Tower of Dawn Spoilers

Tower of Dawn is happening concurrently with Empire of Storms.  Chaol and Nesryn have gone to Antica which is not on the map in the beginning of the book but the in southern continent. They have gone to heal Chaol’s back as well as ask the king to join forces to defeat Erawan.

When Chaol and Nesryn arrive to Antica, we learn that the king is called the Great Khagan and the heir is not born into the title, he/she is chosen.  When you are chosen to be heir, all siblings must sworn fealty to the king and not challenge them or risk execution.  When sibling swear fealty they cannot have children (I don’t understand why) but if they do have a wife and kids when the heir is chosen they can all be executed (once again, i’m not sure why.  Because they can try to claim the throne?) Anyway, the Great Khagan had his sibling killed or exiled and made them infertile.  What’s the point? The Great Khagan has five living kids and has not named his heir.  One of his daughters is married and pregnant so technically when he names Sartaq his heir, is he going to follow tradition?  I’m guessing no. Anyway, Sartaq was named heir and he loves Nesryn.

The youngest sibling died from a fall but Kashin thinks it was murder and asks Chaol to investigate.  We finally learn that the Valg has made its way to Antica, entered Duva (the pregnant one) and made her kill her sister.  This revelation finally makes the king believe that evil is going to take over and allows Chaol to use his army.

Yrene Towers is from Fenharrow and her mother was a healer.  When the king of Adarlan outlawed magic, he had Yrene’s mother burned to death as Yrene watched.  She fled to Innis where she met Aelin (she doesn’t know it was Aelin).  This story is in Assassin’s Blade.  She made it to Antica to study at the Torre-healers.  Yrene wants to go back to Fenharrow to heal the fighters but the head healer wants her to heal Chaol first. At first she hates him but then they fall in love and get married at the end.

When Yrene was researching in the Torre library, a healer that resembled her was murdered by the Valg and she thinks they are after her.  They are after her because she is a healer and they don’t want healers.

Nesryn and Sartaq fly the ruks and they discover some giant Valg spiders.  The ruk is injured trying to save them but the spiders take Sartaq.  To save him, Nesryn takes a shapeshifter named Falken who is the Lysandra’s uncle to the spider cave and while they are there, Nesryn learns that Maeve is the Valg Queen.

Hundreds of years ago, Maeve married Orcus but fled to a new universe.  She then cast a spell on Mab and Mora and made them and everyone believe that she was their sister. She also took the keys.  The kings almost found her but didn’t and she sent all of them except Brannon back to the other universe.  Brannon is the fire king and I think Maeve fears him because Valg doesn’t like fire.

Hasan gets news that Aelin has defeated Maeve and has gone back to Terresen but what they don’t realize is that Aelin has been captured and who they saw was Lysandra.

We find out that Anthril is loyal to Silba because he had the owl symbol somewhere around him. Mala gave the immunity ring to Anthril and not Brannon even though she loves Brannon. That wasn’t answered-I think. Because Brannon is the fire king and the Valg fear fire so he doesn’t need immunity? IDK.

In the end, Duva was going to kill Yrene but Chaol jumped between and she damaged his back even further.  As Chaol lay dying, Yrene prayed to save him at any cost and the cost was that when Yrene is exhausted from healing, Chaol will be paralyzed.  When she’s recovered, he can walk.  When one dies, they both die.

They are all sailing to the north to help fight the Valg.

The last chapter is Brannon? But I’m not sure who he is talking to.  Mala?

 

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Tower of Dawn

tower of dawn

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6)

Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: September 5, 2017

Overview

Tower of Dawn is happening concurrently with Empire of Storms.  Chaol and Nesryn have gone to Antica which is not on the map in the beginning of the book but the in southern continent. They have gone to heal Chaol’s back as well as ask the king to join forces to defeat Erawan.

Let me begin by saying that is book is 660 fucking pages.

