Category Archives: Fantasy

Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

The point in the series to read Assassin’s Blade varies based on who you ask. I went with after Heir of Fire. Having read it, I’d suggest either reading it before Heir of Fire or, even better, first, before Throne of Glass. The novellas included in Assassin’s Blade give background information that I think would have increased my enjoyment of the first three books. I enjoyed all the included stories. Calaena’s character was consistent with later on. Arobynn creeped me out. And I was super sad when the story of Sam was told. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the Throne of Glass series.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2023: 2
Pages Read in 2023: 787

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Flourish & Blotts Reading Challenge, Reason: Grim Readers, Young Adult

Rise Up From the Embers by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons

Rise Up From the Embers by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons

Rise Up From the Embers picks up right where Set Fire to the Gods ends. The chapters alternate point of view between Ash and Madoc (which gets quite interesting once Anathrasa takes control of Madoc’s mind). There is one short and rather unnecessary sex scene near the beginning of the book. The epilogue is adorable. All in all, it’s an excellent conclusion to the duology. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Set First to the Gods.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2023: 1
Pages Read in 2023: 341

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Young Adult

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

I did not much enjoy Heir of Fire for the first half. There are three different storylines going throughout the book. Celaena in the land of the fae learning to control her magic and return to her true self, the witches learning to fly the wyverns, and Dorian and Chaol at the castle. Nothing much happens with Celaena until the third quarter of the book. Before that it’s basically the same thing over and over including lots of refusing to speak for the first bit. The witches storyline I never did like. Any time it switched to them I was more than happy to put the book down and do something else. What was happening at the castle (and to those surrounding the castle) I actually found interesting from the start and enjoyed those sections most of all. The whole thing is overly wordy. The book could be about half as long if it wasn’t so wordy and repetitive. This book sets up what happens from here pretty well. The last 3% was downright amazing. As a book, it is just mediocre, but of course if you are invested in the Throne of Glass series, it’s a must read.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 105
Pages Read in 2022: 36,806
Graphic Novels: 3

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Buddy Read, Young Adult

Ballad & Dagger by Daniel Jose Older

Ballad & Dagger by Daniel Jose Older

For those who grew up reading about Roman, Greek, Egyptian, and Norse mythology by Rick Riordan, Ballad & Dagger is the first young adult book from Rick Riordan Presents. This one covers the myths of the island of San Madrigal, an island in the Caribbean Sea. Spanish is liberally sprinkled throughout. There is a lot of humor, but it is definitely more serious than Rick Riordan/RR Presents middle grade books. The mythology is laid out in a very understandable way as the story is told. The writing is often poetic and dreamlike. I recommend this book to teens and up who enjoy Rick Riordan/RR Presents books.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 94
Pages Read in 2022: 33,594
Graphic Novels: 2

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: Owlcrate, Young Adult

All of Our Demise by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

All of Our Demise by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

All of Our Demise picks up right where All of Us Villains left off (they truly are one single really, really long book). The same four Champions’ points of view are used in this book. In between attempting to kill each other and waiting for relics to fall, there is plenty of time for three romances to bloom. The trials to destroy the landmarks are each unique and fit the families perfectly. At times it seems to drag a little, but it’s always stuff that is extremely important to the plot. It’s very long, yet reads relatively fast. The ending is satisfying and, like with Hunger Games (it’s still more or less an extremely well-written Hunger Games fanfic), it touches on the trauma that will always affect the surviving Champions. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed All of Us Villains and wants to know how the story ends.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 93
Pages Read in 2022: 33,222
Graphic Novels: 2

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: I Like the Series, Young Adult

All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

All of Us Villains is extremely well-written Hunger Games fanfic. Take the Hunger Games, add magic, and make it between children in seven specific families and you have the premise of this book. A character even comments that someone else almost made him spill his drink on his pants. The story is told from the alternating viewpoints of four characters, three chosen as their family’s champion and one not. I got sucked into the story and then it just ended. There was no resolution whatsoever. It just got to a point and, boom, done. I wasted no time ordering the second book of the duology, but it still annoyed me a bit. I have no problem with series, but I do like for each book to wrap stuff up at least somewhat. This one answered one single question (who wrote A Tradition of Tragedy) and that’s it. Not satisfying at all. Other than that, I loved the book. I recommend this book to people who like magic set in the current day and enjoyed reading The Hunger Games. Just be aware that the two books really should just be one single book and expect to move on to the second book quickly to finish the story.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 85
Pages Read in 2022: 30,226
Graphic Novels: 2

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: Literati, Young Adult

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

I did not much enjoy reading Crown of Midnight. I wavered between giving it one star (I almost never give books one star) and two and in the end it just barely saved itself from getting one star. Parts of it were decent. Good even, on occasion. It’s just there were so many things that annoyed me.

Note: This review contains some mild spoilers.

Celaena is kind of dumb and downright annoying. So incredibly annoying. She gets irrationally mad at Chaol, insisting, after a week of sleeping with him every chance she gets, she will never trust him again for withholding information (as he should have due to his job), but she withholds information from him all the time (including the fact that the king has threatened his life if she does not assassinate each person he assigns). This just makes her come across as a spoiled brat. Also, she is way too trusting of the wrong people. If she was such a great assassin, she would be much more careful about where she places her trust. For example, even knowing the type of person Archer is, she immediately believed him (including lies) about Chaol. Now, I realize the author needed her to do that to make the plot go a certain way, but it was just another place Celaena didn’t make sense. Thinking Nehemia always only told her the truth just because Nehemia said she would doesn’t seem to make sense for an assassin, one who would generally be suspicious of everyone.

Dorian pining over Celaena while at the same time insisting he had let her go (he hadn’t) was possibly true to character, but it was so idiotic and annoying. I just wanted to smack some sense into him. I literally groaned a few times when the story returned to him.

I felt like several characters didn’t behave true to their character. I’ve heard many authors speak about how they have to let their characters go where they want to go. It seems that this author was set on what she wants her characters to do to make the story go a certain way and so quite often the thought crossed my mind that character behavior seemed forced and out of, well, character for them.

Honestly, the only characters I truly liked were Katlain and Mort. And one of them is insane and the other is a brass door knocker. The others… I just didn’t care what happened to them. When it finally showed what Celaena really is, I was like oh, whatever, just finish the book.

In general, the writing was just poor, poorer, actually, than the first book in the series. I read a whole lot of YA and the vocabulary was less sophisticated in this one than most I’ve read. One time the author decided to suddenly use a big word, it didn’t really much make sense. Celaena, in mourning, had dinner with Dorian. It said something about how it was a quiet dinner, but not lachrymose. Considering this was Celaena I wouldn’t expect her to be tearful through dinner, especially not a dinner with Dorian. A better, more fitting word would have been somber, but maybe lachrymose was the author’s word of the day that day so she really wanted to use it.

The author repeated a lot of things over and over, particularly during the first about two-thirds. Sometimes I just felt like she was trying to increase the word count. Occasionally changing time or place or what’s happening wasn’t clear, but then that just may be me because I often found my mind wandering, even during parts that were supposed to be exciting. The witch explaining Wyrdkeys was dreadfully boring. The first part of the riddle seemed totally obvious to me and took Celaena way longer to solve than I think it should have. And then the “shocker” at the end was painfully obvious well before the big reveal.

A lot of people love this series, so I’m clearly in the minority disliking it. If you loved Throne of Glass (I liked that one very much myself), give Crown of Midnight a chance. You might find it rather dreadful like I did, or you might love it like most people, so don’t just write it off based on the problems I had with it.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 69
Pages Read in 2022: 25,232
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: I Like the Series, Reason: We Be Book'N, Young Adult

Set Fire to the Gods by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons

Set Fire to the Gods by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons

Set Fire to the Gods is a pretty exciting book. The way gladiators from ancient Rome and element bending were blended was quite interesting. The characters were well-written and made you care about them and what happened to them. I recommend this book to teens and up, particularly those who like gladiators or Avatar: The Last Airbender.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 67
Pages Read in 2022: 24,529
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: Literati, Young Adult

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly

Lost in a Book is a clever addition to the story of Beauty and the Beast. The timeline is the same and even includes the scene of Belle and the Beast ice skating. Added to it is a bet between Love and Death and an enchanted book Death tries to cheat with. Belle’s pull toward the book as a way to live in a perfect, magical world and escape the dreariness of the Beast’s castle as well as her frustration with the Beast’s interpersonal communication are written very well. I was sad when it ended. I would have liked to get all the way to the point where the Beast turns back into a prince, but I guess it’s okay to end where it did since we all know the (Disney) ending of Beauty and the Beast. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Belle’s story.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 65
Pages Read in 2022: 23,656
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Reason: We Be Book'N, Young Adult

Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor

Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor

I really enjoyed Hotel Magnifique. There came a point where I hated to put it down. I had to know what was going on and how everything would be wrapped up (answer: amazingly well). The only problem I had with the book was like half the book being all “I’ll tell you what you need to know soon, I just don’t have time right now” over and over. I just wanted to scream at Bel to just tell her already. The descriptions of the hotel and the magic were really vivid and exciting. I recommend this book to teens and up who enjoy magic and fantasy.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 54
Pages Read in 2022: 19,563
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Owlcrate, Reason: We Be Book'N, Young Adult