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

Review: This is My Brain on Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer {2.0}


Title: This is My Brain on Boys
Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 10th, 2016
Pages: 342
My Rating: 2 Stars

Addie Emerson doesn’t believe in love. Not for herself, anyway. With one year left of high school, she’s more interested in snagging a full scholarship to Harvard than a full-time boyfriend.

That doesn’t mean she’s oblivious to the ways of the heart. Or, rather, the head. Because after months of research, Addie has discovered how to make anyone fall in love. All you need is the secret formula.

But will her discovery be enough to win the coveted Athenian Award and all its perks? (See above, full scholarship to Harvard.) Or will she be undone by Dexter, her backstabbing lab partner, who is determined to deep-six her experiments at their exclusive private school?

Those are the least of her problems now that she’s survived a death-defying flight with a mysterious, dark-haired boy, who has delicious chocolate-brown eyes and a few secrets of his own.

With an experiment to mastermind, an infatuated exchange student on her hands, and at least one great white shark (more on that later), can Addie’s prefrontal cortex outwit her heart? Or will she have to give in to her amygdala and find out, once and for all, if this thing called love is more than just her brain on drugs?

This Is My Brain on Boys is an unusual book in that the manner in which the main character speaks reminds me of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, and I’m not sure if that works for written novels. 
What I didn’t like:
1. The three robots: There are 3 people in this book who speak like Sheldon – Addie, Dex and Mrs. Brooks. I mean, I think it would have been understandable if Addie was the only one who was like that, but no, there are three of them. That made it unrealistic. 
2. Tess and Addie’s friendship is pretty weird: I think I would have liked it if there was an explanation as to how these two became friends because I don’t think it’s realistic. Addie is Addie, while Tess is more of the popular girl kind – wears makeup, worries about her boyfriend, etc. 
3. Kara and Kris’ relationship: Kris is a jerk because he went on kissing another girl while he is still in a relationship with Kara. Granted, Kara is a bitch and threatened him with whatever, but he still should have broken up with her nonetheless.
4. The ending: What is up with the ending? I expected some kind of reaction with Kris, but there wasn’t any explanation in the end. The ending felt like a nice close to the book, but I am not satisfied with it. 
What I Liked:
1. The experiment: The experiment is very interesting for me, and I liked it because we discussed a similar concept in my Social Psychology class last term. I like the fact that the author didn’t just invent something up, but chose something that actually has basis. Being subject to scary situation indeed increases our heart beat and we tend to associated this to attraction.
2. It’s an entertaining novel: Despite the fact that I didn’t like many aspects from this novel, I have this strange fascination with it. I didn’t just want to leave the novel as a DNF because I felt this need to finish it. 
hard-to-get-through stars

Review: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson {3.5}

 

Title: The Sky is Everywhere
Author: Jandy Nelson
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date:  March 9th, 2010
Pages: 288
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Adrift after her sister Bailey’s sudden death, Lennie finds herself torn between quiet, seductive Toby—Bailey’s boyfriend who shares her grief—and Joe, the new boy in town who bursts with life and musical genius. Each offers Lennie something she desperately needs… though she knows if the two of them collide her whole world will explode.

Join Lennie on this heartbreaking and hilarious journey of profound sorrow and mad love, as she makes colossal mistakes and colossal discoveries, as she traipses through band rooms and forest bedrooms and ultimately right into your heart.

As much a celebration of love as a poignant portrait of loss, Lennie’s struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often uproarious, and absolutely unforgettable.

The Sky is Everywhere is a book that I have been wanting to read for the longest times. It had been on my TBR even before I’ll Give You the Sun came out. I had high hopes because after all, it’s a Jandy Nelson novel. However, when I started reading, I was kind of disappointed because it wasn’t quite as I imagined it to be. Thankfully, the ending salvaged the book for me.

My main problem with this book is not the love triangle per se, but lying, as well as cheating in a way. Okay, so technically it’s not cheating because she’s not official with any of those guys, but she promised Joe that it was nothing, yet she still kissed Toby every time she saw him. And I do get the part about the grief and understanding each other, but I just don’t know if it’s realistic that they both love other people but keep on getting back together. It’s kind of a hard concept to grasp for me, and it affected my reading experience because it went on for most of the book. However, I really liked how the author resolved this in the end.

The Sky is Everywhere encompasses so much within a 300-page novel. I’m still debating whether or not I like it. I mean, it’s about friendship, family, relationships, love triangles, musical band, dead sister, lost mother, cool uncle, grandma with her own issues, Toby, Joe, Joe’s family background, Sarah, etc. I kind of feel out of breath just enumerating all those. I learned so much from this book though, but at the same time it’s kind of hard to grasp everything at the same time. And as a result, I think some of these aspects were not fully explored.

