Category: 2018 books

Circe by Madeline Miller Review

Title: Circe

Author: Madeline Miller

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I bought a copy of this book and reviewed it.

               I’ve had this book for a while; I bought it on Amazon for less than four dollars. I don’t know if it was a clerical error or what, but I bought it. I’ve been cycling through advance readers’ copies and library books recently, and I decided to read Circe. I’d read The Song of Achilles, Miller’s debut novel, and loved it, so I was really excited about this new perspective of a minor goddess turned villainess. It didn’t disappoint. I’ve always thought that beings like The Gorgons and Medusa got a bad rap, so this book was really refreshing! The prose was gorgeous, there was an index of characters in the back of the book (bonus!), and it felt like I was really there, in the myths and histories that Miller so vividly described. Madeline Miller has established herself as one of my favorite authors with Circe.

               If you’re familiar with Greek mythology, chances are high that you know who Circe is. Shapeshifter, seductress, powerful witch and legendary schemer. But Miller gives us a front-row seat to some of the oldest tales in the Greek pantheon, with Circe being the daughter of a social-climbing nymph and her father the god of the sun, Helios. I loved this book; I felt as if Circe herself was sitting across from me, setting the record straight for me. I also really liked that this book has an index; with all of the gods, nymphs, demigods, and humans, it was absolutely essential. I knew the majority of the characters, but some I hadn’t yet heard of. I felt like Circe was a familiar friend to me. I also enjoyed the large cast that surrounded Circe, particularly at the beginning of the book. The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately transfixed. Oh, my goodness, that ending! It was so bittersweet for me. But I have to say that I enjoyed every moment, and I’m so very happy that I bought it for my own collection. Madeline Miller is an immense, complex talent that I absolutely adore, and I will probably read everything in her body of work. I’m in awe of her talent and sheer power with words. The bottom line: Raw, gorgeous, searing and thought-provoking, I loved Circe; it is one of my favorite books I’ve read in 2019! An absolute epic worthy of Homer himself, Circe has won my heart and I will never forget her. Next on deck: The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/04/circe-by-madeline-miller-review.html

Circe by Madeline Miller Review

Title: Circe

Author: Madeline Miller

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I bought a copy of this book and reviewed it.

               I’ve had this book for a while; I bought it on Amazon for less than four dollars. I don’t know if it was a clerical error or what, but I bought it. I’ve been cycling through advance readers’ copies and library books recently, and I decided to read Circe. I’d read The Song of Achilles, Miller’s debut novel, and loved it, so I was really excited about this new perspective of a minor goddess turned villainess. It didn’t disappoint. I’ve always thought that beings like The Gorgons and Medusa got a bad rap, so this book was really refreshing! The prose was gorgeous, there was an index of characters in the back of the book (bonus!), and it felt like I was really there, in the myths and histories that Miller so vividly described. Madeline Miller has established herself as one of my favorite authors with Circe.

               If you’re familiar with Greek mythology, chances are high that you know who Circe is. Shapeshifter, seductress, powerful witch and legendary schemer. But Miller gives us a front-row seat to some of the oldest tales in the Greek pantheon, with Circe being the daughter of a social-climbing nymph and her father the god of the sun, Helios. I loved this book; I felt as if Circe herself was sitting across from me, setting the record straight for me. I also really liked that this book has an index; with all of the gods, nymphs, demigods, and humans, it was absolutely essential. I knew the majority of the characters, but some I hadn’t yet heard of. I felt like Circe was a familiar friend to me. I also enjoyed the large cast that surrounded Circe, particularly at the beginning of the book. The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately transfixed. Oh, my goodness, that ending! It was so bittersweet for me. But I have to say that I enjoyed every moment, and I’m so very happy that I bought it for my own collection. Madeline Miller is an immense, complex talent that I absolutely adore, and I will probably read everything in her body of work. I’m in awe of her talent and sheer power with words. The bottom line: Raw, gorgeous, searing and thought-provoking, I loved Circe; it is one of my favorite books I’ve read in 2019! An absolute epic worthy of Homer himself, Circe has won my heart and I will never forget her. Next on deck: The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/04/circe-by-madeline-miller-review.html

