A high-stakes fantasy book about love and sacrifice, Mistborn is absolutely outstanding and a definite read for people who love fantasy. As with any excellent fantasy book, the worldbuilding is enthralling, and the magic system is incredibly distinctive yet easy to grasp. The characters are complex, relatable, and flawed, complemented by the third-person omniscient narration. With this cast of characters, the reader will be taken on multiple emotional rollercoasters before the book concludes. And yes, of course, there is romance layered on evenly throughout the narrative. While it does follow a typical plot, a revolution, or overthrow the corrupt leader, it is done uniquely, and there are twists, and there are turns. Honesty, I could not predict the ending and was left gaping on how intense the book got within the last quarter. As I said, I one hundred percent recommend Mistborn. It is an unforgettable read.
Crooked Kingdom is a sequel to Six of Crows, both of which are set in the Grishaverse. It is the story of how Kaz Brekker and his crew as they try to con Jan Van Eck out of his money before he builds an empire with the deadly substance, parem.
As with the last book, the characters are the standouts. Every member of the cast is fleshed out, and you can understand every decision they make. Jesper, Matthias, and Wylan are the standouts in this book. Each of them continue on their arcs in a natural way that leaves their characters feeling complete. Jesper realizes that many of his problems come from hiding his true self as a grisha. Matthias finally sees the beauty in the grisha. Wylan overcomes his father's influence and sees him for what he is.
The plot has constant twists and turns, but is still easy to follow. As the story progresses, the challenges the group faces continually grow more difficult. The characters have to change their plans multiple times to keep up with the growing influence of their adversaries. This story markets itself as a fun fantasy heist, and it more than succeeds in that. It might not say anything particularly meaningful, but it has a few nice messages sprinkled in there.
My main problem with this book is with Inej. Her arc was more or less completed in the last book, and this book doesn't have much for her to do. There's a brief crisis where she believes Kaz only keeps her around because she's useful, but that's resolved rather quickly. She has a rivalry with a character named Dunyasha, but nothing is done with that either. She beats Inej once, then loses the next time they fight. It doesn't make Inej grow or change. It just exists. It might not have bothered me so much if it wasn't built up as this incredible rivalry. I felt that the book wanted her to remain one of the main characters, but had to make up excuses for her to still be in the spotlight.
However, that one critique is rather small. Overall, Crooked Kingdom is a delightfully fun book. I would recommend it to any Grishaverse fans, fantasy fans, or heist fans.
In the second collection of short stories that start the Witcher saga, Sword of Destiny helps to further broaden the setting and characters that would eventually be used in Blood of Elves . Following somewhat chronologically and expanding upon ideas first covered in The Last Wish , this collection continues to flesh out characters like Geralt and Yennifer while also introducing characters like Ciri. While they're fine stories by themselves, they pale in comparison to long-form novels like Blood of Elves, mainly because of their episodic nature.
I applaud author Andrzej Sapkowski for using these short stories to introduce the world-building of the Witcher series. While some writers might just make character sheets for their characters, he actually puts them in interesting situations to see what they would do. From a writing standpoint, I'd recommend this method of concept development as it gives certain edge cases or rarer character interactions to see where the limits of the characters lie. After all, figuring out what works in short form helps the longer pieces feel grounded. It helps when there are such strong characters to work with, though.
My only qualm with this collection was that nothing was particularly memorable. Sure, if I had read this before Blood of Elves, I might feel differently. As it is, I already know how Geralt handles himself, what drives Yennifer, and how Ciri has more going for her than even she knows. Since I'm writing this review many months later, I had to remind myself what even happened in it. Some stories in this book were covered in the first season of the Netflix adaptation, which made remembering them easier. Still, it's a solid collection and should be required reading for anyone who wants to get into the Witcher series.
Another great, but hardly memorable, collection of short stories, I give Sword of Destiny 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel story taking place before the events of the hunger games, and is about president Snow before he becomes president. This book was interesting because it shows Snow as a mentor to a tribute from district 12 during the tenth annual hunger games. You also hear a lot about Snow’s internal monologue which can get a little creepy because some of his actions actually make sense despite them being twisted. The book was a lot longer than any of the original hunger games books so it was a little slow which made it boring at times, but it was interesting to see Snow slowly morph into the twisted and feared villain he is later. The love story in the book was also strange because Snow would be the last person you would think of to show compassion and even Suzanne Collins can confirm this throughout his internal monologue. Overall, I think this is a great book to read if you enjoyed the hunger games series and there is a movie adaptation coming out this November which was one of my reasons for reading it.
Reviewer Grade: 8
This book was the absolute perfect ending to the Lunar Chronicles! There was so much action and fairytale elements in the book that were all easy to follow, and fun to read! Marissa Meyer was a genius when she incorporated an adaptation of a sci-fi Snow White, while still be able to keep the story flowing and add growth to the characters. It is important to read the series in order, but Winter was by far my favorite in the series!
I read this book during middle school and recently reread the series. The book is about a boy named 'Gregor' Gregor falls into a laundry shoot with his sister and finds himself in a new world with a quest. He searches for his dad. He's learns to survive in this new environment picking up new skills and learning this new worlds rules.
