Unpopular review time! Or maybe not, I don’t know. The thing is, I didn’t love “Throne of Glass” the way most people do. Hell, I barely LIKED it at times, and that’s primarily because of the books main character, Celaena. Sure, she’s a strong young woman, who is deadly and can hold her own against any man there is, but she’s just not all that likeable. You see, Celaena is an assassin, and at seventeen years old, she’s not just any assassin, but the best in the world. Then she’s betrayed and spends a year as a slave working the salt mines where most people barely survive a month. She’s beaten, and on the cusp of being broken, when the crown prince of the kingdom that is methodically conquering the rest of the world, comes and whisks her away. His plan is to have her become the King’s Champion—basically just another name for government sanctioned assassin—deposing of all the king’s enemies. If she can do that faithfully for four years, she will win her freedom from the same man who made her a slave to begin with. With a backstory like that, I should root for this girl. She should be instantly likeable and you want her to kick butt and win against all odds, and she does, except she’s painfully arrogant and kind of forgets she was a SLAVE when two pretty boys walk into her life.
I haven’t really read a YA fantasy that is written in an experimental present tense narrative before. It makes “Curses of Scale” read a bit like a dreamscape, or like a stream of consciousness, especially as it’s also a bit of a reverse timeline. Allow me to explain: the main character is Niena, or Squirrel, but we don’t meet her until about 14% into the book. That first part of the book is spent on her future husband as he races toward saving Neina from her destiny, 15 years in the future. Then, we get snapped back to our MC and her grandfather and see that she really just wants to learn how to be a bard. Then a dragon shows up and things go from bad to worse pretty quickly, especially when a meddling fairy brings Neina’s husband to the past. Why the dragon shows up and what it’s after isn’t really clear until just past the 70% mark, unless you go back and read the synopsis. Then you know that Neina is cursed to become the dragon if she kills it, but will lose those she loves if she doesn’t. It’s an interesting premise that is dark and harrowing because of the stakes and all the action that takes place, but is hampered by the narrative style.
I’ll just come right off the bat and say this book is NOT a reverse harem story, so if that’s what you pick it up for based on the synopsis, you will be disappointed. The first book in the “Ruined Hearts” series is all about the set up. It’s about introducing the reader to Eona, who can manipulate time. It’s about her adopted family and how she is kidnapped and taken to a place where magic is both feared and coveted. It’s about how she learns to use her abilities and about her abusive past that lead her to first discovering what she could do. It’s about her learning who she can trust and what true evil looks like while she is kept in the king’s court and trained by one of his top advisors. That’s what it’s about. The romance bit? We aren’t even teased to it until about 75% into the book.
I don’t typically read horror novels. Not because I scare easily, the opposite actually. I never get as creeped out reading as I would watching something, so I’m probably the worst person to judge if a book is actually scary. “Demon’s Prize” is meant to be scary at times, and there definitely is some creepy imagery, but since I’m not sure what most people find terrifying when I have a hard time defining that for myself, I’m not going to spend much time talking about the scare factor. Needless to say, The Alpha Wolf series is a paranormal, urban fantasy that fits nicely for New Adult readers. The book follows four friends—who are werewolves—as they embark on trying to make their dreams come true with their band. Along the way, they meet Brent, an alpha werewolf with secrets of his own that the young pack desperately tries to unravel no matter how much Brent pushes them away. The story follows the four werewolves and Angela—a werewolf hybrid—as Brent intervenes when Angela is nearly taken by a demon. Following that incident, the young werewolves are determined to save Brent at all costs, even though one of their pack really doesn’t want to. So, yeah, you can see exactly why some people may find this creepy or scary, so consider yourself warned.
Anyone who is a fan of text based role play video games will geek out over “Lycopolis”. The story is about seven people who all play together in an online world created by a young man with a sinister ulterior motive. But when the demon they summon in game doesn’t stay there, the characters begin to adopt their online personas in the real world in order to fight a force they have difficulty believing in. The paranormal aspect of the story is fun and unique in and of itself, as the book switches a bit between what’s happening in the online realm and the real world, but I enjoyed the flawed characters, and the greyness around Seth, and Edwin most. I love sympathetic villains! I love heroes with dark pasts! Basically, I like characters who you can identify with, so no matter if they are doing good or bad things, you get where they are coming from and ache alongside them.
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