VD The Book Yogi

lover of artistic language and the language of art

January Wrap Up

Woo I stayed on track for January too! With the exception of putting off one book just a few days after I couldn't possible wait to finish a series. I am also super pumped that every book so far this year has been an above 4 Star, enjoyable read. Check them out below!


What I Read

The Girl In The Tower | Katherine Arden

Published: December 5, 2017
Genre: Adult Fantasy
My Rating: 5 Stars

Sometimes sequels to excellent first novels can fall flat. The magic is less potent, the characters less engaging, the plot weaker. 
None of these issues occurred with The Girl in the Tower, and I am so freaking happy about it. Vasya is just as wild, just as independent, and yet makes believable mistakes as she continues to grow up. Mysteries that began in the first book continue to be solved, while at the same time new ones arise.
Arden is so talented at blending magic and the history of Russia together, keeping us grounded in  the politics and society of Moscow while at the same time the fantastical creeps at the edges. From domovois in bathhouses to the frost demon always watching, no matter how ingrained in the reality of the city Vasya becomes, no matter the plans her family and society have to trap her, cage her into the suppressed life of a woman of this time period, the magic of the wild forest is never far, and she never loses sight of herself. 
And for Morozko: it will work out, I'm counting on it. <3

 

Traitor's Blade | Sebastien de Castell

Published: March 6, 2014
Genre: Adult Epic Fantasy
My Rating: 5 Stars

Listened to this on audiobook, and enjoyed! I'll be getting the next one for audio as well, since I have a credit to use, but I like this one enough (and feel confident about the sequels) to purchase the hard copies and add to my library shelves. Plus, I love these covers and they'll make great additions to the library :)
I saw this tale compared to The Three Musketeers after I finished, and while I did say "oh okay, I get that," not once while reading did I make that comparison. There are plenty of stories about friends on a journey to somewhere, fighting for some cause. I enjoyed the comradeship between Falcio, Kest, and Brasti, and also the notion that at any time they could go their separate ways. What binds them is a pact and a king long dead to most of their fellows, so they are at once still trying to be true to their values as Greatcoats while also admitting that the old times are gone and perhaps they should move on. Lots of satisfying action, and I loved de Castell's style of writing and the swordplay descriptions, especially the notion that a conversation can (and does) occur with every thrust and parry. 

 

A Gathering Of Shadows | Victoria Schwab

Published: February 23, 2016
Genre: Adult Fantasy
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Started out and finished strong, but got a bit slow throughout the middle. Full of great character development and all necessary build-up, I don't want to go as far as to say the middle dragged. But the pace definitely slowed as we journeyed with each character and tension built.
One tiny issue I had was how fast Lila suddenly came into her powers. The tournament she enters (love it, Lila!) is comprised of carefully selected, extremely practiced and talented magicians, and yet she who just began her practice four months earlier and can only just barely summon a flame holds her own against her competitors...I thought it was a bit of a stretch. Lila's badass in a lot of ways, and completely understandable that her powers come on fast due to...certain rarities *wink*...but I don't think she needed to suddenly be that talented in magic as well as everything else she rocks at.
That tiny nitpick knocked a half star away, but I still loved this one and couldn't wait to buy the final book. Which leads us too...

 

A Conjuring of Light | Victoria Schwab

Published: February
Genre: Adult Fantasy
My Rating: 5 Stars

Broke the rules and ordered this one instantly upon finishing AGOS. I couldn't wait, and it did not disappoint. Action packed from start to finish, if my complaint with AGOS was that the middle moved at a slow pace, then it was completely made up for with this final installment. Surprises, heartbreaks, and above all else originality...Schwab has crafted a perfect not-conclusion to this world. The story ends with most loose ends tied up, although it's open for more (which I hear is in the works, following new characters...yay!)

I also cannot gush enough about how air-tight the plot and rules of magic are in this world. Characters are not suddenly able to do more than they should, even if they discover new means of using such magic. I adore how neatly the romances are woven in - no odd breaks from the crisis going on to spend time swooning. The romance served a perfect sub-plot, aiding without ever overtaking the main plot.

A perfect conclusion with the option to return!


February New Releases

I don't have anything on my radar for this month, as I'm sticking to my "avoid-the-hype" rule! That works, because there were several released in January that I can catch up on now and still abide by my second rule, only one new buy a month!


February TBR*

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

 

The Cruel Prince | Holly Black

Published: January 2, 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy

This got pushed back from January when I couldn't wait to finish the ADSOM trilogy. But looking forward to it as I've been hearing good things from other reviewers I trust!

Synopsis:

"Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.


Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself."

 

A Wrinkle In Time | Madeleine L'Engle

Published: January 1, 1962
Genre: YA Fantasy Classic

Technically another of my currently-owned, and a book already read (at least 20 years ago!) But with the new film coming out next month, I had to give this one a re-read!

Synopsis:

"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."

 

Knight's Shadow | Sebastien de Castell

Published: March 5, 2015
Genre: Adult Epic Fantasy

I enjoyed the audiobook of Traitor's Blade a lot, so this will be my audiobook for February.

Synopsis:

"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."

 

Freedom's Slave | Heather Demetrios

Published: February 28, 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy

This will be my "currently-own" read for February. I started this trilogy early last year and liked it well enough - didn't love it, but didn't dislike it by any means. Time to finish!

Synopsis:

"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?"