Review: Imagine Me (Shatter Me #6) by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Imagine Me
Author:  Tahareh Mafi
Publisher/Year:  HarperCollins Publishing 3/31/20
Length:  260 Pages
Series:  Shatter Me #6

Overview

Juliette Ferrars. Ella Sommers. Which is the truth and which is the lie?

Now that Ella knows who Juliette is and what she was created for, things have only become more complicated. As she struggles to understand the past that haunts her and looks to a future more uncertain than ever, the lines between right and wrong—between Ella and Juliette—blur. And with old enemies looming, her destiny may not be her own to control.

The day of reckoning for the Reestablishment is coming. But she may not get to choose what side she fights on.

My Thoughts

You know, it’s kind of weird thinking that we’ve come to the end of this series – all signs point to that being the case, although i’m sure there are spin-offs that we could get just like we had so much with Kenji, but that’s to be determined i guess. Anyhow, what i thought was a trilogy all those years ago has extended through so many additional installments and the journey that we’ve gone on with these characters has been so intense and complex that as a reader, i’ve had no choice but to dive in head first and see what happens next.

In this sixth book, we are with all of our loved characters, but in a form that’s not the same as previous books. We know that Anderson has a need for Ella/Juliette as a new host to Emmaline since she’s in a body that’s not strong enough for her and is dying, and the goal was always to put her into Ella’s body. Ella however is stronger than anyone ever expected, so even with the attempts for Emmeline to take over her body as a new host, we see a continued need to fight back. We come into this story with Ella in a destructive outburst all caused by her sister transferring powers to her and warner trying his best to keep her alive. While that’s happening, we see Kenji and Nazeerah explode at each other because of the confusion of their feelings for one another as well as their completely opposite views on everything.

If that’s a foreshadow for what we will see in this story – then it’s spot on. The journey that we go on in this final installment is wrought with fear, death, destruction, a loss of hope and a confusion on who is truly on what side.

We know that some of the Supreme kids have been taken hostage by Anderson and the parents, and the hope is that they can be retrieved safely, assuming that they are on the right side of things. At the same time there’s the need to protect the Sanctuary and all the kids that we know are on the right side of the right. All the while, trying to piece together what the future looks like. Warner and Ella were ina. great place, with an accepted proposal, and yet that’s torn from them quickly.

The way that this story is written, we spend a lot of time back in Oceania where Anderson has Ella and they have managed to begin the transfer, turning her into a devoted super soldier who only listens to what he demands of her. Knowing how strong Ella is though, we know that she’s not likely to go down without a fight and stop questioning things, and that’s exactly what happens. She’s confused to how she feels about Anderson now, she’s hearing voices in her head that she can’t quite put her finger on the origin, and she continues to have her own thoughts about things which contradicts all that she was expected to be able to do and yet completely on par with the Ella that we know.

We find ourselves at a cross road where Castle has to find a purpose in this new world, where Warner has to go find Ella since he’s not complete without her, where Kenji can’t let his best friend wither and die, where James is now without Adam and where Adam betrayed everyone. It’s a mess that’s not uncommon compared to what we’ve seen in prior books but still one that is far more complex than we’ve seen as well.

The questions that we’re forced to ask is whether there’s hope, whether there’s any chance that someone who was on the wrong side could be on the right side and help. Whether there’s any chance that the life and relationships that we’ve been fighting for over all these books can be something left standing at the end. I know that i’m not alone in praying for a happy ending, but i think that the ending that we get is not going to be the one that anyone was expecting. There’s no way for everyone to turn out the right side up and it’ll have to be some semblance of that to get us through this series. I don’t know how our amazing author does it, but she’s managed to give us one of the most dynamic stories of what the world could be all while giving us something to hold onto for the sake of love and friendship. So on that note, i’m sad to potentially be done with this series but i think you guys need to read it all….that is if you haven’t already. Enjoy!

Review: Reveal Me (Shatter Me #5.5) by Tahereh Mafi

TitleReveal Me
Author:  Tahereh Mafi
Publisher/Year:  HarperCollins Publishing 10/8/19
Length:  68 Pages
Series:  Shatter Me #5.5

Overview

This fourth companion novella to Tahereh Mafi’s New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series is narrated by fan favorite character Kenji Kishimoto!

