Review: Circe by Madeline Miller {3.75}

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Title: Circe
Author: Madeline Miller
Series: N/A
Genre: Adult, Fiction, Mythology, Retelling, Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date:  April 10th, 2018
Pages: 288
My Rating: 3.75 Stars

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Circe is a book that has been on my TBR for a while now and I’ve always been excited about. As a pre-teen, Greek mythology sparked my interest like no other. I devoured series like Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus, and the Starcrossed trilogy, but these are middle grade and young adult books. On the other hand, Circe is an adult book, shelved under general fiction. With that, I did not know what to expect. However, so many booktubers were all praise about this book, so I finally listened to it in audiobook.

From the first few minutes of the audiobook, I was already enthralled by the world that I delved into. Circe the book does not shy away from violences, and gives a more rounded telling of Circe’s story. Here, we get to see how Circe evolved from a meek child who was always bullied, to being a powerful witch who turned men into swine. Here, we get to see the rationale behind her decisions, and get to see her as humane, rather than an evil witch as she is portrayed in some literature. Filled with a lot of stories abut Circe from her time with Helios, her exile, meeting Glaucos, Hermes, Deadalus, Odysseus, Penelope and Thelemacus, this novel gives us a view of how Circe lived her life – how she suffered, how she rejoiced, how she loved, and how she hated.

There were some parts of the novel that did not interest me as much as the other parts, and there was this certain part where I had to listen to it 4 times because it just didn’t hold my attention, so I cannot give it more than my rating. However, I really enjoyed it. I also really enjoyed how we got a glimpse of a lot other Greek gods and characters, and enjoy their stories and personalities alongside that of Circe’s. Overall, this is a very interesting novel especially if you are interested in Greek mythology. It’s a great read, and the ending left me smiling like an idiot. For all of Circe’s suffering and pain throughout her earlier years, there certainly was a rainbow after the rain.

3.5 magical and enchanting stars

Review: Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas {4.0}

 

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Title:
 Catwoman: Soulstealer
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retelling
Publisher: Random House Books for young Readers
Publication Date:  August 7th, 2018
Pages: 384 pages
My Rating: 4 Stars

When the Bat’s away, the Cat will play. It’s time to see how many lives this cat really has. . . .

Two years after escaping Gotham City’s slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Batwing is left to hold back the tide of notorious criminals. Gotham City is ripe for the taking.

Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove he has what it takes to help people in his role as Batwing. He targets a new thief on the prowl who seems cleverer than most. She has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, and together they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman may be Batwing’s undoing.

Catwoman: Soulstealer is the first book I finished in 2019, and I take a lot of pleasure in that fact. Sarah J. Maas has always been one of my favorite authors and I long ago vowed to read any book she publishes. I also read Batman: Nightwalker, which is why I was super excited about this one.

If you guys know me, you would probably know that I did not grow up with superheroes. In fact, I don’t know much about them. And then I read Batman: Nightwalker, and I started getting interested, until I binge-watched the entire Marvel universe movies. I still don’t know a lot about DC, so I don’t know back stories and all that. So fair warning, this review is from the perspective of a person who doesn’t know anything at all, and may or may not have pestered her brother to inform her about such things.

When I first picked up Catwoman: Soulstealer, I didn’t know if I would like it or not. I had such high expectations because of Batman: Nightwalker but this one was slow in the beginning. I enjoyed being transported into the world, but not much exciting was happening yet. And then I got to about 50% and things started become so exciting that I forgot to put the book down. Towards the end, I was wiping tears from my eyes and my heart felt full.

Catwoman: Soulstealer centers on Selina Kyle, who disguised herself as socialite Holly Vanderhees. She goes to Gotham to wreak havoc, while Luke Fox – Batwing – tries to anticipate and stop her. I like how this novel centered on Catwoman being a villain instead of the superhero portion. I like how this story gave dimension to her character and how she formed amazing bonds within the novel. It’s amazing how human villains can be when we look into their backstories. I really liked the way everything tied together and unfolded.

Catwoman: Soulstealer is not a fast-paced action novel in my opinion, which was what I was expecting. This novel gave just the right amount of action, but it focuses more on the humanizing part, as well as the wit. It was also humorous in some parts, and I may or may not have been caught grinning like a fool on the airplane. This novel is well-rounded and exciting, and I really enjoyed it.

