War Storm (Red Queen #4)–Is It a Worthwhile Finale?

27188596Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Dystopian

Rating: 5/5

War Storm is the fourth and final major installment in Victoria Aveyard’s best selling Red Queen series. I was lucky enough to be at her publication party at Diesel, A Bookstore in Brentwood, where well over 100 people came to celebrate the release of this book, along with Victoria Aveyard in Conversation with Marie Lu. What an amazing event.

Nearly a month and a half later, I finally finish this 657 page beast that is War Storm.

More political and war/battle-filled over anything, the politics, strategies, and battles keep this novel fast-paced and full of constant action, which is generally always a good thing. Not only do Mare, Evangeline, and Iris return as leading ladies and perspective characters, but we finally get perspective chapters for both Cal and Maven (two chapters each). This shows Aveyard’s craft and ability as a writer by being able to take on these different perspectives and have these characters stand out from each other, and we can also see some of their reasons for doing things.

Some of my personal comments:

  • Iris is a SCARY lady
  • Evangeline is my favorite character (love her attitude and style)
  • I root for Cal

The ending is not quite what I imagined, and it is open in a way that there could be more short or side stories, or maybe even a little novella to show what some of the characters are doing in future. Overall, it is conclusive, and I feel that the ending is what it needed to be, whether it’s what I was expecting, or what I wanted, or not.

We, the reader, are taken all over the country in this book, and get to see different political sides to things and how different sets of people are living with this war going on. Montfort is very interesting, and we can blatantly see many political aspects in this novel that shout at what the U.S. is experiencing in 2018, something to help young readers look at and connect themselves with current issues through the reflections in the novel they read.

I don’t particularly want to give away any plot, so I leave you with this: War Storm is a fantastic read to match Red Queen. While Glass Sword and King’s Cage feel a bit droll, this wraps the series up nicely. I highly recommend finishing the series, even if you have been annoyed or frustrated with previous volumes, or picking up the series for the first time, to reach this final point. I also leave you with this promotional image from the publisher. Even after finishing the book, I still can’t figure out what some of these might be!

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P.S. A worthwhile finale!

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The Door to the Lost–Should You Read It?

Image result for the door to the lostGenre: Children/Teen Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5

First of all, a huge thank you to NetGalley, Random House Children’s, and Jaleigh Johnson for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Jaleigh Johnson’s new novel for younger readers, The Door to the Lost, is an amazing gem among fantasy novels for younger readers. From what I can tell, it is a stand-alone, but there are potential opportunities for future adventures with the characters…maybe?

This book contains multiple worlds/dimensions, and in Talhaven, magic suddenly disappeared. In Vora, a magical war leads to the adult wizards sending their children to Talhaven. Hundreds of children find themselves in a world they don’t know with no memories of their names or families, but they all have different magical abilities. As these exiles learn to control and use their abilities, the people of Talhaven want to use them for their own needs, since the society that so heavily relies on magic can no longer replenish their own magical resources.

Since the children cannot remember their birth names, they each give themselves their own names, often based on their abilities. The main character of this story, Rook, is able to open gateways to any place in the world…just not to other worlds, like her homeland of Vora. But her doorways keep opening up to the same place against her best efforts, and she can’t seem to find out why. Her best friend, Drift, can use magic to fly, manipulating wind currents and air in various ways. The two aim to live a simple life in seclusion until two things happen: a giant magical Fox appears, and an adult wizard claiming to need their help to save the town the children temporarily occupy.

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I vastly enjoyed this book, and for 304 pages, it goes by in a flash! The story is told from Rook’s third person limited perspective, and her age resonates with a young adult. Readers both middle grade and high school will find enjoyment in the magic and adventure found in this book. It also deals with the thematic ideas of finding one’s own identity and what family means. A book that I would like to have in my classroom, this is a great read for a young adult audience.

Following Rook on her adventure was exhilarating, and despite the fact that this is definitely a conclusive volume, I wouldn’t mind seeing further adventures with these characters. Even if you are beyond the years of middle or high school, if you like a quick read and are a lover of fantasy, put this one on your list! This is a must-read book for all ages!

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1)-Should You Read It?

Image result for falling kingdomsGenre: Young Adult High Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes is the first book in a high fantasy series of the same name. This book has multiple perspective characters written in third person limited. Three kingdoms seemingly have peace: Auranos, the southern kingdom flourishing with game and crops, with two young princesses; Limeros, the northern kingdom covered in snow, but likewise flourishing; and Paelsia, a kingdom stuck in the middle, unable to access resources from its two bordering countries because the borders are guarded.

Cleo, younger princess of Auranos, finds herself venturing with her not-so-nice, soon-to-be fiance to Paelsia for some whine, his hot temper begins the entire conflict that drives the events of the novel. Always getting his way, he stabs an innocent man in the street, and all Cleo can do is stand by and watch.

