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Aurora Burning ARC Review

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I was given an ARC by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

THIS BOOK.

Amie and Jay did it again! Another amazing book that managing to blow my mind and my expectations away! This book was one of my most anticipated for this year after reading the first one and boy it really did not disappoint. The only reason that reading this book took me so long was purely because I read a lot slower on ebook.

I’ll be keeping this review spoiler free since it is an ARC review and the book isn’t out yet! Maybe mild spoilers for Aurora Rising, but it’s completely AB spoiler free!

This book was absolutely action-packed and had me on the edge of my seat the ENTIRE time and since I know that both Amie and Jay tend to be merciless, I was practically biting my nails.

I really liked learning more about this universe and the Eshvaren and the war they fought. The worldbuilding details were really well done and is something I’m excited to see more of in the next book! One aspect I really enjoyed worldbuilding-wise was probably seeing and learning more about the Syldrathi and the factions within it them and the prior war between the Starslayer and the humans!

I really enjoyed the introduction of new characters (I won’t mention names)! They were a really cool addition to the book that I wasn’t really expecting! I possibly see a new romance brewing there, but I won’t say anything about it really! That being said, I’m not going to say anything about ANY romances, lest I spoil anything.

I can’t say much about the plot, but it’s absolutely wild and took a few turns I didn’t see coming, which I love in a book, especially since I have a tendency to be able to guess endings and plot twists.

The squad was everything I wanted them to be and it was SO great to return to this world! I loved their dynamic as always and their humor is unmatched! I’m such a sucker for found family and this was just so great! The characters are just so vibrant and wonderful. Each one has such a distinct personality and I love each of them for different reasons!

One of the main things I absolutely loved about this book was how there was more of Zila and getting more from her perspective! I was really intrigued by her character in the first book since she was such a question mark and it was so nice to learn a bit about her history, how her mind works, and her perspective on some of the situations that the Squad faces throughout the book!

Likewise with Kal, it was really interesting to get some more history there about him and his family, since he’s a really central character to the plot in this book!

Finian is still 100% my favorite. I love him so much and I love seeing his character grow throughout this book! He definitely had A LOT of chapters from his perspective and I always looked forward to them because his narrative voice is just amazing, even in chapters where he’s a bystander.

I loved seeing the way that each member of the Squad, especially Tyler, went about dealing with the tragedy that occurred at the end of the first book. Watching Tyler move on and grow was so interesting and I cannot wait to see what happens with him in the next book!

There was one thing I really, really wanted to happen and it didn’t… we’re not going to talk about that though… We’re just really gonna hope for next book.

And there was also one very specific thing that honestly pissed me off quite a bit, but it was definitely meant to make me angry so I’m not docking points for it.

Did I cry reading this book? Absolutely.
Am I going to tell you why? No.

There were also quite a few reveals that just made my brain explode in the best way possible. I literally gasped for one or two of them and had to put the book down for a solid 10-15 minutes before picking it back up again so I could process what just happened.

And the ending. Just. Holy shit. That’s all I have to say about that… Maybe ask me about it when the book comes out and I might be willing to talk about it.

Just… What the HELL man. I honestly sat there for like 20 minutes afterward and just didn’t know what to do or say (part of the reason why it took me so long to compile my thought to write a review) so, if what I think happened did happen all I can say is good luck soldiers.

I just don’t know what I’m going to do until the next one comes out. I already can’t wait and this one hasn’t been released. All I can say is I hope I can get an ARC of that one too because I don’t know how long I can wait after THAT cliffhanger! It honestly felt like I reached the end of a countdown in Illuminae and the book just ended and I’m STILL not okay.

I think I’ll definitely be rereading this book before the next one comes out.

Thank you so much for reading and don’t forget to subscribe to get notified each time I post a new review!!


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Welcome to my Blog!

An Introduction

“One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”

— Cassandra Clare.

Hello!

I figured I’d use my first blog post to say a little bit about myself and what this blog will entail!

I’m Emma, a first year creative writing and publishing student. I’m eighteen years old and an aspiring author. I write both contemporary and fantasy, mostly in the YA genre, though I’m not opposed to writing adult fiction!

I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, though I’ve only began writing reviews over the course of the past few months.

Some of my favorite genres include YA, fantasy, contemporary and historical romance, and sci-fi!

Some of my favorite authors include:

  • Sarah J. Maas
  • V.E. Schwab
  • Cassandra Clare
  • Jay Kristoff
  • Leigh Bardugo
  • Holly Black
  • Maggie Stiefvater
  • Sabaa Tahir

Some of my favorite series include:

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

Some of my favorite stand-alone books include

I have a bookstagram with a few of my friends @libraryofvelariss

And a Goodreads where I’ll also post my reviews!

I’ll be using this blog for book reviews and bookish item/item boxes reviews! I’ll also have a direct feed to mine and my friends’ bookstagram! If you enjoy books or reading I hope you’ll like my feed! Don’t forget to subscribe to get notifications when I post a new review!

Have a Happy New Year! See you in a few days with a review!

Vicious Review

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book sat on my shelf for way too long. I’m actually so disappointed with myself for sleeping on this book.

I knew I was going to like this book going in; it was just the feeling it gave off. The idea sort of reminded me of the film Chronicle a little bit (though this is way better than that even though I do like that movie). But if you told me that this would be one of my favorite books of the entire year, become one of my overall favorites, and leave me hunting for every exclusive edition ever; I never would have guessed it.

This blew away all of my expectations.

V.E. Schwab is quickly becoming one of my favorite/instabuy authors. The world in which she was able construct in this book, the depth of the characters, from Victor, to Eli, to Sydney, to Mitch, added so much to the story.

