Mirage

Mirage by Somaiya Daud is the first book in a new YA science fiction series.

In a section of the galaxy, a brutal race rules with an iron fist. And on a quiet planet in this system is an eighteen-year-old girl named Amani, who loves poetry and dreams of signs from the god Dihya. When Amani is kidnapped by the Vathek, she has no clue that her life is about to change forever.

Amani looks identical to the young princess, Maram, next in-line to inherit the Vathek empire. Because of this, she is forced to become Maram’s body double. She must sound like Maram, walk like Maram, act like Maram or else she will die.

Forced into this new role, Amani finds herself exposed to a world she could never have imagined. But beneath the beauty is fear. Will Amani succeed in impersonating Maram?And will she lose herself to this role? Or will she fight in her own way to maintain her life–her freedom?

This was an entertaining read. Not stellar, but I think we are going to get there. Mirage was pretty average for me until the second half, then we start to see more of the politics and we get that world building that was lacking in the beginning. I can see the sequel doing a lot for the series as a whole.

This was a sci-fi, space odyssey, without feeling like science fiction. That is one of the major props I give this book. It will appeal to a reader even if sci-fi isn’t in their wheelhouse. I loved how you could see elements of futuristic, space-travel, but the world still felt… almost Middle-Eastern in setting. At least that was the impression I got.

One thing I seriously struggled with in this book is the fact that Amani’s family wasn’t brought into it sooner. Not once, does Amani say she fears for the safety of her family–not until the end. All the way up to that point, her driving force for complying with being a body double was her own personal safety. I just found this a little hard to believe. I just didn’t believe that Amani, as a character, would have given in, in the first place, just to protect herself.

This is one that I have high hopes for. Hopefully the sequel will live up to my imaginings. This one get’s 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Advertisements

The Song Rising

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon is the third book in The Bone Season series. In this one we pick up right where we left off in The Mime Order. Following the bloody battle for dominion of the London Clairvoyant underground, Paige has risen to the position of Underqueen–high ruler of the most powerful criminals in Scion, London.

This is a position that comes with both power and extreme danger. Now Paige must unite her army of clairvoyants and overcome Scion and it’s supernatural backbone. But a terrible technology threatens them all. Senshield has become portable and with it Scion can hunt down almost all of the clairvoyants.

Now Paige and the Mime Order have literally been forced underground and the rebellion has all but been stopped in it’s tracks. The Mime Order is fractured and hostility within it’s ranks threatens to tear them apart.

Can Paige and her small group of devoted followers stop Senshield and get the rebellion back on track?

So far, this is probably my least favorite book of the series. It wasn’t a bad read but it felt like one of those middle of the series books that has to happen to build up the rest of the series. This is, I believe, going to be a 7 book series after all. The Bone Season and The Mime Order had these epic battle scenes and had really fast paced, gotta save the world moments. Whereas The Song Rising was a bit more political, dotted with mini battles that lead to this moment of separation at the end. Again, this all had to happen but I just wasn’t as captivated as I was with the first two books.

Ever since I’ve read Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, I’ve been sort of captivated by the idea of what’s below London and Shannon sort of gives us another glimpse of this with the Beneath. But I sort of felt like this was a missed opportunity. We don’t really get a big enough peak into what’s there or what could be there. Still it was neat to see the Mime Order be forced underground.

There are things I missed in this book: Warden and Paige, Nick and Zeek (I can’t remember how his name is spelled), more of the Emite, and the development of Paige’s powers. Paige felt like she really took a step back in this one, I missed her training to become more badass.

Okay, so this review feels really negative. This was by no means a bad read but it did feel a little like a filler. It does prepare you for more to come, that’s for sure. I can see all the little forks this book affords us and it’ll be interesting to see when and how all these little plot twists meet up again.

On a gut instinct I gave this one 3.5 stars and I am going to stick with it.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Burning Page

Hi Guys,

Oh yes. It’s here. The new Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. And YES, I got my friend to send me the pretty version from the UK because the American cover is just not as impressive.

The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman takes us back into the world of The Invisible Library with it’s bad-ass librarians, dragons, fae and Holmes-esq detectives. Irene, Kai and Val are back from their adventures in a high-chaos world and now they must deal with the consequences. Irene is on probation at the library, getting the worst missions; Kai’s pride is hurt and he is on edge and over protective of Irene; and Val’s nature is being threatened by chaos and no one knows how to help him.

What’s worse, Alberich is back and his threats against the library may just succeed. Now Irene must figure out a way to save the library, save her friends and her own life. All in a days work right?

Can Irene face an avalanche of problems? Will betrayal break her? And will she be able to stop Alberich once and for all and save the library?

