Tag Archive | mythology

Review: Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan

Series: Sword and Verse #1

sword and verse -kathy macmillanRaisa was only a child when she was kidnapped and enslaved in Qilara. Forced to serve in the palace of the King, she’s endured hunger, abuse, and the harrowing fear of discovery. Everyone knows that Raisa is Arnath, but not that she is a Learned One, a part of an Arnath group educated in higher order symbols. In Qilara, this language is so fiercely protected that only the King, the Prince, and Tutors are allowed to know it. So when the current Tutor-in-training is executed for sharing the guarded language with slaves and Raisa is chosen to replace her, Raisa knows that, although she may have a privileged position among slaves, any slipup could mean death.

That would be challenging enough, but training alongside Prince Mati could be her real undoing. And when a romance blossoms between them, she’s suddenly filled with a dangerous hope for something she never before thought possible: more. Then she’s approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slaves—to help liberate the Arnath people. Joining the Resistance could mean freeing her people…but she’d also be aiding in the war against her beloved, an honorable man she knows wants to help the slaves.

Working against the one she loves—and a palace full of deadly political renegades—has some heady consequences. As Raisa struggles with what’s right, she unwittingly uncovers a secret that the Qilarites have long since buried…one that, unlocked, could bring the current world order to its knees.

And Raisa is the one holding the key.

4 Drink Me Potions

“One does not entreat the gods through shouted prayers or offerings, but through their greatest gift to us, writing.”

Sword and Verse was the unexpected read for me this year. A marevellous fantasy with layers of romance, this book focuses not on the expert swordsman as our heroine, but an expert writer.

Raisa is the daughter of a Learned One, part of the Arnath people who knew how to read the language of the gods. However, through extermination over the years by the Qilarites, there aren’t many Arnathim, let alone Learned Ones, that could still read and write this beautiful language. So becoming a Tutor for the future king, she forms an unlikely friendship (that turns into something more) with Prince Mati.

Okay, I will warn that this novel isn’t what you may expect of a high fantasy. Our lovely girl isn’t an assassin (like some YA books) or even wields some kind of power. Oh no, she’s as normal as can be.

Minus the fact that she holds the secret words her father gave her and the courage she has to learn the language of the gods even when it’s forbidden.

This book is entirely focused on the idea of language and how to learn its individual symbols. For that reason, if you’re someone who doesn’t really enjoy the intricate details of such knowledge, this may tire you a little in the middle.

But hold on tight! I swear, this book is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. In this land, words and writings are just as powerful as any sword.

Beyond that very intriguing premise, the romance is packed from the start. It’s not exactly insta-love, but the thing is, Raisa forms a crush on Mati even before the story really gets rolling as the plot covers approximately a few years. Mati also somehow feels the same way but it all seems quite fast as we as readers don’t get to spend all that much time with them to truly understand the depths of their feelings before they start confessing their love for each other. That was one minor bump I had to get over initially.

You know my opinions on love triangles. I don’t have much patience for them, and so I’m glad to see their romance doesn’t throw in that obstacle. However, it’s not like nothing gets complicated for them. Things happen in the middle that’s understandable but makes me wanna smack Mati in the head. In this way, Raisa has some romantic issues to overcome as well.

With a large cast of characters, this adventurous story draws us into this land of racial and class prejudices, remarkably similar in feeling to The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. It explores the injustices the Arnath people face from the Qilarites, but it also takes a look at how the Qilarites are also trapped in their own roles and expectations just as much as Arnaths are slaves. I thought it covered these issues well, with Raisa being the perfect balance between the two groups. She’s Arnath, but she doesn’t group all the Qilarites into one anomalous blob that can’t be distinguished from each other. Mati helps her see that in each group there is good and bad. They are all human, after all.

The one thing that prevented me from giving it a 5 star rating is the huge secret that Raisa carries and the culminating acts that propels the story into its climax. I guess I was expecting a little more to the secret message, but overall, I’m still very satisfied with how MacMillan tied all the pieces together.

