HYPE HYPE HYPE ya’ll. This is the first work of 19 year old author Coco Ma. She wrote this when she was only 15 and I just can’t even express how talented this author is. I went in expecting something good but a little on the superficial side and this author took my expectations and smacked me in the face with them. Touche Coco Ma.. Touche.
4-4.5 Incredibly astonished, jaw dropping stars. This author has a great future ahead of her if this is just a glimpse of what she is capable of at the age of 15. I am definitely a fan. Shadow Frost combines a whimsical writing style, enchanting and complex magical system, depth full characters, and a unique world into a captivating reinvention of the tale of Snow White. The author manages to weave in intrigue, betrayals and plot twists in such a way to keep the readers on their toes and glued to the pages. I think that the author has a calling for the YA fantasy genre. Especially in her ability to convey maturity in her characters and chemistry between them but still keep things suited to her audience. I thought the characters had great range and depth, and for having so many that, in itself, was remarkable.
Enter the world of Axaria, a land created by the council of Immortals– the nine gods and goddesses of the Immortal Realm. Princess Asterin, our sassy, strong, and fiercely determined FMC, has just discovered she is omnifinitied, one who is rare and gifted in all the nine elements of magic in her world. A darkness has risen up in Asterin’s kingdom, and it is up to Asterin, and her most trusted and talented friends to push it back to where it came from. Asterin in a desperate attempt to live up to her soon to be ruler status as well as her mother’s expectations. Asterin and her companions set off on their journey. But not everyone Asterin meets is friend and in their search for the demon plaguing the land, they discover the treachery is much closer to home and the truth shall be revealed and must be accepted even if no forgiveness can be found.
The story itself is very original, so much so that I only started to recognize aspects to tie it to the fairy tale Snow White at about 40% in. I love that. It made me as the reader think I had uncovered some great hidden mystery! The magical system created for Axaria was really great but more information would have been awesome. It was complex in that it was not just built on the elements but on spells also. We didn’t really get a very good breakdown of what this magic is capable of yet which leaves room for growth in a sequel but at the same time didn’t give us much to go on in the the fights.. Why are things hard? Why do certain things work and others don’t? What makes one magic bad and one good? Where is the line?
I think this supernatural world was built quite well, but the reader could have really benefited from more backstory and details here and there. For example I personally would have loved more info about the Immortals, it seems there is something going on in the Immortal realm that we have just barely grazed upon here in this book. Like things are happening over there. Having Queen Priscilla’s story, as well as the stories of others just barely hinted at around the magical world would have also answered a lot of questions for me. I identified several areas where it looked like other fairy tale reinventions could be starting, Sleeping Beauty, and Beauty and the Beast to just name a couple. What I would really like to know is if I’m reading to much into the story or if the author definitely is going to pursue these avenues. Though I haven’t seen any evidence so far stating matter of factly that this is book one in the series, this cannot be the end. I ended this story wondering if I had discovered some missed plot holes, or if I had discovered multiple unfinished avenues the author plans to pursue later. These unanswered questions are the reason for my quad stars. I feel like a lot of the questions I have were left with the reader on purpose so as to answer them in a later work. Not knowing for sure is just about killing me lol.
It is just phenomenal really that this is the author’s first work, and that the author was only 15 at the time it was written. Definitely something I would recommend for YA fantasy readers, or lovers of fairy tale retellings. This author is one to watch out for!
I requested and received an AR copy of this via NetGalley and the Publisher Blackstone Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Finale was more than just the ending to a magicians game, it was the game of survival and a pick and choose between love, life, or power. Never before have I read a book in a series that instead of being riveted by the book itself I imagined the author writing it. My imaginings took me on a wild journey for book 3 here, in which the author started a series and the story becomes possessed and now the author has to fight to get the story to both come out onto the page as well as shove all the excess back in. All the while the author is battling the “beast,” the story is throwing idea after idea out at the author in attempts to distract her. Until finally she gets everything out she can, barely obtaining her well fought victory feeling exhausted and drained. For me this series has evolved in a manor that goes along with my above imaginings. Book one is calm and seductive luring you into the world just like it did for the author. Book 2 the possession becomes evident and the author is ready for the battle but the distractions being thrown into her mind keep winding up in the story creating a wild ride and mashup of things not seen in book 1. Then there is book 3, which seemed more like a last ditch effort and hail mary pass in an attempt to reach some sort of conclusion or finish line without tripping on any plot holes along the way.
Despite the book coming to a nice conclusion for the series I still feel a little rode hard and put up wet. The suspense created between the constant back and forth for all the characters as well as never knowing who is on top of the pile was quite exhausting for me. I also felt like in book 3 here all my “loves” from book 2 regressed into a hotmess mashup. Tella who in book 2 displayed a strong, driven, heroine personality regressed to naive, wishy washy, pawn here in book 3. Scarlet… in her attempts to become more like Tella causes even more chaos and through everything in this book I just kept thinking.. We have a book about Scarlet, we have a book about Tella, now we need a book where they and all their collected allies in the game tackle a problem together and learn to trust each other despite all the lies in the first 2 books.. Unfortunately this is not what happens. There really never was a “Eureka” moment. It was just every man for himself till the end basically. I felt like this was the book that should have brought everyone together meshed them cohesively and created some extra depth and for me it came up a little short.
The story itself was still enjoyable but it just lacked some finality that with a name like Finale should have been made a little more evident. I mean have they really wrapped anything up? I mean honestly? I feel like we are basically in the same spot as where book 2 left off but with a tad more “agreeable” characters, and some choices that should have been made back at the end of book 2 finally decided upon. I ended up just being disappointed that it still feels like we aren’t at a true end.
I requested and received an ARC of this via NetGalley and the publisher Flatiron Books in exchange for an honest review. Thanks so much for the opportunity to read and review this book.
A heist to end all heists, and if it can be pulled off, maybe even the salvation of the world as they know it! After reading the first GrishaVerse series and feeling a tad underwhelmed afterward I was a little leery of starting this one. I am so excited to say that I am glad I didn’t put it off any longer. This book, for me, ended up having all the things the first book ended up lacking and pretty much excels in the parts the first series fell short! Almost like the author picked my brain and improved all the things I wasn’t quite feeling from Alina’s story.
