Book Review

Book Review: Windwitch (The Witchlands #2) by Susan Dennard

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 384 pages
Author: Susan Dennard
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: January 10th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Sometimes our enemies are also our only allies…

After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister’s treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.

When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first?

After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife’s edge—especially when the pirates’ next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.

I HAVE SO MANY CONCERNS.

This book left me hanging. And not in a bad, huge cliffhanger that drives you up a wall, but more in a, I have many questions and am concerned for all my characters, give me answers, kinda way. I found this to be a great second book, kept me interested, and the audio books are fantastic.

I am SO VERY UPSET that all of my loves are split across the lands and everyone thinks everyone else is dead and I JUST CAN’T. This is the worst feeling when reading a series. I need everyone happy, together, conflicts resolved and I know I can’t have that yet. While upsetting, I always remember how great it is an author can make me feel this way about their characters. SO YAY.

Pretty obsessed with everyone currently. Except Vivia. I am still not sold on her. Granted, it was the first time I was getting her POV so I’m figuring in Bloodwitch I might get behind her more. I can’t decide how villainous she actually is and what her plans are. Which makes her ambiguously nerve-wracking. We’ll see. I AM IN LOVE WITH AEDUAN THOUGH. For real. He’s my sweet favorite and you can’t convince me otherwise. If you can’t feel the vibes between him and Iseult then we need to talk. I am the captain of their ship and need more. Need.

Also I have an intense amount of time invested in my love of Merik. And I am very concerned for him. I’m going to need some answers. ASAP. There will probably be a Bloodwitch review sooner rather than later. I love these characters and how they’re developing. I wish we had Safiya and Iseult in the same location for a bit because I missed their bond. But good things come to those who wait. And wait I will (because apparently there’s 5 books all together?!).

Needless to say, I’ve become hooked on this series and am confident they’re going to only get better from here.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: magic, physical, swords, poison, skirmishes
  • Trigger warning: two characters remember their mother passing away from suicide

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Dark Skies (Dark Shores #2) by Danielle L. Jensen

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 464 pages
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: May 5th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A RUNAWAY WITH A HIDDEN PAST
Lydia is a scholar, but books are her downfall when she meddles in the plots of the most powerful man in the Celendor Empire. Her life in danger, she flees west to the far side of the Endless Seas and finds herself entangled in a foreign war where her burgeoning powers are sought by both sides.

A COMMANDER IN DISGRACE
Killian is Marked by the God of War, but his gifts fail him when the realm under the dominion of the Corrupter invades Mudamora. Disgraced, he swears his sword to the kingdom’s only hope: the crown princess. But the choice sees him caught up in a web of political intrigue that will put his oath – and his heart – to the test.

A KINGDOM UNDER SIEGE
With Mudamora falling beneath the armies of the Corrupter, Lydia and Killian strike a bargain to save those they love most—but it is a bargain with unintended and disastrous consequences. Truths are revealed, birthrights claimed, and loyalties questioned—all while a menace deadlier and more far-reaching than they realize sweeps across the world.

Thank you to the author, Danielle L. Jensen, for an ARC. All opinions are my own.

LEFT ME GASPING.

No, but really. The last 200 pages of this book are an insane ride that took me on more spins and action than I thought was going to happen. Dark Skies went in a vastly different direction from what I had planned and while my heart is hurting, IT WAS SO DANG GOOD.

With how this series is set-up; where you can read EITHER Dark Shores or Dark Skies as the first book causes some small overlap in the beginning. This overlap caused things to drag a touch in the beginning, but as soon as the new stuff hit, I couldn’t put the book down.

I love Killian and Lydia. Stellar characters. Lydia felt like an actual human trying to figure things out and I would also love to be her best friend. She’s kind, firm, and willing to try and learn new things. Killian was brave, funny, secretly sweet and intensely loyal. Put them together and they had amazing chemistry. Though I should warn you, there’s less romance here than Dark Shores. Not a problem to the story at all, just mentioning it. There’s so much going on here that you’re begging for them to kiss, but also trying to make sure nobody is about to be stabbed in the back [which frankly, happened too many times to be comfortable].

The world-building and politics of the varying nations are fantastic. I love the way things are set-up and how the interactions between the gods and mortals. The magic system is inventive and I can’t wait to see what role the Marked will further play. I am anxiously waiting for these two worlds to collide and see what survives the destruction. It was a fun tidbit to know that Killian also had some connections with Teriana. Seriously going to love when all four are together!

This story is a new favorite. I have been smitten with Jensen’s writing over the last year (helloooo obsession with The Bridge Kingdom). I found Dark Skies to be no different. The writing is lyrical and engaging. You get comfortable in one setting, then the script is flipped and you can’t look away from what’s happening. The last 50 pages of this broke my heart. You’ll be like me, desperately wishing you had book three.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: magic, physical, sickness, poison, swords, arrows, creature attacks

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Book Review

Book Review: Rage (Stormheart #2) by Cora Carmack

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult historical fantasy
Length: 460 pages
Author: Cora Carmack
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: August 27th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Princess or adventurer.

Duty or freedom.

Her Kingdom or the Stormhunter she loves.

If Aurora knows anything, it’s that choices have consequences. To set things right, she joins a growing revolution on the streets of Pavan. 

In disguise as the rebel Roar, she puts her knowledge of the palace to use to aid the rebellion. But the Rage season is at its peak and not a day passes without the skies raining down destruction. Yet these storms are different—they churn with darkness, and attack with a will that’s desperate and violent. 

This feels like more than rage. 

It feels like war.

SO YOU’RE SAYING THERE’S A CHANCE.

This is how I feel about #teamcassius. Anyone with me?! We’ll come back and visit this in a few paragraphs.

Okay, so I maaaay have over-hyped this for myself a bit and maaaay have been a little disappointed. What picked up my spirits though was that by the end, it was clearly a book two. Book two syndrome is alive and well here. So while I was bit let down, and thought this was slow more often than not, the ending was ON POINT AND I AM SO HERE FOR WHERE IT MAY LEAD.

Where may it lead you ask? Oh yes, back to #teamcassius. It isn’t even a love triangle [yet] and I am pushing for it. Who am I? I’ve loved Cassius from day one (I can’t handle a brooding Prince trying to be a better person than his father). And this caused me to never be fully on board with Kiran. Kiran got better over the story, but his protective and dramatic streaks left me wanting to put him on the side. There were some really sweet and cute moments with Aurora though. I’m clearly conflicted.

I love the rotating multiple POV. I am a sucker for a bit that gives it to me in all the angles possible. The POV flashbacks with the Stormlord weren’t necessary though. It took up too much page space and I wanted to go back to the present. I don’t think it really gave new information (other than I supposed a deeper understanding of his mistreatment). Ooh, well, okay it did drop one HUGE tiny tidbit, but then nothing happened with it so I think it could’ve waited.

Aurora is not my favorite heroine. I enjoy her character and think she is pretty tough and mostly brave. She is trying so hard to be a good royal for her kingdom that she is making so many mistakes it’s distracting. We’re building through a character arc with blunders left and right. I have high hopes for her in book three (like being nice to Cassius – y’all agree with me right?!).

Claps all around for the ending. It was just what the book called for and had me begging for more. And you know what relationship I’m excited for? The brewing something between Novaya and Jinx. They’re SO CUTE. I was cool with all the screen time they got. That’ll be one to watch for. I also can’t get over the creativity of the storm magic concept. It’s a big ticket item here. It’s so cool and well thought out. I love the dynamics of this magic system!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, one little detailed fade to black scene, multiple mentions of *what they did* the night prior
  • Violence: violent storms, physical, swords, murder

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