Revisiting: Six of Crows

Standard

23437156

Goodreads Summary:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

This was probably my favorite read last year, and the re-read was just as enjoyable. I loved all the little tells that became evident this round since I knew all of their backstories this time.

All the hype about this book is absolutely true! I’d be hard pressed to find something that I didn’t like or that didn’t work in this book. I’m also going to go ahead and say I liked it even more than the Grisha Series, though I really enjoyed those books, and I think I will be rereading them soon (I’ve still yet to do that . . .).

I loved every character in Kaz’s crew. They were all so different, skilled in different things, and yet united through the common goal of a huge cash haul and the potential freedoms the money would buy them. However, via the amazingly rich and detailed back-stories that Bardugo weaves into the story, we also see that they all have ulterior motives and that they are all more than thugs and criminals.

I have to say though, Kaz’s back story was my favorite. It explained so much about him and the person who he is in the Barrel. I can’t wait to see how he continues his growth. And that’s another thing that was done so well, the character growth! Each character changed a little throughout the story, but it was in little moments, it was gradual, and it was so believable. None of their core values ever changed, they found ways to accept others views, to open themselves to vulnerability, and to explore their own persons.

The fact that this was told from five main POVs (I keep seeing people saying there were 6, one from each crew member, but Wylan didn’t have his own, unless they all got different books than I did. . .), with a unique one for the first and last chapter, gave this the potential to be overwhelming. Each voice was so distinct though that I was never confused who I was reading. Furthermore, with so many moving parts, having different characters in different places to explain things was really helpful. I think it also made it a lot more fun with the twists and reveals because while we are with this character, those over there are doing their own scheming and whatnot.

Overall, I loved this story. It’s pace, it’s main goal, it’s use of characters who would normally not be seen as heroes, and it’s three budding ships. The story-telling was top-notch, the writing was distinctive and easy to follow while still being witty and smart. I cannot wait to continue this series.

Review: Crossed

Standard

23164707

Goodreads Synopsis:

Full-scale war has erupted between the Crusaders and demons and even Chi has to admit isn’t going well. Like any sensible rat, Meda’s eager to abandon the sinking ship but, unfortunately, her friends aren’t nearly as pragmatic. Instead, Meda’s forced to try to keep them all alive until the dust settles.

As the Crusaders take more and more drastic measures, the tables turn and Meda suddenly finds herself in the role of voice of sanity. No one is more horrified than she is. When old enemies reappear as new allies and old friends become new enemies Meda has to decide—again—whose side she’s really on.

And then the Crusaders decide that Meda should go to Hell. Literally.

Can’t a monster ever catch a break?

This was my favorite of the series, it was a very strong ending and didn’t feel as repetitive as the second one did.

What I liked the most about this one is that we can really see just how much Meda has grown, but her selfish demon side is definitely still there, only with a bit more humanity. We finally get some answers about her mom and dad, which was really interesting, especially with the overall theme of redemption. Playing into that theme I liked the relationship between Armand and Meda, it was the most honest we have seen so far, and the lack of guilt between the two for how horrible they can be is still a major aspect of their relationship, and it’s so refreshing.

The biggest element of this story though is that we get a Bad Jo. It was so fun to see Meda as the ‘good’ half of their duo in this finale. And the girl power maintained in that, though Jo throws Meda under the bus a bit, and has some major dark moments, Meda never asks her to apologize. They still love each other unconditionally, and they act as each others moral centers, even more so in this last book then ever before. Their relationship is the load stone of this series, and what makes it so strong.

Overall, a great ending for a fun and fast series.

Review: Hogwarts: An Incomplete & Unreliable Guide

Standard

31845715

Goodreads Synopsis:

‘The Ministry of Magic felt strongly, however, that to construct an additional wizarding station in the middle of London would stretch even the Muggles’ notorious determination not to notice magic when it was exploding in front of their faces.’ – J.K. Rowling

Pottermore Presents is a collection of J.K. Rowling’s writing: short reads originally featured on pottermore.com. These eBooks, with writing curated by Pottermore, will take you beyond the Harry Potter stories as J.K. Rowling reveals her inspiration, intricate details of characters’ lives and surprises from the wizarding world.