The explosive revelations in Defy Me have left readers reeling and desperate for answers. This fourth and final novella in the series will bring readers back to the world of the Shatter Me before the final novel installment hits shelves in winter 2020.

My Thoughts

The summary here doesn’t do anything for the story – you really have no idea what it is that we’re going to walk into, especially knowing that we were left with some INSANE revelations in the last book. Whatever it was that they thought they knew about each other, about the Resistance, about what it was that Anderson had tried to do, well the story is far more complex. Adam and James are pawns just like Ella and Emmaline are. Warner is caught in the middle again as are everyone else and it’s a mess.

As you’ll remember, they had safely made it across the country to Castle’s daughters complex. A place that no one knew existed because no one knew she existed and it’s a sanctuary to recoup and figure out what the next move will be. Told from Kenji’s point of view, we see how this will play out.

Remember that he was drugged and kidnapped by Nazeera (who could still be playing both sides) and then his plane is shot down by the Resistance to get him to safety. All part of a plan that he wasn’t informed about.

The biggest thing here is that you know that Kenji is driven by emotions and that’s part of his powers. He’s able to put others at ease, but what happens too is that he’s doing that by not letting his emotions take hold of him. We haven’t seen what would happen if he can’t control that and there are moments in this novella that we come close.

Because Kenji is so invested in his friendships, in his relationships, he’s the one that takes the latest rounds of information the hardest. Adam and James didn’t come with them from Omega Point and that can’t bode well for their futures because we learned who their father is and that makes things dicier. Kenji’s emotions bottle up and then explode when he learns of their fate and that takes the story on a fast turn of anger, fear and distrust.

Add to that the feelings that he had for Nazeera at one point, and the fact that he doesn’t know what her motivations are. This turns quickly into a love / hate relationship and while i would love nothing more than to see them together, we don’t yet know what’s possible.

When things seem like they can’t get worse – they’re in hiding from Anderson (shocker – he’s not dead), Adam and James are in limbo. No one knows who to trust, what their futures will hold and who’s going to be able to save them. Juilliete and Warner are finally in a good place but will that last? Will anyone find happiness and what will the world look like when this all comes to a head.

The last scene is an intense one brought to us via screams from the sanctuary, the world changing physical structure and form, the sun becoming something that no one understands, and Julliette on her knees screaming her sisters name. All of this begging for questions to be asked on what’s to come next, and now we have to wait a few months to see how this plays out. I don’t know if i can be patient but i guess i have no choice. Enjoy!

Review: Five Dark Fates (Three Dark Crowns #4) by Kendare Blake

Title: Five Dark Fates
Author:  Kendare Blake
Publisher/Year:  HarperCollins Publishing 9/3/19
Length:  331 Pages
Series:  Three Dark Crowns #4

Overview

In the final book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns series, an all-out war is brewing—one that will pit sister against sister and dead against undead.

After the grim confrontation with Queen Katharine, the rebellion lies in tatters. Jules’s legion curse has been unbound, and it is up to Arsinoe to find a cure, even as the responsibility of stopping the ravaging mist lies heavy on her shoulders, and her shoulders alone. Mirabella has disappeared.

Katharine’s reign remains intact—for now. When Mirabella arrives, seemingly under a banner of truce, Katharine begins to yearn for the closeness that Mirabella and Arsinoe share. But as the two circle each other, the dead queens hiss caution—Mirabella is not to be trusted.

In this conclusion to the Three Dark Crowns series, three sisters will rise to fight as the secrets of Fennbirn’s history are laid bare. Allegiances will shift. Bonds will be tested. But the fate of the island lies in the hands of its queens. It always has.

My Thoughts

Even though it’s been quite some time since book 3 came out until now, and even though i’ve read quite a few things in between, the moment i started reading this fourth installment, i felt that we were right back where we had left off.

Things on the island are a mess, Katherine is still the Undead Queen, and Jules is still dealing with the ramifications of the Legion Curse that’s been released with the murder of her mother. Mirabella and Arsinoe are stuck in the middle of things once again as they have to pick sides while remaining true to themselves.

Add to all this, the fact that Peityr is still unconscious and no one knows how to wake him, especially as Katherine is the only one who knows what’s caused him to sleep.

The questions in this book overpower the answers and I can honestly say that I didn’t know how this story was going to play out. One thing for sure – we were going to lose many many characters here in this finale. There’s no doubt in my mind that many mains will die, and where that leaves the island will be anyone’s guess.

