Any Bangs in September?

NOPE.

THis was a slow month for me and I’m not sure why.  I only read six books and most of them stunk. So here we go. Please click the titles for full reviews.

bombbomb1/2-Bull by David Elliot-I’m not into Greek Mythology but that wasn’t my problem.  It tried too hard to jump on the Hamilton train.  It was the story of the Minotaur but it was in verse and quite hip hop-whatever that means.

DNF-Enchantment of Ravens-It began well but I’m not in the mood for a road trip book.  I might pick it up again later.

bombbombbomb1/2-Into the Water by Paula Hawkins-I only read one adult fiction book a year and I LOVED Girl on the Train and this was for my book club and the character development was no bueno.

bombbombbombbomb-The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo-I didn’t read the last story because I’m not a fan of short stories (sorry for all the negativity).  I also thought this was going to be short stories about people from Ravka and not mythology.  I already said mythology is not my jam so double no no.  Anyway, I liked the fox story and the Duva story and the end of story illustrations were beautiful.

bombbombbombbomb 1/2-Midnight at the Electric-This was a critical read and one of my faves of the year.  If you are in the mood for a story about strong women, get out your tissues and read this book.

bombbombbomb 1/2-Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas-I think Maas is trying to hard to cram all this story in one book but ironically this book is too damn long.  It wouldn’t have been so long if the romance wasn’t sludging-UGH.  I was so close to giving up on this series but there’s only one book left and I’ve invested five years so I have to.

October TBR-One of these months I’m actually gonna read what I say I’m gonna read.

 

Advertisements

Midnight at the Electric

midnight at the electric

Midnight at the Electric

By Lodi Lynn Anderson

Genre: Historical Fiction/Kinda Science Fiction

Publication Date: June 13, 2017

Overview

Midnight at the Electric is set in three different decades with three different heroines that all have the same mission-save their future.

In 2065, Adri is set to fly to mars to start a new civilization because the earth’s resources are depleting and before her departure this orphan goes to meet and live her aunt for three months.  Adri is a self proclaimed awkward girl with poor social skills and the beginning of her relationship with her aunt Lily is rocky but as they coexist, Adri and Lily form a touching friendship.  Adri’s 107 year old aunt is suffering from dementia and is a tell-it-like-it-is woman. On Adri’s first night with Lily, she finds a picture of a woman which leads her to uncover her identity and takes Adri on a journey back in time.

Catherine lived in Lily’s house during the Dust Bowl of 1935.  She’s a plain girl with not a lot of ambition but when her younger sister becomes ill from the dust, Catherine realizes that she needs to get out of Kansas.  Everyone around Catherine including her mother and her crush refuses to leave their home and Catherine must make a difficult decision- leave Kansas with her sister or stay with her family.  To avoid this decision, Catherine is mesmerized by a traveling carnival that features a ball of lightning that promises cure alls called Midnight at the Electric and Catherine believes this can save her sister.

Lenore is an English girl during the post WWI era.  Her brother has died in the war and although she has other brothers and sisters, Lenore feels alone.  She decides to save money to travel to Kansas to be with her best friend, Catherine’s mother. While she’s earning, she befriends a mysterious young man who’s face has been left deformed by the war.

This is a very simple story about three generations of women who must make drastic decisions that impact their futures and their families.  Anderson retold this simple plot by featuring three different women who are all connected yet live in different decades and who are facing very different circumstances.  I liked that Anderson began Midnight in the not so far future where this current generation has consciously used up the earth’s resources which ultimately makes this novel incredibly relevant.   Midnight avoided tropes while introducing a new refreshing voice with Adri.  This was a touching novel and I found myself really caring about all these women and the turtle.

If you are a librarian who is looking for an engaging discussion book for your teens, I highly recommend this.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbombbomb 1/2

 

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?

 

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

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.

