Iron Gold

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown is the fourth book in the Red Rising series.

Iron Gold takes place 10 years later. Ten years of war has raged. Ten years of politics and planning. Ten years of integrating the colors and attempting to forge the world Darrow and his friends dreamed of. Ten years, it seems, wasn’t long enough.

Darrow is determined to finish this war once and for all, the republic be damned. But ending this war could lose him the very family he was fighting for in the first place. Will Darrow give up his wife, his son, and all those he loves to save everything else?

Entwined with Darrow’s story is three others…

A young red girl filled with tragedy and brimming with hate, who has become disillusioned with the republic and any hope for change.

A grey ex-soldier with a broken past that has lead him to a life of crime and the biggest, most dangerous heist of his life.

And an exiled heir, haunted by what might have been and what may still be.

Iron Gold expands upon the universe we know and begins a new saga and a new battle. But this time, we aren’t sure who the winner should be.

Sooo… I could have sworn this series was a trilogy. I was so, so happy and content with the way the the third book ended–questions and all–that I was thrown when I found out that there was a fourth book. Fine–I thought–it’s a book set in the same world but with different characters, I can deal with that. Nope. This was the same characters, plus new ones, only ten years older. Because of this, it took me forever to get into this story. I was so stuck with the idea that this was becoming another series that would drag on when it should have ended, that I almost ruined a book that I ended up actually liking.

I really liked the new storylines that were introduced. These were interesting and dynamic and I want to know where they were going. I was less enamored with Darrow’s continued saga, although I did like seeing the fatherly side of Sevro. Darrow’s internal struggles just didn’t make me feel anything like they did in the first three Red Rising books. He just doesn’t feel like the same Darrow to me.

I don’t really have much else to say about this one. Overall, it kept me entertained, even if it took me awhile to let that happen. This one gets 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

 

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A Court of Frost and Starlight

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah Maas is the fourth book in the ACOTAR series.

In this one we pick up, what seems like a few months after the final battle. Feyre, Rhys and their court–their family–are attempting to put back the pieces of their life. Velaris and the Night Court is recovering from the brutal attack that ravaged it’s people only a few months prior and all of the courts are rebuilding and trying find their places in this new world without a wall and without an all-powerful tyrant.

This book shows us the aftermath… what comes after the battle to end all battles. We glimpse each of our favorite characters and see how they are fairing both mentally and physically.

This book can best be described as the afterword you’ve always wanted. Often, you are left wondering what’s next for your favorite characters… well in this one you find out. We see the love between Rhys and Feyre, the distance between Elaine and Lucian, the explosion that is Nesta and Cassian, and all of our favorite Night Court friends and allies. If that is all you wanted, well, then this is the book for you.

It was not the book for me. I felt like I was promised a continuation of the series I have become invested in. I thought we were getting that insight into the sisters and a farewell to a story that was branching off in another direction. Instead, what we get is a 250+ page fluff piece, with little action and too, too much emotion. The way everyone was talking about this book, I expected it to be so much more. The only time I felt like I was entering a new story, set in this world, was the sneak peek we are given at the end.

I know I am bashing here but the book ended and I literally said, out loud, what was that?! I just kept waiting for something to happen. Yes, we get hints at struggles to come but we primarily get fluffed up emotions and not much else. We glimpse other characters but we don’t learn anything about them. This is all Rhys and Feyre and their love that will never die……..

Sigh. I didn’t get what I was looking for and I felt like I was promised something else. So this one gets 2.5 stars from me. Please give me more of the Maas goodness I know and love in the next one! And action! More action!

That’s all for now!

-M-

Grey Sister

Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence is the second book in the Book of the Ancestor series.

Nona Grey entered Sweet Mercy a starving little girl, full of rage and secrets. Now she’s made friends, improved her body and mind, and has moved from red to grey class. The further Nona gets in her studies the closer her decision to choose a path comes. She must choose to “take the red of a Martial Sister, the grey of a Sister of Discretion, the blue of a Mystic Sister or the simple black of a Bride of the Ancestor and a life of prayer and service.”

