Category: 2019 books

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Meija Re…

Title: We Set the Dark on Fire

Author: Tehlor Kay Mejia

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy/Romance

Series: We Set the Dark on Fire, book one

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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

               I’ll be honest: I’ve been so curious about this book, since before it even came out. Unfortunately, I had to return it three different times before I could read it. Before a total library haul overhaul yesterday, I decided that I wanted to make sure to read this book before I went back. I’d read some of Tehlor Kay Meija’s short stories in anthologies, but this was her debut novel, and I have to say that I loved it. The first book in a duology, We Set the Dark on Fire takes place in Medio, a place where men hold all of the power, and following ancient traditions, each man is given two wives: The Primera, his partner and equal in all things, and The Segurda, a woman passionate and nurturing, trusted with raising a man’s family. Daniela Vargas is assigned as the Primera to Mateo Garcia, and her old school nemesis, Carmen, is chosen as the boy’s second wife. As if this was not punishing enough, the rebellion, La Voz, has threatened to reveal Dani’s deadliest secret if she chooses not to cooperate with them. Dani finds herself trapped in a web of lies, political intrigue, and revolution, and she must decide whether to turn away from her people’s suffering at the rich’s hands, or if she will become a spy and work to free Medio from the vise grip of the powerful…

               This debut novel was absolutely fantastic; from the start, the prose crackled with life, and I was immediately spellbound by Dani’s frank, sweet voice. The pacing was breakneck, and the worldbuilding was one of my favorite parts of the novel. Medio was beautiful, forbidding, and terrifying, and reminded most unpleasantly of Margaret Atwood’s Gilead in more ways than one. The tension in this book, from the start, was at an all-time high. Dani’s parents have spent her life saving so they can send their daughter to the best finishing school for girls in Medio’s capital. But Dani carries a deadly secret: the papers are falsified. When she is selected to be the first wife to a politico’s son, she is determined to make sure that her parents didn’t sacrifice in vain. But things become even more complicated when the second wife, Carmen, is chosen. Still smarting from the other girl’s betrayal years earlier, Dani is forced to team up with her worst enemy to make this arrangement work. But it turns out everyone has something to hide, and some people are willing to kill to keep their secrets from coming to light. La Voz, the rebellion group fighting against Medio’s most powerful players, is fighting for the freedom of the people, and they recruit Dani to help make the new state a reality. Dani and Carmen begin to bond in the face of their new husband’s cruelty, and a tentative friendship blooms into something new and dangerous. In the face of growing unrest and rebellion, will Dani turn her back on her people? Or will she become a revolutionary herself?

               This book was incredible, and one of my favorite books of 2019! I can’t wait for the sequel. I loved the worldbuilding and Mexican-inspired culture and people; it was amazing! Diverse books for the win! The pacing was breakneck, and I was either gasping, swooning, or screaming. The tension was so intense that there were times that I wanted to tear my hair out. I loved all of the characters, and the forbidding islands of Medio. But my favorite parts of the novel are the romance between Dani and Carmen, sweet and shy and innocent but full of fire as well, and the ending! How am I supposed to wait until next year for the sequel?! I’m dying here, Tehlor! One of the best books of 2019! The bottom line: Sexy, romantic, thoughtful and unique, I loved We Set the Dark on Fire! Next on deck: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/09/we-set-dark-on-fire-by-tehlor-kay-mejia.html

The Whisper Man by Alex North Review

Title: The Whisper Man

Author: Alex North

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Horror

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this from my local library and reviewed it.

               I’ve heard so many good things about The Whisper Man, and I was so sad when I didn’t receive an advanced readers’ copy. So, when I found it on the new display shelf at one of the libraries I go to, I snatched it up. I wasn’t sure what to expect, exactly, but I just finished it last night and my skin is still crawling, my mouth tasting faintly of bile and revulsion. This book just left me stunned, and if I didn’t have to return it immediately, I would’ve at least thought it over for a few days, until I got my thoughts in order. But Alex North has penned a horrifying, thoughtful debut that highlights the relationship between fathers and sons, in every way, and the darkness that hides inside of all of us. I was spellbound until the final page, and the ending will haunt me forever. I still can’t get it out of my head. I can’t wait to see what Alex North has in store for the horror, mystery and thriller genres.

