ARC REVIEW: THE WICKED KING by Holly Black

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I’ve been played. 

How could Holly Black do this to my weak mortal heart? How can she live with herself after this? I feel like my heart has been ripped out my chest and will only be returned at the end of the series. So basically my life depends on The Queen of Nothing. That’s great. 

THE PLOT: 

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto.”

Jude now has control of Cardan but it’s slowly slipping away. She needs to make sure that the throne is ready for Oak when he is of age, but to do that she must take power from where she can and must figure out who has betrayed her before it’s too late. 

THE CHARACTERS: 

Wow. If you thought they were complex in the first book, then you should be happy to find out that they become even more so in this one. Everyone is unpredictable. Everyone has a secret. Everyone needs power and they are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. 

I loved Jude even more in this book just because there was a bit more of vulnerability and maturity. She is so determined to get what she wants and will let nothing stand in her way, let it be the whole of Faerie. She is not your typical protagonist and is doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty. She is stubborn and brave and cunning and makes you feel for her. 

“The three of you have one solution to every problem. Murder. No key fits every lock.” Cardan gives us all a stern look, holding up a long-fingered hand with my stolen ruby ring still on one finger. “Someone tries to betray the High King, murder. Someone gives you a harsh look, murder. Someone disrespects you, murder. Someone ruins your laundry, murder.”

Cardan obviously remains my favorite. He is just everything i need from the “villain “ of the story. I honestly feel things for him that I haven’t felt for anyone in real life so far. He is just so vulnerable and needs to be told that he is loved and needed. My heart broke at multiple points in this book and won’t recover until he gets the happy ending he deserves. 

Our eyes meet, and something dangerous sparks.
He hates you, I remind myself.
“Kiss me again,” he says, drunk and foolish. “Kiss me until I am sick of it.”

Also the sexual tension between Cardan and Jude, had me squealing the whole time. I just wanted them to confess their feelings for each other once and for all. I needed them to. I usually can’t handle romance in a fantasy because i find it too cheesy. This was nothing like that. They were both aware that it was a toxic relationship. They hated one another as much as they desired  each other.

I think that this is Holly Black’s best book yet and I can’t wait for you guys to read it and go through the same torture that I am facing right now. (Yes, the book is rubbing off on me). There really are no words to describe my love for this book and how good it is. It makes you think that you’ve got the plot all figured out and you’re a genius. Well guess what? You didn’t guess it, not even close. Holly Black is the only one here with a storytelling IQ of 200. This book is a masterpiece and that is the only way to describe it. Go ahead and pre order it. It’s going to be the best book of 2019.

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REVIEW: The Poppy War by R.F Kaung

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“Great danger is always associated with great power. The difference between the great and the mediocre is that the great are willing to take the risk.”

I really don’t know why, but i kept putting off reading this one for sometime. I saw the gushing reviews and recommendations, but i just didn’t pick this one up. Then finally, i decided: why not? I am so glad that i did that, because i needed this book in my life. Everyone does. i cannot elaborate on how much i loved it. I felt like i had finished a workout after reading this, the adrenaline rush was real. I loved all the characters and was so emotionally involved in this, that if they died(spoiler alert!), i died.

SYNOPSIS :

A powerful epic fantasy novel with roots in the 20th-century history of China.

Opium runs through the heart of the Nikara Empire, a constant reminder of the war with the Federation of Mugen that brought it to the empire’s shores. A war that only ended thanks to three heroes – the Vipress, the Dragon Emperor and the Gatekeeper – known as the Trifecta. They were legendary figures, each bestowed with god-like powers, who united the warlords of the Empire against the Federation.

Decades have passed. The Trifecta is shattered; the Dragon Emperor is dead, the Gatekeeper is missing, and the Vipress alone sits on the throne at Sinegard. Peace reigns, yet the poppy remains.

War orphan Fang Runin grew up with it. Her adopted family smuggles it throughout the Rooster province, making a living on the misfortune of those addicted to its smoke. But when Rin’s parents force her into an arranged marriage, Rin refuses to accept her fate and fights her way to the prestigious military academy at Sinegard.

There she will learn of drug-fuelled shamanic powers thought to be myth, powers which might defeat the Federation during its third invasion. But the cost of some power is too great to pay, even if it means winning a war that threatens to destroy an entire nation.

This book is about war. The horrors of it , the effect it can have on people decades later, centuries even. It is a book about how people are used and treated like animals when they cannot be understood. When we cross the boundaries of humanity, into a place where man has disregard for the life of another, for the lives of thousands.

“War doesn’t determine who’s right. War determines who remains.” 

The book starts off light, with Rin determined to get into Sinegard and away from her foster family who are trying to marry her off. She works hard for it and that is something i respect about this book. There is actual struggle to study and earn her place.  However, being a dark skinned, poor girl at Sinegard is not easy. She has to constantly prove herself and make sure that she doesn’t lose her place. She is bullied and treated unjustly, but that doesn’t make her back down. She earned her place here and she wasn’t going to lose it.

“Children ceased to be children when you put a sword in their hands. When you taught them to fight a war, then you armed them and put them on the front lines, they were not children anymore. They were soldiers.”

The book depicts the actual war that took place in China in the 1930 and the author does not skip the details. The pain suffered, physically and emotionally. The anger, the hate and the loss of hope. This book is not an easy read.

I loved Rin, her bravery, her determination and also her vulnerability-which she turned to strength. She was such a strong character and she did not let other people define her or put her down. She did not let the prospect of having to work hard stop her. She grew, she learned and her character development was amazing throughout the book.

i felt so many things while reading this: anger, pain, sorrow, happiness. This book makes you feel things. It makes you go through the pain as well as the happiness. It should be read.

If you didn’t already get this from the review- i loved it. I couldn’t stop until i was done. It is definitely a one of my favorite books of all time and i can’t wait for the sequel.

 

The best YA books of 2018 ( so far)

So, 2018 is nearly coming to an end and we have had some pretty good YA books. Lots of diversity and important themes that have been explored. So here’s some of my favorite book releases of the year in no particular order:

THE CRUEL PRINCE by Holly Black

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What a ride this book was! So many different plot twists, betrayals and secrets. Definitely one of my favorite books to date. The sequel, The Wicked King, set to come out in January is one of my most anticipated reads of 2019. Check out the sneak peak here 

Recommended for fans of: Six of Crows series by Leigh Bardugo

THE POPPY WAR by R.F. Kaung

 

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This was so good! i mean, i was in a slump and this totally got me through it. There was action, magic and anything you could ever want for a good fantasy book.

Recommended for fans of: The Young Elites series by Marie Lu

THE REAPER AT THE GATES by Sabaa Tahir

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After reading the first two books in the series, this was one of my most anticipated releases of the year..and boy, did it deliver! It was such a perfect addition to the series and just has me dying to know what is going to happen in the next book.

Recommended for fans of: Anyone who loves a good fantasy will love this

BRIGHT WE BURN by Kiersten White

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What an ending to one of my favorite series ever! Kiersten White truly did the series justice and gave us the perfect ending. If you haven’t read this series already, please start now.

Recommended for fans of: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER by Emily X.R.Pan

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A beautiful book about dealing with loss of a loved one lost through suicide. This book really makes you feel the grief of the protagonist who was trying to understand why her mother killed herself. It makes you understand that some answers can’t really be found and that you aren’t responsible for someone choosing to take their own life. That was their decision.

Recommended for fans of: Contemporary books that make you feel something such as  Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S King

SMOKE IN THE SUN by Renee Ahdieh

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This was a good end to the Flame in the Mist duology. Though i preferred the first one, i enjoyed this one as well.

Recommended for fans of: Fantasy with romance and a kick-ass heroine as well.

Review: The Bear and the Nightingale

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What a beautiful book! After I was finished, i felt so… dreamy. I want to live in a world where I can live with a frost demon and ride a stallion. Also this book just increased my obsession with horses and my undying love for them . It was so atmospheric and honestly like reading one of those fairy tales.
THE PLOT:
Vasilisa is a young girl, the last child of her dead mother, who also happened to inherit a gift for being able to see creatures not otherwise visible to man. This sets her apart from a young age and she is labeled a witch for being different from other girls. She refuses to be treated like an object or as though she had no worth beyond being a wife and a mother. She is wild, independent and brave. She is an outcast. However, after a new priest begins to cause fear among the people, dangerous creatures begin to awaken that cause death and wreak havoc, and only Vasilisa can save them.

THE CHARACTERS:
The characters are written really well and each have more to them than you first assume and there is a story behind each of their choices and how they all came to be who the person they are. A villain isn’t just born a villain, they aren’t evil from the moment they were born. There is a reason for their actions, their parents, their upbringing, their personal experiences.They are each distinct and memorable.

THE WRITING:
My favorite part of the book . It was so beautiful and perfect and i just wanted to have this story read to me as while i sat, wrapped in a blanket, in front of the fire, while it snowed outside. It was perfect for this type of story and complemented it perfectly. It was lyrical and it was so…romantic.

OVERALL:
I loved it and thought that it was just perfect. I am definitely going to read the sequel

Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers

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This book in my opinion is Courtney Summers best book yet. I don’t think any of her other books left me in such a state after the ending as this one did. I honestly have no words to express my emotions. All i want to do is place a cover of protection over all children to save them from the terrible thing that happened to Sadie, her sister and a lot of other little girls who had no way to protect themselves. I also want to kill every person who has ever tried to sexually abuse, assault or rape anyone. I know my religion doesn’t condone violence, but i am just so angry. 

The story is about Sadie whose sister has been murdered and her journey to not just gain vengeance for her sister, but for anyone else who has been harmed the same way. 

The story alternates between the podcast The Girls which is the journey that is narrated by Wes McCray, who tries to find the truth about what happened to Sadie after getting a call from her grandmother and Sadie’s POV. It gives the reader more information about the people that Sadie left behind and how they dealt with her disappearance and gives more insight into her relationship with her sister, her mother and others 

The relationship between Sadie and Mattie ( her sister) broke my heart. As a girl with an older sister, it made me want to pull Sadie close and envelope her in a big hug. Her love for her sister had no limits and it wasn’t always appreciated, but it gave her a purpose and also someone who loved her back, something that her relationship with her mother lacked. In my opinion it was the most important part of the book. I could go on about for pages but I won’t. 

The characters were all complex and so… human. That stood out. How aspects of them are so alike to you and I. Even Claire, Sadie’s mother who I disliked at first, I grew more sympathetic towards when i heard her point of view. 

The writing was amazing and the idea of including the podcast as well is a great idea. It was engaging and I really cannot think of anyone better than Courtney Summers to write this story. 

Please don’t make the mistake of leaving this book on your ever growing pile of tbr books. Pick it up. Read it and try and prevent such things from happening. Especially women, as we are the most likely victims.