Friday, August 31, 2018

Review: The Blood Curse (Spell Weaver #3) by Annette Marie

Title: The Blood Curse
Series: Spell Weaver #3
Author: Annette Marie
Publisher: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.
Published: March 30, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Source: Ebook, Audiobook

When Clio conned her way into the Underworld to steal magic from the notorious spell weavers of Chrysalis, she thought she was helping protect her homeland.

Instead, she exposed Lyre's most calamitous spell, and now her half-brother Bastian plans to wield it against the powerful Ra family. Clio and Lyre have to stop him before he can unleash it, but Bastian isn't their only adversary.

Chrysalis wants the shadow weave—and they want Lyre dead. And this time, they aren’t trusting mercenaries to get the job done. Lyre's father is coming for him, and no magic can defeat the most lethal weaver in the three realms.

From the scorching deserts of Ra to the darkest corner of the Underworld, Clio and Lyre must chase the shadow weave as both the hunters and the hunted. To make it out alive, they'll need magic more devious and dangerous than either of them alone possesses, and if they fail, the realms will pay the price.


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MY REVIEW
This review MAY contain SPOILERS. Read at your own risk.

Annette  Marie is seriously spoiling me. I don't know what I would do if she wasn't an indie author that can put out more than one book each year! If I had to wait a year for each book she writes I die from the anticipation alone. Luckily, Marie loves to spoil us with her breathtaking worlds and characters that will shake your heart up.

I am so smitten and completely in love with this world that Annette Marie has created. This world is so elaborate. I love that there are different realms with contrasting landscapes, traditions, and people. I love all of the different castes of daemons and how Marie has tailored each caste's attributes, both physical and otherwise, with such grace and originality. Some of the castes are based on things that we would recognize from urban fantasy literature, and yet she puts her own unique spin on them. The nerd inside of me marvels at the craftsmanship. The world itself is no different. Marie takes the attributes from each caste and works them into the landscape and way of life for these daemons. It's so very clever and beautiful the way that she flawlessly weaves this world together.

I said this in my review for The Shadow Weave, and I am going to say it again because it is just too perfect and so fitting to pass up. Annette Marie is as much a master weaver as Lyre is. Marie so expertly arranged this plot that it boggles my mind. It is so flawless and full of everything that a compelling story needs. I can't imagine the amount of work that went into creating this masterpiece. Not only did she create a fully enclosed plot for this series, but she also connects things and characters from this series into the plot and characters for her Steel & Stone series. There aren't many authors that can create such an inventive world and plot of this magnitude, cross it over many different book series and do it well. Beyond well in this case! I am still blown away.

These characters have seriously embedded themselves into my fibers. They have lodged inside my heart and I will never let them go. I am so anxiously awaiting the Blackfire series that Marie has in the works that will bring these characters and the ones from the Steel & Stone series together. When she announced it I thought that I would die from excitement! That is a testament to how Marie develops her characters. Each character not only has their own arc and their own development, but the relationships and chemistry between the characters really cement something special. These characters will stay with you. 

Overall, I just have to implore you to read this series! Annette Marie will blow your mind with her exquisite world-building, insanely clever plots, and characters that will melt your heart. I believe that I have said it before in other reviews of her books, but I am an Annette Marie fan for life! She is an auto-buy author for me. The quality of her writing speaks for itself. She really is a shining star in the thick night sky of authors. You won't want to miss out on experiencing her worlds for yourself!



THIS BOOK CONTRIBUTED TO THESE 2018 READING CHALLENGES
- A Series A Month Challenge
- Audiobook Challenge
- New Release Challenge
- Let's Read Indie Challenge
- Reading Bingo
Check out my 2018 Challenge Page to see my progress!


This series is a prequel series to Annette Marie's Steel & Stone series. I love reading extended universes with multiple books series. Another that comes to mind is Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunter series. Do you enjoy reading multiple series in an extended universe? If so, what are some of your favorites? I am always looking for more! If not, do you prefer standalones?

