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!

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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.

Book Review: Shatter by Aprilynne Pike

Book: Shatter by Aprilynne Pike

Published February 2018 by Random House|378 pages

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

Series: Glitter #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

Danica planned to use beauty, blackmail, and a glittering drug to control her own fate. Her escape from the twisted world of the Palace of Versailles was perfectly orchestrated and paid for. Or so she thought. 

Betrayed by the man who had promised her freedom, Dani is now married to the murderous King. It’s a terrifying position to be in…and yet it’s oddly intoxicating. Power may be an even stronger drug than Glitter–a drug Dani can’t resist, in the form of secrets, manipulation, and sabotage.

In her new position at the head of the court, Dani must ask herself who she really is. Can she use her newfound power to secure her real love, Saber’s freedom and a chance at a life together outside the palace? Or is being Queen too addictive to give up?

After reading Glitter last year, I figured I’d pick up the sequel to see how things turned out for Danica.  Shatter was just okay for me, and I didn’t like it nearly as much as the first book.

I’m still not sure why they’re re-enacting Versailles and Marie Antoinette, and like Glitter, I’m not sure what Pike was going for with this series.  The setting is interesting, but I wanted more backstory.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get it in this book, though we did learn a few things about the world that we didn’t know in Glitter.  Still, it wasn’t enough for me.  I had some questions on the outside world, and they weren’t answered in this one.

Danica is still trying to escape Versailles (and take Saber with her) but being Queen really changes her.  And not in a good way.  She does do some good at the very end of the book, but for me, it was too little, too late.  I didn’t particularly care for Danica in this book, but she is surrounded by some horrible people, and I can understand why she changes into someone who’s terrifying and manipulative.

I don’t remember Saber at all from the first book, but he was barely around in this one, it seemed like.  If he had completely disappeared, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have noticed.  It felt like there was nothing between him and Danica.

As for Danica and Justin, I didn’t particularly like them together.  I know it’s just a way for Danica to get what she wants, which is freedom, but Justin was pretty terrible.  Honestly, it seemed like pretty much everyone was terrible, and I didn’t particularly like anyone.

2 stars.  I had a hard time getting into this one, and I really do prefer her Wings series to this one.  Maybe this series isn’t for me, though the idea behind it is pretty cool.

ARC Book Review: A Curse So Dark And Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Book: A Curse So Dark And Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Published January 2019 by Bloomsbury YA|489 pages

Where I Got It: I got an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: A Curse So Dark And Lonely #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

Fall in love, break the curse. 

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom. 

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

I was really intrigued by this book when I saw it on Netgalley, and I knew I had to request it.  Unfortunately, it was just okay for me, and I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.

I had a really hard time getting into it, especially at the beginning.  It was about a quarter of the way in that I started to like the story a little more.  The dual POV didn’t work for me, and it was hard to tell who was narrating because Rhen and Harper’s chapters were really similar, and they sounded pretty much the same to me.  I could only read a few chapters at a time before needing to put it down.  I just really struggled with it.

I think a lot of my struggles with A Curse So Dark And Lonely come from me being bored.  I really liked the idea of a modern day re-telling where Belle ends up in a magical land to break the curse.  It just took a while to get there.  I couldn’t completely root for Rhen and Harper, and I felt like they had no chemistry.  I had a hard time with the fact that they basically abducted girls, hoping they would be the one to break the curse.  And for a while, it seemed like she would end up falling for Grey.  I was surprised it didn’t go that way.

Speaking of Grey, I was surprised by everything that happened with him at the end of the book.  I know there’s a sequel, and while I don’t think I’ll pick it up, I am curious to see where things go for him.  It’s strange, because this book read like a stand-alone, but with how things ended, there is room for more story.

I wish we had more of Harper’s life before Emberfall.  All we really know about her is that her mom’s dying of cancer, her dad’s not in the picture, and her brother has taken up her dad’s work because of the debt he left them in.  I honestly couldn’t tell you anything else about her and her life.  Still, it was interesting to see her get settled into life at Emberfall.

It did get a lot more exciting at the end, and it was nice to actually have some action, as opposed to all of the traveling that happens in the book.  I don’t mind a bit of traveling but I needed something to break it up a little bit.  It was too bad we didn’t get more of it throughout the rest of the book.

2 stars.  I liked Grey, and Harper was a really thoughtful, kind character but I really struggled to get through it.  It’s a cool take on Beauty And The Beast, though.

Book Review: Dance Of Thieves by Mary E Pearson

Book: Dance Of Thieves by Mary E Pearson

Published August 2019 by Henry Holt & Co|508 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: Dance Of Thieves #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

A new novel in the New York Times–bestselling Remnant Chronicles universe, in which a reformed thief and the young leader of an outlaw dynasty lock wits in a battle that may cost them their lives—and their hearts.

When the patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, his son, Jase, becomes its new leader. Even nearby kingdoms bow to the strength of this outlaw family, who have always governed by their own rules. But a new era looms on the horizon, set in motion by a young queen, which makes her the target of the dynasty’s resentment and anger.

At the same time, Kazi, a legendary former street thief, is sent by the queen to investigate transgressions against the new settlements. When Kazi arrives in the forbidding land of the Ballengers, she learns that there is more to Jase than she thought. As unexpected events spiral out of their control, bringing them intimately together, they continue to play a cat and mouse game of false moves and motives in order to fulfill their own secret missions.

I really liked this one!  When I heard that there was going to be another book set in the same world as the Remnant Chronicles, I knew I had to read it.

I didn’t love Jase and Kazi the way I love Lia, but I still really liked both of them…though if I had to pick a favorite from Dance Of Thieves, I think it would be Kazi.  Her story was really interesting, and it’s hard not to like her.  I like Jase and I definitely understood where he was coming from.  It’s a part of the world that we never saw in the Remnant Chronicles, and since it’s been awhile since I’ve read that series, I can’t remember if his family was even mentioned in those books.  It might be time for a re-read.

At any rate, it was really cool to see this world grow.  I loved seeing the Ballenger family and how hard things were for them.  Their part of the world is definitely different, and it really added to the world.  This book also had the little bits of history we saw in the Remnant Chronicles.  We also saw the addition of writings/histories from Jase’s family and I really liked that.  It’s always fun to see this world through these histories, and I’m really glad that those histories continued in this book.

I feel like I’m talking more about the Remnant Chronicles than I am about this one.  I mean, some of the things we saw in that series are in this book, and it does add to that world.

Since I’m starting to repeat myself a little…let’s talk about about Dance Of Thieves.  I liked the cat-and-mouse game, and since both Jase and Kazi are narrating, we know what’s going on, but they don’t know what the other one is doing.  There wasn’t a lot of communication between them, which I understand, considering what they were both trying to do.  Still, a lot of what happened may have been avoided if they hadn’t lied to each other.

It did take a while for me to get into it, and I think it’s because we’re getting backstory for both Kazi and Jase.  Once we got past that, I wanted to keep reading to see what would happen next.  I’m curious to see where things are headed with how the book ended.

If you haven’t read the Remnant Chronicles, but are thinking about picking this one up…just know that you don’t need to read it in order to know what’s going on in this book.  While it’s set in the same world, and some of the characters from that series make an appearance or two, it’s not necessary to read it before reading this one.  There are some things that happen in that series that will be spoiled, and there is some world building you get in that one that you don’t necessarily get in this one.  That series is amazing, and if you haven’t read it yet, you should.  But this series is completely separate, so don’t worry about not knowing the world or some of the characters.

4 stars.  I didn’t love it, but I still really enjoyed it.  It is Mary Pearson, after all, and she’s pretty amazing.

ARC Book Review: White Stag by Kara Barbieri

Book: White Stag by Kara Barbieri

Published January 2018 by Wednesday Books|368 pages

Where I Got: I got an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: Permafrost #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

White Stag, the first book in a brutally stunning series by Kara Barbieri, involves a young girl who finds herself becoming more monster than human and must uncover dangerous truths about who she is and the place that has become her home. 

A Wattpad break out star with over a million reads! Now expanded, revised and available in print and eBook.

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.

When I saw this book on netgalley, I was intrigued enough to request it.  The cover is beautiful but unfortunately, I didn’t like this book as much as I wanted to.

One of the things I didn’t like was how bored I was.  The world didn’t make a lot of sense to me, and it’s not really clear how the humans and goblins came to be.  The Stag and it’s importance to the Goblin King wasn’t clear, and the hunt didn’t make a lot of sense.  It’s an interesting idea, but I just needed more details.

The mythology was a little odd to me.  It seemed like a mix of different mythologies, which could have been cool but didn’t work because it made things more confusing than they should have been.  It felt like the goblins weren’t really goblins- they felt more like faeries to me than actual goblins.

The book was also pretty forgettable and even though I finished the book pretty recently, I also couldn’t tell you most of what happens in the book.  It felt like a blur, and I think I kept reading in the hopes I would end up liking it more.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and while I can see why people really like it, I just needed more from it.

I also wish I had more to say about White Stag, but I really don’t.  Unless I want to start repeating myself, of course.

1 star.  The cover is beautiful and I liked the premise of the book.  But I was bored, and thought there needed to be more world-building.  We get too little about the world, and what we do get is too confusing.