Reviews of Teen Books by Genre: Fantasy

Daughter of the Pirate King
Levenseller, Tricia
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Alosa is the daughter of the infamous Pirate King. She's also half-siren, a secret she wants desperately to be kept hidden. After staging her kidnap by a rivalry pirate crew, Alosa is tasked with finding a map that will lead her father to a legendary island full of treasures untold. It should be easy: she's one of the best pirates on the sea, and being half-siren has its perks. But cleverly and annoyingly attractive first mate Riden makes her task much more difficult, and for the first time in her life, she has something to fight for...or rather someone.

My favorite part of the entire book was Alosa herself. She's smart, witty, and defies the odds given that she's a female pirate (and the only woman on the ship for most of the novel). Her budding relationship with Riden is amusing, and it's the typical enemies to lovers trope. The novel was full of some nice surprises, and I'm anticipating what's going to happen in the sequel!

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Scary Stories for Yong Foxes
Heidicker, Christian McKay
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Scary Stories for Young Foxes is a very intriguing book with twists and turns all the way down. It is designed to be, hence the name, "scary" but the way the stories from each perspective connect creates a much more interesting story than it may seem. Heidecker is able to create interesting twists in the story, and is entertaining and funny as well, with an odd twist on the famed author, Beatrix Potter. But, I feel like this book could have been a children's book if it hadn't been written like to be like the scary stories you write around the campfire. The writing was not very challenging, but the plotline is perfectly written.

As you read the book you get rather attached to the main characters, Mia and Uly. Uly is a young fox with a disfigured foot, making it harder for him to function in his fox family with his sisters. His mom is always supportive and encourages Uly as he figures out how he will live on his own. But, life on his own takes a turn for the worst...

Mia grew up attending A little fox school with her siblings, and her wonderful teacher, Miss Vix. They are learning how to hunt scavenge, and survive in the wilderness, and Mia loves her class. And her teacher. The litter is learning fast, and loving it. But, disaster strikes, and leaves only Mia and her mom alone, to run from the "monster" that has formed.

Uly and Mia's destinies soon intertwine and create a plotline that is perfect for a casual read, or, if you want to make it more exciting, read it in a dark room and let your imagination run wild. Recommended ages 10+
Reviewer's Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Priya
Genres:
Red Queen
Aveyard, Victoria
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

"Red Queen" is set in a world where people are divided based on their blood color, with "reds" being on the lowest part of the social hierarchy and being kept in line and ruled by the "silvers". The silvers have powers, but the reds are normal and have no powers. The book follows Mare Barrow, a red, who gets a servant job at the summer royal castle. While working it is found out that she has powers. The precautions are taken by silvers to prevent unrest in the community, take Mare on a journey, forcing her to leave her world behind for another.
"Red Queen" is beautifully written, from the world-building, to the characters, you get to see all the parts of the arguments and the world. The renowned twist that brought me to this book was amazingly crafted and so hard to see when you get immersed in the story. When the twist happened it surprised me and made me rethink so much that had happened in the book. This book shows moral problems so well, you understand why the books problem is so hard to solve. There are many action scenes/ intricate fighting scenes that you may tune out but it is still a great read because of the writing style. You learn to care for Mare and all her friends as they try to make changes. Your heart will go out to Mare and her mission, so beware, but it is so worth it. This book is so in-depth and makes you care so much about what happens. It would be an amazing addition to any fantasy lovers library and a great read.

