Book Review

Book Review: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #1) by Roseanne A. Brown

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 480 pages
Author: Roseanne A. Brown
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: June 2nd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The first in an fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction.

For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death? 

MANY GOOD THINGS.

Grateful my library picked this one up, and that I happened to see it because I loved this! Definitely a great first book for a YA fantasy series. Definitely here for the sequel.

ASOWAR covered so many important topics. Police brutality, supremacy, slavery, corruption, and more. I love that no matter the genre, important and relevant topics can be addressed. This never took me out of the book but further brought to light topics I am continually learning about.

I liked this world-building and magic system. With a mix of some general YA tropes were many new things that made ASOWAR feel new. These main characters, Karina and Malik had flaws, and yet, I could clearly see the growth from them by the end of the book. I LOVE THAT. I love characters that feel real, experience a range of emotions, make mistakes, and strive to pick the best choice in a world where few of those are available.

The twists and turns occasionally took me by surprise, and even the ones that didn’t, were still interesting and progressed the story effectively. I loved the premise of this massive festival filled with all of these magical beings.

This was a great cast, a beautiful world, wonderful and engaging writing. I had a blast with this one and look forward to seeing how this story continues. I’d love to see more development of the romance, and further explore all of the world!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses, closed door scene (with no lead-up detail)
  • Violence: bloody/gory; physical, murder, assassination, magical, kidnapping
  • Trigger warnings: mild self-harm ideation, anxiety and panic attacks, loss of loved ones, animal death

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Book Review

Book Review: Heart of Flames (Crown of Feathers #2) by Nicki Pau Preto

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 640 pages
Author: Nicki Pau Preto
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 11th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Veronyka, Tristan, and Sev must stop the advancing empire from destroying the Phoenix Riders in this fiery sequel to Crown of Feathers, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake calls “absolutely unforgettable!”

You are a daughter of queens.

The world is balanced on the edge of a knife, and war is almost certain between the empire and the Phoenix Riders.

Like Nefyra before you, your life will be a trial by fire.

Veronyka finally got her wish to join the Riders, but while she’s supposed to be in training, all she really wants to do is fly out to defend the villages of Pyra from the advancing empire. Tristan has been promoted to Master Rider, but he has very different ideas about the best way to protect their people than his father, the commander. Sev has been sent to spy on the empire, but maintaining his cover may force him to fight on the wrong side of the war. And Veronyka’s sister, Val, is determined to regain the empire she lost—even if it means inciting the war herself.

Such is your inheritance. A name. A legacy. An empire in ruin.

As tensions reach a boiling point, the characters all find themselves drawn together into a fight that will shape the course of the empire—and determine the future of the Phoenix Riders. Each must decide how far they’re willing to go—and what they’re willing to lose in the process.

I pray you are able to pass through the flames.

I LOVE MY SHIPS.

What a good book.

I’ll get the iffy stuff out of the way, this was way too long. Some chapters and POVs really didn’t feel that necessary for most of the story. I found the beginning to drag a lot and was concerned when things would start to pick up. I’m sooooo glad they did, because that ending has me looking for the third book’s release date.

I am loving the relationships in here. Tristan and Veronyka have me feeling ALL THE THINGS. I like how slow and steady they’ve moved and how honest they have been with each other. Their bond is solid and I hope the author is a fan of happy endings or I will be gutted by the time this trilogy wraps up. Sev and Kade are super cute too. Their relationship has also developed at a perfect speed and I adored the little flirtations and shy interactions between them as the story moved. I’ll say it again, I better get happy endings for these four.

One of my favorite pieces of this series is that one of the chapter points-of-view is from the antagonist. Knowing Val’s thoughts and choices is disturbing and fascinating. I hate to love her and love to hate her. Val’s warped sense of self and what she thinks she is owed is a great aspect and counter-balance to Veronyka.

I like the way this story is moving. The way that the politics are starting to play out, there’s been some more skirmishes in the lands and things are starting to pick up. Yes, this definitely had some middle-book syndrome, but if you push through a bit the ending has set up for a fiery conclusion (look, I made a pun).

The magic system in this world is marvelous. I love that there’s bonds between animals and humans. Everything makes sense and as Veronyka learns more about her shadow magic, the more I am understanding everything as well. Veronyka’s character got a lovely arc learning about her magic (and herself) that made me fall in love with her more. I love her fierce and bold nature, but that she also really wants to love and be loved. It’s a good combo (not to mention, I’m totally smitten with Tristan, so for the third time, please give me a happy ending).