All Nona wants is to complete her studies and make Sweet Mercy her home, but assassins, inquisitions, betrayal, revenge, rage… so much rage could shake her from the path and take away all she loves.

Will Nona be able to see through the anger and grief that threaten to destroy her? Or will she lose herself and risk those around her?

I just love this series. It fun, complex, brutal and captivating in all the right places. It is also SO hard to explain to people though! I swear the other day I told someone that this series take place in a world covered in ice, except for a shrinking area along the equator and that the story follows nuns and nuns in training–think Hogwarts meets Mortal Combat! HA!

I love the setting of this book–a world slowly being swallowed by ice and hints to a lost age that feels awfully familiar. The world building is just fantastic. I love Sweet Mercy and the factions of nuns. There’s also this mystery, a darkness hidden on the fringes that adds another layer to the story.

I gave the first book 5 stars and this one 4.5. The only reason this one loses a half star is because of a very long sequence of battles about 3/4 of the way through that felt a little dragged out to me–even though they were AWESOME! I just felt like the story stalled a little bit so that a little extra butt kicking could be added. But who doesn’t love a good butt kicking.

This is one of those series I just keep telling people about. Grey Sister gets 4.5 stars from me!

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Great Alone

The Great Alone is the latest book by best selling author Kristin Hannah.

In 1974 the Allbright family moves to Alaska looking for a fresh start. Leni, Cora and Ernt have been constantly on the move since Ernt returned from Vietnam, a POW with a drinking problem and a temper. With another lost job in the books, Ernt decides to take the family to Alaska–the final frontier–to start over.

Thirteen-year-old Leni doesn’t balk at the prospect of Alaska but she is also weary of what the long nights and seclusion will do to her already hot tempered dad. But what Leni longs for more than peace for her family is to find a place where she belongs and she hopes Alaska will be that place.

Totally unprepared and ignorant, the Allbrights’ must rely on hard work and the kindness of their neighbors to prepare for the long winter ahead. But as the weather begins to change, so does Ernt. The man who seemed to revive in Alaska begins to slip back into the darkness and Leni so begins to learn that a temper isn’t all her father has.

Will this family of three survive the wilds of Alaska or will the fractured pieces of them tear them apart and the town along with it?

This is the second book I’ve read by Hannah–the first being The Nightingale. I enjoyed the wild beautiful descriptions, the hardships of being homesteaders and the Call of the Wild of it all. Witnessing this family being both built up and torn down from both the inside and outside in this setting was enticing. It was definitely a read that kept me wanting to read.

I did sort of feel like I was reading two separate books about halfway though, however. Once we did that four year time jump, the narrative felt like it changed for me. We went from a damaged family, dealing with the elements to more of a Romeo and Juliet meets Call of the Wild. Although, the family was still a large focus of the book the larger focus became Leni and her forbidden relationship. At this point in the book, a new narrator was also introduced and Leni’s wasn’t the only voice we heard. I still enjoyed this part of the story and had to know what happened but I remember thinking that the tone of the book felt different from the first half.

Overall, I like this book and feel like it could have some real merit for a book club. Because of the shift in tone, I am giving it a high 3.5 stars.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Immortalist

The Immortalist by Chloe Benjamin is a new adult fiction novel and was chosen for my book club this month.

The Immortalist follows the lives of the Gold siblings. Eldest, Varya both bookish and hesitant; eldest son Daniel, typical man of the family and controlling; then comes Klara, the flighty dreamer who lives in her head; and finally, Simon, the youngest and most private of the Gold children, keeping himself to himself.

Still young enough and close enough in age to run together as a pack, the siblings decide to pool their money to see a mysterious woman who word-of-mouth claims can predict the date you will die. The siblings each have their turn with the fortune teller and each react to this knowledge in different ways that will forever change the direction of their lives.

Told from the perspective of each sibling up until the date of their death, what we get is five decades of what if… what if knowing the future causes it?

Again, not a book I would normally pick up on a whim, which is one of the reasons why I love a good book club. You end up reading outside of your purview. Overall, I enjoyed this book. It wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be but it was an interesting narrative.