The Mist continues to be a power that no one can beat. Mirabella is the only one who’s been able to push it back, to keep it from killing more – but the assumption is that it’s because she’s the strongest elemental. There’s a theory that they need to kill her in order for the mist to go away – but that’s a price that no one truly wants to pay. (or do they).

The Rebellion being led by Jules shows us that the Legion Queen perhaps has more power than the triplet queens and that scares people. When we get about 2/3 into the story – we learn some of the origin story of the queens since the first queens weren’t included in the history that everyone learned and there’s an interesting twist there. Of course though, resulting in a death.

We know that the only way this story will end is after a war happens – laying out a new future for the island. The war finds itself at the gates of The Volroy, being fought by everyone including the undead, and it’s so intense that the mist wants in on it as well.

Friendships are created, torn apart, and the same goes for relationships (loving and otherwise). We see some of the chemistry that has played out in this series so far, and we see surprises of people who put their loyalties in new places. The outcome of those twists make this story even more exciting.

Betrayal, Trust, Love, Hate, Fear, Secrecy, Competition. All very deep themes of this series and they all play out in a strong way in this final book 4. I’m a bit sad to see this journey end, but i think that we were given what we needed to see the closure happen for whomever is left. Enjoy!

Review: Defy Me (Shatter Me #5) by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Defy Me
Author:  Tahereh Mafi
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins 4/2/19
Length:   352 Pages
Series:  Shatter Me #5

Overview

Juliette and Warner’s story continues in the thrilling fifth installment of Tahereh Mafi’s New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series.

Juliette Ferrars isn’t who she thinks she is.

Still reeling from the explosive events of the Continental Symposium and the secrets Warner has been keeping, Juliette has nowhere to turn and doesn’t know who she can trust. 

She’s desperate for answers, but to get them, she’ll have to face the nightmares that have been chasing her for a lifetime.

My Thoughts

WOW. honestly, let’s just start by saying WOW. Where we have gone in this 5th full length installment is a place of insanity, intrigue, lies, questionable trust, fear, love even. All of that in this compact story!

Nothing is what it seems – what happened at the symposium didn’t happen, or perhaps didn’t happen as everyone ‘saw’ it and that was done for a purpose. To make people question the stability and sanity of Juliette and to cast doubt on everything that she’s been trying to put into place. Add to that, Warner and Juliette go missing – kidnapped and it’s a race against the clock to find them.

We spend the beginning of this story still seeing relationships at a turning point. Juliette and Warner are not in a good place and while you can still feel the magnetism that pulls them together, there’s so much anger that they are pushed further and further apart. Juliette is back in a shell of her own making because of actions that were made from Warners’ direction and that scares a lot of people.

Then there’s Kenji and Nazeera – the couple that won’t admit that they are attracted to each other. It’s so nice that we can continue to see how Kenji develops following his novella. the sweet human side that we saw is really the same Kenji that we get here. Seeing how he’s not able to be tough anymore around Nazeera and how shes’ maybe willing to take a leap of faith with him, that’s makes for a great few chapters.

On top of all that relationship stuff, the way that our amazing author wrote this story is even more complex and engaging than the others. We’re used to seeing chapters change from people’s POVs but in this story we’re not only alternating who’s telling us the story, but we vary in the time that things are happening. There are memories that are coming back from when they were children, when all this started and this really lays the groundwork so that as the characters begin to see what’s been kept from them, we get to see it as well.

The key here is that there are far more friendships from childhood than anyone knew. They were friends, they were safe places, they were reasons to keep living, and yet those same reasons for crying.

When Juliette realizes that she’s an experiment, that her sister is one as well ,all that the hands of Warner’s father, and her parents – things begin to spin. FAST. Juliette is really Ella, and her sister Emmaline is the one who’s in worse shape. The girls used to be best friends with Nazeera back when they were 5 years old, and when Ella was taken from her family, Warner was there to witness it all. Even Adam had a role in this as Warner’s father kept tabs on him and pushed him into the role that he had in Ella/Juliette’s life.

This story is an insane roller coaster. People that we thought died didn’t. People that we thought were killed in past books maybe aren’t dead. People that want to die save the lives of many, and people that we love get hurt.

