Audio Book Review: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw, Narrated by Casey Turner

Book: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw, Narrated by Casey Turner

Published March 2018 by Audible Studios|Length: 8 hours, 59 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

I really liked this one! I ended up reading it pretty close to Halloween, which was the perfect time to listen to it. It was also great as an audio book, and I’m really glad I decided to take a listen.

The whole time I was listening to it, I was reminded of Hocus Pocus, which is one of my all-time favorite Halloween movies. It doesn’t feel like Halloween until I watch it, and if you love Hocus Pocus, this is a great book to check out. It had a really similar vibe to it, but it is pretty different.

For one thing, the book takes place in the summer, not on Halloween. And it’s set in Oregon, not New England- which is where I thought the book was taking place. I was surprised when I realized the book was set in Oregon, because there were things I didn’t expect, but I thought worked well for the story.

I liked the idea of the sisters coming back to possess three girls and lure boys to their death. I wish we saw a little more of that, because I thought it was interesting. Especially with one of the sisters (whose name I unfortunately cannot remember) and how she was involved. You get such a good sense of who each sister is, and while we see one more than others, I still wish we saw more of the other two sisters as well. I get why we see the one sister, but still. I just really would have liked seeing the other three.

It wasn’t until after I finished the book that I realized the book was described as Hocus Pocus meets Practical Magic. The Hocus Pocus vibe is very strong with this book, but I do see the comparison to Practical Magic. Granted, the last time I read Practical Magic was in high school, so it’s been a good 14-ish years since I’ve read it. From what I vaguely remember about it, though, it’s a good comparison as well. Take that one with a grain of salt, though.

I also really liked the narrator! She was a great narrator and I can’t see anyone else narrating Penny’s story. I’m definitely going to have to see if Casey Turner has narrated anything else, and I’d definitely listen to other books she’s narrated.

4 stars. I didn’t love it (and I can’t exactly say why) but I did really like it. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves Hocus Pocus, and it’s a great book to read in October.

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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: As She Ascends by Jodi Meadows

Book: As She Ascends by Jodi Meadows

Published September 2018 by Katherine Tegen Books|550 pages

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

Series: The Fallen Isles #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

MIRA, THE HOPEBEARER
Mira Minkoba is on the run with her friends after a fiery escape from the Pit, where she’d been imprisoned for defending the dragons she loves. And she wants answers. Where have all the dragons been taken? Why are powerful noorestones being shipped to the mainland? And did the treaty she’s been defending her whole life truly sell out the Fallen Isles to their enemies?

MIRA, THE DRAGONHEARTED
As her connection to the dragons—and their power—grows stronger, so does Mira’s fear that she might lose control and hurt someone she loves. But the only way to find the truth is to go home again, to Damina, to face the people who betrayed her and the parents she’s not sure she can trust.

Home, where she must rise above her fears. Or be consumed.

The second page-turning novel in Jodi Meadows’ Fallen Isles trilogy scorches with mysterious magic and riveting romance as one girl kindles a spark into a flame.

I liked this one!  I didn’t like it as much as the first book, but I still want to know what happens next.

I wasn’t a big fan of the timeline in this book, so that didn’t really change from the first book.  It’s slightly better than it was in the first book, and a lot more linear but I still wasn’t a fan of it.  Most of the book is told through Mira’s perspective, but we do get chapters about what happened to Aaru.  Aaru’s chapters are much more linear than the timeline we saw in Before She Ignites, and I liked learning more about what happened to Aaru.

At the same time, though, I just wanted to be in the present.  It did tie in to Mira’s story, at least a little, and I am curious to see if it will tie into the last book as well.

I did like seeing more of the treaty, and what was really going on with it.  It wasn’t what I thought it would be, and it was clear that for a lot of people living in the Fallen Islands that the treaty wasn’t what they thought…or at least, what some people thought.  I was surprised by everything with the Treaty, and while part of me is hoping everything is okay with Mira’s parents, part of me is hoping things are not okay.

Mira really finds an inner strength that we didn’t see before, and I really hated that her worth as a person- for some people- depended on her looks and her doing what people told her to do.  It made me angry, because Mira is a good person, who wants a better world.  She wants to help dragons and her people, and all some people want is a pretty figurehead to further their own agenda.