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Review: The Shadow Weave (Spell Weaver #2) by Annette Marie

Title: The Shadow Weave
Series: Spell Weaver #2
Author: Annette Marie
Publisher: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.
Published: January 12, 2018
Pages: 320
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Source: Ebook, Audiobook

Clio might be a nymph living in exile among humans. And she might possess the rare ability to mimic any magic she sees. And she might have just seriously ticked off the most powerful family of spell weavers in the Underworld.

But she is not in love with an incubus.

Lyre is the rebellious black sheep of said weaver family, and he's the only reason she survived her recent Underworld "vacation." He's also the sexiest thing she's ever seen. Together, they have to track down a catastrophically dangerous magic—a magic he created, she sort of stole, and they both lost—before his family gets their hands on it. And that means fighting alongside him in a desperate attempt to avert complete disaster.

But she is definitely not in love with him. At least, she's pretty sure she's not.

Mostly sure. Maybe sure? …Crap. 


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MY REVIEW
This review MAY contain SPOILERS. Read at your own risk.

This book lived up to every expectation that I had after finishing The Night Realm. Every part of me wants to shout from the rooftops how very much I adore this author! She is such a gifted storyteller! 

The world building is expanded upon when we get to experience another part of the Overworld. I really love all of the distinctions that Marie makes when describing the different realms. Each caste has its own architecture, landscape, and people and they all described so vividly. You can actually feel yourself walking in the main character's shoes and experiencing the world right along with them. 

The plot is so epically put together that it almost boggles my mind. There is usually room for nitpicking pieces of the plot no matter whom the author it, but that is not the case with Marie's books. This one is no exception. She weaves the plot of this story like Lyre weaves his spells. Lyre is a master weaver, and so is Annette Marie. I love how seamless the plot is while being spellbinding at the same time. The reader just wants more, insatiably so. 

This book is well rounded with the brilliant world-building, immaculate and compelling plot, and characters that you just want to immerse all of your senses with. Marie makes it so effortless to adore these characters. They feel so real. They have flaws and problems like everyone else, and at the same time the good parts about them shine through. The relationships that are forged are strong, a product of impeccable writing. The chemistry between the characters is tantalizing. It gives you all of the feels. So many that you are drowning in them. And on the plus side, those that have already read Marie's Steel & Stone series already have a foundation for a few of these characters so the writing in this series brings them even more to life. 

Overall, this series will captivate you! Annette Marie is a must read author. She is such a writing queen! I can't recommend this series enough! If you are an urban fantasy fan that appreciates strong world-building, complex characters, and a riveting plot then read this. Read all of Marie's books! They will sweep you off of your feet and you will beg for more.



THIS BOOK CONTRIBUTED TO THESE 2018 READING CHALLENGES
- A Series A Month Challenge
- Audiobook Challenge
- New Release Challenge
- Let's Read Indie Challenge
Check out my 2018 Challenge Page to see my progress!


Sometimes books can suffer from a middle book slump, but this book did not fall into that category. What are some of your favorite middle books that knocked it out of the water?

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Review: The Night Realm (Spell Weaver #1) by Annette Marie

Title: The Night Realm
Series: Spell Weaver #1
Author: Annette Marie
Publisher: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.
Published: October 20, 2017
Pages: 362
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Source: Ebook, Audiobook


As a nymph living in exile among humans, Clio has picked up all sorts of unique survival skills. But stealing from the most dangerous spell weavers in the Underworld? Not so much. 

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what she has to do to earn a ticket back home.

Conning her way into the Underworld may have gone pretty well, but now she’s got a new problem. His name is Lyre and he’s a sinfully alluring incubus, a dangerously skilled spell weaver, and the only thing standing between her and stealing some damn magic.

Maneuvering around him without blowing her cover shouldn’t be that difficult, but chaos has been dogging her every step, monsters hide behind beautiful faces, and Lyre keeps saving her neck even though they’re enemies. Kind of enemies? Either way, her mission is getting complicated fast, and in the Underworld, even one mistake could prove fatal.


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MY REVIEW
This review MAY contain SPOILERS. Read at your own risk.

All of the gods and stars in the sky shine down on me! This book is such a masterpiece! This book has rattled my heart. (But each and every Annette Marie book that I've read has shaken up my heart. And for the better.) Annette Marie's Steel & Stone series is one of my all-time favorite series! And her Red Winter series was just as heart-shattering. Every single thing that this glorious woman writes is magical. She has truly been blessed by the gods and we the readers get to reap the glory with all of her memorable stories. -sigh-

I really loved the world building. It is so complex and absorbing. Having already read 
Annette Marie's Steel & Stone series, I was already familiar with this world. I love that this new series set in the same universe built upon what I already knew. It was a deeper look into the underworld. We get a glimpse of Crysalis inside of Asphodel, where this book primarily takes place, in the Steel & Stone series, but we delve in so much deeper in this book. I also love that while this series is part of a greater universe, it was also self-contained so that a new reader that has not read the Steel & Stone series could easily pick up the feel for this world. 

The plot was completely flawless and expertly crafted. The flow of the story was so fluid. The story is absolutely riveting. I read this in one sitting because I simply could not put the book down. I had to know what was going to happen next. I literally could not stop reading. I have never been so grateful to miss a full night's sleep. This book is well worth the sleep-deprived headache that I received as a result. The intricacy of the plot is really what made me keep reading. The plot twists were surprising and the foreshadowing was layered into the story incomparably. The author has a genuine talent for storytelling. 

The characters in this book are so distinctive and I was easily drawn to them. Lyre was a character in the Steel & Stone series and it was an absolute delight to get to know him more intimately in this series. After reading the Steel & Stone series I was so curious about Lyre's past and this book clears all of that up and really expands upon his character for the universe as a whole. I adored Lyre in the Steel & Stone series and reading this book has only strengthened that feeling. He is immediately likable and evokes so much emotion in the reader. Clio is a new character and she is just as delightful. She is so innocent, thoughtful, and it is completely easy to fall in love with her. This book has set up what I can only expect to be an incredible character arc. I can't wait to see how her character grows throughout the rest of the series. 

This book contains the best kind of romance. It is a slow burn romance and the characters come together naturally. They get to know each other and they share a common interest/talent. They also come together because of circumstance and fate. It was really beautiful because they both realize that the other is the only person in each of their lives that has ever really done something for them without wanting anything in return. There is not much in terms of physical romantic scenes, but the scenes where they are together have so much romantic tension that it will make you swoon. I cannot wait for more!

Overall, it was such a pleasure to revisit the Steel & Stone universe. I have such a hankering to reread the Steel & Stone series. It is literally gnawing in my stomach with want to reread the series. I can only assume that this feeling is akin to being under the influence of an incubus's aphrodisia. I will forever be a fan of Annette Marie! I will read everything that she writes. If you have not had the pleasure of reading any of her books then I highly recommend doing so because you are definitely missing out. I am going to promptly start the second book of this series. After I finish this series I am definitely going to reread the Steel & Stone series. I just want to live inside this magically delicious world. 



THIS BOOK CONTRIBUTED TO THESE 2018 READING CHALLENGES
- Beat the Backlist Challenge
- Audiobook Challenge
- A Series A Month Challenge
- Try Something New Challenge
- Mount TBR Challenge
- Let's Read Indie Challenge
- Reading Bingo
Check out my 2018 Challenge Page to see my progress!


This book series is a part of one of my all-time favorite fantasy worlds. What are some of your favorite fantasy worlds to get lost in?

Monday, August 27, 2018

Review: The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms #4) by Cinda Williams Chima

Title: The Crimson Crown
Series: Seven Realms #4
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Published: October 23, 2012
Pages: 598
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Source: Ebook, Audiobook

A thousand years ago, two young lovers were betrayed-Alger Waterlow to his death, and Hanalea, Queen of the Fells, to a life without love. 