Omega Point isn’t safe anymore, Sector 45 isn’t safe so they are left scrambling for another place to live while everyone hatches a plan to find Warner and Juliette/Ella before it’s too late. And once they find them, depending on the shape they are in, figure out what moves to make from there.

We’re constantly debating who to trust – the Supreme Commanders’ children aren’t to be trusted, or are they? The Unnaturals (those that have special powers) find that there’s an interesting link there, and that they were all destined for a different life at the hands of someone that’s become important. Castle still knows more than he shares but never opens his mouth. Nazeera is a true wild card and continues to make us question every single thing she does, especially when ghosts pop up.

Where we are left at the end of this installment is even more uncertain. We have moments to think there may be hope for the future, but at the same time, we see that there are still so many powerful forces against them, with money and weaponry to beat them that it seems bleak. Is Ella strong enough to take control, will she and Warner reconcile? Will Castle finally share all that he knows? Will we ever get to the bottom of what the Reestablishment stands for and what can be done to bring them down? SOOO many questions and far far too long until we get the next installment to get answers. Enjoy!

Review: The Shores Beyond Time (Chronicles of the Dark Star #3) by Kevin Emerson

Title: The Shores Beyond Time
Author:  Kevin Emerson
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins 2/12/19
Length:   512 Pages
Series:  Chronicle of the Dark Star #3

Overview

It is Earth year 2256—but the fate of the few who even remember Earth is perilously in doubt. Mina Saunders-Chang and many of the surviving humans are stranded in the Centauri system, having barely survived their confrontation with the Telphon refugees. Now everyone—human and Telphon alike—is caught in the blast zone of the Centauri supernova. And yet there’s only one question Mina is asking:

Where are Liam and Phoebe?

Having barely made it through the battle at the Centauri system with their lives, Liam and Phoebe awake on a mysterious ship in the middle of a dead universe. The ship bears the markings of a human starliner that disappeared decades ago—but even more disturbing than that is the massive alien machine floating in the starless space before them.

A machine long abandoned but now showing signs of life. A machine that has begun speaking to Liam in a voice only he can hear. . . .

My Thoughts

I honestly have no idea how our author came up with most of the stuff in this story! We are on such a roller coaster with things constantly changing, evolving. New characters being introduced, and alliances built and broken. We begin to question whether we know WHO we’re talking to, WHEN they are talking and what’s going to happen.

It’s hard to believe and often so hard to remember that Liam and Phoebe are so young. Ten i believe when we started this journey with them. I know that they’ve theoretically aged decades throughout this series, but still, being in stasis wouldn’t give them the maturity that they exhibit throughout.

When we left this story at the end of book 2, we are teased with the notion that Dark Star is connected to the humans, to the Artemis somehow, and that’s scarier than the cliff hanger that we were left at the end of book one, realizing that Pheobe wasn’t who she said she was.

So we spend much of this installment in Dark Star, whatever that is, and trying to get a sense of what this place is, what the motivation is, and what’s caused the Supernovas to happen. What’s the end game.

As expected, we are taken on an insane ride – because it seems like the Captain has more information about things than he’ll let on, and that was teased during the prologue chapter that he was featured in back on Earth. The fact that he wasn’t going to abide by the social norms, and the expectations of those in his class, well, it means that he can’t be trusted.

The chronologist plays a key role here as well – at least one of the chronologists – the one who seems to have befriended this duo. He’s given them insight into things, broken a few rules and norms where it was necessary, however the twist that we learn at the end blows the roof off of everything that we thought we had read throughout the other installments.

Dark Star is something that I could never have imagined, and something that I would fear immensely. AI is something that’s on the technological horizon (even in the now), but this is something entirely different. Building a colony, a place where millions could inhabit it, and that poses endless questions.

The nice thing about this third story too is that we’re reunited with family. We knew that there was so much disaster that had hit the streamliner, and the notion that Mina and Liam were able to stay connected and find each other again, and Liam was able to save their parents – we to see another perspective to things that’s also intense. The dynamic between Phoebe and her parents carried consistency from book 2. There’s still so much pain and hate, this need for revenge and the difficulty that her parents have with being happy with her bond with Liam. That bond proves to be even more substantial than anyone realized, and is something quite amazing.

There are so many social and philosophical undertones throughout this series that are so relevant any time you read this. How can cultures that are fundamentally different co-habitate, and should they do it? Is it even possible? How do we continue to question and seek knowledge, thinking that we have this hunger for more, but know when to stop pushing and let the future just happen? There are so many companies out there that are looking to give people eternity, to elevate knowledge and awareness and consciousness, and there’s a perspective in this story that makes you continue to question.

All in all, intense, amazing and i’m so happy that i found this series! Enjoy!

Review: The Oceans Between the Stars (Chronicle of the Dark Star #2) by Kevin Emerson

Title: The Oceans Between the Stars
Author:  Kevin Emerson
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins 1/8/19
Length:   432 Pages
Series:  Chronicle of the Dark Star #2

Overview

It is Earth year 2223, but the Earth, along with the entire solar system, is gone.

Liam and Phoebe, having barely escaped our exploding sun with their lives, are in stasis for the decade-long journey to the rogue planet Delphi, where they hope to meet up with the rest of the human refugees, find help for their injured parents, and pass along the devastating things they discovered on Mars: that someone destroyed their world intentionally, and that that someone might still be after them, trying to finish the job.

Phoebe is carrying her own dark secret. One that finds her waking up secretly at various points in their journey, changing their path through space. One that will decide the fate of the human race, and many more besides. One that, very soon, she must reveal to Liam, whether he’s ready for the truth or not.

My Thoughts

This story keeps taking us on interesting twists and turns, showing us beings that we never knew existed but assumed were out there, links between names, times and planets etc. and each time we think that Liam and Phoebe are safe, BOOM something happens.

When we left off at the end of the first book, we were on the path to getting out of the way of the supernova, and plotting a course that would get these two to meet up with the starliner when they docked at the next waystation. Phoebe of course has her own plans and we don’t even truly know the motivation, even after we learned her secret that was teased at the cliff hanger from book 1.

The overarching trend that we see in this installment is of time jumping, making choices without knowing the outcome, trust and hope. They are faced each chapter with one of these and the outcome of each decision will have major impacts to the rest of the story.

We learn that the chronologist is truly on the side of humanity, and she shows up at key moments to save Liam and Phoebe when hope seems lost. While she lives in 4 dimensions whereas we are in three, she doesn’t have all the information and the interesting aspect is that she’s ok with that, and with the knowledge that she has and seems to have no fear. (most humans would NOT be like that)

We spend much of the story trying to determine if Phoebe is trustworthy. Once we learn that she’s not ‘human’ and that she knows the people who are chasing/attacking them and the starliners, we have to question every thought, word and action that she does to see if there’s some twisted and evil motive/motivation. JEFF, the bot that has been keeping them alive is truly skeptical, especially once he realizes that she’s the cause to their delays and that makes this story even more complex.

Add to that, we still don’t know why the Drove are infecting the stars so that they go supernova faster than ever before and what their end game is. The Drove mention the need to go back to the Dark Star, and that’s an interesting reference that we get at the end of this book – from people that we don’t expect to reference it at all!

There are little easter eggs that are dropped throughout this story. we are reminded that the first Starliner that was built (Artemis) was lost thirty years ago, yet by going through some type of time warp, Liam and Phoebe find it. We also learn that Aaru-5, the planet that the humans are going to colonize is Telos, the same planet that Phoebe is from, and the Rain of Ana was part of something bigger and far worse.

So…All in all we’ve gotten so many answers to questions that came up from the first book but then there are even more that are raised as we go into the final book of the trilogy. We still have no idea if families will be reunited, if Phoebe is on the same side as Liam or her ‘people’. If there’s even a planet to get to when this is all said and done, and when everyone will die (since it seems like the chronologist knows exactly when this will happen).

I’m excited to read on and see how this all ends – i hope you guys enjoy !

Review: War Storm (Red Queen #4) by Victoria Aveyard

Title: War Storm
Author:  Victoria Aveyard
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins Publishing 5/15/18
Length:   546 Pages
Series:  Red Queen #4

Overview

VICTORY COMES AT A PRICE.

Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all . . . starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolish everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power . . . for all will be tested, but not all will survive.

My Thoughts

I started this book when it first came out in May and for some reason i was stuck in the first 50 pages….having the hardest time ever getting into it.  I think that part of it was due to it being so long since the previous installment came out and partly because to be honest, the first few chapters were slow moving.  I’m not one to ever let a book beat me though, so for the last few days, i’ve hunkered down and read it.  Let’s just say that by page 100, i was sucked back into this book like i have been with all the others and i’m both really happy with how it turned out and really upset.

We pick back up into this story at a time where Mare is still living the same predicament as always, loving Cal but not being able to be with him, having this interesting love hate thing with Maven, and really just wanting to find a way for everyone to live together happily.  It’s a pipe dream and there’s too much at stake for everyone if that happens.

what i’ve come to really enjoy about this series, and this final installment especially is the fact that it’s the women, the Queens who are truly powerful here.  i’m not going to get on a soapbox and start talking about how women should have more power, but Iris (Maven’s wife), Eve (Cal’s betrothed), Anabel (Cal’s grandmother), Mare, Farley…the list goes on and on…well, they are the one who call the shots – they manipulate, sure, but they are decisive and emotional and powerful and it’s amazing.

There are so many social causes here in this story too – it’s not just about growing into your role in life, creating the world in what you want it to be, realizing that you perhaps see things differently than your parents (which is the theme of all of these types of books when we see our main characters taking their own stance in life).  But in this story, we see counties dividing, fighting and looking to conquer one another for no reason aside from the feeling that they need to.  When in reality, they are all after a similar cause – to have something for their family to be proud of, to have equality, to have a better quality of life.  to love and cherish whomever you want.  family or friends or otherwise.  Yet, it takes 4 books, 500 pages a piece for these characters to come to that conclusion.

It’s sad though, there are so many characters that we continued to invest ourselves in throughout this series, and sadly many of them do not make it to the end.  Brothers die, friends are killed, people are manipulated to their own demise, and what should be a happy ending isn’t.  Even where the epilogue leaves us isn’t a happy ending.  it’s a statement – sure.  one that is meant to take you in one direction or another, but it’s not the ending that i know that i wanted and i’m sure that a lot of others wanted as well.

Questions becomes, does love conquer all?  is love strong enough?  is hope for change real and is there a way to change what was once destroyed?  i guess you have to read to find out and then maybe someone can let me know what they think too.  Now i’m off to find something else to read – and maybe cross my fingers that Ms Aveyard will write another novella in this series so that we can get more!  Enjoy!

Review: Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7) by Sarah J Maas

Title: Kingdom of Ash
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher/Year:  Bloomsbury USA 10/23/18
Length:   860 Page
Series:  Throne of Glass #7

Overview

Aelin has risked everything to save her people-but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day…

With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation-and a better world.

And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen-before she is lost to him forever.

As the threads of fate weave together at last, all must fight, if they are to have a chance at a future. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever in the explosive final chapter of the Throne of Glass series.

My Thoguhts

OH. MY. GOODNESS!  what we have here is a finale to end all finales!  a perfect culmination of a series that has been so amazingly written, picturesque, detailed, full of emotion, tension, twists and turns.  And i’m actually ok with it being over because i don’t know how we could continued.

Like the summary says, we start off this final installment with Aelin being trapped in iron bonds – which suck the power out of her while she’s tortured by Maeve and Cairn.  Aelin proves to be stronger than anyone imagined, surviving through all that they do to her and never revealing where the wordkeys are.  She wavers though between hope and resigning herself to death because no one knows who is going to find whom and what that means for Terrassen and survival.

At the same time we have Rowan, Gavriel, and Lorcan all trying to find Aelin but also rally allies to fight Erawan and Maeve (and the Valgs).  we spend much of this book wondering if they will make any progress either way and succeed.

Parallel yet some more to that is the Dorian and Manon piece of things.  Manon and the Thirteen are no longer part of their clan, they’ve been exiled because of several reasons if you recall, and they are now in search of the Crochans – who are supposed to be mortal (or immortal) enemies, but whom Manon also should be their queen.  The alliance with the witches and Dorian is an interesting one, however we did see that there was a bond between Manon and Dorian in the last book, so it’s definitely fun / intriguing to see where that goes.  There’s a humbling factor in this story line with Manon and she needs to find a way to temper her personality and humble herself in order to win over the Crochans for their support and numbers.  There are strong personalities in both clans that makes for some combative interactions.

And lastly, there’s the mix of Aedion, Lysandra, the Khaganate and everyone else.  They are defending Orynth, the land of Terrassen itself, and they are both the final battle and the ongoing front line for everything.  If they fail, then the land is lost, but it’s an impossible task because while they are skilled, they don’t have the numbers and the powers that the Valg do.

So much of this story is comprised of parallel story plot lines – all converging at the final battle.  While we hope and wish for a happy ending, there’s no chance that everyone that we have come to love will make it in the end, and the sacrifices that are made really resonate.  With the exception of one death, i think that all had been validated and feel as though they were worthwhile, but one still hits me the wrong way.

I don’t know how our author Ms Maas does it.  To read this story and see the vivid picture in my mind of every interaction, character, scene, battle – it’s amazing.  There are so many details that could have been written any other way and still told the story – but the picture that’s been painted here is so thorough and complex that i’m in awe.

When i started this series, i was pulled in because of the underlying story here – of a girl who was trying to find her identity after being in limbo her whole life after her family was murdered.  She’s led into the light by a prince who has been under the thumb of a controlling family – and both ultimately want the same thing -freedom.  When that’s taken from them, from the world even through a race from a different world, well, they are forced to partner in an entirely new way to get that freedom.

They encountered so much adversity, so many different types of beings, and yet when there’s one common goal to pull people together, we see that maybe there can be hope.  Even when people deceive them, when they lie and trick and just all around are not honest.  Partnership, fighting for a common goal, against a common enemy shows how strong you can be and how perhaps there’s reason to partner instead of fight.

We’re left in a place with a full resolution of things that have happened throughout this series – and while not entirely happy or as expected, things have been laid out in a way that does everyone justice.  I hope you guys read this one, and if you haven’t started this series PLEASE DO!

 

Review: Wildcard (Warcross #2) by Marie Lu

Title: Wildcard
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Publishing 9/18/18
Length:   290 Page
Series:  Warcross #2

Overview

Overview

Wildcard (Warcross Series #2) by Marie Lu

An Instant New York Times Bestseller!

Return to the immersive, action-packed world of Warcross in this thrilling sequel from #1 New York Timesbestselling author Marie Lu

Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?

My Thoughts

OH MY GOODNESS.  that’s literally all i can say after reading this finale to the story.  I’ve always loved how Ms Lu has this ability to twist a story in so many unexpected directions, and this 2nd book of the Warcross saga does not disappoint.  It’s intense, it’s heated, you learn so many things that are completely unexpected and you want to hope for a happy ending.  yet you knwo that there’s no way that it can happen.

As you will recall, we were left at the point in the story when Em’s life was completely turned upside down just as everyone else in the worlds was too – once the new lenses that were shipped around the world for the NeuroLink synced everyone to Hideo’s system.  He used Em’s desire to make the world better and to be a good bounty hunter against her, and she played right into his hands.

Much of the world is now under the control of the link.  they are forced to be honest, forced out of crime, forced out of anything negative all because Hideo needs to find out what happened to his brother all those years ago.

She’s so good at what she does though that she gets sucked into the world and life that Zero had created, partially because of curiosity sure, but partially because she was forced.  He sent protection after her and that then turned into Em being forced into an organization known as the Blackcoats.  The group that it seems Zero is leading.  It’s also when Em makes the connection that Zero and Sasuke (Hideo’s brother) are one and the same, and then the story gets even more complicated.

All of this kick starts a roller coaster of a story.  Zero and the Blackcoats are not at all what they seem, and the girl who’s been protecting EM, a girl named Jax must have more of a conscience than the others because she reveals the back story, the history and the future goals of the organization, probably because she knows more than anyone what this life can do to someone.  She also reveals some secrets that completely blow our minds.

Whatever you thought was real, it’s not.  Whatever you hoped was going to be the outcome – it’s not.  Those that you wanted to see together?  impossible.  so from that point on, mind blown.

What’s so nice about the way that our author writes the story though is that the same folks who were pivotal to the first book are absolutely part of this story.  There’s no way that we would have made any progress, shaped the future without the Phoenix Riders, and they are as much a part of Ems life as they are ours.  we get to see parts of their stories as well which not only makes us love them more, but makes us get them and understand the bond that they share together.

The other challenge here is that all you want as a reader is a way to humanize the bad guys in a story.  Zero, Hideo to name a few but also the Blackcoats, Henka..the list goes on.  Ms Lu somehow manages it, and gives us such unique paths for each, in such a creatively drawn, illustrative and colorful world.  I”m in awe of what i’ve read.

