Book Review

Book Review: A Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes #4) by Sabaa Tahir

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 528 pages
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: December 1st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Prepare for the jaw-dropping finale of Sabaa Tahir’s beloved New York Times bestselling An Ember in the Ashes fantasy series, and discover: Who will survive the storm?

Picking up just a few months after A Reaper at the Gates left off…

The long-imprisoned jinn are on the attack, wreaking bloody havoc in villages and cities alike. But for the Nightbringer, vengeance on his human foes is just the beginning.

At his side, Commandant Keris Veturia declares herself Empress, and calls for the heads of any and all who defy her rule. At the top of the list? The Blood Shrike and her remaining family.

Laia of Serra, now allied with the Blood Shrike, struggles to recover from the loss of the two people most important to her. Determined to stop the approaching apocalypse, she throws herself into the destruction of the Nightbringer. In the process, she awakens an ancient power that could lead her to victory–or to an unimaginable doom.

And deep in the Waiting Place, the Soul Catcher seeks only to forget the life–and love–he left behind. Yet doing so means ignoring the trail of murder left by the Nightbringer and his jinn. To uphold his oath and protect the human world from the supernatural, the Soul Catcher must look beyond the borders of his own land. He must take on a mission that could save–or destroy–all that he knows.

STUNNING FINALE.

It’s time.

It’s time you read this series.

It is beautiful, raw, strikes so many chords and is nothing short of a magnificent story.

I love these characters and how real everything feels to me because of how the writing conveys their tale. The highs and lows and everything in between drag out all of the emotions and made me sit there and hug this book afterwards. This isn’t a happy-go-lucky story. A lot of bad things do happen, but I love the infused sense of hope that something is better out on the horizon. That we’ll get there.

You’ll never find yourself bored or dragging through any of these points-of-view. The high stakes action bouncing off of angsty moments had me gripping pages to know where things were going. I feel like even the side characters got some great spotlight and I was hooked on them by the ending too. While yes, totally hate how some things went down (without a doubt had me in tears), it all still somehow worked out in the end. That’s what I love. The loss of who/this/that didn’t overshadow where everything was leading.

This entire series took me on a such a journey and I have a hard time putting into words what the closing of this final chapter meant. An Ember in the Ashes will definitely go down as one of my favorite young adult fantasy series. The amount of dedication and work that clearly went into this jaw-dropping. I’m a fan for life and can’t wait to see what Tahir writes next.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: little light
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs; some little detailed fade out scenes (still felt appropriate for YA genre)
  • Violence: depictions of war, gory and bloody murders and battle scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of multiple loved ones

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Book Review

Book Review: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1) by Jessica Townsend

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Middle Grade Fantasy
Length: 465 pages
Author: Jessica Townsend
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 31st, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A breathtaking, enchanting new series by debut author Jessica Townsend, about a cursed girl who escapes death and finds herself in a magical world–but is then tested beyond her wildest imagination.

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks–and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It’s then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart–an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests–or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

Perfect for fans of the Harry Potter series and Neil Gaiman, this fast-paced plot and imaginative world has a fresh new take on magic that will appeal to a new generation of readers.

OH WHAT FUN.

I haven’t read a middle-grade book in a bit and I forgot how much I enjoyed them! This was such a gem.

I flew through this (definitely a perk of a middle grade read) and was captivated by the story of Morrigan! I loved her character and demeanor. She was spunky, capable of going with the flow and was someone I wanted to cheer for during the trials for the Wondrous Society.

The rest of the cast was fantastic as well. Such a mix of different personalities and backgrounds. I look forward to watching friendships blossom and seeing how this story progresses. There’s plenty of action and the fast-paced keeps anything from getting slow. I think it’s a wonderful and appropriate read for younger audiences, but it definitely has the ability to draw in the older crowd too.

Loved this, will be continuing the series to see what happens next! I love following a longer series with a great group, a bit of mystery and a lot more of the world to explore.