Reviewer's Name: Jordan
The Night Circus
Morgenstern, Erin
2 stars = Meh
Review:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is about two young magicians who have been trained since childhood to engage in a duel against each other. However, the two said magicians, Celia and Marco, although being raised to fight each other, both fall into an unexpected love.
I have to admit, the plot sounds pretty promising. However, when I read this novel I found that it was incredibly difficult for me to actually push through and finish it.
The writing is beautiful, but I think it was too beautiful in a way. Everything was written in a very flowery way, in which the whole story was made up of very gorgeous-sounding lines, but nothing really past that. To put it straight, there was no substance in the plot. The majority of the novel was just long pretty sentences describing what was happening, but not exactly drawing us into what the sentences were trying to describe. It was like the author was telling us about everything and how everything looked to the eye, but I felt no spark. It was all descriptions and no action. I didn't feel or read any emotional lines or even felt much of a fondness towards the two protagonists. Celia and Marco kind of just seemed like two mannequins placed in the story for show, but there wasn't really anything that built up their characters to make them seem real or three-dimensional. The characters were all flat, and I couldn't see myself rooting for them, or really caring about anything they did.
Overall, while Morgenstern has a beautifully poetic way with words, I didn't see myself being pulled into the plot she was attempting to conceive.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
The Last Cuentista book jacket
Higuera, Donna Barba
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Petra Peña wants to be a cuentista, a storyteller, like her abuelita. But Petra’s world is about to change forever. Earth is gone-destroyed by an asteroid. Petra and several hundred humans are voyaging hundreds of years into the future in the hope of saving humanity on a different planet. Before arriving on the new planet Petra and the others will remain in a sleep stasis, downloading information that will help them start over a new planet.

When Petra wakes up, hundreds of years later, she soon discovers the original plan has drastically changed. There is a new group in charge of their spacecraft with a different agenda for those left on board. What does the future hold for Petra and the others? Will she be reunited with her family, and preserve the art of storytelling for future generations?

This is an enjoyable book for ages 12+ who are interested in sci-fi but who might be intimidated to pick up a traditional title from the genre. It’s layered with a beautiful message of family, perseverance, and the lifesaving power of storytelling.

