Fantasy

[Review] The Scorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Series: None

Publication Date: October 18th, 2011

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Number of Pages: 409

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, YA, Romance

Source: Public Library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen. (more…)

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[ARC Review] Seeker – Arwen Elys Dayton

Seeker (Seeker, #1)

Author: Arwen Elys Dayton

Series: Seeker #1

Publication Date: February 10th, 2015

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Number of Pages: 448

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Romance

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon


Summary

Quin Kincaid has been put through years of brutal training for what she thinks is the noble purpose of becoming a revered ‘Seeker’.

Only when it’s too late does she discover she will be using her new-found knowledge and training to become an assassin. Quin’s new role will take her around the globe, from a remote estate in Scotland to a bustling, futuristic Hong Kong where the past she thought she had escaped will finally catch up with her. (more…)

[Review] The Rithmatist – Brandon Sanderson

The Rithmatist (Rithmatist, #1)

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Series: Rithmatist #1

Publication Date: May 13th, 2013

Publisher: Tor Teen

Number of Pages: 378

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Sci-fi

Source: School library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever.

A New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2013

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[ARC Review] A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1)

Author: V.E. Schwab

Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #1

Publication Date: February 24th, 2015

Publisher: Tor Books

Number of Pages: 400

Genre: Adult, Fantasy, YA

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London – but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.

(more…)

[ARC Review] The Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Series: Red Queen Trilogy #1

Publication Date: February 10th, 2015

Publisher: Orion

Number of Pages: 320

Genre: YA, Dystopian, Fantasy

Source: Gifted

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

(more…)

[Review] Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)

Author: Laini Taylor

Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1

Publication Date: September 27th, 2011

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Number of Pages: 418

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, YA, Romance

Source: Public library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret le

arning the truth about herself? (more…)

[DNF] A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)

Author: Deborah Harkness

Series: All Souls Trilogy #1

Publication Date: February 2011

Publisher: Viking Penguin

Number of Pages: 579

Genre: Fantasy, YA, Romance

Source: School library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.

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[Review] The Ring & The Crown – Melissa de la Cruz

The Ring and the Crown (The Ring and the Crown, #1)

Author: Melissa de la Crus

Series: The Ring & the Crown #1

Publication Date: April 1st, 2014

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Number of Pages: 384

Genre: YA, Historical, Romance, Fantasy

Source: Public library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.

But even with the aid of Emrys’ magic, Eleanor’s extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen’s Guard.

Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie’s face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she’s always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she’s always dreamed of–the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor’s court: trust no one.

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[Review] The Paper Magician – Charlie N. Holmberg

The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy, #1)

Author: Charlie N. Holmberg

Series: The Paper Magician Trilogy #1

Publication Date: September 1st, 2014

Publisher: 47North

Number of Pages: 224

Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Adventure, Fantasy, Romance

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


 Summary

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic—invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

(more…)

[Review] The Blood of Olympus – Rick Riordan

The Blood of Olympus

The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5)

Author: Rick Riordan

Publish Date: October 7th, 2014

Series: The Heroes of Olympus #5

Number of Pages: 516

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure

Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they’re stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it “might” be able to stop a war between the two camps.

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea’s army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.


Review

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW

I’ll put this out there right now. Please don’t kill me for it.

I finished this series only for Nico.

In my honest opinion, the first series far outshines the spin-off. For one, the characters and writing were both better in the Percy Jackson series than in this one.

So now, The Blood of Olympus.

I felt like the characters were different. This might be due to my foray into YA more than Middle Grade in the past year, but this time around, I felt like they were much more childish and out of character than I remember them being. Leo’s humor was much more obnoxious (to the point that it wasn’t funny) than I personally remembered. I felt like their characters were so unlike what I remembered them being. And Nico. Although I loved finally getting to read his POV, I couldn’t help but feel like his personality was originally portrayed as being so much more complicated than it ended up being. On top of this, he kept teasing us and saying that there were characters that were going to die and we all kept bracing ourselves for the heartbreak we’d feel when one character died. We were all expecting to cry and feel the pain BECAUSE of what happened in The Last Olympian. We expected sacrifice and pain.

I got none of that.

Riordan killed off none of the seven. Leo “died” but drank the potion. His sacrifice was supposedly “noble” and enabled him to be able to return to Calypso, but as a friend, shouldn’t he at least give his pals back at Camp Half-Blood a heads up?

But honestly, this wasn’t the most prominent issue it had.

The Blood of Olympus was very very dull. It takes forever for them to get into the battles and all of the individual problems. I’m pretty sure the only thing that kept me reading were Nico’s POVs. The buildup is so big that the payoff is disappointing. Obviously we knew that Gaea was going to be raised. If not, then the big battle would not have happened. But the way that Gaea was raised, due to Percy’s nosebleed, was so anticlimatic. The entire book was anticlimatic. I was expecting something like The Last Olympian, a great long book all about the battles and desperation of war. I was not happy with the one to three chapters, from like THREE POVs, out of all of the ones in the book. The entire book felt rushed and like a cop-out compared to what everybody in the fandom had been expecting.

Speaking of which, that ending was so not okay. There was literally no falling action that showed what happened after the battle. I mean, yay for summarizing everything, but I would sincerely like to know what the characters do. Some of them had great endings, but the rest? Not so much. What happens to Percabeth? What happens to Hazel? What about Frank? Please tell me.

I understand the appeal of a dramatic ending but this is the LAST book. I need some closure.

I also had a problem with the writing. It read like a fanfiction in some places and it felt like there had been no planning. Personally, when I try to write stuff that has many characters I do try to get a description of what every person is doing, but sometimes, it just ends up being tedious. In The Blood of Olympus, every single character’s actions during a battle were described in great detail. I love having the ability to visualize everything, but in this case, I felt like it detracted from my overall enjoyment of that particular scene and ruined the feeling of the battle.

If you don’t get what I’m talking about, here is my lovely demonstration.

The giants were coming. The ground shook as they rose from their positions and advanced on the demigods.
Frank (insert action and something to do with an animal transformation)
Percy (insert lengthy action and reasons why this POV thinks he is amazing)
Annabeth (insert action something about her fierce eyes and dagger)
Leo (insert action about tools)
Nico (insert something about dark shadows and skeletons)
Jason (insert action and something about power of Zeus)

Continue that for every single character in that battle and you get a good idea of what the scene ends up looking like.

Nico’s ending is fabulous. A little OOC, but I really liked that Riordan gave him a happy ending.

Now I’m always refreshing the Solangelo tag on Archive of Our Own and Fanfiction.net

Leo’s ending is also great but I didn’t like how the book cut off right after it. I wanted to see him return to Camp Half-Blood and have a similar return to how Percy came back in Battle of the Labyrinth. Either way, he and Calypso are so adorable together.

If there is any indication of the quality of this book, it’s that my ten-year-old brother didn’t get through half of it because he was bored.

2/5 Stars