Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (10/20/20)–Skyhunter

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

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.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Skyhunter (Skyhunter, #1) by Marie Lu

Skyhunter (Skyhunter, #1)–Marie Lu

My copy, ft. Rebel, Wildcard, a cool filter, and a metal bookmark I got from the preorder offer 🙂

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?

Brice Jale's review of Temptation and Tights

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?

Now then…

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

For me, this is the most perfect example of the nature and atmosphere of  Hellboy and everything he stands for. : Mignolaverse

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!

6 Things We Know About 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' So Far

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.

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 Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: October 12-18, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

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.

everythingisfine.gif | This Is Fine | Know Your Meme

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…

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WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Court of Miracles–Kester Grant (⭐️⭐️)

The Court of Miracles (9781524772857): Grant, Kester: Books - Amazon.com

The Bone Houses–Emily Lloyd-Jones (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Bone Houses eBook: Lloyd-Jones, Emily: Kindle Store

Dark and Deepest Red–Anna-Marie McLemore (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Dark and Deepest Red (9781250162748): McLemore, Anna-Marie:  Books

Chilling Effect–Valerie Valdes (⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Chilling Effect: Valdes, Valerie: 9780062877239: Amazon.com: Books

A Touch of Gold–Annie Sullivan (⭐️⭐️)

A Touch of Gold (A Touch of Gold, #1) by Annie Sullivan

Skyhunter–Marie Lu (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Skyhunter (Skyhunter, #1) by Marie Lu

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The Other Side of the Sky–Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kaufman

Memento (The Illuminae Files, #0.5)–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Kristoff, Jay | Wyrdbooks: SF/Fantasy Books

The War of the Worlds–H.G. Wells

Amazon.com: The War of the Worlds (AmazonClassics Edition) eBook: Wells, H.  G.: Kindle Store

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (6/30/20)–The Kingdom of Back

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I’ve been a fan of Marie Lu’s works ever since I first read Warcross, and the Legend series 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.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: The Kingdom of Back (9781524739010): Lu, Marie: Books
Bonus photoshoot with some of her other novels (and a few crystals and rocks)

The Kingdom of Back–Marie Lu

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?

corpse bride piano | Tumblr

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.

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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!

Rise of the guardians tooth fairy jack frost GIF - Find on GIFER

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.

Today’s song:

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!