Book Review

Book Review: Deathcaster (Shattered Realms #4) by Cinda Williams Chima

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 656 pages
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: March 5th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

SPLINTERED ALLEGIANCE.

Warrior Alyssa ana’Raisa would do anything to protect her home, the Fells, and her legacy, the Gray Wolf Line. But as a prisoner of Empress Celestine, Lyss is forced to turn her fearsome talents as an army commander against her beloved homeland. Refusal would swiftly lead to her death, and her death would end the Gray Wolf Line.

ANCIENT DANGER.

In Lyss’s absence, Fellsmarch Castle swarms with intrigue, deception, and a primordial threat. Destin Karn, a Southern spymaster with a hidden agenda of his own, might be the queendom’s only hope of defeating the forces aligned against the Seven Realms… as well as the enemies within the castle.

THE DEADLY COST OF PEACE.

Master storyteller Cinda Williams Chima delivers spellbinding action, bittersweet reunions, and dazzling revelations in this indispensable conclusion to the Shattered Realms series. 

FANTASTIC FINALE.

Oohhh this book was so good. I am distraught that this world is at last at an end. I enjoyed the Seven Realms series more, but I definitely had a good time reading through Shattered Realms.

I love that I couldn’t figure out who the traitor was. Every time it would lean one way and I was convinced they were the culprit more facts would be laid out and I couldn’t believe it! Well, I believe the character who committed the fraud is capable of such a thing, I was hopeful that they were better than that, but GUESS NOT.

The ever changing POV was on point. I was left feeling suspense on a feeling of suspense but also that the scene had finished. It was smooth and easy transitions as things were utterly ruled by chaos before the last moments of battle.

“He cocked his head, grinning charmingly, exposing teeth the size of rock slabs. Flame female?

Y’all, dragons. Dragons. And, oh, did I mention dragons? There was a whole cadre vibe with the family of dragons and there interaction and dialogue was seriously the best. I’m so happy they played a much bigger role and dealt out vengeance to all.

The plot was heavy story driven vs. character driven. I wished there was a bit more relationship building among the couples, friends and the like. It would have really put the whole book over the top.

The characters all stepped up their game too. Each reunion scene has me holding my breath. Shouting, AT LAST!! I needed those scenes, and I got those scenes. Destin was one of my favorites. He was sassy and conniving, but also could shed some tears, and when he saw Evan again? I couldn’t even handle it.

Getting Lyss and Hal back together was also momentous. Their final scene was the nice little cherry on top. I love happy endings. I like knowing where things are going. All the questions I had were answered and I fully understood the angle of the antagonists and well as our heroes.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: a handful of mild words
  • Romance: two glossed over love scenes, some kisses
  • Violence: knives, poison, fire, physical
First Impression Fridays

First Impression Friday || Deathcaster (Shattered Realms #4) by Cinda Williams Chima

Howdy! I wanted to add more to my blogging week and decided to try First Impression Fridays!

This meme was created by Joe at JW Martin – Storeys of Stories. The rules are:

• Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
• Did you think you’d love and ended up hating it? Or did you think you’d hate it and wound up loving it? Or were you exactly right?
• Link back to Storeys of Stories so everyone can enjoy reading all the First Impression Fridays out there!

BOOK SUMMARY:

SPLINTERED ALLEGIANCE.

Warrior Alyssa ana’Raisa would do anything to protect her home, the Fells, and her legacy, the Gray Wolf Line. But as a prisoner of Empress Celestine, Lyss is forced to turn her fearsome talents as an army commander against her beloved homeland. Refusal would swiftly lead to her death, and her death would end the Gray Wolf Line.

ANCIENT DANGER.

In Lyss’s absence, Fellsmarch Castle swarms with intrigue, deception, and a primordial threat. Destin Karn, a Southern spymaster with a hidden agenda of his own, might be the queendom’s only hope of defeating the forces aligned against the Seven Realms… as well as the enemies within the castle.

THE DEADLY COST OF PEACE.

Master storyteller Cinda Williams Chima delivers spellbinding action, bittersweet reunions, and dazzling revelations in this indispensable conclusion to the Shattered Realms series. 

