The Beauty of Darkness

The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles, #3)The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles #3) by Mary E. Pearson

5_stars

WARNING: MILD SPOILERS FOR THE KISS OF DECEPTION AND THE HEART OF BETRAYAL!

There is nothing better than an epic finale to a story that you have become so invested in. After going through so much with these characters you’ve come to know, there are so many emotions tied into how things will wrap up and eventually end. I love when I pick up the last book in a trilogy and realize it’s HUGE! To me, this means that I will be able to enjoy the story for that much longer, because most of the time I really don’t want it to end.  Mary E. Pearson did a really fantastic job with this final book in the Remnant Chronicles. I needed so much to put my heart at ease after reading the whirlwind of chaos that was the end of the second book, Heart of Betrayal.

Upon opening to the first page, you pick up exactly where book two left off. There is no time lapse to try and figure out what happened in between books, and for this I am grateful. My heart could not have handled anything less. The intense way the second book ended left me reeling as to what could possibly happen. And then our poor crew of runaway royals has now been thrust back into the Cam Lanteaux in a race against time. They must find a way to make it back to their kingdoms to warn them of the great danger heading their way. But not everyone believes in this danger like Lia does.  She was the only one to see what the Komizar was truly up to, and as unbelievable as it might be, she must stop him at all cost.

After having been through so much, Lia really has fallen into the path of royalty that she fought so hard to run away from in the beginning. But she realizes that it isn’t just about finding love, but defending your home and your people. And when she can’t leave her kingdom behind to fend for themselves, tensions arise. I found that Kaden really became a character that I was instantly drawn to, he grew immensely as well, after learning that what he’s known for so long wasn’t what he thought, he chose to go with his heart, and his heart lies with Lia. Meanwhile, Rafe is struggling with his own decisions that he is forced to make, whether Lia is by his side or not, he can’t let his people down. Together, all three must make some of the biggest decisions of their lives and for the better of the whole, or so they hope.  

I was so happy with the way Mary E. Pearson did not leave a single character out, we learn about what is going on in all the kingdoms we have visited throughout this journey, each character’s story is wrapped up, there are no loose ends left to wonder what might have happened. This to me is a sign of a great book, there’s nothing less satisfying than getting so far involved in a series only to be left hanging at the end. The story was unputdownable and I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the pages. I sacrificed sleep along with the characters, I felt their exhaustion and worry and passion to make it to their next destination and to save their people from danger and death. I felt the love that has grown between the characters, and the friendships that they have bonded. I never wanted this to end, but even though it did, I was so very happy with the ending. There were so many unknowns from the previous books as well that were explained in this final installment and there really isn’t a question left unanswered except for what might happen to these characters in the future. What I wouldn’t give to have another trilogy with my beloved trio.  

This world, and these characters, and this book were such a fun journey as a reader to experience. I am so glad that I took the plunge and read these and I will most definitely be adding these to my favorites shelf. There will be a reread in the future because I am not ready to let these characters go.  I don’t know what took me so long to read them, but I am so very happy that I did. Do me a favor, and yourself a favor while you’re at it, and give yourself the joy of reading these amazing books. Trust me, you wont regret it,.

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If You Liked This Book

29008738If you liked The Beauty of Darkness, I highly recommend picking up The Bird and the Sword. These both follow the journey of strong female characters while they discover who they are and what they were meant to accomplish. Both are set in beautiful fantasy worlds with kingdoms and royalty and a touch of magic. This book and the next one in this series, The Queen and the Cure, would be the perfect book hangover cure that you are sure to get after reading The Remnant Chronicles.

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Let’s Discuss

What are some of your favorite trilogies? Do you prefer stand-alones over series? Have you read The Remnant Chronicles? I am excited to read Mary E. Pearson’s new book soon to be released set in the same world, The Dance of Thieves. Is this also on your TBR? Let me know!

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The Girl in the Tower

34050917The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy #2) by Katherine Arden

5_stars

As Vasya is faced with the choice of the convent or marriage she decides she will take her life in her own hands. With the help of her friend Morozko she aims to see the world and experience a life of her own choosing. Yet attacks on villages has Vasya putting a halt to her travels to help them, drawing the attention of the Grand Prince putting her cross dressing adventure into a precarious position not only for herself but for those who know her secret.divider

The Story

I really liked the Bear and the Nightingale, but I loved The Girl in the Tower. Where the pacing in the TBATN could sometimes be slow, I thought the pacing in TGITT a lot more steady and kept my attention. I think what was particularly compelling about the book was how fierce and headstrong Vasya was. Like many books with feminist themes the book revolves around Vasya’s choices, and while they may not always be the most sensible or have results that she may regret later, they are still hers to make, as it is her own life.

I am not 100% sure but I am thinking that this was a loose retelling of Vasilisa the Priest’s Daughter. To my understanding there are a few Russian stories that include Vasilisa/Vasiya as a strong female character, and I really enjoy seeing it used in a similar fashion in this series.divider

The World Building

Where the Russian setting was essentially the same in the second book, Arden does an excellent job of immersing the reader into the cold vast world of Russian, culture and it’s folklore. All the magic and quirky demons add so much flavor to such a complex story. I think what I found really intriguing was Morozko’s power and am so eager to read more!divider

The Characters

I think Vasya has such a complicated character. There were times when I thought she was so selfish, but then she goes and puts her life at risk to save some village girls. She is so headstrong and stubborn, though that I want to just smack her up against the side of her head and say look what your decisions are doing, look how it affects those around you!  And I think towards the end she really starts to see what sort of mess she has caused.

Though it wasn’t entirely focused on him, I completely adored Morozko. I love that he is so powerful, yet so confused. His relationship with Vasiya is twisted yet so sweet as he battles with his feelings, his power, and his immortality. I often felt bad for Morozko because it seemed like Vasiya only called on him when she needed something from him, and I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t stand when a friend acts like that.divider

The Soundtrack

French for Rabbits – The Other Side

 

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Nyxia: Unleashed

35424762Nyxia Unleashed (The Nyxia Triad #2) by Scott Reintgen

5_stars

Publish Date: July 17, 2018

ARC received from the publisher via Netgalley for a fair review.

“We’re weapons. They made us this way.
And we’re coming for them.”*

Now that Emmet and the rest of the genesis crew members have made it to Eden they discover that just Babel has more up their sleeve for them than just harvesting Nyxia. While navigating the tenuous relationship with the Adamites and the dangers that the planet presents the team must decide who they trust.

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The Story

Picking up right where the first book leaves off the team struggles with what Babel has put them through to get there as well as adjusting to their new home. The crew carries on with their assignment while continuing to grow closer as a team as well as stronger with their skills with nyxia.

What really drives this story is the mystery. Not the type of mystery you would find in a thriller or a murder, but in the anticipation of a twist you just know is coming. And boy, those twists can throw you a loop. Though there was one that wasn’t quite wrapped up in this book so I am aching for the next book. Because, Scott, WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS??!

Anyway, the book is non stop as we are lead from uncovering secrets to fighting for their lives. This YA sci-fi book tackles more than entertainment but brings in themes that cover family (blood and the bonds that go beyond that), homophobia/coming out, war/genocide/death, large corporation takeovers, and so much more.

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The World Building

Not only does Reintgen have a crew of multicultural kids, but has brought us a alien world that mirrors some similarities to the humans cultures but expanding with their own traditions, beliefs and society. The adamite society has sort of a rural feel but we are also introduced to fun new technology that Babel supplies which provides for a juxtaposition of it all that is smoothly introduced as the story progresses.

The planet itself is just so interesting from it’s double moons to its creatures.

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The Characters

Since this book narrows down to just the remaining crew, we are allowed time to get to know our characters a little bit more. It’s still mostly told from Emmett’s point of view so it is still somewhat limited to his observations, but the bond that the crew makes goes deep and grows as they must rely on each other because that’s all they’ve got. I think my favorite part about these characters is that they are fierce and brave, but can still stop to mourn those that they lose.

