Book Review: The Candle And The Flame by Mafiza Azad

Book: The Candle And The Flame by Mafiza Azad

Published May 2019 by Scholastic Press|391 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy

Azad’s debut YA fantasy is set in a city along the Silk Road that is a refuge for those of all faiths, where a young woman is threatened by the war between two clans of powerful djinn.

Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population — except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.

But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.

Nafiza Azad weaves an immersive tale of magic and the importance of names; fiercely independent women; and, perhaps most importantly, the work for harmony within a city of a thousand cultures and cadences.

I liked The Candle And The Flame!  I definitely wanted more from it but I did enjoy it.

I really liked the world and the magic.  I liked learning about all of the djinn clans, and I actually really wanted to know more about them.  We get a lot about the Ifrit and the Shayateen, but other groups are mentioned, and I found I wanted to know more about them.  It’s too bad this book is a stand-alone, because I think there’s a lot in this world that can be explored.

Another thing I really liked about the world was naming, and how it gave the Ifrit a human form.  That was really interesting to see and it really made wish that we got more about the djinn clans and their world.

The characters are also great, and the characters felt fully formed- like living, breathing people.  I really liked Fatima, and it was great to follow her story and see how much she changed over the course of the book.  She had a lot to deal with, and surviving what she did really changed her.  Some of them, she had no idea about, and she was definitely pulled into a world she was not expecting.  She really stands out, more than any of the other characters.

She’s my favorite character, though I did like Zulkifar too.  He was intriguing, and it seemed like he wanted to keep his distance, yet he still seemed to care for her and wanted to help her.  I wasn’t sure of his intentions, especially at the beginning.  It never went away, but it did lessen over the course of the book.

The book moved pretty slow, and if you’re expecting action, just know this book doesn’t have it.  I was expecting more action, but if you like books that are more focused on characters, this is the book for you.  I did struggle with it, especially later on, because I just kept expecting action.

One thing I thought was strange was how narrators seemed to change.  It seemed like it randomly switched from Fatima to Zulkifar to the prince and it seemed really sudden and out of place.  I wish it had been a little more obvious, because it made it hard to follow what was going on.  I did have some trouble keeping track of who was who, and I did have to refer to the list of characters included at the beginning of the book.  It made me glad it was there, especially when I couldn’t remember who was who…even at the end of the book.

Going back to something I really liked…I really liked the descriptions.  I could picture everything really well, and Azad did a great job at describing the setting.  The prologue was especially great, and it made me so interested in what was going to happen.  It did a great job at drawing you in, and it made me wish I liked the book more than I did.

3 stars.  I liked The Candle And The Flame but I wish I liked it more.  I can see why so many people love it, and I wish I were one of them.

Book Review: Archangel’s Viper by Nalini Singh

Book: Archangel’s Viper by Nalini Singh

Published September 2017 by Penguin|361 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Guild Hunter #10

Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance

Enter New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s breathtakingly passionate Guild Hunter world with the story of a woman who isn’t a vampire or an angel…or human…

Once a broken girl known as Sorrow, Holly Chang now prowls the shadowy gray underground of the city for the angels. But it’s not her winged allies who make her a wanted woman–it’s the unknown power coursing through her veins. Brutalized by an insane archangel, she was left with the bloodlust of a vampire, the ability to mesmerize her prey, and a poisonous bite.

Now, someone has put a bounty on her head…

Venom is one of the Seven, Archangel Raphael’s private guard, and he’s as infuriating as he is seductive. A centuries-old vampire, his fangs dispense a poison deadlier than Holly’s. But even if Venom can protect Holly from those hunting her, he might not be able to save himself–because the strange, violent power inside Holly is awakening…

No one is safe.

I liked Archangel’s Viper!  I had actually forgotten about both Holly and Venom but I was glad to get their story.  Especially Holly’s story.

