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

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 

Any Bangs in July?

YES, TWO MONTHS IN A ROW!!!

This month I read a couple of pretty good books, one stinker, and two disappointments.  As always, click the titles for full reviews.

 

bombbombbombbomb 1/4-Tarnished City: FANTASTIC CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT especially the villains.  There were too many OMG moments at the end which diminished the impact.

bomb 1/2-There’s Someone Inside Your House: Elementary writing, tropey characters, not thrilling or scary.  One of the worst of the year.

bombbombbombHunting Prince Dracula: Disappointing read.  Most of the issues I had with this book were my issues and they were not the book’s fault. It’s called Hunting which is what they were doing but when I read a book about Dracula, I want to see more Dracula. Character’s shared the same voice and some characters were tropes.

bombbombbombCruel Prince: This was the second disappointing read this month.  The actions of the characters REALLY bothered me.

bangGodsgrave:  EXTREMELY engaging story.  Great heroine. Bloody, sexy, and violent.

bombbombbombbomb 1/2-Dragons of Nova: Great world building and character development.  Multi-themed and timely.

Next Month’s Reads (Hopefully)

  • I need to start reading Printz worthy books (critical books)-We are Okay & Eliza
  • Librarian Perk-We get books a week before they are published and I’m hoping to get Town of Dawn a week early.
  • I’m reviewing Devil in Ohio for School Library Journal.

Cruel Prince Spoiler Rants

Quick Overview

Jude, her twin sister, and her older sister with the pointy ears were living a normal human life when a strange green man comes to their house and kills their parents. He then takes them off to live in Faery land to raise them as his kids.  Cut to ten years later when we see Jude as a human who has fully assimilated into faery land but not all the Folk are thrilled with humans.

On to the RANT

My ultimate issue with this book was the actions of the characters.  Let me start with something minor that was the beginning of the end.  When Valerian forced fairy fruit in Jude’s face that made her take off her clothes, that was IT but then Carden pricked her finger because salt is the antidote and blood contains salt, I couldn’t… Don’t you think the first thing you learn that if you are given a drug and you don’t have salt, human blood can be used as an antidote?  I know that’s minor but it’s a sign of spotty writing.  Back to the drug-make-her-get-naked-and-bow-down part.  First, this was just for shock value. Second, she went off with one of the torturers. Third, she went back to school a day later and never had an inner monologue about being scared.  That’s unrealistic; I don’t care if you are the strongest girl alive.

Valerian literally tried to kill Jude twice and his only motive is that he likes to fight. WHAT??? His character was only in the book so that Jude had someone justifiable to kill so that she could prove to herself that she can kill someone because her step-father said she didn’t have the guts. So you mean to tell me that she dragged a dead body, I think down a flight of stairs, buried it and no one saw her? REALLY?

This girl has NEVER been a spy but she manages to infiltrate a prince’s castle, find the correct room, obtain the key piece of evidence, and escapes without problems.  I’m supposed to believe that? This girl is the daughter of the GENERAL. Everyone knows what she looks like but no body recognized her? REALLY?

The hot fairy who happens to be friends with her tormentors, invites her to a party where they will all be but she’s cool with it even though they just humiliated her and tried to kill her twice.  I get it; she’s strong and isn’t going to let bullies stop her from living but that’s sooooo unrealistic.  I could see if they were just calling her names or just kicking her lunch in the lake but no, they tried to make her jump to her death.

This is just the little stuff that bothered me.  The big one, and you know what I’m about to say, is that Locke was dating her sister Taryn and she didn’t do anything about it.  And then, this strong heroine, challenged her twin sister to a duel over a GUY!  That is the exact opposite of what she should have done.  She should have challenged Locke to a duel for being a dick not your sister over some dude and I don’t care if she did choose him over family. Never over a dude; that is rule #1.  That is such a weak woman trope. And I get it, she was angry because her sister chose a guy over her but you don’t challenge them to a duel. You get in her face and say, “How could you do this to me? We are sisters and you are going to choose a man over me? Get out of my face!” And then you forgive her and never trust your man around her ever again.

This is not part of my character motive rant but I couldn’t with that Red Coronation scene and if you watch/read Game of Thrones you know what I’m talking about. That whole death scene was right out of Game of Thrones and I totally wasn’t shocked by it.