Overall audience notes:

  • Middle grade fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Violence: some minor altercations and run-ins with ghosts and other creatures, but nothing overtly violent

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Curses by Lish McBride

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy Retelling
Length: 488 pages
Author: Lish McBride
Publisher: GP Putnam
Release Date: July 20th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Merit Cravan refused to fulfill her obligation to marry a prince, leading to a fairy godling’s curse. She will be forced to live as a beast forever, unless she agrees to marry a man of her mother’s choosing before her eighteenth birthday.

Tevin Dumont has always been a pawn in his family’s cons. The prettiest boy in a big family, his job is to tempt naïve rich girls to abandon their engagements, unless their parents agree to pay him off. But after his mother runs afoul of the beast, she decides to trade Tevin for her own freedom.

Now, Tevin and Merit have agreed that he can pay off his mother’s debt by using his con-artist skills to help Merit find the best match . . . but what if the best match is Tevin himself?

Thank you to PenguinTeen for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

NOT BAD.

Just not great either.

I love the cast of characters. There were many, with unique personalities and I love how they were portrayed. It’s a great group of friends that end up working together to end Merit’s curse. The villains were plenty wicked (though it became too convenient in the end) and some morally gray ones are also a fun addition.

What I didn’t love was the lack of romance. It’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling…shouldn’t there be more? By the time Tevin is confessing his love I realized I’m not emotionally invested in this. It was a big let down for me because I definitely had higher hopes. Over the course of a long book I thought more page time could’ve been spent developing their relationship rather than my other problem, the amount of POV’s.

Usually I love multiple points-of-view. In this case, I thought it should have stuck to the main two. It would have helped a deeper connection with the main characters. We’d flit off to some side story that could have been handled (and honestly, would have been more surprising) coming from one of the main characters [Merit or Tevin]. I didn’t need to hear about everyone else to get the whole picture.

I liked the set-up for the story and how this retelling was managed. It really did feel distinctly B&tB reminiscent. I could see many parallels that helped [& occasionally hindered] the plot. There’s some good humorous moments and some soft ones too. I wish I had felt more emotionally invested to fully enjoy this tale.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy Retelling
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical altercations, animal attacks, poisonings

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Book Review

Book Review: Rhythm of War (The Stormlight Archive #4) by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: High/Epic Fantasy
Length: 1,232 pages
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: November 17th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The eagerly awaited sequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling Oathbringer, from an epic fantasy writer at the top of his game.

After forming a coalition of human resistance against the enemy invasion, Dalinar Kholin and his Knights Radiant have spent a year fighting a protracted, brutal war. Neither side has gained an advantage.

Now, as new technological discoveries begin to change the face of the war, the enemy prepares a bold and dangerous operation. The arms race that follows will challenge the very core of the Radiant ideals, and potentially reveal the secrets of the ancient tower that was once the heart of their strength.

At the same time that Kaladin Stormblessed must come to grips with his changing role within the Knights Radiant, his Windrunners face their own problem: As more and more deadly enemy Fused awaken to wage war, no more honorspren are willing to bond with humans to increase the number of Radiants. Adolin and Shallan must lead the coalition’s envoy to the honorspren stronghold of Lasting Integrity and either convince the spren to join the cause against the evil god Odium, or personally face the storm of failure.

READ IT.

How do you write a review for a book you basically consider perfect?

There aren’t words.

I loved this so much (and also highly recommend on audio, the narrators do a FANTASTIC job).

The incredible character development for every single person in this book was off the charts. The amount of emotion put into the words and scenes broke me down (no really, I almost cried a few times). I also found myself laughing, fist-pumping and preparing to pummel some characters too. There’s a clear raw, beautiful talent to Sanderson’s writing and you hardly notice you’ve spent 1,000 pages enraptured by the lives of these people.

I have more, lots more, but for fear of hinting at *any* spoilers I’m keeping it more brief. If you’re looking to try a fantasy or a big book, look no further. Read this series and come to be caught up in it all as the rest of us. It’s an amazing and stunning piece of literature.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: war depictions, swords, magic, battle scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: depictions of grief and depression, suicidal ideation, a lot of discussion on mental health (struggling with it, coping, and finding help, etc.)

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