The world was super easy to sink into, of course I already had some prior knowledge, but honestly I almost think that you could figure out enough that this series could be a standalone. There was enough info there to make the connections. The story was angsty, daring, action packed, a little on the dark side with some intermittent humor thrown in just like I like! I feel that one of the biggest strengths of this story, that the first trilogy lacked, was concise, diverse, well rounded characters with awesome relationship intensity and a great camaraderie. The story had a real “Oceans” or “Now You See Me” vibe. I just couldn’t put it down. I also loved how there was this air of mystery surrounding several of our characters, and that certain plot points would remain hidden until a reveal where you found out what the plan was just when the enemy was finding out! Really keeps you on your toes!
I just can’t say enough about the characters, I feel like my ramble switch got flicked! Lets meet out team shall we:
Kaz our resident “team leader” after basically raising himself in the barrels has slowly risen to the top of his gang all for revenge. Kaz is like the Sherlock Holmes of thievery and strategy this guy is a magician pulling rabbits out of all kinds of places and always thinking 10 steps ahead.. and you as the reader never know until BAM plan reveals!
Inez, freed from the menagerie (aka barrels brothel basically) by Kaz is trying to escape her horrid past. Code name “Wraith,” Inez is Kaz’s right hand chick.. she moves silently and is everywhere at once and wicked with some blades! Captured by slavers from her acrobat family, Inez was rescued from her life by Kaz and has been loyal ever since.. however, she is slowly realizing she must live her own life, and have her own goals or she will always be in 2nd place.
Jesper, known for his excellence with guns is our crack shot and resident baby sitter.. apparently! Has some Macgyver like tendencies. Has some issues with gaming tables apparently but has a quick charming wit!
Nina corporalki heartrender grisha with the power to stop hearts with the squeeze of a hand. Residing in the barrels for quite some time trying to save Mathias from Hellgate prison… since she may have put him there… uses her powers for therapeutic purposes and is willing to tag along to save Grisha’s everywhere…and to free Mathias. This girl is my sista from another mista!
Mathias the turncoat.. once a Fjerdan slaver who captured, held, and basically lured Grisha to their death has been sentenced to who knows how long in Hellgate prison for it. Charmed by Nina’s zest for life, effervescent attitude he helps her and ends up tortured about being a traitor to his country, looking for revenge.. and freedom!
Wylan…ammunition expert, Macgyver extraordinaire with a shocking history that may provide some leverage if stuff goes south!
I don’t want to go into what all the plot entails, because I would accidentally ruin something I’m sure. It was a great heist story with lots of twists, turns, and on the spot quick thinking! Super enjoyable to read and I can’t wait to dive into the second book and find out the fate of this Grisha world!
Reread Review There have been several times I have gone for a reread of a book and lamented the fact that I didn’t leave a review.. or a note.. or something to give myself a heads up for the next time I read it! This of course is one of those times! It was like reading it for the first time, things were coming out of left field and I couldn’t remember half the book, my heart was breaking, and I was so angry at myself for not leaving a review the first time. Just 5 stars really isn’t enough to express my range of emotions during this book! I’m so glad that I will now have a heads up for the next time, because there will definitely be a next time! There were some EPIC reveals in this 2nd book in the series that just took my breath away, and still we have so far to go!
I have to tiptoe around this plot because my fingers are dying to type out all kinds of spoilers for all to see! For most of begging of this book, it seems like routine assignments in the life of the King’s assassin. It was almost like the author was luring me in with this false sense of security here. Just one more person for Celeana to find a way to be rid of, only this one she has a past with… Celeana is just out doing her thing, being all awesome, when BAM plots begin unfolding and people start dying and Celeana becomes the most BAD A EVER! I knew that this series was what sent me on a strong heroine kick years ago.. but I couldn’t remember the exact point at which i decided that no one needs a damsel in distress when they could have someone like Celeana, but now I get it! Now I remember! As Celeana becomes more involved in her next case she discovers her new target isn’t what he seems and this “resistance” the king speaks of is real, hiding out there. Not only that but Celeana must finally start to choose.. the resistance, her heritage, the memories she has buried deep inside her for so long, or the “supposed” safety she has now. She can no longer play the coward. The time to act is at hand…. before forces are unleashed that noone may survive!
I am so excited about continuing this series after this reread! I’ve been having to physically restrain myself from binging my way through in order to finish rl stuff as well as other reads I’ve promised to do, but just know…. I’m coming for you book #3! View all my reviews
I was thinking 3.5 for this and started with just 3 stars marked but I had to go ahead and round it up while writing the review as I started remembering all the things I really liked about it lol. It was a little hard to sink into the world at first, as the world building and the set up came at us all at once in the beginning along with a skip ahead scenario where we kind of had to play connect the dots for a bit until more info was revealed at the end. It was a pretty enjoyable read once the world started to make a little more sense and I understood more of “why” things were happening. I think the skip forward kind of threw me a little since we didn’t learn what actually happened during the war until much later so I was a little lost for a bit. I am loving the magic system here tending more towards herbology. I would love to see more of this and what can be done with it. What little we have seen so far is super interesting! The characters were pretty well rounded and had spunk and of course my favorite the intermittent devil may care humor! Sucker for things that make me laugh!
