Book Review: Alice by Christina Henry

Book Review: Alice by Christina HenryAlice by Christina Henry
Published by Ace on August 4, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Retelling
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
4 Stars
A mind-bending new novel inspired by the twisted and wondrous works of Lewis Carroll...

In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo the screams of the poor souls inside.

In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blond, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn’t remember why she’s in such a terrible place. Just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood…

Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her all those years ago.

Only something else has escaped with her. Something dark. Something powerful.

And to find the truth, she will have to track this beast to the very heart of the Old City, where the rabbit waits for his Alice.

Book Review:

I’ll admit that I’ve never read ALICE IN WONDERLAND, but I know the basic story. And I’m always up for a retelling of a classic, especially a dark, inventive retelling. ALICE is definitely dark and inventive, full of horror with a shot of weird and “WTF did I just read?”

I had to read this book in bits, because at times the world was just so overwhelmingly bleak for women. In the Old City, girls are often commodities, taken or sold, raped or killed. The many mentions of rape and abuse got to me, and I do wish there had been a bit less of women being victimized in the book.

Otherwise… I think the best way to describe ALICE is to say it’s a mindfuck. A mindfuck in the very best way possible, mind you. I was never sure what would happen next, and often felt like I was tumbling down the rabbit hole. ALICE picks up ten years after the tea party (and other events). Alice has spent those ten years in an asylum, because when she came back from the Old City, she was ruined and babbled about the Rabbit. But she couldn’t remember what happened to her, so eventually her parents locked her away. For years, her only contact has been Hatcher, an axe murder in the cell next to hers; they talk through a mouse hole. When the two escape from the asylum, the story really begins, because the fire that sets them free also frees the Jabberwock.

There’s just enough of the familiar (Cheshire, the Rabbit, Caterpillar, etc.) but the author puts her own inventive spin on everything. I think Christina Henry did a fantastic job in establishing the gritty, yet fantastical world and the characters within. Because Alice and Hatcher can’t remember most of their lives before the asylum, they discover important things along with the reader, which I enjoyed. The writing also fits the book perfectly: it’s sparse yet descriptive, and there are some great lines on power and death. I also liked Alice’s growth throughout the book; she grows from a girl who wants the safety of the hospital to a quietly confident woman.

At first I rated ALICE three stars, but as I worked on my review and thought more about the book, I upped my rating to four stars. ALICE is a book that crept into my mind, much like the Jabberwock crept into Hatcher’s, and made me really think about it.

Socialize with the author:

Christina Henry:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Book Review: Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen ChoSorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
Series: Sorcerer Royal #1
Published by Ace on September 1, 2015
Genres: Alternate Universe, Fantasy
Pages: 371
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
2 Stars
Magic and mayhem collide with the British elite in this whimsical and sparkling debut.

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.

But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

Book Review:

From the summary, SORCERER TO THE CROWN sounds like an intriguing book. An England where there’s magic, but that magic is disappearing?

Yup, that was enough to hook me. But what I didn’t realize at first is that SORCERER TO THE CROWN is set in the Regency period, so there’s a lot of fuss about manners and gentlemen and the proper roles for women. That sort of thing. I don’t enjoy the Regency period at all, so that likely contributed to my lackluster feelings for this book. I think the author was trying to poke fun at the time period sometimes, but because I’m not familiar with it, those attempts went over my head and I didn’t find them humorous.

When I read fantasy, I want fantasy. Not a magical story bogged down by polite dialogue and manners and men going on and on about class and gender roles and the superiority of Britain. In particular, I got really tired of hearing how women were too frail and high class women shouldn’t be exposed to the horrors of magic. Maybe I’m sensitive on that, but I’m just sick of that sort of thing. I do know fantasy can be slow paced, but having to decipher what the characters were saying or thinking in SORCERER TO THE CROWN made the pace really slow for me. Plus, there wasn’t much action until I was a quarter of the way through the book.

