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Enders by Lissa Price eARC {4 Stars}

Enders by Lissa Price continues Callie’s story as she deals with a chip in her head, a secret organization out to control her, and just wanting to give her baby brother the family and home he has lost. Enders picked up quickly days after that amazing ending of Starters and the action never let up. Mysteries pile on top of mysteries and I honestly don’t know how Callie managed to push through it all. Callie continues to be a great no-nonsense heroine, though with a few more guys entering her life just to make things complicated ;-). Basically, if you liked Starters, I have no idea how you could resist picking up Enders.

Note: I received an eARC of Enders through Netgalley for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Enders by Lissa Price eARC {4 Stars}

Enders by Lissa Price (Starters #2)
Published by Delacorte on Jan 7th, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, YA
Page Length: 288 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

With the Prime Destinations body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn't want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save Callie's life - but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena's memories, too ...and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body? This is the thrilling sequel to "Starters".

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Burn Bright by Bethany Frenette eARC {4 Stars}

Burn Bright by Bethany Frenette is the sequel to Dark Star and continues the story of Audrey’s life with a superhero mother, demons after her, and friends that are crazy but in an awesome way. I was honestly only so-so about Dark Star, but Burn Bright has been able to not only avoid second book syndrome, but surpass Dark Star in terms of character development and plot. Burn Bright has some obvious setup for a third book towards the end, so I’m hoping that the series just keeps getting better :D.

Note: I received an eARC of Burn Bright through Netgalley for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Burn Bright by Bethany Frenette eARC {4 Stars}

Burn Bright by Bethany Frenette (Dark Star #2)
Published by Disney Hyperion on Feb. 25th, 2014
Genres: Sci-fi, YA
Page Length: 352 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Audrey Whitticomb saved her entire city.

Well, kind of. The superhero Morning Star (who just happens to be Audrey's mom) might have played a small part, and her sidekick, Leon—Audrey's sort-of boyfriend, who is gorgeous... and frustrating—maybe helped, too.

But after two peaceful months, there is a vicious new threat in Minneapolis. Her name is Susannah, and she's a Harrower, a demon hell-bent on destroying people like Morning Star, Leon, and Audrey—the Kin. Like others before her, she seeks the Remnant, a Kin girl who has the power to unleash the inhabitants of the Beneath. But to what end?

Audrey already has a ton on her plate: dealing with her best friend Tink's boy drama, helping her other best friend Gideon figure out his nightmares, and exploring the highs and lows of "dating" Leon. But when she develops a powerful new ability, Audrey seizes on the chance to fight, despite her mother's protests and Leon's pleas.

As Audrey gets closer to figuring out Susannah's motives and tracking down the Remnant, she'll uncover more than she bargained for. The terrible truth is staring Audrey in the face. But knowing the truth and accepting it are very different things.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Archetype by M.D. Waters eARC {4 Stars}

Archetype by M.D. Waters is a chilling tale of a future where control over fetus’ genders led to a shortage of woman, prompting companies to start looking into dark alternatives. Archetype is completely from Emma’s perspective after she wakes up with no memory and no idea who this man calling himself her husband is. Between the voices in Emma’s head, the creepy doctors who refuse to tell her how her accident happened, and the awesome sci-fi technology, Archetype is an excellent adult sci-fi to check out this year!

Note: I received an eARC of Archetype through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Archetype by M.D. Waters eARC {4 Stars}

Archetype by M. D. Waters (Archetype #1)
Published by Dutton Adult on Feb. 6th, 2014
Genres: Adult, Sci-fi
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Emma wakes in a hospital, with no memory of what came before. Her husband, Declan, a powerful, seductive man, provides her with new memories, but her dreams contradict his stories, showing her a past life she can’t believe possible: memories of war, of a camp where girls are trained to be wives, of love for another man. Something inside her tells her not to speak of this, but she does not know why. She only knows she is at war with herself.

