December 2017: Any Bangs

The last two months have been super crunch time to meet my Goodreads goal and although I completed my 90 book goal, technically I finished my 90th book on January 1st.  But I was 2/3 of the way through and I’m counting it.

This was a rough month meaning no bangs but it ended strong.  Click on the title for full reviews. (Not all books have reviews).

one of us is lying

One of Us is Lying

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb

I wasn’t expecting a critical read but I was expecting a good mystery considering this has been on the NY Times bestseller list for weeks.  It began pretty well but then it dragged ass and that ending-WTF?  I was legit going back to the crime scene to figure out who was doing what and that didn’t even matter. UGH!!!


see what i have done

See What I Have Done

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb

I like many are fascinated by Lizzie Borden and this debut was a good try but unfortunately, Schmidt used the small amount of evidence available and tried to fill 300 pages.  Too repetitive.


loneliest girl

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

I reviewed this for SLJ and you can catch it in a future publication.


love hate and filters

Love, Hate, and Other Filters

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb

This is an okay light hearted romance with a bit of Islamophobia.  The ending was a bit too unrealistic.


rebels of gold

Rebels of Gold

Bang Bang Rating: DNF

I loved the first two and this one was good but it was all about an impending war that I could predict the outcome and I was just not interested.  I got about 2/3’s in and skipped to the end and I was right.  It’s still a good fantasy and I highly recommend it.


dear martin

Dear Martin

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb

Not very deep.


you bring the distance near

You Bring the Distance Near

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb

Too much telling and not enough showing.


everless

Everless

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb 3/4

A little info dumpy but the idea was interesting.


batman book

Batman

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbombbomb

Solid story but it was a bit boring.


vicious

Vicious

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbombbomb 3/4

I don’t know why I waited so long to read this but it was GREAT! This book was a struggle because we are conditioned to pick a side and root for them but both characters were monsters and they both had good points.  I went back and forth-FRUSTRATING but good frustrating.


I’m tired and I’m not reading a damn thing for two weeks.  When I do decide to read, here’s the rundown.

Advertisements

2018 So Far

So I started reading 2018 books in October because I ran out of 2017 books to read.  You might be saying, “Dawn, you don’t like anything.” Trust me, I hear it from my friends all the time and I’d like to say that I do like stuff-I’m just REALLY picky.  I’m a critical reader which means I enjoy books that challenge me with multiple themes, a unique voice, and beautiful prose.  I’m also a sucker for a quotey book and a book that mixes genres.  If a book is full of tropes; is predictable as hell; has the same voice I’ve heard a MILLION times; or has elementary writing, I’m not gonna like it, people!  I’m all about own voices and I’m super excited to see so many authors of color but that doesn’t excuse bad writing (in my opinion).

With being said, here we go…And as always, click the title for full reviews.

everless

Publication Date: January 2, 2018

This is a debut fantasy and I usually don’t like debut fantasy but this one has great potential.  The world uses time as currency which is a unique spin on the haves and the have nots.  The mythology was interesting but a bit convoluted.  The major reveals and world building were info dumped but there was an attempt at uniqueness and the writing was solid.  I also liked the female friendships-I’m sick of girl hate.

You should definitely read this.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb 3/4


ink iron glass

Publication Date: February 20, 2018

Here’s another debut fantasy and I did NOT like this one.  First of all, it’s only 336 pages-RED FLAG, RED FLAG!  This usually means the world building is shitty and not well developed-it wasn’t.  The premise is cool-a scriptologist can write a world and “people” can live in it.  The execution however was not good as it tried to mix in historical Italian fiction but it was all info dumped and not very interesting.  There was insta love and the character development was weak.  Then the author tried to execute a plot twist that contained no foreshadowing therefore rendering it anticlimactic.

Although the cover is beautiful, RUN AWAY!  Read Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine instead.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbomb


children of blood and bone

Published March 6, 2018

Are you scared of what I’m going to say? I had high hopes for this because of the hype and I was also scared of what I was going to think.

I like it a lot-PHEW! The character development was strong, the pacing was fantastic considering it is 600 pages, the plot was well developed and easy to follow, and it contained some thought provoking themes.  I’m so happy to see a fantasy with an all black cast.

Add it to your collection the day it’s published.