               Tom Kennedy and his young son, Jake, have traveled to the small, sleepy village of Featherbank, England after the untimely death of Tom’s wife and Jake’s mother, Rebecca. Desperate for a new start in a new place, Tom tries to settle in. But he begins to discover that Featherbank has a dark past: a monster called The Whisper Man has killed little boys, and it began with the children hearing a deep, gruff voice at their window. Enter DIs Pete Willis, who has been chasing The Whisper Man for more than twenty years, and Amanda Beck, the green young detective that has been assigned to the new case. Some say that the murders are copycats, as Frank Carter is in prison for The Whisper Man’s first reign of terror. Things get even more frightening when Jake tells Tom that his imaginary friends, The Boy in the Floor, and The Little Girl, are warning him of danger. Tom finds himself entangled in a dark web of terror, deceit and true evil, and not everyone will escape The Whisper Man unscathed…

               Mysteries and thrillers are a touchy thing for me; sometimes, I can guess who did it within the first hundred pages of reading, and then the rest of the book fizzles out for me. But The Whisper Man was a twisty, intricate and dark mystery, interlaced with an awful lot of horror. The pacing was breakneck; I was utterly haunted by the tone of the book. I devoured this book in less than two days, and to say that it was a nailbiter would be a major understatement. My only complaint was that the point of view changed so often that it was sometimes difficult to figure out who was speaking. I enjoyed the large cast of characters, especially Frank, Pete, Tom, and Jake. But I think my favorite part of it was the elements of the supernatural throughout the novel; it gave the mystery such a great tone! And that ending is not one that I will be forgetting any time soon! Alex North has established himself as a new thriller writer to keep an eye on! The bottom line: Dark, terrifying, thoughtful and unique, I loved The Whisper Man! Next on deck: House of Salt and Sorrow by Erin A. Craig!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/09/the-whisper-man-by-alex-north-review.html

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson Review

Title: Sorcery of Thorns

Author: Margaret Rogerson

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.

               Margaret Rogerson has been on my radar since her first book, An Enchantment of Ravens, came out. Unfortunately, I had to take her debut novel back to the library before I was able to read it. But when I heard that she was writing a sophomore novel, I was so excited that I put it on hold at my library immediately. Since then, it’s been sitting at the top of my library stack, waiting for me to finally read it. As soon as I was finished with Raven, I dove in. I was absolutely intrigued and excited by the premise: magical libraries, with books that spoke, loved, and held the most ancient magic! Rogerson has before been hailed as the heir apparent to Diana Wynne Jones, and after reading Sorcery of Thorns, I absolutely believe it. Full of magic, wonder, romance, political intrigue, and, of course, books, I loved this book. It might be my favorite in Rogerson’s body of work. I can’t wait to see what is up her sleeve for us next! Rogerson has cemented her place in my heart as a new favorite author!

               Elisabeth Scrievener has lived her life within the sacred walls of Summershall, one of the kingdom’s most magical libraries. She knows the danger of grimoires, and the people who wield their magic for evil: sorcerers. If the books are provoked, they run the risk of turning into Maleficts, monsters made of ink and paper. But her peaceful existence is shattered forever when an act of sabotage releases the library’s oldest and most powerful grimoire. But intervening costs her everything, and she is cast out of Summershall. With no one else to turn to, she asks a sorcerer, Nathaniel Thorn, to aid her in her quest. Armed with his magic and demonic servant, Elisabeth begins to search for answers and finds herself wrapped up in a conspiracy that goes back centuries. She discovers more than her beloved libraries are at stake: the entire world hangs in the balance. Elisabeth’s tentative friendship with Nathaniel deepens, leading her to question everything she thought she knew. She begins to realize that she holds a new, unspeakable power inside of her, and that the future she was so sure of before is nothing like she thought…

               I loved this book completely and totally; the premise was unique and exciting, and I felt so at home in Elisabeth’s world, even with all of its magic and danger. Honestly, this book felt like a childhood dream come true. The pacing was breakneck, and I was fascinated by the world Elisabeth lived in. Full of magic, danger, darkness, and love, Sorcery of Thorns was an indeed magical tale that captivated me from beginning to end. I also loved Nathaniel and Silas, and the foil they made to timid, straitlaced Elisabeth. I also adored Elisabeth herself; her character development was what really made the book for me. She went from a shy, quiet little mouse of a girl to a young woman who is unafraid to do what’s right, at the cost of her own life and everything she loves. One of my favorite parts of the novel, too, was the romance between Elisabeth and Nathaniel; I was swooning by the time it was in full swing. And that ending! Oh, my goodness, Margaret Rogerson has completely outdone herself with Sorcery of Thorns! The bottom line: Rich, romantic, funny, and dark, I loved Sorcery of Thorns! Next on deck: The Whisper Man by Alex North!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/09/sorcery-of-thorns-by-margaret-rogerson.html

Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia and Gabriel …

Title: Teen Titans: Raven

Author/Illustrator: Kami Garcia and Gabriel Piccolo

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy

Series: DC Ink, book two

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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

               Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a total junkie for comics, in any and all forms, both in DC and Marvel. So, when I heard that DC was rebooting their heroes, especially the women, I was so stoked. I absolutely adored Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale, and when it was announced that Teen Titans was relaunching, starting with my favorite Titan, Raven, I was so excited. I’d had it on hold since before it actually came out, and Kami Garcia is one of my favorite authors. I was slightly nervous at this new addition to the DC canon, as the Teen Titans are some of my favorite superheroes with DC. But I didn’t need to be, because this book did great justice to one of my favorite heroes, and I can’t wait for the next installment, this time revolving around Beast Boy! Can you tell I’m excited? Because I am, a little bit.

               Rachel Roth has lost her foster mother and her memories in a tragic car accident, and is forced to go live with her foster mother’s sister, Natalia, and her daughter, Max. To add to all of this, she begins being troubled by a mysterious, dark bird, and the thoughts of her new classmates. Thinking that she has lost her mind in the crash, she begins to be plagued by a dark, enigmatic voice inside her head, vying for control of her mind. Trying desperately to make sense of the riddles that her life has become, Rachel must decide whether to give in to her family’s dark legacy, or to accept herself, wholly and completely…

               I absolutely adored this book! Raven is one of my favorite Titans, and one of my favorite heroes in the DC canon, and Kami Garcia did a fantastic job of portraying a young Rachel Roth, unfamiliar with her powers and her heritage. I loved Rachel, Max, and Natalia, especially, and I loved the little Easter egg thrown in when Beast Boy made an appearance! The illustrations and colors, done by Gabriel Piccolo were beautiful; I loved the comic’s color palette. But my favorite part about this comic was watching Rachel come into her own and accept herself, powers, dark legacy and all. And that ending! I loved it so much, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the other Titans! Easily one of my favorite books of 2019; Kami Garcia and Gabriel Piccolo did an outstanding job with Raven’s legacy! The bottom line: Funny, honest, and beautiful, I loved this new take on one of my favorite DC heroes! I can’t wait for the next Teen Titans comic! Next on deck: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/08/teen-titans-raven-by-kami-garcia-and.html

Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo Del Toro an…

Title: Pan’s Labyrinth: Labyrinth of the Faun

Authors and Illustrator: Guillermo del Toro, Cornelia Funke, and Allen Williams

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.

