Posts Tagged: YA Fantasy

Review: “Our Dark Duet” – Victoria Schwab

August 9, 2017 Book Review 2

Review: “Our Dark Duet” – Victoria SchwabOur Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
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Published on: June 13th 2017
Published by: HarperCollins
Pages: 528
Series: Monsters of Verity #2
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Paperback

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The Story
 .(summary from Goodreads)

The world is breaking. And so are they.

Kate Harker isn’t afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she’s good at it.

August Flynn once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

The war has begun.

The monsters are winning.

Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims’ inner demons.

Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?

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My Thoughts

I’ve never been one for duologies. Two books in a series just sounds weird to me plus there is never enough in two books. I always need more. Three is a much better number…a trilogy. I was surprised when I heard that Monster’s of Verity was only going to be two books. For me, a fantasy world this amazing deserved a trilogy and I was really worried that I was going to get to the end feeling very unsatisfied.

Well, I can happily say that I was wrong!

I know it hurts,” she said. “So make it worth the pain.

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Review “The Scarecrow Queen” – Melinda Salisbury

March 17, 2017 Book Review 0

Review “The Scarecrow Queen” – Melinda SalisburyThe Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury
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Published on: March 2nd 2017
Published by: Scholastic
Pages: 320
Series: The Sin Eater's Daughter #3
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Paperback

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This book is part of the Sin Eater’s Daughter series. You can find links to my reviews for the rest of this series below:
The Sin Eater’s Daughter (Sin Eater’s Daughter #1)
The Sleeping Prince (Sin Eater’s Daughter #2)
The Scarecrow Queen (Sin Eater’s Daughter #3)

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(summary from Goodreads)

The final battle is coming . . .

As the Sleeping Prince tightens his hold on Lormere and Tregellan, the net closes in on the ragged band of rebels trying desperately to defeat him. Twylla and Errin are separated, isolated, and running out of time. The final battle is coming, and Aurek will stop at nothing to keep the throne forever . . .

Explosive, rich and darkly addictive, this is the stunning conclusion to Mel Salisbury’s internationally best-selling trilogy that began with The Sin Eater’s Daughter.

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My Thoughts

I feel like I have been waiting for the final book in this trilogy forever! I say that, however 2 weeks ago a chunky envelope arrived through my letter box (always exciting) with this book in it and I had totally forgotten it’s release day was this month so had to speed read The Sin Eater’s Daughter and The Sleeping Prince to remind myself of what actually happened pre-Scarecrow Queen so I could actually read this book!

So it really pains me to say that this book did not live up to what I had hoped it would be and I was really disappointed with how the trilogy ended. Don’t get me wrong there were some really great bits in this book, but after reading the final page I felt a bit like ‘What? That was it?’

“In every fairy tale there is a kernel of truth, and that is the truth of this one. For him, I am poison. I am his death. And I will deliver.”

The first two books in this trilogy are told in first person POV; Sin-Eaters Daughter from Twylla’s POV and Sleeping Prince from Errin’s, which worked perfectly. But in Scarecrow Queen, which is told from both Errin/Twylla POV this doesn’t really work.

One main problem for me is that the other main characters aren’t really with Errin or Twylla much in this book so they basically become background characters. I really wanted more of Silas and Leif in this book then I got. Also I struggled with the alternating POVs because instead of alternate chapters it was more like a big chunk of Errin and then a big chunk of Twylla with so much time between each characters POVs. So much happens to Twylla in the time we are with Errin and vice versa and I just felt like we missed out on so much good stuff because of this.

“I’m tired of taking people’s sins on myself.
I’m tired of running away from everything.

The beginning of this book is deliciously creepy. Aurek is a pretty dark person and does some horrible things to Errin, which don’t get me wrong I was totally sorry she had to endure them, but at the same time I love me some bad guys who actually do bad things (rather than just making empty threats) and I love that Salisbury took it in that dark direction. However I was really looking forward to seeing Errin’s struggle to return to normal life once she was free from Aurek and has to deal with the aftereffects of the physical and mental violence that was inflicted on her. But instead she just carried on as she was. I was hoping for a little damage, some struggles and ultimately Errin’s recovery from her traumatic ordeal.

I also kinda struggled with Twylla in this book and at times she was just a bit too ‘all about me’. She gave this impressed that she just expected that everyone should listen to and agree with her opinions and do what she said and didn’t like it when they didn’t agree with her. I really liked her in the first and second books but in this book she just felt totally different, like she was turning into some of the characters she herself hated in the first book and I just found it really hard to connect with her. Plus the whole Twylla/Merek dynamic that was built up in the previous two books just kind of disappeared in this book and I found it so hard to figure out who they were meant to be to each other.