If you’re looking for romance between characters there’s a few pairings in here that just work so well together. I didn’t expect it, but there is some heart wrenching scenes where they kids hold each other up emotionally with just a squeeze of the hands, a nod of their head, and even with just putting themselves in harms way just to save the other.

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The Soundtrack

Portugal. The Man feat Richie Havens & Son Little – Number One

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*Quote obtained from an uncorrected proof and may be changed in the final version.

The Heart of Betrayal

21569527The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson

5_stars

WARNING: MILD SPOILERS FOR KISS OF DECEPTION.

After finishing The Kiss of Deception. It was all I could do to keep my mind from wandering back to this world, so when I started reading Heart of Betrayal it was like feeding my starving mind, giving it exactly what it had been asking for.  Like getting a bag full of Reese’s on Halloween night. Like a tall glass of ice water on a hot summer day. Let’s just say that I was happy to pick this series back up and get back to these beloved characters that captured my heart from before.

Lia is no longer a runaway princess thriving in a small village, but the prisoner of the Assassin, Kaden. He has plans for her back in Venda, where if she can survive long enough to prove that her gift is real, the Komizar might see that she is worth more to him alive than dead. Or so Kaden hopes. But Kaden wasn’t the only one that Lia made an impression on back in Terravin. The Prince of Dalbreck, Rafe, fell in love with her during their short time together before she was whisked away. And now he is determined to rescue her from whatever the Vendan Barbarians have in store for her.

Beyond Lia’s journey, Kaden’s homecoming, and Rafe’s rescue there is the story of a city that has been built on hardships and rejection. Venda was the city that was neglected from the rest, considered to be barbarians instead of the chosen or the gifted. The Vendans have been struggling to find a way to get by for a long time and they refuse to be left behind any longer. I love that there is this rich history that we learn about in Venda. The ghosts of the past come to play a large role here as LIa learns about the people she thought were savages that are actually just families and tribes trying to make a life for themselves. With her gift finally becoming more than a lie, Lia is wrapped up in this city and quickly becomes someone that the people look to save them from their hardships. She wants to become their voice and to give them a better life than the one they’ve been stuck with for so long.  Starving, and oppressed they quickly accept her and welcome her. She gives them hope for a better life. This is good and bad for Lia, because while she is favored by the people that means that the Komizar also begins to notice her, and he has a more devious plan in mind.

Through all that she’s been through, Lia really grows as a character over the course of this book, she becomes someone that has passion and knows what she wants to fight for.  She not only learns about herself, but about everything she has been taught from a young age up until now, and that she was never given the whole of the truth. This has become more than her selfishly wanting to find love, to a much larger problem of a city that needs saving from itself and from the tyrant that rules it.  And in the end its not just Venda that needs saving, but her own home as well. Lia also discovers that there are traitors among the Vendans that she thought were still in Morrighan, and that this has been going on for a lot longer than she can imagine. And to prevent destruction of the rest of the land, she must somehow escape and warn the others.  But how to do that without getting herself and even Rafe killed in the process is the hard part.

Not only do we see Lia’s character grow immensely in this book, but we also learn about Kaden, and his past, and how he came to be the Komizar’s right hand man.  My heart went out to him even though at first all you want is to hate him, things are never as simple as they seem. Lia learns this too, but she also knows that there are no rules to survival, and that she must do whatever she has to in order to get out alive. But to break poor Kaden’s heart was almost too much to bear. I secretly found myself rooting for him throughout this book even though I knew that she still loved Rafe.

I think that this was an excellent follow up to The Kiss of Deception. And once again we are left with a cliffhanger of all cliffhangers! The whirlwind of an ending leaves you with the urge to immediately grab the last book and consume it as fast as humanly possible! The world building is amazing, the characters grow into individuals that you learn to love and want to see succeed, the history and plot keep you involved throughout and I could not put it down. Its safe to say that these are very well written and enjoyable books. I highly recommend grabbing these as soon as possible and see for yourself.

