Fury

Fury by Rachel Vincent is the third and final book in the Menagerie series.

Pregnant and on the run with her fellow escapees, Delilah Marlow is determined to bring her baby into the world safely and free. But the odds are against them as more and more cryptids are being caught and slaughtered. Delilah, her protector and the father of her child, Gallagher, the shifters, sirens and other cryptids with her must hide their identities or risk being separated or worse.

But the noose around them seems to be tightening as mass killings pop up closer and closer to where they are hiding and of course, they are being blamed. This rag-tag family must work together to stay safe and figure out what new evil it is they are actually up against.

Will Delilah be able to bring her child safely into the world? And if so, is it a world Delilah even wants her daughter to be a part of?

I really wish I could have read the un-edited version of this story. It felt like there might have been a few sections edited out because the ending really needed another 20 pages to really flush out the conflict and it’s solution. The part of the story we wanted, the answers to those questions we had, felt really rushed and I think so much more could have been done. There were also a few unfinished plot holes that could have been solved with just a sentence here or there. The whole thing just started slow and then ended quickly and could have used a better balance.

All that being said, I did really enjoy this series. It was unique and dark; it was a world you wanted to witness but never be part of. This series was really built up in three parts. The first book set the stage, the second gave you all the brutal injustice and conflict, and the third was the resolution.

I’m glad I stuck it out with this series even if the ending left me wanting. This one gets 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

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The Iron Flower

The Iron Flower is the second book in the Black Witch Chronicles by Laurie Forest.

Elloren Gardner and her friends were only trying to do what was right but what’s right has brought them head to head with the Gardnerian’s. The Gardnerian’s are quickly gaining power and every day it seems like a new law or rule is being enforced to pure the world of the “evil one”–non Gardnerian’s.

Elloren has found herself caught in the middle of a world on the brink of war. Her heritage as a Gardnerian and granddaughter to the Black Witch, may have bought her a certain amount of safety. But at what cost? Her friends are in danger, her family is being torn apart and her heart is weighed down by her powerlessness.

Will Elloren find the will to fight for what her heart tells her is right? Or will the brutal weight of her peoples might, suppress any hope she may have?

Wow this one was hard to summarize… with or without spoilers. Phew!

I’ve been sucked into this series. Despite the controversial reviews, I have to know what happens. So, I am here for the long haul. And I will admit, The Iron Flower sucked me in just as much as The Black Witch. I love the relationships that have been built or are building and I like that they are not easy–that there are major conflicts and hesitations. And not just the relationships between “lovers” but also the relationships between friends, enemies, allies, etc.

I’m still a little mehhh that this is a teen book. The characters feel very teen-y but boy, does a lot go down in this book. It is harsh in some respects. Genocide, ethnic cleansing, prejudices, arranged and forced marriages… those are just a few of the triggers this book will hit. But it also feels realistic to me, which is also very, very sad.

It’ll be interesting to see where this one is going. This one gets 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Muse of Nightmares

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor is the sequel to YA novel, Strange the Dreamer.

We pick up right where we left off. Lazlo has learned that he is actually Mesarthim and can control their impervious metals; Sarai is dead and yet, still alive; and both of them are at the mercy of a vengeful young woman, trapped in the body of an eight year old. Minya has given Lazlo a choice, he must choose between the women he loves and the people he has sworn to protect.

Weep itself is in an uproar after the citadels fall and the confusion of finding out that not only are the Mesarthim still alive, but that their friend is one of them. Worlds that were once separate will now collide in this conclusion to Strange the Dreamer.

I thought Strange the Dreamer was a really great book. A different world from anything I’ve ever read and the story was really well told. Muse of Nightmares was equally as good, but I think there was a different feel, a different dynamic to it. There was this desperation throughout that didn’t really exist in the first book. The first book was full of revelation and discovery, magic and dreams. This one was shot through with conflict and frustration, despair and tension. And yet the two stories still fit together really well.

I wasn’t sure I was going to like the sister’s story in this one, but ultimately, I think it added another layer to the story and allowed it to progress. If the story were only about Lazlo and Sarai and Minya’s control over them, well, it would have been a novella instead of a sequel.

My only negative comment about the book, was that it ended too cleanly for me. For a book that was filled with fear and desperation from it’s characters, I expected a bit more trauma at the end. I don’t know if that makes sense but I felt like just about everyone got their happy ending and although that is nice sometimes, I would have liked a little more drama.

Taylor did a great job building these worlds. This one gets a high 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Vengeful

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab is the sequel to Vicious Schwab’s first adult novel.

EO’s or Extra Ordinary’s exist. They are people who have died or have had near death experiences but wake up different–powerful. EO’s like Sydney can raise the dead, like Eli can heal, like June can shapeshift, they can ruin, shield, destroy and save. And all of them are being hunted.

When Sydney raised Victor from the dead, he didn’t come back entirely himself. His powers are running hot and he is running out of time. Now Victor, Sydney, Mitch and Dol are looking for a cure while on the run from a secret sect of the government that wants to capture all EO’s.

What is to become of Victor? Will all the EO’s have to run forever? And what will happen when faces from the past, surface?

