Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin is a fantastical and dark fantasy about the power struggles between the races on the world and their creators. Yeine Darr is pulled into politics she was never interested in and never thought she would have to be a part of and in doing so is able to change the lives of everyone in that world. She must face prejudices as well as her lack of knowledge about the politics and the world she's been thrust into suddenly. She consults with gods and goddesses and those around her who seek to destroy her. And in the end, Yeine will be the key to everything.

This book was so fascinating! It's very intricate with lots of twists and hidden things in it. the characters are all very diverse and so interesting to get to know. This book has a good mix of the goodness and darkness that can be found in people, and how either side can be exploited. Yeine has to confront many things when she arrives, as she learns things about her mother and herself that she isn't really excited to know. And she has to choose something very difficult in the end, she actually has to choose a few difficult things. Just a note: This is an adult fantasy book, not YA, and as such there are some adult themes in this.

This book is a little bit dark, with violence and slavery being themes in this book. There are indications of sexual activity but it's not expressed in detail which I appreciated. The things I hate the most are when authors decide that those kinds of scenes need to be expressed in intimate detail. I really enjoyed this book, although I had to go back and reread things a few times, just because there are so many details that I wanted to make sure I had straight and didn't miss. I read the ending like three times after I finished the book.

I give this book a 9 out of 10 and recommend it for readers of Adult Fantasy.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf

Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf is an intriguing fantasy story about a woman who is given a second chance at life but she has to reconcile who she is and who she wants to be as she does the job she's been told to do. "Zera is a Heartless - the immortal, unaging soldier of a witch." This is the first line in the description of the book. Now as a Heartless she doesn't have her heart in her body, it's kept in a cage by the witch who keeps her. She has a rather unpleasant diet and rather hates her life and the witch who keeps her heart isn't too bad as witches go. However, Zera is given the task to go to the City and get the heart of the crown prince so as to prevent a war with the witches. She learns a great deal not only about the world but about herself as she tries to fit into the world of the prince.

I absolutely loved this book. The characters are so vivid, and the plotline is amazing. I think this is such a great representation of not judging people or situations by the surface, but the need to get all the information you can because not everything is what it seems. Zera finds that everyone is hiding something, she isn't the only one with a secret. Astonishing revelations pop up around every corner and Zera has to come to terms with who and what she is and that does take her awhile. Overall an excellent story.

So this story is a bit violent. I mean the diet of Heartless is not pleasant and if you're squeamish you may not want to read this book. It's a bit dark, but overall the message is really good. The other bad thing is that the sequel isn't out until June 2019(as of this post at least)!!!!! And there's a cliffhanger at the end of the book!! If you don't want to worry about waiting then don't read this until next summer so you can just read the sequel right after this one.

I give this book a 9 out of 10 and recommend it for readers of darker YA fantasy.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay is about the daughter of Sleeping Beauty and how she has to find her way and save her people from the ogres. Princess Aurora is given her fairy gifts by her mother, Sleeping Beauty, before her mother dies and Aurora escapes with her brother Jor. However, not all the gifts that Aurora is given help her. She cannot kiss a man without him losing his will and doing her every command. This fact haunts her and she is determined not to love anyone. When Jor is captured Aurora sets out to rescue him, finding a prince trying to escape his fate along the way. Prince Niklaas want to escape the fate of his older brothers and so is trying to find a princess to the way. Under the assumption that Aurora is Jor he says he will help her in her rescue if 'Jor' will introduce Niklaas to his sister. They have quite a lot of adventure and encounter betrayal and friends along the way.

Aurora is such a strong character but she also has anger and fear. She has to learn how to overcome it without falling into the hands of the ogres and falling into their plan. The ogres basically want to destroy every life. There is some time where the reader gets things from the point of view of the ogre queen, and she is less and less sure that it is the right thing the closer they get to their goal. In the end, Aurora and Niklaas make it to the castle and Aurora is the key to the ritual. She has to make difficult decision after difficult decision, but of course she prevails because she chooses not to hold onto her anger.

I think this book is amazing. It is a bit violent and dark so again this might not be something some people like. The ogres eat people's souls and there is talk of suicide and torture. If people are sensitive to these things then this is a book to avoid.

I give this book an 8 out of 10 and recommend for readers of YA Fantasy and fairy tales.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay is an intriguing retelling of Beauty and the Beast. In this book a blind princess lives her life as full as she can until the time when she will be required to get married and give herself to her country. She is what's known as a 'Smooth Skin' while the original inhabitants are known as 'Monstrous' because of the odd traits they have which help them live in the harsh climate of the world. A Monstrous named Gem infiltrates the city along with a few other in the hopes of stealing whatever lets the Smooth Skins live so well. However, Gem is caught and Princess Isra keeps him in the hopes that he will be able to give her a cure for those Smooth Skins who have Monstrous traits. However, as Isra's vision, which she lost as a child, begins to return she must also open her heart and mind as she learns not only about herbs from Gem but that the Monstrous aren't monstrous at all. She learns that she must defy tradition to truly save her people from destruction.

This retelling is an AMAZING retelling of Beauty and the Beast, albeit a little dark. There is a curse involved, and there is death. Many things are kept from Isra as she is kept in her tower and taught what the people in power want her to know. Each night Isra escapes and goes to the city's roses which provide protection and ensure the crops thrive. However, whenever Isra allows herself to be pricked by their thorns so they can drink some of her blood they let her see various parts of the city or the area around her. She is engaged in this when Gem and some of his family invade in the hope of stealing whatever makes the city prosper. Gem and the others are captured, but Gem is kept as a hostage. He and Isra begin to work together and learn about each other's misconceptions as well as more about themselves. Gem doesn't know about the sacrifice that Isra will end up having to make, and she avoids telling him the closer they get. In the end, Isra decides to fight her fate, remembering things of her childhood and finding clues to indicate that maybe the current traditions are not what will save her people from the harsh climate of the world their ancestors came to so long ago. She fights for herself, for the love she has for her people, and for her love for Gem.

This book is so good. It challenges conceptions, although it is a little dark. There is death and blood sacrifice in this book so if anyone has an issue with those I wouldn't recommend reading this book.

I give this book a 9 out of 10 and recommend for readers of YA Fantasy and retellings of fairy tales.

P.S. I'm so sorry I'm late again ;-; I was in a wedding yesterday and have been so busy and tired that I forgot about this >.< But I'm going to work on stuff today so hopefully next week will be good! Please let me know if you'd rather this posted on a different day or time, I like to try and write a bunch at one time and schedule them so it's not a big deal to me :)

Monday, December 3, 2018

Winter Rose by Patricia A. McKillip

Winter Rose by Patricia A. McKillip is a slow-moving but entrancing fantasy about a man who is cursed the people affected by it. The story is told from the perspective of a girl named Rois whose mother died when she was young so despite efforts from her sister and father she runs wild in the woods. She isn't a willful or disobedient person per se, she just feels the need to go outside or explore and she does. This is how Rois' family becomes entangled with Corbet Lynn and how his life is consumed by the supposed curse that no one can seem to remember.

This book was enthralling. It is a bit of a slow read because you need to take in all the details, but I couldn't put it down. I completely lost track of time and actually took a bit longer on lunch than I should have, oops! Rois is such a wonderful character, I love how she is described and how everything is through her point of view. In this book, a young man comes back to the home where his father was cursed but no one can remember the actual curse and there are plenty of strange things around his house and the woods. Rois has to figure what's going on to save Corbet, her sister, and even herself. The imagery is stunning without being too overwhelming and the story is incredibly intriguing. Apparently, it's based on a Tam Lin fairy tale, although I've never read the original myself.

I think the only thing about this book is it is a bit of a slow read. I usually like to dive into my books and speed along, whereas this is more of a pleasant slow stroll. That being said, as I mentioned before I couldn't stop reading it so it obviously wasn't enough to deter my enjoyment.

I give this book a 9 out of 10 stars and recommend it for YA readers of fantasy. Note: It can be a little abstract, so while there isn't any violence or sexual parts in this book I do recommend it for older ages.

P.S. I am so sorry I didn't get this out yesterday! I honestly thought I had one more week and I checked my blog and nothing posted yesterday! I'll make sure to get a few reviews ready to post so it doesn't happen again. Thanks for reading!