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Ruin and Rising

35529926Ruin and Rising (The Grisha Trilogy #3) by Leigh Bardugo

5_stars

After The Darkling sweeps across Ravka taking over the capital, Alina and co are left to flee. Spirits are broken and she must find the last amplifier to have any chance of defeating The Darkling and his shadow army. As Alina learns more about her own powers, she in turn learns more about The Darkling’s history and what sacrifices will need to be made to finally defeat him.

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The Story

I know that I am probably in unpopular opinion area, because it seems that so many people were not  happy with the ending. But honestly, I’m not sure if there is any other way to finish off this story. I have to admit, the beginning was a bit drab, but once it got going, it was really non stop from there. There really was a lot going on in this book and there’s so much I could say, but that would be too spoilery. What I liked I think most was that not everything was a happily ever after. There was so much sacrifice, destruction, and loss that really drives the characters’ desperation and my heart just ached so much for them.

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The World Building

I love the continued influence that Slavic folklore and culture plays in the story. In this book we end up exploring a little bit more of Ravka and Bardugo has really made a vast land with magical creatures, unique magical abilities, and an expansive history. There’s a crazy twist in the story towards the end that I just did not expect, and it really made the magical aspect just so fantastic and my feelings were just all over the place from happy to sad.

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The Characters

Okay, the ending of the trilogy means off with the bad guys and happily ever after for the good guys, right? But like I said it’s not the happiest of endings, and I think that is one of the reasons why it’s so perfect. It’s just so desperately broken after everything has happened that there is no way it could be a happy ending. What we do get? Some redeeming qualities and info about characters we hate, and unfortunate happenings to those we love.

Mal was someone I just couldn’t stand through the second book, but was that Bardugo’s intention? There’s no way that anyone could believe that Mal was such a heart throb after all that went down in the second book. But I feel he redeems himself in this book. This is coming from someone who was constantly was messaging a friend that “MAL IS THE WORST”.

The Darkling is set up to be that bad boy we all secretly (and not so secretly) love. I know that I was holding out for him to be saved by Alina, and you know, I was really happy with what happens with his part of the story.

Nikolai. Oh, sweet Nikolai, can your book come any sooner please????? Everyone is ready for their favorite cinamon roll to grace us again.

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The Soundtrack

Banks – Alibi

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Obsidio

24909347Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

5_stars

After Heimdall is destroyed Kady, Ezra, Hannah, Nik and the remaining survivors/refugees are on their way to Kerenza, though they have no idea what to expect after the Beitech invasion and they have to deal with more than just a little bit of potential anarchy on board the Mao.

Back on Kerenza, Kady’s presumed dead cousin Asha is doing everything she can do to survive. That is until Rhys, her ex, shows up and works for none other than the company that has invaded her home.

As the crew’s path brings them closer to Kerenza Beitech is making their own moves and it is only a matter of time that their paths will converge and all hell breaks loose. Their combined efforts and maybe a little help from a computer is the only way that any of them are going to survive it all.

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The Story

You know how every moment through Illuminae and Gemina you thought, Oh, how is the team going to get out of this now? Enter book 3 of the series so that you officially wonder how are we going to live without any more of this crew in our lives now that it’s over? Kaufman and Kristoff works magic as they wrap up the story that follows this unlikely crew of kids that drive the rebellion against Beitech. While Gemina is still my favorite of the series, this book does a nice job of wrapping everything up, not necessarily nicely, because this is The Illuminae Files, and not everyone gets out of the war unscathed.

I think the most important part of this book is that it is not the major events that define a war, but all of the little things combined. And that it’s quite possible that someone who isn’t an adult can change the outcome. It’s the pebbles that cause the avalanche.

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The World Building

As much as I loved the first books, it was sort of nice to be off ship. There’s only so much you can get within documents portraying hallways and rooms on a massive ship or jump station. First of all, Kerenza made me think of Hoth in Star Wars. With the snowy planet also came all the lives of the survivors and the Beitech soldiers both that were residing on the planet. The culture of people as they go about their lives trying to not be x’d by Beitech but still trying to cause a rebellion that could turn the tide. The Beitech soldiers really just doing their jobs justifying their actions because they were attacking an illegal colony. All of this was expressed in our familiar docier format, with excerpts from Hannah’s beloved journal, with the addition to posters depicting secret messages to the rebels and tablet videos.

