Fantasy

Book Review: The Magician's Land

Author
Grossman, Lev
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

The final book of The Magicians trilogy follows Quentin back on Earth ready to take on a mission to steal a mysterious suit case along side other magically adept individuals, one being Plum, someone whom he knows from initial months after his expulsion from Fillory. Meanwhile, Eliot and Janet, along with new Fillorian royalty Josh and Poppy, work to save their world from destruction.
I really enjoyed this conclusion to this trilogy. The characters are given more depth (Janet makes her reappearance as an important character), storylines/loose ends from the previous books are solved or explained, and there are more perspectives rather than just Quentin. Seeing the story play out on both Earth and Fillory as they slowly come together near the end was a fun experience that wasn't shown in the other books due to their limited perspective.
The plot following Quentin and Plum was definitely a journey! Seeing the initial set up of the mission, the planning, and the execution and follow-up was deeply engaging. Not only were new things introduced, but it did a great job of creating its own story while connecting to previous storylines and the current plot with Fillory.
The events in Fillory were also fun, though they weren't as much of the story as Earth and didn't involve as much Josh and Poppy as I personally would have wanted. Regardless, this side of the story was also fun.
There were a few surprises that came up that were unexpected, but I'll leave them to you to see if you liked them or not.
Reader's Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name
Antwaan
Genres

Book Review: So This Is Love

Author
Lim, Elizabeth
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

This book was a beautiful twisted tale based on Cinderella. It was a simple and quick read. I loved having it for a leisure book, it was a nice break between complex novels. On this note, I felt as though certain elements could have been developed better, such as the conspiracy within the castle. It was childishly simple to read, albeit that is part of what made this book so enjoyable. The biggest downside in my opinion was the ending. It felt far too rushed. Overall however this was a great read! I enjoyed where Elizabeth Lim picked up the story and cannot wait to read more books from her.

Reviewer's Name
Samantha

Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author
Maas, Sarah J.
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

This book had me completely hooked! It almost follows the plot of Beauty and the Beast but in its own world with its own complex characters. Feyre's determination and strength was incredible to see in a female character. Not only is she the main character and heroin but she carries real and deep emotions. In addition to this, I love Tamlin and his court. Sarah J Mass's descriptions are in depth and I felt like I was really in the room experiencing everything as it happened. The end had my head spinning and I could not wait for the next book.

Reviewer's Name
Samantha

Book Review: Shadow and Bone

Author
Bardugo, Leigh
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Shadow and Bone contains many complex themes. It held my attention; I couldnt put it down. I fell in love with the characters. They are all complex and maintain that complexity throughout the story. Until the end that is. I was unimpressed with the ending. It felt like Alina went against her own moral code to "win" that final fight. It felt forced and quite frankly, anticlimactic. It just didn't fit.

Reviewer's Name
Samantha

Book Review: The Magician King

Author
Grossman, Lev
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

The second book of The Magicians trilogy continues with Quentin, Julia, Eliot, and Janet as kings and queens of Fillory before a quest throws Quentin and Julia back to Earth, and that quest being a snippet of a bigger problem for all magicians.
I enjoyed this book better than the first one. The world is more fleshed out, the plot is more interesting, and characters are more fleshed out (Quentin remains more or less the same to me, though). The biggest aspect of the book to me is Julia. In the first book, she is rarely shown and when she is, there is zero context on what was going on with her. In this installment, we get to see her backstory and her current character as the book oscillates between the current conflict and Julia's story during the events of The Magicians. Seeing her change and how it affects her (especially at the end of the book) is such a pivotal point of her dynamic with Quentin, as well as a driving force for the plot and world building (remember hedge witches?).
Other characters from the first book make their reappearance, along with some new ones, which bring some new life into the story . However, one character is largely excluded: Janet. While she appears in the beginning, she is left off the majority of the story. While the story doesn't necessarily need her, being a key character in the first book and a queen of the setting of the story, it would have been nice to see her more within the pages.
This a definitely a good edition to the series, and with the ending and some loose ends, I wonder how the final book will tie everything together.
Reader's Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name
Antwaan
Genres

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Author
Rowling, J.K.
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

(Warning do not proceed unless you have read the previous 4 books. SPOILERS AHEAD.)
The wizarding world is exploding with news of Voldemort's return. Muggle news is filled with mysterious murders and strange disappearances. Or, at least, that is what 15-year-old Harry Potter thinks should be happening. Ever since he saw Voldemort return at the end of the Triwizard Tournament he had to hide under flower bushes just to listen to the muggle news to get any hint of what might be happening and, of course, avoiding his Wizard hating Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon. While doing this very thing, he hears a big crack that sounded like someone apparating or disapparating he jumps up because it was some sign of the world he knew...and he hits his head on the windowsill. His bumbling uncle pulls him in with his thick purple fingers and with a quick quarrel, Harry shows some cheek and leaves the house heading towards the park. He sighs bitterly thinking about how abandoned he felt. The stupid Daily Prophet failed to acknowledge the fact that the most dangerous wizard of all time had returned, he hadn't even heard anything from Dumbledore, and his friends sent practically useless letters, but from what was in them, he could tell they were at the same place. It angered him to think of Ron and Hermoine having fun at the Burrow without him. The only way to deal with his angers was to take them out on his piggy cousin Dudley who was every bit as foul as the parents who brought him up. Harry is "threatening" Dudley with his wand while they walk back to the house together trading insults, when the sky goes dark, and the air becomes a bone chilling cold. Dementors, Harry knew. He was forced to use magic, which caused, when he brought a pale, sweating Dudley home, to receive a letter announcing his expulsion from Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry while listening to a furiously purple Uncle Vernon. He gets another letter telling him that his is not expelled yet but will have a hearing that will decide the issue at the Ministry of Magic. Because of this fiasco, he is transported by a guard to not the Burrow, but to the Headquarters of the Order of the Pheonix.

I really enjoyed this book because, well, the story is great, and because it is my favorite one in the series. I liked every single chapter in the book and there wasn't a single part that I didn't enjoy. I had picked this book because my mom, who had got me interested in the series in the first place had read me the first 4 books which gave way to me reading the 5th book on my own. I assure you that I have read it many, many times and if you appreciate truly good fiction, so will you. The Order of the Pheonix is not only one of the best books that I have read this year, but probably one of my favorite books ever.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name
Cooper
Genres

Book Review: The Lost Hero

Author
Riordan, Rick
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Rick Riordan has done it again. After the stunning Percy Jackson series, Percy&co are back, but their not the only demigods in the country! Percy has gone missing, and has been "replaced" by Jason. He has no idea what's going on, after being attacked by a tornado and dropped in an unfamiliar camp, he is soon sent on a mission with his friends from school to capture the storm spirits that attacked them. You never know what Leo will come up with next, and he comes up with some, let's say... interesting, ideas. Do not try to lure a brass dragon with hot sauce and motor oil unless you like being burned. To a crisp. Instantly.

Reviewer's Name
Kai

Book Review: The Magicians

Author
Grossman, Lev
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

The Magicians is the first book of the "Magicians Trilogy" and is also the source material for a SYFY television show.
The story follows Quentin Coldwater, a young man fascinated by the stories of Fillory and Further, as he progresses through a secret school for the magically inclined known as Brakebills. As he goes through his years at the mystical school, leaving his old life behind, he learns to do magic and blooms new connections with fellow attendees at the school: Eliot, Penny, Alice, Janet, and Josh. After all of them graduate, things turn more magical and dangerous than he could have imagined as a new world is opened before his eyes.
The premise of the book is different than I would have expected for a fantasy book about a magic school (this is not the same as Harry Potter!), and it adds much more than simply school life. While a good chunk of the book is within the walls of Brakebills (and somewhat slow for my tastes), it does a good job of building the world of magic. Quentin himself seems decently relatable to me, though his character did annoy me at times. Watching him interact with the other characters is nice to see as their different dynamics interact with each other. The overarching conflict, from what I observed, is kind of lacking. The threat for the characters appears in one chapter and then disappears without much significance for the remainder of the story and the way it was handled seemed anti-climatic to me. However, I look forward to seeing how everything follows in the next book, especially after the last chapter!
Reviewer's Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name
Antwaan
Genres

Book Review: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Author
DiCamillo, Kate
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is a book from the very unique perspective of a toy rabbit. Edward is a narcissistic, cold-hearted rabbit, incapable of love, until something unspeakable (by Edward's standards) happens to him and his life takes a drastic turn. Over the course of his "life", he meets many different people, all in need of him, whether he likes it or not.
The first time I heard about this book was when one of my elementary school teachers read it aloud to the class. And when I reread it just recently, it almost made me cry for the second time. I love this book and it remains one of my favorites because of multiple reasons, including its interesting perspective and excellent development of characters. Each and every one of them seem like actual, real, living people.

Reviewer's Name
Kelsey

Book Review: I Am Number Four

Author
Lore, Pittacus
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore is an entrancing sci-fi/fantasy adventure that is definitely worth the read. The story follows a boy called “Four”. Four, and his guardian Henri, are aliens from another planet. Four is one of nine children with magic powers who escaped their home planet when another alien race (called the Mogadorians) invaded. Now, it is only a matter of time before the Mogadorians, who intend to take over Earth, catch up with Four and Henri.
I love this book. I have read it upwards of ten times, but it still remains entertaining every time. Even though Four is an alien, he has completely human feelings and that makes him a really likable and realistic character. There is never a dull moment in the story, and although I have already read the second book, I want to know what happens next. I recommend this book to all sci-fi enthusiasts, and even those who don’t love it. You absolutely cannot go wrong with reading this book.

Reviewer's Name
Alayna