Book Review: Girls Of Paper And Fire by Natasha Ngan

Book Review: Girls Of Paper And Fire by Natasha Ngan

Published November 2018 by Jimmy Patterson Books|400 pages

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

Series: Girls Of Paper And Fire #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.

But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.

I absolutely loved this book!  I wasn’t sure about it at first but I ended up loving it, and while it’s not my favorite book from this year, it’s definitely one of my favorites.

One thing I wanted to start off with is the trigger warning for sexual abuse and violence.  I loved that this book had one at the beginning, but I feel like it could have been slightly more obvious.  Still, I’m glad it’s there but keep that in mind if you decide to pick up this book.

I thought Ngan handled both very delicately and respectfully.  You really felt for Lei and the other girls as they were taken from their homes, and given to the king.  The world Lei lives in, particularly once she goes to the palace seems beautiful, but danger lurks beneath the beauty, and she has to do things she doesn’t want to do.  She says no, but is ultimately punished for that.  It’s haunting, and even though Lei’s world is not real, quite a bit of the book is all too real.  The way the king uses fear and power to control the Paper Girls, and they are seen as nothing but objects.  It broke my heart to see what they had to go through, but I also loved that there was hope that things would change.

I loved Wren, and though she’s not the main character, she really was my favorite character.  I just loved her story and everything about her.  It took some time to warm up to Lei, but I ended up really liking her.  And Aoki was really interesting as well.

I also loved the world.  The author drew from her life growing up in Malaysia, and everything was so vivid.  I wish we saw more of the world that Lei lives in, but we’ll have to wait until the next book, because we’re limited to just a few places in this book.

5 stars.  I loved this book, and I wholeheartedly recommend it, especially if you like diverse books and fantasy!

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Book Review: A Very Large Expanse Of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

Book: A Very Large Expanse Of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

Published October 2018 by HarperTeen|320 pages

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

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.

I really liked this book!  When I heard she was coming out with another book, I knew I had to read it, especially since her Shatter Me series is pretty awesome.  I was curious to see what a YA contemporary written by Mafi would like, and it didn’t disappoint!

I really liked Shirin, and I thought she was a great character.  I understood where she was coming from, and she was pretty guarded.  I don’t blame her for being so guarded, and I probably would be too if I had to deal with everything she had to deal with.  We feel her isolation and how different she feels, and we see how people make assumptions.  I also don’t think I’ve seen a character who liked break-dancing, and it’s different in a good way.

I loved the relationship she had with her brother, and with the other guys in their break-dancing club.  Shirin and her brother are very different people but I liked their bond.  He’s a great character, and while we see him quite a bit, I wish we saw more of him.  He’s definitely one of my favorite characters.

I think I would have been fine without the romance- it didn’t really do anything for me, especially since Shirin was dealing with people’s stereotypes and racism in a post-9/11 world while Ocean’s biggest concern was not wanting to be on the basketball team anymore.  I get they have very different experiences and things going on in their lives, and I do appreciate that dating Shirin was eye-opening to what other people are going through, but I felt like they were at very different points.

And while I’m not a huge fan of love triangles, I think I might have been at least somewhat okay with it had it happened.  But maybe not, considering I would have been fine without the romance.  Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, and wanting Shirin to be with anyone else.  Yusuf had a lot of potential as a character (not just a love interest for Shirin), and I wish we saw more of him.

4 stars.  I really liked A Very Large Expanse Of Sea, and this book is worth checking out, even if Shatter Me was not your thing.  It’s beautiful and heart-breaking, and Shirin was amazing.

Book Review: On The Edge Of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

Book: On The Edge Of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

Published March 2016 by Amulet Books|456 pages

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

Series: None

Genre: YA Apocalyptic/Sci-Fi

January 29, 2035.

That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit—the big one. Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter near their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s drug-addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time.

Then a last-minute encounter leads them to something better than a temporary shelter: a generation ship that’s scheduled to leave Earth behind and colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But each passenger must have a practical skill to contribute. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister?

