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.

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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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ARC Review: THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE by Patrick Ness

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

ARC Review: THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE by Patrick Ness
The Rest of Us Just Live Here

Written by: Patrick Ness
Published by: HarperTeen
Release date: October 6th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Source: ALA Annual 2015
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads
Also by this author: The Chaos Walking Trilogy


What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshiped by mountain lions.

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Okay, I’m just gonna come out and say it — I don’t think it’s possible for Patrick Ness to write a book that doesn’t connect to my soul.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here appears to be, on the surface, a pretty simple concept. In this world, Chosen Ones are everywhere. These “indie kids” are the heroes of YA fiction, busy saving the world while mostly ignoring the collateral damage and “normal people” in the process. Within this world, The Rest of Us Just Live Here asks a simple question: What about the rest of us? What about the normal kids on the periphery of these Chosen Ones’ stories?

They’re too cool to ever, ever do anything like go to prom or listen to music other than Jazz while reading poetry. They’ve always got some story going on that they’re heroes of. The rest of us just have to live here, hovering around the edges, left out of it all, for the most part.

Having said that, the indie kids do die a lot. Which must suck.

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Waiting on Wednesday – End of Days

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine,
which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating!

 

Waiting on Wednesday – End of Days
End of Days
Penryn and the End of Days #3

Written by: Susan Ee
Published by: Skyscape
Release date: May 12th 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads
Also by this author: World After

*** Some spoilers for previous books below!! ***

End of Days is the explosive conclusion to Susan Ee’s bestselling Penryn & the End of Days trilogy.

After a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run. They’re both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn’s sister. As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.

When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?

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Don’t capslock. Don’t capslock. Don’t capslock. No, NikKI, DON’T DO IT — ahhhhhh, crap.

BUT YOU GUYS I’M JUST SO EXCITED/TERRIFIED/ANXIOUS/DYING FOR THIS BOOK. In all seriousness: I’m honestly a little tired of most post-apocalyptic books these days… and the whole “angel” thing got old for me quiiiite some time ago… but these books… I cannot express how awesome Penryn and the End of Days is. This series just defies my expectations every time, and I’m so sad that Penryn and Raffe’s story will be over with this third book, but I’m also so excited because IT’S GOING TO BE AMAZINGGGGG. \O/

What book are YOU anxiously awaiting today?

Link me to your WoW post and I’ll be sure to stop by! :)

ARC Review: THE SHADOW CABINET by Maureen Johnson

ARC Review: THE SHADOW CABINET by Maureen Johnson
The Shadow Cabinet
Shades of London #3

Written by: Maureen Johnson
Published by: Putnam Juvenile
Release date: February 10th 2015
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Source: Gifted from a friend
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads


* SPOILERS for books 1 & 2 in the synopsis!! *

The thrilling third installment to the Edgar-nominated, bestselling series.

Rory and her friends are reeling from a series of sudden and tragic events. While racked with grief, Rory tries to determine if she acted in time to save a member of the squad. If she did, how do you find a ghost? Also, Rory’s classmate Charlotte has been kidnapped by Jane and her nefarious organization. Evidence is uncovered of a forty-year-old cult, ten missing teenagers, and a likely mass murder. Everything indicates that Charlotte’s in danger, and it seems that something much bigger and much more terrible is coming.

Time is running out as Rory fights to find her friends and the ghost squad struggles to stop Jane from unleashing her spectral nightmare on the entire city. In the process, they'll discover the existence of an organization that underpins London itself—and Rory will learn that someone she trusts has been keeping a tremendous secret.

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[Note: This review is for the 3rd book in a 4-book series, but this review will be spoiler-free, as always! However, this means that I will be talking around a lot of potential spoilers, because the end of book 2 is just… Let’s just say there’s very little I can talk about without spoiling something major. But I will try.]

It really sucks when expectations get in the way of one’s enjoyment of certain books. The fact is, I want to be blown away by every book I read, but in order for that to happen, I want the book to live up to at least one of two things:

  1. What I expect from it (which can be expectations based on prior books in a series, for example), and/or…
  2. What I want out of it (which can just be things based on my own feelings, like “ooh I hope XYZ happens”, or just “more awesomeness from a favorite author”, etc).

This can be problematic, though, because I think good books are sometimes(/often/always?) simply what their author intended them to be, regardless of either the audience’s expectations or desires. And I think that’s where The Shadow Cabinet and I didn’t quite get along. Neither what I expected nor what I wanted quite lined up with what was actually presented.

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Novella Review: HALF LIES by Sally Green

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.

Novella Review: HALF LIES by Sally Green
Half Lies
Half Bad #0.5

Written by: Sally Green
Published by: Viking Juvenile
Release date: November 13th 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 61
Source: Publisher
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: Goodreads
Also by this author: Half Bad

Set in the months before Half Bad, Half Lies takes the form of a diary written by Michele, the sister of Gabriel, Nathan’s Black witch friend. Having fled Europe for Florida, Michele falls in love with a local White witch boy. There, she finds that the divide between the Black and White witch communities is just as dangerous as it was in the life she's left behind.

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This is a prequel novella, and a very short one, at that, so I’m gonna keep this review pretty short — and hopefully sweet. ;)

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