Archenemies by Marissa Meyer Review

Title: Archenemies

Author: Marissa Meyer

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Renegades, book two

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Renegades, the first book in this projected trilogy, was one of my favorite books of last year. I’d checked out Archenemies three different times, but was never able to read it before it went back to the library. I went to book club a few weeks ago and saw it sitting on the shelf, and I couldn’t resist! Archenemies is a great sequel, and though it took a little while for me to remember what was happening, I loved it. I can’t wait for Supernova! It wasn’t perfect, there were some things that had me confused and frustrated, but overall, Meyer did a really great job, and I can’t wait for the last book! I was absolutely blown away. Superheroes are one of my favorite classic tropes, and I loved Meyer’s dark, morally gray take on it. Aside from Heartless, the Renegades series has become my favorite series in Meyer’s repertoire.

               Archenemies picks up where Renegades left off, with Nova finally infiltrating the Renegades and waiting for an opportunity to destroy them from the inside. But things swiftly become even more complicated as she struggles to hide her true identity. Even worse, her loyalties are muddled the longer she stays with the heroes, and with Adrian, the boy she is undeniably attracted to. When a deadly new weapon being created to neutralize prodigy’s powers, Nova must decide where she truly stands, with her family, the Anarchists, or with the heroes, the Renegades. For war is coming once again, and everyone has something to hide…

               This book was amazing! Sequels always freak me out, to be honest. All too often, they don’t live up to the hype. Though there were some slight issues at times, I really enjoyed it overall. The prose was sharp and cutting, the pacing breakneck; I especially loved the moral dilemmas that were happening throughout the book, and not just for Nova. I loved the way Meyer ratcheted up the tension throughout the novel. It took me a little while to remember what was happening, but it was really easy to get caught up as the story went on. The romantic tension between Nova and Adrian had me absolutely riveted. All the slow burn feels! I also enjoyed all of the characters, but especially the Anarchists and Renegades. And that ending! Oh my God! How am I supposed to wait until November for Supernova?! I am dying here. What an amazing sequel, and I can’t wait for the last book in this dark, thought-provoking trilogy! The bottom line: Thought-provoking, shocking, and action-packed, I loved Archenemies, and I can’t wait for Supernova! Next on deck: The Afterward by E.K. Johnston!

  https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/03/title-archenemies-author-marissa-meyer.html

Damsel by Elana K. Arnold Review

Title: Damsel

Author: Elana K. Arnold

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

        I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Happy International Women’s Day, everyone! I was browsing the shelves at my local library, and I had to return Damsel before I could read it the first time. When I saw it sitting on the shelf of the other library I frequent, I snatched it up. Honestly, what got me at first was its beautiful, gorgeous cover. But the story inside ripped me apart, put me back together, and had me roaring with triumph and rage. With gorgeous, lush prose, a premise that tipped a familiar fairy tale onto its head, and wonderful characters, I will never forget Damsel! One of my favorite books of 2018, hands down! A triumph of heart, audacity, and horror, all juxtaposed together! Elana K. Arnold has outdone herself with this book.

               You think you know the tale of Sleeping Beauty. A prince, a sleeping damsel, and a dragon. But in Prince Emory’s world, a prince can only become king after he’s slain a dragon and rescued the damsel imprisoned by the creature. He rescues a beautiful damsel, who he names Ama and has no memory of her life before being the dragon’s captive. Everything is as it should be… Or so it seems. When Ama discovers that art, thinking, and being anything but a wife and mother are barred to her, she begins to question everything she thought she knew. There are fiery secrets to be uncovered by the lost young woman, and she soon discovers that nothing is as it seems to be…

               I just finished this book last night and I’m still reeling. It was brutal, beautiful, unapologetically feminist, fierce and thought-provoking, and I loved every moment of it. That isn’t to say, of course, that there weren’t times when I was so emotionally overwhelmed that I had to put the book down and do something else. By all means, this book was not easy to get through. It had violence of every sort, but I think by doing so, Arnold was paying homage to the original fairy tale. I am, still, absolutely blown over. The writing was beautiful, and the pacing was breakneck; even when I wasn’t reading, it was still heavy on my mind. I read through half of it the first day I started, and I broke the second half over two days, as I’ve been busy with personal issues. I finished it last night in the tub and was blown away, in the best way! I loved Ama, and her character development from a lost, confused girl into a confident and self-assured young woman. Emory, Pawlin, the queen mother, Tillie, and Alyss helped provide great foils to her. I loved the way that this book called out misogyny and sexism, and talked about consent and agency. And that ending! I’m still thinking about it. Arnold did a fantastic job. The only thing I would say would be to be cautious and give this to older teens, as the violence gets a big focus throughout the book. Nonetheless, this book is definitely one of my recent favorites. Absolutely phenomenal! The bottom line: Dark, gorgeous, and surprising, I loved Damsel, especially the surprising ending! What an amazing book, especially considering the political climate we’re living in currently. Next on deck: Archenemies by Marissa Meyer!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/03/damsel-by-elana-k-arnold-review.html