               This book has been sitting in my library stack for a while, and I couldn’t renew it anymore, so as soon as I was finished with The War Outside, I pushed it to the top of my stack. Pan’s Labyrinth is one of my favorite movies, so as soon as I heard of that book, I was eager to put it on hold at my library. I devoured this book in a little under two days, and I was utterly spellbound. The writing was beautiful, like something out of an old fairy tale, and I adored the gorgeous, forbidding illustrations. It breaks my heart that illustrations are few and far between in books, because they add such depth to a story. Allen Williams did a fantastic job of adding beautiful pictures to the story. Del Toro and Funke combined their fantastic writing to bring one of my favorite films to life. The prose was beautiful, hypnotic, and though Funke took some artistic license with the story, I liked the way that she and Del Toro filled in the gaps that the original story left unexplained. A dark and gorgeous fairy tale for all ages, I loved this bloody, thoughtful fairy tale, and I will never forget it! This book is one of my favorites in Cornelia Funke’s body of work: She’s done a fantastic job with this lovely book!

               Ofelia’s world has been shattered after the death of her loving, caring father, a tailor. Forced to leave her home and start a new beginning with her pregnant mother, they go to an isolated outpost in the wild forests of Spain to live with Captain Vidal, whom she calls The Wolf. Yearning for her home and her father, she tries to stay out of her new stepfather’s way. But everything changes when she sees the ruins of an ancient labyrinth on the outskirts of the forest: soon fairies, fauns, wicked toads, and magical creatures appear, leading the child to her secret and forgotten past, and Ofelia must use her beloved books and every bit of her strength to overcome The Wolf’s evil ways…

               I absolutely adored this book! Pan’s Labyrinth is one of my favorite films, and Del Toro, Funke, and Williams all did a fantastic job of bringing it to prose novel form. I was immediately entranced by the voice inside of the book, and the illustrations were beautiful and detailed, adding a whole new depth to the story. The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately drawn into Ofelia’s beautiful, dark, and dangerous world. Even though I knew what was going to happen, the book still managed to surprise me; I was crying and gasping throughout the novel. I wish I had a copy of this book for my own collection; it’s so beautiful! Ofelia’s journey from a meek, shy little girl into a heroine in her own right was my favorite part of it, even more so than the fantastical elements of the novel. And the ending! I loved it so much. This book is a classic fantasy, in that there were magical tasks, blood and war, daring adventures, and a magical land laying beneath the fabric of our own ordinary world. This book is absolutely unforgettable, and it’s one of the best of 2019! The bottom line: Lush, dark, and magical, I loved Labyrinth of the Faun! Next on deck: Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Piccolo!

The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu Review

Title: The Best Lies

Author: Sarah Lyu

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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

               I’ve
had The Best Lies on hold at my local library since before it came out; I’d
heard of the premise from a few other book reviewers I follow, and I was
curious, especially when I saw the pale pink cover, adorned with a
sticky-sweet, pastel-hued lollipop. It was sitting on top of my library stack,
and it was one book that I didn’t want to return without reading. Normally, I’m
leery about mysteries and thrillers; I can usually guess what’s going to happen
within fifty pages. But The Best Lies was totally unique, in that it featured a
love triangle gone horrifically wrong. I loved it, even as I waited with bated
breath for the ending that felt like a punch to the gut. I could see what was
coming, but it still blew me away. I finished this book over a week ago, and
I’m still floored. Just absolutely stunned. A tragic, heartbreaking and
realistic portrayal of a close friendship gone the worst kind of sideways, The
Best Lies is one of my favorite books of 2019, and I can’t wait to see what
debut author Sarah Lyu has up her sleeve next!

               Remy
Tsai has never really had anyone who’s really loved her. Her parents are
absorbed in hurting each other, and only use her and her brother, Christian, as
bargaining chips in their arguments. Overlooked, lonely, and shy, her life
changes forever when she meets Elise. Elise understands her like no one else
she’s ever known, and soon the two become entwined, inseparable, ride or die. But
Remy begins to feel that the love that has kept her safe and sheltered for so
long is suffocating her. The feeling only intensifies when Jack enters the
picture, who Remy is immediately smitten with. But Remy’s new love and joy is
shattered when Jack dies, and it’s Elise’s hand that held the gun that killed
him. From the police station, Remy struggles to piece together the tragedy that
destroyed her life…

               This
book was, in a word, compelling. I love books about friendships gone wrong,
especially among young women. The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately
entranced by Remy’s broken voice. I was totally spellbound by the love triangle
that formed between Remy, Jack, and Elise. I knew what was coming, from the
beginning, but even still, the ending landed like a punch to the chest and I
felt like I was gasping for breath. This book was like watching a trainwreck,
impossible to look away from. I loved watching Remy and Elise’s relationship
grow from something almost romantic and charged to terribly fraught, and so
frayed that it ended in a horrible, unspeakable tragedy. I felt sorry for
everyone involved in this book; to be frank, most of them were miserable. This
book was so very sad, but I’m glad that I read it; it’s a great example of
toxic relationships and behavior. Elise, in particular, was a study in sadness
and abusive behavior, both giving and receiving. The Best Lies is one of my
favorite books of 2019; Sarah Lyu did a fantastic job in this punchy, timely
thriller with a sticky-sweet, toxic love triangle! The bottom line: Vivid, dark,
and utterly painful, I loved The Best Lies; Sarah Lyu has penned a compelling,
necessary thriller! Fantastic! Next on deck: In Other Lands by Sarah Rees
Brennan!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/08/the-best-lies-by-sarah-lyu-review.html

Wilder Girls by Rory Power Review

Title: Wilder Girls

Author: Rory Power

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Horror

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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

               I heard about Wilder Girls through one of the sites I follow, and as soon as I read the description, I was hooked. It’s been sitting in my library stack for a while now, and since I couldn’t renew it anymore, I pushed it to the top of my stack before I even finished No Beast so Fierce. I devoured this debut in less than a day, and I’m happy to report to you all that the hype you hear about this book? Real, one hundred percent. Billed as a feminist, LBGTQIA retelling of the classic Lord of the Flies, Wilder Girls is a novel that exhibits a wholly new and distinct sort of horror. Yet the friendship and love at its center made me love it all the more. I’ve never read the novel that inspired this one, and I don’t want to, because this book was just perfect. Easily one of my favorite books of 2019! Rory Wilder is an author to keep your eye on!

               Hetty Chaplan hardly remembers a time before The Tox, a deadly disease, took over the globe, or Raxter Island, where she was certain that she would die. But the disease, with her and her classmates, is also strangely symbiotic, granting unknowable powers to them. Desperate to get off the island and uncover the truth about the virus that has been killing her and her friends, Hetty begins to dig. But she and her friends have no idea that the threat lies so much closer to home than they ever could’ve realized…

               This book was so strange, dark, and frightening. It was also thought-provoking and compelling, even in all of its horror. I’m such a sucker for survivalist stories, and I always forget it until I come across one, especially one such as this. Even in all of its gore and gruesomeness, the friendships and love between the characters shone through it all. It also screamed girl power, which I adored. Brutal, gorgeous, and I couldn’t look away. For all the horrors conjured in this book, unique and truly horrific, there were bright spots to be had. I loved the characters and the unsettling, silent chill of the abandoned Raxter Island. But my favorite thing about this book was that the scariest part about it was the horror. I won’t spoil it; it’s too good for that. But I will say that Wilder Girls is a debut unlike any you’ve ever read before, and I can guarantee it. A true gem and an amazingly thoughtful, tender addition to the YA genre. The bottom line: Thought-provoking, terrifying, and beautiful, Wilder Girls is a survivalist story unlike any other; I loved it so much! Rory Power is a brilliant force of nature! Next on deck: The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/08/wilder-girls-by-rory-power-review.html

No Beast So Fierce by Dane Huckelbridge Review

Title: No Beast So Fierce: The Terrifying True Story of the
Champawat Tiger: The Deadliest Animal in History

