Book Review

Book Review: Bright Raven Skies (Sweet Black Waves #3) by Kristina Pérez

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy / Retelling
Length: 464 pages
Author: Kristina Pérez
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: August 25th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Bright Raven Skies is the thrilling conclusion to the lush and heart-wrenching romantic fantasy trilogy about ancient magic, warring families, and star-crossed lovers by Kristina Pérez.

To save the kingdom, Branwen embraced the darkest aspects of her magic. But she may have lost herself––and the two people she loves most.

Tristan and Eseult are missing. As Branwen searches for them, she must hide the truth surrounding their disappearance from both the king and her lover. Above all, she must find the Queen and her Champion first.

New and old enemies circle Branwen, clamoring for power and revenge, and threatening to destroy the fragile peace that she has sacrificed everything to secure.

THAT ENDING THOUGH.

What a good conclusion. I feel like this series was never super hyped or out in the forefront, but it happened to be one I picked up and have continually enjoyed each installment as they came out.

This one broke my soul by the end.

I just wanted, no NEEDED Branwen to be happy and secure and to know where she really wanted to stand. I got that, even if it left me wanting to weep for those left behind.

Trying to remain as vague as I can, that this ending was unlike ones I’ve read before. Which is probably why it hurt so much. I think it can lean either way on how it makes you feel about the trilogy as a whole. I found a lot of sense in the writing choices, even if I didn’t want to see them. It worked out the way it should and that’s where I’m leaving that.

Ooooh but all of these characters. How I adored them, and hated them, and loved them. All the things. The side characters themselves are incredibly well thought out and help bring the entire story together. I love that they made me angry, and happy, and all the things because sometimes I want that roller coaster from a book.

Just a good ending to a good series that needs some attention. If you like Tristan and Iseult retellings definitely check this one out! It was fascinating, and looking up the background story was really cool too. I love the way the magic worked (and it has limits and rules!), the beautiful countryside of the lands, and all things inbetween.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy retellings
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses, a closed door scene or two, one open door scene (at the end)
  • Violence: battles, murder, poisoning, duels, swords, physical, magic

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Book Review

Book Review: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of the Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA fantasy + romance
Length: 392 pages
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 9th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.

THE MASH-UP I DIDN’T KNOW I NEEDED.

Ohhhhh I’m so happy I picked up this debut! Mulan? Project Runway? TOGETHER?

IT WORKED SO WELL. I got all of the Mulan vibes (my favorite Disney movie, by the way) from Maia’s actions and decisions. Then add in the competition to be the best tailor where there were even unconventional materials challenges?! Yessssss. The vibes this book gave off alone gave it a star. This was exactly what the synopsis gave me.

Maia and Edan were absolutely precious too. I had seen on multiple reviews that the banter is on point, and I’m here to put my vote in that THEY’RE RIGHT. It’s witty, sassy, and so stinkin’ cute. I really liked the way their relationship developed. I was surprised by a few bits of information about Edan that reminded me of other books and I was cool with it. I liked those additions and thought it gave another layer to who Edan is.

The adventure that these two went on was magical and enchanting. I was surprised that this was able to take only one book. I think it could have expanded into more if it wanted and still been captivating. Since this plot kind of wrapped up I’m curious where the next story will take us.

This is one of those typical YA fantasy books that WORKS. It’s why I love and read the genre regularly. The writing is delightful, the romance is on point, and the story is full of magic. I loved the world-building and the way the magic is set-up. Maia is such an easy character to love. I appreciate her loyalty to her family and how everything circles back to them. She’s brave, but also able to accept help. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses, make-outs, one or two fade to black, barely any detail love scenes
  • Violence: magic, fire, physical, arrows

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