A violent—and violently beautiful—book. | THIS SAVAGE SONG by Victoria Schwab

A violent—and violently beautiful—book. | THIS SAVAGE SONG by Victoria Schwab
This Savage Song
Monsters of Verity #1

Written by: Victoria Schwab
Published by: Greenwillow Books
Release date: July 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 464
Source: Edelweiss
Format: ARC
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository, Audible
Add on: Goodreads


Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

MyThoughts_v2

I’ve been putting off finishing this review for so long, you guys. This is a tough one. But not because I didn’t love it. It’s tough becuase I did love it. Way too much.

Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal,

Sing you a song and steal your soul…

I first read This Savage Song back in December, and I fell completely head-over-heels for it. But like many books I love, This Savage Song is not easy to explain, and neither are my feelings about it. I tried writing down some vague notes after the first time I read it, but honestly? I was in such a state of “oh my god this book how why i just can’t ugh,” and those notes didn’t make much sense. So I re-read the book in May, hoping it would help clarify my earlier notes and give me a better idea how to express my feelings. …It didn’t. But what it did do is solidify my very firm belief that Victoria Schwab’s books are all incredible, and they just keep getting better and better. This Savage Song is no exception. It is phenomenal.

This Savage Song does so many things so, so well. This is a violent, and violently beautiful, book. There is a lot of darkness — it’s set in a city where violent acts create literal monsters — but the way that darkness contrasts with hope and light is just… achingly gorgeous. The writing is incredible, as well. Victoria Schwab strikes the perfect balance for me, between words that simply disappear in favor of the story, and beautiful prose that reaches out of the pages and grabs me and doesn’t let go.

Other than those constants in Schwab’s works, there are three other things I want to talk about that This Savage Song does so well: its characters, its emotions, and its message.

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“There were not quite words for it.” | Reflecting on THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stiefvater

“There were not quite words for it.” | Reflecting on THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven King
The Raven Cycle #4

Written by: Maggie Stiefvater
Published by: Scholastic Press
Release date: April 26th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 438
Source: Purchased
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository, Audible
Add on: Goodreads

* Synopsis has some spoilers for previous books in the series, but my review is spoiler-free! *

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.

My Thoughts

Disclaimer: This “review” is spoiler-free for the entire series.
Also it’s not really a review. I just have a lot feelings.

 

When it comes to The Raven King, there are a lot of things I could talk about.

I could talk about its plot — how this book weaves every little detail from previous books together into something that is so remarkable, and so, so satisfying.

I could talk about the characters — how tangible they feel, how ridiculously over-invested I became in all of their stories. But it’s not just about the specific characters, either. There are moments when each and every character flawlessly displays these truths about how people and emotions work, truths that are so succinctly and effortlessly presented that it hurts.

I could talk about Maggie Stiefvater’s way with words — which is, as usual, incredible. The Raven Cycle‘s words will both delight you and cut you, deeply. There were moments when I grinned like an idiot, and moments (including nearly the entire last 20%, I’m not ashamed to admit it) when I was sobbing. And that’s not hyperbole. I mean literally sobbing.

I could talk about how, as the finale to a much-beloved series, The Raven King had a lot of expectations to live up to — and it did so. It really, really did.

I could also turn into a total fangirl and talk about my ships. (My shiiipssss.)

But I don’t want to get into those things in detail. Talking about details could get spoilery, and this series is one that you need to experience, beginning to end, in the right order. So, no details. No spoilers.

There’s just one thing I really want to talk about, which is: the reason for this post.

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Gunslinging heroine stars in a YA fantasy? MORE OF THIS PLEASE.

I received this book for free from Viking Juvenile. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Gunslinging heroine stars in a YA fantasy? MORE OF THIS PLEASE.
Rebel of the Sands
Rebel of the Sands #1

Written by: Alwyn Hamilton
Published by: Viking Juvenile
Release date: March 8th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository, Audible
Add on: Goodreads

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic. For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.

Amani Al’Hiza is all three. She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.

Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power.

