The Keeper of the Lost Cities by: Shannon Messenger (Book 1)

Sophie Foster has been living with humans for 12 years. Not that it was bad, it just wasn’t right for her. At only 12 years old, she was attending high school and getting scholarships to Yale. So having human parents was not a good thing. But Sophie lived with them and loved them with all her heart.

But Sophie isn’t a human. She’s an elf. And elves aren’t what you think they are, and neither are the fairy tales. Basically, the existence of elves, and the fact that Sophie is an elf, say that whatever Sophie learned as a human, is nonsense. Utter nonsense. And Sophie doesn’t like that.

When she meets Fitz, she’s transported to the land of the elves. (Not that it’s called that, but there are cities, and if I named them, you would be bored.) She’s a Telepath, which is rare, and the even rarer thing? Nobody can penetrate her mind, yet she can penetrate everyone else’s mind. Weird. And dangerous, because there are people out there who don’t like her. Or her mysterious past and rare abilities. (Trust me, there’s more.) She meets Alden, Biana, Keefe, and a few others, but when the adventure calls, she either faces it or runs.

I rate this book a 20/10 or a 10/5 because this book was such a great read. I read it in a day (all 488-ish pages) so I could figure out what Sophie would do next. The mystery and magic explodes from the pages and creates a world in your mind that you didn’t even know existed. This book is one of my new favorite books, and I’m happy the librarian introduced this series to me. I’m currently reading the rest of the series, and I think I’ll finish quite quickly, seeing that I can never put this book down. I would recommend this book to everyone. It’s an awesome book (I’ve already said that…) and you will be glad you read it. It’s a wild adventure with 6 books in the series. I think you might have found your new favorite book! ENJOY! (with love)

Prince Charming’s Search (Charming Academy #3) – Review

Prince Charming’s Search is the third book in the Charming Academy Series, by Jessica L. Elliot. This book centers on Jacobi and Clarissa’s quest. I’ll go over some of the things we know about the two based off the first book.

Clarissa:

  • Very sweet, but is not as large of a character in the first book.
  • not very good at dancing
  • Was in the year younger than her prince, like Allegra was.
  • Struggled along with Allegra to help Leticia after Eleanor’s death.
  • In the second book, we learned from her interactions with Allegra at the beginning of their last year of schooling that she was in lots of servitude classes. Huh, Cinderella?

Jacobi:

  • Was good friends with George, Kaelan, Adrian and Lucian.
  • Was also (very) not good at dancing,
  • Okay, to be honest, we really know the least about Jacobi and Clarissa from earlier books. That is probably why I felt like the beginning of this book dragged a little, because Elliot had to try and establish both the plot for this story and simply who the characters were.
  • Oh yeah, Jacobi was funny. He often tried to lighten the mood, though less comically than Adrian would. He was just good. He wanted everyone else to also be happy.

*Spoilers*

I enjoyed this book because it was a very creative retelling of Cinderella. I feel like the Cinderella story is a classic, and it, as with many other fairytales, (I’m not ignoring them, I just particularly enjoy Cinderella), can be retold so many cool ways. I also particularly loved how just good Clarissa and Jacobi are, they are sweet and loving and they try. Some may interpret Clarissa based on her words during servitude that she was spoiled, but it was the exact opposite of everything she had grown up in and she did want to change things not only for her, but for all servants in general who were treated as horribly as she and Angel were.

Which leads me to Angel. Oh, how I loved her. I thought that having Angel work along side Clarissa was a fantastic way to bring in the Fairy Godmother character. She was so kind and I really liked the background story she made, though it was false, and her constant care for Clarissa.

There were some other really interesting characters in this book. The ghost people and queen that Jacobi met were interesting, and how Jacobi got himself a new pet after he so selflessly gave Patches to Jezzie. The baker who was in that scene was also entertaining and a very practical addition.

The family that Clarissa is serving had some very interesting dynamics as well. The Master and Mistress were definitely not kind, and Cynthia is ridiculous. Jezebel tried so hard to please. Toby was just mean, but I really appreciated the character development surrounding him and those around him that occurred later.

I think it is really interesting how all of the books have lines that cross over from the other books that blend the quests together. Many of the mysteries resurface in other books and I find it really cool how Elliot brings the information together. This book did drag a little at the beginning but became an intriguing read where the questions continue, some the reader knows may not be answered even in later books. The twist on Cinderella was very well done and creative.

Review of “The Unwanteds” series, by Lisa McMann

two children fleeing from a winged giant cat

 

“The Unwanteds” was a very entertaining series, and I had a fun time reading the books.

