Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Waiting On Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for! Here's mine for the week.


Title:
We Hunt the Flame
Authors: Hafsah Faizal
Release Date: May 14, 2019

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36492488-we-hunt-the-flame

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.


Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing in Arawiya, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, WE HUNT THE FLAME is a gripping story of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands. (taken from goodreads.com)


Why I Need It: 

Ooh, so much about this sounds good. We've got women dressing up as men to hunt, a kingdom on the brink of war, and Arabic culture all mixed together. Plus, that cover looks suspiciously like the magic carpet from Aladdin, which I love.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Review: Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh


Title: Smoke in the Sun
Series: Flame in the Mist #2
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Format: E-Book
Page Count: 408

Rating: 



For weeks, seventeen-year-old Mariko pretended to be a boy to infiltrate the notorious Black Clan and bring her would-be murderer to justice. She didn't expect to find a place for herself among the group of fighters—a life of usefulness—and she certainly didn't expect to fall in love. Now she heads to the imperial castle to resume a life she never wanted to save the boy she loves.

Ōkami has been captured, and his execution is a certainty. Mariko will do what she must to ensure his survival—even marry the sovereign's brother, saying goodbye to a life with Ōkami forever.

As Mariko settles into her days at court—making both friends and enemies—and attempting Ōkami's rescue at night, the secrets of the royal court begin to unravel as competing agendas collide. One arrow sets into motion a series of deadly events even the most powerful magic cannot contain. Mariko and Ōkami risk everything to right past wrongs and restore the honor of a kingdom thrown into chaos by a sudden war, hoping against hope that when the dust settles, they will find a way to be together.

Set against the backdrop of feudal Japan, Smoke in the Sun is the breathless, romantic, not-to-be-missed fiery conclusion to a spell-binding adventure. (taken from goodreads.com)


"Respect is not a thing granted. It is a thing earned."

I seriously enjoyed Flame in the Mist, so when I picked up this sequel, I had pretty high hopes. I had no idea where this story was going to go, but I was all for it as long as Ōkami and Mariko were included. I ship them so hard.

In the end, I was both impressed and disappointed. I know that makes no sense, but hear me out:

Ahdieh really taps into the tale's political intrigue and deeper themes. I gobbled up the details at the royal palace and loved watching Mariko become a strong, fearless heroine. I feel like she really set the story up to encompass some solid fantasy, and then...

The plot just kind of dies off at the end. I saw so much potential for the last few chapters and potential sequels, and instead, Ahdieh wraps it up with a nice, semi-cliche bow. Sigh. Where was my emotional distress? Where was the big picture? YOU COULD HAVE DONE SO MUCH WITH THIS. I needed more in order to award this book four stars or more.

So, to sum it all up, this book has a lot of drama and interest to it. However, the ending is slapdash and cuts off any real possibility for further installments. I'd certainly recommend that fans of the Flame in the Mist series check it out, but lower your expectations for the final few chapters.



That ending really could have played out so much better.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Review: Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor


Title: Muse of Nightmares
Series: Stranger the Dreamer #2 
Author: Laini Taylor 
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 2, 2018

Format: Hardback
Page Count: 528

Rating: 

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice—save the woman he loves, or everyone else?—while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she's capable of.

As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel's near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?

Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this gorgeous sequel to the New York Times bestseller,
Strange the Dreamer. (taken from goodreads.com)


When I say I adored Strange the Dreamer, I'm not exaggerating. I told tons of people about it, even if they weren't readers and I knew they wouldn't care. I saved quotes on my phone and daydreamed about Lazlo and Sarai, and I re-read my favorite passages over and over again.

That's why I'm quite disappointed by how little I cared for Muse of Nightmares.

Don't get me wrong: Laini Taylor is still an incredible writer and storyteller, but this sequel just wasn't what I hoped it would be. Let me explain.

What made Strange the Dreamer so magical was its mystery. Just as Lazlo and the other characters are making discoveries, so are the readers. What happened to Weep? Who are the blue-skinned gods? What memories haunt those who dwell in the city? These questions captivated me, and in some ways, I loved not getting all the answers. It kept the magic alive.

On the other hand, Muse of Nightmares gives you ALL the answers. I felt like a kid at Christmas who just found out mom and dad put the presents under the tree, not Santa. I missed that sense of wonder and awe as Taylor unraveled every question we ever had about the godspawn. I truly wish she had left some things unsaid instead of giving us such a clear picture.

Plus, she gives us so many new details to ponder. She opens whole worlds of plotlines and characters, and I feel that she rushed through them in an effort to explain the backstory of Strange the Dreamer.

I felt confused and saddened by the changes she wrought on her original tale, and it made me wish that she had tied things up at the end of Strange the Dreamer instead of writing the second book.

Still, if you adored Strange the Dreamer as I did, this book is probably worth reading. You'll still get to spend time with some of your favorite characters, and Taylor's words are as beautiful as ever. Just don't expect the plot to wow you as much as the first book's did.



Friday, October 12, 2018

Review: Queens of Fennbirn by Kendare Blake


Title: Queens of Fennbirn
Series: Three Dark Crowns #0.5
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 3, 2018

Format: Paperback
Page Count: 232

Rating: 


Uncover the sisters’ origins, dive deep into the catastrophic reign of the Oracle Queen, and reveal layers of Fennbirn’s past, hidden until now.
The Young Queens

Get a glimpse of triplet queens Mirabella, Arsinoe, and Katharine during a short period of time when they protected and loved one another. From birth until their claiming ceremonies, this is the story of the three sisters’ lives…before they were at stake.

The Oracle Queen

Everyone knows the legend of Elsabet, the Oracle Queen. The one who went mad. The one who orchestrated a senseless, horrific slaying of three entire houses. But what really happened? Discover the true story behind the queen who could foresee the future…just not her own downfall.(taken from goodreads.com)

Oooooooooh, this has just made me even more pumped for book three in this series.

Queens of Fennbrin contains two different tales. The first details the beginning of the three dark queens we all know and love so much (Arsinoe, Mirabella, and Katharine). The second reveals the history behind Queen Elsabet, who has been alluded to in Blake's previous novels. If either of these backstories piques your interest, then buckle up and jump on this wild ride.

I was seriously surprised by how much enjoyment I reaped while reading Queens of Fennbrin. I don't usually enjoy novellas, but because I enjoyed One Dark Throne so much, I was excited to get a peek into the lives of the three sisters before they began battling for power. Elsabet's story was equally as interesting, and both left me anxiously awaiting Two Dark Reigns. Congrats to Blake for winning me over with this short book, and fingers crossed that her next release is equally (if not more) impressive.