Reviewer's Name: Sarah H.
A Deadly Education
Novik, Naomi
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A Deadly Education follows a young sorceress, Galadriel, struggling to survive inside the Scholomance, a school floating outside our reality in a dark void. The school is home to thousands of mals that want nothing more than to tear apart the school's young, squishy magicians, and after the fabled graduation that usually kills about half of the already picked-off graduating class, barely a quarter of students make it. Galadriel, known as El, has to dodge these murderous mals, classmates turned dark, treacherous beasts in the vents, punishing curriculum, her own inclination towards dark magic, and a suspiciously helpful and heroic classmate if she hopes to graduate junior year.
Like all Harry Potter obsessed children, I've read my fair share of the magic school knockoffs that popped up to rake in our sweet, sweet income after the former's stunning success. I've read about fun schools, dark schools, elf schools, schools with just a little magic, schools with way too much magic, complicated schools, normal schools with some sparkle, and everything in between. While these have all varied in quality, none have come close to replicating the same unique nature of the Harry Potter franchise, likely in large part to their resemblance, as readers see "magic school" and can only think of it as a less impressive Hogwarts. This book stands out heavily from the rest, and is one of the first one of these I've read and genuinely thought "Hey, maybe this isn't a blatant attempt to capitalize on my generation's Harry Potter obsession." Instead of capitalizing on the fun shenanigans and beautiful imagery of magic as the Harry Potter books, and most subsequent knockoffs, this book is immediately sobering. Instead of trying to transport the reader to a world of magic beings and sparkling wands, the book opens with a near death experience of the main character, then proceeds to hammer in the normality of the situation. It introduces a strict barter system, the mundaneness of horrible deaths, the need for constant vigilance, and the constant threat of a horrible demise looming over every characters head in El's matter-of-fact, blunt voice. There's no funerals or scandals when someone dies, only remembering where there body is to watch out for the mals that will devour it. Every minute of these teenagers' lives is calculating the odds and risks to get them out alive, fully knowing that most of those with them won't make it out. And its a really, really fun read.
The way the authors shows the creative and all-encompassing ways these characters keep themselves safe from monsters that are literally everywhere makes every moment and character decision fascinating. Just getting a meal involves putting wards on tables, finding sun lamps to sit under, making sure your food isn't poisoned, avoiding the mals hiding in or around the food, and getting a spot far enough from the doors to make sure you aren't first in line if something large and hungry charges in. The amount of thought and detail and danger the author weaves into her world is truly astounding, and gives it that special flavor that finally isn't "Harry Potter but a little to the left." The tone and voice of the book is completely distinct from anything I've ever read. Lots of books try to sell that "we're constantly in danger" bit, but it rarely works since the main cast has plot armor and all the side characters that die get appropriate sadness and deep reflections on the fragility of life from the main characters. When someone dies in this book, they're dead, and that's it, and the characters have to move on or their distraction will get them dead too. It's like a war story set inside a high school, with children talking about rationing empathy and leaving their friends corpses on tables like its just a part of life. And its sad, sure, but the bluntness of it all makes it such a no-nonsense, tight narrative that you can't really grudge it that.
It helps that the narrator, El, is a very logical person, who views deaths as inconvenient but inevitable while still seeming to be a generally kind person. El herself is also very well fleshed out, clearly given her own distinct motivations and temperament. She's hardworking and resourceful, while also being bitingly sarcastic. She has flaws and problems, but watching her work through these throughout the story is immensely satisfying. Her friends and foils get the same treatment. While they're definitely not as well explored as El, they're all characters in their own right, who are also fun to watch survive. And we're all aware of the fact that it would be very easy and in character with the world for them to die, making the stakes gripping and giving the book a quality that makes it almost impossible to put down. There's also this really great main side character who acts like the classic YA protagonist with a ton of idealism and heroism and genuine kindness, and El just thinks he's a huge idiot for some really good reasons that are kind of a reflection on the usual idea of the "hero" as a whole, and their dynamic is super fun!
I read this book maybe six months ago, and I'm rereading it now, and I'm thinking of buying it because it is just that good! It has a distinct tone and a unique world that is explained by a main character we like and fleshed out by a school we can't help but want to know more about. The only real critique I have of this book is the fact that its a bit heavy on exposition, especially in the beginning, but the world is so strange and intense that I was fine learning about it, no matter how long it dragged on. All in all, this book is amazing, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants salty and cool heroines, side characters with protagonist flavor, an extremely vivid and dangerous world, some good emotional wringing, and a conclusion that promises so much more!
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Eve
Genres:
Stars Above book jacket
Meyer, Marissa
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Something I feel is underappreciated in book series is when authors don't try to cram in as much material and side stories as possible to pad each of the books to be longer than they should be. Keeping the core books of a series concise helps drive the main plot forward without requiring larger and larger volumes to tie up all the loose ends introduced along the way. The Lunar Chronicles excels in this. Look no further than the "prequel," Fairest, and the collection of short stories and epilogue that is Stars Above for proof of this restraint.

I can appreciate that worldbuilding will often create so much content that it doesn't always make sense to include it in the actual storytelling. Still, some origin stories might seem interesting, only to find out that most of these moments of exposition happened along the way as the character's motives are revealed to the reader. Ergo, some stories don't need to be told. Stars Above has some stories like this, but it also contains a few worth reading, the best of which is the pseudo-epilogue to the Lunar Chronicles.

With so many different fairy tales to pull from into the Lunar Chronicles, I'm glad that Marissa Meyer had some restraint in recognizing when some of them wouldn't work with the main narrative of Cinder's rise to claim her rightful throne. The "Little Mermaid" story in this collection works on its own, but I would find myself hard-pressed to see how it would add anything to the overarching plot of the Lunar Chronicles without reworking the whole thing. Even so, it's a good story that any fan of this series will likely enjoy.

Some necessary (and not so necessary) short stories that round out the Lunar Chronicles, I give Stars Above 3.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Winter book jacket
Meyer, Marissa
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

If there's one thing I appreciate with a series, it's when all the loose ends are tied up by the end. In the fourth and final installment in the Lunar Chronicles series, Marissa Meyer manages to wrap up all the disparate parts of the story that had been running in parallel for three books. Not only does this series have a satisfying ending, but there's even enough time to flesh out the titular character, Winter, so that her presence makes sense in the context of the whole series. Still, even if the backstory for Levanna in Fairest isn't directly needed to understand more of Winter's character in this book, it certainly helped that I had already read it going into this final chapter of the series.