“Scarecrow queen. Nothing but a dupe, alone in a field, hoping to keep the crows at bay.”

As with any YA Fantasy/Dystopian trilogy the first two books build up the tension and then in the third book we finally get our characters fighting back and taking on the bad guy. Pretty standard right? In this book we get a whole load of build up, and then like 40 pages before the end of the book it all finally kicks off. I was literally checking how many pages I had left the entire time worrying because no way could everything that needed to happen actually happen in just 40 pages. For me it just felt a bit rushed and I felt like I was left with a lot of unanswered questions and didn’t get to see how things ended for many of the characters.

“Sometimes he sounds so wistful and lonely that I forget for an instant that he’s a monster, lulled by his soft voice and his hands in my hair. Until he turns my face to his and I see him, and I recall exactly what he is, and the look in my eyes reminds him that he might control my body, but he can’t control my mind.”

I have loved Salisbury’s world from the start. The history, the traditions, the magic… just everything. Thankfully her amazing world building skills are still in this book and I just loved immersing myself in it all again. The writing was well paced and compelling and I loved the first 60% of this book for it’s dark and creepy nature. It was just the last 40% which started to slip a bit for me and didn’t quite keep to the level of awesome that other fantasy trilogies have with their endings. I just needed more from it.

“And that, my girl, is the secret. Quake all you must on the inside. But on the outside you must be stone. And you never know; with enough practice it might become the truth.”

Ok, spoiler time. Don’t read if you don’t want know! You have been warned! View Spoiler »

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Final Thoughts

I am gutted to say that this final book was a disappointment for me, but at the same time I would definitely recommend this series. The world building is incredible with so much detail, and the story compelling and one that I couldn’t put down.

Re-Readability: Yup

I would recommend this book to fans of: fantasy worlds, magic, rebellions, worlds with histories, worlds with legends, books with amazing world building

Have you read The Scarecrow Queen?

How did you feel about the trilogy ending?

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Review “Kings Cage” – Victoria Aveyard

March 2, 2017 Book Review 0

Review “Kings Cage” – Victoria AveyardKings Cage by Victoria Aveyard
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Published on: February 7th 2017
Published by: HarperTeen
Pages: 528
Series: Red Queen #3
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Paperback

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This book is part of the Red Queen series. You can find my reviews for the rest of the series below:
Red Queen (Red Queen #1)
Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)
Kings Cage (Red Queen #3)

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The Story(Summary from Goodreads)

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

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My Thoughts

So, me being the idiot that I am totally forgot that this series was a 4 book series, so picked up this book thinking that it was the last book in a trilogy and stayed up until 3am to finish it. Then at 3am finished the book and realised it was in fact a 4 book series and spent the next few hours wide awake because I needed to know what happened next!

I came a little late to this series which meant that I was able to read Red Queen and Glass Sword together, therefore no agonising wait between books for me. Until I finished Glass Sword which had possible the most amazing ending which has kept me desperate for the past year. This book was no different and yet again I have been left a desperate puddle in need of the forth and final book in this amazing series!

“Love makes you weak. And she’s right. I learned that before I even knew you.”

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Review: “Traitor to the Throne” – Alwyn Hamilton

February 2, 2017 Book Review 2

 Review: “Traitor to the Throne” – Alwyn HamiltonTraitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
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Published on: February 2nd 2017
Published by: Penguin Books
Pages: 512
Series: Rebel of the Sands #2
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: eARC

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The Story(summary from Goodreads)

This is not about blood or love. This is about treason.

Nearly a year has passed since Amani and the rebels won their epic battle at Fahali. Amani has come into both her powers and her reputation as the Blue-Eyed Bandit, and the Rebel Prince’s message has spread across the desert – and some might say out of control. But when a surprise encounter turns into a brutal kidnapping, Amani finds herself betrayed in the cruellest manner possible.

Stripped of her powers and her identity, and torn from the man she loves, Amani must return to her desert-girl’s instinct for survival. For the Sultan’s palace is a dangerous one, and the harem is a viper’s nest of suspicion, fear and intrigue. Just the right place for a spy to thrive… But spying is a dangerous game, and when ghosts from Amani’s past emerge to haunt her, she begins to wonder if she can trust her own treacherous heart.

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My Thoughts

Being approved for an ARC of this book is possibly one of the best bookish things to ever happen to me. I BEYOND LOVED the first book and must have read it at least 10 times since it’s release, so getting an early copy was a dream come true!

My favourite thing about Rebel of the Sands was the world building, it was phenomenal! I didn’t think it could get any better but this book just kept on giving us more and more of this incredible world Hamilton has created. The history, the creatures, the myths, the magic, the places; Hamilton’s talent really shines in this book and I envy her world building talent.

