Well, these reviews have been sitting in my drafts folder since January so in order to clear them out and get caught up on a few things, I’m putting them all together in one giant post of mini reviews. Weee!
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
I think perhaps I made a mistake listening to this one in audio and when I pick up the sequel I’m definitely going to get a print book out from the library instead of audio. The audio isn’t bad (in fact I enjoyed the different narrators and the sound effects made it interesting) but I do feel like I missed out on something by not reading it in print. I appreciate the way the story is being told in this one, through documents and recordings and a series of interviews–it makes for interesting storytelling. I do feel like this sometimes put me at a distance from the characters, however, so I wasn’t always engaged as I would have liked to be. One of things that I really loved in the latter half was all of the action and the high stakes with the hacking. Those things really ramped the tension up, which is good because I did get lost a bit somewhere in the middle where it felt slower paced to me. Overall I did enjoy this one though! 3.5/5 stars.
Fans of Susan Dennard’s New York Times bestselling Witchlands series have fallen in love with the Bloodwitch Aeduan. And now, finally, comes his story.
High in a snowy mountain range, a monastery that holds more than just faith clings to the side of a cliff. Below, thwarted by a lake, a bloodthirsty horde of raiders await the coming of winter and the frozen path to destroy the sanctuary and its secrets.
The Bloodwitch Aeduan has teamed up with the Threadwitch Iseult and the magical girl Owl to stop the destruction. But to do so, he must confront his own father, and his past.
As what happens with mulit-pov books sometimes, there were parts of it that I enjoyed a lot more than others just because those particular story lines interested me more. So, let’s get this out of the way: I was reading this PURELY for Aeduan and Iseult’s story line because that’s really the only thing that interests me anymore in this series, the other characters really don’t do much for me. I’ve always had mixed reactions to the books in this series and this one continued that trend. That being said, I do think I enjoyed this one much more than the previous book, and started to care again about the other characters in the world. Although, I’ll also admit that I sometimes get confused as to what all is going on in the different parts of the world because, well, this book has a ton going on and there’s a lot of world building. I think this is purely a me thing and if you’ve been a fan of the series you’ll probably love this one. As for me, 3.5/5 stars.
POLITICS ARE HELL
Kaylin wasn’t sent to the West March to start a war. Her mission to bring back nine Barrani might do just that, though. She traveled with a Dragon, and her presence is perceived as an act of aggression in the extremely hostile world of Barrani-Dragon politics. Internal Barrani politics are no less deadly, and Kaylin has managed—barely—to help the rescued Barrani evade both death and captivity at the hands of the Consort.
Before the unplanned “visit” to the West March, Kaylin invited the Consort to dinner. For obvious reasons, Kaylin wants to cancel dinner—forever. But the Consort is going to show up at the front door at the agreed upon time. The fact that she tried to imprison Kaylin’s guests doesn’t matter at all…to her.
A private Barrani Hell, built of Shadow and malice, exists beneath the High Halls. It is the High Court’s duty to jail the creature at its heart—even if it means that Barrani victims are locked in the cage with it. The Consort is willing to do almost anything to free the trapped and end their eternal torment. And she needs the help of Kaylin’s houseguests—and Kaylin herself. Failure won’t be death—it’s Hell. And that’s where Kaylin is going.
I’ve been a huge fan of Michelle Sagara’s Chronicles of Elantra series for years and here we are at book 14! These books have been a ton of fun and I love continuing to explore the world and all it’s crazy metaphysical magical weirdness which Kaylin always seems to find herself at the center of. In this one, we get to visit the Barrani court again, which is always fun because of all the politics. One of the issues that I’ve always had with these books is that there is just so much talking out of every little possibility between the characters explaining things to Kaylin and tons of tons of exposition through dialogue. Which is maybe a pet peeve but sometimes it feels like half the book nothing is happening but one single meeting. That being said, I love this world and these characters so much. And we got to learn even more about the Barrani in this one! 4/5 stars.
Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.
Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.
This is another book that just felt average to me. Which, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! But it’s sometimes hard to think of things to say about books where nothing stood out as amazing or glaringly awful. Now, I haven’t read the original Grisha books, but I did read the Six of Crows duology, which I loved. I enjoyed Nikolai’s story line here well enough but I never fully connected with the characters there, although there were moments. Nina’s story line was much more interesting to me. I was happy to visit with her again and see how she was faring after the events of the previous books. I wasn’t that intrigued by much happening plot-wise, but the characters kept me invested for the most part. I’ll definitely read the next book when it comes out because, in my experience at least, I think book two will probably be a lot more engaging for me. 3/5 stars.
One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.
Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.
Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.
There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.
With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.
This is one that I really loved and I’m not quite sure why I never got a review together for it. The world-building in this is just fantastic. I love the Japanese mythology incorporated into the story, including having a main character who is half kitsune. I loved the demon possessed sword angle too! Great opportunity there for a tsundere type, which I admit I have a soft spot for. There’s also a journey / traveling aspect to the story that I loved where reluctant partners set out and gather some other characters along the way. Every character in this is an oddball in some way and I think that’s fun. I’ll be honest and say I don’t actually remember much about the plot itself (some sort of mcguffin quest or something?) but who cares? Because this is clearly all about the characters. I had a ton of fun reading this book and am very much looking forward to the sequel. 4/5 stars.