Book Review

Book Review: Namesake (Fable #2) by Adrienne Young

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 368 pages
Author: Adrienne Young
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: March 16th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Trader. Fighter. Survivor.

With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and its crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when she becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.

As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception she learns that her mother was keeping secrets, and those secrets are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them then she must risk everything, including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.

Filled with action, emotion, and lyrical writing, New York Times bestselling author Adrienne Young returns with Namesake, the final book in the captivating Fable duology.

ENJOYABLE.

SAINT. The first thing this book makes me remember is Saint. Wow, he was the real gem here and oh my goodness I loved him. I would do many things to get another book involving him. His relationship with Fable is complicated and beautiful. An undeniable parental protection that made my heart swell.

Okay he’s a side character, but a worthy side character. Back to Fable. I loved her too. She’s a strong presence with some true deep moments. I like the way she formulated plans to save herself and those she loved. I’m especially happy there was a HEA here or I would have been broken.

WEST. Really into his morally gray self. I wish he was on page a lot more because I wanted more of his story too. I love the relationship he has with Fable. This magnetic connection that draws them to one another at any given time. I wanted even more romance since it felt left off until about near the end.

My main issue with this one was the pacing. It was slowwww going for the first half. I wasn’t sure what the point of the current plot was, and how it was going to solve the original plot from Fable. It wrapped up everything pretty dang quickly so yes, I think things were sealed off, but leaking a bit.

I have enjoyed reading all of Adrienne Young’s books and can’t wait to see what’s in the works next. Gorgeous writing and amazing settings always leave me with a pleasurable read.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses and a closed door scene
  • Violence: murder, swords, near drownings, rough seas, physical altercations

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Book Review

Book Review: Jade Fire Gold by June C.L. Tan

Rating: ☆☆1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 464 pages
Author: June C.L. Tan
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: October 12th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In an empire on the brink of war…

Ahn is no one, with no past and no family.

Altan is a lost heir, his future stolen away as a child.

When they meet, Altan sees in Ahn a path to reclaiming the throne. Ahn sees a way to finally unlock her past and understand her arcane magical abilities.

But they may have to pay a far deadlier price than either could have imagined.

Ferocious action, shadowy intrigue, and a captivating romance collide in June CL Tan’s debut, a stunning homage to the Xianxia novel with a tender, beating heart, perfect for fans of The Bone Witch and We Hunt the Flame.

TYPICAL.

I hate to say it but that’s how I felt for this one. Which means a lot of people will probably really enjoy this. I’ve just read one too many young adult fantasies that played out exactly the same and there was no nuanced new things to change my tune.

I had the hardest time with the main characters. Things weren’t clicking and I wanted more depth and understanding of them both. Then the romance came into play and I felt like things were happening too quickly all over the place. The plot was super fast and things needed more time to settle.

By halfway I was in speed read mode and looking very much forward to being through with this one. This is a dash of my thoughts so take them for what you will. It truly wasn’t a bad book. The writing is fine and the potential for others to love it is there. Most of it didn’t work for me personally.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical and magical altercations, murder, loss of loved ones
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: self harm, blood/gore depiction, grief/loss, torture

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Book Review

Book Review: Legendborn (Legendborn #1) by Tracy Deonn

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Urban Fantasy
Length: 501 pages
Author: Tracy Deonn
Publisher: McElderry Books
Release Date: September 15th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.

AMAZING.

Wow am I so glad I read this! It was fantastic. An incredible debut.

For someone who’s not a general fan of urban fantasies, this didn’t make me worried for a second if I was going to enjoy it. I loved the combination of the college campus with the Arthurian legends. It was SO COOL. A bit confusing at times and I didn’t quite understand until the end how everything worked in the organizations, but once I got there, watching everything click into place was beautiful.

Bree is flawed character with an intense amount of strength. I love solid character growth over a book and it was perfect here. Bree went through an acute amount of grief, growing up, and the racism and microagressions she experienced throughout her life (and more specifically in this book while she’s in a college program). It was powerful to take in this story.

This magic system is complex and very well crafted. Add in some demons and rogue parents and this was a mash-up I could get on board with. It was high action and was paced well. I loved all of the adventures with a dash of a preciously sweet romance brewing.

Legendborn has an incredibly powerful voice. It’s a book hard to put down. It’s a book that makes you think and be exposed to conversations you might not have been. I loved this and can’t wait for the sequel!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Urban Fantasy
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: demon attacks, physical altercations, see trigger section for more
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: depcitions of intense grief, slavery, abuse, PTSD, PCBD (persistant complex bereavement disorder), intergenerational trauma, loss of a parent, racism and micro-agressions

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Book Review

Book Review: Chain of Iron (The Last Hours #2) by Cassandra Clare

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Urban / Historical Fantasy
Length: 592 pages
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Walker Books
Release Date: March 2nd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The Shadowhunters must catch a killer in Edwardian London in this dangerous and romantic sequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling novel Chain of Gold, from New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Cassandra Clare. Chain of Iron is a Shadowhunters novel.

Cordelia Carstairs seems to have everything she ever wanted. She’s engaged to marry James Herondale, the boy she has loved since childhood. She has a new life in London with her best friend Lucie Herondale and James’s charming companions, the Merry Thieves. She is about to be reunited with her beloved father. And she bears the sword Cortana, a legendary hero’s blade.

But the truth is far grimmer. James and Cordelia’s marriage is a lie, arranged to save Cordelia’s reputation. James is in love with the mysterious Grace Blackthorn whose brother, Jesse, died years ago in a terrible accident. Cortana burns Cordelia’s hand when she touches it, while her father has grown bitter and angry. And a serial murderer is targeting the Shadowhunters of London, killing under cover of darkness, then vanishing without a trace.

Together with the Merry Thieves, Cordelia, James, and Lucie must follow the trail of the knife-wielding killer through the city’s most dangerous streets. All the while, each is keeping a shocking secret: Lucie, that she plans to raise Jesse from the dead; Cordelia, that she has sworn a dangerous oath of loyalty to a mysterious power; and James, that he is being drawn further each night into the dark web of his grandfather, the arch-demon Belial. And that he himself may be the killer they seek.

BUT WHY.

I kept hearing about this *emotional ending*. I imaginged something catastrophic happening, tears being shed, etc. All I actually felt was RAGE. I know and expect a cliffhanger in Shadowhunter books. It’s fine, but sometimes they don’t match up well for me. This one seemed like it’s going to cause a lot more damage and I am not okay.

COI took a long time to pick up. It was hundreds of pages before I felt really connected to the story. Even with loving a character driven novel, I guess with some many switches between POVs I wasn’t feeling attached to anyone until later down the line.

Granted, once things got going, they got moving quickly. I really liked the second half. And I especially appreciate that this feels like more of a fresh take in the Shadowhunter world. It’s no secret that I’m slowly fading out of wanting to read this series. It’s a lot of books in one world, ya know?

For now, I’m continuing on. Definitely invested enough to read book three and see what happens next. There’s many ships I’m hoping set sail (or for that matter, REMAIN SAILING). I do adore this cast and the whole group of Merry Thieves.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Urban / Historical fiction Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses to closed door scenes
  • Violence: battles, demonic attacks, weaponry
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: alcohlism

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