“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.

Continue reading

This audiobook is a PERFECT way to re-read, but…

This audiobook is a PERFECT way to re-read, but…
Illuminae (audiobook)

Written by: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Published by: Listening Library
Release date: October 20th 2015
Runtime: 11hrs 41mins
Source: Purchased
Format: Audiobook
Buy: Audible
Add on: Goodreads


This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

My Thoughts

This review is incredibly late in coming, considering I listened to this audiobook back in October, but hey, better late than never!

There’s been a lot of buzz around the print edition of this book — for very good reason. Its format is beyond unique, and on top of that, the story is amazing, so I’d really urge you to check out my original Illuminae review if you’re interested in reading more of my thoughts about those things. But if you want to skip that, just suffice it to say, this is one of those books that completely lives up to the hype that surrounds it.

But what about the audiobook version? If you’ve already read the original book, you’re probably wondering how, exactly, they made an audiobook of it — the book isn’t written in normal linear narration.

Continue reading

Book Review: CINDER by Marissa Meyer

Book Review: CINDER by Marissa Meyer
Cinder
The Lunar Chronicles #1

Written by: Marissa Meyer
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Release date: January 3rd 2012
Genres: Retelling, Sci-Fi
Pages: 390
Source: Purchased
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

MyThoughts_v2

Nikki, I hear you saying, what is this?!?! Did you just read Cinder?! Where have you been the past 3 years?!?!?! Okay, okay calm down. No, I did not just read Cinder.

I actually just re-read it for the third time. Yes, it is that good.

I’m not going to turn this into a very long review, since I’m sure 90% of you have already read and loved this first installment in The Lunar Chronicles. To the other 10% of you, I say either, a) alright, you tried it, you didn’t love it, fair enough, just move it right along… or b) WHO ARE YOU WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE WHY HAVEN’T YOU READ THIS BOOK/SERIES YET?!

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of retellings. I’m also a huge fan of sci-fi. Also romance. And dashing princes. And robots with the greatest personalities ever… wait, what? 😆 Cinder has all that and more. And re-reading this book has been (and always will be) a joy.

Continue reading

Novella Review: LEGION: SKIN DEEP by Brandon Sanderson

Novella Review: LEGION: SKIN DEEP by Brandon Sanderson
Legion: Skin Deep
Legion #2

Written by: Brandon Sanderson
Published by: Subterranean Press
Release date: November 24th 2014
Genres: Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Pages: 208
Source: Purchased
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: Goodreads

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, Stephen Leeds is back in a new, double-length novella that Library Journal says has "the pulse of a thriller and the hook of a fascinating hero balancing on the edge of psychosis."

It's not his own genius that Stephen Leeds gets hired for. Clients want to tap into the imaginary experts that populate his mind—and it's getting a bit crowded in there.

Now Stephen and his internal team of "aspects" have been hired to track down a stolen corpse—but it's not the corpse that's important, it's what the corpse knows. The biotechnology company he worked for believes he encoded top-secret information in his DNA before he died, and if it falls into the wrong hands, that will mean disaster.

Meanwhile, Stephen's uneasy peace with his own hallucinations is beginning to fray at the edges, as he strives to understand how one of them could possibly have used Stephen's hand to shoot a real gun during the previous case. And some of those hallucinations think they know better than Stephen just how many aspects his mind should make room for. How long will he be able to hold himself together?

MyThoughts_v2

If there’s one thing I can say after finishing this novella, it’s that novellas aren’t nearly enough to satisfy my hunger for more of this story. I know, I know, I shouldn’t be complaining — this novella is twice as long as the first in the series, but… but… but… I want mooooooore. (I feel like Ariel from The Little Mermaid — Dear Brandon Sanderson, Would singing pleading renditions of Disney songs get you to write more of these, faster? Because I will sing if necessary — as long as it doesn’t interfere with the writing of Stormlight #3.)

