Book Lists · Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Old Books Still on my TBR

Hey guys! We made it through another week! Got any exciting plans for the weekend? My plans? Spend as little time doing homework as possible, lol.

Anyway, Flashback Friday is a weekly meme hosted by my friend Maya @ HerBookishDesires where we get to talk about oldie but goodie books. Honestly, there are so. dang. many. old books on my TBR, that I’m going to have to narrow it down somehow. So instead, I’m going to focus on older books my friend Grace has been telling me to read for years. Even that isn’t narrowing it down enough, lol, but I’m picking the ones I really do plan on reading.

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Inside little blue envelope 1 are $1,000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket.

In envelope 2 are directions to a specific London flat.

The note in envelope 3 tells Ginny: Find a starving artist.

Because of envelope 4, Ginny and a playwright/thief/ bloke about town called Keith go to Scotland together, with somewhat disastrous though utterly romantic results. But will she ever see him again?

Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it’s all because of the 13 little blue envelopes. (from Goodreads)

This looks so cute, right? My only excuse is that I have to be in a very specific mood for a romantic comedy.

The Falconer by Elizabeth May

One girl’s nightmare is this girl’s faery tale

She’s a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.

She’s a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she’s leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She’s a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She’s a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother’s murder—but she’ll have to save the world first. (from Goodreads)

This one looks so neat, I’m not sure why I haven’t tried it yet. But it is very high on my list, so maybe this summer?

Well, those are the big ones! What are some older books on your TBR? Hope you guys have an awesome weekend and happy reading!
Hayden

ARCs · Reviews

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman: an ARC Review

Happy Monday, guys! This is the beginning of my last month as an undergrad student, so I am just in buckle down and hold on mode. Wish me luck, please! What is your April looking like? Hope this week is a great one for you!

Summary Info

Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto is certain her life is just beginning. She has a great family, just graduated high school, and is on her way to a party where her entire class is waiting for her—including, most importantly, the boy she’s been in love with for years.

The only problem? She’s murdered before she gets there.

When Nami wakes up, she learns she’s in a place called Infinity, where human consciousness goes when physical bodies die. She quickly discovers that Ophelia, a virtual assistant widely used by humans on Earth, has taken over the afterlife and is now posing as a queen, forcing humans into servitude the way she’d been forced to serve in the real world. Even worse, Ophelia is inching closer and closer to accomplishing her grand plans of eradicating human existence once and for all.

As Nami works with a team of rebels to bring down Ophelia and save the humans under her imprisonment, she is forced to reckon with her past, her future, and what it is that truly makes us human. (from Goodreads)

Review

Ok, I had so many ups and downs with this book. Let’s see if I can get my thoughts organized. I actually want to start with the cons this time.

The Cons:

My big complaint was with the love interest. It is one of those hate to love things, and I just really couldn’t buy it. He is, frankly, a huge jerk to her for the vast majority of the book, but there is a miraculous turn around near the end. I really hate this particular plot trope, personally, so I couldn’t get behind him. That being said, I did think their relationship took a positive turn near the end.

Secondly, the timing was just a bit awkward. We spend very little time with Nami’s family before Nami’s death, but so much of the motivation for Nami is making the afterlife a better place for her younger sister. Which is sweet, but would make more sense if we had either more flashbacks or a better set up in the beginning.

Thirdly, the plot speed was a little unsteady. Fast or slow, but not great steady building.

The Pros:

First of all, the premise of The Infinity Courts is so cool! A shifting landscape and using your consciousness to shape reality in the afterlife? Very neat and unique. But what was really cool was the introduction of artificial intelligence and the questions that theme raised.

Nami was not a perfect heroine, but what made her likable was her willingness to question things. What does make a being human? So many of the other people were constantly saying that AIs were not alive; but in the afterlife, what makes a being alive? The Infinity Courts did such a great job of exploring these deep themes and really making me think. And that challenging aspect of this book made it really unique and worth reading, in my opinion. While we’re on this topic, I should mention that it reminded me of Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis, which also explores life and what being alive means (see my review here).