I almost put SORCERER TO THE CROWN down several times, but I kept reading because I usually have to finish a book I start. In this case, it was somewhat worth it, as the end of the book was much better than the beginning for me. There was a good amount of action and some cool magical stuff. I also liked that Zacharias was a freed slave, with a different perspective than the other (white, upper class, male) sorcerers. One big part of the plot is how the other sorcerers want to replace Zacharias because he’s black, and therefore unsuitable and unqualified to be their leader, even if he was chosen by the staff of office. I liked how the author brought in that aspect, and how Zacharias thought about if it was right or not to take magic from other countries just because they aren’t Britain (which is what he’s expected to do, of course).

The Regency parts of SORCERER TO THE CROWN overshadowed everything else, for me. I have no idea how the magic really works, for example. I love to geek out over new magic systems, but I don’t know much about this one, even though Zacharias teaching Prunella magic is another important bit of the book. I also don’t feel like I really got to know Zacharias or Prunella, or any of the other characters. Foreign witch Mak Genggang was fascinating, and I really wish she’d had more development. Lastly, I was confused over some of the political maneuvering, both governmental and magical, but I suspect that’s due to me having trouble with the writing style and language used.

Overall, I’d recommend SORCERER TO THE CROWN if you like books set in the Regency period and want a bit of fantasy for a change. Otherwise, check out an excerpt if possible, to see if it’s for you.

Socialize with the author:

Zen Cho:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Hunter by Mercedes Lackey

Book Review: Hunter by Mercedes LackeyHunter by Mercedes Lackey
Series: Hunter #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on September 1, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
3 Stars
Centuries ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were slashed open allowing hideous fantastical monsters to wreak havoc; destroying entire cities in their wake. Now, people must live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the evil creatures constantly trying to break in. Only the corps of teen Hunters with lightning reflexes and magical abilities can protect the populace from the daily attacks.

Joyeaux Charmand is a mountain girl from a close knit village who comes to the big city to join the Hunters. Joy thinks she is only there to perform her civic duty and protect the capitol Cits, or civilians, but as cameras follow her every move, she soon learns that the more successful she is in her hunts, the more famous she becomes.

With millions of fans watching her on reality TV, Joy begins to realize that Apex is not all it seems. She is forced to question everything she grew up believing about the legendary Hunters and the very world she lives in. Soon she finds that her fame may be part of a deep conspiracy that threatens to upend the protective structure built to keep dark magic out. The monsters are getting in and it is up to Joy to find out why.

Book Review:

Have you ever read a book that’s just so over the top that it’s entertaining? HUNTER was that book for me. For the first third my eyes were rolling so much I’m surprised they’re still in my head, because Joy is such a special snowflake. But then I put my disbelief aside and enjoyed a good story.

Hunter Joyeaux Charmand is Superwoman. There’s nothing she can’t do. Really. There’s nothing she can’t do. When she’s summoned from a remote mountain to the main city to be a Hunter in the big time, Joy immediately catapults to the top of the ratings. In a world where Othersiders prey on humans, Hunters are the only people who can turn back the vampires, fairies, drakkens, harpies, and every other type of magical/supernatural creature you can think of. In Apex City, Hunters are celebrities, each with their own TV channel so fans can keep track of everything they do.

Joy’s so extraordinary I had a really hard time believing it. She controls the largest pack of Hounds, and they’re special Hounds, of course. She knows more about the Othersiders than most of the City Hunters do. She can fight or talk her way out of any situation. And oh yeah — she doesn’t want any of the fame that comes with her new position. She just wants to help the normal people.

This is something I never say, but there was too much worldbuilding for me in HUNTER. Every single time Joy encountered something in the City, she had to inform the reader how that same thing was back on the Mountain. Even such mundane things as how bathing worked or how clothing was made. There’s such a thing as information overload, and HUNTER suffers from it. I really didn’t need to know so much about the Mountain, and the deluge of info at the beginning slowed down the book. I also think the author was being a bit too preachy on things like waste and religion.

