Book Review

Book Review: The Kinder Poison (The Kinder Poison #1) by Natalie Mae

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 416 pages
Author: Natalie Mae
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: June 16th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Holly Black, this enthralling fantasy adventure follows a teenage girl chosen to be the human sacrifice in a deadly game between three heirs who will do anything for the crown.

Zahru has long dreamed of leaving the kingdom of Orkena and having the kinds of adventures she’s only ever heard about in stories. But as a lowly Whisperer, her power to commune with animals means that her place is serving in the royal stables until the day her magic runs dry.

All that changes when the ailing ruler invokes the Crossing: a death-defying race across the desert, in which the first of his heirs to finish—and take the life of a human sacrifice at the journey’s end—will ascend to the throne and be granted unparalleled abilities.

With all of the kingdom abuzz, Zahru leaps at the chance to change her fate if just for a night by sneaking into the palace for a taste of the revelry. But the minor indiscretion turns into a deadly mistake when she gets caught up in a feud between the heirs and is forced to become the Crossing’s human sacrifice. Zahru is left with only one hope for survival: somehow figuring out how to overcome the most dangerous people in the world.

WOW, HERE FOR THIS.

Don’t sleep on this book guys. I picked it up on a literary whim and it turns out I loved it! It’s a pretty standard YA fantasy, but had that little something else that kept me intrigued and invested.

It was an enthralling adventure. For a mostly traveling book I didn’t feel like it took away from the sibling rivalry saga. There were enough changes in location, action scenes and quiet moments that made the whole journey come alive. I’m curious about the larger expanses of this land, but enjoyed what been initially given.

Okay, the romance. Yes, there is a tiny bit of a love triangle here. I wasn’t too phased by it though because it’s pretty clear what’s going to happen. I liked the lead-ups and steady rising chemistry between them. I found the relationship sweet by the end so I’m satisfied with it. We’ll see if book two ruins this though (why does this keep happening in sequels?!).

The magic system is still a touch undefined, but they’re a lot of cool powers running around. I liked learning more about them and how everyone fit into the nation’s hierarchy. This is something else I hope that gets expounded on in the sequel!

The ending has me gasping for some straws as to what happens next. It’s not a wild cliffhanger, I just definitely didn’t see it all coming. I like what was left open and can easily see another book for this installment (rather than thinking it should just stay as one).

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs
  • Violence: murder, poison, physical, animal attacks, magic, swords/knives/arrows; not overly gory

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Gilded Serpent (Dark Shores #3) by Danielle L. Jensen

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆  
Audience: YA Fantasy + Romance
Length: 576 pages
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: April 27th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

THEIR BATTLES ENDED IN VICTORY

Lydia returns to Mudaire to enter training at the healing temple. But instead of fighting to save lives, she’s convinced she is doing more harm than good. She delves into the history of the gods only to discover a truth that will change her life forever.

His birthright as commander of the Royal Army is finally in his grasp, but Killian feels anything but victorious. Burdened by his past, he embraces the darker side of his mark—and in doing so, risks starting a war.

BUT THE WAR HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN

Having defeated the tyrant Urcon, Marcus struggles to form a lasting alliance with the Arinoquians. But he is plagued by the knowledge that there is a traitor among his friends, and it could cost him everything that he’s fought for.

Torn between her growing allegiance to the Thirty-Seventh legion and her need to liberate her people, Teriana finds herself mired in a web of secrets. She embarks upon a path that will either save everyone she loves—or put them all in their graves.

Thank you to Tor Teen and Netgalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own!

ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.

I seriously love this series. If I could convey this book in one word it would be: STRESSFUL.

I would have to put the book down and chill out my racing heart because everything in this book will set you on edge. IN THE BEST WAY. The daring adventure that both Teriana/Marcus and Killian/Lydia go on are absolutely captivating. I had to know what happened next. I NEEDED to know what happened next. This is easily becoming one of my favorite YA Fantasy series.

The ANGST on both sides had me reeling. Yesssss, you get those soft and sweet moments, but wow did the general will they/won’t they leave me excited for future books. I love both of these ships and am incredibly impressed at how well each character is built. There was more background stories added to everyone as well which helped me attach myself to them too.

Talk about JAW DROPPING MOMENTS. Things I did not see coming in any capacity that change the entire landscape of the story. MY FAVORITE. Ah, I love being surprised in this way. It only amped up the setting and the harrowing situations everyone kept finding themselves in. [Seriously, can my loves catch a break?]

I really recommend this series 100 times over if you love fantasy. These are a slower build, but have so much action it doesn’t feel that way. I love the Roman-esque inspired nature of the world and the magic system is fascinating. I can’t say enough good things about the Dark Shores series. I’m a forever fan of Danielle L. Jensen’s writing.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: Kisses to little detailed brief scenes (mostly closed door)
  • Violence: physical altercations, battles, weaponry, animal attacks, corruption

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Book Review

Book Review: The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising #1) by Kiersten White

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy Retelling + Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: November 5th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes a new fantasy series reimagining the Arthurian legend, set in the magical world of Camelot.

There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?

STOP TYING KNOTS.

I didn’t love this.

I didn’t hate it either.

But in reading I compared it often to The Lost Queen Trilogy. And that by far has more of my attention. This more fantasy based retelling didn’t do it for me by the end.

Curious tagline ey? Well, our lovely main character Guinevere would not stop tying knots for everything. Goodness. It was apart of her magic system but it because incredibly tedious. I was hoping for a bigger display of power or just something else. Instead, she kept tying knots, and I kept wanting to unravel them myself.

I don’t know if this was supposed to be a romance. It had some times to one with two characters, but…there was no chemistry? With either of them. I didn’t feel swayed one way or another and when secrets and lies starting coming to the surface I still wasn’t feeling any sort of way.

I love the initial ideas here. Camelot is such an interesting concept for a story. That’s what really drew me in. The tale of Merlin, King Arthur, Lancelot, etc. I am immediately drawn to reading stories of this type. This writing is a little more prose based. Not as much dialogue (which I know everyone has different opinions on how much of which they enjoy).

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy / Retelling
  • Language: some light
  • Romance: Kisses
  • Violence: Swords, arrows, animal attacks, magical and physical altercations

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Book Review

Book Review: Of Sun & Sandstorms (A Swift Shadows Novella #2.5) by M.L. Greye

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy novella
Length: 123 pages
Author: M.L. Greye
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: September 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

It’s not easy becoming king to a country you never wanted to run in the first place.

Trezim Azure Niroz was once the third prince of Heerth. Just a few short weeks ago, his highest aspirations had been training his little band of Golds in sun blades and the Turanga. Now, he’s king with a whole slew of issues. The worst part of it all is that because of some tedious, ancient custom, Trezim can’t make any decisions for his country – at least, not until he finds himself a bride.

“Of Sun & Sandstorms” is a Swift Shadows novella following the golden-eyed King Trezim in Heerth.

I NEED MORE.

Trezim is definitely one of my favorite characters in this series. I jumped at this novella because how could I not read this?! It was short, sweet, and to the point.

I actually really liked the development of his quick relationship with Sefia. The way the pair/bonding system works in this series is well crafted and believable. While things moved speedily I was still swept up in the romantics of it all. The kiss scenes were on point.

I wonder how this will play into the third book for this series. There’s a lot going on in just over 100 pages and I think it’ll tie in well. I love Trezim and his new bride and can’t wait for them to meet back up with Emry and Declan.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy novella
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical altercations, magic attacks

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