Victor alone is such a fantastic character, the kind of character that’s really interesting to think about, theorize about, and almost study. One of my favorite things about this book is the shades of grey morality throughout. Who is the villain and who is the hero? Sometimes it just depends on the perspective. Victor, certainly, in other circumstances, could be looked at as the villain, but to us, he is a hero or vigilante of sorts, if only one with extremely grey morals. He has no qualms about killing, is seemingly unfeeling but can’t help but take in Syd (as well as letting her keep Dol). He is by far one of the most deep and intriguing characters I have ever read in my life.

Eli is also such an interesting character, especially given all of the things we know about him, through himself and through Victor, and, if you’ve read Vengeful, you learn even more about him and the state of his psyche beyond what’s given in this book.

The non-linear storytelling is just so complex and intricate I can’t help but applaud Victoria for it. I can’t imagine the story being told so brilliantly in any other way. It adds so much to the story, and I think, helps us to understand the characters better than we ever could have if we were only reading the present timeline.

I also love the multiple POV; it was so well-done and it gave the story extra depth

This is a book that I can sit and think and overanalyze for hours and I love it.

If I hadn’t been buddy-reading this book I probably would have finished it in a day or two. It’s extremely bingeable.

I urge you and everyone in the world to PLEASE read this book! It is one of my absolute favorite singular books I have ever read and I don’t see that changing any time soon!

I will definitely reread this one.



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Daisy Jones and the Six Review

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I have a LOT to say about this book and I’m super excited to discuss it!

So, this book has been on my tbr pretty much since it first came out because of all of the hype surrounding it, but I was worried that it wasn’t going to live up, so I pushed it off for a while. I finally bought the book when Amazon had it for half price and I read it almost immediately after buying it (which I almost never do unless it’s a new release).

Fortunately, this book did live up to the hype. I’ve had a few disappointing reads this month and this book blew away all of my expectations.

First, the structure of this book was just so incredibly immersive. It felt like I was with the band, like I was living through this with them. The “talking heads”-esqe structure was one of the most interesting ones I’ve read yet. It felt like I was watching a documentary, but it felt even closer than that. It added such a personal level to it and encompassed all of the information in this sort of toss back between the characters, where you were able to see the different perspectives on the same events, but not in a way that ever felt repetitive.

To pull off this structure, in which Reid takes you back to the beginning and walks you through the story of the band, but still in retrospect at the same time, must have been an incredible amount of outlining and planning. She must have known this story inside and out before even sitting down to write the book. I can’t even imagine the amount of work that went into it.

There wasn’t a single moment of this book where I was bored or disinterested. From page one, I was absolutely hooked. I felt immediately enthralled by the plot, by the characters. It was just an amazing experience.

I loved every single one of the characters; I felt so connected to all of them. Even Pete to a degree, though not as much as everyone else since he chose not to comment. Each of them was just so carefully developed and complex in a way that made it feel like you actually knew them personally as they were going through this. Their emotion was bleeding off the page as they addressed certain events and it was so brilliant.

I loved Daisy especially. I loved the layers to her character, the way that everyone seemed to see her a different way and the way that most of those things were true and all together they created Daisy. I loved how badass and how strong she is. I loved how real her struggles were and how deeply she felt things. She felt super well-developed and a deeply flawed character in the best ways.

The story felt like I was watching a rock and roll documentary of an iconic band I had never heard of and just discovered and I was on the edge of my seat almost the whole time. By the end, I felt as if there had never been a time I hadn’t known Daisy and the Six.

You know you’ve really accomplished something as a writer when your readers can feel as if they could actually hear the music written into the pages in addition to the collected lyrics of the album Aurora in the back of the book.

This book was really just something special and exceeded my expectations so if you haven’t read it, I really recommend checking it out. It was just such an amazing reading experience and once I got to the end and realized it was over, I started crying.

Also, I waited until after I finished the book to look at the casting so far for the TV series and I’m happy to report that so much of it feels spot on.

Please, please read this book.

Don’t forget to hit subscribe to be notified when I post a new review! I apologize for being MIA for the past month, but I’m back and I have a few reviews queued up including an ARC review!

Emma ❤



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Wicked Saints Review

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


First of all, this book initially caught my eye because of the beautiful cover, and actually caught my mother’s eye in the store because she was the one who had said to me “oooh this looks good” and handed it to me, which doesn’t happen often, as my mother couldn’t care any less about books.

I was really excited for it, as it seemed super intriguing and unlike anything I had read before, for the most part. But unfortunately I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped that I would.

This book did really read like a debut, starting off very slowly until Nadya arrived at the palace, probably about 180 pages in, but the worldbuilding going on is extremely intricate, which I liked, and I can see the way it’s setting up for the coming books. I believe this is a trilogy, but I’m not 100% sure.

As far as the two protagonists went, I much preferred Serefin and his slightly alcoholic and sarcastic angst to Nadya’s naivety. Her chapters tended to feel longer than Serefin’s and there were altogether more of them, but as I understand it, that will be reversed in Ruthless Gods, wherein Serefin will have more chapters.

I found the magic system wholly unique on Nadya’s side of things with her saints’ beads, and I always love blood mages as a form of magic; it’s just so intriguing. I’m excited to learn more about how it works in the next book since I don’t completely understand it.

I sadly, unlike many of the other people on the internet who might start throwing rocks at me for saying this, really didn’t like Malachiasz. He, to me, was an intriguing character to look at perspective wise, but I really didn’t like the way he serves as a kind of love interest/fixation point for Nadya. He doesn’t really give off the “sad misunderstood guy” trope, but more of a sort of creepy seeming to teeter in the morally grey area and not in the way that I enjoyed. It felt more like he plays Nadya more than anything, especially due to her previously stated naivety. He honestly annoys me, so, not a fan.

