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A Book Recommendation for every Legend of Zelda Game

Today is the 12th of May 2023 and to many of you that might not mean anything at all or it might be important for a different reason. For me however, it’s a date that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time because it’s the release date of a highly anticipated game… The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. To mark this exciting day, I’m combining my love for books and my love for video games and recommending a book for every mainline game in The Legend of Zelda franchise.

Firstly, a bit of context. The Legend of Zelda is an action-adventure game franchise by Nintendo that has been captivating its players for many years with its exciting gameplay that combines an interesting story and characters with exploration, combat and puzzle solving— all with stunning soundtracks in the background. If you’ve seen the books I usually review I definitely lean more towards the fantasy genre and one of the reasons I love The Legend of Zelda so much is because it makes me feel like I’m inside a fantasy novel. The games are linked by one massive timeline but each one is a complete story and always features various incarnations of a hero named Link who has to defeat a great evil usually with the help of Princess Zelda.

Here, I will be featuring every mainline Legend of Zelda game so I won’t be including any of the spinoffs like Hyrule Warriors. Also, I have to say that I have not played every game myself (I would like to eventually though if possible) and the games that I have played are Breath of the Wild, Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask and The Minish Cap (and I will be starting Tears of the Kingdom now that it has been released). For the games I haven’t played I have done some research about the plot and gameplay in order to match a book.

The Legend of Zelda is special to me because it always evokes this almost nostalgic feeling and a sense of awe… I’m still not quite sure how they pull it off every time it’s like some sort of sorcery. Therefore, the books I recommend are ones that brought out similar feelings in me, with a lot of action and adventure in a sprawling, magical world.

(1) The Legend of Zelda (1986) ~ Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

We’re starting off with the beginning of the legend, the first ever game in the franchise. This game is very special because without it we wouldn’t have all the amazing games that came after it. I recommend Sorcery of Thorns because it is an extremely charming book that almost has the feel of a classic fantasy. With magical grimoires that can turn into monsters and loveable characters it definitely reminds me of the whimsy of this gaming franchise.

—> Read my review of Sorcery of Thorns

(2) Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (1987) ~ Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee

As its name suggests this game was a direct sequel to the first. I recommend Forest of Souls because again, it has the feel of an older fantasy novel even though it only came out a few years ago. It takes the classic fantasy tropes that we all know and love and weaves them into a story that feels fresh and exciting. One of the main locations in the book is the atmospheric and spooky Dead Wood ruled by the Spider King… that’s the sort of thing that would be right at home in a Legend of Zelda game.

—> Read my review of Forest of Souls

(3) The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1991) ~ The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco 

The plot of this games features a Light World and a Dark World and for that reason I recommend The Never Tilting World. This is a climate fiction fantasy novel set in a world split between permanent day and permanent night and rife with dangerous magical creatures. The main characters are twin goddesses called Odessa and Haidee who live separately in the night side and day side respectively and this also reminds me of the three sister goddesses of power, wisdom and courage that feature heavily in The Legend of Zelda games. It’s an extremely exciting and imaginative book that I highly recommend!

—> Read my review of The Never Tilting World

(4) The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (1993) ~ Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Link’s Awakening was originally released in 1993 but it got an adorable remake in 2019 in case anyone is confused why it’s placed here in the list. What this game and book have in common is that they are both very much themed around dreams. In fact, one of the characters in Strange the Dreamer can actually enter and manipulate dreams. This book is truly an enchanting read in every way and I highly recommend it.

—> Read my review of Strange the Dreamer

(5) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998) ~ The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

Ocarina of Time is one of the absolute classics in this franchise and it was the first game in the series with 3D graphics. It was my first Legend of Zelda game and it made me fall in love with this franchise. There’s something about the story of this game that just hits me so hard, I could probably talk for hours about the tragedy of the Hero of Time. Sacrificing your past, present and future to save everyone from destruction only for your heroic acts to never even be remembered.

So I’m recommending one of my all time favourite books- The Fifth Season- for one of my all time favourite games. This book is groundbreaking in every way. The word building, the plot and the characters, every aspect of this book is crafted to perfection to tell a sweeping and immersive story. One of the reasons I chose this book is because you simultaneously follow the same character through different stages of their life which in a way reminds me of how you can switch between Child Link and Adult Link in Ocarina of Time

(6) The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (2000) ~ Midnight Strikes by Zeba Shahnaz

This is another game on this list that I’ve played. Majora’s Mask is a direct sequel to Ocarina of Time and all I can say is the tragedy continues. In many ways this game is much darker than its prequel and it genuinely has quite sinister, spine crawling vibes. It just gets under your skin. The main feature of this game is a 3 day time loop that you keep repeating in order to stop the moon from crashing down and destroying everything. This makes the game a lot more stressful to play and also (in my opinion) a lot more fun.

I’m recommending Midnight Strikes because it is a fantasy book that features a time loop. The protagonist gets trapped in a time loop where she repeats the hours before a massive explosion in the palace, unless she can stop it from ever happening.

Bonus recommendation: The Six Deaths of the Saint by Alix E. Harrow

I also have a bonus recommendation! The Six Deaths of the Saint is a short story and I never would have thought only 30 pages could make me feel so many emotions. I can’t say much about it because of spoilers but I will say it reminds me of Majora’s Mask in the way it uses time and also the sheer scope and tragedy of it. It’s an amazing read- everyone should read this short story.

(7) The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages (2001) ~ A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages are interlinked games. Seasons focuses more on action and Ages focuses more on puzzles but the two games can interact and even have a linked ending. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is inspired by West African Folklore and alternates between the POVs of the two main characters Malik and Karina who I feel complement each other in many ways (just like these two interlinked games). It’s also the first book in a duology so I’m recommending a pair of books for a pair of games. It is a wonderful book (I especially loved Malik) and the mental illness rep is done really well.

(8) The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (2002) ~ The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart 

This game has Link sailing between islands in a little boat (and I want to play it so bad… Nintendo please port it to the Switch I am begging). I am recommending another one of my favourites: The Bone Shard Daughter. In this book people live on floating islands that drift around in the Endless Sea- a sea that no one can reach the bottom of. The world building in this book is absolutely captivating and I love the concept of bone shard magic. It also features a really interesting cast of characters, the story constantly switching between their POVs. It’s just an amazing book please go and read it.

