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!
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!
Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee is the first book in a new fantasy series, swirling with shamans, mystery and battle.
Sirscha Ashwyn, orphan born, came from nothing but is determined to make something of herself in the Queen’s army–in fact, her most precious goal is to become the Queen’s next Shadow, the royal spy. But things don’t go according to plan and Sirscha’s best friend, Saengo, gets killed… that is, until Sirscha brings her back to life.
Now Sirscha and Saengo are bonded together in a way neither of them understand and both are being hunted and summoned by authority figures neither ever expected to meet.
As war looms, Sirscha must use all of her training to uncover the truth about her countries history and in doing so, must decide what path to forge forward.
There was a lot to like about Forest of Souls. The world building was great. I am really drawn to this idea of shamans and familiars and basically the controversy of their place in society. But I did have a bit of a problem with the plot.
I felt like we were given pieces of a story that didn’t really come together until the very, very end of the novel. I guess when I read a first book in a series, I am looking to be introduced to the characters to build investment in their plights and then get an idea of the main “problem” that they will be facing. I didn’t entirely feel like we got that here. There was a lot of build up to who Sirscha is but not so much about the conflict happening around her. Again, until the very end. So we see where things are going but I just needed a little more.
If you are listening to the audio book for this one, be warned the narrator is very soft spoken. I don’t know if it was meant to be this way, but you’ve been warned.
Overall, I want to see where this book is heading but I am not yet invested in it as a series. Which is why, I am giving it 3 stars.
That’s all for now!
Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is the second book in The Aurora Cycle.
The rejects from Aurora Academy are back and even though they are battered and worst for wear, they are more determined than every to save the galaxy. But saving the galaxy may prove difficult; with no direction, no help and honestly no clue what they are doing, squad 312 must persevere or all is lost.
This family of misfits will be tested at every turn. Will a gear head, a heart breaker, the golden boy, some muscle, the brains and a girl out of time be able to come together to stop an alien invasion from taking over the universe, all while preventing intergalactic war? We’re about to find out.
Regardless, of how horrible that recap was, I loved this book. Honestly, I love this series. It’s been so long since I’ve read a good science fiction novel and I just love what characters Squad 312 are. They each have their own over the top personality and problems and yet, they all mesh together really well.
One of the things I liked most about this one is that Aurora, Kal, Tyler, Scarlet, Zila and Finnian all have this bond now, they have become a family after the trials they went through in the first book. And because of this, the conflicts they encounter almost take on a deeper meaning. They mean more to each other and the risk of losing this family they have forged, colors their actions and decisions.
A lot happens in this book and there is a lot of build up for what is to come. I will say, do not start this one if you are not good with cliffhangers! You are better off waiting until the last book comes out honestly. You’ve been warned.
This one gets 4.5-5 stars from me. I sped through it and really enjoyed the ride.
That’s all for now!
The Shadow Wand by Laurie Forest is the third book in The Black Witch Chronicles.
Elloren Gardner has been hiding her secret for too long; she is the next black witch and soon everyone will know it. But the question remains, will she triumph or will her powers bring down destruction and ruin to all?
Forced to flee from even her allies, Elloren must turn to someone she promised to hate forever… her fastmate, Commander Lukas Grey. Now Elloren must decide whether she can trust the man she was forced to fast to in order to stay out of hands of the Gardnerian’s leader Marcus Vogel and his demonic shadow wand.
Together, Lukas and Elloren must find a way to control her powers and train to become the warrior the world needs, but can you ever expect to win a battle when even the trees and nature itself believes the worst of you? Regardless, it is time to fight and Elloren must be ready to give up everything so that others may live.
Hmm, this has been a controversial series and for me, this was probably the least controversial of the three so far… and yet, there was something about it that bugged me. I had a really hard time transitioning from the previous book to this one. So much happened in the first two books and we saw a lot from a lot of characters. In this one, we get fewer narrators and not as much happening, plot-wise. Yes, a few big things do happen but it just felt a little stretched out compared to the previous books–almost like this one was intended to be part of the next one but it got too hefty in terms of page-count. We’ll just have to wait until the next one is published to find out.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book and can’t wait to see where the series is heading next. I do think Elloren’s “change of heart” was a bit fast on the heels of hearing certain information second-hand and I wish there was a more realistic mourning period for certain characters.
Overall, this is a series I am in for the long haul and I will be waiting for the next one. This one gets 3.5-4 stars from me.
That’s all for now!