Alex lives in Quill, a land that hates and fears creativity of any kind. On a specific day every year, Quillens celebrate the Purge. The Purge is a holiday that separates out the thirteen-year olds of their country, picking out the Wanteds (the people designated to be the future leaders of Quill and who have some life in them), the Necessaries (the people to keep the population of Quill alive and are drab and lifeless), and the Unwanteds (the creative people who will be sent to their death. I know, morbid, right?).

Alex, unfortunately, is deemed Unwanted, whereas his identical twin brother, Aaron, is a Wanted. Alex is sent away to be killed, to the place where they end the Unwanteds, the Death Farm, but miraculously, he doesn’t die! He is sent to a magical world called Artimé by the Death Farmer, a mage named Marcus Today.

Alex befriends other Unwanteds named Lani, Samheed, and Meghan, and together they make dicoveries, learn magic, and go on adventures.

Rating: 4/5 stars. The issues I found with this series were that 1) it was too romantic (at least for me, but if you like romance you’d love it), 2) the battle scenes (especially the one in the last book) were way too long, and 3) I found that the plot line got a little bit repetitive in the final books. Other than that, it was good. This series was great, but I’m hard to please when it comes to books.

Ages: 12-15

The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black

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The Cruel Prince, written by Holly Black, is a modern fantasy and a first book in the duology. The second book, The Wicked King, was recently released. It follows Jude, who along with her twin sister Taryn and her half-sister Vivienne, was taken to the fairy world by Vivienne’s true father.

This book was very highly anticipated, and people either loved it or hated it. I personally liked it. My favorite element was the school that Jude attended with the other fey her age; it gave a unique twist on a fantasy story that made it different from the others. Jude as a character was aggressive and impulsive, but I didn’t mind. I found myself thrilled when she kept fighting the bullying of Prince Cardan and his trio.

A problem many people seem to bring up is the romance between Jude and a certain character. In my opinion, there wasn’t a romance at all. At the end of the book the character confesses how he can’t stop thinking about her and then they kiss but for no reason? There wasn’t any reason for them to and they didn’t seem to enjoy it nor did they talk about it again so that was very strange. From what my friends and I can tell, there is no relationship between them because Jude doesn’t like him still and she betrayed him at the end, losing his trust and likely any romance they might have had.

I liked how the story brought out my emotions. I felt exhilarated while Jude argued with Cardan, sad when Jude complained about being mortal, and angry when betrayals occur. I loved how the mortal world was mixed in and how they would travel between realms, which added to the uniqueness of the novel. I did not like how the fey are as they are in every book: so incredibly perfect and beautiful that mortals can’t begin to compare. I don’t understand why this matters so much when writing about the fey, but it needs to end. This book would have been so much better if the world were expanded. How big is the realm? Is it only as small as the map in the beginning? If so, the author should have no trouble going in depth into all the places. I feel as though this depth would have made the story leave a more lasting effect on me. The writing style was very nice and easy to read, and the imagery was wonderful.

I would rate The Cruel Prince 8/10 dragons, for the unique twist on fey stories and the emotions it brought from me.

Tower of Dawn, by Sarah J. Maas

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Tower of Dawn, by Sarah J. Maas, is the sixth book in the seven-book series (not including the novella) Throne of Glass. I would suggest not reading this review if you plan on reading the series because it may give away important details. The book strays from our protagonist, Aelin Galathynius and instead focuses on Chaol Westfall, who in the previous book suffered a paralyzing injury that sent him off to Antica, in the Southern Continent. Once there, Chaol works with healer Yrene Towers to heal his injuries and recruit the Antica military in aiding the war effort against Maeve.

Most everyone was weary heading into this book. Chaol is one of the supporting characters who has been in the series since its inception, although certain events led to Aelin distancing herself from him, thus making the reader not care about him as much as they used to. I was surprised by Maas’ choice of making the novel from Chaol’s point of view, but as it was the seventh book, and I had to read it. It started off extremely slow because the reader was trying to understand Chaol again and find reasons to care about him. Around a hundred pages in, the book starts to pick up and became impossible to put down. Maas made a wonderful decision by making Chaol the protagonist because he was the one character that I felt I didn’t have a strong connection to, and by making this novel, Maas was able to make the readers like him again. It also gave important background to crucial characters such as Yrene and why the Antica kingdom decided to help the war effort.

