Very short (seriously, this book was WAY too short), but has that standard Meg Cabot charm and fun artwork. So nice to revisit some beloved charactersVery short (seriously, this book was WAY too short), but has that standard Meg Cabot charm and fun artwork. So nice to revisit some beloved characters and meet a couple new ones!
Separated by one fateful decision in The Winner's Curse, Kestrel and Arin find themselves on different sides. Kestrel is playing a dangerous game of wSeparated by one fateful decision in The Winner's Curse, Kestrel and Arin find themselves on different sides. Kestrel is playing a dangerous game of words, actions, and politics, trying to keep the Emperor pleased while secretly doing anything she can to help the people of Herran. Arin, meanwhile, is thrust into an unwanted position of power, and he'll have to go to great lengths to earn a true freedom for Herran. Family, honor, love, and sacrifice, The Winner's Crime is an outstanding sequel.
Secrets, lies, deceit, and danger linger in every corner of Kestrel and Arin's lives. Rutkoski builds the emotions of the story, starting with a simple, slow flow until everything comes crashing down with intensity. She makes you care for these characters, and every page will leave you with the desire to keep reading on. Well-paced, and thoroughly captivating, Rutkoski raises the stakes with The Winner's Crime, and refuses to give her characters (and readers) a moment to rest. Exciting, shocking, and simply incredible, this trilogy needs to be on your to-read list...read more of this review on YA Book Queen ...more
Highlight:Secrets. MORE SECRETS. ALL THE SECRETS. Granted, I did guess one big one, but I was still intrigued from start to finish.
Highlight:CharactHighlight:Secrets. MORE SECRETS. ALL THE SECRETS. Granted, I did guess one big one, but I was still intrigued from start to finish.
Highlight:Characters. Meira is stubborn, smart, determined, and my kind of narrator. And, the side characters are wonderful as well. From the good guys to the bad guys, Raasch makes everyone feel realistic and distinct.
Highlight:Initially, confusing. Maybe it was just me, but reading the first chapter felt like I was stumbling around in the dark with a faulty flashlight and I had no idea what was happening or where everyone was. I think a map would have helped (which my ARC did not have, but I believe the final version does). I simply found it difficult to get into the beginning and to navigate the world, but once I went back and pushed forward, everything fell into place.
Highlight:World. Once I started to understand the layout and the differences in the various kingdoms, this world became quite fascinating. Raasch creates a lush world with magic, and such scenic kingdoms that I felt like I could see the ones that were described vividly. I cannot wait to explore the rest of this world.
Highlight:Adventure. Snow Like Ashes begins with adventure, and Raasch only continues to push Meira further out into her world. The search for part of the locket and goal of restoring the Kingdom of Winter drives Meira and her fellow Winterians throughout the entire story, but there are plenty of obstacles in their path.
Highlight:Fight scenes. I love a good fight scene, and Snow Like Ashes doesn't disappoint. Meira is confident in her abilities, especially with a chakram. This is a girl who does not wait around for the male characters to save her - she takes action, she argues, and she fights for everything she believes in.
Lowlight: Love triangle. I cannot wait until this stops being a thing in YA lit.
Highlight: Light + adorable romance. HOWEVER, Raasch writes it well. While there are two boys in Meira's life, one is a longtime crush with (unfortunately) little chance and the other is a an adorable, budding romance that has its own complications. Fortunately, this story kept the romance simple, sweet, and sometimes amusing.
Highlight: Politics. It kind of reminds me a bit of Rae Carson's The Girl of Fire and Thorns, where there is some focus on politics and doing whatever is necessary to create peace between kingdoms. But, of course, things do not go completely as planned. Every deal and betrayal kept me hooked, and there are a few surprises.
