Quick Review: Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi

restore me It’s been a couple of years ago that Tahereh Mafi completed her Shatter Me trilogy but I guess she wasn’t finished with it because here we are with book 4.  I feel like I should went back and read the original series because there were so many things I forgot about.  The one thing I didn’t forget about is how the Mafi’s writing style changed as Juliette’s mind because more stable.  As she becomes less isolated and understands her power the writing style because more fluid and less choppy.  In this one, as things start to unravel for Juliette and Warner we start to see a return to the choppy phrasing from earlier books.  I knew as soon as Juliette’s journal appear that things are not going to end well.  Not to get too far ahead, let’s start at the beginning.  Restore Me begins a little more than two weeks after the end of the last novel.  Juliette has taken over as Supreme Commander of North American and soon discovers she is way over her head.  Not only does she know very little about politics but the people she trust have been keeping things from her.  Things start to spiral out of control when the kids of the other Supreme Commanders start showing up.  Juliette learns that as much as she wants to run from her past she can’t because in truth she doesn’t even know her past and what she doesn’t know just might get everyone killed.  I really enjoyed this and I’m glad Tahereh returned this world because clearly there is a lot to explore in Juliette’s story.

Quick Review: A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

a reaper at the gates ***Minor Spoilers***

We finally made it to the third book in the An Ember in the Ashes series and things are getting real.  Laia, Elias and Helena are basically on their own as they deal with the many crisis’ going on in the Empire.  Laia is focused on one two things, bringing down the Nightbringer and saving her people.  Elias is the new Soul Catcher but having trouble in his new role.  Helena is the Blood Shrike, trying to defend the Empire and the Emperor who she doesn’t like and defending what is left of their family.  As they go about their business, they have no idea that they are doing exactly what the Nightbringer wants them to do.  It frustrating as it is interesting to read as the reader knows that the characters are playing into their enemies hands but are unsure as to how exactly and horrified that they is nothing they can do about it.  I spent a fair amount of my time reading wanting to scream at Laia, Elias and Helena to STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING!  YOU ARE MAKING A DUMB MISTAKE!  Especially, Helena who was supposed to be one of the smartest in her class at the Blackcliff but time and time again was easily out maneuvered by The Commandant or the Nightbringer.  He biggest mistake is that she assumes that everyone loves the Empire as much as she does and will play fair and is shocked to find that’s not the case and even though she is told this many times she continues to make this mistake.  (I think a certain political party is the same way and is why it keeps losing)  Her unwillingness to believe or play that game keeps costing her and is even more frustrating because the one time she does, she won.  Anyway, this was a great set up to the final book that will definitely feature more pain.  Let’s hope our characters learn from their mistakes in this book.

Review: War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

war storm A satisfying ending to a very good series.  It starts just minutes after the end of King’s Cage, where Mare is reeling from being betrayed by Cal choosing the crown over her.  I wasn’t really all that surprised by this because as much as he loves Mare and has been open to the red plight but he is a Silver Prince that was born to rule.  He’s going to give that up?  Anyway, Victoria does a great job of balancing her Game of Thronesque story lines.  With so many families, groups and countries vying for the future of Norta the story could have been easily bogged down but it isn’t.  Alliances are clear and who is going to betray who is clear.  We all know who is on what team and when it comes down to it who is going to side with who when it comes to the end it didn’t disrupt the storyline.  At the moment, Mare and Cal are reunited in the same objective of get Maven out of power but their alliance is shaky at best.  We know that Cal has no intention of giving up his throne as he feels he is the best to reunite his fractured nation but the Scarlet Guard has no intention of putting him on the throne.  Maven has the Nortan crown but little support.  Iris, his wife from neighboring country the Lakelands, is already scheming to take the crown from Maven as soon as he depletes his army against Cal.  The western nation of Montfort that is the only democracy in this new world that has silvers and reds working together has made their intentions known that they will not have another silver king either.  So who wins? Well that would be too spoilery but I will say i like the ambiguous ending.  Victoria has definitely left enough open that if she ever wanted to return to Norta, Monfort or the Lakelands she could but if she doesn’t then she has given her characters a good send off.  Mare is broken and bruised but is working on healing.  She has been many people throughout the four books.  She’s been Mare from the sticks, a thief.  She’s been Mareena, a lost Silver and the lightning girl a leader and inspiration for the rebellion but who is she really.  Cal’s growth is quite as strong but then again I think Cal has already had a good sense of who he was.  Maven is probably the most tragic.  The abuse that he suffered from his mother is beyond cruel but that shouldn’t excuse his many crimes he committed throughout the series.  My biggest complaint is that Cameron who was one of POV characters in the last book only makes an appearance in one chapter.  Other than that, this was a satisfying ending to a very good series.