Bang Bang Ratingbang

 (I initially gave it 4.8 but that’s dumb; I’ll just up it to a perfect 5)


love hate and filters

Publication Date: January 16, 2018

This is marketed as Islamophobia and although there are instances of it, it is not the main focus by any means.  Islamophobia theme to me means it’s going to contain a deep discussion and strong themes but it doesn’t.  This is more like a light hearted romance with a smattering of Islamophobia but the voice wasn’t nuanced enough to love this.  It’s just okay.

Read The Hate U Give instead.  I’ve only read three books about Islamophobia and none of them were noteworthy.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb


thunderhead

January 9, 2018

This was a nonstop roller coaster with a death drop at the end-DAMN! This is the type of science fiction book I like.  This book has strong themes of mortality and abuse of power. There are complex characters and timely world building even though it’s post apocalyptic.  Once again, I initially gave it 4.5 because I wrote my review immediately after reading when my emotions were all over the place-THAT DAMN CLIFFHANGER ENDING!  But upon reflection, I will bump it up.

This was better than book 1.

Bang Bang Rating: bang


traitor's game

Publication Date: February 28, 2018

I loved the False Prince and I think Neilsen should stick to middle grade books.  The main character was awful and the insta love was gross.  There’s nothing new to see here, folks.

Read The False Prince, Kiss of Deception, or Winner’s Curse instead.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbomb 1/2


the hazel wood

Publication Date: January 20, 2018

So I don’t like Alice in Wonderland because it’s too much imagery for me to grasp.  I didn’t know this was a retelling even though the main character’s name is Alice and her grandma’s book references Hinterland.  Nevertheless, I DNFed this because although it started off well, it got a little too nutty for me with the twists and turns and the double agents and such.  I’m not the best person to listen to because of my dislike of Alice in Wonderland so I may not be the best person to advise.

Bang Bang Rating: DNF


dread nation

Publication Date: April 3, 2018

It pains me to say this because I love the premise but the execution of this was bad.  The voice was not special and the racism was stereotypical-racist sheriff/villain calling blacks darkies and setting them up for failure? The racist sheriff is not nuanced.  Publishers/editors cannot rely on a great cover and premise to sell books.  The editor should tell the author to have the main character say something serious about race and in this book’s case, the emancipation proclamation.  The characters were all characters we’ve read before-the sassy black girl who knows more than everyone in the room, the beautiful female nemesis who turns out to be okay, the fast talking hot guy womanizer with a heart of gold-COME ON!!!  This book is about zombies and zombie hunters in 1865; do something with it!!  It makes me angry when you have a vocal author (I follow Justina on Twitter) who obviously has something to say but it doesn’t translate into her books.  I strongly believe it’s the editor’s job to help authors write great books.

Read Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin instead.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbomb 1/2


cruel prince

Publication Date: January 2, 2018

I wanted to like this book even though I’ve yet to like anything by Holly Black.  I know I’m in the minority here but this book had NO plot.  The main character made extremely dumb choices and not just dumb but unrealistic.  She’s the type of character that has no training but falls ass backwards into good luck-I hate that shit.  There’s an issue I had between Jules and her sister that really ticked me off and the whole hanging out with the fey who are sadistically trying to kill her just bothered me.

This book made me angry because I had such high hopes and I felt like I wasted my time with this big ass book-(insert angry emoji).

Read or reread Throne of Glass or Falling Kingdoms instead.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb


batman book

January 2, 2018

Marie Lu is a good storyteller and this was no exception.  Something however was missing and I’m not sure what it was.  The character development was good and the story was good but I was bored and I like Batman.  I can’t put my finger on why I didn’t enjoy this book.

This is still worth a read.

Bang Bang Review: bombbombbomb 3/4


I would love to share my thoughts on these books but I can’t just yet because I reviewed them for SLJ, School Library Journal. When they are published in the journal, I will post my honest review.