When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?

On The Edge Of Gone wasn’t what I thought it would be, and I really wished I liked it more.  I can see why people like it, but it just wasn’t for me.

The idea behind it is really interesting.  A comet is about to hit, and some people have left earth, while others have stayed behind in shelters.  I liked seeing Denise fight to get to the shelter she’s been assigned to, and then fight to stay on a ship that needs all passengers to have a skill that would allow them to stay on board.  I get her fears that she won’t be able to stay on board, especially with her mother, and I can appreciate she’d do what she could to help out and have a better chance at survival.

The story felt pretty slow and unfortunately, it felt like it took place over a really long period of time.  It felt like it took place over weeks, that’s how slow it felt.  In reality, it probably took place over the course of a few days, but it was so slowly paced that it felt longer.  It also felt like absolutely nothing happened, and I expected a lot more action, considering it was the end of the world.  I kept waiting for something more exciting to happen, and for me, it never did.

I never felt completely invested, and while I felt for Denise and what she was going through and experiencing, I also never completely cared about what happened to her.  I mean, I knew it was going to be a survival story, but I don’t think I was expecting it to be a slow-paced survival story.  I think, overall, I had a really hard time getting into it, especially since nothing excited happened during the book.

One of the best things about the book was seeing a female character who’s autistic.  We were very much in her head and what she was going through, and you felt her sense of panic and worry as she fought for a place on the ship before it took off into space.  You saw how people (particularly one of her former teachers) didn’t realize she was autistic, especially because she was a female person of color.  People don’t see her as autistic, because she doesn’t match up with their stereotype and image of who an autistic person is or should be.

The setting is pretty cool as well, and I liked seeing an apocalyptic survival set in a place that isn’t the U.S.  While I am not at all familiar with Amsterdam, I felt like we got to explore at least part of it.  The author is from Amsterdam, and it was clear that the author was drawing on her own experiences living there.  It definitely came across that she knew the city.

2 stars.  I liked Denise’s voice, and I felt for her as she tried to survive a comet hitting earth.  But the story was too slow, and it felt like nothing happened.

Mini Reviews: The Last Four Books I Read For My YA Book Club

I just realized that I never talked about the last few books I’ve read for the YA book club I’m part of!  Now seems like a good time to talk about them.  At least a little, because I’m really fuzzy on a couple of them, since a couple are from a few months ago.  Hopefully, I’ll get a little better about actually reviewing them, but we shall see.

First, there’s Roar by Cora Carmack.  We read this one back in August, and is the only one I didn’t finish, and I didn’t particularly like the love interests.  I thought they were pretty terrible guys, and while I liked the magic, that was pretty much it.  I think there were a few different perspectives that weren’t done well, but I could be wrong, and confusing it with a different book.  I tried to keep reading, but I just couldn’t.  And I couldn’t figure out why it seemed so familiar, and then I realized I tried to read it about a year ago, and it was a DNF then.  I figured I’d try it again, but this read wasn’t any better.

In September, we read Anger Is A Gift by Mark Oshiro.  I liked this one, and I was crying by the end of it.  Usually, I love books where I end up crying, but not for this one.  I didn’t really feel the main characters anger, and he had anxiety, but the anxiety sort of disappeared a little bit into the book.  Parts of it felt really sci-fi- the tech the police had felt really futuristic, which didn’t fit with the book.  I think, if I hadn’t read books like The Hate U Give first, I think I would have liked it a lot more.  I did like seeing how Moss and his friends wanted to make a difference.  I’d rate this book 3 stars.

The Dark Descent Of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White is my favorite of the books we’ve read so far.  We read it in October, and it’s a great Halloween/October read.  I’ve never read the original Frankenstein- I tried but couldn’t get through it- but maybe one day I can actually finish it.  It would be interesting to see how much she drew from Frankenstein.  I didn’t like Elizabeth at first, but as we got more into the story and her world, I really liked her, and understood why she acted the way she did.  It was more historical/horror/thriller than I thought it would be, but I still loved it.  It was creepy and I can’t wait to read it again.  My rating is 5 stars.

