Book Review: The Starless Sea

Let me preface this by saying that I REALLY did not enjoy Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel, The Night Circus. I found it to be extremely boring with a pointless plotline. So that had me a little concerned going into this book but I’m happy to say that I didn’t have that issue at all with The Starless Sea.

Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.

A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and each other, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.

If you’re familiar with Morgenstern’s writing style, you’ll know that it’s very descriptive and flowery. She has a way with prose that almost lends itself more to the magical realism side of fantasy. I found it to be too much in The Night Circus, but I feel like it was toned down to just the right amount in this book. It felt more whimsical than anything else, which went perfectly with the plot of the story. It wasn’t overdone, nor seemed out of place. I found it especially enjoyable during the little interlude chapters, that were mini stories from the books mentioned in the novel. I thought this was a very clever way to move the plot along, as it just teased you with what was actually going on. It helped add to the mystery element of the overall story, as you tried to understand how each tale was tied to Zachary’s journey.

Speaking of Zachary, he is a very interesting main character. I feel like the majority of introverted book lovers will immediately connect with him, as we all tend to feel more at home curled up with a good book than mingling with a crowd at a bar. I really enjoyed watching him come out of his shell as the book progressed, especially when it came to him trying to learn more about the Starless Sea. I also enjoyed watching him develop new relationships with Mirabel and Dorian. And sweet Dorian.. he is very much the mysterious man that we all secretly want to find and fall in love with. He has a roguish sense of adventure and I really enjoyed how he would bring out a new side to Zachary. They’re dynamic was really interesting, though I have to say that I maybe enjoy Zachary’s relationship with Mirabel even more. They seem to understand each other on a very deep level. I would personally be okay with a book over them just talking the entire time.

Those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them. But what happens next will vary.

I think the only issue with this story that some might struggle with is that it can be a little hard to follow. Morgenstern is really playing with all of the different elements that each of the mini-stories brings to the overall plot. I feel like a lot of it can be very abstract and doesn’t quite say, “Yes this part is important. Remember me!”, which can lead you to forgetting certain things or not fully grasping how important they will be later on in the book. Personally, I really liked that part. I liked trying to make the connections throughout the book and figure out what each story was really about or how it would affect the ending. It was basically a puzzle and one that I truly enjoyed. If you don’t really like ambiguity in your endings or having anything not explicitly laid out for you in terms of what it means, you may not enjoy this book as much. I feel like the ending was left open to interpretation for each reader, which isn’t something you see very often.

Overall, I really loved this book. It was full of truly memorable quotes and constantly had  me in awe of how Morgenstern was able to make some many different stories connect to the overall plot. Like I mentioned, I don’t think this book is for everyone but I do think it is worth giving it a try if you’re even a little bit interested. It may surprise you just like it did me.

Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars


Have you read The Starless Sea? If so, what did you think about it? How do you think it compares to The Night Circus? Do you like books that make you think?

Book Review: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #1)

I know that almost every single one of us that grew up with Harry Potter, has had very little success recreating that feeling of whimsy and magic in other books or movies. However, I will say that while reading Jessica Townsend’s Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #1), I felt that feeling of nostalgia that reminded me of how I felt when I first read Harry Potter. I was completely transported into the Wundrous (little story reference there!) world of Nevermoor.

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks–and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It’s then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart–an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests–or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

Jessica Townsend has proceeded to create a world that is every bit as magical and kooky as it is mysterious. I loved getting to experience Nevermoor alongside Morrigan. It is extremely imaginative and gave me Charlie and the Chocolate Factory vibes. And just like in that story, while everything gives you a feeling of wonder, there is also an underlying sense that you’re just one step away from something sinister or dangerous. I really liked that part of the setting, as it kept me on the edge of my seat. The pacing of the story was really well done as well. I was constantly engaged in Morrigan’s adventure and didn’t want to ever put the book down. I’m pretty sure I just zipped through the last 150 pages, as I just had to know what was going to happen next.

