Category: book reviews

The Afterward by E.K. Johnston Review

Title: The Afterward

Author: E.K. Johnston

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.

               E.K. Johnston is one of my favorite authors, so when I heard that she was writing a brand-new book coming out in February, I ordered it from my local library. After I finished Archenemies, I pushed it right to the top of my stack; I renewed it once and didn’t want to have to return it without reading it. And this book… It’s probably one of the most unique in her entire body of work. It is an adventure story, told from two points in time and three points of view. It was full of brave, courageous female knights, a just queen, forbidden love, thievery, magic and mayhem, and I really enjoyed it! It wasn’t entirely perfect, but it is easily one of my favorite books of 2019. I’m almost wishing that it was a series, waiting for a sequel, so I don’t have to say goodbye to all the friends I’ve made!

               A group of female knights set out at the behest of a young prince, in hopes of eradicating an ancient, untold evil. After defeating the Old God and stopping his tyranny from spreading across the world, they return to their old lives. But the girls, save their leader, Sir Erris, are having troubles readjusting, particularly Kalanthe Ironheart, a knight-in-training burdened by debts and doubts and the futility of her future, and Olsa Rhetsdaughter, a ne’er do well thief who longs for freedom, in every sense of the world. But it turns out that even though they’ve finished their epic quest, other problems arise, and this time, it’s possible that more than hearts will be broken…

               I really enjoyed this book! I loved the way that it took the classic adventure trope and turned it on its head. I also really liked the format, and the way that the book went back and forth between the before, during the actual quest, and the after, where the women had to deal with the aftermath. This book has everything that I love in a fantasy novel: tough girls who take no prisoners and are strong and feminine at the same time, forbidden love, magic, war, (lady) knights, and strong friendships! It was a wonderful novel. The pacing was breakneck, and I loved the way that the different times were shown. I also adored Kalanthe and Osla’s distinct, authentic voices, and the way the narration was made more interesting by both of their perspectives. I’m also such a sucker for a good love story, and this book delivered several times over on that score! I loved the ending, too. The only thing that really bothered me was that several of the side characters weren’t sketched out very well, and there were so many to keep track of that I wish there had been a dramatis personae at the front of the book. It also got confusing when the time periods switched; but after rereading some passages, it got easier. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed The Afterward; it’s probably my favorite book in Johnston’s extensive body of work. Easily one of my favorite books of 2019! The bottom line: Rich, enchanting, funny and heartfelt, I loved The Afterward! Next on deck: Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/03/the-afterward-by-ek-johnston-review.html

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This is the second volume in the Midnight Sons series. Two more women come to the small town in Alaska. In the first story, a man who has a little girl falls in love with her teacher. In the second story a couple who got divorced gets together one night, and from the one night things change.

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This is the first volume in the Midnight sons series. When brothers put an ad in the paper for women to come up to Alaska will their plans fail when one brings her children with her and the other woman and her family used to be in a feud with the Midnight brothers.

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When a mother finds out something happened to her son while he was studying to become a priest, it’s up to her and some of the women in town to figure out what really happened to him.

The Drawing Of Three Book Review

Author: Stephen King

Rating: 5/5

Stephen King is like the Smashing Pumpkins of story-telling: he isn’t afraid to sit back and explore his ideas, grow them and develop them, before he has to move on. He draws on other perspectives, tells the same moment from multiple characters, twists the timeline and takes the time to express a scenario completely. Yet, he does it effortlessly, without chunks of exposition or idle rambling (which isn’t uncommon for high fantasies).

This book came and went so so fast – and nothing except for everything has changed. It’s gonna be spoilers from here onwards, so for non-spoilery thoughts check out my review of The Gunslinger.

*SPOILERS FROM HERE ONWARDS*

Eddie Dean – what an unlikely hero. He came from misfortune and his brother cultivated until it was all he knew. Enter Roland, and he gets an odd redemption. One thing I loved was his brilliant reaction to this quest. His denial and despair was understandable and heart-breaking, until he reaches acceptance. I loved his relationship with Roland, and I’m hoping Roland becomes the older brother Eddie never had, someone to guide and nurture him.

Odetta was a curious case, and definitely someone I’m excited to see develop in this moved on world. Her becoming was… confusing for me – but I’m accepting it. Her story comes full circle, even if some parts of the circle were completed before others!

I hope we get to hear more of Jake in future instalments. Roland’s attachment to him is too precious of a character arc to drop!

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

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I’ve struggled with mental health memoirs and …

I’ve struggled with mental health memoirs and autobiographies. I’m always looking for myself in the narrative and feel interrupted when the author shares some personal detail so unlike my own experiences. 

But Esmé Weijun Wang’s voice captured me from the start. 

Maybe it’s because she is fairly impersonal in tone, even when describing deeply personal and emotional moments in her life. She relates research, facts and statistics, and tales of her own psychoses with the same voice. It’s never maudlin, never asks for pity, only understanding and acceptance for her life as it is. Or, maybe it’s because she is so willing to explore herself on the page– to honestly challenge her own misconceptions and beliefs about schizophrenic disorders and mental illness while holding up the same mirror to the reader. 

I really loved, and was deeply moved, by this book. Wang details the struggles of living with a chronic, on-going, incurable illness that is highly stigmatized in our society seemingly without fear, which I so admire. And by telling the details of something so intimate and personal, she makes the experience universal and relatable. 5 stars. 

The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang

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When Todd a straight A student finds a man that used to be a high ranking officer from a concentration camp in Germany, things start to take a nose dive. Can Todd get his life back together before it’s too late? And what will happen to the old man from Germany?