Author: Dane Huckelbridge

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Nonfiction

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

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

               I was
reading an article about a month ago, a book list that challenged readers to
get brave by reading the books they recommended, all without leaving the
comfort of their own home. I was intrigued by every book that was on that list,
but No Beast So Fierce was the book that caught my eye first. Normally, I’m not
a big nonfiction reader, but I’ve been recently trying to branch out into new
genres. This book was really interesting and informative, though it seems that
a lot of the facts seem based on conjecture. Nonetheless, I liked it a lot. It
taught me a lot about tigers, which was great. But even more than that, No
Beast So Fierce examines the perfect storm that created one of nature’s most
notorious maneaters. Though this book is obviously not without bias, I think
Huckelbridge did a really good job of tracking the tigress’s movements and
explaining just how this wounded but still magnificent creature was driven to
hunt, and kill, humans, with the numbers climbing almost up to the triple
digits.

               No
Beast So Fierce is a naturalist, environmental nonfiction offering, taking
place in both India and Nepal. Dane Huckelbridge pieces together its journey
from its native Nepal, where it had already killed and eaten several people,
and follows it across the border to India, where the tigress lived out the
remainder of its life, feasting upon humans when she was unable to catch normal
prey. Huckelbridge attempts to lay out the facts as best he can, murky though
they are. He uses a lot of primary sources, but a lot of it seemed to be based
on his personal conclusions. They were certainly backed up, but something about
this didn’t seem to add up to me. Nonetheless, Huckelbridge traveled across
Nepal and India to use the information in this book, and I really enjoyed the
writing style, even if it didn’t gel with my expectations. I was intrigued;
I’ve been fascinated with animal and marine life for as long as I can remember,
especially big cats. I learned a lot about tigers, and that’s what I set out to
do.  But the story of this particular cat
was so compelling, a manmade monster that had to be brought down for the safety
of others. Injured by a hunter in the prime of its life, the female tiger
eventually had to resort to survive in an altogether different way: hunting
humans. People disappeared from the edges of villages and in the woods, gone
within moments. It proved to be a frightening and enlightening read, for this
mess was all caused by the plights of man, imperialism and colonialism. The
tiger was contained within an ever-shrinking habitat, and had injured teeth,
had cubs to feed. Really, it was a tragedy all around, to both man and animal. I
really enjoyed it, even if there were some parts that seemed unbelievable. It
was informative and really made me think. Definitely one of my favorite books
of 2019, as well as nonfiction in general. The bottom line: Despite some spotty
research, I really enjoyed No Beast so Fierce; it was a nonfiction
environmentalist eye-opener, and I learned a lot. Next on deck: Wilder Girls by
Rory Power!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/08/no-beast-so-fierce-by-dane-huckelbridge.html

Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart Review

Title: Queen of Ruin

Author: Tracy Banghart

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Grace and Fury, book two

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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

               Grace and Fury was one of my favorite books of last year, so I’ve been anxiously awaiting the sequel. It’s been sitting in my library stack, so when I was finished with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I dove in. I devoured Queen of Ruin in a mere three days; this set of books are my favorite in Tracy Banghart’s entire body of work. Action-packed, relevant, and shocking, I loved every moment of Queen of Ruin, even the ones that had me screaming in rage and sobbing in frustration. I’ve been chewing on it since I finished, trying to get my thoughts straight before I put them to paper. This series has been billed as the YA Handmaid’s Tale, and that comparison is pretty spot on.

               Queen of Ruin picks up where Grace and Fury left off, with Serina leading the rebellion on Mount Ruin, and Nomi just barely escaping the palazzo with her life. Both girls must decide to fight for their rights, as well as those of their fellow women, but forces beyond their control conspire to stop them. Both sisters must make a choice: continue to fight against Viridia’s restrictive, misogynistic laws, or create a new world, in which women have choices, can make money, and have all the freedoms they deserve. But pulling off a revolution of this scale is far from easy, and not everyone will emerge from the wreckage unharmed…

