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Review: Children of Virtue and Vengeance

Book: Children of Virtue and Vengeance

Author: Tomi Adeyemi

Year Published: 2019

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

Children of Virtue and Vengeance was the gripping sequel to Children of Blood and Bone. I enjoyed it overall, although it suffered a bit of ‘second book syndrome’. It took the story to new heights and the consequences of their actions were graver than ever before.

After the shattering conclusion of the previous book, Orïsha was in a great state of upheaval. Although the ritual went wrong,  Zélie achieved her goal of returning magic to the magi but she also accidentally awoke it in the nobility. She ended up creating a new type of magic wielder called tîtans who unlike the magi didn’t need incantations for their magic to flow. This added a new dimension to the story and raised the stakes even higher than they already were. The irony of it was that she gave her enemies more power to use against her people and while  the nobility hated the magi for their magic, most of them felt justified in using it themselves. Both magi and titans pushed the boundaries of their magic beyond belief accomplishing staggering feats and using it creatively. Although I don’t think the ways in which they used their magic was explained very well it was still exciting to read.

In many books that feature ‘the return of magic’ trope it seems to be a force for good however in this one magic’s return made Orïsha more divided than ever before.  Both Zélie and Amari  wanted to fix what they’d done and unite the people but ended up having very different ways of going about it.

Amari wanted to take the throne and bring about peace but her mother was determined to stand in her way (if you thought Amari’s father was bad just wait until you meet her mother). She was a powerful tîtan and she wanted to use her power for good. She ended up joining the magi with Zélie but they were determined to make her an outcast. Her desperate need to prove her worth and end the war along with her father’s words that still haunted her , ‘Strike Amari,’ made her make some very questionable decisions. Her quest for peace made her think that any sacrifice was worth the cost and I think she lost herself a bit in this book.

Zélie was destroyed by all that had happened to her in the previous book. She felt like she had done enough and she wanted to run as far away as she could from everything. Gradually though she found her light in the other magi and it was nice seeing her open up again. My main concern was the degradation of her trust in Amari. Their friendship was one of my favourite parts of Children of Blood and Bone and suddenly in this book they seemed to turn on each other at every hurdle which was extremely out of character in my opinion. Why couldn’t they just have a healthy, strong friendship?

However, I liked Zelie’s camaraderie with her students, especially her second. I also liked her relationship with Roën even though it was a bit rushed because they go well together. For most of it I wasn’t sure if I could trust Roën or not but I was shipping them by the end. I really wanted Tzain to get some more character development because he was less of a prominent character in this book and it was a shame. It would have been nice to learn more about him and see his brother-sister relationship with Zélie develop more.

I think the main themes of this book were the dangers of hate . Both sides were blinded by their hatred for one another that neither could see sense, neither could see that their actions were stoking the flames of war not bringing it to an end. Their hate brought more hate and it fuelled them to use their power to destroy not build.  Zelie’s blind hatred towards Inan and towards herself for still having feelings for him stopped her from seeking peace when he truly offered it. Although to be fair, I wasn’t sure if Inan would have stuck to any peace agreement anyway. He couldn’t stick to his own decisions and beliefs and I just wanted him to make up his mind- he was more annoying than ever.

I think the weakest point of this novel was the plot. It felt as if it was going around in circles at some points and not really progressing. The plot twist at the end  was completely out of the blue. At the time, it was thrilling and elicited a great amount of shock from me. On reflection though, it was a bit too sudden– like if it was thrown in there to create enough plot for another book.

Overall, I did like Children of Virtue and Vengeance. Some parts were stronger than the first book, some parts weren’t and it might not have fully lived up to my expectations but it was still an enjoyable and diverse fantasy adventure with rich world building and I do want to read the final book in the trilogy to see how it all will end.

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

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When Dreams Become Reality: Review of Reverie

Book: Reverie

Author: Ryan La Sala

Year Published: 2019

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

Reverie was one of the most imaginative, chaotic and unique novels I’ve ever read. It was a wild, wild roller coaster ride of a book but also one that I feel will resonate with many readers and I enjoyed it very much.

“We are all people between worlds.”

The protagonist was Kane Montgomery, a boy who woke up half-dead in a river nearby a burnt down mill with no memory of how it happened or most of his life before. However, slowly by surely he began to put the puzzle pieces together by finding his friends from before the accident and uncovering the sinister truth of what really happened.

Kane and his friends (who called themselves ‘the Others‘) all had various superpowers and they used these to control and unravel ‘reveries’ wherever they arose. Reveries were manifestations of a person’s deepest hopes, fears and dreams that leaked into reality and ensnared anyone in the vicinity of their source. They normally came with an elaborate plot that the people caught inside would unconsciously act out but the Others all possessed the ability to remain lucid in a reverie and could make sure it stayed safe and didn’t go out of control.

“Sealed off things that steep too long in the human mind are doomed to grow bitter”

The reveries were all well fleshed out and intriguing and the author integrated these magical micro worlds into the real world very skillfully. I thought it was an extremely creative magic system but I would have liked it to be more explained as there are still aspects of reveries that I don’t understand like the triggers, limits and rules of them. Also, I don’t think Kane and his friends’ purpose was well explained because most of the time, they seemed to make the reveries more dangerous than they were supposed to be.

Kane was caring, thoughtful and funny but his accident and the consequent amnesia made him feel like an outsider from himself. Also, his uncertainty in who to trust made him push away those trying to help him and he ended up feeling alone. He was the only openly gay person in his school and he keenly felt the pressure of people’s judgement upon him, always feeling out of place

However, as Kane discovered details about his life the reader did too, making his confusion really relatable. He rediscovered his previous friends and it was lovely to see how, after a bit of miscommunication, he started to rebuild his relationships with them once more. His whole character arc was about self-discovery, about giving himself a second chance and using it to save the world.

“Dreams can be the artifacts we excavate to discover who we really are”

The other characters were all nicely layered as well. I loved Ursula‘s calm yet strong nature and Adeline’s steely no-nonsense attitude. Dean had a mysterious, aloof exterior but was actually really adorable and I’m glad that him and Kane had each other. I wish we got to see their relationship develop more. I also liked how Kane’s relationship with his younger sister was portrayed. It was turbulent at times but during hardships their unconditional love and support shone through. The villain of the story was a drag queen sorceress called Poesy who, as the book states many times, was ‘power personified’.  While her motivations and decisions were very questionable she was a sassy, trinket gathering villain who was hard to always hate.

At its core, beneath the chaos and rainbows, Reverie was a story about how people, especially those ostracized by society, create refuges in their own minds and what happens when these go out of control. With its heartfelt LGBTQ+ representation, beautiful prose and loveable characters, Reverie is most certainly a worthwhile read. I had a few issues with the magic system but it was overall an enjoyable story.

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

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Mini-view: The Never Tilting World

Book: The Never Tilting World

Author: Rin Chupeco

Year Published: 2019

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

∗ It was a climate fiction fantasy novel about a world called Aeon split between permanent day and permanent night with extreme weather and dangerous magical creatures.

∗ I absolutely loved it- it was so imaginative and action-packed!

∗ The world building was really well fleshed out. I liked learning how both the day and night sides coped with their situations.

∗ I loved the backstory. It was inspired by Assyrian mythology and was really intriguing.

∗ The plot was full of surprises and I never had a bored moment! I liked watching the two story lines converge.

Odessa was a goddess who lived on the night side of Aeon ruling a city called Aranth. She became braver and more sure of herself as the story progressed. Her character arc was all about fighting the allure of power and how it nearly corrupted her.

Lan was Odessa’s bodyguard. She was fierce, strong and disciplined and she had PTSD after a traumatic experience. I liked how she started to come to terms with what happened to her and open up her heart.

Haidee (my favourite character) was also a goddess who lived on the day side of Aeon and ruled the Golden City. Her and Odessa were twins but neither of them knew. She was really smart as a mechanic, extremely caring and definitely reminded me of myself at times.

