Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

★★★★★

God. Damn. I love Leigh Bardugo so much.

I went into this book with such impossibly high expectations. I mean, a band of ragtag orphans, thieves, and cutthroats; an impossible heist (even the word ‘heist’ gets me riled); elemental magic and mayhem and unrequited love—it’s literally my book wishlist all wrapped up in one. How could I not love it?

Even the books themselves are freaking gorgeous. They have dyed black and red edges. I cry.

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And with my employee discount, I nabbed a beautiful boxset at B&N for $20. Can’t say no to that!

So to recap: everything I’ve ever wanted in a fantasy book + unending media hype + one of my favorite authors + books as beautiful on the outside as they are potentially on the inside = insanely high expectations.

So the fact that I, though seemingly impossible to please, came out of this book glowing with the perfection of it all, is noteworthy.

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Art by @kevinwada

Bardugo has crafted an awesome, diverse cast of characters that you can’t help but root for. Each character has a defining characteristic, something that makes them memorable instantly. Bardugo splits the story up masterfully between them all, with each chapter told from one of their POVs (except Wylan, for some reason). This is a storytelling technique few authors can pull off, so it could’ve ended badly, but those defining characteristics I mention aren’t abused and they never feel gimmicky, so the characters don’t come across as caricatures. Each of them is wonderfully fleshed out, with vivid pasts and individual problems they need to solve.

Did I mention that Kaz Brekker is the newest addition to my “book boyfriends” list as well as my “favorite characters ever” list? I mean… look at him. I have a type, ladies and gentlemen, and apparently it’s pale, emotionally-stunted pickpockets.

 

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Six of Crows never never got stale, and it never failed to surprise. Every time I thought, “That’s it, they’re done for,” Bardugo pulled out another risky maneuver or cunning plan. When you read enough YA fantasy, plot twists can start to get a lot less twisty; you realize that half of these books have “twists” that are the same across the board. Not so with Bardugo. She just has a way of making everything fresh and exciting, the same way she did with the original Grisha trilogy.

I can’t wait to read the next book in this duology, and I highly, highly recommend Six of Crows to anyone with a book wishlist like mine. You won’t be disappointed.

 

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Review: The Meek by Der-shing Helmer

★★★★★

My favorite webcomic has finally made its way into print (I DID MY WAITING. SEVEN YEARS OF IT–), and what a print it is. I am truly dead. It has beautiful spot gloss, especially this super creative bit on the back cover that I almost didn’t see:

Dreamy sigh. The artwork is so friggin’ beautiful and dynamic, the colors vibrant and knock-out gorgeous, the characters all soooo lovely and well-designed… I could go on.

And did I mention FRENCH FLAPS?!

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(Why do I love French flaps so much? No idea.)

So of course the minute it arrived on my doorstep I had to drop everything and read the whole thing again. Since I donated to the Kickstarter, I received a few extra goodies as well: Three beautiful bookmarks and a gorgeous postcard (that I’ll never send—it’ll be on my wall next to my desk from now on).

The Meek has a big cast of characters and a few storylines going on at once, but it hinges around a young girl named Angora who has been sent by her “Grandfather” on a quest to find “the center.” The only problem is she has no idea what that means, or that she’ll probably end up needing to save the world (dun dun dun!). And if you’re wondering why I said “Grandfather” in quotes, it’s because “Grandfather” is actually a giant lizard with trees growing out of his head. (I love this design so, so much—but please ignore the grainy, badly lit iPhone picture.)

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Oh, and Angora has the ability to control plants. They even live in her hair (which is why it’s green). On this page she wakes up on a previously dead stump, now covered in tiny new trees:

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(She also spends the entirety of the book naked, because why not.)

I love this story so much. ~*~*~(っ˘ω˘ς )~*~*~

I’ll be recommending this graphic novel up and down for the rest of my life. The gorgeous art, the lore, the cool powers (There’s a character with microwave hands. MICROWAVE HANDS.), the politics, the humor—everything just hits the sweet spot for me. (It doesn’t hurt that it reminds me so much of Avatar: The Last Airbender which will forever be one of my favorite shows.)

So yeah, take my word for it and go read this comic. This beautiful print edition includes the first three issues (introducing three of the main characters’ plot lines) but you can also read online for free HERE until volume 2 is published!

Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

★★★★★

hp-cursedThis might be one of those books where five stars is a knee-jerk reaction and it really should be four, but I’m going to go with my heart and give it five because I really, truly loved some parts of it. I’ll be the first to admit that it was undoubtedly cheesy at times, but somehow I honestly didn’t care. I went into it with such low expectations that I think even pure, flaming garbage would’ve impressed me a bit, but this was a lot more interesting and twisty-turny than I hoped! I had no idea what to expect, so the wibbly-wibbly, timey-wimey stuff took me by surprise and honestly got me so riled.

First of all, the bad: Albus sucks. He was a truly unlikeable main character. Scorpius, however, was not. Secondly, some of the dialogue is cheesy. Majorly. Especially the “meaningful” moments between Dumbledore (or his portrait, at least) and Harry, as well as between Delphi and her … ahem … relative.

The good: This book made me like Harry. Yes, I love Harry Potter, but I’ve never actually liked Harry Potter. He’s always been a boring character for me, for the most part, but Cursed Child had me wanting to give him a big ol’ hug. In one especially heartbreaking scene, while Harry blames himself for all that’s happened to Albus and Scorpius, he says to Ginny, “How many people have to die for the Boy Who Lived?” It tore my heart out and made me take back every bad thing I’ve ever thought about him. My poor precious magical forty-year-old bean.

While some parts weren’t convincing, and while I do wish that the playwright had left more to the imagination rather than laying all of the characters’ feelings out in the open — I’m one of those people who likes subtlety, and the writer had very little, unlike Rowling — the book as a whole flowed really well and it was fast-paced and exciting. Overall, way better than I expected, and a lot better than all those liars saying it was a total dumpster fire.

I would loooove to see the live action of this. It definitely brought back some intense waves of nostalgia (I cried, btw, if that’s any indicator), and now has me dying to reread the series in 2017.

Review: The Trickster’s Lover by Samantha MacLeod

★★★★★

Full disclosure: I was a beta reader for this book.

This book took me by surprise in a few ways. I was unfamiliar with Norse mythology for the most part — all I really knew were the names and stuff I’d seen in trailers for the new Marvel movies (which I haven’t seen). So I was pretty much a blank slate. The Trickster’s Lover not only was a great, fun read in and of itself, but it got me so interested in Norse mythology that I bought a book on it!
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Here’s the short description:

Surviving Graduate School ~ Falling in Love ~ Preventing Ragnarök

Graduate student Caroline Capello has always been more comfortable with books than people. She’s just moved to the University of Chicago to become the world’s foremost authority on Norse mythology, making her the only member of her family to leave San Diego, and the family business.

But she’s wondering if she’s just made the biggest mistake of her life.

When Loki, the enigmatic and irresistibly sexy Norse trickster god, appears in her studio apartment, Caroline is forced to question everything she’s learned.

Do the gods exist? Are the legends about Ragnarök, the apocalyptic battle that destroys the gods and ends the Nine Realms, actually true?

Or is she losing her mind?

The Trickster’s Lover was exciting, interesting, and fast-paced, with a great main character, Caroline, who I couldn’t help but root for, and it was great to watch the way she transformed from a quiet, unconfident girl in the beginning into a strong, independent person in the end.

Loki came across as cocky and aloof in the beginning, but his character growth throughout the book definitely made me love him by the end.

The dialogue was fast-paced and at times laugh-out-loud funny, world-building was done perfectly and the mythology aspects were explained briefly and to a degree that I didn’t feel confused or overwhelmed by the information. Also, I didn’t come across any annoying romance cliches (and no love triangle! Woo!). And, of course, there was no shortage of romantic scenes, and they were, well… *fans self*

This isn’t a book I would normally have picked up at the store, but I’m so glad I got the chance to beta read it! I totally loved it.

If you want to read The Trickster’s Lover, you can get it for FREE on Kindle Unlimited or buy it in paperback. You can also check out an exclusive excerpt  on the author’s website, HERE. Give her a friendly WordPress follow while you’re at it!