We’re given closure here in this 2nd book – we see how outcomes took shape along with the implications of the world around them with these changes.  it’s powerful and emotional and enjoyable all the same.  You really do have to check out this story, and read book 1 first if you haven’t because i can say for sure that this is one of my favorite books read to date and you all know that i’ve read a LOT.  ENJOY!

Review: Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns) by Kendare Blake

Title: Two Dark Reigns
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher/Year:  HarperCollins 9/4/18
Length:   329 Pages
Series:  Three Dark Crowns #3

Overview

Queen Katharine has waited her entire life to wear the crown. But now that she finally has it, the murmurs of dissent grow louder by the day. There’s also the alarming issue of whether or not her sisters are actually dead—or if they’re waiting in the wings to usurp the throne.

Mirabella and Arsinoe are alive, but in hiding on the mainland and dealing with a nightmare of their own: being visited repeatedly by a specter they think might be the fabled Blue Queen. Though she says nothing, her rotting, bony finger pointing out to sea is clear enough: return to Fennbirn.

Jules, too, is in a strange place—in disguise. And her only confidants, a war-gifted girl named Emilia and her oracle friend Mathilde, are urging her to take on a role she can’t imagine filling: a legion-cursed queen who will lead a rebel army to Katharine’s doorstep.

This is an uprising that the mysterious Blue Queen may have more to do with than anyone could have guessed—or expected.

My Thoughts

This story has truly taken us on a crazy journey and it’s one that’s not even close to being complete or clear.  We all knew that there was no good that could come out of Katherine being Queen, but the other sisters knew that they couldn’t not stay and they were not about to let themselves be killed for a history that they don’t believe anymore.

The third installment of the series brings us to a point in time where everything that everyone believed to be necessary wasn’t the case, that there are parts to their history that have been misrepresented, and as a result, the future for the queens is all a mess.

Katherine unfortunately has the position of being Queen at a time where she’s known to be the Undead Queen, and one who has little control over the people.  She tried replacing some folks on the Black Council in the hopes of looking stronger, making the right alliances and getting people to respect her.  Sadly for her, the dead queens inside her have a different plan, and we see how that really starts to play out throughout this story.

Then there are the other sisters, Mira and Arsinoe.  They fled with Billy to the mainland and somehow made it through the mist.  They’re trying to live life as they want, but i think that we can all agree that it would be far too easy.  Mira adapts a bit better since she’s always been one to play by the rules, but even she begins to see the shine come off of life there.  She’s not able to use her powers and that’s something that is hard for her since changing the weather was always something that calmed her.

Arsinoe on the other hand is a woman who will never conform and that just piles on the problems.  She wants to be with Billy and he with her, yet his family is not having it.  Arsinoe won’t wear dresses and she’s not of the right lineage so they continue to be pulled apart.  she feels like she has no purpose until she starts to be visited by a queen in her dreams.  What the message is though – no one truly knows.

What we do know is that it takes us back to the island, where we don’t just find Katherine trying to maintain the crown, but we find Jules, who is now dubbed the Legion Queen becoming the leader of the Rebellion.  There are pockets of people on the island who are with the rebellion and believe that Jules is the rightful leader.  The question from me of course is why is Jules so powerful?  is she perhaps a Blue Queen herself or is she perhaps of a unique parentage?

I had assumed that this story was a trilogy and when we were about 75% through, i wondered how our author Kendare Blake would wrap it all up.  Only to learn that nope – there’s more.  Anything that you thought was going to happen, did and perhaps did not, and we are left on a cliff.

Peityr wants to get the dead queens out of Katherine, but will that happen and if it does, what of Katherine will remain?  he takes the information from Madrigal, Jules’ mother to understand what Low Magic to use to get them out, but i think that there’s catastrophe looming.

Mira and Arsinoe seemed so close throughout this installment, but i’m forced to wonder if that’s sustainable now that they seem to have such different motivations.  Arsinoe is also hiding some key information that she’s learned from her visions and dreams and knowing that there is no good outcome from what she knows, i think we’re gearing up for something horrible

Jules seems to have lost her mind and it’s unclear if anyone will be able to help her gain control.  without a figurehead, will the Rebellion survive and overthrow?

so many questions and so few answers.  i can’t wait to see where the next book takes us since there will certainly be few happy endings and a lot more death and despair.  Enjoy!