VD The Book Yogi

lover of artistic language and the language of art

April & May Wrap Up

Drumroll please...I had a baby! He arrived right on time on April 17th, and threw a bit of a kink in my schedule, to say the least. :) I have been able to complete a lot on my reading list (7, to be exact!), so check out what I read in April and May below!


What I Read

A Wrinkle In Time | Madeleine L'Engle

Published: January 1, 1962
Genre: YA Fantasy Classic
My Rating: 2 Stars

I first read this when I was very young, so when I remembered little except the fact I didn't really enjoy it, I thought it safe to assume my experience this time around would be better, that perhaps I was too young to really appreciate the breadth of the fantasy.

Well, it took me months to force my way through. There is just something about the writing, the tone...I can't stand it. The story itself is so imaginative, no wonder it is a classic. I can appreciate that, which is why it got an extra star. But my ten year old self was right about this one the first time: this series is not for me.

 

Freedom's Slave | Heather Demetrios

Published: February 28, 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 5 Stars

This is series was a total surprise. I finally got around to finishing this third and final installment, and I'm so glad I gave the first book a shot a few years ago, despite thinking the cover looked like it'd be a cheesy YA romance. That first cover does this trilogy a disservice, although from a marketing perspective I see why the publisher decided to put a pretty genie on the front. In a saturated YA market, pretty covers sell. 

But The Dark Caravan Cycle has so much more to offer than the "master falls for genie" trope. There's romance, yes, but not in the way you'd expect. There are elements of Stockholm Syndrome, a political history it takes the three books to fully understand, familial and societal struggles that test the limits of characters' beliefs, an elemental magic system that has rules and follows them, folklore, a brutal slave trade and black market, other worlds...the first book, Exquisite Captive, barely scratches the surface of what this entire tale contains.

As a conclusion, Freedom's Slave tied up all loose ends. Action, answers, happy ships sailing; it had everything I wanted for Raif and Nalia and all their companions. My one complaint would be the switch of pacing about three quarters in. Up until then the world building and story telling was strong, steady. Then suddenly it was as if the author was told to wrap it all up in 100 pages or less (which, for how much rising action we had, is not enough for an adequate climax and resolution). But overall I enjoyed this story and the trilogy immensely, and definitely recommend.

 

The Bone Witch | Rin Chupeco

Published: March 7, 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars

Synopsis:

"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."

 

The Heart Forger | Rin Chupeco

Published: March 20, 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

I had to rush out and purchase this sequel the instant I finished The Bone Witch - Amazon Prime 2 day shipping was even too long to wait.

Synopsis:

"In The Bone Witch, Tea mastered resurrection―now she's after revenge...

No one knows death like Tea. A bone witch who can resurrect the dead, she has the power to take life...and return it. And she is done with her self-imposed exile. Her heart is set on vengeance, and she now possesses all she needs to command the mighty daeva. With the help of these terrifying beasts, she can finally enact revenge against the royals who wronged her―and took the life of her one true love.

But there are those who plot against her, those who would use Tea's dark power for their own nefarious ends. Because you can't kill someone who can never die...

War is brewing among the kingdoms, and when dark magic is at play, no one is safe."

 

A Court Of Frost And Starlight | Sarah J. Maas

Published: May 1, 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 2.5 Stars

This is just a bridge novella to give readers a glimpse into the characters' lives after the war. Nothing of significance happens, and I would have been okay waiting for the next full novel to get the small pieces of set up for future books, but I didn't mind reading. I do feel I am over Feyre and Rhys...they've had their story and I want to hear about others now. I do hope the sex scenes between other characters are less...outrageous... They seem to be getting more and more ridiculous and cringeworthy, maybe in the author's attempt to "one-up" herself each time? The last chapter gives us a look at what the next full book will be about, and I'm looking forward to that setting and those POVs.

Synopsis:

"Hope warms the coldest night.

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. 

Yet even the festive atmosphere can't keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated--scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court."

 

Flamecaster | Cinda Williams Chima

Published: April 5, 2016
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 3 Stars

Synopsis:

"A burning vengeance.

Adrian sul’Han, known as Ash, is a trained healer with a powerful gift of magic—and a thirst for revenge. The son of the queen of the Fells, Ash is forced into hiding after a series of murders throws the queendom into chaos. Now Ash is closer than he’s ever been to killing the man responsible, the cruel king of Arden. As a healer, can Ash use his powers not to save a life but to take it?

A blood-based curse.

