Thursday, May 31, 2018

Review: The Inquisition by Taran Matharu

The Inquisition
(Summoner Trilogy #2)
Publication Date: May 10, 2016
Hardcover, 368 pages, Feiwel & Friends
Genres: YA, Fantasy

A year has passed since the Tournament.

Fletcher and Ignatius have been locked away in Pelt’s dungeons, but now they must face a trial at the hands of the Inquisition, a powerful institution controlled by those who would delight in Fletcher’s downfall.

The trial is haunted by ghosts from the past with shocking revelations about Fletcher’s origins, but he has little time to dwell on them; the graduating students of Vocans are to be sent deep into the orc jungles to complete a dangerous mission for the king and his council. If they fail, the orcish armies will rise to power beyond anything the Empire has ever seen.

With loyal friends Othello and Sylva by his side, Fletcher must battle his way to the heart of Orcdom and save Hominum from destruction…or die trying.

My Review

Like I said in my review for The Novice, this book is perfect for fans of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and/or How to Train Your Dragon. It’s all about a trio of misfits getting into magical mayhem.

There were a few things in book one that made me wary going into the sequel. One was the long-winded paragraphs of dialogue, and two was the more politically- and economically-motivated villains. Thankfully, both issues were, not exactly fixed, but less prominent in the sequel. More action and adventure scenes helped round out the plot this time around, which I greatly appreciated. It’s more interesting to read about three teens using their magical powers versus reading about them trying to stop evil businessmen.

The Inquisition takes places a year after the end of The Novice, with Fletcher in a bad place for the start of the novel. I really enjoyed a lot of the scenarios Fletcher and his friends were put in throughout this book—there were prisons, jungles, and even goblin dogfights—yet I always wanted more focus on those scenarios. Fletcher never really mentioned how any of these situations affected him. I mean, being a prisoner has to be hard on a boy, but Fletcher never discusses his experience. Also, a small plot nitpick, who rewards soldiers with gobs of money for doing their job and saving people? That was a little bit odd, making a game out of saving people’s lives.

Other than those couple of things, this book was good. It was a solid sequel to an interesting trilogy. Its cliffhanger ending had me picking up the last book as soon as I possibly could (which means that I’m reading it now). It’s a lighter young adult/upper middle grade read for anyone who needs a good fantasy story in their life. Or for anyone who just likes mythical creatures and wants their own dragon, golem, or griffin.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: The Dance of Thieves

 "Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, what's really got my pages in a twist is...

Dance of Thieves
(Dance of Thieves #1)
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Hardcover, 384 pages, Henry Holt
Genres: YA, Fantasy

A new novel in the New York Times–bestselling Remnant Chronicles universe, in which a reformed thief and the young leader of an outlaw dynasty lock wits in a battle that may cost them their lives—and their hearts.

When the patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, his son, Jase, becomes its new leader. Even nearby kingdoms bow to the strength of this outlaw family, who have always governed by their own rules. But a new era looms on the horizon, set in motion by a young queen, which makes her the target of the dynasty's resentment and anger.

At the same time, Kazi, a legendary former street thief, is sent by the queen to investigate transgressions against the new settlements. When Kazi arrives in the forbidding land of the Ballengers, she learns that there is more to Jase than she thought. As unexpected events spiral out of their control, bringing them intimately together, they continue to play a cat and mouse game of false moves and motives in order to fulfill their own secret missions.

My Thoughts

I’m wary about this new spinoff series. While the original Remnant Chronicles trilogy was one of my favorites, I don’t know about this one. I kind of don’t even want to read the description, for fear of putting myself off. I recently grabbed an ARC of this one at work, so I’m thinking I’ll just go into it blind, with little to no expectations. That should help, right?

What book are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Top Ten Bookish Worlds

It’s Top Ten Tuesday time!

If you’re unaware, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly original feature created by The Broke and the Bookish, and it’s now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week there’s a new Top Ten theme that the blogger responds to with their own list of answers.

