Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (1/26/21) – Cold Falling White (The Nahx Invasions, #2)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

After adoring Zero Repeat Forever last week, I knew I had to get my hands on the sequel. As luck would have it, book 2 was available at my library, and I was able to get it along with the rest of my library haul. But even though it was still entertaining, Cold Falling White lost the tender spark that made Zero Repeat Forever so memorable.

Now, TREAD LIGHTLY! This review may contain spoilers for book 1, Zero Repeat Forever!

For my review of book 1, click here!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: Cold Falling White (The Nahx Invasions Book 2) eBook:  Prendergast, G. S.: Kindle Store

Cold Falling White (The Nahx Invasions, #2)–G.S. Prendergast

Left for dead, Raven wakes up in an unfamiliar place in clothes that aren’t hers. And she’s not alone. Many of her friends from camp that had been killed by the Nahx are there, but they’re still alive. Aboard a Nahx ship, she must escape with her life, but she may discover secrets about these invaders of Earth. And above all, she must find August.

Xander believes that Raven, along with all of the former campers, is dead. On his own, he flees a refugee camp, only to find August, the Nahx who saved Raven’s life not long ago. Forming an uneasy alliance, the two connect with a rebellious faction of Nahx who may hold the keys to halting the ongoing invasion.

With the odds against them, these three must reunite or fall under Nahx rule.

Will-o'wisp | Will o the wisp, Creature concept art, Rise of the guardians

TW/CW: human experimentation, violence, loss of loved ones, mentions of freezing to death

What in the resurrection trope was this?

I’m glad that I read Zero Repeat Forever right before reading this, because otherwise, I would’ve been so lost. Come to think of it, I was still a bit lost through some of the book, but regardless, Cold Falling White was a rambling mess compared to its predecessor.

One of my main problems with this novel was the new POV. Xander was a character that I sort of liked in book 1; he didn’t bug me, but I didn’t get super attached to him. Having his POV in the book made almost no sense. Not only was his voice rather bland, his subplot dominated the other two POVs for no good reason. The only thing that connected his plot to the rest of the book was the eventual Nahx rebellion, and that part didn’t even come into play until the last half of the book. (For reference, this book is nearly 600 pages.) However, I will say that it’s cool that we have a queer Asian lead as one of the POVs. (Xander’s sexuality is never specified, from what I remember, but we see him in an mlm romance. The romantic subplot definitely felt shoehorned in, but hey, at least it’s decent rep.)

I really wish that Raven’s POV had a more prominent role; her chapters were often shorter than Xander’s, and we didn’t learn much from them. One of my complaints about Zero Repeat Forever that I forgot to mention in my review was that we really didn’t get any context/backstory for the Nahx and why they invaded. We got some interesting stuff on their culture/anatomy/physiology in Cold Falling White, but there’s still no reason given for why they invaded Earth in the first place, or why they started resurrecting and modifying humans at will. The tidbits that we got were interesting, I will say, but as a whole, it felt very rushed and full of holes. (I sort of liked Blue’s species…I forget what they’re called, the little alien will-o-the-wisp things?)

And even though we got some of his chapters in the latter half, I really missed August’s POV. However, somewhere down the line, all of the poetic tenderness and philosophical musings got lost, and I don’t know where they went. I’m not sure if Aurora (from Xander’s POVs, mostly) was an attempt at a female stand-in for him, and I liked her a little, but she just didn’t hit that tender spot like August did in book 1. All of the other rebel Nahx were kind of interchangeable, too. Sigh.

Best Fargo GIFs | Gfycat

That being said, Cold Falling White was still somewhat entertaining. It all went progressively downhill, but the writing was still good, and I liked the harsh setting of the Canadian wilderness. Plus, you’ll always get brownie points from me for peppering in lots of Frankenstein references. Like the Edgar Allan Poe in book 1, I liked how all that tied into the theme of the novel.

And all that for…such a weird cliffhanger? I was under the impression that this was a duology, so what was that all about? [confused screaming]

All in all, a sequel that retained good writing and imagery, but lacked in plot and worldbuilding. 3, sad little stars.

