Book Reviews by Genre: Fantasy

Magnus Chase: The Sword of Summer
Riordan, Rick
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is a highly regarded book by critics and for a good reason! After a horror stricken-night 2 years ago, Magnus is forced to live in the streets of Boston by himself. When he discovers his Uncle Randolph is tracking him down, he resorts to hiding remembering the stories his mother told about him. Magnus' Uncle eventually finds him and explains terms of Norse mythology and his birthright to have a unique weapon. This book is an amazing story for thrill seeking and adventurous souls.

Reviewer's Name: Luke
The Mysterious Benedict Society
Stewart, Trenton Lee
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Mysterious Benedict Society is by far one of my best reads. Orphaned children are put to a series of tests by adults and a 'caretaker'. After the long and slightly dragged out beginning, you really begin to grasp the story. The Antagonist of the story chooses to use orphaned children because they have no roots or family. He trains them to never be afraid of their biggest fears . Although this book is slightly long and drawn out, it is still packed with lots of suspense. I would highly recommend for kids 12-14.

Reviewer's Name: Luke
Scythe
Shusterman, Neal
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Based in the future, Scythe takes place in a world where no one can die. To prevent over population, the Scythes are the only people who can end life. Rowan and Citra have been chosen to be apprentices to a scythe. There they will learn what that it means to take a life.

Scythe is an amazing book. I could not put it down! This book was so well written and thought provoking. I can’t wait to read the next book. Rowan made me cry so much closer to the end of the book and Citra was so easy to relate to. You will be wondering what is coming next at the end of each chapter. Also, the scheme that goes on throughout the book is insane!! One thing I did like about this book is there is not much gore, which is good because in some other books that I have read there is a lot and I don't really get the point of detailed gore; but that is just personal preference. Neal is truly an incredible writer and knows how to get a readers attention.
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Hayden
Wings of Fire: The Lost Heir
Sutherland, Tui T.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wings of Fire: The Lost Heir, is a great book! After being held captive by and potentially killing the queen of the Skywings in the first book, the adventure continues! The dragonets are now on their way to the Sea Kingdom, where they meet one of the dragonet’s mother! After the heartwarming reunion, the dragonets are thrown into chaos in the Sea Kingdom! Read the book to find out more! I really love the characters and their relatable and diverse personalities. The humor and drama mixed in makes the book even better. The book is one of my favorite books of all time! I couldn't put the book down, and before I knew it, I'd finished the whole series! I definitely recommend it!
Reviewer's grade: 9th

Reviewer's Name: Jenny
Ember Falls book jacket
Smith, S. D.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

"Ember Falls" is an amazing book and a great sequel to the first book, "Green Ember." It has a great plot that keeps you reading until the end. It is a real page-turner and you will have a hard time putting it down! The illustrations are also amazing and help you imagine the scenes as they play out in the book.

Reviewer's Name: Isabela
The Green Ember book jacket
Smith, S. D.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

S.D. Smith's "The Green Ember" is an amazing book with an exciting plot and interesting characters that readers will love! The book centers around two rabbits, Heather and Picket, who get thrown into extraordinary circumstances. I highly recommend reading this book, as well as the three others in the series and the short stories the author has also written.

Reviewer's Name: Isabela
Gone book jacket
Grant, Michael
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In a little town on the coast of Cali, it's a normal day for everyone. Until out of nowhere everyone over the age of 15 disappears. While fighting for leadership, the kids start getting powers and the animals are mutating.
This book was really good. It's kinda like Maze Runner meets Lord of the Flies and his friend X-men. Overall i really liked it. It definitely a book for middle schoolers through; which is why I gave it 4 starts because I am in high school and am at a college reading level. If I was in middle school, this would probably be my favorite book.

Reviewer's Name: Hayden
Shatter Me book jacket
Mafi, Tahereh
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is by far the best book I have ever read!!! Shatter Me is about a 17 year old girl named Juliette living in a dystopian world. She can't touch anyone because if she does, she kills them. The leader of her sector wants to use her as a weapon, but her childhood friend wants to save her. I love, love, love this book! The plot, characters, and everything about the book is incredible. Also, the love triangle that goes on throughout the series will leave you thinking about the book for days. I have read the entire series, including the series finale that just came out: Believe me. I can't say enough about this book series. Mafi does an amazing job bringing the readers along, she always has a deeper meaning to what she is saying, and her writing style is truly one-of-a-kind! I love the whole series and have reread each book about three time. This book is my all time favorite and its worth taking time to read.
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Hayden
The Dragonet Prophecy book jacket
Sutherland, Tui
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy is an awesome book! Five dragonets destined to save the world from the Sandwing Succession War finally escape the cave they've been held captive in for their whole lives, but before they can soak the beautiful and unknown world, they've been taken captive! How are they going to save the world and bring peace when they're to fight to the death? Read the book to find out! I really enjoyed the unique and relatable personalities of each of the characters, the amazing storyline, and the humor added in the book. This book is one of my favorite books of all time! I couldn't put the book down, and before I knew it, I'd finished the whole series! I definitely recommend it!
Reveiwer's grade: 9th

Reviewer's Name: Jenny
The Midnight Library book jacket
Haig, Matt
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

‘Between life and death there is a library,’ she said. ‘And within that library, the shelves go on for ever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?’-Matt Haig- The Midnight Library is a fantasy novel, written by Matt Haig and published on 29 September 2020 by the editorial Penguin Publishing Group. This novel was an instant bestseller and a BBC Two Between the Covers Book Club pick and was winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Fiction 2020. The Midnight Library is a book about life and its ending, focusing on the choices people make, how these affect them and how they regret so many things throughout their lives, always wishing they could undo the mistakes they made, which in real life is impossible, but in the Midnight Library this is a totally different story. It is fundamental that in life you have a passion, something you live for, something that makes you wake up every single morning, something that makes you feel enthusiasm, something that gives you happiness and something that fuels your heart.

Nora Seed, a 35 year old woman from Bedford, England, decided to kill herself. Twenty-seven hours before she decided to die, she sat on her sofa scrolling through other people’s happy lives, waiting for something to happen. Nine and a half hours before she decided to die, she lost her job. Nine hours before she decided to die, she received a text from a loved one telling he wanted to talk with her, something she did not do, not because she didn’t feel things for him, but because she did. Eight hours before she decided to die, Nora entered a newsagent, where she saw a magazine with a black hole and she realised that was what she was. Seven hours before she decided to die, she had no one to talk to, so she texted her friend Izzy, even when things had dried up between them, and she didn’t get an answer from her. Four hours before she decided to die, Nora passed her elderly neighbor and she comprehended that no one needed her and that everyone would be better without her in their lives. Two hours before she decided to die, Nora was regretting almost everything she did in life; she opened a bottle of wine and left her brother a message telling him how much she loved him and that nothing was his fault, he couldn’t do anything. It was twenty two minutes past eleven and the only thing Nora knew was that she didn’t want to reach tomorrow. She took a piece of paper and wrote her last letter, her suicide note, where she explains that she blew all the chances she had in life, that if she felt it was possible to stay she would had, but this wasn’t the case, and so she couldn’t because she made everyone’s life miserable. She took an overdose and faded away. At 00:00:00, she woke up at a place that looked magical and she found her school librarian from her younger days in Bedford, Mrs Elm. This old woman explained to Nora that between life and death there was a library, full of books that provide the possibility to try another life they could have lived. In this way, Mrs Elm became Nora's imagined guide through the Midnight Library and the wonderful and unexpected things that happen throughout this story.

Nora Seed was a woman who had everything to make her life great, but she didn’t because of her outstanding depression and anxiety, the reason why she decided she didn’t want to live anymore. Joe Seed is Nora's brother, an extremely talented musician who struggled with addiction. Mrs Elm is the librarian from Nora’s school, 19 years before Nora decided to die they had a conversation about the future and all the possible lives ahead of her. Dan is Nora’s ex-fiance, which she loved and regrets not marrying.

From my point of view this book has a strong and meaningful lesson, and it is that the average human being spends their life regretting every wrong move they made. This drains their energy, and is not worth it because instead of worrying about things that you clearly can’t undo, you should be focusing on learning about your errors and put all you have on being better everyday, understanding that everyone makes mistakes and the most important is to keep going and never look back, only forward.

I recommend this novel to everyone that is struggling with mental health issues, because it can help you to appreciate things and it can also teach you many valuable lessons, such as finding your purpose in life so you can actually enjoy it. As well, this is an inclusive publication, taking in consideration that Nora’s brother, Joe, is homosexual. I enjoyed all the fantasy this book has, reading this is like travelling to the Midnight Library, feeling all the powerful emotions that take place there, and lastly but not least, connecting with every character’s story. The main lesson that this awesome book gave me is that it is ok to get lost, as long as you find your way back; and also there is people that are all the colors in one at full brightness, but some situations in their lives can turn them off, that’s why you should always be there to support your loved ones.

Reviewer's Name: Gabriela
Grendel book jacket
Gardner, John
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

it was the worst book ever. pointless.

*spoiler alert* Beowulf is ugly and mean and rude and abusive and does not understand the concept of consent it made me cry for days what's the point of a book if it has the stupidest ending ever created.

Reviewer's Name: Grendel
Shadow and Bone book jacket
Bardugo, Leigh
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The fantasy novel Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo follows a young soldier named Alina who has been realized to have hidden powers, powers that no other magic user contains. Alina's powers are destined to save her country, but with great power comes greater responsibility--responsibility Alina may not want.
I rated this novel three out of five stars because the general plot was pretty creative, and the writing was also not bad. However, maybe since this is only the first book out of the three-part trilogy, I found myself not super invested in the characters or the conflicts that unfold in the story. The romantic subplot in the story was also not very interesting and everything in this novel seemed pretty predictable and lukewarm. Overall, it was an okay book. It wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible. I was a little disappointed though since this series had received lots of attention and was even made into a Netflix series, but maybe the next two books in the trilogy will capture my attention more.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
Gideon the Ninth
Muir, Tamsyn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Gideon the Ninth is about the rebellious Ninth House acolyte, a prodigious fighter, who is forced to become the protector of her most hated enemy Harrowhark, the necromancer of the Ninth House. The two of them travel to the First House, to compete against the necromancers and cavaliers of the other houses for the treasured position of Lyctor. They must battle bone monsters, hidden murderers, the laboratories of the dilapidated castle, fellow competitors, and their burning desire to murder each other to, maybe, make it out alive.
I hadn't read sci-fi/fantasy for a long time before I read this book, and this was a brilliant example of everything I'd been missing. The characters are hilarious and likable, the stakes are high, the magic system is somewhat complicated yet explained brilliantly without long periods of exposition, and the undercurrent of science fiction is always present and contrasted beautifully with the fantasy. The idea of a a hyper-advanced society with spaceships and planets is bound to the aesthetic of necromantic power and fighting primarily done with swords, creating a world that has all the fun elements of imaginative science melded with magic. Beyond this, the story is also really tight. There's not really a moment that the book sits you down and explains everything. It just grabs you and goes and it's up to you to catch up, which is a nice change of pace. But, as I've mentioned, the shining gem of the story is likely the characters. The cast is large, but memorable in its own right. If you can't remember the names, just a few sentences of them speaking will clue you in to their distinct personality. And the gem of the story is probably Gideon herself, who's always hilarious and fun and somewhat tragic, and has a great comradery of hatred with Harrowhawk. The character development, the plot, the world, the magic system, and the mystery of this book make it easily one of my favourite books of this year.

Reviewer's Name: Eve
Red Rising
Brown, Pierce
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Darrow is a sixteen-year-old Red Helldiver from Lykos, Mars. At the bottom of the social class, Darrow believes that his toil under the surface of Mars is to benefit all of humanity-- to make Mars' surface inhabitable for others like him. But after his wife is hanged for treason, Darrow learns that all of this was a lie--that on the surface, there are large cities and all ranges of Colors. Motivated by his wife's dream, Darrow is transformed into a Gold and sent to destroy the Color system that keeps Reds enslaved.

I really enjoyed this novel because it is set in a dystopian future where the other planets have been colonized. The sci-fi aspect of it is very cool, and it makes me excited to think about making Mars and other planets inhabitable. Darrow's transformation is sad because he's fueled by revenge, but reading him become more forgiving and see the good in Golds while also recognizing the bad in Reds makes his story more emotional. He defeats the odds on both sides, and he rises above his vengeance and realizes that his goal is not to destroy the Golds and make Reds powerful but to reform the Society. Its theme is parallel to society today, shedding light on marginalized communities fighting for equality.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
The Bridge Kingdom
Jensen, Danielle L.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

All her life, Lara has been trained to be the perfect wife to a man she's never met, the King of Ithicana. She's also been trained to maim, kill, and torture anything and anyone, and now she's been sent to tear down her enemy and bring his kingdom to its knees. But when she meets Aren, his loyalty to his people and passion for the truth puts a rent in her mission. And when she learns that her father is the reason for her kingdom's poverty, she realizes that Aren was never her enemy, her father is.

I liked this book because it uses one of my favorite tropes, enemies to lovers. Although Aren is meant to be the antagonist, you learn that Lara's father is the reason why both kingdoms are suffering, and seeing Lara realize she's been lied to and change alliances was the most satisfying part of the book. There's a healthy balance of passion and action in the novel, and the end left me itching to read the sequel.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Neverwhere book jacket
Gaiman, Neil
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Neverwhere is the story of a regular man who is thrown into a completely nonsensical world beneath the London streets. Richard Mayhew is just a normal person, with an accounting job and a troll collection. When he does a good deed for Door, a street kid who's more than she seems, he is plunged into a grimy, grim, and glorious world full of Hunters and rat-speakers and angels, where's the two of them fight to escape the clutches of an unfathomable enemy and his unbeatable henchmen.
I was originally recommended this book, and had enjoyed previous books by Neil Gaiman, so I gave it a shot. All in all, I loved it. London Below is painted in vivid, horrible detail. It was definitely interesting in having a magical, fantastical world that didn't feel like somewhere one would want to live, but did feel like it was somewhere adventure happened. The final antagonist was amazing, as were the smaller one's as the story passed! They were just so full of personality, like almost all of the characters in the book. The story was crooked and strange and often sad, but beautiful and hopeful all the same. And the ending was perfect! I'd definitely recommend to any fantasy or adventure fans, although the language and content and gore makes this book not for the too faint of heart.

Reviewer's Name: Eve M.
Fireborne
Munda, Rosaria
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Revolution. The end of the dragonlord's reign. The sole survivor, Lee, having been spared by the revolutions leader, is a natural at dragon riding. After being left at an orphanage, forgotten by the people, he forms an unlikely bond with a peasant girl named Annie. She also is a natural at riding and the two having been training together since their dragons chose them. But the tournament for First Rider is coming up and them having to duel is throwing a wedge in their friendship. Not only that, but when Lee receives a message from survivors of the old regime, he must make a choice. Throw away all his hard work and rejoin his family or stick by his friends and fight for his new way of life. This exhilarating tale will leave you breathless and windswept, grasping for more. Would recommend for anyone that enjoys dragons, awesome fights and an underlying feeling of romance. Fireborne will forever be burned into my mind as a fork of fantasy and powerful story telling.

Reviewer's Name: Caden
Genres:
The Lightning Thief
Riordan, Rick
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Lightning Thief follows a twelve-year-old boy named Percy Jackson through his quest in retrieving Zeus' lightning bolt back. Percy is a normal kid who's always had trouble in school and behaving, only to find out he's a half blood. With this discovery, he's sent to Camp Half-Blood, home of the half-children of Greek Gods and mortals. We journey along with Percy when he's sentenced to a quest to find Zeus' precious weapon- his lightning bolt rod, and experience adventure, exciting battles, and new friendships.
I consider the Percy Jackson series to be a staple in every teenager's reading list. This series is similar to the Harry Potter series, and I enjoy the mythical adventures throughout both. I recommend the Percy Jackson series to anyone who wants a light but entertaining read.

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
The Alchemist
Coelho, Paulo
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

The Alchemist is a novel about Santiago a shepherd boy, who goes on a journey to find treasure. I've heard lots of hype around this story, but I have to admit that this story did not live up to its name.
Sure, the writing was pretty good, but I could not find myself getting into the story at all. I wasn't connected to any of the characters, and I couldn't care less about what happened to them.
Maybe this novel wasn't exactly meant to have a detailed and structure plotline, since it was more of a metaphorical piece, but the journey the main character took throughout the novel was written in such a way that made it completely uninteresting. The writing was more philosophical and seemed more like a long lecture rather than an actual story. Maybe I missed something, but as much as I wanted to like this book, I couldn't. Toward the end, I found myself only skimming the pages to skip to the end and get the story over with.
Maybe the experience with this book is different for everyone, but I'll have to say that it was definitely not for me.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
Animal Farm
Orwell, George
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Animal Farm by George Orwell is an allegory about a farm of talking animals that push out their farmer after the abuse that they endure and proceed to create their own form of government. The animals form their government without the realization of the need to work for survival and have to adapt to the situation which causes discrepancies and arguments. I thought that this book was really good due to the surprising climax, ruthless betrayal, and the historical relation that it contains, but it does have some dragging parts. The plot is unpredictable and very interesting throughout. I had to read this book for school and thought it would be boring, but after reading it I gained knowledge of history through symbolism and recommend this book for history enthusiasts such as myself. Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Nicola