Abandoned at birth, Jenna Bandelow was told the mysterious magemark on the back of her neck would make her a target. But when the King’s Guard launches a relentless search for a girl with a mark like hers, Jenna assumes that it has more to do with her role as a saboteur than any birth-based curse. Though Jenna doesn’t know why she’s being hunted, she knows that she can’t get caught.

Destiny’s fiery hand.

Eventually, Ash’s and Jenna’s paths will collide in Arden. Thrown together by chance and joined by their hatred of the king, they will come to rescue each other in ways they cannot yet imagine.

Set in the world of the acclaimed Seven Realms series a generation later, this is a thrilling story of dark magic, chilling threats, and two unforgettable characters walking a knife-sharp line between life and death.

 

Dividing Eden | Joelle Charbonneau

Published: June 6, 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 2 Stars

Synopsis:

"From the author of the New York Times bestselling The Testing trilogy comes a sweeping new fantasy series, perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Sarah J. Maas.

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?

 

The Queen Of Blood | Sarah Beth Durst

Published: September 20, 2016
Genre: Adult High Fantasy
My Rating: 5 Stars

This book was so cool. First word that came to mind when I finished, so I'm sticking with it. A civilization built entirely in the trees of a great forest, this story was incredibly unique, with unexpected twists and turns the whole way through. I loved the characters, the magic system, the spirits and their nature. I can't wait to get my hands on the next books (thankfully I procrastinated so long with this the next books have already come out so I can binge read!)

Synopsis:

"An idealistic young student and a banished warrior become allies in a battle to save their realm in this first book of a mesmerizing epic fantasy series, filled with political intrigue, violent magic, malevolent spirits, and thrilling adventure.

Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .

But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.

With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.


June New Releases

Starless | Jacqueline Carey

Published: June 12, 2018
Genre: Adult High Fantasy 

Yessssss! 

Synopsis:

"Jacqueline Carey is back with an amazing adventure not seen since her New York Times bestselling Kushiel’s Legacy series. Lush and sensual, Starless introduces us to an epic world where exiled gods live among us, and a hero whose journey will resonate long after the last page is turned.

Let your mind be like the eye of the hawk…Destined from birth to serve as protector of the princess Zariya, Khai is trained in the arts of killing and stealth by a warrior sect in the deep desert; yet there is one profound truth that has been withheld from him.

In the court of the Sun-Blessed, Khai must learn to navigate deadly intrigue and his own conflicted identity…but in the far reaches of the western seas, the dark god Miasmus is rising, intent on nothing less than wholesale destruction.

If Khai is to keep his soul’s twin Zariya alive, their only hope lies with an unlikely crew of prophecy-seekers on a journey that will take them farther beneath the starless skies than anyone can imagine."

 

A Reaper At The Gates | Sabaa Tahir

Published: June 12, 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy

Synopsis:

"Beyond the Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.

The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable, while the Commandant capitalizes on his madness to bolster her own power. As Helene searches for a way to hold back the approaching darkness, her sister's life and the lives of all those in the Empire hang in the balance.

Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But while hunting for a way to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would aid her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she'd have to fight.

And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that will stop at nothing to ensure Elias's devotion–even at the cost of his humanity."


June TBR*

*As usual, subject to change on a daily basis. I seem to take issue with being told what to read, including by myself.

Our Dark Duet | Victoria Schwab

Published: June 13, 2017
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy

Another one to knock off the "currently owned TBR" pile.

Synopsis:

"THE WORLD IS BREAKING. AND SO ARE THEY.

KATE HARKER isn't afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she's good at it.

AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

THE WAR HAS BEGUN.

THE MONSTERS ARE WINNING.

Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims' inner demons.

Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?"

 

The Smoke Thieves | Sally Green

Published: May 1, 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy

Synopsis:

"A princess, a traitor, a hunter and a thief. Four teenagers with the fate of the world in their hands. Four nations destined for conflict. 

In Brigant, Princess Catherine prepares for a loveless political marriage arranged by her brutal and ambitious father. In Calidor, downtrodden servant March seeks revenge on the prince who betrayed his people. In Pitoria, feckless Edyon steals cheap baubles for cheaper thrills as he drifts from town to town. And in the barren northern territories, thirteen-year-old Tash is running for her life as she plays bait for the gruff demon hunter Gravell.

As alliances shift and shatter, and old certainties are overturned, our four heroes find their past lives transformed and their futures inextricably linked by the unpredictable tides of magic and war. Who will rise and who will fall? And who will claim the ultimate prize?"

 

The Shadow Queen | CJ Redwine

Published: February 16, 2016
Genre: YA Fantasy

Another one to knock off the "currently owned TBR" pile.

Synopsis:

"Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose."