What I’m Reading: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Young Adult Book Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

I’m going to admit that this post might be a little biased because I’m a big Brandon Sanderson fan. I love his epic fantasy, both the Mistborn Trilogy and the Stormlight Saga, but this was the first Young Adult work I’d read by him. This is actually his first young adult series, though he has also published some middle grade stuff that I haven’t read yet. But I’m such a big fan that I plan on reading all if it at some point in time.

About a year ago, I read the prologue for Steelheart and felt a little blah about it, and I put the book down for a good while. I finally picked it up again last week, and began on Chapter One, since I’d already read the prologue a long time ago (though I had forgotten a few details). Beginning from Chapter One, I fell right into the book and loved it, which left me wondering if it really needed the prologue. I mean, the prologue was alright but… Well, maybe it’s just me. Did you read the prologue? Did you like it?

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Anyway, moving on. The main character in Steelheart is 18 year-old David, a regular human in a world that’s been invaded by comic-book type bad guys. I loved that. There are no Supermen or Batmen, just bad guys. And the regular folk have to figure out how to take them out. Needless to say this book is full of action. It is also full of that smart, witty humour I love.

“I was like the guy who had brought the spoiled shrimp cocktail to the party, causing everyone to throw up for a week straight.” Yep, our main character David is really bad at metaphors, which I found to be really entertaining.

Like I said, I might be a bit biased, but I give this book 5/5 Stars.

JEH

What I’m Reading: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton a Young Adult Book Review

I found this book browsing around my e-library. It sounded different than a lot of Young Adult fantasy I’d recently picked up so I put it on my wait list, and I loved it. Rebel of the Sands is a fantasy/western Arabian Nights full of Sultans and Djinnis and kick-a** heroines. There were so many unique aspects in this book that I’m not going to get into them all (plus, I wouldn’t want to ruin the story for you).

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What I enjoyed most about Hamilton’s book is how complete the world felt, from where the story begins in Dustwalk to where it ends (not going to say). And the ending itself. This is the kind of book that keeps a lot of secrets, but reveals them in a well timed manner that makes complete sense and is so fitting for the book. I wasn’t sure if this book was going to be a series, however, so I looked it up, and apparently a second book will be released in 2017. I get the feeling that Rebel was written with the intention that it could be left a standalone book, but it is so delicious that I’m glad it’s not. Though I have to say, I’m not a fan of the cover art for the sequel which can be preview on Goodreads if you’re interested.

If you’re a fan of Aladdin or Sinbad or just want something mystical but a bit different, pick up Rebel of the Sands, you won’t regret it.

5/5 Stars.

JEH

Books I Love: Queen Of The Tearling by Erika Johansen

Way back in April or May I briefly mentioned that I was reading this book. When I finished it, I didn’t post a review, because I only review Young Adult fiction on this site, even though I read a smattering of other stuff. But lately I’ve come across a few different posts and lists that include Queen of the Tearling under Young Adult fiction.

My own opinion is that Queen of the Tearling isn’t ‘Young Adult’, because to me, Young Adult has a certain voice, a certain sassiness to it that other fiction does not. But I can see where the crossover occurs, and that’s with the 19 year-old Queen herself. Sometimes, books are classified as Young Adult just because the main character is young adult. But that’s not what makes something YA. But regardless of where you find this book shelved, it is a wonderful read, one that will most likely top the list of favourite books I read in 2016, which is a post I’m planning prior to the new year.

       

(Associate Links)

Queen of the Tearling is considerably darker than, say, the Throne of Glass Series, because, for one, there isn’t the same filter. Dark deeds aren’t just hinted at, they are spelled out. The atmosphere itself is dark and dreary, unlike TOG, which always feels fun, somehow. The writing is more immersive in QOTT, which means less reliance on dialogue and more longer, lingering passages of exposition. But QOTT is beautifully written and a pleasure to read. If you love fantasy and YA but want to read a book that is a slightly different pace than what would normally be found on the Young Adult shelves, try Erika Johansen’s work. The last book in the trilogy was just released last week, so if you want to read the whole series in one go, you now can!

5/5 Stars.

JEH

What I’m Reading: The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Young Adult Book Review of The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead.

The Glittering Court (associate link) wasn’t completely what I expected. It follows Lady Elizabeth, a rather rich and spoiled young woman who doesn’t want to marry the one man who can save her family, instead, she runs off to join The Glittering Court, in the hopes of finding another suitor. This book was half romance, and half alternate reality or half western, I couldn’t quite decide. The land of Osfrid is loosely based on colonial Europe, and the land of Denham is loosely based on colonial America. I got into this book around the time it turned into a western, but I’m still not sure it works.

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The writing was fairly fluid and moderately paced, but there was a lot of inner dialogue that could have been shortened up. Sometimes I wonder if publishing houses make authors add paragraphs just to make a book thick and heavy. I would have been happy with a shorter book that got to the point more quickly. I didn’t like this book half as much as I like Mead’s Vampire Academy series, but it was still a decent read. You might enjoy this book if you really liked The Selection, though I believe Cass’s series is much stronger as the romance is much more addicting and compelling and I preferred the dystopian setting over the western one. But hey, maybe Westerns are your thing.

As for reading the rest of the series, I don’t think I will continue since the next book sounds like it will be a parallel storyline which will feel like a rehash of at least the first half of The Glittering Court. The Midnight Jewel is slated to be released in April 2017.

3/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Young Adult Book Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

I believe I came across this book while browsing in the bookstore. it might have been the feather on the cover which initially captured by attention. What held my attention when i began to read was the author’s unique and varied writing. Aza, the main character in Magonia (associate link), is on Earth and dying, by the narration is anything but dead. Aza has such a smart, lively and unique voice, that I couldn’t help but fall in love with her. What interested me the most was that the story is based on a little known piece of folklore (at least to me). I love myths and folk tales, and generally love books that elaborate upon them.

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It felt like there was a fair bit of setup before the story really took off, but the set-up was all worthwhile. Once the two main characters, Aza and Jason, are separated, the real adventure begins. While the characterization could have been stronger for some of the secondary characters, this was obviously the first book in a series, and I’m hoping the deepening of the world and the people populating it is to come. The second book, Aerie, was just released in October, and I’ve already added it to my list of Want to Reads. A good solid fantasy novel.

4/5 Stars.

JEH