Now, once again, the Queendom of the Fells seems likely to shatter apart. For young queen Raisa ana'Marianna, maintaining peace even within her own castle walls is nearly impossible; tension between wizards and Clan has reached a fevered pitch. With surrounding kingdoms seeking to prey on the Fells' inner turmoil, Raisa's best hope is to unite her people against a common enemy. But that enemy might be the person with whom she's falling in love.

Through a complicated web of lies and unholy alliances, former streetlord Han Alister has become a member of the Wizard Council of the Fells. Navigating the cut-throat world of blue blood politics has never been more dangerous, and Han seems to inspire hostility among Clan and wizards alike. His only ally is the queen, and despite the perils involved, Han finds it impossible to ignore his feelings for Raisa. Before long, Han finds himself in possession of a secret believed to be lost to history, a discovery powerful enough to unite the people of the Fells. But will the secret die with him before he can use it? 

A simple, devastating truth concealed by a thousand-year-old lie at last comes to light in this stunning conclusion to the Seven Realms series. 


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MY REVIEW
This review MAY contain SPOILERS. Read at your own risk.

Sweet Hanalea, the ending to this series was so glorious! I loved every moment of it! I have been sitting here trying to put into words what I am feeling right now after finishing this book and the word that comes to mind is satisfied. 

One of the things that really drives this story is the expertly devised plot. I couldn't help but be completely invested in this story. I lost more than a few hours of sleep because I simply could not put this book down. Those are the types of stories that stay with you and this one certainly will. As a matter of fact, I have already purchased the first book in the follow-up series! I loved the author's use of foreshadowing. Just the right amount of information was given so that the reader knew them to be of importance, but not enough to give anything away too soon. The twists and turns in the plot were always surprising and satisfying. The pacing of the story was perfect. I was always left wanting more. The story was filled with action, political intrigue, romance, betrayal, and magic!

The world building is just as vibrant in this installment of the series. The author really has a way of pulling the reader into the story to experience the world. I felt completely immersed in this world the whole time. I really liked the addition and explanation of some the history of their world with regard to the Demon King and Hanalea. 

If you have ever wondered if it is possible to love characters to the point of exhaustion then I can tell you now that it is. My love for these characters grew with each and every book of this series. The character growth is exceptional! I loved rooting for the underdog. I loved that the character growth made me question good and evil with an antagonist's character journey. I loved all of the friendships and how many of the characters became family to each other. There was an underlying message of right and wrong, prejudice and understanding, and how a person's perspective and upbringing can play an important part in those things. Those that we thought were evil are not always bad, and those that we love and admire can have darkness in them. These characters really made a home in my heart.

The romance was all I could have asked for! I adore forbidden romances and this one does not disappoint! I loved how a good portion of the plot was based on Han trying to do everything in his power to marry Raisa. He vowed to basically change their world and how it is governed just so he could be with her. It was quite romantic. 

Overall, this book has everything you want in a fantasy! An elaborate world, compelling plot, characters that drive the story, and a thrilling romance. I could not have asked for a more perfect ending. I recommend this to all young adult fantasy fans! If you enjoyed the Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes then you will love this as well! I can't wait to begin reading the spin-off series, Shattered Realms!



THIS BOOK CONTRIBUTED TO THESE 2018 READING CHALLENGES
- Beat the Backlist Challenge
- Audiobook Challenge
- A Series A Month Challenge
Check out my 2018 Challenge Page to see my progress!


I really love book series and multiple book series within a single universe or world. One of my favorite examples of this is the Shadowhunters bok series by Cassandra Clare. I can devour those books and I love all of the different adventures and characters within the shared world. The Seven Realms series has a spin-off series set in the same world called Shattered Realms that I am dying to read next! Do you enjoy multiple series books that are part of a greater universe? If so, what are your favorites?