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The Characters

I am only going to talk about Asha and Rhys here. Can I just say they were a bit boring? I liked that their lives had a little bit more background, but their relationship wasn’t as heart throbbing as Kady & Ezra or Nik & Hannah. I sort of expected a little bit more of forbidden steamy reunion type of scenarios. Their relationship serves its purpose, I was just hoping for more. I do appreciate the conviction and drive of Asha. She proves to be another smart and tough cookie that should be feared.

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The Soundtrack

Radiohead – Idioteque

 

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Fire Falling

26047438Fire Falling (Air Awakens #2) by Elise Kova

5_stars

 

As Vhalla marches off to war she battles with her security of who she is while discovering more about her power and her place in the army.

 

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The Story

Holy Crap. If you’re looking for a cliffhanger, read this book. I don’t know how I am going on without knowing what happens next. Okay, I do, it’s because I have so many other reads to keep going at the moment, but I seriously can’t wait till I continue. First of all, I love Elise Kova, and I am going to be auto-buying her books from now on. I already really liked her, but I just need them all now.

So this book picks up pretty much where we left off on the first book, Vhalla is sentenced off to be in the army as punishments for what she did. What I loved about this book was that it wasn’t like Vhalla suddenly has a grasp on what is happening to her. She is still stumbling with what she is, controlling her magic, and dealing with the tenuous relationship/friendship she has with the crown prince. So the book is sort of romance driven, sort of driven by her self discovery/learning, and by the increasing presence of a war she will encounter.

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World Building

I think we got a decent idea of what the world was like in the first book. What this book introduced was a little more action with the magic. I loved how Kova describes the physical actions mixed in with the magical skills that each character wields. It created a diverse range of abilities as well as a creative way to differentiate them all. I especially loved Aldrik’s “killing move” so to speak that is exposed. I thought it incredibly clever to use a fire capability that way as opposed to just shooting fire balls in a PvP fighting game or something.

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The Characters

Vhalla and Aldrik have this almost obsessive relationship. I understand the boundaries that they have, but seriously, Aldrik you’re torturing us, just communicate a little better why don’t you? For someone who’s life is directly linked to, you would think that he would express himself a little better? No not really, which, honestly, after what we see of his personality in the first book I am not exactly surprised. But there are times when I seriously feel bad for Vhalla, and just wish she would fall for someone else. Would a love triangle completely ruin this book? I’m sure Kova would be able to master that either way.

There are a lot of other great characters in this book, but I won’t really get into that because I would probably start spoiling because of what I like about them. I will say that Vhalla really is incredibly lucky throughout the book because of who she has supporting her. She may feel alone or isolated, but she really isn’t and her growth through her friendships is really beautiful.

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The Soundtrack

Third Eye Blind – How’s it Going to Be

 

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Caraval

27883214Caraval ( Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber

5_stars

 “She knew she could walk away, but she’d spent enough of her life fearing the risks that accompanied the things she wanted most. “

Scarlett’s life has left her in a protective position over her little sister from their horrible father. When presented with the opportunity to finally go to the elusive Caraval she is hesitant to go, afraid of the consequences of a run away trip. That is until she finds herself thrust into the life changing Caraval despite her reservations. She is told it is just a game, but the lines between reality and fantasy blur. As she frantically spends her time trying to find her sister, who has been kidnapped as part of the game, she learns more about herself than she has ever before.

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The Story

Caraval was a whirlwind of metaphors, similes, and a story of love and endearing loyalty. I spent the first half of the book cringing at every comparison that Garber gave in the book. Somewhere at the halfway point, she either stopped dramatically emphasizing on the poetic writing, or I was so immersed into the story or dulled to the writing by then to notice. Here’s what I believe though. You’re meant to initially be swept away by the magical world of Caraval and slowly become bitter towards it, no longer seeing the glamour it held. If that’s true, then bravo, because it worked on me. As soon as Scarlett began to really get frustrated with Caraval and all the game really offered to the players was probably when I started noticing the lack of constant metaphors. Honestly though, I have now read this book twice and the second time around I really just accepted the magical way the story was written and paced.

The romance of the story seems so rushed, considering that it happens over just a few nights. Nights that didn’t actually have too much interaction between Scarlet and her love interest. So if you dive into this, don’t expect instant love, but shortly there after.

The World Building

The world building was spectacular as I found myself falling through a rabbit hole into a brand new wonderland where anything is possible. A world where you bargained with secrets. And what happens in Caraval, may very well stay in Caraval, but the experience and your decisions will haunt you for the rest of your life, whether good or bad.

The Characters

The first part of the book, I almost quit because I was very annoyed with Scarlett as a character. I was very happy to see her get a little bit of spine and come around by the end. In fact her character ARC isn’t that drastic but I could really appreciate how she became aware of what she wanted and desired rather than what she thought was best for her and/or her sister.

The Soundtrack

Daya – Legendary

Sky in the Deep

34726469Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Publish Date: 4/24/2018
ARC received from Netgalley for a fair review.

5_stars

Every 5 years the Aska clan battles with the Riki clan. It is because of this that Eelyn has trained as a warrior. In her first season she sees her brother, Iri, die. In her second, she sees him again, except on the other clans side. Caught off guard by the sight she finds herself captured by the Riki, and the only thing keeping her alive is her traitorous brother. As a captive she learns much more about herself, her brother and the war that has plagued the clans for centuries.

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The Story

I loved this book so much I finished it in less than a day. The pacing in the book flows with consistent action scenes that leave you anxious for your hero’s survival. It starts with a battle and ends with a battle. When I was reading I also didn’t feel like it was the same fight over and over, each one felt like a unique sequence that offered a stimulating scene. Not only were the fighting scenes descriptive but they felt realistic. The characters had limitations with their own strengths and bodily functions as far as their injuries went. Characters didn’t emerge from fights completely unscathed and had somewhat realistic recovery time and scars.

Through all the fighting there was room for romance as well. If you’re into the hate-to-love trope then you will find it here, and in a way that lets the characters adapt to the romance. The attraction between the characters felt natural as they learned more about and spent time with each other. You guys, it was really sweet too, what the characters were willing to deal with and sacrifice for the other.

Trigger warnings: kidnapping, slavery, assault, some graphic violence

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The World Building

Young did a really good job of bringing the surrounding world to life while it was engrossed in death. Maybe it’s because I live in the PNW and I am surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges, but I could imagine the little villages and a winter too strong to travel through.

I loved the cultural aspects that were brought into the story to develop meaning to their lives. From the sacrifices to the miniature idols the characters are given more than just a brutal life of training to kill.

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The Characters

First of all I love Eeylin. This chick is a serious bad ass, without the actual need to tell use she’s a bad ass. The culture they are raised in develops her to be brave, but through the story we learn that it doesn’t make her a monster. I love that she has so many feelings despite everything. The desperation for her own life and survival as well as the willingness to die to save herself the shame of being a slave created such a bold character. I think my favorite part about her though was the love for her family. Not only for her father, and her fighting partner, but for her brother that though he seem to have betrayed her still holds a special place in her heart.

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The Soundtrack

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Heads Will Roll

 

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Red Winter

31829155Red Winter (Red Winter Trilogy #1) by Annette Marie

5_stars

 “Actions change our course, influence our futures, but intentions define us, empower us. Without intent, we are nothing.”

Ten years ago Emi was marked by Amaterasu to be the vessel as her human host to inhabit. Since then she has been preparing her body and soul for the moment that the kami will join with her. One day she finds out a secret that unravels everything she was led to believe. With the help of her natural enemy, a yokai, she decide to get the truth about the impending ritual and what it means for her life.