This week’s theme is… *drumroll please*…

Bookish Worlds

Okay, so the actual post is something like Top Ten Bookish Worlds I’d Want To/Never Want To Live In, but that was just too complicated for me. I simplified it a little. And there are less than ten of them because I’m lazy. Also, I just want to clarify even more that I enjoy these books mostly for their world-building, not because I’d like to build a summer home there.


Alagaesia (Eragon)
The Throne of Glass World
Red Rising's Space
The Red Queen World (Norta and other countries)
Fincayra (The Lost Years of Merlin)
Planetos (aka Westeros and Essos. It's not really called Planetos.)
The Wizarding World


Alright, there you have it. My Top Ten Bookish Worlds. What did you put on your list? Let me know in the comments section.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Review: The Novice by Taran Matharu

The Novice
(Summoner #1)
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Hardcover, 355 pages, Feiwel & Friends
Genres: YA, Fantasy

When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.

My Review

If you’re missing Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, or Hiccup and Toothless, Taran Matharu’s The Novice, might be a good next read for you. It has a unique, bullied protagonist, a fantasy school, and mythical creatures. It’s everything 11–13-year-olds like to read about in one book.

Fletcher is our picked-on main character, who, through a series of unfortunate events, gets the chance to attend a school for summoning demons. Which apparently isn’t as evil as it sounds. Fletcher makes unlikely friends and gets into a lot of mischief (a la Harry Potter style). But other than his unique situation and friends, there’s really nothing all that extraordinary about Fletcher’s voice, which could be a good or bad thing depending on your reading preferences. If you like when the underdog wins, go into this one full throttle (not that the underdog necessarily wins).

As for the plot of the book, it was interesting. The school idea was fun, and I never really knew where the plot was going, as there were many surprising twists and turns. I just didn’t expect this book to be so politically based. (And no, I don’t mean it touches on current politics.) The antagonists are very politically and economically motivated, whereas I was expecting more action and adventure for our protagonist to respond to.  It’s part of the reason I knocked the book down a star rating.

The other reason I knocked it down involves the dialogue. It was very tell and less show. I often wondered why certain characters would just spill their life stories and secrets out to Fletcher. It was a little odd, and often made for some long-winded paragraphs. But, despite my two main critiques, this book did provide a fun, entertaining read. (Plus, I recently finished reading the sequel, and the two main issues I have with this book are not as much of an issue in books two and three.)

Like I said, this book is definitely for fans of Harry Potter, How to Train Your Dragon, and Percy Jackson. It’s got all of the same key elements with some fun twists of its own along the way.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Recently Revealed Covers: Part 2

So many new covers have been revealed these past few weeks. There’s no way I can fit them all in this post, even combined with the Part 1 I posted on Monday. So, if you want to see new covers that aren’t listed here, I’d suggest digging around Goodreads. :)

Here are my thoughts on some of the covers I’m most interested in.

The Sword and the Dagger
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Hardcover, 384 pages, Tor Teen
Genres: YA, Historical Fiction

When empires clash, a Princess, a Knight, and an Assassin embark on the quest of a lifetime.

During the time of the Crusades, an unlikely trio--a Christian princess, her affianced prince, and a Muslim assassin--embarks on a quest to the court of the most fearsome warrior the world has ever known, Genghis Khan.

My Thoughts

This cover is beautiful. It’s all swirly and blue and gold. And I just adore it. The blue really contrasts with the gold, and the font being all swirly makes the whole thing really pretty. The dagger and sword are also super pretty. I’m just really digging this one.

There’s an ARC of this one at work that I plan to dig into in a couple of weeks. It just looks so good. I’m trying to fill up some space, so the short description for this one doesn’t mess up the look of this blog post, so I’ll note that the cover for Undying, which is down below, also has the blue-gold combo. I’m very interested in whether this will become a popular cover trope. If so, you’ll probably hear little complaint from me. Cuz I’m digging it.


Courting Darkness
(His Fair Assassin #4)
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Hardcover, HMH Books
Genres: YA, Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Death wasn’t the end, it was only the beginning…

Sybella has always been the darkest of Death’s daughters, trained at the convent of Saint Mortain to serve as his justice. But she has a new mission now. In a desperate bid to keep her two youngest sisters safe from the family that nearly destroyed them all, she agrees to accompany the duchess to France, where they quickly find themselves surrounded by enemies. Their one ray of hope is Sybella’s fellow novitiates, disguised and hidden deep in the French court years ago by the convent—provided Sybella can find them.

