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-

Flunked

Flunked by Jen Calonita is a juvenile fiction book, great for 5th graders.

Imagine a fantasy world where villains’ are the ones teaching children how to be good. Well that is just what happens at the Fairy Tale Reform School.

Fairy Tale Reform School is a boarding school for children who show evil tendencies. History is taught by the Big Bad Wolf, the Evil Queen does therapy sessions, Ursula teaches etiquette classes… oh and the headmistress is Cinderella’s evil step mother. Nothing can go wrong here right?

Gilly doesn’t consider herself wicked, at least she doesn’t think she is. But she is a thief. Gilly, her mom, dad and several brothers and sisters live in a shoe and are hardly making ends meat. So she steals from the royals occasionally to get by… they can afford it anyway, right?

Eventually, Gilly gets caught and is send to Fairy Tale Reform School. But who will take care of her family while she is gone? And are these villains’ really reformed criminals or is there something else at work?

This is one I often recommend for 4-5 graders, so I figured I really should read it myself. And it was really good. This is a perfect book for kids who like a little bit of fantasy, a little bit of humor, some action and a good twisted fairy tale.

I love when a series builds a little band of “heroes” who are going to investigate some shady doings in order to save the day. And Gilly, Jax and the rest of her friends are just the right amount of delinquent and good at heart.

Overall, I think this book will appeal to boys and girls 4-6th grade and would be great for readers who like “Land of Stories,” “Whatever After,” and Disney’s “Descendants.” It’ll be interesting to see where the series goes.

This one gets 4.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Bloom

Bloom by Kevin Oppel is a science fiction thriller/action novel for mature 5th to 7th graders.

It all started with the rain. It rained everywhere on Earth at the same time and the rain carried seeds–seeds that sprouted overnight. From these seeds grew razor sharp grass, toxic Venus flytrap like pit plants with vines that seem to move and strange water lilies with bullet shaped seeds. These new plants have taken over, choking out animals and plants alike, but they aren’t stopping there…

On a small island in Canada, three kids, Seth, Petra and Anaya, seem to be immune to the plants and their insidious toxins. But more than that, the severe allergies they’ve lived with all their lives are suddenly gone and they feel stronger than ever. Could something inside them be the key to beating back these plants before the damage becomes irreversible? Or will these strange invaders take over everything?

I picked up this book hoping it might make a good book club read and it totally would but probably not for the younger of my 4-6th grade crew. Bloom doesn’t hold back when it comes to acid spitting pit plants devouring gym teachers or when sentient vines strangle people in their sleep. So I’d probably recommend this one for a mature 5th grade plus.

That being said, I found this book super interesting and I was sucked right in. You’re not sure from the beginning if we are dealing with aliens or terrorists or just evolution and you get a lot of plant facts, which is always nice to get a little STEM thrown in to juvenile fiction.

This book is suspenseful and has a touch of horror and a ton of action. I think it’ll appeal to that tween/pre-teen audience, especially for those kids looking for a little bit of a darker read. I, for one, can’t wait to pick up the second one in the series. This one gets a high 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The King of Crows

The King of Crows by Libba Bray is the conclusion to the Diviners series.

After an explosion that took one of their own and condemned the Diviners as outcasts, the battle against the King of Crows has officially begun and a battle it will be.

Evie and the rest of the Diviners are separated and on the run from the Shadow Men, the Klan and ghosts. They must dodge trouble and find each other before the King of Crows and Jake Marlowe’s plans are complete. But making their way to Bountiful will be harder than they think.

Each of the Diviners will face their worst fears and must come to terms with their powers before it is too late.

Oh man, I feel like this is one series where I’m like, “Finally! We’ve reached the end!” I don’t know about anyone else but it’s felt like we’ve waiting a long time and gone on a long, long, journey to get to the end here. Don’t get me wrong, I like the series. But I almost wish that Bray took these monstrous books and split them up a little bit more so that we got them on a more steady release. Now, I understand that there are always extenuating circumstances, etc. but the way these were released made it harder for me to hunger for the story.

All that being said, I’m still a fan of the flapper vibe throughout the book. The characters are fun and dynamic and the story itself appeals to my love of a good ghost story.

We’ve been with these characters through so much, that I worried that we wouldn’t get enough closure at the end of the story, but I think Bray did just enough to satisfy the readers. Yes, questions were left, but that was OK by me.

This one gets 4 stars from me and the series as a whole, gets 3.5.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Rage

Rage by Cora Carmack is the second book in the Stormheart trilogy.

Aurora or Roar as she is known to the storm hunters she travels with is hiding a big secret, one that she can’t run from any longer. Aurora is a princes and heir to the kingdom of Pavan, a kingdom that has been taken over by the Locke’s–cruel stormlings, one of which was to be her betrothed, that is until she ran away.

With the storm hunters, Aurora found adventure, love and her true self. Aurora is not just a princess, she is a fighter, with magical abilities greater than many have seen before. Now it is up to her to return home and save her kingdom but it will come at a cost.

Will Aurora lose the family she has found in the hunters when she reveals her secret? Will she lose the trust, the love of the only man who has ever seen her for who she truly is? And when all that is answered, will she have the strength to not only protect her kingdom from within but from without as well?

One of the things I like most about this series is the world that Carmack has created. I just love this idea of souls who wander and become so lost that they turn into storms. I like that it’s not the living people who have storm power but the deceased. The living must battle, or in Aurora’s case sooth, the spirits of the storms in order to survive. Such a neat idea.

For me, this second book lacked the draw and tensions of the first book. I loved reading about the storm hunter’s travels and how they chased stormhearts. I liked witnessing Aurora finding her place in the crew and seeing her relationships grow. The crew obviously was going to get pulled into the “bigger” battle but I guess I saw it happening in a different way.

The second half of this book picked up a lot of speed for me and left me wanting to know how the story is going to end. Too bad Goodreads doesn’t even have a placeholder for the next book yet. Sigh.

Rage was a good story but I hope to see more of Aurora’s fire in the final book. This one gets a high 3.5 from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-