Book Review: Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith

Book: Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith

Published March 2019 by HMH Books For Young Readers|373 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Bloodleaf #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Princess Aurelia is a prisoner to her crown and the heir that nobody wants. Surrounded by spirits and banned from using her blood-magic, Aurelia flees her country after a devastating assassination attempt. To escape her fate, Aurelia disguises herself as a commoner in a new land and discovers a happiness her crown has never allowed. As she forges new bonds and perfects her magic, she begins to fall for a man who is forbidden to rule beside her. But the ghosts that haunt Aurelia refuse to abandon her, and she finds herself succumbing to their call as they expose a nefarious plot that only she can defeat. Will she be forced to choose between the weight of the crown and the freedom of her new life?

I loved Bloodleaf!  I loved the world and the characters, and it’s really great YA fantasy!

Aurelia was a great character.  She worked so hard to hide her magic, and I loved the reason why she was able to do it.  She’s in a world that executes people like her, and I was glad she was able to leave.  She’s quirky, but she has a really good heart.  She changed a lot over the course of the book, and she went through a lot.  Things weren’t easy, but I liked her determination to get through it.

I also liked Zan, and while we don’t get enough of him, in my opinion, I still really liked what we saw.  I don’t have as much to say about him as I do Aurelia, but I really like him.  And I really like them together.  I didn’t mind the romance at all, and it felt really natural.

I loved the world and the stories.  The magic was interesting, and I wish we saw more of it, and more of what it could do.  Since Aurelia was still trying to gain control, we learned a lot but I also feel like there’s more to it.  I feel like we’ve barely touched what the magic in her world can do.

I loved the ending, and it had me sobbing.  It really made me wish we saw more of Aurelia’s mom.  It felt a little random, and it was definitely out of the blue, but that didn’t stop me from crying.  I think it would have had a lot more to it had we known her mom a little better.

One thing I’m wondering is what other stories are left to tell in this world.  It’s the first book in the series, and I’m wondering how this story is going to continue because everything was wrapped up really well.  I don’t usually say this with fantasy, especially with YA fantasy, but it would have worked really well as a stand-alone.  The story is so contained that I’m honestly not sure where we’re headed after this.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved this book, and I’m definitely going to read the next book.  I just wish I had more of an idea of where it was headed.

5 stars.  I loved Bloodleaf and thought the world and mythology was really unique.

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Book Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

Book: The Wicked King by Holly Black

Published January 2019 by Little, Brown & Company|322 pages

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

Series: The Folk Of The Air #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself that strong.

Jude has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were biddable. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her, even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a faerie world. 

I liked this one!  Not at much as The Cruel Prince, but I still liked it.  I haven’t been in a huge mood to review books lately, so I’m really fuzzy on the details of this one because of the gap between when I read it and when I’m actually writing it.

The ending surprised me, and I’m not sure why.  I kind of feel like I should have seen it coming after everything that happened in the book, but at the same time, it makes me curious about what’s going to happen next.  After everything that happened and with everything Jude did…maybe I should have realized there would be consequences.  Either way, I was along for the ride, and not expecting it did get my attention.  It definitely makes me want to read the next one.

I really like the world Jude is living in.  I feel like there’s so much more to it than what we’re seeing, and I’m a little sad we don’t see enough of it.  It’s definitely cutthroat and manipulative, but I feel like there’s a lot more world to see and explore.  Who knows what we’ll see with how everything ended?

The characters were okay but mostly didn’t stand out to me.  I’m not sure if it’s because we know them already or I just can’t remember anything at this point.  Jude was pretty interesting in this one, and I’m really interested to see what she’ll do next.  She’s going to have to be pretty careful in the next one.

3 stars.  I liked The Wicked King, and it was a pretty enjoyable book.  I just wish I remembered more than the ending, and that I could talk about the book more.

