The Demon King is a very strong fantasy novel that does not leave any detail out!
Plot: The synopsis, to be honest, kind of turned me off from the bookThe Demon King is a very strong fantasy novel that does not leave any detail out!
Plot: The synopsis, to be honest, kind of turned me off from the book. It's so long and reveals too much. Luckily, the devil is in the details. Chima must have a spreadsheet while writing this series because this book is hella in depth. It's long, but the story and characters kept me glued to the pages. This book was unusual for me because most Young Adult fantasy novels are jam packed with action, but The Demon King takes it nice and slow and alludes to more political strifes than relying on physical action.
Characters: The Demon King is told from the alternating perspectives of Han, a former street lord, and Princess Marianna. These two characters seemingly have nothing in common and it's fascinating and smart how their storylines interweave. If political intrigue is your thing, then The Demon King is 100% for you. There are a lot of characters who have their own agendas and precarious truces that are in danger of breaking.
Now I bet you're all wondering. Romance? Not so much in this one. Marianna and Han are really independent characters who establishing their own storylines, as a result, they don't have a lot of "screen time" together. Regardless, this is going to be one of those slow burn romances that I adore; albeit a lot slower than I'm used to.
Worldbuilding: Remember how I said Chima must have had a spreadsheet while writing this bad boy? I can't see how she could have created this intense world without several graphs and excel spreadsheets to keep characters and alliances together, as long as lands. It's so rich with history and conflict. I hope that we get more glimpses into the past because that story arch and how it parallels to the present worlds is fascinating!
Short N Sweet: The Demon King is unique, but prepare yourself for a loonnnnng read!...more
After the high that Falling Kingdoms gave me, I knew that I had to have the next book immediately. Sadly, after finishing Rebel Spring, I felt deflateAfter the high that Falling Kingdoms gave me, I knew that I had to have the next book immediately. Sadly, after finishing Rebel Spring, I felt deflated.
Plot: About a month after the events of Falling Kingdoms, Rhodes gives us an update on all of our characters. Cleo is being held prisoner in her father's castle, Magnus is trying to survive his father's wrath, Jonas has a bumbling group of rebels to take care of, and Lucia is still unconscious after her battle in Auranos. The plot isn't necessarily bad, it's just....stationary. It's your classic Sophmore slump where we are waiting for something to happen, and nothing seems big enough.
Characters: In Falling Kingdoms, I was very interested in the various motives of our characters. While Cleo generally annoyed me, I saw potential for the great queen that she could be. In Rebel Spring, Cleo takes two steps back. My biggest problem with most of the characters is that they seem to fall in love with every other human being they come across. I had a tentative OTP in Falling Kingdoms but now I don't even know what to believe. Everyone is appreciating the physical beauty of another character, then contemplate whether or not they're falling in love. There is a war happening, can we focus on that for a few minutes?
Worldbuilding: We are given more information about the Watchers and where they live, and I squee with anticipation to learn more about them. It's interesting to see how the lands have reacted to King Gaius' rule, and how outside forces will help tip the scales.
Short N Sweet: Rebel Spring was a disappointment compared to Falling Kingdoms, but I'm sure the action will pick up with upcoming books. ...more
The Storyspinner surpassed my expectations and has me eagerly waiting for the next installment.
Plot: It shouldn't come to anyone's surprise that JohaThe Storyspinner surpassed my expectations and has me eagerly waiting for the next installment.
Plot: It shouldn't come to anyone's surprise that Johana is the long lost princess in question. It's not the mystery that makes The Storyspinner remarkable, but its mix of realistic characters, intriguing political alliances, and worldbuilding that makes this an instant favorite.political tensions and betrayal always make for a thrilling novel, so why not throw in a long-lost princess to sweeten the deal?
Pacing is often difficult to figure out with fantasy novels, either the author hits you with everything immediately, or the author waits it out and you're spending pages waiting for something to happen. Wallace's pacing is surprisingly perfect. She would feed a little background about the region, then quickly explores political unrest in other parts of the world.
Characters: Johana von Arlo is a girl after my own heart. She reminds me a bit of Feyre from A Court of Thorns and Roses, because of her family situation. After the unexpected death of her father, her family is banned from their beloved traveling troupe and have a difficult time making ends meet. Her fiery personality made me fall in love with her, and I loved her love-hate relationship with the lordling, Rafael. All of the characters managed to touch me in a way that I could have sworn that they were real flesh-and-bone human beings.
The Storyspinner is told from a plethora of perspectives, like a million. The perspectives helped move the story along as well as get to know the individuals - and their motives - a bit better.
