Basically I’m still book hungover from reading Sweetbitter last week – I’m trying to find the words to review it soon. In the meantime I’m trying to get over feeling I was lost in New York in Sweetbitter by throwing myself into Celtic lore in The Last Days of Magic and maybe imperial Russia in The Crown’s Game. I’m also going between smutty romance in Washington DC in Sustained and even Charlotte Bronte’s Fiery Heart. While I’m trying to do justice to my new obsession here are quick reviews of two new YA series I enjoyed.
Tell the Wind and Fire, Sarah Rees Brennan
Published April 5th 2016 by Clarion Books
Hardcover, 368 pages
Source: e-ARC from NetGalley
In a city divided between opulent luxury in the Light and fierce privations in the Dark, a determined young woman survives by guarding her secrets.
Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own—one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised.
Lucie alone knows of the deadly connection the young men share, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth.
Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy—or herself?
In the interest of full disclosure I haven’t read A Tale of Two Cities – but I was so intrigued by the idea of a Dickensian retelling I had to request this book. Lucie is a child of the two cities – one light magic and one dark. She’s in love with a boy – both light and dark. I’m all for young love but the way this relationship was treated was a bit much for me. I know teen relationships are intense and have real feelings – but really they are teen relationships and I just don’t get it when they’re treated as adults by adults. That being said Lucie and Ethan were sweet – but his dark side is where the promise was!
This felt like a mash-up of urban fantasy and dystopian and I am very curious about whether it will stick more in one genre in the future. I was really impressed with the depth of the emotion I felt in the end of this book. I was nearly in tears as things played out between light and dark. I will definitely continue with this series – I just have to make sure I read some Dickens before this sequel comes out!
The Shadow Queen, C.J. Redwine (Ravenspire #1)
Published February 16th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Hardcover, 387 pages
Source: e-ARC from Edelweiss
Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.
In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.
But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.
Dragons and ogres and witches – Oh my! When you see that cover you know this is going to be a creepy version of Snow White. This evil queen and her apples were deliciously rotten. I would have enjoyed some deeper world building – when did magic become such an issue in Ravenspire? Why are the ogres attacking Eldr? But my curiosity was piqued and I stuck with the book. I really liked Lorelai. She was brave and loyal and definitely kicked some booty. Kol grows up quickly from a party boy to a king and I loved his dragon side! I want more dragon books! Again, the evil queen was just fantastically evil. I think she could have been deeper – but overall this was a great light read. I flew through the Shadow Queen. I hope the next Ravenspire book follows the story to Eldr for this dragon – ogre business to be resolved. Basically all the dragons for me!
Thank you Clarion Books and NetGalley and Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss for these advance copies in exchange for an honest opinion!
I’ve been dragging my feet writing my review of Tell the Wind and Fire, because I just didn’t love it as much as I had hoped. I’m not sure why, I just didn’t feel invested in the characters at all and felt almost nothing over what I knew should have been an emotional ending. Maybe it was the relationship, which as you said was a bit much.
And I can’t wait to hear what you think of The Last Days of Magic! I really want to read this one.
I wanted to love it so much more too! The Last Days of Magic was nothing like I expected. Not my favorite – but I seem to be an outlier? I think I was expecting more of a modern story – so it was really well done, just not what I thought it was going to be