*Sighs*. I want to believe that Mary E. Pearson writes the first books in her series as slow-starters. I found myself infinitely frustrated with how she handled the romance between the leads, Jase and Kazi, in DoT, along with how flat and despicable the Rahtan are. I’m especially let-down as a returning fan of the Remnant Chronicles. I don’t suggest DoT as an introduction to the world of the Remnant Chronicles. It’s better to start off with Kiss of Deception. I will note that there’s a failure to draw on the same appeal of the Remnant Chronicles in this continuation as of now. I know MEP can do better than this and I hope she brings her A-game in the future installments or else I’m bowing out. – 3/5 stars
I was rather disappointed given the high praise the series has received from both readers and other authors. I can only assume it gets better with subsequent books, because the first installment didn’t impress with its severe lack in focus and Walk in the Woods plot. – 2/5 stars
I didn’t get far in this book. I didn’t feel like it had much to offer in the wave of sea/pirate YA books being churned out this season. To be honest, many of the other ones I’ve seen have been lackluster as well, namely To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. I remember a cry for sea/pirate-themed books a couple years back and now the publishers have delivered only to be washed away with the current they helped generate OTL. – DNF
We’ve finally reached the conclusion of the Conquerer’s Saga! I haven’t been along for the ride since the beginning and I’m sorta glad. Otherwise I’d have to wait years to slog through this when I could just slog through this in less than a year. I honestly do really like Kiersten White’s writing. I just don’t think this was a particularly transformative story for Lada or Mehmed at all. Also, I’m still sore that they straight-washed Mehmed. I quite like Radu, but I would have much rather the book explored Mehmed and Radu’s relationship than follow Lada’s fruitless struggle. – 2/5 stars
Wow. Um. So I’m allowed to be angry over this as a biology major and as someone who bought this book via Fairyloot. This book gave me costochrondritis, and I don’t mean it in a facetious way; I mean it in a literal way. This book needed someone to fact check a lot of the science in this. Additionally, I felt there was an artificial shift in quality 80-90% of the way through where things were supposed to make sense and fall into place because the author said so. The ending is quite good, but doesn’t offset the 80% of badness it takes to get there. – 2/5 stars
Can I just breathe in the glory that is Madeline Miller’s writing? This is a slower paced book than what I usually read, and it was so, so welcome. Madeline Miller already earned my heart and money with The Song of Achilles (I own two copies) and she continues to deliver here. I love the gradual change in Circe over the years and how she approaches her divinity as a god that appears more mortal than most. I also never expected to like Telemachus this much over Odysseus. The way Miller writes Odysseus’ hubris and Circe’s need to be in control of her own story is (crying emoji) beyond words. I hope Madeline Miller’s next book doesn’t take too long to get into my hands. I’ll read whatever she wants to write. – 5/5 stars SLAM DUNK IT INTO MY FAVES.
I still have a large backlog of books to get to! Currently I’m reading Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson (MEP!). If you recall from my past reviews of the Remnant Chronicles, I loooo~ooooved that series. I had high expecations for Dance of Thieves and MEP. The beginning 100 pages is rather slow, but the first book in the Remnant Chronicles was slow for me too. I wonder if it’s MEP’s M.O. to start slow and then sneak attack the reader with brilliance? Because after the Lost in the Wilderness arc, things pick up drastically. Jase’s character is very interesting and multi-faceted. I can’t say I’ve warmed up to Kazi, the other MC, yet, even with her tragic backstory because it’s oddly reminiscent of Inej’s tragic backstory from SOC, which leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I’m not sure how I feel about the romance btw Jase and Kazi, as how I feel about a relationship depends a lot on how much I like both characters.
I’m also reading Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake. I totally DNF’d a book with a similar setting, Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young, because I didn’t feel like the story had much to offer me despite the fact that I do love me some viking influence. I feel like Beyond a Darkened Shore has more potential. The MC, Ciara, has strange powers and we’re given more information about her family life and position in society and it makes her feel more whole early on. The first action scene in this book was awesome, and it further establishes Ciara’s skillset AND the conflict between Northmen and Ciara’s people. I’m optimistic.
I read Stieg Larson’s Millenium Trilogy years ago when I was still studying for my SATs. I have the physical copy of the continuation of his series by another author from Half Price Books and it’s Chunky. I decided to experiment with audibooks from my library – I’m listening to The Girl in the Spider’s Web while I do other work on the computer. I’m hoping I absorb enough of the book to write a review, but I zone out a lot.
