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: Last Day on Mars (Chronicle of the Dark Star #1) by Kevin Emerson

Title: Last Day on Mars
Author:  Kevin Emerson
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins 1/9/18
Length:   352 Pages
Series:  Chronicle of the Dark Star #1

Overview

It is Earth year 2213—but, of course, there is no Earth anymore. Not since it was burned to a cinder by the sun, which has mysteriously begun the process of going supernova. The human race has fled to Mars, but this was only a temporary solution while we have prepared for a second trip: a one-hundred-fifty-year journey to a distant star, our best guess at where we might find a new home.

Liam Saunders-Chang is one of the last humans left on Mars. The son of two scientists who have been racing against time to create technology vital to humanity’s survival, Liam, along with his friend Phoebe, will be on the last starliner to depart before Mars, like Earth before it, is destroyed.

Or so he thinks. Because before this day is over, Liam and Phoebe will make a series of profound discoveries about the nature of time and space and find out that the human race is just one of many in our universe locked in a dangerous struggle for survival.

My Thoughts

There have been a few books/series that i’ve read in the recent past that have centered around Mars, or space, or the notion that Earth can’t be the only planet for anyone to live on for much longer as a result of many many events. (YES, we are all very familiar with global warming, the effects that we’re having on the planet, the increase in severe weather etc). Anyhow, this story takes us on an interesting journey where there is so much that is unknown and so much that is uncertain, but it’s also a time when unfortunately people can’t wait to be certain to make decisions.

We’re teased at the very beginning of this story – even before the actual chapters start, with the notion that there are obviously far more intelligent beings out there, and those beings are able to not only show off their superior intelligence, but they are able to time travel to see what will happen and perhaps set themselves up to either change or benefit from the future. What’s even more interesting here though, and not entirely unexpected, there are different groups of these other beings that are absolutely not on the same side, and it’s because of their actions that things are put into motion. Yet the ‘humans’ are not aware of any of this and are the ones who will be on the receiving end of it all.

So like the book summary said, we’re years in the future when Mars was colonized because Earth became nothing but a dried up desert that wasn’t able to sustain human life. Colonies were built and developed on Mars as a stopping point while researchers worked to find another suitable planet to relocate. The time on Mars isn’t a long one, perhaps 20 years or less, but luckily they’ve discovered another planet that seems like it could be ok, however they don’t have enough information on the geography, geology, etc of this planet to be sure. The luxury of time is against them as the sun is going supernova far faster than expected and off they go.

Liam and Phoebe become our main characters, our heroes perhaps but the focus of the story no less. They are teens who are among the last to go to the starliner – a ship that’s going to take the entire population of the planet to their new home. As teens often do, they don’t listen, during critical times especially and when there’s an early arrival of a solar flare store, they steal away with a friend to watch it and they end up seeing more than they bargained for. In the form of an interesting structure that’s not on maps, and was never disclosed to anyone.

That’s where this story takes it turn for drama. There’s no time to really find out what the structure is, yet there are so many questions. Liam’s parents, who are the key researchers with the task of ensuring that there’s the ability to create moisture and clouds to sustain life on the new planet, they don’t even know what this structure is and deem it his imagination. So no one knows what’s there and that means that the trouble that Liam and Phoebe got themselves into once is only just the beginning.

The story feels like it’s pace quickens here – the timeline to departure has to speed up because the solar flare storms are getting worse and are occurring faster. Research is not yet completed and there’s no time to do so. there are catastrophes and damage being done on Mars that no one understands why and where that leaves us is with the death of a few key people, the departure of the Starliner without Liam, Phoebe and their parents, and so many open questions.

Add to that, we encounter a pair of other beings that we think are human but are clearly not – who are working against the humans. Who have the intention to kill them all, and we don’t know who they really are and what their motivations are. Liam got a hold of a device that foreshadows death and harm, and these beings seem to trigger it, but Liam and Phoebe haven’t figured out exactly how to avoid all this.

When they almost reach safety, it’s ripped from their hands. When they almost have a chance at survival, it’s also pulled away. We are left with so many questions on what will happen, who’s behind what, who can be trusted etc. And the LAST bit of this story – the Epilogue makes your jaw drop because something is revealed. A tie that links back to the saboteurs is raised and everything that we thought we knew, likely isn’t real at all.