I’ve really liked seeing Mira grow and change, and I’m sure we’ll see more of that in the next book.  Part of me didn’t like that she didn’t want to take her medication for anxiety, but…I can also understand not wanting to use when you’re unsure if you’ll be able to get more.  So much is depending on her, so I’m hoping…what, exactly, I don’t know, but there’s something about it that I didn’t like, and I can’t pinpoint why.  I’m also not sure where I want it to go, but part of me hopes we’ll continue to see Mira deal with her anxiety.

3 stars.  I liked it, and I liked Mir’s journey in this book.  There’s a lot I’m hoping we’ll see in the next book, and I’m hoping we don’t get past and present in the next book, because it really hasn’t worked for me in this book.

Book Review: Heart Of Thorns by Bree Barton

Book: Heart Of Thorns by Bree Barton

Published July 2018 by Katherine Tegen Books|438 pages

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

Series: Heart Of Thorns #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Inventive and heart-racing, this fiercely feminist teen fantasy trilogy from debut author Bree Barton examines a dark kingdom in which only women can possess magic—and every woman is suspected of having it.

Mia Rose wants only one thing: revenge against the Gwyrach—feared, reviled, and magical women—who killed her mother. After years training under her father’s infamous Hunters, Mia is ready. She will scour the four kingdoms, find her mother’s murderer, and enact the Hunters’ Creed: heart for a heart, life for a life.

But when Mia is thrust into the last role she ever wanted—promised wife to the future king—she plots a daring escape. On her wedding night, Mia discovers something she never imagined: She may be a Huntress, but she’s also a Gwyrach. As the truth comes to light, Mia must untangle the secrets of her own past. Now if she wants to survive, Mia must learn to trust her heart . . . even if it kills her.

I liked this one! I didn’t love it, for a few reasons, but there were also some things I really liked as well.

So…what didn’t I like about Heart Of Thorns?

For one thing, it’s pretty predictable. I mean, Mia is set to get married at the beginning of the book, but it’s not something she wants. And of course, Mia is the very thing she hates, especially after what happened to her mom. It’s predictable in the sense that she has to learn how to accept the thing she’s been trained to hate. I didn’t mind the predictability of Heart Of Thorns, but I can’t say I’m surprised by pretty much anything that happens in the book.

Wanting to protect her sister, I get. Finding out that her sister wasn’t who she thought wasn’t a surprise. Her dad maybe trying to help her out even though he doesn’t seem to care about her? A dead mother who had a secret, but left behind information Mia needed? None of that was surprising.

And I skimmed over the parts where Mia was reading what her mother had left behind. I don’t mind cursive/the handwriting-type font, and I get needing to differentiate between what her mother wrote and the rest of the book, but I found it a little bit hard to read, so I sort of skimmed and got bits and pieces. I wish it had been a little easier to read, but that’s just my preference.

I was curious to find out what happened to her mom, but I wasn’t really interested in that part as much as I wanted it to be. Maybe it’s because I pretty much skipped over that part of the book, and I did like everything with her sister…well, all of the stuff towards the end of the book. I was definitely surprised by the end of the book, which was less predictable than I thought it would be. Was it still predictable? Of course if was. But it was less predictable than I thought it would be, considering everything that had happened for most of the book. It’s took bad the rest of the book wasn’t like the ending. I hate it when books only get interesting at the end, and this book was no exception.

Mia definitely learns that everything she knew about the Gwyrach is not necessarily the case, and that was something I really liked about the book. It definitely highlighted how something that only women could do became twisted into something terrible- I did expect something more as far as a sisterhood goes, and it was that part of the book that really shows why the blurb describes this book as a feminist fantasy. I didn’t love it, and it wasn’t enough to warrant stronger feelings but it was something that’s giving the book a higher rating than what it would have received otherwise.

3 stars. I liked it but I don’t know if I’ll continue on with the series. I’m not dying to know what happens next, even if I am slightly intrigued. It’s was entertaining but predictable.

Book Review: Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor

Book: Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor

Published October 2017 by Viking Books For Young Readers|477 pages

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

Series: Akata Witch #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

A year ago, Sunny Nwazue, an American-born girl Nigerian girl, was inducted into the secret Leopard Society. As she began to develop her magical powers, Sunny learned that she had been chosen to lead a dangerous mission to avert an apocalypse, brought about by the terrifying masquerade, Ekwensu. Now, stronger, feistier, and a bit older, Sunny is studying with her mentor Sugar Cream and struggling to unlock the secrets in her strange Nsibidi book. 