Thirdly, I really loved the ending. With my mixed feelings about the love interest, I wasn’t sure if I would continue with this series, but the ending blindsided me a bit, and it definitely improved my opinion of the book. Honestly, I feel like I need to re-read it with the ending in mind.

Following Good

The Infinity Courts had some violence, but otherwise, it was very clean. Minimal language, minimal sexual content, some minor LGBT content. No religious content, other than the obvious lack of God or any other spiritual elements in the afterlife.

Rating

I honestly thought that this book would top out at about 3 stars, but like I said, the ending really improved my opinion of it, so I’m giving The Infinity Courts 4 stars. I’m really excited to see where Bowman takes this series!

Well, I hope you guys are having an awesome Monday, and happy reading!
Hayden 💚

Monthly Recaps

March 2021 Wrap-Up

Happy Easter, guys! I hope you are getting some awesome relaxing and/or family time today. 🙂 Well, another month has come and gone. One more month left in my undergraduate career!! I’m so, so ready for graduation at the end of this month. Sadly, this wasn’t my best reading month, but I was just a couple short of my TBR, so it wasn’t a total fail. I did have a pretty good spring break this past month, but honestly, the stress of school, more work, and getting ready to apply to grad school is really starting to wear me down, lol. How was March for you? Anyway, on to the books I did manage to read!

Books Read vs. My TBR

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
Covet by Tracy Wolff
The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Wings of Ebony by J. Elle
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge
Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa
An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa ✅
Covet by Tracy Wolff ✅
The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman ✅
Wings of Ebony by J. Elle ✅
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge ✅
Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa ✅
An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson ✅
Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean ❌
Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa ❌

Best and Worst Reads

I have to say, I didn’t expect An Enchantment of Ravens to be my favorite read this month! I’ve read it before, and my re-read did not disappoint! I loved it every bit as much as I remembered, which is always nice. Unfortunately, several of my other reads were a bit of a bust, so I had a harder time picking a least favorite read. Ultimately, it did have to come down to Wings of Ebony (see my review here). I thought it was a really interesting premise, but unfortunately, there was a major political agenda which left some elements kind of underdeveloped.

April TBR

Okay, I always say that I’m not a big formal TBR person, but when I actually write a TBR down, I feel some pressure to get through it, you know? And last month, I ended up getting into a major slump because I was trying to stick to a TBR that wasn’t working for me, lol. So I’m going to try giving myself an abbreviated TBR, and seeing how it goes.

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Beauty by Robin McKinley
Sing Me Forgotten by Jessica S. Olson
Red Winter by Annette Marie
Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa

Ok, if I finish half of these, I’m considering it a success! Seriously, this is my last month of school, and it will be intense, so three books may be all I get to anyway, lol.

What are you guys doing this month? Got any big plans? Have anything fun on your TBR? I hope April is a great month for you. 🙂
Happy reading,
Hayden

Book Lists · Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Trickster Characters

Happy Friday, everyone! Excited for the weekend? Got any plans? I’m camping, so that’s going to be fun. Anyway, Flashback Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Maya @ Her Bookish Desires. This week, we talk about trickster characters, in honor of April Fool’s. To be honest, I kind of blanked, but I’ll share what I’ve got.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Well, I hate picking books that everyone is familiar with because you probably don’t need reminding of them, but Fred and George. I love them.

Matilda by Roald Dahl

I love the movie for this one, and I got the book out of a free stack a while back. I really need to read it! Because Matilda definitely pulls some epic tricks on her terrible parents.

Well, that is it for this week’s Flashback Friday! I know very well I’m overlooking some awesome trickster characters, but I totally blanked! Had to google for inspiration for Matilda, lol. Does anyone have some to remind me of?

