Title: The Witch’s Heart
Author: Genevieve Gornichec
Page Count: 368
Publishing Date/Publisher: February 9, 2021 by Ace Books
Review: For people who loved Circe (*cough* me *cough* *cough*), this is a very strong readalike. The core of the story is very similar to Circe – it’s about a powerful witch living in relative isolation, who still manages to create meaningful relationships and build a family, all while struggling to stay out of the reach of wrathful gods – but the filler is quite different. The children and romantic relationships are entirely different, and the ending is quite different as well. I am a big fan of fiction rooted in mythology, and I was very pleased with this author’s take on Angrboda’s story. Not much mention is made of her in Norse mythology, aside from her being noted as Loki’s mate and the mother of his three monstrous children, so I really like seeing her story fleshed out and made whole. I am very excited to start recommending this book to readers once it is published.
Title: By Sea & Sky: An Esowon Story
Author: Antoine Bandele
Performer: John Rogers
Length: 9 hr, 56 min
Series: The Sky Pirate Chronicles, Book 1
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2020 by Audible Audio
Review: This really may be a matter of personal preference, but this book had far too much action and not enough plot/character development for my tastes. In my mind, it was kind of the equivalent of one of those action packed movies that has so many explosions you eventually become unaffected by them. The battle sequences were so long, that rather than finding them thrilling, I just wanted to move on with the story. I was thoroughly unsatisfied with the backstories for Karim and Zala, and therefore had difficulty connecting with them as characters. The past is referenced often, but not in much detail, so the picture of how we got to this place of conflict is unclear. In short, I liked the concept of this book far more than the execution.
I listened to this book in audiobook format and I thought the performer did a good job even though I wasn’t really feeling the storyline.
Title: Kingdom of Ash
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Page Count: 984
Series: Throne of Glass, Book 7
Publishing Date/Publisher: October 23, 2018 by Bloomsbury YA
Review: At this point in the game, I know exactly what I am getting into each time I pick up a Sarah J. Maas book. Kingdom of Ash was what I expected it to be in nearly every way, and I am totally ok with that. It was a satisfying ending to an epic saga (roughly 7,000 pages!). I think it is safe to say at this point that I am a dedicated Sarah J. Maas fan. Her writing is not perfect by any means, but I know that any book I pick up by her will be engaging and thoroughly enjoyable.
Title: House of Earth and Blood
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Page Count: 803
Series: Crescent City, Book 1
Publishing Date/Publisher: March 3, 2020 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Review: When I heard that Sarah J. Maas was officially taking the leap into New Adult/Adult Fiction, I was dying to get a copy of this book. I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much, but darn it, Maas exceeded my expectations. I LOVED this book. In fact, I think that New Adult Fiction is really her jam. Considering that her YA series have a tendency to tip into this realm, it wasn’t really that much of a leap, but I am glad she finally just stopped flirting with that line and crossed it.
Maas has a lot of dark content in her YA books, and this book goes just a bit darker. It has been awhile since a book has made me cry, and more than once this book had me in tears. Two scenes in particular were just so damn beautiful, they haunt me still. Interestingly, it wasn’t even the romance that evoked this level of emotion in me, but rather the friendships. The friendships in this book are by far it’s strongest element. If I am being honest, the romance followed her typical formula, so no surprises there, and her heroine is very reminiscent of Celaena . BUT I DON’T EVEN CARE. Somehow she made it work and I can’t wait for the next book in the series to be released (or even announced for that matter).
If they adapted this book into a movie I would fangirl so hard. I am not usually one to fancast, but I envision Madelaine Petsch as Bryce Quinlan.
Title: Tower of Dawn
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Page Count: 680
Series: Throne of Glass, Book 6
Publishing Date/Publisher: September 5, 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Review: For the most part, when I review a book from this series I feel like I am constantly repeating myself, so my review of this book will be short and sweet. My thoughts on this book are very similar to my thoughts on the previous five books, so feel free to look at those reviews if you feel so inclined. That aside, it was nice to step away from Aelin’s story for a bit, and I really enjoyed the POV of Nesryn. As with all of Maas’ books, nearly every character gets paired off with someone. It’s nice but predictable.
I’ve made it this far, so I will definitely be reading the seventh and final book in the series.
Title: The Slow Regard of Silent Things
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Performer: Patrick Rothfuss
Length: 3 hr, 39 min
Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 2.5)
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2014 by Penguin Group US
Review: Before deciding to read this novella, I recommend three things:
- Read at least the first book of the Kingkiller Chronicle prior to picking up this novella to establish the character of Auri.
- Heed the author’s advice in the author’s notes and do NOT expect there to be a plot.
- Listen to this in audiobook format.
If I had to describe this audiobook in one word, it would be: soothing. It is a long and meandering stroll through the broken mind of Auri. For those who have read any of the Kingkiller Chronicle books, it is already established that Auri is an airy, mysterious, and sweet-natured young woman. She often brings Kvothe gifts with cryptic descriptions, and this novella delves deeply into her thought process in choosing those gifts, and gives a glimpse of her life in the “Underthing.” It’s less of a story and more of a snapshot of her life.
