Girls of Paper and Fire Review

Girls of Paper and Fire Review

By Natasha Ngan

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books

Print Length: 385

Release Year: 2018

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 3.82

Available on Amazon, B&N, or you local library/ Libby

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.
Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge. (Goodreads)

This review was originally published on my personal blog (crystinaluna.com)

It’s been a while since I’ve read this book, and though my memory of it is beginning to fade I still remember it fondly. It was the first book I had read in a while that I really enjoyed, and was one of the first fantasy books I’ve enjoyed in a few years. I’ve never really been a huge fan of fantasy (until recently), but yet this book had me utterly enthralled in the world. So much so, there were times it overwhelmed me and I was forced to set the book down for a short time. 

There are many great things about the book, but what made it stand out to me (other than the LGBT representation) was the exceptional world-building. I found the caste system in this book particularly interesting, with its heavy ties to species dictating the hierarchy. An allegory for race, that was inclusive and relatable to all readers. The real surprise was how well-developed and easy to understand it was upon first reading. It was easy to catch on the customs of this society without the book becoming lengthy to the point of absurdity. YA has a reputation for underdeveloped world building, the focus often put on the characters and the situation. While this book is very character heavy, it does a very good job of creating a realistic and understandable world. Not so fantastic that it’s unimaginable, but fantastic enough to allow the reader to escape the clutches of reality. The only downside is, especially at the beginning, the story seemed very info-dumpy. After reading the first few chapters I found my brain a little tired from absorbing so much. Regardless, I enjoyed the world.

The true downside of the story, for me, was the characters. They were not bad, in the sense that I enjoyed reading about them, but they were not the best. The protagonist particularly often came off as inconsistent. She constantly went back and forth between being empowering and annoying in her indecisiveness. To be entirely honest, I found her love interest far more interesting, with a backstory more prone to action and with a certain amount of finality in her decisions and fate. Lei, the protagonist, on the other hand, lacked this. And though I understand why the author chose to focus the story on her, I struggled to relate to her constantly going back and forth between deciding to try to live happily and rebel. It is not an easy decision, I understand, but her belief that she had no hope of escaping her reality made her indecisiveness all the more annoying.

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The Darkest Minds Review

The Darkest Minds Review

By Alexandra Bracken

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Print Length: 488

Release Year: 2012

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 4.19

Available on Amazon, B&N, or check your local library/Libby

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living. (Goodreads)

Superpowers. Sounds fun right?

Well, when you have to survive an unknown and extremely deadly disease in order to get these powers only to be segregated from society and essentially kept in concentration camps is far from fun.

Bracken’s The Darkest Minds Series begins with a very X-Men-esque scenario, as described above. After an unknown disease kills off the majority of the State’s children, only a relatively small percentage are left, but there were after effects to this illness. Those who survived would develop one of a five of abilities ranging from telekinesis to powerful telepathy. These abilities are assigned colours, which are later used to segregate its users, separating them into groups based on their potential threat level. Greens (those with enhanced intelligence) are considered the least dangerous, while the most dangerous include the Red (those with pyrokinesis) and the Orange (telepaths). The most dangerous of the group were often killed on the spot. 

The follows an Orange, who against all odds, has survived many years in a “rehabilitation” camp under the guise of a Green. Upon rescue from the camp, she not only realizes just how much the outside world has changed, but she realizes for any true change to occur there are hard decisions ahead of her. 

I enjoyed this book, for the most part, though I often found it to be a slower than usual read for a YA novel. This book also differs quite a bit from other dystopian YA in that it tends to take a bit more of a political standpoint on the subjects it presents, while still pandering to the action-filled expectations of its intended audience. With many parallels to the ever so popular superhero genre, this book does a good job setting itself apart from other superhero-based stories and succeeds in creating characters who are multi-dimensional. The book spends a lot of time on character development, a lot more than you would expect from a YA novel coming at what some may consider the current fall from grace of Dystopian Sci-Fi. 

