The Diviner’s series is such a well crafted story from beginning to end. Libba Bray has said in interviews that she wanted to write a ghost story and it kinda is. Our heroes have to literally fight the ghosts of our nation’s past and the ghosts of their own lives too. While I don’t think it was intended it is also a cautionary tale as well. It takes place in 1927 but so many of the issues that 1920’s America was facing we are still facing now. You all know the quote, History repeats itself? Well, Evie, Sam, Theta, Henry, Ling, Memphis, Isiah and Jericho are faced with racism, sexism, white supremacy, fascism and rapidly improvements in technology. I’ve mentioned this in past reviews of this series that so many of the scenes could take place today and not look out of place. We really haven’t learned from our mistakes or really ever really truly faced the truth of our past. The King of Crow was created by the greed, sorrow and misdeeds of our past. He feeds of the fear and ignorance and uses that to bargain with people for their souls and this has made him powerful. After the events of last book, our heroes have to go on the run. They are being blamed for the death of Sarah Snow, a popular radio star and they are easy targets because they are a group of young people who are black, Jewish, mixed race, gay, disabled and have powers that people do not understand. Once again playing on fear and ignorance they public quickly turns on them. Now the first half of the book have shades of the never-ending-camping trip from Harry Potter. The group has been split up and all of over the country. While it was necessary in some ways for characters to have a chance to grow and the piece together what was going on, it did drag down the narrative. Once they were all united the narrative really took off and become more compelling. They meet up with a new diviner named Sarah Beth. Sarah Beth is totally creepy but she knows how to defeat the King of Crows so our group of diviners seek her out. A lot of things happen and yes it is tragic but in the end they were able to defeat the ghosts of their pasts to defeat the ghosts of our past as well. I don’t want to say too much more because I don’t want to spoil it for you. I highly recommend this series and so relevant to today that you should read it and then discuss our past. We are a great nation but we have also done some terrible things and they will forever haunt us until we actually deal with it otherwise history will continue to repeat itself.
It’s been 8 years in the making but finally!!! the finale to the Libba Bray’s excellent The Diviner’s Series.
The final book in The Diviner’s series comes out on Tuesday so I decided to re-read the previous book to get ready.
A new decade brings new books. From a YA fan the 2010’s left the dystopian sagas behind and really went in on Fantasy novels. There was so many great ones. So what does the next decade bring. Well, here are a few books I can’t wait to read in 2020.
- The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins – A return to Panem but this time for the 25th Hunger Games or the games that Mags won. How does her story fit in with Katniss’? and How much am I going to cry knowing how it all ends for our girl Mags?
- Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland – The sequel to the fantastic Dread Nation. How will Jane and Katherine navigate the west after how everything ended and there are still zombies.
- The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan – The final book in the Trials of Apollo and if the previous four to go by, it’s going to be an emotional roller coaster.
- The King of Crows by Libba Bray – Talk about a decade in the making, we finally get the last book the Diviner’s Series and I couldn’t be more excited.
- Untitled Book Four of The Bone Season Series by Samantha Shannon – It hasn’t been confirmed for 2020 but I’m putting it on the list and into the universe that it will come out.
What books are you waiting to read in 2020? Comment below with books we should check out next year.
The last couple of days I’ve been home sick with a bad cold and while that sucks it has given me time to think about what books I’ve read would make good movies or TV shows. Why I was thinking this I don’t know. I guess I was looking through all the options you can watch TV and movies now. Netflix, Hulu AppleTV, DisneyPlus, traditional cable, etc. It seems like there is an endless number of places that need contact to fill so why not give a few suggestions.
- Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart Who doesn’t love a good suspense mystery. I would be interested in seeing how a filmmaker would take the unusual structure of the narrative as it’s told in part real time and partly in reverse. I think it would be true challenge to balance all the nuances right and not let too much away to soon. This would work both as a movie or as a serialized series.
- Seafire by Natalie C. Parker I could see this as a movie but I think it would work best as a HBO prestige series. There is so many aspects of the story that a movie wouldn’t be able to get to it all. Not to mention, I think TV would be more willing to have an an all diverse female cast then movies would and it would have to be HBO because to do it justice it’s going to have to have a big budget. It would be great because who wouldn’t want to all a Girl Pirate Crew take on the patriarchy of the seas? Mad Max Fury Road but on a boat. It has a lot of potential.
