Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

review

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”

Let me just start off by saying I’m usually not a big contemporary reader so when I rate a contemporary 5 stars it’s just through the roof amazing! “The Hate U Give” is probably one of the most hyped books out there and it is 100% worthy of all of it, not only is it just an overall incredible read but it’s also a very important book. It focuses on the Black Lives Matter movement and speaking up for equality and against racism and police brutality.

I wish I could go into more depth on the subject matter of this book but I am not one to talk about important issues such as these that I don’t know anything about personally (not saying I’m completely ignorant I just don’t know enough to go giving you all the information you need). All I can do is try and give “The Hate U Give” a review that will do it at least some justice and convince you all just how much you need to get your hands on a copy.

PLOT

First things first, I cannot believe this is Angie Thomas’s debut novel! Her writing is phenomenal and she writes like a pro, it was easy to follow, entertaining, and very emotional. Trust me when I say that books have to be VERY well written for me to get so immersed in the characters and story that I’ll be crying and I did more than once throughout this book!

As I mentioned above this book focuses mainly on racial inequality, our corrupt justice system, police brutality, and racism and in my opinion it really nails all of these things and sheds light on the truth of the way our society works. While this is some pretty heavy stuff that doesn’t mean “The Hate U Give” is that way the whole time, in fact there is a lot of humor in the otherwise somber plot. I loved how many light-hearted moments were included even though what Starr was going through is very tragic and scary.

The story is very character driven and that being said almost every single character has their own storyline that interconnects with everyone else’s as well. So the plot is very complex and there is never, NEVER a dull moment. You will be hooked from page one and will be 100% invested in these character’s stories.

Remember when I said the writing is very emotional? That’s probably one of the things that stuck out the most with me, just how emotional this story gets in so many different ways. There were times when my heart was absolutely broken, other times when I was over-joyed, and times where I was legitimately terrified for the characters.

This last thing I want to say involving the plot is kind of a side note but I wanted to mention it because it pissed me off so much! The white kids at Starr’s private school decide to hold a protest for Justice for Khalil which is awesome….except the only reason they did anything was to get out of class and they didn’t actually care. How about NOOOOOO? I did really appreciate the fact though that some of the other white characters refused to do it once they found out it was just a gimmick.

characters

If I was going to be honest and tell you what my absolute favorite part of this book was I’d have to say all of the characters! There wasn’t a single character who didn’t have a personality and a story all their own.

Starr is an extremely down-to-Earth and relatable character, I was rooting for her the entire time! Not to mention she’s also sassy, smart, and brave but she also isn’t without her flaws as well. Overall she’s very complex and has earned a spot in my favorite bookish heroines!

I also absolutely adored the family dynamic in “The Hate U Give”, literally loved it to little bits and pieces! It’s definitely a nice change to see a loving, supportive family in YA with children/teens who respect their parents and elders. I mean how many times do we see YA heroes/heroines that blow their parents off? Too many is the answer and it drives me nuts to see kids be so disrespectful.

The secondary characters were amazing as well and it was almost mind-blowing to see so many complex and developed characters all at once!

romance

So this is going to be very brief because while there is romance in the story it definitely does not take over the plot, THANK GOD! While I do love the way Starr’s interracial relationship is handled by themselves and outside parties I just didn’t like it overall, I felt that Starr and Chris just didn’t really have any chemistry. I think that Starr’s friendships and family relationships were handled a lot better with much more depth.

in conclusion

This is usually where I state the things I did like and didn’t like in the book and honestly there just isn’t anything I disliked that strongly, it is a 5 star book after all! I loved the story, the writing, and most of all the characters and I have zero complaints.

RECOMMEND

If I could give every single one of you a copy I would that’s how much I wish everyone would read “The Hate U Give” because as I said not only is it just a plain amazing book it’s also an extremely important one that handles some very serious and all too real issues.

GO READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!! YOU WON’T REGRET IT!!!!!!!!!!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Graphic Novel Series Review *SPOILER FREE*: Amulet #1-7 by Kazu Kibuishi

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****This is only the description for Amulet Volume 1!****

Graphic novel star Kazu Kibuishi creates a world of terrible, man-eating demons, a mechanical rabbit, a giant robot—and two ordinary children on a life-or-death mission.

After the tragic death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids’ mom through a door in the basement. Em and Navin, desperate not to lose her, follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals.

