Book Review: Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

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Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

review

I have to say with all of the other raving reviews, I was expecting to really love this one. I mean it SOUNDS like a book I would walk away from with a 4 or 5 star rating but it just fell short for me. It was an enjoyable read but didn’t blow me away. This is kind of a “meh” book for me, I just don’t have a lot to say about it.


(I’m going to do this review a bit differently, I recently ran a poll on my Twitter asking if you guys prefer my normal method of reviewing or if you’d like a list. It was close but the list style ended up winning so I want to give it a try! Please, please let me know what you think and if you’d like more reviews in this style!)


What I Loved:

  • This is a standalone and not part of a trilogy or series, which is a nice change since this is YA Fantasy.
  • The premise is very unique and creative, I can honestly say I’ve never read anything else like it!
  • No tropes! There aren’t any of your typical YA tropes present throughout this book which was very refreshing. No insta-love, no love triangles, and no special snowflake main characters!
  • The romance never overtook the plot and it was slow burn, I really loved the two characters together as well.
  • Diverse characters! There are POC, characters with disabilities including the main character, and LGTB characters. I also THINK that Luca, the love interest, might be aromantic or asexual. It’s never fully addressed but he doesn’t like showing physical affection throughout the story. (If you’ve read anything about this, let me know if I need to be corrected!)
  • Foody’s writing was excellent and one of the big reasons I kept on reading, I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of her work!
  • I liked the magic bits, Sorina’s powers were really neat as were the powers of the other jynx-workers. (would have loved more development though)
  • Circus/Carnival setting, because who doesn’t love that?
  • Sorina was a good main character, I like that she had her faults but overall would do whatever it takes to protect her family. Foody also avoided tropes with Sorina’s character and that was fantastic.

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Definitely not enough world building, I felt very lost especially when all of the politics were brought in. It’s hard to care about politics when I have no clue about the countries/kingdoms/people involved. I know it’s a standalone but if you’re going to make politics a big part of your plot you need to build up your world more.
  • The pacing was pretty slow and the plot overall was a slow burn, and I honestly almost DNF’d this so many times because of how slow it was.
  • I felt the plot itself was really lacking as well, I just didn’t care about it. I mean you have an entire city that’s one giant carnival and all we explore or some murders and that’s it? Really? We couldn’t have expanded the plot into any other aspect of the giant carnival full of secrets and magic?
  • Speaking of the “murder mystery plot”: it was predictable. There were a few aspects that I didn’t see coming right away but overall I wasn’t shocked or surprised very much.
  • The characters were all sort of “meh”, they were all pretty one dimensional and once again I didn’t care much about any of them. They were unique though, I will give them that!
  • One of my BIGGEST issues with this book was that Sorina, the main character, has NO EYES but yet she’s still described throughout the book as “narrowing her eyes”, or “eyeing” someone, or even crying! How?! How the heck can she narrow her eyes and cry if she has no eyes?! I wish there would have been more thought put into this aspect of the story, if the character has no eyes then please spend some more time explaining why and how and be mindful of the expressions you’re using to describe the character.
  • Overall I felt everything from the plot, to the plot twists, characters, and world building could have used WAAAY more development.

 I can definitely see how others enjoyed this book a lot more than I did, but ultimately I’m left feeling slightly disappointed. Everything needed a lot more development for me and the pacing to be faster. It was an interesting concept with interesting characters though, credit for creativity.

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Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository / Barnes & Noble

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The Sassy

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ARC Review: The Tiger’s Daughter (Their Bright Ascendency #1) by K. Arsenault Rivera

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Even gods can be slain….

The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach―but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.

This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

review

 

**** Huge thank you to Tor for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!****

This book was very unique and I feel like my mind is still processing the sheer amount of world building in it as well! It’s also a diverse read featuring two Asian women and a F/F romance which was amazing!

PLOT

First things first, this is a slower paced book and not the action-packed, fast-paced adventure I thought it was going to be. This is more of a character-driven story which was fine because they did an excellent job with it. However, once I got about half way through it slowed down significantly and while I was still interested I wasn’t AS interested anymore. This is pretty much the only reason I’m giving it 4 stars instead of a full five.

Another reason I can’t give a full five is that when I started reading I was drowning in information and incredibly confused. Major info dumping and it took me a ridiculous amount of time to figure out how the names worked because each main race, Hokkran and Qorin, has a different style of naming and therefore each character was named differently according to who was addressing them. It added a lot to the world building but like I said it took a while to get used to and figure it out.