I have to admit, this story probably deserves more than 3.5 stars but I just couldn’t get as sucked in as I feel like I should have because I could barely remember what happened in Vicious. This is totally my fault, I should have re-read the first book or at the very least searched for a good synopsis but I didn’t and so I didn’t have all the fun details that were probably in the first book and would have made this one that much more enjoyable. But I did enjoy the book, I just kept having those “oh yeaaa” moments, that sort of slowed my progress. This was also really, really hard to summarize, which again, tells you something.

I did really like the story behind this world. The idea that people who almost die might come back as something more then they were, isn’t a new concept but Schwab really writes it in a new way. And Victor is such an interesting character. He’s not a good guy but he’s not all bad either. I remember really liking him in the first book.

That’s really all I have for this one. A good read, but definitely read the two back to back–you won’t be sorry. This one gets 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kirsten White is a young adult retelling of the classic Frankenstein told from the perspective of Elizabeth Frankenstein, an orphan taken in by the Frankenstein’s as a young girl.

Elizabeth Lavenza was an abused orphan until she was taken in by the Frankenstein family as a companion for their strange, all-but genius, son Victor. In Victor, Elizabeth finds a safe haven and salvation from lonely hunger of her childhood and she will do anything to stay in his good graces. Soon the two are inseparable. Elizabeth teaches Victor to control his emotions and in return he keeps her safe.

That is until his studies takes him away from her. Left without news for months, Elizabeth is determined to track down her Victor. But what she finds is depravity, death and mystery. Elizabeth must use all her wits to protect Victor from societies wrath but who is she really protecting and at what cost?

I really enjoyed this one. White really knows how to spin a tale and I love it! It’s been a long, long time since I’ve read Frankenstein but this was definitely a new take on the story. One of the things I really liked was that I thought the story was heading in one direction and about two-thirds of the way through, it went a completely different way than I was thinking and it was better for it.

Elizabeth and “evil” Victor really make this story. Elizabeth’s mind, her ability to adapt to any situation, makes her such an interesting character and although there is supposed to be this sort of discovery of her true self, I felt that she was extremely self-aware. And the moment when Victor drops all of his carefully learned pretenses, he just became this dark sociopath and the story itself got darker for it.

I really enjoyed this retelling. Keep ’em coming White! This one gets 4.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Wildcard

Wildcard by Marie Lu is the sequel and conclusion to Lu’s Warcross.

Emika Chen only made it out of the Warcross Championships with her mind in tact by the skin of her teeth. Now that Hideo’s algorithm has been uploaded to everyone using the NeuroLink, she has been left with only a few allies.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s flawed plan to keep evil from the world, Emika must put aside her own safety and risk everything to save… everyone. Can she stop the Blackcoats and Zero from taking over the NeuroLink? Can she destroy the algorithm and give everyone back their freewill? And finally, will she be able to bring Hideo back from the ledge that led him to this course of action?

Well, I will say off the bat that I wasn’t as impressed with Wildcard as I was with Warcross. I just couldn’t get into the story as easily as I did the first one. Warcross sucked me in and I couldn’t wait to learn more. But there was just something missing here for me.

A major part of what was missing for me was the relationships. I felt like we built up these really great characters, who had dynamic relationships, in the first book but they just weren’t as strong in the second. Emika was a lot weaker and not nearly as interesting as before. Tramaine was probably my favorite character in this one actually.

That being said, I did love this world of virtual reality. I think Lu did a fabulous job building a world where technology is literally in every part of our lives. Makes you think about where we are heading. And I just loved the quote that once technology has been created that you can’t un-make it. This is very true.

I did also like the twist. I sort of saw it coming with the various hints the author put in, but it was still a neat little surprise. I also like that things were wrapped up in a way that we suspected what would happen but weren’t actually told.

This duology kept me entertained. Warcross was stellar but Wildcard was only so-so. I hope we see more of these virtual reality type fiction books in the future–and ones as well built as this one. This book gets 3 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Two Dark Reigns

Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake is the third book in the Three Dark Crowns series.

We pick up only a few weeks after the end of One Dark Throne. Katherine is the Queen Crowned. Mirabella and Arsinoe are in hiding on the mainland with Billy. And Jules is in hiding on the island, dealing with the repercussions of being legion born.

But the island isn’t done with these girls. The mist is rising, causing panic and fear. It has a life of it’s own and it takes whomever it wants. As the undead queen, Katherine’s rule is threatened, not only by the mist but also by a renegade band of rebels who want to end the line of the queens and rule the island as it has never been ruled before.

While Katherine tries to hold on to her thrown, Arsinoe and Miabella try to forge a new life away from the island. But a dark shadow threatens and refuses to allow the past to lie.  Nothing is settled and this story is far from done.

Two Dark Reigns started out pretty slow for me. There was a lot of talk and very little action. It wasn’t until two-thirds of the way through the book that things start to actually happen. Some background was needed in the beginning to build up where the story is ultimately leading to but I just felt that we could have gotten to the point sooner.

Some things happen really slowly in this series, while others go almost too fast. There were pockets of action in this book that could have be dragged out a little more, whereas several discussions could have been chopped down to a page max.

That being said, I do love this world that Blake has built up. And it’s just gotten more interesting with the legion curse and the history being revealed. I am also loving how the mist, the islands protector, seems to be turning on the island itself.

I am excited to see where this last book will take us… who will survive and who will not. Mostly, I want to know what is instore for the island. Will it survive the mist or will this be the end of it altogether?

This one gets 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-