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How Do You Prefer To Read A Book Series?

How Do You Prefer To Read A Book Series?

I think it’s time for a discussion post. ‘Nuff with all of these reviews and what not! I’m kidding, I’ll be posting another later today 😛 Anyways, I thought it would be fun to take a break from this April ARC madness and pick all […]

Mini Book Review: Identity by Ted Dekker

Mini Book Review: Identity by Ted Dekker

My name is Christy Snow. I’m seventeen and I’m about to die.  Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads. Identity Series: Eyes Wide Open #1Author: Ted DekkerPublication Date: December 26, 2012Publisher: Outlaw StudiosPage Count: 66Format: ebookGenre: Young Adult, Christian Fiction, Mystery, ThrillerMy Rating: ★★★½ “Christy was familiar […]

eARC Review: Children of Daedala by Caighlan Smith

eARC Review: Children of Daedala by Caighlan Smith

Six months alone in the labyrinth has made her strong. But the search for the exit means gambling on an old ‘friend’ and going against everything she’s been taught to survive.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Children of Daedala

Series: Children of Icarus #2
Author: Caighlan Smith
Publication Date: April 1, 2018
Publisher: Capstone
Page Count: 336
Format: eARC
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Horror, Dystopia
Cover Artist: ---
My Rating: ★★

Finding one’s way through a maze can feel like an eternity. For the Icarii, eternity is a probability with their trek through the labyrinth surrounding Daedala. 

“Fey Bell” as the nameless main character has been nicknamed, has existed on her own in the labyrinth for six months now. Now that she has the journal explaining how to get out of the dismal place, she needs only one thing: to translate it into her language. In order to do so, she must seek out help from her former group, the Fates. 

However, she left Fates on bad terms. Collin, the group’s leader, has had it out for her since he discovered that she was faking to be his little sister, Clara. With her best friend gone, the Executioner no longer around to teacher her, and no one to help her, she much depend on herself for everything–and for getting the answers she needs to unravel the journal’s secrets. Little does she know that Fates are the least of her worries. 

Children of DaedalaChildren of Daedala by Caighlan Smith
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

1) Children of Icarus: ★★

All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.

”Six months is a long time in the labyrinth.”

There’s always a lot riding on sequels in a series. If certain aspects aren’t delivered in the first installment of a series, I hope that the sequel will shed some light on those areas that I think are important to touch on as the reader. Unfortunately, Children of Daedala simply didn’t deliver as much as I had hoped for. While some aspects were much more tolerable, the plot did not develop as much as it needed to the really engage the reader.

World Building

The entire plot of Children of Daedala takes place in the labyrinth. Little information of the labyrinth itself is given and it is difficult to get a good sense of where the characters are. I constantly felt lost, which is ideally the point (since everyone is lost), but it’s also difficult to tell a story not really understanding the surroundings.

The society within the labyrinth itself takes on a different form. The Icarii literally enter a new world when they entered the labyrinth and they must learn how to survive. The best way to survive is by strength in numbers. Several pods of Icarii are developed, where the groups’ members look after and protect one another.

But where there are people, there is treachery. Supplies are limited in the labyrinth, including hunting grounds, freshwater, medical supplies, and weapons. It isn’t uncommon for fighting to happen between the groups for these resources. These fights, however, aren’t always provision-related. Bad blood exists between Kleos and Harmonia, two groups with a long and dark history. When the main character finds herself being shoved between the two groups after Fates is ransacked, she must dig to the bottom of the mystery in order to discover who is at fault.

Within these groups exists hierarchy. Being out on her own for six months had made “nameless” a sought out legend among the other Icarii. Nicknamed “Fey Bell” (after the silent bell she wears around her neck) she tries to remain elusive as she searches for the labyrinth’s exit. However, she can only make it so far without help. She must take measures into her own hands to have the mysterious journal the Executioner left her translated. The leaders of the groups have their own agendas and are constantly taunting her when they cross paths. Wanting to remain out of the drama, she tries to limit her interactions with them, but can only succeed for so long.

