It's rare that a prequel can provide legitimate tension, let alone adding new information that increases the tension and stakes in the main series, yeIt's rare that a prequel can provide legitimate tension, let alone adding new information that increases the tension and stakes in the main series, yet Sightwitch delivers on both counts! I was immediately gripped by Ryber's story, which is cleverly interwoven with stories from even earlier. Reading this as #2.5 in the Witchlands series is definitely more meaningful rather than reading it before Truthwitch. (I always read books in publication order because there is no way you can get the experience the author predicted otherwise, no matter how publishers today misinterpret CS Lewis's answer. /end rant)
Despite the format of this story as "found" (diary entries, snippets of notes and textbooks, etc.) and its narrative jumping around in time and space, I felt a lot less tossed around by this book than I did by Windwitch. Overall my favorite Witchlands tale so far. I do recommend reading this in hard copy rather than on Kindle because of the interesting layout....more
This was a worthy sequel to Truthwitch! The author gave me lots of twists and turns that kept me guessing in the best way, and I can't wait to read moThis was a worthy sequel to Truthwitch! The author gave me lots of twists and turns that kept me guessing in the best way, and I can't wait to read more from the Witchlands. Each individual storyline and character arc was exciting and interesting, especially when they influenced each other.
That said, I'm giving it only 4 stars because it kept jerking me around to different places. There are five different POV characters, and we never get to stay with one for more than a chapter at a time. The "put them in peril and jump to another POV" strategy is great sometimes, and works fine in movies, but since literally every chapter was a different POV, the "cliffhanger" endings didn't necessarily keep me turning pages since I'd have to read another three chapters to find out what happened to the character I've just left. It's a minor thing, but it affected my reading experience.
I'm looking forward to book 3 and I hope that our characters will overlap and interact more!...more
I was immediately captivated by this story of best friends navigating unwanted political intrigue and unexpected magic. Safi is a Truthwitch, able toI was immediately captivated by this story of best friends navigating unwanted political intrigue and unexpected magic. Safi is a Truthwitch, able to tell when a person is lying or deceiving, which makes her a valuable pawn (although as we learn, there are limits to that power). Her voice—dry wit and self-deprecating sarcasm—drew me in, and her friendship with Iseult was realistic and compelling.
This is the start of a longish series, and even as a seasoned SFF reader, I found the number of new names a little overwhelming at the beginning. It might've helped if I'd been reading the hardcover (the map on Kindle was barely legible and split over two screens). But political machinations are an integral part of the plot, so I just tried to keep up, and by the end I think I had it all sorted. That said, the worldbuilding turned out to be my favorite part of the book! The magic system is a clever twist on elemental magic, subtly built up throughout the book and integrally connected to the politics.
Unfortunately, I wasn't really feeling the romance, such as it was, but I didn't mind because friendship and responsibility were the overarching themes, and they played out beautifully. All the POV characters (there are three in addition to Safi) were individually compelling, even if four is a lot for one book. (I mean, Invictus had like eight, but it was an obvious #SquadGoals book from the beginning.) The ending was satisfying while still being enough of a cliffhanger to make me look forward to the next book.
Content advisories: mild profanity, lots of bleeding, racial prejudice [shown as a bad thing]....more
Non-Christians might still find this book academically interesting, since a lot of the practical advice still applies. For those who do identify as AmNon-Christians might still find this book academically interesting, since a lot of the practical advice still applies. For those who do identify as American, Christian, and white, however, this book should be required reading. If you haven't engaged with race much before, this book is your first call to action. If you're already on your way to "woke," this book will help you identify where you are in your journey and how to keep moving forward.
We should be rightfully leery of a white person speaking about race, but his experience of how it looks and feels for a white Christian to move from, as he says, blindness to sight with respect to race in America is valuable. Yes, it could be read as making white people's problems more important than others', but it's a valuable service to Hill's fellow Christians of all races. He's already done a lot of work and soul-searching and meeting people of color; he's already made mistakes; so anything I can learn from him without having to burden the (shamefully few) people of color I know, and any mistakes I can avoid because of it, seem like a win to me. He can explain the painfully obvious to me so that others don't have to.
The book has solid theology and comes highly recommended from Christians of color, who want and need their white brethren to wake up to the reality of their problems. Hill finishes by quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is...the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”..." This is your first step to move from "moderate" to being a real ally....more
I think the Kirkus review probably sums it up the best: "By the Angel, it's a new series from the reigning queen of schmaltzy forbidden love against aI think the Kirkus review probably sums it up the best: "By the Angel, it's a new series from the reigning queen of schmaltzy forbidden love against a backdrop of geysering green ichor. ...Fans of Clare's grandiloquence will enjoy the torrid new cast of characters, positively aquiver with secret ardor and murderous zeal." (Dear reviewer: I'm low-key in love with you just from your review.)
Possibly sensitive content (for the book): stabbing, blood, traumatized children, betrayal of children, sex (barely). Highly traumatized children.
Look, by this point (the 10th novel, not counting two collections of short stories and a companion volume) you're either in or out on Shadowhunters. If you're in, you will like this book. Julian and Emma are both likeable, especially if you've been following them since The Mortal Instruments. They're trying their best to do the right thing despite terribly unfair circumstances. The Blackthorn siblings are realistic and indivuated, and Clare has a knack for dropping in heartbreaking backstory at opportune moments. At first, the star-crossed in the romance feels too manufactured, but by the end of the book there's at least an in-universe natural reason for it to be forbidden.
Unfortunately, Clare's editor is still afraid to touch her prose (668 pages!!). It could've been 50-100 pages shorter without losing any plot or grandiloquence. But then, they're probably asking her to churn them out as fast as possible, since we're clearly reading them anyway. There's also some painfully on-the-nose expositional dialogue, especially at the climax, complete with a monologuing villain (although that's called out).
Finally, let's talk about sex in YA. If teens are having it, then we should emphasize the importance of consent and protection, right? Clare does that, and barely puts sex on the page (it's full of euphemism, which I do appreciate), but realistic it is not. (view spoiler)[What are the odds that a couple who has never even kissed finally decides to consummate their forbidden relationship while drenched in salt water, lying on a beach, without lube, and without getting a single grain of sand in extremely uncomfortable places? I get it that these are fantasy; that's why I read them. But that moment would have been so awkward in real life. 😂 (hide spoiler)] I think we owe teens the unvarnished truth! Hehe....more
I was quickly reminded, however, that as much as I love Austen, I have to be in the right mood and frA fantasy comparable to Jane Austen? Yes, please!
I was quickly reminded, however, that as much as I love Austen, I have to be in the right mood and frame of mind to appreciate her. Cho pays admirable homage to Austen's style (though she thankfully steers clear of imitating the now-outdated grammar quirks), which is to say an omniscient narrator who speaks matter-of-factly about characters and events. But that very quality, while mostly well-executed, also puts the reader at some distance from the characters. As such, I wasn't immediately absorbed, and it felt a little slow going until Prunella arrived.
We first meet Zacharias, a black child raised by the white Sorcerer Royal to be a magician himself. There are plenty of racial slurs and anti-black opinions against which Zacharias must contend, but they are archaic and sound quaint (to me, but I'm white). More importantly, they are shown on the page to be outrageous, and overcoming racism (and sexism) is a central theme explored throughout the book.
We then meet Prunella Gentleman, a half-"native" young woman who can also work magic, much against the wishes of England's Society of Unnatural Philopophers. She is the kind of outrageous modern female character Austen wouldn't have dreamt of, but then Austen confined her characters to polite society, which has rejected Prunella. She is thoroughly likable by our standards, and injects much life into the book, for Zacharias is so exceedingly proper, but for all her ambition, she's clear-eyed about the limitations placed on women in that day and age, and realizes that she'll have to be careful which conventions she flouts.
The plot is inventive and interesting but never too exciting. In that respect it's nice to have a book that I can stand to put down yet look forward to picking up again. I do take umbrage with books that withhold information from the reader when the characters have it, and Cho gets away with it only because we aren't as deep into the characters' thoughts as we could be. The mystery of the novel turns on our not knowing, but having Prunella not know for most of the book as well at least gives us a character with whom to identify. Finally, [spoiler] (view spoiler)[the book contains the most delightfully obtuse, Austen-esque proposal you could hope to read (hide spoiler)]....more
What a delightful read! Invictus is a time-travel group-of-misfits heist/adventure story that's light but not shallow, deeply felt but not saccharine,What a delightful read! Invictus is a time-travel group-of-misfits heist/adventure story that's light but not shallow, deeply felt but not saccharine, and cognizant of paradoxes while still wibbly-wobbly enough to avoid the depression of "everything you can do you've already done." It featured a truly impressive number of points of view, but solid grounding in the two "mainest" characters. For what it was trying to be, I don't think it could be improved upon....more