I really liked Holly, and it was good to get her story and to see how she was doing.  Now that I think about she has been randomly mentioned since the first book, but she hasn’t come up a lot since then.  This is actually the most I think we’ve seen her since the first book, where she gets caught up with Uram.  I really felt for Holly, and in this book, we really see the damage that has been done.

Speaking of Uram, I was not expecting him to come up as much as he did.  Holly is a pretty important person in this book, so it makes sense Uram would come up.  I just didn’t expect how he came up.  That threw me for a loop, and I really hope he’s gone.  Then again, the same thing could be said about Lijuan, but it seems like Uram is gone for good.  I really thought he was gone before, but it seems to be especially true after this book.

Holly and Venom are okay together.  I didn’t love them, but they do seem to be drawn together.  They worked together a lot in this book, and by the end of the book, you could tell that he wanted her to be okay.  With everything that happened to her, I totally get why he acted the way he did, and he certainly seemed protective of her.

I think I just didn’t feel the romance between them.  There’s interest and fascination throughout the book, but you didn’t see romance until the end of the book.  By then, I just didn’t care.  With all of the other characters, it felt like the romance was there from the very beginning, but it seemed like we didn’t get it with this book.

Even though though the romance is very, very minimal, I did like the story as it related to Uram, Holly, and even Michaela.  I already mentioned that I wasn’t expecting Uram to show up the way he did but I’m glad we got some closure for Holly, and that her story is pretty much wrapped up.  At least, it is for me.

3 stars.  I liked Archangel’s Viper, and while I’m glad we got more of Holly, I wasn’t particularly enthused with the minimal romance in this one.

Book Review: Love Me Never by Sara Wolf

Book: Love Me Never by Sara Wolf

Published April 2016 by Entangled Teen|304 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: Lovely Vicious #1

Genre: YA Contemporary

Don’t love your enemy. Declare war on him.

Seventeen-year-old Isis Blake hasn’t fallen in love in three years, nine weeks, and five days, and after what happened last time, she intends to keep it that way. Since then she’s lost eighty-five pounds, gotten four streaks of purple in her hair, and moved to Buttcrack-of-Nowhere, Ohio, to help her mom escape a bad relationship.

All the girls in her new school want one thing—Jack Hunter, the Ice Prince of East Summit High. Hot as an Armani ad, smart enough to get into Yale, and colder than the Arctic, Jack Hunter’s never gone out with anyone. Sure, people have seen him downtown with beautiful women, but he’s never given high school girls the time of day. Until Isis punches him in the face.

Jack’s met his match. Suddenly everything is a game.

The goal: Make the other beg for mercy.
The game board: East Summit High.
The reward: Something neither of them expected.

I’m not sure how I feel about Love Me Never.  I mean, I liked it and I want to know what happens next but at the same time, I’m not completely sure how I feel about it.

I thought Isis and Jack were really interesting.  They both have a past that they’re still dealing with, and while I was glad to actually what really happened, I also didn’t love it.  I did feel for Jack, and everything that happened with Sophia.

You knew something had happened with her years earlier but for the entire book, I just wanted to know what happened.  It was the same with Isis and the boy she fell in love it.  I did feel a little let down with happened with him.  I was expecting something a lot worse than him dumping her and not wanting to be seen in public with her because of her weight.

It definitely had an effect on her, and I get that Jack may have reminded her of him.  But I really did expect something different.

As for Jack and Sophia, what happened to her was really sad and horrifying.  I can’t remember the name of the girl who was behind it but it’s hard to believe that she was in middle school and engineered something so horrible.  And with what we see her do a few years later to someone else…she really is vindictive and horrible.  I actually kind of want to know her life story just to see how she became the person she did.  He did fall into something I wouldn’t have expected just to help out Sophia and get her the medical treatment she needed.

Isis and Jack have a lot of back and forth, and for as much as they seem to dislike each other, they also seem to be really drawn together.  He does seem protective of her, at least to a certain extent.  I’m actually wondering if there’s something about Isis that makes him thinks of Sophia.  He certainly can’t get her out of his head.