I loved the idea of the 'Underland' a world with completely different creatures and how they interact with each other. I loved the story filled with giant animals like bats, rats, and cockroaches. How it goes into detail how Gregor and the people of the Underland get around in the dark. And how the lack of light affects their appearance. The book is very detailed and the well thought through.
The book is definitely worth a read. This book is a part of a 5 book series. Each book provides a new challenge for Gregor. And the last book just leaves you wanting more
Reviewer grade: 11
"The Sword Defiant" by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan is the greatest exploration of what lies beyond the "happily ever after" that I have ever read. There are two main protagonists; Aelfric the Lammergeier and his sister, Olva. Aelfric, or Alf, is a member of the most famous adventuring party, called the Nine. They famously defeated a malevolent force of darkness 20 years before the events of "The Sword Defiant". Large elements are immediately reminiscent of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. However, rather than focusing directly on battles, duels, and direct combat, Hanrahan instead uses these 20 years to explore how a world is altered after a massive war through Alf's perspective. My least favorite part of "The Sword Defiant" was when Olva was the primary focus. Olva's sections take an even larger step back from action, but the purpose of Olva is unclear even after the climax. I struggled to understand the purpose of Olva. She appeared to just be a thing that Alf needed to protect, or she appeared to be just a tool for the author to see the world from the view of a commoner. This leads to the best part of the book: the world-building. Every single detail about the environment, the populace, culture, class division, species division, species interaction, species history, magic, and more felt important to understand. Each of those elements were also explored, typically through Alf. The Nine have their own interesting backstories, and each member also represents an archetypal Dungeons and Dragons character. Too many beautiful interactions occur between members to present but even the smallest remarks are hitting on the previously mentioned elements of world building. There are the typical fantasy races like Dragons and Dwarves, but there are also the stranger ones like Vatlings and Witch Elves. When Gundan (a dwarf) talks about the Elves, it's always something negative. When anyone ever mentions Peir (the dead one who sacrificed himself 20 years ago), they always talk about his best characteristics. The ending will make that interesting, as well as the development of the secret villain in the end. All in all, this would have been the best fiction book I have read this year if it wasn't for the slog also known as Olva's sections.
Reviewer Grade: 11
When I picked up The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang, I sought a good, possibly wonderful, fantasy book, as one would expect from a New York Times best-selling author. What I was not expecting was to be enlightened and disturbed to the same degree within its 544 pages. Now let me back up; The Poppy War is a historical and grimdark fantasy that draws its plot from mid-20th-century China, with the main conflict based on the Second Sino-Japanese War. The book provides insight into the brutality of war and its aftermath. While the book is based on the Second Sino-Japanese War, the author does a wonderful job constructing an immersive plot and charming characters taking creative liberties to make the book a story of its own. I would highly recommend this book.
Harry Potter was an incredibly amusing read, with amiable characters that truly made the story stand out. This novel is a must-read for people of all ages. It has an air of mystery, is captivating, and provides entertainment. The book portrays real-world events in a fantasy world.
The characters, including the main character Harry Potter, are relatable and undergo character development while making mistakes. One of the great features of the novel is how each character has their own unique strengths and weaknesses, and each one has a distinct way of feeling. For instance, Neville Longbottom is a shy boy, but his loyalty to his friends and his house team is unwavering.
Harry Potter is a book that can be enjoyed by all ages, as it accurately portrays the struggles that come with different stages of life. Even though Harry is a wizard, his teenage problems are relatable to those of a typical teenager. As a reader, you can judge the characters in the book based on the tone of the novel. Relationships are also a significant feature of this novel and are portrayed differently depending on the type of relationship. For example, the relationship between a sibling and a friend is distinct but can be differentiated only by the tone or mood portrayed accurately.
This book is an absolutely enchanting experience, overflowing with captivating magical creatures, spells, and enchantments that will undoubtedly keep readers completely engaged. The characters are exceptionally well-crafted and relatable, while the plot moves at a fast pace, leaving the reader on the edge of their seat.
The author's vivid and immersive writing style transports readers into the heart of the story, allowing them to experience it as if it were their own. At Hogwarts, Harry befriends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The trio works together to unravel the mystery surrounding the Sorcerer's Stone. In their quest to counter Voldemort's plan to use the stone to regain his body, Harry and his friends embark on a perilous adventure.
Overall, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a timeless classic that continues to interest and entertain readers of all ages. It is a must-read for anyone who loves fantasy, adventure, and magic. I highly recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t read it yet.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third book in the Harry Potter series. This book is a must read if you enjoyed the previous two books.
Harry Potter, a wizard going into his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, has a connection to the escaped serial killer, Sirius Black. Black now is thought to be trying to murder Harry Potter on behalf of Voldemort. Dementors are sent to the campus of Hogwarts in order to keep students safe from Black. Hermione is juggling taking 12 classes and being busier than ever. Her cat is set on killing Ron's sick rat creating tension in the trio. Professor Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, helps Harry cope with the awful affect the dementors seem to have on him. Meanwhile, Harry tries to discover the tie between Black and himself.
I read this book because I was a fan of the previous two books in the series. The characters and setting in this book make it easy to fall in love with. The author uses imagery to make it feel as if you are really there with the characters. This made the book an absolute blast to read. The ending tied everything together and prevented loopholes in the plot. I disliked the ending in the regard that Harry didn't get his happily ever after.