Category: fantasy

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

(IP) A Long Journey and a Restless Heart

(IP) A Long Journey and a Restless Heart

               The
warrior rested in the lush, green grass of the hillside, watching the peach
tinted clouds above her. The pennant she held was torn and battered, the horse’s
face upon it nearly unrecognizable.

               The
ache in her bones was familiar, and normally, she enjoyed it: it was proof of
her hard work. She was one of the Queen’s guard, and one of her best warriors. From
the time that she was twelve years old, all she’d ever wanted was to be one of
the Queen’s knights. But on this solitary hillside in the country, Selene could
not help but wonder if it was time to tell the Queen that she wanted a
different life.

               Her
horse stood behind her, his long, dark mane fluttering in the breeze. His
familiar weight was a comfort, the scent of hay and apples making her think of
home. Home also made her think of someone else, but she didn’t dare follow that
train of thought. It wasn’t forbidden, exactly, but a knight wasn’t to enter an
official relationship, not unless they asked the Queen’s permission to hang up
her sword.

               Her
heart ached; to distract herself from her conflicted thoughts, she reached for
the satchel that rested against Achilles’s flank, filled with dried meat,
cheese, and fruit. It was a lonely, solitary meal, but it worked. Giving Achilles
an apple and a carrot, she gnawed on her portion of the food, knowing that soon
she would return to the palace, to that familiar feeling of isolation and
loneliness and her.

               Try as
she might, Kaia could not stifle the memories that pounced whenever she was not
fighting or exploring, and she could not ignore the rush of heat and love that
lived on inside of her heart, despite the distance between them.

               She
stared at the palace in the distance, gilded gold and pink in the coming dusk.
A mad, crazy, impossible idea began to form inside of her mind, too reckless to
bring to fruition. Or was it? The scene unfolded in her mind like a dream.

               She
rode Achilles to the palace gates, waiting for the door to lower and grant her
passage. Rose was standing in the great hall, clothed in a gown the rich color
of sapphire, the hair she’d been named for piled in a chignon at the nape of
her long neck. She was deep in conversation with a male courtier, and as Kaia
walked up to her, she felt a reckless rush of jealousy, and had to resist
scowling.

               “Rose,
Rosie, I’m home,” Kaia said, walking over to her, clasping her beloved’s hands.
“I’ve come to take you away from here.”

               Rose
blinked, her brow wrinkled, and she stared up at Kaia as if in a dream.

               “Truly,
Kaia? You mean it?” She whispered, in a high, flutelike voice. “Don’t toy with
my affections. And The Queen—”

               “I’ll
give up my knighthood if it means being with you, Rosie.”

               “I
couldn’t take your career from you.”

               “Of
course, I love my profession, Rosie. But I love you more.”

               **

(IP) A Quick Getaway

(WP) A Quick Getaway

               He had
no idea how a human had been born from such darkness; the only thing he knew
for certain was that he had to get the infant away from his brothers and
sisters, who were raging blindly at the disturbance.

               The
child was wrapped in a thin, tattered blanket, and its squalls echoed throughout
the caverns. The dark tufts of hair that crowned its tiny head blew as Sorin
flapped his powerful bat wings, preparing to launch himself and the child
through the hatch at the top of the mountain.

               A tiny
pinprick of light shone through the hole: he would have to shove them both
through unforgiving, sharp rock before making it to the outside world.

               The
infant was clearly other, clearly human, and Sorin could not silence the questions
inside of his mind. What humans would be so cruel as to leave one of their
young in the heart of their kind? Few beings of their race were gifted true
sentience and free will; Sorin had been lucky. Even as a child, he’d been
certain that he wasn’t meant to live in a dark cavern, knowing naught but
hunger, rage, loneliness and loss.

               With
the arrival of this child, Sorin was more certain than ever before of his
purpose. No, he was not meant to waste away. He would live in solitude, raising
this human child to adulthood.

               With
one beat of his powerful wings, he flew upward, toward that tiny point of
light. The wrathful cries of his kin echoed through the emptiness, and Sorin
felt a tiny whisper: of guilt, regret, he didn’t know. Nonetheless, it didn’t matter
now.