Genevieve has been undercover for so many years, she struggles to remember who she is or what she’s supposed to be fighting for. Her only solace is a hidden prisoner who appears all but forgotten by his guards. When tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands—even if it means ignoring the long awaited orders from the convent.

As Sybella and Gen’s paths draw ever closer, the fate of everything they hold sacred rests on a knife’s edge. Will they find each other in time, or will their worlds collide, destroying everything they care about?

My Thoughts

I’m glad they’re giving this series a makeover. The old covers just weren’t doing the books any favors. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like those covers, but they had a different vibe than what covers today are doing. This one is pretty. The feathers and dagger really stand out, and the font is simplistic, yet it really stands out from the black background. I approve, though I doubt I’ll ever finish reading this series.


The Gilded Wolves
(The Gilded Wolves #1)
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
Hardcover, 400 pages, Wednesday Books
Genres: YA, Fantasy

Set in a darkly glamorous world The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence and dangerous but thrilling adventure.

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts:

An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can't yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they'll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

My Thoughts

I’m really not feeling this cover. It just looks weird to me. The green leaves with the gold fount just aren’t my aesthetic when it comes to book covers. Now, if this was in a garden, I’d be all for it, but since it’s a cover, nah… Anywho, maybe it’ll look better once it’s actually printed. For now, though, I’m not impressed.


Ship of Smoke and Steel
(The Wells of Sorcery #1)
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
Hardcover, 352 pages, Tor Teen
Genres: YA, Fantasy

Ship of Smoke and Steel is the launch of a cinematic, action-packed epic fantasy trilogy for fans of Leigh Bardugo and The Legend of Korra.

In the lower wards of Kahnzoka, the great port city of the Blessed Empire, eighteen-year-old ward boss Isoka comes to collect when there's money owing. When her ability to access the Well of Combat is discovered by the Empire—an ability she should have declared and placed at His Imperial Majesty's service—she's sent on an impossible mission: steal Soliton, a legendary ghost ship—a ship from which no one has ever returned. If she fails, her sister’s life is forfeit.

My Thoughts

I like this one. I’m not in love with it, but it’s different. The girl-holding-swords-and-looking-threatening dynamic isn’t different, but the style of artwork is. It’s more painted, like the Japanese calligraphy style. I’m intrigued. I do wonder, though, where this girl’s left hand went…


Famous in a Small Town
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
Hardcover, 352 pages, Henry Holt
Genres: YA, Contemporary

For Sophie, small-town life has never felt small. She has the Yum Yum Shoppe, with its famous fourteen flavors of ice cream; her beloved marching band, the pride and joy of Acadia High (even if the football team disagrees); and her four best friends, loving and infuriating, wonderfully weird and all she could ever ask for.

Then August moves in next door. A quiet guy with a magnetic smile, August seems determined to keep everyone at arm's length. Sophie in particular.

Country stars, revenge plots, and a few fake kisses (along with some excellent real ones) await Sophie in this hilarious, heartfelt story.

My Thoughts

Another contemporary release from Emma Mills. Okay, so I’m not the biggest fan of Emma Mills’s covers. And I’m definitely not a fan of this one. Her third book had a good cover, it was all stitchy looking, but these peelings or petals or whatever, aren’t pleasing to my eye. Usually with Emma Mills books, though, there’s a very pretty design on the naked book.


Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Hardcover, 400 pages, Delacorte Press
Genres: YA, Sci-Fi

From Brandon Sanderson, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Reckoners series, Words of Radiance, and the internationally bestselling Mistborn series, comes the first book in an epic new series about a girl who dreams of becoming a pilot in a dangerous world at war with aliens.

Spensa's world has been under attack for hundreds of years. An alien race called the Krell leads onslaught after onslaught from the sky in a never-ending campaign to destroy humankind. Humanity's only defense is to take to their ships and combat the Krell. Pilots are the heroes of what's left of the human race.

Becoming a pilot has always been Spensa's dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring above the earth and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with that of her father--a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa's chances of attending Flight School at slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, but she is determined to fly. And the Krell just made that a possibility. They've doubled their fleet, which will make Spensa's world twice as deadly . . . but just might take her skyward.

My Thoughts

Okay, so I’m not a fan of this cover. I mean, it’s okay, I guess… It could’ve been so much better though. It looks kind of like those old sci-fi covers from the ‘80s and ‘90s. I think I different font choice could have been better. Not to mention, I hate it when the author’s name is larger than the title. It’s just stupid. The book isn’t called “Brandon Sanderson.” *sigh* At least it’s purple.


(Unearthed #2)
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
Hardcover, 384 pages, Disney-Hyperion
Genres: YA, Sci-Fi

Trapped aboard the Undying's ancient spaceship and reeling from what they've learned there, scavenger Mia and academic Jules are plunged into a desperate race to warn their home planet of the danger humanity's greed has unleashed. From the mountains of Spain to the streets of Prague, the sequel to Unearthed is a white-knuckle ride that will send readers hurtling back to earth, and leave them breathless until the last page.

The earth's fate rests in Mia and Jules's hands in the epic conclusion to New York Times best-selling authors Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner's tomb-raiding sci-fi duology.

My Thoughts

Gotta say, I love this cover. I think it’s way prettier than the first one. Plus, it’s got that same blue and gold combo that I’m really digging. I still haven’t read the first book yet, but I know these covers are supposed to really match the source material. That makes me happy. I also like how the designers incorporate the titles into the world of the novel. It’s nice.

Oh, and one more major thing. I’m a sucker for sun glares on books. The only other one I’ve seen like this one is Gena Showalter’s The Darkest Surrender. If you’ve seen any others, please let me know. I just think they’re so pretty.


The Tesla Legacy
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Hardcover, 368 pages, Tor Teen
Genres: YA, Sci-Fi

THE TESLA LEGACY follows a precocious young scientist named Lucy Phelps whose fateful encounter in the Tesla Suite of the New Yorker Hotel unlocks her dormant electrical powers. As Lucy struggles to understand her new abilities through scientific experimentation, she is thrust into a centuries old battle between rival alchemical societies.

One side wants her help and the other wants her dead, but both believe she is the next step in human evolution. Unfortunately, carriers of the genetic mutation—including Nikola Tesla—have a greatly reduced life expectancy. Even if Lucy can outrun her enemies, she can’t outrun herself.

My Thoughts

This book isn’t on the top of my most anticipated list, but the cover is very intriguing. It’s all purple, silver, and shimmery. I hope it has some foil on the printed dustjacket to make is shine. That would be really pretty.


The Girl King
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
Hardcover, 432 pages, Bloomsbury YA
Genres: YA, Fantasy

Two sisters become unwitting rivals in a war to claim the title of Emperor in this sweeping tale of ambition, sacrifice and betrayal for readers of Sabaa Tahir and Alwyn Hamilton.

All hail the Girl King.

Sisters Lu and Min have always understood their places as princesses of the Empire. Lu knows she is destined to become the dynasty's first female ruler, while Min is resigned to a life in her shadow. Then their father declares their male cousin Set the heir instead—a betrayal that sends the sisters down two very different paths.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu goes on the run. She needs an ally—and an army—if she is to succeed. Her quest leads her to Nokhai, the last surviving wolf shapeshifter. Nok wants to keep his identity secret, but finds himself forced into an uneasy alliance with the girl whose family killed everyone he ever loved…

Alone in the volatile court, Min's hidden power awakens—a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set's reign…or allow Min to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters' greatest enemy could turn out to be each other.

My Thoughts

I like this cover. I don’t love it, but I like it. I think it’d be prettier if the background wasn’t such a drab gray and the font wasn’t so blah. It also reminds me a lot of Mistborn’s cover. The girl looks completely different, but the background a font don’t.


Those are some recently revealed covers. What do you think? Do you like them?