Middle Grade

The Sparks (The Feud Trilogy #1)

The Sparks

Summary:

The Vapros, the Taurlum, and the Celerius: three dynasties bound by an ancient promise, and given superhuman abilities to protect the city of Altryon from the dangerous world beyond its walls. The Vapros have the ability to teleport and turn their enemies to ash, the Celerius have super speed and the ability to heal from any wound, the Taurlum have skin like steel and godlike strength. Centuries of petty infighting, have turned the families against each other, resulting in a secret war. A powerful emperor now rules over all as the families have been weakened by massive casualties.

16-year-old, Neil Vapros, desperately wants to become an assassin in order to please his overbearing father. After failing his first mission, Neil learns that a new sinister threat has awakened. This mysterious new power threatens to shatter the established order and the lives of everyone in Altryon – regardless of their family name or allegiance. (Cover and summary courtesy of goodreads.com)

Please note that I received a free copy of this book from YA Bound Book Tours and chose to write a review.

Review:

After finishing the book I realized that a teenager wrote this book and now knowing that many of the things I found jarring were explained.  The main thing that kept me from feeling fully invested in the book is that the characters felt very one-dimensional.  Each had a stereotype that they made sure to fulfill and none reached too far out of those bounds.  The approach on death was very awkwardly handled as well.  The characters seemed very indifferent to death, even when it was someone very “close” to each other.

This superficial approach kept me from ever feeling invested in the story and eager to find out what happened next.  I still finished the book, but idly because I was curious to see what direction it was going to go.  I don’t mind having spent the time giving it a read, but I certainly won’t be continuing the series.

Rating: 2 stars!

Who should read it? Younger readers who would not have problems with violence.

Want to read the whole series?

  • The Flames (The Feud Trilogy #2)

 

Briar’s Book (Circle of Magic #4)

Briar's Book

Summary:

In Book 4 of the Circle of Magic Quartet, former "street rat" Briar leads a comfortable life at Winding Circle Temple, learning plant magic from his teacher Rosethorn. But street kids are still his friends, and when one of them gets sick, she turns to Briar for help. As the mysterious illness spreads, Sandry, Daja, and Tris join Briar and their teachers to fight the epidemic. But just as the situation improves, the unthinkable happens. Will Briar be able to save what he loves most? (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

Briar is the wild card of the group and in this book he is forced to reconcile the old and new to ensure that he knows where he’s going to go in the future.  I loved getting to know Rosethorn more in this novel as she’s one that always makes me laugh.  This book felt like there was more going on to me.  The story has multiple levels and multiple challenges that have to be faced, which I appreciated.

Briar is forced to commit to the good of the whole more and, in that, becomes a better person.  It was fascinating to see how the plague magical cure was discovered and what the side effects became.  This is certainly a great end to a chaotic series and highly recommended!  

Warning: Contains some violence.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Middle grade to younger adults (~12 years old) and those young at heart.

Want to read the whole series?

Daja’s Book (Circle of Magic #3)

Daja's Book

Summary:

Outcast Trader Daja, along with her fellow mages-in-training, journeys from Winding Circle to the Gold Ridge Mountains, where drought threatens widespread famine. There, Daja creates an astonishing object: a living metal vine, and Daja's dealings with her former people reawaken a longing for familiar ways.

Daja must choose - should she return to the Traders or remain with the Winding Circle folk who have become her family? (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

Of the “Circle of Magic” series, I have to say that I think that Daja’s is my favorite.  By this point, the four young adults are closer friends, yet still coming into their own.  Daja is quiet, solid and all around an awesome character.  I love that she’s thoughtful in her approach and doesn’t rush into problems when she can avoid it.

It’s interesting to see what the Trader’s life is like and I enjoyed seeing Daja come to terms with what choice she wants to make.  The best character we meet is Polyam who is a complete firecracker.  I love seeing her interactions with girls and Briar.  If you’re into the series, this is definitely going to be a winner!

Warning: Contains some violence.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Middle grade to younger adults (~12 years old) and those young at heart.

Want to read the whole series?

Tris’s Book (Circle of Magic #2)

Tris's Book

Summary:

Earthquake damage leaves Winding Circle vulnerable to pirate attack, so everyone - including the young mages-in-training Tris, Briar, Daja, and Sandry - is working to strengthen the community's defenses. When Tris's cousin Aymery comes to visit, he advises the "weather witch" to return to the family that exiled her, but she doesn't wish to leave her friends to face the threat without her.

As the onslaught begins, two things become terribly clear: The pirates have a powerful new weapon, and they have an accomplice within Winding Circle. But the attackers have failed to reckon with the fury of a young mage betrayed once too often and her very stubborn, very loyal friends....  (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

When I first read these books Tris was my least favorite character so it was good that her book was second.  It really wins you over to understanding why she is the way she is and her quick temper.  This book drives home just how much power she can unveil and what it’ll mean for her future.

The experiences also force the kids to get a little closer and I liked getting glimpses into who they’ll be as a group.  I liked rereading this book because I think the characters felt a touch older and a little more relatable as a whole.  I definitely recommend this series!

Warning: Contains some violence.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Middle grade to younger adults (~12 years old) and those young at heart.

Want to read the whole series?