We start off at the beginning of a revolution where a small island of immigrants are opposing a corrupt religious zealot king hell bent on doing away with all kinds of magic. Our story takes place in the 3 different viewpoints of our main 3 characters. Lu, our FMC, a child soldier of the revolution who doubles as a spy and does secret missions in order to further the revolutions cause. It was a little jarring how young the characters were at the start of the story and some of the things they had been through. Deveraux Bell, aka Vex our dashing steam raider with no affiliations and a devil may care attitude. and Benat naive son of the ruthless religious zealot king. Skip forward 6 years the battle is over and it seems there is peace on the island of Grace Loray..or is there. During treaty negotiations things quickly start moving south as Vex gets captured, intentionally, and stirs up all kind of issues between Grace Loray’s council, the Argridian delegates and the Steam Raiders who are still a little salty over the revolution. An Argridian delegate comes up missing and the countries are on the point of war once again. Lu, having been key in the last war will stop at nothing to prevent this from happening again.. from having to participate in a war again. She is still dealing with what happened in the last war. As she sees events unfold she sees a plot to turn Grace Loray in on itself.. and who better to help her than Vex to save the day. But all is not as it seems, and there are many more players in this deadly game than could possibly be expected.. nor did they know the lengths a mad king will go abject control…
I of course love Lu, who seems humble and prideful all at the same time. She is intensely passionate about herb magic and her people/country. She is also a straight Bad A, which of course I’m a sucker for lol. Vex, with his witty, hilarious sarcasm kept the story super entertaining. I’m not a huge fan of Ben.. yet, he seemed super naive, and kind of slow through most of the story.. Its like after 6 years of this life he is just now catching on to how the game is played… meh. Of course, as soon as I start liking him better we are left with the token cliffhanger ending lol. I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for the next in this series! View all my reviews
I requested and received an AR copy of this book via NetGalley and the publisher Bookouture for reviewing purposes. Many thanks for allowing me to read and review this work!
I must be honest. I did not read the blurb for this book before requesting it. Having read the first in the series I jumped at the chance to further explore the world. That being said it kind of threw me when I realized that though Bel and Con are present in this new adventure the book was more a continuation of the world with new character’s story brought to the forefront. In my opinion this book could probably stand alone, but having read the first one did add some enrichment, and backstory in. I love that we got some minor continuation of Bel and Con’s story but at the same time a whole new set of circumstances for our characters here.
Our FMC in this story is Petra, who after the last book and her efforts has been promoted to general for Bel and Con’s military. Bel and Con still preparing for wedding attempt #2. Petra is tasked with guarding Zander, Bel’s brother, while visiting for their wedding. Petra and Zander have some history which is brought to light. Zander arrives from the Empire, followed closely by Lord Teel, one of the Empress’s most favorite courtiers, and company. Turns out Zander may be on the run from the Empress’s plots and schemes and interestingly enough to Con, ever the nerd <3, the Empress has some technology and mecha they are somewhat familiar with. As Petra becomes more involved trying to protect Zander not only from the Empress’s schemes but also from her own past, Lord Teel manages to wheedle his way in. As if all this isn’t enough an old foe of Anthaese long since buried, has reawakened and is now claiming vengeance in the form of a religious uprising. We really got to learn even more about Anthaese’s history in this story and we get to see more of our “dragons” as well as some set up for further dragons.
I felt that the story itself was good and very enjoyable combining the magic of the world with the scifi tech. What kept me from loving it, I think, was the new characters I think. I think it was the lack of diversity of personalities and a lack of depth, neither Petra nor Zander are incredible or stand out really. There was just a lack of passion and intensity throughout the whole story that I think would have been very emotion provoking had it been present. The action and adventure were there, but it was just a little superficial failing to really grasp me and keep me invested even during the most climactic parts. I think that if the author had played up Petra, Zander and even Teel’s characters more and made them deeper it would have had a stunning effect. Even Bel and Con didn’t suck me in quite like in the first story. Where I would have experienced such profound heartbreak and even horror during certain parts of this story, it just didn’t really hit me emotionally like the scenes should have.
I really like this world and look forward to seeing what the story has for us next, however I would really like to see some passion, and intensity in the characters in the next story. Make me really feel it. View all my reviews
I need to start off by saying that Veronica Roth broke my heart once before so I’ve been avoiding her work whilst taking time to stitch myself back together. I rarely if ever read reviews before I try a book… sometimes I may have to pause the book to go read some reviews especially if I feel like I have a really harsh criticism just to see if it is just me.. In this books case, however, I read the reviews before hand and was set up to force myself to finish it.. but I was so surprised. I had no problem staying super engrossed in the story which moved at a pretty decent pace in comparison to other things I have read. In fact I really liked it. There are parts of the book that seem pretty hopeless and in a lot of books that will bring me down to the point where I start to dislike them but the characters resilience, and determination really made up for those times I thought. The only problems I really had was the lack of backstory really about the worlds and this war that seems to be playing out.. this universe? controlled by this “current,” is pretty complex and it would seem like it has a really rich backstory especially between the people I would have liked a little more of that. I also saw a lot of reviews about the racial connotations and I am embarrassed to say that I read those reviews before hand and completely forgot all about it during the story and it never occurred to me that was going on so I don’t really feel its as “obvious” as they made it seem… either that or I’m just oblivious lol.
The concept we start out with in this story is that every person has a future, but only some have fates. Fates basically being a prophesied future that cannot be changed. What they never stress or tell you is that they can be interpreted a million ways of course…. like all prophecies but no one is supposed to know their “fate” until after death. People, also still have some sort of choices almost like their personality or decisions would effect out the wording on the “fate” is interpreted by life itself. Our MMC Akos and our FMC Cyra come from opposite sides of “the divide.” Akos from a Thuvhe family, 3rd son of the Oracle. Going about his happy life but his mother always hinting at some greater purpose, with a sad demeanor. Up until the day comes where fates were read aloud and his world was turned upside down by the Shotet people, his father murdered and him and his brother kidnapped. Cyra, the daughter of the Shotet King, is cursed by her “currentgift” to always feel and cause pain becomes a tool for her evil elder brother who is determined to conquer his fate and not fall to the Thuvhe ruling family. Ryz her brother has lost his humanity it seems in his desperate attempts to control his people and thwart fate itself. Cyra and Akos are thrown together him being the respite to her curse, but things aren’t exactly what they seem in this world, nor do we honestly know who the real enemy is….
We still have alot of questions plot wise, and some serious intrigue going on here… I have my theories but I don’t want to give any spoilers. One thing is for sure Veronica Roth has no problem killing off some characters… This book was completely engaging for me, nerve racking as well. We are left with a big reveal cliffhanger.. love those (insert sarcasm) lol. Can’t wait to see where this is headed.