Here’s some other books I hope to get to (carry-over from last month lol)
This summer has been a season of self-discovery for me creatively. I’ve also had the pleasure of beta-reading a friend’s work, and it’s really affirming my media literacy for YA LOL but also it shows no matter how much I can get frustrated at mainstream YA, I still have a love and appreciation for my fantasy YAs. I’m so glad I can play my part in bringing something awesome into being.
This month I read 5 books, which is around average for a me with free time, I guess.
Jade City – Fonda Lee | 3.5 to 4 stars
It’s like my dad ghost-wrote one of the main characters in this book and I was living with all the family-dynamics included here.
To Kill a Kingdom – Alexandra Christo | 2 stars
My least favorite of the bunch by a long run. This had awesome concepts but a flimsy execution. You know a romance is unconvincing when the text chooses to skip over all the detailed, poignant interactions between the two romantic leads and instead summarizes what happens.
The Queen’s Rising – Rebecca Ross | 4 stars
The overall reaction to this book I’ve seen on my Goodreads feed is that this was boring and this was yet again another instance I questioned people’s judgements hard. This was a surprisingly wholesome addition to the fantasy YA pool. It can even work as a stand-alone, however I feel some aspects were tied up a little too conveniently given that there will be a sequel. I personally wish a certain character weren’t killed off at the very end, but since the deed is done, I wonder what Ross is going to do in the sequel.
A Thousand Beginnings and Endings – edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman | 3.5 stars
This was an anthology I was excited to get my hands on because my fave Cindy Pon was featured in it. Overall, I’d say the quality varies from story to story and one might work for you which will not work for me. I think that’s the beauty of it – people can have a selection of stories to identify or not identify with. My personal faves were Cindy Pon’s the Crimson Cloak (no surprise here) and Alyssa Wong’s Olivia’s Table
Captive Prince – C. S. Pacat | 4 stars
This was an impulse Buddy Read with the lovely L. C. Perry because I had been saying for awhile that I wanted to do a Captive Prince series reread. When L.C. asked me to join her, I jumped on the chance so fast a;ldjksf;lkdjsf. Capri is still as good as when I read it first. I inhale-read the Capri series in maybe a week’s time back in college (during final’s week RIP) and loved it, but I definitely read it so quickly I felt I missed a lot of important details and didn’t properly appreciate the experience.
This month I actively went to and fro the library. Many books were checked out and never read, but I managed to finish a few.
Manga / Comics / Graphic Novels
The Girl from the Other Side Vol 1 – 4/5 stars
Rat Queens vol 1 – 2/5 stars – I was not a fan of the art, or the crassness. I suppose that is the appeal for some but it wasn’t for me. The lining seemed unprofessional; it was like they took the sketches and just colored over it. I really liked Dee’s character design, though.
Wonder Woman: Love and Murder – 3/5 stars – The art was really nice, but I had a hard time believing that was ACTUALLY Hippolyta.
Wonder Woman: The Odyssey vol. 1 – 3/5 stars – Not a particularly interesting storyline
The Prince and the Dressmaker – Jen Wang – 5/5 stars – BEAUTIFUL, COLORFUL, EVERYTHING. This is how you panel comics. I’ve always had such a problem with the way some graphic novels are structure each page, but I literally read this in 15 minutes. It was a breeze.
The Falconer – Elizabeth May – 3/5 stars. Enjoyable read, but nothing mind-blowing. The main couple reminded me a lot of a healthier/less annoying version of Rowealin. I did not buy into their attraction, but they were tolerable for the most part. I prefered Gavin, but the writer made it clear Aileana wasn’t into him the way I was.
I cannot even with this book. I will say it reads faster than its predecessor. I only worry about the subsequent books and how they portray Drycht because the way they treat Daanoris wasn’t exactly subtle.
Let’s Talk About Love – Claire Kann – 3.75/5 stars – Pretty sweet and short. In my opinion the characters were a bit underdeveloped. Glad to see an ace protagonist of color appearing in YA books. All I can say is I want MORE!!!!
Time flies by so fast. I’ve been trying to build my Booktube channel some more (my channel’s named Arisutocrat, just like my wordpress 😀 ) so I did a bulk record of my reviews for Ash, A Skinful of Shadows and An Enchantment of Ravens, the last of which will post tomorrow. I made a banner for my channel shown above ^^^ but youtube cut off the doily patterns on desktop mode, so you can’t appreciate the full design so I wanted to share it here.
I’m planning on filming Bone Witch and Want video reviews this week and post on either/or Tuesdays and Fridays. I’ve been trying to keep reviews short, though I have extensive notes when I review sometimes. It’s either I have a lot of notes or no notes.
Want by Cindy Pon – 4.5/5 stars | Review cross-posted on Goodreads
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – 2.5/5 stars
Huntress by Malinda Lo – DNF’d
The Prince in His Dark Days vol. 3-4
The Last Wish by Andrzrej Sapkowski (part of the Witcher series) – because I heard about the netflix series, so I got curious EDIT: DNF’d
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows – to hold me off until the sequel to Before She Ignites
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – it’s hype, I’m curious.
Shadow Girl by Liana Liu – I love the cover and I’m a sucker for ghost stories. EDIT: 4.5/5 stars
Starswept by Mary Fan – I have the ebook! I got a lot of feelings from the first sentence. I think this is up my alley.
A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab – on hold forever lol might read it with my bff
The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson – I’ve already read this. I just want a hardcover copy of this to complete my trilogy collection.
Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi (March 6th) – I’M READY!!! I AM SO READY!!!! I am trash for Shatter Me and Tahereh always delivers. EDIT: 3.75/5 stars
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (March 6th) – I feel like I’ve always wanted a book about this.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (March 6th) – I feel the most hype about this one there are so many March 6th releases ;;;;
Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco (March 20th) – so I can put myself out of my misery. I already saw this at my local B&N but I don’t wanna invest money into this series. I’ll pick it up from the library eventually.
Circe by Madeline Miller (April 10th) – I’m still hurt from Song of Achilles, I’m ready for more hurt.
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas (May 1st) – Already preordered it. I’m predictable.
A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir (June 12th)
Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson (Aug. 7th)
As She Ascends by Jodi Meadows (Sept 11th)
Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Marsh – dat pink cover
Falconer by Elizabeth May – I don’t have a copy in my hands but I’m eyeing it on amazon and the cover is fab.
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann – I’m all for that ace protag rep.
Life update: I had 1000 pics in my downloads folder and I got it down to 500 last night lol. I’ve also been marathoning Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (because my pal Huba said to just go straight for brotherhood) and I am not regretting it in the slightest. One of my fave shows ATLA seems to draw A LOT and I say A LOT of inspo from FMAB. I’m sure at least someone on staff read it so a lot of moments that parallel FMA ended up in ATLA.
As I’ve realized I’m a lot more productive when I just sit at my desk with tasks available to do lmao.
I only read one book in January as I was travelling a lot in the past month.
A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge – 5/5 stars. I loved it. The main character, Makepeace, is a strong contender for best girl of 2018 and it was only January!
Ash by Malinda Lo – 2.5/5 stars. Bland with some enjoyable magical history in the start.
Feb TBR – Courtesy of my local library bless them.
Guys, I slept through new years. And I make no resolutions besides keeping at it with the art and self improvement as always. I’m honestly all about the treat-yoself life nowadays, I’m not gonna feel bad if I don’t have to, so I guess if I had one resolution, it’s to drop the BS in life way faster.
I honestly have no recollection of this other than the books I’ll list that I’ve finished. I have the memory of a gold fish and it’s amazing that I’ve gotten this far:
Brooding YA Hero by Carrie Ann DiRisio 👌 3/5 stars
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir👎 3/5 stars | Review
An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson👎 2.5/5 stars | Review
Not exactly a good month for me in terms of quality of books I read. I feel like Brooding YA Hero tried to do too many things at once and was a bit repetitive but was still enjoyable despite that. This review (not mine) of it summarizes my thoughts about how some elements didn’t blend well together. An Enchantment of Ravens had interesting world building, but it tried to be an anti-ACOTAR type romance while hitting many similar motifs as ACOTAR does and it’s not nearly as interesting. And plus it shits all over romance while trying to be “smart” and “not like other romances.” It’s not exactly a loving jab at the tropes you see nowdays in YA paranormal romances, which COULD work, but it was just obnoxiously done here. I honestly Do Not want to remember what happened in ATATN there was some NTR and momma doesn’t like NTR even tho it is a YA romance staple at this point.
Before She Ignites by Jodie Meadows 👍 4.5-5/5 stars | Review
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes 👎 2/5 stars | Review
The Wood is a great villain in Uprooted, but god the rest of the book falls flat. Before She Ignites was a gem and I’m interested in reading Meadows’ other work. Give me some dragons and political intrigue and I’m there for you. I boght Falling Kingdoms for $1 at my library and honestly I want to put this thing back on their shelves. It’s just mediocre. Everyone is TSTL and so OFC the evil king looks like a genius in comparison. Hm.