Book Review

Book Review: Elantris (Elantris #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 638 pages
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: May 1st, 2005
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn’t recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It’s also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.

AMAZING. PER USUAL.

I’m never surprised that I always end up loving any book by Sanderson. Occasionally with a favorite author, you run across a book that just doesn’t click, 13 books later, and I DO NOT HAVE THAT ISSUE. I love them all.

This was no exception. Elantris is one of Sanderson’s older titles that I *think* some claim is a lesser novel of his? While no Stormlight Archive, it’s still a superb read. I listened to it on audio and thought the narrator was great too.

One of my favorite parts was the romance (who’s surprised?). It’s nothing major or anything, but the lost loves finding one another was precious and just sweet. I adore Sarene and Raoden as characters. Talk about a power couple. Both strong, courageous, and didn’t take a thing laying down. One of the best character arcs was for Hrathen. He went from someone I hated, to someone I understood and appreciated as a POV in Elantris. All three of these characters had points-of-view and it really gave angles to all sides of Arelon and Elantris.

I loved the magic system and the way the world worked in general. I thought it was interesting how heavily the world’s religions played into the characters and the nation itself. It was a solid combination of all of these that kept up the intrigue and mystery.

I hope one day we do get a sequel because there’s clearly plenty more story lines that Sanderson could pursue. This one ends without any cliffhangers and with a great close out that doesn’t leave you hanging.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: poison, sickness, physical, demons, swords; not overly gory

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Hunter and the Mage (The Raven and the Dove #2) by Kaitlyn Davis

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 495 pages
Author: Kaitlyn Davis
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: September 21st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Return to the world of The Raven and the Dove, where winged people rule the skies, a lost kingdom lives at sea, and two star-crossed lovers hold the fate of each in their palms. Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo!

A mage written in prophecy…

When Lyana wakes in the Sea of Mist, adventure is the first thing on her mind. But between her unruly new magic and an unyielding young king, the world below comes with more responsibility than she ever dreamed. An entire civilization exists within the fog, and its survival depends entirely on her.

A hunter forged in blood…

Adrift at sea on a ship full of strangers, Rafe fights to cope with his new reality. He’ll do anything to return to the sky and the people he left behind. When a surprising offer comes his way, he instantly accepts, sparing no time to consider the consequences.

Loyalties are tested and an ancient war begins anew…

With rebellion in her heart, Cassi defies her king and befriends the prince she’s been ordered to kill. Oblivious to the threat, Xander welcomes her into his inner circle, determined to rescue his mate. As one works to help and the other to hinder, an ancient enemy stirs, forcing Cassi to choose between trusting the man who broke her heart and turning her back on everything she’s ever known.

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

ANOTHER GREAT BOOK.

I just really love this series y’all.

Admittedly yes, there’s some book two syndrome here, but nothing that truly detracted from this well built fantasy. By the time the ending was coming up things were wild and I was asking myself [again] how I was supposed to wait for the next book!

I love all of these characters. They each have a unique voice in their point-of-view chapters and it’s easy to know who’s speaking. Everyone has differing strengths and weakness that shape choices and desires. Even with characters I feel like I shouldn’t love, I find myself cheering on their future character arcs because everyone is that compelling. Lyana, Rafe, Xander, and Cassi all have these amazing and well thought out stories that I am so here for to see how they unfold.

One of my favorite aspects was how the prophecy rolled out. I tend to find these kind of gimmicky, but this was written beautifully. It even surprised me how things were unveiled, who was who, and how it all came about. I’m curious how more of the prophecy will unfold and love where it’s going.

I wish I had a few more romantic interactions (which, we know I’m a sucker for). Characters were more split up and facing their own challenges and I missed some closer interactions. Everything is so magical on screen that I crave more! [And I’m staying away from names since this is a second book and I don’t want to spoil ships/connections/friendships/etc.].

This indie series is magical, action-packed, and definitely one I would recommend picking up!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical, magical, elemental, natural disasters, weapons

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta's Academy #1) by Sandhya Menon

Rating: ☆☆
Audience: YA Romance / Retelling
Length: 384 pages
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 18th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The first novel in a series set at an elite international boarding school, that’s a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast.

Will the princess save the beast?

For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?

His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…

As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.

NOT FOR ME.

With a heavy heart, I have to say, this is the worst Beauty and the Beast retelling that I’ve read so far. And oh, how I wanted to love it (even had requested it on Netgalley), but it was not meant to be. I fortunately read it through the library, and sent it back as soon as I could.

My big issue that I could not get past? Jaya, the main character. I did not like her demeanor, attitude, naivete, anything. I thought she was completely wrapped up in this revenge plot idea against Grey, when from moments of meeting it was abundantly clear that he wasn’t involved. The way she treated her sister wasn’t the best, even if it came from a place of protectiveness, it did not read that way. I was hoping that all of this would change by the end, and while it did maybe a little, I was already over it at that point.

Grey was my favorite. He was broody and was beast-like as he should be. I enjoyed how he grew and adapted over the book. I liked his character most. Pretty sure he and Isha (Jaya’s sister) were the only ones I did like reading about.

And the reveal at the end about what the rose really meant? Fell completely flat. Not as high stakes as I thought it should be (and would have upped the ante).

I’m keeping this short, no need for a long review, this just did not work out for me.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult retelling (Beauty and the Beast)
  • Language: a little strong language
  • Romance: kisses

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Love is an Art by Summer Dowell

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 187 pages
Author: Summer Dowell
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: March 13th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Normally poised and confident Erin McCoy is having a rough day. Spilling paint all over a stranger’s car was not part of her plans that morning. Luckily, things begin looking up when her best friend drags her to an art class taught by the unmistakably gorgeous Travis Hunter.

Travis is your average, easygoing art teacher. His day is off to a bumpy start when he finds his parked car covered in grey paint. However, when a stunning brunette walks into his class later that afternoon, things don’t seem so bad.

A hilarious love/hate situation forms as Erin and Travis unknowingly battle over the paint accident while simultaneously pursuing their budding relationship.

SUPERFLUOUS.

This is unfortunately how I felt about most of this book. For a short story it had a lot of random details and tangents that I couldn’t possibly figure out why it was that important. The writing itself was my biggest issue with the book. While cute, it overall let me down.

There was a lot of telling rather than showing. For instance, there was a coworker the main character, Erin, didn’t like what so ever. And you know what? I still don’t know why. He never DID anything in the story to warrant this level of hatred other than Erin telling me I should hate him. These kind of moments kept me asking more questions and not getting any answers.

Erin and Travis were a cute couple. I liked the banter and flirting between them. They also had real issues and communication problems. Having POVs from both characters gave me greater insight into how they saw themselves and others. I appreciated seeing them work through their communication issues and realizing that being able to truly talk to one another can help create a lasting relationship.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses, flirting