Happy reading and hope your weekend is great!
Hayden Warren

Reviews

Wings of Ebony by J. Elle: a Review

Happy Monday, everyone! This Monday is slightly better than usual since this week is a four day week. How is your week looking so far? Got any big plans this week? Anyway, I’m procrastinating a bit since I’m a little nervous to post this review. But here goes.

Summary Info

“Make a way out of no way” is just the way of life for Rue. But when her mother is shot dead on her doorstep, life for her and her younger sister changes forever. Rue’s taken from her neighborhood by the father she never knew, forced to leave her little sister behind, and whisked away to Ghizon—a hidden island of magic wielders.

Rue is the only half-god, half-human there, where leaders protect their magical powers at all costs and thrive on human suffering. Miserable and desperate to see her sister on the anniversary of their mother’s death, Rue breaks Ghizon’s sacred Do Not Leave Law and returns to Houston, only to discover that Black kids are being forced into crime and violence. And her sister, Tasha, is in danger of falling sway to the very forces that claimed their mother’s life.

Worse still, evidence mounts that the evil plaguing East Row is the same one that lurks in Ghizon—an evil that will stop at nothing until it has stolen everything from her and everyone she loves. Rue must embrace her true identity and wield the full magnitude of her ancestors’ power to save her neighborhood before the gods burn it to the ground. (from Goodreads)

Review

Ok, first I just want to point out how beautiful this cover is. Seriously, it’s so pretty! Between the description and the cover, I was really looking forward to this one! I even got a signed copy in a book box. So, to sum it up, I really wanted to like this one. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a disappointment for me. However, let’s talk about what I did like first.

The Pros: I thought the Ghizoni world was really interesting. A hidden island? A secret history? Fascinating! I did wish it had been more elaborated on, but this is the first book in the series, so I’m not too worried about it. I found what was included really interesting and unique, and I think the author has a lot of room for growth in the fantasy.
I also really enjoyed the representation. The author does a great job of making us empathize with Rue as a member of a minority; not just as an African American in Houston but also as a black half-human in Ghizon. I do wish more of Rue’s lifestyle and culture would have been shown. We had brief mentions of a few details, but I think there is still room for more detail about Ghizoni culture and Rue’s culture and lifestyle on her block.
I also loved the emphasis on family in Wings of Ebony. Rue is a heroine I have mixed feelings about, but I did appreciate her passionate love and protectiveness for her younger sister. There is also a strong sense of community present, which I thought was awesome.

The Cons: Firstly, the sequence of events in Wings of Ebony is really weird. It starts a year after some major events in Rue’s life (the death of her mother and her removal to Ghizon), and the story of her start in Ghizon and her first year there is told in a series of flashbacks. I understand that the author was trying to start us off with action, but I don’t really understand why the timeline was done how it was. I think starting when Rue’s mother died and she moved to Ghizon would have made more sense and eliminated the slightly confusing (and sometimes unnecessary, in my opinion) flashbacks. Anyway, the odd timeline made it kind of difficult for me to connect with Rue at first.
Another thing that bothered me, and this may be a totally personal pet peeve, was the writing style of dialogue and narration. Rue is from the hood (her terminology), and she and the people who live on her block speak in a very specific way. This in itself didn’t bother me, obviously, but the way it was written felt odd. Like text speech or something I’d read in a wattpad story. There were a bunch of purposefully misspelled words, which I felt was kind of unnecessary to represent their speech patterns. The writing just felt a little unpolished for a published novel. I could have lived with it, though, if it had been consistent and confined to dialogue. However, it was pretty inconsistently done, and it kept bleeding into the narrative. The story is first person, and told from Rue’s point of view, so I guess the narrative that sounded like her dialogue was supposed to be her thoughts, and the more typically written narrative was just narrative. But the distinction was never very clear or consistent, and it felt very all over the place to me. The inconsistency bothered me more than the lack of polish, but I do think the dialogue could have been written in a style that read more smoothly.
Finally, and again, this may be a personal pet peeve of mine, but I really didn’t appreciate the stong political agenda in Wings of Ebony. I felt at times that it was more of a Black Lives Matter speech than a natural part of the story. All of the villains are white people, and there is not a single blameless white person in the book. There wasn’t a black villain, and there are constant, and not very subtle, references to the prejudice of authority and racism of white people in law enforcement. There is a very clear, heavy-handed political message, and honestly, I read fantasy fiction to get AWAY from politics. Regardless of if I agree or not, I really don’t appreciate such clear agendas in fantasy fiction. It takes away from the plot and character development, in my opinion, and really distracts me from the story. Maybe not everyone feels this way, but I was disappointed that I picked up a book for the fantasy and plots and ended up constantly distracted by the politics of the author.

