ARC Book Review: Vow Of Thieves by Mary Pearson

Book: Vow Of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

Expected Publication Is August 6, 2019 by Henry Holt & Co|Expected Number Of Pages: 480 pages

Where I Got It: I received an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: Dances Of Thieves #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

Kazi and Jase have survived, stronger and more in love than ever. Their new life now lies before them―the Ballengers will be outlaws no longer, Tor’s Watch will be a kingdom, and the two of them will meet all challenges side by side, together at last.

But an ominous warning mars their journey back, and in their rush to return to Tor’s Watch, just outside the fortress walls, they are violently attacked and torn apart―and each is thrust into their own new hell.

Unsure whether the other is alive or dead, Kazi and Jase must keep their wits among their greatest enemies and unlikeliest allies. And all the while, Death watches and waits.

I really liked Vow Of Thieves!  I was really excited to get an ARC of it, and I liked it just as much as I thought I would.

I thought the story was great in this book.  I liked seeing what was going on with Kazi and Jase, and things were not easy for them in this book.  I wanted them to be okay, and there were times, especially at the beginning, where I thought things wouldn’t be okay.  Things turned out just fine, of course, and I’m glad it did.  They really deserve it after everything they’ve been through.

I really liked Kazi in this book and she’s such an amazing character.  She had some tough decisions to make, and I thought she handled things the best way she could.

As for Jase…I did like him a little bit more in this book than I did in the previous book.  He’s really trying to keep his family together and to protect his people.  I wanted him to be okay, but with everything that happens, it wasn’t easy for him.  Still, he was able to make his way back to his home and family, and with Kazi, they were able to do what they needed to do in order to get Tor’s Watch back to what it was before the attack.

I thought things were wrapped up really well.  I was wondering where the story was going to go, and we definitely found out in this book.  I’m sad it’s only a duology, because I really wanted more of this story and this world.  Even though things are wrapped up and this particular story is over, there’s room for a lot more story in this world.  With how the book ended, it makes me wonder what else is on the horizon.

Things may have been resolved in this book, but there’s a lot more that can happen.  I hope it doesn’t, but you never know.  I know I’ll be waiting to see if we’ll be getting more books in this world, and who it might focus on.  It is a great end to the series, and it was definitely a page-turner.

Like the previous book, it took a little bit to get into the book, but once I did, it was hard to stop reading.  This series, and the Remnant Chronicles, are worth reading.

4 stars.  I really liked Vow Of Thieves, and it’s a great end to a great series.

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ARC Book Review: House Of Salt And Sorrows by Erin A Craig

Book: House Of Salt And Sorrows by Erin A Craig

Expected Publication is August 6, 2019 by Delacorte|Expected Number Of Pages: 416

Where I Got It: I received an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next. 

I liked House Of Salt And Sorrows!  Not as much as I thought I would but I still liked it.

It very much reminded me of the tale of the 12 Dancing Princesses.  I don’t know if it’s a re-telling of that story, because I couldn’t find actual confirmation that this is the case.  Either way, I liked that they were cursed, and the reason behind what was happening to Annaleigh’s sisters was interesting.

I don’t know how I feel about Annaleigh.  She seems to be the only one who knows what’s going on, which doesn’t surprise me.  Considering how things go, and what’s really going on, it’s not surprising.  I hope things work out for Annaleigh and her sisters, and it seems like things end in a pretty good place for them.  Hopefully, nothing horrible happens to them, and they can all live happily ever after.

I wish we got more with her sisters, but with so many of them, it’s not a surprise.  You get a pretty good sense of the world they’re living in, and how suffocating it is to be in mourning all the time.  You see what people think of them, and how hard it is for them to move past it and move on with their lives.

The setting is pretty haunting and very gothic.  I mentioned how suffocating it was for them.  You definitely feel all of that throughout the book, and how hard it was for Annaleigh when her father decided days after another funeral that they were no longer going to be in mourning.

I’m not sure what else to say about House Of Salt And Sorrows.  I liked the world and the setting but I wasn’t in love with the characters.

3 stars.  I liked House Of Salt And Sorrows but I didn’t love it.

