All Book Reviews by Genre: Fantasy

The Young Elites
Lu, Marie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

(Slight Spoiler Alert)
The Young Elites is a book of teens and young adults who are very powerful
(literally). The main character Adelina heard about The Elites when she was
a child but it wasn’t until a major event in her life when she figured she
was apart of them. As a child Adelina’s mother died of the same disease
that killed thousands of adults and gave children markings making them
malfettos and very few elites. Since Adelina’s mother died when she was
very young and Adelina became a malfetto it left her vulnerable of abuse from
her father. Adelina developed a hatred for her father but always stayed loyal
to her sister Violetta. Violetta and Adelina kept each other calm.

One day Adelnia decided to escape from her father’s madness. On her way
Adelina does a crime discovering her abilities. Adelina gets in lots of
trouble with the Inquisition but is able to escape. When Adelina escapes she
joins the Dagger Society a group of young elites. The Dagger Society has a
goal to wipe out the Inquisitors. Within the goal Adelina has some drama
within the group. Adelina is relatable to teens experiencing intensified
versions of how teens feel such as passion, anger, happiness, and much more.

Reviewer's Name: Alexia
Ember Falls
Smith, S.D.
4 stars = Really Good

Being a fan of children’s series like The Chronicles of Narnia, as well as
a lover of rabbits (owning two Flemish giants as pets), I was glad to get
back into the Green Ember series with the second book, Ember Falls.
Obviously, as this series is mainly geared toward children, there were a few
points of the plot of this second book that I either predicted from the start
or could see coming from a mile away. In any case, the world building that
continued with this book was top notch, despite certainly feeling like a
“linking” part of the series.

While The Green Ember could stand on its own and laid the groundwork for the
books that came after it, Ember Falls certainly needs its predecessor to make
sense. It also seems to rely on the next book in the series to reach some
conclusion. This is an issue that often arises in book series. The saga of
the story as a whole (across numerous books) is prioritized over focusing on
a complete plot for each book. Don’t get me wrong: I still want to see
where this series goes; however, it’s a little infuriating when I don’t
have access to the next book in the series yet.

Ember Falls inherits a lot of what I liked and disliked about The Green
Ember. This is likely going to be the case for the series as a whole. The
individual characters are well-rounded and have clear motivations. However,
the fact that they are rabbits seems to be often overlooked. These characters
mostly act like ordinary people and only occasionally use their unique
lagomorph attributes to advance the plot (same goes for the enemies as well).
Other than that, this is certainly a series I’ll be reading to my children

An adequate progression of the Green Ember series, I give Ember Falls 4.0
stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Book Cover
Garcia, Kami
3 stars = Pretty Good

After a car accident that killed her mother, Raven is living with her her new mom (her aunt) and foster sister Max, in New Orleans. In addition to losing her mother in the accident, Raven lost all of her memories. Adding to that, she can hear the thoughts and feelings of those around her. As she tries to remember who she was, Raven is making new friends and learning that what matters is who she is, and who she chooses to be going forward. That is, until her past catches up with her...

I'm not at all familiar with the Teen Titans but know enough to know that Raven's a popular character from that series. And I can see why! In this iteration, she immediately (albeit accidentally) puts mean girls in their place, and stands up for those being bullied, which I like. Memory loss may not be the most original way to begin an origin story, but its certainly an effective way to slowly introduce the audience to the character, and it was used to good effect here. The high school bits were just right - prom, foiled romance, mean girls - Garcia nails those elements. I just wish there had been a bit more to the story. I liked it, but it all felt a bit trite. Its a perfectly good origin story, but there's nothing new here. Just when it starts to get really interesting, it ends. I do hope there is a sequel planned.

For me, the thing that can really make-or-break a graphic novel is art, and the art in this is wonderful. The coloring was just right - its mostly purples, blacks, light blues and beige, and the muted palatte really sets and fit in with the overall tone. When a red character emerges, he really pops. Also, sometimes I find artwork to be confusing (especially in action sequences), but that was not at all the case here. In fact, this would be excellent graphic novel for those who are just starting out with the medium.

TLDR: A run of the mill but nonetheless entertaining origin story that will delight teenagers (and adults) who aren't sick of superheroes.

Overall, this is a really solid graphic novel for teens that I'll probably end up booktalking. 3 stars - it was pretty good!

Thanks to DC Ink and Netgalley for the advance copy which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. Teen Titans: Raven will be released on 02 Jul, but you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Carve the Mark
Roth, Veronica
4 stars = Really Good

Carve the Mark, by Veronica Roth, author of the Divergent series, is told in a fantasy/sci-fi world, where the nations of Shotet and Thuvhe co-inhabit one planet, but not without a whole lot of conflict. One of our two main protaganists, Akos Kereseth, is the son of of Thuvhe's oracles, and he has a dark fate: "The third child of the family Kereseth will die in service to the family Noavek." Our other protaganist, Cyra Noavek, is the little sister of Ryzek Noavek, the cruel and sadistic ruler of the Shotet nation, and her currentgift (a kind of superpower) is to cause instant pain to anyone who touches her and be in constant pain due to this currentgift. When the Assembly (the equivalent of an intergalactic government) reveals the fates of all fated Thuvhesit citizens, Akos' family is attacked and his father is killed, and Akos and his brother Eijeh, fated to become the next Thuvhesit oracle after his mother, are kidnapped by Shotet soldiers and transported across the Divide (a field that seperates Thuvhe and Shotet). Ryzek Noavek, using his current gift, tries to obtain Eijeh's gift of prophecy by destroying Eijeh's mind, and Akos is hopelessly unable to rescue him. Meanwhile, Akos is put into the service of Cyra Noavek after Ryzek discovers that his current gift can help relieve Cyra's constant agony. In this complicated situation, Akos begins to fall in love with Cyra, although it is difficult to get past his resentment towards her and her people, and when they are both put in danger of Ryzek's crazy schemes, their relationship is truly put to
the test.

I really, really, really enjoyed this book. The characters are compelling as well as the story, which was a plot unlike anything I had ever read or seen before. The writing was good, although some humor was definitely lacking. The author did a good job of introducing many characters without taking the focus away from the main characters or making the story too confusing. The world-building was thorough, although at some points, it became a bit tangled, causing me to have to go back and reread some previously mentioned details. If I could, I would rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Here's the official summary (I think it's better than what I wrote): "In a galaxy powered by the current, everyone has a gift. "Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra's currentgift gives her pain and power--something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother's hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows. "Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe. Protected by his unusual current-gift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive--no matter what the cost. "Then Akos is thrust into Cyra's world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy each other?

"Carve the Mark is Veronica Roth's stunning portrayal of the power of friendship--and love--in a galaxy filled with unexpected gifts."

Reviewer's Name: Martha
Cashore, Kristin
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

In the novel "Fire" by Kristin Cashore we are given the tragic back story of the human-monster Fire. With the history of her cruel dead father Cansrel, Fire is determined to help the royal family restore the Dells to the glory it once was. After a three week journey to the royal palace Fire agrees to stay there to help interrogate transgressors, enemy spies, and any accused of treason. By using her breath taking beautie and control of the mind Fire helps prince Brigan discover very valid secrets and save the Dells.

Reviewer's Name: Aida
Stevenson, Noelle
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

Do you like magical creatures? Do you like actually well-executed pop-culture references? Do you like respectfully handled minority representation? Then the Lumberjanes series is definitely for you! It follows the adventures of five girls at a very unusual summer camp - Ripley, Jo, Mal, Molly, and April. Together, they encounter all manner of magical beasts, artifacts and locations, all while bonding with each other & following their motto of 'Friendship to the MAX!'

The series also has representation to offer, as I previously mentioned. With not only a main-cast lesbian couple, but a trans character,a nonbinary character, and several characters of color, it does well showing the diversity that exists in our world. "But, the art! What do you have to say about the art?" I hear you ask. Well, being a comic, it does have to convey much of its story through images. Through volumes, the art style does shift as different artists draw for Lumberjanes, but it consistently holds in a quality range of 'good' to 'great'. The main artist's style is a little unusual & a bit difficult to get used to, but it'll quickly grow on most readers. Overall, the Lumberjanes series is worth a read, even if it doesn't quite sound like your thing. It's charming and sure to delight pre-teen and teen readers.

Reviewer's Name: Olivia F.
The City of Ember
DuPrau, Jeanne
4 stars = Really Good

The City of Ember is a fictional book in which the author explains a dystopian society. In this society young people are given their jobs that they must do for the rest of their lives. The city is also falling apart because they are running out of supplies like food and are running out of an energy source. Their "government" system is corrupt making it impossible for change to easily happen. The main characters, Lina and Doon, are determined to find life outside of their enclosed city so they embark on a journey. On this journey they face many struggles but eventually make it out with hopes of a better life.

I would recommend this book. "The City of Ember" is a fun, easy book to read. I read it the first time because I was in battle of the books. I couldn't relate to the characters. It wasn't predictable and it was a good book.

Reviewer's Name: Oriana O
United As One
Lore, Pittacus
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

The final battle is upon the Loric. They have prepared for this their entire lives and the time has finally come. However, will all that they have done be enough to defeat Setrakus Ra. Pittacus Lore has written a thrilling conclusion to this blockbuster series. This action packed adventure is wonderful and a great read. I highly recommend this book to all middle and high school aged readers.

