Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

Series: Snow Like Ashes (bk. 2)

Genera(s): High Fantasy

Subjects: magic, seasons, winter, royalty, kingdoms, adventure, war, princes and princesses, king and queens, warriors, rebellions, slavery, orphans

Setting: The Kingdoms of Primoria

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, present tense: Meira, and 3rd person: Mather

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 478 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen: Balzer & Bray

Summary/ product description: “It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.”

My Review:  Ice Like Fire is the awesome sequel to Snow Like Ashes. Winter is now free from Spring’s rule, but new troubles are on the rise. Cordell’s king may be giving Winter aid, but Meira still feel like her kingdom is under their oppression. The Cordellian king wants to find the magic chasm, and when Meira’s Winterians do, she intends to prevent the magic from being released. Theron want everyone to have magic, and Meira disagrees. Theron and Meira’s relationship becomes strained and they set off on a quest throughout the kingdoms of Primoria to find the three keys that will open the chasm.

We finally get a glimpse at three other kingdoms in this book: Summer, Yakim and Ventralli. Each are unique and different. Summer is about pleasure and they have slavery and brothels. Yakim is about knowledge and they have universities and advanced technology. Ventralli loves art and beauty and is like Venice with its masks. I love that the world building of Primoria is so intricate and different from other fantasy novels I’ve read. I love the kingdoms based off the seasons and the rhythms. Sara has a Pinterest board for her series that really gives you the look and feel of the different kingdoms.

Meira is such a great character. She’s pretty down-to-Earth for a queen. She’d prefer pants to dresses. She’s like to use her Chakram to protect her kingdom. I feel sorry for Mather. Theron has Meira’s love, but I feel like Mather is meant for her. When I think of Meira and Mather I picture the Elsa-Jack Frost pairing. There’s not much romance in the story. It’s more about the adventure and the kingdoms, but I’m okay with that. I just want Mather and Meira to get together and kiss in the final book.

The ending was somewhat surprising. I kind of expected some of it, but I didn’t know where it was going. I just hope the finale if awesome. I wonder what the title will be. Frost Like (Flame? Sparks? Not sure). I really would love to read more fantasy like this. I recommend it to those who enjoyed Frozen, Game of Thrones and books like: Incarnate and The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Crewel by Gennifer Albin, The Jewel by Amy Ewing, Defiance by C.J. Redwine, The Young Elites by Marie Lu and the Red Queen by Victoria Avyard.

Cover Art Review: I love this cover so much! The Chakram and the seasons. It’s just so amazing.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Rose Society by Marie Lu

Series: The Young Elites (bk. 2)

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

Subjects: magic, supernatural, abilities, superpowers, kingdoms, royalty,

Setting: A fantasy world, the island of Kenettra

POV/Tense: 1st peson POV, present tense: Adelina Amouteru, and 3rd person intermissions of other characters.

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 395 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $18.99

Publisher: Penguin: Putnam

Summary/ product description: “Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she and her sister flee Kenettra to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good, when her very existence depends on darkness?”

My Review: Wow. What a sequel. I don’t read high fantasy very often. Last year I read the Young Elites and enjoyed it. It’s set in a world reminiscent of renaissance era Venetian culture. There’s some Italian words used and lots of masks. The main country it takes place in is the island of Kenettra. Up north there’s Beldain, which is like Russia, Norway or Scotland and south is Tamoura, which is like Pakistan or India.

This series has some great complex world building There are all these folk tales and mythological beliefs that author made up for the story. There are quotes from them before every chapter. The imagery of the story is very beautiful and interesting. Marie Lu made a Pinterest board for her series which helps with imagining the story’s look and feel.

Another unique thing about this series is the that our main protagonist Adelina is more of an antagonist. Adelina is called the White Wolf because her hair turned silver-white for the blood fever. She’s going down the wrong path. If anyone’s a Once Upon a Time Fan and watching the current season, I’d definitely say that Adelina is like the Dark One, or even Regina. She had good intentions for a while, but now she’s just being selfish and going mad with power. She like the fear ad pain her illusions cause others. Her powers are growing and may be out of control, causing her to hallucinate. The only other books I’ve read with a character out to do evil are V is for Villian by Peter Moore and Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre.