I just love this series. It’s got all my favorite fantasy elements and there’s lots of action and interesting characters. This is one of those books where you are in it for the long hall no matter what happens.

In The Burning Page we learn more about the library itself and we get to see some of the politics going on behind the scenes. There are also many hints toward future mutiny. I feel like we get a better grasp on Alberich and the difference between order and chaos and where humans, dragons and fae fit in.

Cogman has created this plot where good world building is a must because in each book we visit many alternate worlds. Each alternate can be majorly different or it can have small changes and yet, you know you are in a completely different place. I just loved the dark, twisted world she created for the final battle scene in this book.

The characters have such an interesting dynamic. Between Val, Irene and Kai there’s trust and mistrust, loyalty and a higher good, there’s attraction, humor and so much more that keeps this trio interesting. Although, I feel like we are heading toward an awkward love triangle and I’m not sure how I feel about that. And poor Irene, she needs to get over how (I’m paraphrasing here) “striking Kai is in rags and how he can make anything look good because he’s an aristocrat through and through and she’s a mousy nobody.” Irene’s internal dialog about this happens just one too many times for me in this one.

Overall, this was a great read and I will continue to be a die-hard fan of this series. It’s fun, there’s a bit of mystery, action and adventure… what more can you ask for? A good read. So hop on The Invisible Library train and enjoy the ride!

That’s all for now!

-M-

Rebel of the Sands

Hi Guys,

I finally got my TBR pile down a bit and realized that I have a ton of holds coming in over the next week or so! But they weren’t in yet so I did a little shelf browsing and came up with this one… and a few more. Sigh. The cover alone is beautiful, so I figured I’d give it a try.

Rebel of the Sands is a debut novel by Alwyn Hamilton. Rebel of the Sands takes place in the unforgiving deserts of Miraji. In a small, dying town on the outskirts of society lives Amani, a gifted sharpshooter stuck in a life where her only options are marriage or death.

Hoping to win enough money to escape her life, Amani dresses as a boy and enters a gun shooting contest where she meets a foreigner named Jin. Together, Jin and Amani get out of a tight scrape and Amani sees Jin as her way out of her dead-end life. Jin is reluctant to take Amani with him but it seems fate has other plans.

Amani and Jin travel together and Amani learns that the desert, the world, is a bigger place then she could have ever imagined. Mythical beats roam the desert, people with powers are more common then they seem, and rebellion is on the horizon. Although, Amani and Jin grow close, Jin is secretive and more then he seems.

What will Amani do when she finds out the truth… the truth about her country, Jin and herself?

This was an interesting read. It was cohesive and yet I felt like I was reading two different books. The first half of the book focused so much on Amani and Jin, their budding relationship and Amani’s escape. This was an interesting journey but I also didn’t really know where the story was going. Then we get that ah-ha moment and book two (the second half of the book) takes over. We get history, rebellion, action, backstory, feelings and more. The story gains a lot more depth and momentum as the book progresses. It was just funny because you can actually pin-point when the story evolved into more than just a chance relationship.

Can I just ask, why do we love smart-ass, cocky, mischievous, ultimately good boys? My favorite male characters have that cocky little, know-it-all grin and Jin is definitely one of those guys. I sort of wish we got more of Jin. He was in the shadows for a lot of the story, there but this shadowy figure that you know has more to offer.

This is one of those rare stories where you know the sequels are going to get even better. The first book sets the stage for so, so much more. I ended up giving this one 3.5 stars because the first half of the book read so different from the second half. I am definitely excited for book two because I think we are going to learn and see a lot. Overall, a super quick read with much to come.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Crimson Skew

Hi Guys,

I finally picked up the third and final audio book in the Mapmakers Trilogy. I’d already listened to The Glass Sentence and The Golden Specific and was hoping this new one would end with a bang.

The Crimson Skew by S.E. Grove picks up right where we left off in The Golden Specific. Sophia is following her hard earned map toward her parents, Theo is forced into the army and a war he wants nothing to do with, and Shadrack is frantically searching for a way to right New Occident and end the corruption.

This book introduces new struggles and ties up loose ends. Old friends reappear and many questions are answered. We learn much about Sophia and Theo and we watch them grow with every trial they face.

I know, not much of a synopsis but without reading the other two books it is almost impossible to sum up this complex series. I mentioned in my last post about this series, that these books contain A LOT. There is so much going on that I am surprised it is intended for such a young audience. I’m not sure a middle school reader would really get all of the tiny intricacies of the story.

