It’s time for another Top 5 Saturday! This was originally started by Devouring Books, and it sounded like such a fun post to take part in. Today’s topic is books on my wishlist. I have a TERRIBLE habit of buying only one or two books from a series, mostly because I read so much at the library, so I have tons of lone sequels and threequels and such. So this list is mostly comprised of books I want to re-read, and that would complete a series I don’t fully own.
I’ve been a fan of Marie Lu’s for a good three years, and since first reading Warcross, she’s been one of my favorite authors. So of course I had to preorder Skyhunter over the summer (and who wouldn’t, with that gorgeous cover?).
It came in the mail the Sunday before last, and by the time I finished my library holds, I realized that I never knew how much I needed this book in my life right at that time. Last week was an incredibly taxing and emotional week for me, and immersing myself back into Lu’s lush prose was just the thing I needed to get me crawling back out of the pit of despair I’d fallen into. And even if I hadn’t been in such a dark place last week, I’m positive that I would have loved Skyhunter just the same.
Talin has lived a life of turmoil. Her home country of Basea was swallowed by the Karensa Federation, and she and her mother were forced to flee to Mara, the only nation who hasn’t been choked by their iron grip. But the warfront shrinks every day, and hordes of Karensa’s Ghost–captured humans that have been mutated and trained to kill–encroach on Mara’s territory every day. Fighting against them are the brave Strikers, Mara’s league of warriors trained to keep the Ghosts at bay.
When a defector is brought from the Karensa Federation, Talin knows that he hold secrets far beyond what Mara and the Strikers could have possibly imagined. Assigned to keep watch over him, Talin soon learns that his name is Red–and that he may hold the key to turning the tables on the Karensa Federation. But should she go against the Strikers based solely on faith–or leave Red to die?
Skyhunter came into my life during a rough patch (which still hasn’t entirely faded), so that may or may not put a bit of bias on my high rating. But then again…it’s Marie Lu, of course I’m going to adore it. Over the past few years, Lu has proven herself to be a true master of her craft, and Skyhunter is no exception–a tale of resilience and resistance in a time where we all need just that.
I’ll spare you all from my blabbing about the cover, but seriously, I could go on for DAYS about it–the minimalist style, the blending of the colors, the figures…the EVERYTHING?
Marie Lu was one of the first pioneers of YA Dystopia with her Legend trilogy, and with Skyhunter, she proves once more that she is a wordsmith to be reckoned with. Every detail–be it in the worldbuilding, the characters, or the plot–made me love the story ten times more, and there’s clear evidence on every page that Lu truly poured her heart and soul into this tale.
As with most of her novels, the characters are what stood out the most to me. Talin is such a stubborn yet resilient heroine, and her determined nature drove the story into fantastic places. Red was my personal favorite–he had wonderful chemistry with Talin and the rest, and I loved all of his little quirks and his sarcastic mannerisms. (Also, his mouse deserves a medal–that poor thing’s probably traumatized from riding around in his pocket while Red just…does his thing.) Jeran and Adena had wonderful chemistry with them, and Lu did an incredible job of making them feel fleshed-out and authentic. Also, even though I could go for Talin and Red being a thing, I appreciated that Lu didn’t throw them headfirst into insta-love or a forced romance. Again–there could be an ADORABLE possibility for some classic enemies-to-lovers romance by the time book 2 rolls around, but it could honestly work either romantically or platonically.
Skyhunter has plot twists aplenty, most of which I didn’t see coming. Combined with the fast-paced plot and gripping action, I just could NOT put this book down–every time I had to set it down, I found myself anticipating getting to read more of it later on. There’s no shortage of vivid imagery, and I felt immersed in the story in a way that I haven’t felt in quite some time. The worldbuilding helped the latter fact as well–the different cultures of each country that the characters visited had such well-thought-out cultures, and everything felt wholly real, like I could just walk through the pages, and I’d be in Talin’s mother’s house, or on the middle of the warfront. My favorite aspect of the worldbuilding, as far as the Karensa Federation goes, was that of the Ghosts. I’m just a sucker for any kind of freaky, Mike Mignola-style monsters in stories, so…(I kind of imagined them how the wendigos are drawn in B.P.R.D.)