Book Review: Circle Of Shadows by Evelyn Skye

Book: Circle Of Shadows by Evelyn Skye

Published January 2019 by Balzer + Bray|454 pages

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

Series: Circle Of Shadows #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

A thrilling new fantasy series full of magic and betrayal—from Evelyn Skye, New York Times bestselling author of the Crown’s Game series.

Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.

As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.

So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.

Love, spies, and adventure abound as Sora and Daemon unravel a complex web of magic and secrets that might tear them—and the entire kingdom—apart forever.

I was excited about Circle Of Shadows, but it ended up being okay for me.  I wish I liked it more, because it’s a really cool idea, and I really liked The Crown’s Game.

I’m really torn about the world- on the one hand, the world and history is really cool.  But at the same time, I felt like everything was just there, and wasn’t really explained.  The gemina part of the story made no sense, and wasn’t explained.  Were they supposed to be working together or were they supposed to have something a little more romantic?  It was really weird, and I wasn’t sure why everyone was paired off.

There were a lot of little details that could have added to the book.  There were a lot of descriptions I could have done without, and I definitely felt like we didn’t get the details we should have had.  It definitely didn’t have the same appeal as her previous series (though I definitely enjoyed the first one a lot more than it’s sequel).  It just didn’t have the same level of detail or world-building as her other series, and I felt like we were missing out.  To me, it felt like a step backward in terms of the world.

It’s too bad, because I liked the story.  There’s a lot of potential, and I’m sad this book wasn’t for me.  I just had too many questions about the world.  The history of Sora’s world seemed pretty interesting, and there were a few moments in the book where I couldn’t stop reading.  Those were few and far between, and for the most part, I was bored.  There was one moment at the end that was really hard to read, and even though I had the feeling it was coming, it was a little more gruesome than I expected.  If I could have read it peeking through my fingers, I probably would have.

The characters were okay, and no one really stood out to me.  The names stood out, but I think because they were not names I was expecting.  While I’m fine with taking on a new name once you become an apprentice, I also thought the names Skye went with were a little odd.  Fairy and Broomstick?  Spirit and Wolf?  The names seemed like a place-holder or a childhood nickname as opposed to a name bestowed on a magical apprentice.  But that’s just me.

It started off really well, and the interesting, while predictable, was also interesting.  It meandered a lot in the middle, and I got pretty bored.  I probably would have been a lot more interested in the ending if I hadn’t lost interest in the middle.

2 stars.  While I didn’t actively dislike this book, it was still okay.  I wanted different details than the one we got, and I had a hard time getting through it.

Book Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

Book: Slayer by Kiersten White

Published January 2019 by Simon Pulse|404 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Slayer #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Into every generation a Slayer is born…

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.

As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…

But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.

Slayer was a book I was both excited and nervous about.  Excited because I love Kiersten White, and I will read anything she writes.  But I was nervous because I’ve never seen Buffy, and I wasn’t sure if what to expect.  But White is an auto-buy author for me, and I knew I was going to fun and entertaining.

I actually really liked it, and I had no reason to be nervous!  I was sure I would have no idea what was going on, since this is my first introduction to Buffy.  But you don’t need to have seen Buffy in order to know what’s going on, which was really nice.  I think it does reference the show, but she does a great job at explaining what’s going on, and what got us to the events we see in this book.  I definitely want to watch the show now!  If only to see the world White was working from.

There were some things I wasn’t surprised by but I still loved seeing how everything played out.  I’m really curious to see what will happen next.

I loved Nina, and she was really easy to relate to.  I really felt for her with everything going on, and even though I understood where her mom and sister were coming from, I still found myself really hating them at times.  Nina really seemed like an underdog but there were some people who seemed really supportive of her and wanted her to do well.  I kind of wonder what would happen if some things hadn’t happened, and if things would have turned out differently.  I guess we’ll never know, but I’m still looking forward to seeing what’s next for her and everyone else.

4 stars.  I didn’t love Slayer but it was a really fun read.