However, I loved Serefin, who I’d have to say is probably my favorite character in the whole book. His inner monologue felt much less dense than Nadya’s. I loved the dynamic between him, his general and his captain (?). I’m excited to see more of that in the next book, especially given the little taste of it a few months ago when Ruthless Gods was first announced.

What I’m not sure about, is what angle we’re heading towards in terms of romance in the series, which isn’t so much of a focal point in this first book, as it feels like Duncan is setting up for something much larger than the plot of this first book, but I get two feelings. One, is that despite everything, Nadya will pine after Malachiasz and Serefin will either get his own love interest separate from Nadya or not have one at all, which again, since I don’t really like Malachiasz, is a road I’m hoping Duncan doesn’t go down.

The other would be that Serefin would also be considered a love interest in the next book, and there would be a sort of love triangle. I’m just hoping if she does go that route, then she does it in a way that doesn’t stick to the same love triangle trope we all know by now. I’m hoping that if she does do a love triangle, it doesn’t take away from the overall plot.

Either way, I did, when it came down to the end, find myself enjoying this book and did really like where the plot was heading when the book closed and am excited to see where this story is going next.



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Woven in Moonlight Review

Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


So I received this book in my January Fairyloot box and the first thing I thought (which might be shallow) was: wow this book is absolutely stunning. And it is. The regular edition is beautiful too, but the Fairyloot one is just one of my favorite covers ever. So, needless to say, after reading the synopsis, I was excited to read this one.

I started to read it with the read-along, but I didn’t really have the time, so I had to put it down for like three days after reading the first eighty or so pages, but right off the bat I had a few opinions.

When I picked the book back up again, I finished it in like two days, as it’s super short, but I really didn’t feel like my heart was in it. This book wasn’t particularly for me. That’s not to say that it was a bad book, but I didn’t love it, which was really upsetting for me.

First though, I’ll talk about the things that I did like in this book, to bring it back to a bit of a positive note.

The Likes

I really liked the how the author was close to the story in that she used Bolivia’s history to build this book upon. I thought it was a really interesting way to build her story and it added a bit of a personal element you don’t often see. You could plainly see the commentary she was making about the situation there, which was what she was trying to accomplish.

I liked a lot of her description, it was really beautiful at some points and I felt like I could really picture the castillo, though at first I had a little trouble placing things and had to look at the beautiful map. I also felt like the description of the market was really well done and I could picture it perfectly, even though there’s only about two scenes in the book that take place there.

I liked the idea of the plot; I thought that it was a sound enough idea and it definitely had some interesting points throughout the novel. It was an enjoyable read, if you didn’t think about it too much or read into it too much.

The Princesa was probably my favorite character in the whole novel, though I knew next to nothing about her, but if you told me I had to pick a favorite, it would be her.

I also felt like she was able to capture a lot of the cultural elements really well, of course, I’m not Bolivian and can’t say for sure. I liked the incorporation of the contrasting cultures between the Llacsans and the Illustrians; I thought it was really interesting. The incorporation of the spanish language was also a really good choice, I think. I was really glad for the glossary, since I took French in high school and could barely read the chapter titles because 1. I don’t know spanish and 2. the font threw me off from even attempting anything past chapter fourteen, but that’s my own fault.

The Dislikes

Okay… I’ll start with the worldbuilding itself. It felt a little… messy, if I’m being honest. I didn’t really feel like I understood the way that magic worked. At all. Like nothing was really explained. The closest we got was saying that the Illustrians got their powers from the moon, but where do the Llacsans get their abilities from? Do some people have powers and others don’t? The magic just felt like it took a backseat for me, and I didn’t really even understand how it worked. In order for a magic system to work in any piece of creative work whether it be film, television or books, there needs to be established rules and there wasn’t that here. I felt like I was feeling around in the dark for answers that weren’t there.

The whole plot seemed super anticlimactic. Like majorly. The stakes were high and I thought there was going to be this big battle, but it only came down to about seven pages within the last 30. It was kind of boring; it kept me interested enough, but I found myself looking ahead to see if there was anything remotely interesting coming up.

In the same vein, it felt sort of repetitive at points. Almost like the days were cyclical: get up, complain about dress, deal with atoc, go to garden, argue or half a sort of soft moment with rumi, “I should hate Llacsans”, sneaks out of room, repeat. I would have preferred a little more action, rather than complete political intrigue, which didn’t really intrigue me all that much.

I literally went through the entire book not really understanding what the Estrella was. I understood that it was this sort of bracelet, but I didn’t understand what it could do. And it was just sort of referenced as this taboo item, this weapon, but I didn’t know if I should be fearful of what it did, because I really didn’t get it.

El Lobo wasn’t really a point of interest for me. For almost the whole novel, I knew exactly who it was. It wasn’t a challenge at all to figure it out, if I’m being honest. I read this book at the same time as one of my best friends and she felt the same way about this. The El Lobo plotline also just felt… flat. I could feel that I was supposed to care about him and about the situation, but I really couldn’t bring myself to do so.

Atoc felt like a generic villain. There was absolutely nothing special about him that made me even particularly feel threatened by him. He felt really two dimensional and almost like a cardboard cut out of a character. He was there, then he wasn’t. He just sort of sat there and he wasn’t really even physically present in the novel. I don’t know… I like villains that have layers, that I can unpack and understand, despite what they are doing. I like to know motivations and character traits other than “evil” and when it came down to it, Atoc had none of those things.

