Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

BLOG“It was always wise to be polite to books, whether or not they could hear you.”

Let it be known that I was very polite to this novel, even though I did not end up enjoying it very much.

Elisabeth has been raised in one of the Great Libraries, which houses numerous volumes and tools of sorcery, including grimoires that are are kept in locks and chains. Growing up as a foundling her dream in life was to become the warden of the Great Library, who is tasked to protect the kingdom from this sinister power. When a dangerous grimoire is released, Elisabeth’s actions leave her in a vulnerable position, implicating her in a terrible crime. With no one else to turn to she forms an unlikely partnership with a sorcerer, Nathaniel Thorne and his servant, Silas (a demon, of course). As unexplainable attacks continue and a sinister plot emerges, Elisabeth begins to see the world in a new light and discovers her own role within it all.”

“Ink and parchment flowed through her veins. The magic of the Great Libraries lived in her very bones. They were a part of her, and she a part of them.”

I loved the beginning of this novel, and for the first one-hundred and fifty to two-hundred pages, I was firmly on board. You had me at libraries and magic. The way we are introduced to the Great Library is well-done and the world is an interesting one. Once the story moves away from the library setting, however, at a certain point it starts to falter in its momentum and somehow never recovers. What follows is far too many instances of plot convenience that kept taking me out of the story (mostly to roll my eyes). Such as coming into possession of something, out of the blue, that oh so conveniently allows the main character to solve a dilemma. On to the next thing! It was at this point that the book lost its magic for me and became a tedious crawl to the finish. Highly disappointing considering how much I enjoyed reading it at the beginning. The most interesting part of the novel ended up being Silas, the demonic servant. I would love a book that focused on his back story because my interest peaked anytime he was involved.

I do appreciate that this is a standalone novel, which seem so rare in fantasy these days. I liked the characters, the world, and the whole concept was immensely intriguing. There is a lot to like. Unfortunately, the plot failed to click with me, but I would read any future book set in this world. And hopefully I would have better luck next time around.

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

BLOG“A sea roared inside her and made demands, but she waded it, she bobbed up, took a breath, and opened her eyes to the cold winter morning. Then she rose because the day was there, the world was there, and she wanted to be part of it.”

Antonina Beaulieau is in the midst of her first Grand Season. During this time, her life is to be filled with parties where she will ideally find a suitor and cement a place in high society. But Antonina is not a typical young lady. Her telekinetic powers had always made her somewhat of an outcast, but more than that, she does not particularly care or adhere to “proper” lady behaviour. When she meets Hector Auvray, a famous telekinetic performer, she is intrigued by his abilities and more and more flattered by his attention. Hector, however, has a hidden motive that lies behind his interest in Antonina; his quest to recapture a long lost love. What unfolds is a tale of love and duplicity, with a touch of the supernatural.

After reading Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s latest novel, Gods of Jade & Shadow, I was inspired to pick up The Beautiful Ones, which was the only novel of hers that I hadn’t read. Quite simply, I loved this book. I feel that this was a case of the right story at the right time, and I found myself completely glued to each page and unable to put it down. Moreno-Garcia is an exceptional writer, and in The Beautiful Ones she creates characters that are compelling and three-dimensional. There was depth and reason, a driving force, behind their actions that I found intriguing. While there is a fantasy aspect to this novel it is mainly a historical romance. The use of telekinesis is sprinkled throughout but does not play a key role. So if you enjoy a good historical romance, this is a great option. It completely hit the mark for me, and deserves five stars for the sheer enjoyment it brought me, and the fact that I could not put it down. Oh how I love when that happens. 🙂

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

BLOG“Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.”

As the daughter of a revered general, Kestrel has two options in life: join the military or get married. Neither appeals to her as she does not posses a natural skill for combat, and any marriage at this point in her life would be purely out of obligation. During an outing to the market she stumbles across a slave auction and on impulse and instinct she places a winning bid on a young man she feels an unexpected connection to. Over time, the bond between Kestrel and Arin grows, but there is much left unsaid. Arin has a secret and once events are set in motion, there will be no turning back.

I have to admit that I love a good YA fantasy novel. Especially during cold winter days, when a cozy blanket, a hot drink, and an escape into a fantastical world is a recipe for a wonderfully relaxing evening. The Winner’s Curse has been popping up on my Goodreads page quite consistently, so when I was looking for a new fantasy read I decided to finally give it a go. It is an easy read, and one you can absolutely breeze through, however, it is not one that is particularly memorable for me. I enjoyed the writing in this novel, and it is obvious that the author is very skilled at what she does. Overall, the story just fell flat for me. Not a whole lot happens in the first half of the story, which I wouldn’t mind if the connection between Kestrel and Arin was better developed. I found myself not connecting to either and didn’t really buy their connection. So, once the story really takes off, I was not at all invested in the events that were unfolding. Which is a shame because the latter part of the novel does have a level of intrigue and entertainment that I would have loved had I at all felt invested or interested in the characters. Ultimately, I am glad I gave this book a read, but I will not continue on with the series.

Gods of Jade & Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset“Some people are born under a lucky star, while others have their misfortune telegraphed by the position of the planets. Casiopea Tun, named after a constellation, was born under the most rotten star imaginable in the firmament.”

Casiopea spends her days cleaning and doing chores for her demanding grandfather, and her nights dreaming of a life of her own. Far from the demands of a family that views her as nothing more than an outsider. But those dreams, over time, start to feel incredibly distant and improbable. One day, while cleaning her grandfather’s room, she comes across a locked and mysterious wooden box. In a moment of rebellion, she unlocks the box and with it releases the spirit of the Mayan god of death. Having been imprisoned by his brother, the god of death is on a quest for revenge, and to gain back his throne. In order to do this he will need Casiopea by his side who, having freed the spirit, is now linked to him. The failure to defeat his brother would mean a demise for both of them. So Casiopea, alongside the god of death, embarks on an adventure she never could have dreamed of. Continue reading “Gods of Jade & Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia”

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

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“The point is—as far as the Society is concerned—if you are not honest, and determined, and brave, then it doesn’t matter how talented you are.”

Morrigan Crow is cursed as a result of having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest time for a child to be born. Not only is she blamed for all misfortune that befalls the people of her town, the curse also means that she is to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday. When the time draws near and Morrigan awaits the inevitable, a strange man named Jupiter North appears at her home. He gives her the choice to come with him to the mysterious land called Nevermoor, and with shadowy hunters on their tail, they set off from Morrigan’s home and the only place she has ever known. Soon she learns that Jupiter has selected her to compete for membership to the very prestigious, the Wundrous Society, for which she must successfully complete four dangerous trials. Hundreds of children compete and each have to demonstrate an exceptional talent, which is something that Morrigan does not believe to possess. However, her being able to stay in Nevermoor depends on her acceptance into the elite organization, otherwise she must return to her former home and confront her deadly fate.  Continue reading “Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend”