Book Review: The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Paper MagicianThe Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Release Date: September 1st, 2014
Publisher: 47 North
Pages: 224
Price: $14.95

“Perhaps in a heart, knowledge was more stable than memory or thought.”

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic… forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined — animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner — a practitioner of dark, flesh magic — invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

The story of Ceony and Thane was quite interesting. I wasn’t sure where the story was going to go initially, and that made it hard to focus. However, I did love the intricacies in how the paper magic was described. It was so lovely, and dare I say, magical. Ceony was a bit high strung in the beginning, having to give up her lifelong dream of working with metal. It was sweet how Thane taught her and took his time slowly revealing the magic to her. It gave Ceony an appreciation for the magic she was bound to, but also showed her the importance of the craft.

When the Exisioner arrives and things begin to pick up pace, I didn’t know what to expect. The portion of the story that comes after this was a little fuzzy for me to wrap my head around. It felt in a way, almost too simple of a solution. I realize that the book is part of a series, but I don’t feel compelled to run to the next book to find out what happens moving forward. It will be on my list, but I’m not in a hurry to get to it.

Rating: 3 Stars



Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A77113_original Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Release Date: May 5th, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Pages: 416
Price: $9.49

There are those who seek me a lifetime but never we meet,

And those I kiss but who trample me beneath ungrateful feet.

At times I seem to favor the clever and the fair,
But I bless all those who are brave enough to dare.

By large, my ministrations are soft-handed and sweet,
But scorned, I become a difficult beast to defeat.

For though each of my strikes lands a powerful blow,
When I kill, I do it slow…”

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

I had to pace myself before reading this book because I was very excited about it. When I first started, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Mind you, I didn’t get very far in, but once I got into it things really picked up quickly. Feyre is a great character and I really enjoyed going through the story with her.

Tamlin is another level of seduction that I have never known before this book. He’s sweet and mysterious (which something about that combination brings me to my knees) and there were a few times where I thought to myself, can you please calm down my parents are in the next room. He’s definitely on the list of fictional husbands.

With my lust aside, their story was so intricately weaved between folklore and Beauty and the Beast. It worked really well for the story and it was a unique reconstruction of a story that many of us grew up with (although this one had more adult points).

With the good points aside, there were inconsistencies. There were some points that didn’t really add anything to the story and didn’t seem to fit into what was happening. More or less it was a way to introduce a new character while also bumping up the sexual tension to an unhealthy level for readers. I also heard that there is going to be a love triangle in the next book and I’m not pleased. I loathe love triangles, especially when I like one couple better than the other. It just complicates things in an unnecessary way.

I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Rating: 4 Stars

Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

10212034Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Release Date: February 10th 2015
Publisher: Orion
Pages: 383
Price: $17.99

“Anyone can betray anyone.”

In a world divided by blood, Silvers rule all while Reds are slaves.

The Reds are commoners, nothing more than slaves and servants to the elite Silvers who possess god-like abilities. To seventeen-year-old Mare Barrow, a Red girl from the poverty streaked Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

Until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace, surrounded by the people who have enslaved and imprisoned Reds for generations. It is here, among her most hated enemies that Mare discovers she might have something in common with them after all, a deadly power all her own. A power that is both unruly and unknown in its origin may threaten the very balance of her world.

Afraid of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her among their own, declaring her a long lost Silver princess who they betroth to a Silver prince. Knowing any step could mean her death, Mare risks everything to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group in order to bring down the Silver regime once and for all.

In a world full of lies and betrayals, Mare must learn whom to trust. Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against herself.

This was a fantastic book. The story was so original and unique. It really gave me pause and left me questioning things and people throughout the story. I had my own theories about certain characters and their origins and I was right about some things and wrong about others. I guessed a big plot point towards the end, because as I writer I thought it would be the most interesting outcome and I was right, unfortunately. I didn’t want to be right. Sometimes books are why I have trust issues. The world Aveyard created was really vivid and the difference in social class was all too real.

There were a few plot twists that I didn’t see coming, which was nice because the element of surprise really changes things. I was a bit annoyed with the seeming love triangle happening, but that was fixed by the end of the novel so I’m not upset about that. Just glad that it was taken care of. Looking forward to the second installment of the series.