Ximena was an annoying protagonist. Straight up irritating at times. Her inner monologue was the same repetitive thoughts over and over. I found myself not really caring about her. Her ability was cool and a sound enough idea, but I really don’t understand how it words still. Being able to make animals out of wool was explained away by her use of “color”, but it felt so lazy to me; I don’t know. I just feel like Ximena didn’t care about the things that she should be caring about. In the final battle, there are people dying, and all she cares about is her woven Jaguar. Even after a character dies, they’re never mentioned again, but the jaguar is, which is something that was never truly alive to begin with.

Rumi and Ximena’s relationship went from 0-100 really quick. One minute she’s complaining about how much he smells like ragweed (because he does; in case you didn’t know. Ximena will remind you if you didn’t) and the next minute she’s like swooning over him. I would have preferred it to be more gradual of a relationship. It felt like hate to instalove, which didn’t really work for me. By the end of 365 pages he’s saying “I love you” to her, but they had like maybe five actual conversations.

The whole little side plot regarding the priest was just so lazy to me. It seemed like such an easy out for the author and she took it. If it was going to be resolved so stupidly easily, then why even have it in the novel.

SPOILER: I feel the same way about how apparently everyone in the castle hates Atoc and are working against him in some resistance. It felt so, so lazy.

Catalina wasn’t really in this novel, but as I understand it, she’s to be the main protagonist of the companion novel Written in Starlight. She seems to be extremely spoiled and that’s about it. Oh and “too kind for her own good”. To me, she just seems extremely naive.

I’ll figure out whether or not I’m going to read the companion after I see the synopsis. For all I know, maybe it can redeem the things that bothered me about this novel.

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Until next time,
Emma



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Call Down the Hawk Review

Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


It was really nice to return back to these characters and this world. It felt like coming home to something warm and familiar. Even though I just recently read the Raven Cycle for the first time, it still felt nostalgic in a way.

That being said, this book was very different from the Raven Cycle, even just in Maggie’s writing style. It had a sense of familiarity about it, but the tone of her writing was really different, except maybe when writing Ronan, who never really changes (I mean that in the best way possible).

I knew going in that it was going to be the Lynch brothers’ story, but I was expecting for some of the characters from the Raven Cycle to make a bit more of a physical appearance in the book (*cough cough* Gansey). I was hoping to be able to see more of what they were all up to now and how they’re functioning now after Glendower. I hope that in the next book, they become more present figures, or at least have a physical appearance. The few phone calls and text messages I got I really enjoyed. Also the notion that Ronan’s supposed to be plantsitting for Gansey’s mint plant, which just made me laugh a bit.


Honestly, I was hoping for more Pynch.

Yes, we got a scene or two and a few crumbs, but I was hoping for a little more and for Adam to be more physically present in the novel. I loved that, though Adam wasn’t in the book for much of the story, he was still a big part of Ronan’s life and mindset. He was almost always on his mind and you could really see openly how much Ronan loves and cares about him. I love that, though we don’t have his POV, you can easily tell that Adam feels the same way about him and how that, if Ronan needed him to, he would come home in an instant. I just hope that there’s more shown of their relationship in the next book, and maybe even Adam will have a POV. But still, Maggie managed to make me melt with what we were given such as a few of my favorites:

Tamquam alter idem

“This was as Ronan remembered it. Adam’s ribs fit against his ribs just as they had before. His arms wrapped around Adam’s narrow frame the same way they had before. His hand still pressed against the back of Ronan’s skull the way it always did when they hugged. His voice was missing his accent, but now it sounded properly like him as he murmured into Ronan’s skin: “You smell like home.”

Ronan was still the very same Ronan we all know and love, which was really great. I love his humor and reading his inner thoughts and how, despite being so guarded, cares so deeply about Adam and manages to let his guard down around him.

I also never thought I’d say this, but I actually like Declan now. I really loved his POVs and being able to see inside of his head and what his motivations were. I actually looked forward to his POVs by the end of the book. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen with him in the next book.

I also LOVED his growing relationship with Jordan. I can’t wait to see where it’s going to go.

I loved seeing more of Matthew than we did in the Raven Cycle and I’m hoping that maybe we’ll get of POV of him in the next book, since I’d really like to know what he thinks of everything that’s come to light in this novel. He’s such a big part of the book, and I think that adding his POV would add a lot to the series.

I really liked the new characters as well, particularly Jordan; she was such an intriguing character to get to know, especially since we’d never had a POV from a character who was a dream (except Opal, if you count her novella). Seeing her struggle and form relationships and bond and want was just so human and I loved it. Her developing relationship with Declan is one of my favorite aspects of this book, if I’m being honest.

I didn’t love Farooq-Lane, but I didn’t dislike her either. I thought that her storyline was really interesting and it was nice to be able to see the other side of the story, and really understand what it is that a Visionary is through her involvement with Parsifal.

The plot was super interesting and something I wasn’t really expecting, but I really enjoyed it. Especially with the involvement of Visionaries and such. It’s such an intriguing part of this universe that hasn’t been fully explored. I can’t wait to see where she takes it in the next books.

I also know next to nothing about art, but I was really interested by its involvement in this story.

I’m really interested to see where she takes the next book and I can’t wait to read it since Maggie, Queen of Cliffhangers, left us hanging AGAIN. I can’t stop thinking about this one… I can’t wait to return to this world and to find out more!



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Ruthless Gods (ARC Review)

Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I was given an ARC by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

I should start out by saying: I did not love Wicked Saints. I thought it was an average book, but I could feel it building towards something, which is why I was excited for this one. I had high hopes for this book to be much better than the first, but it fell flat for me. This will be non-spoiler, since the book hasn’t come out yet, but I will touch upon some things that happened in the first book, so if you didn’t read that one, you might want to steer clear of this review.

