This was a fun, unique concept and a super quick read for me! I have been meaning to get to Sky in the Deep for a while now and I’m happy to have finally devoured it.
I found the premise of deep-seated Viking clan rivalries to be a super fun jumping-off point. Having read a lot of stories with the enemies-to-lovers trope, I thought the plot arc was *a bit* predictable at times, but that didn’t take away from the well-developed characters and intriguing details that illuminated this world.
I also thought the ending read suuuper fast (which can be a plus or negative, depending on your reading preferences). I wish that part was fleshed out a little more. But then again, I am also totally the type of reader who loves suspenseful build-ups to big battles where you get to know all of the characters motivations and fears (which this book did a great job of showing), but not a super big fan of the actual action sequence of the battle itself.
Basically, my main takeaway was that I really enjoyed Young’s writing style and characterization, so I’m very excited to read more of her works!
First of all, can I just say the “Project Runway meets Mulan” comp for this book was soooo intriguing to me that I bought this book on the day it came out and I am a bit ashamed it took me a year to actually get to reading it, but also so glad that I have read it now!
This was such a fun fantasy thrill ride. I really found the main character Maia to be such a lovely, likeable person whom I was rooting for so much. Both in the competition and in her life, I just wanted her to be happy! And I think that’s just a great sign for a fun, dynamic protagonist. Plus, Elizabeth Lim’s beautiful writing style on top of this was just A+ *chef’s kiss*.
I’ve always loved stories about making clothes because I love fashion… plus competitions?? It’s like this book was made for me! I will say that I found the pacing of the book a bit jarring. I thought the tailor competition was going to be the main plot of the novel, but it only took about half the book! Then the story completely changed to something new (and exciting!), but I did feel a bit like it was two separate books squished into one. I enjoyed the high-stakes, contained nature of the competition a bit more… although, the latter portion of the novel got *super dark* and deliciously magical too. I think I will need to read the sequel to see how the ending plays out as I felt a bit like I was on uncertain ground by the end there.
All in all though, this was a great premise, with memorable characters and fun twists in the storyline that I would definitely recommend. Looking forward to the next one as well as Lim’s future works!
Furyborn is definitely one of my favorite reads this year. I am obsessed with this book and I can’t believe it took me this long to finally pick it up.
The book has such a great set-up for a thrilling, YA fantasy story: it’s told in two alternating points of view following amazing, badass women over a thousand years apart. The prologue sets up a prophecy of sorts, where the reader knows from the beginning how Rielle’s story will end. But then we get to follow her life leading up to this point and it’s so much dramatic irony and *ahhh* anti-hero feels. If you love dark, villainous plot points like I do, this timeline will send you to such an ideal cloud of reader bliss, let me tell you.
Then, the other storyline follows Eliana and it’s in the same world but *so much* has changed over these centuries that have passed. Eliana is so freaking cool and I love her (but I also love Rielle and like every single other character too??).
The romance is great and the twists are so unpredictable! The magic system is also super unique. There is so much I want to say but I also loved going into it not knowing much about what I was getting into and being so completely surprised. It’s a bit of a longer book but it is so worth it to set up the rich worldbuilding and what I’m sure is going to be a cinematic stage for the sequels.
I read this book literally in one day. I just couldn’t stop reading. I will definitely be picking Kingsbane very, very soon! Do yourself a favor and binge this series before the final book comes out in October.
Happy September 1st! This summer has flown by and now it already feels like the autumn vibes are coming with promises of pumpkin spice flavors, sweater weather, and, of course, Taylor Swift’s new folklore album (which may or may not have inspired this book recommendation list 😉).
I decided to put together a little graphic of 8 books to help you get in the autumnal mood! From woodsy YA fantasies to NA magical stories, these books will be perfect to set the tone for September. Here is a list with links to learn more about each title:
Sometimes you just can’t choose between two awesome YA fantasy books, so you just need to start both, one in hardcover and the other on Kindle. Let me know if you’ve read either of these. No spoilers please!!
I loved this book and am so happy to be a part of the blog tour for its release and share how wonderfully whimsical it is with all of you!
You can check out my review from last week here, if you haven’t already! Here are some more exciting blurbs and praise, provided by the publisher, to get you hyped to read this book ASAP:
In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.
As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.
The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost
The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told
The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide
Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.
JANELLA ANGELES is a Filipino-American author who got her start in writing through consuming glorious amounts of fanfiction at a young age—which eventually led to penning a few of her own, and later on, creating original stories from her imagination. A lifelong lover of books, she’s lucky enough to be working in the business of publishing them on top of writing them. She currently resides in Massachusetts, where she’s most likely to be found listening to musicals on repeat and daydreaming too much for her own good. Where Dreams Descend is her first book.
Early Praise: “Janella Angeles steals the 2020 show with her fiercely imagined debut starring larger than life characters, a dangerous world alive with magic, and a dizzying dose of grab-a-fainting-couch-and-swoon-away romance!” – Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Gilded Wolves
“Where Dreams Descend is a glamorous dark gem of a tale, sparkling with romance, magic, and intrigue. Readers will be captivated by prima donna Kallia as the mystery is slowly unmasked. Bravissima!” – Julie C. Dao, author of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
“Lavish and opulent in a way that feels warmly familiar yet demands your attention. There are secrets upon secrets, a girl who’s boldly ambitious, and truly riveting stage magic. I didn’t want the show to stop.” – Emily A. Duncan, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked Saints
“Vibrant imagery, jaw-dropping set pieces, sizzling romantic tension, and unstoppable heroine Kallia bring this ambitious debut novel to spectacular life. Fans of Caraval and The Night Circus will be delighted!” – Claire Legrand, New York Times bestselling author of Furyborn
“[A] spellbinding melody of a book, and the true magic is how Angeles puts all the best parts of an enrapturing theatrical performance onto paper and ink. From the gripping twists in the first pages all the way to the final, heartbreaking crescendo, Where Dreams Descend will surge you to your feet in a standing ovation.” – Sara Raasch, New York Times bestselling author of the Snow Like Ashes trilogy
I have a weak spot for stories about circuses and competition. There is just so much potential for drama! and magic! and darkness! And Where Dreams Descend certainly delivered on this tall order!
Kallia is a protagonist who was very easy to root for. I genuinely liked her and wanted her to succeed! It was really refreshing to see the confidence she brought to her performances and life, even as she was facing so many unknowns (new places, judgmental people, and a society she knew nothing about) and while nobody believed in her but herself.
Jack and Demarco were also both interesting characters in very different ways. I feel like I know them a bit less than Kallia, mostly on account of the mystery surrounding their characters that was significant to the plot. I hope moving forward in the sequel that we get more candid looks at their values and motivations.
The storyline was a lot of fun. I just love the way competition-style plots create such a heightened, condensed arena for drama and intrigue. My one critique which held me back from giving it five stars was that the ending felt a bit rushed. It certainly captured the *wow* moment I was expecting from all the suspense throughout the rising action, but I wish we had a bit more time afterward to digest what just happened.
Altogether, though, this is certainly a book to look out for this summer/fall! I will definitely be recommending it to many friends and YA fantasy fans.
A little over a week ago I lost power for several days! Can you imagine: no WiFi, no cell data, no A/C? (Yikes, the privilege in that statement– but I’m sure many of you can relate in this crazy tech-reliant, WFH world). While I try not to take these luxuries for granted, it is just so strange living without them suddenly! Luckily, though, this experience gave me plenty of time to read. So, here is my mini readathon from three days of my electricity-less summer:
I looooved Furyborn! I have already ordered the sequel from my library and will be starting it soon. Won’t say too much about it since I will be writing up a full review shortly, but a few words to sate your curious souls: Just wow. So much great worldbuilding and memorable characters and prophecies! Please pick this up if you haven’t already.
Spin the Dawn was a lot of fun and I’m so glad I finally read it. I noted it as one of my must-reads for the summer on my recent TBR post, so I am happy to say I have one item on there checked off. Loved the characters and concept. I will probably review this one too, so will give more of my thoughts then!
As a huge fan of An Ember in the Ashes series, this graphic novel was very entertaining. It was cool to get a look into Elias and Helene’s childhood. I’m not super into prequels, particularly because this one felt too close in time to the main series. I knew not much progress or character development could happen under those constraints. Still, I would recommend this quick read to any fans of the series!
Over the years, I have been a pretty big fan of The Selection series (It’s kind of my guilty pleasure series… it’s just so entertaining to reread). The Betrothed is definitely in the same vein as Cass’ first series as a relatively feel-good fantasy romance. In fact, at times it felt like the same world to me (although this one is much more high fantasy than dystopian futuristic). While I enjoy that Cass’ writing style is distinct and recognizable, I wish this book held its own a bit more. I will try to refrain from comparing the two series too much, but I felt it just had to be said since I think a large part of my enjoyment of this book stemmed from the sentimental factor that it brought me back those warm and fuzzy and jaw-dropping feelings!
I quite enjoyed the first half of the book, but then the ending felt rushed with so many plot twists thrown in there. I was a bit surprised to learn that there will be a sequel due to this hasty ending (it felt more like trying to wrap it up quickly for a standalone); I wish that the fall-out of the climax was more fleshed out rather than thrown in there for shock value. I’m sure it was a necessary plot point for the future progression of the story, but I found it rather jarring and didn’t quite find my footing again by the time the novel finished.
While I have many critiques, I am giving it such a high rating because of how darn enjoyable and entertaining it was to read! Please give this one a chance. I know I’ll be reading the sequel and maybe I’ll even reevaluate my feelings about the plot’s pacing once I see where it’s going!