Review: Inferno by Julie Kagawa

inferno The final book in the Talon Saga was kinda of a disappointment in the sense that I didn’t really love it only liked it.  It took a really long time to get going and for the final book the lack of urgency was a strange.  The characters kept telling each other about how the end is coming soon but really didn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to prepare for it until they had no choice to and then things Finally got going.  But damn, we had to go through a lot of things to get there.  There was the unnecessary trip to Brazil to meet an ancient dragon that was never mentioned before and there was another trip to Asia for the that we all knew how it would end up.  There were past mentioned characters showing up and taking up time for no reason but fit in one more heroic arc?  I don’t know.  The finale however was worth it though.  The final battle between the Rogues, St. George and Talon made up the lackluster beginning.  It had drama, suspense and melodrama all wrapped into one.  I appreciate the theme of the series being that even though we may be different, what we all want out of life is the same.  We want to live in peace and have freedom of choice.  And authoritative governments are bad.  The best way to bring down an oppressive regime is to overcome our differences and work together and learn from each other.  I very important message for today.  That’s what you should take away from this series in the end. I just wished the last book wasn’t so bogged down in so many side trips.

Quick Review: Bruja Born by Zoraida Cordova

bruja born I received this as an ARC a month ago.  Thank you to the publisher for making it available.

I’ll admit I didn’t like it as much as Labyrinth Lost because I thought this was a continuation of Alex’s story not that we didn’t see Alex’s story progressed but she wasn’t front and center.  Her older Lula took center stage.  It was interesting to read about her she dealt with the traumatic experience of surviving Los Lagos and losing her identity but I wanted to know more about Alex and how she was dealing with her new powers as an ecantrix and exploring her bisexuality.  Her relationship with her best friend, Rishi was so wonderfully set up in the last book, it was disappointing not to see more of it in this one.  While we are told that they are still together and happy, we only get one scene with them together.  I understand why she wasn’t included in the narrative as a sinmago, she had nothing to add to the story but I still wanted to more.  In the last book I found Lula to be shallow and not that interesting and she started out that way. I have more of a connection to her now but I’m still only meh on her.  The one trait that Lula and Alex have in common is that they are stubborn and will do what they want even if it’s the absolutely the wrong thing to do.  I got frustrated about how many times she was told, not to do that but she wouldn’t listen because it wasn’t what she wanted to hear or she thought she knew better or could figure out a different solution and the end others we left to deal with the consequences of her actions instead of her.  Ugh.  Oh well, the next book is going to focused on the youngest Mortiz sister, Rose and she has very intriguing powers.  I’m looking forward to that one.

Review: A Case for Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro

case for jamie

**Some Minor Spoilers**

I’m actually sorry that this was only a trilogy as there are so many Sherlock Holmes canon that she could have played with but it was a satisfying ending.  The Case for Jamie takes place a year after the ending of The Last of August.  Both Jamie and Charlotte are still reeling from the events of the last book and the death of August Moriarty.   Jamie is back at school doing his best to get his grades up to get into a college.  He has a new girlfriend and is still playing rugby but really he’s just going through the motions.  He misses Charlotte but can’t bring himself to forgive her for what she did.  Charlotte for her part is doing what she does best.  Investigate.  She’s trying to figure out what Lucien’s next move is as she knows that they haven’t seen the last of him.  She’s doing her best not to fall back into her destructive behaviors and missing Jamie too.  Strange things start to happen to Jamie at school.  He’s already a little paranoid from his experience in the last year and starts to lash out and everyone around him.  It’s clear that he’s struggling with PTSD.  As things start to spiral out of control, it becomes clear that even though he and Charlotte are no longer together, someone out there wants to get the band back together.  We go back and forth between Jamie and Charlotte’s point of views as we piece together what’s going on.  As the reader who has the benefit of knowing both sides making it much easier to come to the conclusion faster than our heroes but it was so well constructed it didn’t take away from the mystery.  I felt actually quite proud of myself that I was able to piece it together before the formidable Charlotte Holmes.  *pats self on back*  I really liked both of these characters.  They were both relatable in through own ways.  Jamie being the clueless boy who just want’s to fit in and have friends and Charlotte the overachiever who is consistently looking for approval.  They’ve spent the last three books trying to accept themselves for who they are and not who people perceived them to be.  At the end they are still working on that as it’s not something that happens overnight but they have truly learned their lessons.  I also liked that after everything that happened they didn’t just immediately get back together.  While reconciliation is on the horizon, they both realized there were things about themselves that were not good for each other and took time work on themselves and get to know each anew.  It’s a good lesson for us to learn.  Mystery fans out there, I encourage you pick this series up.  I think you will love it.

Review: The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth

fates divide I liked this one a little better than Carve the Mark.  I think maybe because the world was more established and the complicated relationship between each character was more set.  Also opening up the universe to new planets made and introducing more characters with darker skin as more than just warriors or brutal dictators also helped.  That doesn’t make some of the character development any less problematic but I do think that Veronica Roth listened to the criticism of the first one and took that into account while writing this one.  I’m also grateful that this is only a duology and not a trilogy.  Knowing that this was the last book, I felt the pacing was better, the story more concise loose ends tied up.  That being said, she did leave an opening to return to this world if she wanted to but I’m happy with how it ended.

The Fates Divide picks up right after the end of Carve the Mark.  Cyra and Akos, along with Ryzek, Cisi and Isea and Eijeh have fled the arena and leaving the Shotet in chaos.  With Ryzek presumed dead and Cyra leaving their is a power vacuum in Shotet that unfortunately gets filled by her once presumed dead Dad, who makes Ryzek look tame.  If that wasn’t enough, Isea is grieving for her lost sister and using her Chancellor position to take revenge with the help of the Assembly.  They also have those pesky little fates to contend with.  They must all overcome all these obstacles and succumb to their fates but at the same time create their own.  It’s tug of war.  Cyra really comes into her own in this one.  She has been told her whole life that she wasn’t worth it.  She had a gift that could only bring pain and for that reason she pushed people away and expected people to disappoint her.  Akos is rattled with guilt because he promised his dad to save his brother and that is almost impossible now.  They both are way to earnest and way to self-sacrificing for my liking but it is who they are.  In this one, we also get the point of view of Akos’ sister, Cisi and Eijeh.  Eijeh who is destined to be an oracle but after years of torture by Ryzek has changed him but through him we see how the oracles work and how unreliable they can be.  Cisi’s point of view gives us a glimpse of the other side of the Thuve and Shotet fight.  The first book was only of Cyra and Akos and the Shotet.  The Shotet are not well liked by and seen as pest because of their militaristic ways and constant scavenging.  We can see how quickly things can escalate when you stop looking at the other side as less then they are.  Our own hurt and pain blinds us to the hurt and pain of others and forces us to make rash decisions.  Cisi tries to be that moderating voice before real a catastrophe happens.

Overall it was a good series that I enjoyed.  I’m glad that the problems of the first book didn’t carry over to this one.