Rating: 4 stars

Book Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

WRATHcoverThe Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Release Date: May 12th 2015
Publisher: G.P Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Pages: 388
Price: $17.99

“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.
“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.
“No.” His hands dropped to her waist. “Destroy me.”

In a land ruled by heinous young king, each dawn means the death of a new bride, and the pain of loss to a different family. Khalid, the eighteen year old Caliph of Khorasan, is truly a monster. Every night he takes a new bride only to have her murdered at dawn. When sixteen year old Shahrzad’s best friend falls victim to the kings murderous rage, she takes action and volunteers to be his next bride. She is determined to stay alive and to get vengeance for all those lives lost to this lethal boy-king.

Night after night, Shahrzad weaves adventurous stories for the Khalid, enchanting him with her words, ensuring her survival, even when each dawn could be her last. Soon she learns something remarkable: Khalid is nothing like what she expected him to be. He is a tormented soul and incredibly Shahrzad begins to fall in love. But not everything is as it seems in the castle on the hill. In order to create change, Shahrzad needs to uncover the secrets long kept by Khalid, and despite her growing love for him, she may still need to take his life as retribution for all the pain and torment he caused and the lives he stole from families all over the land.

Can her love save him or is he bound to drown in his torment and secrets?

I can’t gush enough about this book. It was enchanting and endlessly beautiful. Ahdieh’s wording is effortlessly gorgeous and the magic that she brings to the pages is amazing. Shahrzad was a fantastic character to read and her development throughout the story is strong and poignant. Khalid was a surprise. I knew there had to be a reason for why he was the way he was and it was definitely heartbreaking. He treated Shahrzad with care and when he called her joonam my heart just melted and I wanted everyone to see the good in him that Shahrzad saw. I could go on and on. It was simply stunning and I can’t wait for the next book to come out in May!

Rating: 5 stars

Book Review: Magonia by Maria Dahana Headley

21393526Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Release Date: April 28th, 2015
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 320
Price: $17.99

“If you look at the sky that way, it’s this massive shifting poem, or maybe a letter, first written by one author, and then, when the earth moves, annotated by another. So I stare and stare until, one day, I can read it.”

For as long as she can remember, Aza Ray has been dying. Drowning in thin air as she calls it, from a mysterious lung disease that has plagued her since infancy. Her disease makes it hard for her to breathe, but even harder for her to live like a normal girl.

When Aza spots a ship sailing in the sky, she thinks she’s lost her marbles. Her family believes her hallucinations to be an unfortunate side effect of her medication, but Aza isn’t so sure. She hears something, someone, calling her name from the ship.

The only person in her corner is her best friend Jason who has always been by her side. The boy who she might harbor more than simple friendly feelings for, but before anything can be done on that front, Aza is lost to our world and finds herself in another, Magonia.

Souring high above the clouds in a land of trading ships, Aza is no longer dying and weak. She can breathe. She can live. Better than she ever has before. Now she is full of power and strength, just in time for an impending war. Magonia and Earth are close to a reckoning and the whole fate of humanity lies in Aza’s hands—including Jason who will do anything to get her back.

I was expecting a lot from this book and I think I was let down slightly. I felt like there was a lot left out of the story. I didn’t get enough about Magonia and how it started out as a civilization. I didn’t even get a full sense of their rules and customs. Despite this, there is a lot of room for a second book. Things are left a bit open ended and the door is definitely open for a sequel. The book itself is beautiful. The storyline is heart breaking but also exhilarating because it breathes new life into what it means to be alive. Aza was a great character to read and experience. She was strong and resilient, funny and kind. She knew her limitations and didn’t wallow in her existence. When she reaches Magonia, things are complicated. She misses her family and Jason, but there is something bigger happening than just her transition. I wanted more from the book, I think overall. I felt like I heard so much about it and when I finally got to it, I wasn’t sure how I should feel about the book because I was missing some elements. I enjoyed the book, but I felt like it was missing something overall.

Rating: 4 Stars