While my standard qualms with the "teenage girl" style of characterizations remain for this book (as it has for the entire series), the dialogue feels very natural (as it has for the entire series). Ultimately, though, it feels like the ending takes forever to arrive, especially since the audience has already known for some time that Cinder is the true heir—a fact that only became apparent to her in the last few books. Plus, there's the almost constant sexual tension that runs through these books as well. I've never wanted to scream at fictional characters, "Kiss already!" so much in my life.

I will say that the sci-fi fairy tale reimagining Meyer does in the Lunar Chronicles is unique in its interpretation while also remaining relatively close to the source material's references. And while there were moments where the characters might have been annoying, all of their motivations were clear and drove them to make decisions that felt logical based on their background. Overall, I think this has become one of my favorite series lately, and I'm now looking forward to reading more of what Marissa Meyer has to offer.

A satisfying ending to the best series of sci-fi fairy tale reimaginings, I give Winter 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Gearbreakers
Mikuta, Zoe Hana
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Gearbreakers is a story with two subjects. First, there's Eris, a revolutionary with a burning hatred for Godolia, the all powerful government that killed her parents and regulates her home with the giant mechas known as Windups. She has dedicated her life to destroying these Windups, and any who dare pilot them. Second, there's Sona, a Windup pilot that is scheming to destroy Godolia from the inside. When the two of them meet after one of Eris' destructive escapades goes sideways, their clashing backgrounds and mirrored desires forges an unlikely friendship, one that will change both of their lives as they know it.
This book is unusual for its genre from the get go. It's clearly a YA dystopia, with its young, child soldier protagonists with appropriately angsty personalities set against a terrifying yet monolithic totalitarian government. I've read plenty of these in my time, like most of my generation, and I'm very familiar with the elements. In this book, the usual elements are subverted immediately. Instead of starting out with a bland everyman that, despite having a hard life, isn't usually directly opposed to the system they're in, this book cuts to the chase. The first voice of the story, Sona, is introduced already chock-full of rage. The entire first chapter begins in medias res, completely skipping the usual revelations and training montages and directing us straight to a character who has just been transformed and is very ticked about this. This is something the book does very well: it trusts its audience to grasp the situation at hand, without needing the exposition many books like this are heavy in, often using heavy and lyrical prose to do so. This is another thing: the prose. The book is unexpectedly poetic in many places, which is also generally strange for the genre. I'm not talking about clunky metaphors about birds and technology, although there is a lot of stuff about technology. Just the writing itself is beautiful, interweaving metaphors and similes and personification and all that fun stuff seamlessly with the literal. This also makes the novel seem older than its setting and genre, more like an old folk tale about ancient gods and classic heroes than a YA dystopia about robots and lasers. Another bright spot in the novel is its vibrant tone, especially with the characters. Every character is brimming with emotion and character and motivations. And they're all unspeakably angry. This author is younger than most, and this definitely shows in the portrayal of the younger characters in the novel. In many books written by older authors, the teenage characters often exhibit the cynicism and stoicism of that older generation in the face of social injustice. While this leads to cool-headed, logical heroes to aspire to, none of them have the same instant relatability with the younger generation as these angry characters do. Most teenagers, in the face of unfairness, get unreasonably angry. Its a fact of life, and having unabashedly angry female teen characters who scream and yell and blow stuff up in the face of their terrible circumstances instead of passing out or something is surprisingly refreshing. The two main characters, and their deep seated anger in the face of trauma and injustice, as well as their different ways of reacting to their similar demons, makes for some great chemistry and explorations of their characters. I will admit, most other characters didn't get similar levels of development, but they were each memorable and likable in unique and fun ways.
All in all, I would simply describe this book as fun and refreshing. The action and characters and writing is all fun, and the way the author subverts typical expectations in unique and interesting ways is refreshing! I would recommend this to anyone in the mood for lots of robots, good emotional conflicts, lots of sadness, lots of laughs, and some cathartically angry female characters.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Eve
Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror
Boylan, Jennifer Finney
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Falcon Quinn and his friends Megan Crofton and Max Parsons get on a bus that they think is taking them to their normal mundane school...
Well are they in for a surprise... They do go to a school, but not just any school. They go to The Academy for Monsters, where they are supposed to learn how to suppress their monster sides. Falcon however doesn't even know what his monster nature is.. and he certainly doesn't want to suppress it. Then on the day when they have to find out their monster natures... Falcon discovers that although he is half monster, he is also half Guardian or Monster killer. While Falcons old and new friends discover their roles; Max is a Sasquatch, Megan is a wind elemental, and his new friends Pearl, Destynee, Lincoln, Sparkbolt, and Weems are a Chuprakabra, a Giant Slug, a Werebear, a Frankenstein, and a Ghoul respectively, Falcon has to worry about getting killed for what he is. Read the book to discover which side Falcon will take, whether he will ever truly find himself, and whether his friends will still stick with him once they find out the truth...... A Review by Valkyrie a 9th grader.

