Quick Review: Intensity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

intensity I have missed my sassy Cajun, Nick and his friends.  Eight books in and boy that boy has been through a lot.  This is the last book in the Chronicles of Nick but not really as it’s lead in to a spin-off series, I guess? I’m not really sure how I feel about it.  First, the book was fun and zippy.  Just like the other books in the series, it’s no-stop from the beginning to end.  It’s fast paced that I had to slow myself down or I would have read it all in one sitting.  Nick’s son, Cyprian Malachai has come back from the future to make sure that Nick stays on the path to destroy the world.  In doing so, he frames Nick for the murders of his former friends that kicked off the whole series.  That plot line is actually a nonentity in the book itself as it’s quickly resolved but it does lead to Nick start to understand what is really going and how to stop it.  The one thing that has separated Nick from the all the Malachai’s before him is that he was loved by his mother and he has the loyalty of his friends.  Cyprian makes it clear that one of the reasons he hates Nick is that he is well liked while Cyprian is not.  This seems kinda weak to me but who am I to judge.  I’m sure we will get more in the Shadows of Fire series that will feature both Cyprian and Nick.  So how does Nick defeat his foe.  Obviously major spoilers so if you want to read more, check under the cut.
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Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

lord of shadows

**This Review May contain some Spoilers**

I read a lot of fantasy novels and lately many of them have been relevant to what’s currently going on in our world.  I would say that some of it is a reaction to today’s political and cultural climate but books and art have a history of being predictive.  The Handmaid’s Tale was written over two decades ago and is just if not more relevant today then it was then.  Cassandra Clare’s The Dark Artifices might be her most political and timely series out of all her Shadowhunter series but it was years in the making first set in motion 10 years ago with the release of City of Bones.  One of the main threats in Lord of Shadows comes from within the Clave itself.  At the end of the The Mortal Instruments Series City of Heavenly Fire, the Clave started the Cold Peace.  A harsh punishment against Fairies for their involvement in the Dark War.  This has lead to anti-downworlder’s sentiment to spread among Shadowhunters.  Once again proving that people, even supernatural people do not learn from their own history.  Less then five years ago, they defeated Valentine, who’s group wanted to bring back the “golden age” of shadowhunters by ridden the world of downworlders and now the Cohort, a group of Shadowhunters are asking for downworlders to be registered and put into camps.  They movements should be marked and controlled.  Does that sound kinda familiar? It shouldn’t surprise any of you that the downworlders, particularly fairies are not happy and plan in invasion.  While all of this is happening, the Blackthorns and Emma are dealing with their own issues.  With each new book, they get more and more complicated with so many story lines that Clare is almost at George R.R. Martin level but not as many deaths.  I’m not sure all are necessary but it does make for interesting reading.  That being said to me the most interesting character is Julian.  Here’s a guy who at seventeen runs the LA institute. He takes care of his younger siblings and is utterly ruthless.  He will do anything for his family and his Parabati, Emma.  Who he is also madly in love with as she is with him but that’s forbidden and for good reason.  Parabati bond is pretty strong and only enhances strong romantic love to the point it drive them crazy.  Yikes.  As for the ending, I knew the character was going to die as soon as she admitted she was going to be friends with another character.  It sounds silly but the way it was written it sounded so final as her arc was over at that moment.  I was sorry to see that character go but boy there will be hell to pay now.  Too bad we have to wait 2 years to find out what happens next.

Happy One Year Anniversary to The Raven King and Maggie Stiefvater!

April 2016 was our most successful month page views wise.  We had 589 views, which beat our previous record of 552 in December 2015. It made me wonder what were we writing about a year ago to get so much traffic.  Well, The Raven Cycle and Maggie Stiefvater.  It’s hard to believe that the The Raven King came out a year ago.  That it has been a year since we found out if Gansey, Blue, Ronan and Adam would find the sleeping Welsh King and If Blue and Gansey would kiss and if Gansey would die.  Those mysteries have been solved.  Thankfully, we know that we haven’t read the last of the Gang as Maggie is working on a trilogy about Ronan. Whee!!!

And we have another Maggie book coming in October.  So we have a lot to look forward to but let’s take a moment, in honor of the 1 year anniversary of the release of The Raven King and the end of the The Raven Cycle, to look at everything we have ever written about the series.

What I’m Listening to Now: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Public Service Announcement

What I’m Thankful for

Cover Reveal: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Books that Rocked My Face off, Part two

Let’s Do Some Reading: Goals for 2015

Cover Reveal: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Discussion Posts: Re-reading series before the new installment comes out

Books that Rocked My Face Off in 2015

What I Can’t Wait to Read in 2016

First Listen of The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Countdown to The Raven King!

What I’m ReReading Now: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Observations on The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Observations on The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Observations on Blue Lily Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

My To-Read List for the next month or so

Discussion: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Part 1

Discussion: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Part 2

Discussion: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Part 3

Discussion: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Part 4

Discussion: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Part 5

Discussion: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Part 6

Discussion: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Part 7

What I’m Reading Now: THE RAVEN KING BY MAGGIE STIEFVATER

What I’m Listening to: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Our Top 5 Posts of 2016

My Top 10 Books I read in 2016

Top Eight for 2016!

Th Raven Cycle as a TV Show Yes Please

Review: Pyromantic by Lish McBride

pyromantic

**Spoilers I was lucky enough to receive a Advance Copy back in September.  There will be Spoilers**

It was worth the wait. I really love Lish McBride’s writing. It’s fast paced and full of humor and just so wonderful.  Pyromantic begins a month or two after Firebug ended.  Ava and Cade are trying to figure out their relationship now that they know they are daughter and father.  Ava is still smarting from turning down Lock for a date.  Ava is still coterie but she can’t quite figure out her new boss, Alistair.  Like, when is he going to start killing people for no reason because that’s what Coterie does, right?  Let’s just say there is a lot to get used to.  That’s when this strange and unpredictable things start happening that Ava, Lock, Ezra, Sid and Bianca now must investigate.

I love Ava.  She’s funny, sarcastic and a little cynical.  She is full of insecurities and considering everything that she has been through it’s not surprising.  She lost her Mom after years of being on the run.  She is forced to work for Venus and the Coterie like an indentured servant.  She doesn’t have many friends outside of her team Lock and Ezra and Sylvie, who works at Cade’s bookstore.  When Lock asks Ava out it throws her off.  What if they break up?  How will that effect that their friendship?  So she avoids them both Lock and Ezra. When the strange a disease ravages the area they are forced to work together.  After all the twists turn it makes for a great book.  It’s so different. I mean who doesn’t love Kelpies who wear sweaters?  Or Werehares who knit and in a biker gang?  I love it all.  But most of all I love the friendship between Lock, Ezra and Ava.  They is a true sense of family with them.  They love each other and they are there for each other.  They tolerate each other faults and support each other when they are down.  I’m also loving the friendship of Ava and Sylvie.  They are both polar opposites.  Sylvie is all sunshine and rainbows and Ava is just fire but it works.  I’m know vague on the plot points but this was a wonderful sequel to a great book.  I really hope you all go out and support Lish because she really writes some amazing stories that are weird and funny.  I’m not sure what else to say but go read!

Review: The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

song-rising**Spoilers.  I was lucky enough to get an Advance Copy of this book back in December.  Spoilers will happen in the review so be prepared.**

Well this is a game changer for the series.  We are getting to the Prisoner of Azakaban territory as we begin to expand the world and up the stakes.  Paige is now the Underqueen of the Unnatural Assembly but when Jaxon jumps over to the Rephaim side, she’s blindsided.  Not only does she have doubts about her abilities, her mentor is working with the enemies, giving them all of their secrets.  The Mime-Order’s partnership with the Ranthen is tenous at best.  She must first prove to the voyants that she is worthy to follow and to the Ranthen’s that she worthy to be funded.  After a disastrous mission to take down senshield, a device that can detect the auras of Voyants, Paige takes off to investigate leads in Manchester.  Trying to stay ahead of the evil military mastermind, Vance.  Nothing has been easy for Paige and that is definitely true but she really comes into her own.  Paige very much wants to what’s best for the voyant community and end Scion but she has to combat so many things.  She has to prove her worthiness to her people and to Ranthens.  Making things complicated is Jaxon, who many people still support and don’t believe that went over to the Scion.  Others see Paige’s youth as another drawback.  When Paige makes the mistake of acting on unproven intel and that makes sensheild even stronger, she has to move everyone underground.  Paige may not see it at the point but I think this was a pivotal point for her.  It proved her willingness to make the hard decisions but also it outsmarted her enemies.   Jaxon admits that even he couldn’t figure out where they disappeared too.  As the story plays out, we see more and more of cruelty of the Scion and how it’s not just the Rephaim who are committing it.  The introduction of Vance is an example of a human doing unspeakable things on other humans for advancement or for their own enjoyment.  It almost seemed like Vance sees her role as more of a game then anything else.  To me that makes her scarier then the Rephaim.  Samantha Shannon is getting better and better with each book.  It’s almost as a writer she is learning more about herself, as Paige is doing the same thing on the page.  The ending leaves as many answers as it does questions but also opens us to even more possibilities.  I will do my best wait patiently for book 4.

