Book Review

Book Review: The Dragon Reborn (The Wheel of Time #3) by Robert Jordan

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 608 pages
Author: Robert Jordan
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: October 15th, 1991
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The Dragon Reborn—the leader long prophesied who will save the world, but in the saving destroy it; the savior who will run mad and kill all those dearest to him—is on the run from his destiny.

Able to touch the One Power, but unable to control it, and with no one to teach him how—for no man has done it in three thousand years—Rand al’Thor knows only that he must face the Dark One. But how?

Winter has stopped the war—almost—yet men are dying, calling out for the Dragon. But where is he?

Perrin Aybara is in pursuit with Moiraine Sedai, her Warder Lan, and Loial the Ogier. Bedeviled by dreams, Perrin is grappling with another deadly problem—how is he to escape the loss of his own humanity?

Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve are approaching Tar Valon, where Mat will be healed—if he lives until they arrive. But who will tell the Amyrlin their news—that the Black Ajah, long thought only a hideous rumor, is all too real? They cannot know that in Tar Valon far worse awaits…

Ahead, for all of them, in the Heart of the Stone, lies the next great test of the Dragon reborn.

BETTER.

I have been waiting for my mood reading self to want to pick this up since book two kind of let me down. But it’s okay! This was an improvement.

Right now my favorite character would have to be Perrin. I want alllll of the POV from him. I liked his story arc for this read and the addition of a potential love interest. Mat was also a bit POV this round and I still don’t know how to feel about him? He kind of sketches me out, like I’m expecting him to do something shady. Mat will keep you on your toes.

Egwene is still a favorite and I loved her progression too. I feel like most of this book was focused on character production rather than plot. There wasn’t enough movement, some more knowledge did come out of it all eventually. I kind of missed Rand’s whiny self and can’t wait to see what he’s up to next.

The audio is fantastic per usual and I am finally settling into the story. Remembering who characters are and the larger goal of this story. Can’t wait for the next one.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Violence: mild blood/gore
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, physical and magical altercations, weapons violence

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Book Review

Book Review: The Iron Flower (The Black Witch Chronicles #2) by Laurie Forest

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 597 pages
Author: Laurie Forest
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: September 18th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Elloren Gardner and her friends were only seeking to right a few wrongs, but their actions have propelled them straight into the ranks of the realm-wide Resistance against Gardnerian encroachment. As the Resistance struggles against the harsh rulings of High Priest Marcus Vogel and the Mage Council, Elloren begins to realize that none of the people she cares about will be safe if Gardneria seizes control of the Western Realm.

With tensions heating up in Verpacia, more and more Gardnerian soldiers continue to descend upon the university…led by none other than Lukas Grey, now commander of the newly rebuilt Fourth Division base. Though Elloren tries to keep him at arm’s length, Lukas is determined to wandfast to her, convinced that she has inherited her grandmother’s magic—the prophesied power of the Black Witch. As his very nearness seems to awaken a destructive power inside her, Elloren finds it more and more difficult to believe that she’s truly powerless, as her uncle always claimed.

Caught between her growing feelings for the rebellious Yvan Guriel and the seductive power offered by Lukas Grey, Elloren must find a way to stay true to what she knows is right and protect everyone she loves…even if that means protecting them from herself.

I DID IT.

First time I tried to read this, I DNF at 140 pages.

Second time, I went with the audiobook and made it through. Even gave it four stars. I’m as surprised as you are.

My main issue is this dang love triangle. I just can’t get with it. And I still like the wrong guy more too. For a bit it seemed to push the narrative for inner conflict within the main character, Elloren. Now it seems superfluous with how much of the ending went. WHY THO. The constant thoughts Elloren has about Lucas and Ivan make her lack depth and opportunities for growth in other areas.

Ignoring my romantic plot issues with this one and we can get into how intricate the other aspects of the story are. It’s a heavy political read with many sides at play. At times devastating and shocking. Throw your book across the room status. Other times, things seems to finally be going the right way. I liked this push/pull nature and it helped keep the story moving.

I do plan on continuing. I’m invested enough to see how book three will take care of a few plot lines. We’ll see what happens next!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: heated make-outs
  • Violence: mid-level blood/gore
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: discrimination, racism, genocide, torture, kidnapping, small battle scenes

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Book Review

Book Review: The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R.F. Kuang

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 527 pages
Author: R.F. Kuang
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: April 23rd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A brilliantly imaginative talent makes her exciting debut with this epic historical military fantasy, inspired by the bloody history of China’s twentieth century and filled with treachery and magic, in the tradition of Ken Liu’s Grace of Kings and N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy.

When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late. 

ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.

I LOVED this book. I have seen the error of my ways holding off for so long on reading it. I couldn’t put it down. I needed to know what happened next. The pacing and writing was beautiful and kept things moving and engaging. I am officially here for this series.

I’m not generally a fan of books that involve a school/academy/etc. This played it perfectly. There wasn’t a copious amount of time spent going to class and other mundane tasks that ultimately wouldn’t affect the plot. Each scene and conversation led into Rin’s life and her story as well as connecting to the over arching plot of the coming war. I loved the side characters and the rolls they played in developing Rin’s character as she grew over the years. The time covered in more/less five years never felt too long or short.

The action was intense and at times hard to read. It doesn’t shy away from the trauma of war (and that’s putting it lightly). This is a dark read and brimming with context on many levels. Definitely read the authors notes at the end about incorporating modern Chinese history into this series.

Fantasy wise, the world building and magic system were stellar. No big info dumps that leave you more confused rather than clear-headed. Slowly built within the story itself it was easy to follow. I love the ideas being used in how it works and based on the ending, can’t wait to see how it further expands. I’m fascinated by many things and will be getting my hands on book two soon!!

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: some strong
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: war themes, drug use, substance addictions, self-harm, racism, misogyny, genocide, bullying, abandonment, abuse, animal death and cruelty, torture, killing, rape, mutilation, graphic depictions of child death, medical experimentation, colonization

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Book Review

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: April 2022

A wishy washy reading month. I threw away way to many DNFs, but there were some diamonds in the rough here.

Favorites: The Godborn and the King, Double or Nothing, The Love Connection, Long Story Short, Lodestar, A Brush with Love, The Saltwater Heir, Heir of Fire, The Diamond Eye

  • [ARC] The Godborn and the King (The Raven and the Dove #4) by Kaitlyn Davis
  • The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James
  • Mr. Hoa (Fake It #1) by Carina Taylor
  • [Novella] Inheritance (American Royals #0.5) by Katharine McGee
  • Souls of Fire and Steel (Frozen Sun Saga #3) by Jill Criswell
  • The Atlas Six (The Atlas #1) by Olivie Blake
  • [ARC] Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle
  • [Novella] Passion or Penalty by Leah Brunner
  • [Novella] Falling for Your Brother’s Best Friend by Emma St. Clair
  • [ARC] Double or Nothing (A Pride and Pranks Romance #2) by Cindy Steel
  • [Novella] There Goes the Groom (Romance of Rank #1.5) by Esther Hatch
  • The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of Time #4) by Robert Jordan
  • [Novella] The Love Connection (Airport Novellas #1) by Denise Williams
  • The Ace of Hearts (Larkhall Letters #1) by Ashtyn Newbold
  • One for All by Lillie Lainoff
  • [Novella] Below Zero (The STEMinist Novellas #3) by Ali Hazelwood
  • The Fine Print (Dreamland Billionaires #1) by Lauren Asher
  • [Novella] Somewhat of a Ruse by Jess Heileman
  • Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor
  • Lodestar (Keeper of the Lost Cities #5) by Shannon Messenger
  • [Reread] Air Awakens (Air Awakens #1) by Elise Kova
  • [ARC] Long Story Short by Serena Kaylor
  • My Fine Fellow by Jennieke Cohen
  • In a New York Minute by Kate Spencer
  • Four Aunties and A Wedding (Aunties #2) by Jesse Q. Sutanto
  • A Brush With Love by Mazey Eddings
  • Scarlet Princess (The Lochlann Feuds #1) by Robin D. Mahle and Elle Madison
  • [ARC] The Dachshund Wears Prada by Stefanie London
  • The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa
  • [Novella] Finding Cinderella (Hopeless #2.5) by Colleen Hoover
  • Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez
  • Tarnished Crown (The Lochlann Feuds #2) by Robin D. Mahle and Elle Madison
  • An Offer From a Gentleman (Bridgertons #3) by Julia Quinn
  • The Saltwater Heir (The Blood and Water Saga #1) by Cassidy Clarke
  • [Reread] Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas
  • Pretending at Love (Greenbank Romances #2) by Karen Thornell
  • The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn
  • Terms and Conditions (Dreamland Billionaires #2) by Lauren Asher
  • Crimson Kingdom (The Lochlann Feuds #3) by Robin D. Mahle and Elle Madison
  • Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson
  • The No-Show by Beth O’Leary
  • [ARC] When in Rome by Sarah Adams

Did we read any of the same books? See any you want to read? Leave a comment!

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