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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This modern fairy tale’s writing blew me away.

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

This modern fairy tale’s writing blew me away.
The Radiant Road

Written by: Katherine Catmull
Published by: Dutton
Release date: January 19th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Source: Penguin's FirstToRead.com
Format: eBook
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

A gorgeously written tale of magic, friendship, and self-discovery set in a dream-like landscape filled with fairies.

After years of living in America, Clare Macleod and her father are returning to Ireland, where they’ll inhabit the house Clare was born in—a house built into a green hillside with a tree for a wall. For Clare, the house is not only full of memories of her mother, but also of a mysterious boy with raven-dark hair and dreamlike nights filled with stars and magic. Clare soon discovers that the boy is as real as the fairy-making magic, and that they’re both in great danger from an ancient foe.

Fast-paced adventure and spellbinding prose combine to weave a tale of love and loyalty in this young adult fantasy.

A Few Thoughts

Honestly, I’m a bit speechless about this book. It wasn’t one I’d heard of before seeing it on Penguin’s First To Read website, but I snagged it there because fairies! Ireland! And then I decided to read it on a whim over my Christmas vacation last month, and once I got into it, I couldn’t stop reading.

I see the word “lyrical” thrown around a lot when describing books with beautiful writing — I think that word is overused, frankly. Beautiful writing isn’t necessarily the same thing as lyrical writing, nor does it need to be. But in the case of The Radiant Road, “lyrical” is the perfect descriptor. The Radiant Road is lyrical like a song. The writing feels like there’s a beautiful melody running along underneath it, that sweeps you into it as if you’re in a dream.

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A Cute Austen-inspired Contemporary

A Cute Austen-inspired Contemporary
First & Then

Written by: Emma Mills
Published by: Henry Holt & Co.
Release date: October 13th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Retelling, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 272
Source: Library
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

MyThoughts_v2

First & Then is a really charming, quick read. The comparison to Friday Night Lights and Pride and Prejudice in the summary is apt, as this is essentially a contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s tale, with high school football (the players, the Friday night games, etc) as a focal point.

The main character, Devon, loves Jane Austen, which was a cute quirk — she compared pretty much everything to elements from Jane Austen novels. (Though, I thought it was interesting that Pride and Prejudice wasn’t mentioned until the end — considering Devon’s own predicaments mirrored that book pretty closely, the fact that she didn’t at least compare Ezra to Mr. Darcy was a conspicuous absence, for me. Granted, it probably would’ve been weird to have her notice all the similarities with Pride and Prejudice, but still.)

The relationships that I thought First & Then explored the best were actually not the romantic ones. This book does a great job exploring the relationship between Devon and her best friend (and secret years-long crush) Cas, through their ups and downs. And the book also has an amazingly touching relationship between Devon and her cousin Foster, who comes to live with Devon and her family when Foster’s own mom is deemed unfit to take care of him.

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Winner’s Kiss

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 – The Winner’s Kiss
The Winner's Kiss
The Winner's Trilogy #3

Written by: Marie Rutkoski
Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release date: March 29th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 352
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

!! Some spoilers for previous books in this synopsis!!

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it, with the East as his ally and the empire as his enemy. He’s finally managed to dismiss the memory of Kestrel, even if he can’t quite forget her. Kestrel turned into someone he could no longer recognize: someone who cared more for the empire than for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she cared for him. At least, that’s what he thinks.

But far north lies a work camp where Kestrel is a prisoner. Can she manage to escape before she loses herself? As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover unexpected roles in battle, terrible secrets, and a fragile hope. The world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and Kestrel and Arin are caught between. In a game like this, can anybody really win?

Why I’m Waiting

I think the pertinent question here is: If you’re not waiting on this book, why?? Have you not read this series yet? Because if that’s the case… look at your life, look at your choices. This series is AMAZING, and if you like romance and fantasy, you need to read it. Immediately. And then join me in simultaneously NEEDING and FEARING this final installment becuase if Kestrel and Arin don’t end up deliciously and deliriously happy at the end, I will not be okay.

Also, Heck Yes and a heartfelt THANK YOU to Macmillan, who (though they’re still changing the paperback covers) are planning to release this final hardcover to match the original two. ❤️⚔🌹

What book are YOU anxiously awaiting today?

Link me to your WoW post, I’d love to stop by! :)