Review | Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Published by: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: May 29, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Page Count: 464

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more-and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets, including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about-maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.


“Every good story needs a villain. But the best villains are the ones you secretly like.”

Sometimes a book captivates all your senses where you taste the candy apple on your lips, hear the music trickle out from every store, and watch the stars dancing above you. So how can Legendary top my love of Caraval? I’m still trying to catch my breath from Stephanie’s debut novel, but I recapture it with this book. And I want nothing more than to crawl back into this world all over again.

With Scarlet’s story, you rediscover magic. It tastes enchanting, and it doesn’t disappoint you. With Tella’s story though, this magic morphs into a dark, bone-chilling, ancient enchantment. It scares you, but you want more. Once again, Stephanie takes you on a magical yet emotional adventure. And I honestly thought I couldn’t love the sequel as much as the first. But I do.

Legend first shows you what magic can be in a world filled with pain. Now, he gives you the thorns along with the roses. New mythological creatures, the Fates, begin to weave themselves in the beloved and sought-out Caraval. And even though you should believe everything is a game, it isn’t now. The stakes are real. Magic comes with terrifying consequences Tella isn’t sure she can pay.

I thoroughly love jumping back into this world. I love trying to find out what will happen to my two favourite sisters, who Legend might be, and how this game plays out. But did I expect to be picking up the pieces of my heart once I finished the book? No.

In Caraval, I didn’t like Tella. But she develops into a strong-willed character who I was hoping for. She discovers that her mother is alive but trapped in a set of cards, the Deck of Destiny. But along the way of trying to save her, Tella uncovers buried secrets and owes a debt to a man who may rival Legend himself. This game demands sacrifice, and she must either save her mother by destroying Caraval and giving up Legend or save the game everyone lives for. But the girl who doesn’t want love may have it completely change the course of her entire life.

Dante is one character who I didn’t think would play a larger role in the sequel. However, even though I despised him in Caraval, I love him now. His complexity and depth are what make him one of my favourite characters.

The writing and storytelling hook onto your every whim and dream. You want to be a part of Caraval as much as the characters. And the suspense to reach the end is nerve-wracking. I adore how Stephanie crafts a single sentence that will break your heart but make you believe in this world. Love, sacrifice, betrayal, political intrigue, and ancient forces create an enthralling performance. I cannot wait to find the next ticket to Caraval.

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Review | Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Published by: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: February 4, 2014

Genre: Science Fiction

Page Count: 592

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker; unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.


“The people of Luna don’t need a princess. They need a revolutionary.” Cinder furrowed her brow. “A revolutionary,” she repeated. She liked that a lot better than princess.”

Do you know how much I want to start my review with the word squee?! I don’t know how I can do this book justice with that. But I am in love with this adorable addition to the Lunar Chronicles. Somehow Marissa adds just enough cuteness, bromance, friendship, sci-fi, and action-package scenes and creates a stellar sequel.

Years ago, I heard about this little intergalactic gem, but then I never knew I’d love it as much as Thorne (Kai may take second place there). But here I am, gushing over it. Each sequel makes this series better and, in some way, makes me love it even more. The space gang is up to no good, and I am a giddy little reader rooting for them all the way.

Marissa surprises her readers by making this Rapunzel remake into a charming, innocent, and delightful read. I’ve always related to this character. Why? I have long hair. And I always look for the good in life even if I am a cynic. But Marissa cranks up the cuteness to an eleven. Crescent Moon, or Cress for short, is refreshing. This Lunar hacker and programmer, who is a Shell, devises a plan for the gang to rescue her from her satellite prison, which Sybil, the head thaumaturge, put her in.But chaos ensues, and they’re separated.

Cress may be naïve with love, but her insta-love reaction toward Thorne melts my heart. I don’t care about this kind of trope right now because it works. Marissa makes me like insta-love trope. Is this for real? I guess so. When I read their scenes, I wanted to smoosh their faces together and demand they kiss. I’ve been rooting for this couple since before I read Cinder. So at least I can say I’m invested in their happiness.