Most people don’t read the Novella, The Assassin’s Blade, because they think they don’t need to, but I would highly suggest reading it before Tower of Dawn because you will get further background on Yrene and her interactions with Aelin and it’s a very fun book overall. Yrene is an incredibly lovable character, and her relationship with Chaol started off rough but evolved interestingly. I don’t quite understand what was going on between Nesryn and Chaol because I couldn’t remember from the last book, but they had a very strange relationship. The chapters from Nesryn’s point of view only got interesting in the last couple hundred pages, unfortunately. She’s a wonderful character but in the first 400 pages, she didn’t do much.

There was a lot of representation in race and sexuality in this book, which I know a lot of people have been waiting for. The whole Southern Continent is full of darker skinned characters and one of the princess’ is in a relationship with a woman. In her other books, there tends to be a lot of graphic scenes, but this one didn’t have many. There is little representation in body type, which is extremely annoying considering even the strong women who train vigorously every day still have no visible muscles and curvy waists, which doesn’t anatomically make sense considering how strong they are.
What I didn’t like was how Chaol’s personality changed. When I look way back to Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, I remembered him not so much the whiny, tough, and brooding man he is here. Unless I remember him wrong, his personality upset me a bit and just reminded me of a more watered-down Rowan Whitethorn. You might think this was because of character development, but the character felt almost foreign to me, which isn’t a good thing.

I feel as though, as usual, Maas could have cut down a hundred pages, because there were so many parts that seemed unnecessary. I feel as though she could have spent more time developing the world. I’m not sure if we will get to see the Southern Continent again, but the kingdom and the whole southern part of the continent have been left unexplored.

I would rate Tower of Dawn 7/10 dragons simply for my love of the series and the new developments. Negative dragons for the slow first 150 pages.

Thor Ragnaroks (Graphic Novel)

 

Thor Ragnaroks includes three stories:  “Thor: Blood Oath”, the graphic novels “Thor 80-85”, and “Stormbreaker: the Saga of Beta Ray Bill”.

The first story, “Thor: Blood Oath”, starts with Thor fighting a giant metal monster in New York City. Once he defeats the beast he senses that his brothers, The Warriors Three, are in trouble. Thor then travels back to Asgard to find his brothers on trial for murder. The brothers had been traveling across the North Seas when they slayed a massive sea monster, not knowing it was a shapeshifting giant. The giant’s name was Holth,  and his father Gnives demanded justice for his son. Thor tried to stop Gnives, but instead received the same punishment as his brothers, which was to complete five daunting tasks made by Gnives, or die.

The second group of stories, “Thor 80-85”, starts with the explanation of the creation of the gods’ weapons. They were all created in one mold, and were forged so powerfully that when they were being created they shook the nine realms.  The creators of the mold, three dwarves named Ertri, Buri, and Brok, tried to destroy the mold so it wouldn’t get into the wrong hands, but they died while trying to do so. The mold was found by none other than Thor’s half-brother Loki, who creates alliances with other enemies of Asgard and creates weapons from the mold he found to destroy Asgard. Thus bringing the end of Asgard, the Ragnarok.

The third and final story is about Thor’s oath-brother and one of the only survivors of Ragnarok, Beta Ray Bill. Part of the Korbinite people, he is their protector. After being taken out of the Final Battle of Asgard, Beta Ray Bill traveled back to his people to find them in great danger from the world ravager Ashta, also known as Galactus. To keep them safe, the Korbinite government had all citizens that weren’t needed in the military to be transferred to the Meta-Orb which Beta Ray Bill had to protect. But now Galactus’s herald stardust is out for the Meta-Orb. Will Beta Ray Bill be able to keep it safe?

 

The Runaway King – Review

book cover for "The Runaway King" - a broken sword on a green background

The Runaway King is the second book in the Ascendance Trilogy.

Jaron has just barely become king when an assassination attempt forces him to begin making plans. As pressure mounts on his shoulders, he finally concludes that deserting the kingdom is likely his only chance to save it. Or, in other words, going to the Avenian Pirates is the only lead he has on how to begin saving his country. Resuming his old identity of Sage, he is forced into dangerous situations in hopes of pulling off a miraculous save. Jaron must face his past, learn his friends from foes, and who he truly can trust, or more correctly, who he cannot.

I really enjoyed this book. Jaron is the sort of character that you love and cannot help but be driven up the wall by at the same time. This new adventure is full of exactly the sort of ridiculous things I could see him doing, and he does them perfectly. Or not perfectly, I guess, but incredibly well, given what the actions themselves are. He is hilarious and determined to save the day,  no matter the personal cost.

I would give this a 4.6/5. Jaron is determined to save everyone and everything, and this book shows that determination perfectly.