(9) The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (2004) ~ The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

Most of the games on this list are single player games, however this one is a multiplayer game where you play with four Links instead of one. For that reason I recommend The Smoke Thieves, a story told between five POVs. The reason I like this book is that I think it handles the multiple points of view really well and it is very satisfying when they start coming together.

—> Read my review of The Smoke Thieves

(10) The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (2004) ~ Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama

I have played The Minish Cap and it’s such an adorable, charming and aesthetically pleasing game. I love it so much. Now I know this is supposed to be a recommendation list for novels and I’m recommending a manga but Witch Hat Atelier was just a perfect fit so I had to include it. I really adore Witch Hat Atelier it is also an incredibly charming story with a gorgeous art style and loveable characters. I really love the world building as well, Kamome Shirahama has created such a beautiful world with an interesting magic system. This game and manga both start with someone being turned to stone as well… I just thought that was an interesting similarity.

(11) The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2006) ~ The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

Twilight Princess is one of the darker installments in The Legend of Zelda series in both plot and its distinctive art style and I want to play it so badly (again, Nintendo, please port it to the Switch so I can play it… please). I recommend The Merciful Crow because I just think it has a similar vibe to Twilight Princess and I also love the world building and magic system in this book so much.

—> Read my review of The Merciful Crow

(12) The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (2007) ~ The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by S. A. Chakraborty

This game is the direct sequel to Wind Waker so it’s also a seafaring adventure. Therefore, I recommend The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi which is also a seafaring adventure with pirates, magic and mayhem. S. A. Chakraborty is an amazing author and I also love her Daevabad trilogy.

(13) The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (2009) ~ The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah

This game is a direct sequel to the previous one on the list, Phantom Hourglass. I recommend The Stardust Thief because it’s one of those books that would be absolutely perfect if it had a video game adaptation. Someone really needs to make an RPG with Legend of Zelda influences based on this book I would play it for sure. It’s a story full of jinn and magical relics with the most loveable characters and I really enjoyed reading it.

—> Read my review of The Stardust Thief

(14) The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (2011) ~ Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto 

I really need to play this game. I will get around to it eventually. Skyward Sword features a floating island called Skyloft and you can fly through the skies on huge birds called Loftwings. I recommend Crown of Feathers because it’s about phoenix riders and I just think it’s an incredibly cool concept. I would also love to ride a phoenix or a Loftwing but I fear the closest I will ever come is playing Skyward Sword.

—> Read my review of Crown of Feathers

(15) The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (2013) ~ Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

This game is set in a land called Hyrule (that features in a lot of Legend of Zelda games) as well as a land that serves as its dark mirror counterpart called Lorule. I am recommending Where Dreams Descend a story about a magical competition that ends up being just as dangerous as it is dazzling. Without going into details, this book and its sequel does have the concept of a world accessed through a mirror. It’s a flashy, exciting and enjoyable read!

—> Read my review of Where Dreams Descend

(16) The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes (2015) ~ The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Tri Force Heroes is basically just about three heroes dealing with a massive fashion crisis. I recommend The Belles because it is a book that explores society’s obsession with setting arbitrary beauty standards and how twisted our ideals of physical perfection have become, all in a dazzling and extravagant fantasy world with very sinister undercurrents running underneath.

—> Read my review of The Belles

(17) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017) ~ Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Breath of the Wild is just a masterpiece in every way. I think I’ve spent 110 hours playing this game and even that is nothing compared to the amount of hours I’ve seen other people racking up. It is a very different entry to The Legend of Zelda series with its non linear storyline and gameplay and open world exploration. I love the story of this game so much and the exploration is extremely fun, there’s always something new to find or try out.

I am recommending Raybearer because firstly the world building is absolutely incredible. Also, if you liked the concept of champions in Breath of the Wild, in this book the main character gets chosen to join the Crown Prince’s Council of 11 where all the members get joined by a deep bond called the Ray. It’s an amazing book you have to go and read it right now!

(18) The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (2023) ~ I’ll tell you once I’ve played it!

I will recommend a book for this game once I have played it myself 😉

And on that note… my recommendations are over. Whether or not you’re a Legend of Zelda fan I hope you find some good books to read from this list!

Until next time! *runs off to play Tears of the Kingdom*

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A Story Woven Under the Stars: Review of The Stardust Thief

Thank you to Orbit for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Book: The Stardust Thief

Author: Chelsea Abdullah

Year Published: 2022

Summary [click here]

Neither here nor there, but long ago…

Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land—at the cost of sacrificing all jinn.

With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality.

Inspired by stories from One Thousand and One Nights, The Stardust Thief weaves the gripping tale of a legendary smuggler, a cowardly prince, and a dangerous quest across the desert to find a legendary, magical lamp.

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 4/5

The Stardust Thief is an Arab-inspired adult fantasy novel with jinn, magical relics and characters being thrown against forces far more powerful than them. Overall, I very much enjoyed reading it and I definitely felt that it was a character driven story.

The author, Chelsea Abdullah, was born and raised in Kuwait and drew from her own Arab heritage to craft this story. I really think Arab culture is represented so well in this book and it’s quite rare to see that in the fantasy genre it feels like a dream come true. It felt nice recognising things like the food or the Arabic words which were used and most importantly, this book portrayed the oral tradition of storytelling with so much love it was really beautiful.

When it comes to the characters I really loved Loulie and Mazen and over the course of the book Aisha grew on me more and more. The story was based around the perspectives of these three characters and they each had a very unique voice.

Loulie was the Midnight Merchant who sold magical relics and I loved that she found her own strength but also learned that relying on others isn’t a weakness. Her found family relationship with Qadir was absolutely the highlight of the book for me. He was her jinn bodyguard and kind of a father figure to her and it was so heartwarming the way they cared about each other above anything else. Mazen was so precious (please I need more soft and sweet boys in my fantasy books) and I liked that even though he became a lot more hardened by the world, he never lost his guileless wonder. Honestly, this is extremely rare for me but I actually found myself shipping Loulie and Mazen a lot even though there was no romance between them… I will be hoping for it in the sequel.

The world building was fascinating and I loved all of the lore with the jinn kings and the Sandsea, the magical relics and the story behind them- it was a world rich with magic and secrets. I did like that the book took the time to explore the character’s emotions, their lows really felt low and hit me hard and I felt so happy for them in their highs. However, I still feel like there were times where I felt like everything was being drawn out a bit unnecessarily and there were parts where I was pretty bored. Despite that the ending actually felt rushed, I almost wish that some parts earlier on were shorter so that the ending could be more fleshed out.

Still, I definitely want to read the next book in the series because I am very interested to know what will happen next (maybe I also want to see my ship sail who knows). I have high hopes that the second book will be even better than the first!

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Review: You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao

Thank you to Wednesday Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Book: You’ve Reached Sam

Author: Dustin Thao

Year Published: 2021

Summary (click here)

Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out—move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes.

Heartbroken, Julie skips his funeral, throws out his things, and tries everything to forget him and the tragic way he died. But a message Sam left behind in her yearbook forces back memories. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail.

And Sam picks up the phone.

In a miraculous turn of events, Julie’s been given a second chance at goodbye. The connection is temporary. But hearing Sam’s voice makes her fall for him all over again, and with each call it becomes harder to let him go. However, keeping her otherworldly calls with Sam a secret isn’t easy, especially when Julie witnesses the suffering Sam’s family is going through. Unable to stand by the sidelines and watch their shared loved ones in pain, Julie is torn between spilling the truth about her calls with Sam and risking their connection and losing him forever.

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 4/5

You’ve Reached Sam is an emotional read about trying to make sense of life after bereavement and remembering loved ones who have passed away. Seventeen-year-old Julie’s whole world is upended after the death of her boyfriend, Sam. Wanting to hear his voice, she calls his phone and from beyond the grave, he answers.

“Letting go isn’t about forgetting. It’s balancing moving forward with life, and looking back from time to time, remembering the people in it.”

This is a really weird review to write for me because at the time I read this book in early 2022, I found the story quite emotive and it brought me to tears at the end but as much as I could sympathise, I had never experienced grief before. But now as I write this review that has all changed as my father died suddenly in June 2022. Now that I think about this book in hindsight, everything about it feels so much more personal and all the themes in it really do hit me like a truck. If I read this book for the first time now, I’m sure it would have affected me a lot more.

I relate so much to the idea of being desperate to talk to the person you lost just one more time, seeking some sort of closure. In Julie’s case it is still a double-edged sword because she gets her closure with Sam and he helps her to adjust to life without him in it anymore but at the same time she has to lose him twice.

The way someone experiences grief is entirely unique to every person and to every bereavement. I feel like Julie’s grief was quite isolating and over the course of the story she began to reconnect to the people around her who loved her and wanted to help her and also allowed her to realise that she wasn’t the only one who lost him and they needed her support too. It can be really hard to ‘grieve together’ with the other people who lost the same person because, again, everyone copes differently which can lead to clashes and also they serve as a reminder as much as a comfort. This was something that Julie really struggled with (and me too to be honest). 

I also loved how Sam’s death brought Julie closer to people she wasn’t close to before, especially Oliver. The way their friendship developed was really sweet and it’s nice to think that as tragic as death is, it can lead to new beginnings.

As much as it helped her cope, keeping a connection to Sam also held Julie back in the past and didn’t allow her to move on.  When Julie was calling Sam after his death, she didn’t receive any calls or texts from anyone else during the period she was talking to him which caused her to miss a lot of people checking up on her and making others think she was ignoring them. I thought this was a really creative way of showing how her inability to let Sam go was isolating her more and more.

I think this book should also serve to remind people to treat a grieving person with compassion. All of her classmates were extremely judgmental, blaming her for Sam’s death when it was out of her hands. There is even a part when she is late to hand in an assignment and her teacher basically tells her that grief is no excuse as the whole class already had an extension and “out there life doesn’t give you extensions. Even during the hardest times. So let this be a valuable lesson for you“. Firstly, failing to understand that Julie’s loss is different to that of her classmates, she lost her boyfriend after all. And secondly shouldn’t we show compassion during someone’s hardest time? Even if the rest of the world isn’t like that, why not set an example? Grief is already hard enough without other people making it harder for no reason, you would think this is just basic human decency but I guess a lot of people out there don’t have that. 

I would definitely recommend You’ve Reached Sam. I love the message that you never really let someone that you love go, even after their death, but you move on while safely keeping them in your heart. A concept that has really helped me is the idea of ‘growing around your grief’, even though your grief will never diminish or fade away, your life will keep going and grow bigger and fuller. Gradually, the grief becomes smaller in proportion as your life grows around it.

“You are my entire world, Julie. And one day, maybe I’ll only be a small piece of yours. I hope you keep that piece.”

Even though Julie would never do all of the things she had planned to do with Sam,  she had so many beautiful memories of him that she would hold onto. Her connection with Sam beyond the grave helped her to remember the beautiful parts of their time together so that she would always have a piece of him to treasure. Really, more than the grief and the loss, at its core this book is about Sam’s desire to be remembered with love.

So the message I want to leave you with is this: make good memories with the people you love because that’s what matters most in life— above all worldly things— so that even when you’re gone they will cherish you in their hearts.

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Review: The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

Thank you to Tor for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Book: The Atlas Six

Author: Olivie Blake

Year Published: 2021

Summary (click for dropdown)

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake is the runaway TikTok must-read fantasy novel of the year. If you loved Ninth House and A Deadly Education, you’ll love this. Originally a self-published sensation, this edition has been fully edited and revised.

Secrets. Betrayal. Seduction.
Welcome to the Alexandrian Society.

When the world’s best magicians are offered an extraordinary opportunity, saying yes is easy. Each could join the secretive Alexandrian Society, whose custodians guard lost knowledge from ancient civilizations. Their members enjoy a lifetime of power and prestige. Yet each decade, only six practitioners are invited – to fill five places.

Contenders Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona are inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds. Parisa Kamali is a telepath, who sees the mind’s deepest secrets. Reina Mori is a naturalist who can perceive and understand the flow of life itself. And Callum Nova is an empath, who can manipulate the desires of others. Finally there’s Tristan Caine, whose powers mystify even himself.

Following recruitment by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they travel to the Society’s London headquarters. Here, each must study and innovate within esoteric subject areas. And if they can prove themselves, over the course of a year, they’ll survive. Most of them.

  • Plot: 1/5
  • Characters: 1/5
  • Writing: 1/5
  • Overall: 1/5

I wish I could just write ‘a whole lot of pretentious nonsense’ and hit post but I know it’s unfair to say such things without any explanation so that’s what I’m here to do! It’s rare for me to dislike a book with such passion. This is an extremely popular book so clearly something it about it appeals to other people, but none of it appealed to me.

The Atlas Six is fantasy dark academia with the premise of the six most talented and promising medeians (which are just university educated magicians) in the world being invited to join the elite Alexandrian Society. The catch is, there are only five places. Being in this society unlocks all the doors to power. Apparently, it’s a society trying to be the ‘caretakers of knowledge’ and do good in the world but in the book all we see them do is hoard knowledge like a dragon hoards gold. They have all these rare and ancient texts, books on any subject that could cross your mind and they just sit on it being high and mighty. It felt like the book wanted to discuss the idea that it’s dangerous when a group of people control knowledge distribution because knowledge is power. But on the other hand, sometimes knowledge is dangerous in the wrong hands but what gives someone the right to decide who has access to what? I don’t think it did a particularly good job of exploring this idea though. There was another group opposing the Society which popped up a couple of times to say what they’re doing is wrong but beyond that the main characters barely questioned the way the Society works, they were too busy being obsessed about themselves and their powers.

The point of view shifted between the six main characters- I found them all obnoxious. The experience was pretty much just, “Oh no, it’s another Parisa chapter”. At the beginning I thought Reina was interesting, she had the ability to make plants grow, but I feel like she made barely any impact in the story compared to the others. I found Libby plain annoying, and Nico was alright, but I didn’t really care about him. They both could physically manipulate their surroundings. I will say I did like Libby and Nico’s dynamic because they were competing and supposedly hated each other but also knew each other better than anyone else and trusted each other the most. But like everything else in this book, it didn’t really go anywhere. Callum was just supremely obnoxious; he was able to manipulate people’s emotions and I feel like he was just too arrogant for his own good. Tristan probably left the biggest impression on me only because I liked his journey of understanding his powers. Parisa was such a nightmare and I feel like she was hogging a big chunk of the chapters. She was a telepath and extremely beautiful (as we kept being reminded) and she uses her powers to seduce people, sleep with them and take advantage of/ manipulate them. I’m not saying that’s wrong but with telepathy the sky’s the limit, there’s so much more she could be doing with it and isn’t. We just have to endure chapters and chapters of Parisa thinking she’s the coolest, smartest person in the whole world who’s oh so beautiful and it’s exhausting. The relationships between the characters also felt very shallow.

Reading this book feels like jumping between the minds of six self-absorbed, annoying, chosen one wannabes and it’s extremely frustrating. I can’t believe I managed to read the book until the end. It was trying so hard to have edgy, morally grey characters and ended up with a bunch on unlikeable, arrogant people drunk on their own power. 

Most of this book was just sophisticated rambling, fancy words and pretty sounding writing and if you actually stop and think about the meaning of these words or what they’re adding to the wider development of the characters or story you’ll quickly realise that there is none. The characters also have a lot of long, pretentious conversations trying to sound all dramatic and philosophical but it’s really just nonsense and empty words.

This was a part I highlighted on my kindle when I was reading, it’s about Libby’s dead sister. I think it illustrates my point about the writing style pretty well. I remember when I was in high school I used to always use the word ‘juxtaposition’ when I wanted to sound extra fancy for no reason and I feel like that’s also what the author was doing. Bear in mind, the entire book is written like this and it gets frustrating very quickly.

“It was such an uncanny juxtaposition, so acutely timed: the familiar sliver of youthful ennui (ambivalence in a strapless dress) and the empty chair next to her parents.”

Here’s another example of what I mean (I just picked a random page of the book for this). 

Callum rose to his feet with a nod. “What are we celebrating?”

“Our fragile mortality,” Tristan said. “The inevitability that we will descend into chaos and dust.”

It felt like the author decided if she used enough long words and complicated sentences, she would fool the reader into thinking it was a smart book with a deeper meaning for smart people to understand when the book had no plot. 

Yes, the book really didn’t have a plot. Barely anything interesting actually happened, it was mainly the characters playing mind games with each other and being full of themselves. For some reason I was holding out for an amazing plot twist that would save the whole book and give everything that happened some meaning. Then the plot twist came and it was far from amazing- it was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read. I don’t want to go into spoilers, but I felt extremely cheated as instead of giving the book meaning, the ending made the book even more meaningless than it already was.

In summary, I really didn’t enjoy The Atlas Six and I don’t understand why it has gotten so much hype (I’m starting not to trust books that have gained popularity from TikTok) and it’s really not something that I would recommend.

If you have read The Atlas Six do you agree or disagree with my thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

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Review: The Red Palace by June Hur

Thank you to Feiwel & Friends for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Book: The Red Palace

Author: June Hur

Year Published: 2022

Summary (click here)

Joseon (Korea), 1758. There are few options available to illegitimate daughters in the capital city, but through hard work and study, eighteen-year-old Hyeon has earned a position as a palace nurse. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, and perhaps finally win her estranged father’s approval.

But Hyeon is suddenly thrust into the dark and dangerous world of court politics when someone murders four women in a single night, and the prime suspect is Hyeon’s closest friend and mentor. Determined to prove her beloved teacher’s innocence, Hyeon launches her own secret investigation.

In her hunt for the truth, she encounters Eojin, a young police inspector also searching for the killer. When evidence begins to point to the Crown Prince himself as the murderer, Hyeon and Eojin must work together to search the darkest corners of the palace to uncover the deadly secrets behind the bloodshed.

June Hur, critically acclaimed author of The Silence of Bones and The Forest of Stolen Girls, returns with The Red Palace—a third evocative, atmospheric historical mystery perfect for fans of Courtney Summers and Kerri Maniscalco.

Content Warnings: graphic depiction of murder, mentions of torture

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 4.5/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 4/5

The Red Palace was an engaging young adult historical mystery set in 18th century Korea that kept me hooked throughout with a romance so sweet it will give you a cavity. I didn’t really know what to expect from it because I don’t usually read mysteries but I enjoyed it so much and now I definitely want to read June Hur’s other books.

The bloody palace full of spies and secrets where people either lost their lives or their humanity was the perfect backdrop for a murder mystery. It created this unwaveringly tense atmosphere that had me on edge the entire time.

What made it even more interesting was reading the author’s note and finding out The Red Palace is based loosely on the death of Crown Prince Jangheon (Crown Prince Sado). Reading more about his tragic story added a new dimension to the story for me and I love it when I reading a book leads me to read about a topic further and learn something new. In fact June Hur wrote a whole newsletter about this and it’s an interesting read I’d recommend you check out. The main character, Hyeon, was a uinyeo (a female nurse/ physician who treated women during the Joseon dynasty of Korea) and I also liked getting an idea of what medical practice was like at that time.

It really struck me in a sad way how for a historical book the themes of violence against women with little justice for them and the lack of accountability for those in power felt so relevant to our society today. 

I found Hyeon to be really impressive. She was determined, smart and most importantly extremely adaptive in high pressure situations- she really knew how to think on her feet. I feel like her insecurities linked to feeling like she could never make her father proud no matter how excellent she was and tying her worth to her position in the palace would be relatable to a lot of people. That’s why I loved the growth she had in realising she defines her own worth and beginning to seek out the things that will truly make her happy instead of doing things just to receive praise and validation from others even if it puts her wellbeing at risk, I think it’s a good message to take away.

Hyeon’s relationship with her mother improved a lot over the course of the book and was one of the most interesting aspects of the book for me. I do wish this relationship was developed a bit better because the change in Hyeon’s mother seemed very sudden. I think the issue is the dissonance between the way Hyeon described her mother and her mother’s actual actions during the book and the reader is expected to read between the lines a bit too much.

The romance was so cute I am obsessed about Hyeon and Eojin I could read about them for hours without getting bored because they are just EVERYTHING. The slow development of trust and warmth between them was so beautiful and I love how thoughtful Eojin was. For example, when they ate together he gave her all the best bits of meat from his soup. I think it’s the little thoughtful things that make the most difference and that was what Eojin was all about.

I liked how the mystery unfolded in a satisfying way that all made sense. The only thing that annoyed me was how whenever Hyeon approached someone for information no matter who they were they just seemed to tell her everything she needed to know just like that, a lot of the time it felt too easy. I felt like her investigation realistically would have had more resistance and obstacles.

Overall, I would highly recommend The Red Palace and if you have read it and are desperate for more you can read the bonus epilogue which is truly the most adorable thing I have read in my life!

Have you read The Red Palace? What did you think? And are there any other historical mysteries you would recommend? Let me know in the comments!

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Review of The Theft of Sunlight

Thank you to HarperTeen for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Book: The Theft of Sunlight

⬇️ Summary (click for dropdown)

I did not choose this fate. But I will not walk away from it.

Children have been disappearing from across Menaiya for longer than Amraeya ni Ansarim can remember. When her friend’s sister is snatched, Rae knows she can’t look away any longer – even if that means seeking answers from the royal court, where her country upbringing and clubfoot will only invite ridicule.

Yet the court holds its share of surprises. There she discovers an ally in the foreign princess, who recruits her as an attendant. Armed with the princess’s support, Rae seeks answers in the dark city streets, finding unexpected help in a rough-around-the-edges street thief with secrets of his own. But treachery runs deep, and the more Rae uncovers, the more she endangers the kingdom itself. 

Author: Intisar Khanani

Year Published: 2021

Content Warnings: physical and emotional abuse, ableism, child slavery, human trafficking

  • Plot: 5/5
  • Characters: 5/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Overall: 5/5

The Theft of Sunlight is the companion novel to Thorn that focuses on a new main character called Amraeya (or Rae for short). When I read Thorn last year I was very impressed with pretty much everything about it and I was even more impressed when this book had everything I liked about Thorn but was even better!

I have so much love and respect for Rae. She was strong but not in the way I’m used to seeing in fantasy novels- her strength lay in her empathy, loyalty and moral fibre and it was refreshing to read about such a character. 

The plot drew me in from the very start and dragged me deeper and deeper into the depths of its mysteries. It never gave too much away but maintained a steady trickle of breadcrumbs and breakthroughs that kept me hooked up until the very last page. There were twists that I saw coming but they were so well built up to and executed that it didn’t feel predictable or boring in the slightest. I also felt that there was a very good balance of softer, emotional scenes and dramatic, action-packed, confrontational scenes that it never felt too slow paced or too overwhelming. AND THE CLIFFHANGER!!! The book ended on a cliffhanger which I usually find very frustrating but it felt like a fitting conclusion and I can only hope that we get a sequel so that I can find out what happens next!

In the acknowledgements Khanani mentions that the slavery in The Theft of Sunlight is modelled on modern day human trafficking and I definitely saw a lot of real life parallels in the book. Every day children were ‘snatched’ without a trace, transported and sold into slavery and everyone lived in fear- it was extremely chilling to read about. It made me so sad reading about the grief of families who had lost their children, not knowing their fates or whether they were even alive- especially knowing that there are countless real families living with that sorrow all over the world. 

What was most chilling was how those in power were either completely oblivious of the problem, willingly in denial of it or trying to cover it up. I shared in Rae’s shock and disgust at the utter disregard shown by those who were wealthy and privileged simply because it wasn’t affecting them even though they had resources and power that could help so many but sadly, I also wasn’t that surprised at all because it’s the precise attitude that so many in powerful, privileged positions in our world have.

The Theft of Sunlight was an impressive and refreshing read, balancing high stakes and mystery with softness and emotion that I highly recommend!

Is Thorn or The Theft of Sunlight on your tbr? Let me know in the comments!