Review: The Rebels of Gold (Loom Saga #3) by Elise Kova

Title: The Rebels of Gold
Series: Loom Saga #3
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Keymaster Press
Published: December 5, 2017
Pages: 429
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Steampunk
Source: Ebook, Audiobook

A new rebellion rises from the still-smoldering remnants of the five guilds of Loom to stand against Dragon tyranny. Meanwhile, on Nova, those same Dragons fight amongst themselves, as age-old power struggles shift the political landscape in fateful and unexpected ways. Unlikely leaders vie for the opportunity to shape a new world order from the perfect clockwork designs of one temperamental engineer.
This is the final installment of USA Today bestselling author Elise Kova's Loom Saga, THE REBELS OF GOLD will reveal the fate of Loom's brilliantly contrasting world and its beloved inhabitants.


MY REVIEW
This review MAY contain SPOILERS. Read at your own risk.

This book is hard for me to review. I enjoyed reading this, but I was not as invested in the story as I was during the first two books of the series. I am not sure what put a damper on my fulfillment this time around. I really can't fathom it because the book was overall satisfying and I cannot pinpoint any specific thing that I necessarily disliked. 

The world building in this book was equally as vivid as the previous two books. Kova really can paint the most beautiful and realistic picture with mere words. It is one of the things that really drew me into this series. The world is so imaginative. There are different layers to the world building. I love the caste system and the two different races. The idea of chimeras and how they are made is compelling and original. I really love the whole idea behind the premise of this world and this story.

The plot was engaging enough, but it felt mildly dull around the three-quarter mark. Things picked back up and the ending was solid. 

I felt like this book focused too much on Florence. Her character growth was astronomical and I loved every moment of it, but I felt like Arianna and Cvareh didn't get enough character growth. This may the reason why I wasn't as thrilled with this book as I thought I would be. Cvareh had some character growth, though not as much as I would have liked. Arianna's character felt extremely dulled to me in this book where she was more vibrant in the previous books. This may have been by design and not by fault, but I would have liked to see more from Arianna in the end. 

The romance wasn't as intense as it was in the previous book. It felt very mild. I did love Florence's character growth in terms of romance. It was wonderful. Arianna and Cvareh's romance wasn't as riveting. 

Overall, this book had a wonderful plot, exciting world, and likable characters. I wouldn't say that I was disappointed because I enjoyed the story, but I just think that I was expecting more. I would very much recommend this series to fantasy lovers. This world is incredibly unique and worth reading about. Elise Kova is one of my favorite authors and I am eager to read more of her work. 



THIS BOOK CONTRIBUTED TO THESE 2018 READING CHALLENGES
- Beat the Backlist Challenge
- Audiobook Challenge
- Finishing the Series Challenge
Check out my 2018 Challenge Page to see my progress!


Elise Kova is one of my favorite hybrid authors! I took a chance on her Air Awakens series because of the gorgeous cover and fell in love with the entire series. What are some books that hooked you because of the cover?

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Review: The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron King
Series: The Iron Fey #1
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: January 19, 2010
Pages: 363
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Source:  Audiobook


Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.





MY REVIEW
This review MAY contain SPOILERS. Read at your own risk.

I enjoyed this book a lot, but it didn't really wow me. I find books like this so hard to review. On one hand, I liked the book. On the other hand, I didn't love it. 

The one great thing that this book has going for it is the stellar concept behind the story. Kagawa has taken the common knowledge that people know about fae (or fey, faeries, etc.) and expanded on it in a unique way. I liked how she pulled from things that most people can relate with, such as characters from Shakespeare, and brought them to life in her own way. The concept alone had such potential to be a five-star read. Unfortunately, some of the execution dampened my enthusiasm. 

The flow of the story was very smooth and fast-paced. I think that this is where some of the issues that I have with the book stem from. While there was plenty of minor conflicts for the main character, the large conflict with the boss at the end of the book was over and done with in what felt like seconds. The book had been building up to this big showdown with the main villain, but it just felt like it petered out at the end. I feel that the book could have been lengthened to include more conflict. 

This brings me to the romance. I also feel like the book could have been lengthened to include more emotional interaction with the love interests in the book. The romance felt rushed and almost as if it came out of nowhere. It didn't feel believable. The main character was threatened by her love interest and they were guarded around each other. Then all of a sudden he is kissing her without really showing him soften to her at all. It just didn't work for me. Which is saddening because I was rooting for the romance in the background. Another thing in this book that really had so much more potential. In the end, I liked the romance, but it just wasn't convincing enough for my tastes. There was also the beginnings of a love triangle, though minuscule. I guess we will see if a love triangle blossoms forth in the next book?

The character development in the book didn't really have anything lacking, but I didn't feel like the characters touched my heart as much as I would have liked. I was definitely interested in the characters, but I felt like they could have been portrayed more intimately. Interest and adoration are completely different. While I did not dislike the characters, I also wasn't enamored by them. 

I felt that the world building was also another high point in this book. While part of this book occurs in the real world, a good portion of the book occurs in Fairyland. I liked Kagawa's portrayal of the Nevernever (a.k.a. Fairyland). Her portrayal is pretty spot on with how I think Fairyland would be from folklore. Mystical and sinister. Both sweet and sour. I liked seeing all the bargains made since that is a key element to the fae's trickery in folklore. I liked the focus on their world existing because of mortals belief in them and them being remembered. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I will continue the series. While the book kept me entertained, I felt there could have been some minor improvements to a few aspects of the story. I would recommend this to anyone that enjoys books about the fae. 



THIS BOOK CONTRIBUTED TO THESE 2018 READING CHALLENGES
- Beat the Backlist Challenge
- Try Something New Challenge
- Audiobook Challenge
Check out my 2018 Challenge Page to see my progress!


I have been in a very fae-type reading mood this year, but I haven't found enough books to satiate my lust for them. Do you have any recommendations for books about the fae?

Monday, August 20, 2018

Review: The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms #3) by Cinda Williams Chima

Title: The Gray Wolf Throne
Series: Seven Realms #3
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Published: August 30, 2011
Pages: 517
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Ebook, Audiobook


Han Alister thought he had already lost everyone he loved. But when he finds his friend Rebecca Morley near death in the Spirit Mountains, Han knows that nothing matters more than saving her. The costs of his efforts are steep, but nothing can prepare him for what he soon discovers: the beautiful, mysterious girl he knew as Rebecca is none other than Raisa ana’Marianna, heir to the Queendom of the Fells. Han is hurt and betrayed. He knows he has no future with a blueblood. And, as far as he’s concerned, the princess’s family as good as killed his own mother and sister. But if Han is to fulfill his end of an old bargain, he must do everything in his power to see Raisa crowned queen. 

Meanwhile, some people will stop at nothing to prevent Raisa from ascending. With each attempt on her life, she wonders how long it will be before her enemies succeed. Her heart tells her that the thief-turned-wizard Han Alister can be trusted. She wants to believe it—he’s saved her life more than once. But with danger coming at her from every direction, Raisa can only rely on her wits and her iron-hard will to survive—and even that might not be enough.

The Gray Wolf Throne is an epic tale of fierce loyalty, unbearable sacrifice, and the heartless hand of fate.





MY REVIEW
This review MAY contain SPOILERS. Read at your own risk.

My love for this series explodes further with each book that I read. I loved the first two books, but this book far exceeds the illustriousness of the first two books. I am so completely in love with this series. 

The world building is as strong as ever. Everything from the first two books stands firm in this book and there are small added tidbits to expand upon those things. It really does feel like a drop in the water that ripples out. I am so impressed with it.

The characters get so much more lovable in this book! OMG, I cannot express my love of the character growth for each of the main characters. Heck, even the not-so-main characters. The main characters have come such a long way from who they were at the start of the first book of this series. They are almost different people. I say almost because the core of what has always made them who they are are still there. They have just matured in different ways. They have gone through magical transformations. The writing of these characters is exceptional. I mean, for example, I never thought that I would feel sorry for one of the antagonists. The relationships that are forming are also a delight to experience. I love the friendships that are forming. 