As I’ve already sort of alluded to I found the book to be a little slow at times with scenes that I did not find entirely necessary (though they did achieve what they were meant to.) My most notable problems with the book are subjective: because when it comes down to it I simply did not find many of the characters likeable. I often found that the protagonist tended to be inconsistent. The inconsistencies are, for the most part, excusable due to the circumstances of the driving plot. Regardless, I often became a little annoyed because the character seemed to have sudden unexplained bursts of a newfound confidence that didn’t quite seem appropriate. 

This book was a pretty good book but to be honest I ultimately enjoy it as much as others. I’m glad I read the first book, but as of right now I don’t intend to read the rest of the series.

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The Beast Player Review

by Nahoko Uehashi, Cathy Hirano (Translator)

Publisher: Pushkin Press

Print Length: 512 pages

Genre: YA Fantasy

Release Year: 2018 (US)

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 4.14

Available at Amazon, B&N, or check you local library/Libby

Elin’s family has an important responsibility: caring for the fearsome water serpents that form the core of their kingdom’s army. So when some of the beasts mysteriously die, Elin’s mother is sentenced to death as punishment. With her last breath she manages to send her daughter to safety.

Alone, far from home, Elin soon discovers that she can talk to both the terrifying water serpents and the majestic flying beasts that guard her queen. This skill gives her great powers, but it also involves her in deadly plots that could cost her life. Can she save herself and prevent her beloved beasts from being used as tools of war? Or is there no way of escaping the terrible battles to come? (Goodreads)

I would like to put in a formal request for Studio Ghibli to make this into a film; because the whole time I was reading it I continuously visualized it animated in that style. Ah— it would be a dream! 

The Beast Player is a beautifully crafted story full of whimsy and wisdom. The story tackles issues such as animals being raised in captivity, favouritism in an educational setting, and the effects of the loss of tradition (both negative and positive). In such a short time we are introduced to such a beautiful world and with realistic characters, and a story that spans a decade. Readers are given a view of the world often clouded by modernity, and are given a chance to view nature and it’s beasts for they are: magnificent. 

For some reading this book may not come easily for a number of reasons (none of which— I believe— should dissuade you). The most evident and unique being the world-building. The Beast Player utilizes soft world-building with expertise comparable to Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. This lends to the whimsy of the book, as much of the world is left to the reader’s imagination, guided by a skilled hand that only shows us the details we must know. Additionally, being a translation of a book originally published in Japanese, The Beast Player often reads a little odd to native English speakers. Of course, this is a result of inherent differences between the two languages, English being much more literal than Japanese. This is easily ignored, as the story is so beautiful and I can only give the highest praise to the translator who took on the challenge of translating such a masterwork. The end result is still a coherent and cohesive story with what I would consider above-average writing. 

I would honestly recommend this book to anyone, even those who have yet to read a translated book. If fact, I would recommend it with much fervor to those in that situation as the book is just that good. 

Please note: There is, in fact, an animated adaptation of this series titled Erin, as well as a manga adaptation.

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Annihilation Review

Annihilation Review

by Jeff VanderMeer

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Print Length: 195 pages

Release Year: 2014

Genre: Science Fiction

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 3.70

Available at Amazon, B&N, or your local library/Libby

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the world for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.

The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything. (Goodreads)

Annihilation is an interesting examination of our world evolving into something new, something rarely seen by modern eyes. This series seeks to answer the question of how the world would look and how it would affect us as industrialized beings; introducing us to key characters as well as the surreal version of our very own world. Strange things occur in the pristine landscape dubbed Area X. We follow the protagonist, the unnamed biologist, as she and her team explore the alien terrain. 

I knew before I even picked up the book that it wasn’t going to be one of those books you simply just breeze through. Even with a pretty good understanding of many of the concepts explored in this book, I found myself still having to pause to contemplate what I had just read. Whether it be for reasons of reflection or comprehension, I feel this book would require occasional breaks for even the most advanced readers. For me, this is the primary negative of this series thus far. 

Nevertheless, VanderMeer creates a vibrant world with characters capable of showcasing its mystery. Oftentimes the book is somewhat poetic in its execution and very thought-provoking as a result. Character development among the voyagers we follow is exceptional, as we watch them become overcome by the power of Area X, and in some instances overcome by nature itself. The objectivity of the author of the world outside her mind is just as interesting as her personal opinions regarding what is going on around her.

