Young Adult

Heartless

Heartless

Summary:

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

I found this story very compelling yet didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the other books in Marissa Meyer’s fairytale re-interpretations.  Unlike Meyer’s other heroines, Cath didn’t seem quite as quick to be able to stand up for herself which I found frustrating.  She instead let herself go with the flow and expected things to work out just fine until Jest intervenes to change directions.  I also felt that the romance was under-developed.  Jest and Cath have insta-love, which is impressive considering they only have two moments privately.  Although this would be forgivable, it’s this love that resulted in Cath’s ultimate demise so it should be extremely significant!

I understand that when telling the story of the queen of hearts you’re signing up for a certain kind of ending, yet I was still expecting more.  With all the talk of the looking glass I was also expecting to actually have some adventure out there!  This is one that gives me very mixed feelings, but would still recommend giving it a read.  Compelling story-telling, but the characters just didn’t quite work out for me.

Warning: Contains repeated violence.

Rating: 3 stars!

Who should read it? Fans of “Alice and Wonderland” and particularly Marissa Meyers.

Invasion of the Tearling (Queen of the Tearling #2)

Invasion of the Tearling

Summary:

Kelsea Glynn is the Queen of the Tearling. Despite her youth, she has quickly asserted herself as a fair, just and powerful ruler.

However, power is a double-edged sword, and small actions can have grave consequences. In trying to do what is right - stopping a vile trade in humankind - Kelsea has crossed the Red Queen, a ruthless monarch whose rule is bound with dark magic and the spilling of blood. The Red Queen's armies are poised to invade the Tearling, and it seems nothing can stop them.

Yet there was a time before the Crossing, and there Kelsea finds a strange and possibly dangerous ally, someone who might hold the key to the fate of the Tearling, and indeed to Kelsea's own soul. But time is running out...(Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

The best part of this book is discovering the back-story of “The Crossing” and the logistics that pulled everything together.  In this sequel to “Queen of the Tearling” Kelsea grows into an entirely different kind of ruler – and perhaps not the one she intended.  The visions grow and as Kelsea learns more about her legacy with the gems, things also get more confusing at the same time.

This was a slower book at times as we spend almost equal amounts of time in the past as we do in the present.  It was fascinating to see what steps Kelsea took first to consolidate her power and shape the new world in a better way.  Of the new characters introduced, I really enjoyed Father Tyler’s perspectives.  Yet there seems to be challenges from all corners and Kelsea will have to move quickly in order to save the kingdom.  I found this book compelling in that I consistently wanted to find out what was happening next, but the ending left me in a lurch and feeling obligated to find out what happens next.

Warning: Contains repeated violence.

Rating: 5 stars!

Who should read it? Only folks who have read the first in the series, otherwise there is going to be a lot of complexity lost.

Want to read the whole series?

 Street Magic (The Circle Opens #2)

Street Magic

Summary:

It's been four years since Briar Moss began his training as a plant mage, but he still hasn't put his past behind him. Wandering through a Chammuri market, Briar comes across a street girl using powerful magic to polish stones for a merchant. He resolves to find her a teacher. But Briar understands the city's gangs as well as he understands Evvy, the young mage. When gang warfare breaks out in Chammur, Briar discovers that the fiercest gang is seeking a stone mage to lead them to hidden gems. Briar once believed gangs offered protection, but now he and his mage may offer the only protection Evvy can count on. As Briar is swept up in a bloody conflict, he must decide whether he's ready to make the final step away from his former life as a "street rat."  (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

This book was a great look into teenage Briar and just how much mischief he was able to get into after leaving the Winding Circle.  I love that he’s a mother hen over Rosethorn (as much as she tolerates it) yet still finds away to be himself.  As he begins to get to know Evvy, he finds someone who is just as stubborn, perhaps even more so.  As the two of them find themselves thrust into a turf war, each of them quickly have to develop into a stronger version of themselves.

This book and Sandry’s are quite similar in structure, but Briar’s approach to things is entirely different to Sandry given the circumstances.  I’d highly recommend this to fans of the series and those who want more from the Circle of Magic Universe.

Warning: Contains some violence.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Those looking for a fun magical journey, but it’ll make much more sense if you read The Circle of Magic series first.

Want to read the whole series?

Queen of the Tearling (Queen of the Tearling #1)

Queen of the Tearling

Summary:

An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut—the first novel in a trilogy.

Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom's haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.

Long ago, Kelsea's forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea's nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen's Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.

Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen's vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen's Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as "the Fetch."

Kelsea's quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea's journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

I loved this book. It’s fast-paced, it has intrigue, magic and a kickass heroine that is certainly not perfect.  Kelsea is trying so hard to do what is right for the fate of her country, but she seems to be stymied in every direction.  One of the smaller things that she does is support the creation and collection of books, which of course was immediately near and dear to my heart.  Kelsea is forced to quickly try to understand and control the forces contained in the magic of the Sapphire necklaces, but also stay true to herself. 

Be forewarned that I found the escalation of violence in this book quite abrupt.  Not needless per say, but the world of Tearling is quite brutal

My biggest complaint is that the ending leaves off with a cliffhanger.  If you’re going to give this one a shot, you’re going to need to be prepared to pick up the next in the series!

Warning: Contains repeated violence.

Rating: 5 stars!

Who should read it? Fantasy fans in the vein of “Throne of Glass” and “Game of Thrones”.

Want to read the whole series?