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical, swords, flaming birds (Phoenixes), poison

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Book Review

Book Review: The Fallen Kingdom (The Falconer #3) by Elizabeth May

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy / Sci-fi / Historical fiction
Length: 389 pages
Author: Elizabeth May
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: June 13th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

She’s on borrowed time…and she has only one chance to set things right.

Find life.

Deep in a forest, Aileana Kameron claws her way out of the earth. Back from the dead with no memory of who she is or what has happened to her, the Falconer now possesses even greater otherworldly powers and a ruthless instinct to kill—and the one piece of knowledge that can change everything.

Find Kiaran.

Two fae monarchs, Aithinne and Kadamach, stand on the brink of war, and according to an ancient curse, one must die at the hand of the other or all the worlds will perish. Once, Kadamach was known as Kiaran, and he was mentor, protector, and lover to Aileana. Now, under the grip of the curse, his better nature seems lost forever.

Find the book.

Aileana’s only hope lies in the legendary Book of Remembrance, a book of spells so powerful that it can break the fae curse and even turn back time. But the book has been lost for centuries, and many are looking for it, including its creator, the Morrigan—a faery of terrifying malevolence and cruelty.

Sacrifice everything.

To obtain the book and defeat the Morrigan, Aileana must form an unthinkable alliance, one that challenges every vow she has made to herself—even as the powers that brought her to life are slowly but surely killing her.

LET ME DOWN.

I decided to give this last book a chance to see if the finale would make me satisfied with the series as a whole. I did start off enjoying it and I’m glad there was a happy ending, but the way we got there made me roll my eyes.

Why? THE ORB OF RESURRECTION. My favorite phrase of use when somehow nobody dies because everyone is constantly being brought back to life. That was the entire concept?! Everything put back to the way it was, and I just. UGH. It’s okay to leave things as is. I feel like I wasted time reading these three books to have this type of ending.

Everything started out strong and I was into it. I liked the action and inner dialogue of Aielana coping with the hand she’s been dealt. It was time to finish things and finish them she did.

I did looove the romance between Aielana and Kiaran though. I found it sweet and endearing. There were actual feelings and communication. I liked the bond between them and the hope and courage they gave each other through the tougher moments.

This series took me on a lot of ups and downs and I still wish the ending had come about a bit differently. I loved the fae aspects and the historical fiction vibes. They’re quick reads with good intrigue.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses, a few fade to black scenes
  • Violence: battles, swords, physical

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Book Review

Book Review: Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 403 pages
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 20th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When kingdom come, there will be one.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown. 

THIS SURVIVED A NEAR DNF.

I had to ask my Bookstagram friends if this was worth it to keep going. They did say the first book isn’t *great* but does get better, then the rest of the series picks up so I thought, okay…well I’ll finish it then.

I’m satisfied I did. It was nothing spectacular, but the premise is interesting.

MY BIGGEST ISSUE Y’ALL? The amount of unanswered questions you’re left with. No I’m serious. I have a list of at least 10:

  • Why do the Queens have to kill each other?
  • Who are seriously half these people?
  • Anyone have a background story? No? Oh okay.
  • What’s the Quickening?
  • What is Beltane?
  • Why does the Queen leave her triplets?
  • Why triplets?
  • Why is the island hidden?
  • What’s the deal with the mainland suitors?
  • We only met one…okay then.
  • Random book boyfriends with no background? That tracks.
  • What’s the Disembarking?
  • Why is the island only sometimes visible?
  • Where did the Queen even go?
  • Why are they split up?
  • How does this magic system even work?
  • Why can’t they leave the island ever?

SEE? I’m seriously annoyed at how much I don’t know. The world-building is minuscule. It’s poorly constructed and I beg of the second book to get it together should I pick it up anytime soon.

While that was an issue I did enjoy how quick of a read it is. The writing is set up to where it takes out the flowery flourish paragraphs that I personally don’t need a ton of and keeps us involved in the story and dialogue. It did get better at about the halfway point, so there’s that.

But also, I hate Joseph. And I hate when cheating is used as a plot device. I can’t stand it in books and this was enraging to me. I didn’t like how Joseph went about his business and I don’t see the point of him sleeping with [redacted]. UGH. Clearly I’m still upset about it.

I like the differences in the Queen’s thoughts and mannerisms. They are unique individuals and don’t read as the same person. The magic system could use a thorough explanation. This almost read more like a prequel novel than anything else, because not much happened until the last 50 pages. We mostly got to know the Queens and see them trying to use their powers.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses, a fade to black, no detail, love scene
  • Violence: animal attacks, poison, elemental magic, physical
  • Trigger warnings: cheating

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