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A World of Secrets Review

A World of Secrets Review

by James Maxwell

Publisher 47North

Print Length: 304

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Special thanks to Netgalley and Amazon Publishing UK for providing me with an eARC.

A World of Secrets will be available on Amazon July 16, 2020

Taimin and Selena must discover the truth about their world—before it’s too late.

In a world of secrets, Taimin and Selena are desperate for answers. They need to discover the truth about their origins and the firewall that borders the wasteland. If they don’t find the hidden path they seek, the citizens of Zorn will die.

As they make the perilous journey to the distant firewall, Taimin and Selena are joined by three companions: a young healer, a weapons trader, and an old rover. Together the five are in constant danger, unable to rely on Selena’s powers as she has lost the ability to farcast—and she doesn’t know how to get it back.

Now Taimin finds himself hunted by a new enemy—a strange creature on a bloodthirsty quest of his own. Taimin and Selena get ever closer to the answers that are essential to their survival. But will they learn the truth in time to save themselves? (Goodreads)

An exciting sequel to The Girl from Nowhere, A World of Secrets is a follow-up readers dream of. The story is interesting and well-paced and isn’t hard to understand if you’ve read the first book (which, in the case of this series is 100% required reading). The first book was an enjoyable read, but the second is only an improvement. It’s quick read and almost impossible to put down. With much of the world-development layed out in the first book the second takes the time to develop its characters more. With that said there is still more of this world to discover. And though the story at times comes off as predictable, it’s predictable in the sense that the events make sense to the story and the reveals are exciting “I knew it!” moments. 

There is always room for improvement, of course, in the realm of writing. There are a large number of redundant descriptions as well as unnecessarily ones. Additionally some developments in character relationships seemed sudden and which added to a disconnect between the reader and the characters. Some revelations could have been handled better, but suffice regardless. 

I would recommend this series to any science fiction fan, especially readers who are interested in series that include humans interacting with other species. The first book was good, the second great, and I have high hopes for the conclusion of the series.

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Next Review

Next Review

by Michael Crichton

Publisher: Harper

Print Length: 431 pages

Release Year: 2006

Genre: Science Fiction

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 3.50

Available at Amazon, B&N, or your local library/Libby

Welcome to our genetic world.

Fast, furious, and out of control.

This is not the world of the future — it’s the world right now.

Is a loved one missing some body parts? Are blondes becoming extinct? Is everyone at your dinner table of the same species? Humans and chimpanzees differ in only 400 genes; is that why an adult human being resembles a chimp fetus? And should that worry us? There’s a new genetic cure for drug addiction — is it worse than the disease?

We live in a time of momentous scientific leaps; a time when it’s possible to sell our eggs and sperm online for thousands of dollars; test our spouses for genetic maladies and even frame someone for a genetic crime.

We live in a time when one fifth of all our genes are owned by someone else, and an unsuspecting person and his family can be pursued cross-country because they happen to have certain valuable genes within their chromosomes …

Devilishly clever, Next blends fact and fiction into a breathless tale of a new world where nothing is what it seems, and a set of new possibilities can open at every turn. Next challenges our sense of reality and notions of morality. Balancing the comic and bizarre with the genuinely frightening and disturbing, Next shatters our assumptions, and reveals shocking new choices where we least expect.

The future is closer than you think. Get used to it. (Goodreads)

As the last official book by the late Michael Crichton Next has big shoes to fill; and does so well enough. Next boasts an interesting concept that is still relevant today and is well executed by its well-educated author. Its contents are not only smart but the way information is presented is smart as well. Most expositional information is presented through fake news reports which works well for this story’s concept. Additionally, the story is considerably realistic as well as plausible (though as time has passed some aspects have become less so due to changes in the law). This is definitely a book for fans of science fiction that poses a moral question, as well as those who are fascinated with genetics (considering a fair amount of the science in the book is considerably sound.)

The one aspect of this book that truly brought it down is excessive amount of subplots. Some are large and we follow it throughout the entirety of the book while others are relatively short. When it comes down to it, though some of them reinforce the intent of the story, many fall short and distract from the overarching plot as a whole.  Not only were the subplots excessive but so was the complexity of the scientific concepts presented. For the average reader the story may be hard to understand and may require multiple reads to fully comprehend. This only adds to the fact that the story itself is slow-moving. 