Hogwarts An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide takes you on a journey to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You’ll venture into the Hogwarts grounds, become better acquainted with its more permanent residents, learn more about lessons and discover secrets of the castle . . . all at the turn of a page.

What I liked most about this series of short stories was the personal tid-bits that Rowling used to create the location, and transportation of Hogwarts.

Elaborating on life within the castle, we learned, among other things, how the portraits get their personalities, the Huffelpuff common room is revealed, and the Chamber of Secrets history is also unveiled. Of them all I thought this heritage of Salazar Slytherin was the most interesting, and it answered a lot of questions I didn’t even know I had about that locale.

All of these short stories were so fun, as it always is to visit the wizarding world of Harry Potter.

Review: Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics, and Pesky Poltergeists

Standard

31538614

Goodreads Synopsis:

No Muggle Prime Minister has ever set foot in the Ministry of Magic, for reasons most succinctly summed up by ex-Minister Dugald McPhail (term of office 1858-1865): “their puir wee braines couldnae cope wi’ it.”’ – J.K. Rowling
Pottermore Presents is a collection of J.K. Rowling’s writing: short reads originally featured on pottermore.com with some exclusive new additions. These eBooks, with writing curated by Pottermore, will take you beyond the Harry Potter stories as J.K. Rowling reveals her inspiration, intricate details of characters’ lives and surprises from the wizarding world.

These stories of power, politics and pesky poltergeists give you a glimpse into the darker side of the wizarding world, revealing the ruthless roots of Professor Umbridge, the lowdown on the Ministers for Magic and the history of the wizarding prison Azkaban. You will also delve deeper into Horace Slughorn’s early years as Potions master at Hogwarts – and his acquaintance with one Tom Marvolo Riddle.

My favorite story in this collection was that of Slughorn. I liked him as a character, but this does so much to show how truly good-natured the man was, and examining his past with Riddle is very interesting. Second favorite was that of Azkaban, which is basically a character in its own right. It’s also nice that we get the tid-bit about how the prison was altered after the series ends.

The story on Umbridge didn’t reveal anything too interesting, beyond that she is a half-blood, which I did not expect. The encyclopedia of Ministers of Magic was impressive if for nothing more than showing how in depth Rowling created this world.

Review: Short Stories From Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship, and Dangerous Hobbies

Standard

31538635

Goodreads Synopsis:

‘Minerva was the Roman goddess of warriors and wisdom. William McGonagall is celebrated as the worst poet in British history. There was something irresistible to me about his name, and the idea that such a brilliant woman might be a distant relative of the buffoonish McGonagall.’ – J.K. Rowling
Pottermore Presents is a collection of J.K. Rowling’s writing: short reads originally featured on pottermore.com with some exclusive new additions. These eBooks, with writing curated by Pottermore, will take you beyond the Harry Potter stories as J.K. Rowling reveals her inspiration, intricate details of characters’ lives and surprises from the wizarding world.

These stories of heroism, hardship and dangerous hobbies profile two of the Harry Potter stories’ most courageous and iconic characters: Minerva McGonagall and Remus Lupin. J.K. Rowling also gives us a peek behind the closed curtains of Sybill Trelawney’s life, and you’ll encounter the reckless, magical-beast-loving Silvanus Kettleburn along the way.

More things from Hogwarts, who can’t love these! I really like that these aren’t spin offs, but looks into characters we all loved, but we didn’t see all the time, and who were already adults, and had lived through a lot before we met them.

McGonagall: I loved her story, it gives her a warmth that is hard to see in the books. She’s always been one of my favorite characters, but getting background on her as a teen is so interesting. Her first love and her father give us insight into the deep capacity for love we see her display towards Harry, as well as her desire to protect.

Lupin: I was so sad all over again reading this. Lupin was another of my favorite characters, and to read about how he lived his whole life feeling unworthy and unloved is so heartbreaking. Rowling mentioned how sad it made her writing it because she hated killing him . . . well then why did you!?

Trelawney: I think it’s hilarious that Rowling sees her as a charlatan just as much as the majority of the characters. I did like how she brought up the moment when McGonagall stands up for her though when Umbridge tries to throw her out. Those moments Rowling created do so much to show the mettle of her characters.

Kettelburn: I honestly had no recollection of the first Care of Magical Creatures teacher, even though I re-read the series last year. My husband said I wasn’t a true Potterhead. . .

Review: Crushed

Standard

20256261

Goodreads Synopsis:

Meda Melange has officially hung up her monstrous mantle and planted her feet firmly on the holy and righteous path of a Crusader-in-training. Or, at least, she’s willing to give it a shot. It helps that the Crusaders are the only thing standing between her and the demon hordes who want her dead.

The problem is, the only people less convinced than Meda of her new-found role as Good Girl are the very Crusaders she’s trying to join. So when a devilishly handsome half-demon boy offers escape, how’s a girl supposed to say “no?”

After all, everyone knows a good girl’s greatest weakness is a bad boy.

This second installment was a definite improvement on the first book, the humor was much more natural in this, and that made me really happy. There was also a ton of character growth with Meda. I didn’t get much of that in the first book, just a bit more humanity – albeit begrudgingly. In this we see her clearly acknowledge the darkness in her, but choose to be selfless and fight for humanity.

I really enjoyed the unconventional romance in this. There is only one tender moment, and seeing as they are both monsters, it’s not that tender. However, it’s a connection that makes sense, and it was really interesting to watch unravel as Meda fought to be a ‘good monster.’ I am interested to see if it goes further, like the ending suggested.

Overall, I appreciate that this series maintains that the relationship driving actions is that of Jo and Meda. They have such a strong friendship, and it’s messy and sometimes hurtful, but always honest and in the others best interest. Friendships like that are hard to come by, and it’s so refreshing to see it portrayed in YA.

Review: Cracked

Standard

17345314.jpg

Goodready Synopsis:

Meet Meda. She eats people.

Well, technically, she eats their soul. But she totally promises to only go for people who deserve it. She’s special. It’s not her fault she enjoys it. She can’t help being a bad guy. Besides, what else can she do? Her mother was killed and it’s not like there are any other “soul-eaters” around to show her how to be different. That is, until the three men in suits show up.

They can do what she can do. They’re like her. Meda might finally have a chance to figure out what she is. The problem? They kind of want to kill her. Before they get the chance Meda is rescued by crusaders, members of an elite group dedicated to wiping out Meda’s kind. This is her chance! Play along with the “good guys” and she’ll finally figure out what, exactly, her ‘kind’ is.

Be careful what you wish for. Playing capture the flag with her mortal enemies, babysitting a teenage boy with a hero complex, and trying to keep one step ahead of a too-clever girl are bad enough. But the Hunger is gaining on her.

The more she learns, the worse it gets. And when Meda uncovers a shocking secret about her mother, her past, and her destiny… she may finally give into it.

This was a fun read, but I didn’t think this was as amazing as a lot of my Goodreads friends did. I think a lot of that was because I felt like the humor was trying a little too hard.

I did like the moral lines being blurred in our protagonist, and the story got a lot more interesting as we got closer to the end and made some revelations. I liked the dynamic between the three major characters, and I liked that there wasn’t a romantic element with the main character. Meda is very independent, she’s going to need a very unique male lead to entice her.

I will continue the series, just because it was fun, and hopefully the humor gets better, and the story deeper to make this more than a ‘fun read.’