Posted in book tags/memes

T5W: SFF Besties

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.


May 15th: SFF BFFs -BooktubeSFF Awards Crossover Topic-
— Discuss your favorite friends in Scifi and Fantasy, or characters you’d be BFFs with.


For some reason, this topic was so hard for me :/ It was one of those situations like when someone asks for a book recommendation, or your fave book, and suddenly you forget every book you’ve ever read, only in this case, it was me forgetting every friendship I’ve read about in SFF *sigh*

These might not all be my absolute favorites of all time, all the time, but they were all memorable and I enjoyed reading about their friendships. (And, at least for most of them, I wouldn’t mind being best friends with them.)

In no particular order, as usual…


Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)

Karou and Zuzana from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor– Zuze is probably my favorite character from this trilogy, and I think she’s an amazing friend. I loved the relationship between these two a lot ❤

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

The Gangsey from the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater– I love these losers, and I (mostly) love their friendships.

His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, #1)

Temeraire and Lawrence from His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik– These two, oh my gods ❤ They are too precious, and I love them. I can’t wait to read more of the series.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

Sissix and Ashby from The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers– I’m not sure my closest friends and I could manage to live together on ship for so long (maybe?), but these two did their best.

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

Nina and Inej from the Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo– I loved these two so much, and while I’ve forgotten a lot of specifics about their relationship (time for a re-read!), I do remember loving it.


Tell me about some of your favorite SFF friendships (or characters you’d want to be BFFs with)!

Advertisements
Posted in book review

Caraval: Reviewed

Caraval (Caraval, #1)

Caraval (Caraval, book 1) by Stephanie Garber

Genres/Descriptors: fantasy; YA

Publication: 2017

Pages: 407 (hardcover)

Trigger/Content Warnings: child abuse, physical and psychological abuse, attempted/threatened sexual assault/rape, sexual harassment, kidnapping, blood, murder, suicide

Check it out on Goodreads


What’s it about?

Scarlett and her younger sister Tella live on the island of Trisda with their abusive father. They grew up hearing stories of the magical Caraval, but now that Scarlett is engaged to be married to a man she’s never met, she thinks she’ll never be able to experience Caraval. But, at least she’ll be able to get herself and her sister away from their father.

Days before her wedding, an invitation to Caraval arrives, finally. Tella gets some help from a mysterious sailor to take her and Scarlett away, to Caraval. Once they arrive, Tella is taken by the creator of Caraval–Legend–and whoever finds her, will win the game, and one wish.

It’s only a game, but Scarlett can’t help feeling that it’s not. Something about this year’s game feels too personal, too dangerous. With five nights to find her sister, time is short and Scarlett can’t help but get swept up in the game, unsure of what’s real and what’s just a performance.


Review:

Okay… *takes a deep, calming breath* This is going to get long. I mean really, really long.

I went into this knowing that it was not going to be like The Night Circus. I remember it being marketed as something for fans of TNC, but I knew from reviews that it was nothing like that book. Still, I gave myself another couple of years to let the hype die down a bit, as well as time to let reviews fade from my memory a bit so they wouldn’t influence my opinion of it as I read it. I wish I’d listened to the negative reviews and passed on this one :/

I’ll try to keep this spoiler free until the end, where there will be a spoiler warning.

First of all, the characters. Oh my gods, Scarlett was definitely too stupid to live. She never learned, and I didn’t care about her at all. All of the characters felt a bit flat to me, and I think I only kind of liked one character (who was only in like 2-3 scenes I think, and I’m blanking on her name). We’re supposed to believe that Scarlett loves Tella more than anything in the world, but I never got that impression. We were told (over and over again) that all Scarlett wanted was to find her sister, to save her sister, but her actions didn’t really support that most of the time. And she was so freaking boring.

And oh my gods, Tella. *takes a calming breath* I have never hated a character that quickly before (less than 50 pages in), and I hated her throughout the entire book. Tella was a horrible person, and an even worse sister. She was manipulative and selfish and I hated everything about her. Not that we really got to know her, but what little we saw of her was not good.

The entire story is supposed to be about Scarlett and Tella and their sisterly bond, but neither of them honestly seemed to care about the other their wants/needs. Instead, each tried to force their own desires onto the other. And where is the trust? They each seem much happier taking the word of strangers. More on all of this in the spoilery bits at the end, ugh.

The other characters were no better. Their father was literally just child-abuse personified, that’s it. I’m not saying you can’t hate a character for being an abuser, but that was all there was to him and his personality. He was an abuser, full-stop. There was no depth at all to him, despite the attempts to shove some in by the memories of how he hadn’t always been that way. (I also really didn’t like the way it was implied that it was Scarlett and Tella’s mother’s fault for his behavior, because she left them.) Oh, and let’s not forget that he gave his daughter to a man and basically told the man to go ahead and have his way with her. Against her will. Yeah.

Then there was Julian, who was just awful. His behavior toward Scarlett was gross, especially early on, and honestly made me think of Edward Cullen in a better light when I mentally compared the two. The only thing I know about Julian, besides his name and role in Caraval, is that he’s apparently hot and muscular? So hot that an engaged character falls in love with him in less than a week, despite knowing nothing about him. That’s it.

The plot: Where is it? This story is so convoluted, and nothing is real (but some things are!), and it just keeps switching from “This is the truth!” to “No, actually, THIS is the truth!” and back and forth throughout the entire book. I just don’t care. I wanted to care, but I just couldn’t. I think an effort was made to keep the reader guessing, but it failed.

The writing was not the worst, but I feel like there was an attempt made to make it beautiful, and it just turned out to be kind of a mess. You can’t fake beautiful writing, and I might have actually enjoyed this (slightly) more if not for the forced flowery-ness. It was just way over the top, and seemed pretty pointless. I kept thinking that it felt more like middle grade trying to be YA. Not that middle grade is bad, because it’s not. But this just felt like it was written for a younger audience, either middle grade or maaaybe the bottom end of YA. Does that make sense?

But how about the world? I feel like this is a world that could have been so interesting, but we actually don’t get to experience much of it. While we are wandering through Caraval, we’re stuck in Scarlett’s head, which didn’t help. We see almost nothing that really gets across how magical Caraval is supposed to be. Sure, I wasn’t expecting The Night Circus, but damn it, I was expecting something. I wanted to see some magic, see the game, see some kind of performance or something. But no. The only time we actually got a glimpse into anything like that was when Scarlett went into a fortune teller’s tent, and that was probably the absolute best part of the entire book. I wanted more like that.

We never even got an idea of how the magic worked, or what was actually magic instead of a clever illusion or reality. There’s something about blood, and wishes, and time, but no actual explanation. Lack of explanation for magic systems is one of my biggest pet peeves. I wanted to know more about it, and instead we get crumbs that are almost nothing.

Even though I went into this knowing there was a good chance I wouldn’t love it, and I had my expectations really low, it still disappointed me. It’s been a long time since I’ve finished a book and immediately said, “Yep, I’m unhauling you ASAP,” but that’s what happened with this one. I want back the hours I spent reading this book, please.

I gave it 2 out of 5 stars on Goodreads, but I think it’s more like 1.5 for me, and I might lower it to 1 star.

★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

This is probably just going to be word-vomit because my brain is a jumbled mess right now.

Scarlett was infuriatingly stupid, as I said. I still don’t understand how someone could have survived her abusive father that way, and remained so naive and idiotic. She had no common sense at all, and oh my gods the insta love! Okay, let me get this straight: your sister conspires with this guy to drug and kidnap you, you wake up on a boat a couple days later with the guy who kidnapped you, and you’re already like, “Ooh he’s hot! I like him!” WHAT?! This isn’t even Stockholm syndrome. She literally wakes up, talks to this super-hottie (WHO KIDNAPPED HER!) for like five seconds, and she’s already starting to fall for him.

And Tella, her sister, was the mastermind behind the kidnapping, yet Scarlett doesn’t even really seem annoyed by that. I don’t know about you, but if my younger sibling did that, I would be so pissed off. Yeah, I would definitely want to find them, but not just because of some protective instinct. I would be gearing up to rip them a new one because that is so freaking wrong in every way. I don’t care that Tella had good intentions, and ulterior motives, and had arranged all of this with Legend (which we don’t officially discover until the end, but I suspected it early on). Tella was a selfish asshole, and I never saw any real evidence to support the idea that these two sisters were so devoted to each other.