Pacing & Readability

The pacing mimics Children of Icarus. It is slow, slow, slow. In three hundred plus pages, not a lot happens. Even during the climax in the final pages, nothing grabbed me. Without having many variations in the pacing, it made this a difficult read to get through because it was slow and unengaging.

Point-Of-View & Characters

The point of view is again from the perspective of the main character, who again remains nameless throughout the entire story. “Nameless'”–I’ll refer to by her nickname of Fey Bell–character grows tremendously from Children of Icarus–but only in her capabilities. In many ways, she still acts quite immature for her age, which becomes tiresome to read. Honestly, I think I stuck it out through this book just because I want to find out what her name is! Otherwise, I don’t think I would have made it this far.

There are several characters in this series, and it is difficult to keep them all straight. With little distinction between them physically, many of these minor characters blended together.

For me, Ryan was one of the more interesting characters in this series. Sadly, his character became rather flat in this sequel. I felt he could have been utilized in more effective ways to keep that initial intrigue going, but that simply didn’t happen.

Theo becomes a more prominent character in this sequel. Becoming a “sort of” love interest, he’s constantly riding the fence of being trustworthy. Because his character also suffers from flatness, I found him and his motivations to be transparent and without surprise.

Elle’s character blossomed before my very eyes. I think I didn’t recognize her in Children of Icarus because I was so distracted with all of the gore and overall treachery. While she doesn’t have a massive role in the plot, what she represents makes her all-the-more important to bring up.

The main antagonist against is the labyrinth itself, but later on shifts to other characters as well.

Major Themes

⇒ Survival

It’s easy not to take chances when the price is someone else’s secrets.

Survival is the entire point of this series. Survival in the labyrinth, survival from one another, and survival from oneself in specific instances is constantly on the characters’ and readers minds.

⇒ Mental illness

”Elle is the beautiful one. I always knew it, but at first I thought it was just her exterior. I thought what was inside Elle was cruel. And it is. Elle has a cruel side, an inhumane side, a manipulative side, but that like her physical beauty, is just something else in the way of the beauty inside. A part of Elle, deep down, is still the child she was when she entered the labyrinth. That child is inside all Icarii, but most Icarii kill that child to survive. Instead, Elle killed her sanity, and used its corpse to shelter the child. Because of that, a part of Elle will always have her innocence. A part of her will always have Prosper.”

Represented by Elle’s character, mental illness becomes a large theme throughout this installment. This theme also exists in the first book, but I think I was too distracted by everything else to really notice it. While I believe this adds an interesting addition to the plot, I’m not sure if I actually like the way Elle’s character is represented. Perhaps it is because I feel that her (and everyone else’s) character is left incomplete. In a positive way, however, I feel that Elle’s able to bring opponents together.

“But thank you. For looking out for Elle.”
“It’s easy to look out for Elle,” Risa says, then gestures to the gauze in my hand. Maybe not always easy, but it’s easy to want to, you know?”

Overall Feelings

Things that I liked:
⇒ The main character’s growth from the first book.
⇒ We finally get a little more explanation behind the Icarii.

Things that I didn’t like:
⇒ Still not having a good sense of the world or where the characters are at. Scenes blend into one another.
⇒ The slow pacing and anticlimactic end which was supposed to be a massive “cliffhanger” for the next book.
⇒ While we get a better idea as to how the Icarii started, the entire backstory needed a lot more explanation.

Overall, I wasn’t thrilled with this sequel, and found it to be without much purpose. I really was hoping for more progression, but this entire book felt like a “time filler” until the next book in the series is published.

Vulgarity: Minimal. Only five words were counted.
Sexual content: Minimal – kissing scenes only. However, there are some references to more going on between some characters.
Violence: Quite a lot. While this installment isn’t as gory as it’s predecessor, there’s still a decent amount.

View all my reviews

Thursday Blog Trot #7

Thursday Blog Trot #7

I seriously can’t believe how quick the week flies by! It’s Thursday again, and time for another Thursday Blog Trot! I really don’t know where the time goes. It seems like I was just writing last week’s TBT post yesterday. Alas, here we are–already the […]

State of the ARC: March

State of the ARC: March

The time has come for another State of the ARC monthly wrap up… Lately, I’ve been dreading these posts, and for good reason too. I’ve just not been as motivated to read lately as I normally am. That, and I’m caught in a tug-of-war with […]

My 5 Favorite Literary Pranksters

My 5 Favorite Literary Pranksters

This has been a surprisingly difficult prompt for me to meet.

I love humor. I mean, who doesn’t? When I went through my “read” list on Goodreads, I realized that I haven’t read many books that weren’t serious in some sense. So, this prompt was a difficult one for me to meet. 

However, the more I thought about a “prankster,” I began to realize that I don’t necessarily think of a prankster as someone who is just funny–I think of someone who is tricky. This opens the doors to allow  the character to be either a protagonist, antagonist, or both. 

Before we get started, I’ll need some help from Count Olaf to clear the air as to what this post is about: 

Okay, maybe that was more funny in my head than it really was. 

Either way, let’s move on to the list I compiled of my favorite (heroic or villainous) literary pranksters. 

Chip Gaines

So, Chip Gaines is not a fictional character, but he technically is a literary character because he's in two books (written by himself and his wife, Joanna Gaines.) If you aren't familiar with this couple, they have a show on HGTV called "Fixer Upper," where they renovate houses for people around Waco, Texas.
Chip is absolutely hilarious and was one of the main reasons why I became hooked on the show. In all honesty, he reminds me of my Dad with the sense of humor he has but he is way more over the top. He's constantly playing pranks on those around him, especially his wife, and that same spirit comes through his writing.

The Phantom (Of The Opera)

The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera is one of those antagonist pranksters I mentioned in the intro. This is the trait that made me like his character so much. While he's definitely creepy, he's constantly taunting the opera, and it adds some unexpected humor to this rather dismal tale.

Count Olaf

Count Olaf from The Series of Unfortunate Events is yet another antagonist "prankster" or more appropriately titled, trickster. Constantly hunting the Baudelaire orphans in order to get their fortune, he's a pro at tricking everyone but the orphans with his appearance . His strange, eccentric, and rather comical character adds such a unique twist to each installment in this series.

Merry & Pippin

Peregrin Took (Pippin) and Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry) are two of my favorite characters from The Lord of the Rings series. These two add comic relief to a rather serious plot line. When they aren't pulling pranks on each other and other characters, they are getting in trouble with someone (normally Gandalf.)

Fred & George Weasley

These guys are probably the most obvious choice out of all the characters in this list. The fact that they are pranksters is why people enjoy their characters so much. They always show up at the right times to ensure that the serious parts aren't too serious.

Who are your favorite literary pranksters?
What about them stand out to you the most about their characters besides the fact that they love to play pranks, or cause problems for others?

Mini Book Review: The Oracle Queen by Kendare Blake

Mini Book Review: The Oracle Queen by Kendare Blake

Release Day April 3, 2018! Triplet queens born on the island of Fennbirn can be many things: Elementals. Poisoners. Naturalists. If an oracle queen is born, however, one with the gift of sight, she’s immediately drowned, extinguishing her chance at ever taking the throne. But […]

Book Review: Children of Icarus by Caighlan Smith

Book Review: Children of Icarus by Caighlan Smith

It is Clara who is desperate to enter the labyrinth and it is Clara who is bright, strong, and fearless enough to take on any challenge. It is no surprise when she is chosen. But so is the girl who has always lived in her […]

Fairy Tale Friday #4: The Enchanted Pig (Porcul cel fermecat) by Petre Ispirescu

Fairy Tale Friday #4: The Enchanted Pig (Porcul cel fermecat) by Petre Ispirescu

The Enchanted Pig (Porcul cel fermecat)

Written by Petre Ispirescu

The Enchanted Pig, originally published as Porcul cel fermecat in Legende sau basmele românilor in Bucharest, Romania in 1882. It was written by Petre Ispirescu, a Romanian folklorist, who wrote several tales that were published throughout his lifetime and after. 