The last book I really wanted to talk about was Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf.  We read it last month, and I ended up really liking it.  I liked the world, and even though I was expecting it to be an Evil Queen origin story, I was still really surprised by the ending.  I can’t wait to read the next one to see where things are going to go.  There was a point where I wanted Zera to the opposite of what she actually did, but at least for now, I’m curious to see how it will play out, even though she didn’t do what I really hoped she would do.  My rating is 4 stars.

That’s all for today, and I’ll definitely be back with more reviews!

Book Review: A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

Book: A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

Published September 2018 by Imprint|384 pages

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

Series: A Blade So Black #1

Genre: YA Contemporary/YA Re-Telling

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.

I really liked A Blade So Black!  It’s a really cool re-telling of Alice In Wonderland, and I really liked McKinney’s take on the story.

I’m not going to lie, for a while I thought her dad (and his death) were connected to the Nightmares, and everything going on with Wonderland.  I really thought, at least for a while, there was going to be a connection between the two.  Maybe it was wishful thinking on my part, and even though it didn’t go this way (and it probably won’t for the rest of the series), part of me really wants there to be more of a connection between the two.

I really liked seeing Alice struggle with having to leave to fight Nightmares, and leaving her family and friends behind.  She disappears for random periods of time, and you see how much it affects her friendships (particularly with a very high-maintenance best friend) and a mom who worries when Alice disappears and doesn’t answer her phone, it’s because she was killed.

Alice was a little bratty at times, and I don’t blame her mom for being concerned about Alice, especially when a neighborhood girl was killed.  I definitely see where her mom is coming from, and a kid like Alice would drive me crazy.  It’s hard, because I know what’s going on with Alice, and why she keeps disappearing.  But I still really felt for her mom.

It did take me a while to get into the book, and it didn’t get really interesting until the end of the book.  I’m very intrigued by this Wonderland, and I wanted more of it.  Hopefully, we’ll see more of it in the rest of the series, especially with how things ended.  It was slow and a little choppy at times, but overall, it did keep my interest until the end.

4 stars.  Even though the book didn’t get really good until the end, I’m still interested enough to continue on with the series.  I’m hoping we get to see more of Wonderland, because I did like the glimpses of it that we saw.

Book Review: Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Book: Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Published September 2018 by Balzer + Bray|285 pages

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

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary/Re-telling

Pride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic, starring all characters of color, from Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award finalist and author of American Street.

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

In a timely update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.

I really liked this one!  I wish I hadn’t waited so long to review it, because I am a little fuzzy on the details, but I’ll do my best.  It’s not the first time I’ve waited a few weeks to review a book, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last.

Anyway, onto the actual review!  I really liked it, and I knew I had to read this one.  Pride And Prejudice is one of my favorite books, and after reading American Street (also by the same author), I was really looking forward to reading this one.  It didn’t disappoint, and it was a great re-telling!

I really liked Zuri, and how much she loves her neighborhood.  It was obvious, throughout the book, that her family was important to her, as was going to college.  I really loved that, and I loved the relationships she had with her sisters.  I do wish we saw more of her relationship with her sisters, because they do seem pretty awesome, from what we see of them.  Zuri is fierce but judgmental, and she’s a character I think people will either love or hate.  I’m having a hard time seeing a middle ground with her but maybe that’s just me.  And anything is possible.

I also liked seeing Zuri realize that the Darcy family isn’t as bad as she thought.  She changes her mind about Darius, and even Ainsley is different by the end of the book.

I thought it was a great re-telling, and though it’s been quite a while since I read the original, it was fun seeing how it matched up with the original.  From the characters, to how the story was told, it was overall a great story.  I loved seeing it set it New York, and in a more current time.  We see how gentrification affected her neighborhood, and it’s woven throughout the novel so well.

It does stand on its own really well, and even if you haven’t read Pride And Prejudice, Pride is definitely worth reading.

4 stars.  I didn’t love, but I really enjoyed this modern update for one of my favorite books.

Book Review: The Boy In The Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

Book: The Boy In The Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

Published January 2015 by Atheneum Books For Young Readers|272 pages

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

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Just when seventeen-year-old Matt thinks he can’t handle one more piece of terrible news, he meets a girl who’s dealt with a lot more—and who just might be able to clue him in on how to rise up when life keeps knocking him down—in this wry, gritty novel from the author of When I Was the Greatest.

Matt wears a black suit every day. No, not because his mom died—although she did, and it sucks. But he wears the suit for his gig at the local funeral home, which pays way better than the Cluck Bucket, and he needs the income since his dad can’t handle the bills (or anything, really) on his own. So while Dad’s snagging bottles of whiskey, Matt’s snagging fifteen bucks an hour. Not bad. But everything else? Not good. Then Matt meets Lovey. She’s got a crazy name, and she’s been through more crazy than he can imagine. Yet Lovey never cries. She’s tough. Really tough. Tough in the way Matt wishes he could be. Which is maybe why he’s drawn to her, and definitely why he can’t seem to shake her. Because there’s nothing more hopeful than finding a person who understands your loneliness—and who can maybe even help take it away.

I liked The Boy In The Black Suit.  Like with all of Reynold’s other books, I wanted to like it more than I actually did.

I did like how Matt and his dad were grieving, and also the community that they have.  Matt definitely wasn’t alone, and losing a parent can be hard.  Matt’s fascination was funerals was one of the more unique elements of the book, and while I thought it was slightly weird, it also seemed to help him feel less alone.  It’s different, but it seemed to work, especially when he met Lovey.

I’ll admit, I had a hard time believing that it would be totally okay for a teen to be working at a funeral home.  Granted, he’s helping set things up, and isn’t actually doing anything with the bodies, but still.  It was something I had a hard time believing, and I couldn’t quite get over that.  It did seem to be good for him, and he’s lucky to have a great boss.

And it’s how he really met and got to know Lovey, who’s a great character.  I liked her, and I liked seeing how she wanted to continue with some of the things her grandma did, like Thanksgiving dinner at the shelter.  The connection between Lovey and Matt was unexpected, and I expected it to cause some issues with them, but it really didn’t.

It did end abruptly, in my opinion, but…sometimes life is abrupt and weird, and it somehow seemed to fit the book. Still, I wanted a little more closure than what we got with the ending.  It’s a perfectly fine ending, and it does go with the book, but I think I just wanted something a little more from the ending.

3 stars.  I liked Matt, and he definitely deals with the death of his mother in an interesting way.  It made the book stand out, because you don’t usually see teens who are fascinated with funerals.  Even though I only liked it, I think it’s a good read, particularly if you like Jason Reynolds.

Book Review: Binti: Home And Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor

Book: Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor

Published January 2017 by Tor.com|164 pages

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

Series: Binti #2

Genre: Adult Sci-Fi

It’s been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she abandoned her family in the dawn of a new day.

And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders.

But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace.

After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?

I liked this one!  Not as much as Binti, and I didn’t love it.  I wanted to love it, but it didn’t capture my attention the way Binti did.

I liked seeing what was going on with Binti, and the journey she took with her grandmother.  I did like seeing how much things had changed for her, and how differently people saw her because of everything that happened in the previous book.

Still, I felt like what actually happened in the book does not match up with how the book is described in the blurb.  I thought we’d be seeing more of Okwu on earth and working with humans for peace.  Instead, we get a completely different story involving Binti realizing that’s more special and different than we could ever imagine.  She’s great at math, and has alien DNA, and this novella added another element to how special Binti was.  I don’t mind when characters are super-special, but in Binti: Home, it really bothered me for some reason.