In the first book, it felt like a lot of build-up and it read very much like a debut novel, which of course, it was. I didn’t feel particularly attached to the characters, except Serefin. I had hoped that this book would win me over, but unfortunately, my opinion remains the same of many. I really really wanted to love this book. But this, like the first, was an average read for me.

Anyway, onto the review!

This book, jumps right in and immediately begins building the plot, where in the first, it took 150 pages to get some semblance of what was going on. It was definitely faster paced than the first one, which I did enjoy, but some parts of the book did drag and when they dragged, it seemed to go on forever. This is, as well as the lack of page numbers in the e-ARC (which of course has nothing to do with the book), was part of the reason was I read this book so slowly.

This book isn’t very action-based, it’s plot-heavy, so if you’re in the mood for a lighter fantasy read, you’re in the wrong place. Some of the chapters are steeped in information and I found that it wasn’t something I could give half my attention to and still know what’s going on, which lead me to have to go back and read a few things multiple times.

That being said, I don’t dislike Duncan’s writing style. I like a lot of her use of description, she paints really vivid images of specific scenes, specifically of Malachiasz. The plot was a lot better and was definitely more interesting than the first, but it was also complex. I love the voice she puts into her characters, it’s really distinct in each of them, which is something I enjoy, though I do still feel really distant from many of them despite that. Maybe first person POV would have helped to bring me closer, even though I generally prefer third.

I like how original the magic system is in this book, even if I don’t completely understand how it works. Other than the Tranavian blood mages, much of the magic within this world I haven’t encountered before. I only wish I knew more about it. We learn a little more about the gods in this book, which was nice. The title is about as accurate as they come.

I really liked how there were “interlude” chapters, in which it wasn’t Serefin or Nadya’s POV, but some of the side characters. I can’t really call them main characters when I still feel like I know next to nothing about some of them.

I love plot (so much), but I am a very character-driven reader, and if I’m not connected to the characters I’m not as invested in the story. I think that’s my main problem with this book. I didn’t feel completely connected to the characters, or like the characters enough to give this book any higher of a rating. It might just be me.

I did like how Parj got more page time, but there’s something spoilery that I can’t talk about now that has to do with her. I don’t really know why it’s completely relevant, maybe it will have some significance in the next book.

Also full disclosure: I deadass could not remember for the life of me who Kostya was. Whoops. Moving on to more important things.

I don’t see the appeal of Malachiasz. There I said it. He’s not some angsty misunderstood teenage boy. He’s not some soft boy who made a single mistake in his life that led him on the wrong path. He’s legitimately evil. He’s a literal monster with horns and apparently, as it was mentioned about 25 times, clusters of eyes opening up on his body (mainly on his cheek). He has a few one liners here and there, but I don’t even think he’s a completely compelling villain. I feel like Duncan definitely took some inspiration from the Darkling to create his character, but it doesn’t feel as well done as the Darkling does. The Darkling was likable, understandable and a captivating character, where Malachiasz is the type of character that makes me want to roll my eyes. He’s also a pathological liar, but I’ll get to that later. He isn’t a redeemable character. Just because he has pretty eyes and anxiously bites his fingernails doesn’t make him likable. The amount of times that the word boy is used to describe him is ridiculous. Some variation of “horrible, beautiful boy” of “terrible, monstrous, gorgeous boy” is used in almost every chapter in Nadya’s POV. Well, I suppose I should address my opinion of their pairing.

I want to say that I am a huge fan of enemies to lovers. It is one of my favorite trope and I am usually a sucker for it. I cannot stand Nadya and Malachiasz together. Like at all. I don’t understand why Nadya’s so drawn to him. He literally does something so disgusting in one of the early chapters of this book and a chapter later she’s talking about how “misunderstood” he is. I just don’t understand it. She keeps talking about how she’d love to get revenge on him for what he did to her at the end of the first book, but at the same time she looks at him and forgets that he did any of that. She keeps trying to think the best of him and he’s not someone that deserves that. He’s also a liar. He spent all of the first book straight up lying and he’s not exactly forthcoming in this one either. Yes, because this is a healthy way to build a relationship. And Nadya knows this and she still walks around willfully blind to every wrong he does. Literally Serefin shows up at hears Malachiasz say one sentence and knows he’s full of shit. I just can’t stand their relationship. And everyone else just sort of doesn’t react to it? Like this is a good or normal thing?

Nadya is definitely not a favorite protagonist of mine, mostly because of how naive she still is, even after everything. I’m going to call it naive and not stupid like I read in someone else’s review. I just feel like she has the common sense to put things together or to understand more things than she lets on, but again, she’s willfully blind to so many of the things that go on around her. It just annoys me a bit. But there were quite a few things that happened surrounding her in this book that I’m interested to see come to fruition in the next book.

Anyway, I won’t say much about her since she’s a brand new character, but Katya’s POV was an interesting one to get, especially since I feel like I know next to nothing about the actual monarchy in Kalyazin. I don’t know how their government works, but I assume its somewhat similar to Tranavia’s. Now that I think about it, there was more information about Akola’s government that there was of Kalyazin’s. Either way, I don’t know if I love her as a character, but I definitely think she’s intriguing and know she’ll be vital to the plot of the next book.

I think it’s time for me to finally talk about Serefin. I love Serefin. He’s by far my favorite character in this book. I definitely found myself the most connected to him. He’s having a rough go of it after everything that happened in the first book, btu I definitely found myself most excited for his chapters. I think that he’s a far more compelling character than Malachiasz, and I honestly would have preferred him as Nadya’s love interest, but knowing Duncan’s love of Star Wars’s Reylo, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. He’s such a complex character is in the midst of further development throughout this book. But pretty much everything that I could possibly say about him is spoilery, so I’m going to just leave it at that.