Furyborn by Claire Legrand {3.0}

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Title: Furyborn
Author: Claire Legrand
Series: Empirium #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: May 22nd, 2018
Pages: Kindle, 512 pages
My Rating: 3 Stars

Follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.

I first heard about Furyborn while watching a book haul on Youtube, and once I heard what it was about, I knew that I had to read it immediately. Once I got a copy, I immediately started reading, and I must say, the first chapter was so captivating that I knew this was going to be a great novel. However, I had some issues with reading this book, and although I really am interested in the story, I couldn’t give it more than 3 stars because of those issues.

 

What I Didn’t Like:
1. The long, excessive narratives: As I said, I really like the story that this novel tells, but I just found the narratives to be quite boring. I often found myself skimming the pages until conversations would come up because the book is a long one. I still want to read the next book, but I just hope that the 2nd book would be more concise so it would be less boring.
2. The main characters: The main characters were both insufferable, although I must say I grew to like Eliana more towards the end of the novel. I couldn’t say the same thing for Rielle though. She’s so arrogant and prideful, and sometimes I just want to shake her awake because dude, can you see the situation you are in? Do you think this is the time to boast around your skills just because you have them? Gosh! And with Eliana, at first I couldn’t get a grip on her personality because she switches from one decision to another completely opposite decision, without thinking of how it will affect others, and within a few pages. She was confusing as heck, and it was hard to keep up with her.
3. The alternating POVs: I really, really hated the way in which the chapters ended. I feel like it just takes me out of the story, instead of deepen my interest in it. The chapters cut the POV right as I was getting interested, and because of that I kind of forgot my interest after the next chapter. It was also confusing at first, because it was hard to keep up with what was going on. I kind of wished that this was two separate books instead of one.
4. It was confusing despite the number of pages: Speaking of confusion, this book was confusing as heck! So many things happened, and yet I have no answers. I just read a 500-page novel, and I only have the tiniest clue about what this really is about. Although this book did a good job in setting the tone for the following novels, I just felt like there were still far too many questions left unanswered.

 

What I Liked:
1. The side characters: I really enjoyed the characters of Remy and Ludivine. They add a nice element to the story, and the innocence coming from them both is really just something else. I always like it whenever they appear in the story. Sometimes I like Audric and Navi as well, although other times I just want to knock Audric in the head because he can be so clueless at times.
2. The story: Although I complain about how slow the plot moves, I really am interested and invested in how the story will go. I’m genuinely interested because it seems like such a unique story. Even though I did not love this one, I see myself still continuing on with the series because I just feel the potential. I mean, angels are bad in this novel, and there are prophecies, kingdoms to save, and so many secrets yet to uncover. I honestly can’t wait for the next book!
3. The gripping start: Honestly, the first chapter was what really drew me in. I loved how action-packed and ominous it was. It’s what got me excited for this book, and it’s also what’s still hooking me to the series, even though I didn’t love it. If we’re basing it on Rielle’s chapters, the first one was actually in the future, after everything has already happened. Honestly, I’m more interested in the after of that first chapter than the before, so I just want to find out more about what happened.

 

Overall, this book is a unique story that I truly am interested in, but I just couldn’t rate it higher because the plot was moving too slow for me, it was confusing at times, and I felt like there are still so many questions left unanswered. That said, I still can’t wait for the second book because I just want to find out more about this world!
interesting-but-slow stars

 

ARC Review: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye {2.0}


Title: The Crown’s Game
Author: Evelyn Skye
Series: The Crown’s Game #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 17th, 2016
Pages: 399
My Rating: 2 Stars

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip-smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love…or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear—the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

I had a hard time deciding what rating to give this book because while I didn’t really enjoy it, I didn’t really hate it either. However, upon thinking about it, I realized that I have no desire to read the next book, so I decided to just give this book 2 stars. I know a lot of people loved this book, and I really wanted to love this book because of the amazing concept, but it turns out that I am yet again the black sheep.

What I Liked:
1. The premise of this book is very interesting: Set in Russia, the two enchanters born of that time (1800’s) were to enter in the Crown’s Game to duel each other until one dies and the other becomes the Grand Enchanter of Russia. I mean, it has magic and it’s set in Russia! I really was interested in that plot, and I felt like it would be a really unique book.

2. The vivid descriptions: In the game, the enchanters were tasked to please Pasha for his birthday celebration, so the enchanters created a lot of beautiful things such as fountains, magical boxes that would create masquerade gowns, islands, etc. The author did a really great job of describing these, and I felt like I was able to see those things clearly.

3. The writing: Not that it was anything special, but I felt like the writing was good. I had no problems with the pacing and choice of words. And as mentioned above, the author is really good in descriptions without being too overbearing with words.

What I Didn’t Like:
1. Multiple POVs: I don’t usually have problems with multiple POVs, especially when the book is in the third person perspective, but I was just annoyed in the execution of it in this book. At first I thought there was already this set amount of narrators, but throughout the book, new ones just keep popping out. I would prefer it if from the start, I knew which people would get to narrate the novel, because I was just confused at times why there were new ones popping out, even neat the end of the book.

2. Love Square?: I don’t really like love triangles, but this novel has a love square! It was infuriating because I was really looking forward to the magic element of the novel, but at some point the focus became the romance. And can I just say how predictable it is that Vika and Nikolai would fall in love with each other? I think I would have preferred it if it became Vika + Pasha and Nikolai + Renata, just for the sake of being different for once.

3. Bland: I don’t know, this book just wasn’t interesting enough for me. I was really looking forward to reading this book the longest times, but it fell short of my expectations. In my opinion, it lacks the excitement that I wanted it to have, so I didn’t really mind if I was interrupted or anything.

bland-bland-bland stars

Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson {5.0}

Title: Steelheart
Author: Brandon Sandeson
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Delacorte
Publication Date:  September 24th, 2013
Pages: 386 pages
My Rating: 5 Stars
Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.

Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.
I almost gave up on this book, but thankfully, I didn’t. I have started reading Steelheart numerous times already, but like The Book Thief, I have never gotten past 2-3 chapters until today. And oh my goodness, this book took me by surprise! Why the heck did I not read this book, or any other Brandon Sanderson book sooner?! Ugh, I’m so frustrated with myself, and I just freaking need the next book already!
Steelheart is one of the best fantasy books I’ve ever read. The concept of the book is one of the most unique ones I’ve encountered in YA. I’ve never seen a book about supervillains before, and this immediately caught my attention. In this book, the main character is a human who want to defeat a supervillain with superpowers. Long gone was the time they believed that there would be good Epics rather than bad. 
The excitement and the action in the book was just addicting. This book definitely has that can’t-put-down factor. Tt has been a long time since I have read a book like that, which is why this book is all the more precious to me. As I was reading, my heart was definitely pounding, and I even reacted physically, not just in my head. That, for me, is a great indicator of how amazing a book is because I typically don’t like showing my reactions to other people. And I was reading in public, mind you. 
This book is a paradox for me because while there were a few times that it caught me off guard, it felt kind of predictable to me as well. But I won’t be deducting any stars for that because this book deserves no less than 5 stars. There were tiny moments when this book made me go :O, but mostly I was able to guess things before they even happened. Why couldn’t I deduct a star? Simply because the fact that the book is predictable doesn’t deduct from the excitement. Even though I guessed some of the things that would happen, it still totally made my heart pound with excitement.
Oh my goodness, I have so many questions about this book. I have read the sneak peek for the second book at the end of this book, and I kind of regret it because it just makes me want to read the second book more. There are still a lot of loose ends that would have to be answered throughout the series, and I cannot wait! Whereas the first book took some time for the action to take off, the second book immediately starts with one. Ugh, I need to get my hands on that book! 
Overall, this book is completely amazing! If you guys are tired of the cheesy romances in most YA fantasy novels, try this one for a kickass main character and minor romance. Endless recommendations for this one, seriously. Now I’m off to cry because I still don’t have the next book yet. On the flip side, I have other Brandon Sanderson novels on my bookshelf..

why-the-heck-didn’t-i-read-this-sooner?! stars

Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas {4.0}

Title: Empire of Storms
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #5
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury Chilren’s Books
Publication Date: September 26th, 2016
Pages: Paperback, 693
My Rating: 4 Stars

KINGDOMS WILL COLLIDE.

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what—and who—to sacrifice if she’s to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.

This is actually not the first time I have started Empire of Storms. The first time I started it was immediately after its release, but I found that it couldn’t hold me attention and I couldn’t get past a hundred pages so I put off reading it until now. Honestly, I was scared because I love SJM and this is one of my favorites series of all time, and if I didn’t like this book, that would forever tarnish the series. Thankfully, that didn’t happen; however, I didn’t love this book as much as I loved the rest of the books on the series.