Eventually, Sunny knows she must confront her destiny. With the support of her Leopard Society friends, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, and of her spirit face, Anyanwu, she will travel through worlds both visible and invisible to the mysteries town of Osisi, where she will fight a climactic battle to save humanity.

Much-honored Nnedi Okorafor, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards, merges today’s Nigeria with a unique world she creates. Akata Warrior blends mythology, fantasy, history and magic into a compelling tale that will keep readers spellbound.

I really liked this one!  I feel like I’ve read a few of her books recently, and I have a couple more on my shelf that I got from the library, so I’m definitely in a mood for Okorafor’s books.

I’ll admit, it’s been a while since I’ve read the first book, so I didn’t remember anything from Akata Witch.  Which was actually fine because I didn’t need to remember too much about it.  It doesn’t rely a lot on the first book, though it is a good idea to read that one first.

It was so nice to revisit this world, and I loved seeing what Sunny and her friends were up to.  I loved how she wanted to protect her brother, and even though it caused a lot of trouble for Sunny, I feel like her heart was in the right place.  I’m glad we got more of her family, and if there are more books in the series, I hope we get more with her family and how she has to balance that with being a Leopard Person.

I love how the details come together, and I love the balance between the magical world and the real world.  They’re balanced really well, and I love how they exist together.  They’re very different, of course, and I can’t imagine having to hide part of that from family, but overall, I think Sunny manages to fit in pretty well.

I loved revisiting this world, and it’s just as interesting as the world we saw in Akata Witch.  This book really adds to Sunny’s world, but I wish some things were talked about a little more.  Still, there’s more to Sunny’s world in this book, and it was nice to grow with Suny as she comes into her abilities a little more.

4 stars.  It took me a little time to get into it, and I think a lot of it is not having re-read the first book.  Still, I really liked it, and it was nice going back to Sunny’s world.

Book Review: Frostblood by Elly Blake

Book: Frostblood by Elly Blake

Published January 2017 by Little, Brown Books For Young Readers|376 pages

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

Series: Frostblood #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat and flame from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow their bloodthirsty king, she agrees to come out of hiding, desperate to have her revenge.

Despite her unpredictable abilities, Ruby trains with the rebels and the infuriating – yet irresistible – Arcus, who seems to think of her as nothing more than a weapon. But before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to compete in the king’s tournaments that pit Fireblood prisoners against Frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her – and from the icy young man she has come to love.

This is a book I’ve meaning to read for a while, and I finally got around to it.  I liked it, but not as much as I thought I would.

Here’s the thing with this book.  I liked the idea behind it, and I like the contrast in powers- you can’t go wrong with fire and frost on opposing sides.  But what works against it is there are a lot of other similar books out there, and it was hard to love this one.  There were a few books I was reminded of, and it was hard to get into it, though I did like the opposing powers thing.  It made it seem at least somewhat different, at least on the surface.  Maybe if I hadn’t read books like The Red Queen, I would have liked it a lot more.  This book is definitely part of a trend, but maybe I need some sort of distance from the trend.

I couldn’t begin to tell you a thing about Ruby, other than she seems to have some control over her powers.  That was a nice change from her learning she has some sort of ability she’s not supposed to have.

Other than that, it’s your typical YA fantasy, so I wasn’t particularly surprised by what happened.  Still, I’m curious to see what happens next.  While I’m not running out to read the next one, I will pick it up at some point.  On the plus side, the cover is really cool, and I feel like I don’t comment on covers a lot, so this is a pretty good one, in my opinion.

3 stars.  I liked it, and fire and frost are pretty cool opposing powers, but it would have been interesting to see something that’s a little less obvious, as far as powers go.

Book Review: Grace And Fury by Tracy Banghart

Book: Grace And Fury by Tracy Banghart

Published July 2018 by Little, Brown Books For Young Readers|320 pages

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

Series: Grace And Fury #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.

Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace – someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir’s eye, it’s Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.

Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.

I really liked this one!  In some ways, it’s really predictable, but in other ways, it was really cool.

It’s predictable in the sense that the sister who’s been training to be a Grace doesn’t become one, and the sister who doesn’t want it is the one who becomes a Grace.  There were a couple of other things that were predictable as well, particularly with the heir, but I didn’t mind, for some reason.

When I was reading Grace And Fury, I was very much reminded of The Handmaid’s Tale.  The way women have no choices, aren’t allowed to read or write, and how they get sent to an island prison if they do anything deemed unacceptable.  How the prison was set up was different- all of them are divided into different groups, though I can’t say I’m surprised by how they’re treated once there.

I really liked the bond the two sisters had, and how willing they were to protect each other.  All they could think about, especially after Serina goes to prison for Nomi, was making sure the other one was okay.  I liked the relationship they had, and I liked seeing how both of them changed throughout the book.  They were both so determined to fight and make things better for all of the women in…wherever it is they live.  I, for the life of me, cannot remember where it is, but at any rate, they do want to make things better.

I did want a little more with the world- I wish we knew how they got to this point.  I’m not convinced that we’ll get more in the next one, and I’d be surprised at we did.  I am curious, especially since it’s mentioned that women were in power at one point, and that the history Nomi knew isn’t the one that actually happened.  I get why that history was erased, but I still wish we had more of it.  I just want to know how we got to that point.

4 stars.  I really liked it, and though it was predictable at times, I still want to know what happens next.

Book Review: Tower Of Dawn by Sarah J Maas

Book: Tower Of Dawn by Sarah J Maas

Published September 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens|664 pages

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

Series: Throne Of Glass #6

Genre: YA Fantasy

In the next installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, follow Chaol on his sweeping journey to a distant empire.

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.

As much as I like this series, Tower Of Dawn was just okay for me.  It’s been a while since I’ve read the series, so I was a bit fuzzy on the details.  Which was fine enough, since this one seemed like more of a stand-alone than the other books.  But I still wish I had re-read the series, because I spent the entire book trying to remember who Nesryn was.

At least I remembered who Chaol was, though I’m not a huge of Chaol.  Not to the point where I wish I didn’t remember who he was, but I just wanted to get back to what was going on with Aelin.

Anyway, back to this book.  It really dragged for me, and it was both ridiculously slow and boring.  I found myself skimming a lot, because for some reason, I was determined to get through this book and I have no idea why.  It was too long and drawn out, and honestly…as much as I like this series, I would have been fine if this book were a novella instead.  I’m just so confused as to why this book is over 600 pages.

I think the only thing I truly liked was the backstory of Maeve.  That was interesting but it’s the only thing that did get my attention/interest.  For pretty much everything else, I could have cared less.

And Chaol being magically healed?  That really bothered me.  To me, it felt like it was there solely so he could meet Yrene and get his HEA with her.  Also, I’m not a fan of their relationship, mostly because I can’t get it out of my head that she married a former patient.  I just…I can’t with that.  I really can’t, and it crosses a line for me.

Overall, it’s my least favorite in the series.  I mean, at this point, I’m pretty invested, so I’ll keep reading, but this one didn’t work for me.

2 stars.  Clearly, this book was not for me.  It was too drawn out, and could have worked well as either a novella, or part of the previous book, or the next.

Book Review: A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa Tahir

Book: A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa Tahir

Published June 2018 by Razorbill|464 pages

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

Series: An Ember In The Ashes #3

Genre: YA Fantasy

The highly anticipated third book in Sabaa Tahir’s New York Times bestselling EMBER QUARTET.

Beyond the Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.

The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable, while the Commandant capitalizes on his madness to bolster her own power. As Helene searches for a way to hold back the approaching darkness, her sister’s life and the lives of all those in the Empire hang in the balance.

Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But while hunting for a way to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would aid her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she’d have to fight.

And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that will stop at nothing to ensure Elias’s devotion–even at the cost of his humanity.

I’ve really liked this series, so I was really excited to pick this book up!  I liked it a lot, and I’m curious to see where things are headed, especially since we’re closing in on the last book.

We have a few different narrators in this book, and I actually like it because you see what’s going on in the Empire.  With Helene, Laia, Elias, and even the Nightbringer, you see how much things are affecting everyone, and what everyone is up against.

I think I liked Helene’s chapters the most- I don’t know why, but her chapters seemed to get me more interested in what was going on.  At this point, I could care less about Elias, which is a little disappointing, because the whole Soul Catcher thing could have been a lot more interesting.  And I really liked seeing his side of things, which also made it disappointing.  I didn’t particularly for Laia’s story, which has been the case for pretty much the entire series, but there were some…interesting developments in her story that was a little bit of too little too late.  I am kicking myself for not seeing it before, and I feel like I should have.  It took me for surprise but it was a good surprise.  I still can’t believe I didn’t put it together, but it sort of makes sense now.

It is interesting because I felt like in this book, it really became Helene’s story.  The three characters have their own journey, but this book felt like it was more about Helene than Elias or Laia.  Her story felt like the strongest of the three we see, and I really want more of her story in the next one.  Just…the whole thing with her family and Marcus…I desperately want to know how that’s going to turn, especially with her sister.  Is it just me, or did her sister seem more calculating in this book?  I feel like there’s more to what’s going on than what we saw.

This book is probably my least favorite so far.  I don’t know if I’m feeling burnt out on series a little bit, or if it’s me.  I have been in a weird mood for the last month or so, so it could be that.  Either way, I did like it, just not as much as I thought.  It seemed slower, but maybe we’re just building up to the next (and last) book.

3 stars.  Helene’s story was really strong, and easily my favorite chapters of this book.  I didn’t particularly care for Laia or Elias, but I am curious to see how everything gets wrapped up.

Book Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Book: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Published September 2016 by HarperTeen|398 pages

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

Series: Three Dark Crowns #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

When kingdom come, there will be one.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

I feel like I’ve heard a lot about this series, so when I saw it at the library, I thought I’d check it out and see what it’s about.  Even though I didn’t love it, I still liked it!

It’s a really cool idea, and I like the idea of a set of triplets fighting for their crown.  It’s interesting that it’s every generation, and the impression I got was that they’re only born so people can see them fight for the crown, but I could be wrong.  I mean, I’ve only read the first book, so there could be a lot more about this world that we didn’t get in the book.

It seems like there are a lot of different kinds of magic, even though the book only focuses on a few.  I’d be curious to see what other kind of magic there is, and if we’ll see what there is beyond what the girls can do.

I’m not sure how I feel about three different narrators, though.  Usually, I read books with 2, and it’s pretty rare that I’ll pick up a book with more than that- An Ember In The Ashes series is the only other one I can think of, but that’s only because I read the third one pretty recently.

I mean, each girl was different, and each one had their own voice.  It was pretty easy to distinguish between the three but it also made it seem like there was too much going on.  It’s not that it was hard to keep track of what was going on, but it made things seem more complicated than they were.  Maybe the amount of narrators will narrow down as characters die, and that Blake won’t add in other perspectives.  I think maybe 3 narrators (each queen) didn’t work for me was because it seemed like a lot of other characters popped up.  I did have some trouble remembering who those characters were, and sometimes, it seemed like it was more about them than the three queens.

It was pretty slow for most of the book, but it does pick up towards the end.  It’s sad it did take so long for it to pick up, because I did like the end and I wanted more action.

I do have some unanswered questions- there are some odd rules in place.  Like, they can’t kill each other until they’re 16, which is strange.  I know 16-ish seems to be the age when people come into their powers and whatnot, and maybe it’s the age where these queens are considered old enough to fight for their crown and know what’s going on.

Also odd was the fact that they were raised separately.  I guess I don’t completely understand why they needed to be raised separately, since it was never explained.  It also seemed useless to me because they all seemed to have one ability, only for some to have a completely different ability.  Said character was seen as pretty useless as far as abilities go, and maybe she would have been seen differently had they figured out what her abilities really were.  Do they not test that, or do they try to shove an ability onto someone in the hopes it will stick?

Maybe I just wanted more with how the magic works, because I’m not remembering if it was really explained.  And I read this book recently enough that it should be on my mind.  I guess it’s pretty forgettable if it was mentioned at all.

Looking back (and after reading some other reviews of the book), I think what I thought would happen will probably be one of the other books in the series.  I wasn’t expecting so much set up to three girls fighting to the death for the crown.

It wasn’t as dark and twisty as I thought it would, at least for most of the book.  Maybe we’ll see that later on in the series?  All I know is I was expecting something more dark and evil than what we got for most of the book.

3 stars.  I liked Three Dark Crowns, but I have a lot of questions about why things are the way they are.