The ending of this book was by far my favorite part. From about the last 7 (maybe?) chapters onward I was a lot more invested in the story than I had been throughout most of the book. The pace changed completely and the ending few chapters felt rejuvenated. It’s a crazy ending, if I’m being honest. I won’t say anything about it, but I will say that.

Lastly, I feel that some of the ideas in the book are sound enough, but they aren’t executed in a way that particularly hit the nail on the head for me. It was sort of a half-hit. I will read the last book when it comes out since I dedicated myself to the first two and I hope that I enjoy it more than I liked these.

That’s pretty much all I had to say, but if I think of anything else, I’ll come back to this review and add.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to subscribe so you get notifications when I post new reviews! 🙂



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A Conjuring of Light Review

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Once again V.E. Schwab wrecks me with the brilliance of her writing. Does this surprise anyone? Probably not.

She is rapidly becoming one of my all-time favorite authors, definitely an instabuy for me after reading both this series and her Villains series. Next up on my list to tackle is the Monsters of Verity Duology, so stay tuned for when I read it.

This book has to be one of the best and most satisfying series finales that I have ever read. The adventure, the characters, the stakes, the plot all had me reeled in with my attention dialed to 11.

Disclaimer: this book took me a stupid amount of time to read, just because I didn’t want it to be over, but once I did sit down to read it, it took two days. Alright, let’s get on with the review.

Okay… where to start?

This is the only warning: **SPOILERS AHEAD** DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK AND DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED

I have almost never been so thankful that I had this book on hand after finishing the one before it.A Gathering of Shadows left a gaping hole in me once I reached the end and I am so glad that I was able to immediately pick up the next book.

The plot hits you smack in the face–Victoria doesn’t pull her punches on this one. She dives right in, the stakes high from the very start of the novel. I love that about it. It was so refreshing to begin at the middle.

Osaron is such a high-stakes villain and the threat he poses, not just to Red London, but to Arnes and the world beyond, after seeing what he did to Black London, is so well done. He’s such a great villain and Victoria really does a great job in establishing him as such.

If you asked me at the beginning of reading A Darker Shade of Magic that I was going to absolutely love Holland, I would have never, ever believed you. I didn’t hate him, but I didn’t see him becoming a favorite of mine anytime soon. Well, you guessed it, this book completely changed that. I loved how involved he was in this book, how he was more than just a name or a figure in the background. I loved hearing his backstory, even if it made me cry a little bit. It was so heartbreaking to hear his journey, from a young boy who was blessed/cursed with this gift, to the hopeless, beaten-down man that we first saw in the first book, while he was under the control of the Danes.
I love anti-heroes and morally grey characters. And once again Victoria preys on that part of me and hits me straight in the chest with it. Holland is such a fascinating character. I cared for him. I cried for him. The parallels between his last chapter and his Black London chapter in A Gathering of Shadows broke me. The fact that he was relieved in death somehow made me even more upset. I’m just glad that he’s no longer suffering, that he managed to make a world better, even though it wasn’t his own.

Lila Bard remains one of my all-time favorite female characters by the end of this finale, but if that surprises anyone whose read this series, I’ll eat a dollar. She’s hilarious as always, with quippy one-liners that always kill me. Her badassery reaches new levels as she discovers her limits. Her development, her struggle with remaining in one place, with never getting attached is so real and I loved watching her fight the urge to run every time she felt she was getting too close. I was rooting for her and laughing with her.

Rhy’s POV in this book blew me away. Seeing the way he grew over the series, from the naive prince in the first book to the stately, brave one at the end of the series, was truly a fascinating journey. The levels to his character amaze me. Rhy is one of the bravest characters in this entire series, which is saying something, since the amount of bravery in these characters is immense. Rhy is definitely the character (besides Holland, who I wouldn’t say developed since we really just learned more about who he is, rather than watch him become someone else) who developed the most throughout the series. He really comes into his own in this book. I really enjoyed reading his chapters, whether I was laughing at some of his internal remarks or crying because of the struggles he’s forced to endure.

I don’t know if Kell will ever have the answer to his ever-remaining question, but I for one believe that something that cannot die can be considered alive. Well, if they’re someone as alive as Rhy, who is probably, despite having died, and arguably not alive or dead, is the character who is the most alive in this series.

I can’t talk about Rhy without talking about Alucard, and how pure his love is for Rhy. His determination to prove to Rhy that he does indeed love him made me tear up a little bit. I love their relationship so much.

In that final heartbreaking moment where Alucard is watching his sister die, I could feel his pain oozing across the page. In much of the same, in the moment where Alucard is fighting off Osaron’s control, trying his hardest to keep him out, this is perhaps the strongest we’ve seen him. When Rhy sat down next to him and held him as he fought, I swear I teared up a little bit.

And now, Kell. I love Kell so much. I love his dry humor and the way he argues with Alucard. It’s honestly hilarious. I also really love how much he cares about Lila. He’s so selfless and all he wants is to be selfish for once in his life and I don’t blame him. There’s so much weight on his shoulders, regarding Osaron, regarding the Inheritor, regarding Rhy. He’s carried so much burden throughout the whole series, the weight piling on as the books went on. He’s such a strong character. I love his relationship with Rhy, the easy brotherhood they have, despite not sharing blood. (view spoiler)[ though they do share life. At the end of the book when they said their goodbyes, I teared up. When they waved to each other as the boat pulled away, I sobbed. (hide spoiler)]

I can’t not mention this beautiful parallel. It really hit me right in the chest and made me wonder why I couldn’t breathe:
“Don’t get yourself killed.”
“I’ll do my best,” said Kell, and then he was going.
“And come back,” added Rhy.
Kell paused. “Don’t worry,” he said. “I will. Once I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?” asked Rhy.
Kell smiled. “Everything.”

