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. Durning 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”

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

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“Magic, at its heart, starts with sacrifice. You have to give up something to get something, and because magic is big, with all that it allows you access to, what you give up has to be big. It has to be meaningful.”

Within New York City lies a world of magic, the Unseen World. It is open only to those with magical ability, but the degree of that ability varies from person to person. Every twenty years this magical world must participate in the Turning— a series of duels between established Houses, their champions and various challengers, with the winner gaining control of the Unseen World. However, the Turning has arrived early this time around and there is something strange happening in the Unseen World; the magic is weakening. Sydney has seemingly come out of nowhere and proven herself as a force to be reckoned with. She is one of the few people who know what is occurring and why, and is intent on winning control in order to destroy the existing system. Continue reading “An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard”

The Queen of Sorrow by Sarah Beth Durst

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“I suppose I’ll need Jastra’s plan after all. Pity.
It would have been nice to avoid murdering anyone.”

The Queen of Sorrow concludes The Queens of Renthia Trilogy; a wonderful fantasy series and one I have enjoyed immensely. In this final instalment, the focus is on the political landscape of Renthia, and the dynamics between three very powerful women. Daleina is a queen who has settled well into her role, although she lacks the power of her predecessor. Naelin holds great power but lacks training, and her role as queen is one she never sought or wanted. The most important thing in her life is her children whose safety and well-being she puts above everything. And then we have Queen Merecot, the key antagonist in the story and who fast became one of my favourite characters. She is incredibly ambitious, humorous, and borderline sociopathic. Her intentions are slowly revealed as the story progresses and she kept me guessing more than anyone else.  Continue reading “The Queen of Sorrow by Sarah Beth Durst”