The Story

Guys this was so good. At first I was a little skeptical. I originally started this because Sana & Tweebs were all gaga for this book, but my initial reaction was this is pretty good…but boring. My dear friend Amanda got the book though, and she’s a ridiculously fast reader and blasted through the series and insisted I continued on. I trusted her enough to do it and thank fully I did. Seriously, I was enraptured by the world building and visual aids in the book, but nothing really happens till 75 pages into the book. From that point on it was rather exciting as Emi discovered more about herself and what it means to be a kamigakari. I don’t want to give away too much about this book but let me just say that if you are a fan of manga/anime that involves yokai, then you need to read this book. Seriously, the Inuyasha  and Kamisama Hajimemashita vibes are strong, but not in a rip-off sort of way.

Kagome Higurashi GIF

I don’t normally say this, but I ship the characters SO hard even though the romance is very minimal. The story itself focuses mostly around Emi and her inner struggle as she ultimately decides if what she has been working for her entire life is worth the sacrifice. In the midst of her self discovery, she makes some new…allies and together they uncover a secret that connects them in ways they didn’t imagine.

The World Building

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So a lot of you probably don’t know this about me. But I am what one might consider a Japanophile. I am a big fan of anime/manga (though haven’t really kept up recently). I studied Japanese and spent a few months over there studying culture. In fact, it’s been exactly 5 years since I went, and I miss it dearly. (Clearly this is a picture of me getting to wear a traditional kimono while I was there)

Anyway, what I am trying to say is that I really  enjoyed the Japanese infusion in these books. There are so many cultural aspects that are accurately (at least to my knowledge) used here, and only a great deal of research or knowledge could have brought this all together. As a fan, I greatly appreciated it all. Again, if you are someone who is a fan of manga/anime surrounding yokai, you will probably really get a kick out of this.

For those on the less obsessive scale, the book provides a glossary in the back with not only help pronouncing the (real) Japanese words, but also with definitions for them. On top of that the writing was so visually stunning, while I was reading I almost wanted to close my eyes in escape into my memories of my visits to the shrines.

One of the extra awesome parts of this book were the visual aids. The book has beautiful pictures!

read beauty and the beast GIF

Art is provided by Brittany Jackson and she is super talented. The book isn’t overrun by the pictures. It really just adds the extra dash of pizzazz to the book and it is just extra special for it.

The Characters

This has some of my favorite things. I mean, strong female character paired with a snarky kitsune? Be still my beating heart! I. JUST. CANT. I love them so much.

Emi-She’s so sweet and innocent at the beginning and I was like, look at this little prim and proper princess, live a little. Boy, does she live a little. I mean, she doesn’t go all buck wild..but she might as well have all things considering. Her responses to some of her first experiences are so cute, like not knowing how to hold a freaking hamburger (Just for your reading sake, I am say that as “ham bah gah” like I would if I was speaking Japanese and I am giggling to myself as I write this). Anyway, despite her lack of her experience in life she is so eager to be more than just a vassal, and I love her for admitting to herself that she didn’t even have a personality because of her preparation. Like yay, you’re special without having to be some amazing snow-flake. What’s so great about her though? She’s compassionate to her enemies and brave and tough despite her lack of fighting experience.

Shiro- You know how people have got it bad for sparkling vampires, werewolves, fae of the night court? Well I have it bad for kitsune. I blame the manga/anime Kamisama Hajimemashita . (excuse me if I disappear to binge watch it all over again)

Manga GIF

Shiro is so cute with in his vulnerable state with his lack of power (and multiple wounds, poor guy!) I loved how much he intentionally just wanted to get on Emi’s nerves by saying things to make her blush. He may be sneaky, but he is still loyal to a fault and very protective. I just adore him.

I love Yumei too, but let me just say I am a sucker for those fox ears. I can’t wait to see what this Miko and her yokai friends get into in the next book!

Soundtrack

宇野実彩子 – どうして恋してこんな  (Misako Uno – Doushite Koi Shite Konna)

 

 

scrill sig