Reviewer's Name: Valkyrie
Genres:
Hero at the Fall
Hamilton, Alwyn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In this final book to the Rebel of the Sands trilogy, seventeen-year-old Amani is the leader of a rebellion to overthrow the Sultan. With all her friends captured and imprisoned, she's forced to step into the role of the temporary leader of the Rebellion and find a way to rescue her friends and put an end to the Sultan's tyranny. Tired, scared, and doubtful, Amani tries to keep together what's left of the rebellion without dying, when it seems like death is all that is around her.

This book was amazing! It kept me on the edge of my seat with every chapter. Reading it was a turbulent rollercoaster of laughter, crying, hope, dread, and everything emotion in between. The writing of the book itself was beautiful, and I loved that it was a combination of magic, action, romance, and was full of diverse characters. I wish there was more to the series to read!

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

Harrow the Ninth is the second book in the Locked Tomb series, and it follows a necromancer, Harrow, as she learns to become a Lyctor to God himself, the emperor of the First House. But as the teaching progresses, the century-old secrets of God and his immortal Lyctors, the intangible death monsters hell-bent on destroying them, and Harrow's own crippled psyche threaten to crush her under their weight.
The first book in this series, Gideon the Ninth, is undoubtedly both bizarre and amazing from the very first page, all the way until the last. I read this book because I adored the first one, and I have to say it is even more bizarre and amazing, but there's an emphasis on the 'bizarre' part in the beginning and an abundance of 'amazing' in the end.
For the first thing, a good chunk of this book is told in second person. For another, the beginning is very confusing, mimicking the main characters confused state. For a third, much of the book seems to contradict the first book, or itself, giving a whole new meaning to the 'unreliable narrator'. Now, at the end, this all comes together and makes perfect sense and blows your head off in a fit of epiphany. And, having read the entire book cover to cover, I applaud the author for the bold choices and tantalizing ending. But for the beginning, it may be a bit more a struggle to push through, and the brilliance of the first book is really needed to help accomplish this.
So, the book is pretty confusing, but for the most part its understandable, and it maintains the first books commitment to levity. This book is pretty funny, even though it can be heart wrenching or gory in some bits. The main character, Harrow, is both very sad and very cool, like a skinny Batman, which I really like! She's also well developed, with understandable actions and motives. The supporting cast is fleshed out well, and highly entertaining, and very sad. All of this is very good. The plot, while confusing at first, is concluded nicely, and is well paced. The worldbuilding of this book does this thing I really like, where it never really sits down and fully explains anything, but still leaves you getting the gist of everything by passing remarks and impressions and vague implications. It did this better in the first book, but since the second book had a lot more complicated necromancy stuff to explain, I'll let it slide.
All in all, this was an extremely good book, which took risks with its material and just expected all of us to push through the bizarre for the amusing and sad characters and an unknown payoff, which we all did, and which was totally worth it! Highly recommend, but read the first book first, and if you've read the first book and you're looking for a reason to keep reading, definitely do so!
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Eve
Traitor to the Throne book jacket
Hamilton, Alwyn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A sequel to Rebel of the Sands, Amani continues her fight for the Rebellion after being captured and sent to the palace. Thrust into the center of the regime, she's determined to bring the tyrant down. Acting as a spy, she tries to uncover the Sultan's secrets, but the longer she stays, the harder it becomes to forget that Jin's disappeared, and the more she questions whether the Sultan is really the villain she'd been told he is and who the real traitor is to her beloved homeland.

