BOOK REVIEW: Ruth Emmie Lang “Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance”

91p1dqTF21LTitle: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance

Author: Ruth Emmie Lang

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 4/5 stars

 

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is the first Book of the Month that I ever selected. I’m ashamed it’s taken me this long to get to it, considering I’ve read several other BOTM picks since then. Oops.

That being said, I had heard lots of good things about this, so I finally picked it up the other day! Okay, I found the audiobook at my library and I listened to it. Sue me.

That being said, I really enjoyed this. I’m not sure what I expected, although I knew this was a fantasy labeled as “magical realism”. It follows a boy named Weylyn Grey through the perspectives of those closest to them. First there’s the girl who delivers meat for her father to Weylyn and his wolf pack. She’s immediately fascinated by him and his life with the wolves, and over time decides to run away with them. Strange things seem to happen around him, though, but she doesn’t think much of it at the time.

Then there’s the foster family that takes Weylyn in after he and the girl are discovered with the wolves. Specifically his foster sister, who takes a liking to him and bonds with him. There’s the general education teacher who desperately wants children who finds a void filled with Weylyn’s company.

So many people touched by Weylyn’s presence in their lives, while still odd things tend to happen around him. The story sees him well into adult-hood and shows his power over nature and people growing. It’s such a heartwarming, lovely story that will just make anyone feel good.

Weylyn is naive as a child, obviously, considering his time with the wolves, but it seems to follow him years later as a grown-up. I can’t decide if I appreciate this or not. On one hand, his naivety was charming as a child, but it makes him seem clueless and stupid as an adult. But it’s easy to dismiss with such an adorable character like Weylyn.

This was just a very sweet, feel-good story that will be enjoyed by anyone who likes a happy ending.

Advertisements

BOOK REVIEW: Stephanie Garber “Legendary”

9781250095312Title: Legendary

Author: Stephanie Garber

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

It almost feels pointless to write a non-spoiler review for this book… I can’t give anything away and I can’t rant and rave about what went on. Why am I even here? And who’s going to read a review of Legendary anyway? Anyone who’s planning to read the book will be avoiding spoilers at all costs, and anyone who isn’t planning to read it simply hasn’t read Caraval yet. (While I’m at that, here’s some self-promotion: read my review, then read Caraval. Just do it.)

Legendary was everything I wanted it to be.

It had heartbreaking romance, magic, mystery, surprise, action. Legendary had everything needed to be the perfect story. I am beyond impressed with Stephanie Garber, and so pleased that she managed to ward off second-book syndrome. There was nothing lacking in this, it didn’t feel like it was a filler novel, and it was perfect.

Donatella was a wonderful main character. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it just based on her character in Caraval, but she was really great. She was strong and independent and funny and so completely human. It was so easy to relate to her and feel for her and did I mention the utterly heart-shattering romance? I adored the love interest in this novel, adored the villain… I have all the love for every aspect of this book.

I think I actually enjoyed Legendary more than the first book, which is saying a lot because I loved Caraval. I can’t wait for the final book in this series, although Garber is welcome to write as many books in this world as she wants to. I will read them all.

 

Stephanie Garber: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

SERIES REVIEW: Morgan Rhodes “Falling Kingdoms”

f5e0d23caf031c66e353845cb7365163

Series Name: Falling Kingdoms

Titles in Series: Falling Kingdoms, Rebel Spring, Gathering Darkness, Frozen Tides, Crystal Storm, Immortal Reign

Author: Morgan Rhodes

Genre: Fantasy

Overall Rating: 2.5/5 stars

 

Caution: This review will contain mild spoilers for the entire series.

I realized too late that I should have reviewed these books as I read them instead of as a whole like this, but by that time I was already three books in and there was no turning back. And sadly, the whole thing was a blur. That means this series review is probably going to be incohesive and jumbled, but I’ll hopefully be able to get my feelings and thoughts about this series out and sorted through.

I binged the Falling Kingdoms series starting at the beginning of this year because I’ve owned the first book for way too long. I was slowly growing my Falling Kingdoms collection without having read any of the books and I thought it was time that I finally change that. So here I am, having read the entire series in the span of 4 months, and I still don’t know what to think.

Maybe I would have liked these more if I had had to wait between books like people who have been reading and loving this series from the beginning. Maybe binging these books led to me having negative feelings toward them. Whatever the case, whatever the cause, in the end I closed the last book feeling like I had wasted a lot of time.

Falling Kingdoms is marketed as Game of Thrones for young adults; I haven’t seen or read Game of Thrones so I can’t say if this is true or not, but it seems to definitely put off a vibe from what I know. This series follows several characters throughout the course of the story, but the main ones would be Cleo, Jonas, Magnus and Lucia. It’s set in the land of Mytica which is divided into 3 kingdoms: Auranos, Limeros and Paelsia.

Cleo is the princess of Auranos, the southernmost kingdom and by far the most plentiful of the three. She finds herself caught in the midst of a scandal when she is seen with Lord Aron Lagaris when he slays a young Paelsian in cold blood. She’s of course devastated by the events that took place and feels guilt-ridden for not doing more to prevent it.

However, the older brother of the murdered Paelsian, Jonas, seeks vengeance for his death and ends up sparking a revolution as Paelsia and Limeros seek to rise up against Auranos.