Suppressing those dreams during daylight hours, Emma lets Declan mold her into a happily married woman and begins to fall in love with him. But the day Noah stands before her, the line between her reality and dreams shatters.

In a future where women are a rare commodity, Emma fights for freedom but is held captive by the love of two men—one her husband, the other her worst enemy. If only she could remember which is which. . . .

4 Stars

Strengths:
[Read more…]

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews eARC {4 Stars}

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews is an entirely new series that was first released serially on their blog and has since been compiled into the full novella. I’m not a fan of reading on my computer, so I was thrilled to find out that Clean Sweep was going to be released as an eBook (and even print-on-demand!) and that the eBook includes illustrations :D. If you are a fan of Andrews’ other two series or just getting started with your fan career, Clean Sweep is a great introduction to the fun of Andrews’ writing style while introducing a really clever spin on the typical urban fantasy story (there are aliens!).

Note: I received an eARC of Clean Sweep from the author in exchange for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Purchase on Amazon

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews eARC {4 Stars}

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews (Innkeeper Chronicles #1)
Published by Author on Dec. 2nd, 2013
Genres: Adult, Novella, Sci-fi
Page Length: 235 pages
How I got my copy: Author
Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is...different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, "normal" is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night....Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

4 Stars

Strengths:
[Read more…]

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore Audiobook {4 Stars}

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore is the conclusion to the Graceling trilogy and I’m definitely late to the game on this one ;-). I listened to the entire trilogy on audiobook though and do recommend them if you’re like me and still catching up on this awesome fantasy series! One of the big things to know about Bitterblue and the previous books, however, is that they are much more like companion novels than a continuous trilogy. Each book is about a different character and while Bitterblue relies on events that occurred previously, it’s set years in the future and so you probably could easily read it without having read the previous books. I listened to the previous two books over a year ago and only kind of remember them, so it worked out for me in any case ;-).

Note: I listened to Bitterblue on audio and that definitely influences my opinion on the book.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore Audiobook {4 Stars}

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Narrated by Xanthe Elbrick
(Graceling Realm #3)
Published by Dial on May 1st, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 563 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea, still under the influence of her father Leck, a violent psychopath who altered minds. Her advisers want to pardon evildoers and forget everything, but she sees the past holds fast. Two thieves, who only steal what has been stolen, hold the truth and change her life. One, his Grace skill unidentified, has a key to her heart.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • Bitterblue is a much different book than Fire and Graceling, which made me happy. I was impressed that Cashore was able to write such a character-driven book without her typical kick-butt heroine from the previous books.
  • I loved that Bitterblue brought the whole trilogy together even though it is set so apart from the other books. Katsa and Fire both play big roles and a lot of the questions we were left with about a certain evil mind-reader are pursued in Bitterblue.
  • I loooooved the mysteries of Bitterblue City and all of the strange things that Bitterblue keeps encountering and needs to figure out. Bitterblue the girl is also so like me in her need to make lists to figure out how everything fits together ;-). Lists are the best!
  • Bitterblue is pretty low on the romance but it was just the right amount for me. I enjoyed that Bitterblue had priorities other than a pretty boy given that she is a queen and all! That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have feelings that she has to deal with on her down time though ;-).
  • Bitterblue has a great narrator who fit Bitterblue’s character quite well. While Graceling is full-cast audio, Bitterblue has just one narrator, which seems to be a bit more common.
  • Since the book is so character driven, it was pretty important for Bitterblue to be a strong character and I enjoyed her a lot! She is smart and strong, but very realistic in her difficulties of ruling a country that has been torn apart by the previous king, not to mention the horrors that she and her mother endured when her father was still ruling.

