Unfortunately, this one just wasn't for me. I found the narrative style cumbersome in a way that classics from the period can be. The
DNF on page 61
Unfortunately, this one just wasn't for me. I found the narrative style cumbersome in a way that classics from the period can be. The saving grace of the book is the main character Bridie, who is hilarious and snarky and intensely independent. The juxtaposition of the third-person omniscient narrative voice with the dialogue is jarring to say the least due to the tone mismatch.
I found myself skimming the book after the second chapter and only paying attention to the dialogue. While I kind of want to know who this Rudy fellow is, I never really felt overly invested in the story itself. I'm bummed because this sounded like a story I could absolutely love, but sadly the narrative style just didn't work for me.
eARC provided by Atria Books via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. This did not impact my opinions in any way.
I just accidentally deleted this book from my shelves because I am an idiot. Thank goodness I have a book blog where my review was safe.
TheI just accidentally deleted this book from my shelves because I am an idiot. Thank goodness I have a book blog where my review was safe.
The magical game of Caraval is about bravery and sacrifice, and friends let me tell you that the magic isn’t yet over as there are some debts to be paid. This world is so magical and ethereal that it is easy to get swept up into the narrative, and while I slightly prefer Caraval, this installment of the trilogy lives up to its predecessor and shatters all notions of Middle Book Syndrome!
“Legend has chosen you to play a game that may change your destiny. In honor of Empress Elantine’s 75th birthday, Caraval will visit the streets of Valenda for six magical nights.”
Signed copy of Legendary: The magical performance typically only happens once per year, but within a week the troupe is heading to the Meridian capitol Valenda for a special game. But is this one just a game? Or is it something more?
I absolutely love how this book expands the worldbuilding! With the moving to another location, we get not only a sense of the history of this world but also more details about the magic Legend wields during Caraval and the origins of that magic. I am really excited to see where this goes in Finale because everything is set up so well for an amazing ending.
Legendary is told in the third person perspective of Donatella (Tella), which I really appreciated because I felt like I didn’t get a sense of who she was in Caraval. But she is strong, brave, and fiercely loyal to her sister above all else. While she has limitless amounts of love for Scarlett, she has never allowed herself to fall in love because of a prophecy that she was doomed to unrequited love.
“Tella wanted nothing to do with love; she’d learned long ago it was not in her destiny. She gave herself the freedom to kiss as many boys as she liked, but never more than once.”
But the thing about this series is that the notion of fate and free will is explored, and just because something is prophesied doesn’t mean that it will come to pass. In this way, Scarlett and her journey is a foil to Tella’s. This book and Tella’s journey is learning to take control and not letting prophecy rule her actions; allowing her to love and be vulnerable.
“But the best villains are the ones you secretly like.”
Garber really knows how to write villains, my friends. I love morally grey characters so much: they are vastly more interesting than someone who is just pure evil. There is a line where humanizing the villain makes me feel all wormy inside, but Garber manages to craft these characters that are flawed and not good, but you can’t help but root for despite it all. Watching their journeys is almost as interesting to me because I really love a villain redemption arc.
“She’d underestimated Love in the past. She’d imagined the romantic sort to be a stronger type of lust – but this moment had nothing to do with lust and everything to do with caring more about saving […] than saving herself. It made her fearless in a way she’d never been.”
I loved the romance (which is saying something because I am typically indifferent). I think the main reason is that it is as much about Tella accepting that she is worthy of love as it is about her slowly falling for someone that she thinks she hates. Again the time period is a week here, so I am sure that people will find this to be insta-love but there is something about the pacing and their journey together that makes it not feel that way to me.
“I know you were willing to sacrifice yourself for her, but I wasn’t willing to sacrifice you.”
While Scarlett and Julian are very much in the background of this installment dealing with the after-effects of all the lies in Caraval, at its heart, even with the romances, this series is about two sisters and their unbreakable bond and their personal journeys. And I like that this book centers on sisterly love.
Legendary is fast-paced and consuming. I devoured it in one sitting (this marks Day 2 of my immersion into the World of Caraval) and it is plotted incredibly well. The stakes are high for Tella and the anxiety I felt reading the first book carried over: I didn’t know who to trust, but I knew who I wanted to trust. Just like Caraval, this book reads like an act in a play and sets up Finale well while still providing the reader some resolution. By the end, the identity of Legend will be known and I just have to say: of course. I can’t believe that I missed it because it makes so much sense!
Overall, I loved Legendary and am excited to dive into Finale as soon as I finish this review. It is just as magical and beautiful as the first installment, and it adds so much to the world of Caraval. I really connect with Garber’s writing and her characters, especially her villains! I cannot wait to see how it all ends.
Thank you to the publisher for providing me an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This has not affected my review in any way.Thank you to the publisher for providing me an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. Quotations are taken from an unfinished proof and are subject to change upon final publication.
I wish that I enjoyed this book more than I did, friends. Reading this book was a wild ride of emotions for me because I was interested in the storyI wish that I enjoyed this book more than I did, friends. Reading this book was a wild ride of emotions for me because I was interested in the story but also was disengaged from it. The book felt really long while reading it. By the time I was at 85%, I wanted to DNF the book but forced myself to finish since I was so close to the end. Part of me wanted to know. I wish I hadn't. This book has no discernable meaning or purpose; it is just chaotic neutral.
"'What you want, gentlemen and lady, is to play God! Turn social order upside down. Claim what should be yours. Go from duds to studs! And so I give you ... the God Game!'"
This started as a very exciting read for me that slowly devolved into something that by the end I had come to almost hate. A big part of this is a Me Thing: I often struggle with mutiple POV narratives. The narrative style felt disjointed and jarring to read, the "perspectives" bled into each other and veered almost into an omniscient narrator but wasn't written to be that way. The perspective shifts happen randomly and many times within a chapter, noted solely with a double line break. There are so many characters, too. It's not only from the 5 Vindicators, either. Randomly perspectives from other characters are thrown in which to me detracted from the plot and muddied the water as to who we are supposed to care about.
Which leads to my next complaint: I didn't really care about the characters by the end of the book. I was just kinda tired of them. But I liked them at first, before they bled into one another. I think that Charlie is meant to be the main character because he has the most page-time and a lot of the story centers on his grief. But honestly, there was so much going on that I wound up not caring about much of anything.
This is a messed up book. Everyone in the book winds up basically being terrible, and each of the Vindicators have their own personal traumas that lead them to play the game. The game itself is messed up, which you can expect from a tagline Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!. But in addition to the plot itself being a messed up nightmare, there's a character in an abusive and toxic relationship, as well as one with abusive parents. There are things that happen in the book that go Too Far in my opinion. Please be sure to read my content warnings at the end of the review and make sure you are in the right headspace. (Thank you to Lauren for giving me a head's up - I would have been PISSED had I gone in blind.)
I got my degree in Religious Studies and one of my honors theses delved into the theory of religion. At first, I really enjoyed the religious allusions and how the AI presented itself after being fed all of World Religion. But there is this part near the end of the book where various philosophical theory is debated and explained in excruciating detail by the characters. It kind of read like That Guy in your undergrad philosophy class trying to sound smart with all the things he can recite. As a person who loves philosophy, it wasn't enjoyable to read - but this may be due to the fact that I was so done with the book by this point.
I don't feel that anything wrapped up and am pretty unsatisfied with the ending. If you are the kind of person who will want to learn the origins of the game and the nitty-gritty on how the tech works, you will be disappointed. There is no greater message or purpose to this other than veering into nihilism, only without the freedom associated with it. It also gets very heavy on philosophy and theory of religion in the last quarter of the book, which should have been my jam since that is what I studied in university. (view spoiler)[Also what the fuck happened with Charlie and his chessboard?! I forgot all about that until going through my notes for this review, but this "ability" was seemingly dropped into oblivion while the narrative focused more on the power-ups Peter was buying. (hide spoiler)]
Ultimately, I found The God Game to be a promising premise but an uneven reading experience. While I absolutely adored the first 30% of the book, the longer the book went on the more I disliked it. Due to the number of characters and perspectives, I had a difficult time connecting to anyone or the story at all because I didn't care what happened to anyone. It is worth noting that my experience is an anomaly among some of my SFF reviewing friends; please check out Alana's and/or Paul's review before writing this one completely off. For the right reader, this will be an amazing read. I just wasn't that reader.
Content warnings: abusive romantic relationship, animal death, attempted suicide, blackmail, bullying, death, drug use, grief, incest (inferred), loss of a loved one, parental abuse (off-page but referenced a lot), suicidal thoughts, violence Representation: lgbtqiap+ (Vanhi is lesbian), Indian rep (Vanhi), Asian rep (Alex)
eARC sent by St. Martin's Press in exchange for my honest review. This does not impact the content of my review or rating. Quotations are from an unfinished proof and subject to change upon final publication.
A Castle in the Clouds was an impulse download on Edelweiss because I'd been experiencing SFF burnout, and I am so glad that I picked this book up.A Castle in the Clouds was an impulse download on Edelweiss because I'd been experiencing SFF burnout, and I am so glad that I picked this book up. It's funny and smart with a dash of cute, and I adored my time reading it!
"Legend had it that the hotel was haunted, and I could well believe it."
This is a fast-paced and engaging read. Told in Sophie's perspective, we follow her life as a new intern at a secluded old hotel in the Swiss mountains. She's quit school and is embarking on her own, trying to find her path and hoping that this year-long post will provide some of that clarity.
While there is an overall plot that comes to develop, I'd say that the book largely is about Sophie's day-to-day. Her tasks at the hotel, her budding friendships with the other staff members, the mysterious and dreamy guest, and the hotel owner's son. It's a character-driven story and love that all the characters feel like people.
But there's more to the plot than romance and babysitting woes. There's a mystery afoot and we know from the prologue of the book something is going to happen. I love books that start with a portion of the end and I love seeing what transpires to bring that ending about. All the twists and turns, I didn't really know who to trust (which made for an anxious reading experience because I loved everyone). I saw a few of the twists coming because of really good plotting on the part of Gier, but did find myself surprised by a couple of them!
Overall, I found this to be a positively delightful read. The mystery component provides more depth to an already enjoyable contemporary romance, although I do wish there was a bit more of the paranormal stuff woven in. But I'd definitely recommend this book to fans of character-driven contemporaries and those who enjoy a good slow-burn.
Thank you to the publisher for providing me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. Quotations are taken from an unfinished proof and are subject to change upon final publication.
This f***ing book. I'm going to be honest: I got it solely because my love for Felicia Day knows no bounds. She's one of my favorite people who hasThis f***ing book. I'm going to be honest: I got it solely because my love for Felicia Day knows no bounds. She's one of my favorite people who has always given me the permission to be my own brand of weird... so I half read the title of the book and downloaded it. I didn't even know it was centered on harnessing and unleashing creativity until I started listening to it. Oops? But you know how some books just sort of find you when you need them the most? Yea... this one has been added to that list.
"The heart of creativity is play."
I listened to this book in two sessions on my flights to/from a quick trip to visit friends & my doctor. Narrated by Felicia herself, the audiobook is full of energy and quirkiness, and was a pleasure to read. I'll admit that I wasn't equipped on my flight to do the exercises on the PDF provided (motion sickness), but I thought about my answers and feel like I will get some value from them -- I plan on listening to the book again and taking all that time to doodle and think and create. Which is really exciting!
"No one can stop you from believing in yourself but you."
I love how relatable Felicia is. Her struggles with anxiety and perfectionism mirror my own and I feel like the exercises she gave will help me tackle them in my life. The book has fantastic replay value and honestly? I think everyone should read it, even if they aren't wanting to be creative. (although we all probably would benefit from an outlet.) Talking about tangible ways to handle anxiety, perfectionism, and jealousy (to name a few) with the flair of nerdy RPG action-inspired tools can be useful to so many people.
"We can all shine without dimming each other's lights."
This book is fantastic and provides a ton of tools and exercises, with a nerdy spin, to help tap into our creative selves and squash the monsters that often hold us back. As someone who struggles with crippling anxiety in her daily life, I look forward to visualizing a D6 roll to see how I will try to defeat it. The book also has plenty of personal anecdotes from Felicia and you can tell that this is a pasion project for her. I am so glad that I decided to read this one!
ALC provided by the publisher via LibroFM in exchange for my honest review.
Ahh this was another cute and fun read in the Royals series! I'll admit that I was a little sad that this book doesn't center on Daisy, but I actuallyAhh this was another cute and fun read in the Royals series! I'll admit that I was a little sad that this book doesn't center on Daisy, but I actually enjoyed this book more than Prince Charming. While there isn't a lot of depth to the plot itself, the characters feel like real people with complex histories, and it is fun to dive a bit more in!
I appreciate the world that Hawkins of crafting with the fictional book series that our characters enjoy and all the universe tie-ins. Makes it fun.
Like the first book, the book ends a little abruptly but is left with an open-ended happy vibe. These books are fluffy and fun to read, but really skim the surface of the will-they-won't-they romances. I hope there are future books that center on the relationships being formed!
This was the December 2019 YA Book Club pick for Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore.
This was a cute, fast, and fluffy read. Not a lot of depth but anThis was the December 2019 YA Book Club pick for Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore.
This was a cute, fast, and fluffy read. Not a lot of depth but an enjoyable read... and if you are one for fake dating, enemies-to-lovers with biting British sarcasm, you'll probably enjoy this one. This isn't something I would have picked up on my own, but it made for a fun evening read.
Also, Seb is a tool. And it's 'whisky' not 'whiskey.'
Preorder Incentive: submit your receipt to receive a custom Kingdom of Back book pouch (US only, sorry friends).
ARC sent by Penguin Teen via[image]
✨ Preorder Incentive: submit your receipt to receive a custom Kingdom of Back book pouch (US only, sorry friends).
ARC sent by Penguin Teen via Bookish First in exchange for my honest review. This does not impact the content of my review or rating. Quotations are from an unfinished proof and subject to change upon final publication.