Magnus and Lucia are brother and sister, and the children of the Limerian King of Blood. Magnus struggles between wanting to do right and wanting to please his cruel, violent father, while Lucia discovers secret and powerful abilities within herself.

The political intrigue and the promise of magic really kept me engaged and interested in this series. For the first several books, I was hooked, even though I didn’t care for many of the characters, including the main ones. I didn’t think they were fleshed out enough and the few traits that they did carry, I did not like.

For instance, Magnus is in love with Lucia, his sister. No matter how much he tries to fight his feelings and his urges, it still creeps me out and it honestly caused me to hate him for at least the first three books. We end up finding out that they’re not actually related, so it doesn’t become a matter of incest anymore; however, I still find the idea pervy and it leaves me with a gross feeling in my gut. It took me a long time to warm up to Magnus’s character after this.

Cleo was probably my favorite character, and she remained strong and decent throughout the entire reading experience. She had her issues as most characters do, but in the end I respected and admired her strength and dedication to her kingdom.

Jonas was attracted to and wanted to make out with every woman he met, it was honestly ridiculous. Throughout the course of this entire series, he “falls in love” with at least 3 women… desperate much? Keep it in your pants, fight your stupid rebellion and just chill.

And Lucia was by far my least favorite main character. She had absolutely no substance to her, no personality, until all of a sudden she’s angry and mean and cruel and horrible out of nowhere. So Lucia starts out sweet and dull, then becomes evil and dull, and by the last book she’s mean and dull. Basically, she was dull, and as a magic user, she should have been one of the more interesting characters. Not the case.

This series also suffered from a bad case of insta-love, on all accounts. There was one slow-burn romance which I very much appreciated, but everyone else was like, “Wow, this person and I had a conversation and we connected, I’m in love,” and then they’re absolutely devastated, destroyed and wrecked when that person dies (because oh yeah, a lot of people die). I’m just here rolling my eyes and thinking, pull yourself together. You knew this person for like a day. Everyone was so dramatic and emotional and it was just so annoying.

Now let’s go back to the “a lot of people die” thing. Yes, this series is full of death and dying and many of the secondary characters bite the dust and you literally won’t care at all. There’s nothing to make you like or become invested in any of these characters, so their deaths are meaningless to you. And of course, everyone who matters is miraculously alive by the end, isn’t that great? Rejoice!

Like I mentioned before, by the time I finally turned the last page of Immortal Reign, I felt like I had wasted all the time I invested into this series. Maybe just stick with Game of Thrones?

 

Morgan Rhodes: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

BOOK REVIEW: Leigh Bardugo “Six of Crows”

Six-of-Crows-Cover

Title: Six of Crows

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

I feel as though it’s almost pointless to include a summary here for Six of Crows seeing as I’m one of the last humans on earth to finally get around to reading it. However, for those who live under a rock, this book can be described as a high-stakes heist story with six main characters told in 5 alternating points of view featuring magic, action, violence, romance and awesomeness. This book is set in the same world as that of the Shadow & Bone trilogy, known as the “Grishaverse”. Grisha are beings that have different types of abilities and are totally cool.

This book has the most incredible, fleshed out characters I have ever seen in literature; Leigh Bardugo truly outdid herself. First we have Kaz, the leader of our mismatched crew: he’s dark, dangerous, calculating and generally unfeeling. He’s also incredibly swoony somehow, despite being such a cold character. He has quite the revenge complex which is what keeps him from being very emotional, but that doesn’t stop him from feeling for Inej, his Wraith.┬áKaz saved Inej from a life of prostitution when he saw her potential. She’s sneaky, quick, light on her feet, invisible. So she works for Kaz to gather secrets and inform for him.

Then there’s the sharpshooter with a gambling problem, Jesper. So deep in debt, he finds himself working for the Dregs in order to pay back those he owes, all while his father believes him to be away at school. He constantly wonders what would have happened if he had focused on his education rather than wind up in the slums. Jesper forms a reluctant connection with Wylan, a newer member of the dregs. Wylan is the estranged son of a rich mercher, with plenty of secrets and a lot to prove.

There’s also Nina, the charming Grisha Heartrender who is hopelessly in love with Matthias, a Fjerdan. Fjerdans are very prejudiced against Grisha and believe them to be unnatural, so they hunt them, give them trial and put them to death. Matthias is no different and finds Nina to be repulsive… and gorgeous, incredible, etc. He is constantly fighting his feelings for her, struggling between the desires of his heart and remaining faithful to his country and his beliefs.

Together, this band of misfits join together for the most dangerous, impossible heist they can imagine.

Everything about this book deserves an A+. Five thousand stars. Just wow. The characters are so wonderful and Bardugo does an amazing job of giving us backstories to make us even more attached to them. I became immediately invested in each of these characters, their relationships, their livelihoods, their everything. I just want to hug them all and make sure that they’re all happy and healthy and loved. And of course, they’re all so morally grey, but you can’t help but adore them.

The plot had me on the edge of my seat throughout. The writing was phenomenal; so much quotable material! Six of Crows was perfectly paced, perfectly executed, perfectly ended. And it had me dying to read Crooked Kingdom as soon as possible.

Honestly, I can’t believe it took me so long to finally read this book to completion. What an absolutely stunning, incredible read. Leigh Bardugo deserves all the praise in the world. Wow.

 

Leigh Bardugo: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads