King of Scars

 

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Shadow and Bone
Siege and Storm
Ruin and Rising

Six of Crows
Crooked Kingdom

Language of Thorns

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I’m not sure how to make this review non-spoilery but I am going to try. I think it’s fair to say that there might be spoilers from the above books that I’ve already read and reviewed, so if you haven’t read those and you care about remaining unspoiled, maybe go read them first. I will not spoil THIS particular book though.

King of Scars is told through several viewpoints, but from two main locations: Fierda and Ravka. Nina is with a small team of Grisha attempting to infiltrate Fierda and save Grisha who would be willing to join the Second Army and help defend Ravka. She’s also there to return Matthais to the ground after his death in Ketterdam. Nicolai and Zoya along with the Grisha Triumverate are in Ravka building a fleet of submarines for Kerch to make money for the treasury while trying to handle the weird black demon thing that takes over Nicolai’s body and flies him around the countryside.

One of the things I love about Bardugo’s writing is her ability to write political intricacies into the plot. Ravka is facing war from the north and from the south, their financial situation is dire and they are in debt to Kerch (which they are hoping to supplement with the submarines) and they need the support of Novyi Zem to keep their naval defenses strong. In addition to all of the military and financial woes, other men are claiming they are the true Lantsov heir and have been trying to usurp Nicolai’s reign. It’s an understatement that they are in a bit of a pickle.

I enjoyed Nicolai and Zoya’s story more than Nina’s, and for a while there I was actually quite bored with Nina’s mission, her story feeling as gray and barren as the Fierdan tundra. I suppose this was to be expected. A lot of her and her team’s story was waiting, hiding, and being in disguise. If they were real people I’m sure they would have been bored (and cold and hungry) too.

Nicolai and Zoya have to deal with a growing group of people that claim to be loyal to the Starless Saint – The Darkling from the Grisha trilogy with Alina Starkov. They venture out to track ‘miracles’ that see to be popping up and radiating out from the spot on the Unsea where the Darkling fell and died. When they arrive on the Unsea they find a giant black, shiny disc in the sand. When they move toward it they are sucked into an alternate universe, leaving the Grisha Triumverate to tailor a solider and guard at the palace to look like Nicolai and manage a major diplomatic gathering in his stead.

It’s…a lot.

I cried real, gasping sobs in the first part of the book. Nicolai always has me laughing. And in Zoya I finally found a member of this Grishaverse that I could identify with. She’s everything I feel there on the page, walking around furious with everyone, with no fucks to give, and being a badass Grisha general. I love her. She’s one of my favorite characters now. I wish I could transport myself into the world of these books and live there, if only to help these characters that I have come to love.

I trust Leigh Bardugo 100%, and so I preordered this book. Other books I would put on hold at the library (if they were even available at all). Plus the hardcover jacket and book are absolutely gorgeous. I can’t wait to find out what happens to the whole Ravkan team in the second installment of the duology.

If you haven’t read Bardugo’s work by now I just don’t know what I have to say to get you to start. Her world is amazing and real. Her characters are diverse, interesting, and complex. The magic system is elemental and bone deep. It’s necessary reading for any fantasy lover. So go do it already.

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Sightwitch (Witchlands #2.5)

Truthwitch (Witchlands #1)

Windwitch (Witchlands #2)

Let me start with the most important part of this review.

THIS BOOK IS SO IMPORTANT WHY IS IT EVEN CALLED A TWO POINT FIVE?????

Every other 2.5 novella was kind of an afterthought. You could skip it. The Lunar Chronicles, Throne of Glass, and others had little peeks into lesser characters or prequel type stories, but they weren’t essential.

THIS BOOK IS SO FUCKING ESSENTIAL DON’T SKIP IT HOLY CRAP.

I’m furious that this isn’t Book 3. Is it just the length? Why isn’t it a full book?

Sightwitch is the story of Ryber Fortiza, one of the shipmates of Merik and Kullen from Truthwitch and Windwitch. She’s Kullen’s Heart-Thread, but up until this point she’s been mysterious at best. Her existence at the home of the Sightwitches, which is within the boundaries of Nubrevna hid under a glamour (think Wakanda hidden), is described as tedious. She is waiting for her eyes to turn silver, the sign that she’s been called to become a full Sightwitch, able to remember everything, see the future, and read the memories of the dead. Sisters who are called journey into the mountain to commune with Sirmaya, the Goddess at the center of all magic, and then return to the convent to serve until they are called back to sleep with the Goddess herself.

The problem is that while Ryber is waiting to be summoned, her Thread-Sister is called. Then two more, then four more, until all the sisters have been summoned into the mountain and none have returned. Ryber is the last Sightwitch sister. Partnered only with The Rook, a strange crow that lives in the convent, she has to unravel the mystery at the heart of the mountain and somehow save her sisters.

Told alongside Ryber’s story is the history of Eridysi, a similar Sightwitch from about a thousand years earlier, who left a diary of prophecies and statements that collectively are referred to as Eridysi’s Lament in both Truthwitch and Windwitch. Knowing the history of the Paladins and their war is so essential to understanding the Twenty-Year Truce and what is happening with cleaving in the current time that I honestly don’t know how you could skip this book for that information alone.

Dennard put so many pieces in play with this story that connected to so many others that were already on the board that I raced through hungry for answers or leads forward in the universe. There is such a sense of urgency that Sightwitch adds to the series that wasn’t present in either Truthwitch or Windwitch, and I cannot wait for Bloodwitch to load to my Kindle next week so I can find out what happens next!

I think I can officially call myself a #Witchlander now! I’m a huge fan of this series and I strongly recommend all of the books. The magic is interesting, the politics are complex, and the world is vast and new. Please go grab Truthwitch and get started on an enjoyable journey.

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More Than Words

More Than Words by Jill Santopolo was provided to me by G.P. Putnam’s Sons vi Edelweiss+ as a digital advanced reader copy in return for an honest review. Expected publication is February 5, 2019.

When I started reading More Than Words, I should have stopped right away. If I’ve learned anything in the past three years it’s that I don’t have a lot of patience for books that center around super rich main characters. It is difficult for me to muster sympathy for a hotel heiress in 2019.

The central struggle for Nina is whether to stay with her current boyfriend, lifelong friend Tim, or pursue the feelings she seems to be cultivating towards New York mayoral candidate Rafael for whose campaign she is a speechwriter. Her best friend Leslie helps her think through these choices, and the fuel that fans this fire is the decline and death of her father due to cancer.

She has to decide whether to stay on with the campaign, which just won the primary and is preparing for the general, or take over the hotel operations in her father’s place as they had planned before his death. Nina talks a lot about wanting people who can “stand in the darkness” with her. Rafael and Leslie both lost their fathers, and so she feels like she can talk about her situation with them, while Tim doesn’t seem to take it seriously or understand how she is feeling. Her relationships with the former two come easily, while she seems to need to convince herself that Tim is the right man for her future.

I need to add these kinds of books to my do not read list. I just have no sympathy for anyone labeled an heiress. The only thing I sympathized with was when she was losing her dad at the beginning, but then it became a “will she or won’t she” with her personal life and honestly, I have better things to do. I have better things to read. I made it to 38% finished on the DRC, and I feel comfortable putting it down.

If you like escaping into the lives of people richer than you and living vicariously through them, then this is the book for you. If you, like me, find yourself a little short on attention or patience for rich people at the moment, then I would skip More Than Words.

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The Night Olivia Fell

The Night Olivia Fell was provided to me as a digital advance reader copy by Gallery Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review. Expected publication date is February 5, 2019.

Abi is awakened in the middle of the night by a call from the police. Her teenage daughter Olivia was discovered on the riverbank, assumed to have fallen from the bridge above, and is currently in the hospital with no brain activity and a baby on the way. Abi immediately demands answers to how her daughter died, and slowly her own past is woven into what happened to her daughter, showing how our choices can catch up to us and bring consequences long after they are made.

They reveal pretty early on that Olivia encounters another girl that looks just like her while on a campus tour, and so we understand that her dad might not really be dead like her mom has always told her. When Abi doesn’t give her the honest answers she asks for, Olivia goes off on her own to try to get answers. This search sets off a series of events which we see in pieces that lead us to the answer to how she came to both become pregnant and fall off a bridge.

I enjoyed this book but it didn’t move me like I expected it to. Everything I expected to happen, happened. Even the little bit of suspense in the whodunnit gave off enough misdirection vibes that even the most casual reader would realize that it was a false trail. It ended like I expected it to and now we’re here.

I have to admit that when I started, and the doctor told Abi that he couldn’t take Olivia off life support because in Washington state it’s illegal to take a woman off life support without attempting to bring the baby to term, I thought this was going to be a legal-type book. I thought Abi might attempt to figure out what happened to Olivia while fighting a legal battle about how women aren’t just incubators. There was a point to be made, even if subtly, that was never even addressed. The doctors help Olivia’s body fight off infection after infection to keep her working just long enough to get the baby out alive, and every time the story took me to the hospital I felt myself get a little angry. Like it wasn’t bad enough that she was basically murdered, she couldn’t have just been released into oblivion in peace without being forced to be on life support while being life support. I was just so tired and angry for her.

This one is a book that you could read, but if you didn’t read it you wouldn’t have missed anything. Don’t rush to it, but if it crosses your path give it a chance.

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