Jonas is from a Paelsian family of wine sellers, and his brother has just been murdered in front of him. While Auranos may not think much of this murder, Paelsia will begin to gather forces and unite with Limeros against the Auranos king.

In Limeros, a whole different expanse of events is going on. Magnus is the prince, and his father is known as the King of Blood. Magnus finds that he is slowly following in his father’s footsteps, especially when he is asked to capture Cleo, and his blade tastes blood for the first time on that journey. Meanwhile, his sister, Lucia, finds that she is gaining magical abilities. The book starts with a girl being taken from her crib by a witch, and Lucia is the prophesied girl who will help reshape the world, and her “father” aims to use her as a tool. Oh, and let’s not forget that Magnus is in love with her, but she can’t see him beyond being a brother!

The original murder of Jonas’s brother has sparked an entire war, the first battle of which someone will definitely win by the end of the book, but which country will it be? And what will the losing side do to fix things?

This book definitely has a bit of a Game of Thrones feel to it, but on a more accessible level for a teen audience. There are a lot of elements I didn’t mention either, such as the Watchers, people who live beyond the plane of mortality and can only appear in the form of animals (hawks only, I think?). They are waiting for something, but what could it be? And Why? This book also has a beautiful writing style and a structure that takes the reader through a different character perspective every chapter. Albeit third person limited, the reader still gets a really good look inside the character’s heads. The character development is superb, and I expect even more from the next book.

This book is fast-paced, exciting, fun, full of risks, blood, princes and princesses, broken hears, and malice. I would recommend it for not only a teen audience, but anyone who finds enjoyment out of high fantasy that has well crafted plot, characters, settings, and unique world-building. Oh, and let’s not forget the magic! This is definitely one of the better fantasy novels I have read in quite some time, and I am already itching to read the next one! Let’s just say…I went out and bought the whole series after reading this book–that’s the promise the Falling Kindoms series shows!

The Shield Breaker (Book One in the Enclave Saga)–Should You Read It?

Image result for the shield breaker enclave sagaGenre: Young Adult Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

First and foremost, I would like to thank NetGalley and the author, Scott Beckman, for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

One of the fun thing about this book was that it was sent directly to my Kindle, and I can take notes on it. Some of the concepts and ideas were a bit hard to follow at first, but were explained later, so I am going to write about some of the things I noticed about this book full of magic. But first…

This book is about Cait, a girl who lives in a post-apocalyptic world in which magic was its downfall. Now there are a few wizards, but magic is so dangerous, wizards need to be trained and kept in check. When Cait finds a book of magic, she teaches herself with the guidance of a spectral wizard against the wishes of her own city’s guiding wizard.

Vitoria, the guiding wizard of Denver, finds that Cait’s meddling with another wizard is dangerous and that she should not meddle with this outsider again. This other wizard tells Cait all of these horror stories about Vitoria. But who is telling the truth? Who should she choose to guide her magic training? Who can be believed?

With only the Shield to protect the city from the devastation of the outside world, Cait has some serious choices to make.

One of the main aspects of this novel is that the main city’s name is Denver. I don’t recall the book ever explicitly saying that it is the same Denver we know in Colorado, but perhaps this is a potential future to our society where magic becomes prominent and deadly. The other thing it reminded me of was The Maze Runner series’ The Death Cure and how the main city is Denver. Why is Denver such a popular place for post-apocalyptic settings? Another thing that actually reminded me of The Maze Runner series were these creatures called vorazi, described in a way that is reminiscent of Cranks, but later we learn even more about these creatures that separates them from that type of “undead,” as it were.

In this world, technology once used to be a prominent thing. Now generators are run by magic from the few wizards living in the city. People live in tends strewn about as various communities. Cancer is as real as ever. And there are different types of wizards. Some can see through the eyes of animals while others can control minds.

I find Cait to be a pretty interesting character, although her internal conflict doesn’t seem too strong about some of the choices she makes. When a friend tells on her, she seems to be mad for too short a time. With this in mind, the end leaves room for some fun character and relationship development, as well as opening up to a longer adventure for Cait, so that will be fun to read.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it pretty fast compared to some other books I have picked up recently. It’s not too complicated, and things get explained more than once, which seems warranted for some of the more complex ideas that might not stick in the reader’s head right away. I would definitely recommend this for readers 12-18 (or anyone who loves a good story about magics and wizards in a post-apocalyptic world), and I find that the next book will be even more fast-paced and exciting than the first!

Dragon’s Epitaph: Slayer–Sneak Peek!

syreniaCheck out Mullin Publishing’s Dragon’s Epitaph page to see a first look at upcoming YA fantasy novel Dragon’s Epitaph: Slayer! Learn about one of the perspective characters, Syrenia.

You can also read the prologue of the book as an available PDF excerpt, and look forward to another excerpt from chapter one coming later in the summer! More art coming throughout the summer.

