Ravage the Dark

Ravage the Dark by Tara Sims is the second book in the Scavenge the Stars duology.

For so long,  Amaya Chandra’s only goal was to be free of the debtor ship and it’s cruelties. But freedom is no longer enough for Amaya. She wants revenge and to reveal the truth behind the sickness sweeping across Moray.

For Cayo Mercado, revenge would be sweet, but more important is the health of his sister, which is slowly deteriorating, no thanks to his scoundrel of a father. Penniless and without hope, Cayo is lost and can see no way forward.

Though their relationship began with betrayal, can Amaya and Cayo work together for the greater good? Or will they be too caught up in their emotions and each other to help anyone at all?

This book was OK. It didn’t hold my interest even nearly as much as the first book. I missed the intrigue of book one. This one felt more like a tie up of loose ends and not a conclusion to the story.

What really soured this one for me, was the ending. All these things are happening and Amaya and Cayo just stay behind? They are hellbent on revealing the truth throughout the first and most of the second book and then it’s like they just didn’t care any more, which made me not care.

For me, this book ended up turning into background filler. It didn’t keep my attention and I found I didn’t miss, missing something when I was listening to it. For that reason, this one gets 2.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Everything Sad Is Untrue

Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri is probably more of a tween read for 7-12th graders about one refugees journey and the memories of his early life.

In Oklahoma, in front of a group of his peers, Khosrou (or Daniel as everybody calls him), attempts to tell his story. It is a story that some might find hard to believe and one that no one, in fact, does believe. But all refugees suffer from a “patchwork memory” and, to Khosrou, it is the truest story he has every told because it is his life, as he remembers it.

To the kids around him, Khosrou is just a dark-skinned, smelly boy who talks about poop too much. But Khosrou’s stories stretch back years, even centuries, telling the tale of his families escape from Iran and the history leading up to it.

Author Daniel Nayeri, weaves his childhood present with history and myth creating a compelling story that is all his own and is, a truth.

What. A. Book. I listened to the audio book and now I am seriously wondering if the pace of the written story is the same as the audio version. Because all of these awful and depressing things happen, but the way the narrator reads and describes these things verges on nonchalant. I mean, the word that came to mind while reading this was “word vomit.” And yet, what is being written is so powerful and, I mean seriously, read this book with a highlighter and write down some of these passages. They are moving and have such an open truthfulness about them that the casual narrative is almost off putting.

I wonder if the author intended the narrative to be casual to offset “the heavy” in order to make it more accessible to younger readers? Either way, this book makes you think about the refugee experience and what is left behind vs. what is gained and the journey in between.

A powerful read. This one gets 5 stars from me and would be one I’d love to get some younger input on.

That’s all for now!

-M-

King of Scars

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo is the first book in a Grisha-verse duology.

Nikolai Lantsov survived the civil war, though not unscathed, and has been working endlessly to bring Ravka back from the brink of destruction. But Ravka is weak, it’s boarders need shoring up and financially, it is in trouble.

As Nikolai and his allies work to strengthen Ravka and it’s decimated Grisha army, a darkness within begins to take hold, neighboring countries spout niceties while planning invasion, and legend threatens to become reality.

Can Nikolai continue to rule if the darkness takes over? Will there even be a Ravka left when all is said and done?

I kept meaning to pick this one up but kept putting it aside. I actually read Six of Crows before reading any of Bardugo’s other books and still nothing can compare. That being said, it was nice to see some familiar faces in this book and to get more of Nikolai’s and the others stories.

Did anyone else notice just how often Nina brings up her former band of misfits from Six of Crows? The whole time I was listening to the audio book, I just kept wanting them to show up. Sigh.

Ultimately, there wasn’t anything really negative to say about the book. Nikolai and Zoya are both lovingly snarky and the banter was spot on. And the Grisha’s and Ravka were the same as always. I guess the issue I have is that the book was a little slow for me. Not a lot happens until the last 100+ pages. And what does happen in the first half of the book, feels too familiar for me–sort of like we’ve been there before in the other Grisha books.

I do expect a lot more action and going-ons in the second book. This one gets a solid 3 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Skyhunter

Skyhunter by Marie Lu is the first book in, what I believe to be a new young adult duology.

The Karensa Federation has conquered almost all of their continent, leaving Mara as the only free nation left. But how much longer can Mara remain free when mutant beasts, known as Ghosts, rove and ravage at will.

Mara’s elite fighting force, the Strikers, are tasked with killing these monsters and pushing back the Federation for as long as possible. But defeat still seems inevitable.

Still, one Striker, a refugee from another war torn country, an outcast, refuses to give up. Talin Kanami knows just how brutal the Federation will be when they finally arrive and she is determined to save the city she now calls home. When a mysterious prisoner is sentenced to death, Talin’s instincts tell her to save him. Will her actions doom them all or will hope prevail?

It took me a few chapters to get into this book but after that, I flew through it. I really loved how the author makes Talin mute and even she isn’t sure if she’s just stopped talking or if her vocal cords were damaged when she fled her home as a child. I also think Lu handled, how to portray her communication, well. The fact that the Strikers all know how to sign and take an oath of silence on the field, worked perfectly in this book.

Lu also does something great with the relationships in this book. The Striker and his/her Shield have such a fascinating relationship, forged of stronger stuff than just friendship and loyalty. And I am glad that Red and Talin work toward that relationship first, rather than any lovey dovey infatuation. If we are heading that way in book two, well it is slooooow and just the way I want it.

Overall, I thought this was a really strong book with some memorable characters and a neat post-apocalyptic setting/conflict. This one gets a solid 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

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-