Worldbuilding: I love everything about the kingdoms and complexities of the religions in The Storyspinner. What I really enjoyed about The Storyspinner is that Wallace strongly believes in the idea of there being two sides to every story.
Short and Sweet: The Storyspinner is a strong fantasy debut that will definitely please anyone who dabbles in high fantasy. I can't wait to see how all of this wraps up! ...more
Lock & Mori was a fun reimagining of two classic characters, with some pretty mature themes.
Plot: Lock & Mori is a brilliant and emotional reLock & Mori was a fun reimagining of two classic characters, with some pretty mature themes.
Plot: Lock & Mori is a brilliant and emotional read that really took me by surprise. I'm the 1% that doesn't know much about Sherlock Holmes nor do I care to learn more, so I can't speak to how "Sherlock Holmes-y" Lock & Mori felt. I do know that I enjoyed the mystery, especially because there wasn't the big "a-ha" moment that I had come to expect in most mystery novels. Lock & Mori had a great mystery, but the bulk of the book dealt with the consequences of the murders as well as the motivation.
Characters: Although the title is Lock & Mori, this is a Mori-centric novel. Each chapter is told from her perspective and Lock serves more of a supportive character. I thought Petty's portrayal of both characters and how their relationship evolved. Lock is very quirky and awkward which I found endearing. I was mostly fascinated by Mori's observation of him. There is an obvious attraction, but their relationship isn't that simple. Mori is a tough girl, mostly because she has to be, and it's clear how past influences her decisions. While I enjoyed the mystery, it's the push and pull between Lock and Mori that kept me reading.
World Building: Lock & Mori takes place in three main places: Regent Park, Mori's home, and the high school. I found Mori's home to be the most fleshed out and well-used setting in this novel.
The diversity of this novel is great! There is diversity among race and sexuality which makes me really hopeful for the future of diversity in YA books!
Short N Sweet: Lock & Mori is unlike any murder-mystery YA book you've read. This will be a pleasant surprise for anyone familiar with the duo. ...more
The Heart of Betrayal was a welcomed second installment which I enjoyed more than Kiss of Deception.
Plot: The Heart of Betrayal wastes no time gettinThe Heart of Betrayal was a welcomed second installment which I enjoyed more than Kiss of Deception.
Plot: The Heart of Betrayal wastes no time getting back into the action, which is unfortunate if you're like me and have forgotten about two-thirds of what happened in Kiss of Deception.
I prefer The Heart of Betrayal more than Kiss of Deception because romance was not the focus. Instead, manipulation, and details regarding the relationship between Venda and Morrighan, so if you're someone who craves world-building and conflict - The Heart of Betrayal is for you! My minor complaint regarding this book would be the ending. I felt that the conflict that was so evident in The Kiss of Deception fizzled and was not explored in depth towards the end of The Heart of Betrayal.
Characters: In Venda, Mary E Pearson introduces us to a slew of new characters with fascinating backstories and truly help move the plot along. As I said above, the romance plays second fiddle to Lia trying to survive in a world where the wrong word will get her killed. The love triangle between her, Kaden, and Rafe is further explored with some great character development with Kaden.
World Building: The Heart of Betrayal receives nothing but glowing praises from me in terms of the world. Venda is a terrible land, but it is not terrible for the sake of being so. There is a reason for the Komizar's iron hold on the country and the country's past and tradition was compelling. I will continue reading this series just because I want to learn more about Venda.
Short N Sweet: The Heart of Betrayal is a step of The Kiss of Deception which is refreshing for second installments. Mary E Pearson ups the ante and delivers an enthralling tale of deceit and betrayal! ...more
An Ember in the Ashes is unlike anything I've read this year, and I want more!
Plot: An Ember in the Ashes opens with Laia's brother being ripped fromAn Ember in the Ashes is unlike anything I've read this year, and I want more!
Plot: An Ember in the Ashes opens with Laia's brother being ripped from his home by Martial soldiers, known as masks, and Laia having to deal with the death and destruction around her. Without much option, she agrees to become a spy for the Resistance in exchange for her brother's freedom but not everything is like it seems, and she finds that the creatures of old may still exist.
This book is long, and even though it's almost 450 pages, there isn't anything that I would take out. The dual perspectives of Elias and Laia keep the story moving and we are fed just enough information to keep us glued to the pages. After finishing the book I found that I had more questions than I had answered, but I guess I'll have to wait for the sequel.