I can’t wait to get the second book since i’m honestly shocked by where we were left off, and i really want to see how this will end! Enjoy!

Review: Shadow Me (Shatter Me #4.5) by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Shadow Me
Author:  Tahereh Mafi
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins 3/5/19
Length:   55 Pages
Series:  Shatter Me #4.5

Overview

Juliette is still reeling from Warner’s betrayal, and Kenji is trying to balance his friendship with her with his responsibilities as a leader of the resistance against the Reestablishment. Things get even more interesting when an unexpected person from Omega Point’s past surfaces.

The ending of Restore Me left readers gasping, and this novella full of Kenji’s signature sass and big heart is the perfect story to tide fans over until Defy Me, the shocking fifth book in the Shatter Me series, hits shelves in April 2019.

My Thoughts

Every time we get a new installment, i’m reminded that it’s been a while since the previous one, and while I hate being in limbo and a bit fuzzy on details, I don’t quite have it in me to re-read everything to get fully back up to speed. So, in this novella, where we are is a bit out of sync in my mind but that’s ok. Ms Mafi does a fantastic job of grounding us in the moment in time where the world has completely turned itself upside down.

This time around we get a snippet about Kenji – what’s going on in his head personally and what he’s being left to clean up in reality. There’s always been this humor about him, the ability to make situations less dramatic, but what we find out here is that there’s even more drama and depth than we ever knew.

Juliette continues to be in such a precarious position, and Kenji takes so much of that weight on his own shoulders because he’s been closest to her for the longest time, and because it’s his nature to be overly compassionate. We see that even more so in this book, and we hear his internal monologue giving us bits of the history there to understand even more.

We really get the chance to see another side of him – the side that perhaps is covered up by all the humor that he puts out in the world. The jealous side – the part of him that wishes that he could have what everyone else seems to have – even if he has to witness first hand the pain that comes along with finding his perfect person.

This is a bit of a snack to hold us over until Defy Me comes out in about 2 weeks, we find ourselves with Kenji trying to save Juliette from the after effects of the Symposium, and Juliette then going missing – Nazeerah becoming even more a mystery and all hell breaking loose….All of this is both too much and not enough to keep the chaos on my brain at bay. I need to see what happens, who’s still alive and what impact this is going to have on the world as they know it. Enjoy!

Review: Imposters (Imposters #1) by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Imposters
Author:  Scott Westerfeld
Publisher/Year:  Scholastic 9/11/18
Length:   289 Pages
Series:  Imposters #1

Overview

Deception. Risk. Betrayal. Redemption. Master storyteller Scott Westerfeld is at the top of his game, and back to his most famous realm. A New York Times bestseller.

Frey and Rafi are inseparable . . . two edges of the same knife. But only one of them is ever seen in public.

Frey is Rafi’s twin sister-and her body double. Their powerful father has many enemies, and the world has grown dangerous as the old order falls apart. So while Rafi was raised to be the perfect daughter, Frey has been taught to kill. Her only purpose is to protect her sister, to sacrifice herself for Rafi if she must. 

When her father sends Frey in Rafi’s place as collateral in a precarious deal, she becomes the perfect impostor. But Col, the son of a rival leader, is getting close enough to spot the killer inside her . . . . 

My Thoughts

Seeing the cover of this story brings me back to a great time when I read the series that preceded this one – The Uglies. That story was ahead of it’s time with all the body mods that were possible, the reason for it, the throwback to Rusties society (which is really our time), and now we’re sort of back in it again.

Tally Youngblood was the main character in that series -a girl who did everything that she could to change how people thought about themselves and the world. She started a rebellion, and now we’re back in a time when people are primed for another rebellion, and could use her reappearance but when that doesn’t seem likely, they use her spirit.

As the summary says, Rafia and Frey are twins, half an hour apart, but worlds apart in reality. Rafia is the favorite, the one who’s meant to be the ruler and Frey is the bodyguard and the throw away. Of course though, if we haven’t learned anything in reading these types of stories – it’s always the Throw Away that has the most potential. And that’s where this story takes us.

Frey is traded to a neighboring ruling family as collateral so their father can get a hold of metal which he so desperately wants. The intention is that Frey will impersonate Rafia while she’s there so that he can get what he wants and if something goes wrong, well, then he’s only lost the spare. not the heir.

