Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: June 13, 2017

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

 

 

Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: May 16, 2017

When Daryn claimed she was seeing visions during her sophomore year of high school, no one believed the truth. She wasn t losing her mind, she was gaining the Sight the ability to see the future. If she just paid attention to the visions, they d provide her with clues and show her how she could help people. Really help them. Daryn embraced her role as a Seeker. The work she did was important. She saved lives.

Until Sebastian.

Sebastian was her first and worst mistake.

Since the moment she inadvertently sealed him in a dark dimension with Samrael the last surviving demon in the Kindred guilt has plagued her. Daryn knows Sebastian is alive and waiting for help. It s up to her to rescue him. But now that she needs the Sight more than ever to guide her, the visions have stopped.

Daryn must rely on her instincts, her intelligence, and on blind faith to lead the riders who are counting on her in search of Sebastian. As they delve into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems and where Samrael is steadily amassing power, Daryn faces the ultimate test. Will she have to become evil to destroy evil? The very fate of humankind rests in the answer.

Book Review: Windwitch by Susan Dennard

Sometimes our enemies are also our only allies…

After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister’s treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.

When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first?

After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife’s edge—especially when the pirates’ next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.

In my review of Truthwitch, I gave the book some pretty high praise, “Dennard has created something beautiful,” being the top compliment I gave.

I honestly could not have imagined how the sequel, by separating my two favorite characters Safi & Iseult, could possibly live up to the absolute beautiful example of fierce female friendship in Truthwitch.  Well, don’t mind me over here trying to stuff my narrow feet into my ridiculously loud mouth, because Dennard proved me wrong in spades. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted this book to be as good as it turned out to be, I was just scared it wouldn’t be! We all have those fears, right?

Anyway, let me get to the gushing. I 100% support re-reading Truthwitch before you start Windwitch.  Why? Well, for me it had been over a year since I had completed Truthwitch then lent it to someone else, so I didn’t get a chance to renew my knowledge of everything that happened.  I really think it would have saved me the slow start of remembering everything and would have enhanced my experience with Windwitch. So if possible, a re-read is definitely beneficial! *random side note over*

The narrative picks up with Merik, who is serving *fierce* back on the cover, the unlikely survivor of a burning ship and an assassination attempt. He spends the majority of the narrative struggling with his new reality as a “dead man,” (he names himself that, I promise, not a spoiler!) and trying to seek revenge on his would-be murder, while posturing a plan to save his beloved kingdom. He has gone through such a transformation from the first novel through this one, and it’s been such an organic development that I just am so excited to see how he continues to progress. This might be KIND OF spoilery, but if you are hoping for a *certain* reunion, like I was, it doesn’t happen YET. I’m not giving up hope.

While the first novel gave us the beginning of the Merik and Safi ship, this second novel really gave us more insight into the possible connections between Iseult and Aeduan.  While Merik and Safi were a match on the verge of igniting, Iseult and Aeduan are the snow melting slowly on the tip of a mountain top, and it’s just as compelling. Their journey together throughout this book kept me on my toes and wanting more.  I can only assume (and HOPE) that the third installment will continue this, since the title is Bloodwitch!

As strong as Iseult and Safi are together, I will say the one great thing about keeping them apart in this book was giving them both the chance to shine on their own. That being said, it was definitely the place for Safi to come into her own as an individual and powerful Truthwitch.  Dennard did such a great job of keeping up with her fiery personality while allowing her to grow more mature.  I honestly think Safi might be my favorite of the pair, but let’s be honest my favorite will be Safi and Iseult’s friendship.

Dennard continued the upbeat and pressing plot pace from the first novel, and I can only imagine with the introduction of a few new key characters (OWL! *so cute*) that the story will keep on being exciting.

HUGE props to Dennard for Cam and his storyline throughout this book. Seriously, way to give us feels with this secondary character and for including a transgender narrative. It is such a wonderful moment when the character’s preferred pronouns are accepted and used.  In addition, does anyone else hardcore ship Vivia and Stix? I’m predicting some excellent fan fiction to come out of this pairing.  (*hint* Don’t sell Vivia down the river Styx yet*—*cackles*)

This is by far one of the best sequels I’ve read in a long time! Order your copy of Windwitch, now. You won’t regret it!

4.5 Bards

 

 

 

Special thanks to Tor Teen for providing me with a review copy!

 

Book Review: Riders by Veronica Rossi

Nothing but death can keep eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.

While recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen—Conquest, Famine, and Death—are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.

They fail.

Now—bound, bloodied, and drugged—Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen for—not to mention all of humankind—he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.

But will anyone believe him?

*Movie announcer voice* In a world where apocalyptic young adult literature is a dime a dozen, comes a new story from Veronica Rossi, author of that other apocalyptic/dystopian series (Under the Never Sky), featuring teen incarnations of the four horsemen of the apocalypse and their mission.

Okay, so there are some really cool things about this novel.  Number one being that Rossi has tapped into something I know very little about, unless you count the episodes of Supernatural that feature the four horsemen.  Two is that I have never read a novel about the personification of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.  The third thing that was pretty cool was the inclusion of characters that weren’t white. Two of these horsemen embodiments were African American and Hispanic, respectively.  So in a lot of ways, Rossi has created something wholly original and equally interesting.

There’s a pretty simple narrative device in play the whole novel: main narrator is relaying the story to an outside entity who is demanding answers.  So pretty much the majority of the novel is in past tense, and the action is being told to us rather than shown to us.  In some scenes this can be a bit dull and it takes away from the high stakes nature of the story.  However, it still works for the most part.

 

 

The Narrator is the embodiment of War, which I take to be the main explanation for why Gideon seems to be having a veritable pissing contest throughout the novel with the rest of the horsemen characters.  There’s so much testosterone at play and the fact that they are pretty much boasting about their abilities, their weapons, and their horses that I wanted all of them to be taken down a peg or two. Each of the horsemen seem somewhat – kind of – realized as characters but mostly in ways that they fit their horseman role more than who they really are, save for Marcus (who doesn’t really expose much of his past), but I don’t want to give away too much plot by going into detail.

I was extremely disappointed by the distinct lack of female characters in this novel.  There is really only one main female character, Daryn, who is pretty awesome and puts the male characters in their place a handful of times.  She is the one who is portrayed as being in control of the outcome, but even then her agency is hardly on display.  She, much like Marcus, reveals very little about herself, so the reader basically only gets a face value background on her. The other female characters were either plot devices (see Cordero) or background characters in Gideon’s life (his sister and his mother).

Side Note: I actually have never heard of the fourth horseman being Conquest.  In most popular incarnations the fourth horseman is Pestilence.  I actually had to google the origin of Conquest versus Pestilence in the four horseman.  Seems that Conquest was actually described more fully in the book of Revelation. Who knew?

Overall, I found the novel to be well paced, well researched, and well written.  There were some things I wish were there, sure, but I think that this series has potential.

3.5 Bards.

3.5bards

Book Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery,” a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

This book has been hyped, hyped, and hyped again by the publishing community and is heralded as the newest fantasy star in young adult literature.  With the genre being inundated with more and more fantasies, it is starting to get harder for authors to find a wholly unique storyline.

Dennard has created something beautiful.  She states in her acknowledgements at the end of the novel, she set out to show that “Friendships can be as epic as romances.”  I think that she did this well.  Sure there will be those readers that try to ship Iseult and Safiya together as a couple, but I honestly didn’t get that vibe from either character.  I love them as dedicated best friends who would do anything for one another.  C’mon, you know you all have that one friend who is your lifeline and who you would do anything for.  I just love how strong the friendship is between these two characters.

Now that I’ve harped on that for a bit, let me talk a little bit about the world and the plot.  I can say that I was extremely confused within the first chapter or two concerning the world that Truthwitch takes place in, but mostly because Dennard kind of drops you in the middle of the action rather than give a boring “this is this” type of beginning.  This type of start has its drawbacks (i.e. a bit of reader confusion), but I think that it works extremely well because it establishes the characters right off the bat and introduces one of the main antagonists immediately.  Get ready for a quick ride once you get past those first few chapters because Dennard does not allow this narrative to drag at all.  It went by quickly and now we have to wait a whole year for the next installment.

I will say that if you are looking for a book with traditional witches a la the Casters in Beautiful Creatures or something akin to Sabrina the Teenage Witch, then beware that these are nothing like those witches.  These characters have very specific magic, rather than the ability to manipulate all things or have the ability to cast any type of spell.  It’s possible that the characters’ ability will expand over the course of the subsequent installments, but we will have to wait and see!

4.5 Bards

four.fivebards

Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

 

 

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: February 10, 2015

The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road in Glass Arrow, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder.

In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.

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