In the midst of Raisa’s story, at the beginning of every chapter, we see the beautiful story of the gods and goddesses of this world unfold and how they interacted with the mortals. The mythology crafted here was detailed and beautiful in its own way. Although they’re only small snippets per chapter, by the end of it, I wanted to weep with the gods as well for all they too had suffered and done wrong. It beautifully meshed in with Raisa’s story.

Overall, Sword and Verse showed that a heroine doesn’t have to be the best fighter or the strongest sorceress. She can be someone true of heart. A teacher. And a writer. As a writer myself and a lover of words, this message resonated with me. Words can be as sharp as a blade. And if you look carefully on the cover, the second symbol of Raisa’s name, Sa, is drawn onto the sword’s blade. Light of wisdom.

Overall Recommendation:
Sword and Verse is a beautiful story of the gods and goddesses of this world that created a rift between the mortal humans below. Raisa, an Arnath, has the privilege of being among the Qilarites in a capacity beyond a simple slave. She’s a Tutor. As the only Arnath to learn the language of the gods without being killed, she also holds a secret of her past. This book focuses on the gorgeous language completely imagined by MacMillan, including the different characters Raisa has to learn. If you’re not all that interested in literacy and languages, this may be a little tiring for you at times, but if you’re a lover of words like I am, it’s just perfect. Among her problems, her HOT but forbidden romance with Prince Mati leads to dire consequences that forces Raisa to be stronger than she ever had to be. Sword and Verse was a surprisingly endearing fantasy novel that crept into my heart. I duly recommend you give this a try.

Review: Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun

heir to the sky -amanda sunAs heir to a kingdom of floating continents, Kali has spent her life bound by limits—by her duties as a member of the royal family, by a forced betrothal to the son of a nobleman, and by the edge of the only world she’s ever known—a small island hovering above a monster-ridden earth, long since uninhabited by humans. She is the Eternal Flame of Hope for what’s left of mankind, the wick and the wax burning in service for her people, and for their revered Phoenix, whose magic keeps them aloft.

When Kali falls off the edge of her kingdom and miraculously survives, she is shocked to discover there are still humans on the earth. Determined to get home, Kali entrusts a rugged monster-hunter named Griffin to guide her across a world overrun by chimera, storm dragons, basilisks, and other terrifying beasts. But the more time she spends on earth, the more dark truths she begins to uncover about her home in the sky, and the more resolute she is to start burning for herself.

3 Drink Me Potions

Where shall I even start?

I guess I had high expectations for Heir to the Sky. A whole community or continent flying in the sky? A gruesome and dangerous earth below? And a strange romance that’s built from the ashes of Kali’s demise?

However, none of what I had expected to love was executed as well as I would have liked.

First, the characters.
We get introduced to Kali and her best friend Elisha right from the beginning. I had so many problems with them both. Kali acts like a spoiled little princess who gets everything yet doesn’t want to shoulder the burden of responsibility for being the leader (or Eternal Flame) to her people . Instead, she likes to run off to hide in the stacks of dusty tomes in the library or to the outcrop, which is LITERALLY the edge of her floating continent. To do what? To hide. To dream of the mysterious land she can see below at her feet.

As for Elisha, I just can’t take her seriously. She giggles like HALF the time. Even when Kali came to her about something strange she overhears, what does Elisha do? She freaking giggles. And then goes to party in the festivities. Are they all really that naive? Don’t listen to their gut about something strange going on?

Anyway, back to our DEAR, dear princess. She’s also very arrogant.

I remember the feel of the grass as it slipped from beneath my fingers. All those times I spent on the edge of my outcrop, never imagining I could fall.
I almost can’t believe it.

To this point when I was reading it, I almost said, Well, that’s what you get for being such a smart-aleck. Maybe you deserve this. I almost said that. But she was just so annoying with that attitude of hers! Her recklessness, especially when she knew people were counting on her as the heir of Ashra.

She’s also pretty dumb or ignorant in thinking that because she’s the heir, people will automatically listen to her reasoning.

“I promise I won’t tell anyone you’re down here.” At least, I think, not until and unless I’m in a position to control Ashra’s reaction. And that won’t be hard, because the Monarch is my father, and he and the people will listen to their heir.

She makes a promise on earth but she doesn’t intend to keep it because she’s the HEIR . You can’t despise your position and believe in its advantages at the same time.

I think by the end of the story, she still hasn’t grown as much in her character. She finds a solution that helps delegate her responsibility for her people, a solution that Sun romanticizes by the way she writes it, but I still think it basically creates a situation in which Kali can do whatever she wants and finally “be free”.

Secondly, the world building was hard to take in at first.
The first 50 pages or so are really slow because you’re assaulted with endless information. How the people believed their little floating continent had come to be; the glorious godlike creature they revere, the Phoenix, and the spiritual worship they endow on her, the different organized communities that have separate roles on Ashra (all written in a way that reflects back on the Phoenix…somehow). The way the people say “Amen” but instead use the phrase “May we/she rise anew.” It was a lot to take in.

The pacing was also incredibly slow in places. It’s never good when you find yourself wondering how much longer until you finish this book. I literally was asking myself this question multiple times. It wasn’t until maybe the last 100 pages where the action really picked up.

I won’t say that this whole world sucked. The earth and the monsters that hunted down here were incredibly well-described. But you can’t survive on this alone to make a lovely novel.

The romance wasn’t very…..much of anything. It was kinda underwhelming. I didn’t feel much of their supposed attraction beyond the fact that they had to rely on each other to survive. Griffin was a nice enough guy, and even when we learn more about his background, it wasn’t fleshed out as much as it could be.

Actually, the whole last 100 pages where it got more epic? It could’ve been 200 pages instead and made for a more satisfactory read. Everything written there was too little. The conspiracy, the battle with the main antagonist, the conclusion in the aftermath, it was all too quick and condensed. This is where the book could’ve gotten a little better . I still give it a 3 stars because this last 1/3 was interesting but honestly, I’m just being generous.

Overall Recommendation:
There was a lot of potential for Heir to the Sky but the best way to describe it is underwhelming. Slow pacing throughout 2/3 of the book, ridiculous and annoying protagonist and rather quick conclusion, nothing really shouts out at you from this book. The monsters on earth were cool, the way this community in the sky was run was intriguing, and so was the conspiracy that could topple the very foundation of Ashra. I thought all these elements would’ve propelled the story to great heights, but Amanda Sun just didn’t execute it well in all the right places. With a very generous rating on my part, Heir to the Sky is a little disappointing because I can see all that it could’ve been.

Review: The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Series: The Glittering Court #1

the glittering court -richelle meadBig and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands…


4.5 Drink Me Potions

The Glittering Court is unlike any fantasy novel you may have read or expected. Reminiscent to the historical times of colonial settlements and explorations of the New World, this book takes that sentiment and re-makes it into a fantasy world with nobility and Wild West adventures.

Living in Osfrid, our protagonist was the descendant of one of the founders of this land, which is very much similar to the feel of 17th century Europe. Women were meant to be married for wealth and maintenance of bloodlines. It was a men-dominated world.

At the same time, different lands were at unrest, either fighting amongst themselves in a civil war or potentially looking for trouble with other countries. This is where the feel of a regular fantasy world was strongest, although I will say that the world building wasn’t the strongest. There also was no map of all these different places. Names like Lorandy, Myrokosi, Adoria and Sirminica. Like, where the heck are all of them? I was very surprised that the hardcopy book didn’t include a sketch of any kind anywhere. That was one big disappointment, considering this was the biggest point that drove home the genre feel of fantasy .