This has to be one of the absolute worst depictions of sisters I’ve ever seen. Scarlett is supposedly willing to do anything to save Tella, and it’s her deepest desire, but let Julian and his golden abs walk by, and suddenly all Scarlett wants to do is chase after him. And Tella! Oh my gods I wanted to throw her off the balcony myself at the end, when she was basically gaslighting Scarlett and taking the word of a guy she’s known for less than a week over that of her sister. I mean, yeah, she was kind of telling the truth, but yikes. And then she throws herself off the balcony thing,killing herself in front of her sister, to break their father’s hold on them? But wait, there’s more! Surprise! She’s not totally dead because ~magic~ and all that! Scarlett ~wished~ her back to life, hurrah!

You guys, I beat my head on my desk so many times while reading this book. I could rant about this book for days, but I’m going to try to wrap it up soon, I promise. (If you’re still reading, wow, thank you. Or, I’m sorry? I’m not sure which is more appropriate 😛 )

Julian was such a terrible love interest. He started stripping in front of Scarlett even though he knows it makes her very uncomfortable, he won’t allow her the privacy to change, he kidnapped her, he lies to her, and I was really uncomfortable all around with their relationship. It reminded me a lot of older YAs that had the bad boy love interest who was all possessive and creepy. But apparently all that (and more) is fine with her, because it was all a game! So she just forgives him, and I guess they’re going to be a couple now? Oh, did I forget to mention that he doesn’t really age, so he’s probably actually around the same age as Scarlett’s grandmother? That’s fine, too, because he still looks like he’s around her age! Ugh.

What even was the deal with Scarlett’s color thing? I kept waiting and hoping for that to become an actually important part of the story, but it was apparently just shoved in there to make her seem more interesting and to add more flowery stuff to the writing?

Where was the magic? Where were the performers? Oh, right, they were everywhere, playing the game. Which we see almost nothing of. I thought the carousel was interesting, kind of, but the only thing I actually really loved about this book was the tattooed guy who told Scarlett bits of her future. That part was great, and I wanted more stuff like that.

But the magic? Tell me more! How does it work? What can it do? What are the limitations? Apparently raising the dead is part of it, because any performers who die will come back at the end, but HOW? They mention time and blood powering magic, and how wishes are magic, but not how or why. It was so frustrating. And Tella, who killed herself, came back because of a wish? Because Scarlett loved her so much? Sorry, but please actually show me that Scarlett and Tella had that close of a bond, because I never saw it. And where is the explanation for how the performers (or at least Legend and Julian) stay young? That was just casually thrown in, without any explanation at all. I want to know at least a little about how the magic works, what it’s limitations are, what the cost is, etc., but we get nothing.

**End of Spoilers**


Okay. I think I’m done. I’m exhausted, and just want to scrub this out of my brain, but oh no. I’m apparently a masochist, because I plan to at least attempt to read Legendary because I got the Kindle edition on sale a while back. Save me.

Posted in book review

Down Among the Sticks and Bones: Reviewed

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, book 2) by Seanan McGuire

Genres/Descriptors: fantasy>portal fantasy; dark fantasy; horror>gothic

Publication: 2017

Pages: 190 (Kindle edition)

Check it out on Goodreads


What’s it about?

This is the story of Jacqueline (Jack) and Jillian (Jill), who we met in Every Heart a Doorway. But this isn’t the story of what their life was like at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. This is what happened before that.

Jacqueline was being shaped by her mother into her ideal, princess-like daughter: quiet, neat and tidy, polite, and in frilly clothes.

Jillian was favored by their father, and took the place of a son for him. She was a tom-boy, always running around, playing sports, and getting dirty.

When they were twelve, and nearly strangers to each other, they found a door that opened onto a staircase. At the bottom, they found another door, instructing whoever found it to “Be sure.” The girls went through the door, and stepped out into a world of magic, death, danger, and mad science. But, most importantly, of choices.