Sarah J. Maas writes the fifth book in her novel with the same excitement and element of surprise as how she wrote the other books in the series. The plot is amazing and intricately woven, the characters are badass, and the events are either blood-pumping or heart-stopping. What this book lacked, however, was the hold of my attention. It took me a long time to finish because it didn’t fully grip me, and there wasn’t much that happened that I loved. But with this book, I came to realize something, and that’s what I’m gonna talk about in this review.

Sarah J. Maas crafts her characters in such a way that they are not perfect. Take Aelin, our main protagonist, for example. She is the main character, yet a lot of people, including myself, think she’s an arrogant b*tch. And yes, she may be that, but I love her nonetheless because she protects those she cares about with all her heart. She shows the world how cruel she is, she keeps a strong facade of arrogance and fearlessness, so her companions wouldn’t have to worry about anything. And yes, she may be arrogant at times, but a protagonist who is perfect is boring. SJM portrays a good balance of good and bad in every single one of the characters, and it just makes them all the more real to me. Because that’s how life is – filled with both positives and negatives.

Aedion, Aelin’s cousin, is not perfect as well. Albeit being an amazing warrior and completely ready to help his cousin, he couldn’t help but doubt her at times. His temper is bad as well. Lysandra is very smart and will follow Aelin to the ends of whatever world, but she has her demons that she has to face. Lorcan is so, so evil that he’s so easy to hate, but he was easy to warm up to as well. Every single one of the characters possess something that made me want to scream at each one of the throughout the novel, and I loved it. Because it makes them human, and it makes them all the more relatable to. This is something that I don’t often see in YA fantasy, and I’m glad that SJM did it.

Overall, I didn’t love this book as much as I loved all the other books from the series, but I did stumble upon an amazing realization that changed the way I viewed the series, as well as each of the characters, as a whole. Of course, even though this isn’ a favorite, I still couldn’t wait to read the next book because oh goodness, there’s still so much to be learned about the world and the plot. I can’t wait for book 6!

a-new-perspective stars

Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo {4.0}

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #2
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Publication Date: September 26th, 2016
Pages: Paperback, 536
My Rating: 4 Stars

Welcome to the world of the Grisha.

After pulling off a seemingly impossible heist in the notorious Ice Court, criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker feels unstoppable. But life is about to take a dangerous turn—and with friends who are among the deadliest outcasts in Ketterdam city, Kaz is going to need more than luck to survive in this unforgiving underworld.

I don’t even know how to start this review properly because I have such conflicting feelings for this. I usually rate books based on my enjoyment and how it manages to catch my attention. And while I didn’t fully enjoy this one because it just didn’t have that gripping factor that the first book had, I had to give this one points for how many times the plot took me by surprise and caught me off guard.

Crooked Kingdom is the sequel to Six of Crows, a book that completely took me by surprise. I was really excited to read this book, but I have to say that I was kind of disappointed in this one. While a lot more things happen in this book than it did in the last book, this book just didn’t have the excitement of the first book where my heart was pounding and I couldn’t put down the book no matter how hard I tried. With this book, a lot of things happened, and as usual Kaz was clever and surprised me with his schemes, but I just wasn’t as mind blown as I was with the first book.

The plot was definitely well thought out though, so I couldn’t give this book lower than 4 stars. The plot is so intricately woven, and everything has to be planned out and clear right from the start to pull it off. I know that’s a feat that can’t be pulled off by many. There were so many hidden agendas, but they all add up in the end. They just make sense, you know? However, because of the number of times it has happened already, sometimes it felt like too many. I know that I would be surprised by Kaz’ schemes, and while I did not expect what Kaz would do, I expected to be surprised. As a result, I was not that surprised anymore.

Nevertheless, the conclusion of this book is beautiful. Things were still not perfect for the characters, but they were good enough. I love how everyone just knew what they were supposed to do after everything, but at the same time let the tides take them where they may. I don’t know, I just think it was beautiful. But let’s not forget for a minute what happened towards the end, when it made me think that this book is so, so cruel. Ugh, I don’t know why that had to happen? I hope you all know what I’m talking about because I don’t want to put any spoilers.

Overall, I was kind of disappointed by this book, but not by much. I really loved how intricately woven the plot was, and I kind of wish there’s a next book even though the ending was beautiful.

something lacking stars

Mini Review: The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson {4.5}


Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: May 14th, 2013
Pages: 378 pages
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson: his debut novel for the young-adult audience.

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings—merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery, one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever.