Book Review: King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Book: King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Published January 2019 by Imprint|514 pages

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

Series: Nikolai Duology #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

I’m been pretty excited about King Of Scars for a while!  And while I didn’t love it, I still really liked it.

I loved seeing Nikolai’s story, and I was really surprised with how everything ended.  It’s definitely an adventure, and I don’t blame him for wanting to keep everything a secret.  It’s been ages since I read the Shadow and Bone series, but I did not see that coming.

We also have Nina and Zoya narrate King Of Scars, and it was nice to to see Zoya’s perspective on what was going on with Nikolai.  It was also nice to see what was going on with Nina, and while Zoya and Nikolai were dealing with what was going on with Nikolai.

I was nervous going into this book because I hadn’t re-read Shadow And Bone or Six Of Crows ahead of time.  If you haven’t read those series, you don’t need to in order to read this one.  Bardugo does a great job at explaining what’s happened before and she weaves it into the story really well.  You’ll understand what’s going on in this book, which worked out great for me because I didn’t remember anything.

Still, reading those books first is something I’d recommend, because it does set up the world we see in this book, and it does give you the background and history you need it.  It just makes understanding this world easier, but it’s not necessary.

I want to randomly switch over to Isaac for a second.  We do get a few chapters from his perspective, and while it’s a way to see what’s going on while Nikokai is dealing with things, I also didn’t particularly care for those chapters.  They didn’t really stand out to me, and all I pretty much remember is that they exist.

It seemed like it took a while for things to get going- it wasn’t until the end of the book that things really got interesting, and part of me wishes that it didn’t seem to meander for a lot of the book.  That’s what it felt like to me, anyway.

4 stars.  I really liked King Of Scars, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Audio Book Review: We Set The Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia, Narrated by Kyla Garcia

Book: We Set The Dark On Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia, Narrated by Kyla Garcia

Published February 2019 by HarperAudio|Length: 9 hours, 54 minutes

Where I Got It: I borrowed the audio book from the library

Series: We Set The Dark On Fire #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children, but both are promised a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her bright future depends upon no one discovering her darkest secret—that her pedigree is a lie. Her parents sacrificed everything to obtain forged identification papers so Dani could rise above her station. Now that her marriage to an important politico’s son is fast approaching, she must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society, where famine and poverty rule supreme.

On her graduation night, Dani seems to be in the clear, despite the surprises that unfold. But nothing prepares her for all the difficult choices she must make, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio. Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or to give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?

I liked We Set The Dark On Fire!  I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next, but I definitely have some mixed feelings.

I’d say it’s The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Belles meets Girls Of Paper And Fire.  I’d say it’s more Handmaid’s Tale than any of the other two books I mentioned, but I think it reminded me of The Belles and Girls Of Paper And Fire because of girls chosen to do be something, and getting trained to it.  Plus the whole forbidden romance you see in Girls Of Paper And Fire.

I really felt for Dani, and what she was trying to protect.  She has to make a lot of hard choices, but I did find myself wishing that we had more with her parents.  I know she wanted to protect her secret, that her parents gave up everything so she could do better, but I never really felt like that was in danger of being revealed.  I felt like her joining the Resistance, and her falling in love with Carmen was more at stake than sacrificing what her parents did.

I really wanted to know more about the school she went to, and how it was decided who was Primero and who was Segundo.  I really wanted to know that.  It was easy enough with Handmaid’s Tale- Handmaidens were the ones who could still bear children, while wives sometimes could not.  But I wasn’t sure how it decided- if it was explained, I clearly missed it.

So, I did listen to the audio book, which I think didn’t help with the world building.  The narrator, Kyla Garcia was really great, and she did an awesome job narrating.  I loved her narration of Joyride by Anna Banks, but having finished this one, I don’t think it completely worked on audio.  At least for me.  There were details, like who was Primero and who was Segundo that were either left out, or completely forgettable.  There were quotes from the guide that the Medio School For Girls had, and they were completely forgettable as well.  I didn’t mind them, but for audio, it didn’t work.

