What I’m Reading: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Young Adult Book Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

The final book in the Grisaverse Trilogy, Ruin and Rising, was everything I expected it to be—almost. Same great writing, same lovable characters, broken hearts and action and adventure. But there was on thing I didn’t get, and from what I’ve read of other reviews, other people seem to feel much the same way. If you want to know more, scroll past the picture, but if you don’t stop reading now.

IMG-2056

The one thing I felt this book didn’t deliver to me on was the ending. I was expecting much of what happened. But I was expecting/hoping for all of it to end much more tragically than it did. Maybe I’m just all dark and twisty inside, but sometimes a happy ending seems to me to be too happy, almost forced, and almost not realistic. But also, I was just hoping for a different pairing at the end than what I got.

Still, I love this magical world and all of the unique elements to Grishaverse. I’ll probably read the other Grishaverse books. I hear that the other books are even better. Maybe I’ll even start one this weekend.

4/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Young Adult Book Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

GrishaVerse is one of those series that you can’t stop hearing about. I was able to borrow the original GrishaVerse trilogy from a friend a while back. The books are told by the perspective of Alina Starkov, a teen-aged orphan who, surprise, turns out to have magical powers. While this series starts like many a fantasy novel before it, Leigh Bardugo manages to create a fairly fresh fantasy landscape with strong, believable characters.

IMG-2058

The first novel of the trilogy sets up the world of the Grisha, the magic wielders  in this universe. Borrowing on Russian history, culture, and mythology, Shadow and Bone has a fresh appeal for those used to reading more ‘European’ type fantasy. What I liked best about Shadow and Bone, however, was the play between Alina and the Darkling. This book had twists and turns that I wasn’t expecting, and Bardugo did a good job of keeping me on the edge of my seat.

Have you read Shadow and Bone? What did you think?

4.5/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: The Wicked King by Holly Black

You know, I’m pretty sure that in all my life I will never be able to say enough about Holly Black and her fantastic writing. I grew up loving the idea of Fairies (the big, human-ish ones that we now call the Fae, in order distinguish them from the tiny little ones with wings (which I also love, but that’s a tale for another day)). And Holly Black really brings them to life for me.

IMG-2038

The second book of the Folk of the Air trilogy is perhaps better than the first one, The Cruel Prince, which I reviewed last year, and if I have to give a reason for this it is because in The Wicked King we get to see the underwater fae, and if you’ve read my books, you know that I love underwater kingdoms—they are just so exotic! (also, Hello! Aquaman!) Jude continues to be a strong kick-a** hero, who isn’t afraid of a good fight. What could be better? I can’t wait for the next book.

5/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Young Adult Book Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

I finished this series a while ago but I am just so behind on my book blogging! Long story short, I love The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater. In fact, The Raven Cycle Series is definitely in my top 5 favorite YA Fantasy Series.

IMG-1660

The Raven King was a fantastic ending to this series. While I didn’t love Blue Lily, Lily Blue, The Raven King was the wrap up that I was looking for. And, if you listen to the books on audio, you also get some really cool themed music.

Have you read The Raven Cycle yet?

JEH

What I’m Reading: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Young Adult Book Review: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

I finished this book a long time ago, but am terribly behind on book reviews, so you’ll actually see what I thought of the entire Raven Cycle series in very short order (hint: I loved it).

IMG-1658

The Dream Thieves, picked up right where The Raven Boys left off. If you haven’t read the first book of this series, you should do so right now. You can find my write-up on the first book here. Don’t worry, my reviews are never long because I absolutely detest spoilers (I’m the kind of person who sticks fingers in my ears and hums so that I don’t hear anything I don’t want to know). What I will say is that The Dream Thieves is just as good as The Raven Boys, and expands more deeply into the main characters (the book is shared among many), and the magic of the world. It’s beautiful.

I actually listened to The Dream Thieves as an audiobook, and it was fabulously read by Will Paton, who does the entire series. This is great for continuity. Paton is great at voices without over doing it, and I can listen to the book without feeling dozy (Although that might also because of the fast-paced adventure).

5/5 Stars.

JEH

What I’m Reading: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Young Adult Book Review: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

I was really looking forward to reading Carve the Mark since I enjoyed reading Divergent, though, in all honesty, I didn’t enjoy Divergent all that much. To me, the Divergent series pales in comparison to the Hunger Games.

IMG-0356

Carve the Mark is a Fantasy-Science Fiction, almost Star Wars like with its mythical current force and closely aligned planets that may or may not take some time to travel between (I’m not sure, this wasn’t really clear).

I’ll admit, I had a few pet peeves with this book, one being that I feel like so many people who have never habituated in really cold climates just don’t understand cold climates. Anyway, there was something about Carve the Mark that I like, though I didn’t love it.

The characters were strong, the world was interesting (not quite as much as Star Wars), but inevitably I felt there were questions that I had no answers to, and that always bugged me, mostly in regards to how the current makes sense. Overall, I’d give Carve the Mark 3/5 Stars, but maybe that was because I had higher expectations because of Divergent.

JEH

What I’m Reading: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Young Adult Book Review: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

When I first heard about this book, I was tempted to pick it up straight away, but it’s a good thing I didn’t since I received it in the OwlCrate box that month. Melissa Albert’s writing style was a bit different than I’m used too, with some sentences that took a couple reads to understand, but once I adjusted, I quickly fell into the pages of the story.

FullSizeRender-40

Now, I enjoyed The Hazel Wood, but something about the ending didn’t quite jive with my expectations at the beginning of the book. I loved the beginning. I loved the promise of the mystery and the shadowed back story, but I felt the end took this twist that was unexpected but also not quite as full as I was expecting. It was fast and happened really quickly, when it probably could have had much more time devoted to it.

The main character Alice as fun and loveable, as were Finch and Audrey and most of the other characters. This book is very fairy tale, but modern, which I really like. Now, apparently, this is the first book in of two, or possibly a trilogy, I’m not sure. But according to GoodReads a second book is expected next year. However, The Hazel Wood ends well as a standalone, so I don’t really feel like I’d have to pick up the second book. I’m thinking that maybe the second book is about different characters in the Hazel Wood world, so it will be interesting to see how that ends up.

Here’s a quote I that I loved, from page 128 of The Hazel Wood:

“Everyone is supposed to be a combination of nature and nurture, their true selves shaped by years of friends and fights and parents and dreams and things you did too young and things you overheard that you shouldn’t have and secrets you kept or couldn’t and regrets and victories and quiet prides, all the packed-together detritus that becomes what you call your life.”

Overall, I’d give this book 4/5 Stars, but if there were room for decimals, it would probably be just a bit below a four. Have you read The Hazel Wood yet?

JEH