TW FOR THE IMAGE BELOW: Blood
And through it all, there’s themes of fighting back–against colonialism, against discrimination and prejudice, and against all odds. It’s just the right blend of resourceful determination that we need in these troubling times, and even though most of us have grown tired of dystopias as a whole (seeing as we’re currently living in one…[ahem]), it’s a must read for all.
All in all, another stunning gem of a novel to add to Marie Lu’s near-flawless repertoire, and a tale of resistance and resilience that will stand the test of time. 4.5 stars!
Skyhunter is the first book in the Skyhunter duology, followed by an untitled, forthcoming second novel set to be published in 2021. Marie Lu is also the author of the Legend series (Legend, Prodigy, Champion, and Rebel), the Young Elites trilogy (The Young Elites, The Rose Society, and The Midnight Star), the Warcross series (Warcross and Wildcard), and the standalone The Kingdom of Back.
That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
Whew, it’s definitely been…a week. Monday and Tuesday were fairly chill, but then Wednesday rolled around. I was having such a good day, feeling really accomplished and proud of myself, and then everything sort of crumbled around me. The details are rather personal, so I’d rather not divulge, but my general state just took a nosedive. I’m slowly recovering, but everything still feels…heavy. Definitely not the ideal mood for a long weekend, but here we are.
But things are looking up a little bit. I found a few gems in my library holds, and I’m slowly digging into both the books I preordered over the summer that came in the mail a week ago. (Marie Lu: the cure for all that ails you. I rest my case, your honor.) I’ve been making a lot of art, but my mental state definitely made me fall behind on outlining for NaNoWriMo again. I’m slowly catching up on Fargo, finished up Raised By Wolves (@ Ridley Scott EXCUSE ME WHAT WAS THAT ENDING SIR EXPLAIN YOURSELF), and watched The Shining for the first time. Had some weird dreams about Six of Crows too, so there’s that…
Here’s hoping that next week picks up…I mean, I’ve got Memento to look forward to, and The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is FINALLY ready at the library…
I’ve been a fan of Marie Lu’s works ever since I first read Warcross, and the Legendseries after that. Her writing has never failed to stun me, no matter what genre her novels happen to be in. So naturally, I decided to buy this one on my first bookstore trip since the pandemic started. And though I expected to love it, The Kingdom of Back blew me away–one of her best novels to date.
For as long as she can remember, Nannerl Mozart and her younger brother Wolfgang have had an unbreakable bond, spurred on by their shared talent for music. But as her brother grows older, it becomes clear that he is a musical prodigy. Her father now overlooks her in favor of her younger brother, even though she possesses an almost equal musical prowess. Now, she and her brother are to perform for the royalty all over Europe, only stopping when she is of age to be married off.
But one night, before they leave on their grand tour, Nannerl is visited by an ethereal stranger, who claims to come from a faraway land beyond human sight. This land is the same place that she and Wolfgang have dreamed up, a backwards reflection of our own world, dubbed the Kingdom of Back. He offers her the chance to be remembered in history, but in exchange, she must complete a quest that will take her through the perilous underbelly of this fantastical world. These feats may secure her place in history alongside her brother–but at what cost?
Ladies, gentlemen and others, this is solid, concrete proof that Marie Lu can dish up a lavish tale in any genre that she so chooses, and do it masterfully no matter what.
The Kingdom of Back reads like a lush fairytale. Lu’s signature writing style shines through in the worldbuilding, both in the historical setting of 18th century Europe and the magical Kingdom of Back. Her prose is positively enchanting, transporting me to faraway lands and making me enjoy every single minute of it. Every word painted a gorgeous picture of a land that I would gladly immerse myself in. I read this one up in almost a single sitting, and a beautiful treasure was found on every single page.
And the characters. CAN WE TALK about these characters? With both Nannerl and Woferl/Wolfgang, Lu has breathed new life into these figures, transforming them into sister and brother that could fit into any fairytale. Nannerl’s struggles with being overshadowed and being a society that doesn’t take kindly to women expressing their talents were all too real, making for a lushly relatable character. Oh, and HYACINTH. HYACINTH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAH…again, Lu’s prose makes him seem beautifully real, and though I did predict that something was shifty with him, I adored him anyway. He might have been my favorite character, reminiscent of the Darkling from Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, and many others.
All in all, one of Marie Lu’s best novels to date, an ethereal fairytale with relatable characters and prose to be reckoned with. 4.5 stars!
The Kingdom of Back is a standalone novel, but Marie Lu has many other series out, including the Legend trilogy, the Young Elites trilogy (my favorite of the bunch), the Warcross series, and the upcoming novel Skyhunter.
This just popped up on my recommended. I haven’t heard anything by Slum Sociable, but I love “Somebody to Love Me,” and this is a great cover!
That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope today finds you in good spirits and health.
Now that June has almost come to a close, I felt like it’s gone by strangely quickly. It feels like it should be the middle of the month, but here we are, and it’s almost July. But that isn’t to say that I haven’t enjoyed the month; despite the strangeness of the times, I’ve had a good start to my summer, even though I’ve spent the bulk of it inside.
For the most part, I’ve had a great week. We went hiking on Monday for a belated Father’s Day excursion, and also that day, I FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT OF MY WIP! This is the first of my ideas that I haven’t abandoned midway and finished all the way, so I’ve given myself a pat on the back for managing that. I didn’t quite know what to do with myself, but I ultimately decided that for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ll work on a short story. Stephen King advised that you should wait a few months (at least) before getting to editing/second drafts after you finish, so I’ll work on said short story, and maybe get back to some of my other WIPs in the meantime.
Other than that, I made some progress on my Iron Giant puzzle, watched Memento, watched a few more episodes of Fargo (nearly done with season 3…)and went on my first excursion to my favorite bookstore since the pandemic started. I got a copy of The Sound of Stars and The Kingdom of Back (autographed copy!), and I’m so excited to read them both. I’ve had an…okayish reading week; I didn’t read as much because it took me longer to read Kingsbane at a whopping 608 pages. I’ve enjoyed everything that I read, but I didn’t read anything terribly memorable.
Oh, and the stickers that came with my preorder of Aurora Burning finally came in the mail, and I love them! Both my laptop case and my current sketchbook both look like the entire Aurora Cycle fandom vomited on them, and I have zero problem with that. (…no pun intended…)
Time for another Top 5 Saturday! This was originally started by Devouring Books, and it sounded like such a fun post to take part in. Today’s topic is books that have morally gray characters. This one was a bit harder than the rest–I’m trawling my brain for all the antihero-ish books I can think of…
There’s always the possibility for moral grayness when you’ve got a naïve extraterrestrial who has powers beyond imagining, but has no idea of the consequences…(oh, and goes and forms his own religion, as one does…[ahem])
As with The Final Six, there’s a significant exploration of moral grayness in book 2 (here); it’s one of the highlights of the book for me–it encourages the reader to think about the different sides of war, and whether or not there is truly a “good”/”bad” side, and that there may be neither hero or villain in the conflict.
I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!
That’s it for this week’s Top 5 Saturday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
WHAT IS YOUR FANTASY ORIGIN STORY? (First fantasy novel you read)
I can’t quite pinpoint the exact first fantasy book I read, but one of the first was most definitely The BFG. I have especially fond memories of reading this one. My brother gave me all of his Roald Dahl books a while back, and I’ve added to the collection and kept them all on my shelves ever since.
IF YOU COULD BE THE HERO/HEROINE IN A FANTASY NOVEL, WHO WOULD WRITE IT, AND WHAT IS ONE TROPE YOU WOULD INSIST ON BEING IN THE STORY?
I think I’d like to have Marie Lu write this fantasy story. Absolutely no guarantees of a happy ending, but her lush writing style and characters would ensure that there would never be a dull moment. As far as tropes, I’d definitely want some sort of misfit-filled, found family team kind of dynamic. As someone who’s had to do a lot of searching to find where I fit in, this trope/theme speaks to me quite a bit.
WHAT IS A FANTASY YOU’VE READ THIS YEAR THAT YOU WANT MORE PEOPLE TO READ?
Especially with what’s going on in the U.S. and elsewhere, The Black Witchis not only a lushly written novel, but one that explores themes of defying racism and xenophobia.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FANTASY SUBGENRE? WHAT SUBGENRE HAVE YOU NOT READ MUCH FROM?
I’m not sure if I have a favorite subgenre of fantasy, per se, but I enjoy reading paranormal fantasy, though there’s a plethora of books in that genre that have gone terribly awry. I suppose I haven’t read much high/epic fantasy, but I’ve enjoyed books like The Smoke Thieves,so maybe it’ll do me some good to read more of it.
WHO IS ONE OF YOUR AUTO-BUY FANTASY AUTHORS?
Though I’ve never actually bought any of her novels (I borrowed them from the library), Sarah Maria Griffin would definitely fit the bill. If she comes out with anything else soon…SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY…
HOW DO YOU TYPICALLY FIND FANTASY RECOMMENDATIONS? (Goodreads, YouTube, Podcasts, Instagram, etc.)
I usually find my recommendations by way of Goodreads, and sometimes from my fellow bloggers.
WHAT IS AN UPCOMING FANTASY RELEASE YOU’RE EXCITED FOR?
I am ECSTATIC to read The Burning Kingdoms!It comes out in late August of this year, and I requested an eARC of it on Edelweiss, so…🤞
WHAT IS ONE MISCONCEPTION ABOUT FANTASY YOU WOULD LIKE TO LAY AT REST?
I suppose I’d say that there isn’t much that makes a book fantasy/not fantasy. There’s really no limits to the genre–anything from supernatural occurrences to royal conflict can be considered fantasy, really. Each reader has their own definition, but in terms of content, it’s a fairly fluid genre.
IF SOMEONE HAD NEVER READ A FANTASY BEFORE AND ASKED YOU TO RECOMMEND THE FIRST 3 BOOKS THAT COME TO MIND AS PLACES TOSTART, WHAT WOULD THOSE RECOMMENDATIONS BE?
First, I’d say Shadow and Bone, for its lush worldbuilding and unforgettable characters.
Second, I would highly recommend The Young Elitesfor the incredible writing, the gripping plot, and again–unforgettable characters. Can’t go wrong with Marie Lu.
Last, I would recommend Three Dark Crownsfor the complex plot and the gripping action and intrigue.
WHO IS THE MOST RECENT FANTASY READING CONTENT CREATOR THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHOUT OUT?
For this tag, I’d like to shout out Classy x Book Reviews! Though they read a variety of novels besides fantasy, I can always count on their reviews being sincere and in depth. 🙂
I’ll start posting a list of the week’s songs once I get more of them, but since I only have two, I’ll skip it this time. But this one’s been stuck in my head for a few days this year, and I’ve really taken a liking to it, so here you go…
Hope you had a great start to the decade! Have a great rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.
As with most of the novels beyond the first five or so pages of my TBR (it’s piled into the hundreds over the past few years…whoops…), I’d completely forgotten about the existence of Glitch. The reviews seem semi-polarizing, and it’s from the era where everybody hung off the back of Suzanne Collins’ massive bandwagon (thank God those days are over…mostly…), so I’m not sure if I’ll keep this one.