So, I felt like this one was more of an afterthought.  Binti (the first novella) felt like a pretty complete story and was pretty contained.  This one, not so much.  It somehow seemed more rushed and much more of a rough outline than the previous novella.  Even though it’s longer than Binti, I wanted more development with the characters and the world.  Particularly with this book.  It kind of makes me wonder what Okorafor would do with the idea if it had been a novel from the very beginning.

My Rating: 3 stars.  I like the character and the world she lives in.  It has a lot of potential, but I think the novella format is working against the story, because it could definitely be expanded into something a lot longer.

Book: Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor

Published January 2018 by Tor.com|208 pages

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

Series: Binti #3

Genre: Adult Sci-Fi

The concluding part of the highly-acclaimed science fiction trilogy that began with Nnedi Okorafor’s Hugo- and Nebula Award-winning BINTI.

Binti has returned to her home planet, believing that the violence of the Meduse has been left behind. Unfortunately, although her people are peaceful on the whole, the same cannot be said for the Khoush, who fan the flames of their ancient rivalry with the Meduse.

Far from her village when the conflicts start, Binti hurries home, but anger and resentment has already claimed the lives of many close to her.

Once again it is up to Binti, and her intriguing new friend Mwinyi, to intervene–though the elders of her people do not entirely trust her motives–and try to prevent a war that could wipe out her people, once and for all.

Don’t miss this essential concluding volume in the Binti trilogy.

I thought The Night Masquerade was okay.  I’ve liked this series to varying degrees, and even though I liked seeing how Binti tried to make peace between the Meduse and the Khoush, I still didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.

One of my issues with this trilogy is how short each volume is.  I know they’re meant to be novellas, but I just wanted something longer.  There’s a lot that could be expanded on and developed, and Night Masquerade is no exception.

There was something towards the end that seemed randomly introduced, and I don’t know that it worked.  The series has been fine with no romance- I really liked that there was no romance and I liked seeing how much the events of the first novella changed Binti’s life.  I liked seeing her go back home and try to get things resolved between the Meduse and the Khoush.  I liked seeing how people saw her differently because she not only went away to school but because she was Meduse as well.

I didn’t care for the romance at all.  It felt sudden, and though it sort of makes sense, I also was fine without it.

I know people love this series, and Okorafor is pretty amazing.  She creates these amazing worlds, but with this book in particular, I kind of feel like novellas are too short of a format for her.  It’s nice to see her do something slightly different, but part of me wishes I had just read Binti and not continued on with the series.  I don’t regret seeing it through to the end, but I had a hard time with the length.

It’s not the book at all- I really do think it’s just me.  Maybe I’m just too used to reading her novels and that’s why I had a hard with the novella.  It would be interesting to read a full-length version of these stories, because there’s a lot she could explore in Binti’s world.

My Rating: 2 stars.  I wanted to like this one more but the length didn’t work for me.  I don’t know that I’m necessarily the right audience for this book, and even though there were things I didn’t like, I do really like the world she created.

Book Review: Shadow Of The Fox by Julie Kagawa

Book: Shadow Of The Fox by Julie Kagawa

Published October 2018 by Harlequin Teen|409 pages

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

Series: Shadow Of The Fox #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.

This is a book I’ve been excited about for a while.  I’ve loved Julie Kagawa since I read the Iron Fey series years ago, and I’ve been a fan ever since.  I really liked her Talon series and her Blood Of Eden series, so I figured I’d like this one.

This series and I did not get off on the right foot.  Like the first book in her Talon series, I thought it was okay.  If it had been most any author, I probably would have given up on it completely.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this series and I are having a rocky start, and that I’ll end up liking the series more in the 2nd book.  I’ve been in a weird reading mood lately, so that might be part of why I didn’t love this book.

Part of it, unfortunately, is the book.