Giving Frey this kind of freedom, even though she’s essentially a prisoner, well, it’s opening her world up more than anyone could have hoped. She befriends the eldest son to the ruling family and building more than just a close friendship with him. But if Rafia isn’t what she seems, then what’s to say that Col is what he seems?

From the beginning, we’re pulled into this story from an emotional string, and then we’re kept engaged with the hope that these teens can make the world a better place. Our main characters know that how their parents rule and have raised them isn’t necessarily the best way and when they come to terms that they can be powerful as well, in a positive way, then the story explodes.

In addition to Frey and Rafia, and Col even, we have a few additional characters that truly lend good shape to the story. There’s Zura who’s a Special (if you read the other series, you would know that Specials have been modified to be military grade – stronger, faster, smarter etc). She’s proven to be incredibly helpful and perhaps one of the last remaining Victorian House Guard Specials to survive. There’s also Teo who is Col’s younger brother and a boy who’s got an interesting role in the story that we don’t fully know yet. He’s at a private boarding school in Europe when all hell breaks loose and then he goes missing and we can’t wait to see how that plays out. There’s also Col’s friend Yandre who seems to have family connections to the Rebels and we can only guess that the Rebels will be necessary (and perhaps will spawn a pop up by Tally).

What our author does well yet again is paint a picture on how societies truly divided themselves once the Rusties went away and new tech became the norm. People became far more reliant on newer and better technology to make things not only beautiful, but automated and controlled by AI etc. When that happens, as we saw in the Uglies series, people become far too reliant on things outside of themselves and society crumbles.

We go on a roller coaster with this story. Feeling heartbroken for the sisters when they are torn apart, feeling hope for Frey because she gets a chance to be someone else, and then dealing with angst and anxiety when a war breaks out and friends and loved ones are killed or torn apart. We’re left in a very precarious place at the end of this story – where one sister is forced to make a decision that can truly ruin the other one, where enemies are capturing people left and right and people are still missing. there’s almost no closure at the end of this first installment to this spin off series and that’s something that i both love and hate because i need to know more – NOW. So, on that note, i’m going to stalk Mr Westerfeld’s page to find out when the 2nd book is coming out and i’ll be back later! Enjoy!

Review: Dry by Neal Shusterman

Title: Dry
Author:  Neal Shusterman
Publisher/Year:  Simon & Shuster Publishing 11/23/18
Length:   400 Pages

Overview

When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman.

The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.

My Thoughts

I needed a change of pace for a bit and we all know that i’m a huge fan of dystopia, post-apocolyptic etc. so this fell right into my sweet spot. For those of you who follow what i’m reading on Goodreads, you’ll see that this has taken me FAR too long to read and that’s not a result of the book itself, but just that i haven’t been able to focus. This week though, i turned the corner and really invested my time in reading this story and i’m happy that i did.

It’s interesting how reading stories like this hit so close to home, especially since in this case especially it’s based on a scenario that’s so real and quite likely to happen if we don’t do something about consumption management now.

We find ourselves in Southern California, where the water/drought situation is so bad that neighboring states are now closing off waterways to Cali because those states are desperate as well. No one truly knows what the impact of all this will be but we quickly learn that water really is the one thing that keeps people sane and alive and without it, it’s an eat or be eaten mentality for society.

The nice way that this story is written is that we have chapters that alternate through our character’s POVs. not just two main characters, but essentially everyone that we meet. I personally enjoyed this because this is a situation that impacts different people in unique ways and seeing how it can either tear people apart or bring them together based on what they are living and feeling brings much more depth to the story.

Add to that, a variety of adjacent scenes that are happening throughout the similar surrounding areas for people who aren’t connected to our mains, and we get a really detailed and complex picture of what’s going on.

I really enjoyed how our main characters are all teens and maybe younger than teens, and even though they are faced with a situation that typically forces them to grow up quickly, they still remain acting as ‘kids’. We see some take leader roles etc, but they still act, talk and seem like kids and that’s refreshing. There are a few who take on personas that are not themselves and that comes to bite them in the end, but i think that it’s all realistic and natural.