Such a great continuation of the series. This book picks up right where we left off in book 1. I feel like we are starting to get more and more information about the magic in this world but I think we have only touched the surface. For the most part, I feel like Theo is finally growing up, she is still impulsive and arrogant but she has tempered it with people to care for. What kept me from giving this book 5 stars was that the plot line seemed to drag on at certain parts and during that time there didn’t seem to be anything plot related going on.. almost like we are plotting along and ….squirrel. I get the reasons behind why they start their journey by visiting another land to collect allies but the time spent there almost seemed wasted. We did finally get to point B from point A and I say almost wasted because we did learn some things but it was a long drive.
Theo and her entourage journey to Sta’Crivero, where the King has collected suitors from all the lands to meet with Theo so she can choose a husband best suited to her needs. Since her desire is an army to boot the Kaiser out of Astrea this is her main concern. Little does she know, the scheezy king is basically auctioning her off to the highest bidder and not all the bidders are there to play fair. During their stay they visit the refugee camp and come to the realization that just because they aren’t slaves like in Astrea their quality of life is almost as bad. I love loved Theo and Soren’s relationship in this book.. Its like they cleared the air and from that point on they were completely honest with each other.. no games. It was refreshing. When suitor’s Theo shows interest in start dying, and Soren is implicated, Theo becomes desperate to both save her people and finally escape the Kaiser’s clutches all the while trying to avoid the clutches of someone just as bad. With a not so great plan, and her desperate people at her back Theo finally gets to make a choice of a queen.. her or her kingdom. The surprising part is the person giving her the choice…..and how it turns out.
I can’t believe that we are left with that ending and now have to wait till 2020 for some closure!! Here is to hoping Theo really brings it in the next book! Im also wondering if the next book will pickup right where we left off here… or if some time will have passed due to some circumstances… Uggghhh so far away!!!
My excitement for this series has been slowly tapering off as things drag on… I’m not sure what is throwing me off. Maybe its the role confusion here? The bad guys just aren’t bad enough and the good guys just aren’t that good maybe? Or maybe its just Alina.. I had been hoping across the series to finally click with her but she is just so hard to lock down. One minute she is funny and sassy, the next minute she is morose and selfish, and every now and then a burst of self confidence comes out of no where. Its like no matter how much training she has, or how many times a chapter ends with her gaining some conviction from somewhere she is always just freaking wingin’ it. If I had to say anything she just isn’t heroine material… I feel like the story was being led by a side character and I kept waiting on her to truly step up into her destiny or this “Aha” moment but really even with all the events that happened when the story ended… There she was just ordinary… Its like the Shakespeare saying:
” Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” but in this case the character was like “oh Heck no”… lol.
We start right where book 2 left off. Alina and her “sun” followers along with her loyal Grisha gang are trapped underground, while the Apparat tries to play his leadership games. Alina is left without all her powers after her last run in with the Darkling, and she is desperate for some sort of hope of beating him so they set off to find the last amplifier. The “real” light of this book and the book before it, Nikolai, catches up with them and they head off to rally their allies. Betrayal from in their midst, leads them straight to the Darkling and yet another battle ensues in which mother and son must face off while Alina goes in search of the 3rd amplifier. We got more and more backstory on the amplifiers themselves and the man who first had the idea for them. As Alina continue’s her journey it becomes increasingly obvious that not only does she not want what seems to be her destiny but she is almost desperately trying to put off making any decisions or committing herself while she grasps for what she truly wants. As warnings catch up to her Alina realizes that the she will need the 3rd amplifier to defeat the darkness and the fold but the cost is just too much….
I really liked the plot twist at the end, but where, in the 2nd book, it seems like Alina is embracing her awesomeness and her destiny, it just isn’t happening she is back and forth giving me the whiplash. Also, I do feel like the ending was a little abrupt, like we really didn’t get to see the effects of their journey really. I think all in all it was a good series but it was not what I would call epic. I am super excited though, to read Nikolai’s story because he has been my favorite from his first scene!
I’m not sure if everyone has this problem but I seem to be able to read way faster than I can review. Truthfully, I try to write detailed reviews and sometimes by the end of a reading binge the reviews start either looking the same or go off on a tired giggle rant… What are some secrets that you more experienced bloggers use to keep yourself focused and keep up with the ever growing pile of read books that still need stars beside them?
I’m not sure I have ever read anything like this. This book was both creepy with a sociopathic/psycho vibe.. and at the same time super engaging and all consuming. I feel like the Impassive voice of the writer made it all the more compelling. There were no good guys…. just a groups of antagonists in an all out brawl being pushed by some fanatic type notions driving them onward.. I found myself spending the entire book trying to justify and make excuses for one character or another in a desperate attempt to make a “good guy” out of at least one of them. The back and forth jumping through time answering questions almost as soon as I thought to ask them and revealing the plot in an almost genius way. I felt like for most of the story like I was running through a never ending hallway each door on the side revealing new things, new characters, new powers and at the same time I was striving to get to the present to find out the ending. An odd concept in itself striving to get to the now to find out the end…
Victor and Eli, the ultimate frenemies, start their journey in college 10 years ago with 2 thesis ideas which correlate. Victor wanting to study the effects of adrenaline and fight/flight type mechanisms and Eli wanting to study EOs or “Extra Ordinarys”, people with unexplained abilities caused by certain experiences.. Teaming up they discover a tried and true formula after some trial and error.. costly error.. and at the same time lose something intrinsic to human nature. Years later, after some ultimate betrayals by both Victor and Eli their battle comes to a head in a game where there are no heroes.. only villains. In all realness this is one of the hardest plots to describe without giving some stuff away.
I am not sure that I ever really liked any of the characters, but I think that was one of the points lol. I can’t wait to start the next book if only for the fact that I want to see what other EO “super powers” are out there. Great, entertaining and nerve shredding read! View all my reviews
This was a decent start to the series.. I would say its probably more of a 3.5 star but not a 4 for me. There are multiple things this first book has going for it. The story is both original and captivating. It has a steampunk flare that really went well with the whole fantasy fae magic. The characters seemed well rounded and at the same time maintaining a huge air of mystery and the chemistry between our FMC, Aileana Kameron, aka Kam and her “trainer” Kieran was off the charts…. /face fanning. I will say that I did think our FMC a tad on the selfish/immature side, she was also very impulsive diving into situations without thinking, luckily she was bad A enough to dig her way out.