 

Most Surprising Books of 2017

These are books where I had no expectations and they ended up surprising me as a really good read. Click the titles for full review.

city of saints and thieves

I was gonna read this early in the year but I read some Goodreads reviews and decided to not read it.  DAMN, I SHOULDN’T HAVE LISTENED TO GOODREADS.  This book was thrilling and exciting and a bit difficult to get through because of the sex slavery trade.  The pacing was good, the characters were well developed, and the mystery was pretty solid.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbombbomb


thief

I wanted to read the series before Thick as Thieves came out even though you didn’t have to.  I wasn’t surprised that this book was good but I was surprised by the story.  There are no ages which was interesting and it’s full of political intrigue which I also found interesting considering it was a Newberry Honor. I loved the main character and the story as a whole.  The series seems to be for older teens because there’s not a lot of action that would hold the attention of a younger teen but it’s a solid series.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbombbomb


gilded-cage

I’m not sure why I picked up this book but I’m glad I did.  This is set in the near future in England where slavery was not abolished but evolved.  Nonmagical people have to spend 10 years in slavery where they are servants or serve in work houses.  Anyway, this book is about power, privilege, and love and it’s DARK.  There are hella characters but they are all extremely well developed and the world building is fantastic.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbombbomb 1/2


alchemists-of-loom

I’m not a fan of this cover but it had a HIGH rating on Goodreads and the GR rating is gospel for me.  I’m glad I chose it because this series is great.  Very strong heroines and their gender is never a focal point.  There’s some political intrigue, a repressed nation that’s fed up and ready to fight, and a love story that’s not in your face.  Ignore this cover and read this series.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbombbomb 1/2


song of the current

Not sure why this book flew under the radar when other shitty books were promoted to death.  If you’re curious about which shitty books I’m referring to, click here to read my disappointing reads of 2017.  It’s Bloomsbury which means they spent their budget on Sarah J. Maas-GEEZ!

This is a debut and I don’t like debut fantasy because they are usually horrible but this one had a diverse cast of pirates.  It was funny and thrilling and I liked the love story and it wasn’t fluffy.  The main character was dealing with some issues surrounding the nation he inherited and the other main character was dealing with identity issues.  If you are looking for a diverse pirate fantasy, check out this series.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbombbomb

Most Disappointing Books of 2017

It’s that time of year again; time to get bitchy and cheery about books-YAY.

This week, I’ll post my most disappointing books; the books that I shockingly liked; the worst books of the year; 2018 books that I’ve liked and disliked so far; and my faves of the year.  I actually did my faves of the year so click here to see that list.

So off we go with my most disappointing books of 2017.  Disclaimer, the books on this list were books I was REALLY excited about and they didn’t live up to my extremely impossibly high expectations.  Some of these books I gave a low rating and some I gave a high rating.  Click the cover if you want to read my full review.

These are in no particular order

that inevitable victorian thing

I loved Exit, Pursued by a Bear but this book-YIKES!! The characters were underdeveloped, there were dropped storylines, the world building was incomplete and not very interesting, and I don’t give two shits about the Canadian railway.  Sorry Canada and Canadians but I don’t give two shits about the American railway either.

Bang Bang Rating bombbombbomb


one of us is lying

I wasn’t expecting a critical read but I was expecting a good mystery considering this has been on the NY Times bestseller list for weeks.  It began pretty well but then it dragged ass and that ending-WTF?  I was legit going back to the crime scene to figure out who was doing what and that didn’t even matter. UGH!!!

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb


wrinkle in time

I know, I know and I hate to say it but WHAT THE HELL was happening in this book?!! We didn’t read this in school and I grew up in a town called Zion so maybe it was because of the religion aspect? Who knows.  Anyway, it starts off great with the weird six year old and the rough and tumble girl and the interesting bag like lady but then the pacing went bananas.  Then I couldn’t understand why no one was pointing out that a six year old does not talk or act like that and that ending was too abrupt.  I applaud the author for writing about black holes and god in the same book but DAMN, that was not a good book.  I will however go see the movie.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb


dear martin

I waited a long time to read this book, last week to be exact, and I had a feeling I wasn’t going to like it.  I’ve seen Nic at ALA long before her book was published so I knew this book was going to be hyped but you know when you get that feeling…Well I was correct-no thanks.  I do think this book is a good conversation starter but that’s it.  There’s no depth to the real conversation and the character development was absent.  This book is called Dear Martin so I expected some deep inspirational convos with MLK.  Nope, he mostly talked about the white girl he liked that his mother won’t approve of.  I think MLK has other things to care about other than your insensitive mother.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb


flame in the mist

OMG, this book was hyped to DEATH and boy did it disappoint.  I like to begin by saying that I’ve met Renee and she’s a sweet woman but she needs to fire her editor and fast.  She has great ideas and I like the folklore she incorporates but she needs someone to tell her to STOP IT with the Mary Sue heroines.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb ( I was being generous with a three)


warcross

Marie Lu is a hit or miss for me but it’s mostly been hits so imagine my surprise and disappointment when I read this mess.  Emiko made some dumbass mistakes like not checking her room for bugs or checking her back when she went to meet, dude.  Sorry, forgot his name.  And that ending, I saw that coming a mile away.  And that instalove?  NOOOO, Marie does the slow burn romance so well.  I loved June and Day but this couple-GROSS!