Reviewer's Name: John B
Meyer, Marissa
4 stars = Really Good

"Scarlet" is the second book of Marissa Meyer's series, "The Lunar Chronicles". We left off with new information on Cinder's true identity and her trapped in jail. With gifts from Dr. Erland Cinder must pull a daring escape from prison, using her wits and new allies to push her towards her next goal.
Meanwhile, Scarlet has been waiting weeks for information on her grandmother's disappearance. When nothing turns up, she is forced to turn to more sketchy sources.
Marissa Meyer expertly weaves the two view points to keep the series moving in the dashing book known as "Scarlet".
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Adia R
Talons of Power
Sutherland, Tui
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

I am an avid fan of the Wings of Fire series, and Talons of Power is by far my favorite! Individual books in the series have been from another dragons point of view, and this time we get to see the world through the eyes of Turtle the Seawing. As Darkstalker's grip over Pyhrria tightens, Tui gives the most unassuming and fearful character in the group to lead them towards victory. The dragonets will be forced to get creative if they want to stop Darkstalker. Each chapter is full of thrills and plot twists, with an ending I'm sure no one saw coming.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Adia R
The Wishing Spell
Colfer, Chris
4 stars = Really Good

Twins, Alex and Connor Bailey, are two average middle school kids. Alex is a bookworm and is very lonely, while Connor is the class clown and has a lot of friends. Their dad died a year before, and their mother is still struggling to pay off bills. Both of the twins have grown up loving all the classic fairy tales. On their twelfth birthday, their grandmother comes into town to celebrate with them. Alex and Conner are given the old family storybook, filled with all those classic stories they grew up with. Late that night, while Alex is reading, the storybook begins to glow and hum. Alex is shocked, and throughout the week, she realizes its a portal to the land of stories, where fairytales come to life. I chose to read this book because I was told it was about a spin on classic tales. I think that people that like the show once upon a time would like this. I love how Chris Colfer made a connection and a community of the stories like Cinderella, Thumbelina, Sleeping Beauty, and much more. The only part I don't like is that there is sometimes profanity and foul language. Otherwise, this is an AMAZING book and I highly recommend it.

Reviewer's Name: Abby P.
Carman, Patrick
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

Leo lives in a hotel. The hotel consists of many rooms and some of them are crazy. Thee owner of the library is inside one of the rooms and has the keys to the room that Leo needs to open to save the hotel from closing. He and his friend Remi go around the whole hotel to find the room. Join Leo and Remi with their awesome adventure to find the keys that will help the hotel form closing down.

Reviewer's Name: Harshith J.
The Desert Spear
Brett, Peter
4 stars = Really Good

The second book in the Demon Cycle series, The Desert Spear practically proves my point that its predecessor, The Warded Man , started in the wrong place. In fact, if there weren’t an awesome battle sequence at the end of The Warded Man, I’d suggest just skipping to The Desert Spear since all the key moments from the first book were referenced in this sequel. That being said, this book has some of its own issues, some of which are gripes I continue to have about this series—which makes me think this is just the way these books are going to be.

Before I get too far down the criticism hole, I do want to say that I truly enjoy the magic system in these books. The Desert Spear doesn’t necessarily do anything new with it, but there’s at least a little more world building that happens in terms of the demons that I would have liked to see integrated more fully into the story. I like the idea of wards essentially being “computer programs” in a fantasy space, which is probably why I’ll continue to read this series. I’ll also say that the depth of the cultures presented in this book are top-notch and the action is expertly-described.

All this being said, there’s a lot of fluff in this book. The entire first third was practically a prologue to the meeting of the “desert” forces and the “forest” people, most of which could have easily been condensed. Even what I thought was a side story seemed to be only added as a way to integrate a short piece of essential plot near the end of the book. Despite being wordy, these moments were slightly necessary. Additionally, the “modern” sensibilities of Leesha are admirable for a woman in a fantasy setting but most of the time just pulled me out of the story because they didn’t necessarily match the timeframe where it was set.

A book that continues with great world building but in far too many words, I give The Desert Spear 3.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Blake, Elly
4 stars = Really Good

Ruby is a Fire Blood who is in hiding, her grandmother taught her how to control a small flame but her grandmother died before she could learn more. Ruby's mother is a healer who wants to protect Ruby as much as she can. On her journey she meets a Frost Blood named Arcus who only sees Ruby as a tool for the downfall of the Frost Blood king. Ruby has to make a decision to save herself or stay and love the Icy man she has come to love.

I loved this book I didn't want to put it down, as soon as I read the first page I wanted nothing to do with anything going on in my life but to read this book. When the time came to the climax I was shocked by what had happened. It was an amazing story and originally when I choose this book as a birthday present I didn't think it would be good as it sounded. I would recommend this book to whoever likes Fantasy, Adventure, and Romance.