Review:

I loved Every Heart a Doorway (reviewed here), and Jack was my favorite character. I really, really wanted to know more about her, and I actually still have a screenshot on my computer of TorDotCom tweeting back to me after I gushed about her, letting me know about this book (which was due to come out soon, at the time). I was/am just a tiny bit obsessed, and I almost passed out because it was the first time a publisher/anyone involved in publishing had interacted with me online 😛

So, I was super excited about this one, but it took me a while to actually get a copy. Then I put off reading it because I’m a monster and apparently don’t like allowing myself to enjoy nice things.

This book was, in my opinion, even better than EHAD. I loved the exploration of gender roles, as well as parental pressure and expectations on the development of children, and I think it was done in a way that got the point across without feeling too heavy handed. The parents were absolutely horrible, and I found myself relating even more to Jack as I read about her earlier childhood, before she and Jill found their door. I’m actually kind of glad, now, that I put off reading this for so long, because I’m in a much better place (mentally/emotionally) than I was a couple of years ago. Back then, it might have been more of a struggle to read some of this.

I feel like this one gives us a really good idea of why some children ended up finding doors in the first place. I know if I’d ever found a door, even if I suspected it would lead to a place like the Moors, I would have gone through.

Speaking of the Moors, oh my gosh ❤ We didn’t really get to explore a lot of this world, but what we did get to “see” was fantastic. My Gothic-lit loving heart was so happy, and I would gladly devour a much longer book set in that world. If you like Gothic literature, like Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Dracula, Frankenstein, etc., you definitely need to try this novella. It was a very dark, brutal world, with rules that had to be followed (or suffer the consequences), and I loved it.

My biggest issue came in the form of a particular murder. I won’t elaborate on that, so I don’t spoil anything, but I wasn’t thrilled with it. I get why it was done the way it was done, and why that character was the one who was murdered, but yikes.

I want to gush about this book for the next year, but I’m afraid I’ll start babbling spoilers if I don’t stop because the more I write, the more I remember and want to ramble about.

Basically, I absolutely loved this book, even more than Every Heart a Doorway, and I can’t wait to read more from this series.

I gave it 5 out of 5 stars

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Posted in book review

Wicked Saints: Reviewed

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1)

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, book 1) by Emily A. Duncan

Genres/Descriptors: fantasy>dark/Gothic; YA

Publication: April 2nd, 2019

Pages: 400

Check it out on Goodreads

Pre-order it: Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Amazon | Book Depository


What’s it about?

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.


Review:

I’m going to start off with trigger warnings, because it’s not really a spoiler. Emily A. Duncan has been pretty forthright about them, also. Trigger/content warnings for: blood and self-harm; parental abuse; torture (I can only remember one scene that wasn’t super graphic or long, but I might have forgotten others). Also, several characters drink heavily a few times.

This book was one of my most-anticipated 2019 releases, and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I absolutely loved the aesthetic (look at that cover ❤ it screamed “Read Me!”), I was very intrigued by what little I knew of the plot, and I’m trash for anything involving death and blood magic. Then, I saw something about this being perfect for people who shipped Alina with the Darkling, and I was sold. (I only shipped them if she decided she wanted to be villainous. Otherwise, I shipped her with Nikolai, at least briefly.) Anyway… Yes, yes you should probably read this book if the dynamics with Alina and the Darkling were your thing, even if you didn’t actually want them together.

I really enjoyed the setting, but I kind of wish we’d gotten more detailed descriptions, or time spent exploring the world. I didn’t have much trouble visualizing anything, I just wanted more because what we did get had me hooked. It was cold and bleak, fitting perfectly with the story, but I kept craving more details. I’m not complaining too much, though, because instead of focusing a ton on the world, more time was spent on the characters. I really need to see if there’s fan art or something of any of the places our characters visited…

Nadya was a character I wanted so much to love, but I only kind of liked her. In the beginning, I was totally rooting for her and I was super invested in her story, her journey, her saint/gods-given-magic, etc. But, as things progressed, she started to get on my nerves a little. However, it wasn’t because she was doing things suddenly that were out of character for her or anything like that, and the reasons that were probably to blame for my issues were things that made sense. Wow is that vague. Let me just say that some of my issues probably had to do with how she was brought up, and what she was indoctrinated to believe and do. Because of some things that happened closer to the end, I’m very interested to see how her character develops through the rest of the series.

Malachiasz was a very mysterious character, from the beginning, and it isn’t until the last chapters that we really learn most of his story. I suspected things earlier, but I knew his story could go other ways, so I wasn’t certain until the reveal. I loved Malachiasz, and oh my gosh, even if I didn’t like any of the other characters, I would pick up the next book just to find out what happens next with him. That! Ending! I literally screeched and scared my cats, and was *thisclose* to flinging my Kindle in my excitement (I was kind of dancing around…it was very dignified). I am so excited to find out where this series is going.

Serefin was the guy I wanted to hate, but just couldn’t. Even when he first showed up, cast as the bad-guy blood-mage, I wanted to know more about him before deciding if he was a bad guy or not. He reminds me the tiniest bit of Cal from the Red Queen series, but it’s hard to explain why, without going into a ton of spoilers. Okay, I’ll say that there’s a thing he’s good at and that he wants to do, but he can’t really because of royal obligations. While I didn’t love Serefin as a character, I thought he was interesting enough, especially close to the end, and I’m really curious about what will happen next with his story.

I enjoyed the side characters, especially Parijahan, Rashid, and Ostyia. I would love more backstory for them (and Kacper, but for some reason, I cared less about him). My favorite character from this book was Pelageya, even though she was only in like two scenes. I really hope she has a bigger part in the next book, because I have so many questions, and I want to know more about her. (Plus, she was entertaining.) There were a few other, but I think we got the most time with these, except Pelageya.

Where this book fell short for me was in certain aspects of the plot. There were times when I was just so confused, or wanted more information (like, a lot more) to better explain what was going on. It almost felt like there were parts missing or something. However, I really like the magic systems in this universe, and I can’t wait to find out more (hopefully) in the next book. What was shown in this book was great, but I wanted more. More explanation about how things worked, the history, etc., and more on-the-page use of the magic. There wasn’t really a shortage of it, it just seemed like most of the scenes were brief and kind of sparse on the details, so I wasn’t totally satisfied.

The theological questions raised for some of our characters was really interesting for me, and I can’t wait to see those themes explored more in future books. In this blood magic vs holy magic (granted by gods/saints) war, I felt like it was really hard to say if either side was “right.” I loved that. I loved that there were no clear “good guys” or “bad guys” in this story. I want to talk more about that, but spoilers 😦

There were things that we were basically beaten over the head with, to really make sure the point was driven home. That was frustrating, and I hope the next book isn’t like that.

Something about the pacing was weird at times, too, especially with relationships. I felt like trust happened a little too easily, especially given the circumstances all the characters were in. And there was the romance. That did not come out of the blue or anything (I was expecting it from the moment our characters met), but it felt like it happened very quickly. I don’t think it actually did, but I’m not totally sure of the timeline and how much time had elapsed between them meeting and falling for each other.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but I didn’t love it. I would still recommend it, and I will be continuing the series, because I’m pretty invested in finding out more about these characters and this world.

I still can’t decide between 3 and 4 stars (it’s somewhere in between for me), so I’m just going to say it’s 3.5-ish stars.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read an advanced copy. I can’t wait to get my hands on a finished copy, because this book is stunning ❤

Posted in book review

Red Queen: Reviewed

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (book one in the Red Queen quartet)

Genres/Descriptors: YA; fantasy; SFF>dystopian

Pages: 383

Check it out on Goodreads


What’s it about?

People are divided into two classes based on the color of their blood. The Reds are normal people, just like us, but the Silvers have silver blood and abilities, kind of like X-Men. Silvers rule over Reds, and they’re not exactly kind overlords.

Mare Barrow is a seemingly normal, seventeen-year-old Red girl, but when she lands a job at the palace, she–and the royal family–find out that isn’t the case.

Somehow, Mare possesses an ability.

To control the situation, the Silver royals come up with a plan to hide Mare’s true nature by giving her a new identity as a Silver orphan, taken in and raised by Reds, and set her up to be a princess, engaged to one of the princes.

Mare has to be very careful, because the world is watching. One wrong move and she’ll be killed to protect the secret. Despite that, she helps the Scarlet Guard, a resistance group determined to bring down the reign of Silvers and free the Reds.

Navigating this world of ballgowns, jealousy, and suspicion isn’t going to be easy, especially when anyone can betray anyone, at any time.