Let us know what you think so far in the comments! Enjoy!

~Mullin Publishing~

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3)-Should You Read It?

Image result for a conjuring of lightGenre: Adult Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5

The third and final installment in the Shades of Magic trilogy contains magical battles and adventures of arcane proportions! The cover art is interesting as comparing to the first two books. It is evident that A Darker Shade of Magic shows Kell as he travels between London’s evident from the London map coloration as well as Kell’s red hair. The cover of A Gathering of Shadows very evidently portrays Lila as evidences through the hairstyle, outfit, and figure, with emphasis on the pirate hat and twin daggers that become her trademark. This cover could be one of two characters, although  it can be speculated. There is quite obviously one ruler of Red London in the end of the story, whose description is close to what is depicted. But there is another character that would make the pattern of characters across the covers make sense (SPOILER-that all three covers feature one of the last Antari). Anyway, interesting stuff when doing cover analysis and looking at how the covers might give away more than they should, although the three covers together are elegant and aesthetically pleasing.

Between the various universes and their London’s, Red London finds itself under the dark spell of Osaron. Osaron, through the vessel of Holland, has come to take over Red London through old magic, the same kind that once destroyed Black London.

Now Rhy must learn to part with Kell in order to save their home country, Arnes. Lila aims to control her magic before it consumes her, and Alucard has lost one crew, but must find another to do the impossible.

When it is evident that Osaron is pretty much invulnerable, the people of the kingdom (mainly our heroes) must think of some way to defeat him. When their first trick against the creature born of Black Magic fails, all hope feels lost, but the rumor of a special item that can hold the magic within it comes forth, and Kell, Alucard, and Lila aim to find this lost relic over the sea.

In the meantime, the guests from other countries are still at the palace, since events have unfurled just after the Essen Tasch. Lives are on the line when one country aims to betray Arnes, but another fights alongside (it is interesting which countries hold which loyalties and their motives for breaking a truce).

With excellent characters returning for their third and final adventure, this book was brilliantly written and presented. The only reason I do not give this book a 5/5 is that it felt a bit slower than A Gathering of Shadows. The excitement of the Essen Tasch, Kell’s hidden identity, and Lila’s coming into magic, as well as the anticipation for their reunion, was heart-pounding and exciting. The third book is still riveting, but felt a bit dragged out in the quest to defeat the villain. On the other hand, a lot of interesting characteristics are drawn from the characters that the reader did not previously know, and making the villain so unstoppable was interesting in that not only did the characters had to figure out how to beat Osaron, but the reader was left wondering just how they would win (if they would win) with so much impossibility.

I loved this series and am glad that I chanced upon V.E. Schawb’s book signing for the release of this novel, because this is a fantasy series that really takes the genre in a fantastic direction.

On another note, there is going to be a Shades of Magic prequel comic series by Titan comics (which means they might sell out quick and end up being hard to find-that is my experience with Titan comics).

Frostfire (Kanin Chronicles #1)-Should You Read It?

Image result for frostfire hockingGenre: Young Adult Fantasy/Romance

Rating: 4/5

In the world of the Trylle…

Bryn Aven doesn’t really fit in to Kanin society. She is a tracker, one who finds changelings put out of society as babies, bringing them back to the Kanin society where they belong. With her newest find, a changeling who could end up taking the throne due to his bloodline, Bryn continues to do her job diligently.

Konstantin Black still haunts her memories, a man who seemingly tried to kill her father many years ago, a man she once loved. When She discovers that Konstantin is abducting changelings, Bryn finds that she must do everything in her power to stop this man, and find out why he once tried to murder her father. With a one-track mind to become a member of the King’s elite guard, Bryn constantly does her job while trying to prove herself, but personal queries get in the way, not to mention a (forbidden?) romance between her and her older boss, Ridley Dresden.

A bit about this book: it takes place in the same world as the Trylle Trilogy, Switched, Torn, and Ascend, books I have heard of but have not yet read. I jumped into this book knowing nothing, having won it in a Goodreads giveaway. From the title and the cover alone, it seems like a high fantasy novel, and there are definitely those elements withing. What I was not expecting were modern cities and cars and things as such, which was a bit disappointing to what I thought this book would be. Despite this, it was still a relatively interesting story, for the most part.

The main character, Bryn, seems to not take others opinions into consideration, following her own opinions and ideas without thinking about consequences to others. As a character, she was a bit bland, and the development was lacking. Ridley and Konstantin seemed more interesting and, although secondary to Bryn’s first person perspective, they seemed to have more character development. The writing itself is actually crafted well, the beauty of the prose heightening the progression and reading experience of the story.

Was this book good enough to recommend to others? I think it is for a pretty specific audience. Will I read the next one? Maybe. I haven’t decided yet, but it was a good enough read to have my interest piqued in Ice Kissed.