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Epic Fantasy at its Finest: Review of The Jasmine Throne

Thank you to Orbit Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Book: The Jasmine Throne (Burning Kingdoms #1)

Author: Tasha Suri

Year Published: 2021

⬇️ Summary 

Author of Empire of Sand and Realm of Ash Tasha Suri’s The Jasmine Throne, beginning a new trilogy set in a world inspired by the history and epics of India, in which a captive princess and a maidservant in possession of forbidden magic become unlikely allies on a dark journey to save their empire from the princess’s traitor brother.

Imprisoned by her dictator brother, Malini spends her days in isolation in the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once the source of the powerful, magical deathless waters — but is now little more than a decaying ruin.

Priya is a maidservant, one among several who make the treacherous journey to the top of the Hirana every night to clean Malini’s chambers. She is happy to be an anonymous drudge, so long as it keeps anyone from guessing the dangerous secret she hides.

But when Malini accidentally bears witness to Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne. The other is a priestess seeking to find her family. Together, they will change the fate of an empire.

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 4.5/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Overall: 4/5

Before picking up this book I hadn’t read an epic adult fantasy that takes place on such a large scale in a long time and I really missed it so you can imagine how delighted I was when The Jasmine Throne delivered in every way possible. I adore Tasha Suri’s writing (her other book, Empire of Sand, is one of my all time favourites) and she deftly wove together a story of resistance, magic, duplicity and sapphic yearning that utterly captivated me.

The story was very slow paced and took its time to build the detailed, vivid world and set up the plot and while I think this was necessary I still struggled at times to get through it. In hindsight, think this was because I wasn’t in the right mindset at the time to read such a book and I think it’s important to be aware of this so that you read it when you are in the mood for a gradual, immersive read and have the time and capacity to properly enjoy it. It’s important to note that with the way this book ends it seems like the sequel will be incredibly action packed and intense so I’m definitely looking forward to that!

The two main characters were Priya, a maidservant haunted by her past, and Malini, a princess who had been imprisoned by her brother the emperor. I loved how their relationship slowly developed and deepened into something gentle, mature and founded on profound mutual understanding. When I say slowly I mean slowly. For the majority of the book they feel drawn to each other but don’t go beyond that, however when they finally do it is extremely satisfying and works with the story (waterfall scene!!!).

Both Priya and Malini have so many facets to them but most people around them only perceived or accepted the facets palatable to them. What I liked most about their relationship was how they accepted all of the facets of each other- even the more monstrous ones

Another aspect of the story I liked was how it portrayed different types of strong women making a place for themselves in a patriarchal society and refusing to conform to the paths prescribed to them by men. Priya had powerful magic and incredible physical prowess yet she was also nurturing and gentle. I loved how she refused to sacrifice her humanity for power and made it a source of strength for her where others thought it a weakness. Malini was smart, ruthless and resourceful yet her brother saw her capability as a threat that needed to be burned at a pyre. Her refusal to burn led her on a journey to come into her own and seize power for herself as opposed to power derived from the men around her.

I also loved Bhumika, I thought she was the most interesting character in the book. While her husband, the regent, thought her to be ignorant and docile she had actually quietly accumulated a network of servants and guards loyal to her and wielded more power than him. I found it interesting how she exploited her husband’s belittlement of women to her advantage.

The story was mainly told from Priya and Malini’s perspectives but it did regularly incorporate the perspectives of other characters. This meant that overall there were about ten different POVs and it truly is a testament to Suri’s writing skill that she managed to make it work. Usually when I read multi POV fantasy novels there’s that one character whose perspective I just don’t care about but that wasn’t the case here; every perspective that was introduced engaged me and made me more immersed in the story while carrying the narrative forwards.

The Jasmine Throne was an intricate read exploring themes of resistance against imperialism and misogyny and full of nuanced characters and messy, complicated relationships. I would definitely recommend it and am very excited to read the sequel. Tasha Suri is an amazing writer and I can’t wait to see what she does next!

Have you read The Jasmine Throne? Is it on your tbr? Let me know in the comments!

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We Find Ourselves in the Sea: Review of The Ones We’re Meant to Find (Blog Tour)

Hello! Today I am so excited to bring my stop on the blog tour for The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He as I’m a member of her street team (Hesina’s Imperial Court)! For more information check out the launch post here!


Thank you to Roaring Brook Press for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Book: The Ones We’re Meant to Find

*Click here for all the buy links*

Author: Joan He

Year Published: 2021

Summary (click for dropdown)

One of the most twisty, surprising, engaging page-turner YAs you’ll read this year—We Were Liars meets Black Mirror, with a dash of Studio Ghibli.

Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years without any recollection of how she arrived, or memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, she has a sister named Kay. Determined to find her, Cee devotes her days to building a boat from junk parts scavenged inland, doing everything in her power to survive until the day she gets off the island and reunites with her sister.

In a world apart, 16-year-old STEM prodigy Kasey Mizuhara is also living a life of isolation. The eco-city she calls home is one of eight levitating around the world, built for people who protected the planet―and now need protecting from it. With natural disasters on the rise due to climate change, eco-cities provide clean air, water, and shelter. Their residents, in exchange, must spend at least a third of their time in stasis pods, conducting business virtually whenever possible to reduce their environmental footprint. While Kasey, an introvert and loner, doesn’t mind the lifestyle, her sister Celia hated it. Popular and lovable, Celia much preferred the outside world. But no one could have predicted that Celia would take a boat out to sea, never to return.

Now it’s been three months since Celia’s disappearance, and Kasey has given up hope. Logic says that her sister must be dead. But as the public decries her stance, she starts to second guess herself and decides to retrace Celia’s last steps. Where they’ll lead her, she does not know. Her sister was full of secrets. But Kasey has a secret of her own. 

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 5/5
  • Writing: 4.5/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

The Ones We’re Meant to Find was an atmospheric and twisty read that brought together science fiction and climate fiction in a dystopian world– with Studio Ghibli vibes for extra spice.

Reading this book was a unique experience that had its ups and downs and at the end I felt a strange mix of awe, poignancy and bewilderment that left me mulling over the story for days afterwards. The Ones We’re Meant to Find is something special, the sort of book that stays with you, lingering in the corners of your mind. I don’t think I was as emotionally invested as I wanted to be but I appreciated the depth and scope of the story, the nuanced characters and subversion of the usual tropes. 