I’m about 100 pages into the finale book for the Shattered Realms series. I’m a bit sad that this is the last book in this world. Seven Realms became one of my favorite series last year and immediately picked this up after finishing it.

So far so good in this behemoth (656 pages!). There’s been a lot of POV changes and a lot of things happening. I expect chaos to reign and am excited to see what the costs will be to bring peace to this land at last.

I’m also hoping all of my ships sail. I’m not sure if anyone will be killed off. I’m hoping it’s not anyone high on my favorites list or I’ll flip my lid.

I think that I will love this book. I wasn’t as impressed with book 3, but finales have a way of winning me over big time. I know I’m going to lose sleep trying to finish Deathcaster.

Final rating prediction?

☆☆☆☆ / ☆☆☆☆☆

This book would have to fall off a cliff for me to give it less than an amazing rating. Gonna get back to it now.

Is this on your TBR? Have you already read it? Let’s talk in the comments!

Book Review

Book Review: Stormcaster (Shattered Realms #3) by Cinda Williams Chima

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 535 pages
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 3rd, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The third book in the thrilling four-book Shattered Realms series from New York Times bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima

The empress in the east—the unspeakably cruel ruler whose power grew in Flamecaster and Shadowcaster—tightens her grip in this chilling third installment in the series.

Vagabond seafarer Evan Strangward can move the ocean and the wind, but his magical abilities seem paltry in comparison to Empress Celestine’s. As Celestine’s bloodsworn armies grow, Evan travels to the Fells to warn the queendom of her imminent invasion. If he can’t convince the Gray Wolf queen to take a stand, he knows that the Seven Realms will fall. Among the dead will be the one person Evan can’t stand to lose.

Meanwhile, the queen’s formidable daughter, Princess Alyssa ana’Raisa, is already a prisoner aboard the empress’s ship. Lyss may be the last remaining hope of bringing down the empress from within her own tightly controlled territory.

Multiple intricately interwoven storylines converge in this gripping novel about a brave, coordinated effort to undermine a horrific tyrant.

I LIKED MOST OF IT.

Unfortunately, I think this will be the weakest book in the series. My biggest issue is that each book has started with a new character. Then we spend 100+ pages going over their back story while I’m impatiently waiting to get back to the main story-line, stopping the empress.

The problem with beginning with the back-story is that it makes all of the love interests seem quick and insta-attraction (even when the story talks about time jumps). I love the opposite attraction of Evan and Destin. Evan is striving to right wrongs and save not only his Kingdom, but the Seven Realms. Then we have Destin, a complex, morally gray character who I LOVE. I never know what kind of move he’s going to make.

I think all of these relationships are going to have a major reckoning in Deathcaster. I can’t wait to see how everyone comes together since literally every pair is one opposite sides of the realm currently.

Now there’s so many POVs and so many things happening that I was missing some characters. Lyssa and Ash, for instance, were hardly in here, even though they are super critical to the finale.

While I had some issues, this authors writing is still entrancing. I find myself flying through the book. I love all of the politics and world-building. Everyone is crossing paths and then double-crossing their actions. It’s really exciting and I love all the twists and turns. I definitely have a lot more questions and am so excited to finish this just in time for the release of the last book!!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: knives, physical, poison
  • Trigger warnings: domestic abuse

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Shadowcaster (Shattered Realms #2) by Cinda Williams Chima

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 551 pages
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A lifelong war.

Alyssa ana’Raisa is the reluctant princess heir to the Gray Wolf throne of Fells, a queendom embroiled in a seemingly endless war. Hardened by too many losses, Lyss is more comfortable striking with a sword than maneuvering at court. After a brush with death, she goes on the offensive, meaning to end the war that has raged her whole life. If her gamble doesn’t pay off, she could lose her queendom before she even ascends to the throne.

A life in peril.

Across enemy lines in Arden, young rising star Captain Halston Matelon has been fighting for his king since he was a lýtling. Lately, though, he finds himself sent on ever more dangerous assignments. Between the terrifying rumors of witches and wolfish warriors to the north and his cruel king at home, Hal is caught in an impossible game of life and death.

The shadow of defeat.

GOOD.

It’s simple. This book was good, not great. I still was captured into the story by the writing and characters, but it was still missing that last little oomph that makes it a 5 star.

I love love love Lyss. She is a beast. A warrior. Independent. Lyss doesn’t even own a dress! And she has muscles! Oh how I adore the way the author portrays her heroines. I can’t wait to see how Lyss grows into the future Queen of the Fells and rules her Queendom. This is a big reason why I continue to love this (and her previous) series.

The love story is cute, definitely not insta-love like it was in Flamecaster. A little more slow-burn, with my favorite trope: enemies to lovers. Hal is caring and enigmatic. I really want more of his back story. I think there relationship is going places and I am here for it. He only annoyed me when he became a little too love-struck and that literally all he could talk about.

I was a bit confused that we only saw a few characters from the previous book. As a series it was strange to change to essentially a whole new cast. The two stories with Ash and Lyss haven’t combined yet so I’ll see what kind of answers I get in the next installment, Stormcaster.

The plot is engaging and continually moving forward. The antagonists are closing in from both sides on the Fells. And the action kept me on my toes. I’m definitely still interested in continuing this story.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: an intense-ish make-out
  • Violence: arrows, knives, poison, explosions, physical

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Flamecaster (Shattered Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 535 pages
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: April 5th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A burning vengeance.

Adrian sul’Han, known as Ash, is a trained healer with a powerful gift of magic—and a thirst for revenge. The son of the queen of the Fells, Ash is forced into hiding after a series of murders throws the queendom into chaos. Now Ash is closer than he’s ever been to killing the man responsible, the cruel king of Arden. As a healer, can Ash use his powers not to save a life but to take it?

A blood-based curse.

Abandoned at birth, Jenna Bandelow was told the mysterious magemark on the back of her neck would make her a target. But when the King’s Guard launches a relentless search for a girl with a mark like hers, Jenna assumes that it has more to do with her role as a saboteur than any birth-based curse. Though Jenna doesn’t know why she’s being hunted, she knows that she can’t get caught.

Destiny’s fiery hand.

Eventually, Ash’s and Jenna’s paths will collide in Arden. Thrown together by chance and joined by their hatred of the king, they will come to rescue each other in ways they cannot yet imagine.

Set in the world of the acclaimed Seven Realms series a generation later, this is a thrilling story of dark magic, chilling threats, and two unforgettable characters walking a knife-sharp line between life and death.

DRAGONS Y’ALL.

If that word doesn’t drag you in, the fact that Chima is an amazing author should convince you. I love her writing and her books. This series is setting up to be added to my favorites.

This book is filled with so much evil. I mean whoa, within the first few chapters I already felt like sobbing. I mean HOW, JUST…how. But this, in a weird way, is one of the better things about Flamecaster. I hate the antagonists. I mean, with a passion. I love that I feel that deeply because it goes to show just how enchanting the writing is.

The only real big reason I went with 4 stars is the insta-love. It’s not terrible, I wasn’t overly frustrated with it, only perplexed. There could have been a lot more build-up to it. A scene where magic is used to “see” each other (as vague as I can be without spoiling) tries to make-up for the attraction. I’m still boarding the ship, but I imagine I’ll get there.

My favorite was the handful of minor twists that tie in from the previous series. I kept thinking to myself, how did I miss that? The book is a little slow, but all of these enlightening moments will definitely be involved in further installments. The dynamic conglomeration of different cultures and people throughout this world is amazing.

All of these characters are strong and realistic. They’re young, they make mistakes, and have a lot of feelings. You’re on their side from the get-go. I love, once again, how strong and independent the female leads are. I’m excited to see how these heroines grow and adapt.

Shout out to my tagline, there’s dragons you guys!! An actual dragon, who could even speak some. Oh I hope we see it even more! There’s a big story-line here that is waiting to burst.

“Oh, I see. This situation isn’t bad enough, so you’re going to try and make it worse.”

This quote is a direct picture of how this book went. A lot of diving into sketchy situations without thinking them through. Plenty of action and political maneuverings. I am so excited to read Shadowcaster.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Important to read Seven Realms series first
  • Violence: physical, swords, knives, poison, attempted suicide
  • Romance: some kisses, an intense make-out
  • Language: some
Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Couples in Books

Happy Valentine’s Week!

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday is all about couples. I have so many favorites that it was hard to narrow it down! I at least kept myself to only one couple per book series since occasionally I happen to love everyone.

I could rave deeply about these couples, but here’s a highlight of my top choices:

Feyre & Rhysand (ACOTAR)

It is absolutely no surprise this is my favorite couple. My OTP.

Han & Raisa (Seven Realms)

Thinking about them gets me every time. I love how strong they are independently, and how even better they are together.

Elizabeth Bennet & Mr. Darcy

Need I say more? I am still obsessed. And still watch the movie every couple weeks (Kiera Knightly version, of course).

Vin & Elend (Mistborn Trilogy)

While I wish there was a little more couple-ness between them they still make my day. Elend always supporting Vin makes me happy. Note: I have not finished Hero of Ages yet, so NO SPOILERS PLEASE! I have faith they survive.

Cress & Thorne (The Lunar Chronicles)

This a series with multiple couples I adore, but Cress & Thorne are my top favs. I love how protectively sweet he is to her.

Aelin & Rowan (Throne of Glass)

Some people may have mixed feelings towards them, I am not one of those. I absolutely adore these two and their unyielding faith in one another. This is another series where I have multiple favs (Elide & Lorcan) being in that mix.

Kestral & Arin (Winner’s Trilogy)

I have been dying to do a re-read of these books. I don’t remember them well enough anymore. Other than the fact that I LOVED the way Kestral & Arin’s story played out. It made me so angry at times, and then so utterly happy in the end.

Vasya & Morozko (Winternight Trilogy)

Y’all, they care about each other so much but both are so used to not dealing with their feelings they can’t cope. AND IT IS SO CUTE. This was one of my favorite pairings to watch grow over the series. It was completely amazing.

Tess & Will/Jem (The Infernal Devices)

AH. These guys are so great. And the way the love spans decades and time because they all love each other so much they gave each pair an opportunity to be together. I can’t, I just can’t.

Lark & Tiras (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles)

This is such a sweet, slow-burn love. Their relationship evolved over helping each other through personal struggles. And together became a King & Queen worthy of their kingdom.

Lots more love on my shelves, because I love love.

Have you read any of these? Are some of these couples your favorite too? Or do you actually hate them? Let’s talk in the comments!

Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Book I Meant to Read in 2018 but Didn’t Get To

Welcome welcome to another week of Top 10 Tuesday!

I’m one of those weird book people who keeps a really tight leash on my TBR. It’s currently only at 62 books. Which is more than I’ve had in awhile honestly, so I had to be inventive about what books I really wanted to read last year but must get to this year!

Without further adieu, and in no particular order:

My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray

I was on a huge Hamilton kick last summer and read almost everything I could get my hands on about his life. This one slipped through my fingers though. It’s already on my Kindle, so there’s still hope I get to it in 2019.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Only added this to my TBR because of the movie, yet still never got around to it BECAUSE, y’all, my library has a 6+ month wait-list on it. Yes, I’m still waiting. Update: I am now 12/36 people originally in line.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

After being delighted by his latest series: Scythe I wanted to read move Shusterman novels, maybe it’ll happen this year.

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood and Co.) by Jonathan Stroud

A Bookstagram I follow loves this series and hasn’t let me down on recommendations yet, so I wanted to try this series out! I am definitely getting to this one in 2019.

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

I went back and forth on keeping this on my TBR. After I saw her with SJM at the Kingdom of Ash event I wanted to try on of her novels.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Heard a lot of good things about this, and it is my all time favorite trope. So with that combination I should have picked it up last year!

Eidolon by Grace Draven

Low-key real obsessed with the first book of this series, Radiance. Truly meant to read the second book so I must know what happens soon!

Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas

Since of course, I love SJM I was going to go ahead and read this (and maybe read the others in the series, oops).

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I have seen this book EVERYWHERE. And it’s a Sunshine Club book pick, and since Reese Witherspoon can do no wrong, I’m sure I’ll pick this up at some point in the near future.

Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima

Her first series I read, The Demon King, was one of my top top top reads from 2018. It only makes sense to further my obsession.

And that’s a wrap! Have you read any of these yet? Which ones should I definitely read first? Let’s talk in the comments!