Secondly, Maas spends 400 pages developing a romance and about 200ish pages on the actual story.

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Considering the fact that there is A LOT going on in this story with the wydkeys and the Valg and faeries and the wyverns and now we have ruks and SIX NEW MAIN CHARACTERS and Brannon and Mab & Mora and Maeve and a new continent which means new world building and that owl symbol on the cover and OH MY GOD!!!  I feel like Maas is trying to write a Game of Thrones epic type story but she’s not doing a good job.  The story is too convoluted and the strategy to kill the Valg and Erawan is too complicated and I still don’t know how to do it.  I know one person needs all three key but then what? in GOT you kill the white walkers with fire, dragonstone or Valarian steel-That’s it!

But it’s not just about the keys.  She’s gone back hundreds of years with Brannon and Orcus and Elena and she info dumps all that information which, by the way, it EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO THE PLOT, yet she only gives it two short chapters.  Yrene salivating over Chaol’s body got more pages than the main plot.

And while we are talking about Chaol.  I like Chaol but damn; he got on my last nerve with the brooding.  Hey Chaol, everyone has suffered.  People around you have brutally lost their loved ones, been sexually assaulted or had to sell their bodies for money.  They had to travel on their own to get to safety while you were on a cushy boat and you have the nerve to bitch about your problems for 500 pages? And we still don’t know what happened with his father.

Basically, this book is too big for Maas.  She seems to like romance and if that’s the case then write some erotica and get it out of your system already.  But if you are going to write an epic fantasy, please spend more than 20% of your novel on the fantasy part.  Don’t info dump all the back story into your book.  Take a page from Rowling and RR Martin and write the back stories on your website or write separate history books.  Have an easy to follow plot in your main story, sprinkle in some interesting history, and allow people to read those history books if they want to learn more about your world.

I’m this close to giving up on Throne of Glass but I’ve invested five years into this series and there’s only one book left so I guess.  And if someone knows who the last chapter was about, could you leave it in the comments?

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb 3/4 (I’m being generous)

Click here for spoilers.

Any Bangs in August?

NO!! But one book came close.

This was a rough month for me; I read nine books but only liked two.  I decided to read more critical books and less fantasy this month because I moderate the Mock Printz Goodreads group (you are welcome to join us) and I wasn’t too impressed.  YIKES!

As always, please click on the titles for full reviews.

bombbombbombbomb Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds-Great theme; thought provoking.

bombbombbomb Wild Beauty by Anna Marie McLemore-Beautiful world but too many ideas muddled the plot.

bombbombbomb Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff-Too much what and not enough why.

bombbombbomb Little & Lion by Brandi Colbert-The story was fine but the voice was not new nor compelling.

bombbombbomb The Last Namsara byKristen Ciccarelli-Unique world but the main character didn’t ask enough questions which ultimately had a negative affect of the plot.

bombbombbomb 1/2-Bang by Barry Lyga-Lacked nuance.

bombbombbomb 1/2-We Are Okay by Nina LaCour-Weak character development.

bombbombbombbomb 1/2-Release by Patrick Ness-Great exposition on blame and letting go.  Adam had a unique and honest voice.

The Devil in Ohio by Daria Polatin-Catch my review in SLJ.

TBR for September:

  • Got my hands on Tower of Dawn (librarian perk!) so I’ll try to finish this behemoth by Labor Day.
  • I need to finally read Conjuring of Light. I’m always a bit scared to read final books because I’m afraid they’ll suck.
  • I’m still trying to read critical reads for Mock Printz and that would include Invisible Hand, Dear Martin, and Midnight at the Electric

Long Way Down

long way down

Long Way Down

By Jason Reynolds

Genre: Contemporary/Guns

Publication Date: October 17, 2017 (MY BIRTHDAY!)

