Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Authors: Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Number of Pages: 465

Genre: High Fantasy

Where I acquired this book: Barnes and Noble

When I read this book: September 29, 2016

Ratings on a Scale of 1-10

Quality of writing: 10

Pace: 7

Plot Development: 8

Characters: 7

Enjoyability: 7

Ease of Reading: 8

 

I was a big fan of Leigh’s Grisha Trilogy, so I was beyond excited for a duology written in the same world. I figured, even though it wasn’t going to be about Alina and all of our main characters, it would still evoke that same sense of magic from that trilogy; however, I didn’t get that from this first book. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great book, but it felt like it dragged in places, and I don’t have the connection to these characters like I did to the originals from the start. I think my biggest issue was with the large number of different perspectives we saw. They were wonderfully done, but I didn’t feel a strong connection to any of them, since each one only got a couple of pages at a time.

I did like seeing another part of their world, though. I missed Ravka, but it was nice having an expanded view of that world. Ketterdam was completely different from the parts of Ravka we saw, but it still held that same feel that kept them connected in my mind.

I would still recommend this to any fans of her other novels, because it is a great book, but it just didn’t do much for me. I haven’t read the second book yet, but I do own it, so I will get to it at some point. If you haven’t read the original trilogy, then I would suggest you read that one first, considering there are spoilers in this book for those originals.

OVERALL RATING (out of 5): 4 stars

If you’ve read it, let me know what you thought below! Which did you like better? Six of Crows or Shadow and Bone?

RAWR!!

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Worldwalker Trilogy by Josephine Angelini (Non-Spoiler)

Synopsis from Goodreads for the first book (Trial by Fire):

The exhilaratingly seductive new series from the author of the bestselling Starcrossed series

Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted… which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily’s life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem – one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian… Lily’s identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.

Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn’t understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

Authors: Josephine Angelini

Publisher: Fiewel & Friends

Number of Pages: 374/352/352

Genre: Fantasy

Where I acquired this book: Anderson’s Bookshop/Public Library/Amazon

When I read this book: March 17, 2016/March 20, 2016/September 20, 2016

Ratings on a Scale of 1-10

Quality of writing: 7

Pace: 9

Plot Development: 9

Characters: 9

Enjoyability: 9

Ease of Reading: 9

 

If I’m being honest here, the biggest reason I got this novel was because I was able to meet the author. I obviously read the back and found it intriguing, but I don’t know if I would’ve picked it up if I hadn’t met her in person, but I am so glad I did. I finished Trial by Fire in a few days, and immediately picked up Firewalker from the library. My sister wasn’t too happy with me, considering I finished that one in a day (in the middle of her volleyball tournament). The problem was, I had to wait until September to read Witch’s Pyre, but the wait was immensely worth it.

It’s not exactly one of those books I picked up for its literary value. It’s purely a fun fantasy read that made me smile and laugh along with the characters. As I have read more of Josephine Angelini’s work, that is what I have come to expect of her, and it’s why I will always pick up anything she writes. It’s your typical YA fantasy read, in tone, but it’s also unique and complex. The magic system is based on the laws of thermodynamics, and that is still something that blows my mind. The idea is so simple, and yet I never would have believed that an author would even attempt to pull it off. Another shockingly effective tactic she employed was the villain. Our main character Lily is fighting against her own doppelganger. She is the epitome of an anti-hero. Lilian is a complete psycho, and yet you have to wonder how she ended up like that, since she is the hero. The later parts of the story delve into what exactly it might take to turn a hero like Lily into a villain like Lilian, and it’s utterly fascinating.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the setting of the second book (just because I was so in love with the setting we were introduced to in the first book, so I was disappointed to leave). Each part of each world was expertly woven in such a short span, without over-explaining things that were unnecessary. When I read short YA Fantasy books like this one, I’m not reading for a complex high fantasy world (though I think it’s pretty obvious how much I love those). I’m reading them for the fun characters that get to be a part of my life for the time being. Josephine Angelini does a wonderful job of crafting just enough of the world to make it three-dimensional and interesting, without over-powering the overall story.

Wrapping this up real quick, I would surely recommend this to anyone looking for a quick fantasy pick-me-up type of book. The characters are fun. The magic system is fascinating. Plus it certainly isn’t a downside that the covers are absolutely gorgeous. There is an intricate silver design directly on the hardcover of the books, which I love. Please pick this one up and support this amazing author. I’m surprised I haven’t heard more about her in the book community, but as I read more from her, I hope I can change that.