Morrigan Crow is such an awesome character. I loved her extremely dry humor and snarky comments. I think her personality played off so well against Jupiter’s kooky disposition. Their chemistry was wonderful and I was consistently laugh aloud at their exchanges. I will say that Morrigan does read a little older than the eleven years that she’s supposed to be. Though I guess you could make the argument that her isolation for so long and only interacting with adults helped mature her a bit. Then you have our wacky side characters such as the eccentric Jupiter North and our residential prankster, Hawthorne Swift.

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Honestly, I can’t find any fault with this book. It had me hooked from start to finish and really brought out my imagination. I loved that there were moments that made me laugh out loud while also being interspersed with some darker scenes. I’m also 28 years old and thoroughly enjoyed this book, so I think it’s one of those middle grade stories that can be enjoyed at any age. If you are looking for a fun book that can be read as a family, I definitely think this one is a good place to start!

Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars


Do you enjoy reading middle grade novels? If so, what are some of your favorites? Have you read The Trials of Morrigan Crow? Which character was your favorite?

Book Review: The Summer Before the War

Whenever I read a good historical fiction novel, I feel a strong sense of nostalgia for some reason. Maybe it’s because I read mostly historical fiction when I was a child, or maybe it’s just my strong love of history that draws me completely in. But for whatever reason, I definitely got that feeling while reading Helen Simonson’s, The Summer Before the War.

The bestselling author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand returns with a breathtaking novel of love and war that reaches far beyond the small English town in which it is set.

East Sussex, 1914. It is the end of England’s brief Edwardian summer, and everyone agrees that the weather has never been so beautiful. Hugh Grange, down from his medical studies, is visiting his Aunt Agatha, who lives with her husband in the small, idyllic coastal town of Rye. Agatha’s husband works in the Foreign Office, and she is certain he will ensure that the recent saber rattling over the Balkans won’t come to anything. And Agatha has more immediate concerns; she has just risked her carefully built reputation by pushing for the appointment of a woman to replace the Latin master.

When Beatrice Nash arrives with one trunk and several large crates of books, it is clear she is significantly more freethinking—and attractive—than anyone believes a Latin teacher should be. For her part, mourning the death of her beloved father, who has left her penniless, Beatrice simply wants to be left alone to pursue her teaching and writing.

But just as Beatrice comes alive to the beauty of the Sussex landscape and the colorful characters who populate Rye, the perfect summer is about to end. For despite Agatha’s reassurances, the unimaginable is coming. Soon the limits of progress, and the old ways, will be tested as this small Sussex town and its inhabitants go to war.

I loved Simonson’s writing style. I think it flowed really well and truly helped bring the village of Rye and its inhabitants to life. It was surprising how her writing style fit in with the time period perfectly. It almost reads like a classic novel actually written during the time period of which it is set in. However, do not let that fool you. It is still a very easy to read book and it does not tend to meander into lengthy irrelevant passages, as classically written novels tend to do. I never found myself struggling to understand the message of the story.

The plot of the story was also very engaging. I loved following the lives of multiple characters and how they were all connected through Rye. This story has a little bit of everything, including romance and family drama. I never found myself bored, but instead I was constantly wanting to pick up the book to see what was going to happen next. I appreciated all of the mix of characters that each brought something unique to the story. Coming from someone who has grown up in a small town, I definitely felt a connection with the all of the drama that ensued in the story.

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Our three main POV characters were all compelling with their own interwoven story lines. Agatha is the more forward-thinking of the group of upper class women in Rye. After convincing the school board to hire Beatrice as the Latin teacher, she takes her under her wing and becomes a motherly figure for the young woman. I really enjoyed Agatha’s character. She toed the line between being a conservative upstanding citizen in the community and the progressive and stubborn woman that she is at home. Beatrice is definitely a progressive woman for the times, as she has grown up living a bohemian and intellectual style with her professor father. She speaks her mind and is willing to put up a fight for the things that she cares for. And then there is Hugh, the solid and reliable aspiring doctor with a big heart. I loved Hugh. He was always so caring and understanding with everyone he comes into contact with. I also really enjoyed his bond with his cousin, Daniel, and how he looks out for him like a big brother would.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was engaging and entertaining, especially when it comes to examining all of the different characters within Rye and their interactions with one another. I think this would be the perfect cozy book to pick up during the upcoming holiday season. If you’re a fan of shows like Downton Abbey or just historical fiction in general, I think you’ll really enjoy this book as well.

Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars


Have you read The Summer Before the War? If so, what did you think of it? Which character was your favorite? Do you enjoy reading historical fiction?

Book Review: Sorcery of Thorns

Margaret Rogerson has truly solidified her spot on my favorite authors list with her sophomore release, Sorcery of Thorns. I thought I loved An Enchantments of Ravens, but it was nothing like my experience with this book.

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

First off, let me just say how happy it makes me when a book revolves around the love of books. Like I immediately connect so well with the story and characters when they share that same joy with me. With that being said, when I first found out this book is based around a library and books that are basically living creatures, I knew that I was going to love it. And I was right.

I think Rogerson, once again, has created such an interesting world. It was really interesting in how the magic system works in this world, with magic being controlled by the sorcerer’s and their connection with demonic beings. I loved how she was able to add some darker elements like that to the story… Gimme all the darkness! The world was so interesting but we only got to see and learn about this one small area, which I would’ve preferred a bit more about some of the other countries that they mention going to war with multiple times. I like to think that that means there’s room to explore more in this world in other books (even though Rogerson states this is only a standalone).

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I just love Elizabeth as a character. She isn’t perfect and more than a little bit awkward, due to having grown up in the library with no social interaction really besides fellow librarians. Also, her relationship with books in general is a MOOD. The only difference is that her books can respond to her, while mine are still just inanimate objects. Dammit. But even though I love Elizabeth, Thorn is my baby. He has the best dry/sarcastic personality, constantly throwing out these witty one liners. I live for characters like that and he just gave me exactly what I love in my fictional boyfriends. And last but not least is Silas, the mysterious servant. Silas is actually the glue that keeps all of our characters together. He’s very quiet and polite, but with an edge.

You can really see the growth of her writing in Rogerson’s sophomore novel. I thought the overall plot was much more engaging from start to finish than An Enchantment of Ravens. I never felt like the plot was too rushed or too slow, but moved at a steady pace throughout the story. I appreciated the length of the novel, as it allowed us to really immerse ourselves in the world and gave us enough time to really get to know the characters. The ending was really well done as well. It gave me just enough to leave me satisfied but also wanting more. Not really sure if that makes sense or not, but there it is.. Just know that you really need to read this book, especially if you weren’t completely satisfied with An Enchantment of Ravens.

Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars


Have you read Sorcery of Thorns? Did you enjoy it more than An Enchantment of Ravens? Are you as obsessed with Thorn as I am?

Book Review: Honor Bound (The Honors, #2)

While I enjoyed the first book in the series, I wasn’t completely enthralled with it. However, this sequel blew it out of the water completely. Honor Bound (The Honors, #2) by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre is the perfect action-filled sequel in this science fiction series.

Zara Cole was a thief back on Earth, but she’s been recently upgraded to intergalactic fugitive. On the run after a bloody battle in a covert war that she never expected to be fighting, Zara, her co-pilot Beatriz, and their Leviathan ship Nadim barely escaped the carnage with their lives.

Now Zara and her crew of Honors need a safe haven, far from the creatures who want to annihilate them. But they’ll have to settle for the Sliver: a wild, dangerous warren of alien criminals. The secrets of the Sliver may have the power to turn the tide of the war they left behind—but in the wrong direction.

Soon Zara will have to make a choice: run from the ultimate evil—or stand and fight.

The world that Caine and Aguirre have created is expanded even more in this second book. I loved that we got to explore more of it, especially such an awesome location as the Sliver. It was also really nice to see a lot more action in this book. I found the pacing to be much better than the first book, as you didn’t have to spend any time building up the background information and instead are immediately tossed into the plot. I never found myself waiting for something to happen since the action felt constant from start to finish. It’s such a wonderful thing when you get a book that you can’t put down because you have to find out what’s going to happen next.

Zara is an interesting character. I’ve always appreciated her sassiness, but she can become a bit overbearing sometimes. It seems that continued some in this sequel and now, even with such talented side characters, she continues to be the only one who can solve the puzzles or get the group out of the situations. I would like to see her struggle more in the following book and actually make wrong decisions. In fact, her character really just needs to get nerfed some (kind of like Captain Marvel, but I digress…). I also really just want to explore the secondary characters more. It would be nice if the next book included multiple POVs to really round out the story. However, I do love seeing her relationship with Nadim (and Bea *wink wink*) develop more. Also, I have to mention how awesome the new side characters introduced in this book are. They are so interesting and diverse.. and bonus points for all of them being aliens!!!

Come celebrate at the Club Disco on June 14.Bar opens at 9PM. See you there!

Speaking of diversity, it was really interesting to see how gender and sexuality norms are challenged in this book. As it makes sense for aliens to not conform to human anatomy, it was so refreshing to see those differences play such a large role in how they are addressed and interact with one another. It was a very unique way to deliver social commentary without feeling preachy in any way. This was also explored through the development of Zara and Nadim’s relationship, as their bond seems to be expanding into something more intimate than what was shown in the first book. There’s also a new element added as well that examines it from a very different viewpoint that isn’t explored often, or at all, in YA novels. It kind of took me by surprise but the more it was hinted at, the more it grew on me.

All in all, I thought this sequel was a fantastic follow-up to the first book. I appreciated that the pacing was better and there was more action well-spaced throughout the entire story. The ending also set up the finale really well and I cannot wait to see what will happen next. The only criticism I would have, is that I wish there were multiple POVs and that they will make their appearance in the last book to really help round the story.

Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars


Have your read this series yet? What are your thoughts on Zara as the main character? Do you wish we would get POVs from the other characters as well?

Book Review: Daisy Jones & The Six

I’m just going to prepare you now – this will be a gushing review. I enjoyed The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo but wasn’t as enamored with it as everyone else seems to be, so my expectations for this one were a little tempered. However, Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid was a smash hit for me.

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

The Good

  • The Format – I loved how the story was written in interview format, switching dialogue between the characters quickly to cover all sides to the situations. I thought it played out so vividly, really giving you that feel of a documentary. Now I did listen to the full cast audiobook version of this book so I think that really added to the experience. It may not have made as much of an impact on me had I read the physical book.
  • LISTEN TO THE AUDIOBOOK!!! – I just wanted to take a minute to absolutely rave about the audiobook version of this story. It’s a full cast featuring actresses Jennifer Beals and Judy Greer, as well as actors Benjamin Bratt and Pablo Schreiber. Trust me, you will not regret listening to it.
  • Flawed Characters – It was refreshing to have characters that were all very distinct with their own personalities and quirks, while also being extremely flawed. You wouldn’t necessarily agree with any of the choices they would make, but each one seemed so realistic that you could somehow still relate and understand the reasoning behind it. Personally, I found the band members to be more likable than Daisy, who kept herself closed off during the interviews. I thought that was smart of Jenkins Reid to keep her at distance from the reader, reinforcing that “cool girl” factor even more.
  • Take My Emotions…. – Seriously, that ending was so bittersweet that I teared up while listening to it at work.

Your journey is our inspiration. Sea you soon!

The Bad

  • Just A Little More? – I think the only flaw I could find with this book was that I would’ve been happier with just a bit more depth to the main romance in the story. I would’ve liked to have spent maybe 20-30 more pages of just focusing on the development of it between the characters. It happened a little fast and I think we missed more of an in depth look at how that started from each of their perspectives, when what we got seemed to focus more on the obvious aspects.

Honestly, I cannot recommend this book enough. I really think the audiobook version adds so much more to the overall experience of the story. The cast does a great job of bringing the emotion of the story to life. And the story itself is so engrossing that I didn’t want to put it down, I had to know what was going to happen next. I really felt as if I was a huge fan and finally getting to learn why they broke up. Jenkins Reid does such an amazing job of pulling you in and making you become so invested in the characters lives.

Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars


Have you read this book yet? If so, what did you think? Did you read the physical book or listen to audiobook like me? How did you feel about Daisy as a character?

Book Review: The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy, #2)

I cannot truly convey how excited I was to pick up The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy, #2) by S.A. Chakraborty. I absolutely adored the first novel and have been dying for this release ever since I finished it.

S. A. Chakraborty continues the sweeping adventure begun in The City of Brassconjuring a world where djinn summon flames with the snap of a finger and waters run deep with old magic; where blood can be dangerous as any spell, and a clever con artist from Cairo will alter the fate of a kingdom.

Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad—and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.

Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of a devastating battle, Nahri must forge a new path for herself. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family—and one misstep will doom her tribe..

Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid—the unpredictable water spirits—have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.

And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad’s towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.

Building off the incredible world-building in book one, Chakraborty continues to expand upon this fantastical world. We get a little bit more background information on both the back-and-forth fighting between Daeva and djinn, as well as getting to know more about the marid and ifrit. I think it helped clarify some lingering questions I had in the first book, as well as refresh my memory (since of course I forgot a lot of stuff since reading the first book last year upon its release). Minor Spoiler (but not really!)… I thought it was an interesting choice to jump 5 years into the future in this book. That might be my one criticism, as it seemed that some of the characters went through some development during that time but we didn’t get to experience that growth with them. This caused a little bit of disconnect between me and them, especially Nahri, whom I adored in the first novel.

Speaking of Nahri… I felt like she went through the most change during that 5 year interval and perhaps not in the best way. In the first book we saw her struggling to fit in among her own people, as well as struggling with their traditions and faith. However, now she’s completely found her stride and even calling them “her tribe”. It was something I wish we hadn’t gotten experience that relationship building along with her, rather than just basically being told it happened. Other than that, Nahri was the same personality-wise. She’s still fierce and always willing to fight for what she wants, especially if it means doing the opposite of what the Qhatani want. I think Ali probably changed the least overall. He’s still rigid on his sense of right and wrong, which continues to get him into trouble with his family. However, I find myself pretty much always agreeing with him. He reminds me of me, in that we probably don’t always think of the best course of action and instead just react immediately. And then there’s my poor Dara.. He’s still living with a lifetime of regret and is once again being thrust into a position that he doesn’t agree with. Honestly, I just want everyone to leave him alone and let him go live happily ever after. He’s always getting the shit end of the stick and I hate that!

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I loved that this book had even more political intrigue than the first one. I always appreciate how much thought and planning goes into political scenes in novels. There are always so many twists and turns that I never see coming. With that being said, if you aren’t the biggest fan of political intrigue and prefer more of action-based story, then you might not enjoy this book as much. Real action is used sparingly throughout and really only plays a huge factor in the climax. But for me, give me all of the political power plays! I will never say no to that kind of tension in a story. I feel it always adds an extra level of suspense that can really elevate the reading experience.

Overall, this book was a fantastic sequel to The City of Brass. I loved how Chakraborty expanded even more on the conflicts between the tribes, as well as the marid and ifrit. I also felt that the tension was amped up even more in this book. I think that was a great way to prepare the readers for what will come next in the finale. I was a little surprised by Nahri’s character development, but it didn’t really affect my overall enjoyment of the story. I just know that I cannot wait to see how it will all end! (Hopefully, with a nice relaxing retirement for Dara.)

Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars


Have you read The Kingdom of Brass? What did you think with the five year leap? Do you think that it negatively affected Nahri as a character?

 

Book Review: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)

Sometimes you get a sequel that just doesn’t quite live up to the first book. However, I think we should all be very excited to know that this was not the case in Holly Black’s, The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2).

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

Once again Black is able to transport you into this fantasy world as though you are actually living it alongside Jude. You can vividly picture all of the Fair Folk that she’s describing, as well as the setting. I also enjoyed that we get to experience some of the Undersea as well, instead of only Elfhame. Now if we can only get to visit some of the Under Courts in the next book… Keep your fingers crossed, people!

In this sequel, we find Jude to have even a harder exterior and heart than before. She’s basically been in charge for five months at the start of the novel and you can really tell how rough it has been for her. At this point, the only things that bring out any emotions in her are Oak and (to no one’s surprise), Cardan. While you still want to root for Jude, she almost gives off antihero vibes because she is so closed off, even from the reader. My feelings towards her were basically all over the place throughout this book. As for Cardan… my baby boy can do no wrong. He even opens up his soul at one point in the book! I love how twisted he is and that he has his own agenda, even while actually under Jude’s command. You do you, Cardan!

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I think the biggest difference between this book and the first is that it had a faster pace to it. The Cruel Prince took a while for me to really dive into the story, whereas with The Wicked King, I was immediately caught up in the action and plot. I can always appreciate a book that immediately grabs me and doesn’t let go. I also loved that this sequel ended on another big twist, mirroring the first book. If you know me, you know I can never get enough plot twists. I know some people hate books that end on twisted cliffhangers, but I absolutely love them. It takes a lot to surprise me and so when an author can do that, I will forever applause them.

If you enjoyed the first book, I think you’ll love this sequel even more. It ups the ante even more, with plot twists scattered all over the place. Our characters also go through some development in this novel as way, in both good and bad ways. I cannot wait to see what they’ll do next!

Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars


Have you read The Wicked King yet? If so, what did you think about it? Did you enjoy it more than the previous book? What do you think about the development of Jude and Cardan’s relationship?

Book Review: A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes, #3)

I’ll just say this… I am trash for this series. Sabaa Tahir continues to make each book even more complex than the last, and A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes, #3) was no exception.

Beyond the Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.

The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable, while the Commandant capitalizes on his madness to bolster her own power. As Helene searches for a way to hold back the approaching darkness, her sister’s life and the lives of all those in the Empire hang in the balance.

Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But while hunting for a way to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would aid her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she’d have to fight.

And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that will stop at nothing to ensure Elias’s devotion–even at the cost of his humanity.

The Good

  • Helene!! – I will admit that I really didn’t like Helene as a character for the entire first book and most of the second. She just didn’t really interest me, nor pulled me into really rooting for her. Howeverrrrrrrrr, I finally felt that attachment to her in this book. I mean, WOW! She has finally become a fully fleshed out character for me and I love that we get to really see all of the depth to her. Her chapters were definitely the highlight for me in Reaper. There was non-stop tension in every single one of them, culminating in an epic battle that has brewing for the entire series. Also, I really want a warhammer now. Which is weird, because I’ve always thought of myself as a bow person. *shrugs*
  • DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA – If you thought there was a lot going on in the second book, then just wait and see what’s in store for you in this one. Because holy moly, things are happening all over the dang place. AND I AM HERE FOR IT. Tahir is just slowly killing me with everything that’s going on and my heart really cannot take it. Helene is dealing with some shit, Laia is dealing with some shit, and Elias has basically become THE shit (no lie!). I have whiplash from everything going on every other page. “You get a plot twist! You get a plot twist! We all get a plot twist!”
  • WE FINALLY GET AN EPIC BATTLE SCENE! – Pretty sure this one is self-explanatory.
  • Expanding World – We finally get to see some other places in this world, which I really appreciate. I’m just glad we’re finally out of the desert and haven’t had to go back yet… I hate deserts, in books and real life. GIMME TREES!
  • More Plot, More Action – I definitely felt like this book covered more actual plot action and political intrigue than the previous two books. It’s definitely easier to fly through, as things are constantly happening. If you felt like the first two books were more character drive, then be aware that this book changes that up. You definitely get a feel for how high the stakes are for our characters, with none of them ever feeling truly safe.

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The Bad

  • Poor Elias… – I kind of feel like Elias has been pushed a little to the side in this book. Yes, he’s still a main POV, but his storyline seems rushed and not as put together as the other two. His story has taken a very interesting turn and I just wish more attention was paid to the details of it. I think there are still lots of holes in what his new duties are and the background of it all, not to mention how it affects the overall story. It seems there is still room to develop his story more and I hope that that becomes a main factor in the final book.

This series has everything that I look for in my fantasy novels – political intrigue, fantastical worlds, characters full of moral ambiguity and depth, and the ability to build tension throughout the entire story. If you haven’t picked up this series yet, I highly recommend it. You won’t be disappointed!

Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars


Have you read A Reaper at the Gates yet? If so, what did you think of it? Do you feel any of the characters have become more/less interesting? How do you feel about Elias’ POV in this book?

ARC Review: Furyborn (Empirium, #1)

I will be the first to admit that when I received a physical ARC of Furyborn (Empirium, #1) by Claire Legrand, in one of my FairyLoot boxes back in the fall, I thought it was going to be a really bad novel that was just trying to drum up interest by extreme marketing tactics… Y’all, I was so wrong! This book was everything and more. Basically, I’m obsessed.

When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.

The Good

  • Strong Opening – It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that immediately pulled me straight into the story like this one did. It just hits the ground running and doesn’t stop until the very end. I loved how engaged I was in what was happening from the first page. Why can’t all books be as entertaining as that? No, but seriously, why are some so boring? These are the types of questions that leave me up at night.
  • Never A Dull Moment! – I pretty much already mentioned this, but I think it bears stating again how solid the pacing is in this book. I was never bored and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to see what was going to happen next.
  • Badass Females, Can I Get An Amen?! – Our two leading ladies are pretty awesome. They’re strong and independent and I love that they both really walk the line morally. I personally prefer characters that aren’t completely good or evil, but are realistically complex like most normal people are. I think Legrand did a great job recreating that in Rielle and Eliana. They are both are selfish and still vulnerable. It was really interesting watching how they reacted in different situations. We can go ahead and classify them both as Slytherins! 😉
  • Family Love – Finally we get to see some awesome family love in a fantasy novel! Normally families tend to be nonexistent in fantasy, but in this one they actually are front and center. I absolutely loved the relationship between Eliana and her brother. It was so adorable and gave me all of the warm fuzzies!

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The Bad

  • Less Rielle, More Eliana – I’ll admit that I was less interested in Rielle’s chapters. Maybe because we know how her story ends from the very first chapter, that it lost a little bit of its allure for me. I was much more interested in Eliana’s storyline as you don’t know what’s going to happen next and it also had a little bit of mystery element as well. I like how the chapters alternated back and forth between the different time periods, but I think I’d like the next books to focus more on Eliana.
  • I HAVE TO WAIT A WHOLE YEAR TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!!!!

I obviously loved this book. I think it was an exciting opening for this new trilogy and I’m dying to see what will happen in the next book. I will say that I would personally classify this as New Adult, rather than a YA novel, as it contains sexual content (a la Maas style) and strong language. So if those are things that you don’t care for in books, then this may not be the right fit for you. But if you don’t mind that, then pick this book up because it’s awesome!!!

Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars


Have you read Furyborn yet? If so, what did you think of it? Did you enjoy Eliana or Rielle’s chapters more?