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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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

 

Maresi

maresi

Maresi (The Red Abbey Chronicles #1)

By Maria Turtschaninoff

Genre: Paranormal/Feminism

Publication Date: January 3, 2017

Overview

Maresi is a thirteen year old girl sent to live in an abbey on a fictional seaside land.  Families send their girls to the abbey for an education or a better life and each girl has their own story.  At the beginning of the novel, Maresi is asked to tell her story of a horrific season that includes a mysterious girl and dangerous visitors.

Maresi is clearly a story about sisterhood and female empowerment and although it does a good job of conveying this message, the story wrapped in this message is a bit on the boring side.  This is a slow moving plot and I believe that if you have a slow plot, the novel should be filled with strong character development, or world building, or beautiful prose, or deep dialog but I feel Maresi fell short on all of the above.

We were only given the back story of Maresi and Jai, the mysterious girl, and it took up about one chapter.  The world was interesting but because it’s told from Maresi’s POV and she wasn’t allowed to read the history of the founding women, we as the reader aren’t privy to the mythology.  The reader is told the what but not the why so I felt disconnected.

Instead we get to see Maresi’s life in the abbey which is full of doors and food-two things that impact her life.  The door metaphor in particular is a profound theme but the author bashed the reader over the head with it and it lost it’s impact.  Maresi also decided to care for Jai which was also essential to her character development but once again, she’s thirteen so all we get are expositions about Jai being her shadow.

My other issue was the tone.  The first third is Maresi telling a story and it’s descriptive as far as the abbey and her day to day but suddenly men come and it a scene right out of Game of Thrones (excuse me, I’ve been rewatching GOT).  The men use a lot of “whores” and it becomes sexually abusive.  There was foreshadowing but the switch in tone was so abrupt that it led me to think this was an adult fiction book.  I don’t say that because of the sexual assault or the language but this story doesn’t seem to want to relate to a teen; it seems to be speaking to adults.  Teen fantasy is usually filled with world building and mythology and the WHY.  This book has none of that and I see teens getting bored.

Bang Bang Rating bombbombbomb

The Last Samsara Spoiler Rants

Overview

Asha is an Iskara or someone who summons dragons.  When Asha was ten, she told forbidden stories that summoned a dragon that burned down her village, killed the commandant, and burned half of Asha’s body.  Ten years later, Asha must marry the commandant’s abusive son as a penance for his father’s death.  The dragon king, Asha’s father, tells her that if she kills the dragon that burned down the village, she will not have to marry so she sets out to find and kill the dragon.

This is more of a spoiler rant and not a spoiler overview.

I gave The Last Namsara 3 stars for the following reasons:

From the very beginning of the novel, Asha’s father was very loving and supportive.  I knew that was a red flag.  Kings are never loving and supportive; they are always manipulative and self absorbed.  For most of the book, I couldn’t understand why the commandant had so much power.  It made no sense for Jarek to be able to get the crowed prince exiled or imprisoned or pushed around.  It made no sense for Jarek to be publicly abusive to Asha and to force the king the throw her in prison.  He’s the fucking king!  It didn’t even occur to me that the king was behind all of this because there were almost no clues.  The one clue was Asha’s mother’s ring that was poison.  The author briefly mentioned large quantities of dragon bone ash could be poisonous and she told a story of a queen who poised people but that’s not enough of a clue.  Because the story is told from Asha’s POV, there’s no interaction between the king and Dax and therefore there was no foreshadowing or a glimpse into their relationship.  So the king didn’t want Dax to be the future king because he was wimpy and illiterate but once again, we were told this and it wasn’t shown.  I suppose one could argue that he was thin and sickly because of the ring but during all of that, he managed to write scrolls and save slaves and form alliances so he didn’t seem that weak.  The whole thing with the king using the dragon hunting to stall Asha was just poorly written and this was the main dilemma.