Category Archives: Fantasy

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

A Forgery of Roses by Jessica S. Olson

A Forgery of Roses by Jessica S. Olson

I’m not exactly sure where I was expecting this book to go, but it wasn’t where it went. It was so enjoyable and who the “bad guy” really was only hit me a couple pages before it was revealed, though I had a few ideas before then (all wrong). After about the first hundred pages I had so much trouble putting it down and kept thinking about it until I could get back to reading. One character has social anxiety and it was written so well, especially how he evolved to accept himself the way he is. The writing was very descriptive. It’s extremely rare for me to be able to visualize what is happening beyond occasional hazy glimpses (I generally just see words in my head) so I appreciate books with enough words for me to get the idea even though I can’t “see” it. The end was very satisfying and pretty decently wrapped it all up. The epilogue, however, sets up a sequel which I would definitely read if there ends up being one. I highly recommend A Forgery of Roses to teens and up who enjoy urban fantasy.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 47
Pages Read in 2022: 17,184
Graphic Novels: 1

Leave a comment

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

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novak

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Spinning Silver was my book club’s choice for March. I finally finished it the day of my April book group get together. Sometimes I wish I had the ability to abandon books but I just can’t do it. Plus my friends said the last half was better than the first half, and the last chapter was incredible. They were wrong, and it wasn’t. I didn’t hate it on a Red Badge of Courage level, but I definitely didn’t like or enjoy it much. I absolutely judge books by their cover and Spinning Silver has one of the ugliest covers I’ve ever seen. It’s very long, over 450 pages. Now, a long, good book can be extremely enjoyable. This was just a slog to get through. The book is written in first person, but the narrator changes regularly right in the middle of chapters. There is no indication this is happening other than a little scene change sort of symbol. It does not indicate who the new narrator is. You just have to keep reading, confused for the first several sentences, until you figure it out. Some narrators appear quite often, some very rarely, and there is no pattern to when they appear. When I started reading it a couple weeks before our March book group gathering, I found myself finding every excuse not to read it. For like a week I barely read anything. On the plus side, my house was exceptionally clean even with twin toddlers and a preschooler constantly wreaking havoc. I just didn’t care about most of the characters. I found the majority to be annoying. I really didn’t care if they stopped the Staryk creating eternal winter or not. It moves so incredibly slowly. Maybe if it was half as long and things actually happened at a reasonable pace it wouldn’t have been so bad. I did like how all the many storylines converged and the house that was in both the real world and the Staryk world at the same time was very creative. Thank goodness for small things that made it slightly less dreadful. I do not recommend anyone read Spinning Silver.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 39
Pages Read in 2022: 14,106
Graphic Novels: 1

Leave a comment

Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Book Club

In a Dark Land by Christina Soontornvat

In a Dark Land by Christina Soontornvat

In a Dark Land is the second Changelings book, picking up several months after the first one ends. It’s a fun, action-packed adventure. You get to see more very imaginative places and creatures of Fairy and get to know some of the other Changelings as well. Izzy’s very interesting origin story is also revealed. I very much enjoyed this book. I highly recommend it to people of all ages. It would make an excellent family read aloud!

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 34
Pages Read in 2022: 12,166
Graphic Novels: 1

Leave a comment

Filed under Fantasy, Middle Grades, Reason: Literati, Reason: We Be Book'N

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Even though Tiger Lily is told from Tinker Bell’s point of view in first person, because she can read minds and zip around and watch things happen from tiny hiding places it feels more like third person omniscient. In Peter Pan, Tiger Lily is a minor character, but this puts her at the center and changes her relationship with Peter quite a bit. The bits of foreshadowing are obvious, but very well done at the same time. Even though the book is pretty light and easy, it has heavy parts as it delves a bit into being yourself (Tiger Lily’s father, the tribe’s shaman, is non-binary) and how trying to force yourself to be how others want you to be can have devastating consequences, how the English tried to change Natives, and rape. I recommend this book to teens and up, especially those who love the story of Peter Pan.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 29
Pages Read in 2022: 10,027
Graphic Novels: 1

Leave a comment

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

The Changelings by Christina Soontornvat

The Changelings by Christina Soontornvat

I really enjoyed The Changelings. It’s a sweet story about friends and siblings caring about each even when they get on each others nerves sometimes. It’s pretty much every reader kid’s dream to discover the fairies and fantasy stories they like are actually real so it’s easy to identify with the main character. I didn’t see the big twist coming at all and it was just perfect. I highly recommend this book to people of all ages. It would make a great family read aloud.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 28
Pages Read in 2022: 9718
Graphic Novels: 1

Leave a comment

Filed under Fantasy, Middle Grades, Reason: We Be Book'N