But once I got past all of that, and set aside my disbelief over Superwoman Joy? I enjoyed HUNTER. I could see it being made into a television series, which makes sense, since Hunters are reality stars. There’s some inventive magic, lots of action, and a fun mashing together of all types of supernatural creatures. I’m really curious as to where the series will head next.

Socialize with the author:

Mercedes Lackey:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Clockwork Menagerie by Karen Kincy

Book Review: Clockwork Menagerie by Karen KincyClockwork Menagerie by Karen Kincy
Series: Shadows of Asphodel #2.5
Published by Curiosity Quills Press on September 1, 2015
Genres: Alternate Universe, Dieselpunk, Romance, Steampunk
Pages: 102
Format: eARC
Source: Blog Tour, Publisher
Goodreads
3 Stars
1914. Konstantin would love to hide in his laboratory and dissect the clockwork dragon captured from Russia, but the Archmages of Vienna have other plans. He finds himself shipped off to St. Petersburg as the scientific attaché to an ambassador. His orders? Look, but don't touch. Of course, he considers this an impossible request with so much enemy technomancy to explore.

To make matters worse, Konstantin has to work with the dashing zeppelin commander Himmel, a man who should also be untouchable. They can't act on the smoldering attraction between them without risking it all. Faced with an illegal relationship and a devious rival technomancer, Konstantin might not return from this mission in Russia without conquering the forbidden.

A companion novella to the Shadows of Asphodel series, from Konstantin's point of view.

clockwork menagerie blog tour

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for CLOCKWORK MENAGERIE by Karen Kincy. CLOCKWORK MENAGERIE is a novella set in the Shadows of Asphodel series. The tour is hosted by CBB Book Promotions and you can visit all the stops here. After my review, there’s a tour-wide giveaway.

Book Review:

CLOCKWORK MENAGERIE is a novella set in the dieselpunk world of the Shadows of Asphodel series. While the series mainly follows Ardis and Wendel, this novella focuses on Archmage Konstantin and zeppelin captain Himmel. The two are part of a diplomatic mission to Russia, Austria-Hungary’s enemy. Konstantin is just supposed to observe Russia’s technomancy, but he’s distracted by two things: his attraction to Himmel and the illegal use of souls to power clockwork creations.

You don’t necessarily need to have read the main books in the Shadows of Asphodel series to understand CLOCKWORK MENAGERIE, since the novella has different main characters and takes place mostly in Russia, but I’d recommend checking them out for full understanding of Karen Kincy’s universe. Or use CLOCKWORK MENAGERIE as your introduction to the author’s world. Because Konstantin is an archmage, there’s enough explanation about the magic in this series that it’s not hard to understand what’s going on. Konstantin likes to geek out a lot about the magic, which I enjoyed.

For the most part, I enjoyed CLOCKWORK MENAGERIE. It’s about 100 pages, so a good length for a novella. The story doesn’t leave any loose ends, which is always nice. And it’s a story I liked, because Konstantin and Himmel go up against a devious Russian technomancer. Well, Konstantin does. Himmel wants to follow orders, which are to look but not touch. Konstantin manages to get himself into scrape after scrape, but luckily he has Himmel to rescue him. You know how even super smart people can have no common sense? Yeah, Konstantin’s a great example of that. For example, he remembers to pack magical supplies but no food for himself.

The romance in CLOCKWORK MENAGERIE is the aspect that didn’t work for me. I was intrigued by a relationship between Konstantin and Himmel, because I could see it, but I wanted more development for me to really believe it. I understand their attraction to each other is forbidden — it’s 1914, in Russia — but still. I think if the novella were a bit longer, there would have been more room to expand on their attraction and relationship.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author:

author of shadows of asphodel: karen kincyKaren Kincy (Redmond, Washington) can be found lurking in her writing cave, though sunshine will lure her outside. When not writing, she stays busy gardening, tinkering with aquariums, or running just one more mile. Karen has a BA in Linguistics and Literature from The Evergreen State College.
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Buy links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

– leeanna

Waiting on Wednesday: Cam Girl by Leah Raeder

waiting on wednesday

cam girl by leah raederCam Girl by Leah Raeder
Release Date: November 3, 2015

Vada Bergen is broke, the black sheep of her family, and moving a thousand miles away from home for grad school, but she’s got the two things she loves most: her art and her best friend—and sometimes more—Ellis Carraway. Ellis and Vada have a friendship so consuming it’s hard to tell where one girl ends and the other begins. It’s intense. It’s a little codependent. And nothing can tear them apart.

Until an accident on an icy winter road changes everything.

Vada is left deeply scarred, both emotionally and physically. Her once-promising art career is cut short. And Ellis pulls away, unwilling to talk about that night. Everything Vada loved is gone.

She’s got nothing left to lose.

So when she meets some smooth-talking entrepreneurs who offer to set her up as a cam girl, she can’t say no. All Vada has to do is spend a couple hours each night stripping on webcam, and the “tips” come pouring in.

It’s just a kinky escape from reality until a client gets serious. “Blue” is mysterious, alluring, and more interested in Vada’s life than her body. Online, they chat intimately. Blue helps her heal. And he pays well, but he wants her all to himself. No more cam shows. It’s an easy decision: she’s starting to fall for him. But the steamier it gets, the more she craves the real man behind the keyboard. So Vada pops the question:

Can we meet IRL?

Blue agrees, on one condition. A condition that brings back a ghost from her past. Now Vada must confront the devastating secrets she’s been running from—those of others, and those she’s been keeping from herself…

Okay. SO. Leah Raeder is my favorite New Adult author. Hands down, she’s amazing, and even more so because she writes books about real characters who face real issues, and there’s tons of diversity. Not to check a box, but because that’s who the characters are. For me, Leah’s writing is the perfect combo between super descriptive and creative, and I can’t recommend her enough if you like dark and gritty books.

Socialize with the author:

Leah Raeder:
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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

– leeanna

Book Review: Undertow by Michael Buckley

Book Review: Undertow by Michael BuckleyUndertow by Michael Buckley
Series: Undertow #1
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on May 5, 2015
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 376
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
4 Stars
Sixteen-year-old Lyric Walker’s life is forever changed when she witnesses the arrival of 30,000 Alpha, a five-nation race of ocean-dwelling warriors, on her beach in Coney Island. The world’s initial wonder and awe over the Alpha quickly turns ugly and paranoid and violent, and Lyric’s small town transforms into a military zone with humans on one side and Alpha on the other. When Lyric is recruited to help the crown prince, a boy named Fathom, assimilate, she begins to fall for him. But their love is a dangerous one, and there are forces on both sides working to keep them apart. Only, what if the Alpha are not actually the enemy? What if they are in fact humanity’s only hope of survival? Because the real enemy is coming. And it’s more terrifying than anything the world has ever seen.

Action, suspense, and romance whirlpool dangerously in this cinematic saga, a blend of District 9 and The Outsiders.

Book Review:

Just when you think you’ve read everything in YA, along comes something different. Different doesn’t always work, but UNDERTOW worked for me, and I’m eager to read the rest of the series.

Lyric lives in the middle of a war zone, a Coney Island divided by humans and the Alpha. What are the Alpha? A new race of sea people. Thirty thousand of them are camped on the beach, and now some of the kids are about to integrate a school. It’s the 1960s all over again, but with a new species. And it goes about as well as you might expect.

Lyric is in a unique position to sympathize with the Alpha, but really, she just wants to lay low. Avoid attention. Maybe leave town when her family. But when she’s strong-armed into giving Fathom, the Alpha heir, private lessons, she’s thrust into the middle of a clash of the cultures.

I enjoyed UNDERTOW. The Alpha are wicked cool, and I really want to learn more about them. I also liked that Lyric had migraines, because I can’t recall many characters having headaches. It’s a little thing, but it turns out to be more important than you think, and it’s nice to see a character suffer the same sorts of things you do.

I wasn’t totally sold on the romance between Lyric and Fathom. Lyric acknowledged to herself that she shouldn’t love him, couldn’t love him, but she did anyway. I’m not quite sure where their attraction and feelings for each other came from, and would have liked more development on their relationship for me to believe it. I also had a hard time imagining the final battle scenes, maybe because they felt a bit rushed after so much focus on the tense school integration.

But otherwise, I thought UNDERTOW was a good start to a new series, and I would check out the next book.

Socialize with the author:

Michael Buckley:
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– leeanna

Book Review: A Woman of Note by Carol M. Cram

Book Review: A Woman of Note by Carol M. CramA Woman of Note by Carol M. Cram
Published by Lake Union Publishing on September 8, 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 358
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
2 Stars
Virtuoso pianist Isabette Grüber captivates audiences in the salons and concert halls of early nineteenth-century Vienna. Yet in a profession dominated by men, Isabette longs to compose and play her own music—a secret she keeps from both her lascivious manager and her resentful mother. She meets and loves Amelia Mason, a dazzling American singer with her own secrets, and Josef Hauser, an ambitious young composer. But even they cannot fully comprehend the depths of Isabette’s talent.

Her ambitions come with a price when Isabette embarks on a journey that delicately balances the line between duty and passion. Amid heartbreak and sacrifice, music remains her one constant. With cameos from classical music figures such as Chopin, Schubert, and Berlioz, A Woman of Note is an intricately crafted and fascinating tale about one woman’s struggle to find her soul’s song in a dissonant world.

Book Review:

I really wanted to like A WOMAN OF NOTE. Although I’m not into classical music, I do enjoy historical fiction about women artists of any type. I hoped this book would remind me of THE PASSION OF ARTEMISIA by Susan Vreeland, or COLOR SONG by Victoria Strauss, as Isabette Grüber faces the same struggle: succeeding in a male-dominated world.

Isabette has minor success as a virtuoso pianist. Most of her life has been devoted to practice and playing; after her father’s death and sister’s commitment to an asylum, she’s the only one who can support herself and her mother. Her real dream is to compose and play her own music, but that’s an impossibility in 1820s Vienna. Over the course of the book, Isabette’s relationships with Amelia and Josef steer her life. Amelia is a singer from America, who widens Isabette’s world, showing her there’s more to life than practicing the piano. Josef is an aspiring composer, and when Isabette improves his compositions, she wonders if they could be partners in life and music.

My main complaint with A WOMAN OF NOTE is that, well, it’s very one note. Isabette is the only developed character. Josef is such a dummkopf — my eyes rolled every time he shows because he’s a jerk. Why does he believe he’s so superior? Because he’s a guy? I don’t know, because the author never told me. Josef in particular impacted my enjoyment of the book. Amelia’s quite selfish, often hiding information from Isabette if it suits her desires. Why? Isabette’s mother is understandably downtrodden by a difficult life, but why doesn’t she ever believe her daughter?

I also wish the book was just a little longer, so that we could see Isabette’s presumably happy ending. She’s unhappy and has a raw deal for so much of A WOMAN OF NOTE that it would have been nice to see more of her making her own choices.

Socialize with the author:

Carol M. Cram:
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– leeanna

Book Review: The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

Book Review: The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de BodardThe House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard
Series: Dominion of the Fallen #1
Published by Roc on August 18, 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 402
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Goodreads
2 Stars
Multi-award winning author Aliette de Bodard, brings her story of the War in Heaven to Paris, igniting the City of Light in a fantasy of divine power and deep conspiracy…

In the late Twentieth Century, the streets of Paris are lined with haunted ruins. The Great Magicians’ War left a trail of devastation in its wake. The Grand Magasins have been reduced to piles of debris, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine has turned black with ashes and rubble and the remnants of the spells that tore the city apart. But those that survived still retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital.

Once the most powerful and formidable, House Silverspires now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen angel; an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction; and a resentful young man wielding spells of unknown origin. They may be Silverspires’ salvation—or the architects of its last, irreversible fall. And if Silverspires falls, so may the city itself.

Book Review:

THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS is one of those books I should have loved. Fallen angels, magic, and a Paris destroyed by war? That’s right up my alley.

Unfortunately, the author’s writing style just wasn’t for me. I struggled to get into this book, and I struggled to keep reading it due to the slow pacing and distant characters. I can see why some people are loving THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS, because there are some cool idea here. But I’m a character-driven reader, so I usually need to get behind at least one of the characters and get to know them to enjoy a book. In this book, all the characters were far away, and I felt as though I was just reading their actions, instead of knowing why many acted as they did.

Honestly, THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS just left me feeling confused. There’s a lot of description of House Silverspires and the city itself, which did really give me the sense of a Paris destroyed by normal war and then a magic war between the Fallen. On that aspect, the author did a fantastic job of making me feel like I was beside Philippe or Selene. But at the same time, there was a lot of description, and I just wanted some action to happen! When I finally did finish the book, I wasn’t sure what happened to some of the characters, because some of the really big moments happened in the blink of an eye. THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS is the first in a series, but I’m not sure where the author will go from here — it felt very much like a one book deal to me.

This review doesn’t make a lot of sense, but really, that’s how I felt when reading THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS: very disjointed. I’d recommend checking out an excerpt if you’re interested in the book to get a feel for its style.

Socialize with the author:

Aliette de Bodard:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Book Review: Uprooted by Naomi NovikUprooted by Naomi Novik
Published by Del Rey on May 19, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 438
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
4 Stars
“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.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

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

Book Review:

UPROOTED’S description likens the book to a Grimm fairy tale, and that’s a comparison I’d agree with. The scariest thing in the book isn’t a particular bad guy, but an entire forest: the Wood. It’s malevolent and corruptive, and if you venture inside, you won’t come out the same.

Agnieszka lives on the edge of the Wood. Her valley is protected by the Dragon, a great wizard who demands a girl every ten years to serve in his Tower as payment. Everyone expects that Kasia, beautiful and talented Kasia who’s prepared all her life for this indenture, will be taken. Agnieszka’s devastated about it, because Kasia’s her best friend. But when she herself is chosen, everything Agnieszka knows changes.

UPROOTED has an Eastern European folk tale feel, and since so many fantasies are set in pseudo-Western European countries, I appreciated that. I also liked how different types of magic were presented. Agnieszka’s chosen because she has magical ability, but when the Dragon tries to teach her his spells, they don’t work and tire her. Why? Because her magic is intuitive; she feels her way through spells rather than commands them.

I really liked the Wood in UPROOTED. It’s delightfully creepy, and I liked how the author slowly revealed information about it. The Wood was my favorite part of the book; I especially liked the ultimate reveal about its creation. Agnieszka’s stubbornness also endeared her to me, because I felt her attitude and reactions to events were quite realistic (and probably ones I’d have myself).

UPROOTED did have a couple of downsides for me. At times, I thought the pace was really slow, and my attention would wander while reading. I also wasn’t a fan of the relationship that develops between Agnieszka and the Dragon. Thankfully the romance isn’t in your face, but I just didn’t see why they were attracted to each other. Lastly, I wanted more character development for the Dragon and Kasia. A lot of development was put into the Wood; I wish even a bit of that had been given to the Dragon and Kasia, since they are important characters.

As far as I can tell, UPROOTED is a standalone, and I did like the way it ended. It’s always nice to get a complete story in a book, rather than have to wait 2-3 years or more. But at the same time, I wouldn’t mind a return to this world.

Socialize with the author:

Naomi Novik:
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– leeanna

Waiting on Wednesday: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

waiting on wednesday

six of crows by leigh bardugoSix of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: September 29, 2015

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.

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

I’m sure this isn’t a surprise! I loved Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha series, and I’m really excited to see her write more in the Grisha-verse. I always like fantasy settings that aren’t Western European inspired. And as much as I liked Alina, the Grisha, and the Darkling, I’m eager to see what life is like for normal people in that world. Well, as normal as you can be when you’re an outcast planning a big heist.

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

– leeanna