Book Review

ARC Book Review: Scavenge the Stars (Scavenge the Stars #1) by Tara Sim

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + retelling
Length: 336 pages
Author: Tara Sim
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: January 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide. Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…

Packed with high-stakes adventure, romance, and dueling identities, this gender-swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo is the first novel in an epic YA fantasy duology, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an e-ARC. All opinions are my own.

THE COUNTESS IS HERE.

I feel like I first need to note that I know nothing about The Count of Monte Cristo. Unfortunately that means, I can’t really speak to how well the retelling went. What I can say is that I reallllly enjoyed this book.

Countess Yamaa, aka Amaya was a force to be reckoned with. She’s still a bit naive in this installment and has some more growing to do. There was a nice character build around her and her arc is showing great promise. Amaya has had to battle her way back from a heinous situation that leaves a mystery in its wake. I love her fierce protectiveness over the younger children around her and her tenacity to get the job done.

Her burgeoning romance with Cayo is a bit dry for me, but they did have some good moments. I love the tiny chances when they were together and both able to be who they wanted, not what was forced of them at the time. There’s definitely some sparks and connection there. I have hopes for how book two will round out.

I would have loved a little more revenge aspect. Amaya talked about it a lot, but it took her a real long time to do anything about it. The late middle section of the book is when her lust for vengeance started to come alive. I like this darker edge to her personality and gives a lot more depth to her character.

Cayo took some time to grow on me. What I appreciated most was his focus and love for his sister, Soria. Their tightbond was amazing and it drove all of Cayo’s decisions [and mistakes]. I did love him by the end and was impressed with the new leaf he was attempting to turn over after falling into a gambling addiction.

The only thing this book is lacking is world-building. There were mentions of a lot of different kingdoms and nations but I knew nothing about them. I think a map or a more direct description of the world surrounding Amaya would drastically help my understanding of the lands.

This was a great, quick, fluid read. I found myself wanting to turn back to it and curious to what happens next. I definitely can’t wait for book two and hope I get a lot more revenge from my girl, Amaya.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy retelling
  • Language: some
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: physical
  • Trigger warnings: children being sold to debtor ships as labor, child abuse, gambling addiction, someone being drugged without their consent

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Book Review

Book Review: Wild Savage Stars (Sweet Black Waves #2) by Kristina Pérez

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + retelling
Length: 420 pages
Author: Kristina Pérez
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: August 27th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Inspired by the legend of Tristan and Iseult, Wild Savage Stars is the spellbinding sequel to Sweet Black Waves.

Branwen has a secret powerful enough to destroy two kingdoms.

Her ancient magic led to a terrible betrayal by both her best friend, the princess Essy, and her first love, Tristan. Now this same magic is changing Branwen. Adrift in a rival court, Branwen must hide the truth from the enemy king by protecting the lovers who broke her heart―and finds herself considering a darker path.

Not everyone wants the alliance with Branwen’s kingdom to succeed―peace is balanced on a knife’s edge, and her only chance may be to embrace the darkness within… 

CAN I HAVE BOOK THREE PLEEEEEASE?

Whoa y’all. This was one of my top TBR books for 2019. After last years Sweet Black Waves, I was left SHOOOOK. And here I am, still feeling the same. I seriously have no clue where book three is going to go. Many, many things happened in the last 50 pages of this book that really brought home this solid 4 star rating.

Branwen is a mystical MC. I never know quite what to do with her. I like her most of the time, other times I want to shout at her, but all in a day’s work right? I feel like she has a lot on her shoulders that have heavily influenced her decisions on motives. Branwen doesn’t always make the right choice, yet I can tell her heart is in the right place. That ending though? Oooooh boy, I can see myself being utterly devastated by the last book. I’M SPECULATING WILDLY.

I’m here for Branwen and Ruan though. As soon as he walked on screen, Tristan was out of my mind (well, that happened at the end of book one). They have great chemistry and while I didn’t love how their relationship started, I loved how it formed from that point. What read as a bit rushed, was well thought out. I want to see more of them ASAP. I get a happy ending right?

Ugh, you know who I hate? Tristan and Eseult. BYE FELICIA. Goodness gracious. Both of them are whiny, immature, and selfish. I can’t handle them and need them to be taken down a few pegs. I wanted to feel more remorse for them, but really struggled too. They definitely weren’t making it easy on me.

Marc. This man grew on me. Made my heart hurt. And i just wanted to find him and give him a hug. I think he needs one after that hand he was dealt this book. THAT POOR MAN. HE JUST WANTS TO BE A GOOD KING. I want him to get the story he deserves, though I’m worried if that will happen. I also don’t want to go into detail because I don’t want to spoil it for y’all. You will love Marc by the end of WSS.

I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop in here. And i gotta say, I’m not sure that happened? There were some moments at the end where secrets started spilling out. I am excited for book three (and did you see the cover reveal? GORGEOUS). Really though, I love this setting and the way this re-telling has been done. It’s all fantastic.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + retellings
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses, one mild-detailed love scene, a few others (that are not even fade to black, whatever is considered before that, she says “I need a distraction” then the scene ends, but you know what they obviously did), a lot of discussion of maidenhood (being a virgin by the standards of the religion for this fantasy)
  • Violence: murder, poison, knives, swords, battles, skirmishes; fairly detailed/bloody at times
  • Trigger warnings: miscarriage resulting from a bad fall

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