Author: Julie Berry
Published: March 5, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect-turned-soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it’s no match for the transcendent power of Love.
I almost adored this book. I wish I could say that I loved everything about it, but unfortunately, I can’t. It all started great; Aphrodite as a narrator was brilliant and gave the story such a fascinating edge. The “trial” Hephaestus put Ares and Aphrodite through was interesting and I couldn’t wait turn the page and learn more. The story sucked me in from page one. The setting and characters were engaging and I was emotionally hooked from the beginning. I was prepared to give the book 5 stars without a single complaint, until all the “woke” themes started. It nearly ruined the entire book. I have no problem discussing America’s past of racism and the reasons for the Civil Rights movement. I’m a historian, I don’t believe in revisionism in anyway.
But when the South is villainized unfairly, I’m gonna complain about it. Thankfully, Berry put in small phrases that acknowledged a black man’s plight even in the progressive and Yankee city of New York. But when every single Southerner is turned into an insufferable jerk all because of the color of another man’s skin, it overshadows how beautiful this story could have been. And it’s so sad that this is literally the only problem I have. I cannot say enough good about the rest of this book. I couldn’t put it down and this cover is sooooo beautiful!!!!! I still want to rate it as high as I can and I absolutely recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction.
Today Kim is reviewing His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers. She rated this series 4 stars.
Books in the Series:
Published: April 3, 2012
Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.
Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?
Published: April 2, 2013
I lean forward, pushing my body out past the battlements. The wind plucks at my cloak, buffets against me, as if it would carry me off in flight, just like the birds or the knight’s soul. Let go, it cries, I will take you far, far away. I want to laugh at the exhilarating feeling, I will catch you, it whistles seductively.
The convent has returned Sybella to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?
Published: November 4, 2014
Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.
She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn’t mean she has…
Kim’s Rating of the Series: 4 stars
This series is awesome! I got Grave Mercy while I was on vacation in the Outer Banks, at the amazing Buxton Village Books. The cover is beautiful and the story is unique. LaFevers combined history with a little fantasy, yet it all still felt realistic, like it all actually happened that way. The convent of St. Mortain was fascinating. I doubt I would make a good assassin, but I would go to the convent!
The main characters, Ismae, Sybella, and Annith are all likable and relatable. Of them all, I think my favorite is Ismae. She is the main character in Grave Mercy and the first of the assassins that I got to know. She embraces everything with grace and her abilities are the most interesting. Her story sets the tone and standard for the rest of the series. I’ll admit that when I started reading book two, Dark Triumph, I was a little worried that the story was starting to get predictable. Thankfully, the further I read, the less predictable it was. Sybella’s story was definitely the most surprising and Annith’s romance came out of nowhere!
So, each book has its own merit. And each one is very good and worth reading. I did read them separately, with a couple of books between so any predictability was staved off really well. The men were all great as well. I don’t want to take about them in too much detail because I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say that I was crushing on each of them as I was reading. Fictional boyfriends are all part of my nerd life, and I regret nothing!
Overall, this was an excellent series, with engaging characters and fascinating circumstances. This is also a great series for older teens.
Today Kim is reviewing The Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. This was yet another series she enjoyed!
Books in the Series:
Shadow and Bone
Siege and Storm
Ruin and Rising
Shadow and Bone
Published: June 5, 2012
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.
Siege and Storm
Published: June 4, 2013
Darkness never dies.
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her—or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
Ruin and Rising
Published: June 17, 2014
The capital has fallen.
The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.
Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.
Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.
Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.
Kim’s Rating of the Series: 4 Stars
I am such a huge fan of Leigh Bardugo; she is a flippin genius! I first read the Six of Crows duology and fell in love. (My review is here). I found the Shadow and Bone trilogy at Books a Million for cheap so I got all 3 books. They sat on my shelf for quite a while, mostly because I didn’t want to somehow tarnish my love for the Grishaverse. But, I read Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Bardugo and she didn’t disappoint . . . So I dove in.(My review of Wonder Woman: Warbringer is here).
I’ll start with my limited bit of criticism. At first, I felt like I was missing something. Had I not read Six of Crows, I would have been completely lost. That was a bit disappointing to me. I also felt like the stretches between the action got a little slow. Unfortunately, a little teenage drama was thrown in to try to fill some empty spaces and that got annoying. However, neither of those things ruined the series. All the crazy action was unpredictable and scattered throughout.
I liked the characters pretty well. Alina was not the most likable but she grew and matured through each story. Mal was great! He was mostly supportive and very interesting and quite the badass! I think my favorite of everybody was Sturmhond . . . But I can’t say much because I don’t want to give anything away! 🙂 The general plot was similar to many other books in YA, but Bardugo added enough unique detail to keep it from being conventional. I was happy with the resolution of the series and I ended up wanting to go straight into Six of Crows again. I like the continuity of the Grishaverse without the same story being told over and over again.
Overall, I really liked this trilogy. It’s a great introduction to the world of Grisha and I’m very excited to see the new things Bardugo is writing![Top]