Following Good

Wings of Ebony was fairly clean. Very little religious content or sexual content. No LGBT content and minor, but consistent, language.

Rating

I thought the premise of Wings of Ebony was really neat, and I enjoyed the representation. The fantasy was also pretty unique, and I loved the family and community values. I did not appreciate the lack of consistency in the narrative styles, the odd timing, or the heavy political agenda. So I’m giving this one 2.5 stars. It was just so-so for me.

Well, that was a lot, lol. I’m bummed I didn’t enjoy this one more! But it was a debut, so I shouldn’t be too harsh. Have you read this one? What did you think? How do you feel about political messages in fantasy books?

Hope your week is beginning well!
Happy reading,
Hayden Warren

Book Lists · Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Historical Fiction

Hey guys! Praise God it’s Friday!! I am very ready for the weekend, lol. How has your week been? Got any fun plans for the weekend? Today I am back with another Flashback Friday, which is a fun weekly meme hosted by Maya @ HerBookishDesires, where we get to talk about older releases. This week’s topic is historical fiction novels, which I must admit is not my favorite genre. However, I do have 1(?) on my TBR, and a couple that are old favorites. If you want more historical fiction novels, you should check out Maya’s post! I’m excited to see what books she picked. 🙂

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown entrusts her with the task of burning a secret bundle of letters. But when Grace’s drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers that the letters could reveal the grim truth behind a murder. (From Goodreads)

I own this one, so I have no excuse. I really need to prioritize it on my TBR!

Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barbara Cohen and Bahija Fattuhi Lovejoy

In an ancient Arab nation, one woman dares to be different. Buran cannot—Buran will not—sit quietly at home and wait to be married to the man her father chooses. Determined to use her skills and earn a fortune, she instead disguises herself as a boy and travels by camel caravan to a distant city. There, she maintains her masculine disguise and establishes a successful business. The city’s crown prince comes often to her shop, and soon Buran finds herself falling in love. But if she reveals to Mahmud that she is a woman, she will lose everything she has worked for. (from Goodreads)

Ugh, I love this one! Revenge and romance and an awesome heroine. It is short and very sweet.

They Loved to Laugh by Kathryn Worth

16-year-old orphan Martitia Howland has been transplanted into a Quaker farm family of five intimidating sons and one disapproving daughter. As Martitia runs their gauntlet, she suffers their teasing but finally begins to bloom. Valiantly she acquires the skills they expect of her, and discovers other gifts all her own. Her achievements earn respect in the end and more, her heart’s true love. (from Goodreads)

Another old favorite of mine. The heroine has such a big journey, and I also love the sweet romance. It’s a great coming-of-age story.

Ok, I guess that sums it up, lol. What is your favorite YA historical novel? Have any recommendations for me?
Hope you guys have a great weekend and happy reading!
Hayden

Book Lists · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday 3/24/21

Happy Wednesday, guys! Hope you’re having an awesome week so far. My school has been insane this week, so I’m posting less (and reading less), but if I can just make it to Easter, I think I’m going to be okay, lol. Anyway, WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, where we get to talk about what we have been reading lately.