I wasn’t a huge fan of Maxim or Emira in the first two books, though I knew, that they loved Rhy, that they were devoted to their country and did, at least, to some extent, care for Kell. This book definitely made them gain more respect in my eyes. Both of them had been so cold to Kell prior to this book and the way their treatment of him changed in this book was part of the reason why I liked them. That being said, I really enjoyed reading their POVs in this book. Hearing how they considered Kell to be family, seeing how they cared about their sons and their kingdom, though Emira was cold towards Kell during her POV at the beginning of the novel.

That they ended up dead, leaving Rhy alone to deal with all of the horror going on in London, broke my damn heart. I cried when the sword went through Rhy and into Emira. I couldn’t hold it in. Rhy’s reaction to when Maxim went outside the palace, screaming, fighting, was such a raw display of emotion. I think Rhy needs the biggest hug.
(view spoiler)[ I don’t want to even talk about Hastra… It… broke my heart. I saw it coming the moment he said to Kell that he was ready to be a priest.

I also really loved the political intrigue in this book, which is continued from the last book where we meet some of the royals, magicians and diplomats from the two neighboring kingdoms. It was really interesting to learn more about it.

I think that the book ended in a really satisfying way, and though I cried, I cried because it was over, because I didn’t want to leave this world. These characters. I love them all so much.

I don’t know what the next trilogy is going to be about, but I already can’t wait. I think it’s set for a 2021 release date? I don’t know, but sign me the fuck up. I can’t wait to step into this world again. In fact, I just bought the graphic novels. I can’t wait to see what the next trilogy brings these characters, but I hope they get a break and a few hugs because they deserve it.

I will definitely be back with another V.E. Schwab review.

Until then, I leave you with this,

“Anoshe was a word for strangers in the street, and lovers between meetings, for parents and children, friends and family. It softened the blow of leaving. Eased the strain of parting. A careful nod to the certainty of today, the mystery of tomorrow. When a friend left, with little chance of seeing home, they said anoshe. When a loved one was dying, they said anoshe. When corpses were burned, bodies given back to the earth and souls to the stream, those left grieving said anoshe.

Anoshe brought solace. And hope. And the strength to let go.”


Anoshe



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The Song of Achilles Review

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.”

I cannot explain how much I loved this book. It is literally one of the best books I have ever read in my entire life. Miller brings to life such a vibrancy to such a classic story, making it feel familiar and yet brand new in the best way possible.

This book was so hyped and had been recommended to me countless times, but I wasn’t sure if it would live up/if I would like it, especially since I hadn’t read anything mythologically based in a long time. But, I caved and bought it, and absolutely loved it. I cannot recommend it enough; I will keep shouting it from the rooftops until everyone buys this book.

The prose in itself is just so beautiful, so enthralling that it alone would have caused me to enjoy this book, even if I hadn’t the plot and the characters. Her writing style is so in keeping with the source material, but at the same time it’s all its own. It flows so beautifully, almost musically at points.

I’ve always liked mythology, but I kind of grew away from it over the years, but this book reminded me of how much I loved it, if I’m being honest. It almost amps up the source material to the next level, adding even more depth to the story, making me care about the characters more than you would if you studied the Iliad in school.

Seeing familiar faces, hearing the story from a different point of view, especially hearing it from Patroclus of all people, was so refreshing and beautiful (yes I’m going to say beautiful a million times, but that’s one of the best words I can use to describe it).

Going in, I knew that this book was going to wreck me. I knew the Iliad. I knew the story. Even if I didn’t, I’d spoiled it for myself before reading. But, even knowing what was going to happen, I didn’t ever think that it was going to hurt as much as it did. I didn’t think I’d care as much as I did.

I honestly hadn’t sobbed that hard reading a book in a long time and I’m a book-crier. Honestly I’m tearing up as I’m writing this review.

SLIGHT SPOILER WARNING: [Don’t even get me started on this heartbreaking and flawless piece of foreshadowing.
“What has Hector ever done to me?”

Patroclus’s inner monologue, hearing from his perspective as he walks Achilles’s journey alongside him, as they live out their love story together was so intriguing and wonderful. Honestly those words feel like understatements. I loved watching as they grew, seeing how they evolved as the story progressed and the Trojan War began. How they became adults, how their love for each other only deepens as the story goes on and the war begins. It spun a whole new perspective on the Iliad that’s only hinted at in Homer’s epic.

Their love story is one that I will never, ever forget. It was so gorgeously, flawlessly done. You could feel their love for each other, their sacrifice oozing through the pages viscreally. The story is so perfect and heart-wrenching in a way that, even months after reading this book, I find myself thinking about it, looking back on it. Miller’s storytelling of these two is just (here it is again) beautiful. I have no other words for it.

This book is everything I’d ever wanted from an epic. It made me care about mythology, feel it, in a way that was close to my heart rather than the clinical distance that its treated with when read about in school.

I cannot recommend it enough. I’m not even joking. It’s one of my favorite books of all time, definitely not a book to be missed, even if you don’t think that the subject matter is of interest to you, it might just change your mind.

(view spoiler)[“And perhaps it is the greater grief, after all, to be left on earth when another is gone.” (hide spoiler)]

One more example of Madeline Miller’s beautiful prose before I finish.

“We were like gods at the dawning of the world, & our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.”




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City of Bones Review (Reread)

The Original Cover for City of Bones

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was the first time I’ve read this book in almost eight years, and I honestly can’t believe how much of just the little things I completely forgot. Of course, I knew the general storyline, but I forgot simple things like the general order of events for some things.