I thought a lot of it was confusing, and I had a hard time keeping up with the 3 perspectives.  It wasn’t clear to me who was narrating what chapter, and it took a while to figure out that 3 people were narrating the book.  I did like the 3 different perspectives, and maybe, when I’m not in this weird reading mood, I’ll re-read this book.  I really did like the idea and the mythology, thought I’m not at all familiar with the mythology we see in the book.

That was another thing I found confusing.  I felt like a like of names were thrown at me, and while I’m not completely sure how much she was drawing from real mythology (or what mythology was her inspiration), it was hard to keep up.  I did like the glossary at the end of the book, but by then, I didn’t particularly care.  And honestly, the names didn’t stick with me at all, so it didn’t really do me any good.  I still appreciated it though, and it’s good to know for when I pick this book up again.  I really do want to give this book another chance, and I’m hoping I’ll like it a lot better on the 2nd read- with my current mood, though, I’m half-tempted to try the audio book, since the idea of listening is much more appealing than reading.  At least, that’s where I’m at right now, but that could change.

Anyway, back to the book.  I like the idea of a scroll that grants a wish to whoever holds it.  I like the idea of it being hidden by monks, and while it’s horrible that Yumeko’s home was burned, I also like the idea that she’s the Great Hope of the future.  Like I said, the idea is really cool, even if I found things confusing and muddled when I read it.

Is it predictable?  Of course it is.  Her series are pretty predictable, and they do have the same tropes.  I don’t mind it, because her series all have different enough story lines, so it doesn’t get in the way of my enjoyment of her books.  But sometimes, like with Shadow Of The Fox or Talon, it takes a while to warm up to the series.

2 stars.  I’m definitely going to keep reading this series, even though this book was okay for me.  My love for the author, and the fact that it’s a cool idea is why it’s getting 2 stars instead of 1, and I’m hoping that I’ll like the rest of the series better.

Book Review: Shield Of Winter by Nalini Singh

Book: Shield Of Winter by Nalini Singh

Published June 2014 by Berkley Hardcover|431 pages

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

Series: Psy-Changeling #13

Genre: Adult Romance/Adult Paranormal Romance

Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch—if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life. 

For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake…

Having rebuilt her life after medical “treatment” that violated her mind and sought to stifle her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she’ll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption. But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness…

I really liked this one!  We finally get Vasic’s book, which was nice.  I was wondering if we’d ever get his book, and I’m glad we did!

I’m curious to see what is next for the Arrows, particularly with Silence falling.  I mean, protecting Silence is their main goal, so I’m wondering if we’ll at least get a glimpse of what their goals are now that things are changing.  It kind of seems like their future is linked with the Empaths, and I wasn’t expecting them to have such a big role in this book.

It makes sense that Empaths are really important to the future of the Psy, so I’m hoping we’ll get more of them as well.  I think Slave To Sensation is the last book that had such an emphasis on Empaths, and I really felt like a lot of this series was building up to both Heart Of Obsidian and Shields Of Winter.  We start to see what a post-Silence world looks like, and with a couple of books left in the series, I’m curious to see how things get wrapped up.  I now things are far from being resolved, and I really do want to know what else is going to go wrong before it gets better.

I like Vasic and Ivy, and I do like them together, but…something about their relationship seemed a little cold to me.  I know Silence is really important for Vasic as an Arrow, and he’s seemed pretty cold whenever he’s popped up in the series before this point.  Maybe it’s just me, but I expected more angst and tortured hero from Vasic.  Considering all of the things he’s had to do, I figured there would be more angst as far as his relationship with Ivy goes.  He’s an Arrow, and she’s an Empath, and I figured there would be more conflict with that, but there wasn’t really enough of it, at least for me.

Maybe I was expecting something like the romance we saw in Slave To Sensation or Caressed By Ice, and that’s why I wasn’t into the romance.  I wish I liked them more together, because I do like them together, and I think they’re a great couple.  I just didn’t love them.

4 stars. I really liked Shield Of Winter, and I’m really curious to see who will be paired together in the next book.  And how the series is going to end.