It’s weird, because there are a lot of things I liked on their own but all together?  Not so much.  I’m not sure if that makes sense to anyone except me but as a whole, something just seemed off.  Maybe I just wasn’t super into the book.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked Love Me Never, and I liked all of the pieces but…maybe it’s just not for me.  I do want to know what happens next, especially with how the book ended.  It makes me wonder what’s in store for Isis, Jack and Sophia.

3 stars.  I liked Love Me Never and I do want to know what happens next but I didn’t love it.

Around The Internet #18

Hi!  It’s definitely time to share some of the cool things I’ve come across over the last few weeks on the internet.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

That’s all for today, and I hope you found something you needed!

Book Review: The Battle by Karuna Riazi

Book: The Battle by Karuna Riazi

Published August 2019 by Salaam Reads|384 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: The Gauntlet #2

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

The game begins again in this gripping follow-up to The Gauntlet that’s a futuristic middle eastern Zathura meets Ready Player One!

Four years after the events of The Gauntlet, the evil game Architect is back with a new partner-in-crime—The MasterMind—and the pair aim to get revenge on the Mirza clan. Together, they’ve rebuilt Paheli into a slick, mind-bending world with floating skyscrapers, flying rickshaws run by robots, and a digital funicular rail that doesn’t always take you exactly where you want to go.

Twelve-year-old Ahmad Mirza struggles to make friends at his new middle school, but when he’s paired with his classmate Winnie for a project, he is determined to impress her and make his very first friend. At home while they’re hard at work, a gift from big sister Farah—who is away at her first year in college—arrives. It’s a high-tech game called The Battle of Blood and Iron, a cross between a video game and board game, complete with virtual reality goggles. He thinks his sister has solved his friend problem—all kids love games. He convinces Winnie to play, but as soon as they unbox the game, time freezes all over New York City.

With time standing still and people frozen, all of humankind is at stake as Ahmad and Winnie face off with the MasterMind and the Architect, hoping to beat them at their own game before the evil plotters expand Paheli and take over the entire world.

I was really excited about The Battle after I read The Gauntlet a couple of years ago.  The Battle was just okay for me, and I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.

This book focuses on Ahmad, Farah’s brother.  I don’t know why but I just wasn’t as interested in his story as I was in Farah’s.  It did have a video game sort of feel to it, which seems right up Ahmad’s alley.  I’m not really a video game person, so I wonder if that’s part of it.

The story was interesting, and I’m glad we got to see Ahmad years after the events of The Gauntlet.  The game has definitely changed, which we see throughout the book.  It’s less Jumanji and more Ready Player One.  At least, from what I know about Ready Player One.  I still haven’t read it, so I can’t say for sure.  But this book does have more of a video game feel than a board game feel to it.

I was intrigued that the game managed to rebuild itself into a more modern version of the one we saw in The Gauntlet.  It was harder to picture, and I felt like we didn’t the descriptions we saw in the first book.  It was a lot harder to picture in this book, and I felt like the rules weren’t as clear in this book as they were in the first one.

Ahmad’s drawings sounded pretty cool- I found myself wondering if he was drawing the places in the Gauntlet, and if he didn’t remember what had happened there.  This version seemed somewhat familiar to him, but since it was really different, I wonder if he knew it was familiar but couldn’t place it.  That’s what made me wonder if he had remembered what happened years earlier and if maybe the drawings were a way to figure out or remember what had happened.  I could be completely off with this, of course, but I did think about that quite a bit at the beginning.

2 stars.  The Battle was just okay for me.  It was nice to see what happened to Ahmad and Farah after the Gauntlet was destroyed but I just wasn’t as interested in this story as I wanted to be.

Book Review: Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh

Book: Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh

Published November 2016 by Berkley|396 pages

Where I Got It; I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Guild Hunter #9

Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh takes us into a dangerous and exhilarating world where a deadly, beautiful archangel and his once-mortal consort are caught in a fury of twisted darkness…

One of the most vicious archangels in the world has disappeared. No one knows if Lijuan is dead or has chosen to Sleep the long sleep of an immortal. But with her lands falling into chaos under a rising tide of vampiric bloodlust, a mysterious and ancient order of angels known as the Luminata calls the entire Cadre together to discuss the fate of her territory.