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb 1/2


a conjuring of light

UGH, it hurts my feelings to say this but I did not like this series ender.  Rhy is such a weakling and I feel he never really recovered or it was a bit too late- either way it SUCKED FAT ONES!  Did we find out who Kel was? Did I miss it?  It was too much going on and I didn’t enjoy it.  I also listened to the audiobook for this one and I did not like the voices for Rhy, Alucard, or Kel.  Good god, Alucard sounded like an old ass man-NO!  I still love Schwab and if you get the chance to hear her speak, I HIGHLY recommend it-she’s inspiring.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb 1/2


gentleman's guide

This book was a HOT ASS MESS.  Monty was the worst-completely unlikeable and I know he’s supposed to be but in my opinion, he never redeemed himself.  The topic of race was  was stereotypical-“Look everyone, a negro is in the room.  Are you the help?”  COME ON!!! Their unrequited love is so played out; I need to see something new, people. The sister was a trope-oh the girl who is smart and doesn’t want to be a princess (insert eye roll emoji).  And the eavesdropping of every important conversation just to advance the plot, NO.  Lee needs to find another way.  NOPE, NOPE, NOPE

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb (Once again, I’m being generous with this three)


jane unlimited

I liked Graceling and I think Cashore is a good writer but this-NO.  I liked the find your own adventure format and I was all about that but this book was a snooze fest.  The characters were quirky and mysterious and interesting but it was often too much unnecessary info.  And art forgery? Teen don’t give a shit about that.  The fact that these characters were in college lead me to believe this is new adult as I do not know what teen to give this to.

Bang Bang Rating: DNF


the upside

I loved Simon and I’m excited about the movie but I think I had too many expectations for her second book.  I did like it but I feel like this book is written explicitly for a 16 year old girl and it does not relate to the masses.  I read almost exclusively YA and in most contemporary, I can find some nuggets of relatable info but this one-NOPE!  I kept yelling at the protagonist to GET OVER IT ALREADY, GEEZ.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbombbomb


goodbye-days

This suffered from the same issues as Upside of Unrequited.  Serpent King was one of my top books of 2016 and this book lacked everything that I loved about TSK-the seamless incorporation of religion and the hope of a better future.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked it but not as much as I thought I would.  Also, I love Zentner and if you get the opportunity to see him, please do. Perhaps he’ll wear a kerchief like he did when I met him.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbombbomb


a-ship-beyond-time

I thought the end of book one was a hot mess but I like Heilig’s writing particularly the relationship between Nix and Kash but this book…Heilig started changing the rules of her world and I was like, HELL NO!  The strong character development from book one was missing and I couldn’t make it through.

Bang Bang Rating:  DNF


hunting prince dracula

I didn’t necessarily love book one but I did like to dynamic between the main characters. I do love Dracula so I was interested but most of my disappointment came from my poor reading abilities.  See, the title is Hunting Prince Dracula and that’s pretty much what they do for the entire book-hunting.  It’s not called Hanging Out with Prince Dracula so I was surprised when I got a lot of, “I’m a girl; look at me” and not a lot of Dracula.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb


If you liked any of these books on this list, I apologize but not really- LOL.

Were there any books that really disappointed you this year?

Children of Blood and Bone Spoilers

Zelie (Zel) lives in Orisha where the non magical king has made it his mission to eradicate the Maji or magical people and he does so by murder. Zel’s mother was one of the fallen and Zel was born a diviner-magical child of fallen maji. Amari, the king’s daughter, is indifferent until an event forces her to take action against the king. She meets Zel and her brother Tzain, and they set off on a journey to restore magic back to the maji before it is gone forever.