Bestselling author Brandon Sanderson brings his unique brand of epic storytelling to the teen audience with an engrossing tale of danger and suspense—the first of a series. With his trademark skills in worldbuilding, Sanderson has created a magic system that is so inventive and detailed that readers who appreciate games of strategy and tactics just may want to bring Rithmatics to life in our world.
After reading The Rithmatist, I am now a hundred percent sure that Brandon Sanderson should be on my auto-read authors. I have only read two books by Brandon Sanderson – this one and Steelheart – but I think that’s enough for me to be certain that I love his writing style. 
Brandon Sanderson writes in a such a way that’s refreshing. With the newer fantasy books, it seems like the authors are trying to cram everything into one book; and even though the book is 500 pages long, it seems as though they still can’t contain everything in those pages, so sometimes I get tired trying to read them. And yes, those books are exiting, but Brandon Sanderson brings a sort of calmness to the genre.
The Rithmatist is just a little more than 300 pages, but Brandon Sanderson managed to build the world properly and make it exciting enough that I never got bored. The pacing was just enough. Unlike other fantasy books that go from one extreme end to another being boring and too exciting, the pace of this book was perfect. I never got bored, and I never felt overwhelmed with everything that was happening. With fantasy books, it’s hard to find something like this because it takes a while for authors to build the world. 
4.5 chill yet exciting stars. 

Audiobook Review: Dead and Night (The Star-Touched Queen 0.5) by Roshani Chokshi {3.0}

Title: Death and Night
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Novella
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017
Pages: Kindle, 132 pages
My Rating: 3 Stars

An exclusive Star-Touched novella over 100 pages long!

Before The Star-Touched Queen there was only Death and Night.

He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

I read The Star-Touched Queen a few months back but I was not satisfied with that story. The romance felt too quick, and I did not understand the hype surrounding it when it first came out. However, with the help of this novella, things finally made a little more sense that it did before, and I wish I listened to this first before The Star-Touched Queen for me to appreciate it more. 
Death and Night gave us a glimpse of how Maya and Amar met, and how their romance first blossomed. This novella also shows us how Nrithi and Maya’s friendship was, and how her romance started as well. It showed Nritti in a different light, although I still can’t understand how she turned to the way she is in The Star-Touched Queen.
This book was quick to listen to, even with the audiobook in normal speed. The tone and everything else was definitely the same with The Star-Touched Queen, which I appreciated. But then again, as I mentioned in my review of that book, it still felt like a romance novel set in a fantasy world, because the fantasy part did not exactly take place, except for the setting. There was no badass-ery; it only centered on the romance. 
Although I enjoyed this better than The Star-Touched Queen, it still left a lot to be desired, in my opinion. It still felt lacking in a way, and the romance still felt quick. I know it’s a novella, but overall, these kinds of fantasy books are just not for me. However, if you are a beginner in fantasy and used to reading contemporary, I think this and The Star-Touched Queen might ease you into the fantasy genre.
still-lacking stars

Review: Riders by Veronica Rossi {2.5}

Title: Riders

 

Author: Veronica Rossi
Series: Riders #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Mythology
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: February16th, 2016
Pages: Kindle, 384
My Rating: 2.5 Stars
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?

 

I read Veronica Rossi’s first series based on impulse. The author was coming to the Philippines, so I bought the first book to be signed. Little did I expect that I would be completely sucked in by the story. So when I learned that she was coming up with a new series, I was really, really excited! It didn’t matter what the story was about, it didn’t matter that there was no synopsis yet; I just wanted to get my hands on it immediately.
All those said, I felt like Riders was a disappointment. Maybe it’s because of my expectations, or maybe I just really didn’t like the writing style in this one. Riders is told by a character being interrogated in the present, so he has to narrate the whole story to the inquisitor. That said, this book is full of narratives and a lot of unnecessary thoughts from the main character. Because of that, this felt like a short story dragged to have 300+ pages.
Writing style aside, I think that the story is pretty amazing. It’s actually very interesting, and it definitely takes on a unique spin to the story. I believe that each of the characters were really able to embody the characteristics of the aspect they were representing. If only this didn’t feel draggy, I’m pretty sure that I would have loved this book.
Overall, I was just disappointed because I felt like it dragged on and on with lots of excessive narrative. It didn’t have the same effect on me as Under the Never Sky had, and I don’t think I will be continuing with this series.
2.5 excessively-dragging stars