other realm

Book Review: Snow Like Ashes

I don’t know about you but I enjoy a good book about a different world. Especially Primoria where thsnow ashesere is an entire kingdom that is in permanent winter! Not to mention ones that are dedicated to Spring, Summer, and Fall plus four others that get to appreciate all the rhythms of nature.

The book follows Meira and her exile: the life that has been cobbled together from the ruins of the Kingdom of Winter which was brutally taken over by Spring (ironic, yes?) sixteen years ago. She is with a ragtag band of rebels who managed to escape the labor camps that the rest of their people were forced into. Unfortunately, that means that they are responsible for intense and often frustrating burden of setting things right and giving Winter back to its people.

When half of the ancient locket containing the magic powers of their kingdom is found, Meria decides to disobey orders and go after it herself, creating more than one problem. But that’s not all the adventure in store for this young orphan. There is plenty of danger to be had in a world where magic and politics exist in spades.

If you want an action adventure story, one that isn’t about dystopia or the end of the world as we know it, if you want a love story about family and relationships that will knock the wind out of you on more than one occasion, if you want a strong female lead who never gives up, this book is for you.

Sara Raasch’s debut novel is amazing. It is well written, fast-paced, and makes you want to experience the world for yourself. Although I was disappointed that it contained a love triangle (as I’m rather sick of those), it was actually really well done. There wasn’t a ton of pining, longing, or indecision that lasted for 100 pages. Instead, Meira grudgingly accepts her fate time and time again, picks up the pieces of herself, and continues moving forward.

Meira is a great character who is far more capable than she thinks other people think she is. She is strong and willful, stubborn and courageous. There is fear but she doesn’t let that stop her. She takes risks and utilizes what she knows to be her best skills to gain the advantage for her kingdom. Truthfully, she is sometimes a pawn but even that won’t prevent her from doing what she thinks is necessary, even when she ends up in more trouble than if she had just listened.

The orphan is surrounded by interesting supports like Sir, her surrogate father who rescued her from the rubble of the capitol city, and Mather, the future king of Winter who she is desperately in love/best friends with, who help her in ways she doesn’t fully understand until the end of the book. She is also introduced to a handsome prince, his father–a selfish king, and the man who is trying to destroy everything the people of Winter have created, all of which shape various events in this book in their own way.

There is magic in these words and on these pages; it jumps out at you and won’t let go. There are plenty of secrets to go around and keep you on your toes plus a couple of twists that left me breathless, especially a character death. There is intrigue and mayhem, war and politics, often all happening at the same time. It’s a bit like Game of Thrones mixed with Eragon (minus the dragons) mixed with Legend: Sword fights, magic, and fighting for your country (kingdom).

If you liked The Lunar Chronicles, Shadow & Bone, and/or Throne of Glass, then this might be your next favorite addition to the bookshelf. It’s a book about fighting for what’s yours even if it’s been taken from you. About finding your identity within and your cultural identity from those who still knows what it means to be from there. It’s about knowing your worth even when others think you are worthless. And more than anything, it’s about finding a way to be true to yourself even when your life isn’t going as you planned.

Goodreads rating: 5 stars

My personal rating: 95

  • Writing style – 10
  • Plot – 10
  • Dialogue – 10
  • Personality of Main Character(s) – 9
  • Love story – 8
  • Invokes emotion – 9
  • Synopsis accuracy – 9
  • Consistent level of interest – 10
  • Stays on topic – 10
  • Accuracy of genre/genre blending – 10

Book Review: The Young Elites

It’s here, as promised!!

Featured Image -- 1097And I’m not just talking about the book itself but also my review of it. What an adventure this book took me on! After reading Lu’s other works I was not anticipating this complete 360 flip that she pulled. True, the story is still about good and evil, right and wrong, and of course, hidden agendas and twists. But it’s told from a different perspective that really makes you reevaluate how you view “darkness” or “evil”.

Adelina is a normal-ish girl. She lives at home with her dad and sister (in another realm) and she was unfortunate enough to be sick as a child which caused her to not only lose an eye and become a societal outcast but also unwanted in her own family. Her father is desperate to get rid of her and her sister is naively ignoring everything. Finally, Adelina can’t take it anymore and escapes.

She is found by a young man who is known as “Reaper” but there is definitely more to him than meets the eye, and the attraction is undeniable. She is saved but it might not be all that she had hoped it would. All her life, Adelina has struggled against people trying to control and manipulate her. And is the Reaper really any different? The Young Elites might have taken her in but do they really trust her? Can she really trust them?

So many questions! And only 300 pages in which to answer them! Adelina’s story is gripping, especially because it starts when she is about to die. The entire thing is one unbelievable scenario after another that paint a picture of deep pain and trouble. There are flashbacks and heart-pounding present moments. The action is enough to keep you turning the pages and make you stay up an extra an hour before bed. As I said in one of my status updates, I had to force myself to put the book down so I didn’t finish it in one day. Mostly because I also had school work that was going undone.

The cast of characters here isn’t overwhelming but some are particularly memorable and not just because of how I imagine they look. There are minor characters who play a role in Adelina’s life but only a handful of main characters that have continuous interaction that is written about.  And speaking of which, there is a character death in here that I’m not sure I will EVER recover from. It was almost as bad as Hedwig dying in HP7.

I wasn’t expecting such a dark story. Adelina isn’t exactly a good person or a bad one. She is definitely troubled and not at all perfect, which she deeply acknowledges. But embracing her flaws is one of her strongest attributes. She knows that she is beautiful but also knows that people are repulsed by her. She is very straightforward and blunt, which is admirable. Although she doesn’t always tell the truth when she should which really kept pissing me off.

Overall, this is a complex book that may not appeal to everyone, including people who loved Lu’s other works. But it has flair and style and if you appreciated Day from Legend then give this one a try. If you were more of a June fan, then maybe not. Either way, Lu writes this story in her unique fashion and it’s not another dystopian (if you’re sick of those), so add it to your TBR and enjoy the ride.

Goodreads rating: 5 stars

My personal rating: 94

  • Writing style – 10
  • Plot – 9
  • Dialogue – 9
  • Personality of Main Character(s) – 9
  • Love story – 9
  • Invokes emotion – 9
  • Synopsis accuracy – 10
  • Consistent level of interest – 9
  • Stays on topic – 10
  • Accuracy of genre/genre blending – 10

Book Review: Throne of Glass

throne of glass

What a book! I haven’t read something this mind-bending in quite awhile. I thought it was one thing but turned out to be so much more, I can’t get enough.

Throne of Glass follows the story of Celaena, a renowned assassin, and her journey to becoming the King’s Champion. Maybe. There is, naturally, a competition, a secret one, in which she must compete to hold this prestigious spot in court. Oh and did I mention it’s all for a king that she can’t stand? One who ordered the murder of people she loved?

Celaena has to use an alias, flirt with the crown Prince, and avoid being murdered all at the same time. Not to mention when she meets a princess from another country and actually befriends her. Not only are people in the competition trying to take her out but there is also something creepy lurking about the castle, murdering the contestants one by one.

Celaena is a total badass who even at her weakest could kill a man with her bare hands. When she first arrives, barely human at all, the king is disappointed. And staying in the middle of the pack for training and competition isn’t helping her reputation. Afraid to let her really shine and reveal her history, she must form an uneasy alliance with the Captain of the Guard.

The story is compelling, the writing is very well done, and the characters (while not completely fresh) have amazing depth and personality. Even the most minor of roles has more to them than they want you to believe. Court intrigue, brutal conquering methods, and a brewing rebellion all give perspective and context to this fantastic story. This new realm is complex and founded by Fae, making it even more interesting. There is history and connections yet to be found while it took me quite a few days to read it, that wasn’t for lack of interest, I simply had to put it down at night in order to get some sleep.

If you want a powerful heroine who doesn’t completely shuck the womanly ideals but is a strong person in her own right, if you want a land that has more to it than meets the eye, and if you want a mysterious love connection, then this is the book for you. Celeana is a powerhouse and I can’t wait to help solve the mystery of what’s really going on in this kingdom.

Goodreads rating: 4 stars

My personal rating: 88

  • Writing style – 8
  • Plot – 9
  • Dialogue – 10
  • Personality of Main Character(s) – 10
  • Love story – 8
  • Invokes emotion – 9
  • Synopsis accuracy – 8
  • Consistent level of interest – 8
  • Stays on topic – 8
  • Accuracy of genre/genre blending – 10