Whether or not that’s going to happen, I’ll go ahead and give you all the rundown. Let’s begin, shall we?
GOODREADS MONDAY (11/4/19)–GLITCH by Heather Anastasiu
In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.
When Zoe starts to malfunction (or “glitch”), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.
As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.
In this action-packed debut, Glitch begins an exciting new young adult trilogy.
So why do I want to read this?
I put this on my TBR over a year ago, definitely at a stage where I hadn’t become quite so jaded with all of the “dystopia devoid of all independent thought” trope that has plagued the YA genre for almost a decade. The cover’s gorgeous and beautifully designed, no doubt, but judging from some of the reviews, this seems to be the bait that ultimately hooked several readers into eating a fish that gave them food poisoning the following night.
Glitch seems to have been written earlier in the Dystopian YA era, so perhaps there’s a glimmer of hope for some originality. At the same time, though, we’ve got the classic, overdone tropes all laid out: a “special girl” with INDEPENDENT THOUGHT (gasp) and POWERS (another gasp), who has to fight against a UNIFORM SOCIETY and CONTROL SAID SPECIAL POWERS.
Now where have I heard that before? Oh, that’s right, everywhere.
Okay, maybe I’m being a little harsh, but I’m kind of sick of this kind of book. If done well, as people like Suzanne Collins and Marie Lu have done, it could be amazing. If not, well…it’s almost guranteed that it’ll be a steaming pile of unoriginality. I might have to oust this bad boy from my TBR. Sigh. I need to clean it out, anyway.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this meme, bibliophiles! Stay tuned tomorrow for a Book Review Tuesday, and more content later in the week!
Hi there, fellow bibliophiles, and welcome to the first Book Review Tuesday of September 2018!
To be honest, I should have reviewed this books sooner. Like, a few months sooner. I mean, my review for book one in this series (see 7/17/18) was almost two months ago, so…
Anyway, I bought this lovely little novel at my favorite bookstore of all time. It was a hard decision between it and at least three other hardcovers of books I’d gotten from the library. But in the end, The Rose Society was a paperback, and I hadn’t read it before. But thank goodness I bought it, because MAN, it was THRILLING! Five big fat stars for this one!
Enjoy the review!
The Rose Society
Broken by the betrayal of her father and the Young Elites, Adelian Amouteru decides to go rogue. Now under the alias of the White Wolf, she joins her younger sister Violetta and run away from their former home of Kenettra, in search of like-minded souls from which to build an army of their own. With a deadly grudge against the Inquisition Axis, Adelina will stop at nothing to bring justice to the Marked. But will her quest of anger and grief bring her success, or only misery?
Well OH MY GOD, that had to be one of the best books I’ve read all summer. No joke.
Not only was this book absolutely riveting and action-packed, but it’s the best out of the Young Elites trilogy. It truly packed a punch, all the way from start to finish. There’s hardly anything not to like about this book. 10/10. 👌
Also, remember how I was thinking about comparing the Young Elites characters to X-Men? Well, I’ve got some more comparisons today as well. 😉
First off, I feel that Adelina is now more of a combination of Jean Grey and Magneto. Now that *spoiler for Young Elites* Enzo’s been offed, Adelina’s taken on the role of “Marked bent on the destruction of the Inquisition Axis and all who support them”. Pretty rough ride for her.
Second of all, the Nightcrawler-like character I hinted at in the Young Elites review was…drumroll please…Magiano.
He’s probably one of my favorites out of the cast of characters. Definitely something of a trickster, but he still retains a good heart deep down. Somewhere. If you look hard enough…¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Violetta was most similar to Rogue in terms of powers. From what I remember, they have somewhat like views on their own powers as well.
Oh, and speaking of Marvel…
…let’s not confuse Adelina with Bucky Barnes, guys. Just for future reference.
Have a happy rest of your day, and keep on reading!