Sunday, October 23, 2016

Witch’s Pyre by Josephine Angelini

Series: The Worldwalker Trilogy (bk. 3, finale)

Genera(s): Paranormal Romance/Fantasy/Dystopian Sci-fi

Subjects: supernatural, witches, magic, parallel universes

Setting: California, in another universe and Salem, Massachusetts

POV/Tense: 3rd person POV, past tense: Lilly Proctor

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 376 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $18.99

Publisher: MacMillan: Feiwel and Friends

Summary/ product description: “Lily Proctor has come a long way from the weak, sickly girl she used to be. She has gained power as a witch and a leader, found her way home, chosen to face battle again, and (after losing her first love and being betrayed by her new love) she has learned more about loss and grief than she ever wanted to know.

Thrust once again into a society different from anything they have ever seen, Lily and her coven are determined to find answers―to find a new path to victory, a way to defeat the monstrous Woven without resorting to nuclear weapons or becoming a tyrannical mass murderer like her alternate self, Lillian. But sometimes winning requires sacrifices . . . and when the only clear path to victory lies at Lillian's side, what price will Lily be willing to pay?

Internationally bestselling author Josephine Angelini takes us on another emotionally wrenching thrill ride in the stunning conclusion to her Worldwalker Trilogy.”

My Review: Witch’s Pyre is the final book in the World Walker trilogy. If you have not read this series, I recommend this series to fantasy fans, especially fans of parallel universe books such as: Tandem by Anna Jarzeb, A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray, and Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris. And fans of witch books. Also if you liked Red Queen or The Jewel or anything mix of dystopian and fantasy.

Lily, Rowan, Tristan, Breakfast, and Una are brought to Bower City (it what’s coastal California in Lily’s world) by the Hive. As newcomers, they are honored with a ball so the elite of Bower City can see them.

The witch Grace, who at one time was an Outlander, runs Bower City. They meet Toshi, the apprentice of Grace’s head mechanic, Ivan. Toshi is a powerful healer and his willstone is a deep garnet color. He’s of Japanese descent and the rest of his family live outside the city wall.

Lily and her coven discover the truth behind the Hive and who really runs them. They uncover dark secret behind the Woven’s creation and decide they must take action to save this world. Lily expands her abilities and claims many willstones so she can build a powerful army of allies.

I loves the world building still. I love books about parallel universes, especially when there’s some fantasy elements. The only thing that really confused me about it was Lilly having to go into a Pyre to provide her claimed with power. I guess she somehow “transmutates” the heat of the fire into power. I found the Hive to be very creepy sounding. I don’t like the idea of giant bee-ladies. Some of the other woven, like the tamed Greater Drake sound cool, because the look like dragons, but huge insects are just gross.

This finale was mostly enjoyable, but I always having trouble getting into a book when I can’t recall what happened previously, or who’s who character-wise. We get to see a very different city from Lillian’s Salem and meet new characters. There are some interesting discoveries. There were some parts with funny dialogue, mostly exchanges between Lilly and Rowan. I really like Rowen, but I feel like there was not enough romance in this book. Lilly and Rowan are both a bit stubborn and they took to long to make-up. I always glad when this work out in the end, but it would have been nice to get more romantic scenes.

Cover Art Review: I like the complexity of the cover. The willstones are a nice touch. I don’t like the image of the girls with the swords and the fire behind them.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Series: Six of Crows (bk. 1)

Genera(s): High Fantasy

Subjects: criminals, gangs, magic, abilities, drugs, rescues

Setting: Ketterdam, Kerch and Fjerda

POV/Tense: 3rd person POV, past tense: Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Nina, and Matthias

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 462 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover 

List Price: $18.99

Publisher: Macmillan: Henry Holt

Summary/ product description: “Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.”

My Review: This book came out last year and I finally got around to reading it because the sequel just came out. It took me about two weeks to read this book because I was so busy with school, and then my bird died, which made it hard to read. So now I’m finally done with this book. Even though it took so long, I still enjoyed it. It only took me 3.5 hours to read the last 120 pages.

This book was like a fantasy version of Suicide Squad, and I kind of want to compare Inej to Katana and Nine to Harley Quinn and Jesper to Deadshoot, and I’m not sure who the others seem like. It’s about a group of misfits, criminals from various places who came together is a city called Ketterdam, which is basically like Amsterdam. It has cannels and different districts and legal prostitution and lots of gambling dens. It has a late 1800s feel. It’s not even a decade after the event of the Grisha Trilogy and I feel like there’s lot of industrial advancement that happened.

