By law, any child born in Idara is free, even if that child is born in a slave brothel. But as Cinder grows into a beauty that surpasses even that of her mother and grandmother, she realizes that freedom is only a word. Partial synopsis […]
Tag: Young Adult
Both Talia and Will would rather get space-tossed than trust one another, but with the queen’s forces chasing them across the galaxy and the fate of both worlds hanging in the balance, they’ll forge the unlikeliest of alliances to survive. Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads. […]
On the eve of battle, Bower will have to fulfill a mystical prophecy and become the leader he was born to be, or risk his future kingdom falling apart. Surrounded on all sides by deadly foes, he must face not only the evil king, but his deep doubts about himself.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Series: Upon Dragon's Breath #2
Author: Ava Richardson
Publication Date: December 30, 2016
Publisher: Relay Publishing Ltd.
Page Count: 214
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Cover Artist: Joemel Requeza
My Rating: ★★★
This synopsis may contain spoilers!
Bower, being the rightful heir to the throne, is the bridge between the world of dragons and men. After a slim escape from King Enric, Bower has taken up residence with Saffron among her clutch of dragons. In the time he is there, it is the dragons’ duty to teach him about magic, and what it means to be a king to both humans and dragons. Not understanding much of magic herself, Saffron decides to take Bower to visit the old Hermit. Upon arriving, they find the Hermit mortally wounded, and discover that the king knows the two of them are on the island as they were his attackers. The Hermit instructs them to find the Three-Rivers clans before he succumbs to his injuries.
”Find what I’ve hidden for you, my king. Take back what is yours by right. Get to the clans. Stop Enric. Trust each other.”
Bower and Saffron meet with the dragons to discuss what they are to do about King Enric. Bower, being the rightful heir, must show his worth to the dragons before they are willing to back him up. In order to gain their trust, the dragons send him on a quest to make friends between the dragons and island people–which is not a simple task. There has been a long-spanning dispute between the two races.. The local shaman speaks of messengers from the king arriving on the island, looking for the two of them, then reveals that she plotted to lure them out so they could be captured. Before Bower is able to enlist the people in a peace treaty with the dragons, the islanders are forced to take refuge in Den Mountain with the dragons from a raid the king planned with the shaman.
Bower helps to lead the dragon swarm in a fight against the king’s boats. Defeating them, Bower instructs the villagers and dragons that they need to find a different place to live, now that the king knows where the dragons were residing. He and Saffron then leave the island astride Jaydra, to seek out the Three-Rivers clan of dragon riders. On the way, Saffron uses the opportunity to help Bower develop his riding skills, along with her abilities with magic.
The group finds the Three-Rivers clan, but they aren’t who they imagined. They do not live in harmony with their dragons, and treat them as wild animals. When their leader Ryland learned that Bower is the rightful king of Torvald, he challenged Bower to mount one of their black dragons to prove his dominance. Bower realizes that the dragons are nocturnal, and frees one, trying to make the wild creature realize he’s not trying to hurt it. The dragon, out of anger, knocks Ryland from his dragon and the two dragons escape. Out of fear, Saffron uses her magic to keep Bower safe from the feral dragon, and ends up injuring some and scaring the dragons off.
The town is raided by the Iron Guard. Saffron discovers that Ryland doesn’t have any other dragons as they are all feral and unrideable. Saffron, Bower, and Jaydra do what they can to hold the Iron Guard back, but when the king’s magic stops them and tries to call Saffron back to him. In desperate need of aid, Bower sends out a call to all dragons. The brood from Den Mountain, along with dragons from several other surrounding locations hear him, and come to help. As Saffron fights the king with magic, Bower focuses on guiding the dragon warriors.
Exhausted after the magic battle with the Iron Guard, Bower and Saffron are held and watched by the Three Rivers Clan. The red dragons that came to Bower’s aid confronted them, but were unable to share their thoughts with humans. Ysix and the rest of Jaydra’s brood arrive and show both the red dragons and the Three Rivers clan that dragons and humans have an ancient bond, and acknowledge Bower as the rightful king. Ysix is able to help repair relations between the humans and some of the black dragons. On the same side, the dragons choose their riders, and they learn how to work together through training.
One evening, Saffron is acting strange and turns in early. Bower, worried about her strange reactions, goes to check on her. He finds her in a nightmarish state, and is dragged into the depths of her dream, where Enric infiltrates her mind and tries to persuade Saffron again to join him. She is able to break from his grasps with the help of Jaydra, but now the king knows their location.