Marissa perfectly weaves together three stories that create a magical series. Each character adds a well-thought-out layer to an already complex universe. But I love the characters and their progression. Cinder is determined to prevent Kai from marrying Queen Levana; Scarlet is dead set to survive; Cress will prove herself, no matter the cost. And yet these three-dimensional characters amplify the storyline. This series does not let female readers down. It lifts them up, And I’m in awe of the woman empowerment Marissa offers in her writing.

But she doesn’t let her male characters wait in the shadows of the main ones. They play a vital role. And while each romance is unique, these characters stand on their own and stand with Cress, Cinder, and Scarlet. And I love that.

I don’t always give YA books the respect they deserve. And Marissa deserves every bit of it. While she injects romance into her writing and worldbuilding, she offers a platform for female readers to look up to strong and independent characters. She isn’t afraid to test the boundaries of strength. And that kind of writing is what I dream to find in books. I cannot wait for the next book.

Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Published by: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: February 28, 2017

Genre: Fantasy

Page Count: 320

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map-the key to a legendary treasure trove-seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.


“I live on the cusp of two worlds, trying desperately to fit into one.”

I must admit I did not have high expectations when I bought the series. But let me tell you that I am wrong. I do not know why I could ever doubt an author who uses a Pirates of the Caribbean quote. Empowering, endearing, and lavishly charming, Daughter of the Pirate King makes you love pirates all over again. Move over Captain Jack Sparrow, Alosa has arrived.

This thrilling pirate and siren story will captivate even the most hesitant reader. Tricia brings just enough feminism, which makes this rough and rowdy series more appealing. I’ve stayed away from siren and pirate books for quite some time. I have always felt disappointed when finishing them. But now, I cannot fathom why I would overlook Tricia’s debut novel.

You can’t have pirates without schemes, badassery, and sass. And Alosa doesn’t let you down. I may have come for the pirates, but I stayed for Alosa and this ruthless crew. As her father, the pirate king, gives her the task to find a map that will lead to treasure guarded by sirens, she doesn’t lose sight of who she is. Her scheming reminds me of Kaz, and I can’t help but love her more. She almost rivals Sparrow. But almost though. I loved this character’s strength, courage, and sarcasm.

Riden, the first mate, may make you swoon. While he and his brother are suspicious of Alosa, they don’t realize that she tricked them so she can get onto their ship. And even though he’ll do anything to protect his brother and his crew, he’s drawn to her, and that is where the story gets interesting. I loved seeing how these two interact.

While I did pick up on some hints of Pirates, Tricia makes this story her own, and she skillfully creates a female character who stands out from other main characters I’ve read. Her writing quickly captures your attention, and her story sucks you into this dangerous world. I couldn’t put this book down. And how could I? But DOTPK takes it time to unravel itself, so it might throw you off if you expect a fast-paced book. But I enjoyed suspense and tension though. However, although this book focuses on the characters, I was hoping for more world building.

So if you’re looking for pirates who will gladly slit someone’s throat, well-rounded characters, and clever writing, pick up DOTPK. You’ll be glad you did.

“Oh, the ridiculous things one has to do when one is a pirate.”

Review | Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Published by: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: February 5, 2013

Genre: Science Fiction

Page Count: 464

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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Cinder is back and trying to break out of prison-even though she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother, or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana.


“She did not know that the wolf was a wicked sort of animal, and she was not afraid of him.”

Did I have big expectations with this sequel? Yes. Has Marissa surpassed them? Hell yes. She gives her readers secrets, politics, alpha females, genetically modified beasties, and squeal-worthy love stories. And I can’t help myself with falling in love with this sequel.

I’ve been dreading reading Scarlet’s story. Some readers didn’t like her, while others loved her. Clearly, I’m the latter. So fight me if you think otherwise. Marissa ties together both Cinder’s storyline with Scarlet’s. I wasn’t too sure if I’d like duo arcs, but she effortlessly blends the two together, and I enjoyed how Cinder and Scarlet are connected.