Violetta is kind of Adelina’s opposite, though she’s her sister. Violetta is scared of doing bad things, but her sister is protecting her and she wants to protect her sister back. Violetta can temporarily disable abilities of Young Elites. Magiano is an Elite who can mimic the powers of other Elites. He’s kind of brash, cocky and funny. I like him. Enzo, the exiled prince Young Elite with fire power, died in the previous book and the daggers are trying to get the queen of Beldain to bring him back for the dead. Raffaele has blue-black hair and a gold eye and green eye and he can comfort others. Teren is strong and can heal himself. He’s a hypocrite against Maffettos (the ones marked by the blood fever).

I recommend this series if you enjoyed: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Crewel by Gennifer Albin, The Jewel by Amy Ewing, Defiance by C.J. Redwine, Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch and the Red Queen by Victoria Avyard.

Cover Art Review: Nice cover. Fits with the series.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard (bk. 1)

Genera(s): Paranormal Fantasy adventure with mythology

Subjects: adventure, fantasy, gods, magic, mythology, Norse mythology, paranormal, summer, supernatural, Valkyries, gods and goddesses, Massachusetts, humor

Setting: Boston, Massachusetts, and the world of Norse Mythology, Valhalla

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, past tense: Magnus Chase

Age/Grade Level: Teen, maybe younger, middle school and up?

Length: 491 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $19.99

Publisher: Hyperion

Summary/ product description: “Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .”

My Review:  It’s been a while since I’ve read any Rick Riordan books. I never got past the first The Lost Hero. Reading this book was a real treat. It’s funny and exciting and pure entertainment. It’s very much like his other books, written in first person this time. Magnus is a little like Percy, but he’s Annabeth’s cousin. When I started this book I didn’t know that, and then Annabeth shows up. I forgot her last name was Chase too. I almost didn’t read this book because I didn’t read the Heroes of Olympus series, but thankfully there’s no spoiler to that series in this book. You can read The Sword of Summer without having read any other Rick Riordan book.

Magnus is a pretty interesting character. He lived on the streets of Boston for about 2 years, he ends up in Valhalla after dying, and finds out he’s a demi-god. He can heal people. He has to track down the sword of summer, which he lost in the river when he died. The character Sam is interesting too. She’s half-middle eastern and wears a green head scarf (hijab). Her father is Loki, but she’s not like him. She’s also a Valkyrie and has a double life. She’s got a normal school life at home, living with her grand parents.

There’s also Magnus’s dwarf and elf friends. Blitz has a crazy sense of fashion. Hearth is deaf and Magnus speaks to him in sign language. What a great group of characters. Rick’s so great at developing characters. Even characters with smaller roles are very unique and developed. Like, did you know that Thor is a TV addict and watched Arrow and the Walking Dead? That’s pretty cool. And there’s a sea goddess named Ran who like to collect junk?

This book has so many ridiculous surprises, it’s unbelievable. It’s so unrealistic and nonsensical, but I love it. I like the idea of that Gods being up on modern society and technology. It’s cool, but then apparently giants text and dwarves listen to Taylor Swift. There’s some weird stuff that makes this feel like a parody movie. This story is 491 pages long. If I didn’t have school and work I would have probably finished it in 2 days. Fast reader maybe in 1 day. There are no dull moments. It’s bam, bam, BAM! Non-stop awesomeness. You will not want to put this book down. It will feel as if your hands are glued to the book and your eye stuck open.

If you have read and enjoyed Loki’s Wolves, Odin’s Ravens, and Thor’s Serpent by Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr, then I highly recommend this book. Also fans of the Thor movies, or anything myth-related. Norse Mythology is hot and different from the Greek stuff. This book is fun and you will learn about Norse Mythology, even it Rick has twisted it a little.

Cover Art Review: Great illustration! Very typical of Rick Riordan books.