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi Review

Title: The Gilded Wolves

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Series: The Gilded Wolves, book one

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Roshani Chokshi captured my heart and imagination with her debut novel, The Star-Crossed Queen, so when I found out that she was writing a new book, I was so excited. I had some space in my library stack, so when I saw it sitting on a shelf at my local library, I snatched it up. I started it as soon as I was finished with Dry, and I just finished it last night, in a mess of emotions and tears. The Gilded Wolves is a fantastic series debut. I’m not sure how to describe it, actually, but I’ll do my best. This book was like a gorgeous, hilarious, dark mashup of Six of Crows, National Treasure, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them; original, lush, and seductive, I loved The Gilded Wolves! Easily one of my favorite books of 2018, and I’m already dying for the sequel!

               The Gilded Wolves opens in Belle Epoque Paris, with a group of lovable misfits working to right the wrongs of the past. But they are led by Severin, a young man with many scars and even more secrets. Desperate to reclaim the birthright that was so cruelly taken from him, he jumps at the chance to acquire true power and avenge his late mother. Enlisting his friends to help him, Severin finds himself drawn into a deadly game of monsters, gods, forbidden magic and secret loves. But he is hellbent on becoming who he’s always wanted to be, even if it means risking everything and everyone, he cares about…

               This book was a total knockout! I was blown over. There wasn’t a thing I didn’t like about The Gilded Wolves, except for the fact that I’m going to have to wait for over a year for the sequel! Beautifully written, expertly paced, with lovable, diverse characters, it felt like after I read this book, I was losing a beloved group of friends. I’m so excited for the sequel! The format was really cool; I liked the way that the author broke the narrative apart with different ‘case files’ and worldbuilding tidbits. I also adored the way that Chokshi took a time period that I thought I was familiar with and insert magic, mystery, and romance into it. I loved all of the characters, especially Zofia, Hypnos, Tristan, Laila, Enrique, and Severin, but I can’t decide who is my favorite! I loved them all so much; they felt like a family to me. And that ending! I was an absolute mess. All the ugly crying. All I can say is that I hope the sequel comes soon, because I am dying here! A beautiful, twisty puzzle wrapped in a mystery with more than one surprise in its center, I loved The Gilded Wolves! The bottom line: Gorgeous, surprising, and hilarious, I loved The Gilded Wolves! One of my favorite books of 2018, and I can’t wait for what’s coming next! Next on deck: Damsel by Elana K. Arnold!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/03/the-gilded-wolves-by-roshani-chokshi.html

Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman Review

Title: Dry

Author: Neal and Jarrod Shusterman

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               When I heard that Neal Shusterman was writing a brand-new book with one of his sons, I was so excited! Shusterman is one of my favorite authors, and even though I had to return it to the library a few times, I pushed it straight to the top of my stack when I realized I couldn’t renew it anymore. As soon as I finished How to Fracture a Fairy Tale, I started Dry, and this book blew me away, especially considering how dire the current climate change situation is. Timely, searing, thought-provoking and beautifully written, Dry is one of my favorite books of last year, and I can’t wait to see what this father-son author pairing has up its sleeves next!