Cinder escapes from jail and is on the run, yet she leaves her heart with Kai. With the help from Wolf, a mysterious street fighter, Scarlet discovers her grandmother is missing and must find her, but the woman she loves may have kept a hidden life. I was hoping for Cinder and Thorne to meet up with Scarlet and Wolf much earlier in the story. Their eventual connection seems to drag on, but the individual storylines make up for that.

Marissa creates multi-dimensional characters. Her characters are flawed yet believable. You can easily relate to their fear, pain, and determination. I did not anticipate liking Scarlet as much as Cinder. That cyborg has a small little piece of my heart, yet Scarlet slid right in there as well. These two female characters are what keep me loving YA series.

While the plot is phenomenal, I feel this sequel is more character driven. What Marissa exceeds in are her characters. You don’t get flat, uninspiring ones; you find ones who make you want to read more. Scarlet is an alpha female who, even when she’s scared, doesn’t stop fighting, and I admire that drive in her and Cinder. But they don’t let their potential love interest overshadow who they are.

One love interest I adore the most is the silence yet deadly type. And Wolf is the epitome of that. He’s dangerous, complex, yet somehow, in his own way, perfect for Scarlet. Yes, I wanted to punch him in a few scenes, but he deserves love as much as any other person. And now, I can officially swoon over Captain Carswell Thorne. I’ll always love the cocky, sarcastic male characters. I’m predictable, but I know what I love. I’ve been waiting for this book since I first heard about him, and he doesn’t disappoint. I also find Cinder and Thorne’s friendship refreshing. It’s what sealed this book for me. It had me laughing well into the night.

I don’t know how some readers rated this book lower. Scarlet offers just enough spunk, sarcasm, science fiction, and love to keep readers screaming for more. Then Marissa adds adrenaline, then heartbreaking yet thrilling scenes. I’m a Lunar fan through and through. This is one fandom I’m here to stay.

“But you’re the only one, Scarlet. You’ll always be the only one.”

Review | To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Published by: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: March 6, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Retelling

Page Count: 342

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase

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Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?


“He belongs to the ocean. He is made from it, as much as I am.”

Alexandra Christo’s To Kill a Kingdom makes my little black heart sing. When I picked this book, I wasn’t sure I was waiting for it. And I cannot imagine my life without it. Alexandra gives you a reason to love villains.

Only a few books have achieved this feat, but To Kill a Kingdom slays every expectation. And it instantly finds its rightful place on my favourites list. This loose reimagining is wicked, brutal, and tempting. If you’re looking for villainous main characters, this book is your next read.

I bought this book a whim. It snuck into my life when I needed just a taste of badassery. And let me tell you: I love it. Alexandra captures the true essence of sirens. You don’t get the PG version we 90s kids were force fed. You see their merciless side, and you’ll be wanting more once you’re done. These sirens will watch as you drown, then tear out your heart. So do not expect any singalongs. Even when life called me back, I didn’t want to put down the book.

The characters beautifully complement the storytelling. Lira, the Prince’s Bane, is a ruthless and royal siren who will get what she wants: the heart of Prince Elian. But the Prince-turned-pirate desires nothing more than to rid his world of sirens. Yet when he finds her adrift in the ocean and doesn’t know who she is, they must work together to find a way to kill the Sea Queen. I adore hate-to-love relationships. I don’t care what anyone says. This trope has value, and it creates a dynamic story. Now, I don’t always enjoy the secondary characters. But with Elian’s crew, I can’t help but do so.

Both Elian and Lira are savage in their own way. But you see glimpses of who they truly are. I enjoyed seeing a prince who doesn’t want a crown. Instead, he craves the sea, and no matter the cost, he’ll protect it and his crew. Lira’s past will give you a better understanding as to the reason why she’s cruel. Yet even with a vicious mother, she holds onto her humanity, and Elian knows how to tease it out of her.

I don’t also buy standalone books. I enjoy visiting a series and reliving my favourite scenes. So I’m a little disappointed we don’t get a sequel. However, if you’re looking for stunning world building and stellar characters with a wicked side, look no further. But if you’ve come for the Disney version of My Little Mermaid, turn back now. The savagery is what intrigued me, but I love the masterful storytelling.

