by Lunastella » 12 Sep 2018, 19:06

desantismt_17 wrote: ↑
23 Aug 2018, 08:24
Matthies’ take on vampire/human love is refreshing. At one point, Marcella thanks a compatriot for pulling her away from Tristen to do something important, saying time apart will help Tristen learn to appreciate the time together more. This was a nice depart from the more popular vampire love where “I can’t be away from you for more than thirty seconds or my heart will shrivel and I will suffer a fate worse than…whatever undead creatures suffer instead of death.”
I'm so glad to hear this! It seems like every vampire love story is the same one over and over again, and the same cliches and tropes can get really tiresome. I usually don´t read paranormal fiction but I´ll give this book a chance when I´m on that kind of mood and check out what new it has to offer.
Your review is very honest, and it seems like you made the right choice with the rating. Thank you.

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Post by Espie » 12 Sep 2018, 19:24

There are varied ways and means to make a fictional work appealing to its genre's readers and, more often than not, there are certain aspects of such that a lot would not prefer to have in real life. Like you, what I will appreciate about this piece would be on its lessons about the value of friendships, relationships, and not allowing the usual demarcation lines, biases, and stereotypes to prevent us from respecting others and giving every human being like us what Aussies would call a "fair go" and the chance to let one's goodness shine. At times if not all of the time, such could entail much open-mindedness and the ability to go out of one's way; thank you for doing so in your review.
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Post by LV2R » 12 Sep 2018, 20:53

You wrote a good review of this book. I am not sure which is scarier, the harpy and its mental manipulations on the students or the vampires. Your review makes me want to read the book because of the action and intrigue with some romance.

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Post by Cotwani » 12 Sep 2018, 23:27

This book seems to have a lot going on. It's a shame the harpy angle that is part of the title isn't developed well. Great review!
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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 13 Sep 2018, 05:08

I haven't read many vampire stories to date. I didn't know vampires were typically so codependent in their love affairs with humans, but I am glad that that aspect is missing here. I'm not a big fan of magic school stories which I find old hat; Greek myths never get old for me though. This book sounds like an interesting mix and I enjoyed your detailed review.

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Post by Sarah G » 13 Sep 2018, 05:19

I think before trying this I'd have to read the first book. I always struggle getting into the story without it. I'm not a twilight fan as I agree with you that the relationships they have are bordering on psychotic. It would be refreshing to see this different perspective. Great review :)
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Post by MsTri » 15 Sep 2018, 23:31

I actually enjoy vampire stories, but as much as I did love Twilight, I just have no interest these days in reading about vampire or vampire/human love. I also NEVER read books out of order, so I'll be passing on this one.

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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 17 Sep 2018, 01:35

Thank you for stepping out of your comfort zone. There were some points in this read that interests me. Thank you for your review!
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