- Dread Nation by Justina Ireland An historical drama with zombies Really what else do you need?. It may take place after the Civil War but it is relevant today as it ever was. Racism, Sexism and Classicism all play a part in the series. So far it only has one book out. The sequel comes out early next year. If HBO is still looking for a “What if the Civil War had ended differently” drama now that it’s ill advised Confederate show is dead because D&D of Game of Thrones left for Netflix. This is it. The Civil war didn’t end because one side won over the other but because the dead came back to life. Slaves were freed, sort of. They are now used to stop the Zombie attacks It can examine how the US is different and how slavery plays a part without the messiness of the other show’s premise. Not to mention Jane is an excellent protagonist
- Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I can’t be the only one who has been disappointed in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movies. The first one was okay. Entertaining but the second one was a big ol’ mess. I’m not even going to mention the Johnny Depp situation. So why not make a movie of Rainbow’s Simon and Baz series? All the magical elements are there. Wizards and witches and mythological creatures. Magic schools. A mysterious and powerful villain. Rivals turned lovers. A real LGBTQ love story that is front and center and not just in context or added later. The second book expands on the world but going on a road trip through the US and series hi-jinks ensue. I feel like it’s the remedy for the bad Harry Potter content we’ve been getting lately.
- A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro Yes, I’m aware we have had a lot of Sherlock Holmes adaptations recently but we haven’t had one like this one. Not only is our Holmes a teenage girl and our Watson a teenage boy but it takes place in a world where the novels exist and Holmes and Watson were real people. It’s a fun and breezy mysteries that would make excellent movies or TV shows.
- The Diviner’s by Libba Bray This one would have to be a series. The amount of detail and length of each novel could not be properly shown in a movie. How lush it would look. All the glitz and glamour of 1920’s New York. Again, it may be a period piece but it is so relevant to today. It tackles racism, sexism, class and immigration with the supernatural element in the background. Not to mention all of our main characters have their own X-men like powers! The possibilities are endless.
- Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake Game of Thrones type of series but from an all female perspective. You get all the court intrigue and magical elements without all the messiness that Game of Thrones had. Women can be just a ruthless. They have to be when to become Queen you must kill your sisters to do it. I would love to this on big or small screen.
- The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow Okay, I want to this as a movie only if Tilda Swinton plays Talis. The sassiest, homicidal AI in history of Artificial Intelligence. The world was in constant war so Talis was like let’s go all Medieval on you. I’m taking your heirs as Hostages. If you declare war, I kill them. That’s oversimplification but it’s awesome and tense and has LGBTQ love triangle in it that is just too good to ignore. This should be made into a movie but again only if Tilda Swinton is involved. I won’t accept anything less.
So there are few books I think need to get the big or small treatment. What do you all think> What book or book series do you want seen into a movie or TV show?
Now that we have looked back on 2018, it’s time to look ahead to 2019. We have a lot of fun things planned for next year. New challenges read a-longs and podcasts! But most of all we are excited for all the new books to read. Expanding our already to long to-read lists even more. 2019 is already shaping up to be our best year ever! So here are some of the books we are looking forward to the most reading next year.
- King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo – Leigh returns to the shores of Ravka to tell us of what happened to Nikolai after the events of Ruin and Rising. We saw Nikolai make a cameo appearance in Crooked Kingdom so we know he still uses his Sturmhond alias even though he is now the King. What other things will we learn about him? and what characters from the past series will show up?
- The Everlasting Rose by Dhoinelle Clayton – Camille is on the run from Queen Sophia who is beyond a psychopath. She must find the Princess Charlotte, heal her and come up with a plan with her friends to save everyone. Hopefully she has learned from past mistakes and be a little bit more observant.
- Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi – I can only hope that sequel is as impressive as the first book because damn it was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I can’t wait to read what happens next for Zelie and Amari.
- The Wicked King by Holly Black – Holly is really at her best when she writes about Faries and that demonstrated with The Cruel Prince. Now that Jude has tricked Cardan into becoming the King of Faerie, what is she going to do next?
- Untitled Sequel to Dread Nation by Justina Ireland – I’m not sure this is even coming out in 2019 but I really want it to. I need to know what happens next for Jane and Katherine. Do they make it California? Who did Jane’s mom marry that gave her away? So many questions that need answering.
- Final book in the Diviners Series by Libba Bray – Another book that I’m not sure if will be published in 2019 but I’m putting it out into the universe so it will. The final batle with the King of Crows is coming and only our heroes can stop him.
- Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa – The sequel to the Shadow and the Fox is going to be epic. Yumeko is still on her mission to keep the scroll safe but Tatsumi is now possessed by the demon from him sword. Can Yumeko save Tatsumi and the scroll?
- Book 1 of the Dreamer Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater – yet another book that I’m not sure if is coming out in 2019 but I know she has book working on it. Centered on Ronan from the Raven Cycle and how he has and hasn’t changed since the end of The Raven King. It’ll be nice to get back to the barns and see what dreams Ronan dreams next.
- On the Come Up by Angie Thomas – Angie’s first book The Hate U Give destroyed me. It was so beautiful and heartbreaking. I expect nothing less for her second novel about an upcoming rapper trying to save her family.
- On the Come Up by Angie Thomas– I’m also very excited about this one!
- Women Talking by Marian Toews– The blurb says the book is about Mennonite women who had thought that they were being visited by demons in the night to be punished for their sins but find out members of their community have been drugging and attacking them. This promises to be an intense story about women coming together to protect themselves and other women in their community.
- Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James-The first in a trilogy by award winning author James, the blurb on amazon calls it an African Game of Thrones. I’m so here for this
- Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett– Here’s what I know about this: it’s about an HIV-positive black teen. I also know that I enjoy Camryn Garrett’s twitter presence and it seems unlikely that I’m going to stop picking books this way in 2019.
- Internment by Samira Ahmed-In this near-future novel, Layla Amin and her parents find themselves in an internment camp for Muslim American citizens. This looks like its going to be another intense tale. Layla works, with the help of others, to obtain freedom.
What books are you looking forward to reading this year?
It’s that time of year where we take a look back at the last 12 months. 2018 was by far our best year we have ever had here at Stacks. Thank you for all spent their time reading our little blog here. Here are the top ten posts that you all really really liked.
- Review: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart – I’m surprised by all the traffic from this post but hey I’m glad you came.
- Quick Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han – Thanks to the success of the movie for the first book, which I loved. I can’t wait for the sequel.
- Quick Review: Intensity by Sherrilyn Kenyon – Another surprise but maybe you are like me and miss Nick so much.
- Review: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee – Such a great book.
- Review: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake – Another really great book.
- Review: Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray – For a series set in the 20’s, it could not be more relevant for today.
- A Wizard of Earthsea: Chapter 2: The Shadow – Interesting that our read along to A Wizard of Earthsea that Chapter 2 was the one that to the most views. Also this is the only post in the top 10 that is from 2018.
- Review: The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare – Another surprised entry.
- Quick Review: The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin – Noah Shaw has some issues he has to work out.
- Some of my favorite Quotes from In Other Lands – OMG! So many great quotes in this book.
According to GoodReads.com I read 20,948 pages from 57 books. So you can imagine how hard it was to narrow down to only 10 for the best books I’ve read this year. There were so many good ones! I think I ultimately went with these 10 was because while I may have liked some of the other books more or given other’s better reviews or more stars, these 10 books stuck with me longer after finishing reading them. I would like to think that our Diverse Lives, Diverse Stacks: Diverse Narrators reading challenge is working for me because half of the books were written by Women of Color and they contain protagonists from very diverse backgrounds. That’s exciting to me but enough of this, let’s get on to the list.
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas– This book was as heartbreaking as it was realistic. Starr is caught between two worlds but doesn’t really how different they are or how truly different she acts to accommodate both parts of her life until her friend is killed by a police officer during a routine traffic stop and she is the only witness. This really should be a must read in all schools for generations to come and I’m excited that it will also be a movie coming out next year.
