I’ve been gone for a while. And to tell you the truth, I thought a lot about not coming back. I’ve always been one of those people who silently judges when others use their children as an excuse for not doing the things they enjoy for themselves. Well I’m here to eat those words. I get it now, I really do, but I am also determined to not let my little girl monopolize every aspect of my life, no matter how cute she is or how much I love her. So I am back. And though my reading is noticeably slower than it once was, a fact that is very hard for me to come to terms with, I’ll do my best to get at least one post up here a week. That’s doable right?
So towards the end of 2016 I was staying with my parents in TX. While having the help was amazing, and being somewhere besides my quiet house really helped those two months fly by, I did not have nearly as much sit around and read time as I expected. So I didn’t meet my goodreads goal of 100 books last year, in fact I was 6 short (if I had counted all the childrens books I read I would have surpassed it!).
Of my 96 books: 16 were re-reads; 6 broke out of my usual YA genre; 2 were historical fiction; 1 historical non-fiction; 9 were short stories; and 2 were DNFed.
I didn’t manage to review 3: The Immortal Heights, The Orphan Queen, and The Mirror King. I’ll do short ones below.
The Immortal Heights:
In a pursuit that has spanned continents, Iolanthe, Titus, and their friends have always managed to remain one step ahead of the forces of Atlantis. But now the Bane, the monstrous tyrant who bestrides the entire mage world, has issued his ultimatum: Titus must hand over Iolanthe, or watch as his entire realm is destroyed in a deadly rampage. Running out of time and options, Iolanthe and Titus must act decisively to deliver a final blow to the Bane, ending his reign of terror for good.
However, getting to the Bane means accomplishing the impossible—finding a way to infiltrate his crypt in the deepest recesses of the most ferociously guarded fortress in Atlantis. And everything is only made more difficult when new prophecies come to light, foretelling a doomed effort…
Iolanthe and Titus will put their love and their lives on the line. But will it be enough?
I enjoyed how Titus finally took his fate into his own hands in this final installment. The coming together of secondary and tertiary characters was really well done and elevated elements in battles and the overall challenges our primary characters faced. The ending was very well done, I enjoyed how realistic the approach to the characters futures was given their personal responsibilities and their relationship with each other. Overall, a good finale to a fun series.
The Orphan Queen
Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.
She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.
She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.
She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.
The Mirror King
Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.
HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right.
HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.
HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.
This series started out flat for me. I could see every twist coming as soon as the characters and overall challenges were introduced. Every trope of a YA fantasy was in play. But, there was just enough fun about it, and the writing was good enough, that I kept reading. The second book was better, and I really appreciated that it was not spread into three books. The second book was more developed, more original, and more brutal with its twists and challenges. It was a good enough series, but a little too YA for my personal preference.