               This book was absolutely amazing. Because it was a sequel, it took me a few chapters to remember everything that happened. But once things got going, I was spellbound, and I was constantly thinking about it, even while I was doing something else. The pacing was breakneck but smooth, and I really liked the way that the narrative went back and forth between Serina and Nomi. I also loved the character development of all of the women in the book, but especially Serina and Nomi. This book had me screaming and cheering, often. That’s not to say, though, that there also weren’t formidable villains. I won’t give it away for those that haven’t read it yet; but this book really frustrated me. The tension was constant, and I devoured every word. And that ending! I’m so happy with the way that things ended. Sequels make me so nervous, because all too often, they don’t hold up to the books that come before it, but I didn’t need to worry about this with Queen of Ruin. It more than surpassed my expectations, and I loved every moment of it. The bottom line: Bloody, fierce, and unforgettable, I loved Queen of Ruin; my only complaint is that it’s all over now! Next on deck: Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/07/queen-of-ruin-by-tracy-banghart-review.html

Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody and Ruth Re…

Title: Sky Without Stars

Authors: Jessica Brody and Ruth Rendell

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: System Divine, book one

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

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

               I’ve been intrigued by this book, and it’s been sitting on my library stack for a while now. As soon as I was finished with You Must Not Miss, I dove in, uncertain what to expect. What I got was an ambitious, atmospheric science fiction epic with memorable characters, fantastic worldbuilding, political intrigue and romance. It was one of my favorite musicals, Les Miserables, told in space! It was so cool to see Victor Hugo’s classic in a completely new way. I’m long overdue for a rewatch of that film, and as I was reading, I got several of the musical’s songs stuck in my head. There were a lot of characters to keep track of, and at times it was difficult to distinguish between them, but overall, Brody and Rendell have penned a knockout. I can’t wait to see what comes next for The System Divine series!

               On the planet of Laterre, the Second and Third Estate are forced to forage for scarps, while The First Estate live in Ledome, a sheltered paradise for the rich, ruling class. Five hundred years have passed since The Last Days, and revolution is brewing once again. The winds of change force three young people together, all from different walks of life. There’s Chatine, the scrappy daughter of thieves, desperate for a way off of the planet to forge a new life. In her quest for escape, she is forced by the brutal Regime to spy on Marcellus, the son of a traitor and grandson of one of the most powerful men on Laterre. Aloulette lives in a secret, underground refuge, where she guards the last library on the planet. But when she goes up to the surface for the first time in twelve years, she finds a world she barely knows or remembers, and is plunged into chaos when she goes searching for answers. Will Laterre rise from the ashes anew due to the revolution, or will chaos rule entirely?

`               I loved this heady, darkly wrought debut! Les Miserables is one of my favorite musicals, and to see it through a futuristic, science fiction-tinted lens was so cool! The pacing was breakneck, and I really liked the way the authors went from Chatine, Marcellus, Aloulette, and back. As I said, there were a lot of characters to keep track of, and I had to go back and reread every now and then to make sure I had the person right. To say this book is Les Mis in space is accurate, but it also doesn’t completely embody the feel of the story: the characters, all embodied with flaws and very real troubles, cyborgs and secret societies and political intrigue. This book is an amazing work to add in the growing body of YA space operas, and I loved it. There were many characters, but I loved them, despite my disorientation at the sheer number. This book was soulful, heart-wrenching, dark and funny. And all the references to the musical had me grinning from ear to ear. (When I realized, I had the entire soundtrack on loop in my brain as I was reading… And I wasn’t mad at it!) I cannot wait for the next book in the System Divine series, because this ambitious, meaty debut novel was fantastic! I loved every dark, charged moment of it. I will happily wait for what books come next in the series. And meanwhile, perhaps I’ll actually be brave enough to watch the musical? The bottom line: Ambitious, finely wrought, and darkly beautiful, I was utterly captivated by Sky Without Stars! What a fantastic series starter! Next on deck: Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales by Gavin J. Grant and Kelly Link!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/07/sky-without-stars-by-jessica-brody-and.html