               Turning
his body so it was curled around the child, he used the force of his body to
break through the top of the sharp stone of the peak. Snowflakes beat down upon
his head, and he clenched his jaw to keep from shivering in the sharp, cold
air. The wind seemed to roar around him, obliterating all other sounds. Buffeted
by the cold, he could hardly hear the child’s cries anymore, but he could sense
his heartbeat.

               Sorin
remembered that a string of villages surrounded the mountains like dark beads,
and though he was a monster, he hoped that at least the humans that dwelled
inside would take pity on the boy. He had to try; he’d risked everything and
betrayed his own kind so that the boy might live.

               He
couldn’t give up now. Whatever forces drove the elements had seen fit to make
him different, and he had to do his best to use that gift. His kind loved
violence, reveled in it, and it was something of a miracle that this child hadn’t
ended up harmed, or worse.

               Bolstered
by these thoughts, he flew downward, the child tucked up against his chest. Its
heartbeat slowed, and Sorin realized that somehow, in all the chaos, it had
fallen asleep, burrowing into him for warmth.

               He
descended when he began to see golden lights and smoke from cook fires, drawing
a hood over his face to conceal his true form. He walked toward the lights and
the warmth, and left the child on a doorstep. Knocking sharply, Sorin did not leave
until he heard the door creak open, a gasp of surprise, and the child’s
answering wails.

               He was
a monster, to be sure, but it did not mean that he was truly evil.

               **

(WP) The Savior of Moonlight

(WP) The Savior of Moonlight

               “Remember,
my love, if you’re ever in trouble, just hold out your hand, palm out, and you
will get the help you need, no matter where you are.”

               My
mother had said that from the time I was a little boy, and I didn’t think much
of it, until the night that I drank a bit too much and decided to walk home. I
didn’t hear them until they almost on me, and by then, it was too late.

               A blow
to the back of my head, the metallic, bitter tang of blood in my mouth where I’d
bitten through my lip. Drunken laughter and the stink of cologne.

               “What
an idiot! What kind of person walks through this neighborhood at this time of
night? He’s got no sense.” Someone said, punctuating the insults with a few
kicks to the ribs that had me coughing.

               “Why
are you complaining?” Someone else asked, laughing. “His bad luck is our gain.”

               My eyes
streamed as more blows rained down on my body; even after I curled up in the
fetal position, they didn’t abate.

               I
remembered my mother’s words, and in desperation, I unclenched my right hand
and held it up, palm upturned toward the moonlight.

               **

               I was
blinded by a sheet of silvery, white light, and I gasped, closing my eyes
against the intrusion. Maybe it was the drink, and the agony from being beaten
nearly to death. Maybe I was just hallucinating. But from my vantage point on
the blacktop, I saw a blurred, outlined silhouette, and around it were the prone,
sedate bodies of the thugs who had attacked me.

               Could
it be that the moon had heard my cry for help?

               “Don’t
try to move, child, you’re gravely injured,” The shadow spoke, and it certainly
wasn’t in any language I’d ever heard, but somehow, I still understood it.

               “Who
are you?” I choked out, spitting out some loose teeth as I did so. They landed
at the thing’s feet, glimmering in the light it emitted like tiny, misplaced
pearls.

               “Silly,
foolish boy,” It said, and I could’ve sworn that I heard laughter in its
strange, melodic voice. “You’ve known me all your life, Jericho. Remember those
myths that your mother told you when you were little? They’re real, child. But
hidden from those who are unworthy.”

               Did
that mean that I was worthy to gaze upon a being older than time itself?
It seemed too good to be true. Perhaps the thing could see the incredulity on my
face, because it laughed again, the sound like bright bells.

               “It was
your mother, really. She asked me to watch over you.” The being’s voice was
fading, and before I finally lost consciousness, it took the form of a lithe,
beautiful woman with long, white curls, and her eyes were a sparkling, beguiling
lilac. She looked like an illustration rendered in a storybook. “And how could
I say no to a woman who has paid tribute to me for all her life?” She smiled at
me, kissing my forehead so softly that I wondered if I’d imagined it.

