Book Review Round-Up is a very random feature where I talk about several of the books I’ve read.
Today is an advanced reader copy edition of the book review round-up! In the interest of full disclosure, I received both books as an electronic advanced reader copy (e-ARC) from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Book #1: The Secrets Of Yashire by Diamante Lavendar
Published August 26 2015 by Smashwords|157 pages
Series: None as of now, but it seems like there will be a second book
Genre: YA Fantasy
What It’s About: The Secrets of Yashire: Emerging From the Shadows is a young adult fantasy adventure that occurs within the framework of a young girl’s subconscious mind. The main character, Brianna, finds herself thrown into a world called Yashire where she is forced to deal with circumstances that are threatening Yashire’s existence. Against her will, she is sent on a journey to restore unconditional love back to the land while also contending with the evil force in the land, Zolan.
Brianna is sent on her mission by Libban, Keeper of the Land. Along the way, Brianna travels with the mystical tiger, Angelos; a huge, whitish-tan tiger with thick black stripes who sings only the purest songs of love, and the wondrous little one-eyed bird named Abiba. During the journey, Brianna is also preparing to meet her soulmate—the one she longs to be with and the one who will bring complete healing back into her life.
Together they travel through fantastic lands filled with magical creatures that could only exist in the wildest of imaginations. Through her treacherous brushes with danger and heartwarming experiences of love and acceptance, Brianna discovers many things. It is here, amidst the powers and phantasms of the mind that Brianna receives life lessons and virtues to help her. Will one of her greatest triumphs be achieved as she learns to believe in herself? For only then can she truly see all of the wondrous things that life has to offer.
What I Thought: When I saw The Secrets Of Yashire on netgalley, I was really intrigued with it. I really like the overall premise of the book, but unfortunately, I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.
Certain things were repetitive. There were several times where you’d read something, and a paragraph or two later, you’d see the same thing almost verbatim.
It does move at a really slow pace, and sometimes I wished that there was some action in it, because it seemed to drag on. There was something weird about how she reacted to everything- sometimes she seemed disinterested and other times everything was awesome. I think she was 16 or 17 and it’s labeled as YA , but she seemed a lot younger than she was supposed to do, and The Secrets Of Yashire would be better suited for a middle grade audience, I think.
I don’t know if it’s necessarily bad, but I do think it could use some work. Something about it reminded me of one of my NaNoWrimo drafts. I am hesitant to say it’s bad, because I do think it has a lot of potential. A story told in the subconscious of a girl is such a cool idea, and the world seems a little bit different. I liked that patience and perseverance are really important, but everything as a whole didn’t come together for me.
My Rating: 1 star. I didn’t like The Secrets Of Yashire, and it’s not my thing, but if experimental fantasy is your thing, this might be the book for you.
Book #2: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston
Published October 6 2015 by Disney Hyperion|306 pages
Genre: YA Fantasy
What It’s About: Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.
And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time.But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.
Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.
Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.
What I Thought: I was really excited about A Thousand Nights, and it was one of the books I was looking forward to reading this year. I ended up not liking it, and I feel weird about that because it seemed like a cool book.
So, I have no idea what the main character’s name is. I don’t think we learn it at any point in the book, and if we do, it clearly didn’t make an impression. Really, she could have been anyone, because I feel like we learned nothing about her. The only character name I can actually remember is Lo-Melkhiin…I think he might be the only character who actually has a name because everyone is named in relation to the MC. Her sister is referred to as her sister, Lo-Melkhiin’s mom is named Lo-Melkhiin’s mother, and so on. It’s hard to remember anyone when they have no names and nothing else to distinguish them from all of the other characters.
It seemed like there would be more romance, at least from the summary, so I was surprised that there wasn’t really any romance there. I did like that the MC had growing power, leading her to be the only one who can defeat the king. I do wish the magic between them was explained more because it seemed really random. There does seem to be a lot of folklore, and from what I’ve heard, it’s based on 1001 Arabian Nights. Which I haven’t read, and may be why it felt like something was missing. Or maybe it’s just me, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve read 1001 Arabian Nights.
Something about this book made me think of Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge- I think there’s something about the world and how the story is told that would make it a good read-alike for Cruel Beauty fans.
My Rating: 2 stars. Mostly because I just didn’t care. A Thousand Nights isn’t for me, but I can see why people would like it- the writing was beautiful but not enough to get my interest.