The tale began to gain notoriety as it was translated into different languages. Most notable, was when it was translated into English (from German) and published in The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang. Through this translation process, however, the original story has been altered somewhat, to better adhere to the language which it was translated to. 

This fairy tale has been compared to other fairy tales such as Blue-Beard and East o’ the Sun and West o’ the Moon, which were also published in another of Lang’s works, The Blue Fairy Book

An opera based on the story was composed by Jonathan Dove and premiered in 2006 under the name of “The Enchanted Pig.”

This tale has been paraphrased in my own words from Andrew Lang’s version, as I cannot read fluent Romanian.

Once there was a king who had three daughters. He was called off to war and instructed his daughters that he would be back as soon as he could. They were free to explore all of the castle and grounds expect for one specific room, which he forbade them to enter.

Upon leaving, the king gave his eldest daughter all of the keys to the castle, and again, reminded them not to enter the forbidden room. The three sisters did their best to entertain themselves while he was away, but eventually boredom and curiosity wooed the eldest sister to disobey her father’s orders. 

She, along with the other two, entered the room and found it rather empty. In the middle stood a table with a book resting upon it. Her curiosity being too much, the eldest sister went up to the book to read it. It said that she was destined to marry a prince from the East. The middle sister, also enraptured with curiosity, read that she was to marry a prince from the West. The youngest daughter, desiring to heed her father’s warning, tried to leave so she wouldn’t read the book. But, her older sisters coerced her into doing so. She read that she was to be taken into marriage by a pig. 

Her elder sisters laughed and assured her that the book was probably false. Besides, wouldn’t the king protect her with his army from a pig? Despite their reassurance, the youngest daughter grew ill with distraught with the prophecy and disobeying her father. By the time their father returned from a victorious battle, he noticed his youngest daughter’s state. He quickly discovered that his daughters had disobeyed him, and nearly overcome by grief himself, he tried to comfort his daughters. 

Shortly after, a prince from the East came into the kingdom, seeking the hand of the eldest daughter. The king agreed and the two were happily after. Likewise, a prince from the West arrived asking for the hand of the second daughter. When the youngest daughter saw that the book’s revelations were coming true, she became distraught and refused to eat–wanting to die instead of becoming the wife to a pig.

As the book said, a large Pig from the North arrived, asking for the hand of the youngest daughter. The Pig insisted that he would not leave without the king’s youngest daughter as his wife. The king, after speaking with the Pig, formed the idea that the pig had not always been a pig. The king encouraged his daughter to obey the Pig and do as he wishes, and he felt heaven would release her from this fate.

After the wedding, the couple headed back to the Pig’s dwelling. During the night, she noticed that he had turned into a man. Remembering what her father had said, she took heart, and would wait to see what would happen. Each night, he turned into a man, then back into a Pig before she woke, bringing her to the conclusion that her husband was enchanted. 

As time passed, she began to love her husband more and more. She realized that she was with child, but wasn’t sure what sort of child she’d have. One day, she saw an old woman go by. Not having seen another human for a while, she spoke with her. The woman turned out to be a witch, and told her after hearing her how her husband was enchanted, to tie a string around her husband’s left foot while he was sleeping, and he would remain a man. 

That night, she tied the string around his foot, but the string being rotten, broke. Her husband woke and asked what she had done? For in three days, the spell upon him would have been over. He sent her away from him, saying that they would not meet again until she wore through three pairs of iron sandals and blunted a staff made of steel. With that, he disappeared. 

Distressed, she went out into the next town to purchase three pairs of iron sandals and a steel staff. She traveled a long ways before reaching a house. She knocked on the door to find that the Moon lived there. The mother of the Moon let her in and seeing she was with child, let her stay to give birth. After the child was delivered, the mother asked how a mortal was able to travel to her home. The Princess wasn’t sure, but was grateful that she was able to. She asked the mother if she knew where her husband was, but she didn’t. She told her to travel East towards where the Sun lived, as he may know. 

She gave the Princess a chicken to eat and instructed her to keep the bones as they would come to use. The Princess changed her sandals after wearing out one pair, and left to head East. She traveled far before reaching the next dwelling. She knocked and the mother of the Sun let her in. She hid the Princess and her child in the cellar so the Sun wouldn’t see that a human was in his dwelling, as he had a bad temper when he came at home at night after seeing the evil of man each day. 

The mother asked the Sun if he knew the whereabouts of her husband, but he didn’t know. She gave the Princess a chicken to eat, and instructed her to keep the bones and instructed her to seek out the Wind. She changed her worn out sandals and then left. 

When she reached where the Wind lived, the mother of the Wind took pity on her and let her in. She too, hid her away so the Wind wouldn’t see her. The Wind told the mother that the Princess’ husband was living in a dense forest. The mother gave her another chicken to eat, and told her to save the bones and travel by the Milky Way. She changed into her last sandals and left.

When she reached where her husband resided, her sandals and staff were worn out. She struggled forward out of weariness for the sake of her child. She came across the house that the mother of the Wind described, but noticed it didn’t have windows or a door near the ground. She took the chicken bones she had saved and made a ladder out of it. Not having enough for the last rung, she cut off her little finger and placed it on the ladder as the second rung. Entering the house, she ate and laid the baby down for sleep.

When the Pig returned, he was afraid seeing the ladder because strange magic was afoot. He changed himself into a dove as he knew no witchcraft could touch him. When he went inside, he found his wife and child. Seeing how much she had suffered, he suddenly changed into a man. The handsome man told his wife that he was a King’s son, who had slayed some dragons. The dragon’s mother, a witch, cast a spell on him to change him into a Pig. The old woman who had told her to tie the string around his left foot was the witch in disguise. Knowing how much they had each suffered, they forgot the past and loved one another from that point forward. 

The couple traveled to see her father the King. Elated that she had returned, he put her and her husband on the throne in his place.

The Enchanted Hog: A Romanian Fairy TaleThe Enchanted Hog: A Romanian Fairy Tale by Petre Ispirescu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What a strange little tale. It’s hard to say how much of this tale was changed during translation from the original version written in Romanian (titled Porcul cel fermecat). While there were definitely some great traits, a majority of this tale is bizarre and rather upsetting.

The youngest of three princesses discovers that her fate has set her to wed a pig. Distraught by her fate, she is instructed by her father to do as her husband says, and hopefully, heaven would release her from her misfortune. After some time, however, she grew to love her husband. Noticing that he turned into a man at night, she realized that some strange enchantment had befallen him. Eager to help him out, she seeks out the help of a witch, who ends up giving her bad advice and sending her on a long, tiresome journey to find and free her husband.

While I appreciated the resilience of the main character, the overall moral of the story is unclear. Again, perhaps this is due to the fact that this tale was changed during translation. My guess is something along the lines of loving someone for who they are and where they are at can have great rewards? While there are some weird, little tidbits throughout, (like the part where she cut off her own finger to complete a ladder) I appreciated the broad world this was sent in.

Another part I don’t understand is how did her older sisters get away with their disobedience? They were rewarded with their disobedience by being married off to princes from different provinces…and that’s the last we hear of them. The tale felt a bit incomplete to me but was an interesting read overall.

My Rating: ★★★

View all my reviews

So, what were your thoughts on this fairy tale?
Did you like it, dislike it?
Are you familiar with this Fairy Tale?
What do you think the moral of the story truly is?

Thursday Blog Trot #6

Thursday Blog Trot #6

I think ya’ll know what THursday means on my blog now. It’s Thursday Blog Trot time! Oh yeah, we are heading to some different blogs today, and some pretty cool ones that that!  This week, I’ve had a lot on my mind regarding blogging. While […]

My Favorite Teachers/Mentors Found In Books

My Favorite Teachers/Mentors Found In Books

I think we all have someone that we looked up to, or still look up to, throughout our lives. I know for myself, there were several people at different times of my life that have had a large impact on forming the person that I […]

eARC Review: Dragons of Dark by Ava Richardson

eARC Review: Dragons of Dark by Ava Richardson

As both dragons and Riders struggle to return to the ways of old, from before the land fell into darkness, the evil king undermines their every move with spies and sabotage. Bower knows their efforts are doomed without a final assault against the palace, but Saffron has doubts. Risking everything in a single attack isn’t what concerns her—it’s what victory may mean.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Dragons of Dark

Series: Upon Dragon's Breath #3
Author:
Ava Richardson
Publication Date:
February 27, 2017
Publisher:
Relay Publishing Ltd.
Page Count:
254
Format:
eARC
Genre:
Young Adult, Fantasy
Cover Artist:
Joemel Requeza
My Rating:
★★★

”They fear me and my power, even as their hearts were so recently shaken by the sight of so many dragons. But their fear of me is the key. I will show them that dragons are just beasts. Monsters. Things which eat flesh, and drink the life from them, and then these people will hate the dragons much more than they can ever hate me. They think me a monster, but all of that is going to change.”

King Enric Maddox has been the feared rule of Torvald for a long time. Lately, however, that rule has been threatened by the reappearance of dragons and dragon sympathizers. Using the energy from his advisors, he strikes fear into the hearts of the citizens by using dark magic, making sure they see dragons as the enemy.

Since the recent battle between King Enric and the dragons, Saffron has had difficulty sleeping. Losing Rylan during the battle haunts her dreams. The threat of her magic and the connection it could have to Enric’s, ensnares her thoughts. Bower’s trust in Saffron wanes, as he is leary of the Maddox magic she possesses, and what it is capable of.

As the rightful heir to the throne, Bower must make amends with the Three Rivers Clan in order to get their help to pursue King Enric. Mother Gorlas, the wise woman of the clan, instructs him that he must seek out the Stone Tooth clan—the natural rivals of the Three Rivers. Likewise, the dragon queen Ysix—Jaydra’s sister—consults with Saffron and tells her that she must work to change the perspective of the humans towards the dragons. Still fearful of them, the new dragon riders have difficulty trusting the dragons, and seeing them more than just beasts.

As battles between the king’s merciless Iron Guard and the clans ensues, Saffron and Bower must work with the clans, dragons, and each other in order to overthrow the tyrant King Enric.

Dragons of Dark (Upon Dragon's Breath, #3)Dragons of Dark by Ava Richardson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

1) Dragons of Wild: ★★★½
2) Dragons of Kings: ★★★

All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.

”This isn’t a rebellion,” Bower was suddenly passionate. “We are ousting a dictator. Not overthrowing a rightful king.”

This is one of those times when writing a review is truly difficult. While I didn’t necessarily dislike this book, I didn’t fall in love with it either. I felt throughout the entire Upon Dragon’s Breath that I was searching more depth overall—but never really got it. Character development still occurs, but it is accompanied by a feeling of vagueness and without much drive.

Dragons of Dark adds some new elements throughout which helps to spice up the read. Steampunk vibes, along with numerous action/battle scenes pepper the pages which makes the reading engaging.

World Building

Set mainly in the surrounding lands of Torvald, Dragons of Dark has a little more variety in scenery. The group travels into treacherous areas in order to reach the Stone Tooth clan. However, the land itself still lacked much description, making it difficult to get a sense of where the characters were at and giving scene changes a confusing and “rushed” sensation.