The plot is so unbelievably good! I love how everything has built up from the previous books. There is so much tension and so much champing at the bit for what will happen next. I like how the plot is full of mystery and that there are pieces in place for things that we don't know about yet. I also like that the plot flows very seamlessly. There are no choppy plot points that seem out of place. 

I adore the romances in the book. Especially the romance between the main characters. I like that the main romance was a slow-building romance that is still powerful. The way that the two main characters came together was very natural and wasn't forced at all. It is a perfect slow burn romance that burns intensely. I can't wait to see how it plays out in the last book!

Overall, this series is definitely one that I recommend! This series is perfect for fans of the Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes or the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. It is high fantasy with a deep-rooted plot, memorable characters, and a vibrant magical world. You'll definitely want to put this series on your to-be-read list!



THIS BOOK CONTRIBUTED TO THESE 2018 READING CHALLENGES
- A Series A Month Challenge
- Beat the Backlist Challenge
- Audiobook Challenge
Check out my 2018 Challenge Page to see my progress!


This book is very diverse for young adult fantasy. What are some of your favorite diverse fantasy books?

Review: The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1) by Marie Lu

Title: The Young Elites
Series: The Young Elites #1
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Published: October 7, 2014
Pages: 355
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Ebook


I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all. 

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen. 

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.





MY REVIEW
This review MAY contain SPOILERS. Read at your own risk.

I think that I am actually in shock right now. My chest feels funny. Okay, hear me out. My review is going to sound like I didn't enjoy this book, but let's put this out there right now...I did! One of the hardest things about being a serial series reader is that when I start a completed series the hype has been going on about the series for some time. It leaches into my bones and I sometimes can't escape from it or separate myself from it. And that is the bottom line with me, my feelings, and this book. I just had higher expectations going into it than I would have liked. Especially since Marie Lu is one of my favorite authors. 

I thought that the world building in this was presented very well. I loved all of the little details about the world that sprang up as the story progressed. I didn't feel overwhelmed with backstory or world-specific details. They were all introduced at perfect times. The world-specific details were very realistic and vibrant. I could feel myself in the characters' shoes and feel the world around me as I was reading. I did think that some of the world-specific details could have been elaborated on though. There were some things that weren't perfectly clear while reading. I thought that the powers could have been explained more. I actually had to go back and read the section of the book that detailed how they work because it was so short and underdeveloped that I missed it the first time. And even then, it was still not super clear. 

The story's plot was not lacking at all. I rather enjoyed the storyline. There were unexpected plot twists and plenty of suspense. I loved the darkness of the story. The story itself is not overly original - a sickness that sweeps the land and leaves those left behind with powers - but combined with the world building it became something special. 

What I liked best about the characters was the diversity and the fact that they were not flawless like most characters tend to be. A lot of the characters had physical marks, which is not so common a thing since no one wants their pretty character babies to be anything but perfect. More than that though, the characters had internal flaws which I think makes them stand out as more realistic characters. Apart from those things, I was a little disappointed in the characters. Or perhaps it was my reception of the characters. I can't really put my finger on what exactly made me feel so distant from them, but I didn't connect with the characters at all in this book. None of them. Which is sad because they had so much potential to me. Potential to be something great and overpowering. Instead, I did not like their voices at all. 

The romance did not do it for me in this. It was not very convincing. I liked that it did not dominate the story, but other than that I did not care for it. I felt the characters were very one-dimensional so I was bound to dislike the romance between them. 

Overall, this book didn't have the pop that I am used to from Marie Lu. I wasn't really feeling it. I admit that this story has plenty of potential, but as is feels mediocre. I enjoyed the world, but I could not feel the characters at all. I enjoyed parts of this book, and others I felt were lacking. I will probably continue the series at some point, but I'm in no rush. The rest of the books will probably be sitting on my shelf until I am in a TBR clearing mood. 



THIS BOOK CONTRIBUTED TO THESE 2018 READING CHALLENGES
- Try Something New Challenge
- Beat the Backlist Challenge
Check out my 2018 Challenge Page to see my progress!


Which books have you read that have suffered from too much hype? 
 

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