Though I cannot call this a bad book, I found this book ultimately unenjoyable. Having a pre-existing understanding of concepts discussed in said book was definitely advantageous, but did nothing to make the book move any faster than a snail-like pace. This book failed to live up to my expectations as is, at best, mediocre addition to Crichtons bibliography.

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A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Review

A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Review

by Suzanne Collins

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Print Length: 540 pages

Release Year: 2020

Genre: YA Science-Fiction

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 3.87

Available on Amazon, B&N, or check your local library/Libby

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capital, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined — every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes. (Goodreads)

For many The Hunger Games trilogy is a source of nostalgia. I, for one, was required to read it in school and when the films came out it became a field trip for my class to go see them. Like with Twilight, The Hunger Games marked the beginning of an era. Dystopian ruled the world of YA with titles like Divergent and The Maze Runner. None would ever reach the glory of the games. 

Ten years after we watched Katniss fight in the 74th, then 75th titular Hunger Games, Collins decides to teleport us to the 10th hunger games. But rather than have us follow a tribute, we follow none other than a young President Snow. When the news of this book’s release broke and it was announced it would be following Snow, many people were immediately turned off by this. I, on the other hand, was not. The idea of learning about our villain and what made him the man he was in the original trilogy seemed exceptionally interesting. After reading the book, I’m disappointed to report that is not what we get.

What we get in A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a hot mess of non-existent character development, lacklustre “Easter eggs” (if you can even call them that), annoying-to-read names, and so much irrelevance. There was an abundance of irrelevant description and details that I found myself wondering why it was even allowed to remain in the book, and ultimately the whole plot just… seemed for naught. We watch Snow go through all this hardship only to remain this horrible Capitol patriot. There was no nuance to his journey, cause he didn’t change, ever. He just continues to remain the horrible person we saw from the start. 

The romance of the book is probably the one of the worst parts. It didn’t make sense, and ultimately served no purpose. It seems as though it was an attempt to garner the reaction such a romance would have gotten ten years ago, but as a result of the current social climate did nothing but ruin the reading experience. The book would have definitely benefited from removing this subplot in favor of one more politically driven one.

We do get a chance to see the behind-the-scenes of how the Hunger Games become what it was in the original trilogy. This however was simply high school students making suggestions to their teachers and their teachers agreeing it would be a good idea and then implementing it. It’s that easy. We don’t see the issues that follow with implementing many of these ideas. No thought goes to how to organize these ideas, nor how to fund them. The Hunger Games seemed so unimportant that aspects of how it is executed is left to mere students to figure out. For a national event of such supposed importance this felt a bit like a slap in the face, not only to the readers but to the tributes.

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All Stars and Teeth Review

All Stars and Teeth Review

by Adalyn Grace

Publisher: Imprint

Print Length: 373 pages

Release Year: 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

Avg. Goodreads Ratings: 3.75

Availability: Amazon, B&N, check your local library/Libby

Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice.

She will reign.

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer — the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder — and more peril — than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom. (Goodreads)

Are pirates making a comeback? It looks like they might be. 

I went into this book not even entirely knowing what to expect. All I knew is that there was magic, some sort of forbidden magic, and pirates. Both of those things are present but so is so much more. You only really get a glimpse of this world, but it’s enough to spark interest in what is to become a series. 

One of the book’s strongest points is its protagonist. Compared to her, all the characters fall a little short, but she’s the protagonist for a reason. While in many ways she isn’t relatable, her motivations and feelings are. We view the world through her eyes as she discovers the truths, in many ways making her an unreliable narrator but in a good way. As she learns as a person we learn as the audience. (Also, on a totally unrelated tangent, she is the first protagonist I’ve read in a YA fantasy book who menstruates, and at the most inopportune time. An icon!) Additionally, in young adult books we rarely have a story where the characters are morally grey, and even though this story still manages to make a defined villain it’s more grey than what’s often portrayed. This is a refreshing change for the genre and hope to see more of this in the future. 