Aileana Kameron lives for vengeance. Since the moment she saw her mother brutally murdered by a fae she has wanted nothing but revenge. Found standing over her mothers dead body covered in blood by her father, her life hasn’t been the same. The whispers of murderer follow her everywhere and her father has almost written her off since. Now years later she has owned her title.. but not in the way the whisperers think. Kam with her ability to sense the fae, hunts them down all the while searching for her mothers murderer. Kieran her mysterious fae trainer has taught her how to survive.. but now she is venturing out on her own.. not knowing the danger she faces. Secrets come to light about Kam’s bloodline.. as the monsters turn the hunt on her. Now she is tasked with righting some wrongs and saving her city… but doing that may put her vengeance out of reach and loose her the friends she has made along the way.
I would say that what really kept me from loving this book was the infuriatingly vague plot reveals… clawing answers out a tiny bit at a time and right when I think I have a grasp of where we are headed.. the cliffhanger made me question everything I knew.. I about threw the book across the room.. ok so I didn’t really, but I imagined it for a minute. So, now not only do I have no idea where to stand.. I’m not even left standing I’m left hanging off said cliff not knowing whether to climb up and out or fall into the abyss… View all my reviews
I have got to say I thought this was a really good start to the series. In fact I was hooked from the first sentence.. though in all honesty, the first sentence really had nothing to do with the rest of the book lol. Just mention some dragon eggs and apparently that’s all it takes for me. I really felt this book was super easy to sink into and I really felt the world building was pretty fantastic. I had no trouble picturing the scenes even having never read anything like this before. The characters for the most part were well rounded to me, seemed pretty relate able, and also seemed to compliment each other pretty well, balancing each other out. One thing I noticed, that threw me, was that events from the past, like centuries ago in the past, seemed sooo.. present? Events from centuries ago are kind of meshed in with events from a decade ago, and eventually it started to run together so much to where I couldn’t give you an honest straight timeline I don’t think. Either way everything seems to be remembered so vividly, like it just happened.. and yet there are legends of this sky city and a lost artifact that no one really knows about… Not sure if anyone else has felt this way but in reality it didn’t actually effect the events of the story, it just threw me here and there….
Kamzin, our FMC, has dreamed of following in her explorer mother’s footsteps since her sister and her followed her mother on her last adventure..across the deadly mountain Raksha. Now why a mother would take her 2 young children around/accross this mountain…. who knows, but after that failed attempt Kamzin and Lusha lost their mother and now they are the last 2 remaining people that know the way up to the mountain. Kamzin has always lived in her mother and brilliant sister Lusha’s shadow and longs for a time when she comes out the winner, the first picked, the most skilled. Famous Explorer River Shara shows up in Kamzin’s village to start of his next adventure and lo and behold he needs a guide for Raksha.. of course he would pick Lusha… Oddly enough Lusha studying the stars to become a seer has some stuff of her own she is trying to figure out and takes off before the journey leaving only Kamzin to lead River. Kamzin must her self esteem issues, her intense desire to prove herself, and her hero worship of River to lead them up the deadly Raksha, finding out some truths that can’t be forgotten and discovering the dangers lurking in her world are much closer than they seemed.
I will say that though the story was pretty captivating, there were lots of times where the plot did seem to move slowly though I really thought the last 15% or so of the book with all the plot twists, betrayals and discoveries made up for it. I’m super excited to continue the story because… I just have to know what is going to happen now… and I’m not at all sure I agree with decisions that have been made… View all my reviews
I can’t decide whether to post Reviews one at a time.. Which adds up to about 2 blog posts a day or to combine them into one post.. I figure if its an ARC, I should do the author and the publisher the favor of separating it into its own post but if its me reading because that’s what I do.. then it shouldn’t hurt to combine them from time to time. With that being said here are some new reviews lol.
I think this is a potential 5 star but…. Deep Breath I borrowed this audio book from Libby, which for those that aren’t aware is a companion to Overdrive, an app allowing you to check out ebooks using your library card. I am not in the habit of grabbing the “just” audio versions of books because I have problems focusing sometimes, and in those instances I usually just switch over to reading myself. This audio book was one of the hardest audio’s that I have ever tried to listen to, and with no “read myself” option, I found myself constantly going back to re listen to a certain chapter or area because I had no clue where I was or what was happening. Honestly, the narrator seemed pretty talented with the different characters etc, but the narrator combined with the writing style.. it sent my ADD into hyper drive or something. I did finally speed up the audio to around 1.35 and was able to start to focus much better after that but daaannnggg I thought I was going to have to put this down and come back when I could get a physical copy. I’ve heard such wonderful things about this series and have seen a ton of my friends reviews of this and I was getting pretty anxious, thinking I was going to have to DNF till later, but I made it through and look forward to reading a physical copy so I would like to retain the right to change my mind on certain aspects at that time.
Now for the important stuff.. lol. This book had an interesting, amazing, very intricate and unique take on the magic world. Alternate dimensions, each a kingdom containing different types of magic, grey being the “human” dimension where magic has faded, Red being a kingdom with a great balance of magic, the White kingdom starving for magic, and the Black kingdom which was lost and closed off from the other kingdoms centuries ago due to magic taking over the kingdom. The only people that can travel between all the kingdoms seem to a race of blood magicians called the Antari, of which our MMC Kell is one of the last 2 remaining. Kell raised in the Red kingdom by the king and queen themselves travels between the kingdoms “smuggling” on the DL despite his adoptive brother Rye’s warnings against it. The other Antari, Holland, acts as a messenger between the kingdoms. During one of Kell’s smuggling attempts between kingdoms he ends up possessing a black stone, that ends up snowballing into a death defying adventure. Along the way he picks up a sidekick, Lyla from the grey side. That Lyla though lol. She is ridiculous, doesn’t put up with Kell’s stuffy crap, NEVER listens, and somehow always manages to save the day lol. Girl is a hot mess but its working I guess. I am super interested to see what is ahead for these characters, Lyla in particular since she has a particular talent of hitching rides across colors… lol.
