Young Adult

Shatterglass (The Circle Opens #4)

Shatterglass

Summary:

Kethlun Warder was a gifted glassmaker until his world was shattered in a freak accident. Now his remaining glass magic is mixed with lightning, and Tris must teach him to control it (if she can teach him to control his temper first). But there's more at stake than Keth's education. With his strange magic, he creates glass balls that reflect the immediate past and expose the work of a murderer. If he can harness his power properly, he'll be able to see the crimes as they take place. Keth and Tris race against time, and the local authorities, to identify a killer who's living in plain sight. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

The thing that came through the most in this book was just how prickly Tris had become.  But upon reflection, it made me realize just how reasonable that reaction would be with great power and many people challenging your abilities constantly.  The first interactions with Keith were pretty painful, but they ultimately come together to be a troubleshooting pair.

I do like that this book also touches on some of the real actions that arise from post-traumatic stress with Keith.  He had to work through personal and magical challenges before he was able to be a contributor to track down the murderer.   

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?

The Fate of the Tearling (Queen of the Tearling #3)

The Fate of the Tearling

Summary:

In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has grown from an awkward teenager into a powerful monarch and a visionary leader.

And as she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, she has transformed her realm. But in her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies - chief among them the evil and feared Red Queen, who ordered the armies of Mortmesne to march against the Tear and crush them.

To protect her people from such a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable - naming the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, Regent in her place, she surrendered herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign from her prison in Mortmesne.

So, the endgame has begun and the fate of Queen Kelsea - and the Tearling itself - will be revealed... (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

This is going to be a difficult review to write without revealing any plot holes so I’m going to do my best by describing my general feelings about the series at the end.  I really liked that Kelsea is a strong, but not infallible leader and that she is mature enough to identify which choices are being made for herself and which for her kingdom.  My biggest frustration at the end is what I perceive to be some solid plot holes that leave me with a lot of questions unresolved. 

I initially really didn’t like the ending feeling like it was too convenient, but have warmed up to it slightly.  I just wish that some of my questions were answered.  The main let down is that I thought the series was building up to something a little more intense and it didn’t quite deliver for me.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the series, but I believe it’s unlikely that I’ll reread it.  Much of the “big reveal” drove my motivation to finish the series and without that mystery I think the book may have dragged on a bit more.

Warning: Contains repeated violence.

Rating: 4 stars!

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

Want to read the whole series?

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1)

The Wrath and the Dawn

Summary:

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?  (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

This was a book that took me a while to get into, but since it had such fantastic reviews, I committed to reading both books in the series.  I liked the world building and that Shazi is a spunky heroine willing to face her fears without flinching.  My problem was that I couldn’t get into the story at the beginning.  I found it a very angsty young adult combination which took a while to get through.  Once Shazi and Khalid finally start talking, the story does pick up quite a bit.

Be forewarned though – this almost isn’t a completed book.  The story halts unexpectedly a leaves a major cliffhanger for the next book.  I didn’t mind too much as I had committed to both books and had it ready to go, but don’t expect things to be resolved in this first story.

Warning: Contains sexual references and violence.

Rating: 3 stars!

Who should read it? Anyone with interest in fairytale retelling and young adult.

Want to read the whole series?

  • The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2)

Cold Fire (The Circle Opens #3)

Cold Fire

Summary:

Daja and Frostpine expect to have a peaceful winter's visit with old friends in Kugisko, a port in the vast empire of Namon. But there is no peace when mysterious fires begin to blaze across the vulnerable city. Daja assists Bennat Ladradun, a local firefighter with a tragic past, to fight the flames. The two become fast friends-until they realize the fires have been deliberately set, and their relationship is deeply tested. Daja's magic helps her track down the firestarter, but no magic can protect her or Ben from the effects of madness and betrayal. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

This was my favorite of The Circle Opens series, but it broke out of the mold of the other books a bit.  Unlike the others, Daja wasn’t the direct teacher of the girls she discovers, but still practices meditation with them.  It was interesting to see how Daja interacted with Bennat and how she had to adapt and decide how she would act in the future. 

Daja’s challenges are more of the main focus of the book and what her magic.  It’s also wonderful to get a little more background Frostpine’s background.  He’s one of my favorite characters as he has great sense of the humor in the world.

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?