OVERALL RATING (out of 5): 5 stars

If you’ve read it, let me know what you thought below! What’s your favorite part about short fantasy novels?

RAWR!!

TOG #7 THEORY

This post is kind of random, but I’ve been scrolling through Pinterest a lot lately, looking mostly at Throne of Glass related things, and a theory popped into my head for the next book that I HAVE to share with someone or my brain is going to explode. Obviously, SPOILERS FOR EMPIRE OF STORMS AND ANY PREVIOUS BOOKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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What if Aelin purposefully got captured by Maeve, because she knows she can escape, but she needs Rowan to be too distracted to stop her from sacrificing herself??? We know Aelin is crazy powerful and crafty, so I think she’ll be able to “save” herself from Maeve pretty early on in the book, but she needs Rowan to go after her so that he is too busy trying to save her from Maeve to save her from herself. Obviously Rowan would try to stop her from being the sacrifice, so she can’t have him know where she is and what she’s doing. She might also be trying to make losing her a little easier on him, by being separated for so long before hand.

On a slightly more positive note now that I’m about to cry thinking about all of that, Rowan will probably try to track her based on her scent or whatever kind of bond they have, so while he may be focused on Maeve for a while, eventually he’ll figure out that she isn’t in Doranelle (sorry if that’s not the name of the city, it’s been a while). He’ll start to trust his senses when he is able to calm down a little and actually follow her, so he gets there in time to stop her from hurting herself.

I just keep picturing a scenario like at the end of Embody by Jamie Magee, if anyone has read that. I’m so freaking scared for this book, but I just need to read it already before I drive myself mad with all of my theories.

Let me know below what you think. Do you have any theories about how Sarah is going to destroy us this time?

RAWR!!

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In a kingdom by the sea…

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

The darkly magical world of Shadowhunters has captured the imaginations of millions of readers across the globe. Join the adventure in Lady Midnight, the long-awaited first volume of a new trilogy from Cassandra Clare.

Authors: Cassandra Clare

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Number of Pages: 698

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Where I acquired this book: Amazon

When I read this book: March 15 2016

Ratings on a Scale of 1-10

Quality of writing: 10

Pace: 8

Plot Development: 9

Characters: 10

Enjoyability: 10

Ease of Reading: 9

 

As a huge fan of Cassandra Clare, I obviously had to pick up this new installment in the Shadowhunter Chronicles. This novel follows Emma Carstairs and the Blackthorn children, who were introduced in City of Heavenly Fire. I was a little apprehensive about this book, because I wasn’t Emma’s biggest fan in CoHF, mostly because her chapters took time away from our main characters from TMI, but I was clearly wrong. Emma and all of the Blackthorns were well written and easy to fall in love with, though I will say that after reading them in CoHF, they will always be that little in my head (which makes things a little strange during certain scenes for me).

Emma is like a mini-Jace, and it’s a nice change to see our main female character so sure of herself in the Shadow World. Both Clary and Tessa in TMI and TID were introduced to the Shadow World in their respective series, but Emma already knows what she’s doing, so we don’t have to go through another recap of the world. On that note, if you have not read TMI, I would not recommend reading Lady Midnight until that is rectified. There are some major spoilers to TMI, and TID for that matter, in TDA since it is a sequel series of sorts. *****FROM THIS POINT ON THE DISCUSSION OF LADY MIDNIGHT WILL SPOIL THE ENDING OF TMI***** Even though Emma is confident in the Shadowhunter part of her life, she is far from flawless, which is nice to see. She gets to deal with the loss of her parents and some of her deep seated fears. Moving on to the Blackthorns, Julian is the sweetest older brother ever, and it warms my heart to see how he takes care of all of his younger siblings. Cassie also addresses some of the issues we were left with about the older Blackthorns, Helen and Mark. While Helen isn’t discussed a lot, we get to find out a lot more about Mark and how his time in Faerie has affected him. We even get the chance to see more about Faerie in general, especially in the wake of CoHF and the Seelies Queen’s betrayal of the Shadowhunters. Dru isn’t a major part in this book, but what I do like is that she is portrayed as a plus-sized character in a world of super athletic shadowhunters. I know someone personally who exercises more than I do and eats better food, but still weighs more than me, and I know it lowers her self-esteem, so it’s nice to have a character who weighs a little more, despite her best efforts. It shows people that weigh and physique are not always a choice and that it doesn’t mean someone is unhealthy simply because they weigh a little more. Another more diverse character we get is Ty, who is autistic. This is my first time reading about an autistic character, and I found it fascinating. I don’t know anyone who is autistic, but from what I have heard from other reviews by people who do know someone like Ty, Cassie has made a fairly accurate portrayal of this type of autism (since I know that it is a wide spectrum and not every person with autism is like Ty). I think it is a great idea to have more characters with mental illnesses, because, like with Dru, it shows how people are more than this single piece of them. Ty is one of the most intelligent people there and the sweetest Blackthorn in my opinion, accepting everyone for exactly who they are. Seeing Livvy interact with her twin was one of my favorite parts of the whole family being together. Besides maybe Julian, she is the only one who truly understands Ty, so it’s nice to see how they interact, and I can’t wait to see how their relationship is expressed in later books. The last Blackthorn we have is Tavvy, who I will always picture as a two-year-old, even though he’s much older, but that’s about all I have to say about him, because he isn’t exactly a major character. Besides the main family, we are introduced to Christina Rosales, who is studying at the LA Institute from the Mexico Institute, I believe. She and Emma are practically best friends, and once again we get to see a strong female friendship from Cassie. It’s so important to portray to strong women who support each other and talk about other things than boys. Then we have Diana, who is their mentor and “trainer” (I can’t think of the right word right now), like Hodge was in TMI. Unfortunately, like Hodge, she has a secret that we have no idea about. I am both excited and nervous to find out what that secret is in a later book. Sorry about the long character rant here, but they are, in my opinion, the most important part of the book, and I could no longer hold in my love for all of them. I know I missed some crucial people, but I don’t want to spoil certain events in the book.

It was also interesting to get to see a new institute in this series. Lady Midnight takes place in L.A., which we haven’t seen in other Shadowhunters novels. Los Angeles is a place that I have always wanted to visit, and the gorgeous portrayal of it, both real and fictional, makes me want to visit even more.

This review has gotten really long, so I’m going to wrap it up here. Overall, I adored this book and would recommend it for any and all Shadowhunters fans, under the stipulation that you have read TMI and TID first. You don’t have to read them to enjoy this novel, but if you have any plans to read them, it should be before you pick up Lady Midnight.

OVERALL RATING (out of 5): 5 stars

If you’ve read it, let me know what you thought below! Who’s your favorite Blackthorn?

RAWR!!

Project Pandora by Aden Polydoros

I did want to quickly preface this review by saying that I did receive this book for review; however, this in no way affected my review of this book. Also, this post is part of the blog tour for Project Pandora, hosted by Chapter by Chapter, so you should go check them out, along with the other wonderful blogs as a part of the tour. There will by other reviews and promotions up on other blogs that I’m sure you’ll all enjoy.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Tyler Bennett trusts no one. Just another foster kid bounced from home to home, he’s learned that lesson the hard way. Cue world’s tiniest violin. But when strange things start happening—waking up with bloody knuckles and no memory of the night before or the burner phone he can’t let out of his sight— Tyler starts to wonder if he can even trust himself.

Even stranger, the girl he’s falling for has a burner phone just like his. Finding out what’s really happening only leads to more questions…questions that could get them both killed. It’s not like someone’s kidnapping teens lost in the system and brainwashing them to be assassins or anything, right? And what happens to rogue assets who defy control?

In a race against the clock, they’ll have to uncover the truth behind Project Pandora and take it down—before they’re reactivated. Good thing the program spent millions training them to kick ass…

Authors: Aden Polydoros

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Number of Pages: 300

Genre: Mystery (???)

Where I acquired this book: Net Galley

When I read this book: July 8-16, 20117

Ratings on a Scale of 1-10

Quality of writing: 6

Pace: 7

Plot Development: 7

Characters: 6

Enjoyability: 8

Ease of Reading: 8

Although my ratings may seem a little low, I did actually enjoy this book. It was exactly what I needed to read, since it was a quick read that I didn’t have to focus to much on, which was great, since I was mostly reading in the car while we were going to my college orientation. The action started immediately, so there were no introductions to characters or anything, and it had been a while since I had received the book before I read it, so I went in knowing basically nothing about this book. In my opinion, that is the best way to read it, since the characters don’t know much in the beginning either, so it’s easiest to just catch on with them. One of my biggest complaints about this book, though has to be the character development. Most of the characters felt two-dimensional to me, and by the end I realized that I didn’t even ship half of the canon ships. There was so much jumping around between POVs and changing personas that I didn’t get a good idea for who the characters are. I will acknowledge that most of the characters don’t know who they are, themselves, but I felt no connection to a majority of them. On the flip-side, I did enjoy reading about Hades character, and I wish we saw more of him (and hope he continues to play a major role in the coming books). My liking to him may have come from the fact that he was the only character who was always himself, which proves my early assertion as to why the others didn’t really click. By the end, Hades had me questioning things not only about the story, but about my own life and going deeper into things than I’m sure the author intended. I almost wish Hades was the only POV, but then we would’ve missed out on a lot of the rest of the story. For the most part, I flew through this book in the car, but I will say there are a few slower spots, where I had to power through. The ending, for me, could’ve been better, but I can see the potential for coming books.

I would recommend this book to someone who is looking for a quick YA read, to maybe fill the time between releases, since you don’t have to make a huge commitment to the characters to truly enjoy it.

 

OVERALL RATING (out of 5): 3 stars

This book just came out on August 1st, let me know below if you’ve read it. Who was your favorite character? If “Zeus” renamed you, which god/goddess would you be named after?

RAWR!!

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Synopsis from Goodreads:

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Authors: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Publisher: Knopf

Number of Pages: 608

Genre: Mixed Media/Sci Fi

Where I acquired this book: Anderson’s Bookshop

When I read this book: March 2 2016

Ratings on a Scale of 1-10

Quality of writing: 10

Pace: 10

Plot Development: 10

Characters: 9

Enjoyability: 10

Ease of Reading: 10

 

Just seeing the cover of this book, immediately intrigued me. It is just absolutely gorgeous and so is every single page within. Having never read a mixed-media novel before, I had no idea what to expect, nor what I would think of it. I actually went into it with little knowledge about it at all, including the plot, which may not have been the best approach, but it worked out for me. It was a little hard in the beginning to catch on, since you’re basically thrown right into the middle of the action and expected to just pick it up as the story progresses, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I personally love books where everything finally clicks into place at the end when you get that last kernel of information, so the plot of this book was totally up my alley. I was a little nervous about the way the story is told, since it isn’t a linear story line, but I honestly didn’t have trouble keeping up once I got the hang of things. In fact, jumping around so much enhance the plot line for me. I adored how sassy Kady and Ezra were! And AIDAN may be one of my all time favorite characters now!!

I definitely recommend this book to any hard core sci-fi lovers out there. I’m not a huge sci-fi person myself, but it is probably an acquired taste. If you’re looking for something new and exciting, I would give Illuminae a shot. Even if you don’t like it, it’ll look gorgeous on your bookshelves. XD

OVERALL RATING (out of 5): 5 stars

If you’ve read it, let me know what you thought below! Also, if you have any mixed-media novel recommendations, I would love to hear them, since I have yet to find another book like this one.

RAWR!!

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Synopsis from Goodreads:

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: Harper Teen

Number of Pages: 444

Genre: High Fantasy

Where I acquired this book: Amazon

When I read this book: February 9 – March 2 2016

Ratings on a Scale of 1-10

Quality of writing: 8

Pace: 8

Plot Development: 8

Characters: 9

Enjoyability: 9

Ease of Reading: 10

 

I absolutely hate to say this, but I was thoroughly disappointed in this book. After reading Red Queen and absolutely loving it, I expected nothing less from its sequel. One of the things I loved about the first book was how all of the characters had a purpose and were well-developed, and maybe it’s because it’d been a year now since I’ve read it, but when my friend was reading King’s Cage, I had no idea who she was talking about half of the time. The new characters in this book held no interest with me like the previous characters did. Even the older characters didn’t have the same intrigue they did in the first book. Cal was broody in the beginning, and while I semi-understand why it made sense for him, he took too long to come out of it, so it just became annoying. I was never a fan of Kilorn, since he seemed to be there as a reminder of Mare’s old life, and now he was just there to make her feel guilty or drive her stupid decisions. Don’t even get me started on Mare. Watching her discover her abilities and come into her new status in Red Queen was enthralling, but this book ruined all of that for me. She was whiny and useless throughout the majority of the book, and only returned to her kick-ass self towards the end, when it was conveniently too late in the story.

We did learn some new aspects of the world that saved the novel in my eyes. I hope the next book tries to focus more on their universe, because it is still interesting to me, since it is so unique, but the characters just aren’t doing it for me.

I have not yet been able to make myself pick up a copy of King’s Cage, and I’m not sure if I ever will.

OVERALL RATING (out of 5): 3 stars

Let me know your opinion on this book if you’ve read it! Also tell me below if you think I should give King’s Cage a shot!

RAWR!!