Weaknesses:

  •  The plot is kind of all over the place given the character-driven nature of Bitterblue. I didn’t really know what the actual plot was going to end up being until half-way through I’d say. Things just kind of happen for a while.
  • After 2/3 of the book, Bitterblue gets SUPER TRIGGERY. Horrible things happened during Leck’s rule, including physical and sexual abuse to an absolutely terrifying degree. It was difficult to listen to sections where these things were revealed so be sure you are prepared.
  • The narrator’s voices for different characters were inconsistent, which disappointed me. I like it when I can realize which character is talking just by the voice, but that wasn’t the case with Bitterblue.
  • Despite my general approval of Bitterblue’s character, she can get a bit whiny at times. I just wanted her to toughen up a bit here and there, but I guess I wouldn’t have been much better given the situation >.>.

Summary:

Bitterblue is a very interesting conclusion to the Graceling trilogy. It’s quite different than the previous books, focusing on a character-driven plot with a very different heroine than Katsa and Fire. However, I still enjoyed Bitterblue for being different and for pulling the three books together in a rather fresh way. With the huge number of connected trilogies out there, it was fun to listen to three books that each stood on their own and were simply based in the same world. I wouldn’t say Bitterblue was my favorite of the three (Fire is for the record), but I’m very glad that I’ve finally finished these books!

Have you read Bitterblue yet? Which is your favorite of the three?

4 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman Audiobook {4 Stars}

This post originally appeared as a guest review on Read. Sleep. Repeat. Thanks for having me Octavia!

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman has dragons, an awesome new fantasy world, a strong message about the stupidity of discrimination, and a great narrator. Why didn’t I listen or read Seraphina sooner you ask? I don’t know D: I’m so glad I’ve fixed this problem, however, since Seraphina really surprised me with the direction it went, but I’m really excited to eagerly await Shadow Scale with you all now :D. I also no longer have to be embarrassed that I hadn’t read THE dragon YA of 2012, haha.

Note: I purchased Seraphina through Audible. All opinions are my own.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman Audiobook {4 Stars}

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Narrated by Justine Eyre, Mandy Williams
(Seraphina #1)
Published by Random House on January 1st, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 451 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • The narration of Seraphina was quite enjoyable. I actually picked the audiobook up from the library last year and ended up returning it, so I was happy to finally finish that process, haha.
  • Seraphina is full of creativity and interesting ideas. Seraphina the character has a mental garden that she must maintain in order to keep sane, which I must admit was one of my favorite unexpected additions to the fantasy story :D.
  • Dragons! The take on dragons in Seraphina is quite interesting, a great mix of classic elements and reimaginings of how dragons might actually get along with humans in a medieval world. Plus there are actually two subspecies of dragons, the more the merrier!
  • Seraphina has a bit of romantic tension, but not a full out romance, and I enjoyed the change of pace. At first I was thought “no way is that happening, not possible!” and then I became intrigued, and now I have no idea what will happen in the next book D:
  • The world-building in Seraphina is top-notch. It is one aspect that might have been better to read, because there are a lot of people from a lot of countries visiting the court and having a map to reference would likely help some people enjoy that aspect. I was fine just learning the names and customs of countries from how they sounded, but that’s me ;-).
  • I really appreciated the way the discrimination message was handled in Seraphina. Some humans are understandably unhappy with the dragon species, given the wars that happened decades ago. However, it is made clear how cruel and foolish the stereotypes and assumptions based on racism are from both humans and dragons that are too dense to see past the troubles of the past.

Weaknesses:

  •  There are flashbacks in Seraphina from her mother’s perspective and the narration switches to a different voice actor. I was not a fan of this second narrator since she always had this tremble in her voice, making everything sound overly dramatic…. There aren’t too many times this cropped up though, so I wouldn’t say don’t listen to Seraphina because of it.
  • Seraphina has the problem of many high fantasies in that it has slow parts as the world and characters are developed. I didn’t mind too much, but this is where listening comes in handy since I didn’t have to pay complete attention during those segments.
  • Remember how I mentioned that I actually borrowed Seraphina on audio from the library a year ago? I returned it because I didn’t like the narration actually. I grew to enjoy it once I gave it a chance again, but at the time it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Definitely listen to a sample before purchasing to make sure it works for you.