So the book has six main characters, but it only rotates between five point of views: Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Nina, and Matthias. Wylan doesn’t get his own chapters. Kaz is a theif who uses slight of hand, he’s the leader and he also limps because his leg never healed quite right. Nina is a Heartrender Grisha originally from Ravka and she’s busty and bold and has a talent for languages. Inej, a Suli girl, is also known as the Wraith. She moves very silently and collects secrets for Kaz by spying on wealthy people. She used to be an acrobat. Jesper is a Zemeni sharpshooter who has a bad gambling habit. Matthias is a Fjerdian witch hunter who ended up in prison. Wylan is the son of a mercher, and he’s got a lot of talents.

These character are given a task that will earn themselves 30 million kruge (dollars)if completed. They must rescue the scientist who developed a drug called jurda parum from the Fjerdians. The drug make’s Grisha powers powerful beyond imagination and it’s also highly addictive and eventually fatal. The take a boat to the Ice Court in Dierholm and plan to enter and prisoner, hoping to find the scientist in a cell, but like all plans, there are quite a few bumps along the way and tons of twist and turn you won’t see coming. The book also features many flash-backs that give us more backstory on the characters.

I recommend this book to fans of fantasy who want something a little different and unique, also fans of steampunk, because this is kind of like steampunk in a way. And the Curseworkers series by Holly Black, another book about magical criminals.

Cover Art Review: I like the illustration of the crow and towers.

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

Publication Date: September 20, 2016

Series: Kingdom on Fire (bk. 1)

Genera(s): Fantasy/Alternate-history

Subjects: sorcerers, magicians, magic, supernatural, abilities

Setting: London, England in Victorian times

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, past tense: Henrietta Howel

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 404 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Random House

Summary/ product description: “I am Henrietta Howel.
The first female sorcerer in hundreds of years.
The prophesied one.
Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames.
Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she's shocked when instead of being executed, she's invited to train as one of Her Majesty's royal sorcerers.

Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the chosen one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.

But Henrietta Howel is not the chosen one.
As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, what does it mean to not be the one? And how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?

Exhilarating and gripping, Jessica Cluess's spellbinding fantasy introduces a powerful, unforgettably heroine, and a world filled with magic, romance, and betrayal. Hand to fans of Libba Bray, Sarah J. Maas, and Cassandra Clare.”

My Review:  A Shadow Bright and Burning is an alternative-history fantasy set in Victorian London. Henrietta Howel has the ability to light herself on fire. She is a teacher and previous student of an all-girls school. She has a friend who is and Unclean (scarred by an Ancient) named Rook. Over a decade ago the Ancients were summoned and a great war began. The seven Ancients, include R’helm the Skinless Man, Korozoth the Shadow and Fog, On-Tez the Vulture Lady, Nemneris, the Water Spider, Zem the Great Serpent, Molochoron the Pale Destroyer, Callax the Child Eater.

A sorcerer named Cornelius Agrippa comes to the girl school that Henrietta lives at and now teaches at and he believes she might be the prophesized one. He says she’s the first female sorcerer in a long time and that she could be the key to defeating the ancients. He bring her to London to meet the other sorcerer apprentices who are all male. He has to train her by the commendation on Midsummer’s eve, the summer solstice.

The other sorcerers are all males and including the charming and flirty Julian Magnus, the brooding George Blackwood, and Arthur, Clarence, Cellini, Isaac, and Dee. She stays in the room that used to be Agrippa’s daughter Gwendolyn’s room. She’s been dead for the past years. She meets a Hobgoblin doctor named Fenswick. He maid’s named is Lilly. There’s also a magician named Hargrove who recognizes Henrietta somehow. Magicians’ magic is outlawed, but they are allowed to live, unlike the witches who used to be around.

Henrietta’s powers grow with the training, but they aren’t reliable like the other sorceress. They seem to be tied to her emotions. Henrietta may not be what she was told that she was. She feels out of place, but will do anything to be commended by the Queen and help defeat the ancients. With some romance, action and magic, a Shadow Bright and Burning is an exciting tales of dark fantasy.

I recommend this book to fans of Red Queen by Victria Aveyard, the Young Elites by Marie Lu, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Aheirs, and The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows.

Cover Art Review: I love the burning rose image, but it reminds me off the book series False Memory. I like the paper used for the cover too.