Young Adult Book Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Leigh Bardugo hasn’t let me down yet. Crooked Kingdom, the sequel to Six of Crows, was just as good as the first book. I love the rich cast of characters, and how she delved deeper into their psyche’s in this book.
Crooked Kingdom is again set in the Grishaverse. Technically, it’s the fifth book, but Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom can be read without having read the original Grisha Trilogy. For a more mature reader of YA, I might recommend skipping the original trilogy. Crooked Kingdom is darker than the original trilogy. It’s gritty and real and describes in breathtaking detail life on the streets of Ketterdam.
This book, like Six of Crows, is a heist book. A gang of criminals, a job that needs to be done, will they be able to do it? This kind of dazzling plot keeps me reading and enjoying the book the whole way through. However, it did feel a tad bit longer than I like, but that may be because I’m favoring a slightly shorter read at the moment. But for fans of YA fantasy, this is a must-read.
And while I was reading it, I also made myself this sweet double-sided book cover to keep my cats from eating books.
When I heard that Jay Asher had a long awaited second book coming, I was excited. Then I began to read it… The premise of What Light is very different than 13 Reasons Why, which I loved. What Light is really just a Christmas Romance, and I use the word ‘just’ heavily.
The real problem with this book for me was that it had potential (I mean a Christmas Tree Farm and a Bad Boy sounds like fun…), but nothing happened. Like ever. The story, while it may have been well written, lacked tension. And I really hate to say that just because I loved 13 Reasons Why so much. (Though I haven’t had time to check out the Netflix series yet).
Sierra (cool name), goes to California every winter to sell trees with her parents for the month before Christmas… and that’s about it. The entire time I read this book I expected something to happen. But it never arrived. I imagined at least ten different twists that never came to light. And the result was that it took me a long time to read this book. I also had a problem with the dialogue, which at times felt pretty forced. I would recommend this book if you really love Christmas and sappy romance, but otherwise, I’d give it a pass (but I still love 13 Reasons Why).
Last Friday I spent all day absorbed in a book. it was so good that I just could not put it down. I mean, I did have to actually put it down now and again, but i picked it up immediately as soon as I was able. That book was The Girl on the Train. I loved it, but I’m not going to review it on here, because it is out of the norm for what I do review. What I am going to talk about is how to choose your next great read after having an epic-ly good time reading something else. Or rather, how I choose my next great read. Especially on a snow-bound weekend.
Every reader is familiar with that post-good-book lull. The, ‘that was fun but now what’ blues. I find they always leave me floundering. How do I choose my next book? I have an easier time choosing my next read after finishing something okay or so-so. I have a really easy time choosing my next read after reading something I didn’t particularly enjoy (because anything seems entertaining after that). But after reading a really great book…. SIGH… I flounder.
After finishing The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, I picked up about five different novels, read a paragraph or two, flipped through the pages and debated. What did I want to read now? I already had a stack of books next to my bed, the ‘read-next’ stack, which I order and rearrange on a regular basis. In the stack was, The Invasion of the Tearling, Steelheart, Seven Dead Pirates, Jane Eyre (which has been waiting half finished for over a year now), Fate of Flames, Splintered, and What Light. So I bounced, from book to book to book attempting to find something to hold my attention.
It might have been easier to just toss a coin. But it probably wouldn’t have been as fun. I read the first chapter of Fate of Flames, and enjoyed it, but it’s an e-book, and I decided I felt like reading a paper book. I read a few pages of The Invasion of the Tearling, but discovered I needed something faster paced following The Girl on the Train. I read a little bit more of What Light, which I’ve been slowly reading on my phone whenever I’m on the move, but couldn’t commit to it fully. I continued to ignore my beautiful copy of Jane Eyre because no matter what, I always just seem to feel too tired to pick it up. Then I picked up Steelheart and was like I FOUND IT.
There are a lot of series out there, especially in the young adult reading world. I’ve started reading a lot of series in the past couple years, a lot of which aren’t even finished being written yet (or maybe they are, and the publishers just haven’t released them yet!). Hurry up, publishers! Below is a list of the top 5 Young Adult Fantasy books I’m waiting for this year. Only one of these isn’t part of a series I’ve already begun reading, but is instead a new series by an author that I love.
1.The Savage Dawn (The Girl At Midnight #3), Melissa Grey, July 11th, 2017
I’ve loves this series since I first read The Girl at Midnight. Melissa Grey’s lively characters really bring this world alive for me. Especially Jasper, lovely funny Jasper. I also love the world building and the unique mythology in this trilogy. The Savage Dawn in the last book of the series. So if you’re the kind of person who likes to read a series all in one go, you’ll be able to do that come July 2017.
2. Throne of Glass 5.1 Chaol Novel, Sarah J. Maas, September 5th, 2017
If you’re a Throne of Glass fan, then you’ve probably already heard that book #6 has been bumped to a 2018 release date because Sarah J. Mass instead wrote a 100K novel regarding Chaol’s exploits, currently titled Throne of Glass 5.1. I’m acutally pretty pumped for this because Chaol is one of my favorite characters and he wasn’t in book 5 at all. Where did Chaol go? What is happening to Chaol? Maas has advised fans to read The Assasin’s Blade before TOG 5.1 is released, which I’m currently doing. I think I know how the novellas are going to fit into the Chaol novel. It’s going to be a good one!
3. Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2), Alwyn Hamilton, March 7th, 2017
I loved Rebel of the Sands when I read it in 2017. I loved the world and the characters and the mythical beasts. I can’t wait to discover what happens next in Alwyn Hamilton’s world, and it looks like I’ll be able to do this right away with the March 7th release date.
4.Strange the Dreamer, (Strange the Dreamer #1) Laini Taylor, March 28th, 2017
I still haven’t completed Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series (I’m almost done audiobook #2), and I have to say, I love these audiobooks! Daughter of Smoke and Bone actually won Best Fantasy Audiobook in 2011, which does not surprise me. The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series is one of those that are classified as Young Adult, but I think that’s pretty iffy. Barely any of the characters are teens (I think most of them are like, 50-200 years old, and there is enough gore and violence to make me cringe). Anyway, Laini Taylor is such a great writer that I’m sure Strange the Dreamer will be just as fantastic as Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Also, a bonus fact, this book is scheduled to be released on my birthday! I think I might pick this one up in hardcover. Happy Birthday to me!
5. The Ship Beyond Time (The Girl From Everywhere #2), Heidi Heilig, February 28th, 2017
This entry is a bit different, as I haven’t even finished reading The Girl From Everywhere. You see, what happened is that I borrowed the book from my e-library and began reading it, but got really busy, and my loan expired before I got all that far into the book. This happens with a lot of books that I borrow to try. Most of the time I forget about those books, and never borrow them again. But I keep thinking about The Girl From Everywhere, and I keep wanting to know what happens. i need to know how this time traveling ship and these maps work. I need to know what happens to these characters! So I’ve waitlisted myself for this book again, and this time I’ll finish it. The sequel is out next week, so maybe I’ll even be able to read them back to back.
One of the books I fininshed reading while on vacation was As I Darken by Kiersten White. This is an ‘alternate’ history, taking place during the time of the Ottoman Empire and Mehmed the II. The ‘alternate’ comes from the fact that White has made Vlad the Impaler a girl. This bring such an interesting dynamic to this story. The whole book was well written, rich with detail and character and raw emotion.
There are really three main characters in this book, Lada, her brother Raul, and Mehmed. Lada is just what I love in a heroine, she is fierce, fiery, and needs no one (or likes to think she does). It makes me wonder what other histories would sound like if famous males were females. It’s an interesting concept to say the least. I’ve never read any of White’s other books, but I’ve heard from other people that they are great reads as well. As I Darken has definitely encouraged me to seek out more of White’s work.