"In this breathless third installment..." Spoiler: it's "breathless" because Mare uses all her breath WHINING AND MOANING.
The Red Queen series is one"In this breathless third installment..." Spoiler: it's "breathless" because Mare uses all her breath WHINING AND MOANING.
The Red Queen series is one of the most disappointing series I've ever read. Book one started strong for me, although I still had issues with it. In fact, I rated it FOUR stars! Then Glass Sword was one of the absolute worst sequels I've ever read, getting a one star, ranty review. But I decided to give King's Cage a try anyway, thinking maybe the series would redeem itself. Alas.
So what went wrong with this series? The number one reason I despise these books is because all Mare does is whine, especially in Glass Sword and King's Cage. Every single page that Mare appears on - whining and complaining. I get it, her life is tough. How sad. I've read a lot of books with about a lot of characters who have a lot of crappy luck, and never have I read one that made me hate a main character THIS much.
I had forgotten how bad it was, really. I downloaded the audiobook and immediately remembered how much I hated Mare. Why did I immediately remember? The first few chapters are one long whineeee. Literally, Mare sits in a cell and whines about how badly she wants to be OUT of the cell, then when she gets out, she whines about how she wants to be back IN the cell. I. Hate. Her. I really thought I must be at least an hour into this whinefest, when I looked at my phone and saw that there were SIXTEEN AND A HALF hours left in the book! Sixteen!
Which brings me to my next point: why is this book so long?? Red Queen, the only decent book in the series, was a respectable 383 pages long. A normal length for a YA fantasy book. Of course, Glass Sword grew to 444 pages, having to make room for all Mare's complaining. And this one? King's Cage is over 500 pages long! I'm not saying that a YA series can never be over 500 pages (ACOTAR is one of my favorite series!), but I am saying that it should definitely be under 500 pages if half of it is filler. While serious events have occurred in this series so far, the whole thing could be considerably shorter if we didn't have to spend so much time inside of Mare's head.
I didn't make it far enough into King's Cage to know if it continues the rinse and repeat formula of the previous book, but I definitely made it far enough to know that I was right to say I wouldn't continue the series at the end of my Glass Sword review. I'm not sure if I had on rose-colored glasses while reading Red Queen or if the next too books really actually declined that much, but I won't be giving the series a third chance. ...more
Full review to come closer to release, but I just want to say I've been very conflicted about this book. IRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
Full review to come closer to release, but I just want to say I've been very conflicted about this book. I don't usually say much about content warnings, but this book definitely needs a few: for rape and sexual abuse. I'm honestly surprised this book is YA, considering the content. I haven't seen this pitched as being "like" anything, but let me just say I got Handmaid's Tale vibes and you can take from that what you will. ...more
Spindle Fire was one of my favorite retellings of 2017. For those of you who don't know, retellings are myRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
Spindle Fire was one of my favorite retellings of 2017. For those of you who don't know, retellings are my absolute favorite kinds of books to read! Spindle Fire was unique and exciting and I could not wait to get my hands on the second book. When I had the opportunity to review an early copy, of course I took it!
Winter Glass picks up shortly after Spindle Fire with Aurora and Isbe going their separate ways to do what they believe to be best for their kingdom. For Isbe that looks like a future with William, fighting Malfleur and her army. For Aurora the battle is fought in a much different way that takes her far from home. Both these characters continued to be amazing and I loved them throughout this story.
Aurora, having had such an intense experience in Spindle Fire, continues to show her strengths in surprising ways. She was constantly questioning things about herself and had some incredible character growth throughout this book. I'll admit I found her a bit irritating to read at times during Spindle Fire, but she definitely won me over completely here. I will say that Isbe is definitely my favorite and I loved all of her self discovery and relationships. She was my favorite in book one and I still love her at the end of the duology! I was so invested in her journey, I couldn't wait to see what happened next! I also really loved every second of Malfleur. Like all great fairytale evil queens, she's that kind of amazing character you hate, but also can't get enough of.
Like in Spindle Fire, the story here goes to places you might not expect. The romances, relationships, and self discoveries will keep you guessing, as will the twists and turns. One of my favorite things about this book is that it branches off from just a Sleeping Beauty retelling and also becomes a Cinderella retelling. Seriously, give me ALL the retellings in one book and I will read it! Don't get too comfortable though, because this is not Cinderella like you've read before. Like with the first book, this is an incredibly unique take on a well-known story.
Lexa Hillyer also knows how to write an amazing fairytale world. I felt like I was in the world alongside the characters. I love it when an author can make me picture such a rich, gorgeous world while I'm reading. More fairytale worlds, please! Speaking of writing, I'm usually not a fan of books written from multiple points of view, but it worked here. The only time I didn't enjoy it was when the point of view was from a random character who wasn't very important to the story, but luckily that wasn't often.
