Finale

Finale is the third and final book in the Caraval series by Stephanie Garber.

It’s been two months since Caraval and two months since the Fates have been freed from the deck of destiny. It’s been two months since Legend has claimed the thrown. And it has been two months since Tella discovered that the boy she thought she loved was really the immortal she isn’t even sure she likes.

Sisters, Tella and Scarlett, both have a part to play in the conflict to come. What will Scarlett do with a secret that could destroy everyone she holds dear? Will Tella decide to trust Legend or follow a former foe?

The Fates are free and chaos is spilling into the world. It is time to play the greatest game of all.

This series grew on me. I wasn’t really sure how I felt about the first book because everyone kept comparing it to Night Circus, which I loved and they just weren’t comparable in my mind. But the second book hooked me a bit more and I think it is because I preferred Tella’s character and her interactions with Scarlett and Legend more than Scarlett’s narrative.

It did sort of bother me that the last book wasn’t more evenly split between the sisters though. Book one was Scarlett. Book two was Tella. So I expected the third book to be more of an equal mix. But the whole first half, maybe even first three quarters of the book was Tella, Tella, Tella. Scarlett only really gets a bigger part toward the end and it was only just not enough for me to get over.

As a series though, I think the books did their job. You have your introduction, your problem and building of chaos, and then you get the action and resolution. I liked Caraval and I missed it a little bit in the last book but I also really enjoyed the Fates and the Fated objects.

This one gets a solid 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

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Damsel

Damsel by Elana K. Arnold is a young adult “fairy tale” with a dark edge.

Upon the death of the King, his son must face a dragon alone and bring back a damsel. On then can he become the next King of the realm. This is the way things have been done as far back as anyone can remember… Until now.

When Ama wakes in the arms of Prince Emory, she is unaware of the tradition. In fact, she is unaware of anything–who she was, where she came from. She has no recollection of her life prior to waking, naked, in the princes arms. Ama only knows what the prince has told her and when they return to his kingdom, she is celebrated as the damsel rescued from the terrible dragon.

As night falls in the kingdom, Ama has a feeling that not all is right. There is more to this story then she has been told. What is it that Ama doesn’t know and what cost will she pay to reveal it?

All I can really say about this one, was that it was not the book for me. I think it was meant to be this dark little tale about the subjection of women, with very overt metaphors about sexual dominance and abuse, but it just didn’t work for me.

I’ve never read anything by this author before, so maybe I am just not used to her writing style but I found the story awkward and at times forced. I was so surprised by this because I love a good twisty feminist tale and I thought this was going to be a good one, but, like I said, it was not the book for me.

When I started the book and was reading Emory’s narrative in the beginning, I just sat there wondering what on earth I was reading. Then Ama steps in as the protagonist and things did improve but not enough for me to really get into the story.

I feel like this is a love/hate sort of story. You are either going to love it or hate it and unfortunately, I lean toward the latter. This one gets a womp, womp 2 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Holy Sister

Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence is the third and final Book of the Ancestor.

Sometimes, it is the long game that matters most.

Nona Grey was saved from execution as a young girl and brought to the Convent of the Sisters of Sweet Mercy. But Nona did not learn to lead a life of pray, instead she learned to reach the path and the way of the blade an the fist. She was raised to be a warrior, for warriors are what is needed as the corridor closes and the end nears.

Now Nona must become the convents fiercest warrior. She must harness every skill she has learned in order to protect the home she has come to love as well as the friends she has made. But destiny and prophecy can be funny things.

Will Nona have the strength to do what must be done? Will the Sisters of Sweet Mercy be able to weather the coming storm? Everything has lead up to this moment and win or lose…. there will be blood.

Seriously, I just LOVE this series. I am so bummed it is over. Lawrence just has such a knack for detail when it comes to those epic battle and fight scenes, I don’t know how he can both picture it and get it down on paper so well! You thought Nona kicked but in the previous books, well you ain’t seen nothing yet.

There is just a wonderful mesh of story and action that go so well with each other. And pretty much all the paths lead to the final moment. You get this surprising conclusion where all the pieces come together without being told every little detail. And yet, there are still things to wonder about.

One day, I am going to listen to all three of these audio books back to back to back because I think you’d really get all those little connections better that way. Regardless, thank you Lawrence for your mini recap in the beginning. Totally appreciated that!

This was just a series that was right up my ally. I don’t know if it is for everyone but I really enjoyed it. 5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Priory of the Orange Tree

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon is a standalone adult fantasy novel.

A world divided by politics and beliefs. An old foe threatens to rise again. And chaos on the horizon. Three women from opposite sides of this battle must overcome their difference and unite, or all is lost.

Annnnd that is the only synopsis I can write without going into the many, many details included in this tome. This is a large book. A very large book. So large that I checked out the paper copy and “noped” real hard. So I was very happy to find out that there was an audio book version because I have really enjoyed Shannon’s The Bone Season series. And ultimately, I did enjoy this beast of a book.

I tend to enjoy books with a lot going on; I like a lot of description and background in my books. I like to take a deep dive into the world and see all the world building the author has put into the story. Shannon definitely does this in Priory. She builds up the politics, the backstories, the little details that others might leave out. But even for me, there was a lot to take in, in one single book.