Review

Possibly unpopular opinion alert, but… I really like this book. I’ve read it twice, and I rated it the same both times. Is it my all-time favorite? No. But I really enjoyed it. (If you want a quick overview of my thoughts, instead of the long version, scroll to the bottom.)

Mare is great in this book. She was a badass, and risked so much to protect people she cared about, and Reds in general, and I admire her for that. I also just really liked her as a character. Despite everything, she believed in a better future, saw the good in people, and cared deeply for others. She had flaws, sure, and there were a few times I wanted to scream “Trust no-one!” at her, because that seemed like the best course of action. I wasn’t entirely right or wrong for feeling that way.

I think my favorite character was actually Julian, a Silver. He was kind and scholarly, and I enjoyed him, as well as his relationship with Mare as he tried to help her understand herself and her ability. She really should have taken to heart some advice he gave her, though.

The princes…oh boy, do I have feelings about Cal and Maven. I kind of felt sorry for both of them, for different reasons. Maven really wormed his way into my heart, but I still liked Cal better. Okay, I can’t talk about my feelings about them without spoilers, so I’m just moving on, ugh.

I feel like the world building is where this novel struggled a little. While I didn’t have any trouble visualizing most of what was presented, it was weird trying to put all the pieces together. This is a fantasy dystopian, and I settled on trying not to think of it like our typical YA dystopians (set in our world, in the future) and more like an alternate world or whatever. There were some technological things we have (guns, cameras, etc.), but also things we don’t have…I think. And there were swords. Why? I don’t know, but I’m kind of into it.

Silver abilities, holy crap. That was one of my favorite things about this book and this universe. I was an X-Men kid, and I grew up watching the cartoon and kind of reading some of the comics, as well as a couple of books I had. I loved X-Men, and I still do. The abilities of the Silvers in this book are similar to that, without seeming like a total rip-off.

There were Silvers who could control metal, fire, water, plants, those with super-human strength, or rock-hard skin. Silvers who could move faster than the eye can track, who can bend light to become invisible, those who could control minds, etc. There were a lot of abilities, and they were all super cool in my opinion.

And then there’s Mare. I’m not going to say what her ability is, but it was freaking awesome, and I was so excited about it after it was revealed during Queenstrial. There’s a scene at the end that had me practically screaming with excitement about it.

The plot itself was probably the most trope-y, but I didn’t mind it. I could definitely see why people were comparing it to some other dystopians, but I’ve realized that I haven’t actually read that many. Maybe that’s why it didn’t bother me. I guess, if you’ve read a dozen YA dystopians, this one might not stand out much.

The thing that did stand out to me was how Mare was what I expected, mostly, from a dystopian heroine. She was pretty selfless and all that, like Katniss and Tris. Oh, and the sort of love triangle. But this one…wow. This was a love triangle that surprised me, and I’m still not okay, even though I’ve read this book twice. I’m still shocked by that thing that happened.

*deep breath to reign things in because this is getting long*

Okay, let me try to summarize my thoughts:

  • Mare was a great character, and I was rooting for her from the beginning.
  • I love the Silver abilities, and Mare’s. I want to know more about how Reds and Silvers…happened. (That’s at least hinted at in a later book, but I’ve only read halfway through King’s Cage so far.)
  • I liked that there wasn’t any info-dumping, at least as far as I remember. Even by the end, there’s still so much we don’t know, and I like that. I think this was a pretty solid (although not totally perfect) start to a series.
  • This book was really fast-paced and a fun read, but you probably won’t like it as much if you’ve read a ton of YA dystopians. However, having a more fantasy dystopian than sci-fi dystopian was an interesting change, at least in my opinion.
  • The world building could have been a bit better, but I was fine with it.
  • The plot was semi-predictable, but there were still twists I didn’t see coming.
  • I don’t know what to say about the writing. It was really good, in my opinion, but not in a way that really stands out. I actually kind of like that. I get tired of really poetic and lyrical writing sometimes, and it’s nice to read something that flows well, but isn’t really flowery.
  • After finishing my re-read, I immediately grabbed Glass Sword because I had to know what happened next.
  • It’s not absolutely mind-blowing, but I really enjoyed it.

Both times I read it, I gave it 4 out of 5 stars

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