Quick Review: Legion by Julie Kagawa

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**I was granted a digital ARC of this book and read it a month ago.  Thank you Harlequin Teen for the advance**

Four books in and we finally learn what makes Ember so darn special and it’s creepy.  I won’t spoil it but let’s just say I look forward to seeing the leader of Talon being taken down.  She’s a real piece of work.  I also think she’s another argument as to why immortality or really Really long life spans are not a good idea.  It makes people do some really crazy insane things.  Anyways, fans of this series will be happy with this installment.  It picks up right where the cliffhanger ending of Soldier ended.  The stakes are higher now that the truth of the Order of St. George and Talon have been exposed.  The Order is complete disarray but Talon has a secret that we as readers know about but the characters don’t. So while, it was a good idea at the time to expose the leader of the Order, it also played right into Talon’s hands.  Talon has become the real big bad of the series.  The Order, while not at all innocent, has been played just as much as everyone else.  Their own prejudices and inability or willingness to try to think differently was their ultimate undoing.  As for our heroes.  They all do some growing up.  Constant near death experiences will do that to you.  The biggest lesson they have learned is if they are going to defeat Talon, they are going to have to work together and reach out to new allies, even if that means reaching out to old enemies too.  I believe there is only one more book left which is good because the ending really seems to have set up a potentially epic final battle between our heroes and Talon.  It’s been a fun ride.  I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

In Memoriam of all the Series that Ended in 2016

In the tradition of award shows every way, we at Stacks would like to recognized those series that are no longer with us.  They have ended.  They and solved all their mysteries and tied up any loose ends.  We were said to see them go but they will always be remembered for the joy that brought to our lives.

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Quick Review: Soldier by Julie Kagawa

soldierI think this was the best book of the series so far.  The world and the characters are now well established so we can get on with the conflict of the story.  When we last left off, Garret left after hoping that Ember would tell him to stay.  Ember was too raw from the fight with her brother and her dragon side feelings for Riley to say what she truly felt and let him go.  They both understood that they are two different species so it probably wouldn’t work out.  That’s how they justified it at least.   Garret has gone to London where St. George is headquarters to get answers to if the order knows that their are good dragons, while Ember and Riley try to track down who is leaking information on his safe houses.  Garret soon finds information that St. George and Talon have been working together and have set a trap for Ember and Riley so off he goes to rescue her.  Meanwhile, Ember’s twin brother Dante gets promoted to a secret project that we won’t know it’s true purpose until the next book but it’s definitely not good.  Even though he is all in with Talon, he is having some reservations about what he is doing but not enough to stop him from doing what he is told at all cost.  So the stakes are much higher.  Both Talon and St. George are after them and only if they can work together to break up the alliance.  Ember is starting to come into her potential about how powerful she can be but in doing so she finds that what she has to do to survive is not always easy to live with.  Killing is never easy.  Garret knows that St. George is corrupt but it doesn’t make going against his former order and brothers any easier.  Also Riley has been shut down for so long that it’s hard for him to open up to Ember.  This book was far more action packed then previous book with a pretty big cliffhanger.  One can only hope that everyone gets out alive or at least get a Jon Snow treatment.

My To-Read List for the next month or so

My to-read pile is going to get a little bit of work out in the next couple of weeks.  Not only is the The Raven King finally coming (just in case you haven’t heard) but several other books I’ve been waiting to read are also coming out. Apparently May 3 is the day to release books with four books on my list. It’s also the time for series to end with The Raven Cycle, The 5th Wave, The Selection, and the Taking series are all coming into their conclusions. It’s strange how so many of my series are ending this year but I guess that’s just the way it worked out.  This is all great but I wish they all were spaced out a little bit. I can only read so much at a time.

April 26

The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater

Soldier (Talon #3) by Julie Kagawa

May 3

The Hidden Oracle (The Trails of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Invision (The Chronicles of Nick #7) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

The Crown (The Selection #5) by Kiera Cass

May 10

The Countdown (The Taking #3) by Kimberley Derting

May 24

The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) by Rick Yancey

I obviously have a lot of reading to do. What are you looking forward to reading in the upcoming weeks?