And there was this story at the beginning of the book that explained how the world came to be.  I liked it, but by the end of the book, I had completely forgotten what it was about.  I think that’s what made me think of The Belles.

The idea was interesting, and I liked a Handmaid’s Tale-type story in a fantasy setting.  It’s not at all a Handmaid’s Tale re-telling but it was the only thing I could think of the entire time I was reading this book.  That is partly why I picked this book up, and I did like it.  The world and characters are interesting, and I do want to know where the story is headed.  I think this is the one time that a comparison to another book is dead-on.

I didn’t really care about Carmen, but I did like Dani.  I can’t say I’m surprised by some of the things that happened between them, but I did want to keep listening to see if any of my guesses were right.  It was fairly predictable, but I didn’t mind.  I liked the overall story enough that I didn’t mind the predictability.

3 stars.  If you love the Handmaid’s Tale, you really like this book.  It reminded me way too much of the Handmaid’s Tale for me to love this book, and it’s similarity to it made it hard to see it as a separate book.  Still, I liked the world and the story enough that I want to know what happens next.

Audio Book Review: Dreams Of Gods And Monsters by Laini Taylor, Narrated by Khristine Hvam

Book: Dreams Of Gods And Monsters by Laini Taylor, Narrated by Khristine Hvam

Published April 2014 by Hachette Audio|Length: 18 hours, 8 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Daughter Of Smoke And Bone #3

Genre: YA Fantasy

In this thrilling conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, Karou is still not ready to forgive Akiva for killing the only family she’s ever known.

When a brutal angel army trespasses into the human world, Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat–and against larger dangers that loom on the horizon. They begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves–maybe even toward love.

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera, and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy. 

I’m really glad to be finished this series!  I know people really love Laini Taylor, but I don’t know if I’ll be picking up any other books by her.  I started off really liking this series, and I liked this one, but it really fizzled out for me.

I really liked Eliza’s story, and I thought she was a nice inclusion to everything that was going on.  At the same time, though, I’m not sure why she was introduced now.  I wish we had seen more of her throughout the series, and it would have been interesting to have her balance out everything else that happened in the first two books.  We are building up to everything that happens in this book so maybe this is the best place to introduce her.

As usual, Khristine Hvam did an awesome job narrating.  I’m pretty sure I would have given up on the series a long time ago if I hadn’t switched to the audio books.  Even listening to the book, I struggled to get through it.  This is not a short book- it’s well over 14 hours, and there were quite a few times where I found myself not paying attention to the book.  I’d spend a couple of hours here and there listening to it, but I could only listen to it for so long before I had to listen to something else.  It’s not Hvam at all, because she’s why I switched to the audio.  I just wasn’t engaging with the story as much as I wanted to.

It was interesting to see what was going on with earth while Karou was trying to save the world, and I think that’s why Eliza is so important.  From the moment we met her, I knew she was going to be important, and I wondered what her connection to the chimera and the angels were.  I wasn’t expecting the story we got, but I really liked it.  It was unexpected but in a good way.

The world is such a unique one, and there are a lot of memorable characters.  I liked Karou, Zuzanna and Mik, though I could have cared less about Akiva.  Ziri was pretty cool, and I really liked him and everything he was trying to do.

3 stars.  I loved the narration, and I loved the addition of Eliza.  I had a hard time getting through the book, but the world and the idea are pretty unique.

Book Review: The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Book: The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Published January 2019 by Wednesday Books|388 pages

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

Series: The Gilded Wolves #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

From New York Times bestselling author Roshani Chokshi comes The Gilded Wolves, a novel set in Paris during a time of extraordinary change—one that is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous desires…

No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history—but only if they can stay alive. 

I’ve heard a lot about this book lately, and it seemed like it was time to read it.  Unfortunately, it was just okay for me but I can see why so many people love it.

The world was really confusing, and it didn’t make any sense to me.  I wasn’t sure what was going most of the time, except they were on an 1800’s Da Vinci Code type of adventure.  I didn’t get the whole thing with the houses, or the Babel fragments or the Forged items.  The characters all sounded the same to me too, so I didn’t really get the point in having multiple narrators.

Not only that but there was this whole steampunk vibe but it was set in 1800’s Paris but it didn’t seem like Paris.  Now that I think about it, that part of it made me think of Grim Lovelies.  Maybe it’s the magical quest in Paris thing, and considering this is the second book I’ve read that have had those elements, it makes me wonder if it’s just coincidence that the two books have those elements.  Or maybe it’s going to be the next big thing?  Coincidence is more likely, at least for now.

There are a lot of characters, and I had a hard time keeping up with everyone.  Most of them are not memorable, and I can only remember Severin and Hypnos.  Even with them, I couldn’t tell you anything about them.  And it’s not just the characters that aren’t memorable, it’s everything else too.  Details are not sticking with me, and I couldn’t even begin to tell you every single little detail.

I wish we had a little more character development and world-building.  It would have been nice to have characters that were really distinct and well-rounded.  I know I say this all the time with series, but maybe in the next book?  Which I don’t think I’ll be reading because I was not interested enough to keep going.  If I’m this confused and bored, how much more confused and bored will I be with the next one?

2 stars.  The idea is pretty cool, and I liked the author’s note at the end.  I just wish I had seen more of her inspiration in the book.  The Gilded Wolves was just okay for me.

Book Review: Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge

Book: Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge

Published April 2014 by Balzer + Bray|111 pages

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

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy/Re-telling

A romantic and fantastical reimagining of the classic Cinderella tale, Gilded Ashes is a novella by Rosamund Hodge set in the same world as the author’s debut novel, Cruel Beauty.

Orphan Maia doesn’t see the point of love when it only brings pain: Her dying mother made a bargain with the evil, all-powerful ruler of their world that anyone who hurt her beloved daughter would be punished; her new stepmother went mad with grief when Maia’s father died; and her stepsisters are desperate for their mother’s approval, yet she always spurns them. And though her family has turned her into a despised servant, Maia must always pretend to be happy, or else they’ll all be struck dead by the curse.

Anax, heir to the Duke of Sardis, doesn’t believe in love either—not since he discovered that his childhood sweetheart was only using him for his noble title. What’s the point of pretending to fall in love with a girl just so she’ll pretend to fall in love with him back? But when his father invites all the suitable girls in the kingdom to a masked ball, Anax must finally give in and select a wife.

As fate would have it, the preparations for the masquerade bring him Maia, who was asked by her eldest stepsister to deliver letters to Anax. Despite a prickly first encounter, he is charmed and intrigued by this mysterious girl who doesn’t believe in love. Anax can’t help wishing to see her again—and when he does, he can’t help falling in love with her. Against her will, Maia starts to fall in love with him too. But how can she be with him when every moment his life is in danger from her mother’s deadly bargain?

HarperTeen Impulse is a digital imprint focused on young adult short stories and novellas, with new releases the first Tuesday of each month.

I really liked GIlded Ashes.  It’s been ages since I’ve read Cruel Beauty, which is in the same world as this book, but you don’t need to read that one in order to read this one.

It’s a really interesting and different take on Cinderella, and I liked that her mother was still around, even though it was in spirit.  This is a lot darker than I thought it would be, but I liked it.  It wasn’t sunshine and rainbows, and it was definitely creepy at times, but it worked for this book.

I liked that I didn’t need to remember anything from Cruel Beauty in order to understand this book.  It stands on its own pretty well, and a novella length was perfect for this book.  Part of me wishes it were longer, and I’d love more details about the characters and the world.  It would be really interesting as full-length story.  But at the same time, I like how condensed it is.  It’s not bogged down in details and it gets right to the point.  Plus, there are other (full-length) stories in the same world for something that has a little more detail to it.  I guess I have some mixed feelings about the length, but either way, I still liked Gilded Ashes.