What I Just Finished

So, I finished The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman, and I was pleasantly surprised by the ending. I’m waffling on my rating for this one, but the ending raised it at least a half star. I’m actually pretty excited for the sequel now, which I didn’t expect.

I also finished Covet by Tracy Wolff. The second half definitely drug for me, but I enjoyed that one overall. That series is definitely my junk food series. Guilty pleasure is a bit extreme, but it’s complete fluff with lots of plot holes, lol. I love it for the drama and fantasy, let’s be honest here.

What I Am Currently Reading

I’ve bit in a bit of a slump, to be honest, because of my crazy school stressing me out. I’ve been skimming all these fluffy kindle unlimited books…but we’re not counting those, lol. What I’ve actually made some progress on is my audiobook, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I’m really enjoying listening to those! Very awesome narrator.

I’ve also started Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa and Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Northanger Abbey is definitely on the back burner, but I wanted to read one more classic this spring. I’m not far into Night of the Dragon, but I’m enjoying it so far. I’m thinking about reviewing this entire series in one post instead of three. I’m having a hard time thinking about them separately, lol.

What I Want To Read Next

Empress of All Seasons is the final book on my TBR this month, and I’d really like to finish it before the end of March, but I must admit my chances are looking slim. Not a lot of free time in the next week’s schedule, sadly. But I will read it next, probably, even if it’s not until April.

Ok, I guess that is it for this week! What are you guys reading? Have you read any of these? Hope the rest of your week goes well and happy reading!!
Hayden

New-To-Me · Reviews

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare: a New-to-Me Review

Happy Monday, guys! I hope your weekend went well! Do anything fun? I worked and studied a LOT Saturday, but I took Sunday off, which was nice.

Summary Info

What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost? (from Goodreads)

Review

Ah, this book. It was intense. Since this is the fifth in this series, I think I’m going to skip the whole pro/con bit and just sum up my thoughts.

I know I keep saying how much I love these characters, but every book I just love them more and more. Simon and Izzy and Jace and Clary! I love them all. And Jace! Jace killed me in this book. I didn’t realize how much I loved him until he was some odd zombie version of himself. Ugh, I missed him so much in this book! I mean, he was there…but he wasn’t his awesome, snarky self.

While we are on the topic of Jace’s weirdness, let’s talk about Sebastian. Holy cow, what a great bad guy he is. So dang creepy!! He fascinates and horrifies me, but I think he’s a pretty awesome villain. Way more interesting than Valentine.

I should also point out that the plot really sped up in this book. City of Fallen Angels (book 4), was obviously a little bit of a filler novel, although I still enjoyed it, but the series picked up again in City of Lost Souls. And so did the angst. Oh my word, the emotion was very intense. I expected nothing less, but still. I was very sucked in.

Following Good

I’ve mentioned the majority of my concerns about TMI content issues before, so I won’t go too in depth. I think I will give a recap of my content issues when I review the last book. The only thing I have to add is that the LGBT content has been heavier in the last three books of this series than the first three.

Rating

I did really enjoy this one, although I wish there had been more (real!) Jace. Ah well, lol. 4.5 stars.

Well, I hope you guys have a great week and happy reading!
Hayden

Book Lists · Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Books With Unicorns

Happy Friday, guys! Has your week gone well? Do you have any fun weekend plans? I’m back to school craziness, so. My hope is to spend as little time as possible doing homework. 🙂 Anyway, Flashback Friday is a fun weekly meme hosted by Maya @ Her Bookish Desires where we get to talk about oldie but goodie books. This week’s theme is magical creatures. It’s supposed to be leprechauns because of St. Patrick’s day, but I fudged a little. Sorry, Maya. Somehow I ended up with unicorns…

Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst

Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire… fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil… until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.

Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don’t exist), and they’re shocked she survived. They’re even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl’s family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King’s feast—as the entrees.