 

Review: The Iron Warrior by Julie Kagawa

the iron warrior*Spoilers*

I’m not sure if Julie Kagawa counts towards our Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives challenge since I would have read her books anyway.  This is the last book in the The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten series.  I knew I was going to read it as soon as I finished the last book, The Iron Traitor  and I’m going to read Soldier, the next book in her Talon series.   So counting her as my Asian American author doesn’t really go in the spirit of the challenge since we are trying read new authors,  However, I think it’s good to point out the diversity that is already in my reading list.  Yes, this is a little self serving, pat myself on the back type of thing but while I do mostly read white women, I’ve never been exclusively been just that and honestly until this past year I’m not sure I’ve noticed.  I’ve been reading Julie’s work for a couple of years now and it make me think.  I’m not sure where I’m going with this but you should read her work is all.

So The Iron Warrior is the last book in the The Iron Fey series’.  The first series followed Meghan as she transitions from normal teenage girl to Fairy Queen of the Iron Fey.  In Fairy mythology, iron has always been one their weaknesses and the human world has become more and more technologically advance the Nevernever has started to get poisoned, except for some of the Fairy who have adapted and created a new kingdom of Iron.  Call of the Forgotten is the continuation of the series but follows Meghan’s brother, Ethan and son , Kerrian.  Now, it’s been about a decade since Meghan has left and in that time Ethan has grown cursed with the sight and is constantly harassed by the Fey.  Then one day he finds himself back in the Nevernever with a new girl, Kenzie and his nephew, Kerrian, who is roughly the same age thanks to the fact that time moves differently in Faery.  Yeah, it’s weird.  It’s even weirder since Ethan didn’t even know that Kerrian even existed.  You see, their was a prophecy that one day Kerrian would kill Ethan and either destroy the courts or unite them.  So obviously everyone wants to keep them apart.  It didn’t work because the prophecy is set in motion when Kerrian does in fact stabbed Ethan and temporarily lifting the veil between faery and the human realms.  Now Kerrian is the champion for the Forgotten Queen who looks to lift the veil permanently and only Ethan can stop him.

Ethan is the type of hero I like.  He’s sarcastic and I do love sarcasm.  He’s also a fighter.  Not always the swiftest on the up take but he’s loyal.  He knows the stacks are high and despite being given outs several times throughout the book he never backs down.  Kerrian I’m not really digging.  He’s quite stubborn to the point of destroying the Nevernever.  Everything starts with Kerrian unwillingness to let go of his love. Since the story is from Ethan’s point of view, we don’t get to know the inner working of Kerrian’s mind and because of that I found him a little unsympathetic.  We all have people we love that we don’t want to lose but losing your soul for them.  Killing your uncle and friend.  No one would want that.  If he was able to keep his emotion’s in check all of this could have been avoided but then again we wouldn’t have a story.  Kenzie is my favorite.  She’s a normal human.  She’s not fairy or half fairy or related to.  She just happened to be with Ethan when he goes back and because she is curious and looks for adventure sticks around.  She is also sick so wants to live life to fullest.  That being said she is the smartest of them all.  She adapts quickly to the Nevernever.  She may not be a fighter but it’s often her quick thinking that saves them .  I would love a book just about her.

All and all this was a great series with a satisfying ending.  It’s not the usual fairy story and full of action and adventure.  If you like fairy books or fantasy, you can’t go wrong with the Iron Fey.

 

Books that Rocked My Face off in 2015

This year it was hard to narrow it down to just 10 books as there were so many books I really loved this year.  So to narrow it down, I had to ask myself which ones was I still thinking about even after I started reading the next book?  Those are ones I choose for the list. (These are really in no particular order

