Fantasy

Red Queen

Mare’s red blood sentences her to a desperate life of thievery that would likely end on the battlefield. But when an accident reveals a ability only the silver-blooded elites should possess, the King and Queen plan to marry her to their second son. Forced to pretend she comes from silver blood, Mare secretly helps the revolution Image resulthoping to overthrow the unfair order.

 

Red Queen
By: Victoria Aveyard
My Rating: 4 of 5
Genre: Fantasy

The main characters of Red Queen dominate the book because they are crafted complexly, develop throughout the novel, and act realistically. While the plot lulled in the middle, it starts and ends well with diving plot twists and snapping action. Mare’s struggle between the kingdom’s two princes also drew me in emotionally. Aveyard said she modeled the book’s revolution after the frustration younger generations have with the status quo, and even before reading her quote I saw the parallels between worlds. My only complaint is that the biggest plot twist, while shocking, was unbelievable because there was little indication it could occur.
SPOILERS AHEAD: Read this book because I need to vent about Maven’s betrayal, the plot twist I found unrealistic. I was rooting for them to be together, and I’m still upset. As the second son I did have a premonition he would want to ascend the throne, but I thought it would be with the Scarlet Guard’s help.

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A Thousand Nights

My last few trips to the library have been fairly discouraging, none of my picks holding my interest long enough for me to finish. However, I’ve been two for two on the latest novels I’ve read- A Thousand Nights and The Adoration of Jenna Fox.

A Thousand Nights
By: E. K. Johnston
Rating: 5 out of 5
Genre: Fantasy
After taking the place of her sister as Lo-Melkhiin’s bride, the main character develops powerful magic as she resists a king who killed all three hundred of his previous wives.

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Because  I enjoyed fantasy more when I was younger, I was surprised how much I loved A Thousand Nights for its prose, world-building, and strong female lead. Derived from the premises of the classic  A Thousand and One Nights,  which contains stories like Aladdian or The Forty Thieves, this novel creates a brand new story that feels like legend.

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The White Rose

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After rescuing her friends and escaping certain death, surrogate Violet must decide whom to trust as she flees the city and learns more about Lucien’s rebellion. When a new teacher reveals the true power of the auguries, there may be hope for the lives of the surrogates and a way to end  the slavery and injustice in the Jewel forever in the sequel to Ewing’s The Jewel. 

The White Rose

By: Amy Ewing

My Rating: 2.5 of 5

Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy

The White Rose was a disappointment after the fast-paced plot and delicate world building of The Jewel. The auguries, the mystical power residing in surrogates that enable them to manipulate matter, were allotted a weak and almost laughable explanation. Each character choked out a two page sob story, thrown in during train rides and meal times to evoke sympathy and inspire readers to hate the fictional rules even more (as if murder and slavery wasn’t enough). With realistically balanced emotions and only snippets of backstory, the original version of the cast was relatable, personable, and much more enjoyable to read about. While Violet’s character stayed on course, troublemaker Garnet was drained of personality and teacher Sil molded almost  like a famous elderly Jedi. Ash’s sympathy of Carnelian and frustration with his inescapable reputation did manage to increase his complexity, as a good sequel ought to do with its characters. I still have hope for the trilogy to redeem itself if the story returns to where it best shines-in the Jewel city amongst the glided palaces.

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The Game of Love and Death

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Flora, an African American singer and aspiring pilot, and Henry, a white boy adopted into a privileged home, would have rarely crossed paths in America during the 1930’s. But Love and Death have other plans. Henry and Flora’s lives are unknowingly thrown into a game of devastating obstacles and difficult decisions with the highest stakes imaginable.

The Game of Love and Death
By: Martha Brockenbrough
My Rating: 4.5 of 5
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Read this if you enjoy: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, the 1930s
How did I find this book: The cover really stood out to me

First of all, do you see how I only have one book listed under “Read this if you enjoy”? This book is so  refreshingly original that I can’t think of many books like it.  In my opinion, fantasy should fall into two categories: either set in its own unique world, or set believably into the one we know. The Game of Love and Death seamlessly blends historical accuracy and the elements of fantasy brought by having Death and Love personified. They are powerful entities with their own distinct and very human personalities. Death takes on a more melancholy role than Zusack’s sarcastic version, and Love is a driven optimist who still sees hope in humanity.The premise of the novel drives the plot with suspense, and each chapter contains a new, richly described setting. Flora is strong and self-reliant in the face of loss and racial prejudice.

The book also touches on an existential crisis we all come to at some point in our lives.  At the end of chapter 41, Flora realizes,  “Someday, everyone you love will die. Everything you love will crumble to ruin. This the price of life. This is the price of love. ” But as a Christian, I know that death is not end. All those trust in Jesus for their salvation will be reunited in Heaven one day. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.”

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Fallen Star Series

 

Gemma Lucas lives a lonely life, having only recently experienced emotions, until she partners with a mysterious boy named Alex for a school project. After a dangerous encounter on a field trip, she is drawn into a world of magic, visions, and a startling prophecy about her own future.

Fallen Star Series (The Fallen Star, The Underworld, The Vision, The Promise)
By: Jessica Sorensen
My Rating: 3.5 of 5
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Romance, Fiction!?!? (ibooks catagorized each book of the series into a different genre *sigh*)
Read this if you enjoy: Hush, Hush by Sarah Fitzpatrick, Everneath by Brodi Ashton, or Free/Inexpensive things
How did I find this book: browsing for free ebooks

This past week, I’ve been rereading the Fallen Star series until I can get fresh books from the library. I downloaded or purchased them for under $5 on my iPad about a year and a half ago. Because the best part is the unveiling of the mysteries, I haven’t been quite as hooked as I was the first time around.
Protagonist Gemma is a bit surly,  and the other main characters are okay. Her changing relationships with those around her keep the plot moving.  I think the cast of characters could be expanded after hanging out with the same few people for four whole books. As the series progresses, thankfully the settings become more original and defined. The first book took place in a typical house, a typical school, another typical house, and a grocery store. Sounds exciting for a “Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Romance, Fiction”, right?
Without giving too much away, another downside to the books is the lack of people using their  magical powers  in exciting ways for a fantasy. We’ve become accustom to strong, skilled, independent female leads from bestselling YA, so Gemma falls a little flat at times.  That said, I did appreciate the lack of cursing or any content that could be inappropriate. If it were ever made into a movie, I’m sure it would be rating PG.

Okay, so should I read this?
It’s worth downloading if you don’t have any other books left to read at home.

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