I like this series because it's action-packed, has elements of fantasy, and romance. Each chapter never disappoints, and I felt like I was being sucked into the heart of the Rebellion just from reading about it. Amani quick-witted passionate personality makes her an admirable character, and her closest friends have stories that make it really hard not to love them too. I can't wait to read the last book!

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
The House in the Cerulean Sea
Klune, T.J.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune is a must read, feel good book unlike any other. We follow Linus in his journey to make sure Marasyas Island Orphanage abides by the rules for housing magical youth. Although he is on an highly classified assignment for his job, Linus starts to blossom into his true potential and sees the world for what it could be. Yet, Linus faces a hard decision, do what’s right for the children or what society wants him to do. The House in the Cerulean Sea will leave you feeling refreshed and wanting more. I would highly recommend this book to anybody who is in a reading slump or needs a pick me up.

Reviewer's Name: Jaala
Shadow and Bone
Bardugo, Leigh
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Shadow and Bone is a fantasy book that follows a young woman living in a world full of mystical creatures and human soldiers with magical powers called the Grisha. To summarize, a young woman named Alina comes to find out that she has magical powers just like the Grisha, the people who were either treated like royalty or monsters, and is taken in by the Grisha to embark on a journey with them to train not only her power, but to fit in with the rest of them. However, while on this journey, she uncovers a secret that changes her life as she knows it. Shadow and Bone is the first of 3 novels of the story, and I have enjoyed every bit of it, whether it be looking into the magical but dark world of the Grisha for the first time just like our main character, or the interesting conflict between Grisha and other humans, this book is very entertaining and it didn't leave me bored for a moment. Although, I was rather annoyed that the Grisha were being treated like monsters by some people. If I were to give a grade out of 10, I would give it an 8.

Reviewer's Name: Lilleah
Rule
Goodlett, Ellen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Rule, a book of mystery, suspense, and drama. Zofi, Ren, and Akeylah are each citizens of a different Reach. The Reaches are all ruled by Kolonya, and torn by war. Each girl has something to hide and each one fears the other. But when it comes to light that someone in Kolonya knows all of their secrets, they must band together to find out who is blackmail them. "Rule" paints a world that immerses the reader so that they feel they are in the story.

Reviewer's Name: Caden
Ready Player One
Cline, Ernest
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is an amazing spin on the concepts introduced in movies like The Matrix, combining both a fantastical digital world and intrigue in a crumbling US. Follow Wade Watts as he tries to escape his poverty-stricken life in the slums of a world with a failing ecosystem and rampant poverty and hunger by travelling the OASIS, a gargantuan virtual world where people go to school, conduct business, and recreate. Wade seeks The Egg, the fortune of James Halliday, the creator of the OASIS, who left his immense fortune and control of the OASIS to whomever could solve his 80’s-based puzzles and games. Wade isn’t alone in his search, there are millions of others racing him to find The Egg, and above them all looms IOI, a giant corporation searching for The Egg to monetize the OASIS and remove the freedom that users enjoy in the digital paradise. Follow Wade as he unravels complex puzzles and journeys ever closer to finding The Egg, all the while racing against the other hunters, and IOI. Ready Player One is sure to engage any science fiction fan and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys complex riddles with heaping doses of 80’s pop culture.
Harrison
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name: Harrison
The Song of Achilles
Miller, Madeline
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