I’m super interested on seeing where this is headed but I would definitely like to do a quick reread with a physical copy before I move forward in the series. I feel like there are parts I’m still missing… just small holes here and there, but I like being able to make small connections here and there and not having the info would keep me from my fullest potential enjoyment! I’ll be back for this series for sure!!
4.5 stars. Fantastic start to the series! This book completely captivated me right from the start, and I had no problems sinking right into the story and staying there cover to cover. I really debated on giving this book 5 stars because it was so enjoyable for me, however, I would like to leave some room to completely wow me as the series continues. I feel like our FMC Theo has a ways to go development wise, as she learns how to deal with her new role, and works through the horrors of her past, and grows into herself really.
Surviving as a prisoner/whipping post, in a conquered land to a ruthless Kaiser, after watching her mother brutally murdered before her eyes, our FMC Theo, has learned to wear her masks well, or else suffer or watch others suffer the consequences in her place. Constantly aware of the games being played with her and around her she has learned to never trust, never let her guard down, and always play along. Growing up as the “Ash Princess” in this ruthless and unforgiving court, her only “friend” the daughter of the man who murdered her mother, Theo is to frightened to even dream of a different life, one of freedom. That is until, a notorious rebel is captured and his life.. yet another game for the Kaiser to play, is put in her hands.. This rebel however, comes with a host of memories long since buried in Theo’s mind, and triggers a domino effect of decisions made by Theo to not only save herself, but maybe even plan to save what is left of her torn kingdom, even if she has to betray all the “friends” she has made along the way.
We have some super interesting plot concepts playing out here, and we have really just barely touched the surface so far of the magic of this world and the consequences of these invaders defiling their gods areas with the mining of the gems etc. I think what kept me from smashing that 5 star was the fact that we have only barely touched on the magic so far in the series though it has been set up really well so far, and Theo herself as a character is still demonstrating the mindset of always pleasing others.. This has been beaten into her over the years, to be exactly what everyone wants and I’m waiting on her to climb her way out of that hole and take ownership of herself so to speak. We also have some intriguing mysteries surrounding some side characters, that I can’t wait to find some answers about! Super entertaining read, with just enough suspense and intrigue to keep a reader involved! Can’t wait to find out what is next! View all my reviews
I need to “clear the air” so to speak to kick this review off. I had read the blurb.. and I felt it was a tad misleading. To me personally, the blurb gave the impression that there was going to be a bit of romance in here. What happened here was not that… This was for lack of a better description.. a very macabre read. The impression of a love interest possibly saving the FMC Nedra, was a false impression lol. In fact, I feel like if I hadn’t been waiting for the romance aspect to finally kick in and get serious the whole time I think that I could have weathered this out better.
That being said I really thought this had some great potential with very interesting concepts and a well thought out magical/scientific basis. The story line was easy for me to sink into right from the beginning. It really started off with a bang. If it weren’t for my confusion of an expectation vs reality nature here. I think that I could really have gotten behind it a little more. I feel like the main criticisms I have were the characters having really narrow personalities, and there being hardly any chemistry between characters, and the back story and world building felt a little like an after thought, thrown haphazardly in at times.
Our story starts with Nedra, our FMC, journeying from her poor northern village to the city of Yugen to attend an alchemy school (seemingly for only wealthy, prominent, and spoiled rotten young adults) on scholarship. Nedra, is an ambitious girl, with a true passion to heal the mysterious wasting plague that has been popping up all over their island causing people’s blood and limbs to turn black and eventually die. She goes to attend the school and finds its like nothing she has ever known before. Apprenticed under a very strict master. I feel like the “schooling” part of this story was super rushed over, almost a fact dumb but at the same time hardly giving us any information. Most of the students treat Nedra with disdain, all but Grey aka star pupil. Honestly, I almost felt like Grey was just a side character.. he mostly just walked through the scenes, acting bored, spouting opinions or feeling sorry for himself, he really had no purpose for this story. As Nedra furthers her studies she becomes more and more aware of the political turmoil her island is in, as well as the overwhelming increase in “plague” victims. People are dying left and right and Nedra is desperate for answers grasping at anything to save them… even forbidden Necromancy. Learning that the plague is probably caused by a Necromancer, Nedra turns toward the 4th alchemy once her parents die from the sickness and her sister is struck. The island is in chaos, revolting, government officials dead or in disposed. Her Master at school has been taken in for teaching her Necromancy… Taking up her new talent she storms toward the hidden Emperor to get some revenge and find some truth.. though that truth may not be what she thinks…
There were some hidden plot twists and turns though they weren’t super surprising really. Though we aren’t honestly left on a cliffhanger… we are left with things.. unfinished I guess, and with no knowledge of where things are headed for Nedra now that she is a Necromancer. In my opinion it was a little anticlimactic and kind of ended abruptly. I did have some issues with some aspects of the book but all in all it was an interesting read.. I think it really could have been epic but… maybe in the next book… View all my reviews
I was very surprised by the start to this series. The concept was incredibly original, entertaining, and profound to me. The first book in this series had me actually contemplating “creation” from an authors standpoint as the characters in this book battle to “compose” their magic. Also, this book really brought reading into a different perspective for me, and made me realize how much I may take for granted the ability to read and even write and the gift it really is.
In this world, just the act of writing by someone not of mage blood can bring dire consequences, even mass destruction, because people without mage blood have no ability to control the power release by written word. What a profound concept really…and the truth of it even applies to real life without magic.. or maybe even its own form of magic. Therefor, “common born” people are not allowed to learn to read, because that will lead to writing. In fact they aren’t even allowed to gaze upon the written word. Mage born however, learn to read and then properly control what they write expending energy and power into written spells that can be used at any time. All but Elena, who in a fit of miraculous impossibility, with no training whatsoever, and having never read or written a thing speaks a word “STOP” into an unruly crowd and everyone freezes.. until a power blast is felt throughout her kingdom as the power breaks apart. Taken to the Academy for mages to be “studied” and to learn control Elena must not only learn all about her ability herself since she seems to be the first of her kind.. Spoken Mage, and she must also maneuver the political intrigues in this new mage born world, all the while attempting to thwart attempts at her life for being an “unknown.”
