Poisoned

Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly is a fairy-tale re-imagining of Snow White for a Young Adult audience.

To rule, once must be strong and powerful; there is no place for kindness and the gentle hearted. Or at least, this is what Sophie has been told her entire life. According to her step mother, Queen Regent, and the rest of the court, weak, foolish, silly Sophie doesn’t have what it takes to be the ruler her country needs. So when the huntsman pulls out his knife and plunges it into her heart, Sophie shouldn’t have been surprised.

And even though Sophie believed everything they said about her, it was still a surprise. But, what was more surprising, was waking up.

Given a second chance at life, will Sophie muster the bravery to fight for her kingdom and the will to rule it as she seems fit?

I really enjoyed Donnelly’s Stepsister, so I was excited to pick this one up. And, although it was an entertaining read, I wasn’t wowed by it. I enjoyed it but I could have used a little bit more toward the end. Like Stepsister, the villains, weren’t ordinary villains–they were abstract entities personified. <<And that’s about as much as I can say without giving anything away. And this was interesting, a little preachy at times but it’s meant to be written as a “lesson.”

Now that I think about it, what I liked best about the book, were the side characters. I just loved the hound master’s son, the dwarfs, Will and Arlo, even our villains. But Sophie, fell a little flat for me. We see her journey throughout, both physical and emotional, but she still felt a little two dimensional to me.

This one gets 3.5 stars from me. I’ll be interested to see which fairy-tale Donnelly picks up next.

That’s all for now!

-M-

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown is the first book in a fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore.

Solstasia is an event that happens every fifty years. It is a both a celebration and ritual. For Malik, Solstasia is a chance to start fresh with his siblings and forge a new life for his family away from the war-torn shambles of his home. When a malevolent spirit kidnaps Malik’s baby sister, he makes a deal to kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, in exchange for her life.

But Karina isn’t so easy to kill and she has her own designs when it comes to Solstasia. Determined to resurrect her murdered mother, the Sultana of Ziran, Karina turns to dark magic, requiring the heart of a king.

Malik and Karina’s fates are tied together and as evil stirs within the city of Ziran both will find that price of their tasks, may be higher than the thought.

I don’t know if it was the audio book or what, but I had a hard time getting into this book. It wasn’t until the Solstasia contest actually starts that my attention was grabbed. And then it seemed like things moved almost too quickly to make up for the slower beginning.

Karina is an emotional character, whereas Malik lives more in his head and I found their narrative observations of one another interesting in how differently they seem themselves versus the way the see one another. And Malik’s chosen side at the end of the story is surprising and out of character with what we witness throughout the story.

I’m actually surprised to find out that this is going to be a duology instead of a series of three because it felt like Brown introduced a lot of elements at the end of the story, maybe too many to wrap up in just one book?

This one gets 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab is an adult fiction novel about live, the decisions we make in the moment and the regrets that follow.

If you could live forever, unaging and unchanging, but never making a lasting impression on anyone, what would you do? When Addie LaRue, desperate to be more than a wife and mother, makes a deal with the dark to live forever, she wasn’t ready for the consequences of that wish.

It is France 1714, and with one foolish wish, Addie is destined to walk the earth forever but be forgotten by everyone she sees. She becomes a ghost, stepping in and out of peoples lives without being “seen” by anyone. Taunted by the Dark throughout the centuries.

In over 300 years, no one has been able to remember her until a boy named Henry catches her stealing a book and everything changes.

V.E. Schwab always creates such wonderful worlds and dynamic characters and that is just what she does with Addie LaRue. Addie starts out as this lost girl wanting to escape the domestic role the times demand but from the moment she makes a deal with the darkness to live, she begins to transform into this complex creature. Even the Darkness, or Luke as Addie calls him, has a depth to him and I love Addie and Luke’s tête-à-têtes throughout the novel. The back an forth jabs and the evolution of their relationship was great.

I wasn’t, however, overly impressed with Henry’s character. His curse was interesting but the chapters where he took over the narrative, especially that long bit in the middle, weren’t as captivating for me.

But that ending! Loved it!

This one gets 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Silvered Serpents

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi is the second book in The Gilded Wolves series. 

Severin and his fellows are back after their disastrous first run in with the Fallen House but things are definitely not the same. Severin is distant and cold and his desperation to make amends by harnessing the power of the Gods has become all consuming. 

Severin and his crew follow the clues from Paris to Russia in the hopes of finding the Fallen House’s treasure before the Winter Conclave. But things aren’t as they seem and soon everything will change. 

Overall, I enjoyed this second book in the trilogy but I will admit, I was much more invested in the first book. 

Second book syndrome at its best. The first, introduces the characters and plot, the second builds more on the plot/world building and the third is the action and wrap up. And often, I find the second book lacking the draw of the first and third. 

One thing I did like about this one is the development of the relationships in this book. We see a different side of each of the characters and it is darker and less hopeful than the first book. 

We still get that steampunk, magic, Victorian mix that I liked in the first book and it looks like we are going to get a chase to the finish in the final. This one gets 3.5 stars from me. 

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Dawn Chorus

The Dawn Chorus by Samantha Shannon is a Bone Season novella that takes place between book 3 & 4.

After finally escaping from captivity and torture at the hands of Scion, Paige Mahoney and her ally and confidant, Arcturus Mesarthim, have hold up in a safe house in Scion Paris. But Paige has been damaged both mentally and physically and time may not be enough to bring her back from the edge.

Within the confines of the safe-house, Paige and Arcturus begin to reconnect but after weeks of following separate paths the reunion is fraught with tension and insecurity. The two must work through their differences while waiting for their contact to tell them where they must go next to continue their fight.

I don’t normally read novellas, I just don’t tend to pick them up. But the Bone Season novels are not regularly published and there has been so much time between the third and the to be released fourth book, I decided to give it a try. And I was pleased that I did.

It was nice to get back into the Bone Season world and to remember why I liked the series in the first place. It did also make me wish that the novels would come out faster than every 2-4 years. It seems like forever since I read the last one and the series may need a re-read before the next is published.

This one gets 4.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-