Review: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

fifth-season This was a very interesting book.  I can see why it won so many awards.  It is beautifully written and has a well crafted world that brings you in.  That being said, I did find it hard to get into at first.  I think it had to do with the sort of complicated world the characters inhabit and having three different narrators that seem to living in the same nation but not at the same time. As one is living at the end of the world, while the other two are not.  Once I was able to grasp that the timelines of the three narrators were different, it made it much easier to enjoy the storytelling.  The story begins as Essun, is mourning the loss of his son who was murdered by her husband for being an Orogene.  Orogenes are powerful beings that can derive power from the earth but are feared for this power because it’s unpredictable and can destroy as easily as it can save.  Damasaya is also an Orogene, who has been locked in her families barns after she was discovered.  And finally Syenite, a powerful orogene who has been given two different assignments that involve the most powerful orogene in the world.  Each narrator is different.  Damasaya is young and unsure of her future as she is afraid of who she is while Syenite is the opposite.  She knows exactly who she is and how good she is.  She is confident in who she is and ambitious to boot. Essun is definitely a woman who has seen and knows way too much.  She is strong but even the strongest of us breaks.  When her husband kills her son and possibly her daughter she is at a loss.  Soon revenge becomes her only motivating factor.  Essun’s story is also effected by the beginning of the Fifth Season. Every so often the Earth turns against the people and sets off catastrophic natural disasters.  Some season’s last years while some last decades. It’s clear to Essun that this season is going to last centuries.  So she sets off to find her husband while knowing the world is ending soon.  Syenite and Damasaya are not experience the same end of the world troubles that Essun is and at first this was confusing since both were headed towards or living where the disaster had occurred.  This was what made me think that the narratives were not all happening at the same time.  The narrators do not seem to have much in common beyond they are all women and orogenes but it when it’s revealed what there relationship it was a gut punch.  I didn’t see it coming.  I think that  is because it’s so well written.  You could literally get lost in the writing as N.K. tells these women’s stories.  They all have such hard struggles as they live and work in a very rigid society.  People of this world are separated into different Comm names and it defines who they are what they do. If you don’t fit in a Comm you are in trouble when the seasons come. They all must try to do their best to find their own voice while still playing by the rules and of course there are far more rules for women.  So even though it’s a fantasy novel, it’s still very much set in real life too.

Quick Review: The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

midnight-star This series was different in that it billed itself as having the villain as the protagonist.  I argued in my review of the last book, The Rose Society that Adelina wasn’t really the true villain of the story.  While she does commit several villainous acts on her way to power she is just as much a victim as anyone else. I also argued that Teren, in his religious fervor was the character to be most feared then any of them.  After finishing The Midnight Star, I feel a little justified and also not.  It starts out with Adelina and her Roses conquering another country by fear.  She is merciless in her rule.  She has taken all the power away from the un-marked and given it to the marked.  She kills anyone who speaks out against her and punishes her family. She is by no means a heroine to be worshiped.  She is also a young girl who has been bullied, abused and marginalized her whole life.  In her mind she is righting the wrongs.  Taken power and given it back to the powerless.  I’m not saying it’s justified or what she did was right but I can also understand her too.  A crisis bigger then her own fears aligns her once again with the daggers and gives her a path of redemption.  Raffalle has figured out the origin of the blood fever that lead to the Young Elites powers. They was a rift in the mortal and the immortal world that allowed the powers of the Gods to effect the mortal world.  It’s now poisoning them.  Their powers are turning against them. Lucent, who could fly, bones are hallowing out.  Violetta’s power to block others including her own is not overcoming her.  Adelina’s voices in her head are her own illusions overtaking her.  The only way to save them and the world is to go to where the rift occurred and offer to give their powers back. Now these enemies will have to work together but how can there when there has been so much blood already spilled and the body count in this book is pretty high as well.  I wouldn’t say it had a happy ending but really the only ending that it could have.  It was bittersweet.  I will miss the lush atmosphere of this book.  Stylized after a medieval society, Marie Lu gave her settings life and beauty.  It was a good series and enjoyable read but year not going to lift you up.