Spoiler Edition

Ooo, this book is dense! Breathe…Breathe…Of We Go…

The book opens with Zel training with Mama Agba, a woman who runs a shop that makes clothes but is really a front for training diviners.  Zel is sparring with Yemi in order to graduate when the king’s army bursts in and demands a tax payment.  All the girls run to their sewing machines while Mama explains that she paid her taxes.  The soldier tells her that she getting taxed again because she employs diviners.  Zel complains that it isn’t fair and the soldiers see her and threaten her and leave. Zel’s brother Tzain runs it and said their father is in trouble.  They go find their father and see he’s almost drowning.  He’s saved and tells them the army wanted tax money and if he didn’t pay, they would take Zel as an indentured servant.  He was fishing to get money.  Zel and Tzain take the fish to the market to sell.

Amari is at the castle when her diviner maid is replaced.  Amari is worried that her father found some jewelry she gave her maid to pay the tax increase and goes snooping.  She overhears her father and his two top soldiers talking about a maji scroll.  The soldiers, including Kaea the king’s lover, tell the king that the scroll they tried to destroy made it to Warri and the diviners gained some of their magic back.  They tried to destroy the scroll 11 years ago but they couldn’t so they threw it into a body of water.  When they found the scroll in Warri, they killed all the diviners and recovered it.  The king wanted to see it’s power so he made Amari’s maid hold it and she got some powers and he killed her. They put it in the king’s office but Amari stole it and ran away because of her maid.

While in the market, Zel was about to sell her special fish to a worker in the castle when chaos brakes out and people started running everywhere.  A girl asks for Zel’s help and being the Gryffindor that she is, she helps her try to get out.  The girl is Amari and as they try to escape, they are met with the king’s army including Inan, Amari’s brother and the crowned prince.  Zel and Amari jump on Nailah, Zel’s horse sized panther or lion (?), and Amari hits Inan while the scroll is in her hand but they escape.

History lesson:

11 years proir, the maji killed King Saran’s father, his first wife, and his 1st born son.  Saran found a way to sever the connection between god and maki. He called the raid as revenge. Inan and Amari know this and this is Inan’s justification for ridding the world of magic. Also, magic begins to show when diviners turn 13.

Zel, Tzain, and Amari return to Zel’s home to find their father at Mama Agba’s.  The royals have started bombing their villiage as Zel tells Agba about the scroll.  The trio learns that the scroll is a ritual and a way to connect to the Gods. Agba tells Zel that she was a maji but she had a Healer/Cancer Maji give her cancer to make all her white hair fall out.  Agba is a Seer and she tells the trio that she sees them traveling to Chandomble-the temple of the protectors of magic and spiritual order.  Kaea tells Inan to kill everyone in the villiage but Inan wants a more humane resolution.  Inan begins to have visions of the trio, especially Zel, and he thinks Zel infected him.  He can hear Zel’s thoughts and a white streak has begun to grow in his hair.  He doesn’t tell Kaea.  We find out that Inan is a connector who weilds power over mind, spirit, and dreams.

The trio travel on Nailah to the temple knowing Inan is chasing them. They find the temple and enter thru a statue and are immediately poisoned.  They are met by a sentaro named Lekan.

Here is the history of the world:

On earth, Nana Buruku created humans, her children of blood and bone.  In the heavens Nana gave birth to the gods and goddesses. Each god and goddess posses a different fragment of her soul. To connect the gods and humans, she gave some of the magic to humans and each human has a diety.  One diety, Oya the goddesses of Life and Death, didn’t take from Nana like her siblings; she asked Nana/Sky Mother to give which showed patience and wisdom.  Nana/Sky mother gave her power over life and death.  Oya realized that great power could be abused so she only granted the power to those who showed patience and wisdom. These special people have coiled white hair like Nana Buruku.  Soon, the other dieties granted powers to a selected few and the maji population dwindled.

Here’s the plot of book 1 (I took this word from word from chapter 18):

The trio have to take three artifacts to a sacred island.  The bone dagger is a sacred relic carved from the skeleton of the first sentaro.  The dagger is needed to draw the binding blood from the mamalawo who keeps magic alive.  Whoever wields it draws strength from the life force of all those who have wielded it before.  The sunstone is a living fragment of Sky Mother’s soul.  When holding the stone, you tether her to the world keeping magic alive. Every century, the mamalawo carried the scroll, the dagger, and the stone to a sacred temple to perform the binding ritual.  By drawing her blood with the dagger and using the power impbued into the stone, the mamalawo sealted the spiritual connection of the gods into the sentaros’ blood. The mamalawo must say the words on the scroll to complete the ritual. As long as the bloodline survives, magic does too.

