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

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

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

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Fantasy Romance
Length: 805 pages
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: February 15th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar are trying to get back to normal―they may have saved Crescent City, but with so much upheaval in their lives lately, they mostly want a chance to relax. Slow down. Figure out what the future holds.

The Asteri have kept their word so far, leaving Bryce and Hunt alone. But with the rebels chipping away at the Asteri’s power, the threat the rulers pose is growing. As Bryce, Hunt, and their friends get pulled into the rebels’ plans, the choice becomes clear: stay silent while others are oppressed, or fight for what’s right. And they’ve never been very good at staying silent.

In this sexy, action-packed sequel to the #1 bestseller House of Earth and Blood, Sarah J. Maas weaves a captivating story of a world about to explode―and the people who will do anything to save it.

*FLAILS INCOHERENTLY*

Someone should have recorded me as I finished this book because the way I ran around my house flipping out was WILD.

BECAUSE THAT ENDING WAS EVERYTHING AND MORE.

Once again SJM has brought the house down with her captivating storytelling. I loved that there were even more points of view from this whole cast. I felt more connected to everyone and got a better feeling for their personal and group dynamics. I’m very much emotionally attached to them and the ships I want sailing and will not stand for anything less than HAPPY EVER AFTERS FOR ALL.

The plot thickens even more and my jaw hit the flow as things were unveiled. I love how the web is woven and die cast for all at play in the world. The combination of masteries it took to put this together blows my mind. Writing wise, it reads slower. Yet, it’s one of those novels that makes sense for the slowness. It’s heavily character driven and those stories need told.

I LOVE where many of these lines are heading and I will be impatiently awaiting the next book. I intentionally tried to keep this as vague as I could because people who spoil are the worst. Another SJM all the dang stars read for me!

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy Romance
  • Language: strong
  • Romance: multiple (5+) open door
  • Violence: mild-strong blood/gore
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, torture, creature attacks, physical altercations, gun violence, loss of loved ones, slavery, imprisonment

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

Book Review: The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 640 pages
Author: R.F. Kuang
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: November 17th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The exciting end to the Poppy War trilogy, R. F. Kuang’s acclaimed, award-winning epic fantasy that combines the history of twentieth-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters, to devastating, enthralling effect.

 After saving her nation of Nikan from foreign invaders and battling the evil Empress Su Daji in a brutal civil war, Fang Runin was betrayed by allies and left for dead.

Despite her losses, Rin hasn’t given up on those for whom she has sacrificed so much—the people of the southern provinces and especially Tikany, the village that is her home. Returning to her roots, Rin meets difficult challenges—and unexpected opportunities. While her new allies in the Southern Coalition leadership are sly and untrustworthy, Rin quickly realizes that the real power in Nikan lies with the millions of common people who thirst for vengeance and revere her as a goddess of salvation.

Backed by the masses and her Southern Army, Rin will use every weapon to defeat the Dragon Republic, the colonizing Hesperians, and all who threaten the shamanic arts and their practitioners. As her power and influence grows, though, will she be strong enough to resist the Phoenix’s intoxicating voice urging her to burn the world and everything in it?

ONE NOTE.

I know I’m the unpopular opinion here, buuuut I didn’t love this conclusion.

I really wanted more from Rin. I thought she spent too much of this book hell bent on revenge that the warm themes became very one note. It was travel here, destroy some of the villains, travel here, repeat. It’s very violent, which I was fine with, but wanted something more. I don’t think every book needs a romance. I do think (at least in this books case) it needed ONE soft thing. Something to see that Rin had another side to her (maybe that was the point? These are just my thoughts).

Anyways, it was fine. I listened to it on audio and that was a great medium for this series. I liked seeing Nezha and what he was up to and the twisted way this story played out. It’s very nuanced and intricate in regards to some aspects. This series is harsh in nature and an emotional read at times.

The ending let me down. There was one aspect to it that made me want to throw a book. The longer I sit on it, I can see the intention of the decision, but I still think things could have worked out a bit differently. And it didn’t feel like it actually ended either?? I don’t know. A huge mixed bag of thoughts for a series I was initially in love with.

Overall audience notes:

  • High fantasy
  • Language: strong
  • Romance: none
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: extreme depictions of blood/gore, rape, war themes, suicide, mass loss of life, magical and physical altercations, torture, executions, and more that I might have missed; please check into the content before reading!

Instagram || Goodreads