Tag Archive | magic

Review: The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano

Series: The Glass Spare #1

the glass spare -lauren destefanoA banished princess.
A deadly curse.
A kingdom at war.

Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.

With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?


2.5 Drink Me Potions


**The Glass Spare comes out October 24, 2017**

Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins for this copy in exchange for an honest review

The girl with the magical touch that turns people into gemstones. A unique twist on a familiar story about a certain king with a golden touch, I thought The Glass Spare did its best to create a YA-themed story around a young and uncertain protagonist who had yet to figure out who she was and where she fit into this world. But, I’m rather torn with my feelings on the overall novel.

The characters in the story (who were not just mere acquaintances that flash by in a page or two) were few and far between. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I loved how each of Wil’s brothers were different and had a certain role they fit into that wasn’t necessarily stereotypical. My fave may have to go to the smart one who could create anything – protective equipment to deadly weapons – but the kingly brother with a sense of duty on his shoulders and the dour brother who just didn’t fit in with the rest of his siblings were interesting additions to the overall family dynamic. Even the parents had facets to them that weren’t so simple with a superstitious mother who was once a wanderer of the lands, and a harsh ruling father who had a loving side buried deep inside him. I think Wil’s family was one of my favourite parts of the story.

Unfortunately, the story digresses from them eventually (as the synopsis would suggest). Tragedy struck – I totally saw that particular tragic event coming wayyyy before I reached that page – and Wil has to leave. Oddly enough, this happened past 1/4 of the way into the book which made the beginning drag a little, but as mentioned above, I loved seeing Wil in her element as part of the royal family.

The rest of the story was paced kinda slowly too. Aside from the royal family, I wasn’t particularly fond of the love interest, Loom, for a long time. It wasn’t love at first sight – gosh, by far no – but the way their interactions were depicted didn’t really make me feel like there’s that level of chemistry between them either. The action slowed as the main stressor was protecting Wil’s secret ability from anyone else while searching for a “cure”, and only a couple of problems popped up along the way. It just felt like more could’ve happened in the span of these few hundred pages, and I kept holding my breath for that moment to come.

So with both action and romance not fully captivating my spirit, the high from the beginning with Wil’s family just wasn’t enough. The world building was also a little confusing. This land seems like a rather stereotypical place where people walked or sailed or whatever to travel. But then weird inventions such as flying aircrafts and trains and other things you consider as “modern technology” were also present and it just got my head all turned around with it. I still haven’t figured out if I loved it or not, but it almost felt indecisive on the author’s part.

I didn’t come here to bash the book. I do believe The Glass Spare has more to offer than meets the eye, although it has much to live up to (hopefully coming to light in the second book). It ends not so much on a cliffhanger but on a…moment where you know Wil is about to embark on some new adventure in her quest and we don’t know how that’ll turn out. If the romance had struck a larger spark in me, I think the slowness may have dissipated a little ’cause I’d have something else to focus on. As it is, all I can say is that this book could’ve been better, but I’m hopeful things may get better later.

Overall Recommendation:
The Glass Spare was slow in action and in romance. It had all the components to become something amazing, but it fizzled with its confusing world building and diversions from the main quest of the book: to find a cure for Wil’s unusual abilities. With few characters that were 3-dimensional (and only a portion of these whom I actually liked), sometimes it could get dry reading through those scenes, and the romance didn’t convince me enough to care as much as I normally do. I may just be picky as I do see some potential in this book, but I may have to wait until the next book to make that call. I’d say this novel could be pretty great for non-fantasy readers as there’s not as much to offer in this book as other fantasies that we fantasy-lovers may be unconsciously comparing it to.

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Review: Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr

Series: Seven Black Diamonds #1

seven black diamonds -melissa marrLilywhite Abernathy is a criminal. Her father’s “unconventional” business has meant a life of tightly held secrets, concealed weaponry, and a strict code. But Lily’s crime isn’t being the daughter of a powerful mob boss. Her guilt lies in the other half of her DNA—the part that can coax ancient rumors from stones and summon fire with a thought. Lily is part fae, which is a crime in her world.

From the time before she was born, a war has been raging between humanity and fae. The Queen of Blood and Rage, ruler of both the Seelie and Unseelie courts, wants to avenge the tragic death of her heir—a death that was the fault of reckless humans.

Lily’s father has shielded her from the repercussions of her ancestry…until she is sent to the prestigious St. Columba’s school, straight into the arms of the Black Diamonds.

Mysterious, glamorous, and bound together in their mission but constantly at odds, Zephyr, Creed, Will, Roan, Violet, and Alkamy are a Sleeper cell of fae, planted in the human world to help destroy it from within. With covers as rock stars and celebrity children, the Black Diamonds carry out the queen’s war against humanity. And unbeknownst to Lilywhite, she’s been chosen to join them.

Now more than ever, Lily’s heritage puts her in peril, and even the romantic attention of the fae singer Creed Morrison isn’t enough to keep Lily from wanting to run back to the safer world of organized crime.

Melissa Marr returns to faery in a dramatic story of the precarious space between two worlds and the people who must thrive there.


1 Drink Me Potion


DNF at ~25%

Sigh. I haven’t DNF’ed a book in a long while, but oh, Melissa Marr, how I’m disappointed.

Let me start off by disclosing that I wavered on her popular Wicked Lovely series after we hit the middle books. There were just too many and I was tired of the plot. That being said, I came into this book and series with an open mind and hoped to God that I would love it.

Why this didn’t happen:

A) Too many POVs and characters popping up.

Sometimes it just got downright confusing and I found it hard to connect or care about any of these people.

B) Lilywhite.

Dang, that girl just made me cringe. Clearly she’s being set up as someone special but I just couldn’t take it anymore. She wasn’t particularly nice to anyone and didn’t seem to need good opinions from others. At least that was my impression of her.

C) The writing.

It was repetitive as other reviewers have noted and it made the book drag a little. Maybe it prevented me from connecting with the characters too. Who knows. But something about it bugged me.

D) The romances.

I JUST DON’T LIKE CREED. He doesn’t seem quite like a lovable bad boy or a very nice guy to play the love interest. I’d rather Lily pick anyone else (though I probably shouldn’t care ’cause I don’t even like her).

And then there’s Zephyr who seems cool enough but I don’t particularly think that’s happening. Plus, he seems to be denying himself from feelings for another girl and it’s just a bit much to me.

While I get these things aren’t the be all, end all of a story and other books may feature these flaws too, put together it just rubbed me wrong in this book. The only element I found myself liking was Eilidh (pronounced AY-LEIGH) and her POV. I empathized with her situation a bit and the potential budding romance, but she features so rarely here that it didn’t seem worthwhile to continue.

Maybe it’s just me but I tried to love this book and I couldn’t. It may not be so bad for others but it didn’t work for me. Marr may be a great fantasy author for some, but for now; her works on faeries just don’t captivate my heart.

Overall Recommendation:

Seven Black Diamonds could’ve been a great novel on friendships, romances and political intrigue with the fae. However, with too many POVs and characters to understand – not to mention the kinda writing that just bored me too easily – this book just couldn’t execute what I had hoped for it. It may just be me, but I don’t think this book is for everyone.


Fan or foe? Do you think faerie stories are getting overrated?

Review: Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows

Series: Fallen Isles Trilogy #1

before she ignites -jodi meadowsBefore

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.

After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.


3 Drink Me Potions


**Before She Ignites comes out September 12, 2017**

Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins for this copy in exchange for an honest review

What can I truly say about this novel, hmm? I know there are several factors that have gotten everyone excited. Dragons being namely the biggest one. In a world post-Game of Thrones popularity, dragons are a wonderful thing to have in a story. But does this do it justice? Or the rest of the story, for that matter?