My favorite part of this book was that we get to see all of our favorite characters again. The characters really make this series. Each one is unique and full of their own spunk. Sophia seems to be the epicenter of this crew; she draws people to her and to her cause.

The maps were really my favorite part of the whole series. Memory maps, smoke maps, onion maps, maps made of any and everything, each doing something different. It was neat to “see.”

The series as a whole was unique, exciting and full of … well a lot. I enjoyed it and found myself wondering where it would lead. As much as I enjoyed it, this wasn’t a book I was left thinking about. It was good but one I probably wouldn’t read again. This one gets 3 stars from me and the series as a whole I’d give 3.5.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Scythe

Happy New Year Guys,

I hope everyone is having a good holiday season! Last week, I picked up the latest Neal Shusterman book because the cover looked sort of ominous and I was curious what this hooded, grim reaper-esq figure was.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman takes place in a world without death. There is no illness or accident that cannot be fixed and when bodies get too old, people can just “roll back the clock” and go back to their early twenties. But the world can only sustain so many and that is where the Scythes come in.

Scythes are a group of cloaked figures that act as grim reapers. They are tasked with lowering the human population through “gleanings” — unbiased, random killing. Scythes have quotas they must meet every year and basic rules to follow. Scythe’s bend to no one but each other and their word is law.

Citra and Rowan have been selected as Scythe apprentices, an apprenticeship neither want. These teens must learn the art of death and all that it entails because failing could mean their own.

Who will win the Scythedom and what is in store for the loser?

This book had such an interesting premise. A world where immortality is possible and death is only at the luck of the draw. Imagine the life people would or could live if their only fear of death was rogue happenstance? Imagine being that person, chosen to end lives and live on the outskirts of society.

I really liked the idea of these two powers in the world: an all powerful AI system and the Scythes who answer to no one, not even the AI. It is an interesting parallel and one that could have been played out a little more in my opinion.

Considering the competition between Citra and Rowan, the gleanings and the political unrest between the Scythes, you’d think this story would move at a pretty quick clip. But it didn’t. It was just a teeny bit slow for me and I actually put it down for a few days, which I am not normally prone to do.

What really saved this story for me was the unexpected twists near and at the end of the book. Twists, I really didn’t see coming and which added some depth to the story line. Twists, that could make for an excellent sequel.

Overall, this was a good read. Not one of my favorites but worthy of three stars. Although the book is somewhat violent, I think it would be suitable for a young adult audience… kids see worse on TV. Citra and Rowan actually fight against the killings and ultimately condemn those who glean with out compassion. This was an interesting world to think about and in that it was a success.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Three Dark Crowns

Hi Guys,

Another audio book for you. I was hesitant to pick up Three Dark Crowns, which is one of the reasons I chose it as an audio book. The synopsis sounded interesting but I wasn’t quite ready to get wrapped up in another series.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake takes place on the island of Fennbirn, where every generation a set of triplets are born. Three queens are born to rule but only one of them will survive until their seventeenth year.

Katharine is a poisoner. Poisoner’s are dark and strict and they are the current ruling power in Fennbirn; but their queen is weak, meek and can hardly tolerate imbibing even the weakest poison.

Arsinoe is a naturalist. Naturalist’s are wild and well liked, they are hunters and growers. Arsinoe is the weakest of the three queens, she knows she is gift-less even if no one will admit it.

Mirabella is an elemental and a powerful one. She is a favorite of the priestesses and most of Fennbirn believes she will be the next queen but she has one flaw… Mirabella remembers her sisters and she loves them.

Katharine, Arsinoe and Mirabella were separated at six and raised by their respective houses. Now they are sixteen and in only a few months time the year of ascension will begin. The sisters will have to kill each other and the one who survives will rise to queen.

There were some things I really liked about this book. The power factions were great! I loved this idea of warring clans, each with their own magical strength. The world building here was also nicely done. I actually felt like Fennbirn was this island out of time and place, trapped within the mist.

Blake does a really great job making you route for each of the sisters in turn. One second I was team Arsinoe and the next second team Katharine. Most of the book focused on Arsinoe and Mirabella’s storylines, which made Katharine’s ending FANTASTIC! I think I have a thing for dark, twisty, vengeful females because lately they have been some my favorites.

In fact, there was only one plot line that I really didn’t like in this story and unfortunately, I think it is going to follow us into the sequels. On top of the main plot there is a lot of relationship building and each of the sisters has a love interest. But one of them makes me want to roll my eyes and feels so wishy-washy. I don’t want to ruin anything, so if you know what I am talking about and feel the same way, let me know!

Well, I now have another series I have to follow. After that ending, I just have to know what happens. This one gets 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-