Happy Wednesday my wonderful bookish peoples! I could have sworn I had a Want Now Wednesday pre-written and scheduled for today, but alas, I was wrong. But it works out well because a cover reveal dropped today for a book I most certainly WANT NOW!
Ninth House Author: Leigh Bardugo Release Date: October 1, 2019 Publisher: Flatiron Books Synopsis:Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?
Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.
THIS IS NOT A DRILL PEOPLE! Queen Bardugo is dropping a dark academia adult novel and I AM HERE FOR IT! I worship at the alter of Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom, so I am beyond stoked about this first foray into the adult realm from Bardugo. I don’t think I’ve read any “dark academia” books, but the concept makes my brain feel some sort of good.
Unsolved murders, mysterious benefactors, secret societies, and sinister occult activities? SIGN ME THE F*CK UP! AND it’s a series! So, we get more than one book of dark adulty goodness from Queen Bardugo. I can’t wait to read this while drinking bitter black coffee, flicking my imaginary clove cigarette (cause I don’t smoke anymore, but damned if I don’t still hold imaginary smokes sometimes), and tugging at the neck of my fashionably over sized chunky knit sweater.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo comes out on October 1, 2019. Pre-order links can be found at the publisher’s website.
Raise your hand if you feel personally victimized by February 2019?
I don’t know what it was, but this little month of February left me feeling empty and forlorn. Which is odd for me because I love the winter months. But March is bringing me the Emerald City Comic Con, so I am shedding my February frowns and prepping for an awesome vacation.
February Wrap Up!
Books Read: 7
Enchantée by Gita Trelease – Rating: 4 Stars. Beautifully written debut novel by Gita Trelease. Set in revolutionary Paris, the story follows Camille Durbonne as she uses her magic to save her and her sister from their drunkard brother. Though slow at times, I was consistently enchanted by the prose and setting. Read my full review here.
Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (audio reread) – Rating: 4 Stars. When I originally read this book in March of 2018 I gave it 4 stars for reasons that can be read here. While I leave the story at 4 stars, I have to mention that the audiobook gets 5 stars from me. Once I can find myself a proper list of all involved with the amazing audiobook versions of The Illuminae Files I will be writing a very lengthy THANK YOU blog post. Seriously, best audiobooks I’ve every listened to.
The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson (audio reread with my Sanderson Sisters) – Rating: 5 Stars. Y’all, this book is hard, but so damn good. I am working on a backlist review of the original Trilogy Mistborn books, so keep your eyes out for that. If you’ve never read Brandon Sanderson, I highly suggest starting with the Mistborn books.
Last of Her Name by Jessica Khoury – Rating: 3 Stars. This was a fun, Anastasia inspired space adventure. You can read my full review here.
Heartless by Marissa Meyer – Rating: 4 Stars. I’m still mulling over my full feelings on this one and there shall be a review soon. In general, the writing was superb and the story was interesting.
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell (audio reread) – Rating: 4 Stars. Ah, I do love this book. It is one of the few time travel novels that I love. I missed my grumpy Harte Darrigan. I did this reread so I could finally start the sequel, The Devil’s Thief, and I am so glad I did. I 100% forgot many important twists. I recommend this book if you are interested in early 1900s New York, snarky magicians, and plot twisty betrayals.
The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye – Rating: 5 Stars. This rating may go down when I write my full review, but holy heck did I love this book. WHY AREN’T THERE MORE PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT THIS BOOK??? Like, damn. I really hope I find the time to read the second book in March.
Books Acquired: 7 (14 if you count the different edition books I bought…)
AURORA RISING eARC by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (I’m still freaking out that I got this)
Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik
Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey (ARC from a Goodreads giveaway!)