Reviewer's Name: Rhianna
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Lewis, C.S.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

When 4 british school children are sent away during World War II to a old professers home the have no idea what adventures are there. The children find a wardrobe in a room of the house and enter it where they find themselves in a magic land called Narnia. This book is full of adventure and is a good read for people of all ages.

Reviewer's Name: Kaci
Soul of the Sword cover
Kagawa, Julie
4 stars = Really Good

Soul of the Sword picks up directly at the end of the events of the first book in the series, Shadow of the Fox. If you haven’t read Shadow of the Fox, and you like Japanese mythology, what are you waiting for? Pick it up now! Also, skip this review, because spoilers.

If you liked the first book, you’ll like this one too. I did not remember the first book that well as I read it last summer, but Kagawa writes this in such a way that it’s easy for the reader to jump right back in. Most of our characters (save Tatsumi, because he’s mostly a demon now) get further development, and Yumeko in particular really seems to have grown a lot throughout the course of the book. My favorite character, the ronin Okame, has an exceptionally fun development. The worldbuilding, which was fantastic in the first book, continues to be alluring as Kagawa further fleshes out what was already a well-drawn world. The plot, like the first book, is fast-paced and while this is definitely something of a bridge book, it’s a bridge book that is really fun to read.

Readers of Rick Riordan who are looking for something a little more grown-up, or folks who like their fantasy to be steeped in mythology, you won’t go wrong with this series. I’m excited for the next one to come out. 4 stars – I really liked it!

Thanks to Harlequin Teen & Netgalley for the advance copy which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. Soul of the Sword will be available for purchase on 18 June or you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: Britt
The Wishing Spell
Colfer, Chris
4 stars = Really Good

This book was really good. It had a really interesting plot line and was hard to put down! It was very cool and had interesting ideas. However, there is some mild language.

Reviewer's Name: Tyler
The Book of Hidden Things
Dimitri, Francesco
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

'The Book of Hidden Things' is a fantasy story of 4 friends Tony, Fabio, Art, and Mauro. These friends from a small town Casalfranca in Italy, make a pact to meet every year. When Art doesn't show up this year, Tony, Fabio, and Mauro decide to check what happened to him.

While they search for him, they learn mysterious information about Art, his life, his research, and things become more complicated and confusing. When Mauro gets fired by Art's ex-girlfriend, they all step back thinking about the risk they are taking to find Art. At last, Art shows up, reveals information about his research and forces them to trust him and take an important decision with their lives.

There are no words to explain how good this book is! The narration is very gripping and the mystery lingers till the end of the book and even after finishing the book. Characterization is simply superb. While Art is a unique character, Tony is a wonderful mate, Mauro, a responsible husband and friend who is guilty of leaving behind his favorite hobby of playing guitar and Fabio is a person with his insecurities and money problems.

I could get a glimpse of Southern Italy, the weather, the scenery, and the cuisine as well through this book. The book cover and the name are apt.

If you love mystery and fantasy, you will like this book. But, fantasy and mystery feel very real.

Reviewer's Name: Mahati
Keeper of the Lost Cities
Messenger, Shannon
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

This is a book about a girl who finds out she's an elf. She is brought into the lost cities by Fitz, another elf. Every elf in this world has a special talent: Conjurer, Mesmer, Vanisher, Guster, and the forbidden: Pyrokenetic. Sophie, the girl, finds out that she is a Telepath. She can read minds! And she has to stop the mysterious white fires that are burning in human cities. Could a Pyrokenetic be setting them?

Reviewer's Name: Madeline
The Point
Dixon, John
2 stars = Meh


With the rise in popularity of the superhero genre, it was only a matter of time before it leaked into other genres. While some genres like steampunk (like in The Esper Files ) make for an interesting twist, others like military YA sci-fi are so similar as to be just one other entry in the zeitgeist. The problem with this is that other, more famous handlings of supernatural superpowers bring much more to the table than books like The Point (which doesn’t necessarily add much to either genre on the whole).

As far as I could gather, there are only three or four different “types” of mutants in The Point: telekinetic, pyrokinesis, super strength, and “other” (like dream manipulation and energy storage, the latter of which was reasonably original). I suppose franchises like X-Men and One Piece, which give each of their unique characters unique superpowers and rarely (if ever) repeat themselves, is what ruined this book for me. This only added to the sense of the faceless military machine presented in this book, as few characters stood out to me at all.

Furthermore, I didn’t like the main character at all. Sure, most YA (and this is mature YA at that—an oxymoron, I know) start with a character who needs to undergo growth by the end of the story. However, I don’t need a main character that’s so fully flawed for so long that I end up hating her before she even learns anything. This, added with numerous questions I had that were never answered, plenty of redundant and boring sections, and the fact that I wholeheartedly agreed with the villain meant that I didn’t particularly like this book.

A book that’s likely trying to cash in on superhero and/or YA trends, I give The Point 2.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.