I liked the relationship between the sisters.  They weren’t constantly fighting, though they did have their moments.  Something about their relationship makes me think of the relationship Cinder has with her step-sisters and stepmother in the Lunar Chronicles.

If you like fantasy, re-tellings and Cinderella, this is definitely worth checking out.

3 stars.  I liked Gilded Ashes, especially Maia and the world she lives in.

Audio Book Review: Archenemies by Marissa Meyer, Narrated by Rebecca Soler and Dan Bittner

Book: Archenemies by Marissa Meyer, Narrated by Rebecca Soler and Dan Bittner

Published November 2018 by Macmillan Audio|Length: 14 hours, 33 minutes

Where I Got It: I borrowed the audio book from the library

Series: Renegades #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

Part thriller, part superhero fantasy, here is the fiercely awaited sequel to the New York Times-bestselling Renegades by Marissa Meyer, author of the Lunar Chronicles.

Are Nova and Adrian each other’s worst nightmare?

In Renegades, Nova and Adrian (aka Insomnia and Sketch) fought the battle of their lives against the Anarchist known as the Detonator. It was a short-lived victory.

The Anarchists still have a secret weapon, one that Nova believes will protect her. The Renegades also have a strategy for overpowering the Anarchists, but both Nova and Adrian understand that it could mean the end of Gatlon City – and the world – as they know it.

I really liked Archenemies!  With how Renegades ended, I knew I had to read this one, just to see what happen.

I was surprised that the cliffhanger wasn’t a huge part of this book.  It’s there, throughout the book, but I really thought it would play a larger part in the book.  I’m a little disappointed with the lack of follow up on the cliffhanger, and it really makes me wonder how the cliffhanger in this book is going to be handled.  I mean, is it going to be hovering in the background, or is it actually going to be a plot point in the next book?

Like Renegades, I thought Nova’s story was much more interesting.  Adrian’s story was a nice contrast to Nova’s, but his story just isn’t one I particularly care about.  As much as I love Nova, I was getting a little tired of how she needed revenge because the renegades didn’t save her family in time.  It was fine in the first book, but it was repetitive in this book.  I feel like it’s going to get a lot worse in the last book, with how this one ended.

Nova has a lot of conflicted feelings in this one- as much as she wants revenge on the Renegades, I also feel like it’s possible she won’t be able to follow through after getting to know at least some of the renegades.  We’ve been building to her revenge for the last two books, and I’ll be disappointed if we don’t get it.

Also like Renegades, it seemed like the Renegades were a lot worse than the villains.  I just don’t like them, especially where Agent N is concerned.  I hated that they used Max for it, especially because he’s just a child.  I’m glad that Nova wasn’t the only one who was concerned about it’s use and that she wanted regulations put in place.  Its use can go both ways, and it certainly doesn’t seem like they realize that it could fall into the very hands they want to use it against.

Even though I’m not a huge fan of Adrian or his story, it does show why they think the way they do.  I understand their point, but I also get Nova’s point.  Like I said earlier, Nova and Adrian are a nice contrast to each other, and it does show both sides.  Still, I’m not feeling anything warm and fuzzy towards the Renegades, and I’m having a hard time feeling any sympathy for them.  It’ll take a lot for me to change my mind about them, and I can’t see myself changing my mind in the last book.

It’s an interesting mix of superhero story and thriller and maybe even dystopia.  I really like what she’s done with the superheros, even if it is cheesy and cliche.  It’s fun and entertaining, but it does have its serious moments.

And since I listened to the audio book, I should probably talk about the narrators.  Once again, we have Rebecca Soler and Dan Bittner narrate the book.  They did a great job narrating, and I could picture them as Nova and Adrian.

4 stars.  I really liked Archenemies, and I can’t wait to listen to the next one to see what happens next.