ARC Book Review: Glow: Book 1, Potency by Aubrey Hadley

Book: Glow, Book 1, Potency by Aubrey Hadley

Expected Publication is February 13, 2019 by Ruby & Topaz Publishing|Expected # Of Pages: 699

Where I Got It: I got Glow as an e-arc from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Series: None

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

The Maasai Mara Sleeping Syndrome has returned after a six-month hiatus. This time, it’s popped up in New York, and it’s wiped out an entire homeless shelter.The same night of the outbreak, Harper, a seventeen-year-old girl, stumbles across a glowing figure in the desert outskirts of her neighborhood. As her suburb goes on lockdown, Harper finds herself isolated from her friends and family, and soon begins to suspect that the events — though thousands of miles apart — may have something in common. Harper must find her bravery and embark on a plot-twisting adventure that will have her looking for answers in unexpected places… and worlds.

I was looking through the books on netgalley one day, and came across this book.  It looked interesting, and the idea is pretty cool.  For the most part, I didn’t like Glow.

It started off really good, and I think that’s why I ended up being so disappointed in it.  Harper has this really protective mother who homeschool’s Harper and her sister.  Harper’s barely allowed to the leave the house, and her mom has one of the neighbors watching the house in case Harper leaves.  You’re not really sure why her mom’s like this, especially since it seems like things were like this before the Maasai Mara Sleeping Syndrome.

At first, I was definitely intrigued, and it seemed like we had a mystery on our hands.  We eventually learn what’s going on, but that’s when the book started to lose me.  Once her neighborhood goes on lockdown, and she gets whisked away on this…adventure, I started to lose interest.  It was hard to keep track of what was going on, and it had the potential to be really interesting.  Instead, I was really bored, and it was page after page about why one group was better than another, and Harper trying to figure out this new world.

It’s sci-fi and it felt like I was reading about the end of the world.  I expected a lot more action and excitement and danger, and I didn’t get any of it.  It felt really slow, and we’re told things as opposed to seeing them.  It was a lot longer than it needed to be, and too much time was spent explaining things.  It looks like this book is the first book in a series, even though I couldn’t find any information about a book two.  I expect to see the world and story get set up but we got more than what we needed.

I’m not interested enough to pick up any other books in this series (if there are any) and I’m not completely sure where things are headed in any future books.  With the how the book ended, it seemed like there was going to be a lot of waiting until the next thing happens, and I don’t particularly want to read through pages and pages of Harper waiting until the next big thing happens.  I could be wrong, but I just don’t particularly want to find out.  Especially if it’s anything like this book.  Hopefully not though.

My Rating: 1 star.  I like the idea, and it started off really good!  It just got bogged down in the details, and I really did expect a sci-fi story involving aliens with an apocalyptic feel to be more exciting and action-packed.

ARC Book Review: Spin The Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Book: Spin The Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Expected Publication Is July 30, 2019 by Knopf Books For Young Readers|Expected Number Of Pages: 400

Where I Got It: I got an e-ARC of Spin The Dawn from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own

Series: The Blood Of Stars #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.  

I ended up really liking Spin The Stars!  I wasn’t sure about it at first, but I’m glad I kept reading.

The description of Project Runway meets Mulan had me a little nervous.  I’ve never watched Project Runway but I do know what it is, and Project Runway meets Mulan isn’t a horrible description.  Once a tailor was chosen, though, it felt like that aspect was pretty much gone.

I would love to see the dresses and everything else Maia came up with.  Honestly, this is one book I would love to see as a movie, for the clothes alone.  Or for when Maia is working on her final three dresses.  That part of the book was really vivid, and I could imagine it really well.

The book went in a completely different direction than I thought it would, and that’s actually a good thing!  It kept me interested because I didn’t know what was going to happen next.

I really liked Maia!  She seemed really good at tailoring, and while she does have a lot of obstacles, she more than proves she’s worthy of being a master tailor.  I will say, though, the romance I wasn’t completely into.  I wasn’t surprised by it, and had a feeling things would work out the way they did.  It was fine, and it worked, I suppose, but I think I would have been just as fine without it.

I also really loved how the title fit in with the book.  It’s referenced several times throughout the book, mostly at the end, and I don’t know why but I really liked the moment when the title made sense.  It was really nice to see, and I’m not sure why.

4 stars.  I really liked Spin The Dawn, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

ARC Book Review: Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Book: Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Expected Publication Is May 7, 2019 by Farrar, Straus, And Giroux|Expected Number Of Pages: 320 pages

Where I Got It: I received an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

10 00 p.m.: Lucky is the biggest K-pop star on the scene, and she’s just performed her hit song “Heartbeat” in Hong Kong to thousands of adoring fans. She’s about to debut on The Tonight Show in America, hopefully a breakout performance for her career. But right now? She’s in her fancy hotel, trying to fall asleep but dying for a hamburger.