When I awoke the next morning in
the hospital, I was almost certain I’d dreamed up the whole thing. But the pain
was indeed real, and on the inside of my forearm, a bright violet rune was etched,
the skin raised and angry at the fresh wound.

**

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

(WP) A Royal Command

(WP) A Royal Command

               Magic
was an art that came easily to Lenora, ever since her powers had manifested
when she was a child. But having such an affinity for the magical arts came
with a price that grew ever steeper.

               Snapped,
broken bones, limbs wrapped in gauze, shed blood glimmering like rubies in
sunlight.

               Lenora
was accustomed to pain and agony; it was a small price to pay for unstoppable
power, and her mistress had taught her that pain was temporary, a fleeting sensation
felt more in the mind than in body, something to overcome and bend to her own
will.

               She was
lying on the floor of her mistress’s laboratory, hissing with pain as she
popped one of her dislocated fingers back into place. Try as she might to
resist them, tears stung her eyes and flooded over.

               “Breathe
through the pain, Lenora,” Doctor Carver’s voice cut through the haze, and Lenora
sat up slowly, the muted gray of the walls swimming in her vision.

               Dr.
Carver handed Lenora a heavy crystal chalice, filled with water, and she took
it gratefully, gulping down half the glass in one gulp.

               “The
King and Queen have invited us to an audience,” Dr. Carver said, her glasses
glinting in the weak candlelight. “It seems that you will have your first
official mission on behalf of the Crown.”

               Lenora,
for her part, could hardly believe her ears. She hadn’t yet seen her twenty-second
autumn, and now she was going to be receiving a mission. A real mission,
outside of the lab and the castle. Instead of being dizzy from pain now, it was
from excitement.

               “Come
along. I need to patch up your wounds as best as I can, and then we must meet
with the King and Queen.”

               **

               Lenora
was presented to King Henry and Queen Isabelle, dressed in a silk dress the
color of sapphires. Dr. Carver introduced her, head bowed in deference.

               “Your
Highnesses, it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to my ward and protégé,
Lenora Cambridge. You requested that I bring her, did you not?” Dr. Carver
asked, raising her head just a fraction.

               Much to
Lenora’s surprise, it was the Queen who spoke first.

               “Yes,
Doctor Carver. Thank you so much.” The queen smiled kindly at Lenora, her gray
eyes twinkling with something that looked like amusement.

               “Lenora,
my lord husband and I have invited you here to ask you a question.” The queen
said. She remained smiling, but it did not reach her eyes; they looked to her
like dark, cold tunnels.

               “We
understand that the good doctor Carver has taught you the art of magic wielding,
and that you are the best student that she has had in years.”

               Lenora
nodded, waiting for the ruler to continue. She could hear her heartbeat
thundering in her ears, inescapable. What task was the royal family about to
ask of her?

               “We
would like you to journey throughout the land of our empire and teach other
young people how to use the ancient, noble art of magic, to prepare for the
coming war with the goblins across the seas.”

               Lenora
could not believe what she was hearing. Were her King and Queen honestly asking
her to go overseas and teach people how to kill?

               **

(WP) Stranger Than Fiction

(WP) Stranger Than Fiction

               Fiction
and myths aren’t just stories. Everyone says that because they’ve been told to,
because some things are just too fantastic to be believed. But they’re indeed
real, and I can prove it.

               I park
outside of the imposing, grand building, the coffee I gulped down on the way
churning in my stomach. This is only my third day on the job, and I’m still in shock.
And I can’t even tell anyone; I signed a nondisclosure agreement. I get out of
the car and lock it, keeping my head bowed as I walk into the building.

               “Jenkins!”
A slight woman meets me at the doors, her arms full of thick manila files. “The
Boss has been asking for you! She’s in a right mood; she’s been trying to subdue
a Titan who escaped its confines. Nearly blew up the whole building.”