The Last Namsara

last namsara

The Last Namsara (Iskara #1)

By Kristen Ciccarelli

Genre: Fantasy/Dragrons

Publication Date: October 3, 2017

Overview

Before you begin reading this book, you need to get some post its or notebook paper and a pencil and be prepared to take copious notes.  And here’s why…

This world of Firgaard is freakin’ vast.  There are the Skral which are the slave people, the Scublanders who are a neighboring group of people at war with the Draksors which is what our main character is.  Now there are dragons and the person who can ride them called an Iskara and that exact opposite is a Namsara who are the ying to the Iskara’s yang.  There’s a god and a priestess and commandant with his soldats (soldiers) and forbidden stories and tunnels and dreams and legends and dragon queens and dragon kings and OH MY GOD!!!! TOO MUCH!  And all of this is explained within the first 200 pages.  I still don’t know what the Rif is or what Darmoor is because I didn’t care anymore.  I had to go back to find out who Elmore was and thank god I was reading on a Kindle so that I could easily find it but if you reading an ARC, good luck to you.

There’s nothing wrong with a vast world and I thought her world was interesting but she needs to find a way to distribute without overwhelming the reader.  I strongly advise that you read this book within a couple of days because if you take several days between reading, you’ll forget everything you read.  Now onto the meat of the review.

Meet Asha; she’s a dragon slayer. Get it Asha. Ash. Fire. Geez!  When she was 10 she told forbidden stories that called upon a dragon, Kozu, who burned her and her town so now she’s a self proclaimed wicked woman.  Um, that doesn’t make you wicked, that makes you 10 years old.  I know she’s wicked because she TELLS us all the time but she doesn’t SHOW us.  As far as I see, wicked means you are an awful person yet she’s not awful at all.  She’s supposed to be a dragon slayer which would mean she’s intense and fierce yet, her lowly cousin fights better and her commandant fiance turns her into a puddle of nerves-NOW THAT’S FIERCE.  Asha’s main flaw however is that she’s a dumbass who doesn’t ask any questions.  Her brother looks to be dying much like her mother yet, she doesn’t ask him why.  A dragon tells her a pretty incriminating story yet she doesn’t do any research.  A slave seems to know much more than a slave should yet she doesn’t ask him why he knows so much.  This same slave possesses something from a known enemy yet she doesn’t ask him why he has it.  If she had have asked questions, the story would have ended thus we have what I like to call, the fatal flaw.  A fatal flaw is when an author purposely leaves something obvious out that can be solved with a simple action that will ultimately end a story.  So if Asha had have asked her brother a couple of simple questions, the book would have been over by page 200.

This book had a fairly basic plot-kill the dragon and you won’t have to marry the abusive commandant.  Pretty simple until it gets convoluted with dreaming about old namsaras who make you complete tasks and I didn’t even know that Asha was trying to eradicate the old ways of the god until midway through.  I couldn’t even remember what the old ways were. There’s so much story, you can’t focus on anything of relevance because it gets buried.

The supporting cast could have been developed better.  The commandant, Jarek, was the villain and I believe a villain makes or breaks a book and he broke it.  From the moment he’s on the page, he’s horrible but his motives are never explained or shown.  Okay he was jealous of a slave but he saw his slave catch Asha before she fell one time and he gets extremely angry?  Jarek was more shock value and less character development.  If you want to read one of the best villains who happens to be a commandant, read An Ember in the Ashes by Tahir.  Safire, the cousin, had a good backstory but she was basically used as a weak spot for Asha.  Dax, the brother, tried to be a strong character but his weaknesses were told to the reader instead of shown so his development was lacking.

Now let’s talk about those dragons.  Asha is basically the Danaerys of this book-the mother of dragons yet these dragons seemed to be the size of horses and not very threatening.  I feel like a basic bow and arrow shouldn’t be able to pierce the hide of a dragon and bring it down.  The dragons were pointless in this novel, they weren’t scary and Asha would be walking looking for a dragon and she would find one just laying around doing nothing.

One other thing that bothered me and I’m not sure if I missed it or what but no one was described physically.  I know Asha had dark hair but was she fair skinned or olive skinned? Was she tall or short, thin or muscular? I have no idea and I’m assuming this was intentional but I couldn’t picture anyone and I don’t like that.

I can’t say too much because of spoilers but click here to read my spoiler rants.

Overall I think Ciccarelli had a good start considering she’s a debut and this is an epic story.  Her world was interesting and full of potential but it was too big for her.  I think she was too ambitious with her world which left no room for character development.  The ending picked up but by then I was exhausted.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb