2019, Books, reading, reviews

The Raven Tower Review

Title: The Raven Tower
Author: Ann Leckie
Published: 2019
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Adult Fantasy

Synopsis: When a usurper claims the title of Raven’s Lease, border skirmishes threaten the safety of Iraden and the Raven god. Mawat, the true heir, and his aide Eolo, aim to reclaim the throne and return safety to the land. However, new and old gods are at war and buried secrets threaten to emerge.

What I liked: The story was pretty interesting and I enjoyed the mythology parts. There are several perspectives, including that of an unnamed god, and a story-like portion (in 2nd person) that follows Eolo and Mawat. There are time jumps that bring past and present together to build a bigger picture of what is happening and which gods are at war, and why. It also tells the story of the Raven Tower, the Raven’s Lease and how it all works. I love stories with gods, magic, and betrayals so this definitely spoke to me on those levels.

What I didn’t like: There are no true chapters so it took a little while to catch on when there was a time jump or perspective shift. Additionally, the 2nd person narrative doesn’t work for a lot of people and I found it a little annoying. I also thought the book was a bit long for the story and had a lot of slow and boring parts that don’t necessarily enhance the overall narrative. I also thought it would be a little darker, as blood sacrifice is mentioned, but there’s not a ton of it included. I also thought the communication between the gods and priests was a little weird and not well explained, making it more confusing and unbelievable for me than I had hoped.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad book. It’s received good ratings and the author is well known in the sci-fi genre, which probably helped. I don’t think it was great and I will caution that it is very confusing and a little weird at times, which distracts me and annoys me. However, if that’s your thing, go for it!

2019, 2019 unhaul challenge, Books, reading, reviews

2019 Unhaul Challenge – The School for Good & Evil

To see the books I’ve been working through and my thoughts on them, please select the “2019 Unhaul Challenge” category at the top of this post. For a review of all my books, please select “Book Reviews” from the tabs on the menu bar.

Title: The School for Good and Evil
Author: Soman Chainani
Published: 2013
Country: USA
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy – Fairy tale

Synopsis: Sophie and Agatha are kidnapped by the School Master of the School for Good & Evil. However, they don’t end up in the school they hoped for and their origin stories begin.

Check out the book trailer. It’s so much fun!


I loved this book. From the very beginning I was hooked and enthralled. I love the idea of two friends having to live through a fairy tale in order to understand how to survive it. The characters are so much fun and many of our favorite fairy tale characters have appearances (mostly as heroes, damsels and villains we know them as today) with glimpses into their past at the school. And many of our current characters are children of those same characters we read about, making this a next-generation-type story and I am here for it.

Sophie has spent all her life preparing to be kidnapped into the School for Good, while Agatha has done everything she can to avoid having to leave their hometown. When they are both taken, Agatha and Sophie end up in, what they think, are the wrong schools. Their journey entails Agatha convincing Sophie they should try to go home, while Sophie just wants to prove she’s good and find her prince. So their story begins and it’s an origin story of epic proportions

This reminded me so much of Wicked by Gregory Maguire (not just the play) and the tv show Once Upon a Time. I LOVE fairy tale-inspired stories and I enjoy villain and origin stories even more. This was so much fun and I even cried at the end.

There’s a movie in development, according to the author. Currently, they are working on a script and I hope it gets made. If done right, it can be huge and amazing, and possibly rival Harry Potter. Check out his blog https://schoolforgoodandevil.com/somans-blog-first-peek-at-book-5-movie-update-las-vegas-and-more/

There is tons of fun learning (it’s a school setting after all) and students developing their magic, along with trials and ways for them to get better at their crafts. I loved how it ended and wrapped up but I am conflicted on continuing the series (I don’t want to be disappointed if they aren’t as good as the first). However, their ratings are even higher on Goodreads and there is a spin-off trilogy currently in progress. So maybe I will pick it up, I don’t know yet. Either way, I loved it. Go read it, I highly recommend you do!

2019, 2019 unhaul challenge, Books, reviews

2019 Unhaul Challenge – Red Queen Series

To see the books I’ve been working through and my thoughts on them, please select the “2019 Unhaul Challenge” category at the top of this post. For a review of all my books, please select “Book Reviews” from the tabs on the menu bar.

Author: Victoria Aveyard
Title: Red Queen
Published: 2015
Country: USA
Genre: YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi

Synopsis: Mare Barrow, a Red, becomes entangled in the world of the elites, the Silvers, after an accident reveals she has powerful abilities that Reds are not supposed to have.

VERDICT: Oh man. You guys…I really enjoyed this one! I read this book exactly two years ago and did not care for it (I gave it 2 stars on Goodreads) and was torn on whether or not to continue the series. But somehow I had this nagging feeling that I should try it again. So I did and it’s like I read a completely different book!! I don’t know if it’s because my reading tastes have changed so much and this is more along the lines of things I like now, but somehow I feel completely different about it. See, the challenge is working!

This could be considered Science Fiction or Fantasy since there are magical powers, etc but the world feels more Science Fiction/Dystopian than Fantasy. There are Reds, who are basic humans and indentured servants to the Silvers. The Silvers have powers, ranging from readings minds to blasting fire, or controlling metal. It’s very X-Men like, except that they are the ones in power, not hunted.

Images from MORGANA0ANAGROM https://twitter.com/13nakahara13/media

In the background is a century-long war between the different countries in the world and we see bits and pieces of how it affects the world but we mainly focus on the setting of the Great Hall in Harbor Bay and then the capital of Archeon. There is also the Scarlet Guard, a revolutionary group fighting for freedom and equality of the Reds.

Norta, the land the story takes place in (from Red Queen Wiki)
The World of Red Queen (from Epic Reads)

Mare is working at a Silver tournament and the booth she is at falls apart after a Silver blasts it accidentally. She falls and lights up in a ball of energy and lightening. Because she is a Red, the king and queen quickly step in and claim her as a lost silver heiress and betroth her to the younger prince, Maven. Her secret must be kept since Reds don’t have powers and she is now challenging everything the world knows.

Images from MORGANA0ANAGROMhttps://twitter.com/13nakahara13/media

Of course there are some issues. There’s a cringey love pentagon (you heard that right) and Mare is really pitiful. She’s constantly whining and putting herself down, but it does get better as the book progresses and she stops feeling sorry for herself. There were a couple of times the writing tripped me up, but that’s expected from a debut. I suspect the others will get better. But overall, I think it was pretty good and there are 3 more books (yay) and some novellas that I will be digging into.

There may also be a movie someday. The book was adapted and Elizabeth Banks is rumored to be directing. However, this is news from 2015 and I haven’t found any updates. I think it would be pretty cool on screen, if done right. Here’s the story: https://www.slashfilm.com/elizabeth-banks-red-queen-movie/

2018, 2019, Books, reading, reviews, TBR

Caraval Trilogy

Author: Stephanie Garber
Title: Caraval
Published: 2017
Country: USA
Genre: YA Fantasy

Synopsis: Scarlett and her sister Tella are invited to the mysterious Caraval. When Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s leader, Legend, Scarlett soon finds out that Caraval might be more than just a game.

Author: Stephanie Garber
Title: Legendary
Published: 2018
Country: USA
Genre: YA Fantasy

Synopsis: This time, Tella becomes ensnared in Caraval, making a deal with the evil Prince of Hearts. In order to fulfill her bargain, she must learn Legend’s true identity.

Author: Stephanie Garber
Title: Finale
Published: COMING MAY 2019
Country: USA
Genre: YA Fantasy

Synopsis: Even though Caraval is over, the game isn’t. Scarlett and Tella must both achieve their goals to save the empire, and their mother.

My thoughts on Caraval: I really enjoyed this book! When it first came out I thought it would only be another Hunger Games knock-off but I was surprised at how much I got into the story and how I wanted Scarlett to solve Caraval and win the game! The characters really developed throughout the whole book and there was plenty of suspense that kept me wondering what will happen next, who is Legend, and what the ending will be!

All images from the amazing https://www.instagram.com/darkandbeautifulart

My thoughts on Legendary: What a disappointment. I hated Tella’s perspective – mainly because she is as annoying in this book as she was in the first one and Scarlett plays only a small part. Additionally, the metaphors were insane in here and way over the top. I get that everything is supposed to be magical and flowery but I was so distracted from the story because of it that I didn’t even finish the book before a month-long trip.

I did like Jacks and his cunning ways and was also a fan of Dante in this one. The story was interesting but I had my issues with it – mainly how dumb Tella is and all the stupid choices she made. Sadly, Scarlett appeared no better in the few scenes we saw her in. However, I did love the reveal of Legend and how it set up for Finale.

My hopes for Finale: Since this is from both Tella and Scarlett’s perspective, it might be ok. I am really hoping the language is changed and the metaphors aren’t as silly and exhausting as in book 2. I wasn’t bothered by it in book 1, so maybe I noticed it more because the story was dumb.