               The Tap Out happens, an event that leaves many across the United States without one of its most vital natural resources: water. Alyssa Morrow and her brother Garrett must journey across the country to find their parents, who have gone missing in their quest to find drinkable water. They must team up with their weird doomsday prepper, Kelton, in order to survive. But other obstacles get in their way: water zombies, marauders, fires and rockslides and the utter destruction of human civilization as they know it. Because when things go completely dry, everyone is out to survive, by any means necessary…

This book is hard to describe. I finished it on Monday and I’m still trying to untangle my thoughts to put them down on paper. Part of the reason I picked up this book was because it was about something very important to me and my generation: climate change. That, and the cover was just gorgeous. I didn’t want to return it to the library again without reading it, so I was eager to start it as soon as I was finished with How to Fracture a Fairy Tale.  The pacing was breakneck, and the prose was so compelling that I was spellbound from the beginning. I loved the way that the view point went from Alyssa, to Kelton, to a drifter that they pick up, Jacqui, Alyssa’s little brother, Garrett, and Henry, who uses the disaster to his own ends. Sharp, brutal, thought-provoking and dark, I was neck deep in this book; it lingered in my thoughts even when I wasn’t reading it. I also loved the way the authors were constantly showing both the brutality and altruism of the human race, even in the face of terrible tragedy. What really got me, though, was the ending; my heart was pounding and I was either crying with sadness or ready to rip my hair out, I was so afraid! I loved the way that it ended, on a knife’s edge. I loved this book, and it deserves every single one of its five stars. I cannot wait to see what this dynamic duo has in store for us next! The bottom line: Sharp, brutal, cutting, and thought-provoking, I loved Dry, and it’s become one of my favorite books of 2018! Next on deck: The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Choksi!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/02/dry-by-neal-and-jarrod-shusterman-review.html

How to Fracture a Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen Rev…

Title: How to Fracture a Fairy Tale

Author: Jane Yolen

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Anthology/Short Story Collection

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Jane Yolen is one of my favorite authors; I’ve read several of her young adult books in the past, and when I saw a new short story collection sitting on the shelf at one of my local libraries, I snatched it up, eager to take it home and read it. When I realized I couldn’t renew it anymore, I pushed it to the top of my stack and began it immediately after I was finished with The Boneless Mercies. How to Fracture a Fairy Tale is a set of fairy tale retellings, told with lyrical prose and the wry humor that is Yolen’s signature. I was utterly delighted by this collection and devoured it in less than two days. This is easily one of my favorite collections of 2018, and I will be on the lookout for more of enchanting storyteller Jane Yolen’s work!

               This collection of tales contains many different stories, all different interpretations of fairy tales, some well-known, and others, not so much. I loved the variety of the stories; there was something for everyone in this volume. Because of how many stories were in here, for clarity’s sake, I cannot review every piece. So, I will give the book an overall rating and choose a few pieces that I really enjoyed.

               Godmother Death: 5 out of 5 Stars. I really enjoyed this one! I loved the tone; it read like an original fairy tale. Finding no one else to be godmother to his child, a poor villager asks Death in disguise. But as the child grows, Death follows in his wake, indifferent to the plights of humans. But things quickly change when the godson attempts to fool one of the oldest forces on earth. Wry, darkly funny, and beautifully written, it is one of my favorite stories in the volume!

               Sun/Flight: 5 out of 5 Stars. Another favorite of the collection. I loved this hopeful, passionate retelling of one of my favorite Greek mythology stories, Icarus! Given a job in a noble’s house, he falls in love with his proprietor’s daughter, after being saved from drowning in the ocean, he is heartbroken when she moves on to a better lover. Sad, lyrical, and beautifully told, I loved this spin on a tale I thought I knew!

               Allereirauh: 5 out of 5 Stars. I loved the way that this story went back to the fairy tale Cinderella’s dark, bloody roots. Bound by a promise to his dead wife to marry someone as beautiful as she, a king goes mad and pursues his own daughter to wed. Not many people know this version of the story, and the disturbing way that Yolen ended it both had my jaw on the floor and is still lingering in my mind, two days after I finished it. Dark, vicious, with hidden teeth, I will never forget this retelling!

               Granny Rumple: 5 out of 5 Stars. I loved this spin on Rumplestiltskin, infused with Yolen’s own Jewish culture and faith. Rumplestiltskin is one of my favorite fairy tales, and I loved the way that Yolen turned it on its head so that Granny Rumple, the fairy’s widow, came out on top. A hilarious, darkly funny romp that I really enjoyed.

               Mama Gone: 4 out of 5 Stars. What’s a story full of retellings without vampire horror somewhere in the mix? I really liked this story; it was sad, fast-paced, and bittersweet. A young woman loses her mother, and because her father cannot bear to cut off her head and feet, she comes back as a vampire and soon begins terrorizing the small town, tucked up against the mountains. The narrator must try to figure out how to stop her mother’s reign of terror, even at the risk of her own life. Dark, creepy, and bittersweet, I loved Mama Gone!