Summary:

Seraphina is an excellent high fantasy dragon story and I’m relieved that I finally found a way to fit it in! (Audiobooks are the best for that :D.) It proves that YA can have deep world-building and plot elements focused on adventure and intrigue instead of romance. (Not that there is anything wrong with the romance heavy books, I just get tired of the intense focus in YA.) I’m so freaking excited to explore more of this world in Shadow Scale since Seraphina is going to actually go out adventuring :D.

4 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder ARC {4 Stars}

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder is the first book in the Healer series which I have been meaning to read FOREVER! I love healers (I was totally a heals druid in WoW and now want to go start raiding again, must resist!), I’ve heard such amazing things about Snyder’s writing and stories, and the cover is sooooo pretty! Oh and I’ve had a copy for months since I grabbed it when my friend was clearing out old ARCs ;-). Fortunately, Touch of Power completely lived up to my expectations and I’m freaking pumped to keep reading this series. That’s the benefit of most of the books already being out right??

Note: I received borrowed an ARC of Touch of Power. Some things might have changed in the final version.

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder ARC {4 Stars}

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder (Healer #1)
Published by Harlequin MIRA on December 20th, 2011
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 390 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life....

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • I’m generally a hater on broody boys turning in to the love interest, but Touch of Power takes place over quite a bit of time and so the relationship develops slowly, believably and so adorably! I was very adamantly against this romance at first and Kerrick even won this crotchety old grouch over by the end ;-).
  • I love the classic magic systems of earth, air, life, death, etc. However, they have to be done in a new way otherwise it’s just lazy right? Fortunately, Touch of Power does a marvelous job of tweaking the classic magic system (adding moon magic for one thing :D) so I wasn’t disappointed! We only get glimpses into what powers are involved in each type of magic, so I’m really excited to find out more in the subsequent books :D.
  • I knew that the ending couldn’t be as sad as it was aiming to be since there is a sequel, but I was actually quite impressed with how Snyder ended up solving everything. I hadn’t predicted it but it made a fair amount of sense :D. It also has opened the way for some really interesting discovery and research for Avry in future books!
  • As we all know, I’m a fan of characters dying in meaningful plot points and Touch of Power doesn’t hold back from those grittier and darker aspects of life-or-death situations.

Weaknesses:

  •  Touch of Power had slow points where I found my attention drifting, so just push through if you have the patience.
  • There are a fair amount of times when Touch of Power skipped over chunks of time (days to weeks) by just saying that things continued as they were for a while. It felt a bit forced to me, though I can’t really think of a better way to handle that.
  • There is some trigger stuff regarding manipulative and forceful romantic interaction, though it doesn’t go too far.
  • Avry and the other characters would at times use words that seemed rather modern for the fantasy setting and made me pause for a second. I suppose I can’t say that characters in a fantasy world wouldn’t use slang like we do, but it pulls you out of the story ya know?

Summary:

Touch of Power really hits on some of my favorite elements of the classic magical fantasy story with healing powers, an epic quest, insane villains, and more magic to discover. I found the whole post-apocalypse element really fascinating as well, since everything is happening a few years after a plague has decimated the world. There is so much left to discover about the plague, Avry’s magic, and Avry and Kerrick’s feelings for each other that I think I might have to start Scent of Magic pretty darn soon >.>

4 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Fragile Brilliance by Tammy Blackwell eARC {4 Stars}

Fragile Brilliance by Tammy Blackwell is the start of a new series set in the same world as her Timber Wolves books. This means more awesome werewolves, werecoyotes, and Seers, plus new characters and college :D. I read Fragile Brilliance at the perfect time since it’s pretty heavy on the romance and I was very much craving happy relationship feelings ;-). I like that Blackwell is branching out from her original style and I think that Fragile Brilliance will appeal to YA readers looking for more of a paranormal romance feel with witty writing and female characters with backbones (shocking right??)! I very much recommend that you read the Timber Wolves series before Fragile Brilliance though, since otherwise you really won’t have a good grounding in all the heavy events the characters are dealing with.

Note: I received Fragile Brilliance from the author in exchange for an honest review. I read an advanced copy and some things might be different in the final version.

Purchase on Amazon: Fragile Brilliance

Fragile Brilliance by Tammy Blackwell eARC {4 Stars}

Fragile Brilliance by Tammy Blackwell (Shifters & Seers #1)
Published by Author on Nov 26th, 2013
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 339 pages
Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Maggie McCray has worked her whole life for the opportunity to attend Sanders College. It’s her one chance at becoming a world-renowned artist, and she’s determined nothing will get in her way. But when a murder brings Maggie and her powers to the attention of the Alpha Pack and the tragically handsome Charlie Hagan, her carefully planned future hangs in jeopardy.

Charlie Hagan isn’t happy when the Alpha Female assigns him as Maggie McCray’s personal bodyguard. Just being near the Thaumaturgic threatens to unleash the primal instincts he’s been suppressing for so long. Charlie knows if the coyote is uncaged, then the person he’ll most need to protect Maggie from is himself.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • Maggie is our new MC and I loved her so much. It’s great to see a POC as a lead character first of all, but Maggie is so much more than her ethnicity obviously. She has her own fashion style, loves her grandmother, is an amazing artist, and, oh yeah, has magic powers :D. She’s also strong in her own way, too smart for all the rich kids at her college, and determined to make her own way in life. Love this girl!
  • If you’ve read the Timber Wolves books, you’ll know Charlie is a severely broken person at this point. Even if you haven’t read the other series, Fragile Brilliance makes this clear right away. While at first he freaked me out a bit, I quickly transitioned to wishing so badly that I could help him somehow. Blackwell captured the profound lack of emotions that goes along with deep depression quite well. I enjoyed the fact that all the characters from Timber Wolves, including Charlie, were obviously deeply affected by previous events and didn’t just get over it all, which seems to happen in a lot of series.
  • We’ve heard very little about Thaumaturgics previously and we finally get to find out more in Fragile Brilliance :D. How you ask? Mwahahaha, just wait ;-).
  • The feels! Fragile Brilliance has a very central romance plot line and while I’m normally not all that into romance-heavy stories, I ate this one up! Charlie and Maggie felt like friends of mine and at times I just wanted to lock them in a room together, but it was that connection that made me happy to boot up my eReader and sink a couple more hours into their story each night. Maggie is a very different character than Scout and I loved cheering her on.
  • Speaking of Scout! Scout is of course in Fragile Brilliance as a side character and she still is always able to entertain me. There is a whole lot going on for her given the events of the Timber Wolves books and it was interesting to see her new life from an outsider’s perspective. I hope things work out *sniffles*.
  • I freaking love ceramics for the record. When I realized that Maggie was a ceramics specialist, there might have been some bouncing. I have only gotten to throw pots once in college, but it was a lot of fun reading about Maggie’s studio work and living vicariously through her work >.>.

Weaknesses:

  •  I normally enjoy Blackwell’s pop culture references, but there were a few too many for me in Fragile Brilliance and I feel old because I didn’t get some of them >.>.
  • Fragile Brilliance is much more of a romance story than the Timber Wolves series was, so just be warned that it has a different feel than those previous books. I hadn’t quite been expecting this, so I don’t want others to be blindsided.
  • I get kind of annoyed when all the characters are beautiful…. At one point when Maggie is first encountering all the shifters and seers, she’s describing all our old friends and basically declares every single one beautiful. Is this a shifter and seer thing? I mean, I love that Tally isn’t model thin and is still considered beautiful by Maggie and everyone else, but can’t we have some not gorgeous characters that are awesome for their strength and charisma?

Summary:

Fragile Brilliance is an excellent paranormal romance in that it has a romance-heavy plot but still introduces us to new aspects of this world and has a deep and disturbing mystery to solve. I really enjoyed being in Charlie and Maggie’s heads while they figured things out, though I’m hoping that we get to find out more about Maggie and her family in the subsequent books. Definitely pick up Fragile Brilliance if you enjoyed the Timber Wolves series, but be in the mood for a romance ;-).

