Book Review: King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

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King of Scars (King of Scars Duology #1)/ ★★★.5

“Stop punishing yourself for being someone with a heart. You cannot protect yourself from suffering. To live is to grieve. You are not protecting yourself by shutting yourself off from the world. You are limiting yourself.”

I think I have to end up giving this book 3.5 stars. Set after the Grisha trilogy and the Six of Crows Duology, we take off with Nikolai, Zoya, and Nina into the next chapter of the Grishaverse.

The good- I loved getting reacquainted with these characters again. We learn previously unknown backstories in Nikolai and Zoya, and we get to see where the future is taking Nina after the events of the Six of Crow duology. I liked the budding romances- it’s mild in this book, definitely taking it slow, but I like where it’s taking us. It was the characters, really, that I loved about this book, Zoya and Nikolai especially, and I loved the introduction of Hanne in Nina’s parts of the novel. What I found most intriguing in this book was definitely the dynamics between characters- some old, some newer, and some brand new.

The bad- King of Scars just didn’t need to be as long as it is. It’s over 500 pages, but I didn’t feel like enough happened to justify it being that long, and some parts felt frivolous and unnecessary (coughIsaak’spovcough). It was entertaining, but it took some slogging through slower parts to get to the more interesting parts. The plot simply didn’t feel as tight as Leigh’s other books in this world. This book also did a lot of recap of the Grisha trilogy, which was good because I didn’t remember the finer details of those books, but sometimes it felt like a bit too much- like this book was relying more on the past for this story, than taking us forward. But since this is the first book of a duology, I’m assuming this is setting up a lot, and the next book will bring us forward. I gotta say, though- not a huge fan of the ending, but like I said, I think it relied too much on the past series to make it shocking and exciting, but I don’t like the regression- I want to move forward.

All-in-all I enjoyed this, but I think the slow pace of the plot made it tough for me to fully enjoy it. But I loved the characters and the universe, and I’m still eager and excited for the sequel.

Book Review: Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer, #1)

Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater (Dreamer Trilogy #1) / ★★★★★

“Do you understand? For you, reality is not an external condition. For you, reality is a decision.”

I loved every single part of this. This sequel series to The Raven Cycle is shaping up to be even more than I realized I needed from that universe. Not only was it a fun re-introduction to characters that I love, but it was an incredibly entertaining story all the way through.

I hesitate to compare it to The Raven Cycle, because this is completely different from the Raven Cycle. The mood, the atmosphere, the story, the characters- are incredibly different. I positively loved it.  We meet lots of new characters, and revisit several characters from The Raven Cycle that really get their time to shine in this book that didn’t in The Raven Cycle (Declan. I’m talking about Declan). This book was more concrete, darker, and spooked me out in a genuine way that the Raven Cycle never achieved. I just loved it.

Call Down the Hawk had some great new characters. It’s the Ronan show now, and the cast is full of lots of new members. And wow, I loved them. We get the thieving and forging Jordan Hennessy and her girls, and Farooq-Lane and her deadly mission. Sometimes, it can be hard to accept new characters in a place we feel comfortable with the old ones, but these ones fit right in, and brought so much more. It wasn’t hard to grow invested in their personalities and motives as they unfolded. I loved stepping away from Ronan and discovering what they had to add to this universe. And I gotta say, it was great to have a healthy does of female characters. The only new character – and possibly aspect of this book – I wasn’t feeling so much was Byrde, but he feels a little ambiguous right now. Mostly, he just talked too much and didn’t seem to be saying a whole lot.

And old characters! The Lynches. I loved Ronan before, and Declan and Matthew I liked well enough, but – and I feel like I keep saying this – this book just added so much more that I didn’t realize I needed from them. Declan, especially. I have so much I want to say about Declan that would be way too spoilery for a review, but man. The growth and nuance in his character was fantastic. I love Declan. Returning to Ronan was wonderful, especially since his story was so obviously not over at the end of the Raven Cycle. I’m already loving the growth there, and I can’t wait to see where he ends up at the end of this series.  And Matthew- Oh, Matthew.

As for the plot! It was full of intrigue and action and mystery that genuinely unnerved me. There are dreamers, and there are people hunting dreamers, and there are things in dreams that must be hunted. There wasn’t any point in this book that I got bored. It was entertaining, and fun, and funny, and dark. The only thing I’m sad about is that when I finished, I couldn’t move on to book 2.

I loved The Raven Cycle, but honestly, I think this is the story Maggie Stiefvater has really been meant to write. This story is her sweet spot, and it’s my favorite book by her so far.

Book Review: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy, #2)

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden (Winternight Trilogy #2) / ★★★★☆

Summary: Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

“Every time you take one path, you must live with the memory of the other; of a life left unchosen. Decide as seems best, one course or the other, each way will have its bitter with its sweet.” 

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Book Review: The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey


The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey (The Monstrumologist #2)/ ★★★☆☆

Summary: When young Will Henry and his mentor, the Monstrumologist, are called on to save a man from the Canadian wilderness, they must come to terms that perhaps the man that they pull out isn’t the man who went in- if he is still a man at all.

This was his universe, and no doubt, if every particle of light had been sucked from out atmosphere he could have found his way through the utter blackness left behind.

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Book Review: The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang


The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang / ★★★★☆

Summary: Rin defies the odds and passes the Keju, a prestigious test that gets her a spot in Sinegard, the nation’s most prestigious military school in the nation. From there, she continues to work her way to the top and discovers she is capable of things beyond what she thought possible. When a terrible war against a nearby country begins, Rin is pulled into something more deadly than she ever would have expected, and goes to impossible lengths to avenge her people.

I have become something wonderful, she thought. I have become something terrible.

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Review: Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer & Douglas Holgate


Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer and Douglas Holgate (Wires and Nerve, Volume 1) / ★★★★☆

Summary: When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers’ leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity.

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Book Review: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab


This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (Monsters of Verity #1)/ ★★★ 1/2

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters.

It was a cruel trick of the universe, thought August, that he felt human only after doing something monstrous. 

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Book Review: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones


Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones / ★★★★★

Summary: When The Witch of the Waste puts a spell on young, sensible Sophie that turns her into an old woman, she leaves home to pursue a new life. When she boards the moving castle of the infamous wizard, Howl, who loves to make young  women fall in love with them only to break their hearts, things in her life get interesting for the very first time.

“Yes, you are nosy. You’re a dreadfully nosy, horribly bossy, appallingly clean old woman. Control yourself. You’re victimizing us all.”

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Book Review: The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey


The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey (The Monstrumologist #1) / ★★★★★

Summary: Twelve year old Will Henry is the assistant of Dr. Warthrop, a Monstrumologist, or a studier of monsters. It’s the late 19th century and a horrifying discovery is made in their small New England town. Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry must undertake their most deadly case yet- that of the Anthropophagi, who thirst for human flesh and will tear them limb from limb to get it.

If the doctor had known what horrors awaited us not only at the cemetery that night, but in the days to come, would he still have insisted upon my company? Would he still have demanded that a mere child dive so deep into the well of human suffering and sacrifice- a literal sea of blood? And if the answer to that question is yes, then there are more terrifying monstrosities in the world than Anthropophagi. 

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Book Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden


The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (The Winternight Trilogy #1) /★★★★★

Summary: Vasilisa is a creature of winter and nature. When her father brings home a stepmother who forbids her family from honoring household spirits, and a priest arrives who teaches her happy village to fear, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on gifts she has long concealed to protect her family.

You are. And because you are, you can walk where you will, into peace, oblivion, or pits of fire, but you will always choose.

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