               Jane Yolen is one of America’s greatest storytellers, and for good reason. She is sharp, honest, funny, witty, and lyrical, and frankly, I’ve enjoyed every bit of her work that I’ve come across. This book was a fantastic literary palate cleanser in between novels, and I loved every moment of it! The bottom line: Fanciful, sharp, dark and honest, I loved How to Fracture a Fairy Tale! Next on deck: Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/02/how-to-fracture-fairy-tale-by-jane.html

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tuchol…

Title: The Boneless Mercies

Author: April Genevieve Tucholke

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               I’ve had this book on my library loan list for a long time, since before it actually came out, so when I saw it on the shelf at my local library, I checked it out. When I realized I couldn’t renew it anymore, I pushed it to the top of my stack, as soon as I finished Black Wings Beating. I have a literary confession to make: I hate Beowulf, the classic old English epic that this book is inspired by. In theory, it sounded like something I would love, but for some reason, I hated it. The Boneless Mercies built on the bones of Beowulf, telling the tale of The Boneless Mercies, young women who take lives for a price. But their leader, Frey, longs for more than the lonely life of a killer, however merciful. When she hears rumors of a dangerous, deadly beast taking lives in the mountains, she leaps at the chance to slay it and become the legend she yearns to be. But even the most legendary make sacrifices for their notoriety, and Frey must decide if she can pay the price.

               Frey is the leader of The Boneless Mercies, and she and her friends take lives as mercifully as they can. But despite herself, she does not feel fulfilled by her lot, and she’s not the only one feeling restless. When rumors reach her ears of a vicious, monstrous beast in Blue Vee, taking lives indiscriminately, Frey and her companions must undertake their most dangerous quest yet, through marshes and forests, crossing paths with witches and wicked jarls and kind archers. But Frey must decide if it’s worth seeing their journey through, or she might just lose everything she stands to gain…

This book was a dark, gorgeous, beautiful epic that rang true of the original. I loved the way that the author took Beowulf and turned it on its head. The prose was beautiful, the pacing breakneck; I was immediately spellbound by Frey’s voice and the brutal, beautiful world that she and her friends lived in. I also adored Frey’s steadfast, wonderful friends, especially Juniper, Runa, and Ovie. My favorite thing about the book was the way it portrayed a classic quest. I was transfixed until the shocking, bittersweet ending. I’m not sure if this book has a sequel in the works, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed nonetheless! At times, there were so many characters that it got a little hard to keep track of them all; I almost wish there had been a dramatis personae at the beginning of the book for a reference. But regardless, this book is one of my favorites of last year, and it might be my favorite of Tucholke’s whole body of work; it was amazing. The bottom line: Fierce, brutal, and beautiful, I loved The Boneless Mercies! Next on deck: How to Fracture a Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/02/the-boneless-mercies-by-april-genevieve.html

The Crimes of Grindelwald: The Original Screen…

Title: The Crimes of Grindelwald: The Original Screenplay

Author: J.K. Rowling

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Screenplay

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               When I heard that there was a new series of Harry Potter movies being made, I was skeptical at first, to say the least. And I have to say that I wanted to love Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but honestly, my reaction was just lukewarm. I loved Newt, but as for the rest, I didn’t know how to feel. But I was looking forward to The Crimes of Grindelwald, if only because I was very curious about Dumbledore’s evil nemesis. I saw the movie the day after it first came to theaters, and ever since, I’ve been stewing over it. I ordered the screenplay right after I went to the movie, and it’s been sitting in my library stack ever since. As soon as I was finished with The Light Between Worlds, I pushed it to the top of my stack, as I couldn’t renew it. As it’s been lingering in my mind since I saw the movie, I was eager to read the screenplay, and I have a better perspective on the film now, even as I have more questions than answers. But nonetheless, I really enjoyed it!

               The Crimes of Grindelwald picks up where the last film left off, with Newt having to deal with the consequences of what happened in the last film. The immensely powerful Grindelwald in the American Ministry of Magic’s possession, thanks to Newt’s help. But he makes good on his threat and escapes his detainment, beginning to gather followers, most of whom have no idea what he really wants: to raise pureblood wizards up above all, most especially non-magical beings. In an effort to thwart his former friend’s plans, Albus Dumbledore asks Newt for help, once again, and Newt reluctantly agrees, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn and bonds are put to the ultimate test while the wizarding world becomes ever divided.

               I really enjoyed this screenplay; upon reading it, I realized that there were many, many things I missed; often, I had to go back and reread what I had just read. I devoured it in less than a day, and as a result, I am most eager to dive back into J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world; I’m so sad that the last movie in the trilogy won’t be coming out for a long while. The illustrations of the screenplay were beautiful and gave me hints as to what was going on in the screenplay, before I’d even started writing. As I said before, this movie answered a lot of questions that I had about the last film and the state of the wizarding world during this turbulent time, but for all my answers, I had even more questions. It’s been more than a month since seeing the film, and several days since I finished the screenplay, and I’m still reeling, and I can’t help but wonder what J.K. Rowling has in store for the last movie! If you guys have seen the movie and read the screenplay, what did you think? I know that this movie has mixed reviews, to say the least. Nonetheless, I really liked it! The bottom line: The original screenplay to The Crimes of Grindelwald, this book was fantastic, giving more depth to a world that has felt like home to me ever since I was a child, and I have so many questions! Next on deck: Fire and Heist by Sarah Beth Durst!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/01/title-crimes-of-grindelwald-original.html

The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth …

Title: The Light Between Worlds

Author: Laura E. Weymouth

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               The Light Between Worlds was found through a recommendation list, and I ordered it from my local library. It’s been sitting on my stack for a while, and after I did a complete overhaul, I chose to keep it, since the cover was so pretty and the premise was interesting; honestly, it reminded me of a sort of reverse Narnia: What would happen if you came back from a magical world? I loved the way that one of my favorite trope was turned on its head. As soon as I was finished with Pulp, I pushed The Light Between Worlds to the top of my stack. I finished it in less than a day, and I really enjoyed it. With its unique premise, gorgeous, lyrical prose, and relatable characters, I loved it so much, and I can’t wait for what Laura E. Weymouth has in store for us next!

Siblings Jamie, Evelyn, and Philippa Hapwell were somehow whisked away to a magical world called The Woodlands five years ago, while they were cowering in a London bomb shelter, fearing for their lives. Creating lives as heroes and healers in this mysterious place, populated by all manner of fantastical creatures, they hold a brief refuge in The Woodlands. When they finally returned home to London, nothing changed, except themselves. Now Evelyn spends her days longing for the peace and purpose she found in The Woodlands, and she vows to return, no matter the cost. Her sister, Philippa, meanwhile, just wants to forget what transpired there, determined to find her place in the real world. Flawless and perfect on the outside, she has many friends and a coveted scholarship to a school in America. Tired of always keeping her sister from breaking into pieces, she escapes, intent on making her life her own. But when Evelyn goes missing, she has to return home, forced to confront everything she’s been running from. As she follows paltry clues that her sister has left her, she begins to wonder if Evelyn did indeed find her way back to the one place that feels like home, or if the pull of their two lives ripped her apart…

               This book was a lovely, thought-provoking debut! I really loved it. I enjoyed the way that Weymouth turned the magical world trope on its head; it was really interesting. The pacing was breakneck, and I also liked the way that the book went back and forth between the past and present, between wartime London and the dangerous, seductive setting of The Woodlands; it provided a lot of perspective and context to the Hapwell siblings’ relationship. I only wish that Jamie had had a first-person point of view, as well, because I was left wondering how he was dealing with the transition. I also loved both Evelyn and Philippa’s points of view; they were so similar and so different all at once. The prose was lovely, almost breathtaking, and more often than not, I was going back to reread. One of my favorite things about this book was how prevalent art and poetry was at the forefront of the novel, particularly in Evelyn’s narrative. And the ending! Oh, my goodness, I cried so much throughout this book. Especially over the ending! The only thing that really bothered me was that I wished all three siblings had an equal voice throughout the story. Nonetheless, this debut was really strong, and I will never forget the Hapwell siblings. What an amazing book! Enchanting, seductive, and poetic, The Light Between Worlds knocked me flat. Absolutely fantastic! The bottom line: Gorgeous, emotional and tender, I loved The Light Between Worlds! Absolutely amazing, one of my favorite books of 2018! Next on deck: The Crimes of Grindelwald by J.K. Rowling!

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