Eventually, they enlist the help of a small mechanical rabbit named Miskit. Together with Miskit, they face the most terrifying monster of all, and Em finally has the chance to save someone she loves.

review

So this is a review of all the volumes that are currently out #1-7, the series is going to have 2 more volumes that will finish it out. I’m not sure on a release date for either of them though.

These are mini reviews that I’m going to keep SPOILER FREE and very short since I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone planning on reading the entire series! I’ll provide an overall review of what I thought of the series as a whole at the end of this post.

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Amulet: The Stonekeeper (#1)

This is a wonderful start to such a magical, enchanting adventure full of mysteries and action both! It pulls you headfirst into the story immediately capturing your attention with the mystery of Em and Navin’s great grandfather’s house and their mother suddenly being kidnapped by a strange creature. They then follow her down into a new, mysterious other world and from there the story really takes off!

Plenty is explained as you read through this with the right amount of information being provided and left out, making you want to read on. My only complaint is this first volume felt a little rushed since it takes a little bit for the the plot to unfold.


Amulet: The Stonekeeper’s Curse (#2)

With the second volume we finally start to see a little more character development in Em and Navin since the first one was more so setting up the plot.

We also see some new characters added into the mix that are fierce and endearing (Leon, anyone?) and of course the plot develops more as well!


Amulet: The Cloud Searchers (#3)

The journey continues with once again some new found companions that I LOVED (*cough* Trellis *cough*) and lots of little mysteries that I NEED answers for.

We also see exponential growth in Em’s character, I really enjoy watching her come into her power as a Stonekeeper.


Amulet: The Last Council (#4)

New Stonekeeper characters that are awesome and badass! More plot twists!


Amulet: Escape From Lucien (#5)

New enemies, locations, friends, and creatures! Woohoo!


Amulet: Prince of the Elves (#6)

We finally get some backstory on some very important characters and that’s really the main focus in this volume.


Amulet: Firelight (#7)

All I need to say about this volume is: THAT CLIFFHANGER DESTROYED ME!

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I absolutely LOVE this graphic novel series and honestly have no complaints about them except I wish they were longer!

This is technically Middle Grade but I still found it enjoyable and I think all ages would enjoy it too since the story is just so engaging. It actually gets a little dark at times too, surprisingly.

The art is absolutely stunning, colorful, and simplistic.

It’s like fantasy mixed with science fiction since there are elves, magic, flying ships, and robots! It makes for a very interesting and imaginative combination.

Overall there’s just plenty of action and the world with it’s mysteries is very intriguing and I highly recommend this series!

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Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Book Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

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The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.

review

I just have to rate this book a full five stars! I don’t usually enjoy historical fiction or romance but the way these ladies wrote it I couldn’t help but love it. It’s hysterical, fun, light-hearted and so very unique and I want you all to go read it ASAP!

PLOT

The story in “My Lady Jane” is essentially a twist and sort of retelling of English history involving the Lady Jane Gray, King Edward VI, and Lord Guildford Dudley who are our POV narrators. So if you love the history of this time period then I’d say you’ll probably have a lot of fun making comparisons between this book’s re-written history and the real history, I know I did!

A large part of deciding whether you’ll love this book or not really depends on what kind of mood you’re in and what your sense of humor is like. DO NOT go into this book expecting something tense and dramatic because it most definitely is not any of those things. “My Lady Jane” is silly, light, and charming and full of hilarious lines and references to Monty Python and The Princess Bride (although on the latter I cannot specify too much as I haven’t seen the entire movie, don’t kill me). So if all of those things sound appealing to you then you’ll  with no doubt love this book if you don’t take it too seriously because the book itself certainly doesn’t.

While I don’t necessarily consider this YA Fantasy since it’s mostly a historical retelling it does contain some elements of fantasy such as magic. Basically we have Edians who have the ability to shape-shift into a certain animal and live among the rest of us normal humans. I very much loved how this magic was incorporated within the “real” history and plot both while also adding to the overall cuteness and fun of the story.

The pacing was great too, I thought there was never a dull moment with “My Lady Jane” and couldn’t put it down. Another great feature was the writing I thought it was just brilliant, fun, and blended everything together nicely making the book a joy to read through.