This book made me sooooo nostalgic while reading it; it felt so wonderfully familiar to return to this world and these characters again. It’s one of the reasons why I love Cassie’s books so much.

I’m going to give this book 4 stars, when in my head, it’s really something of a 3.5-3.7. I definitely remember this book being my least favorite in the series and I still understand why that is.

The first time I read this book, I didn’t AT ALL see the ending of the book playing out as it did, but as I was rereading this time, I could see the subtle hints pointing towards all of the different plot points to come later on in the book and in the series as a whole, which I thought was really well thought-out and intriguing.

The Likes:

I love this story; I love the creativity of the world, as I do with all of Cassie’s books. The introduction is really well done, the plotline unlike anything I had read the first time I read it, which of course, is one of the reasons why I love it so much still.

This book is a lot of set-up for what comes later, which is understandable as to why it’s such a slow pace compared to many of Cassie’s other TSC books.

The amount of foreshadowing for the later books in this one is truly amazing. I won’t touch on them, as some people reading this might not have read the full series yet, but the way that Cassie so meticulously planned out the series (even the little details) is so brilliant. I definitely didn’t catch them the first time I read it and am enjoying it all the more now.

I love the humor in the book! It’s so present in all of Cassie’s books, but I didn’t realize how much I missed Simon and Jace’s cheesy jokes until I was reading it again, laughing to myself alone in my room. Like this gem that I forgot about:

“Do you remember back at the hotel when you promised that if we lived, you’d get dressed up in a nurse’s outfit and give me a sponge bath?” asked Jace.
“It was Simon who promised you the sponge bath.”
“As soon as I’m back on my feet, handsome,” said Simon.
“I knew we should have left you a rat.”


I love the banter between Clary and Jace. I didn’t realize how much I missed them, and specifically Jace until I was rereading this book. Jace was one of my first book crushes way back when I first read it. I love his sarcastic nature, even though in this book we don’t really get to see inside of his head as we do in the rest of the series.

I love the setting up of the family dynamic between Jace and the Lightwoods, though it’s not so much touched upon in this book as it is in the later books. It felt like a nice way to ease into it.

I loved the scene at the Hotel Dumort with Raphael, who I absolutely love and missed. It was such a fleeting moment in the context of this book, but is something that becomes so wholly important in the next book, which is a hint of foreshadowing that I really enjoy.

I love the way that Magnus, though only appearing in this book for a small portion of it, is hinted at to be a major part of this story, and eventually the whole Shadowhunters Universe. (view spoiler)[I also love the fetus hints at his future relationship with Alec (hide spoiler)]

I love Isabelle; I always have, and even though she’s not a huge player in this first book, she is such a vibrant and strong character.

SPOILER FOR LATER IN THE SERIES: (view spoiler)[I love the way that Simon and Izzy’s relationship is sort of hinted at, if only poked fun at. It’s so funny to see their interactions so early on, before they really even get to know each other. (hide spoiler)]

I love the type of villain that Valentine is, the kind that can almost make sense because of how charismatic and charming he is, but is truly monstrous.

I forgot how much I love Clace, and it reminds me of how underrated they are in terms of the ships within TSC.

The Dislikes:

Clary’s ignorance gets quite annoying. I don’t know if it felt so irritating the first time I read it, having been so long ago, but this time, I definitely felt as if I wanted to smack her upside the head just to get her to see what’s right in front of her.

I hated it the first time and it bothers me still so I’ll say it again: Simon and Clary as a romantic relationship. Yeah, I understand why it’s there, but it still bothers me a bit. She’s so clearly leading him on, and it bothers me because Simon deserves better than someone who doesn’t truly love him in that way.

(view spoiler)[The “Jace and Clary are siblings” thing. It annoys me to no end and it just feels like something that for two seconds I’m shocked over and then I’m like “okay we all know that they’re not because why would a book with incest in it be so popular, so let’s move on from this”. (hide spoiler)]

I’m not sure if this was only because this was a reread, but some of the book felt like a massive info-dump. There was a bit of it at the beginning, but then again towards the end in Luke’s 25 page backstory. I honestly found myself skimming a bit of it because it was hard to give my full attention to it.

Hodge’s character falls a little flat for me; I know that I’m not really expected to love him, but he still seems a little more two-dimensional than most of the other characters.

I also never was a fan of Jocelyn really, and I know that she’s unconscious for most of this book and she has her reasons for the things that she did, she was never really a character that I particularly liked or clung to.


I wish that there was more interaction between the Lightwoods and Clary in this book, when really, there isn’t all that much, though I know that there is MUCH more of it as the series goes on.


Other Thoughts:

Rereading this book let me really see how much some of these characters grew over the course of the series (and the Shadowhunters Universe as a whole), particularly Clary and Alec.

Clary annoys me quite a bit in the beginning bits of this series, but I noticed she doesn’t bother me nearly as much in the later stages of this series, or in the snippers that we get of the TMI crew in The Dark Artifices. She grows up so much over the course of the series and I can’t wait to see it happen as I continue my reread.

Alec is perhaps the character that grows the most over these books. In this book, Alec comes off very rude and standoffish, though I know he has his reasons when in the later books he has become much more comfortable with himself and who he is (both in his private life and skills as a Shadowhunter). I remember not liking Alec all that much the first time that I read this series through and only really liking him in the later books, but in this reread, even in the early stages of the series, I still really love him.

I was talking with my friend who I buddy-read this book with, who has the newer edition of this book with the updated cover, and we discovered that there are small differences between the two books, as some sentences, interactions, vocabulary, etc. are different in the newer edition than in the original.

I can’t wait to get on with my reread and get into the later books in the series! There’s so much I remember happening and so much I’ve forgotten about and I just can’t wait!



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