- Pyromantic by Lish McBride– It’s funny, it’s sarcastic, it’s action packed but mostly it is just plain fun. I really hope that Lish returns to these characters because there is just so much weirdness she can do with them.
- Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor-This is such a lush story with great imagery and original concept. There really isn’t another novel out there right now. The ending was such a surprise that I have no idea what to expect in the sequel.
- The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon-Just like The Hate U Give, this is another heartbreaking but all too realistic look at today’s youth. To strangers, meet and share a life changing day as Natasha fights to stop her family from being deported and Daniel fights the expectations of being a child of immigrants.
- The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin-How do you describe this book? It has so much going on and it’s not certain how they all interweave but you know they must somehow. It’s truly a powerful book it’s no wonder it’s won so many awards.
- Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray-The third book in The Diviners series takes place in the 1920’s but with it’s themes of race, gender equality and science it’s more relevant than you would think. Evie, Sam, Memphis, Jericho, Theta, Ling Henry and Isiah have to overcome the coming darkness but also the social limits society places on those in the minority.
- All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater-People come from far and wide to seek miracles from the Saints of Bicho Raro but even saints themselves need miracles and sometimes those miracles can’t be achieved on their own, sometimes they need a little help from others. That’s the lesson from this one, it’s great to self sufficient but don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
- The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan-A great ending to a great trilogy and the power of how diversity makes us stronger.
- Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake-It’s dark and mysterious but also cool to read of world where women rule and men play supportive roles. That women are just as complicated and conflicted and are able to be both and still show strength and vulnerability. Here we get three young women who all of those things and more.
- WarCross by Marie Lu-This was fun and exciting thrill of a book. Full of mystery and kind of a spy novel in a way. Emika a down on her luck, hacker/bounty hunter gets a chance to play in the biggest game ever in hopes of finding another hacker trying to sabotage the game. It’s full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing.
So these are my favorite books of 2017. What are yours?
Those who do not know their own history are doomed to repeat it. It may sound cliche but it is true. Libba Bray has set The Diviner’s series in the twenties but in our current political climate it could easily be a contemporary novel. All she would have to do is change some of the slang and add some emoji’s. Themes of race, sexual orientation, patriotism, health, sexism and worker’s rights are very prevalent through out Before the Devil Breaks You and The Diviner’s series just as they are today. The Eugenic’s movement that was full swing in the 1920’s where white supremacist used pseudoscience to prove that the white race was superior to all others. It influenced government policy, immigration and mental health and would later inspire those in Nazi Party. The racist policy was dressed up as a way to make America better and stronger. If we can weed out all the undesirable elements of our a population we would be stronger. Their “Make America Great Again” so to say. Our Diviner’s, Evie, Sam, Memphis, Henry, Ling, Isiah, Theta, Jericho and Mabel have now faced two ghosts and are starting to understand the threat they are facing. They powers are growing but are strongest together. They start working with Will and Sister Walker to improve their powers but they all have secrets. Will and Sister Walker both are part of opening the gap between the living in the dead and creating the Diviners. Making them a little less trust worthy. Evie is clinging on to her fame as a radio host but also can’t decide between Sam and Jericho. Theta is afraid the other will find out about her powers and gets an even bigger surprised when her past comes back to haunt her. Mabel, the one without any kind of powers feels out of place because she can’t read objects or disappear or walk in dreams. She want’s to change the world but more then anything she was be noticed. They individual stories are heartbreaking and true and make a for a rich story and speaks to the diverse nature of our country. The King of Crows is throwing everything at them this time because it’s not just one ghost but many and it’s not just ghost they must fight against it’s prejudice and ignorance. It’s the balance between wanted to be safe vs. wanting to feel safe. Those are two different things. When people are scared they will agree to almost anything to feel safe again even if it doesn’t actually make them safer. I would point to the entire last election cycles of examples of that. The Diviner’s came together at the beginning of the book only be torn apart which I can only assume is the perfect set up for the last book. I’ll give Miss Bray credit, she knows how to tell a story and is not at all sentimental. The last 20-30 pages. Bray channels her inner George R.R. Martin and racks up a body count that only he could appreciate. We are living in scary times and anyone who picks this book up hoping to escape will be disappointed because America hasn’t learned from our own history and we are now repeating it.