  1. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray – This book I really wish I read when I was a teenager as so many of the messages I could have really used.  You would almost think that a book about teenage beauty queens stuck on a desert island would be caricatures but they weren’t.  They were very like girls I know or were me.  I could pretty much identify with all of their struggles.  Plus it was a lot of fun.
  2. Winter by Marissa Meyer -I am really going to miss this series so much.  Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter made me laugh, cheer, angry ( on their behalf) and proud of all of them.  Winter was by far the longest book of the series and it was non-stop action.  There wasn’t any filler or time to relax.  It was the perfect ending.
  3. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell  – A little bit Harry Potter and a little bit of fanfiction.  It was a great final book to an imaginary series.  I was surprised by many of the twists and turns and touched by the romance.
  4. Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray – I loved the first book in the series and so I was nervous this one wasn’t going to be as good.  It was better.  Now my only complaint is that she doesn’t write fast enough.
  5. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – It was fun, tense and very interesting.  I thought I knew where things were going and then I didn’t.  I’m looking forward to what lays in store in the next book.
  6. Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow – This wasn’t anything like I thought it would be.  It was surprising.  It was fresh.  It had the sassiest A.I. in the history of A.I.’s.  For that reason alone, you all should read it.
  7. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – It was sorta historical fiction with a dystopian vibe and boy did it work.  It was brutal and it was tense but entertaining.
  8. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – This was very much an Ocean 11’s style caper with a little bit of a magic and darkness in only the way that Leigh Bardugo could do it.  It’s set in the same world but after the events of her last series but a completely different vibe.
  9. The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson – This is the third book in the series so the stakes are so much higher and it didn’t disappoint.  It’s full of humor, action and ghosts.  What else can I say.
  10. The Rose Society by Marie Lu – This is the second book in the series that tells the story from the villainess point of view (though I’m not convinced that Adelina is the real villain but whatever) It was intense and was surprising, maybe a little problematic but worth the read.

There was two books that I enjoyed so much that I read the other books in the that were out in the series this year too.  So I thought they would get their own category.

  1. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas  – For those looking for a Game of Thrones fill in until George publishes the next book, I recommend this.  It  was has all the twists and turns and is not afraid to kill of a character or two.  I’m never really sure where it’s going to take us next but I know it will be well worth the ride.
  2. Talon series by Julie Kagawa – It has a little bit of everything.  A Romeo and Juliet Love, a love triangle, a betrayal and yeah dragons.  Who doesn’t love dragons?  Ok, the idea isn’t that original but I do love it anyway.

What I’m Thankful for 2015

Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating today.  In keeping with tradition here at Stacks,  we are going to share what literary things we have been grateful for this year.  I’m going to go first.

I am thankful for my Nook Tablet.  Now this is something that I have never thought I would say.  I bought it because I got a heavy employee discount on it when it first came out but I haven’t used it all that much until this year.  Since leaving B&N, I’ve had to buy more books than I have ever had before.  I much prefer the real deal when it comes to reading but I have to admit the convenience of my Nook has its benefits.  The books themselves are cheaper.  I don’t have to get dressed to the bookstore.  I don’t have to wait for them to be delivered and they take up space in my apartment.  My place is already overrun with books as is.  Plus, my nook is a little easier to read on the train to work because it doesn’t take up as much space.  So thank you, Nook.  You will never fully replace books for me but you have come in handy.

I am thankful for #Weneedmorediversebooks movement.  It has made me aware of my own privilege which I never really thought about.  I’m sure if you look through the books that I read you will noticed that they are mostly all women but you also will noticed that they are also mostly all white.  And their characters are also mostly white as well.  I’ve been trying to be find more authors of color, who are from different backgrounds from me but also look for books with protagonists who are from different cultures.  I’ll admit that I still have work to do but I am trying.  Thank you for Sabaa Tahir, Marie Lu, Julie Kagawa and Nnedi Okorafor just to name a few.  I hope that 2016 will bring new authors and new voices.

I am thankful for book clubs because it forced me to read books that I probably would never have read on my own.  Also, it’s also fun to talk books with friends.

I’m thankful for J.K. Rowling’s twitter.  I’m thankful for her in general but following her on twitter just reaffirms everything I have ever thought about her and that I really want to be her friend.   She’s smart, quick, funny and does not suffer trolls.  She truly is a bright spot on the internet.

And finally I’m thankful for all you reading.  Kate and I started this blog for fun.  A way to keep connected and talk books but I think it’s fair to say it has passed our own expectations.  I thought that maybe a few of our real life friends would read it and comment but to have complete strangers from all over the world, like our blog and leave comments has been so much fun for us.  If it wasn’t for you, I’m not sure that Kate and I would have been as motivated to keep updating the blog.  So with complete sincerity, thank you.