A massive battle ensues between the dragons and the king’s Iron Guard. King Enric tries to force Saffron to come to him. In her anger, she recklessly uses her magic and creates a massive storm. With the distraction of the storm, and the valiant sacrifice by Ryland, they are able to escape the king’s clutches.
1) Dragons of Wild: ★★★½
Initially, I was slow to get back into this series, and remembering all of the details. I let far too much time pass from when I read Dragons of Wild, which is a shame. What I found when I jumped back into this world, however, was how much I appreciated this series. It’s clean, it has straight-forward intentions, the characters are wholesome, and it is a refreshing deviation from the typical YA fantasy read.
Dragons of Kings is set in the surrounding lands of Torvald. While there is detail given of the land, it is not in depth, and somewhat difficult to follow where the characters actually are. More of the world building comes into play when the reader is introduced to the Three-Rivers Clan, and see some of their perspectives, especially towards dragons.
Pacing & Readability
The pacing is moderate but remains consistent throughout the entire book. While this book is easy to read, I had a difficult time staying engaged with it as not a lot happened. The distance between “point A” to “point B” could be summed up in just a few sentences.
Point-of-View & Characters
The point-of-view remains the same as Dragons of Wild, and shifts between Saffron and Bower. The reader is privy to moderately deeper ruminations of the characters this time around. I felt that I got a better picture of Bower’s character overall.
“I had been raised with books, not with battles.”
For the first time, Bower is challenged by the dragons to see if he is worthy enough to be the dragon king. He knows he is the true heir to the throne, but struggles immensely with the responsibility that comes with it.
Saffron’s character was rather flat in this sequel. While she has a few challenges thrown her way, her character didn’t react as much as I would have expected in the situations. If it wasn’t for Jaydra helping her along, I fear Saffron would be nearly unremarkable.
We are introduced to a few new characters (both dragons and humans) in this installment, but these too are barely explored. Ryland, the leader of the Three-Rivers clan is briefly introduced, then made into a petty criminal with his acts towards the black dragons. (view spoiler)[While I feel his character tried to be redeemed by his sacrifice in the end, he simply didn’t do much to move the plot forward. (hide spoiler)]
King Enric, the antagonist of the series, is probably the most consistent character of all. I felt that as the villain, he delivered what was expected of him.
⇒ Good vs. Evil:
The battle between good and evil is the central theme through this series. Saffron and Bower, the representatives of good, fight against King Enric, an evil sorcerer king who has tried (and mostly succeeded) in wiping everyone’s minds clean of dragons and history in general. As I stated in my review for Dragons of Wild, this series parallels Fahrenheit 451, in the idea that knowledge (books) are dangerous. This is exactly the world that King Enric is trying to enforce and control, which truly is a terrifying goal for an antagonist.
This theme is also applicable for Saffron as she battles with her Maddox magic.
“If it is magic for human and dragons to share a mind, is it magic that also breaks our ties? Or is it the lack of magic? And if there is a place where Jaydra and Saffron are one thing in our hearts and minds, is there also a place where Saffron and Enric are one?”
Unsure of its functioning, Saffron doesn’t know if the magic is good, or evil like that of King Enric’s. It causes a rift between her and Jaydra, and Jaydra must protect herself from being influenced by the king when Saffron uses her magic. There wasn’t a conclusion to this issue, and assume it will be made clear in the sequel, Dragons of Dark.
⇒ Coming of age:
This story was largely centered around Bower, and him coming to terms with the fact that he is the rightful heir to the throne. Not only that, he has the ability to unite the dragons and humans once again. Throughout the entire story, he is seeking his worth, understanding, ability, and influence. Being one that loved to hit the books, he hadn’t had any experience with leading others. It was a trait that he had to learn and develop for his own.
⇒ Unity/Coming Together:
Another underlying theme was bringing unity between the dragons and humans in order to fight King Enric. After a long time of having little-to-no ties, Bower must word in tandem with the dragons to gain their respect and trust, as well as be a good advocate for them to the humans.
Things that I liked:
⇒ The dragons and humans learning to work together.
⇒ The diversity of the dragons. This is more of a personal point, but I loved learning about all of the variations of dragons, and how different they are!
⇒ How clean of a read this is!
Things that I didn’t like:
⇒ The plot pacing was a bit slow. I found myself having to reread areas because I became distracted and didn’t pay enough attention.