Arjun lived in the desert on the day side of Aeon and he went with Haidee on her journey. He was an amputee and also really smart and resourceful. My favourite thing about him was how he pretended to be all gruff but his softer side gradually emerged as the novel progressed.

∗ Both the romances were adorable and flawlessly done.

∗ Even though the climate change was caused by a magical disaster the message of being responsible for the damage we cause to our world applies to us all.

∗ It’s a brilliant, creative novel- I’d definitely recommend it!

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

To find out more about the book, check out this interview I did with the author, Rin Chupeco.

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Review: The Resurrectionist of Caligo

Book: The Resurrectionist of Caligo

Authors: Wendy Trimboli, Alicia Zaloga

Year Published: 2019

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

The Resurrectionist of Caligo was a Victorian fantasy and murder mystery with strong themes of medicine, grief and illness. It had a promising premise and although I liked the ideas in it, I felt slightly let down by it at the same time.

Roger Weathersby was a resurrectionist– a person who unlawfully unearthed corpses to sell on to medical schools. However, when he one day discovered a strange and horrifying corpse he began to follow the clues surrounding a string of terrible yet similar murders along with the help of his former friend, princess Sibylla, and together they went down a dark and dangerous path from which there was no return.

I liked the way Roger’s character was developed because although at first glance he seemed like a careless rogue he was actually a really kind person who just wasn’t very good at dealing with authority and had a knack for getting himself into messy situations. I liked the way he looked out for Ada and her mother.

Sibylla was interesting because she could seem petty at times but she did care deeply for her people. My only problem with her was that she wasn’t particularly memorable in any way. Now, when I think about the book I can’t think of one thing she did that really stood out to me or was very admirable. The dynamic between Roger and Sibylla was… weird. They did like (maybe love?) each other and though their relationship did grow stronger once more I felt like it didn’t really go anywhere.

Also, this novel had major pacing issues. I’m pretty sure around 68% of the way through it I found myself wondering whether the main story was going to get started yet, then realising to my horror that I’d already surpassed over half the book. It was extremely slow at the start and then at the end there was a few plot twists and reveals and that was it. The ending was ambiguous and while I sometimes appreciate books that are open-ended I didn’t like this one because it didn’t give me any sense of conclusion or leave me with any implications or thoughts to ponder over.

The Resurrectionist of Caligo is a creative yet flawed read. I think it’s worthwhile giving it a go- just don’t go in with very high expectations.

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

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Review: The Demon World

Book: The Demon World

Author: Sally Green

Click here for my review of book one, The Smoke Thieves!

Year Published: 2019

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

The Demon World was the gripping sequel to The Smoke Thieves, bursting with political intrigue, love and divided loyalty. In some ways it was better then the first book, in some ways it was not, but overall I enjoyed it very much.

Just like The Smoke Thieves, this book had five main point of view characters: Catherine, Ambrose, Tash, Edyon and March. Tszayn also got one point of view chapter and it was really interesting to get into his head for once. I think that the character perspectives were better allotted and spread out between the characters than the first book but that is probably because we didn’t need to be individually introduced to them all like before. I felt like each character got sufficient time in their perspective to tell their story. Nevertheless, it did feel like not as much happened in this book as in The Smoke Thieves and I got the sense that the characters were moving into position for whatever was going to happen in the next novel in the series.

— Catherine —

I loved how Catherine‘s character grew and developed even more in this book as her power grew. She took charge and led with confidence despite all the people around her who doubted her capabilities. People labelled her as ambitious and greedy for wanting to rule and lead the army because apparently those were jobs only for a man but she didn’t let that stop her from proving them wrong.

— Ambrose —

Ambrose was still struggling with all of the events from the previous book and all he wanted to do was to keep Catherine safe. To be honest he annoyed me because I thought he treated Catherine unfairly and didn’t understand the motivations behind her actions but at the same time she could have been more sensitive to his feelings.

— Tash —

Tash‘s story was super interesting as she went from hunting demons to trying to understand them. She was as stubborn and headstrong (but also adorable) as usual but her persistence allowed her to discover an important secret. Through her we get to discover more about the demons and the demon world and I found it fascinating. However, the cliffhanger at the end was terrifying and I really hope Tash is alright!

— Edyon —

Edyon didn’t have such a great time in this book (I felt quite bad for him) and he carried on his journey with March to Calidor to find his father. He was his usual exaggerated and comic self and he spent most of the book complaining and complimenting March. Just when I thought he was going to have some happiness, it was promptly ruined.

— March —

Throughout the book I was inwardly screaming, ‘Tell Edyon the truth, March! Tell him!’. Sadly, March didn’t listen. I think he has come so far from the angry, vengeful person he was at the start of The Smoke Thieves and I wanted him to have some happiness as well but he ruined it for himself. He knew that Edyon was in love with him and he loved him back and even though he knew continuing the lie would hurt them more in the long term he still didn’t come clean. I think if he’d told Edyon much, much earlier they might have managed to get over it. After the ending of The Demon World, I have no idea what he’s going to do next!

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I’m very excited to read the final instalment of the series. It’s a novel perfect for fans of fantasies that have no magic and a lot of politics, war and treachery.

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

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Review: King of Scars

Book: King of Scars

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Year Published: 2019

*This review contains spoilers. Proceed with caution.*

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

I missed Nina, Nikolai, Zoya and the rest as if they were real people and reading King of Scars was like meeting old friends again! This was definitely one of my most anticipated releases of the year and it has a lot of promise for what the future of the Grishaverse books will hold. Whilst I was reading it, I was overcome by an overwhelming sense of pride because I’ve been with these characters since the beginning and they’ve come so far and endured so many trials and challenges but come out of them stronger and more resilient.

“Hope was the wind that came from nowhere to fill your sails and carry you home.”

Note: King of Scars is definitely for fans of Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows. If you’re not a fan, you probably won’t enjoy it. If you haven’t read the previous Grishaverse books, you probably won’t understand what is happening as there are multiple references to them.

The characters and the relationships between them were all perfect:

  • Nikolai was just as smart, witty and generally awesome as he always has been. His inner battle with the monster inside him was very well done.
  • “He might never be a truly noble man or a truly noble king… But he knew this much: He would not rest until his country could too.”

  • Zoya was AMAZING. She was the most interesting by far and we got to learn so much more about her. She also had the most character progression thoughout the novel. The fancy dragon powers she got from Juris were pretty cool too. She is one of my favourite characters now.
  • “Stop punishing yourself for for being someone with with a heart. To live is to grieve.”

  • At first, I didn’t think Zoya and Nikolai would go together but as the book progressed I could see how much they trust and understand each other so I am now a staunch Zoyalai shipper!
  • I adored Nina. She was just as fabulous as she was in Six of Crows. I felt so sorry for her though especially when she buried Matthias (I almost cried) but I did love how Trassel (Matthias’ wolf) found Nina again! I could tell her emotional wounds were still raw and in this book I could tell she still wasn’t ready to confront those scars, heal them and learn to move on but I really hope she manages to find her peace in the next book.
  • Hanne was an awesome character but I don’t ship her with Nina. I think it’s because I still haven’t gotten over Matthias’ death yet.
  • Yuri was very weird and I can’t believe they trusted him. Why would anyone worship the Darkling? It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard especially after all the harm he caused.
  • Genya and David were perfection (as always).
  • Isaac was so sweet and he deserved better!

The whole return-of-the-Darkling plot twist was brilliant and terrifying at the same time. I always thought that the ending of Ruin and Rising didn’t feel like the end of the Darkling’s story. I am anticipating in horror what despicable deeds he will do in the next book.

I adored King of Scars yet I gave it four stars. Why? Because I felt like nothing much happened. The plot was very slow and the only interesting things happened in the last 100 pages of the book. Moreover, Nina’s story line and Nikolai’s felt very disconnected and I have no idea how Bardugo will manage to fit in so much into the next book and connect the separate plots.

Overall, I loved this book and I’m so excited for the next chapter in the Grishaverse.

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Review: Sorcery of Thorns

Book: Sorcery of Thorns

Author: Margaret Rogerson

Year published: 2019

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 10/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

Sorcery of Thorns was an utterly enchanting read and I feel miserable now that it’s over- especially because it’s a standalone. The thought that I will never read about these characters again makes me want to cry.

Elisabeth was an orphan who grew up in a Great Library. It was not an ordinary library full of ordinary books but one full of grimoires– books of sorcery with a mind and life of their own. As she grew up among the rustle of pages and the scent of magic, she developed an affinity for grimoires, a deep understanding of their being. The library was her home. However, damaged grimoires morph into grotesque beasts called Maleficts and when powerful Maleficts started to escape from all of the Great Libraries and Elisabeth was wrongfully labelled as a traitor, she was thrust out into the world and her adventure of sorcery and courage began.

Elisabeth was one of the most hilarious, genuine and kind characters I have ever read about. Her tendency to charge into dangerous situations, whilst waving around a sword, to try and help or save others often got her into terrifying predicaments but her sheer ferocity always got her out of them. She was very endearing but when times got tough she had bucket loads of valour and my favourite thing about her was that she was always herself and she was proud of it. She never tried to be someone she was not or allow other people to pressure her into doing certain things or behaving in certain ways. Basically, she’s the type of person I wish could be my best friend.

Nathaniel was a well-known sorcerer and he accompanied Elisabeth in her quest to deliver justice. On one hand, he was incredibly funny , very sarcastic and generally amazing, but on the other hand, he was afraid of the destruction his sorcery was capable of bringing about and was weighed down by many years of guilt and grief. The relationship between Elizabeth and Nathaniel was adorable and I felt like their personalities complemented each other in every way. They’re both slightly insane and that’s probably why they were so in love.

Sorcerers obtained their power by bargaining away several years of their lives to a demon and Silas was Nathaniel’s demon. Although I’ve already rambled about how much I love Elisabeth and Nathaniel, Silas most certainly stole the show for me. He was always trying to convince everyone that he was a horrifying demon that can’t be trusted when in reality he was very prim and proper and very caring. Demons were supposed to be callous and indifferent by nature but Silas broke free of that mould and learnt the meaning of love. I’m really struggling to explain this in coherent words but in a nutshell: Silas is such a legend and the best character in existence.

The only reason that I knocked off half a star is because the character’s opinions surrounding sorcery were quite contradictory. The people who worked in the libraries hated it and seemed to think it was something to be contained but at the same time sorcerers were prominent and respected in society and they were allowed to access and use the grimoires however they wanted, to an extent. I found this very confusing and I wish it was explained better.

In essence, Sorcery of Thorns was a book about books. If you like hilariously lovable characters, sorcery, sword-waving and foiling intricate plots to dominate the world, then this book is for you!

Thank you to Simon and Schuster and Margaret Rogerson for proving me with an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Review: A Shifting Of Stars

Book: A Shifting Of Stars

Author: Kathy Kimbray

Year Published: 2019

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

I had no idea what to expect going into A Shifting of Stars but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did! Honestly, it’s the best book I’ve read in quite a while.

The protagonist was called Meadow. She was a poor, young woman still battling with grief after her mother died of a harrowing sickness. A sickness she believed could have been cured had the emperor imported the right medicine instead of squandering coin. One day, she is arrested for treason after speaking out about her experience and urging people to boycott the emperor’s prized gladiator tournament and this event is the catalyst for the entire novel. It’s sad really, that Meadow had to go through so much just because she spoke out about an injustice. Sadly, so many people today in our world pay even heavier prices for the same reason.

A Shifting of Stars has been compared to Red Queen and An Ember in the Ashes but it’s less about a rebel uprising to take down a tyrant or evil figure and more about the effects of the tyranny on a girl and the people around her, and what she tries to do about it.

Meadow was brave, headstrong and quick-witted in dangerous situations. However, she was also a bit too trusting– to her detriment. Also, she was incredibly inquisitive and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a character who asks so many questions about everything. I liked Meadow because I felt like I could connect with her and she was very down-to-earth which was good because the whole book was from her perspective. In general, I liked the characters and they were interesting and realistic– I really cared about them and their fates.

There are two reasons I’ve deducted half a star. Firstly, although the world building was effective, I wished we learnt more about the magic and its origins. Secondly, some of the plot details were slightly unrealistic at times. Nevertheless, these were only minor issues and didn’t affect my overall experience very much.

It’s not your average YA fantasy but in the best way. It’s original and very different to anything I’ve read before. There is a only a dash of romance but it isn’t insta love and it doesn’t dominate the storyline. Generally, it was a refreshingly good read that I would recommend to fans of the fantasy genre.

So, condensing this entire review into three words: READ THIS BOOK!!!

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

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Which Fantasy Books Match Your Harry Potter House?

Are you looking for your next fantasy read to get stuck into but don’t know what to choose? Fear not! Here is a list of thirty-six fantasy books (and their plot summaries from Goodreads) grouped by Harry Potter house that could cure any reading slump.

Gryfindor:

🦁 The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

🦁 The Shades of Magic series by V.E Schwab

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

🦁 An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

🦁 The Children of Blood and Bone trilogy by Tomi Adeyemi

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

🦁 King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

🦁 The City of Brass by SA Chakraborty

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…

🦁 Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

🦁 The Wrath and the Dawn duology by Renée Ahdieh

One Life to One Dawn.

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

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

🦁 Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires

Ravenclaw:

🐦 Circe by Madeline Miller

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

🐦 Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, dreaming of an unremarkable life. But when her beloved father is found dead, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of a surprisingly unstable kingdom. What’s more, Hesina believes that her father was murdered—and that the killer is someone close to her.

Hesina’s court is packed full of dissemblers and deceivers eager to use the king’s death for political gain, each as plausibly guilty as the next. Her advisers would like her to blame the neighboring kingdom of Kendi’a, whose ruler has been mustering for war. Determined to find her father’s actual killer, Hesina does something desperate: she enlists the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by
death, since magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of Yan at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?

🐦 The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkeness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, The Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit.

In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.

🐦 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

🐦 The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

Tomorrow, on the beach, Baru Cormorant will look up from the sand of her home and see red sails on the horizon.

The Empire of Masks is coming, armed with coin and ink, doctrine and compass, soap and lies. They’ll conquer Baru’s island, rewrite her culture, criminalize her customs, and dispose of one of her fathers. But Baru is patient. She’ll swallow her hate, prove her talent, and join the Masquerade. She will learn the secrets of empire. She’ll be exactly what they need. And she’ll claw her way high enough up the rungs of power to set her people free.

In a final test of her loyalty, the Masquerade will send Baru to bring order to distant Aurdwynn, a snakepit of rebels, informants, and seditious dukes. Aurdwynn kills everyone who tries to rule it. To survive, Baru will need to untangle this land’s intricate web of treachery – and conceal her attraction to the dangerously fascinating Duchess Tain Hu.

But Baru is a savant in games of power, as ruthless in her tactics as she is fixated on her goals. In the calculus of her schemes, all ledgers must be balanced, and the price of liberation paid in full.

🐦 The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin

This is the way the world ends. Again.

Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

🐦 The Sorrow trilogy by Melinda Salisbury

Sorrow – for that is all she brings us.

A people laid low by grief and darkness.
A cut-throat race for power and victory.
A girl with everything and nothing to lose…

By day, Sorrow governs the Court of Tears, covering for her grief-maddened father, who has turned their once celebrated land into a living monument for the brother who died before she was born.

By night, she seeks solace in the arms of the boy she’s loved since childhood. But one ghost won’t stop haunting her, and when enemies old and new close ranks against her, Sorrow must decide how far she’s willing to go to win…

🐦 The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule–but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her–even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.

🐦 Uprooted by Naomi Novik

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Slytherin:

🐍 The Nevernight Chronicle by Jay Kristoff

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

🐍 The Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

🐍 The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

🐍 Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

🐍 The Poppy War trilogy by RF Kuang

When Rin aced the Keju, the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies, it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan, was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.

🐍 Wintersong by S Jae-Jones

The last night of the year. Now the days of winter begin and the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride….

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind and spirit and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesel can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds–and the mysterious man who rules it–she soon faces an impossible decision. With time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Dark, romantic, and powerful, Wintersong will sweep you away into a world you won’t soon forget.

🐍 Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

🐍 A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

🐍 Air Awakens by Elise Kova

A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond…

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.

Hufflepuff:

🐿 The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.

🐿 The Strange the Dreamer duology by Laini Taylor

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

🐿 Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

A nobleman’s daughter with magic in her blood. An empire built on the dreams of enslaved gods. Empire of Sand is Tasha Suri’s captivating, Mughal India-inspired debut fantasy.

The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited.

When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda.

Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…

🐿 Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell

There are three things that earn you a man’s name among the Jan’Tep. The first is to demonstrate the strength to defend your family. The second is to prove you can perform the high magic that defines our people. The third is simply to reach the age of sixteen. I was a few weeks shy of my birthday when I learned that I wouldn’t be doing any of those things.

Magic is a con game.

Kellen is moments away from facing his first mage’s duel and the start of four trials that will make him a spellcaster. There’s just one problem: his magic is gone. As his sixteenth birthday approaches, Kellen falls back on his cunning in a bid to avoid total disgrace. But when a daring stranger arrives in town, she challenges Kellen to take a different path. Ferius Parfax is one of the mysterious Argosi – a traveller who lives by her wits and the three decks of cards she carries. She’s difficult and unpredictable, but she may be Kellen’s only hope…

🐿 The Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

🐿 Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett

They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.

The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.

🐿 The Caraval trilogy by Stephanie Garber

Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

🐿 To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Cristo

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

🐿 Everless by Sara Holland

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.


Do you agree with my reccomendations? Do you have have any for me? Let me know in the comments!

Reviews · Uncategorized

ARC Review: The Descendant of the Crane

Author: Joan He

Date Published: 2019

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

The Descendant of the Crane was an intricate Chinese fantasy full of treachery and about a relentless hunt for the truth. I was constantly in suspense and it kept me guessing until the very last page.

The writing was exquisitely vivid, each word weaving a net that captured my attention and didn’t let go. Sometimes, I even felt as if I were a part of the story. The first half of the book was quite slow-paced, gradually building up and setting the scene. However, the second half was a constant stream of mind-shattering revelations and plot twists– my poor heart didn’t know what to do with itself!

The characters were all brilliant and multi-faceted. Hesina was the protagonist, a young woman convinced that her father, the king, was murdered despite the fact that everyone else believed it to be a natural death. Determined to deliver justice, she decided to start a trial to find the murderer and become the next queen. Even though she didn’t always make the right decisions and she had many misconceptions about her kingdom, it was admirable how she believed in herself and had the courage to pursue the things she thought were right. There were times when she wavered but when she made up her mind to do something, she did it formidably.

I also thought the relationships in the novel were well crafted. There wasn’t a heavy emphasis on romance (which I thought was good) but there was a lot about family. Hesina had a brother called Sanjing and although they loved each other they weren’t very good at showing it and had a strained relationship. On the other hand, she was very close to Caiyan and Lilian, who were her adopted siblings. I thought the way these relationships were contrasted was very well done. Also, there was Akira, the convict that Hesina asked to help her in the trial. He generally remained shrouded in mystery but we do get to learn small things about him here and there in the novel. I’m interested to see what his role will be in the next book.

A really important detail of the book was the sooths. They were people with almost magical powers who could do amazing things like seeing into the future. Due to previous historical events, the sooths were generally despised and shunned from society and there were terrible punishments for them and those who sympathised with them. Another reason I liked Hesina was that although everyone was telling her that the sooths were evil and deserved to be punished, she made up her own mind about them and wanted to bring equality to her society. Which is also something that we should all do today.

I adored this book, it’s definitely a new favourite. Honestly, it’s the kind of book that deserves to be a movie. If you like complex fantasies that constantly keep you guessing, then this book is for you!

Thank you to Albert Whitman Company and Joan He for providing me with an e-ARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review!