I had thought this was going to be a slow reading month (given how long it took me to read the first book) and then suddenly I went on a reading rampage at the end. I mean, I only read three books and they were fairly short, but I read them in less than a week so I’d say that’s a rampage.
In total, I read five novels and DNF-ed one. Regarding quality, I’m happy to say it was overall very good. I have no regrets. Not even the DNF.
But you’re not here for my intro. You want the meat and bones. Well, good news. Dinner is served!
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction— but assassins are getting closer to her door.
Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.
Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.
Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.
This should’ve been multiple books. There’s so much packed into this absolute behemoth of a novel, it can be hard to keep track of. The plot is somehow both slow and fast, the character development earned but too quickly achieved. There is also little done to build up the Nameless One as a formidable threat. We know he caused the Grief of Ages, but not precisely what he and his ilk did. This would’ve worked much better as a duology or trilogy.
On the other hand, I really like these characters and this complex world. I love the diversity (there are POC and queer characters). And, of course, I love the central romance (F/F).
All in all, I really liked this book, but it didn’t blow me away. I had a few issues, but don’t think they make this a bad book. I definitely recommend it. For my more in-depth thoughts, check out my review. I gave this book four out of five stars.
The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.
Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of the battle that saw Dara slain at Prince Ali’s hand, Nahri must forge a new path for herself, without the protection of the guardian who stole her heart or the counsel of the prince she considered a friend. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family and one misstep will doom her tribe.
Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid-the unpredictable water spirits-have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.
And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad’s towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates… and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.
The review I wrote on Goodreads immediately after finishing was “All I have to say right now is AKSJDKKFKDLFLGLGLHL.” So basically, I loved it. The story didn’t go at all like I expected, keeping me on my toes the entire time. It reminded me how much I love Nahri and Ali as characters.
I thought about writing a full review, but I’ve never been able to compose my thoughts much more eloquently than my initial reaction. Just know that the Daevabad trilogy has become one of my favorite series and I gave this book, like its predecessor, five stars.
The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu
Magnus Bane, a centuries old High Warlock, has taken possession of one of the great relics of the supernatural world, a powerful spell book of dark magic known as The Book of the White and there are many who want to claim it for themselves.
After the Mortal War where the part-human and part-angel Shadowhunters teamed with the part human-demon Downworlders to fight against the incursion of an army of demons, Magnus and his new lover, the mortal Alec Lightwood celebrate their survival and victory by escaping the supernatural battlefield of New York City by touring the world, but the world won’t leave them alone.
This was a fun book and I loved following Alec and Magnus. I loved seeing Alec get to be the badass action hero. I loved seeing Helen and Aline meet for the first time.
But the story lacks any overall weight because we know everyone makes it out okay. It’s not a bad story, just not impactful. It’s fun. Either way, I will definitely be continuing this series. For my more in-depth thoughts, check out my review. I gave this book three stars.
The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening by L.J. Smith (Reread)
A Love Triangle of Unspeakable Horror…
Elena: Searching for the ultimate thrill, she vowed to have Stefan.
Stefan: Haunted by his tragic past, he struggled to resist her passion.
Damon: Driven by revenge, he hunted the brother who betrayed him.
The terrifying story of two vampire brothers and the beautiful girl torn between them.
I decided to reread this book in an exercise in determining if my sixteen-year-old self had taste. Okay, not really. I just wanted to see if it holds up and if I’d like it as an adult. Does it? Do I? Erm, not really.
Most of the characters are extremely unlikable, especially our illustrious heroine. There is absolutely no plot, the writing is mediocre at best, and the romance is the epitome of instalove. I didn’t like anything about this book, but that didn’t stop me from reading the whole thing in one sitting. I go into more depth in my book talk, if you’re interested in diving deeper. And yes, I will still be reading and discussing The Struggle and The Fury. As for The Awakening, I gave it two stars (one for content and one for nostalgia and readability).
The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton
When Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island more than a century ago, her otherworldly skills might have benefited friendlier neighbors. Guilt and fear instead led the island’s original eight settlers to burn “the witch” out of her home. So Rona cursed them.
Fast-forward one hundred–some years: All Nor Blackburn wants is to live an unremarkable teenage life. She has reason to hope: First, her supernatural powers, if they can be called that, are unexceptional. Second, her love life is nonexistent, which means she might escape the other perverse side effect of the matriarch’s backfiring curse, too.
But then a mysterious book comes out, promising to cast any spell for the right price. Nor senses a storm coming and is pretty sure she’ll be smack in the eye of it.
In her second novel, Leslye Walton spins a dark, mesmerizing tale of a girl stumbling along the path toward self-acceptance and first love, even as the Price Guide’s malevolent author— Nor’s own mother— looms and threatens to strangle any hope for happiness.
What’s great about this book is the writing and atmosphere. I would’ve preferred a little length for better character development and world-building, but that’s not ultimately what I needed from this book. There seems to be room for a sequel, which I’m all for. I gave this one four stars.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (DNF)
Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him— and face the consequences.
As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
I know I literally just posted about how I was never going to read this series, but I decided it wasn’t fair of me to have an opinion on something I hadn’t read. So I headed over to the library and borrowed a copy of this book.
Obviously, my original assessment was correct. This is a book about an annoying protagonist who is bullied and almost drowned by her supposed love interest. And his reasons for doing so? Because her brother doesn’t beat her, her adoptive father loves her, and he has feelings for her that he doesn’t want to have. I mean, what the fuck?
However, I also just didn’t see anything special about the rest of the story. The writing is average, the plot is average, and the characters are average. This book is just another generic young adult fantasy.
I flipped ahead in the book and read future scenes (including the infamous knife-to-the-throat kissing scene) and nothing about it made me want to read to find out how things got to that point. I read an entire plot summary for this book and the sequel and didn’t find any of the events interesting at all.
So yeah, I still don’t get the hype. This book is just yet another disappointing novel about the fae. But someday I’ll find a quality fae story… someday.
What did you read in April? Have you read any of these books? Did you DNF anything? Tell me about everything in the comments!
2 thoughts on “April 2019 Wrap-Up”
lol I didn’t love The Cruel Prince either. Didn’t hate it, but there was nothing special about it for me either.
I have yet to read City of Brass, but I’m excited for it! I’d heard conflicting things on it, but I have a feeling I’ll enjoy it. 😉 Great wrap-up!
Thanks! I could go on and on about how much I love The City of Brass. It’s so good.
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