Legend

Legend by Marie Lu

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

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I made a mistake. On my last trip to Colorado I only brought ONE book with me (!) That went about how you’d expect it to go…ending with me visiting a bookstore, looking for a paperback for the plane, and starting yet another series. Le sigh.

But. At least this book has been on my TBR for a long time now. So there’s that.

I ended up reading the whole book during the plane ride which is 2 hours and 25 minutes so yeah…you could say I liked it! And just like that, I’m lusting after another trilogy. Ugh. At least the two books are out so I don’t have to wait for them to be published…

I read the About the Author section and curiously enough, Legend was inspired by the relationship between Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert in Les Miserables. Like Throne of Glass, you would never guess the inspiration for the story without being told. I enjoy finding little easter eggs like that.

Legend was fast-paced, entertaining, and still managed to bring something new to the genre. I’m such a sucker for smart characters and even smarter writing and this book had both in droves. I really liked both June and Day and am excited to see where the series takes them. I did not see the plot twists coming, which is always a bonus. Another solid entry in the dystopian YA genre. At the last conference I went to, one of the agents said dystopian YA is over for now which makes me a little sad as that is one of my favorite genres to read. But at least I haven’t exhausted the supply yet!

One thing I’m curious about in the series is if The Republic was the result of California seceding from the rest of the US…it does certainly seem like that’s a possibility here. I hope it’s addressed sooner rather than later!

 

 

Heir of Fire

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

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Heir of Fire stepped things up in a big way, introducing a bunch of new characters, settings, creatures, and a lot more about Celaena’s history. It was a lengthier book than the others and a bit slower at the beginning, but was filled with all the familiar twists and turns and unending questions!

I don’t read all that much fantasy and I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that deals with Fae characters. So I can’t really comment on how Maas’ fae characters stack up against other fae stories. On the fantasy aspect, I do think she’s weaving together a bunch of disparate elements into a story that feels fresh. In my opinion, Heir of Fire is the first book in this series that really shows its fantasy heritage and I enjoyed that.

A review I read online talked about how Heir of Fire feels like the true “start” to the story with Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight functioning like an overlong prologue. I don’t completely agree with that, but I get what they mean. The Harry Potter series is like that. The first two books are very fun and not all that dark. Book three is where the darkness arrives in full force and by the time we get to book four, the story has taken a noticeable turn into serious territory. Much the same for Heir of Fire.

I wasn’t sure about all these new characters being introduced, but I came to really like them, particularly Manon, Abraxos, and Rowan. Especially Rowan. After Crown of Midnight, I wasn’t sure if I liked the direction the romance was going at all, but Heir of Fire calmed my poor heart a little bit.

I debated whether I should read The Assassin’s Blade or Queen of Shadows next. I had thought to maybe read them in publication order, but in order to do that, I would have had had to read The Assassin’s Blade before Heir of Fire. So much for that. Ultimately, I decided to start The Assassin’s Blade. I’m looking forward to learning more about Celaena’s history before going back to Adarlan for Queen of Shadows!

Crown of Midnight

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

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I stayed up late two nights in a row reading this book and literally as soon as I finished this one, I ordered Heir of FireQueen of Shadows, and The Assassin’s Blade. I hope I can hold out until fall when Empire of Storms gets released in paperback. I really want that matching set.

I don’t think anything much got answered from the first book in this one. I got a confirmation on my suspicions and A LOT more questions. Hence the midnight book buying spree. God bless Amazon.

 

 

King’s Cage

King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

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I felt a little cheated at first. The Red Queen series was supposed to be a trilogy. Somewhere along the way, it was quietly changed into…a quartet? A quintet? At any rate, I have spent all these months since I read Glass Sword being hyped to see how the series wraps up in King’s Cage. Oh well. I got over it. More books to read I guess.

Though I’m not sure my heart can take the stress any longer. I never see the twists coming if Victoria Aveyard is writing. I’m kind of as stupid as Mare in that way. But there were a lot of twists in this book and So. Much. Stress. It took me a little bit to get through this book because I couldn’t handle the book’s stress on top of regular life stress. I need the next book like yesterday. In some ways I wish I hadn’t started the series yet so I could just read them all at once.

A lot of people didn’t like Glass Sword that much and were hoping King’s Cage would be better. I liked Glass Sword a lot and I thought King’s Cage was just as good. I think Red Queen is still my favorite of the three, but I don’t have a lot to complain about with this series. Mare doesn’t bother me as a character. I don’t find her annoying or self-centered. I think expecting her to be a well-rounded human being at seventeen, eighteen years old is a lot to ask of a character. People who don’t like Mare will most likely be pleased to know that you get two other narrative viewpoints in this novel, though it’s still mostly Mare.

Side note that has nothing to do with King’s Cage: Victoria Aveyard is pretty anti-Trump on Instagram and you can really feel why in this book. I’d image it’s difficult not to write about a rebellion against an oppressive regime and really come out on the side of someone like Trump. I try to keep politics out of my blog, but I have to give Victoria props: the dedication page features a quote from Hilary Clinton and the acknowledgements close out on thanking everyone, many by name, fighting the good fight. You go girl! So proud of you using your platform and your art to fight!

Also, I maintain that Victoria and I are going to best friends one day. Girl is GOALS.

 

 

Crooked Kingdom

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

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I started this pretty much immediately after finishing Six of Crows. I just could not wait to start reading the next book.

I really enjoyed Crooked Kingdom, but ever so slightly less than Six of Crows. The stakes are higher for the crew in Six of Crow.This book has more heartbreak, but also more redemption. The action is good. The characters are still just as good. But there were more places where the writing just didn’t quite work for me. But overall, a great wrap-up to this duology…if it truly is the end. I was kind of doubtful if this is truly the end of the duology based on the ending. Also, I could see a few characters getting their own spinoff books….particularly Nina and Inej.

I definitely want to read Leigh Bardugo’s earlier series in the Grisha world. Hopefully I’ll acquire the first book in that series, Shadow and Bone, later in the year. I really need to read some of what I have first…I have literal waist-high piles of books that don’t fit on the shelves. There are worse problems to have though.

One more note on this book…the edges of this book are red!!

Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

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I’m going to open up this up by stating this book is actually inspired by Cinderella. Really. Looking back, there’s a scene that definitely screams Cinderella, but I didn’t pick it up while reading. My edition of this book has an interview with the author and it was mentioned in there. This was a surprise and I wonder what role that inspiration will play in the development of the series.

Overall, the world-building, premise, and set-up are very, very solid. While I wasn’t in love with all the characters in this book, I have to hope they make up for in subsequent books because there are so many more in this series. In any case, it wasn’t so distracting that I had trouble reading this book. I read it pretty quickly so it definitely wasn’t a huge hangup.

This series came well recommended from a friend so I will definitely be continuing on. Have any of you read this series? What did you think of this first book vs. the later books?

Library of Souls

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.

They’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all.

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As I mentioned in my review of Hollow City, I recently went to see the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children movie. While I did like it at the time, finishing Library of Souls has further convinced me that the ending they gave to the movie was just plain silly. With so much amazing material in Library of Souls, we as the fans deserved much better.

As in Hollow City, the plot picks up immediately after the end of the previous book and immediately plunges us back into the story. Library of Souls was just fabulous. It had all the magic of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children while broadlibrary of souls ransom riggsening the world-building and introducing quite a few new twists to the story. If you stopped reading after the first book in the series, do yourself a favor and pick up Hollow City and Library of Souls. This is one series worth finishing out as its one of the most imaginative and engrossing of any I’ve read in recent years. I’m not even hinting at any spoilers because I think you should just go read it and not take my word for it!