4 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Fragile Brilliance by Tammy Blackwell

Copperhead by Tina Connolly {4 Stars}

Copperhead by Tina Connolly is the second book in the Ironskin series, set in a Victorian-era world where fey definitely exist, traded with humans for a while and then decided to wage war against them. Copperhead focuses on a different main character than Ironskin: Helen, Jane’s sister. Copperhead has the feel of both a companion novel, since Helen’s perspective is so different from Jane’s, and a sequel, since it tells of the consequences of the fey masks that a hundred women wore at the end of Ironskin. While Ironskin was a loose retelling of Jane Eyre, Copperhead is not a retelling of any classic, which also gives it a bit of a different feel.

Note: I received Copperhead from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Copperhead by Tina Connolly {4 Stars}

Copperhead by Tina Connolly (Ironskin #2)
Published by Tor Books on Oct 15th, 2013
Genres: Adult, Historical Fantasy
Page Length: 304 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Helen Huntingdon is beautiful—so beautiful she has to wear an iron mask. Six months ago her sister Jane uncovered a fey plot to take over the city. Too late for Helen, who opted for fey beauty in her face—and now has to cover her face with iron so she won’t be taken over, her personality erased by the bodiless fey.

Not that Helen would mind that some days. Stuck in a marriage with the wealthy and controlling Alistair, she lives at the edges of her life, secretly helping Jane remove the dangerous fey beauty from the wealthy society women who paid for it. But when the chancy procedure turns deadly, Jane goes missing—and is implicated in the murder.

Meanwhile, Alistair’s influential clique Copperhead—whose emblem is the poisonous copperhead hydra—is out to restore humans to their “rightful” place, even to the point of destroying the dwarvven who have always been allies.

Helen is determined to find her missing sister, as well as continue the good fight against the fey. But when that pits her against her own husband—and when she meets an enigmatic young revolutionary—she’s pushed to discover how far she’ll bend society’s rules to do what’s right. It may be more than her beauty at stake. It may be her honor...and her heart.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • Copperhead has a large feminist movement element. Since it’s set in an alternative Victorian era, it starts with the same gender-role dynamics that you would expect, but the women of Copperhead develop a large amount of independence and confidence. They realize that they are capable of leaving the men that forced them into fey masks in the first place and that they don’t need to conform to traditional gender roles. There are also a couple of examples of women that were already breaking the gender role they were assigned by becoming actresses and wearing trousers!
  • Helen seemed rather shallow in Ironskin, but we find out in Copperhead just how much of an act she was putting on. Helen is such a wonderfully deep character, pulled between the very real expectations of society to be a perfectly demure woman and the desire for freedom and happiness. The development that she goes through in Copperhead is a wonderful example of how a more feminine heroine can stay true to the real aspects of her character (such as loving fashion), while still becoming independent and strong.
  • The writing of Copperhead very much fits the time setting. It is pleasant and very much got me in the right mindset for the Victorian world in which Copperhead takes place.
  • I freaking love the alternative history that Connolly has created. She continues to drop in awesome little twists, such as Lady MacDeath instead of Lady MacBeth. It’s funny how many little things would likely change if fey made their presence known instead of only being fairytales!
  • There are a couple of plot reveals that weren’t OMG PLOT TWIST, but were still unexpected and fun. This goes back to the feel of Copperhead; it wouldn’t have been appropriate for there to be a huge crazy plot twist, and so the subtle reveals fit just perfect.

Weaknesses:

  •  While I generally enjoyed the writing of Copperhead, the pacing can be described as languid from time to time. There just isn’t all that much action in Copperhead, since much of the book relies on wheeling and dealing and scheming.
  • Helen, while I adore her generally, at times frustrated me due to her lack of confidence. She makes these great leaps and then misplaces her backbone here and there and I felt like she needed someone to snap their fingers in her face and remind her just how much she had already accomplished.
  • There is a bit of a love triangle, which at first didn’t seem like a big deal, and then Helen went and made it a real thing. This is another moment where I wanted her to snap out of it.
  • I really enjoyed that Ironskin was a retelling of Jane Eyre and it feels weird for Copperhead not to be a retelling. They just don’t fit together as nicely in my brain ya know?

Summary:

If you enjoyed Ironskin, definitely pick up Copperhead. If you weren’t a fan of the retelling aspect of Ironskin but enjoyed the rest, definitely pick up Copperhead ;-). It was so cool getting another perspective (and Copperhead really couldn’t have been told from Jane’s perspective >.>) and getting to see a lot more of this world since Copperhead takes place completely in the city. I’m really curious now to see what perspective the third book is told from and if it goes back to the retelling roots. Also these covers are gorgeous and once again accurate! *pets*

4 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Copperhead by Tina Connolly

Legend by Marie Lu Audiobook {4 Stars}

Legend by Marie Lu is the first in a trilogy that will be completed shortly. The third book, Champion, is due out in November! I purchased a physical copy of Legend earlier this year because I love the interior fonts and textures used. However, it was suffering the usual fate of books already published, no matter how tempting: review books kept pushing Legend aside. So I used some spare credits to get the audiobook version! I’m very happy to have finally started this trilogy, since it does the dystopian genre proud!

(I’m sick and on cold medicine, so if this review seems a bit strange, I’m sorry D:)

Note: I listened to Legend on an audiobook, which can definitely color my opinion of the story in general.

Legend by Marie Lu Audiobook {4 Stars}

Legend by Marie Lu
Narrated by Mariel Stern, Steven Kaplan
(Legend #1)
Published by Putnam Juvenille on Nov. 29th, 2011
Genres: Dystopia, YA
Page Length: 320 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • There were lots of little things in Legend that delighted me. I would feel silly listing PUPPY as a strength, but the presence of an adorable pet that isn’t used as a dramatic twist was enjoyable. I also enjoyed the computer hacking and secret blogs as plot devices since I haven’t read much about blogs in dystopian stories ;-).
  • The ending of Legend was rockin’. There were feels and a surprisingly realistic set of events. I had been wondering how in the world things would end in such a way as to allow more books (ie with the main characters not dead, haha), and Legend pulled it off in a way that is actually believable instead of ridiculously lucky ;-).
  • Whenever you have a story told from a boy and girl’s POV, it’s kind of obvious where things are likely to head. However, the romance in Legend was definitely slow-burn, with no one professing undying love, but there being a definite attraction brewing. I appreciate that June and Day were able to prioritize survival over googly eyes!
  • There were two narrators for the audiobook of Legend, a man and a woman. They switched off at the expected intervals since some chapters are from June’s perspective and some are from Day’s. I thought that both narrators pulled off the voice of the opposite gender well enough when they needed to :).

Weaknesses:

  •  I wasn’t a huge fan of the pacing of the female narrator’s reading. She pronounced a couple of things oddly (“chimney” only has two syllables, NOT THREE) and it seemed like she was over-pronouncing to the point that I wanted her to speed the heck up.
  • I have to admit that Legend felt like a rather typical dystopian story until the last 1/4. If I didn’t have lots of people telling me how much they love this trilogy, I’m worried I would have put it down before realizing the awesomeness!
  • The plot of Legend was fairly predictable in that there wasn’t any huge betrayal or reveal plot twist. Legend felt like the kind of story that would have worked well with a twist though, so I’m hoping the future books have one?

Summary:

Overall I’m thrilled that I finally read Legend and I’m trying to decide whether I should buy Prodigy, get the audiobook or wait until the winter holidays >.>. I kind of want to binge on this series when Champion comes out! If you enjoy dystopian YA and are looking for something to help you recover from the end of the Divergent series, you should definitely check Legend out!

4 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Legend by Marie Lu Audiobook