[Four Dead Queens] Astrid Scholte

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dystopian piece
there’s disconnected quadrants
some say fantasy

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four different quadrants
tech, nature, pleasure, commerce
different queen for each

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each death of a queen
spirals out in wide circles
mystery at heart

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too many voices
each trying to have some say
weakened the story

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a few day romance
felt oddly out of place here
took away from tale

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I wished there was more–
world-building not expansive
was missing the spark

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a stand alone book
will call to many readers
it wasn’t for me

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What did you think of Four Dead Queens? Let me know if you’ve read this one in the comments! 

[Wicked like a Wildfire] Lana Popović

I’m surprised that a book that has witches, forbidden love, and magic ended up being so boring. I was really looking forward to getting my hands on this one because the concept sounded really amazing, but the execution was not my favorite. Twin sisters Iris and Malina have magical abilities that allow them to manipulate beauty. Malina can sing and manipulate moods and Iris can see flowers in fractal form, which she then turns into stunning glasswork. They come from a line of women who are cursed, and as a result they can not fall in love or else they will bring the curse upon them.

Iris and Malina are two characters who are very different. Where Malina is a bit softer and potentially too naïve, Iris is harder and she believes she sees the world as it is. As a result, she often makes rash decisions which turn out to be mistakes that come back to haunt her. She’s a dreamer, which was something I liked about her. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much else that I liked about her. It was really frustrating to read at times because the book follows her point of view, and while there were things that were obvious to the reader right away, it took Iris forever to figure them out.

A major distraction to the story was the writing. While I love a good amount of flowery prose, I found that the usage of it in Wicked Like a Wildfire really just took me out and held me at arms length from the story.  I didn’t feel attached to any of the characters or the story as much as I would have liked. This disconnect was something that I felt for most of the book, which is probably why it took me ages to read this one. I wish that I’d been able to get into the story more because the idea is so cool! But the story and the style together really did not work for me.

I do think that I’ll check out the second in this series, because I am curious about what will happen next. Unfortunately it’s in a begrudging sort of way because I feel like the ending was not fair to the reader. I really loathe when a story that takes so long to get to the point leaves readers with a cliff-hanger. It’s not fair to the reader, especially when I feel like much of the book could have been condensed down into a more concise story.

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Do you like magical realism? I normally do, but this one was not a good one for me. Have you read this one?

 

[The Gilded Wolves] Roshani Chokshi

The Gilded Wolves is a heist style novel reminiscent of Six of Crows, but that is where the similarities end. Set in Paris in 1889, the city is on the cusp of advancement and change, with the Exposition Universelle filling the city with industrial advances and the whiff of new power. There’s magic to this world, with characters having the power to read objects or build incredible inventions as they try to navigate this changing world.

The tone of the novel is set immediately, thrusting the characters and the reader into this world where the fragments of the Tower of Babel are protected by the Order of Babel. In France, this falls to the four Houses. Each House also tracks in magical artifacts, selling them to the highest bidder who then marks them with the name of their House. The seal makes them impossible to steal when they’re under House protection…but there is a short window before they’re marked where a well-planned heist could pay off.

This is where Séverin and his crew come in. Each of them have talents, whether it’s reading an object, creating explosives, or inventing new things for heists. They work together as an efficient unit, stealing things that others don’t want them to have. When one of the House patriarchs enlists them for a mission, Séverin and the others find themselves embroiled in a situation that is bigger than any of them anticipated.

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What I really love about The Gilded Wolves are the characters. There’s a really diverse set of characters, and each of them have very unique backstories. They may be working together right now, but they all have their own agendas too. Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Can I switch places?

Have you ever read a book and wished with all of your heart that you could switch places with a character? There’s been so many for me throughout the years and ones that have stuck with me since I was younger.  Some have places that I really want to see. Others have awesome powers that I’d like to have. But no matter the reason, these ten books have something that just sparks my interest.

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Switching places with Harry or someone else in the Harry Potter books is always going to be number one for me. I don’t think it will ever lose its magic for me. I’d want to be friends with Hermione and Luna!

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This is a hard one. I don’t know who I’d swap with! I really want to see Red London, but I also would want to be friends with the main characters. Swapping with one of them would mean I miss out on being friends with them. I’d have to roll a die or something because I don’t know if I’d be able to choose.

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When I read these books I never liked Susan or Edmund very much, so it would be easy for me to switch places with one of them. Narnia is another world that is so immense that I’d have a lot of places to explore.

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[King of Scars] Leigh Bardugo

Most of us can hide our greatest hurts and longings. It’s how we survive each day. We pretend the pain isn’t there, that we are made of scars instead of wounds.

How do you review one of the year’s most anticipated YA releases? And it’s only February! King of Scars is the follow-up to both The Shadow of Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology. It brings back some favorite characters, namely Nikolai for me, and introduces some new ones.

King of Scars is a novel that slowly builds up to the conclusion and the climax of the story. Some people have criticized it for being too slow, but I really enjoyed the pace. We get to see more of the world and the way it’s been after the conclusion of Ruin and Rising. There’s hints of it in the duology, but the focus is on an entirely new place and storyline. I love books that do that because I feel like you can really become part of the world. Granted, a lot of the world-building has already been done in the previous books, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t new things in King of Scars. Fjerda is expanded upon as is the area around the Unsea. It’s new and it’s different. It’s also something I can’t really detail without spoiling, but just know that it was really well done and I loved it. Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Wanderlust

Almost everyone dreams of traveling, whether it’s the next town over or another country entirely. Reading is a way that many people travel without going anywhere, which is a magical thing about books. Today I’m going to talk about ten books with real world locations. I really wish I could trade my cold blah weather for something for something foresty and beautiful!

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Set in Wallachia, And I Darken is a book that is darkly beautiful, full of forests and isolated manors. Today, the region that was once known as Wallachia is in Romania.

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I’ve never been to New York, but I really want to go visit all of the museums there. Vassa is set in Brooklyn.

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This is Viking inspired and though the country is never specified, there are Norse inspired words in it. Whether I go to Norway or another Scandinavian country, I’ll definitely be looking for places that reminds me of Sky in the Deep.

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[The Wicked Deep] Shea Ernshaw

Sparrow is a town where high school students long for summer.

Sparrow is a town where little cakes help you forget memories that are plaguing you.

Sparrow is a town that has a dark history that calls beckons you in.

Sparrow is a town that is cursed.

This town was built on revenge. And it’s never made anything better or right. 

Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of her hometown. Tourists crowd it during the summer, eager to see its macabre season play out. As a main character, Penny has just the right amount of skepticism regarding the way things are in her town. Penny definitely spins the story to make the reader more sympathetic toward her, so there’s a little bit of an unreliable narrator aspect going on as we read, though she is a very engaging narrator. We learn about Sparrow and the curse the murdered sisters cast just before their death through her and follow as she tries to find who the three sisters have possessed. I loved reading how she went from trying to avoid everything about the Swan season to being very much in the center of trying to solve it. Penny has a very nice character arc within the novel and I thought the way she was forced to grow up a little bit more each summer was done really well.

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Everyone believes they are immune. Until they’re not. 

This is a book that is pretty dark. There’s this belief in the town that if a Swan sister is found, you can rid the town of her––and possibly her sisters––if you kill her. The only problem with this is that you’d also kill the possessed girl. And there are some who don’t see a problem with this. That is so so dark! People around Penny just act though this is an acceptable outcome and it really showcased how there’s a townspeople v. outsider view. For an outsider, they may think this is insane to contemplate. But as a citizen of Sparrow, this is something they consider every summer.

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