Disclaimer: I received an eARC copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I can’t believe how many recap posts I have from the readathons I participated in September, but I find that readathons really motivate me to get through my TBR! I promise this is my last one and it is a continuation of the prompts from the Mythothon readathon!
What We Devour by Linsey Miller: Confusing
TW: self-harm, abuse, murder
I really wanted to love this book because I love anything dark and fantasy. I was interested in Lorena’s character and liked that she was aromantic – it’s not a perspective I’ve seen often! However, the worldbuilding was really difficult to make sense of, and I couldn’t get a sense of the magic system at play. I also wasn’t a fan of the writing style; it was both vague and repetitive. Overall, this novel had a good idea but the execution was lacking so I’m giving it 1/5 stars.
The Russian Cage by Charlaine Harris: A Fun Ride
You can find my full review of The Russian Cage here!
Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson: Joan of Arc vibes
Published October 5th 2021by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Data from Goodreads
The dead of Loraille do not rest.
Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a ravenous hunger for the living. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who trade whispers about her scarred hands and troubled past.
When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia defends it by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a malevolent being that threatens to possess her the moment she drops her guard. Wielding its extraordinary power almost consumes her—but death has come to Loraille, and only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a high relic, has any chance of stopping it. With all knowledge of vespertines lost to time, Artemisia turns to the last remaining expert for help: the revenant itself.
As she unravels a sinister mystery of saints, secrets, and dark magic, her bond with the revenant grows. And when a hidden evil begins to surface, she discovers that facing this enemy might require her to betray everything she has been taught to believe—if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.
TW: Self-harm, anxiety, disordered eating (minor), PTSD
This is the first book I’ve read by Margaret Rogerson, and I quite enjoyed it! The story had a lot of action and kept me interested. I also liked Artemisia’s character a lot, and rooted for her from the beginning. The worldbuilding did need some work because I had a lot of questions left unanswered. At times, it felt like the book needed some more editing to realize its full potential – but maybe that’s because I had an ARC. Regardless, I still enjoyed reading this book so I’m giving it 3/5 stars.
The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He: Disappointing
The Ones We're Meant To Find
Published May 4th 2021by Roaring Book Press
Data from Goodreads
Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years without any recollection of how she arrived, or memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, she has a sister named Kay, and it’s up to Cee to cross the ocean and find her.
In a world apart, 16-year-old STEM prodigy Kasey Mizuhara lives in an eco-city built for people who protected the planet―and now need protecting from it. With natural disasters on the rise due to climate change, eco-cities provide clean air, water, and shelter. Their residents, in exchange, must spend at least a third of their time in stasis pods, conducting business virtually whenever possible to reduce their environmental footprint. While Kasey, an introvert and loner, doesn’t mind the lifestyle, her sister Celia hated it. Popular and lovable, Celia much preferred the outside world. But no one could have predicted that Celia would take a boat out to sea, never to return.
Now it’s been three months since Celia’s disappearance, and Kasey has given up hope. Logic says that her sister must be dead. But nevertheless, she decides to retrace Celia’s last steps. Where they’ll lead her, she does not know. Her sister was full of secrets. But Kasey has a secret of her own.
After loving Descendants of the Crane, I was so excited to get this book! I love the entire concept in this novel, along with its focus on climate change. However, I didn’t really enjoy reading this book. It is a very slow-moving book, with lots of details … and yet, I still didn’t fully understand everything that was happening. I found myself drawn to one perspective (Cee’s) over the other, which happens to me quite often! I also wasn’t a fan of the open ending. Ultimately, I liked the concept and themes of this book more than its execution so I have to give it 2/5 stars.
When The Tiger Comes Down The Mountain by Nghi Vo: Beautiful
Check out my review for this fantastic story here!
Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher: Unrealistic Contemporary
Published February 16th 2021by Wednesday Books
Data from Goodreads
Eighteen-year-old Amelia Griffin is obsessed with the famous Orman Chronicles, written by the young and reclusive prodigy N. E. Endsley. They’re the books that brought her and her best friend Jenna together after Amelia’s father left and her family imploded. So when Amelia and Jenna get the opportunity to attend a book festival with Endsley in attendance, Amelia is ecstatic. It’s the perfect way to start off their last summer before college.
In a heartbeat, everything goes horribly wrong. When Jenna gets a chance to meet the author and Amelia doesn’t, the two have a blowout fight like they’ve never experienced. And before Amelia has a chance to mend things, Jenna is killed in a freak car accident. Grief-stricken, and without her best friend to guide her, Amelia questions everything she had planned for the future.
When a mysterious, rare edition of the Orman Chronicles arrives, Amelia is convinced that it somehow came from Jenna. Tracking the book to an obscure but enchanting bookstore in Michigan, Amelia is shocked to find herself face-to-face with the enigmatic and handsome N. E. Endsley himself, the reason for Amelia’s and Jenna’s fight and perhaps the clue to what Jenna wanted to tell her all along.
TW: death, grief
I was expecting a story about grief and loss. And yes, this novel does have that. Initially, I felt very emotionally invested in this story, and in Amelia’s struggle to cope with her grief. But after a few chapters, the story suddenly shifts and becomes a romance. This bothered me because it made it seem like the cure for grief and depression is romance – which is not true. Not only was that a problematic message for me, but I also didn’t like the romance in the story. It was very much insta-love and it felt so rushed that I couldn’t believe in it. So whilst this novel does have its poignant moments, its romance arc ruined the execution for me.
Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco: A Big Nope For Me
Wicked As You Wish
Published October 1st 2021by Sourcebooks Fire
Series: A Hundred Names for Magic
Data from Goodreads
When a hidden prince, a girl with secrets, a ragtag group of unlikely heroes, and a legendary firebird come together…something wicked is going down.
Many years ago, the magical Kingdom of Avalon was left encased in ice when the Snow Queen waged war. Its former citizens are now refugees in a world mostly devoid of magic. Which is why the crown prince and his protectors are stuck in…Arizona.
Prince Alexei, the sole survivor of the Avalon royal family, is hiding in a town so boring, magic doesn’t even work there. Few know his secret identity, but his friend Tala is one of them.
A new hope for their abandoned homeland reignites when a famous creature of legend, the Firebird, appears for the first time in decades. Alex and Tala must unite with a ragtag group of new friends to journey back to Avalon for a showdown that will change the world as they know it.
I usually enjoy books written by Rin Chupeco. But this one was just a hot mess. From the synopsis, there was everything to like. However, reading this book was a mission. The worldbuilding was extremely confusing and there were one too many elements to the story. I never felt like I got a good grasp on any of the characters. It took all the energy I had to focus on the main plot and get to the last page … and I still wouldn’t be able to tell you what happened in the story. I wish I could have enjoyed this book more because the potential and talent are there (along with some awesome representation). Unfortunately, the execution let it down for me, so I have to give it 1 star.
The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick: Meh
The Mask of Mirrors
Published January 21st 2021by Orbit
Series: Rook and Rose
Data from Goodreads
Fortune favors the bold. Magic favors the liars.
Ren is a con artist who has come to the sparkling city of Nadežra with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house, securing her fortune and her sister’s future.
But as she’s drawn into the elite world of House Traementis, she realizes her masquerade is just one of many surrounding her. And as nightmare magic begins to weave its way through the City of Dreams, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled…with Ren at their heart.
This is another book that I wanted to love so much but just couldn’t. There are some good elements to this novel, but it was also a very frustrating book to read. For one thing, the story moves along very slowly; the authors (this is a joint-author work) spend a lot of time describing settings but forget to describe the key elements of the world itself. I’m still unsure of the hierarchical system in place and I don’t understand the magic system at all, even though the authors included a glossary. The actual con is interesting and I would have liked it if the story had focused more on the heist because it was the one thing that I could actually follow along. The characters are interesting but I needed more from them to actually form a connection. All in all, this wasn’t a terrible read but it took me ages to get through it, and frankly, it wasn’t that memorable.
And that’s it! Those are all of the books I read in September! Unfortunately, I ended the month with books that I didn’t really love … but I’m hoping my October reads will earn higher stars!