Saturday, October 29, 2016

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

Series: Stealing Snow (bk. 1)

Genera(s): Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Subjects: witches, winter, magic, supernatural

Setting: Up-state New York and another world called Algid

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, past tense: Snow

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 370 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $18.99

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Summary/ product description: “First kisses sometimes wake slumbering princesses, undo spells, and spark happily ever afters.

Mine broke Bale.

Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent her life locked in Whittaker Psychiatric—but she isn’t crazy. And that’s not the worst of it. Her very first kiss proves anything but innocent…when Bale, her only love, turns violent.

Despite Snow knowing that Bale would never truly hurt her, he is taken away—dashing her last hope for any sort of future in the mental ward she calls home. With nowhere else to turn, Snow finds herself drawn to a strange new orderly who whispers secrets in the night about a mysterious past and a kingdom that’s hers for the taking—if only she can find her way past the iron gates to the Tree that has been haunting her dreams.

Beyond the Tree lies Algid, a land far away from the real world, frozen by a ruthless king. And there too await the River Witch, a village boy named Kai, the charming thief Jagger, and a prophecy that Snow will save them all.”

My Review:  Stealing Snow is the first book in a new series by Danielle Paige, author of Dorothy Must Die. The book has a very similar subject matter, though rather than being a sequel series to a older piece a literature like Dorothy Must Die, it’s a loose retelling of the Hans Christian Anderson’s Snow Queen that feels kind of like the movie Frozen meet Dorothy Must Die, so it’s more like Snow-King-Must-Die this time. Much like her other series, there are witches and magic. There’s a lot of humor and modernized things in this fantasy world (like a night club and snow mobiles). It take some of the fantasy clich├ęs and bring life to them. It’s a very fun read.

There were a lot of characters in this book. The main character Snow lived in an insane asylum for most of her life and feel abandoned by her mother, who only visits rarely. Snow was sent there after trying to drag a childhood friend through a mirror because she took Through the Looking Glass literally. Snow has pale skin, brown eyes, and white-blond hair streaked with white-gray, supposedly from the pills, but Snow doesn’t think so. She names the different pills she’s given after the Seven Dwarf, which is hilarious since her name is Snow. The asylum has a lot of odd people in it, including Magpie, the kleptomaniac, a girl called Wing who thinks she can fly, and a guy who thinks he can “blink” through time. Then there’s Bale, her boyfriend. He’s a pyromaniac and he tried choking her, so now they’ve been separated.

One night, a mysterious new orderly named Jagger shows up and tells her to go to the Tree. Something happens to Bale that night. He suddenly disappears and she goes outside to the tree and ends up in a world called Algid. There she meets a River Witch named Nepenthe, a young architect named Kai, and a nature witch named Gerd. Snow stays in a house with them for a while so the River Witch can teach Snow to control her snow powers. Kai shows Snow the town and tells her about Algid. Snow learns about a prophecy about a Snow Princess, about herself.

Snow runs into Jagger again, who introduces her to the Robbers, who are all female, except for him. Their queen’s named Margot, there a girl named Howl’s who go a great voice, and a girl named Fathom who Snow saw selling potions when she was with Kai. Margot claims she can help Snow get Bale back, but she must first help them get a piece of the king’s mirror that is with Snow’s cousin, the duchess. Snow trains hard for complete control of her power and learns to be Robber.

Think book was crazy and epic, but sometimes I did get a little confused and disappointed in how things kept changing. I loved the world building for it’s descriptions and crazy colors, but something felt inconsistent, like the technology, but maybe it was just magic. Some things felt to ridiculous and frivolous, which was okay for Dorothy Must Die, because Oz is just a crazy place, but I wanted something more High Fantasy, like Snow Like Ashes and Six of Crows, but as a parallel world. I did enjoy the book and want to read the sequel.

I recommend this book to fans of Danielle Paige, the movie Frozen, Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch, Six of Crows and the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, The Young Elites by Marie Lu, Cold Spell by Jackson Pierce, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, the World Walker trilogy by Josephine Angelini, and any unique YA fantasy series out there.

Cover Art Review: I like the cover, but it reminds me too much of Cold Spell by Jackson Pierce.

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.