Book Review

Book Review: Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 415 pages
Author: Susan Dennard
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: January 5th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery,” a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

FINISHED STRONG.

I know I know, I can’t believe I haven’t read this series yet either. A few years ago I chose the Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes over this one (which side note: was WONDERUFL). Then Truthwitch sat there…until it didn’t. I nabbed the audio book from the library and dove right in.

Things started off a bit slow and confusing. This often happens to me with fantasy books + audio books. So after I got a few chapters in and understood the story and characters things coasted much more smoothly.

I looooove that this had a heavy focus on the threadsister bond between Safiya and Iseult. They were an amazing combo who continually looked out for one another and truly love each other. I thought they were a great duo who brought out the best sides of themselves when they were together.

There’s an amazing world being set-up with grey characters who I can’t decide what level of evil anyone is. MY FAV. Keeps things interested and keeps me intrigued. I found that the action picked up a good pace and yet, there were still those slower moments where I got to see another level of the characters. The magic system is really interesting and I love the way that witches are portrayed in this series. I like that there’s so many different types of them and that the magic makes sense for the world too.

The other two POVs, Merik and Aeduan were stellar too. Everyone had there own roll to play and I loved switching up the point of view and getting all the angles. Merik is swoon-worthy and I am pushing the Safiya and Merik ship off the shore. I adored their interactions and the way things progressed between them. There’s definitely a spark that will ignite the world by the end of this series. Aeduan, our grumpy Bloodwitch was one of my personal favorites. Sassy and angry with the ability to help others while hunting down witches. Yup, I’m here for it. And I can’t wait to see what happens between him and Iseult.

Clearly, I am smitten with this book. I can’t wait to read book two and see where this story moves too. The ending left things nicely open without being a total cliffhanger.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: some mild throughout
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs
  • Violence: magical, physical, swords, poison, arrows, skirmishes

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Book Review

Graphic Novel Book Review: Wires and Nerves (Wires and Nerves #1) by Marissa Meyer

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy graphic novel
Length: 238 pages
Author: Marissa Meyer [Illustrators: Douglas Holgate & Stephen Gilpin]
Publisher: Fiewel & Friends
Release Date: January 31st, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers’ leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the series.

LOVED THIS CONTINUATION.

Yay for my library having this book because I have been looking for a chance to continue this series! What beautiful artwork and well put together graphics. Definitely easy enough to read in one sitting and feel wrapped back up in The Lunar Chronicles.

I loved the way everyone was portrayed and that this story focused on Iko. I think she totally deserves her own book and doing it as an illustrated book was such a great idea. I love her personality and love for her friends. Iko is funny, witty, and incredibly loyal. She’s an easy heroine to love and cheer on.

Getting to see the cast of TLC again was also fantastic. I love that series and getting to have them also in this book was perfect. Those couples are just precious and I could always use more of them. Seeing Cinder as Queen and working towards a better future of Lunar was impressive. This book worked on multiple levels, tackling the story from many different pieces.

This is a cute and fun read. Highly recommend if you enjoyed the original novels to check out this book!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Graphic Novel
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: werewolf/hybrid solider attacks, guns, physical

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Book Review

Book Review: Akarnae (The Medoran Chronicles #1) by Lynette Noni

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 436 pages
Author: Lynette Noni
Publisher: Pantera Press
Release Date: February 1st, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

With just one step, sixteen-year-old Alexandra Jennings’s world changes—literally.

Dreading her first day at a new school, Alex is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in Medora, a fantasy world full of impossibilities. Desperate to return home, she learns that only a man named Professor Marselle can help her… but he’s missing.

While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora’s boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. She soon starts to enjoy her bizarre new world and the friends who embrace her as one of their own, but strange things are happening at Akarnae, and Alex can’t ignore her fear that something unexpected… something sinister… is looming.

An unwilling pawn in a deadly game, Alex’s shoulders bear the crushing weight of an entire race’s survival. Only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?

Will Alex risk her entire world—and maybe even her life—to save Medora?

DIFFERENT THAN I THOUGHT.

I went into this book mostly blind because it had been a few months since I added it to my TBR because of someone’s review I had seen. I kind of like when this happens because it makes everything more of a mystery.

The biggest reason this was different than I thought was that it leaned more towards the younger YA side than the older. The main character, Alex, is 16 (turning 17 during the book), but her group of friends and interactions in general throughout the whole book just led me to think that this was for a younger audience.

I’ve decided that I did enjoy this overall. We all know that I don’t love HP, so I’m usually hesitant of fantasy/magic school based books. I didn’t mind this one. I thought the classes were interesting and I liked the teachers too. I really loved Alex’s friends Jordan and Bear. I liked that she had a friend group that were just her friends. It added an amazing version of a found family trope that I was so here for.

For the plot, I found this to give me enough information without over loading it. There was a nice build up of the villain and his background, the larger world surrounding Medora and about how the magic system worked. I liked the way the way the plot moved through classes, friend moments, action, and more. I actually got to see Alex’s entire school year which was fun too.

I’m curious how this series will continue to expand and hope to read the next book soon.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: swords, magic, physical; not overly bloody/gory

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Book Review

Book Review: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 394 pages
Author: Mary H.K. Choi
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 27th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

DIDN’T JIVE WITH THE WRITING.

That would be my biggest issue. Nothing clicked quite the way I think it was supposed to. I kept reading because I was [mostly] enjoying the story, but things never changed. I thought things would randomly get political or twists would be thrown in that I didn’t think were necessary or helpful to the plot as a whole.

I did enjoy the interactions between Penny and Sam. I thought they were sweet and I love the modern era love story of getting to know each other through texts/phone calls. It was clever that she became his emergency contact. The college age setting was nice too. I wish there were more YA/New adult books set in college. This isn’t a slow-burn romance in anyway though. Mostly infatuation that turns into love all of a sudden.

This book seemed overly dramatic at times. Like it was trying to see how awful things could get before a resolution kind of came about. I don’t mind this usually in books because I understand the flow of the story. This came out a bit jarring and I was upset with how broken these characters were written out. Maybe I thought this was going to have a bit more sunshine.

I also felt like NOTHING HAPPENED. There was some focus on Sam’s documentary and on Penny’s writing class, but I never got to see the end of them? It was annoying to have a bunch of loose threads. I know it wasn’t the main part of the story, but it was definitely discussed more than enough to have needed things tied up.

Having someone as a friend, in whatever capacity that may be, was a great concept for this book though. We all need someone to lean on and I loved seeing Penny and Sam turn towards each other in their times of need.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary (college age)
  • Language: some throughout
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger warnings: alcoholism, page 290 – a moderately detailed rape scene (main character telling her story)

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