Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

Series: The Young Elites (bk. 3) final book

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: 317 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $18.99

Publisher: Penguin: Putnam

Summary/ product description: “There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all she’s gained.

When a new danger appears, Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds, putting not only herself at risk, but every Elite. In order to preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.”

My Review:  The Midnight Star is the epic finale to the Young Elites trilogy. If you have not read the Young Elites, then I recommend it if you are a fan of any of these books: 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. This series is an epic fantasy that is very unique. The Young Elites have abilities caused by the blood fever. It’s said that they are connected to the God and their ability comes from the immortal realm. Other people believe they are demons and call them malfettos. Adelina has the power to create illusions, including both visual and sensual. Her hair is silvery white and she has a scar where one of her eyes should be. These are the markings of the blood fever.  

In this final chapter, Adelina, know throughout the lands as the White Wolf, have become a conquering queen. She already took the throne of Kenettra and extended her rule to Dumor. She now has her sites set on Tamoura. She hears word that her sister Violetta is in Tamoura and she’s sick. Violetta, who has never bared a mark before, is not covered in dark veins and seems very weak. Her ability is to take away Elite abilities.

 Raffaele and others from the Daggers are there too and once Adelina, Magiano, and Sergio get there, Raffaele tries to convince Adelina of a plan that involves them going to the immortal realm to fix the damage that it’s causing to the mortal realm. It’s an hard journey and they must find other Elites that can help them. Can Adelina abandon her cruelty and find the compassion to help save their world and forgive her sister?

This very unique fantasy series has some very unique characters that are not clichés or Mary Sues. It’s very diverse and different. It feels like a manga, with the strange colored hair, eyes and markings. This series would be perfect as a manga or graphic novel. The world building is creative. The world is different, with it’s three moon instead of our one. The mythology of their gods is woven with detail and share similarities to Roman and Greek mythology. Marie Lu put a lot of work into this series. I hope that we get to see it in some visual format be it a graphic novel, movie of TV series. I will miss this beautiful and dark fantasy series greatly.

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

Friday, November 25, 2016

Swarm by Scott Westerfeld

Series: Zeroes (bk. 2)

Genera(s): Paranormal/Urban Contemporary Sci-fi

Subjects: superpowers, abilities, criminals

Setting: Cambria, California

POV/Tense: 3rd person POV rotating between 6 characters: Scam (Ethan), Flicker (Riley), Bellwether (Nate), Crash (Chizara), Anonymous (Thibault) and Mob (Kelsie).

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 448 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $19.99

Publisher: Simon & Schuster: Simon Pulse

Summary/ product description: “They thought they’d already faced their toughest fight. But there’s no relaxing for the reunited Zeroes.

These six teens with unique abilities have taken on bank robbers, drug dealers, and mobsters. Now they’re trying to lay low so they can get their new illegal nightclub off the ground.

But the quiet doesn’t last long when two strangers come to town, bringing with them a whole different kind of crowd-based chaos. And hot on their tails is a crowd-power even more dangerous and sinister.

Up against these new enemies, every Zero is under threat. Mob is crippled by the killing-crowd buzz—is she really evil at her core? Flicker is forced to watch the worst things a crowd can do. Crash’s conscience—and her heart—get a workout. Anon and Scam must both put family loyalties on the line for the sake of survival. And Bellwether’s glorious-leader mojo deserts him.

Who’s left to lead the Zeroes into battle against a new, murderous army?”

My Review:  Swarm is the sequel to Zeroes. If you have not read these books, this series is about a group of six teens with unique abilities. The book is written in 3rd person POV rotating between 6 characters that call themselves Zeroes (like heroes, but not). Scam (Ethan) has another voice that he uses to get him out of situations or get him what he wants. It knows things he doesn’t know himself. It’s almost like another entity possesses him. It’s such a unique and odd ability and works better one-on-one. I really enjoy Ethan’s character the most.

The other characters have abilities that work best in crowds. Flicker (Riley) is blind but can use the eyes of people around he to see, like remote viewing. She has a twin named Lily who she relies on a lot. Bellwether (Nate), is Latino and has the ability to lead crowds. To pull attention to him, like charisma. Crash (Chizara) can sense connected technology around her and crash it. Anonymous (Thibault) has a mental memory based form of invisibility and can’t turn it off. He’s easily forgotten when people stop paying attention to him. It’s difficult to make people remember him. Mob (Kelsie) can turn a crowd into a single organism that has one mood or goal.