I knew going into The Winner's Curse that this would be a novel worth reading, if only because of how much I loved the creativity featured in RutkoskiI knew going into The Winner's Curse that this would be a novel worth reading, if only because of how much I loved the creativity featured in Rutkoski's The Shadow Society. But even knowing that, I was still amazed by how outstanding this novel turned out to be. The story revolves around two main characters: Kestral, a Valerian and the daughter of a great military General, and Arin, a Herrani slave whom Kestral buys on impulse at an auction. Kestral is expected to join the military, while Arin must do whatever it takes to survive as one of the Herrani slaves. Despite their different stations in life, Kestral and Arin slowly form a forbidden friendship that could change the fate of their world's future.
Rutkoski excels at painting a vivid picture within her readers' minds – the characters, the world, the culture, everything proved to be easy enough to envision and imagine. But, it was the characters who stole the show. From Kestral's observant and strategic nature to Arin's subtle intelligence and sharp personality, it was easy to root for both of them. Even the side characters were wonderfully developed, and continually intriguing. I went into this expecting a good story, but Rutkoski delivered a quiet, stunning tale that pleasantly surprised me. The Winner's Curse is a surprising, captivating tale of family, love, and honor. This book? It should be on your to-read list. Or, better yet, your bookshelf.
Highlights: The romance is slow, subtle, and almost barely beginning. This story focuses on the intelligence of main characters, rather than their ability to be physical threats. I loved how this story was written in a 3rd person POV, because it allowed Rutkoski to go into detail and really show off the fantasy world she crafted. While this as a quieter story, there are bursts of action-packed moments, strategic manipulations, and a couple surprising revelations. Worldbuilding, characters, story – it was all fantastic.
Lowlights: It has a slightly slow beginning and a couple moments felt slightly rushed, but I have no big issues with this story. The ending was pretty brutal, emotionally. It leaves you wanting the sequel, desperately! ...more
Trekking across the blazing sand and through deadly snow, Elisa is in for one epic journey to save the man she loves, to protect her kingdom from utteTrekking across the blazing sand and through deadly snow, Elisa is in for one epic journey to save the man she loves, to protect her kingdom from utter destruction, and to fulfill her destiny as a bearer of a Godstone in the final installment of the Fire and Thorns trilogy*. I've been anticipating this novel ever since I finished THE CROWN OF EMBERS, and Rae Carson did not disappoint. Picking up directly where the sequel left off, Carson does not waste a moment in getting Elisa started on her journey. But, Elisa's not going at it alone, and is instead aided by a few old friends (Belen, Mara, Storm) and a few new allies (Mula, Horse**, possibly also Storm). Their journey is dangerous, deadly, and will take them into the heart of a place they fear the most.
Rife with political intrigue, daring altercations, thrilling escapes, and a vibrant cast of characters, THE BITTER KINGDOM is a whirlwind of a story that excites from start to finish. Just when you think you have this story all figured out, the stakes raise as more revelations come to light. Carson's writes each setting vividly, and gives equal care to fleshing out her characters and her overall story. Looking back at where this trilogy started, I'm very impressed regarding Elisa's character growth, and I'm sold on reading all of Carson's future works. If you are not reading this trilogy and you happen to be a fantasy fan, give this trilogy a chance because you're in a for a treat.
Highlights: Action, adventure, risks, and sacrifice, THE BITTER KINGDOM is thrilling. I was constantly on the edge of my seat, rooting for Elisa and worrying for the main cast of characters whenever things started to go badly for them. The inclusion of Hector's*** POV could have been a risky move, but it paid off in the end since it added another layer to his character and to the overall story. Characters, new and old, are carefully developed by Carson. More about Elisa's world and the Inviernos is revealed. In all, this book is wonderful.
Lowlights: The trilogy is over, and I'm sad about that. Rae Carson, why can't you write more Fire and Thorns novels?! *hugs trilogy*
Rating:The Treasure Vault. This book (or really, this series) is a favorite of mine, and is also very worthy of keeping company with the crown jewels. I'd highly recommend this novel to other readers. If I could give this book a palace of it's own, I would. But, I'll just keep it tucked safely away in my treasure vault instead.
* Um, no pressure. Poor Elisa. She's got a lot to do! ** Horse is a horse. A very sweet horse. I still think Elisa should have put some effort into a better name, though. *** Oh, Hector. *swoons*