⇒ I still had some difficulty really engaging myself in the characters’ stories. I felt that they and several other aspects of the plot needed more depth.
While I really wanted to like this series more, I feel like there’s an outstretched hand, halting my progression in immerse myself further. I’d like to get further into this world, but need more depth in the characters in order to do so. I’m hoping Dragons of Dark will fulfill my hopes for this series because I think it really has potential to be great!
Sexual content: None.
Violence: While there are several fight scenes, there is no gore.
Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault Publisher: Parliament House Press Some see it… Some don’t… People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among […]
Joey is a warhorse, but he wasn’t always. Once, he was a farm horse and a gentle boy named Albert was his master. Then World War I came storming through and everything changed. Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads. Book: War Horse Author: Michael Morpurgo Publication […]
Have you ever read a book that had a friendship that gave you all of the feels?
I can honestly say that I haven’t read many books that actually have made me feel much towards the characters. I’ve read a decent number of books, but perhaps not enough to have a wide enough variety to pick and choose from. However, out of the books that I have read, there have been a few friendships that I really admired, for varying reasons.
This is a difficult topic for me to discuss because I’m very picky when it comes to this! Quality always trumps quantity for me. I feel like characters who are able to obtain that sort of relationship really need to be something special. Each of these examples are definitely special in their own way, and have been inspiring for me throughout my reading journey, as well as in everyday life.
I won’t be putting these in any particular order, because they each hold about the same amount of importance in my eyes.
Albert & Joey from War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
Freshly coming off from this read, I absolutely adored the bond that developed between Joey and Albert. Even though Joey is a horse, there’s something to say about the ties we create with our animal companions.
Albert and Joey are similar in many ways. Both having suffered poor treatment by Albert’s father, they are able to grow to trust one another from that common ground. Not only that, they are able to replace fear with hope, anger with love, and abandonment with belonging through the bond that they have. The story these two have is just beautiful!
Frodo & Sam from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. TOlkien
This may be an obvious pick, but this timeless friendship is, and always will be one of my favorites. While Frodo has his (several) moments were he doesn’t deserve Sam’s friendship, Sam doesn’t even consider abandoning his dearest friend. In the midst of utter chaos, Sam is the steadfast character that never falters. He puts Frodo before himself, and sacrifices his own needs in order to keep a close eye on Frodo who is heavily burdened with the ring. This friendship is build around utmost sacrifice, loyalty, and pureness of intent, and Frodo becomes all-the-better because of Sam.
Jane Eyre & Helen Burns from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
While this friendship doesn’t last long, it is one to cherish. Jane and Helen both attend Lowood Academy when they are young girls. The conditions at the school, and treatment from the teachers to the students are ghastly. It isn’t an inviting atmosphere to consider making friends in, yet, Jane and Helen are drawn to one another.
Several times, the two take punishment for the other. Having a deep understanding of suffering in their young ages, Jane and Helen are able to grow close to one another, and support each other until Helen’s tragic death. This friendship may be brief, but the amount of time cannot account for the depth of empathy these two had for one another.
Jules & Arsinoe from the Three Dark Crowns series by Kendare Blake
Jules and Arsinoe have an enticing friendship. I find it so refreshing that a character can simply be happy for another without envy! Arsinoe, who is supposed to be the Naturalist Queen, has little-to-no ability with her gift. Yet, her best friend Jules is the most powerful Naturalist in generations. Time and again, Arsinoe shows her disinterest in coveting Jules’ ability, and is content with her own person. She does try some tactics to obtain some form of ability, but her endeavors do not cause a rift between herself and Jules. There are other factors in their friendship that cause some tension, but for the most part, they are not impacted by them.
Corona & Mora from The Lily of Life: a fairy tale by Carmen Sylva
Corona and Mora’s friendship is yet another example of unconditional love. Similar to that of Frodo and Sam’s friendship, Corona cares immensely for her sister Mora. She too, goes to the ends of the earth in order to save her sister’s beloved. While Corona’s intentions may be slightly jaded initially, she gives up her own desires in order for her sister’s to be fulfilled.
What are your favorite bookish friendships? Tell me why and how they have inspired you!
Let me know in the comments below!
Release date Feburary 27, 2018! Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls […]
It’s been a long time since I’ve done a book haul post! It’s literally been months since I last did one, which means I’ve been successfully sticking to my book-buying ban! I must admit, I’m doing this ban a bit begrudgingly because they’re books. I want […]
Release day February 27, 2018!
Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can't make a scene at your sister's wedding and break a relative's nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Book: Tess of the Road
Author: Rachel Hartman
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 544
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Cover Artist: —
My Rating: No Rating – DNF
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
DNFing at 30%
”If Tess pretended she was married hard enough, could she fool herself into having a baby?”
I can confidently say that I have given Rachel Hartman a second chance with reading this book, hoping for the best. I read Seraphina in 2017 and ended up DNFing it. Unfortunately, I’m finding myself in the same boat with Tess of the Road. While the writing is well-composed and encompassing, I just didn’t like the main character Tessie, or the way in which the plot was headed.
Tessie Dombegh is the main character. At a young age, her curiosity got her into rough waters with her mother. Holding onto her past mistakes, she becomes rather spiteful towards others, making her a very unlikeable character to follow.
”I don’t envy you, if that’s what you’re worried about,” said Tess, not lying exactly. It wasn’t envy so much as self-pity. Did that make her “all right” or not?
When her twin sister Jean is proposed to, Tess tries to hide her jealousy of her sister’s position. However, her true feelings bubbling beneath the surface pour out at her sister’s wedding, when out of her drunkenness, she starts a fight.
From this point on, I simply lacked interest in the plot. With the main character being so unlikeable, I fail to see a reason to move on.
Another point to mention is that there is a lot of focus on sex, in a very tactless way.
”Is it true what they say, that the saar are slow to warm up, but once they get going they burn hot as the sun?”
Sorry, but I don’t think this is a necessary addition to a YA novel. If anything, this book reads more like an adult fantasy novel due to its content. This is where the book crossed a line for me. Tess’ obsession with the topic was just off-putting.
Vulgarity: While there wasn’t a lot, (I counted six up until the point of stopping) the overall mannerisms of the characters were vulgar.
Sexual content: There isn’t anything explicit, but this topic is constantly being discussed between characters.
Since this is a DNF read, I will not be assigning a star-review.
The year is 2030, and climate change is making life on Earth more challenging. Fourteen-year-old Jasmine Guzman is struggling to come to terms with the abduction of her twin sister, Jade, and her mother’s illness. Things go from bad to worse when a series of […]
Though the tyrant rajah she was forced to marry is dead, Kalinda’s troubles are far from over. A warlord has invaded the imperial city, and now she’s in exile. But she isn’t alone. Kalinda has the allegiance of Captain Deven Naik, her guard and beloved, […]
When a 200-year-old witch attacks her, sixteen-year-old bookworm Lainey Styles is determined to find a logical explanation. Even with the impossible staring her in the face, Lainey refuses to believe it—until she finds a photograph linking the witch to her dead mother.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Author: Kim Chance
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Flux Books/North Star Editions
Page Count: 408
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Cover Artist: Jake Slavik
My Review: ★★★
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
All great wars are fought over power.
While I really wanted to love this book, I just couldn’t find it in me to rate it any higher than three stars. The first 20% sucked me in. Lainey is the typical, everyday girl that is completely unsuspecting. Her observant but sassy character was refreshing and captivating to begin with. Then, the weird and rather creepy encounter between her and the witch takes place, and the plot’s individuality and pacing goes downhill from there.
One of the biggest issues I had with this book was that Lainey persistently believed that she needed to handle these supernatural situations alone–when she lives with her uncle and his obviously “witchy” girlfriend. (view spoiler)[(By witchy I mean, is basically a witch herself) (hide spoiler)] If you live with someone who speaks about your energy regularly, and practices rituals religiously, I’d think that would be a great resource to confide in after an experience like Lainey had with encountering the dead woman. I get that some people might think you are crazy for saying these things, but that’s not the case here. It’s simply too obvious of a solution.
As Lainey continues to deny the fact that she’s seeing a ghost that is trying to communicate with her, the plot drags on for the first half of the book. Lainey meets a mysterious character named Ty, who is of the tall, dark, and handsome sorts. He instantly becomes a love-interest for Lainey, although she tries to deny that as well. Lucky for her, Ty knows more about this world she is encountering than she.
As Lainey uncovers the secret behind these odd encounters with the woman, she realizes she’s very unprepared to deal with the responsibility that has been set in her lap. Too many times these types of characters become overly-capable in an unrealistic time-frame. A crash course in self-defense turns people into super-heroes, which is what happened here. I would have liked to see more of a progression in Lainey’s abilities rather than the instantaneous progression that happened.
Despite its short-comings, this was an entertaining read. It wasn’t as in-depth, or original as I was hoping. However, its characters were likable, had some depth, and the main topic was unique. It simply needed more focus on its uniqueness in order to help it gain some distinguishability.
These numbers may not be 100% accurate, but I counted each word I came across.
“You can’t control what happens to you, only how you react to it.”
“Actions define character, not circumstances.”
“All great wars are fought over power.”
In modern-day Britain, magic users control everything: wealth, politics, power—and you. If you’re not one of the ultimate one-percenters—the magical elite—you owe them ten years of service. Do those years when you’re old, and you’ll never get through them. Do them young, and you’ll never […]
Peace and safety…a promise often made but seldom kept. Can Raven trust that anyone will be able to protect the young baron as she has? Synopsis provided by Goodreads. Book: Raven Episode 4 Series: Chronicles of Steele Author: Pauline Creeden Publication Date: October 4, 2014 […]
There's no denying that YA Fantasy is a common genre read among book lovers.
Many books in this genre have become powerhouses of attention. No wonder why it’s so difficult to get to all of these books because there are just so many! While there are books that have and hold the spotlight, there are many in this genre that never really get a chance in the limelight. It truly is a shame, because there are some wonderful books out there that just never get the love that they deserve! This is what we will discuss today! Here are my top five favorite hidden gems of YA fantasy! (I’ve compiled a few series, as well as individual reads in no particular order.)
The Fairy Queen series by Amber Argyle
I like my fantasy with a healthy dose of reality. Certainly, a major benefit about fantasy is the escapist mentality that consumes our minds while reading them. However, throughout my years of reading, I’ve discovered that I appreciate fantasy books more that still contain an essence of reality and “likelihood” in them. I like my fantasy to be tangible. This is exactly what Amber Argyle offers the reader in the Fairy Queen series.
These books took me by surprise, and by storm. Honestly, I think I did them a disservice the first time around when reviewing them, as I know now that I didn’t understand how much potential they have. (Don’t worry, I plan to re-read them this year and give more thorough reviews!)
This series unveils a long-withstanding battle between the Winter and Summer fairy queens. Revered by some human clans, yet despised by others, the realm of fairies and humans collide, and often blur the lines completely. Taking place over a relatively expansive timeline, the series follows specific stories of humans that have a key role in their interaction with the fairies. Primitive, harsh, yet with lots of depth, this series has so much to offer the reader. Keep in mind that this series does cover some heavy topics like slavery, sex-slavery, oppression, and the like. But these topics are handled with care and redemption.
The Falconer by Elizabeth May
There are three books in this series, but I'm only including the first because it's the only one that I've actually read! Anyways, if you like steampunk, fairies, and kick-butt female protagonists, this is a book that you must check out!
Set in Victorian Edinburgh, Lady Aileana Kameron is a lady by day, but faerie hunter by night. After witnessing her mother's murder by a faerie, she hopes to one day get revenge. But that is not the only reason why she hunts faeries--she's a falconer, and the last of her kind. With such a heavy burden placed upon her, she must protect mankind from the threats of the evil faeries no matter what it takes.
The Avalonia Chronicles by Farah Oomerbhoy
This was a series that took me by surprise. While I wasn’t overwhelmingly impressed by the first book, The Last of the Firedrakes, I loved the sequel The Rise of the Dawnstar. This series includes bits of the best from fantasy. I loved the way the author interwove so many twists into her plot in creative, and unsuspecting ways.
The Wildwood Dancing series by Juliet Marillier
While this has been the only series I’ve read by Juliet Marillier, I know from her writing that I will love anything that she writes. Her Wildwood Dancing series is truly magical. Retelling fairy tales with diverse settings, Marillier paints beautiful portraits of young women who discover their true essences amidst challenge.
Wildwood Dancing takes place in Romania, and is a retelling of the frog prince in combination with the twelve dancing princesses. Cybele’s Secret originates in Romania, then shifts to Istanbul. It resembles more of a historical fiction rather than fairy tale retelling, as it surrounds an ancient pagan, Cybele.
The Beast Is An Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale
This may not be as obscure as some of these other reads, but I still think it should be mentioned. I've seen some people pick up this read, but not many.
As a debut novel for this author, I thought this story was fantastic on so many levels! With a little bit of creepy, and a whole lot of creativity, van Arsdale spins an enticing tale about a strange little girl who lives in superstitious, and dark times.