Accompanying her archangelic lover Raphael to the Luminata compound, guild hunter-turned-angel Elena senses that all is not as it seems. Secrets echo from within the stone walls of the compound, and the deeper Elena goes, the uglier the darkness. But neither Raphael nor Elena is ready for the brutal truths hidden within—truths that will change everything Elena thinks she knows about who she is…

Nothing will ever be the same again.

I really liked this one!  I’m glad we got back to Raphael and Elena, because I’ve really missed seeing them in a book.  It feels like it’s been a while since we’ve had a book focus on them.

This book is set a couple of years after the last one, and things start off pretty normal.  They don’t stay that way, of course, but at least things aren’t completely crazy.  At least initially.  There’s a lot going on in this book and with everything that happens, it makes me wonder what will happen in the next few books.

I think what I liked most about this book was learning more about Elena’s family.  We’ve learned some things about her dad’s side of the family- basically, the hunter ability comes from him but this book focuses more on her mom’s side of the family.  We learn about (and meet) her grandparents, and it’s nice to know she’ll have some family around long after her siblings and friends go.  We finally learn where the vampire in the family comes from, and I’m glad it came up.  I was wondering if we would ever see that come up again, and we actually did.  I’m glad that it went somewhere.

The Luminata were a pretty interesting group.  They turn out to be not so great, of course, and they definitely deserved what happened to them.  Hopefully, they’re able to turn things around and do better then what they’ve done.  There is quite the mystery surrounding them and it was nice to see it get solved.  I’m not surprised that it had to do with Elena, because they did act pretty strange around her.

We don’t get a lot in terms of the Cascade and how much it’s changing things- as Elena said, it was on pause, but it makes me feel like things are going to get super-interesting going forward.  With not knowing what’s going on with Lijuan, and if she’s really dead or just Sleeping…who knows what the future holds for these characters?  Actually, I’m pretty sure Lijuan isn’t dead, because I feel like we’d know it if she was.  After all, how many times have we tried to kill her and it doesn’t seem to work?  Not having a clear answer on where she is and what she’s doing is not a good sign, and I have the feeling she’s just going to pop up out of nowhere stronger than ever.

4 stars.  I really liked Archangel’s Heart, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Book Review: Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker

Book: Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker

Published June 2017 by Atria Books|368 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: None

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania: population two thousand outside of tourist season.

And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed attempt at a relationship, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has saved: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.

Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works.

For a time.

But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. What begins as an immediate friendship quickly turns into something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something that Catherine is afraid to trust.

Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine…before the spark fades?

I loved Until It Fades!  After reading (and loving) her Ten Tiny Breaths series years ago, I decided to give some of her other books a try.

I was really nervous to give this book a try, because I wasn’t sure if I would like it as much as her other books.  I was proven wrong, and I’m glad I was, because there was some crying by the end.

I really felt for Catherine and how hard she tried to support her daughter.  Her daughter is pretty cute, and something about her made me think of Mia from Ten Tiny Breaths.  Catherine didn’t have an easy life, and I don’t blame her for having a hard time letting Brett in.  I completely get why she wouldn’t want to be in the spotlight again, especially after everything that happened with her god-awful teacher.  It’s sad that it really changed things for her.

I loved the romance between Brett and Catherine.  It felt really natural and it didn’t feel like insta-love at all.  They are a cute couple and you could he really cared about her.  It took a long time for Catherine to admit that she had feelings for Brett but given her past romances, I completely get it.

I love that she’s pretty clueless about hockey and how the hockey loving people in her life were pretty amazed by his presence.  She didn’t realize how big he was and I liked seeing her slowly, kind of-sort of get into hockey.  I’m glad things started to go her way and that she was in a better place at the end of the book than she was at the beginning of it.

