Debated skipping the March wrap-up as it's abysmal, once again *shame*. But I did complete one book amidst all the craziness that was my last month at work before little guy arrives, so see below!
What I Read
Reign of the Fallen | Sarah Glenn Marsh
Published: January 23, 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 2 Stars
Fine. That's the best way to describe how I feel about this book. The characters were fine, the setting was fine, the idea was fine, the plot was...almost fine.
I thought a story about necromancers would be a nice change of pace in a typical YA universe, and it was, except beyond the setting of a world where the dead can walk among the living as many times as they like, it didn't feel very different at all. We have our MC, Odessa "The Sparrow", who came from nothing and earned her place as the King's best necromancer. She and her fellow master necromancers suddenly have a problem with someone intentionally turning the Dead into Shades - monsters who feed on spirits in the Deadlands and the living and dead alike in the living realm.
Not a bad start, though from the moment the first grisly death occurs to the end where everything is solved, not much plot development happens. This book is actually not one about necromancers and the great mystery of who is turning the Dead into Shades and to what end, it is a book about depression and surviving after loss. The who-done-it mystery is halfway solved instantly, and then the plot is set aside as we go through Odessa's emotional turmoil after a traumatic loss. The fact that this is more a story about coming back to yourself after a loss is not why it fails - it fails because there is absolutely no emotional connection.
I understand that within the first couple pages when we see the first shocking death, we are only just beginning and haven't had the chance to get to know our characters or develop a bond with them. But when the big, traumatic death occurs a third of the way in, it is no surprise (saw it coming a mile away) and I, at least, felt nothing about it. Just a passing, "hm, okay that one died too." So when the remainder of the book is about our MC overcoming her grief and developing an addiction to cope, the lack of emotional connection means this totally missed the mark. I wasn't connected with her, or any of the characters who perish or survive.
This is where I come to the "it was all fine" feeling. Nothing about the story jumped out as terrible - I did enjoy the LGBTQ+ representation and especially how the author didn't stop and wave a big gay flag saying "DID YOU SEE? DID YOU SEE I INCLUDED IT?" No, "love is love" is just evident in this world, and no one needed to point it out because if that's the world you're creating, none of your characters need to point it out...it just is. The magic system was also interesting - different eye color denotes a different ability. Blue eyes have the ability to raise the dead, gray eyes control the weather, green eyes are beast masters, etc. But everything interesting about this book is just surface-level interesting, because we never got any deeper.
So, yea, it was fine. Take it how you will!
This is officially my first disappointing read of the year...oh well, I had a strong start!
April New Releases
Only one coming up on my radar for April, and I'm on the fence if I'll add it to the TBR.
Lost Gods | Micah Yongo
Published: April 5, 2018
Genre: Adult High Fantasy
Definitely caught my attention, but I don't feel the "I need to have it" urge yet. We'll see!
"In an epic fantasy kingdom inspired by African legends, a young assassin finds himself hunted by the brothers and sisters he has trained alongside since birth.
A teenaged assassin is hunted by his own Brotherhood as he seeks to uncover a supernatural conspiracy before it’s too late
Neythan is one of five adolescents trained and raised together by a mysterious brotherhood of assassins known as the Shedaím. When Neythan is framed for the murder of his closest friend, he pursues his betrayer, and in so doing learns there’s far more to the Brotherhood, and even the world itself, than he’d ever thought possible."
*As usual, subject to change on a daily basis. I seem to take issue with being told what to read, including by myself.
A Wrinkle In Time | Madeleine L'Engle
Published: January 1, 1962
Genre: YA Fantasy Classic
I SERIOUSLY CANNOT SEEM TO MAKE MYSELF FINISH THIS. I'm halfway through and remembering why I never included this on my favorite reads from when I was younger - I dislike something about it immensely! *gasp* Not sure if it is the writing or story or what...but I can't wait to get it over with (and I will finish, because DAMNIT if I just make myself sit down for a half hour it will be done!)
"Meg Murry and her friends become involved with unearthly strangers and a search for Meg's father, who has disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government."
Freedom's Slave | Heather Demetrios
Published: February 28, 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
HURRAY I started this finally! I've wanted to finish this trilogy for a while - it's happening this month. It. Is. Happening. (Reminder: I did like the first two books, and I expect to like this one as well! Just my usual "can't read anything I tell myself to" problem.)
"An Empress Fighting for Her Crown
After three long years in exile, Nalia is ready to return to her homeland and sit on the throne that is rightfully hers. But the gods might have other plans. Forced to endure untold horrors on the journey to Arjinna, Nalia learns that it will take more than cutting down the tyrant Calar to get her crown.
An Army Fighting to Survive
Raif’s return to Arjinna as the commander of the revolution against Calar and her army isn’t as smooth as he’d hoped. Though he has more soldiers than ever before, his love for Nalia is losing him the trust of his comrades...and the war. But little does the resistance know that insurrection is brewing among Calar’s own ranks—and from the one person she trusts the most.
A Land Worth Fighting for
Arjinna is dying—Calar’s evil experiments with dark magic and the strength of her own psychic powers threaten to destroy the land of the jinn. Is Nalia and Raif’s enduring love enough to transform and rescue their homeland? Will they be willing to save the realm, no matter the cost?"
The Bone Witch | Rin Chupeco
Published: March 7, 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
I made this one my purchase of April, as I saw the sequel just released and a reviewer I trust raved about it. Take two on the necromancer story line!
"In the captivating start to a new, darkly lyrical fantasy series for readers of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price...
Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there's anything I've learned from him in the years since, it's that the dead hide truths as well as the living.
When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she's a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.
In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha-one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles...and make a powerful choice."
Knight's Shadow | Sebastien de Castell
Published: March 5, 2015
Genre: Adult Epic Fantasy
Still have this hanging out on audiobook, so I might get to listen to it this month. I think I am putting it off as it is a series, and seeing how my reading has been going the last two months I'm hesitant to be in the middle of yet another series that I want to read but can't seem to find the time to read.
"Following his beloved debut, Traitor's Blade, Sebastien de Castell returns with volume two of his fast-paced fantasy adventure series, inspired by the swashbuckling action and witty banter of The Three Musketeers. Knight's Shadow continues the series with a thrilling and dark tale of heroism and betrayal in a country crushed under the weight of its rulers' corruption.
A few days after the horrifying murder of a duke and his family, Falcio val Mond, swordsman and First Cantor of the Greatcoats, begins a deadly pursuit to capture the killer. But Falcio soon discovers his own life is in mortal danger from a poison administered as a final act of revenge by one of his deadliest enemies. As chaos and civil war begin to overtake the country, Falcio has precious little time left to stop those determined to destroy his homeland."