Overview

Will has witnessed his brother’s murder and he thinks he knows who pulled the trigger.  Hell bent on revenge, Rule #3, Will finds his brother’s gun, steps into the elevator, and waits the long way down to the lobby to locate and kill his brother’s murderer.  During the one minute it takes to reach the lobby, Will is met with six ghosts who have all died from gunfire.  Do these ghosts succeed in persuading Will to not seek revenge?

Long Way Down is told in verse and takes place in an elevator over the span of about one minute.  Will only has one minute to make a decision that will change his life for ever and this is only one theme explored in the novel.  Rules are a second theme.  There are rules when someone is shot and these rules have been passed down among several generations in Will’s family.  Will is challenged by the ghosts to break those rules.

This book also includes several vivid metaphors that teens can spend all day picking apart including the cigarette smoke and comparing the gun to a spine which incidentally connects the book cover.  The ending is ambiguous and leaves the reader to conclude Will’s choice.

Long Way Down is a good book for teens of all ages.  Currently, there are several published books about gangs and gun violence but Reynolds spins this common plot to a story about choice.

Bang Bang Rating bombbombbombbomb

Wild Beauty

wild beauty

Wild Beauty

By Anna Marie McLemore

Genre: Magical Realism/LGBTQ

Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Overview

The Nomeolvides women live in La Pradera because they are feared-every man they love will disappear.  The five Nomeolvides sisters believe they have found a loophole by loving a girl but they fear she will disappear so they make a sacrifice to save her.  The very next day, a strange boy appears in their garden and they believe their sacrifice has returned a lost love.  Sounds cool right? Well it was until it wasn’t.

This is a very simple plot but unfortunately, it got muddled with their love interest’s cousin and his love of money and then he uses the girls to entertain his guests and then Estrella, a Nomeolvide, does something stupid and is blackmailed and then something happens to the love interest and then there are 15 Nomeolvides women and it WAS TOO MUCH!  This was my issue with When The Moon Was Ours-convoluted.

But my biggest issue was that Wild Beauty was the familiarity of When the Moon Was Ours which was McLemore’s 2016 book.  The girls in Wild Beauty  can grow flowers with one touch, the girl in WTMWO grew roses out of her wrists.  A boy, named Fel, mysteriously appears in their garden, in WTMWO a strange girl falls from a water tower.  The sisters in this book are oddly close nit and strange, so were the sisters in WTMWO.  It’s like McLemore ran out of ideas.

McLemore is a good writer.  She paints a beautiful picture and she’s capable of new and interesting characters but someone needs to tell her to edit.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb

Release

release

Release

By Patrick Ness

Genre: Contemporary/Magical Realism/LGBTQ

Publication Date:  September 19, 2017

Overview

Adam Thorn has a busy day-picking up flowers for his mom, going to work, helping his dad at the church, and saying goodbye to the boy he loves? Loved?  As we accompany Adam for the day, we also follow Katherine who was recently murdered by her meth head boyfriend.  Both teens are seeking a release; will they find it?

In true Ness fashion, we have a contemporary story sprinkled with paranormal.  Similar to The Rest of Us Just Live Here, there’s a main story featuring Adam and a secondary story featuring Katherine-a ghost.  Although the two stories are different, they are occurring at the same time and share the same themes-blame; alternative families; redemption; and letting go.

Adam Thorn is a seventeen-year old high school senior and the son of a preacher.  He’s constantly in the shadow of his very attractive and very holy older brother, Marty, and he’s in love with a boy who doesn’t love him back-Enzo.  Although he has a new boyfriend that he thinks he loves, he can’t get past the old flame.  Why doesn’t Enzo love him? Is he unlovable? Maybe he’s too young to know what love is and it was just “messing around.”  Maybe Marty was correct and his sexuality makes him incapable of true love.  Adam is dealing with all of this in addition to his parents who are in denial of their gay son and constantly reminds him that their love is conditional.  Since Adam cannot truly be himself with his family, he considers his best friend Angela to be his family and often seeks comfort from her.

Meanwhile, Katherine van Leuwen has not passed over into the after world and latches herself onto the Queen of the after world to find answers.  As she rises from the lake where she was drowned, she finds her old home, her best friend, and the boy who killed her.  Accompanying Katherine is a faun who wipes people’s memory and saves others from the Queen/Katherine’s deadly rage.  Much like Adam, Katherine spends the beginning of her day blaming herself then taking the power back from her killer and finally allowing herself to release her anger so she can pass over.

Adam and Katherine’s stories are told in the same chapters so they are experiencing the same things. I won’t expound because that’s part of the enjoyment of the book.  By the end of the story, both characters grow and are able move on.

Release contains several metaphors including the faun and the rose and once again, I’ll let you discover their meanings on your own.  Most readers will focus on Adam’s story which is unique and uplifting but please don’t ignore the B story because it’s written just as beautifully as Adam’s.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbombbomb 1/2

 

Little & Lion

little and lion

Little & Lion

By Brandy Colbert

Genre: Contemporary/Mental Health/LGBTQ/Pansexual

Publication Date: August 8, 2017

Overview

Suzette aka Little is returning home for the summer from her New England boarding school.  After a particular mental health breakdown from her brother Lion, we as the reader don’t know until midway, Little’s parents felt it was best for her to go to a new school on the other coast of the US.  Little hasn’t seen her friends or her brother for several months and it understandably apprehensive.

Suzette is a cool chick with dreads and that nose ring that you see on bulls-I don’t know what it’s called but you get the visual.  She’s also very shy and unsure of her sexuality.  Before she went to her new school, she liked boys however something changed when she met her roommate Iris. No one but her best friend knows this and Little plans to keep this private until she has some sort of grasp on the situation.

Lion is Little’s white step brother who has been recently diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.  He’s a loner and a reader and a red head.  Emil is Little’s half Asian neighbor who suddenly got hot over the past year and he has new hearing aids.  DeeDee, Little’s best friend, has a new girlfriend and Little is a bit jealous of not only their closeness but the fact the DeeDee seems to know exactly who she is and is comfortable with her sexuality.  Rafaela Castillo is the new cool looking girl in town and Little begins to crush on her leaving Little confused because she also likes Emil.  Little’s mother did not marry her new live in Jewish boyfriend and happens to be the most supportive mother in any YA book I’ve ever read.

Have you checked the boxes yet?

X Black Girl

X Jewish Family

X LGBTQ

X Asian Character

X Latina Character

X Mental Health

There is technically nothing wrong with this story.  Sure there are some small plot issues such as the rant about racial insensitivity when a white girl claimed that blacks aren’t supposed to be able to swim and Emil going on about blacks not being able to swim in white pools in the 60’s.  I found it interesting that Lion reads classic literature from troubled authors yet he doesn’t know the consequences when you stop taking meds.  Aside from that, Little and Lion had a complete character arc.  There was a clear beginning, a exciting climax, and an ending even if it was a bit happily ever after.  There were also clear themes of identity.

The problem with the book is that there was no authentic voice.  Little’s voice was the same voice that I’ve heard from several other similar characters.  She’s shy and closeted and she envies other people’s confidence and she accepts who she is and faces her fears.  Is she flirting with me? Do I like him? Does he like me?  Little’s voice is relatable but it’s not special and voice must be special to make a book critical.

There was one clear theme, identity, but critical reads should have several themes that weave seamlessly throughout the narrative.  The supporting characters were not essential to the plot and several of them were planted to cause tension.  What was the point of Cait? Was she just a catalyst for Lion’s inevitable breakdown? What was the point of Grace? Was her blacks don’t swim comment there for Emil to defend Little? That’s not strong character development.

Little & Lion is very relatable and I’d recommend it to lots of teens but if you would have put this book in the hands of a Nicola Yoon or an Adam Silvera, it would have been beautifully written with rich new voices and strong themes.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb