April Book Reviews

A wee bit late, but here’s my April wrap-up! Every month I say time has gone by too quickly, but April in particular just disappeared. Seriously, where’d it go? This has been an interesting month for me. Injuries and lots of life changes have kept me rather preoccupied so I haven’t been posting or reading very much lately. I only got through two books this month, but they’ve been waiting on the TBR shelf for a while. So feeling rather satisfied to check them off the list.

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A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Read it? Dear Lord, yes.

I loved A Darker Shade of Magic to pieces. Really, really loved it. I was worried AGOS would let me down. The plot pacing was much slower in this one. So much time was spent on the Essen Tasch and various romantic side stories in this one, while the real dangers brewed and festered slowly in the background. Not to say there weren’t some epic moments along the way, but we don’t get much real excitement related to the central plotline until right at the very end when we’re left with an excruciating cliff-hanger. Nonetheless, I was still drowning in feels and I very much enjoyed this sequel. Schwab has a way of writing such brilliant, real, lovable characters that it really makes up for any of the other issues for me. I’ve already started reading A Conjuring of Light and am already sad because this series is coming to an end all too quickly. Please stoooooop.

 

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The Night Circus by Erin Mergenstern

Read it? Sure, why not.

Whimsical, but unsubstantial. The Night Circus is full of vivid imagery, unique ideas and rather curious circumstances. But underneath all the flowery writing and mysterious characters, we just don’t get a lot. I expected a “duel” similar to the Prestige, if you’ve seen that movie. Intense, and obsessive, but it’s all very mild. There’s really hardly a sense of competition at all and the conflict seems kind of forced, the ultimatums full of loopholes.  That combined with all the time skips,  perspective shifts, and various sub-stories, The Night Circus can be difficult to follow and fully grasp sometimes. I’m somewhat tempted to re-read it and see if it changes anything. Overall, I thought it was an entertaining read. Discovering the world of the circus is definitely enchanting, but there’s nothing to invest in here really. You don’t get to intimately meet your protagonists or feel the tension of their struggle. Fun ideas, but it read one-dimensionally to me.

March Book Reviews

Holy cow, has it really already been a whole month already? This year is literally flying by. Please make it stop. This month was pretty uneventful for me up until I sprained my MCL a few days ago. Pretty bummed about that, but at least I don’t need my knee to read. Here’s my wrap-up for March!

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Read it? Stick it out. 

Fayre is prejudiced, single-minded at times and I found her narration to be repetitive at the start. While everything leading up to Prythian was well-paced, the stories slows to a drag once she’s actually there. It picks up significantly once we start to meet the other types of faeries though. Not graceful creatures, but decrepit monsters, which are infinitely more interesting to me. Monsters + more lore kept me in race. And I’m glad I did. While the first 75% of the book is a rather standard retelling of Beauty and the Beast as we know it, the last quarter of the book elevates it to another story in its own right. Action-packed, the end is where I really started to like Fayre as a character. I ended up loving Lucien and the introduction of Rhysand.

So while a little slow at the start, let it simmer and finish it out. I’m glad I did. My only disappointments were that we didn’t get more complexity out of Amarantha as a villain and surprisingly, Tamlin’s character. I found him to be rather flat, he doesn’t grow nor is he memorably characterized. In a way, what happened with Tamlin is what often happens with female love interest characters.

Also as a full disclaimer, the story is surprisingly dark. Feyre endures a fair amount of violence and humiliation. It’ll be interesting to see how those cracks will change her character in the next book, but if any of that is off-putting to you, definitely do not pick this up. There are also a good number of unnecessary sensual or sexual scenes, not all of them consensual, that may not be your cup of tea. While it added nothing for me, it wasn’t a terrible turn-off. Overall, I’m hopeful for the rest of the series and I’m intrigued to see more of the world.

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A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Read it? Yaaaaaaaas.

My God, I love this book. I am already sad because I know there are only two more left in the series for me to read. I loved the dynamic between Kell and Lila. Their slow-brewing friendship and respect for one another was a much needed breath of fresh air from all the crazy instalove in NA and YA nowadays. In fact, romance takes a seat on the back burner altogether and I loved that. Their partnership and chemistry made so much sense. Kell, despite being one of the most powerful beings in the world, is rather gentle-hearted, timid with his power and just so good. Lila on the other hand, is at first sight, just a human, a starved weak one at that. But she’s fiery and bold with a reckless desire for adventure and that little something more in life. She gives Kell a sense of fight and urgency. In return, Kell anchors her morality and selflessness, turning her from a wannabe pirate into an unlikely hero. I love the pair. And that’s just our protagonists. I loved all the characters surrounding them, too. Prince Rhy, Holland (oh, Holland), Astrid, etc. I do wish we saw more female characters aside from Lila and Astrid, but nonetheless, I felt like we got a genuine cast of characters.

The three Londons we get to visit are in drastically different universes that combine the best parts of the popular YA genres. In White London, we get that dystopian feel with a militant government and disgruntled, dangerous population. In Gray London, we have a historical, but otherwise real-world setting. And in Red, we get all the vibes of a classic fantasy adventure. I’m hoping we get to see even more of the worlds in the next installation.

The plot was creative and compelling. The treatment of magic was different than most of the fantasy books I’ve read and while I’ve read other reviews, I don’t think the pacing was slow to start. It felt action-packed with the right amount of build up. It’s honestly a great read for all fantasy buffs.

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This is Our Story by Ashley Elston

Read it? Skip. You’re not missing out. 

I had trouble getting into this one. I just find Kate unmemorable and I’m kind of detached from the story. The mystery is barely kept me in for the ride, that and it’s a fairly easy read.

I’m so disappointed with this read. I really wanted to become captivated by this mystery and fall in love with the River Point Boys and Kate the way Maggie Stiefvater made me fall in love with Blue and the Raven boys. But the characterization was so poor, I could barely differentiate between the boys. Elston just barely scratched the surface of their personalities and I wasn’t invested at all. Kate was literally the most bland narrator. She was so unimpactful, I didn’t even dislike her. I felt nothing towards her at all. The writing style and the story is so straight-forward. There’s no surprise or twist at all, it just takes a long time to play out. Far from gripping, this lacked all semblance of suspense. Overall, just not a winner in my book.

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