Review | Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Published by: Feiwel and Friends

Publication Date: January 3, 2012

Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Page Count: 400

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase

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Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.


“I’m sure I’ll feel much more grateful when I find a guy who thinks complex wiring in a girl is a turn-on.”

Cyborgs, the plague, moon people (I’m freaking out right now!), an adorable romance, and deadly politics perfectly entwine to create a memorable start to an equally unforgettable series. And I’m about to have a fangirl attack.

Give me a second to process my emotions, especially my regret for not reading this series sooner. But if I don’t let out my giddiness, I may explode. I’ve avoided science fiction series for years. Why? I had too many high expectations and didn’t want to be let down. But with this glorious book, I feel it has restored my love of science fiction. So if you have any recommendations, here is your moment to nerd out with me.

Cinder has awoken something my inner nerd has been craving lately. Yes, cheesy as it may seem, this book has. I understand I came to the fandom late, but I can’t help but become an instant fan. I don’t usually reread books, but I want to crack open that cover again. So get ready for a review with fangirling cranked to high.

Living in a new world where she has little to no rights, Cinder, a cyborg mechanic, somehow doesn’t let her miserable life prevent her from dreaming. And I respect that strength. She uses sarcasm as a way of coping with and living in this society. Not many people know that I come from poverty. So I instantly connected with her. And throughout this page-turner, I relished seeing her growth by standing up to her guardian. The budding relationship with Kai, the prince, had me turning the pages quicker than I could read it. I loved their brief interactions, and I need more in the sequels. Their banter had me snorting with laughter.

Marissa magically threads together different arcs in her story. Not every YA will perfect political intrigue. Some authors will dabble in it, but others don’t succeed. But she does. I enjoyed the politics. It is a growing threat in the background, and that effect creates suspense, which I loved. And in some way, she also merges an atmospheric future with a well-loved fairy tale. Her storytelling kept me enthralled for the entire time I read Cinder. I forget the last time I read a book in just twenty-four hours.

I feel like I missed out on waiting for the next installments. And I wish I were a part of that experience. But I don’t regret reading this beautifully crafted sci-fi. This futuristic story adds just enough sarcasm, intriguing storylines, and a new twist on retellings. So don’t be a fool like me. Read this book. Now.

Review | The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

Published by: HarperTeen

Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Genre: Fantasy

Page Count: 432

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase

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In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm.

When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.


“Once there was a girl who was drawn to wicked things.”

Beautifully detailed and rich in storytelling, Kristen’s Ciccarelli’s The Last Namsara will compel even the most jaded fantasy lover. It reminds me why I take chances on stories.

I have heard a lot of great reviews from several book bloggers, but I was still hesitant buying this book. I don’t always take risks with new authors, but Last Namsara has been sneaking up on my TBR list for awhile now, so I took the plunge. And I cannot believe I waited this long to read it.

One of my hesitations is the fact that Asha—the claimed Iskari, who brings pain and heartache to the world—is a dragon killer. Dragons have always charmed me since I was young. So hearing that she kills them didn’t sit well with me. However, this story is brimming with betrayal, politics, hidden pasts, enchanting history, and human strength. Kristen captivates you from the first sentence. Her writing appealed to me quite early on in the book. And one strong aspect of this book is the storytelling.

Asha lives in a world where legends bring fear to the people of Firgaard, stories are forbidden and outlawed, and wickedness governs over all. Asha—who is disfigured by the feared Kozu, the first dragon—swears she will rid her world of these beasts. She must. Years ago, she befriended Kozu, and when the old stories killed her mother, and her city almost perished, she feels it’s her duty and her penance. I first thought I wouldn’t like her. But her inner power made me love her more. She isn’t afraid to show her scars. And while she’s defiant by telling the old tales to lure the dragons out, I’ve gained a lot of respect for this character.