Overall I think the plot has plenty of cute romance, action, and adventure all seamlessly melded together in very clever ways. It’s not too dramatic or serious and just a very fun, entertaining story.

characters

The characters were all absolutely fantastic and I adored them, they were clever, witty, and interesting. Each of our protagonists developed in their own way throughout the story and had vivid personalities of their own making for some fun and three dimensional characters. I don’t have any issues with the main characters whatsoever and even the villains were fun to hate….because no one can hurt my precious characters! No one!

Jane is a girl after my own heart, honestly probably one of the most relatable characters I’ve had the pleasure of reading about. She’s bookish, a bit silly, and quite spunky.

Edward was one of the more funny protagonists I thought his narration was hilarious. He’s also a big softy and generally I thought he was adorable and precious and needed to be protected at all costs.

Gifford, while a great character in his own right, was my least favorite just because I personally thought his personality didn’t shine as brightly as Jane’s and Edward’s. He was the more boring one for me while reading although I must say I DID love his perspective during certain parts that I shall not specify because spoilers!

romance

This romance was a winner and I will say when I am convinced to love a romance in a YA book then it is usually a five star read for me. It did not necessarily have me swooning but it was a well done, slow-burn, trope-free romance and really that’s all I’m really looking for. Even thought the romance is a big part of the plot it doesn’t ever take over completely and over shadow all of the other things going on, which is always appreciated by me.

Gifford and Jane were very cute and I felt that their romance was realistic because at first they don’t care for each other in the least bit and slowly fall in love. Realistic romance folks! That’s all I want! No tropes here!

in conclusion

I LOVED this book plain and simple and had zero issues with any of the aspects of it. I NEED these authors to write another book together STAT!

What I Liked Loved:

  • The romance was sweet, trope-free, and not the sole focus
  • The protagonists were all wonderful, funny, and developed
  • The plot is clever, unique, and hilarious
  • The magic is interesting and adds a lot to the plot

What I Disliked:

  • Nothing. I rated it 5 stars for a reason!

RECOMMEND

YES! A BILLION TIMES YES! This book is perfection and I highly recommend reading it! Although like I said earlier if you want something more serious and dramatic steer clear but if you want a light, silly book that’s tons of fun then “My Lady Jane” is for you!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

ARC Review: Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicles #1) by Jay Kristoff

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description

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

review

**** Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for sending me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!****

It’s official….Jay Kristoff cannot disappoint me.

This book has everything! Deadly assassins, a badass heroine, plot twists galore, magical shadow creatures, and some fantastic world building! Plus it’s a story all about revenge and who doesn’t love that? Honestly, “Nevernight” is perfection.

PLOT

 Getting into “Nevernight” took me a while and it took me longer still to actually finish it, I felt like I was flung into Kristoff’s world without any information whatsoever and therefore it took some time for me to get a handle on the whos, whats, whens, wheres, and whys. Don’t worry though we do get provided with plenty of information after a bit and after that  it was smooth sailing! So I will say that “Nevernight” takes some patience at first but is ultimately very worth it!

There also seems to have been a lot of debate about what genre this book actually is, some say it’s YA but others say it’s Adult because of the graphic violence and sex scenes. I, however, think it’s a hybrid of both. The main character, Mia, is very much a young adult but the plot has elements that most people would consider adult. So I will say if you’re not comfortable with detailed scenes of sex and violence as well as plenty of profanity then maybe this isn’t for you!

“Nevernight”, to put it simply, is all about revenge. Mia wants revenge against the people who killed her family and becoming a deadly assassin is how she plans on doing it. I love a good revenge tale and this book nails it, you can really get behind Mia’s motives and root her on. I wanted Mia to succeed in her schemes to destroy her enemies so desperately, I really felt her loss and wanted her to get her vengeance.

Another aspect of the plot I really enjoyed was the “school” setting, Jay Kristoff really meant it when he said it’s like Hogwarts but instead of being filled with witches and wizards it’s full of vicious killers. Here they learn how to become more skilled with weaponry, poisons, theft, and even secrets. Mia and her peers are tested constantly with their instructors actually trying to kill them to see who has the necessary skills to make it as an assassin. It is intense!

The plot is also filled with insane twists and turns, I did NOT see that ending coming whatsoever! The entire story is action-packed but that ending went at break neck speed, in my opinion, I was screaming in rage and loved every second of it and I absolutely adored Kristoff’s shock factor there!