Ok, back to the protagonist. She was a countess. She had everything she could ever want, right? But her family only had a title and they were trying to secure the wealthiest marriage connection for her. I gotta admire her. The choice to take her servant’s identity to embark on some crazy adventure to the New World (aka Adoria which is like real-life America if you’re still comparing it to the 17th century) was admirable. She was pampered so far in life, but she was brave enough to become an invisible commoner to earn a different kind of place and life. The funny thing that I noticed was peculiar is that you don’t really know what her REAL name is until a lot later in the book, practically near the end. But as Adelaide, the identity she’d taken for this adventure, whatever her heart set out to do, she persevered and did it to her very best ability.

Beyond the different lands in this fantasy world, there was also a rift in people’s religious beliefs. Mead did the most building on this point. Those who believed in 6 glorious angels, and those that believed in all 12 angels, including the 6 wayward ones who had fallen from grace. Liken to heretics in their different beliefs, there was persecution in the land for those who followed such faith.

So that is the world of The Glittering Court. Not quite what you may have expected when hearing “FANTASY“, is it? Well, if all this unsettles you already, this may not be the book for you.

But if you’re still intrigued, keep reading ’cause this is why I gobbled the whole book (which is rather long considering the font is tiny) in one sitting.

The idea of the Glittering Court, a school and business that teaches young girls of common blood to become ladies and brides for the men living in the New world, is familiar to those seen in The Selection and The Jewel. However, this book wasn’t as petty as The Selection as it’s not like each girl is fighting for the same guy. This was truly a benefit from everyone, albeit with a profit for those running the business. And this plotline was conducted WAY better than The Jewel could ever manage (for which I do NOT have a very good opinion of). With this idea being so central, it goes to say that romance was a key element.

Adelaide tried to hide her identity and knowledge as a lady but of course, one guy knew. The one guy who had originally recruited the real Adelaide. Cedric Thorn. Son of the owners of the Glittering Court. University student and overall charming guy. Sweet enough to choose a Sirminican girl to fill a position in their business, considering Osfridians didn’t all look too kindly on these people. And with a smart wit that always had a comeback to Adelaide’s comments.

Let’s take a short moment there to pause and admire Cedric’s traits.

Okay, now as suggested, the witty conversations between Adelaide and Cedric were so amusing and sweet at the same time. They clearly were good friends, but there was also something brewing underneath that even Adelaide didn’t really look too deeply into until they had gotten to know each other more. No insta-love here, guys. The only thing I did wish was that there were moments for their blooming love.

The story doesn’t just revolve around romance though. There was action and adventure, taking on the New World and the dangers presented there. The plot moved from one place to another that it never bored me. Adelaide wasn’t as outstanding of a protagonist as Mead’s other girls, Sydney and Rose, but her voice and narrative never got tiring.

I gotta say, The Glittering Court may not be what you have expected, but it definitely surpassed whatever expectations I had. It helps if you don’t mind a little historical kind of touch to the plot line as it’s hard to not make the connections to our own and very real history in North America. Richelle Mead has a talent for writing stories that draw you in until you just wanna see where she takes us. I’m left with impatience for the next two books as she leaves us with hints of what may be the stories of Adelaide’s two friends. Apparently they will take place within the same time frame but in their perspective. Mead has left a lot of mysterious hints that occur with Mira and Tamsin, both very unique girls, in this first novel that Adelaide noticed. I cannot wait to see what else The Glittering Court was like in the eyes of another strong protagonist.

Overall Recommendation:
The Glittering Court isn’t the kind of fantasy you may have in mind. It has certain world building elements similar to most in the fantasy genre, but it also has huge historical touches throughout the storyline. Adelaide is another fun and easy to like protagonist, and her chemistry with Cedric through their witty and flirty banter was tangible. With a pacing that moves at just the right speed, we follow Adelaide’s brave journey from everything she’s ever known (and all the luxuries she’s used to) to explore the New World of Adoria and possibly find her true self there. I will say that this book may not be everyone, especially if you came in thinking this was some high fantasy or something. It’s not. So if that’s not for you, that’s okay. But at the end of the day, I respect Richelle Mead’s ability to weave another story that’s different from what we’re used to from her, but at the heart of it, still contains characters who come alive and draw us in to journey with them.

Review: Now and For Never by Lesley Livingston

Series: Never #3

now and for never -lesley livingstonPast and present collide on the high seas when Clare and Allie hurtle back in time once more in a perilous attempt to retrieve Marcus Donatus—Allie’s blast-from-the-past crush—and put an end, once and for all, to the Time Monkey Shenanigans. But when Clare and Allie unexpectedly find themselves temporal stowaways on a Roman warship full of looted Celtic gold, sailing straight for the heart of a magic-fuelled maelstrom, there’s not much they can do but hang on for the ride—and hope Milo can tap into the Druid lore trapped in his genius brain to help bring them home, before it’s too late. The only thing that’s going to save Clarinet Reid and Allie McAllister now is if they join forces with old enemies, new loves … and unexpected friends.

2.5 Drink Me Potions

It’s been a long time since I’ve last read the other two books in the series. However, I feel that Lesley Livingston did a great job of kind of recapping the important parts of what had happened earlier. I wasn’t left feeling lost for long, and for that, I greatly appreciate it.

I really tried to enjoy the concluding installment to the Time Travelling Monkey Shenanigans Gang. But I found myself a little disappointed. Now, I’m a fan of Livingston’s, even have a personally autographed book from her, but her other series are more….serious. The mythology was more compelling and suspenseful in the way the plot slowly unwinded.

Clare and Allie are both very unique protagonists. You won’t find another personality quite like theirs. Allie is all fireball attitude, wears only black, references nerdy things like Star Wars and Star Trek ALL the time, and is quite good with the tech stuff. Meanwhile, Clare is the more serious of the two and not so great with the nerd lingo, but she dives head into crazy time travelling adventures to save people (and trying not to change the course of history).

This series is all fun and definitely more lighthearted out of Livingston’s collection of stories. I guess I just wasn’t in the mood for that kind of the story so it was harder to enjoy the crazy hairball plans the two came up with to save Marcus from the past (where Every Never After left off).

What I can say that was positive is that Livingston did an amazing job trying to wrap up the loose ends after all the time travelling the two girls did in the previous 2 novels. No one wants to change history so….there goes the girls again for their last adventure to the past to make sure their reality doesn’t change after all their meddling. It was a little confusing at times as to what artifact had to be found where and when exactly so that, say, Clare could find it two millennia later.

I’d say that Now and for Never concludes the series well. It just wasn’t the kind of book I was looking for so that may have skewed with my rating. It’s definitely ideal for younger readers, possibly in their earlier teens. The lighthearted banter and nerdy lingo were great additions to the comical atmosphere.

Overall Recommendation:
Now and for Never concludes the Time Travelling Monkey Shenanigans that have been going on in the previous two novels of the series. Although I didn’t rate it too high, I still think it was a good way to wrap up the adventures that Clare and Ally had experienced back in the past, with appearances of both the Druids from Clare’s story and the Romans of Allie’s.

With the usual fun and lighthearted atmosphere, this book is perfect for those who enjoy some history (and meddling with it through time travel!), magic and nerdy references thrown in there. I recommend it for a light and funny read, so if you’re in one of those moods, this would be more enjoyable.

Review: Lullaby by Amanda Hocking

Series: The Watersong Quartet #2

lullaby -amanda hockingDon’t miss the next chapter of Watersong, a bold new series that will enchant you, entrance you, and hold you captive under its spell
Now that Gemma Fisher has inherited Penn, Lexi, and Thea’s curse – and all the strange new powers that come along with it – she has no choice but to run away with them. Devastated that she has to leave everyone she loves behind, she’s still determined not to give in to the unspeakable hungers that plague her.
Unfortunately, they’re growing stronger every day, and she’s not sure how much longer she can resist.

Harper won’t give up on finding her sister Gemma, vowing to get her back no matter what the cost. The search draws her closer to too-gorgeous-for-his-own-good Daniel, and tests her fiercely guarded independence like never before. She’s always been the strong one who everyone else depends on…. Can she let herself depend on Daniel?
As Gemma and Harper plunge deeper into a magical world they barely understand, it becomes painfully clear that Gemma’s old life may be lost forever. But can she still hold on to her humanity?

2.5 Drink Me Potions

Lullaby picks up right where Wake left off. No, seriously. The cliffhanger from the previous book? It’s like an hour passed and that’s where this book starts. I’m starting to wonder how the timeline of this series is going to go. Wake was like only a few weeks at most, if not less. Boy, do relationships change fast. Is this series going to last the timeline of a few months before summer ends? At least, that’s the first thing my brain asked upon starting this book. But I digress.

Here is what I thought about this book…

The pacing
I wanted to scream in frustration at this book sometimes. Honestly. If this was a show instead of a book, this book would be considered a “filler episode”. Nothing much happened in Lullaby. Sure, Gemma is figuring out how to be a siren with her new “sisters”, who are rather creepy and very bee-yotchy. Harper, Daniel and Alex are frantically trying to find her. I swear though, this is how the first part of the story goes.

Gemma’s POV: at some location with the sirens, particularly Penn being an ass and taunting her to “feed” on some poor man soon

Switch to Harper & Alex’s POV: makes Facebook page/missing posters/calls the cops/worrying incessantly = pretty much most of their POV for like a good half of the book

Oh, and what’s worse? Daniel doesn’t pop up as much until later into the book because Harper’s avoiding him. I love that girl, but man, I wish their flirtation would take the next step already. She has got to see how much he cares for her and accepts her even when she’s in one of those cold-hot mood swings. Overall, there wasn’t a lot happening. At least, not as exciting with the level of pacing it was written in.

The sirens
My goodness, I wanted to punch Lexi sometimes. She’s so whiny and needy at the same time. It’s like she’s in some power play constantly, wanting to be Penn’s favourite but also wanting to have that kind of power for herself as well.

Penn is her usual bossy yet scary self. She doesn’t like to share her men, both as toys or as food, and she’s so manipulative of her sisters. Of all villains and mean girls out there in other stories, I think Penn wins the award for “Most Hated Character”. I got to give kudos to Hocking for making such a flawed and easily hateable villain.

Thea, I feel, has potential in being more than what her sisters seem like at the surface, which is self-centred, cunning, heartless men-eating monsters. To put it nicely. I feel there would be a lot more to her role in the sirens’ past….just not in this book. My biggest question left from here would be Why the heck would she let Penn boss her around like that when she’s the oldest sister?

Last thoughts
I wouldn’t say to let Lullaby deter you from reading the series. It does push the story along a little bit, and there were very cute romantic moments with Harper/Daniel and even Alex/Gemma. It was just slow and sometimes felt like Hocking didn’t know what to do to fill up this sequel with. I only kept reading at such a fast pace ’cause I desperately wanted to see something exciting happen. I guess I’ll be waiting for Tidal for that to happen.

Overall Recommendation:
Lullaby honestly feels like the middle book syndrome but magnified by 10. There weren’t a lot of things going on in this book. Not much of the mythology aspect progressed, most of the protagonists were just searching for Gemma and not doing anything else exciting, Gemma was preoccupied with her new siren abilities, yada yada yada. At most, this book’s goal was to slowly move the plot forward, but it barely did even that. There wasn’t much excitement to it, which was a disappointment considering Wake most definitely had that going for its intriguing plot. Hopefully this means that the series can only go up from here, and maybe some answers will finally be given. One can only hope.

Review: Wake by Amanda Hocking

Series: The Watersong Quartet #1

wake -amanda hockingFall under the spell of Wake—the first book in an achingly beautiful new series by celebrated author Amanda Hocking—and lose yourself to the Watersong.

Gorgeous. Fearless. Dangerous. They’re the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Lexi and Thea have caught everyone’s attention—but it’s Gemma who’s attracted theirs.  She’s the one they’ve chosen to be part of their group.

Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door.  He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back.  Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever.  She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove.  They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different.

Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price.  And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.

3.5 Drink Me Potions

Wake was a very easy read. I personally haven’t read too many books diving into the story of the sirens. Sure, other parts of Greek mythology have been overdone, but the aspects of sirens in Homer’s Odyssey is intriguing.

The mythology itself
I really enjoyed how Hocking incorporated sirens and their Greek history into this story. From the blurb, it’s quite obvious that the sirens were going to make Gemma as one of their own. However, there was quite an amount of suspense in the anticipation of when it would happen, and why they do what they do. Right smack in the prologue, the air of suspense starts building as bodies are dropping in the small seafront town of Capri.

It was nice to have a clear and straightforward description of the mythology so it wasn’t like I had to piece together what had happened to the sirens in the past that made them who they were. Of course, hearing their story really added to the intrigue of what the gang of main characters were going to do to help Gemma out of this situation.

The characters
It sometimes is annoying when there are more than one protagonist’s POV to switch back and forth from. I’m waiting anxiously to see what happens to one person, then I turn the page and it’s….the next chapter with someone else’s POV happening elsewhere.

BUT, this didn’t make me as annoyed in Wake.

First off, this story is written in 3rd person perspective, which is a rather rare thing these days in the YA genre. It made it easier to understand what more than one character was feeling at a time. What got me through the switching of POVs was the fact that Gemma and her sister Harper are both such great characters.

Gemma is impulsive sometimes, but she feels the call of the ocean even before becoming a siren. She works hard to be the best swimmer, and she’s pretty without feeling cocky and boastful of it. Harper, on the other hand, is the older sister and acts bossy sometimes. But she has the heart to love anyone, even a rugged older guy living on a boat.

This brings me to say…

The “romance” aspect
I loved that this series doesn’t focus on just one couple, but on two . I felt that Alex and Gemma’s relationship happened rather fast. Like, I understand that he’s the boy next door and there were simmering feelings going on for like the last while. It just didn’t build up as nicely as I would’ve liked it to, but there were still very touching moments between the two.

Harper’s not the kind of girl who feels there’s time for a relationship in her life. With a mom who acts more like a teenage-obsessed fan of Justin Bieber’s, a father who forgets his lunch I swear all the time, and a younger sister who she feels responsible for, there are a lot of things on her plate. So her deliciously crazy attraction towards Daniel was very enjoyable from the start. He was the opposite of her in so many ways. He was more relaxed, living out of his grandfather’s boat while looking for odd handyman jobs to do. Harper was college-bound and here was this “slob” who kept trying to flirt and appease her after their rather awkward first meeting. This potential relationship kept me very interested in seeing more of it later on.

Concluding remarks
Although I highlighted the things I enjoyed in Wake, it just wasn’t quite 4 stars or even 5 stars material. The pacing was a little slow at times, especially when the sirens kept taunting Gemma and Harper but didn’t do anything just yet . Alex and Gemma’s romantic chemistry was a little off for me in this one. I kind of wished there were more moments that made me say “Ah, I can see why they’re falling so hard for each other”. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the two of them together, but I’m just being nit-picky.

Anyway, it’s definitely worth the read, especially as the first of a series.

Overall Recommendation:
Wake was a different read, in the sense that it focused on a part of Greek mythology that was darker and not necessarily as popular. Sirens were loose in Capri, wrecking havoc and leaving bodies in their wake. And Gemma has caught their eyes. The level of suspense builds as Gemma and her sister Harper finds themselves caught in a curse from over two thousand years ago.

With budding romance in the horizon for both sisters and a mild-pacing of the story, Wake should be given a try and maybe it would get you sucked into the world of the Watersong series.