Here’s what I liked and disliked about Before She Ignites.

LIKES:

There was a lot of interesting worldbuilding going on, although it came together very slowly. The 7 islands and their corresponding gods that ultimately belonged to a larger story of creation. I loved that although each island followed and portrayed the traits of their particular god, each Book of rules that they followed ultimately reflected similar beliefs and values. I’ve become pretty invested in how each island looks on situations differently, and how they may hopefully come to see each other from the other’s perspective.

The amazing morals of equality, both by race and by gender.
At the heart of this book is a fight for equality among all the islanders, without one group being lowered compared to all the rest. Our protagonist, Mira, really stood up for the Treaty she was named for and that she believed wholeheartedly where peace and equality could be found among everyone.

-That brings me to the growth of Mira.
It was slow and steady, but it did progress over time. She was a little naive and definitely unlearned in trials of hardship when she first was thrown into prison. I always love a good story that tests and allows the protagonist to find out just what she is made of. I’m glad to say that Jodi Meadows really honed in on this as Mira had so many difficult choices to make throughout the book.

The intrigue and mystery of what had brought Mira to the prisons in the first place.
She was the face of the Mira Treaty that provided new rules for peace among the islands. She was basically a political figure (without having all the power of one since there was a council acting behind her), so the downfall into a prisoner definitely played a major part in keeping me with this book, even with all the dislikes (SEE BELOW).
Plus, a good secret always got my blood tingling and makes me ridiculously stubborn in figuring it out.

Here it is, of course, the dragons are a plus.
Getting to read about how dragons were revered as children of the gods and were kept safe in sanctuaries to preserve them from extinction was a lot of fun. I think Meadows had a lot of fun with it, creating different Latin names for the various species and their particular abilities and features. I think she should make a glossary at the back to make it even more clear and enjoyable for all the dragon fans out there, but otherwise, I was impressed enough with the amount of detail provided here.

DISLIKES:

-The slowness. Moving at like a glacier’s pace.
I’m not kidding. By 50% of the book, I was wondering if Mira was ever going to see the outside of her prison walls. I truly thought that this book would probably just be in this one setting: the darkest prison of all the islands.
The only action took place when she was being tormented by her rival, aka a guard who seemed to have taken a particular interest in Mira’s secret. Otherwise, it was pages of what should I do? and let’s mimic the girl in the dungeon across from me in her cell exercises. It was frankly tiring at times and I wished for a change in scenery (besides the BEFORE flashbacks that occur between chapters).

-A romance with Aaru?
I put this in the dislikes simply because I’m uncertain if there is one? I think it’s hinted but it’s hard to tell as Aaru is from the island of Idris, known for being silent. Their secret coded language (aka like the Morse code) was cool enough, I suppose, but at this rate it seems their relationship is rather cool and on level with a good friendship. Who knows? I may start cheering for something to happen with her bestie and personal guard, Hristo. Since nothing literally fired up my heart between any of the characters.
And that would have at least made things more exciting.

I’m not sure how to sum up my feelings, even after finishing this novel for a while now. Before She Ignites has its merits and I can plainly see that book two is being set up for great things. It’s just getting through the foundational stuff here that can be slow and somewhat confusing at times as the pieces slowly start to fall into place. I regrettably say that I have mixed feelings about the book.

Overall Recommendation:
Before She Ignites really lays it on with the world building and its secrets. Jodi Meadows holds these secrets close to her chest as we slowly figure out what has brought upon the downfall of beloved political figure, Mira. The suspense is slow in simmering, and the pace can feel utterly exhausting at times, but as secrets start unfolding and the bits of action occur, there are wondrous things that this book could do to me. If you can last through the slow layout of the core foundations to this world building, I believe this book could truly astound with a protagonist who learned more about who she is and what her role is among her beloved islands. Before She Ignites has the potential to blow us away – especially in book 2.