At the beginning of the book I was very, very confused and had no idea what was going on but as I progressed I realised that was how I was supposed to feel. The book is structured in a way that confuses you in the start as you grapple to understand this ravaged dystopian world and the characters’ places in it and there is a distinct sense that something is not right but as a reader you lack the necessary information to know what that something is.

As the book progresses you are gradually given the puzzle pieces and there was a point where I had a giant OHH! moment because I finally had enough pieces to make sense of it all. If you don’t like books that have convoluted plots and never spell anything out explicitly to the reader then this is definitely not for you. But I would also say if you start reading and feel disheartened because you don’t understand what is happening I would advise you to keep going because it all comes together eventually and it does so beautifully

“Alone is an island. It’s an uncrossable sea, being too far from another soul, whereas lonely is being too close, in the same house yet separated by walls because we choose to be”

The story focused on Cee and Kasey and switched between their vastly different perspectives. Cee was passionate, lively and determined and her chapters were full of hope and pain and longing. On the other hand, Kasey was a genius who was logical and very emotionally detached. She often wondered why she was different to everyone else, why she felt less, reacted less, became less attached to others… felt less human.

I loved how He emphasised the contrast between them by writing Cee’s perspective in the first person and Kasey’s in the third. Cee was likeable in a very conventional way that I think most people would relate to but Kasey’s character was refreshing and different to what we normally see in YA fiction. She wasn’t what anyone would usually describe as likeable but I think a lot of people will be able too see themselves in her too. 

The book was set in an Earth poisoned by humans beyond repair and plagued with extreme weather and devastating natural disasters, the only refuge being eco cities that floated in the sky. The book questioned if humanity deserved to be saved if it had brought its own demise upon itself. If it was more important to live freely or live in a way that preserved our planet. If it was fair that innocent people had to suffer for the destructive, polluting acts of others. It served as a chilling reminder that our greed and unsustainable lifestyles are pushing the planet over the brink.

At a personal level, the book explored the bond between two sisters that not even the ocean or hundreds of years could sever. The relationship between Kasey and her sister was rocky at times and they had very different perspectives on life but I loved how their unconditional love for each other shone through with every decision they made.

There is so much more that I want to say about this book that I can’t in this review because it would spoil the most important parts. The best way to go into the book is with absolutely no idea what it’s about beyond the little information provided in the summary so that the plot twists and turns have the maximum impact. The Ones We’re Meant to Find is a story brimming with profound emotion that spills over the pages, straight into your heart. I definitely recommend it!

About the author:

Joan He was born and raised in Philadelphia but still will, on occasion, lose her way. At a young age, she received classical instruction in oil painting before discovering that storytelling was her favorite form of expression. She studied Psychology and East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Pennsylvania and currently writes from a desk overlooking the Delaware River. Descendant of the Crane is her debut young adult fantasy. Her next novel, The Ones We’re Meant to Find, will be forthcoming from Macmillan on May 4th, 2021.

Tour schedule:

Monday, April 26

Tiffany | Sara | Carina | Anthony

Tuesday, April 27th

Chloe | Avery | Jenni

Wednesday, April 28

Lauren | Bella | Charvi

Thursday, April 29

Iza | Shenwei | Ace

Friday, April 30

Stella | Lexie | Kristi | Finn

Saturday, May 1

Umairah(me!!!) | Justice

Sunday, May 2

Sarah | Fin | Ming

Monday, May 3

Julith | Cathy | Adrienne | Victoria

Tuesday, May 4

Leeann | Isabelle | Asher

Wednesday, May 5

Trinity | Jenna | Jasmin

Thursday, May 6

Katie | Sophie | Ceillie

Friday, May 7

Althea | Lili | Alessa | Paola

What did you think of The Ones We’re Meant to Find? What are your favourite climate fiction books? Let me know in the comments!

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Trust No Witch: Review of Witches Steeped in Gold

Thank you to Ciannon Smart and HarperTeen for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Book: Witches Steeped in Gold

Summary (click for dropdown)

Divided by their order. United by their vengeance.

Iraya has spent her life in a cell, but every day brings her closer to freedom – and vengeance.

Jazmyne is the Queen’s daughter, but unlike her sister before her, she has no intention of dying to strengthen her mother’s power.

Sworn enemies, these two witches enter a precarious alliance to take down a mutual threat. But power is intoxicating, revenge is a bloody pursuit, and nothing is certain – except the lengths they will go to win this game.

This Jamaican-inspired fantasy debut about two enemy witches who must enter into a deadly alliance to take down a common enemy has the twisted cat-and-mouse of Killing Eve with the richly imagined fantasy world of Furyborn and Ember in the Ashes.

Author: Ciannon Smart

Year Published: 2021

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Writing: 4.5/5
  • Overall: 4/5

When I picked up this book I had no idea what to expect but I was extremely excited to read it- luckily, it definitely delivered. A Jamaican-inspired young adult fantasy full of intrigue, action, scheming and compelling characters, Witches Steeped in Gold bewitched me from the first page until the very last.

The plot revolved around two witches who belonged to enemy orders: Jazmyne who belonged to the Alumbrar order and Iraya who belonged to the Obeah order. The story alternated between both of their perspectives as they entered into a precarious alliance to achieve a shared goal. 

Jazmyne started off quite indecisive and afraid of taking action against her mother who was the doyenne of Aiyca- despite finding her rule unjust. As the story progressed it was interesting to see her realise that she had power and watch her learn how to wield it and stand her own ground. What was more interesting still was how her taste of power obscured her initial noble intentions and she sank lower and lower to hold onto it at any cost. She pretty much had a corruption arc and the irony wasn’t lost on me that she became exactly what she started off fighting against. I didn’t like Jazmyne much at all by the end but that isn’t a criticism of the book- she was extremely interesting to read about. I have to say though, Jazmyne’s romance sub plot was extremely lacklustre and boring– I feel like the book would have been better of without it.

For me, Iraya was a more likeable character despite her tendency to act rashly (it was honestly painful to watch her keep acting impulsively and making the worst choices) and avoid responsibility in the misguided belief it will keep people safe. Her constant internal conflict revolved around her trying to reconcile people’s expectations of her and her own desires and hopes, her duty to honour the dead and her duty to do right by the living. Unlike Jazmyne, I feel like she had more selfish motivations in the start but as the book progressed they became more selfless as her sense of responsibility towards her people grew. Iraya’s romance sub plot was a lot more interesting and while it definitely was a bit cliché, I found the way her relationship with Kirdan developed very entertaining.

Both Iraya and Jazmyne’s perspectives had distinct voices and personalities and switching between them made the tone of the book more dynamic. As the book progressed, Iraya began to realise that she could let people help her and that she didn’t have to carry the burden alone to succeed whereas Jazmyne began to realise that she couldn’t rely on the people she trusted. I thought it was clever how Iraya surrounding herself with more people and opening up was contrasted with Jazmyne becoming more isolated and closed off. It was chilling how by the end of the book they had both become what they were most afraid of at the start.

My favourite aspect of the book was that we are shown the perspectives of both the Alumbrar and Obeah in a way that makes it impossible to ‘pick a side’ because neither is fully good or evil. Whilst I was reading I felt quite anxious wondering if they would put aside their differences or if one side would come out on top in the end and how I would feel about the possible outcomes. The story emphasised how subjective notions of heroism and villainy are as Jazmyne and Iraya walked the knife edge between the two, thinking that they were breaking the cycles of hatred and violence while unknowingly perpetuating them. A part of what makes this story compelling is that there are no heroes or villains… there are just people like you and me doing what they think is best for themselves and those around them.

I adored the world Smart created. It was nuanced, exciting and full of vicious beauty. I loved the Jamaican influences, the intricate lore and traditions and it all felt very immersive and put together with love and care. I liked how the Obeah and Alumbrar magic systems were contrasted and the way these systems directly influenced and were influenced by the wider society- I especially liked the idea of gold being the conduit for magic.

Overall, the plot was twisty- driven by scheming and betrayals. However, the first half of the book was quite slow paced and the plot took a while to really get going. I do think this was necessary to set up the world, the characters and the stakes but if you dislike books structured like this then I don’t think this book will be for you. The main reason that this was a four star read not a five star read was that while I was engaged in the story and wanted to know what would happen I wasn’t as emotionally invested as I wanted to be.

Witches Steeped in Gold was a compelling read that I highly recommend, perfect for fans of An Ember in the Ashes. The book ended in a strong place and set everything up nicely for the next book so I think the sequel has a lot of potential to be a five star read and I’m very excited to read it!

Have you read Witches Steeped in Gold? Are you planning on reading it? Let me know in the comments!

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A Gift and a Curse: Review of Reaper of Souls

Thank you to HarperTeen for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Book: Reaper of Souls

Summary (click for dropdown)

After so many years yearning for the gift of magic, Arrah has the one thing she’s always wanted—at a terrible price. Now the last surviving witchdoctor, she’s been left to pick up the shattered pieces of a family that betrayed her, a kingdom in shambles, and long-buried secrets about who she is.

Desperate not to repeat her mother’s mistakes, Arrah must return to the tribal lands to search for help from the remnants of her parents’ people. But the Demon King’s shadow looms closer than she thinks. And as Arrah struggles to unravel her connection to him, defeating him begins to seem more and more impossible—if it’s something she can bring herself to do at all.

Set in a richly imagined world inspired by spine-tingling tales of voodoo and folk magic, Kingdom of Souls was lauded as “masterful” by School Library Journal in a starred review. This explosively epic sequel will have readers racing to the can’t-miss conclusion.

Author: Rena Barron

Year Published: 2021

  • Plot: 3/5
  • Characters: 3.5/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 3/5

I was so excited to read Reaper of Souls as I was completely enthralled by the first book in the trilogy. I have to admit, while the book had a lot of strong points, it didn’t fully live up to my expectations and pales in comparison to Kingdom of Souls. I think my problem is that objectively it is exactly the sort of interesting, twisty book that I usually love but it just failed to engage me and all the aspects of the first book that I loved weren’t as compelling to me in this one.

In this book Arrah was a lot more mature and also much wearier and worn out by all that she had been through and all that she had yet to do. Haunted by her past actions, it was interesting to see Arrah realise that the magic she had sacrificed so much for was a double edged sword that she couldn’t trust herself to wield only for the good of others. Comparing her decisions at the end of this book to her decisions at the start of Kingdom of Souls it was clear how far she has come and how her outlook on the world has changed. The only thing that didn’t diminish for me in this book is how much I love Arrah. She wasn’t perfect, she made reckless decisions and did morally questionable things but she was also strong and loyal and in her heart she wanted the best for everyone. I like how she was at one with herself and owned her mistakes even as she often walked the fine line between hero and monster in the eyes of others.

This book was also Rudjek’s time to shine– he even had chapters from his perspective. In the previous book I felt like he was less self-assured so I liked how he stepped up in this book and came into his own, taking on leadership and initiative. I liked how the barriers between Arrah and Rudjek being together were explored and how they communicated about it but I didn’t love their relationship as much as I did in book one. As I was reading I became less and less engaged in their romance and cared less and less about whether or not they’d get to be together.

I read most of Kingdom of Souls in one sitting unable to stop and desperate to find out what would happen next. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for Reaper of Souls. For most of the book I wasn’t engaged by the plot and there were many points whilst reading where I was so close to DNFing but didn’t because I remembered how much I enjoyed the first book and convinced myself it would get better. However, near the end of the book there were some good plot twists and I think the book ended on enough of a strong point to convince me to read the final book in the trilogy when it comes out. The thing I disliked the most about the plot was Dimma and the Demon King’s story. I can’t really explain why without spoiling too much but even though it was an important part of the storyline I didn’t like the focus being taken off of Arrah and Rudjek because they were the ones I cared about.

Although it built on the same ideas as Kingdom of Souls- magic being a gift and a curse, the corrupting nature of power and love that destroys as well as heals– I liked Reaper of Souls but nowhere near as much as the first book. However, I would recommend fans of book one to give the sequel a chance because I know for a fact that there are a lot of people who enjoyed it more than I did. 

Have you read Reaper of Souls? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

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