The Binding by Bridget Collins
Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond
The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye (technically I already owned this on my Kindle but I wanted a hard copy. I’m not counting it towards my aquisition number…because that’s how I roll)
Vengeance Road by Erin Bownman
The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
Seven new editions to add to my LOTR/Hobbit collection
I am irrationally disappointed with myself for not reading more this month. I’m not sure what I expected from a short month where I’m working 9-10 hour days, but my dumb brain thought I should have done better. I’m currently 3 books behind on my Goodreads challenge and I want to get back on track. Which is why I have a decently ambitious March TBR…
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The Fever King by Victoria Lee
To Best the Boys by Mary Weber
Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy
Never Contented Things by Sarah Porter
Skyward by Brandon Sanderson (buddy read with my Sanderson Sisters)
A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab (audio reread)
I’ll be in Seattle for Emerald City Comic Con from the 13th-18th, so my only planned book for that time is Never Contented Things because it’s on my Kindle. If I somehow manage to finish it during all the con chaos, I’ll start one of the 80+ unread books I have on my Kindle. But I am truly hoping to get the first 4 books on this list done before I leave on my trip. Oh, and on top of all this reading, I will be working 10 hour days and trying to complete my rewatch of Game of Thrones before the final season premieres in April.
I have been told that it is Friday and honestly I’m not sure I believe it. For reasons unknown to me, I have been totally off with my days all week. I was convinced that yesterday was Friday and Monday was Wednesday and I’m just confused at this point. I suspect the nargles are behind.
But since it is Friday, we get FRIDAY FAVORITES! This week’s topic was the one I had so many issues with my wording on. But you know those books that have been on your TBR for aaaaaaaaaaaaages and you know you’ll love them but you just don’t find yourself reading them? I call them my favorite TBR books.
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer I KNOW! The fact that I haven’t yet read this series is shocking to numerous of my bookish friends. For the longest time I refused to pick the book up because the cover just seemed a little cheesy to me (I am insufferable cover snob sometimes and it is stupid of me). But during my time on bookstagram I have been told that I am daft and I need to pick up this fun, easy read. I wont lie, I keep hearing about this Thorne character and I am quite intrigued.
The Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima I have owned the first book in this series since at least September 22, 2012 (Thanks Facebook Memories). DAMN NEAR 7 YEARS and I haven’t so much as opened the book. This is not a widely known series but the few that I know who have read it, RAVE about it. Because I am who I am…I’ve bought the rest of the books in the series. And…the books for the 2nd series in this world. AND I STILL HAVEN’T READ THEM. I have problems, y’all. But I have been told I’ll love the series *fingers crossed*
Rivers of London Series by Ben Aaronovitch I cannot even begin to describe how much I want to read these books. But have I? NOPE. Which makes zero sense because the blurb on the front of this book says “What would happen if Harry Potter grew up and joined the Fuzz”. Like…YES, PLEASE! I have a deep appreciation for cop procedural TV series (my most recent favorite is The Rookie with Nathan Fillion!), so I know this book will be well loved by me considering it has magic too. I’m sure once I start this series I’ll be singing my usual tune of “OMG WHY DIDN’T I START THIS SOONER?!?”
Keiko Series by Mike Brooks Everything about this series screams “READ ME NOW, KIBBY! DO THE THING!” Readers, I have not done the thing. It has smugglers, a ship captain with the name Ichabod Drift, secret pasts, con artists, and Old Earth. What’s not to love about all that?? This is another series that I bought all the books to before even reading one word. I have a tendency to do this because I lack SELF CONTROL and probably a huge emotional void that I try to fill with pretty books I can post on bookstagram. At the end of the day, this series sounds like it could easily crash land its way straight to my heart…if only I’d actually read it.
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater Apparently, the trees speak Latin. I want to know how this is possible. Hell, I want to know what this book is about. Because it sounds all whimsical and dark and fun. I’ve never read a book by Stiefvater and I am quite looking forward to it. Many people on bookstagram have yelled at me to read this series and I’m thinking this might be the year. Granted…I said that last year.
So what books have you had on your TBR for ages that you know you’ll love?
Friday Favorites posts from around the bookish community:
Magic for Liars Author: Sarah Gailey Release Date: June 4, 2019 Publisher: Tor Synopsis: Ivy Gamble has never wanted to be magic. She is perfectly happy with her life—she has an almost-sustainable career as a private investigator, and an empty apartment, and a slight drinking problem. It’s a great life and she doesn’t wish she was like her estranged sister, the magically gifted professor Tabitha. But when Ivy is hired to investigate the gruesome murder of a faculty member at Tabitha’s private academy, the stalwart detective starts to lose herself in the case, the life she could have had, and the answer to the mystery that seems just out of her reach.
So, to be honest, this is really a “Waiting on my own damn self to read this book Wednesday”, but that doesn’t work very well for a succinct blog post title. I was lucky enough to win an ARC of this book from Goodreads (I’m still happy dancing over it!). I am desperately hoping to get a chance to read this one either March or April. But enough about me, let’s talk about this phenomenal sounding book.
Private investigator with a slight drinking problem and an aversion to magic? Hello, is it me you’re looking for? Private magical academy with a murder problem? You’re all I’ve ever wanted. The stalwart detective losing herself in the case and the life she could have had? My arms are open wide. MYSTERY THAT SEEMS JUST OUT OF REACH? I want to tell you so much, I love you. (And now I’m going to have Hello by Lionel Richie stuck in my head all day…)
This book sounds so right up my alley I don’t even know what to do. What I do know though, is that you should probably get this book pre-ordered like I have. Pre-order links are here at the publisher’s website.
Side note: huge, massive, unending thanks to the publisher and Goodreads for hosting the giveaway in which I won this ARC.
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is Favorite Book Couples! Okay, so…I kinda did this last week for my Friday Favorites post. BUT that post was short because I was having a meltdown over trying to figure out stupid InLinkz. So, here is a more comprehensive list of all the folks who make me swoon HARD!
FYI: This is a list of couples. Which means there are spoilers for who ends up with who. I don’t go into any deep spoilers of the books but I obviously name the couplings. The books discussed are: Godsgrave, North and South, The Wicked King, Mistborn Era 2, Mistborn (the original trilogy), The Last Magician, Red Rising Saga, Song of the Lioness quartet, The Immortals quartet, and The Infernal Devices.
Margaret and Mr. Thornton (North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell) – Okay, yes, a lot of this is based off the fact that I swooned HARD over Richard Armitage as Mr. Thornton in the BBC miniseries. But I still love these two!
Jude and Carden (The Wicked King by Holly Black) – HEAR ME OUT! Yes, Jude and Carden are toxic AF and I certainly don’t want a relationship like theirs…but it is SO FUN TO READ! It’s the whole watching a car accident thing, you know you shouldn’t be looking but you can’t tear your eyes away from the carnage. Give me that dramarama on the page, but not in reality.
Mia and Ashlinn (Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff) – Y’all, I did not see this relationship coming but damned if I didn’t love it the second it happened.
Wax and Steris (Mistborn Era 2 by Brandon Sanderson) – I have the worst memory so I can’t go into much of why I love these two I just know that when I think of them I get a sad little ache in my heart.
Vin and Elend (Mistborn Original Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson) – I DARE YOU TO FIND ME A MORE PERFECT COUPLE!
Esta and Harte (The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell) – Another that I can’t talk much about because the details are lost to time and crappy memory. But I do know there was antagonism and snark and that’s just how I like my bookish couples to start.
Sevro and Victra (Red Rising by Pierce Brown) – I love love love these two and if Brown harms either of them in the upcoming Red Rising saga books I WILL RIOT!
Alanna and George (Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce) – these two are so damn cute and if I remember correctly there is much snark shared betwixt these two.
Daine and Numair (The Immortals quartet by Tamora Pierce) – Sooooooooooo…this one is maybe a teensy bit problematic with the age difference but WHATEVER! I think it was handled pretty well and I just don’t care because NUMAIR IS BAE!
Will, Tessa, and Jem (The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare) – These three give me ALL THE FEELS! This series makes me ugly sob every time I read it. Every. Single. Time.
I may be a bitter spinster but I do love to read about love! Who are some of your favorite literary couples?
This ARC was sent to me by the publisher at my request. The decision to review the book was my own. All thoughts and opinions in the following review are my own.
Enchantée Author: Gita Trelease Release Date: February 5, 2019 Publisher: Flatiron/Macmillan Rating: 4 stars Synopsis:Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians…
When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.
But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she’s playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…
Enchantée is an alluring debut novel from Gita Trelease that weaves its spell around the reader and transports them to the richly imagined magical Paris of 1792. From the small, run down family apartment on the poverty-stricken rue Charlot to the dangerously decadent parties and treacherous gambling tables at Versailles, we follow Camille Durbonne as she struggles to shed the weight of her misfortunes and create a better life for her sister and herself…at any cost.
