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Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao ARC {4.5 Stars}

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao ARC {4.5 Stars}

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (Rise of the Empress)
Published by Philomel on Oct. 10th, 2017
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl's quest to become Empress--and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng's majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins--sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

4.5 Stars

Note: I received an advanced copy of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Random Thoughts:
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Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire eARC {3.5 Stars}

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire eARC {3.5 Stars}

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children #2)
Published by Tor.com on June 13th, 2017
Genres: Dark Fantasy
Page Length: 189 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you've got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

3.5 Stars

Note: I received an advanced copy of Down Among the Sticks and Bones from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Thoughts:
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Caraval by Stephanie Garber ARC {4.5 Stars}

Caraval by Stephanie Garber is a luscious story of a girl willing to do anything for her sister, including win a game full of dark magic and dangerously lovely boys. If you are looking for an addictive and beautiful fantasy, look no further. This is the start of a new fantasy series that you don’t want to miss.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Caraval from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber ARC {4.5 Stars}

Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Published by Flatiron Books on Jan. 31st, 2017
Genres: Dark Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 401 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Purchases made support this blog

Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
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The Midnight Star by Marie Lu Audiobook {4 Stars}

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu is the concluding book of the Young Elites trilogy. Adelina must confront the growing darkness in her and decide whether her sister’s life is worth rejoining with her friends-turned-enemies to save the world. If you’ve been wondering what these Young Elite powers really are, this is the book for you!

Note: I received an advanced copy of The Midnight Star from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu Audiobook {4 Stars}

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu
Narrated by Carla Corvo, Lannon Killea
(The Young Elites #3)
Published by GP Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on Oct. 11th, 2016
Genres: Dark Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 316 pages
Audio Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
How I got my copy: Publisher
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The thrilling finale to the New York Times bestselling Young Elites series from “hit factory” Marie Lu.

There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all that she’s achieved.

Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds when a new danger appears, putting not only Adelina at risk, but every Elite and the very world they live in. In order to save herself and preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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The Devourers by Indra Das {Just Hatched}

Just Hatched Book Feature

Just Hatched is a feature where I share my first impressions of a book after the first chapter. Check out the announcement post for more information.

The Devourers by Indra Das immediately caught my attention with the gorgeous cover and the fascinating premise. I also really love finding books originally published in another country that are crossing over into American publishers since they usually reflect a more authentic experience of that other culture. The Devourers is definitely such a book and I recommend it as long as you are in the right mood for something dark and weird along with the beauty ;-).

Note: I received an advanced copy of The Devourers from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

The Devourers by Indra Das {Just Hatched}

The Devourers by Indra Das
Narrated by Meera Simhan, Shishir Kurup

Published by Del Rey on July 12th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
Page Length: 306 pages
Audio Length: 13 hrs and 31 mins
How I got my copy: NetGalley, Publisher
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For readers of Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, China Mieville, and David Mitchell comes a striking debut novel by a storyteller of keen insight and captivating imagination.

On a cool evening in Kolkata, India, beneath a full moon, as the whirling rhythms of traveling musicians fill the night, college professor Alok encounters a mysterious stranger with a bizarre confession and an extraordinary story. Tantalized by the man’s unfinished tale, Alok will do anything to hear its completion. So Alok agrees, at the stranger’s behest, to transcribe a collection of battered notebooks, weathered parchments, and once-living skins.

From these documents spills the chronicle of a race of people at once more than human yet kin to beasts, ruled by instincts and desires blood-deep and ages-old. The tale features a rough wanderer in seventeenth-century Mughal India who finds himself irrevocably drawn to a defiant woman—and destined to be torn asunder by two clashing worlds. With every passing chapter of beauty and brutality, Alok’s interest in the stranger grows and evolves into something darker and more urgent.

Shifting dreamlike between present and past with intoxicating language, visceral action, compelling characters, and stark emotion, The Devourers offers a reading experience quite unlike any other novel.

3.5 Stars

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A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess ARC {5 Stars}

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess is a blend of Victorian fantasy and Lovecraftian horror with all my favorite parts of each along with a moving discussion of sexism and fantastic pacing. I was excited about this book after reading the blurb but I had no idea how amazing of a ride I was in for! I cannot recommend this book enough to fans of alternative history fantasy and fantasy with something a bit different.

Note: I received an advanced copy of A Shadow Bright and Burning from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess ARC {5 Stars}

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess (Kingdom on Fire #1)
Published by Random House Children's on Sept. 20th, 2016
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 416 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Henrietta Howel can burst into flames.
Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she's shocked when instead of being executed, she's invited to train as one of Her Majesty's royal sorcerers.

Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the chosen one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.

But Henrietta Howel is not the chosen one.
As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, what does it mean to not be the one? And how much will she risk to save the city--and the one she loves?

Exhilarating and gripping, Jessica Cluess's spellbinding fantasy introduces Henrietta Howel, a powerful, unforgettable heroine, and an entertaining world filled with magic, monsters, and mayhem.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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Nevernight by Jay Kristoff ARC {4 Stars}

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff introduces readers to a sweeping new fantasy world filled with dark deeds and darker shadows, where three suns make true night a rarity and people have built a city in the bones of a dead god. If you like your fantasy equal parts dark and steamy, this isn’t one to miss!

Note: I received an advanced copy of Nevernight from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

This book has adult content.
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff ARC {4 Stars}

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (The Nevernight Chronicle #1)
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on Aug. 9th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Dark Fantasy
Page Length: 448 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Purchases made support this blog

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu eARC {4.5 Stars}

Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu and illustrated by Sana Takeda is a graphic novel I have wanted to read since I first heard of it over a year ago. I patiently waited for a physical volume to be released because my library didn’t get the electronic releases as they came out and I’m so glad I waited and could binge the whole first volume all at once. This novel is everything I hoped with gorgeous art, a terrifying but amazing world, and dark but strong characters. There are also a few jokes and happy moments to make things better :D.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Monstress from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu eARC {4.5 Stars}

Monstress: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu, Sana Takeda (Monstress Vol #1)
Published by Image Comics on Nov. 4th, 2015
Genres: Adult, Dark Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Page Length: 72 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
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Steampunk meets Kaiju in this original fantasy epic for mature readers, as young Maika risks everything to control her psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, placing her in the center of a devastating war between human and otherworldly forces.

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
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In the Shadow of Bound Gods by Rachel Dunne {Just Hatched}

Just Hatched Book Feature

Just Hatched is a feature where I share my first impressions of a book after the first chapter. Check out the announcement post for more information.

In the Shadow of the Gods by Rachel Dunne promises to be an epic fantasy on the darker side, but with anti-heroes that win over your heart despite themselves. I’m a sucker for dead god premises, so I am definitely intrigued right from the start.

Note: I received an advanced copy of In the Shadow of the Gods from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

In the Shadow of Bound Gods by Rachel Dunne {Just Hatched}

In the Shadow of the Gods by Rachel Dunne (Bound Gods #1)
Published by Harper Voyager on June 21st, 2016
Genres: Adult, Dark Fantasy
Page Length: 400 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

A breathtaking talent makes her debut with this first book in a dark epic fantasy trilogy, in which a mismatched band of mortals, led by violent, secretive man, must stand against a pair of resentful gods to save their world.

Eons ago, a pair of gods known as the “Twins” grew powerful in the world of Fiatera, until the Divine Mother and Almighty Father exiled them, binding them deep in the earth. But the price of keeping the fire-lands safe is steep. To prevent these young gods from rising again, all twins in the land must be killed at birth, a safeguard that has worked, until now.

Trapped for centuries, the Twins are gathering their latent powers to break free and destroy the Parents for their tyranny—a fight between two generations of gods for control of the world and the mortals who dwell in it.

When the gods make war, only one side can be victorious. Joros, a mysterious and cunning priest, has devised a dangerous plan to win. Over eight years, he gathers a team of disparate fighters—Scal, a lost and damaged swordsman from the North; Vatri, a scarred priestess who claims to see the future in her fires; Anddyr, a drug-addled mage wandering between sanity and madness; and Rora and Aro, a pair of twins who have secretly survived beyond the reach of the law.

These warriors must learn to stand together against the unfathomable power of vengeful gods, to stop them from tearing down the sun . . . and plunging their world into darkness.

3.5 Stars

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Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire Audiobook {5 Stars}

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire is an audiobook and novella not to miss. I was originally worried about the ‘horror’ label that got stuck on it, but it’s really just dark fantasy with a bit of gore. More importantly, the worlds described and characters trying to get back to them will sink into your heart and make you exceedingly relieved that this is a series!

Note: I received an advanced copy of Every Heart a Doorway from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire Audiobook {5 Stars}

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Narrated by Cynthia Hopkins
(Every Heart a Doorway #1)
Published by Tor.com on April 5th, 2016
Genres: Dark Fantasy
Page Length: 173 pages
Audio Length: 4 hrs and 44 mins
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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