So, I’ve had drafts for these three book reviews languishing in my drafts folder for what seems like forever (it’s been 2-3 months). It’s not like I don’t want to give full attention to these books because I thought all of them were pretty great reads but at this point it’s been a while and I don’t know if I can write a longer review (once again I remind myself how I really need to start taking notes). Anywho, in an effort to finally clear my drafts folder from all review posts, here we go with another mini review post, wee!
Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa
One thousand years ago, a wish was made to the Harbinger of Change and a sword of rage and lightning was forged. Kamigoroshi. The Godslayer. It had one task: to seal away the powerful demon Hakaimono.
Now he has broken free.
Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has one task: to take her piece of the ancient and powerful scroll to the Steel Feather temple in order to prevent the summoning of the Harbinger of Change, the great Kami Dragon who will grant one wish to whomever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. But she has a new enemy now. The demon Hakaimono, who for centuries was trapped in a cursed sword, has escaped and possessed the boy she thought would protect her, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan.
Hakaimono has done the unthinkable and joined forces with the Master of Demons in order to break the curse of the sword and set himself free. To overthrow the empire and cover the land in darkness, they need one thing: the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. As the paths of Yumeko and the possessed Tatsumi cross once again, the entire empire will be thrown into chaos.
Such a great sequel! This story does a great job at building the tension and advancing the plot that was laid down in the first book. There’s some great political intrigue happening in this one too, having to deal with the conventions of court. The strength here, however, remains the characters–I love them all so much! It’s such a great ensemble cast too, everyone has their own things going on, I love how fleshed out their stories are. Of course you know I love Tatsumi because he’s so surly all of the time, but also he can’t help but love Yumeko. Some of my favorite types of characters are in this series which is probably one of the reasons it resonates so strongly with me. It’s fun, fast paced, has some great stakes and you really don’t want to see the gang lose. Also, aaaaah, that ending! Super excited for book three. 4/5 stars.
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
In the captivating start to a new, darkly lyrical fantasy series, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price.When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha-one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles and make a powerful choice.
I love the way the story is told in this one, there’s a frame to it. So you kind of know where things are going but not exactly as the frame part is still vague and mysterious. Still, you know that the story will have to meet up with the present at some point and the curiosity of that is what drives the force of the story being told. I also looooove the dark magic in this book, dealing with death magic is something I always find intriguing. I’d definitely classify this one as a dark fantasy–there’s basically zombies, so. The one thing is that this does end on a cliffhanger (aaaah, whyyyyyy what’s going to happen???) and I probably should have been prepared with book 2 in hand but I wasn’t, whoops! I thought Tea’s character was fantastic, she’s someone you want to root for, even in the frame when it becomes clear that something very wrong has happened. Overall, this story had a lot of unique things going for it, from the magic to the world building, so I think it really stands out from the crowd for that alone. 4/5 stars.
Siege and Sacrifice by Charlie N. Holmberg
Sandis has finally freed herself from her master and his plans to use her as a vessel for the ancient beast Kolosos. But her master has found a new, impossible vessel: Sandis’s brother, Anon—a brother she long thought dead.
Kolosos is ancient, massive, and seemingly unbeatable. Fortunately, Sandis has her own monster—an ethereal fire horse that she can summon at will. In addition, she and Rone may have discovered the secret to defeating Kolosos: ancient lore that details the creation of magic. It could be the key to victory and the key to saving Anon.
The price is steep, and Sandis is willing to pay it. Rone is not, and his attempt to save her only pulls them apart. As both are tested in ways they never expected, Sandis and Rone will need to determine the sacrifices they are willing to make. If their efforts are not enough, their city will fall…just as the ancient city beneath it already has.
This starts off right where the last one ended so if you haven’t read either book yet I’d recommend reading them back to back, I think it would make for a slightly more satisfying read that way. We go right to the thick of the action as Kolosos is summoned over and over laying waste to parts of the city. Sandis and company are forced to work with city officials to try and fight back against Kolosos and save the city. We finally learn all about the mysterious other civilization and the Numina and how and why things are the way they are, so that was pretty cool and I liked that there was some obvious thought behind the world building here. Sandis and Rone, well, Rone really spends a lot of time grovelling still as well he should. I’m still a little mad at him from his actions at the end of book one but at least I understand where he was coming from and no one is perfect. He goes through a lot here too and feel like he has a good character arc. Overall, I thought this was a pretty satisfying conclusion to the Numina trilogy and, as always, looking forward to more of Holmberg’s work. 4/5 stars.
That’s it this time around! So glad to have these out of my drafts folder, although I do feel a bit bad about not being able to do individual reviews. Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Leave a note in the comments, I’d love to chat!