Camille works la magie ordinaire to turn simple metal pieces into coins to support herself, her sister, and her drunkard brother. When her situation deteriorates, as tends to happen when you have a wasteral brother, Camille decides to work the darker magic of glamoire to transform herself into the Baroness de la Fontaine, thus gaining access to the gambling parties at Versailles. The more time Camille spends with the nobles at Versailles the harder it becomes to keep her two lives separate.
Some have said this book is predictable, and I will agree that at times it is. But this book reads so beautifully that it did not matter to me. I felt like I was walking through this novel with rose tinted glasses, everything was so deliciously described and exquisitely laid out that I didn’t notice any cracks in my path as I went along. One thing I’ve come to realize now that I’m done with the book is that there wasn’t a lot of character development in the side characters. Though I liked all the sides, they all lacked depth. Even the villain was pretty easy to spot and lacked the depth to make him truly villainous. But again, rose tinted glasses kept this from being bothersome to me.
I will say that the short chapters were the perfect fix for the pacing in this one. If the chapters had been 20 – 30 pages long like some books, I feel this novel would have felt like a slog. When I stepped back from the book after finishing it I realized that there was not much action in this book. But the quick chapter turnover gave the sense of urgency that kept me intrigued. There is also the slow build of revolution in the background of this story that pops in every now and then. And while I think it was well researched (I can’t say for sure how accurate the historical points were. I was stealthily reading paranormal romance books during my history classes in high school), the revolution honestly felt anticlimactic.
I think what surprised me most about Enchantée was the underlying current of addiction that ran throughout the story. Camille constantly has a running internal monologue about how much the glamoire takes from her and how she will stop once she has enough money. But as is usually the case with addiction, there is always another excuse to use again. (FYI: I have personal experience with addictions in various forms. I am not making this generalization lightly or without a base of knowledge.) Though there wasn’t a lesson learned about addiction and the resolution to the addiction in this novel was far too easy, it was still interesting to read Camille’s descent into the addiction of magic. I do wish that addiction could have been explored a little more in the story, but at the same time this is not the book to tackle the stark depths of addiction.
Enchantée is, at its core, a story about how hope and love can survive even through the darkest points in our lives. People make mistakes and hide truths and find themselves slowly draining away their souls to addictions, but there is still hope and love to be found.
I personally find Enchantée to be a strong debut novel from a promising author. Trelease weaves her words in such a way that one feels they are surrounded by the world they are reading. I thoroughly look forward to reading more from her in the future.
Well, bookish peoples,
we have completed the first month of 2019. WHAT IN THE ACTUAL HECK? HOW IS TIME
DOING THIS? *cough* Okay, I’m good now.
I’ve always been bad at keeping track of my book reading and buying, so I’ve never been one for monthly wrap ups, hauls, and TBRs. But this year I am trying to be more mindful of my consumption of books. So, welcome to my first attempt at a wrap up/haul/TBR on this little blog of mine.
(Audio Reread) Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | 4.5 stars for the story, 5 stars for the audiobook performance (review for book is here, I’m actually working on a separate review of the audiobooks because holy hell are they good!)
In Progress – Enchantée by Gita Trelease | I am enjoying this book so damn much. Good chance this will be a 4.5 or 5 star read for me. As I said to Sabreena over at Books and Prosecco: The writing is so decadent, and it literally makes me want to drink champagne while I read.
In Progress – (Audio Reread) Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Since this is a reread I can still hold true to my 4 star rating of the book. I am confident in saying that I’ll be giving the audiobook performance a 5 star for this one as well.
In Progress – (Audio Reread) The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson. I’m doing this as a buddy read with my Sanderson Sisters. Two of them haven’t read this one before and one has. Really, I can consider myself as having not read it either because with the exception of a few random moments (and one BIG MOMENT from the end), I don’t remember much at all.
So, I’ve read six books and am in the process of finishing 3 more. Darn, I was hoping to read more than I acquired this month. Oh well, at least it’s not a huge gap in numbers. I wonder how I’ll do next month since it is a short one…
My original plan for February was to read only books with tragic love stories. But then ARCs happened and I have a few that I need to get read and review ASAP. So, I have some heart breakers and some ARCs (which may also be heartbreakers *crosses fingers*)…and some books to finish from last month…
The Armored Saint Author: Myke Cole Release Date: February 20, 2018 Publisher: Tor.com Rating: 4.5 stars Synopsis: In a world where any act of magic could open a portal to hell, the Order insures that no wizard will live to summon devils, and will kill as many innocent people as they must to prevent that greater horror. After witnessing a horrendous slaughter, the village girl Heloise opposes the Order, and risks bringing their wrath down on herself, her family, and her village.