Though we had a lot of info thrown around in here as Elena learns, I had no trouble keeping up. I did however, feel like it took almost half the book before Elena finally gets some things figured out and starts learning how her “power” works. The end of the book wrapped up awesomely, with Elena really coming into herself and owning somethings, as well as deciding what she is.. and isn’t going to put up with! YOU ROCK ELENA! I really enjoyed the characters in this book even though for most of the book it seems we are doomed to wading through an episode of “Mean Girls” with grown ups included. SMH. I really can’t wait to see where this is headed, especially with a war with another kingdom in process… View all my reviews
So we have been having wonderful weather in our neck of the woods… or town w/e, lately, and so I have been running train on some audio’s that fit our Goodreads group challenge “Gimme a V” for this month, all the while I knock out my seemingly never ending honey “do this or else” list. I’ve become aware of multiple things…
1. My beloved huskies Jake and Jax are sick and tired of winter, it being too cold to get in our “long” walks, as evidenced by the multiple holes dug in the back yard and the several successful escape attempts over the past week or two.
2. The search for audios on KU when I need a quick fix is getting harder and harder.
Therefor in light of these discoveries, I have started a list of KU audio’s that I super enjoyed and hope that I can con some of you guys to into pointing me in the direction of more, and also we over the last couple days have gotten in some good long walks with the boys, and I got pictures…
I also got some pictures of my husband and his idea of “walking the dogs.” I can see now why one of the wagon wheels are bent….
Either way with the walks and the chores I got in some audio and snuck in some reading time (hiding in the bathroom). Here are a couple new reviews:
Really I’m thinking 3.5 for this continuation because I was on the cusp of loving it, honestly, I’m just ready for some end game here. I’m a little discouraged at the end of this book, we need something good for morale. I will say that the addition of certain quirky, sarcastic and charming princely characters really was necessary for some intermittent humor and the occasional pick me up. Though it did turn a little darker, I don’t necessarily agree with others that it was all Alina, honestly I feel like we take a turn after the first book and we are left with almost no hope for a while. Alina spends a lot of this book coming to grips with herself basically, she is still on that “I want a normal life” train for a lot of this book. Despite the Darkling and Nikolai and so many other people really needing her to step up she is clinging to Mal and her old life so hard it gave the book kind of a depressing feel as she battles through that.
In this second book of the GrishaVerse series. Alina and Mal don’t last long on their own. Alina suppressing her power once again begins to turn her back into the sickly wafe she was before she discovered it, and Alina is having a really hard time dealing with some self inflicted guilt over the occurrences in the last book. Recaptured by the Darkling, they soon discover that he has plans to make Alina even more powerful, maybe even into something else, and he has a whole new bag of intimidating tricks. While fighting for the next amplifier, they escape with the help of my new favorite character in this series. The dashing, clever, charming, and entirely ridiculous privateer Sturmhond and his crew of misfits turn the tide on the darkling and help Alina escape, to be taken to his “client.” Agreeing to head back to the kingdom in order to save Ravka, Alina and Mal are shocked and dismayed to find out the Privateers actual identity, Nikolai Lantsov, yadda yadda, etc etc. AKA big fat lying sack of…. ahem. Alina and Nikolai ally up, and the king agrees to let Alina command what is left of the Grisha.. which is a whole lotta headache in itself. They await the Darkling’s next move, while they uncover the identity of a third amplifier and come closer and closer to Alina’s true purpose… albeit maybe too late…..
Though I can’t say we are left on a cliffhanger, truthfully we are left with some shocking information from Alina, and a super uncertain future. Who knows where this adventure is headed next. I do hope Alina comes into some self confidence before the next book and goes ape crap all over some Darkling…. but we shall see…
I need to start off by saying I listened to the audio, which was available on KU, while knocking things off my honey do list. I thought the narrator Rachel Vivette did a great job. She has one of those voices where I spent most of the book trying to figure out what other books I’ve listened to her narrate but couldn’t figure it out lol. I’m not sure if its the story line itself that kept me from loving this or the intense unfairness of this whole situation. I liked the book, it was interesting, had a kind of syfy feel, and was unique, I just couldn’t seem to reconcile the fact that there was some genetic tampering to increase defiance in our FMC, and yet we are just being played like a pawn.
FMC, Ember, discovered at puberty that she is different from everyone else. As soon as she goes to sleep for brief intervals she teleports somewhere else. Starting off in the story, this was a tad confusing and a little jarring because there really isn’t alot of information about this or any backstory really but we slowly get more and more answers as well as uncover all kinds secrets as the plot progresses. Lately during her teleportation episodes she has wound up in strange places with strange and sometimes disturbing written instructions on her person. During one of her more strange episodes she breaks into a safe, and just knows she is going to be busted for it. However, the next day to her astonishment just when she thinks she is going to jail, her mother breaks down and tells her she has been apart of a government program since conception, in fact this program is what caused her conception to even be possible, and now she has to pay for it via military service. Immediately she thinks to run but has no shot against this caliber of military and she finds herself in a group home, military school, type setting with almost no hope of escape, but she has finally found others with abilities like hers. Apparently she has been genetically engineered to be a weapon and now its time to do her thing. As she becomes more oriented to her tasks, she slowly discovers more and more about this program and the people who run it and becomes horrified by some of the things she finds, while at the same time she becomes closer and closer to her “pair” Caden…/sigh. Ember begins playing a dangerous game of discover and expose all the while trying to keep her and Caden from becoming one more file in a growing list of teleporters dead due to “splicing,” and each mission gets more and more dangerous but maybe not as dangerous as home base….
Character wise, though Ember did start to grown on me, I really wasn’t a huge fan of her for a lot of the story. She’s very hostile and negative for most of the story and it comes across as immature at times. Caden on the other hand… comes across as almost too perfect with his super human everything and soft sensitive side… Give the dude some flaws already… geez. Secrets and reveals come a little slow here which had me at the “omg I’mma pull my hair out” stage frequently lol. The story line also didn’t give very much time to really know and develop the characters and relationships due to missions and sleuthing etc. I think I personally, would have been more invested if maybe I had more of that.