This book is a good book but with flawed world-building. This can’t be held against it entirely, cause most of it seems intentional. As mentioned above, the protagonist doesn’t know much about her own kingdom, and the book being told from her perspective gives us a more closed view of the world. When her world begins to open up we only get glimpses of it, most likely because she’s evidently overwhelmed with all the things she is coming to realize. With the coming sequel we can only hope that this changes as she adjusts to the changes of around her and life after learning the truth of her kingdom.

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The Book of Dragons Review

The Book of Dragons Review

Edited by Jonathan Strahan

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Print Length: 576 pages

Release Year: 2020

Genre: Fantasy, Anthology

Special thanks to Netgalley and HarperCollins publishers for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Here there be dragons . . .

From China to Europe, Africa to North America, dragons have long captured our imagination in myth and legend. Whether they are rampaging beasts awaiting a brave hero to slay or benevolent sages who have much to teach humanity, dragons are intrinsically connected to stories of creation, adventure, and struggle beloved for generations.

Bringing together nearly thirty stories and poems from some of the greatest science fiction and fantasy writers working today— Garth Nix, Scott Lynch, R.F. Kuang, Ann Leckie & Rachel Swirsky, Daniel Abraham, Peter S. Beagle, Beth Cato, Zen Cho, C. S. E Cooney, Aliette de Bodard, Kate Elliott, Theodora Goss, Ellen Klages, Ken Liu, Patricia A McKillip, K. J. Parker, Kelly Robson, Michael Swanwick, Jo Walton, Elle Katharine White, Jane Yolen, Kelly Barnhill, Brooke Bolander, Sarah Gailey, and J. Y. Yang—and illustrated by award-nominated artist Rovina Cai with black-and-white line drawings specific to each entry throughout, this extraordinary collection vividly breathes fire and life into one of our most captivating and feared magical creatures as never before and is sure to become a treasured keepsake for fans of fantasy, science fiction, and fairy tales. (Goodreads)

Upon hearing about the Book of Dragons I was immediately curious.  A collection of short stories and poems about dragons by a plethora of renowned authors? Count me in!

What we end up getting is a collection of primarily mediocre stories with a few gems thrown in. An overall advantage this book has regardless of its falling short story wise is that the stories are all diverse re-imagining of dragons. Many of the stories include truly unique depictions of dragons that only a writer could imagine. From electric dragons to bee-like dragons and even using dragons more as a metaphor than in the literal sense. The stories aren’t based on the stereotypical western dragon, as we travel through various times around the world and through fictional lands. At the very least, it’s refreshing to read stories less euro-based than what much of fiction has become. 

Even if some of the stories are at their best quite “meh” I still find myself wanting to recommend the books to others and excited to see the final print edition. The illustrations will likely enhance the reading experience of even the most meh of the stories and the gems will only shine brighter. And I’m sure there are stories in the anthology for everyone. I also recommend the book to readers who want to broaden the types of writers they read, as you may discover a new author along the way and will definitely be introduced to a wide variety.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses Review

A Court of Thorns and Roses Review

by Sarah J Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Print Length: 419 pages

Release Year: 2015

Genre: YA Fantasy

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 4.24

Available at Amazon, B&N, or your local library/Libby

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever. (Goodreads)

First of all, the newest editions of the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy are utterly beautiful. The old editions were also beautiful, but I find the more minimalistic approach more eye catching and visually stunning. Kudos to the artist, whose line work is delicate and perfectly detailed. 

A Court of Thorns and Roses is an interesting series. The first book, from which the series gets its name, is particularly interesting and introduces us to Maas’s interpretation of fairies. The story is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast with a sinister twist. The book, for the most part is a relatively faithful retelling, but as the climax approaches things take an absolutely horrifying turn; making this story an intensely entertaining ride. 

The book is not without its flaws. The writing tends to border on cliche at times (like with Feyre, our protagonist, letting go a breath she did not know she was holding oh my!) and the fantastical elements of the book occasionally taking the backseat to the romance. Ultimately, the flaws are not hard to disregard though, as the overall story is quite engrossing and an easy read.

Being the start of a much grander story, A Court of Thorns and Roses does a good job setting up the books to follow. A Court of Thorns and Roses, at this point, might as well be required reading for fans of YA fantasy.

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