I also noticed a lot of people have mentioned in their reviews that they hated the writing style in this book and while it is very different from what most of us normally read, I really enjoyed it. Kristoff’s writing is loaded with metaphors and similes making it very lyrical and fun to read. I didn’t find it too elaborate in the least bit. I also really loved the inclusion of footnotes throughout the story they added so much humor as well as background to the world Kristoff built.

Speaking of the world building…..definitely no disappointment there. The world in which “Nevernight” is set is based a lot on Ancient Rome as well as Venice which is apparent from the titles given to certain characters such as Consul Scaeva and Justicus Remus and the many canals that run through the city, a lot of the character names are Italian as well. There is also quite a bit of information provided on the gods and religions of this world as well as bits of magic and “mythical” beasts. Fantasy at it’s finest.

characters

Mia Corvere is a badass to put it simply and the kind of heroine I wish were in every book I read. She’s flawed, strong, fierce, clever, and absolutely unwavering in her determination to take down the people who destroyed her family. She also has a really cool ability – she’s able to manipulate and even speak with shadows. Mia is also the opposite of all talk and no action, she’s a deadly killer and will do whatever it takes to get her revenge. I loved how we got a heroine who actually kills people and is great at it, unlike the very popular Celaena Sardothien from the Throne of Glass series.

We also see quite a few flashbacks to Mia’s past which slowly reveal what really drives her down this path of vengeance. I loved getting this background and insight into her character.

There’s also Tric, who is a sort of secondary protagonist as well as Mia’s love interest. I really enjoyed his character as well, he comes off as being sort of goofy and humorous but don’t make the mistake of underestimating him because he’s one of the most determined and deadliest people in the bunch.

The romance (if you can even really call it that) is definitely not overwhelming at all and very much secondary to both the plot and Mia. It was definitely enjoyable for what it was though, which is mostly sex with some confused feelings thrown in. Remember when I mentioned those very graphic sex scenes? Yep.

The secondary characters are all fantastic as well, they’re very well developed, complex, and add a lot more depth to the story. From the other students to the instructors to the corrupted men in charge of the Republic, I loved so many of them and loved to hate some others. If there’s anything I love in a fantasy book it’s well done secondary characters and “Nevernight” definitely has them!

in conclusion

“Nevernight” is an amazing book full of action, twists and turns, fantastic world building, great writing, and even greater characters. I definitely was not disappointed and very much look forward to the next book in the series or anything else Jay Kristoff writes for that matter!

RECOMMEND

Do you want to read an amazing book? Then yes I highly recommend “Nevernight”! If you want a deadly assassin as a heroine who actually kills people or a story fueled by revenge and betrayals then this is for you! However, I will once again warn any of you who are not fans of graphic violence, graphic sex scenes, or large amounts of profanity may want to steer clear!

Also if you’re interested in reading something by Jay Kristoff but may not necessarily want to read “Nevernight” or you’ve already read “Nevernight” and are looking for more of this author’s amazing work then definitely check out  “Stormdancer” and “Illuminae” which I will provide links to my reviews for!

Get your copy of “Nevernight” now!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Book Review: Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1) by Jay Kristoff

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A DYING LAND
The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.

AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST
The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

A HIDDEN GIFT
Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

review

“WHEN IT IS DONE, WE WILL FLY FAR FROM HERE. FAR FROM THIS SCAB AND ITS POISONED SKY.
WE WILL DANCE IN THE STORMS, YOU AND I.”

Oh, Jay Kristoff why did it take me so long to discover your brilliant work? Now allow me to sing your praises:

“Stormdancer” is an exceptional book, everything about it was just perfect and I feel like it puts every other fantasy book I’ve read to shame! It has everything:

  • An absolute kick-ass, diverse heroine!
  • An even more kick-ass Thunder Tiger companion!
  • A diverse setting that has such wonderful world-building you’ll forget it’s fictional!
  • Fantastic, in-depth, detailed, and original mythology!
  • A touch of steampunk!
  • A fast-paced, action-packed plot full of murder, betrayals, and revenge!
  • Also…chainsaw katanas! How can you say no to chainsaw katanas?

Yeah that’s a lot of exclamation points because I’m excited about all of those things, now let me tell you about the awesomeness that is “Stormdancer”.

PLOT

First off I’d like to mention that it takes a bit of time to fully immerse yourself into this story but trust me when I say it’s worth your time to stick it out! “Stormdancer” starts off a little slow with very descriptive writing, a lot of (confusing) Japanese terminology, and quite a bit of info-dumping. Most of the time the info-dumping would irk me a little bit but the information being given was actually interesting, I wanted to know more and therefore I didn’t mind in the least bit. Fortunately this book does come with a glossary as well so you don’t have to flounder your way through all of the terms (like me), I can honestly say the same words are used over again so once you get the hang of them you won’t need the glossary at all!

So while the beginning takes some patience to get through ( you have to give yourself a feel for the world after all) the pace really starts to pick up once Yukiko encounters the arashitora (about a quarter of the way through) and from there on in it does not slow down at all, I was completely engrossed from that point on.

Remember all of those awesome points I mentioned earlier? Murder, betrayals, revenge? You get all of that and just so much more, Jay Kristoff really knows how to do plot twists! Talk about shock value, I swear my jaw dropped more than once while reading! I was so invested in this story that I was a little raging ball of emotions the entire time, I laughed, I cried, I yelled profanity…but honestly not too many books make me cry and I cried multiple times reading “Stormdancer”. There’s so many things going on and they all mesh together perfectly to make an intense and wonderful story.

One of my favorite parts about “Stormdancer”, though, was the friendship between Yukiko and Buruu (our lovely thunder tiger). It was touching, heartwarming and they also made the most kick-ass team ever, period. I’m a sucker for a good human-to-animal companionship.

I also really loved the fact that Yukiko and Buruu’s friendship was basically the focus for the book, a friendship NOT a romance took center stage. There is a bit of romance but it took a backseat to the other relationships that are depicted, such as Yukiko’s bond with her father and his friends that are essentially Yukiko’s family as well. Gosh, these relationships seriously just made me melt!

Not to mention Kristoff’s writing is insanely wonderful it’s so descriptive and vivid, it painted the picture of Shima and its landscape perfectly. It truly takes great writing like this to make a world so immersive.

characters

Yukiko is probably the single most badass heroine I’ve ever come across. She’s strong, brave, fierce, and determined; I admired her a lot. She’s the kind of character I wish all heroines were like and I find it very rare to find such a wonderful one as Yukiko.

Let’s be honest though, everyone’s favorite character is Buruu (including me). I mean come on he’s a thunder tiger who is both ferocious and snarky and so much more, he’s perfect. His dialogue was my one of my favorite parts about this book!

“ENOUGH NOISE. STAND ASIDE. I WILL GUT HIM.
We can’t kill him like this.
AH. YOU WISH TO LET HIM STARVE, THEN. SLOW DEATH. FITTING.
No, I think we should bring him with us.
TO EAT?”

Aside from that there is a significant string of great secondary characters as well that had the perfect amounts of depth and development. It’s very crucial to me that minor characters are done well in fantasy books and Kristoff really pulled it off. I know it’s a damn good book when I can feel heartbreak for minor characters as well as a burning, fiery hatred for others(Shogun Yoritomo).

Alas both Yukiko and Buruu are the most perfect characters I have come across in a good long while.

in conclusion

“Stormdancer” is fucking flawless and has absolutely everything I love in a book. I absolutely cannot wait to continue on with this series as well as anything and everything Jay Kristoff writes in the future.

RECOMMEND

HIGHLY! If you love strong-willed heroines, kick-ass mythological beast companions, great fantasy worlds, and action-packed plots this is the book for you. Also did I mention there are chainsaw katanas? Yeah, you should probably go buy a copy now.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Book Review: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

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She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world…

When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

review

At first I had my doubts about this book, I’m usually not a fan of YA romances, but with all of the glowing reviews it was receiving I had to check it out. Plus look at that gorgeous cover! I’m so glad I took a chance on “The Forbidden Wish” because everything about it was utter perfection I don’t have a single complaint about this book. It’s not your typical YA romance or retelling, it really breaks the mold and it’s quite simply…magical.

PLOT

The story this book tells is wonderful it’s filled with magic, jinn, and one heck of a romance. The romance is pretty heavy in this book but it isn’t the sole focus, there’s actually a plot outside of the romance which is why I ended up liking the romance in the end. Because it wasn’t the only thing going on in the book. So while this book is very much a romance, for you un-romantics (like me) please don’t let that deter you because this book has so much more to offer!

There’s a solid amount of world-building and mythology, we get information on the different types of jinn as well as their home world and why humans don’t get along well with them. I really appreciated the attention to such details because Khoury could have just thrown a jinni into the book and not have any sort of back story or mythology to go along with it. While “The Forbidden Wish” is very much a romance I really liked that it maintained YA fantasy elements as well,  I’m a stickler for world building in fantasy settings and this one didn’t disappoint.

Another thing I really enjoyed was the way Zahra narrates the story, she addresses “Habiba” throughout the tale and slowly reveals who she was and what she meant to Zahra as the plot unfolds. Of course as we learn about “Habiba” we also learn about Zahra’s past as well, this added so much more to the plot and I loved how it blended the past and present together and it really made for a more interesting reading experience.

The writing in “The Forbidden Wish” is really one of the most stunning things about it. I know I talk a lot about pretty writing but Khoury’s is exceptional! There’s so much detail in her descriptions that you could picture everything vividly and you could practically feel the magic in her words. I could honestly reread this book over and over again just for the writing.

characters

I’ve got two words to describe the characters in “The Forbidden Wish”: Girl Power. Sure there’s Aladdin and few other male characters but they really pale in comparison to the women in this book.

Zahra is an all-powerful, badass, feisty, and clever jinni. However, at the same time she’s imperfect and lonely and all she wants is to be free to do as she pleases with her life. Romance isn’t the first and foremost thought in her head, she desires freedom. I actually really liked how selfish Zahra was because as I said she was an imperfect character, Zahra wants her freedom no matter the cost and she loves the people she cares about fiercely no matter the cost. I loved the depth to her character, Zahra is a fantastic heroine.

Then we have Princess Caspida and her Watchmaidens, remember how I said Zahra was badass? Well these girls are even more badass. Honestly I wish the book would have spent some more time on these ladies because they were a little more interesting than Zahra and Aladdin. Caspida wants what is best for her people and actually does something about it, she fights and does everything in her power to undermine her uncle’s (he’s our Jafar) hold on the city. They’re the embodiment of Girl Power, seriously.

I’m a little undecided about my feelings on Aladdin, I think I like Disney Aladdin a little more but he’s not a terrible character. He just didn’t feel as developed as the women, or maybe in all of the kickass, awesome light of Zahra, Caspida, and the Watchmaidens he just couldn’t compete. Honestly, he’s more of a secondary character because the women in “The Forbidden Wish” take more of the central role. Although I will say he was reckless in the adorable way that Disney Aladdin was.

There are also some secondary characters that have a sliver of development but are mostly devices used to set certain plot points into motion. We have Caspida’s father, the Sultan, as well as her uncle, the vizier, (our Jafar, if you will) and his son who is betrothed to Caspida (our Iago). I think you’ll have more fun making comparisons between these characters and the Disney ones than you will reading about them, however they are important to the story. We also have some jinni that make a few appearances such as Nardukha, King of the Jinn, and his son, the prince. All make quite formidable villains as well, even if they aren’t quite as developed as our main characters.

romance

This book is all about that romance and I was won over by it and trust me when I tell you that’s no easy feat. It takes quite a lot impress me with a YA romance since they’re usually so riddled with tropes such as insta-love and love triangles. Neither of these are present in this book and it’s such a breath of fresh air. No insta-love.

Aladdin and Zahra’s romance is “forbidden” because he is human and she is jinn, which results in a very slow burn romance because Zahra knows she can’t be with him or they’ll both end up paying the price. She tries to keep her distance in order to spare Aladdin but she slowly falls for him and honestly I shipped them so much by the end of the book. I really enjoyed their romance.

Although at a point during the story Aladdin tries to win over Caspida to further his own agenda and I kind of would have liked to see a romance between these two. She is after all our badass “Princess Jasmine”, I don’t know it’s just something I personally would have liked to happen. Don’t get me wrong I loved Aladdin with Zahra but it would have been interesting to have it play out the other way as well.

in conclusion

Overall I LOVED this book and honestly found nothing wrong with it at all. It has excellent world-building, characters, and even I was won over by the romance. My only problem with it is that it’s a stand alone! I would love to read more of Zahra and Aladdin’s adventures! “The Forbidden Wish” is definitely one of my new favorites.

RECOMMEND

I highly recommend reading this book especially if you love retellings and even if you don’t like books heavy on the romance I think you should give it a try anyways, I mean after all I loved it and I am not a romance reader.

Honestly I just recommend this for everyone, if I could buy you all copies so you’d read it I would!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

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description

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

review

This book is the perfect amount of weird and definitely 100% unique. Laini Taylor is a master of taking elements of real mythology and twisting it into something new and original. In this case the angels vs. demons type mythology and let me tell you: she nails it. After reading this along with her other book “Lips Touch: Three Times” I can safely say she’s one of my new favorite authors and I will buy/read anything this woman writes.

PLOT

Where do I even begin? It’s simply amazing. The story has no problem keeping your attention by feeding you bits of information at a time that leave you craving more. It isn’t exactly a fast paced book though, in fact the pacing slowed down a bit in the middle. However, the promise of answers to certain plot points will definitely push you onward. There also a lot of big reveals and twists throughout the story that I didn’t find to be very predictable, sure there are some things you may see coming but many that you also won’t.

I’ve seen many other reviewers complain about “info-dumping” in this book but I personally didn’t feel that way about it. The world that Laini Taylor created is so unique and fascinating all I wanted was more information. So even if there were loads of info being thrown at me I didn’t mind it in the least bit.

Have I mentioned the world building yet? Yes? Well I’m going to do it again because it’s just so good. The mythology and world that Laini has crafted for us is just absolutely amazing, nothing lacks for detail. She takes the classic concept of “angels vs. demons” and makes it into something completely new and original. If you think you’ve”read it all before” you are so, so wrong my friend. “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” is a whole different breed. This is definitely a story you can completely immerse yourself in.

The absolute best part about this book though is Laini Taylor’s writing, it is complete and utter perfection. I could gush all day. It’s beautiful, elegant, and very lyrical. Honestly I’d read her grocery list. She also doesn’t dumb anything down or spoon feed information to help us figure out what’s going on and that’s what really helped with the unpredictability of the story. Extremely refreshing for YA.

One last note on the plot: I’m usually not a fan of paranormal stories especially paranormal romances but this one blends so well with fantasy that it truly makes for an exceptional story that I couldn’t resist loving it!

characters

Seeing as how Laini Taylor brought the world of “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” to life, it’s really no surprise she succeeded in the same way with the characters. Every character is fleshed out including the secondary characters. If there’s one thing I appreciate in books it’s well developed secondary characters.

Karou is exactly the kind of heroine I love in my books: the strong, independent girl. She’s not some super badass and she’s not a damsel either, I like how she’s a sort of in-between type it makes her so much more realistic and relateable. Karou may not be able to kick everyone’s ass with any Special Snowflake gifts but she definitely won’t be running to have someone else save her!

Akiva wasn’t as developed as the others in my opinion, I didn’t really feel for his character. and his narrative was not as strong as Karou’s.  Don’t get me wrong he isn’t a bad character by any means but I’m hoping he’ll be a little more interesting in the rest of the series, maybe become more of the heartthrob everyone seems to think he is….

romance

I wasn’t a super big fan of it but it wasn’t awful either which is always a plus and you do have a couple of the usual YA tropes: insta-love and forbidden love. However, I feel that saying it’s insta-love isn’t very fair since it is explained/justified later. No spoilers though! The forbidden love is done so well in this story that I don’t even want to call it a cliche, I wanted them to be together so badly and I was actually rooting for them! That’s how you do it!

It really is a decent romance and I am very picky with my YA romances, but there are a few “romantic scenes” that did drag on. There’s a lot of description which is fine since Laini’s writing is amazing but it did get a little tedious and a bit too…fluffy for me.

I blame any dislikes I have for the romance on the fact that I wasn’t a huge fan of Akiva though.

in conclusion

“Daughter of Smoke and Bone” is a truly wonderful, unique book. The mythology and world are very colorful and the writing is gorgeous. I couldn’t ask for a better combination! I absolutely cannot wait to continue on with this series.

RECOMMEND

Yes, yes, yes I do recommend it very highly. If you’re a fan of original mythology, great world-building, lyrical writing, and stories that are a bit odd but ultimately fascinating then this is for you!

 Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy