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Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi ARC {3.5 Stars}

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi ARC {3.5 Stars}

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi
Published by Razorbill on Oct. 31st, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 304 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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In the walled city of Kos, corrupt mages can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts – lethal creatures spawned from feelings of guilt.

Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind. Most aki are driven mad by the process, but 17-year-old Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family.

When Taj is called to eat a sin of a royal, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves – and his own life.

A gritty Nigerian-influenced fantasy.

3.5 Stars

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

Strengths:
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The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin eARC {5 Stars}

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin eARC {5 Stars}

The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin (The Broken Earth #3)
Published by Orbit on Aug. 15th, 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 432 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
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THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS... FOR THE LAST TIME.

The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.

Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.

For Nassun, her mother's mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.

The remarkable conclusion to the post-apocalyptic and highly acclaimed trilogy that began with the multi-award-nominated The Fifth Season.

5 Stars

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

Strengths:
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The Speaker by Traci Chee ARC {DNF}

The Speaker by Traci Chee ARC {DNF}

The Speaker by Traci Chee (Sea of Ink and Gold #2)
Published by GP Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on Nov. 7th, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 512 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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Having barely escaped the clutches of the Guard, Sefia and Archer are back on the run, slipping into the safety of the forest to tend to their wounds and plan their next move. Haunted by painful memories, Archer struggles to overcome the trauma of his past with the impressors, whose cruelty plagues him whenever he closes his eyes. But when Sefia and Archer happen upon a crew of impressors in the wilderness, Archer finally finds a way to combat his nightmares: by hunting impressors and freeing the boys they hold captive.

With Sefia’s help, Archer travels across the kingdom of Deliene rescuing boys while she continues to investigate the mysterious Book and secrets it contains. But the more battles they fight, the more fights Archer craves, until his thirst for violence threatens to transform him from the gentle boy Sefia knows to a grim warrior with a cruel destiny. As Sefia begins to unravel the threads that connect Archer’s fate to her parents’ betrayal of the Guard so long ago, she and Archer must figure out a way to subvert the Guard’s plans before they are ensnared in a war that will pit kingdom against kingdom, leaving their future and the safety of the entire world hanging in the balance.

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

So I got to 248 before deciding this just wasn’t working for me. I LOVED book one, so this hurts. But this feels like major second book syndrome.

Thoughts:
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The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton ARC {DNF}

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton ARC {DNF}

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles #1)
Published by Disney Hyperion on Feb. 20th, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 512 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.

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

Thoughts:
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The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden ARC {5 Stars}

The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden ARC {5 Stars}

The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden
Published by Harper Voyager on June 13th, 2017
Genres: Adult, Genre-bender, Sci-fi
Page Length: 400 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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In South Africa, the future looks promising. Personal robots are making life easier for the working class. The government is harnessing renewable energy to provide infrastructure for the poor. And in the bustling coastal town of Port Elizabeth, the economy is booming thanks to the genetic engineering industry which has found a welcome home there. Yes—the days to come are looking very good for South Africans. That is, if they can survive the present challenges:

A new hallucinogenic drug sweeping the country . . .
An emerging AI uprising . . .
And an ancient demigoddess hellbent on regaining her former status by preying on the blood and sweat (but mostly blood) of every human she encounters.

It’s up to a young Zulu girl powerful enough to destroy her entire township, a queer teen plagued with the ability to control minds, a pop diva with serious daddy issues, and a politician with even more serious mommy issues to band together to ensure there’s a future left to worry about.

5 Stars

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

Strengths:
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The Reader by Traci Chee ARC {4.5 Stars}

The Reader by Traci Chee will catch your eye immediately with that cover, but it will keep you hooked with its beautiful writing, fascinating magic, protagonists you just want to befriend, and pirates! I had high hopes but didn’t know what to expect from this book, and within a few chapters I could hardly contain my excitement because I had found one of those really special fantasies that remind you why you love reading.

Note: I borrowed an advanced copy of The Reader. Some things may have changed in the final version.

The Reader by Traci Chee ARC {4.5 Stars}

The Reader by Traci Chee (The Sea of Ink and Gold #1)
Published by Putnam Juvenille on Sept. 13th, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 448 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
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Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan ARC {5 Stars}

Anya was tearing through her batch of middle-grade fantasy ARCs so quickly that I wondered if I would have a chance to beat her to Shadow Magic!!  Happily, I won this particular race and had the delightful experience of meeting young Lily Shadow and her unexpected friend Thorn, along with a diverse collection of supporting characters that include a giant bat and a black puppy named Custard.

This engaging story is a page-turner with lots of unexpected twists and turns.  It is certainly easy enough for younger readers to manage, although there are a few episodes that might be upsetting or disturbing to some children.

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

Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan ARC {5 Stars}

Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan
Published by Disney Hyperion on April 12, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, MG
Page Length: 336 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
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Thorn, an outlaw's son, wasn't supposed to be a slave. He's been sold to Tyburn, an executioner, and they're headed to Castle Gloom in Gehenna, the land of undead, where Thorn will probably be fed to a vampire.

Lilith Shadow wasn't supposed to be ruler of Gehenna. But following the murder of her family, young Lily became the last surviving member of House Shadow, a long line of dark sorcerers. Her country is surrounded by enemies and the only way she can save it is by embracing her heritage and practicing the magic of the undead. But how can she when, as a girl, magic is forbidden to her?

Just when it looks like Lily will have to leave her home forever, Thorn arrives at Castle Gloom. A sudden death brings them together, inspires them to break the rules, and leads them to soar to new heights in this fantasy with all the sparkle and luster of a starry night sky.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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Binti by Nnedi Okorafor eARC {4 Stars}

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is a sci-fi novella about a woman going to a university in space when usually none of her tribe ever leaves their home. This story combines beautiful inspiration from Nigerian culture with an alien first-encounter unlike any I’ve ever read. I am once again left wishing for a full novel or even a series about this world, but for now we must content ourselves with this glimpse

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

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor eARC {4 Stars}

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Published by Tor.com on Sept. 22nd, 2015
Genres: Adult, Sci-fi
Page Length: 96 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti's stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself - but first she has to make it there, alive.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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