The author has a fantastic voice for narrating, and though I often found my thoughts drifting off during his reading, I found the listening experience to be very pleasant. With all the stress in my life right now, I found it to be a nice reprieve to just tune out with this playing in the background.
Title: The Midnight Lie
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Page Count: 358
Series: The Midnight Lie, Book 1
Publishing Date/Publisher: March 3, 2020 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Review: I was a huge fan of Rutkoski’s Winner’s Trilogy, so I was elated when I saw this book being offered up to readers on NetGalley. Unfortunately, as with many books I hype in my mind, it did not quite live up to expectations. I found both the setting and the romance to be boring. I’ve seen this plot concept played out in other books, and I did not find this particular rendition to be anything special. For folks who are interested, there is an LGBT+ angle, but there really isn’t anything else that sets it apart in my mind from other fantasy that I have read. Although I would like to learn more about Nirrim’s magical gifts, I don’t think I am interested enough to continue forward with this series.
Title: The Wise Man’s Fear
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Page Count: 994
Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 2
Publishing Date/Publisher: March 1, 2011 by DAW Books
Review: When it comes to epic fantasy, it really does not get more epic than Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle. Rothfuss’ worldbuilding is unparalleled, and his character development is on point. My greatest criticism for this installment of the series is that it had too much whimsy at certain points. Although this is a book about a magic wielder, the more magical aspects regarding faeries and the Chandrian always strike me as secondary to the rest of the plot. Similarly, the “interludes” leave me with more far more confusion than clarity. It is difficult to understand how that narrative and portrayal of an older Kvothe plays into the larger story. I imagine that if Rothfuss ever decides to grace his readers with the long awaited final book, most of my questions will be answered.
As with the first book, I found Kvothe’s relationship with Denna to be exceptionally annoying. I am, however, interested in seeing what the significance of that relationship will be in the final book. Her mysterious and abusive benefactor will undoubtedly be important to the storyline, and I am anxious for that big reveal.
This was a very lengthy book and a big investment of time, but I am glad that I read it. Some segments seemed to drag on, but overall, I found Kvothe’s adventures to be very interesting and engaging. It was nice to take a step away from the university setting and see new lands and cultures. I am excited to see where Kvothe goes next, but I am not holding my breath. It has, after all, been almost ten years since this book’s publication, and still no release date for the final book is in sight.
Title: The Court of Miracles
Author: Kester Grant
Page Count: 464
Series: A Court of Miracles, Book 1
Publishing Date/Publisher: June 2, 2020
Review: I have never been a huge fan of Les Misérables. True to it’s name, it is both lengthy and wildly depressing. I am also not a big fan of musicals so that form of adaptation never interested me. Nevertheless, the synopsis for this book piqued my interest. Eponine? As a cat burglar? Ok! If I had to pick one character I would like to see a retelling for, it would be Eponine, so I requested this ARC with very few expectations. Perhaps this is sometimes the best way to approach books, because when they actually blow you away, it is a very pleasant surprise.
This book was FANTASTIC. I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed it. The plot, the character development, everything about it felt fresh, despite the fact it is an adaptation/retelling of a classic and well-known novel. Eponine was a character you could not help but root for, and I cannot wait for the next book in the series. The one bummer about reading ARCs that you love is that you have to wait a very long time for the next one. Even so, I like the way the author ended this book. Some story lines were wrapped up, while others were simultaneously opened. This left me finishing the book feeling both satisfied and chomping at the bit for more. A pleasant combination.
Title: Chosen Ones
Author: Veronica Roth
Page Count: 304
Series: The Chosen Ones, Book 1
Publishing Date/Publisher: April 7, 2020
Review: This was a very original concept…what really happens to a hero after they have defeated evil? I think that Roth gives a really realistic depiction of how ordinary people would cope with extraordinary pressures and trauma. I have always thought that being famous would be incredibly stressful – always dealing with scrutiny, invasion of privacy, and false narratives. Each of the five heroes in this story deal with it differently, some withdrawing into anger or addiction, while others seemingly embrace it. When evil rears it’s ugly head again, the heroes must take a critical look at the past, and what they think they know about themselves and each other.
It’s difficult for me to put my finger on why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. Roth does a decent job of fleshing out the characters, but I think her set up took just a little too long. I struggled to remain actively engaged and I could put this book down for days at a time without feeling compelled to pick it back up. Now that the characters and story have been established, I imagine I would enjoy a sequel far more, though this is difficult for me to say with any certainty. Considering this is accurate to how I felt when reading her Divergent series, I remain hopeful that the series will prove to be worth reading even though the way she ended it makes me uncertain. It ended with a bang, but then tapered off into different directions. If it wasn’t being advertised as the first in a series, I would have assumed it was a standalone.
Although this is Roth’s first “adult” fiction book, I still think it will mostly appeal to a younger demographic.