What happened 11 years prior when magic died:

King Saran knew of this ritual, came to the temple and killed everyone thus severing Sky Mother’s connection and ripping magic from the world. This ensured that the ritual could not be performed ever again. Lekan was away on a pilgramage that day and returned to a slaughter and the last sentaro alive.  As Saran was killing everyone at the temple, he ordered his army to kill all the maji in Orisha.

Back to the plot:

Although the scroll brings back magic it cannot make a permanent connection the trio has to perfrom the sacred ritual.  They have the scroll and the now the dagger, which they got from Lekan, they have to find the sunstone.  On the centennial solstice, a sacred island appears off the northern coast of the Orinion Sea and is home to the temple of the gods. The trio must take the three artifacts to the temple and recite the ancient incantation on the scroll to restore the connection and secure magic for another hundred years.  They have less than two weeks (?) to get the stone and get to the island. Only a woman can be a mamalawo so Lekan cannot perform the ritual.  He endoctrinates Zel to be the mamalawo.

Back to the story: 

After Lekan’s ritual with Zel to be the mamalawo, they hear Inan and flee but have to cross a rickety bridge.  Lekan holds off Inan and Kaea with magic to give the trio a headstart but when he has to break his hold on Inan and Kaea to save Zel, Kaea kills Lekan.  The bridge is uncrossable so Inan calls in the troops to rebuild buying our trio a headstart.  Inan dreams about Zel and finds out her location. Kaea notices that Inan hesitates to kill or call his dad.  She notices his white hair and tries to convince him to go home and tell his father.  He tries to reason and stop her with magic but he accidently kills her which leaves blue crystals in her hair.

The trio travel to Ibeji and discover a fighting ring.  The winners win the Babaluaye relic that grants eternal life.  The trio finds out that the relic is the sunstone. The trio enters the competition and Zel discovers she can use her magic to conjure an army of dead soldiers from all the spirits of the dead maji who have not passed over.  During the competition, Zel uses all her energy repairing their boat.  The trio wins and everyone thinks Zel is immortal.

As the trio celebrates the victory and the fact that they have all three relics, Inan catches up to them.  Tzain and Amari are taken by masked people leaving Zel and Inan.  They capture one masked man but in the tussle Inan sees Zel’s mother’s capture and feels her pain.  They torture the masked man for info.  They find their camp and see Amari and Tzain.  Inan and Zel agree to call a truce to rescue their family.

The camp questions Amari but don’t believe her because she’s royal.  Their leader is Zu, a  12 year old, and while they are captured; Zu turns 13 and gets her power especially because of the scroll.  Zu is a healer and heals Tzain.  Zel and Inan plan to use her dead army to resuce Amari and Tzain but Kwame has the scroll and can conjure fire.  Inan almost sacrifices himself to save Zel when Kwame attacks. They almost kill each other but Zu stops them because they shouldn’t fight each other.  The camp of diviners are from Warri where the scroll was found.  Everyone celebrates and Zel meets a flirtatous man named Roen.  Zel and Inan go off into the woods and make out.  Tzain is upset because once again, Zel’s carelessness is a detriment to others.  They have a big fight and Tzain leaves the camp with Amari. The king’s guards arrive and Zu and Kwame die saving their camp.

Zel is captured by the king and holds her in a majicite cell, a metal that supresses magic.  Inan tries to reason with his father to no avail.  Inan is taken away as the king carves MAGGOT into Zel’s back. Maggot is a slur for the maji and the worst name you can call them.  Inan does not confess his maji-ness and does nothing to stop his father.

Tzain and Amari go to a nearby tavern to find his diviner friends and ask them for help.  They agree to help rescue Zel. Tzain’s friends create a diversion during the rescue attempt.  One of the diviners melts the guard’s blades.  Another diviner, a cancer, leaks sliver liquid that causes diseases when it touches skin.  The king sees Amari. Inan sees all the destruction caused by the diviners and begins to agree with his father that magic is bad and should be abolished.  He goes to Zel’s cell and when Amari and Tzain rescue her, Inan stays behind. Inan and Zel have goodbye sex in their shared dreams.  After the rescue, Zel realizes that her magic is gone and she only tells Amari.