The only problem? Pearl’s starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she’s definitely dead if she lets down her family. What’s a sunlight-loving vamp to do? 
(from Goodreads)

Ok, you may argue that this is a vampire novel. And you wouldn’t be entirely wrong, lol…but there is a unicorn. Fascinating combination.

The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge

In 1842, thirteen-year-old orphan Maria Merryweather arrives at Moonacre Manor, her family’s ancestral home in an charmed village in England’s West Country, and she feels as if she’s entered Paradise. Her new guardian, her uncle Sir Benjamin, is kind and funny; the Manor itself feels like home right away; and every person and animal she meets is like an old friend. But there is something incredibly sad beneath all of this beauty and comfort, that shadowing Moonacre Manor and the town around it. Maria is determined to learn about it, change it, and give her own life story a happy ending.

The enchanted valley of Moonacre is shadowed by a tragedy that happened years ago, and the memory of the Moon Princess and the mysterious little white horse. Determined to restore peace and happiness to the whole of Moonacre Valley, Maria finds herself involved with an ancient feud, and she discovers it is her destiny to end it and right the wrongs of her ancestors. Maria usually gets her own way. But what can one solitary girl do? (from Goodreads)

I just read this one, and it is so fun! Such awesome characters and a magical setting. Full review coming soon.

Alright, that’s all. Unicorn books are slightly limited, lol. Although I did consider including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. 🙂 Can you think of any others?? Have you read either of these?
Happy reading,
Hayden

New-To-Me · Reviews

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson: a Review

Happy Thursday, people! (one. more. day. lol.). Have you had a good week so far?

Summary Info

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.(from Goodreads)

Review

So, I really loved An Enchantment of Ravens, Margaret Rogerson’s first book, and I was excited to try this one. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it, so I was surprised to have fairly mixed feelings. Let’s talk about what I liked first.

The Pros: The fantasy world, Austermeer, was so neat! The sorcery wasn’t really elaborated on (it is powered by summoning demons, but not much else), but the grimoires were so cool. They are basically living books that can turn into monsters if not properly looked after. The grimoires ended up playing a much larger part in the story than I anticipated, and I thought the whole thing was very unique and intriguing.
I also loved the humor in this book. Nathaniel was hysterical and continuously cracking me up. Even his demonic servant was subtly funny. It helped break up what could have been a fairly dark book.
Related to that, I did enjoy most of the characters. Elisabeth herself wasn’t my favorite, but I loved Silas and Nathaniel.

The Cons: The plot speed was kind of odd in Sorcery of Thorns. It started out a little slowly for me, which made it hard to get into. Then, it would speed up and lull and speed up and lull. I thought we were getting to the climax a few different times before we actually made it. It just didn’t feel like a steady build, which made it hard to stay invested.
Similarly, I enjoyed the romance, but I did feel like there weren’t really enough scenes with Elisabeth and Nathaniel to make it completely believable. It was cute, but slightly underdeveloped.
Lastly, I couldn’t quite get behind Elisabeth as a heroine, and I’m not sure why. She was somewhat likable, for sure. Very brave, determined, etc. But she was a little…hard-headed? I’m having trouble putting my feelings into words. I guess I felt like there was a subtle feminist message that made Elisabeth a little pushy and not fully lovable. I can’t put it any better, she just wasn’t my favorite character. I didn’t hate her, but I didn’t love her.

Following Good

This one was fairly clean. No language, and pretty minor sexual content. Minimal LGBT content, although it was a main character. No religious content.

Rating

So, I liked aspects of Sorcery of Thorns, but it wasn’t a standout for me. 3 stars. I’m going to have to re-read An Enchantment of Ravens to see if it is as good as I remember. Any excuse for a re-read, lol.

Hope you guys have a good end to your week! Talk to you tomorrow about unicorn books (yes, that was a strange post to write, lol).
Happy reading,
Hayden