How does such a big story come in such a small book? The Armored Saint clocks in at just over 200 pages, but Myke Cole proves that you don’t need an epic length novel to pack a serious emotional punch and some stellar world building.
The Armored Saint is what I consider to be my first real foray into the grimdark realm. I didn’t much know what to expect. I certainly didn’t think I’d be crying over a mouse or gasping quite so loudly when a certain plot twist occured or having a sudden distaste for the word “knitting”. This little book dragged me through hell and I kinda liked it all the more for that. To steal a quote from the great Captain Hammer, “Not my usual, but nice.” (side note: if you do not know what Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog is go look it up NOW!)
Heloise is the heroine we need in books these days. She is isn’t perfect, but she, like so many of us, is trying to find their place in this crazy, messed up world. The world Heloise lives in is brutal in every sense of the word, but she has hope, even through all she suffers. She finds her strength to fight in the most badass yet tragic way. I’ve read books twice the length of The Armored Saint that didn’t have half as much character development for the main character.
Some may argue that the world building and characterization of the secondary cast was lacking. But I feel there was not a word wasted in this book. I called the world building stellar at the beginning of this review because in it’s simplicity, it is damn near perfect. Sure, I don’t know what the currency is in this world, but I can tell you that you certainly do not want to be a wizard and that the religion is super twisted. My imagination was able to weave quite the mind movie with the material it was given and that’s what matters to me.
My final thoughts are that this book is certainly not for the faint of heart, but I definitely recommend it to YA readers that are looking to maybe branch into something a little darker. I’ll definitely need a couple of fluffy books where there aren’t any horrific deaths before I start the second book in this series, Queen of Crows.
Hello, hello and welcome to another Friday Favorites! This week’s topic is Teacher/Mentor Characters. This is one of those topics that I know I’m going to realize like five other characters I want to add to the list after I post this. I love teacher/mentor characters but I also have a garbage memory, so the fact I could think of six is a darn miracle.
REMEMBER: If you have a Friday Favorites post of your own, drop the link in the comments so I can add it to the post list I’ll be making at the bottom of this post!
Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter
Professor McGonagall is the teacher I wish I’d had at some point in my academic career. She is snarky AF, fierce AF, and 100% would have kicked my ass into line. It doesn’t hurt that she was portrayed in the movies by Maggie Smith who is one of my favorite actresses (can I also mention how amazing she is as the Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey?). If Rowling had killed McGonagall, I would have rioted. As much as I dislike all the additions to the HP universe, I wouldn’t be against a McGonagall origin story.
Mercurio and Chronicler Aelius from Nevernight
Mercurio is that grumpy, verging on cruel, mentor character that I love. For some reasons I love tough love in a book (but not real life…I’ll start crying if someone barely raises their voice to me. I’m the worst.) and Mercurio definitely deals some tough love to Mia. Chronicler Aelius is actually the character that inspired this prompt for me. I don’t know what it is about librarian characters that just always stand out to me. The Chronicler always seems to have a wise word and a good smoke for Mia.
Jeremy Danvers from Bitten
As an Alpha werewolf in Bitten, Jeremy Danvers is both mentor and teacher to many characters in the book. I will be 100% honest with you and admit that I originally thought of Jeremy for this list purely because I have such a book crush on him. But I confirmed with my resident Kelley Armstrong fan over on #bookstagram that Jeremy definitely fits the bill for this topic.
Kelsier from Mistborn
*sigh* Oh, Kelsier. He was just a man, but oh what a man he was. He is not only the lead of the crew tasked with killing a god, but he teaches our main girl, Vin, how to be a kick ass Mistborn. Kel could give Kaz Brekker a run for his money with plots behind plots. While Kel is a fantastic leader of men, he really shines as the teacher to Vin. He teaches her so much, not just about her Mistborn powers, but how to trust and become comfortable in herself.
Numair and the Badger God from The Immortals Quartet
I feel the need to admit that this is kind of a hot for teacher entry for Numair. He was one of my first book boyfriends. All powerful mage with a mysterious past and a bit of a reputation for being a ladies man? Yeah, sign me the heck up. And I couldn’t not include the Badger God, because he is a grumpy god and a badger. Basically a grumpy Hufflepuff, like me.
Rupert Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Okay, yeah, sure…Giles is technically from a TV series, but there are books based on the show and that’s the loophole I’m jumping into so I can feature one of my favorite characters of all time. Giles deals with a lot of shit from the Scoobies and reacts with anything from genuine, caring wisdom to scathing snark. He’s got a dark, mysterious past and a great signing voice. And I’m starting to realize I’m just focusing on all the things that make me have a crush on him instead of how awesome he is a as a mentor and teacher to Buffy and the Scoobies. I’m pretty sure that if Giles hadn’t been around, Sunnydale would have fallen to one of the many apocalypses.
And for good measure, here are some extra Giles gifs because I couldn’t choose my favorite:
So, there is my list of favorites for the week! Do you have any beloved teacher/mentor characters?
Friday Favorites posts from the Bookish Community:
Shadow of the Fox Author: Julie Kagawa Release Date: October 2, 2018 Publisher: Harlequin Teen Rating: 4.25 stars Synopsis: One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos. Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn. Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll. There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart. With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.
Shadow of the Fox is one of those books that I could never
quite pin down my feelings on. From the time I started it to right now as I
write this review, my rating has fluctuated from 3 stars, to 5 stars, to
finally landing on 4.25 stars. I went into this book with fairly high
expectations because I have been a fan of Julie Kagawa since I devoured her
Iron Fey and Blood of Eden series many years ago. I am happy to say that my
exceptions were met.
I think the issue most people will have with Shadow of the
Fox is the pacing. And so did I…until I had an epiphany. This book reads like
an anime series. I think it was at the scene with the bear and the cave that
something just clicked in my head and screamed “This is like an anime!!” From
there, I loved the journey we were being taken on. I’m not even a huge anime
fan (with the exception of Cowboy Bebop and Shokugeki No Soma), so it wasn’t
the fact that it’s like an anime that made me like it. My epiphany just made me
understand the pacing more. I think if people who aren’t familiar with anime go
into this book with the knowledge that it isn’t paced like your average YA
fantasy novel, they will enjoy it more.
Yumeko, who I consider the main character, is sixteen-year-old
half human and half kitsune who has been raised by the monks at the Silent
Winds Temple. After her home is destroyed, she sets out on the journey the head
monk of the Silent Winds Temple gave her before he died: take the temple’s portion
of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers to safety. On her journey she meets Kage
Tatsumi, demon slayer of the Shadow Clan, and strikes a precarious bargain for
him to travel with her as protection. Both are keeping secrets from the other
and any slip of truth could destroy the tenuous alliance they have. Both Yumeko
and Tatsumi have POV chapters and my BIGGEST issue with this book is the lack
of indication that a POV has changed from chapter to chapter. Because the book
is written in the first person it can take a minute to figure out whose POV we
are reading at the beginning of each chapter. I got more used to it by the
book’s end, but in the beginning, it really bothered me. I read this book with
a book club and the POV switches were a problem for a lot of people in the
group. Beyond Yumeko and Tatsumi, we are introduced to a host of secondary
characters that bring mystery, danger, and whimsy to this story. My favorite of
the secondary characters is definitely Okame and if any harm befalls this
lovable ronin I WILL RIOT!
The thing that initially kicked my rating up to 5 stars for
a while was the ending. It was SO GOOD! A certain part of it was predictable
but the way it played out was not. There was action and betrayal and the
promise for more story. AND THAT EPILOGUE OMG! I’m not sure how I’m expected to
live while I wait for the next book, Soul of the Sword. All I can say, is I
definitely have a pre-order already in.
At the end of the day, I settled into a 4.25 star rating because
the POV issue and weird pacing. Even though I came to appreciate the pacing
after a time, it still was rough in the beginning and can be a real make or
break situation for a lot of people (there were a few people in my book club
who DNFed this book because of pacing). I think this book would be good for
fantasy lovers who are looking for a story that is structured a little
differently from the typical YA fantasy.