Review: The Hidden Oracle

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Goodreads Synopsis:

How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favour.

But Apollo has many enemies – gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go . . . an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

After the last Magnus Chase I was a a bit apprehensive. I didn’t feel like there was a new voice in the last one, it basically was just another Percy Jackson (who I love, but it wasn’t supposed to be him anymore). Well I am happy to report that Apollo had a very clear, individual, and new voice!

I really liked how Riordan was able to balance the age of an immortal god, with the new shell of a teenage boy. There was also the conflicting thoughts of a god and a mortal, and it was all so well balanced and believable. The new villains introduced were also very intriguing and I can’t wait to see how they play into past events and what they have planned.

Along with a great new cast of characters, we are surrounded by our favorites from the Percy Jackson series and the Heroes of Olympus series. So plenty of old faces popping up, but a great new focus on lesser visited characters.

I am really glad at how this first book turned out, and look forward to seeing where the series goes!

Coming This Week: May 30

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I hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend! We didn’t really do anything exciting, but we did adventure around Manhattan (KS) a bit more and find some fun places to eat and such. I have gotten a lot of reading done though, and that’s always the priority right?

So for this week look for reviews on:

Enjoy the rest of the holiday!

Review: The Raven King

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey…and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.

I really enjoyed this series, from when I started with the first, fighting through the second (my least favorite of the series), and again loving the third. Yet, for some reason, I could not get myself excited for this finale. I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately, it’s been really hard for me to keep myself excited for books that I have been anticipating. Though, for this series, I think part of it is because, while I really enjoyed them, I’ve never been all that excited about the series in general. It’s one of those that I kind of have to force myself to read, but end up enjoying in the end.

This had to be the darkest of the series, and it was really interesting watching everything that slowly built up through the series finally come to a breaking point in this. I also really liked Henry’s larger involvement. In general, it felt so grown up, all the gang were taking on responsibilities of a much older individual, and they had all come to terms with their situations and figured out who they wanted to be in the world. Beyond the maturity of the characters, I liked how all the little things from all the previous books – especially the second – knitted together and gave us the whole picture of this complex and large scale world that Stiefvater created.

The writing, like in all the others books, remains ethereal and poignant. All the voices are distinctive and clear, the imagery dramatic and vivid. The story itself was brought to a wonderful climax and conclusion, and I really appreciated that while everything was resolved, and in a way that will please the readers, it wasn’t necessarily that tidy, it was pretty rough actually. Overall, like all the others, I was glad I read it, and I really enjoyed it. Great conclusion to such a unique series.

Coming This Week: May 23

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It’s been a busy week! After getting back from the wedding there is all the required laundry from being on a trip, our puppy got neutered (then proceeded to pout pathetically for 2 days), and I took on the second DIY project since we made our headboard – refurbishing a dresser! We found a nice solid wood piece at a cute local antique store with a mirror for a pretty good price, then I proceeded to paint it and the hardware, so I am caked in primer, grey, green, and poly top coat. It’s pretty darn cute though if I do say so myself and will really enhance our second room.

Anyway! For books this week, look for:

Both pretty anticipated installments in series. One I was in love with, one I was pleased with – both pretty good reactions I think!

Review: The Rose & The Dagger

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Goodreads Summary:

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

While I found the start of this second – and last – installment a bit slow, it quickly picks up and sends us on a similarly romantic and dangerous journey as the first book.

I loved that we got to see Shazi and Khalid interacting without the what-ifs of the first book, they are truly devoted to each other, and secure in their relationship, and it was great watching them become more deeply involved now that all the secrets from the first book are out.

I really enjoyed seeing Shazi’s sister take on a bigger role in this book as well. Family has always been a driving force for Shazi, and it was really interesting watching she and her sister navigate a newly complicated relationship, and the blind trust they put in each other. I also enjoyed seeing Irsa come into her own, in her own way. Irsa and Shazi are very different from each other, but they both have the same strength at their core and I loved seeing it displayed in different manners.

The old and new cast of secondary characters were all amazing as well, they brought in different perspectives, new insights, and some crazy plot twists that I don’t think any of us could have come close to guessing. The development of Tariq, the relationship of Jalal/Khalid and Jala/Despina, and the changes of Jahandar were all amazing sub-plots to this epic journey.

Overall, this series was beautiful in is language, diversity, and original take on classic tales. I can’t wait to see what this author churns out next, she will definitely be someone I revisit.

Coming This Week: May 16

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This weekend was crazy! We drove to Kentucky for a friends wedding, stopped overnight in St. Louis, and got to see a ton of college friends we haven’t seen in forever. It was so much fun, though a lot of car time.

Well, hopefully you guys had fun weekends, and/or read something good. For this week look for book discussions on:

Both of these series were in my top rated last year when I started them. Well, re-reading ACOTAR had me less impressed with the start of the latest Maas series, so we’ll see how I go into ACOMAF feeling.

Revisiting: The Wrath and the Dawn

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Goodreads Summary:

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

I loved this book, it was simply beautiful.

I haven’t read a book in 3rd person in a while, and it was done so well. The different POVs were easy to decipher and I think it did a fantastic job at getting us inside the heads of the various characters, as well as letting us see them under different lights. All of the characters see themselves in such different ways than they are portrayed and I thought the various lenses really helped us see the different sides of each of them and only made the relationships between the characters more believable and deeper.

I absolutely loved the relationship between Shazi and Khalid. Both of the characters are interesting to begin with, but the two of them together are a force. I actually wasn’t a huge fan of Shazi in the beginning, I thought she was arrogant (a term Despina – her handmaiden – is not scared to point out) and a bit full of herself, if not determined and curious. Khalid had me intrigued from that first night they spent together, he’s mysterious, conflicted, and bearing the weight of a terrible punishment.

Shazi is brutally honest with Khalid from the beginning and I knew she was going to force him to confront his own feelings. Watching her try to figure him out, while battling her own curiosity and growing affection toward him, was so interesting. She never changed as a person, but she was able to see past her first impressions and allowed herself to admit she was wrong. I think it showed a lot of personal growth on her side. She becomes softer when she’s with him, while never handing over any of her strength. Similarly, Khalid is able to find a partner in Shazi, she doesn’t forgive him for his past, but she proves to him in other ways that he is not a monster and he begins to live up to the man he has wanted to be. The Khalid we see in the end is finally able to confront his fears and become a true leader. I also loved that their love for each other never seemed selfish in the scheme of the curse, especially with the role Shazi’s father and first love played in everything.

All of the secondary characters are interesting and well developed, though I really hope we see a bit more of Despina and Jalal’s relationship in the next installment (their short story really helped me get inside their heads a bit better). They each have different motives for ultimately the same problem – Shazi being the new Calipha. And watching each of them deal with that problem, and seeing which emotions they resort to, and what actions that leads them to is very interesting.

Overall, this book was so amazingly written. I have so many highlighted passages. The writing was lyrical yet easy, it was touching and conveyed so much emotion in so few words. I can’t wait to see what’s next for Shazi and Khalid, for Rey and the kingdom, and to learn more about the magic that Shazi’s father has been meddling with. And finally, isn’t this book great in it’s diversity, it’s set in the Greek/Persian empire, in the twist of a tale that isn’t Grimm based (though you know I love those)!