Pacing & Readability

The pacing is consistently faster than that in the previous two installments. There is a lot more happening on all fronts, making the plot flow from one scene to the next without much contemplation or hesitation in between.

Point-Of-View & Characters

The point-of-view follows suite with the previous two books and continues to change from Saffron to Bower’s perspective. I liked how this remained the same because it helped me continue to see the character growth with both of the main characters.

While there isn’t a large shift in her character overall, Saffron does encounter the majority of the challenges throughout this book. Coping with the evil Maddox magic, Saffron drinks a medicinal remedy to dull her ability to call upon the magic. The side effects, however, cause her to lose her ability to communicate with the dragons. Not only does she need to deal with that, but she must also face the reality of her origins, relations, and role.

”No, Saffron. I am not your mother. I am Queen Zenema, and you are the one who will unite the old and the young, the dragons and the humans again. You will rule them from the air above and the land below. There is no shame in it. You are not King Enric, and he is not you. You are your own.”

Saffron discovers that her anger fuels the magic within her, making it uncontrollable at times. Luckily, the ties she had to her dragon hoard and to Bower were strong enough to help her through the toughest of challenges. Their guidance helped her face King Enric, but to also face the threat within herself.

Bower serves as the secondary protagonist throughout this series. I felt that his character made some progression throughout Dragons of Kings but plateaued in Dragons of Dark. In fact, I remained rather indifferent towards him. Still gaining the trust of the dragons and the clans he leads into battle, he constantly plays (a rather easy game of) “tug-of-war” with his self-confidence and ability to lead as the future king. Despite his efforts, I found everything too easy for him and didn’t feel that he really encountered adversity along the way. It made his main issue too simple, solvable and not really an issue. His main opposition was himself, as he doubted himself more than anyone else.

”These people put their faith in me, and I failed.”
“It was you who figured out a way to escape the trap, Bower. It was you who managed to destroy those Iron Guard. Why are you doing this to yourself? Why are you so convinced that you are going to fail?”

King Enric Maddox, the elusive antagonist, and dictator-king of Torvald remains rather underdeveloped. I was really hoping to see more of him in this installment, seeing how he is so utterly terrible, but he sits on the back-burner most of the book until the culmination in the end.

Jaydra, Zenema, and Ysix all played important roles particularly in this installment as mentors to both Saffron and Bower. Without their guidance (and random knowledge at times) Saffron and Bower never would have made it as far as they did. While they weren’t the main characters of this series, they remain to be my favorites, as their personalities are well-developed and interesting (I mean, they’re dragons!)

Major Themes

⇒ Good vs. Evil

The battle between good vs. evil is always at the forefront of this series. King Enric, the dictator king who stole the throne, uses his evil magic to do as he pleases. Saffron and Bower must gain the trust of two different races in order to dethrone him, and place the rightful king on the throne.

⇒ Emotions

Anger was a key emotion focused on throughout this series. While it wasn’t realized at first, anger was the fuel to the fire that made Saffron’s magic uncontrollable.

”This anger seemed to come with the power, and the more I used magic, the worse I felt. My anger always there, under the surface, and I was terrified that once I let it spill out, it would wash away the person that I had been, and I would become just like Enric.”

Saffron had to learn how to address and control her anger in order to harness the magic in her blood.

⇒ Friendship

”They’ve rallied to you because of what happened to Kingswood. Life can’t get worse for them, the evil king has already burned down their homes, and they have already lost loved ones. They’ve come to you to try and start again. To find some hope after the horror that has been visited upon them.”

Time after time, friendship shows up between these characters. Without help and support from one another, they never would have made it very far.

Overall Feelings

Things that I liked:

⇒ The main characters, Saffron and Bower, also Jaydra, are easy to like and relate to.
⇒ The theme of friendship and how it’s demonstrated. That’s right—Bower and Saffron remain friends only. This is a romance-free series!
⇒ It’s a relatively clean read.