11 00 p.m.: Jack is sneaking into a fancy hotel, on assignment for his tabloid job that he keeps secret from his parents. On his way out of the hotel, he runs into a girl wearing slippers, a girl who is single-mindedly determined to find a hamburger. She looks kind of familiar. She’s very cute. He’s maybe curious.

12:00 a.m.: Nothing will ever be the same.

I really liked Somewhere Only We Know!  I swear, Goo writes the cutest books, and this one was no exception.

I will say, it took me a while to get into it.  Jack and Lucky both narrate, and I think that’s why I had a hard time with the book at first.  It was hard to get into each character, but as the book went on, I got more settled into things, and I ended up really enjoyed the story.

It happens over a pretty short period of time, and it’s quite the adventure for both Jack and Lucky.  There really isn’t a lot of romance- it’s more hinted at than anything else, and while father-daughter relationships are pretty important in her other books, it’s not something we see in this book.  It has the same feel as her other books but it doesn’t have some of the same elements I’ve seen from her.  Still, it was really fun and really cute, and I really liked seeing them explore Hong Kong together.

The Sun Is Also A Star is a pretty good read-alike for this one, in the sense that it’s the one-day romance where they’ll never see each other again…or find each other years later as adults.  Even though we get an epilogue, and see what happens after the events of the book, part of me wonders how things worked for both Lucky and Jack.  Romantically, of course, but also in their personal lives.

As for Jack and Lucky, I really liked Lucky but I was not a fan of Jack.  I think having his perspective really hurt, because we see and know things Lucky does not.  It made it really hard to like him and even though we see him change, it was really hard to get behind it knowing what we, as readers, know.

4 stars.  I really liked it, and it’s a cute book.  I wasn’t a fan of Jack, but I really liked Lucky.  I also wish I had more to say about this book, but I don’t.  It’s definitely worth reading, especially if you like K-Pop.

ARC Book Review: Romanov by Nadine Brandes

Book: Romanov by Nadine Brandes

Expected Publication Is May 7, 2019 by Thomas Nelson|Expected Number Of Pages: 352

Where I Got It: I received Romanov as an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: None

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

From the author of Fawkes comes a magical take on the story of Anastasia Romanov.

The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of saving herself and her family are either to release the spell and deal with the consequences, or to enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her…

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad…and he’s on the other.

I liked Romanov, but not as much as I wanted to.  After reading Fawkes, I was pretty excited about this one, but I struggled to get through this book.

It’s a little sad, because the idea is really cool.  It’s a different take on the Anastasia story, but the book started off really slow.  It didn’t pick up the her family is executed, and that’s when Romanov got interesting.  That’s where I’m torn, because on the one hand, it took too long, with too many details before things started moving along.

At the same time, having that background did give some insight into what was going at the time.  So while starting right before the execution would have started things off with a bang, I think we also might have missed out on a lot.  Unless Brandes found a way to include in the book, through flashbacks or something.

I really liked how she included magic with history.  I wish we had more about the history of magic in Russia and how it was used.  I had the same issue with her other book, and it’s the execution of the Romanov family plus Anastasia surviving plus magic, sort of like how Fawkes was the Gunpowder plot but with magic.

We all know how people have claimed to be Anastasia over the years, and how two bodies were quite a bit away from the rest of the family, and this book has a really interesting and magical explanation for that.  It’s certainly an interesting way to have Anastasia survive, and I liked how that was included in the story.

Brandes is really good at re-telling history with magic.  While I wanted more details about the magical aspects, and how it exists in this world, I liked that it was just a normal part of Nastya’s world.  I can’t wait to see what else she comes up, and what part of history she’ll re-tell next.

My Rating: 3 stars.  It took a long time for this book to get going, but I did like it, and how she re-told this story.

ARC Book Review: Dealing In Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

Book: Dealing In Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

Expected Publication Is 3/05/2019 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers|Expected Number Of Pages: 352

Where I Got It: I received an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: None

Genre: YA Dystopia

At night, Las Mal Criadas own these streets.

Sixteen-year-old Nalah leads the fiercest all-girl crew in Mega City. That role brings with it violent throwdowns and access to the hottest boydega clubs, but Nalah quickly grows weary of her questionable lifestyle. Her dream is to get off the streets and make a home in the exclusive Mega Towers, in which only a chosen few get to live. To make it to the Mega Towers, Nalah must prove her loyalty to the city’s benevolent founder and cross the border in a search of the mysterious gang the Ashé Riders. Led by a reluctant guide, Nalah battles crews and her own doubts but the closer she gets to her goal the more she loses sight of everything—and everyone—she cares about.

Nalah must choose whether or not she’s willing to do the unspeakable to get what she wants. Can she discover that home is not where you live but whom you chose to protect before she loses the family she’s created for good?

I liked this one!  I really liked The Education Of Margot Sanchez when I read it a couple of years ago, and I was looking forward to reading this one.

I wish I liked it more than I did, but it’s definitely an interesting read.  I thought the world was really different- it’s ruled by women, and girl gangs are in charge in Mega City and the world beyond it.  This is a world where winning fights means you move up the ranks,  I don’t think I remember seeing many, if any men in this book.  They are very much in the background, and low on the totem pole.  It’s an interesting role reversal- the women are violent and powerful, and I think it could have been easy to have it be the complete opposite.

I had a hard time with the world.  We’re thrown into Nalah’s world and I wanted to know more about how the world came to be.  Why were the women ruling things?  What happened that Mega City seemed to be closed off and dealing dreams?  I had so many questions about the world, and they weren’t answered.  Everything was just there, and not really explained.  I wanted to know why things were the way they were, and I really felt like the sueño tabs weren’t used as much as they could have been.  It helps people sleep, but they end up being really addicted to it.  Since Nalah’s group didn’t use it, we only got glimpses of what it did.

I did have trouble keeping the different gangs apart, especially at first.  It was the same for the characters.  While I was able to keep up by the end of the book, it did take a while.

Dealing In Dreams is also in first-person, which didn’t work for this particular book.  At least for me.  I don’t mind it but I think we were in Nalah’s head a little too much.  I don’t know that multiple narrators would have fit with this story but it could have been interesting to get another perspective on things.  The writing didn’t work for me- it seemed a little stilted but maybe it’s because it’s first-person?  Maybe I’ll have to try it on audio, because it seems like it would work really well as an audio book.

I know it seems like I didn’t like Dealing In Dreams, but I did!  Thinking about it now, I think my issues with the book was a combination of not completely paying attention to the book, wanting a little more from the world-building and characters, and thinking it’s better suited to audio.  But I liked seeing what was going on in this world.  I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like this book, and I do mean that in a good way.

I think the one thing I truly disliked was the ending.  It just sort of ended, and I was confused because it seemed like there should have been more resolution.  I was even more surprised that this book seems to be a stand-alone.  I assumed that it was the first in a series- which would explain the ending and the fact that I didn’t get the details I wanted.  There’s not a lot of room for explaining every single thing in a stand-alone.  There’s definitely room for another book set in this world.

3 stars.  I did like Dealing In Dreams, and I loved the role reversal in the book.  I really liked the world, but I did finish the book wanting more.  Maybe we’ll get lucky, and see another book set in this world.

ARC Book Review: A Curse So Dark And Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Book: A Curse So Dark And Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Published January 2019 by Bloomsbury YA|489 pages

Where I Got It: I got an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: A Curse So Dark And Lonely #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

Fall in love, break the curse. 

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom. 

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

I was really intrigued by this book when I saw it on Netgalley, and I knew I had to request it.  Unfortunately, it was just okay for me, and I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.

I had a really hard time getting into it, especially at the beginning.  It was about a quarter of the way in that I started to like the story a little more.  The dual POV didn’t work for me, and it was hard to tell who was narrating because Rhen and Harper’s chapters were really similar, and they sounded pretty much the same to me.  I could only read a few chapters at a time before needing to put it down.  I just really struggled with it.

I think a lot of my struggles with A Curse So Dark And Lonely come from me being bored.  I really liked the idea of a modern day re-telling where Belle ends up in a magical land to break the curse.  It just took a while to get there.  I couldn’t completely root for Rhen and Harper, and I felt like they had no chemistry.  I had a hard time with the fact that they basically abducted girls, hoping they would be the one to break the curse.  And for a while, it seemed like she would end up falling for Grey.  I was surprised it didn’t go that way.

Speaking of Grey, I was surprised by everything that happened with him at the end of the book.  I know there’s a sequel, and while I don’t think I’ll pick it up, I am curious to see where things go for him.  It’s strange, because this book read like a stand-alone, but with how things ended, there is room for more story.

I wish we had more of Harper’s life before Emberfall.  All we really know about her is that her mom’s dying of cancer, her dad’s not in the picture, and her brother has taken up her dad’s work because of the debt he left them in.  I honestly couldn’t tell you anything else about her and her life.  Still, it was interesting to see her get settled into life at Emberfall.

It did get a lot more exciting at the end, and it was nice to actually have some action, as opposed to all of the traveling that happens in the book.  I don’t mind a bit of traveling but I needed something to break it up a little bit.  It was too bad we didn’t get more of it throughout the rest of the book.

2 stars.  I liked Grey, and Harper was a really thoughtful, kind character but I really struggled to get through it.  It’s a cool take on Beauty And The Beast, though.

ARC Book Review: White Stag by Kara Barbieri

Book: White Stag by Kara Barbieri

Published January 2018 by Wednesday Books|368 pages

Where I Got: I got an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: Permafrost #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

White Stag, the first book in a brutally stunning series by Kara Barbieri, involves a young girl who finds herself becoming more monster than human and must uncover dangerous truths about who she is and the place that has become her home. 

A Wattpad break out star with over a million reads! Now expanded, revised and available in print and eBook.

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.

When I saw this book on netgalley, I was intrigued enough to request it.  The cover is beautiful but unfortunately, I didn’t like this book as much as I wanted to.

One of the things I didn’t like was how bored I was.  The world didn’t make a lot of sense to me, and it’s not really clear how the humans and goblins came to be.  The Stag and it’s importance to the Goblin King wasn’t clear, and the hunt didn’t make a lot of sense.  It’s an interesting idea, but I just needed more details.

The mythology was a little odd to me.  It seemed like a mix of different mythologies, which could have been cool but didn’t work because it made things more confusing than they should have been.  It felt like the goblins weren’t really goblins- they felt more like faeries to me than actual goblins.

The book was also pretty forgettable and even though I finished the book pretty recently, I also couldn’t tell you most of what happens in the book.  It felt like a blur, and I think I kept reading in the hopes I would end up liking it more.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and while I can see why people really like it, I just needed more from it.

I also wish I had more to say about White Stag, but I really don’t.  Unless I want to start repeating myself, of course.

1 star.  The cover is beautiful and I liked the premise of the book.  But I was bored, and thought there needed to be more world-building.  We get too little about the world, and what we do get is too confusing.

ARC Book Review: Gilded Cage by Vic James

Book: Gilded Cage by Vic James

Published February 2017 by Del Ray|368 Pages

Where I Got It: I received an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: Dark Gifts #1

Genre: YA Alternate History/Fantasy

A darkly fantastical debut set in a modern England where magically gifted aristocrats rule, and commoners are doomed to serve—for readers of Victoria Aveyard and Susanna Clarke

NOT ALL ARE FREE.
NOT ALL ARE EQUAL.
NOT ALL WILL BE SAVED.

Our world belongs to the Equals—aristocrats with magical gifts—and all commoners must serve them for ten years.

But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of their noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty—but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

I remember hearing about this book and being so excited about it.  It’s an alternate London, where commoners are basically slaves for 10 years to those in power.  It seemed up my alley, but I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.  And for some reason, I never got around to reviewing this book, and since I was looking forward to it, I did want to talk about it.

It was really hard for me to get into, and I don’t know that I’m interested enough to keep going with the series. The origin of slave days seemed really confusing, and not explained very well.  It’s the same with the origin of those with skill, and for the life of me, I cannot remember how it started.  It just didn’t seem like the world was explained- you were immersed in the world, which was different, but I found myself wondering what the history was, and I hate that whatever was explained isn’t sticking.

I do wonder when it’s supposed to take place- there were times when it felt like the technology was modern enough, but at the same time, it felt like an alternate Victorian London.  I did like that, the alternate Victorian London feel, and now that I think about it, it is sort of a steampunk London, which worked pretty well with the concept of a slaveday.

Still, I feel like this book is another book in the wave of books where the upper class has powers that the lower class doesn’t have (or isn’t supposed to have, but does).  Maybe I’m just jaded about this type of book already, but for me, there are better books in this genre to read.  Maybe if I had read this book before some of the other similar books out there, I would have felt differently.  Or maybe it’s just not my cup of tea.  Either way, it’s not for me, but maybe you’ll like it.

2 stars.  For me, this one was okay, and I don’t know if I’ll be continuing the series.