All in all, I felt it was an interesting, and pretty entertaining read but it was just missing a little something that really captivated my heart so, to speak. I would, however, like to see where its headed so I’ll probably eventually pick up book 2… but I’m not beating down the book store door.. yet.
Thrillingly creeptastic read, but not in a horror way. Have you ever read something and it just weighed on your mind for the rest of the day not just the characters and the story but the hint of a deeper meaning that might have been hidden underneath the tale? I felt like this book was riding on the line of profound in its lessons. As I watched the FMC, Scarlet, throw away some of her inhibitions in order to actually not just be alive but experience life even though it was not quite pretty… Whew this was an intense ride! I debated for a few whether or not to give this 5 stars… that’s how much it messed me up lol. I decided on 4 ish + stars because the romance aspect didn’t quite wow me, in fact if I were to break this up, this particular area might have only gotten like a 2 or 3 from me personally. This book was quite the emotional roller coaster with its intense twists and turns, ups and downs, and even upside downs. The illusion factor, very “Twighlight Zone”, and being right with the character not knowing what is really real was mind blowing and made for a really riveting read.
Scarlet our FMC has never left her home island. Having grown up with an extremely overbearing, controlling, and abusive father, her sister, Tella, and her have dreamed about running away. Hearing stories of the Caraval from her grandmother made her yearn to see the magic, and for many years of her childhood she wrote to the master, Master Legend, and begged him to bring his players to her island. In one last later she tells him she is due to be married, and tells him not to come. To her amazement she receives a response along with tickets for her to visit the games. But how can they leave, her father will ruin her hope of freedom through marriage if she disobeys him now… In a crazy scheme her sister takes the decision from her and has Julian kidnap Scar and abscond with her to the island for the games. Unfortunately in the process they lose Tella. Now, Scarlet is in a desperate rush to find Tella, all the while participating in these games where anything could be real or unreal. Scarlet must face her fears, solve the clues to save Tella, and maybe even give up everything or she may lose everything to the game.
This book had a real “life lessons” feel at times with the facing of the fears, and I was given pause multiple times to contemplate the profound message hidden underneath some of the comments and banter.
“You’re too quick to dive into fear,” Nigel said. “What you think of as fate only applies to the past. Our futures are only predictable because as creatures of this world we are predictable.”
World building wise I really thought the author did an amazing job of dragging us through this world of illusion. In my mind I can’t quite work out if it would be harder to create something realistic or something the reader knows is not to be taken as real and yet feels so real. plays Twilight Zone theme song in the background One of the more interesting things the author incorporates in her games is the asking of questions as payment… to buy something you must tell your biggest fear, or biggest desire. In a way this forces a character to be honest with themselves and allows you as the reader to get to truly know a character despite what they are telling themselves via inner monologues. Very clever and more personal in some ways.
“I think I’ve made a mistake.”…. “Then make it into something better.”
As for the romance factor, though Scarlet is undeniably and annoyingly drawn to Julian, she also has some childhood fantasies she is clinging to. The relationship interest between Scarlet and Julian is mostly them attempting to annoy one another. It lacked chemistry for me, and maybe even intensity in emotion.. other than their annoyance for one another. I just wasn’t honestly feeling them.
I can’t wait to dive into the rest of this series and see what is next. It seems as though we have closed a door on Scarlet’s story and are on to greener pastures.. maybe.. I really look forward to the next game… I’m onto you Mr. Legend…. I got your number now!
Rounded 4.5 up to 5 because… have you ever raced across town in a desperate attempt to get home to your computer to post a freaking update because your mind had just been blow by a book while waiting in the grocery store checkout line….. This legit happened to me today! I thought this book was great, and I had to give it 5 stars as I might not have come to a complete stop at one of the stop signs on the end of my street… we can just keep that on the DL though.
I have been putting this author off for a while now… I know I sincerely apologize now. I did this mainly because a lot of times I have been disappointed not because a book was bad.. more so because there are so many glowing reviews and a book doesn’t move me the way it does all my friends or sometimes even the general public lol. So I waited along time to put my heart out there… it was worth the wait for me! Super enjoyable read made all that more enjoyable by the fact that it was a buddy read and I could rant and rave about things!
We start with our FMC, Alina, and her best friend Mal, both orphans and peasants, being “tested” to see if the are Grisha. Grisha who are… basically they are freaking magicians ok but also they take offense to that and prefer “practitioners of the Small Science.” I’m going to be honest here, yes it is referred to science, however, it is never explained in depth in any scientific terms really other than maybe the manipulation of mater but not how this actually occurs… Both Alina and Mal are found “not” not to have a connection with the “science.” After this fast forward to Alina and Mal in the King’s army amidst a war with the surrounding lands… I do wish we had a little bit more info on the politics of this war.. its my understanding that its just a hate war… and maybe even the Grisha are part of the problem? Not only is there a war among the different people but also there is the “Fold,” an area of absolute darkness, created hundred of years ago by an evil dark wielding sorcer… ahem scientist. In this fold reside dark creatures that prey upon all who enter. The people are trapped by this and hunted by the darkness. They are desperate for a savior to demolish the fold. Alina and Mal are both stationed near the fold, and during a mission they are attacked by these evil volcra and Alina in a fit of awesomeness and desperation does something not seen before by other Grisha. Not knowing or understanding what has happened Alina is tested once again and deemed to be a “sun summoner.” From here, Alina is whisked away to the castle and shoved into training and court life, portrayed as the savior of the people. In a battle with herself, her magic, and her fears of being alone and unwanted, she is made vulnerable to those who would pray on her naivete for their own endeavors. Alina’s choices from here on out may effect the whole world… and who should she trust if anyone..?
Character wise, Alina, for the most part is a pretty pessimistic and melancholy type starting out. I feel like she does a lot of developing through the book. Its always great when a character grows with the reader, it creates a great bond and for me personally makes me much more invested in the outcomes. I also love that we have Genya, the exact opposite of Alina as the BFF material. This created a great chemistry and diversity that was both entertaining to me, and engrossing.
We definitely had some mind blowing reveals that sucker punched me as evidenced by my speedy rush home… I am both terrified and excited for where this story is going and so glad to be on this journey! I know I must pace myself and not go off on a binder…. at least that is what I keep saying in my head…