How it ends:

The trio and Tzain’s friends travel to Jimenta because they are running out of time to get to the island and need a short cut.  Jimenta is a rough place but they need their boat.  They send Zel to ask the ruthless leader for help and it is Roen.  In exchange for their boat and their help, Zel promises them gold and jobs in the palace when it’s all over.  They agree.  While sailing the the island, Zaria, they see the king’s armada. They need to overtake a ship to outrun the king and Roen’s men over take one in an impressive 7 minutes. They dress like the guards to get passed the king who has surrounded the island. When they get to the island, they are met by the King, Inan and Zel and Tzain’s father Baba who has been taken as ransom.  The king will exchange their father for the scroll and the stone and Zel agrees because her magic is gone.  She gives them the two relics but she never told Inan about the dagger and she keeps it.  The king kills Baba anyway.  When her father’s blood touches her, it restores her magic.  She becomes angry about her father’s death and begins to turn people into ash.  Inan grabs the scroll with a plan to end magic.  He baits Zel to hurt him and she burns the scroll, he is happy.  He sees his father coming with the stone and he sees a “guard” ready to kill the king and he uses his magic to stop the guard. The king sees the blue crystals in the guard’s hair and realizes Inan killed Kaea.  The king comes after Inan and tries to stab him. Inan begs for his life as his father says, “You are no son of mine.” Inan blacks out.

In Amari’s chapter, she sees the king stab Inan in the stomach.  Amari kills the king.

During all the chaos, the solstice has begun. The scroll has burned but she takes the stone in hopes she can save it. She cuts her hand and touches the stone to bind her blood and her father’s blood. The souls speak the incantation through Zel.  The sandstone shatters and light invades Zel’s body. As it fades, Zel sees truth in plain sight and hidden all along. “We are children of blood and bone. All instruments of vengeance and virtue.” “It binds me its love as death swallws me into its grasp.” Zel sees her mother. Her mother tells her what she did at the temple is unlike anything the spirits have ever seen. She tells Zel that she will always be with her but tells her she has to go because Orisha needs her. She tells Zel that it’s not over; it’s only just begun. Zel wakes up on the boat with Tzain, Amari, and Roen.  She asks if magic is back and Amari shakes her head and hold up her hand. Her hand swirls with blue lights and she has a white streak of hair.  Zel’s blood chills to ice.

Cliffhanger!!!

 

 

Oooh, Cute!

If you haven’t heard of The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, you will because they have been given that book away like the plague.  It’s a retelling of Alice in Wonderland and you can read my review here.  FYI, I’m not a fan of Alice in Wonderland and I didn’t know it was a retelling until midway thru. Nonetheless, I didn’t enjoy it and it’s partially because I don’t like Alice in Wonderland and partially because there was too much going on.

Anyway, I’m writing this post because MacMillian has a cute promotional campaign for the book.  It looks like they’ve made little booklets of Alice’s grandmother’s famous stories.  I’d really like to read Alice Three Times so maybe there’ll be an opportunity to trade stories…YAAASSS!

Did you get one? Which story did you get?hazelwood 2hazelwood 3

Any Bangs in November

NO!

I read a lot this month because I’m rushing to complete my Goodreads goal.  As of December 1st, I have ten books left-YIKES!  I read some pretty good books and I read some stinkers (I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t read some stinkers) so here we go.

As always, click the title for the full review.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton-I read and reviewed this for School Library Journal so you read my review in an upcoming issue of SLJ.

bombbombbombbomb City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson-Great pacing, good characters, solid adventure tale.

bombbomb 1/2 The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer Nielsen-Super bratty and unlikable protagonist, tropey world, and insta love.

bombbombbomb Ghostly Echoes by James Ritter- I was really interested in Jenny’s backstory but it was a bit anti climactic.

bombbombbomb The Dire King by James Ritter- Too many damn characters.

bombbombbombbomb 1/2 Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman-Faced paced and strong themes, but that ending was too much.

bombbombbomb A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle-I hate to say this but the pacing was bananas and there was a lot of info that didn’t drive the plot.

bombbombbombbomb Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge-Great premise but there was one too  many adventures.

bombbombbombbomb 4/5 Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi-Awesome pacing, great characters.

bombbomb 1/2- The Kill Order by James Dashner-No explanation of the apocalypse.

bombbomb Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare-Great premise but the insta love and the pacing was bad.

How did I read so may books, you ask?  I listened to four on audiobook while I was at work and I increased the speed to 1.75.

TBR for December

I will probably listen to at least one audiobook but I don’t know what will be yet.  I’m also trying to get the ARC of a couple of books so I won’t list them.