There’s a great flow to this story – we see the initial shock and disbelief to what’s happening in the state, even though everyone knew that water was running scarce and that rationing wasn’t working. I feel like if/when this happens in reality, the exact same reactions will happen and things will sadly play out in a similar way. No one believes that things like this will happen to them, and no one prepares. (except for that one weird family down the street).

There are moments when we have hope – knowing that there is someone with survival skills around, knowing that there’s a Plan B to keep us moving towards. then there are moments of dispair when parents go missing, when the adults rebel and when they take for granted the fact that kids are more innocent and can just get things done. There’s the arc of fear and desperation when disease becomes widespread, when government doesn’t help, when hope is lost because a series of events happen to throw them off course.

The roller coaster in this story is wild and i think that if you take the time to enjoy this story – you’ll agree with that notion. I don’t know that i loved the way that this story ended – i think that it did part of the plot justice but then it did a bit of a disservice when the closure in some places seemed too easy. That’s just me though – i’m cynical and jaded and sometimes wish that things couldn’t all be wrapped in a pretty bow.

On that note – i really enjoyed this book and i’m glad that i finally just put my head down to finish it. well worth it. Enjoy!

Review: The Emerald Sea (The Glittering Court #3) by Richelle Mead

Title: The Emerald Sea
Author:  Richelle Mead
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Publishing 6/26/18
Length:   496 Pages
Series:  The Glittering Court #3

Overview

Tamsin Wright is unstoppable. She must become the Glittering Court’s diamond: the girl with the highest test scores, the most glamorous wardrobe, and the greatest opportunities to match with an elite suitor in the New World. Training alongside other girls in the Glittering Court, Tamsin immerses herself completely in lessons about etiquette, history, and music–everything a high-society wife would need to know. Once she’s married, she’ll be able to afford a better life for her family, so the sacrifice is worth it if she can be the best.

When her friendship with Mira and Adelaide, her roommates at the Glittering Court, threatens her status as the top-ranked prospect, she does the only thing she knows will keep her on track: she cuts them out of her life. But when her voyage across the sea goes off course, Tamsin must use her unrelenting grit and determination to survive the harsh winter far north of her intended destination in hopes of making it back to the Glittering Court in time to secure a proposal–and a comfortable future for her family.

Experiencing new cultures and beliefs for the first time, Tamsin realizes that her careful studies haven’t prepared her for everything, and with new alliances formed with roguish tradesman Jago Robinson and good-natured minister Gideon Stewart, Tamsin’s heart begins to be pulled in different directions. But she can’t let her brewing attraction get in the way of her ultimate goal: protecting the secret she holds closest to her heart, the one that would unravel everything she’s worked for if it’s uncovered.

My Thoughts

I LOVE this series.  not going to lie here.  I think that each time we get a new story about one of the girls, we’re taken on a journey that honestly we had no idea about.  I think that the dynamic between Adelaide, Mira and Tamsin was always a great one, but i think there was so much more to Tamsin’s story that no one knew about, that it’s amazing to see how it all panned out.

When Tamsin reappeared in each of the preceding stories, we knew that she and the other Gray Gull court girls had survived by being saved by a bunch of Heirs, but there’s clearly so much more to the story.

Tamsin was driven while learning to be polished in the Glittering Court.  She had one goal in mind, to snag the best bachelor, and someone who wouldn’t judge her for her past – which we had no idea about before.  So to see how that all panned out – how she lost her place and chance to get the best offer, then got routed off track from a storm, ended up with a colony of people who didn’t believe what she did and critiqued her for it all.  And all the while, managing to become the most wanted female there – with Gideon, a Jr. minister fawning over her from day one, Jago being smitten from the moment go.  and well, everyone else wondering if she  was some type of otherwordly being.

The way that this installment was written makes you see this whole journey as something completely different than what it was.  There’s so much strife, so many forces against Tamsin, that if she weren’t so focused, and confident, there would have been 20 girls and a chaperone that would have been lost.  You want to root for her yet you also want to hope that she’ll lose some of her harsh edge.

This truly is a roller coaster installment.  Hope, fear, hear break, relationship growth, insane romance etc.  I think that i’m going to be really sad if this truly is the end of the series – if we only get the stories of these three ladies instead of the other 40 perhaps. …but i guess i’ll survive.  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!