Brett was a great guy and even though we don’t see a lot of him, I still really loved what I saw.  This book is definitely more Catherine’s story and seeing her start to let others in.  I really wish we saw more of him, and part of me is hoping she’ll write another book focusing on Brett.  It looks like this one is a stand-alone but that’s not going to stop me from hoping we’ll see more of them someday.  Until then, I will probably re-read the heck out of this one.

5 stars.  I loved Until It Fades, and it’s a great romance and a great story.

Book Review: The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill

Book: The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill

Published July 2019 by Scholastic Press|336 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy

A dark and beautiful reimagining of The Little Mermaid.

Deep beneath the sea, off the cold Irish coast, Gaia is a young mermaid who dreams of freedom from her controlling father. On her first swim to the surface, she is drawn towards a human boy. She longs to join his carefree world, but how much will she have to sacrifice? What will it take for the little mermaid to find her voice? Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairy tale is reimagined through a searing feminist lens, with the stunning, scalpel-sharp writing and world building that has won Louise her legions of devoted fans in the UK. A book with the darkest of undercurrents, full of rage and rallying cries: storytelling at its most spellbinding.

I really liked The Surface Breaks!  I wasn’t sure what to expect but it’s definitely darker than I thought it would be.

I’m not too familiar with the original fairy tale but this re-telling feels a lot closer to that than the Disney movie we all know and love.  There is no happily ever after for Gaia- there’s a lot of heartbreak and vengeance and learning to find your voice, even when you’re no longer able to speak.

Gaia sacrificed a lot to give up her tail and voice, and she definitely didn’t have a great father.  Throughout the whole book, we see what’s expected of Gaia and her sisters.  They have really high standards they need to live up to, and they are expected to be obedient and quiet and to not stray from that.  Eventually, they do seem to break free- Gaia especially but it took a lot for that to happen.

The society Gaia lives in is very patriarchal- women are expected to look and act a certain way, they only exist for men’s pleasure…we see Gaia and her sisters suffer in this society and though Gaia doesn’t fight it until the very end of the book, we also see her journey to get to that point.  I really liked seeing her journey and decide to forge her own path instead of the one that her father set for her.

The ending was pretty rushed in my opinion, and I thought there were a lot of possibilities for change.  There is part of me that really wants a sequel to see how much things change.  At the same time, though, it is a little bit fun to picture the changes myself.  Still, there’s a lot going on at the end, and it felt like things had to come together really fast.

I liked Gaia and she definitely was not interchangeable with her sisters.  That actually really stood out to me, and it seemed like all of her sisters were meant to show that they all had the same train of thought.  They all seemed the same but this is a book where they were supposed to be like that.

All of the men- both human and not- were all terrible.  It would have been to nice to see one guy who wasn’t horrible but that was not in the cards for this book.  I know O’Neill is trying to make a point, and we definitely got it but…I still wanted one good guy.

The sea witch, Ceto, was pretty awesome.  If I had to pick a favorite character, she is definitely it.  She is not the villain I thought she would be, and I’m glad we had such a great character in her.

4 stars.  I really liked The Surface Breaks, though there were some things I didn’t like.

Book Review: Archangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh

Book: Archangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh

Published September 2015 by Penguin|384 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Guild Hunter #8

Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance

Naasir is the most feral of the powerful group of vampires and angels known as the Seven, his loyalty pledged to the Archangel Raphael. When rumors surface of a plot to murder the former Archangel of Persia, now lost in the Sleep of the Ancients, Naasir is dispatched to find him. For only he possesses the tracking skills required—those more common to predatory animals than to man.

Enlisted to accompany Naasir, Andromeda, a young angelic scholar with dangerous secrets, is fascinated by his nature—at once playful and brilliant, sensual and brutal. As they race to find the Sleeping archangel before it’s too late, Naasir will force her to question all she knows…and tempt her to walk into the magnificent, feral darkness of his world. But first they must survive an enemy vicious enough to shatter the greatest taboo of the angelic race and plunge the world into a screaming nightmare… 

I liked Archangel’s Enigma!  The title is really fitting, considering the book focuses on Naasir.  He’s pretty mysterious, from when he’s appeared in the previous books, and it was nice to get his story.