Things that I didn’t like:

⇒ World building and sense-of-location still lacked greatly.
⇒ The climax of this book, along with the climax of the entire series just wasn’t enough.
⇒ The “major” plot twists were too predictable.
⇒ I found the prologue told from King Enric’s perspective to be confusing. Perhaps this was because I may have forgotten some details from Dragons of Wild.
⇒ Bower’s character and his insistence on how he wasn’t “good enough” to rule.

While I really did enjoy this series, I felt that it lacked personable traits to pull me in. Instead of being fully immersed in this world, I always felt like I was reading this story. I want to experience it, too. It’s a bummer because I think that this series has some great potential, but I had difficulty with really connecting to it in the end. The plot is creative in its own way but is also similar in several ways to other books in the same genre. To put my feelings into one world, this book felt “familiar” on many fronts, and needed more specification to stand out from the rest.

Vulgarity: Minimal – 4 words total.
Sexual content: None!
Violence: Moderate – there are several battle scenes throughout that include some gore.

View all my reviews

eARC Review: Reign The Earth by A.C. Gaughen

eARC Review: Reign The Earth by A.C. Gaughen

Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands. Partial synopsis provided […]

Thursday Blog Trot #5

Thursday Blog Trot #5

Well, it’s a late night for me this Thursday. Sorry I’m getting this post up so late. I’ve been working a lot of overtime lately, and it’s been eating into my blogging time a lot. Either way, my schedule doesn’t stop other book bloggers from […]

5 Most-Anticipated Books Coming Out This Spring

5 Most-Anticipated Books Coming Out This Spring

I'm deviating from the prompt this week, as I wanted to discuss some of my most anticipated reads coming out this Spring.

I’ve been approved for several ARCs that will be published before Summer hits. Some, I’m looking very much forward to reading. All of the books in this list I haven’t read yet, so I can’t necessarily recommend them yet. However, I wanted to compile a short list of books being published for anyone who may be looking for some new reads!

These books are listed in the order they are being published in.

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

Date of Release: April 10, 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn't have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne's offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems. 

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi's enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.

Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young

Date of Release: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Wednesday Books

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel

Date of Release: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine Del Rey

In her childhood, Rose Franklin accidentally discovered a giant metal hand buried beneath the ground outside Deadwood, South Dakota. As an adult, Dr. Rose Franklin led the team that uncovered the rest of the body parts which together form Themis: a powerful robot of mysterious alien origin. She, along with linguist Vincent, pilot Kara, and the unnamed Interviewer, protected the Earth from geopolitical conflict and alien invasion alike. Now, after nearly ten years on another world, Rose returns to find her old alliances forfeit and the planet in shambles. And she must pick up the pieces of the Earth Defense Corps as her own friends turn against each other.

Onyx & Ivory by Mindee Arnett

Date of Release: May 15, 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.

The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.

Ride On by Gwen Cole

Date of Release: May 22, 2018
Publisher: Sky Pony Press

The law can't help her. But one outlaw can.

In the near post-apocalyptic future, the skies are always gray and people are constantly searching for the sun. For teenage outlaw Seph, it’s the only world he’s ever known. With his horse, his favorite pistol, and his knowledge for survival passed down from his dead father, Seph knows it’s safer to be alone. But after a run-in with a local gang that call themselves the Lawmen, and having been wrongly accused of murder, Seph teams up with Avery—a determined girl whose twin brother has been taken by the same gang.

After living in a small, rundown town her whole life, Avery knows nothing of the Wild—the lands controlled by nobody where travel is risky. With Seph’s help, they track down her brother but quickly find the tables have turned and they are now the ones being hunted. With rumors of mysterious dangers to the south and a safe sanctuary to the west, they’ve only got one option, but getting there won’t be easy with the Lawmen on their trail. The only thing that matters in the Wild is how fast your trigger hand is, but Seph doesn’t know if his will be fast enough to save them all.

What books are you most looking forward to coming out this Spring?
Did any on this list catch your interest?


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