The world building was absolutely kick-ass, this was my favorite part of the book to be honest. It was all very unique and interesting, I was craving more answers concerning the mythology and world building especially after finishing the book. There’s just so much content and it’s all fascinating and pretty immersive. I need more!

The POV and narration was also really unique as it jumps between the current timeline and from Shizuka’s 3rd Person POV to her reading a letter from Shefali told in the 1st Person POV. It also skips around in time starting with the birth and childhood of the characters into the current time where they are in their 20’s. Once again this took a little getting used to but I thought it was a really distinctive way to tell the story.

The writing was amazing as well, one of the other things I really enjoyed. It was beautifully written and easy to immerse myself in.

The ending was pretty solid and tied everything up neatly but still leaving room for more in the sequel. I would definitely love to see more of the world building explored especially since we essentially know EVERYTHING about the characters now since reading about them from birth. Definitely excited to see a little more demon-slaying!

characters

As I mentioned earlier this is a very character driven book and therefore the most important happenings in the story focus around the characters, their drives, and their emotions more so than any straightforward plot line.

I really liked the main characters Shizuka and Shefali, mostly Shefali though! They’re both incredibly headstrong girls with incredible talent but they also have their flaws and if there’s anything I love it’s a flawed heroine who knows their faults. I love how they both admit to their strengths and weaknesses both and rely on each other.

They were definitely well developed and very complex.

I also loved the strong, positive female friendship that is represented between them that blossoms into a romance.

The secondary characters were also done well especially O-Shizuru and Alshara, Shizuka’s and Shefali’s mothers respectfully. Seriously, their mothers are total badasses and if they grow up to even be an ounce like their mothers the next book in the series will be fantastic! I also really liked Shefali’s cousin, Otgar, and her brother Kenshiro. Shizuka’s uncle, the Emperor, made for a good sort of antagonist too.

romance

This was a nice slow burn romance and as mentioned it’s a diverse F/F romance as well. I loved how the girls grew from a friendship into a romance.

They were so sweet, adorable, and passionate. I don’t ever want them to be apart! I will go down with this ship!

in conclusion

Overall I really did enjoy this book but I would have liked a bit more action, more answers for the world building, and less info dumps! Still I will anxiously be awaiting the sequel just to see where they will go now since we have done the past and will move onto the character’s futures!

What I Loved:

  • The world building and mythology
  • Unique narrative style
  • Beautiful writing
  • Complex, developed, and likable characters
  • Slow burn and sweet F/F romance

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Pacing got very slow after 50%
  • Would have liked a bit more info on the world building
  • Not a lot of action
  • Major info dumps

RECOMMEND

I definitely recommend checking this book out as it’s a very unique fantasy book with a really neat premise and beautiful writing. It is inspired by Asian culture and includes a F/F romance, however, if you’re looking for something action packed this may not be for you.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gems in Fantasy

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Hello fellow book lovers!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s theme is Hidden Gems in whichever genre you’d like to pick! Of course I adore hidden gem recommendations and I have more than a few to give but fantasy is my most read genre so that’s the genre I went with. Some of these may be a little more iffy as far as having them be considered fantasy but there are fantasy elements none the less and most of them are 100% pure fantasy. Some of my choices also might be a little more popular than others and some of you may not consider them a “hidden” gem but they still aren’t super popular so I’d like to recommend them!

I will link up each title to my full review as well if you’d like to be convinced some more to add these to your TBR! Also these aren’t in any particular order!

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10.) Alice (The Chronicles of Alice #1) by Christina Henry

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This is more of a horror book than anything but it still counts as fantasy in my mind especially since it’s a dark retelling of “Alice in Wonderland”. This book isn’t for the faint of heart, it’s truly terrifying, graphic, brutal, and violent and yet it’s still an addictive story. I highly recommend reading it if you’re looking for a unique retelling!

You can read my full review of “Alice” here.


9.) Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

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A collection of three short fairy tale-esque stories all revolving around a kiss but trust me when I say it’s not the gushy romance fest you think it would be! Laini Taylor’s writing is gorgeous and she weaves together such creative tales with mythology of her own making, these stories are fantastic. Plus the illustrations are gorgeous as well!

You can read my full review of “Lips Touch: Three Times” here.


8.) The Impostor Queen (The Impostor Queen #1) by Sarah Fine

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This is such an underrated fantasy novel it isn’t even fair! The magic system is one of the best I’ve come across with both fire and ice users but the magic doesn’t come without it’s costs. The Valtia is the queen of the land who is the only wielder of both ice and fire magic and when she dies it passes on to the next but when the magic doesn’t enter Elli she is forced to flee. Great characters and great world building, go give this book some more love!

You can read my full review of “The Impostor Queen” here.


7.) The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

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This book is a little more well known but still not enough in my eyes! It’s an Aladdin retelling where the genie is female and they have a relationship, it’s got some great world building, badass female characters, and gorgeous writing! What more could you want?

You can read my full review of “The Forbidden Wish” here.


6.) Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas #1) by Zoraida Cordova

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Not only does this book have a gorgeous cover and diverse characters but it’s also filled with magic and a very Wonderland-esque adventure. Alex is a bruja (a witch) and wants to rid herself of her powers but when she tries her whole family vanishes into thin air.

You can read my full review of “Labyrinth Lost” here.


5.) Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

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I recommend this book ALL the time and it’s probably the book on here I feel is the most underrated. It has a great story, world building, and characters plus on top of all of that it has four retellings weaved into the plot which include: Sleep Beauty, Cinderella, Hua Mulan, and Jane Austen’s Emma. It’s a fantastic story!

You can read my full review of “Kingdom of Ash and Briars” here.


4.) The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco

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This is a dark fantasy featuring a witch with the gift of necromancy who goes to train under another bone witch. She must control her powers if she is going to aid her fellow witches with the war that is brewing in the kingdoms. I really loved how dark and sometimes creepy this book got especially with the necromancy, great world building too!

You can read my full review of “The Bone Witch” here.


3.) Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

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Once again this one is a little more popular so it may not be considered a true hidden gem but it’s not a book I see tons of people talking about all of the time either. This is a Peter Pan retelling revolving around the character Tiger Lily, her backstory, and her relationship with Peter. It’s a darker version of Neverland and you’ll definitely be heart broken by the end.

You can read my full review of “Tiger Lily” here.


2.) The Hundredth Queen (The Hundredth Queen #1) by Emily R. King

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A girl raised by the Sisterhood is chosen to be the Rajah’s 100th wife and she must fight in gladiator style battles against his other 99 wives in order to secure her place. This book is full of magic and some badass females, it may not be the best written book ever but it was highly addictive and entertaining!

You can read my full review of “The Hundredth Queen” here.


1.) Mask of Shadows (Untitled #1) by Linsey Miller

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This book is pretty hyped up at the moment but still isn’t receiving as much hype as it should. This is everything I wanted and expected “Throne of Glass” to be with the brutal competition to be the Queen’s assassin, plus we get a genderfluid main character!

You can read my full review of “Mask of Shadows” here.

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Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

What are some of your hidden gems in YA fantasy?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

ARC Review: Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

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Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal Leon steals a poster announcing open auditions for the Left Hand, a powerful collection of the Queen’s personal assassins named for the rings she wears — Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, and Opal — their world changes. They know it’s a chance for a new life.

Except the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. But Sal must survive to put their real reason for auditioning into play: revenge.

review

****Huge thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for sending me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!****

There seem to be a lot of mixed feelings on this book with people either DNF’ing their ARCs or loving them, fortunately I was one of the people who LOVED it! I was very pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed “Mask of Shadows” everything about it was entertaining and it really blew away all of my expectations!

Trigger Warnings: Misgendering and Much Violence (gets pretty brutal at times)

PLOT

As you can see in the descriptions right away this is being compared to books by both Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo but let me tell you I thought this book was so much better than those! You can see the similarities to the plot of this book and that of “Throne of Glass” right away, which I did, but trust me when I tell you I thought this was far better than “Throne of Glass”. “Mask of Shadows” was essentially everything I had wanted “Throne of Glass” to actually be: full of action, brutal violence, and a main character who isn’t all talk! So I personally thought the descriptions didn’t do this book justice, or it did in case you’re a big fan of either of those authors I suppose.

I really loved how we are tossed into some action immediately at the beginning of the story and we don’t waste anytime getting into all the action the synopsis promised! Of course considering the fact that Sal is auditioning to become part of the Left Hand there is quite a bit of training in many various areas so those parts can become a bit tedious, I personally found them enjoyable though. I also liked how none of the contestants were messing around either, they were hardcore! I actually really liked how brutal and violent the lot of them were because this means the author wasn’t sugar coating the fact that these people are trying out to be ASSASSINS. That’s what they do.

While the pacing wasn’t necessarily fast and went kind of back and forth a little bit, I still never got bored while reading since there was always something going on. The action definitely wasn’t lacking here! But as I said the pacing did go back and forth pretty erratically.

The plot was very entertaining, even though it seems it could be a run of the mill YA fantasy plot. Sal’s thirst for revenge and the lengths they go to achieve the revenge was interesting to read about and definitely had me rooting for them.

Another thing that was very well done was the world building but I could have used a little more of it as well. I thought one of the most interesting points were the “shadows” which I won’t go into detail about but the descriptions honestly terrified me! I personally never felt like I was being “info dumped” on but I could see some people getting annoyed with the amount of info being spilled all at once throughout reading.

There were quite a few shocking plot twists and that ending definitely has me dying to read the sequel!

characters

One of the best things about “Mask of Shadows” is the fact that the main character, Sal, is gender fluid, that’s right we have a gender fluid main character in a YA fantasy! While I personally cannot say whether this was represented well or not I read a review from an amazing blogger I follow (Avery @ The Book Deviant) who has an own voices review up that I will link for you to check out!

It’s stated in the book that Sal prefers to use the she/her pronouns when dressed as a woman, the he/his pronouns when dressed as a man, and they/their pronouns when dressed as neither. Since this is just a book review I will refer to Sal using the they/their pronouns.

Sal was a fantastic character and I really adored them, they just had so much spunk and spirit. However, they also came with their flaws as well from the rough past that they’ve had and what they’re willing to do to get their revenge as well. I LOVED that Sal came into the competition with a realistic set of skills and admitted that they didn’t know everything and did their best to learn other skills worthy of an assassin. That is so unbelievable refreshing, a main character that doesn’t magically have ALL the skills!

I’d also like to take a moment here to discuss the cases of misgendering Sal that occurred in the book. This happens in one instance at the beginning of the story and Sal corrects them right away explaining how they liked to be addressed according to what they are wearing and it doesn’t happen again. However, there is a more villainous character that misgenders Sal more than a few times and Sal challenges it immediately, which I loved. There is just one thing that goes along with this that I wanted to mention was that Sal states they like to be addressed as they dress: dresses for she/her and trousers/tunics/leggings for he/him. Now I KNOW this is just a fantasy and most clothing is gendered and that’s accepted but when Sal is misgendered by what they are wearing they state that “clearly” they are a woman/man by how they are dressed and would get very angry (which is understandable of course). I just kind of didn’t like this considering the fact that women and men can dress in whatever clothes they like and not have to identify as that gender based off of the clothes they are wearing, especially since this is a book about a diverse character.

Food for thought and hopefully that made some sort of sense.

AS for the secondary characters I really enjoyed quite a few of them but mostly I adored the other members of the Queen’s Left Hand: Emerald, Amethyst, and Ruby (MOST OF ALL RUBY!). I didn’t have too hard of a time keeping track of the other contestants but it did get a little annoying at times considering they were only ever referred to by number. Elise was also a pretty great character and I loved that she was diverse as well (either bisexual or pansexual) since she states that she’s interested in more than just men.

There is a romance in this story but it doesn’t take central stage and is more of a minor plot device. It really wasn’t anything special though and was more of your run of the mill YA fantasy romance.

in conclusion

Overall I really did have a great time reading this book and it surpassed ALL of my expectations!

What I Loved:

  • Genderfluid and overall fantastic main character
  • Stabby plot that doesn’t sugarcoat!
  • Interesting world building
  • Great secondary characters (mostly Ruby…)

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Erratic pacing
  • Sal’s outlook (or just the book’s) on gendered clothing

RECOMMEND

I highly recommend checking out this book whether you’re looking for a fun new YA fantasy or if you’re looking for a great diverse read as well!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

ARC Review: The Hundredth Queen (The Hundredth Queen #1) by Emily R. King

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As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.

But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.

Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda has only one hope for escape, and it lies in an arcane, forbidden power buried within her.

review

****Big thank you to Skyscape and Amazon Publishing for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review****

Wow, let me just say I am pleasantly surprised with how much I ended up enjoying this book! It has every element I love in a YA fantasy and I honestly cannot wait for the rest of the series now!

PLOT

Of course it’s easy to think with the description of this book that it would be something similar to “The Wrath & The Dawn” or even “The Star-Touched Queen” and while there are some similarities it’s still very unique. I would still say that if you were a fan of either you will probably enjoy “The Hundredth Queen” as well!

I really enjoyed the world building a lot, I liked how every aspect of the lore we were introduced to was incorporated into the plot. I also never felt overwhelmed or confused when information on the world was provided, no info-dumps here! The mythology was probably my favorite part about this story since it ended up playing a major part and was just so fascinating to learn about.

I found the magic system to be pretty unique and actually reminded me a lot of Avatar: The Last Airbender since each element is represented, that’s probably why I loved it so much……

While the pacing wasn’t necessarily slow in the beginning it was a little bit harder for me to get into since there was a bit of insta-love that really put me off. However, once I got a little bit further in I was completely engrossed in this story! There were many twists and turns that I honestly did not see coming and I felt like there was definitely plenty of action and fast pacing to keep me turning pages.

The rank tournaments themselves were actually pretty brutal too, there definitely wasn’t any sugar-coating this aspect of the story which I liked since I feel YA authors always try to get out of or gloss over any sort of violence in their novels. Not that I’m some blood-thirsty, horrible person! It’s just I get tired of books promising fights to the death and then not delivering.

I also liked the way females were represented in the story as well as female relationships. There is a bit of girl-on-girl hate at the beginning of the story but I promise you it isn’t what it seems as it changes as the story progresses. I appreciated how the author would point out the wrongness of the way women were treated and how they sometimes treated each other in this world as well and how our heroine, Kalinda, also frowned upon any negative treatment of women and would intervene. The women in this story are honestly total badasses and I loved it! Although I will say I wish the few positive relationships between females would have been shown a lot more.

I was also really impressed with the writing and it was hard to believe this was a debut novel, everything flowed so well! Simple and easy to read overall, which sometimes is just perfect.

characters

The characters in this book were actually very enjoyable, all of them! Once again, I was pretty surprised by how well I thought a lot of them developed and the levels of complexity a few of them had. I have to admit I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with these characters but I love to be proved wrong in this case!

Kalinda was the perfect protagonist, in my opinion. She was brave and loyal but also had her moments where her courage would fail her, she wasn’t perfect. I also really liked how she wasn’t some “super skilled special snowflake” (that’s a bit of a tongue twister, huh?), she had skill but she definitely wasn’t as skilled as lot of the other characters. I think maybe the best word to describe how I felt about Kalinda’s character was “heart-warming” because everything she did, said, or felt just gave me tingles because she was just so realistic and down to earth!

The secondary characters were all well done too, I felt like I knew so many of them even though they were only around for a few sentences! I loved how many were also not just by-standers and we got to see so many of them grow and develop throughout the story.

As I mentioned earlier I really liked all of the female relationships in this book but especially the friendship between Kalinda and Jaya. Honestly, I wished there was more shown between those two because I feel YA could really use more positive female friendships like this one!

romance

The only real problem I had with the romance was that there was some heavy insta-love at the beginning but overall I did like it and felt that Kalinda and Deven made a great couple. Was it anything super special or impressive? No, not really but like I said I did enjoy it so that’s all that really matters.

Plus it doesn’t hurt that Deven is a pretty swoon-worthy love interest. He treated Kalinda right and I’m all for a good guy love interest!

in conclusion

What I Loved:

  • The world building and mythology
  • Kalinda was a great female protagonist
  • The writing flowed well and was easy to follow
  • The plot was fast-paced, action-packed, with plenty of twists
  • Kalinda and Jaya’s friendship

What I Didn’t Love:

  • There was some girl-on-girl hate (which is never okay although in this story it was overcome)
  • Insta-love relationship (even though I did come to like them together)
  • I wish Kalinda and Jaya’s friendship would have been shown a lot more and maybe some more of the female relationships as well

RECOMMEND

I definitely recommend checking this book out especially if you’re looking for something a little similar to “The Wrath & The Dawn”!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Book Review: Every Heart A Doorway (Wayward Children #1) by Seanan McGuire

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Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

review

How do I even begin to write a review to such a wonderful, magical, and completely relatable book? I have to say I don’t know if I’ve ever read something so relatable in my life. “Every Heart A Doorway” is a book for us readers and us dreamers, it’s for those of us who have always wanted to live in the fantasy worlds we read about and maybe even feel like we may belong there more than where we are.

You know what I’m talking about: waiting for your Hogwarts letter, opening every wardrobe and closet door looking for Narnia, or even waiting by your window in the hope that Peter Pan will come to whisk you away to Neverland.

If you understand exactly what I mean then drop everything you’re doing and read this book!

