This is only the second book I’ve read that’s written in verse, but it’s my first book from this author, so I went into this pretty blind. While I still can’t say anything about the structure of the verses and how that plays into the story tempo, I can say that this was an immensely powerful book. “Clap When You Land” is the story of two sisters who only learn of each other’s existence when unthinkable tragedy and grief pulls them together. The story gives us both sister’s POV so the reader can really see how these two girls, connected by blood, view their world and home, their parents and culture, and how they process grief and betrayal differently. I felt Acevedo captured the different voices of her main characters incredibly well and how she captured their grief, their anger, and just the rawness of their tragedy in an incredible and moving way, but the heavy to the light ratio did seem just a tad disproportional to me come the end.
I was a big fan of Mafi’s narrative style in Furthermore, and I am so pleased that Whichwood follows a similar style, with a narrator retelling the story of these children almost like an omniscient reporter. It’s such a fun, and whimsical voice that I love seeing in her middle grade books. And while you don’t necessarily HAVE to read Furthermore before Whichwood, I would highly recommend you do as many of the characters from Furthermore make an appearance in Whichwood, making this book, often times, feel like a continuation of Alice’s story, just as much as Laylee’s. That being said, Laylee’s story is dark and tragic. When your main character is a thirteen year old girl, alone, washing the dead in all manner of decay, you have to expect this to be a darker story than Furthermore, even if that book also had its moments of fear and sadness. But Laylee’s story is… different, and that’s why I don’t think it’s truly a middle grade book.
I was honestly ready to walk away from this series. This book was going to be the make or break point for me, and (thankfully?) I’ll be sticking around a bit longer. I guess I should have believed everyone that kept telling me the third book was when things really picked up and things started happening. Which isn’t to say that some of my issues from the start of this series weren’t present—they were—but they were easier to forgive with the introduction of my new favorite character(s), as well as the growth Celaena/Aelin undertook that finally started endearing her to me as a character.
“Sorcery of Thorns” is one of those ultra-hyped books that I am always leery of reading, especially early on when all the book press is still going strong, but then my friends were doing a read along and, well, here we are. It’s been quite a while since I’ve read a standalone fantasy book, honestly I prefer series because then you get a better sense of the world and the characters the author has crafted populating such a world. But Rogerson has done a lovely job bringing Elisabeth, Nathaniel and Silas to life. Crafting a world where sorcery is tied to the necessary evil of binding yourself to a demon, and magical grimoires are living, breathing things with as peculiar of personalities as any other flesh and blood character. Rogerson leans hard into the metaphor of knowledge being power, and it being dangerous in the wrong hands—I loved that. The book is full of witty banter as well as these incredibly heart breaking moments… I really did enjoy this book! But was it worth all the hype? Mostly…
I don’t think I’ve read a true reverse harem book before, so “Hidden Magic” was a first for me. Set in a small town, Willow has always considered herself to be a freak, having to grow up too fast because of a mother who talks to herself and swears she’s a witch and their family is cursed. Willow is desperate to have some kind of normal life as she starts college at the local school, but Willow finds out very quickly that nothing will ever be “normal” for her. “Hidden Magic” is an incredibly fast read (maybe too fast?) and just as one question gets answered, a new and devastating mystery takes its place.
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