Tag Archives: reading

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!!

Advertisements

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!!

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!!

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Author: Susan Dennard

Publisher: Tor Teen

Number of Pages: 416

Genre: High Fantasy

Where I acquired this book: Amazon

When I read this book: January 5-25 2016

Ratings on a Scale of 1-10

Quality of writing: 9

Pace: 8

Plot Development: 9

Characters: 10

Enjoyability: 9

Ease of Reading: 9

I was a huge fan of Susan’s first trilogy, Something Strange and Deadly (Here is my review of the finale Strange and Ever After), so I was ridiculously excited to read this new series. Picking it up I was a little skeptical, since it is still a huge jump (in my opinion) to go from historical fantasy to high fantasy, but after hearing her talk more about it at her signing, I was confident in her abilities. I was not disappointed at all. This book was refreshingly unique with a magic system that I have never seen before and a focus on the importance of friendship over romance. When I went to her signing in my hometown with Alexandra Bracken, a topic that was brought up several times in the discussion of their books was the Bechdel test, which if you’ve never heard of it before, is about whether a book has a conversation between two female characters that has nothing to do with the other male characters. At first I thought that it was a little ridiculous, because how many books really don’t pass this test? But after hearing this and rereading some of my favorite books, I was shocked at how common it really is to fail the Bechdel test. It was something I didn’t realize I missed until someone pointed it out to me and now I’m craving more books about strong female relationships. Safi and Isuelt work so well together, and no one can come between them. Romantic interests are introduced for the two characters, but it never overshadows the plot or their relationship with each other. Also, those two “love interests”, Merrick and Aeduan, have their own interests and plot points. It didn’t feel like there was a single character in this book who was put in just to drive a main character. Everyone and everything served its own purpose in the world outside of our characters, which gave the world as a whole a sense of realness, that I always appreciate in high fantasies and have found lacking in some other series.

I highly recommend this series to someone looking for a YA high fantasy with a well-developed world, strong female characters, and a kick-ass plot line.

OVERALL RATING (out of 5): 5 stars

Let me know if you’ve read it and what you thought! Also comment any fantasy or sci-fi books that pass the Bechdel test for me to read soon!

RAWR!!

2016 Reading Challenges

Wow, it’s weird writing 2016. It feels like just yesterday it was 2015… Oh wait! Anyways, the new year is a time to set goals for yourself, and these are the goals I have set for myself this year.

First off, I want to read 50 books this year. I am starting my senior year of high school soon, which means I am looking at and applying to colleges this year, so my life may be a little hectic, but I think this is a fair goal, especially since I came so close last year.

Another challenge I was interested in trying out this coming year is the Once Upon a Book Challenge created by Books for Thought. The challenge is to read as many retellings as you can. There are more details on points in her post on it, which is linked in the name, but I think it will be fun. Also it is nice to have a challenge where I can’t really fail. Plus I want to get more into retellings since I have loved the ones I have read so far.

I also want to try and write more reviews on here. I have finally caught up on the books I read last year, so those should be coming up soon, but I want to try and post a review within about a week of reading it if at all possible.

What are your goals for 2016? Anything new, fun, or exciting?

RAWR!!