My thoughts

THIS BOOK, YOU GUYS. This book was SO MUCH FUN. You all know how much I love a great fantasy, and I’ve been craving a fun “Wild West”-inspired book for quite some time. So when I read Rebel of the Sands, it was like getting the best of both worlds, and it was AMAZING. There are so many things to love about it — the plot and pacing (nonstop!), the worldbuilding (omg)… but most of all, of course, the characters. And especially Amani.

Amani is so fierce — and believably so. She had to grow into a tough young woman to survive in her town. She taught herself how to shoot, and she’s decided that her skills will get her out of her old life and into a better one. In the course of finding this new life, she gets caught up in a rebellion, and finds a purpose totally different from what she originally wanted, but it’s something she’s willing to fight for — and I loved this. Her goals broaden, from intensely personal to something that reaches beyond herself, and it was wonderful to watch.

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Tracking my TBR – March 2016

TrackingTBR
Last month: February 2016 | This month: March 2016

In Tracking my TBR, I look back on the prior month’s TBR progress; and, in this edition, I’m also featuring the books I’m currently reading, and a couple titles I’m most looking forward to picking up this month.


February was… ugh. So let’s jump right into it, shall we?

BOOKS READ IN FEBRUARY

A Gathering of Shadows Final Bands of Mourning CaptivePrince PrincesGambit KingsRising

Five books last month! One re-read, Bands; new reads were A Gathering of Shadows and the Captive Prince trilogy (AGOS was 5 stars, obviously; CP trilogy were 2.5, 3.5, and then 4 stars respectively).

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A Gathering of EMOTIONS—I mean, Shadows…

A Gathering of EMOTIONS—I mean, Shadows…
A Gathering of Shadows
Shades of Magic #2

Written by: Victoria Schwab
Published by: Tor
Release date: February 23rd 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 512
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Format: ARC
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository, Audible
Add on: Goodreads


** Spoilers for book 1 in this synopsis!! **

Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

My Thoughts

As I start writing this review, I’ve literally just finished this book, and I just… can’t. I can’t. I sort of just want to leave you with a screenshot of my Goodreads updates and leave it at that, but I won’t do that to you. I actually do need to get some words out. Because this book is amazing and I really need to tell you why. So here goes.

Where do I even begin…?

A Gathering of Shadows is the kind of book I adore — one whose driving force is the characters. I can’t say too much about the plot, because a huge chunk of plotty stuff is packed into the end — along with a SUPER COOL MAGICAL TOURNAMENT heck yes — with a lot of ominous lead-up to that plotty stuff along the way. Shadows isn’t slow, though, and a plot-heavy conclusion doesn’t mean that stuff doesn’t happen in the rest of the book. Oh man. Stuff happens. And so much of that stuff is my favorite thing — character-focused.

These bromances are my favorite.

So, here’s a bit of background: Kell is restless after the events of A Darker Shade of Magic, and he desperately needs an outlet to let off some magical steam. Kell’s discontent is rubbing off on Rhy thanks to their bond; and Rhy is also suffering a devastating amount of guilt over all the deaths that happened in his kingdom, which he sees as his fault. (Cue me clutching Rhy to my heart and protecting him for all time, my little cinnamon roll 😭)

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Tracking my TBR – February 2016

TrackingTBR
Last month: January 2016 | This month: February 2016

In Tracking my TBR, I look back on the prior month’s TBR progress — which books did I read? which books did I skip? — and feature the upcoming month’s TBR “grab-bag” (my version of a semi-scheduled TBR pile).


One month down, eleven to go — and I kicked off 2016 with re-reads. A bunch of them. …Okay, fine, exclusively them. (Don’t judge me.)

BOOKS I (RE-)READ IN JANUARY

TMTBR_Jan16reads

Re-reads: The Way of Kings, Shadows of Self, Mistborn: Secret History*,
Warbreaker, Written in RedMurder of Crows
New Reads: None…

I didn’t even read that many books in January, and they were all re-reads. Every. Single. One. Work was crazy, so I think I chose the bookish equivalent of “comfort-food” last month. And this month might end up being the same… We shall see. 😖

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