Sunday, February 28, 2016

Review: Glass Sword

Book: Glass Sword

Series: Red Queen

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Release Date: February 9th 2016

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. 

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. 

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. 

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

Rating: 5/5 stars

Review: Yep. This is one of those books... the books that leave you sobbing at 3 am after you decide "just one more page..." I had almost forgotten most of the first book, and I was going to reread it before when I got lazy (this seems to happen a lot) and decided to just read this one. Thankfully, Victoria Aveyard did a really good job of reminding the reader what happened in the last book without being too redundant, and I had no problems trying to remember anything.

One of my favorite parts of Glass Sword was the way that, although it seems like it's set in a different world, when one looks closer it turns out that it's a future version of the US and that all of the cities are real places, albeit with slightly different names. I had a lot of fun trying to guess which settings were which in real life (21st century), and here's the list I came up with:

Delphie: Philadelphia
Naercy: New York City
Harbor Bay: Boston
Tuck: Nantucket (?)

And of course, I might be wrong about some of the places, but those are the ones that seem logical to me.

Another aspect of the story that I really liked was the new characters. Often, a problem I have with sequels where there aren't many new characters, and because of this I'll start to get bored with the preexisting ones. However, this book had so many new (and awesome!) characters, it was almost hard to keep track of them all. While some people may not like the confusion this caused, I really enjoyed it and found it added a lot to the story.

Overall, I don't really have any complaints about this book, and it definitely deserves a 5 star rating!!!

Would I recommend it?:  If you haven't already, I would definitely recommend reading this series, especially if you like fantasy books.

-Serena :)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Review: Truthwitch

21414439Book: Truthwitch

Author: Susan Dennard

Release Date: January 5th 2016

Synopsis (from Goodreads): In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she's a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden - lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult's true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls' heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Review: This book has been on my TBR list since the first time I read the synopsis several months ago. It sounded exactly like the type of book I would love, and I was desperate to read it. I even bought a paper copy of the book, which I almost never do (library=reading for free). Thankfully, the book lived up to my expectations, and I loved the world, the characters, the writing style, and most of all, the magic.

Safi and Iseult, the main characters, are best friends and "Threadsisters," which basically means they'll do anything for each other. The bond between them is an interesting addition to the book, and helps makes me like them much more than I would. Another thing I love about them is the way they contrast each other. Safi is the sun while Iseult is the moon, and neither would be complete without the other. On top of their awesome magic skills, they're both great fighters and it's really fun to read about the way that they beat their opponents.

Another thing I loved in this book was the magic. The way it was woven in was beautiful—not too much of it, just enough that it added another layer to the story. Both Safi and Iseult use their powers all the time, but it's not their only skills and they don't rely on them to survive. The world itself is deeply entwined with the magic of the land—and how that magic is missing.

The only thing about this book that threw me off slightly was that it was hard to get into the flow of the book. For the first 100 pages or so I had trouble connecting with the story, and I couldn't concentrate on what I was reading. However, it gets much more interesting by the time you reach the halfway mark, and it's definitely worth sticking with. This is the only reason I didn't give Truthwitch 5 stars, and I'm glad I stuck with the book because the second half was amazing.

Would I recommend it: Yes, this is an amazing book and you're missing out if you don't read it!


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Review: Wolf By Wolf

Book: Wolf By Wolf

Author:  Ryan Graudin

Release Date: October 20th 2015

Rating: 5/5 stars

Review: This book amazed me. Not because of the plot (although it was excellent) or the characters (also great), but because of the writing. It was just so beautiful, and although the subject was a hard one to write about (the holocaust/world war 2), Ryan Graudin pulled it off better than almost any other author I've read a book by so far.

It's not often that I love every part of a book. In fact, it's been about 20 books since I've read one that was as well rounded as this one. There's just something about it that calls to me.

Let's start with the characters. The main character, Yael, is in my opinion one of the most resilient and strong characters in YA lit. Even though she's only a teenager, she's been through more loss than most people will in their life, but she doesn't let that loss consume her. Instead, she uses her loss to shape her into the person she is now, someone that will not hesitate to take someone else's identity, race halfway across the world on a high-stakes motorcycle race, and then assassinate Hitler.

Another thing about this book that I love is the action. At first, this book sounded terrible to me, as I am most definitely not a person who reads about motorcycle races. However, Ryan Graudin manages to turn something that would normally repel me into an aspect of the story that makes me love it even more. This isn't just a motorcycle race, it's a fast paced, dangerous game of strategy and deception, which is much more my speed.

There wasn't really anything that I didn't like, and this is one of the books that I know I'll remember years from now!

Would I recommend it: Definitely! The only warning I have is if you're sensitive to any of the holocaust material, this book may not be the best for you.

-Serena :)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Review: Cruel Beauty

Book: Cruel Beauty

Author: Rosamund Hodge

Release Date: January 28th 2014 

Rating: 4/5 stars

Review: Well, this book was better than I expected. Like, way better. Mind-blown better. Last year, I read Rosamund Hodge's new(er) book: Crimson Bound. It was okay, but there was nothing special about it that stood out to me. 

This book was different. 

Everything Crimson Bound was lacking in, this book had. There was better character development, better mystery, better characters and better romance. The list goes on and on. One thing I especially loved was the way that, although it's a fairy tale retelling (of Beauty and the Beast), there are so many new and different aspects that made it refreshing to read. There's even some Greek mythology mixed in. I definitely did not expect that (in a good way)!

Another major part of the book that I absolutely adore is the main character,  Nyx. She's not like most YA main characters, who are all a different version of "no one can choose my fate but me." She know's exactly what she's destined to be, and she's not ignorant enough to try and change it. Although many people would consider that a weakness, I believe that there's a certain strength in knowing what you have to do and accepting it, even if you realize it will destroy you.

The only major complaint I have against the book was the ending. The entire time I was reading it, my mind was on an endless loop of "wait what?" and "I am so confused right now." Eventually, after several times rereading the last 20 or so pages, I understood what was happening, but I didn't like it. Basically, (SPOILERS) it changes Nyx's entire life, as well as the last 900 years of history. And to make it worse, then she randomly(ish) remembers her alternate life that was destroyed again. Then she goes on to live happily ever after.(END SPOILERS) No. Just... no. I may end up traumatized by an unhappy ending, but at least it would feel less forced. 

Would I recommend it: Definitely! This book is perfect for a  rainy day, so grab a cup of tea and get reading!