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!!!
My editor is going to hate me, but I just outlined three books for a Ronan-centered trilogy.
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.
**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!
**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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Last Star and The Countdown and the final books in trilogies about aliens coming to Earth but that’s really where the similarities end. The Last Star is the finale to The 5th Wave, which follows a few teenage survivors after first four waves of an Alien invasion. Billions have people have already died, leaving Cassie, Zombie, Sam, Ringer and Evan as humanities last stand. Meanwhile, The Taking Trilogy, explores alien abductions and the possibility that those responsible are on their way. The 5th Wave is far more epic in scale and more ambitious but not necessarily as entertaining. The first book I thought was fantastic but was underwhelm by the follow The Infinite Sea. The Taking was okay but as the series went on it got better. Not the best series I’ve read but entertaining. Reading both series so close together gave me a chance to read different views on Aliens. Are they hostile? Do they come in peace? How do they go around getting a foothold into Earth. They both have a very different approach to those questions as the The 5th Wave also piggybacks on the latest trend of YA Dystopia as well as sci-fi. The Taking is really more of your standard YA fare with aliens in the background. It still explores the trials of youth and romance and of course a love triangle.
I think I know what I really didn’t like about the last half of A Court of Thorns and Roses. The first half I liked but I felt that that second half was like a whole other book that just dragged. After reading A Court of Mist and Fury I think what I really bothered me was that deep down, I knew Tamlin wasn’t worth Feyre going through all the trials and tortures. He may have loved her but not truly and that was only more evident as he allowed her to fade away while he tried to rebuild his court. I get wanting to let things settle but she was clearly unhappy. Unable to sleep through the night and he did nothing but promise once things settle down things will be better. And worst of all trapped her in his home after she was trapped Under the Mountain. When you compare Tamlin to Rhys, you can see how truly unworthy Tamlin is. Rhys is not just in love with Feyre. He understands her. He is her equal. Rhys would have been a worthy person for Feyre to go through the trials and torture.
I’ve talked about how YA novels have treats PTSD or getting over traumatic experiences. It’s infuriating how often they ignore it or have or other characters don’t acknowledge that the hero or heroine is suffering by making them feel worst for not getting over it fast enough. Here we have two different reactions to Feyre’s ordeal Under the Mountain. Tamlin seems so consumed with his own pain of what happened to him that he doesn’t see Feyre is wasting away right in front of him. He’s too afraid of losing her again that he keeps her locked up and it’s stifling her to a point that she can’t recover.from her own trauma. Rhys gives Feyre time to heal. He gives her space and pushes her only when he needs too. He encourages her to learn to read and to test out her new powers. He does have the benefit of being connected to her through their bargain but he also has the power to read people’s minds. He introduces her to his friends and lets her in on his plans and decision making. It’s exactly what Feyre needs. It gives her not only time to recover from what happened to her but understand that the relationship with Tamlin was flawed and in the end unhealthy. Of course, it also gives her time to realize that she is not only well suited for Rhys but is in love with him. So to go back to my original point. Tamlin wasn’t worth the torture that Feyre went through but it was for her to get to know Rhys though. I’m glad I decided to read this book after only being so-so with the last one.