Characters: What I liked most about An Ember in the Ashes is that it's not just about Laia and Elias. Sure they are the central characters, but there is something bigger than the two of them that kept me rapt. Each secondary character plays a big role and live in shades of grey. Everyone has their own history which Tahir alludes to and expands on throughout the novel, and it's great to see that these characters actually have a pretty big role in the overall conflict, and don't just exist to move Laia and Elias.
You want romance? Well don't get your hopes up. There is definitely something brewing between Elias and Laia, but their position and situation won't allow them to fall in love all willy nilly. I'm excited to see how their relationship grows in future books and learn more about both of them as they come into their strengths.
World Building: I know this one is being likened to the Roman empire but I was unable to picture Rome in Tahir's writing. There is the standard betrayal and deception, but I don't align that with Julius Caesar's Rome exclusively. The way that the soldiers are raised to be soldier first and foremost reminded me more of the Spartan ideology. Regardless the world was immense and Tahir clearly took a lot of time (6 years!) creating it to perfection
Short N Sweet: An Ember in the Ashes is a bit on the mature side, but is not to be missed. Sabaa Tahir's prose and in-depth world building will leave you craving more!...more
Beth Revis ups the ante by adding a Jurassic Park element to this sci-fi series and even more deaths! Plot: Immediately after the events of A Million SBeth Revis ups the ante by adding a Jurassic Park element to this sci-fi series and even more deaths! Plot: Immediately after the events of A Million Suns, Amy and co find themselves crashed landed on a brand new Earth. Although it's unfair to call it a new "Earth," Centuri-Earth has evolved into a land of its own with creatures and plants that are toxic to both Shippers and the original Earthians. Beth Revis keeps the mystery going as many humans are disappearing from camp and turn up dead in an unusual manner. What I like about Revis' writing is that she knows how to unveil an mystery without giving too much away or frustrating the reader. Enough is revealed to hold my attention while maintaining a decent amount of character growth.
Characters: I mentioned earlier in previous books that I found myself drawn to Elder's narration more than Amy's, but I found the complete opposite to be true in Shades of Earth. Amy is presented with new difficulties and it was interesting to see how the dynamic between her and her parents changed after three short months. It was clear that she didn't belong to one world strictly speaking, and both parties, Shippers and Earthians had difficulty accepting that.
I also really liked how Amy and Elder's relationship shifted. In Across the Universe, Amy was worried that her attraction to Elder was because he was the only boy her age that she was around. Things change and Amy finds herself in the presence of another boy and she and Elder must understand if what they had was ~love~ or just a fleeting fancy.
World Building: I found a bit disjointed from this book in comparison to the other titles which were strictly sci-fi stories. Shades of Earth feels more like Jurassic Park with the introduction of brand new man-eating dinosaurs and plants. It took a while for me to adjust to the change in world and had difficulty at time imagining anything but the world as depicted in Jurassic Park.
Short N Sweet: Shades of Earth is quite different from its predecessors but the heart and the characters are still there. This was not the conclusion I had expected, but I closed the book feeling satisfied. ...more
Lies We Tell Ourselves was painful to read, but it is a book that needs to be read.
Plot: In American History class, we've all gone through the painsLies We Tell Ourselves was painful to read, but it is a book that needs to be read.
Plot: In American History class, we've all gone through the pains of segregation and how difficult and dangerous integration was. There is something so much more powerful about reading from the perspectives of individuals who are actually living it, fictional or not. Robin Talley does not sugar coat the hardships that African Americans suffered (like some high school history classes....you know...the ones that tell you that slavery wasn't that bad), and I actually broke down and cried in some scenes.
Characters: Sarah and Linda are our two main characters and the chapters alternate between their two POVs. It's interesting because these two girls come from different worlds and it is no where near love or even like at first sight. They both have a lot of growing to do, but Linda's transformation is the most remarkable. She's apart of the group of kids that throw pennies at the African Americans as they walk down the halls and slings every slur in the book. I'll admit that Linda was a hard girl to like, but I thought she was a good complement to Sarah and their ending was all sorts of precious!
World Building: One thing that's for sure is that Robin Talley did her homework when it came to researching. I felt like I was living in white dominant Virginia where the shop owners glare and the African Americans have to keep their heads down if they want to get by in life. Everything was described so vividly that it allowed me to take the time to look around my surroundings and think critically about how far we've come as a society in regards to race and sexuality, and how much further we need to go. Any book that makes you sit and think is a winner in my opinion.
Short N Sweet: Lies We Tell Ourselves is equal parts beauty and pain. This is a book I think should be in every high school classroom....more