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

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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 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!