My Disappointment Is Immeasurable, And My Day Is Ruined HD 1080P GIF |  Gfycat

Cold Falling White is the second book in the Nahx Invasions duology, preceded by Zero Repeat Forever. G.S. Prendergast is also the author of the Ella series (Audacious and Capricious), as well as the middle grade novel Pandas on the Eastside.

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Book Review Tuesday (12/8/20)–Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove, #2)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

After finally getting to Serpent & Dove back in July, I found out that the sequel was slated to come out in September. I put in on hold at the library soon after, and it finally arrived about a week ago. But sadly, although book 1 managed to stay afloat of its messy worldbuilding with a fast-paced plot and lovable characters, Blood & Honey lost momentum–and stretched it out over 500 pages. Disappointing, but still entertaining.

WARNING: This review will likely contain spoilers for book 1, Serpent & Dove.

For my review of book 1, click here!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove) (9780062878052): Mahurin,  Shelby: Books

Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove, #2)–Shelby Mahurin

After a near-fatal encounter with Lou’s mother and the Dames Blanches, she, Reid, and the rest of their band of misfits are on the run. Under the radar and stranded in the woods, they know that making the wrong move could result in death, or discovery by Morgane, Lou’s sadistic mother. But their paths are forced to separate, and they find themselves going on strange journeys. And as both roads begin to lead to certain doom, they must find each other before time runs out.

black and white coraline gif | Coraline cat, Coraline aesthetic, Coraline  jones

Judging from most of the reviews, Blood & Honey has become very divisive–the reviews are either gushing or utterly disappointed. Sadly, I’m leaning more towards the latter camp, even though this one wasn’t as anticipated of a read for me as it was for a bunch of readers I know. A bit of a letdown for me, but it was still entertaining nonetheless.

From what I’ve heard, Serpent & Dove was originally slated to be a duology, but got turned into a trilogy at the last minute. And it shows–Blood & Honey fell into the unfortunate trap of becoming the disappointing middle book. One of the things that I loved most about book 1 was the plot; it constantly kept me guessing, and I loved going along for the ride with Lou, Reid, and the rest of the gang. But in book 2, the plot felt tragically weak. We’re led up to an anticlimactic event with a series of loosely tied subplots that didn’t seem to serve much of a purpose save for a bit of tension in having the characters separated. And Blood & Honey is a pretty thick book–the hardcover edition that I read was a whopping 528 pages, and a good 80-90% of it felt like filler. I hate to say it, but it almost felt like a chore to read.

Another aspect that shone for me in book 1 was the characters. Luckily, Mahurin stayed true to them for the most part in Blood & Honey. I loved being back with Lou, Reid, Coco, Ansel and the rest of the gang again, and there’s certainly an interesting direction being taken with Lou. There’s…a hint of a corruption arc going on with her? Maybe that was just me? Either way, I liked the almost “descent into madness” plot Mahurin was alluding to with her. (Also, THE WHITE HAIR!) Lou and Reid’s romance was also a joy to see blossom, as always. But some of the characters from book 1–namely Beau and Madame Labelle–didn’t serve much of a purpose. They didn’t have much of a role, and I remembered next to nothing about them from the previous book. The side characters were similarly forgettable, and I didn’t see much point in them aside from fleshing out parts of the world. However, I will say that I LOVED the twist with Claud–but no spoilers, of course. I’m not that heartless. 😉

Even though the worldbuilding is still kind of a mess, I like all of the new aspects that were added to it in Blood & Honey. I mean…blood witches? Werewolves? The possibility of MERMAIDS? OTHER SIMILARLY SPOOKY WOODLAND CREATURES? Oh, and I loved all of the little ghost creatures that tagged along with the gang. (I forget the technical term they had for them.) Absalon has my heart.

Animated gif about gif in Oh my Goth! by 𝕷𝖎𝖘 𝕮𝖑𝖎𝖔𝖉𝖍𝖓𝖆

And even though Blood & Honey was certainly a letdown, I think I’ll stick around to see what happens to the gang next. Even though that ending was awful. Nope.

All in all, a sequel that failed to live up to its predecessor, but still provided for some fantasy fun. 3 stars.

That Could Have Gone Better GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Blood & Honey is the second book in Mahurin’s Serpent & Dove trilogy, preceded by Serpent & Dove (book 1) and soon to be followed by Gods & Monsters (2021).

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (7/21/20)–The Burning Page (The Invisible Library, #3)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

[sigh] I wish this review was different…after how much I enjoyed The Invisible Library, I’m saddened to see the direction that the series is going in. I could deal with The Masked City–maybe it was just a momentary lull–but for me, the series has gone from an inventive, inter-dimensional tale to something so much weaker. And while Cogman’s third installment in the Invisible Library was entertaining, it marks a disappointing turn in the series.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: The Burning Page (The Invisible Library Novel Book 3 ...

The Burning Page (The Invisible Library, #3)–Genevieve Cogman

Even though her apprentice Kai is out of harm’s way, Irene the Librarian has a far greater task on her hands–the salvation of the Library itself. Alberich, the dimension-swallowing entity that terrorized her not long ago, is on the hunt once more, and he’s out for blood. Meanwhile, the gateways that the Library uses to traverse across dimensions are malfunctioning rapidly, sometimes at the cost of the Librarian’s lives. Bent on saving their home, Irene, Kai, and Detective Vale travel to an alternate Russia, where all is not as it seems. Will they be able to save their beloved library?

dormammu i've come to bargain | Tumblr

[Thom Yorke voice] (I’ve been) LEEEEEEEEEEEET DOOOOOOOWN—

Where to begin…

Compared to the genre-bending, adventurous thrill-ride of the first book, The Burning Page feels incredibly watered down. If The Masked City was the (possible) result of Cogman having used up her ideas, then this was the unfortunate after-product.

The plot felt tragically weak. It fell into the tragic trap of having a villain so powerful that…the readers don’t seem to care. Yes, he’s toyed with Irene and company before with some disastrous results, but there don’t seem to be any stakes. As much as I love Marvel, Alberich feels like some of the MCU’s worst villains (ex. Dormammu above)–they’re all powerful, but there’s hardly any stakes behind them, other than the possibility of tearing the fabric of the world(s) apart. Though Alberich did make some extended appearances in The Burning Page, he only served to make the stakes feel much lower.

Additionally, this book relied heavily on the reader’s enjoyment of the previous elements of the books. There weren’t any sort of new threats–we have the usual werewolves, fae, and dragons, but hardly anything novel (no pun intended) to grab the reader’s attention. Even The Masked City introduced the societal structure and politics of the dragons, but The Burning Page didn’t have much to offer. You’d think that with the possibility of alternate dimensions, there are INFINITE worlds and creatures that dwell in them that Cogman could have used, but sadly, it seems that she’s playing it very safe. Very safe.

But, this isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy the book somewhat. I appreciated the extended look into the structure of the Library and some of the other librarians, so that was a good bit of world-building on Cogman’s part. And although the fact that every dimension seems to be fantasy/steampunk versions of historical places (England, Italy, France, etc.), I enjoyed the new setting of St. Petersburg, and all of the details that went into it. The flying sleighs were especially entertaining, and the new setting was a nice reprieve from the dullness of the first half of the book.

Overall, a disappointing addition to the Invisible Library series, but one that at least merited a few entertaining elements. I don’t think I have the will to finish the series now, but it was fun while it lasted. 3.5 sad little stars.

media2.giphy.com/media/3og0INyCmHlNylks9O/giphy...

The Burning Page is the third book in Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series, preceded by The Invisible Library and The Masked City, and followed by The Lost Plot, The Mortal Word, The Secret Chapter, and the forthcoming The Dark Archive.

Today’s song:

I forgot about this song for AGES, and I rediscovered it a few days ago…needless to say, I’ve had it on repeat for…[ahem] a while…

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!