Word Spelunking

Rory (The Ghosts of Palladino, #1) - Ciye Cho I adore Ciye Cho's mermaid series, Florence and Luminaire, so when he asked me to review his new book, Rory, I was definitely intrigued. Then I saw the gorgeous cover and I just knew this was one book I had to read. And Ciye did not disappoint! Rory is just as fun and stunning as I hoped it would be...Eighteen year old cake decorator, Rory, lives a wary life. All her life, her mother warned her about the demons in the dark that snatch girls away and take them to a place they can't escape. Rory, of course, never believed her mother, that is until a demon with colorful glass wings almost captured her one dark evening. Rory's mother saved her life, but at the expense of her sanity. And on another dark night, Rory is successfully captured by the winged demon and taken to Palladino, a city of ghosts. In Palladino, Rory, like other captured human girls, is trained to be a lady and eventual companion to one of the Ruling Lords.What I love most about Ciye Cho's books is his imaginative and beautiful storytelling, and Rory is definitely both imaginative and beautiful. Cho has created such an enthralling and original take on ghosts and the afterlife in Rory. I've never encountered a world of ghosts and premise quite like this one! Cho, once again, excels at vivid, layered world-building. The wondrous city of Palladino is laid out and crafted with such fantastic detail and it is eerily enchanting in the most thrilling way. Cho is so great at creating worlds that have the perfect balance of whimsy, beauty, and darkness, and Palladino is a shining example. We don't get to explore all of Palladino in Rory, but the places Cho does take us (particularly Cavendish Castle and the Jade Castle) are bewitching and intriguing with their unexpected nooks and crannies. And I look forward to discovering and exploring more of Palladino in future books.Another thing I love about Cho's books, is his ability to create such well-developed heroines. Rory is super relatable, capable, witty, and equal parts strong, vulnerable, brave, and impetuous. She feels real and is easy to root for. I like her a lot and can't wait to watch her grow even more as a heroine. There is one, very minor, thing that I found annoying about Rory, and that's her overuse of the word alas...but, again, this is just a small, silly issue and definitely does not distract from her awesomeness. There are several great supporting characters, all well-developed and intriguing, including a faceless winged demon, a talking cat, and a charmingly gruff Ruling Lord. I do, however, wish some of the supporting characters' background information and history were explored more in-depth, but hopefully more is learned in future books. There are only slight, subtle romantic elements (which I totally didn't mind!) in this first book, and I'm excited to see where all the possible romantic entanglements might go.Rory's journey in Palladino takes her, and us readers, to some unexpected and twisty places. I really enjoyed discovering this ghost-city with Rory, uncovering all its dark secrets and places of breathtaking beauty.MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Rory has everything I've come to expect from and admire about Ciye Cho's books: a great heroine, stunning world-building, and a wonderfully imaginative story. Cho is a smart and highly entertaining storyteller, and Rory kept me captivated from beginning to end. Readers looking for a different kind of ghostly tale should definitely give Rory a read!

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