I did mention how mysterious Naasir was, and we definitely learn a lot about him.  I did feel for him, and he’s had a lot to deal with.  It did take away a little bit of the mystery surrounding him, and I have mixed feelings about it.  It was nice to learn more about him but at the same time, I liked the mystery of wondering what was going on with him and what his story was.

Andromeda was interesting too, and I completely understand why she would take a vow of celibacy.  With the family she has, it could have gone a few different ways, but Singh did a great job at showing her hesitation and why she made the choices she did.  I really liked her, and I thought she was a smart woman.  Plus, she’s a scholar, and she seems really curious.

She and Naasir made a really interesting pair, and she was so accepting of who Naasir really was.  It went both ways, and you could tell he really cared about her.  They both accepted and saw the other for who they really were, and they really would do anything for each other.  Naasir in particular- he did help her get out of her grandfather’s court, and into a court that is a much better fit for her.  I just want Andromeda to be happy and away from her family.

3 stars.  I liked Andromeda and Naasir, especially as a couple but I do have mixed feelings about finally getting Naasir’s story.

Book Review: Onyx And Ivory by Mindee Arnett

Book: Onyx & Ivory by Mindee Arnett

Published May 2019 by Balzer + Bray|497 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: The Rime Chronicles #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Acclaimed author Mindee Arnett thrusts readers into a beautiful, dangerous, and magical world in this stunningly epic and romantic fantasy for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sarah Raasch.

They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king of Rime.

Cast out of the nobility, Kate now works for the royal courier service. Only the most skilled ride for the Relay and only the fastest survive, for when night falls, the drakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: She is a wilder, born with forbidden magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals.

And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by drakes in broad daylight—the only survivor Corwin Tormaine, the son of the king. Her first love, the boy she swore to forget after he condemned her father to death.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin must put the past behind them to face this new threat and an even darker menace stirring in the kingdom. 

I was really intrigued by Onyx & Ivory- partly because of that cover and partly because it sounded really interesting.  While I liked it, I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.

I did like the story behind why she was seen as a traitor.  It’s sad that she doesn’t have a lot of options because of what her dad did.  Something about this book made me think of Everless by Sara Holland.  There are some similar elements- living at the palace and then being exiled, being able to do something that no one else can…they would make good read-alikes, I think.

Back to Kate, though.  People were absolutely horrible to her, and she didn’t deserve it.  She’s definitely guilty by association.  To me, though, it was clear she had no part in what happened.  I get why her dad did what he did but it definitely had a really big impact on Kate’s life.

It did take quite a while for me to get into the book.  It started off pretty slow, and it felt really long.  I’d say it was painfully slow at the beginning, but once things got going, it was interesting.  There’s an interesting blend of monsters, magic and romance.  I liked the magic and dragons but I didn’t particularly care for the romance.  There’s a lot of history between Kate and Corwin, and while Kate seems to be willing to move on and make things work, I had a hard time really getting behind Kate and Corwin as a couple.  Maybe it’s because it’s the first book in a series and most of the book is building up the romance.

I don’t have strong thoughts about Corwin either way.  Even though we spend a good chunk of the book with Corwin, his story doesn’t stand out a lot.  Still, there was one plot point with Corwin that wasn’t surprising at all.  I won’t give it away, but the whole thing with one of the officials?  I knew something was up with him.

I don’t know if I’ll be reading the next book.  There’s a lot of really interesting things in the book but I just don’t know that I like it enough to keep reading.  Maybe one day, I’ll pick it up but it won’t be anytime soon, that’s for sure.

3 stars.  I’m honestly wavering between two and three stars for this one, but I really liked and felt for Kate.  Plus, everything with the magic and dragons was pretty cool so I decided to round up for this one.