This is a really unique series because of these unique abilities and how they are utilized. Their powers get them into crazy situation and they try hard to do good things, but their power aren’t exactly the kind that could save the day, like super strength or speed. In this book they meet a few other Zeroes outside their group who don’t exactly use their powers for good. A girl who can warp your perception and make you lose yourself and a boy who can temporarily turn blank paper into money. They’re like a Bonnie and Clyde couple, making big scenes in crowds and causing problems. They’re running from a worse Zero through, a guy who can turn a crown into a single-minded swarm with intent to kill. Things are really getting ugly for the Zeroes and chances of survival seem slim.

I enjoyed this books because it was so much fun. It’s very fast pace. It’s best read when you aren’t busy so you can just blaze through the pages. There’s so much action, humor and cool stuff going on in the book. There’s even some romance, but I was kind of disappointed for Ethan’s sake. The ending was truly climatic and surprising. There will be another book, but at times when reading this a I though it was a sequel-finale in a duology, but Goodreads says there’s a third book in the works.

Cover Art Review: The chain link fence photo is too busy.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch

Series: Snow Like Ashes (bk. 3) Final Book

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 and Ceridwen

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 483 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen: Balzer & Bray

Summary/ product description: “Angra is alive, his Decay is spreading—and no one is safe.

Meira will do anything to save her world. With Angra trying to break through her mental defenses, she desperately needs to learn to control her own magic—so when the leader of a mysterious Order from Paisly offers to teach her, she jumps at the chance. But the true solution to stopping the Decay lies in a labyrinth deep beneath the Season Kingdoms. To defeat Angra, Meira will have to enter the labyrinth, destroy the very magic she’s learning to control—and make the biggest sacrifice of all.

Mather will do anything to save his queen. He needs to rally the Children of the Thaw, find Meira—and finally tell her how he really feels. But with a plan of attack that leaves no kingdom unscathed and a major betrayal within their ranks, winning the war—and protecting Meira—slips farther and farther out of reach.

Ceridwen will do anything to save her people. Angra had her brother killed, stole her kingdom, and made her a prisoner. But when she’s freed by an unexpected ally who reveals a shocking truth behind Summer’s slave trade, Ceridwen must take action to save her true love and her kingdom, even if it costs her what little she has left.

As Angra unleashes the Decay on the world, Meira, Mather, and Ceridwen must bring the kingdoms of Primoria together…or lose everything.”

My Review:  Frost Like Night is the final book in the Snow Like Ashes trilogy. If you have not read Snow Like Ashes, 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.

Meira is the queen and conduit of the Winter kingdom. She’s trying to find away to stop Angra, the evil ruler of Spring who use the magic of the Decay. Meira is brought to Paisley, the kingdom hidden in the mountains of the north. Rares and his wife offer to train Meira in using her magic. Meira soon discovers that the only way to defeat Angra might not end in a happy ending for. She might have to sacrifice everything to save her kingdom and the rest of Primoria from Angra and this war. With Mather by her side, she feels she can do anything.

Mather would do anything to save Meira from the fate she plans to accept. He really does want to spend his life with her and can’t imagine living without her. Ceridwen is now the monarch of Summer, but cannot use her kingdom conduit because it is male-blooded. She’s trying to save her own people and create new allies. She also wants a relationship with Jesse, but he must first break his relationship with Raelyn, his current wife who’s now under Angra’s influence.

This epic finale is filled with magic and adventure and even all the romance we were hoping for. I will say that I did not enjoy this book as much as the previous book. I’m not a fan of 3rd person POV and I would have preferred only to have Meira 1st person POV or have 1st person perspective of Mather and Ceridwen. Also I was so busy with school, that it takes a long time to finish a book. I did enjoy this series overall and hope to find more unique fantasy series like this one. I’m very happen to see how this series has come so far and to a satisfying ending. I can’t wait to see what other stories Sara Raasch cooks up.

Cover Art Review: I love these cover so much! They are consistent and beautiful. The chakram with the seasons in it is so cool.