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Review: “The Last Beginning” – Lauren James

January 27, 2017 Book Review 0

 Review: “The Last Beginning” – Lauren JamesThe Last Beginning by Lauren James
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Published on: October 16th 2016
Published by: Walker Books
Pages: 352
Series: The Next Together #2
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Paperback

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This book is part of The Next Together series. You can find more of my reviews via the links below:
The Next Together (The Next Together #1)
Another Together (The Next Together #2)
The Last Together (The Next Together #3)

The Story(summary from Goodreads)

Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find her long lost relatives.

But where do you start looking for a couple who seem to have been reincarnated at every key moment in history?

Who were Kate and Matt? Why were they born again and again? And who is the mysterious Ella, who keeps appearing at every turn in Clove’s investigation?

For Clove, there is a mystery to solve in the past and a love to find in the future.

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My Thoughts

I loved the first book in this series, I loved seeing all the different versions of Katherine and Matthew throughout history and watching them fall in love over and over again. It was magical. It’s sequel, although I enjoyed it, has me a little bit conflicted mostly due it it’s main character Clove.

I don’t know what it was about Clove, but I just didn’t connect with her. Firstly, she just kept making such stupid decisions. Time Travel 101, you don’t tell people that you are from a different time and you don’t tell them about their future. Everyone knows that! Instead Clove breaks the rule, tells people information they should not be knowing and then acts really surprised when things go wrong. Like “I told him that the love of his life was going to die and he had to let her. I don’t understand why he saved her?” Cut to me face palming and yelling at my book! So yeah, I didn’t like Clove, but the rest of the book, well that was AMAZING!

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Review: “Frostblood” – Elly Blake

January 13, 2017 Book Review 2

Review: “Frostblood” – Elly BlakeFrostblood by Elly Blake
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Published on: January 10th 2017
Pages: 384
Series: Frostblood Saga #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: eARC

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The Story(summary from Goodreads)

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable, and she’s not sure she’s willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon.

All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king’s tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

Fast-paced and compelling, Frostblood is the first in a page-turning new young adult three-book series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies—but together create a power that could change everything.

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My Thoughts

All I knew about this book before going into it was that it was about people with the power of Frost and Fire who were enemies. I didn’t even read the description, that was all I needed to want to read this book, and I’m so glad I did read it because it was everything I imagined it to be. The history and origins of the Frostbloods and Firebloods was fascinating and I can’t praise Blake enough for her imagination and creativity to create something that feels so real.

Ruby was a great MC and had a lot more depth than other MCs in YA Fantasy these days. She was a very resilient character and survived through a lot of horrors by the hands of the Frostbloods, but she still had a certain vulnerability to her which made her real and very likable. You could see the reasoning behind every one of her thoughts and decisions and it never felt like she did or said something just for the sake of drama or dragging the story on.

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Review “Rebel of the Sands” – Alwyn Hamilton

July 28, 2016 Book Review 1

Review “Rebel of the Sands” – Alwyn HamiltonRebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
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Published on: March 8th 2016
Published by: Penguin
Pages: 320
Series: Rebel of the Sands #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Paperback

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This book is part of the Rebel of the Sands series. You can find reviews for all books in the series below:
Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1)
Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2)
Hero at the Fall (Rebel of the Sands #3)
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The Story(summary from Goodreads)

She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route.

But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him… or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

 

My Thoughts

This book was incredible, and I am so so glad that Hamilton is attending YALC 2016 or I probably never would have found it and what a tragedy that would have been!!! This book kept me up until 3am because I just could not put it down. I love finding new authors and I especially love finding new fantasy trilogies and this one is already one of my favourites of the year!

As you are probably well aware of by now I am a MASSIVE fan of fantasy worlds and Hamilton does an incredible job of building hers. The history, the creatures, the myths, the magic, the places; it is all so beautifully woven into this incredible and totally believable world. The last book I read that was set in the middle of the desert was quite frankly terrible, but Hamilton brought life to this lifeless setting and fed all my craving for more of this wonderful world right up until the last page.

“She moved like a storm someone had given steel to.”

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Review: “This Savage Song” – Victoria Schwab

July 14, 2016 Book Review 0

Review: “This Savage Song” – Victoria SchwabThis Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
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Published on: July 5th 2016
Published by: HarperCollins
Pages: 464
Series: Monsters of Verity #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Paperback

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The Story
 .(summary from Goodreads)

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music.

When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

 

My Thoughts

I wasn’t sure about This Savage Song when I first saw it, I’m not into monster stories so I really didn’t think I was going to like it. But I had seen some very positive reviews for the book and heard amazing things about Victoria Schwab and so thought I would take the chance. Well I am glad I did because this book was amazing!

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