You are basically reading about a family, how they lived and how their choices affected not only themselves but the loved ones they left behind. And yet… the whole book is colored by these death prophecies. Does knowing the date we die, influence the way we live? Could the Gold children have lived different lives if they had the fortune of not knowing? It’s definitely something interesting to think about. Would you want to know the date you are going to die, so that you could make the most of what time you have? OR would you rather the bliss of ignorance? The latter for me thank you very much.

Not only does this book make you think about how we live, it also deals with themes and family issues during a very volatile time period. I think out the four siblings, Klara is my favorite narrative. With her and Simon’s lives, you can really see how affected they were by the prophecy.

I liked this book but it didn’t wow me. It gets a solid 3.5 from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a memoir about a family that is less than perfect and determined to seek out a life they define.

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents who took nonconformity to another level.  Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children, one boy and three girls–Jeannette being the second oldest. When Jeannette was young, her family lived a nomadic life–moving from place to place, sleeping in cars and camping in the desert.

Sometimes they scavenged for food and sometimes they ate like kings. All four kids grew up bookworms–studying geometry, art, history and basically any interesting fact their parents could get their hands on. Discipline took a back-burner to life; Rose Mary and Rex believed strongly in the sink or swim method of life lessons.

Although, they often went hungry and life could beat you down, there was something magical and adventurous about those early years on the road. But all that changed when the family moved to rural West Virginia and life deteriorated until the kids were all but surviving.

This is the story of a dysfunctional family that stuck together until they didn’t.

Anyone who follows my blog or reviews knows that I am not a big nonfiction person. I will occasionally listen to a biography or a narrative driven historical non-fiction but I’d rather jump out of my skin than get under someone else’s>>does that make sense? So for me, this book was beautifully written… just not for me.

When I first picked up this book I didn’t realize it was a memoir. And then reading what these kids went through, I really didn’t think it was a memoir until I looked it up on Amazon. Jeez, what a life Jeannette had and I am sure this book doesn’t even cover half of it. You’ve got to be extremely lucky to survive a life like that and come out the other side still intact.

The characters I think most people will focus on are erratic Rose Mary and charismatic Rex. But you know who I would have loved to get a closer look at… Jeannette’s brother. Although he and Jeannette were more like twins then brother and sister, Brian was the only boy and just a really interesting person in my opinion. I’d love to see this journey from his perspective.

Overall, this was a read about overcoming adversity and living life the best you can no matter what type of life you lead. This book gets 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Artemis

Artemis by Andy Weir is an adult science fiction novel that takes place on the moon.

Jazz Bashara doesn’t follow a straight path–she’s one for shortcuts and bending the rules. Life on the moon isn’t all it’s cracked up to be if you aren’t rich but for Jazz it’s still home and has been since she was six. So running a small smuggling operation to bring in some additional cash isn’t the worst thing she could do, right? Not when she’s barely surviving on her salary as a porter.

When Jazz is given the chance to make a ton of money on a single, all-but complicated and potentially life ruining job, she jumps at the chance to change her life forever. But planning the perfect job isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when Jazz finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy and being hunted by the mob.

What has Jazz gotten herself into and how will she get out of it and save Artemis at the same time?

Artemis has Weir’s usual narrative flair. Jazz is a master of snarky sass without making everyone want to kick her ass. This is not an easy thing to achieve and Weir makes it look effortless. That being said, Artemis didn’t capture me like The Martian did.  The latter made me laugh but had a nice balance of plausible science and excitement. Whereas Artemis didn’t quite hit that balance for me. I liked the Ocean’s Eleven feel of the story but something was just missing for me.

The world building was well done. I really felt like a city on the moon was plausible and I could totally see it being a tourist trap or taken over by the wealthy. I don’t know why but I keep thinking Disney World but on the moon. I also enjoyed the glimpse into the politics we get.

Although, I like the narrative snark, did anyone else feel like Jazz was basically a female Mark Watney without the desert island and the countdown clock? I didn’t even realize Jazz was a girl until a few pages in. She could have been a bit more original.

This was an enjoyable read but didn’t feel entirely original to me. Not bad but not Weir’s best. This one gets 3 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-