I remember getting a little more than halfway done and thinking to myself, “this would be a perfect stopping point.” I respect Shannon for staying true to her story and keeping this as one book, BUT I do think the story would have done really well as a duology. Although, I am glad I don’t have to wait a year to finish!

For me, Ead has the most interesting storyline for me. I liked how she was fighting against her duty, her heart and what she actually believed to be right or wrong. Ead, like all the women in this book, be they side characters or main character, are strong, capable women. This is probably going to be a major appeal for a lot of people. Also there are dragons. So yea, dragons.

I enjoyed this book but I wasn’t wowed by it. Some things felt familiar to me. This one gets a solid 3 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Bloodwitch

Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard is the third book in The Witchlands series.

The twenty year truce has ended and war is inevitable. Safiya and Iseult have gone their separate ways, both willingly and not, and the Witchlands is on the brink of chaos. As nations collapse and evil rises, how ever will a world divided, right itself?

Annnnnd I cannot do a better summary than that. But don’t let that hinder your interest in this series! There is just so much going on and so many story-lines that there isn’t one overarching plot to summarize. One minute, I’ll be reading Safiya’s narrative and be sucked in and then next minute Iseult and Aeduan will take over and I will be equally enthralled.

This is an interesting world that Dennard has built and it is only getting more complex as the story progresses. Right now that isn’t a problem, but I am interested in seeing how everything ties together. I don’t mind diverging narratives as long they converge at some point.

I love Aeduan and Iseult’s story-line and the fact that this book was, in large part, his story was great! I swear I continued this series primarily for Iseult but the rest of the story-lines are starting to get good too. Safiya’s story is probably my least favorite and there were other’s like Styx’s, where I wanted to know more.

There’s just… a lot going on. I can see some people, especially those who don’t read fantasy a lot, getting lost. There were a few moments for me even, where I must have lost focus and needed to backtrack. But ultimately, I am really enjoying this series and I really want to see where it is going.

This one gets 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Winter of the Witch

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden is the conclusion to the Winternight Trilogy.

Moscow has been badly injured through flame, fear and deceit. It’s people are restless, it’s king is enraged, and it’s unseen guardians are withering. Vasya finds herself alone and unmoored after the events of the night before, so when a priest, guided by a wicked daemon, sets a mob on her, there is no one to help her but herself.

Torn between two worlds and determined to save them both, Vasya will embark on a journey that will alter her forever. She will battle nightmares and uncover truths she never would have suspected.

Will Vasya be able to save both the worlds she so cherishes? Or will the knowledge she gains about Morozko, Russia and herself be enough to break her?

I enjoyed this series a lot. Even though it has a lot of fantastical elements it is so steeped in lore and tradition that is has a very folky feel. Although, I still maintain that the first book was completely satisfying on it’s own and any reader could stop their and be perfectly content. I liked the series but I loved the first book.

This book is, in my opinion, all about Vasya’s transformation; her coming into her own. In the first two books, she is just a girl with a drop of magic in her blood. But in this book she becomes a force to be reckoned with. Although, she calls on others for help, she does not depend on them as she did. It’s something I don’t think I even realized until this book, but you can see “story” Vasya will become to the people of Moscow.

We learn more about the unseen world in this book and we interact with their characters more, instead of just the Bear and the Winter King. I loved learning Morozko and the Bear’s backstories and finding out the secrets in Vasya’s blood as well.

Overall, this was a really nice series. This one get’s 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Kingdom of Copper

Kingdom of Copper is the second book in The Daevabad Trilogy.

Nahri’s life changed forever when she summoned Dara, a warrior and djinn with a mysterious past. Her return to Daevabad as the last Nahid healer, signaled a period of change for hidden world of djinn, marid’s and magic.

But when Dara is slain by Prince Ali, the city is thrown into turmoil. All Nahir’s knows is that she must protect her people and the home she never knew she had. But her efforts are constantly thwarted by a the violent king of Daevabad and it might just take all of Nahir’s willpower just to keep herself alive.

Meanwhile, Prince Ali has been exiled for defying his king and father. He is thrown out of Daevabad and is forced to deal with the repercussions of his battle with Dara on his own.

Five years later, at the turn of the century, unrest is brewing and the fate of Daevabad sways in the balance.

Phew! This was a monster of a series to get back into after a year. I vaguely remembered what happened and that I really enjoyed the story but there was so much I forgot, which made it really hard to get through the first few chapters. There is quite a lot going on and the politics of the crown and the city could be hard to get straight at first.

One thing I really like about this book though, is that you just don’t know who to root for. Nahri seems like the best choice because she is well meaning but she is also naive in ways. Dara is such a tortured soul but also blinded by loyalty and his feelings. Ali, you want to like but his “blind fanaticism,” in the words of his father, causes him to rush into things. I even rooted for Nahri’s husband/Ali’s father (name?) by the end. All of this really makes me wonder just how this series is going to turn out.

I’m going to give this one a high 3.5 stars. And I almost recommend waiting to read the whole series until all three are out, unless you are a fantastic re-reader–which I am not.

That’s all for now!

-M-