When Patroclus accidently murders a boy, he is exiled to Phthia and disowned by his father. There, he meets Achilles, and almost instantly, the two become close companions, and eventually lovers. Achilles, born to the goddess Thetis and the mortal Peleus, is destined to be the greatest warrior of his generation. When Achilles is given the choice between a short life fully of glory or a long life where he is forgotten, he choses the first and sails to Troy to fight in the Trojan War. No matter how much Patroclus attempts to divert his fate, Achilles is bound to die, but on what terms?

This is one of the most beautifully written books I've ever read! You don't need much background on the Odyssey or Iliad to understand the events, which makes it more enjoyable for a wider range of audiences. There are several interpretations to the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles, but this novel was very intimate in their friendship and eventual romantic relationship. I loved the growth of Patroclus and that Achilles realized his flaw and accepted his consequences. The ending was bittersweet, but it was lovely and perfect for their story.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Crooked Kingdom
Bardugo, Leigh
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Crooked Kingdom, the second and last installment in Leigh Bradugo's Six of Crows duology, is probably my absolute favorite book in Bardugo's Grishaverse universe.
We continue from the ending of Six of Crows, where the Crows realize that they were scammed and are not receiving the money they were promised from breaking into the Ice Court and retrieving fifteen-year-old Kuwei-Yul Bo, the son of a famous scientist responsible for the creation of jurda parem. So of course, the Crows vow revenge and build an elaborate plan to plot against Van Eck--the merchant who scammed them, to receive their well-deserved money.
When I was first going into Crooked Kingdom, I was a little nervous, since many fans who've read this claimed that it was definitely much sadder than Six of Crows. And they were mostly right. Crooked Kingdom delved deeper into our favorite Dreg members characters, making us so much more attached to the gang. Even so, I really enjoyed Crooked Kingdom, as it provided much more information on the Dregs and especially Kaz's backstory. I appreciated how the ending mostly tied up loose ends and gave the characters a satisfactory ending.
Overall, Crooked Kingdom was a fitting end to the Six of Crows universe, and I would definitely recommend reading the whole Grishaverse books.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle
Six of Crows
Bardugo, Leigh
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Six of Crows is a duology in the Leigh Bardugo Grishaverse book universe. Before starting off about the book, I strongly recommend that before reading the Six of Crows books, to begin with the Shadow and Bone series. Trust me, although the Shadow and Bone trilogy isn't as raved about as the Six of Crows duology, it lays down the landscape and does some pretty important worldbuilding. Although you could get by with just reading the Six of Crows books, you'll probably be very confused.
To begin the review, Six of Crows takes place in Ketterdam, a rough and not so well off place, filled with "criminals" and many people in poverty. The book focuses on our Crows, six characters who are all bonded together by being a part of the Dregs, an infamous and tough gang in Ketterdam. We follow Kaz, Inej, Jasper, Nina, Wylan, and Matthias as they plot a heist to get into the Ice Court, a place that is heavily guarded and almost impossible to get into--or out of.
While I absolutely love a good heist book, the characters are the main thing that got me hooked with this series. For example, Kaz, a very well-known ruthless lock-pick and criminal, and most importantly, the leader of the Dregs, is only 17, but already has an intricately written character arc/backstory. Most importantly, Kaz is a very well-written morally grey character, as is the rest of the Dregs.
If a gang of exciting, morally grey characters doesn't hook you, we can also talk about the diversity in this story. There are LGBTQ+ characters, and many many characters who are all different races and from different cultures. Kaz, the leader of the deadly Crows even suffers from a disability. It's rare to find a story willing to delve into topics that aren't as widely portrayed in fiction, and Six of Crows does this brilliantly.
Overall, Six of Crows balances many different aspects perfectly. Humor, romance, backstory, diversity, and adventure, Leigh Bardugo does it all in Six of Crows.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Michelle