I was hoping for more stronger secondary characters in this high fantasy. Dax, Asha’s brother, doesn’t jump out at me as much as I wanted him to. Her father, the dragon king, stays more in the background. Two characters stick out from the rest though: Jarek and Torwin. Jarek is the commandant and Asha’s betrothed, and he uses his position as a way to intimidate and control her. And his brutality cements his place in this wicked city. Torwin, Jarek’s slave, brings out something in her. I loved reading their banter and their relationship evolution.

Now Kristen plays with the hierarchy in society. You see a clear divide between the rich and the lower caste. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how it opens up this cruel world. You don’t witness a lot of world building until the latter half of the book though. So I hope to see more of that in the next books.

If you’re a Throne of Glass, And I Darken, and An Ember in the Ashes fan, you’ll easily fall in love with this book. Don’t hesitate like I did. Go read this book!

“Then may Death send his worst. Cold to freeze the love in my heart. Fire to burn my memories to ash. Wind to force me through the gates. Time to wear my loyalty away. I’ll wait for you at Death’s gate.”

Top Ten Tuesday | Books That Surprised Me

 

Okay, I’m going to play nice for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I want to talk about books that surprised me for the good. I can rant about books I can’t stand, but I don’t see the point right now. So here’s my list of the books that pleasantly surprised me:

Warcross by Marie Lu

Rainbow hair, virtual reality, plot twists. I’M IN HEAVEN. I’m not a huge sci-fi reader, but Marie makes me want to be one. I’m still thinking about this book. And that cliffhanger is killing me right. I adore Emika. She’s one of my favourite characters!

If the sequel isn’t called Darkcross, I’ll be salty. Salty, people.

 

Everless by Sara Holland

Okay, I’ve read this book only once, but I want to read it again…and again. I adore the main character, Jules, who fights for the people she loves. She understands and knows of poverty, hunger, and a resentment of people who want nothing more than to push the poor down further. But Sara builds in twists that surprise you. I know I’ll read this book again.

 

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Court intrigue, politics, dark romance, and21 trickery all rolled up into one beautiful book. Can I fangirl any harder? No, I need to buy candles to reach that level (don’t tempt me; I’ll buy them). I know Holly from Cassie Clare, but I wish I found her work much sooner though. Her dark writing is gorgeous.

And can we talk about a certain male character having a tail? 😂 He. Has. A. Tail. I’ve seen it all, apparently.

 

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Grey London. Red London. White London. Black London. ALL THE LONDONS. Okay, maybe not the Black. I loved this book. It’s been on my TBR list for years, but I didn’t read it until last year though. The way Victoria blends in fantasy and sci-fi just makes me love those genres more. I’m all for a time travel story, but she takes it to a different dimension.

 

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

This book is whimsical and enchanting. And it took me a while to get over the story and that ending. I am a huge fan of the Goblin King, Bowie’s and the original version. So I had a high expectation for Wintersong. I didn’t know what to expect or what I’d love, but Sarah didn’t disappoint. Her writing and storytelling for a debut author are superb, and I cannot wait to read Shadowsong.

Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Published by: Little, Brown Books

Publication Date: January 2, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Page Count: 370

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase

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Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.


Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear.

I don’t usually find a book that renders me useless when writing its review. But Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince does all that and more. I struggle writing it because I wonder how I can possibly match the level of creativity in this book. I certainly hope so, but let’s get one fact straight: I am an instant Holly fan. And I want to go back to Elfhame.

Political power plays, deception, and betrayal beautifully introduces you to a wicked and depraved world where deceitful acts are a way of life in Faerieland, and you must be brutal to survive this magnificent yet threatening landscape.

Holly brings you complex and multi-faceted characters who outwit their enemies and betray their family. What do you expect from the fae? In this harsh world though, humans are sometimes no better than the faeries who trap them in Faerieland.

Most of all, I hate you because I think of you. Often. It’s disgusting, and I can’t stop.