Negatives aside, there were things I liked about this book as well. I love how kind Uncle Big is, and how in touch with his emotions he is. People often have misconceptions about big guys, but he’s a softie who loves love. I also love how Gram has her own issues that she’s fighting with because grandmothers in novels don’t really have much stories to them. Although a bit late into the novel, I connected with the characters and the story. I may even have shed a few tears towards the end when Lennie talked to Gram, and then to Joe. I liked the way it tackled grief in a sense that it lingers. How you might forget for a while but it comes back in waves. I felt like that was realistic.

Overall, this book was not what I expected, which kind of affected my liking of the book. However, I was finally able to connect and understand the characters towards the end of the novel.

3.5 not what I expected 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. 

Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon {5.0}


Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date:  May 30thth, 2017
Pages: 380 pages
My Rating: 5 Stars

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

When I first read the synopsis for When Dimple Met Rishi, I immediately wanted to read it. Fake and arranged relationships that turn into love are guilty pleasures of mine when it comes to romance novels. When I learned that this also features Indian characters, I just needed it in my hands! However, I was kind of put off because of the low Goodreads rating. Speaking of, how can such an amazing book not even have 4 stars?! How appalling! Anyway, I’ve read both positive and negative reviews on this one, and I kept them in mind while reading the novel. I mostly remembered the negative ones, but I couldn’t help but disagree with those because I just loved When Dimple Met Rishi so much!
I saw so much of myself in all the characters – Dimple, Rishi, Ashish, and Celia – and I just couldn’t help but fall in love with each of the characters. Being born of immigrant parents myself (Chinese in the Philippines) I sometimes feel like I don’t belong anywhere as well (Dimple) and how I still want to uphold the traditions of my ancestors (Rishi), at least those that I know of. Most of the time, I do things I’m uncomfortable with as well so as not to break the status quo and be branded as overreacting (Celia), and always have a defensive stance and not let people see me hurt or sad (Ashish). Sometimes I also don’t have the courage to speak up for what I know is right (Isabelle) and just like the parents of Dimple and Rishi, I often don’t know how to show love, understanding and acceptance in a way people would understand.
When Dimple and Rishi is a very dynamic book that encompasses so much. It showed Dimple’s relationship with her family, as well as Rishi’s relationship with his family. Here, it was seen that there were a lot of misunderstandings and ultimately, all our parents want for us at the end of the day is what would be best for us. Sometimes they don’t understand that what makes us happy may be the best things for us, but we to do our parts as well and make them understand. I also really loved how the relationship of Ashish and Rishi took a turn for the better after they talked to each other, although it still wasn’t perfect in the end.
I also loved how it featured aspects of Indian culture because it’s books like this that make people more open minded about the different cultures in the world. I had some issues because there were no translations for the Indian words in the novel, but that’s a minor issue for me. The aspects of respect towards elders and having to call relatives confusing titles is something similar with our culture as well, and I’m glad that I learned new things about Indian culture.
My favorite aspect is the journey that Dimple’s character took. She was very headstrong and stubborn at first, but towards the end of the book I believe that she has learned a lot. She often criticizes herself, but she’s also very adamant when it comes to her goals. Some people might find her character annoying, but I find her character to be full of potential. My favorite is probably when she learned to listen to her heart and learned to speak up for herself when it comes to her parents.
More than just about feels and romance, When Dimple Met Rishi is about culture, family, self-discovery, personal growth, gaining courage, learning to break the mold, and most of all, learning to listen to your heart and following it despite the criticisms of others, and most especially yourself. This book made me so happy and made me feel so many different things. I loved it to bits and pieces, and I wish everyone could appreciate it as much as I did. This is definitely a must-read!
5 dynamic 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

Audiobook Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber {4.0}

Title: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: January 31st, 2017
Pages: Paperback, 407
My Rating: 4 Stars

Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

When I first heard of Caraval, there was already a lot of hype surrounding it. I didn’t get why people were so excited, because this book made me think of The Night Circus, which was really dragging for me. I mean, they both promise amazing performances and lavish worlds, and I thought that this book might be excessively descriptive of the world. Turns out, I was very, very wrong. I’m really glad that I gave Caraval a chance, because I would have missed out on a fantastic story.

Caraval is not my typical read, what with all the deception and excitement that happens in the story, but I loved it nonetheless. Truth be told, I don’t really know how to review this book because so many things happened within just 400 pages, and I still can’t wrap my head around everything that happened. But what I can say is that it had my heart pumping, my head guessing and my whole being anxious. It kept me on my toes, and it has that addicting feel to it that I just couldn’t stop listening to it even though I was supposed to be reading other books.

Caraval is so far from what I expected it to be, and I’m just glad that I caved into the hype, because the hype is totally worth it. The world and the characters are so complex, and the mystery is really intriguing. There’s just too much more to find out about this world, and I cannot wait for the next book!

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The Narrator: The narrator is truly amazing. I think that she played a part in my loving this book. She really had so much emotion in her voice, and I love how she portrayed the voices of each character differently. I would love to listen to more audiobooks narrated by her. I think my only problem was the long “No”s from Scarlet. I don’t know, they sounded weird to me, like I just wanted to fast forward the audio so I wouldn’t have to hear it. But other than that, she really did an amazing job.

worth the hype stars