               “Thank
you, Eliza,” I reply, smiling at her gratefully, and her cheeks pink demurely.

               “What
do I have to do to get some good coffee around here?!” The Boss, Director Salazar,
is standing in the center of her office, not a hair out of place. The only sign
of the event Eliza told me about is the color, high in her cheeks.

               “Excuse
me, Director, but Eliza said you needed my help. What’s going on?” I cut in,
and she frowns, turning to face me.

               “Where
the hell have you been, Jenkins? We’ve been in crisis mode all morning, and you’re
fifteen minutes late.” Director Salazar snaps through gritted teeth.

               “Traffic
was a nightmare, I’m sorry,” I apologize, resisting the urge to snap back at
her.

               “Never
mind that,” She replies, tucking a stray strand of dark hair back into her
severe bun. “A Titan escaped its cage and we had to subdue it.” She chuckles
bitterly, her gray eyes shining like chips of polar ice. “Y’know, our job is to
make sure the public knows that stories don’t come to life, that they’re not
real. It’s not really looking good for us.”

               I
blink, taken aback by her words. I’d expect this kind of talk from any other
government employee, but never The Director. She is frowning, and her hands are
trembling; I don’t dare try to comfort her.

               She
takes a deep breath and looks up at me. “We have a serious situation, Jenkins.”

               “How
serious are we talking, ma’am, with all due respect.”

               She frowns,
her already grim mouth thinning even more.

               “First,
I need your word, on your job, that what I tell you will not leave this
building.”

               “Of
course.” I know better than to even attempt to bring my work home with me; I
don’t want my family wrapped in these bright, unbelievable threads.

               “The
princesses have gotten out of their cages. Snow White and Rose Red, Shahrazad, Rapunzel,
Cinderella, they’re spreading magic the longer that they are free. We must
return them, or the world will be out of balance, and our organization will be
compromised. Will you help me?”

               **

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!

In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan Review

Title: In Other Lands

Author: Sarah Rees Brennan

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.

               Sarah Rees Brennan has been one of my favorite authors for a long time; I read her first series, The Demon’s Lexicon, when my husband and I first moved, and I’ve been obsessed with her ever since. When I saw In Other Lands sitting on the shelf of a library I go to, I snatched it up. It had been sitting in my library stack, and since I couldn’t renew it anymore, I began it as soon as I was finished with The Best Lies. I wasn’t quite sure to expect, because this book was different than any other in Brennan’s body of work. But regardless, I adored In Other Lands. Full of wit, humor, romance, a fair amount of blood, gore, and death, this book kind of reminded me of the Harry Potter series, with more of a focus on the war aspect of things. Despite that, I was immediately entertained by this hilarious, sarcastic book about an altogether different kind of chosen one. This made me realize just how much I missed Sarah Rees Brennan, and exactly why she’s one of my favorite authors.

               The Borderlands are a magical place, in which modern technology does not properly function, things such as pens are practically unheard of, and I haven’t even mentioned all of the fantastic people and creatures. Elves, harpies, and mermaids are all real, and a war as old as time has been raging. And then there’s Elliot. He’s an obnoxious, nerdy thirteen year old teenager. His best friend is a beautiful elf warrior named Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of Battle, and his other friend, Luke, is perfect in every way. Though Luke is more of a frenemy than a true friend. In Other Lands follows the redheaded, snotty teen through four years, as he ages. This is fantasy at its lowest, and I mean that in the best possible way. I was laughing throughout the novel; one of my favorite things about Brennan is her humor. Elliot was a hard character to root for at times, but I liked him and his character development throughout the novel. I also adored Serene, Luke, Dale, and the rest of the characters that populated the Borderlands. One of my favorite things about SRB is that the worlds she builds are always original, and I loved her take on a Harry Potter style tale. The bottom line: Fizzy, funny, romantic and original, I loved In Other Lands! One of my favorites of Brennan’s work! Next on deck: The War Outside by Monica Hesse!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/08/in-other-lands-by-sarah-rees-brennan.html