Continue reading

Review: WORLD AFTER by Susan Ee

Review: WORLD AFTER by Susan Ee
World After
Penryn and the End of Days #2

Written by: Susan Ee
Published by: Skyscape
Release date: November 19th 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 314
Source: Purchased
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

MyThoughts_v2

Spoiler Warning: Proceed with caution if you haven’t read Angelfall, Book 1 of Penryn and the End of Days. Better yet, just go read Angelfall, then come back! I’ll wait, I promise! ;)

This series is so hard for me to talk about coherently. A couple weeks before reading World After, I decided to reread Angelfall, with the intention of writing a review that could precede this review (because the first time I read Angelfall was before I started blogging). Well, that didn’t end up quite the way I intended. After re-reading it, I was even more convinced that I just wouldn’t be able to write a coherent review for it — unless I wanted that review to consist solely of me keysmashing over the characters’ awesomeness and flailing over how much I was dying to read the sequel. Because if you’ve read Angelfall, you’ll know that the ending is… Gah. I can’t talk about it. It was a killer ending.

That said, I am going to try to write some coherent thoughts about World After. …Try. Here goes.

One thing I loved about World After, right off the bat, was where it started in the story. So many series tend to leave some stretch of time between the books, and pick up days, weeks, or months after the end of the previous book. But I adore series where one book just flows seamlessly into the next — and this was the case with World After. It picks up exactly where we left off in Angelfall, with Penryn paralyzed, apparently dead, being whisked away from Raffe after he returned her to her mother at the end of Book 1. THANK HEAVENS Susan Ee decided to pick up from this point, because the wait between these two books was torture to begin with, and I needed to know exactly what happened after that point, not days or even just hours later.

And true to form, right from the very beginning, World After is a whirlwind ride, packed with action and tension and omg-what-is-going-on moments that kept me on the edge of my seat through the entire book. There was never a moment where things slowed down. And even though it’s longer than Angelfall, to me it felt shorter, because it was just so jam-packed with Important Things Happening.

Filler? What filler? You’ll find no unnecessary information here. This is a filler-free-zone, and it is glorious.

Continue reading

Review: THE BURNING SKY by Sherry Thomas

Review: THE BURNING SKY by Sherry Thomas
The Burning Sky
The Elemental Trilogy #1

Written by: Sherry Thomas
Published by: Balzer + Bray
Release date: September 17th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 464
Source: Purchased
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to avenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.

MyThoughts_v2

How to describe The Burning Sky…? This is a tough one, so I’ll use an awful metaphor. The best way I can describe this book is like… if you took Harry Potter, some YA epic fantasy, and some animated Disney movies like Mulan and Sleeping Beauty; then randomly pulled out sections (or scenes from the movies) of varying length, and shuffled them all together and covered the resulting pages in extremely sparkly glitter.

Does that sound mystifyingly entertaining? Yes! Shiny and happy-making? Yes! Does it also sound confusing and like it might be a little bit of a mess? …Yes.

The Burning Sky was a book I purchased pretty much immediately upon finding out that it employs one of my favorite scenarios ever – the whole “girl masquerades as boy in order to hide / do something she might otherwise not be able to do as a girl” kind of thing. Basically, give me a book where a girl has to disguise herself as a boy for some reason, and I am so there. The potential humor of the situation is great, but the main reason I love this is because it usually gives the girl a chance to kick some butt, and when the boys eventually find out that she’s not One Of Them, maybe it challenges their view of how capable women really are.

Anyway, luckily, I loved how this was written in The Burning Sky. It was a little different than the norm, as Titus knows all along that Iolanthe is a girl. But she is undercover at an all-boys school, so of course she has to fool all her classmates, which is entertaining (as these things are). Iolanthe succeeds spectacularly at convincing everyone that she’s a boy. Granted, she has some help thanks to this spell that Titus set up before she got to the school, creating an idea of Archer Fairfax, who everyone at school is convinced exists even before Iolanthe shows up to fill that role. But Iolanthe is also hilariously awesome at being the quintessential British schoolboy, which is highly entertaining. She shows the other boys how it’s done. And that whole scenario was actually my favorite thing about The Burning Sky.

Continue reading