Jude—whether villain or heroine—adapts rather well even though the fae man who brought her and her sisters killed their parents in front of them. Forced to live in this surreal land, she lets her revenge guide and forge her into a warrior, and her ambition to never be weak again shapes her into a clever and devious main character. She kept me guessing her every move. And her development and scheming make this book captivating.

Cardan, the broken prince with a past to hide, surprises me. Yes, at first, I couldn’t stand how he treats Jude and her twin sister, Taryn. But this world has molded him into the wicked prince he is. But that reason is not an excuse though. And yet this character conceals more than what he shows though. I’m intrigued to see how his character development unfolds.

The family dynamic builds throughout the story. Taryn often warns Jude not to offend or to draw attention from any of the fae, especially from Cardan. The three sisters’ relationship is rather complicated, I find though. Vivienne, the oldest sister who is half-fae, infuriates me since she doesn’t shield her siblings from her world. But these siblings grow to love General Madoc, which murdered their loved ones. In the end, Jude wonders who she can trust. Will blood betray her, or will she be forced to deceive them?

Even though Holly’s writing is inspiring, it never stops you from seeing the seedy underbelly of the fae and their land. The vicious behaviour faeries show toward humans harshly contrasts against the elegance of this world. Holly reminds you that even though they are stunning, with a smile on their face, they’ll always find a way to slit your throat. This constant threat heightens the storyline. And I have to admit, that I love that.

With court and political intrigue, a budding dark romance, and atmospheric writing, Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince reveals the dark side of Faerie. It is one of the most gratifying books I’ve read in a long time. And now I’m counting down the days until I have The Wicked King in my hands.

Review: Everless by Sara Holland

Everless by Sara Holland

Published by: HarperTeen

Publication Date: January 2, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Page Count: 368

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.


What if the person to be feared is me?

 

Sara Holland’s debut novel will transport you to a dark and twisted world where people pay with time. This eloquent and beautiful story enchants, surprises, and shows you that Sara possesses a raw talent YA readers have been waiting for.

Jules Ember, along with her father, left her life in Sempera, a ruthless kingdom where the elites, the Gerlings, extract time from the poor so that they will prolong their own lives. As she discovers her father is dying, she decides to find her way back to this city where she was forced to leave because of a deadly secret. But as time reigns supreme, she uncovers secrets that may threaten her and the people she loves.

Sara has amazed me with her writing, storytelling, and world building. I don’t always find a YA that keeps me hooked and makes me want more once I’ve finished reading. But Everless does just that. I actually need the sequel. She hauntingly portrays how cruel this kingdom is. And the originality of her storytelling impresses me. I rarely say that about a debut author. She sets up Everless as a slow burn with hints of romance and some action injected in periodically. And I must say that Everless reminds me why I love YA.

Sara weaves together the past, present, and future into this spellbinding fantasy filled with political games and deceit. Time is currency, and you will discover that the rich always thrive, and the poor suffer. She brings a realism to her book by introducing a two-tiered society. The poor will give up their remaining years, which is extracted from their blood and turned into currency, so they can feed their families or pay the rent. What strikes me the most is how the aristocrats, who hoard these time coins or devour them to lengthen their lives, are often oblivious to the consequences of this currency. The parallels between this realm and our own society leap off the page.

This atmospheric YA also offers some treats. The mythology is the highlight of the story, as it guides the narrative along. And as the story progresses, I fell in love with these multi-dimensional characters. Poverty has shaped Jules into who she is, yet her quiet demeanor draws you in. I often find the quietest voice to be the loudest. The two Gerlings brothers, Roan and Liam, are polar opposites. I do not trust Roan though. Yet Liam, the brother Jules originally fears, is the hidden gem I surprisingly like. The relationship between Jules and Ina Gold, the Queen’s ward, is outright refreshing. They both love Roan, yet they aren’t fighting each other to win his love.

Everless unsettles yet allures you. Secrets, plot twists, deception, and hidden family history shape this debut novel into a stunning and compelling series. I cannot wait to see how Sara concludes it.

 

It’s possible to feel joy and grief at the same time. It’s possible to look forward to the horizon while mourning what you’ve lost.