Alas, Winter Glass was not a perfect read for me. My main issue with this book was that it was a bit slow at times. This was also something I struggled with while reading the first installment. I've never loved poetic or flowery prose and Lexa Hillyer's writing is so lyrical that it's difficult to read at times. The tense the book is written in is also difficult to adjust to. Luckily, it all pays off because this book is beautiful!
Winter Glass was an incredible ending to a wonderfully unique retelling duology that I absolutely recommend to fans of the genre. The writing might take some getting used to for some readers, but it's totally worth the investment. This book was packed full of likable characters, a plot that will keep you guessing, and a beautifully written fairytale world. I'm sad to see it end, but I'll definitely be on the lookout for anything else Lexa writes in the future!
So I have a lot of feelings about Obsidio. Just to recap, I loved Illuminae and thought Gemina was just okay. And now here we aUnpopular opinion time!
So I have a lot of feelings about Obsidio. Just to recap, I loved Illuminae and thought Gemina was just okay. And now here we are with book three... I think my main takeaway from Obsidio is that this series has a very limited supply of tricks up its sleeve, which it used up in book one, leaving books two and three to pretty much be rehashes.
Obsidio, like Gemina, picks up with two new characters, Asha and Rhys. Honestly, it's been so long since I've read Illuminae that I can't remember how much I liked Kady and Ezra, but I can definitely say that I enjoyed Asha and Rhys more than Hanna and Nik. I actually wish MORE of the book had been devoted to them, because their story was infinitely more interesting than that of the older characters, in my opinion. I loved that they already had backstory, meaning no instalove! I found them both to be compelling characters with understandable motives and moral struggles. I enjoyed watching the people on Kerenza interact with each other and struggle through each day... and that's about where my enjoyment ends.
From here on out, this might be a little ranty and a lot spoilery. I am so upset with this book and the series as a whole! The rest of this review will outline my issues with Obsidio and will be in bullet points, which I know is different from the rest of my reviews, but it's the best way I can think of to do it without going off on twelve tangents. Shall we begin?
- One of my biggest problems with this series is with the humor. Specifically, every single character has the same sense of humor AND they all use their annoyingly similar sense of humor literally all the time. At the most unnecessary times. Literally a life or death situation and these morons are bantering back and forth making jokes. Sure, it's fun to read, but it's not at all realistic and it got old quickly after book one (for me).
- Which brings me to my second problem: the way the military is portrayed. Let me get something out of the way - I am not a gung-ho patriotic person by any stretch of the imagination. I don't even own a flag. That being said, I did do four years in the Air Force, so I have military background. Yeah, there were times in those four years when I said or did unprofessional things around my supervisor or officers. But... you better believe I was reprimanded for it. Maybe so far in the future things will be super relaxed and people will be able to talk to their superiors with 100% sarcasm, cursing, and unprofessionalism. But unless something drastic happens between now and then, I can't imagine military personnel behaving the way they do in this series. Like I said, this isn't a "I love the military" thing, because I don't. It's just a "My god that's unrealistic" thing.
(view spoiler)[ - And continuing the unrealistic relationships train of thought, I cannot buy the Kady/AIDAN relationship. While I can accept that Kady does become attached to AIDAN, he is not a HE. He is an it, which they discuss a tiny bit in this book. But towards the end of the book I had a very hard time suspending disbelief any further. There's a point at the end when AIDAN inserts himself into an enemy ship and decides to sacrifice "himself" for the good of the fleet. AND KADY TRIES TO TALK HIM OUT OF IT! Instead, she wants to sacrifice herself and everyone else on her ship. Instead of AIDAN. Who is not a person. Who is a computer program. I'm sorry, what? This is where they lost me.
- Venturing further into spoiler territory, let's talk about FAKE DEATHS. Remember when I mentioned that this series used all its tricks in the first book? This is what I'm talking about. There was a fake death in Illuminae and that one got me! I was totally taken off guard. But then the exact same thing happened in Gemina and I wasn't fooled. I felt nothing when the death happened because I was sure it wasn't going to stick. Then we have Obsidio... When I started, I even texted a friend and asked if there was a fake death. Well, let me tell you, friends! Obsidio has not one, not two, but THREE fake deaths! It's completely ridiculous.
- Welcome to my next point in which I expand upon the ridiculousness of the fake deaths. My problem with them in Gemina and Obsidio? They're predictable. Just like every single other big twist in this book. When Asha was arrested by Rhys and Co. I knew it was going to be a big twist and that he hadn't actually betrayed her. I knew because this series is so freaking predictable that I. Can't. Even.
- Which brings me to my last point: everything is so damn predictable that I was never for a single second worried about any of the main characters. At all. Because I knew they would all live. And guess who was right! Yep, all six of the main characters - all three of the main couples - lived. In this series about constant battle with literally thousands of deaths, the six main people who are at the center of every single major battle live. In fact, pretty much every single character that gets more than a few sentences of page time lives. Look guys, I don't need George R.R. Martin level killing sprees, but I do need some kind of realism in my books and this is just dumb. (hide spoiler)]
So here we are at the end of a series that started on a really high note. A series I was SO excited for, but that has been a massive disappointment. I'm not sure why it is that the authors decided to make each book so similar to the others and I have no idea why all the characters are almost carbon copies of each other. I know I'm in the minority on this one, but there were just very few redeeming qualities in Obsidio for me.
I am a huge fan of any fiction set in this time period - movies, TV shows, books, I love them all!Read more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
DNF @ 72%
I am a huge fan of any fiction set in this time period - movies, TV shows, books, I love them all! I hate when people say they minored in stuff, but I minored in Classics, so I adore getting to read about Ancient Rome. I was SO excited for this book! I love the idea of female gladiators and I didn't think there was any way this book could possibly be awful. But here we are.
The Valiant begins with Fallon and her first love. She puts off his romantic advances because she intends to join her father's war band. Nothing goes as planned though, so Fallon throws a tantrum and ends up getting kidnapped and sold to a school for gladiators. Up until this point, I was intrigued, but once Fallon gets to the school, everything went a bit off the rails for me.
There are a few issues I couldn't get past with this book, leading to my decision to put it down instead of trudging on through the last 30% of the story. There's a big twist about halfway through that doesn't make any sense. Without getting into spoiler territory, I'll just say that the reveal and the way the story progresses afterward is a stretch. There is no reason for certain secrets to remain secret and honestly, why is Fallon even still a slave?
The other major issue I had with The Valiant was the romance. Fallon's first love is so quickly forgotten once she arrives in Rome, I'm surprised I didn't get whiplash. Not only that, but her new romance comes completely out of nowhere and is kind of... gross? I absolutely didn't buy it. I actually thought her love interest, Cai, was way older than he was for some reason. I love the forbidden love trope when it's done well, but here it's instalove that I just couldn't get on board with.
Lesley Livingston does a decent job with the setting and incorporating characters from history, although I'm a little skeptical of her portrayal of Cleopatra. I also thought the scenes of Fallon training and interacting with the other girls were interesting. Unfortunately, those things weren't enough to keep me hooked or make up for the issues I couldn't get past....more
Although it seems like Everless got a fair amount of hype, I didn't hear much of it before picking up a copRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
Although it seems like Everless got a fair amount of hype, I didn't hear much of it before picking up a copy. Its gorgeous cover caught my eye and I thought the synopsis sounded interesting, so I decided to give it a try. I'm so glad I did because this is one of the more unique fantasy books I've read recently!
Jules was raised at Everless before she and her father had to flee for their lives. After spending years living in a small town, Jules returns to Everless to make enough money to support herself and her dying father. Once she gets there though, she starts to uncover secrets about herself and the Gerlings and things get twisty and amazing! I really enjoyed Jules and thought she was a fantastic heroine. Thank goodness for a MC who isn't irritating! I loved uncovering her past with her and trying to discover who was trustworthy and who was an enemy.
Speaking of which, I loved pretty much every character in this book! It's amazing when I can't figure out who to trust in a story and Everless really delivered! The Gerling brothers are both fascinating characters with complicated backstories (and current stories). I was concerned about a love triangle, but that never happened, thank goodness. Actually, I really liked that the romance was kept to a minimum, although I have a hunch that it might have a bigger part to play in book two (and I can't wait). I also liked the focus given to female friendships and the care that was given to not letting them fall into any of the ridiculous tropes we're all so used to.
Like I said, Everless is a pretty unique fantasy. It took me a few minutes to get my head around time being used as currency, but I thought it was pretty amazing once I got used to it. The world building and mythology surrounding this time-centric culture was really well written and I really can't wait for more magic and timey wimey stuff in the next book! I guess maybe I'm really dumb because I actually didn't guess any of the big twists! In fact, my guesses were pretty far off. Oh well, it makes for a more exciting read.
Let me go ahead and say I loved Everless! There were a couple moments when I felt the story might have dragged just a bit, but after a series of books that dragged A LOT, this was a breath of fresh air. I listened to the audiobook and had a hard time putting it away, which is saying something, since podcasts have been winning for the last few months. I definitely recommend Everless for fantasy fans and I absolutely can't wait for Evermore!