Quick Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

empire-of-storms **Spoilers**

First, can we talk about her badass jacket on the cover? I really want a jacket like that. Anyhoo, at the end of the last book.  The King of Adarlan is dead, killed by Dorian while he was under Erawan’s spell. He broke away from his power but not in time to save Chaol from terrible back injury that we still don’t know the extent of his injuries.  Will he be able to walk again? Is he even still alive? Aelin, has taken her former masters money and has one of the Wyrdkeys and now is heading home to Terrasan with Rowan, Aedion and Lysandra. Manon and her thirteen save Elide from Morath after Kaltain blows up half the mountain not before she gives Elide the second Wyrdkey.  Lorcan, has come to Erilea to get the keys for Maeve. So all the players are in play, well except for Chaol who is MIA and eventually they all meet up to find the lock that will once and for all rid the world of Erawan.  With a book with so many characters it would be easy to lose track of who is who and where they belong in the story but the story lines are woven so seamlessly together that it feels like one story.  Each character has their arc that we have seen true growth in.  Dorian was a sheltered and naive Prince when we first meet him but now he has hardened.  He has experience loss and has find strength in his power.  As he begins to understand his power, he starts to gave more confidence in himself.  They all have grown so much from the first book.  When I think about Throne of Glass it almost feels like a completely different series because they books have gone so far.  As Aelin, Dorian, Aedion and Manon have grown and mature so have the books. They are far more complicated as the characters themselves have become far more complicated.  The most complicated of them all is our former assassin turned Queen, Aelin. She has so much power that she doesn’t even know how powerful she is but one thing that has changed her ability to outsmart her opponents. She always had a plan in motion but I had no idea how long she had been planning her strategy.   Some go as far back as the first and second book.  It’s almost mind blowing about how the dots all are connecting and with one book to go the endgame is in sight.  The ending is pretty devastating but totally worth the pain.  Really looking forward to finding out how this will end.

Quick Review: The Darkest Magic by Morgan Rhodes

darkest magic The series The Book of Spirit of Thieves is both a prequel and a sequel to Morgan Rhodes other series Falling Kingdoms.  With it’s dueling narratives that take place centuries before and after and in the same realm as the action of her previous books and also in our own world in present time.  In some ways, it fills the origin holes of some the mysteries and prophecies but stands on it own.  The switching POV of Maddox, Becca, Crystal and Farrell are kind of a mix bag.  I like Maddox as his is different from the others. It’s the prequel part of the story and takes place in Mytica.  Becca, Crystal and Farrell are all in present day Toronto.  The sisters Becca and Crystal are fine.  There is a genuine love between them but a little bit of distance.  Since the events of the last book, they both have learned a lot about themselves and each other and they are not sure what to do about this new knowledge.  Farrell, I could do without, sort of.  I understand why he is a POV but I just don’t really care that much about him as I do the others. He’s a privilege rich white boy who drinks and acts out because he didn’t get the love at home.  He uses people to make him feel better and people keep giving his boorish behavior a pass because he’s just a good kid inside.  He’s just hasn’t gotten over the loss of his brother.  He’s being controlled by an ancient cult leader.  Ok those are both true but still.  I’ve over it.  This series is fine and okay.  I think Falling Kingdoms is a far more interesting series with more compelling characters and more twists and turns.  That being said, it’s still kinda fun to read and it does fill in some wholes of the other series so it’s worth checking out if you’ve read the other series.

Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne

cursed child***Spoilers***

Whatever you feel about the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows there was a sense that it was a beginning of a story and not an end like we thought.  The play in two parts, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in the continuation of Harry’s story starting right at the epilogue. Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione are taking their children to the Hogwarts Express at the start of a new school year.  Albus Severus Potter, Harry and Ginny’s middle child is full of anxiety over many things but most of all of being the son of Harry Potter.  How can he possible live up to the legend of Harry Potter, who with his friends saved the wizarding world? On the Hogwarts Express, Albus meets another new student who also has to deal with shadow of his parent, Scorpius Malfoy.  Without giving away more spoilers less just say that Albus has Harry stubbornness and his penchant to dive right in without thinking of the consequences.  He and Scorpius travel back and time but they truly didn’t think about all the possible outcomes and well drama unfolds.  We see everyone struggle, from trying to find their place in the world to how to relate to their children.  I was able to understand Albus frustrations but I didn’t like him as I did with Harry. Honestly, the best character in the play of Scorpius.  He was funny, optimistic  and kind. Pretty much the opposite of Draco from the books.  He had Ron’s heart and Hermione’s brain.  He was the perfect friend for Albus.  Harry is older but not necessarily wiser.  Hermione was great as always and Ron was great too.  While it was great to revisit the Wizarding World and Harry I think I’m ready to let go of them.  It was a beautiful story and the ending was heartbreaking.  I really want to see it performed because there are many things that happen that I’m not sure how they do on stage.  Like when a couple of characters take polyjuice potion and change into other characters on stage.  That’s just one example.  I really hope this comes to Broadway or it’s get filmed because I don’t think I’ll be making it to London anytime soon.