PLOT

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children is a place where parents send their troubled children who claim to have been to other worlds. Eleanor helps these children learn to cope with the fact that they are back in the real world and may not be able to return to their fantasy worlds again but offers a safe place for them where they can be believed. However, when the new girl, Nancy, shows up from a trip to an Underworld things start taking a sinister turn at the Home and she finds herself amidst a murder mystery.

Not only is this story very relatable to me as a reader it’s also very original in it’s acknowledgement of many different children visiting many different fantasy worlds and then going back home afterwards and having to deal with the aftermath. I absolutely fell in love with this concept, it’s never really been done before! It’s also almost heartbreaking how much I understand how the characters feel having to come back from these worlds and realizing they may not ever go back.

The world building was incredible I find it so amazing that Seanan McGuire managed to develop a world so quickly considering this is only a 173 page book! I loved learning more about all of the different worlds and how they intersect there are Underworlds, Nonsense Worlds, and Logic Worlds and all have their own unique twists. I could not get enough details about the worlds the characters all visited!

And the writing was fantastic as well it was magical, dark, and light-hearted all at once! The atmosphere the writing created was, for lack of any other words, hauntingly beautiful which is the best way for me to describe it. This book is strange, magical, and has a lot of humor as well and honestly it’s just perfection.

The only part of the plot that bothered me a little bit was that the murder mystery was a little predictable, but honestly that’s all!

characters

I really, really loved the characters in the story not only because I found them all to be very complex and well-developed in such a short amount of pages but also because of how diverse they are as well. We have an asexual main character as well as a transgender boy character and I honestly loved how well both were handled in this story, I felt it was respectful and even a little informative too. There is also racial diversity with a girl of Asian descent and a Latino boy, it was fantastic to see diversity with gender identities and races!

Almost all of the characters that are mentioned have their own worlds and backstories and it was fascinating learning about the worlds they visited and how they impacted them.

in conclusion

Overall I was incredibly impressed with every aspect of this book and I NEED more!

What I Loved:

  • The unique and amazing story
  • The world building with all of the fantastic worlds
  • The writing and eerie atmosphere
  • The well-developed and diverse caste of characters

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Only that it was too short and I want more!
  • The murder mystery aspect was a little predictable

RECOMMEND

I don’t think I can recommend this book enough! Like I said in the beginning this is perfect for those of you who always wanted to fall into a magical world.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite YA Fantasy & Sci-Fi

Top Ten Tuesday(1)

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes and created by Lainey @ Ginger Reads Lainey. You can check out the group’s Goodreads page for this month’s topics!

This week’s topic is favorite fantasy and science fiction books in collaboration with BooktubeSFF Awards! I decided to do both genres but in only Young Adult. I have read and reviewed all of these books so I’ll attach my review links to the titles if you want to read more of my thoughts on each of these!

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5.) Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

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I’ve said this countless times but it’s so true: this book is a hidden gem! Not only did I find the world building very good but also the fact that it had it’s own plot going on along with four sort of “mini stories” and each is a fairy tale retelling (Mulan, Emma, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella). I loved all of the characters as well and actually grew very attached, I didn’t even mind the romance either!


4.) Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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The romance in this one did have some problems but I still really enjoyed it, the characters, and the world building was AMAZING! Also Laini Taylor has THE most gorgeous writing I’ve ever come across, seriously I’d read the woman’s grocery list. Overall the story is just so engaging and I really recommend reading it.


3.) The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

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Let’s see here: actual badass main character, lots of action and plot twists, plenty of “court intrigue” with plotting and revenge, and a romance I could actually ship. Not to mention it’s all in space! If you’re looking for a fast paced space adventure than this is definitely a book I recommend reading, it’s one of my new favorite sci-fi books of all time!


2.) Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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I think you’ve all heard about “Illuminae” but in case you haven’t…..its yet another super fast-paced, action-packed, space opera! Complete with crazy AIs, mutating space viruses, and hella plot twists. Plus there’s that unique formatting that is to die for! If you’re looking for an awesome YA sci-fi book look no further.


1.) Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

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While I do acknowledge that this book is very problematic (as seems to be the case with a lot of Kristoff’s books) I still consider it to be one of my all time favorite fantasy books. It’s got fantastic world building (some of the best I’ve seen) and mythology and great characters that I grew very attached too! Plus there’s a bit of steampunk in it as well, they have chainsaw katanas!

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What are some of your favorite YA fantasy or sci-fi books?

Have you read any of these on my list? What did you think?

Let me know in the comments and feel free to link up your T5W as well!

The Sassy