Review: Odriel’s Heirs

The brave, burning with fire, harnessed the Dragon’s Rage….

As the Dragon Heir, seventeen-year-old Kaia inherited the power of flame to protect her homeland from a godlike necromancer’s undead army. But after centuries of peace, the necromancer has faded to myth, and the Dragon Heir is feared by the people. Persecuted and cast out, Kaia struggles to embrace and control her seemingly useless gift while confined to her family’s farm.

But when the necromancer’s undead terrorize the land once again, Kaia runs away to join the battle.

With the help of her childhood rival, the handsome Shadow Heir, and a snarky, cursed cat, Kaia must figure out how to control both her fire and her confidence in time to save Okarria. If she fails, she will sacrifice her family, her new friends, and the enchanting world she has only just begun to see.

And time is running out. 

This story is non stop, there was never a slow point or a point where it felt like it lagged. I really enjoyed the fact that it was so fast but also full of detail. Some of the author’s descriptions were rich and perfectly painted an image. There were certainly some elements of the story which were similar to other fantasies, but you are going to see that in a lot of stories, especially if they are following a hero’s journey.

I loved the little glimmers of personalities and felt that Kaia was a complex character. She definitely had the most depth out of everyone, but I could see other characters growing and becoming more fully fledged in further books.

I do hope that there is a little bit more world building in the next book as I feel like I don’t completely understand the world and it may be a little confusing for some at first. Still, it was a fun read and great start to a series.

Happy reading!

Blog Tour: The Unwilling

The Unwilling is the story of a young woman, born an orphan with a secret gift, who grows up trapped, thinking of herself as an afterthought, but who discovers that she does not have to be given power: she can take it. An epic tale of greed and ambition, cruelty and love, the novel is about bowing to traditions and burning them down.

For reasons that nobody knows or seems willing to discuss, Judah the Foundling was raised as siblings along with Gavin, the heir of Highfall, in the great house beyond the wall, the seat of power at the center of Lord Elban’s great empire. There is a mysterious–one might say unnatural connection–between the two, and it is both the key to Judah’s survival until this point, and now her possible undoing.

As Gavin prepares for his long-arranged marriage to Eleanor of Tiernan, and his brilliant but sickly younger brother Theron tries to avoid becoming commander of the army, Judah is left to realize that she has no actual power or position within the castle, in fact, no hope at all of ever traveling beyond the wall. Lord Elban–a man as powerful as he is cruel- has other plans for her, for all of them. She is a pawn to him and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

Meanwhile, outside the wall, in the starving, desperate city, a Magus, a healer with a secret power unlike anything Highfall has seen in years is newly arrived from the provinces. He, too, has plans for the empire, and at the heart of those plans lies Judah. The girl who started off with no name and no history will be forced to discover there’s more to her story than she ever imagined.

Buy Links: Oblong Books Barnes & Noble Amazon Powell’s Apple Books IndieBound

First things first, this book is very dark and has a TON of trigger warnings, so if you are considering picking it up, please look into them and judge if this book is something you can handle. There is a lot of abuse in the story, so be warned about that. Also, I’m not sure why this is being described as young adult, because it clearly isn’t YA, it’s fantasy.

The story line was complex and unfortunately a little hard to follow at times, but it did come together. I feel like this is going to be a very polarizing book, so I’m sure some people are going to absolutely love it. The characters, though most of them are young, are complex and have unique bonds that grow or are cemented through the book. There are some great connections and relationships in this book.

Overall it was a very intriguing story with lots of twists and turns. Though it wasn’t the perfect read for me, I could definitely see a lot of people loving it.

Kelly Braffet is the author of the novels Save Yourself, Last Seen Leaving and Josie & Jack. Her writing has been published in The Fairy Tale Review, Post Road, and several anthologies. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and received her MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University. She currently lives in upstate New York with her husband, the author Owen King. A lifelong reader of speculative fiction, the idea for The Unwilling originally came to her in college; twenty years later, it’s her first fantasy novel. Visit her at kellybraffet.com.

Social Links:
Author website: https://www.kellybraffet.com/
Facebook: @kellybraffetfiction
Twitter: @KellyBraffet

Happy reading!

Review: Moonstruck Vol 1

Werewolf barista Julie and her new girlfriend go on a date to a close-up magic show, but all heck breaks loose when the magician casts a horrible spell on their friend Chet. Now it’s up to the team of mythical pals to stop the illicit illusionist before it’s too late.

I didn’t know much about this except that a lot of people I follow thought it was adorable but I had definitely heard enough to want to pick it up. Let me just say that I am so glad I did! The art style is so whimsical and beautiful, the style and color palette just perfect for the setting and story. I loved the mystery and overall storyline and really feel like it is a good start to the series. I definitely would like to see more in the series and learn more about the characters and their backstories. These characters have such great relationships, but also their own insecurities and I would love to see more expanding on that.

Happy reading!

Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

This book was not quite what it was marketed as, but it was still amazing. I was expecting a full on portal fantasy from what was talked about and while it wasn’t quite that, I was still very surprised and pleased by the story.

I fell in love with Harrow’s writing and the clear voice that she gives to each character, whether it be January herself or character’s whose voices she reads of in books. Much of the time you don’t know who is truly on the side of January and there are some people who are constantly shifting who we aren’t sure about.

While there were some plot devices that were a little predictable, it’s an adventure filled with a ton of twists and huge growth on January’s part. While I would have loved to know a few more things at the end, it was a beautiful and at times thrilling story.

Happy reading!

Review: Grumpy Old Gods

What happens when gods wane, retire, or just decide they need a change of employment?

13 writers took up the challenge and let their imaginations run wild in this anthology that is nearly-always amusing, somewhat insightful, and completely irreverent as we imagine the gods of yore in retirement.

The premise of this book alone was able to interest me. Anything incorporating mythology will typically pique my interest, so when it was pitched to me as a short story collection with gods who are perhaps…past their prime.

I loved the hijinks that were detailed in the stories. Some stories were based on either one god within one mythology, while others had a lovely mix of different cultures and religions. So many of the stories ended up being hilarious as the gods had to cope with their retirement or advanced ages in worlds that perhaps didn’t worship them anymore.

I can’t think of any particular story that I didn’t enjoy, but there were definitely some that were absolute gems and left me laughing and thinking about them for a while afterwards.

Happy reading!

Review: The Mythics: Heroes Reborn

In the ancient times of Gods and heroes, evil attempted to seize the world disguising themselves as six different gods. While they were spreading all their power of destruction, six heroes, each with extraordinary powers and brandishing sacred weapons, rose against these incarnations of evil. The evil was defeated and sealed in a secret place within the red desert on the planet Mars …Today, enter six young heirs: Yuko of Japan, Parvati of India, Amir of Egypt, Abigail of Germany, Miguel of Mexico, and Neo of Greece suddenly pulled from their everyday lives. About to face the greatest threat that the contemporary world has ever known, in a flash, they get to discover just how worthy successors they may be of the ancient heroes. 

I loved the premise of this one, it was very reminiscent of other things I love. It includes a few tales of children/teens who are descendants of great warriors/gods having to take up the mantle to defeat evil. I really enjoyed the settings and story of each character as well as the challenges that they faced but it kind of seemed disjointed as a whole. I did kindof wish there had been a prologue of sorts that set up the premise, since you pretty much just jump in with no set up. The art style and stories themselves were great, I just feel something to truly connect them would have made it so much better – so I’m hoping that there are issues/volumes in the future that do connect them.

The Mythics comes out on March 24th from Papercutz, so if it sounds like something you would like be sure to pick up a copy!

Happy reading!

Review: Norse Mythology

Neil Gaiman, long inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction, presents a bravura rendition of the Norse gods and their world from their origin though their upheaval in Ragnarok.

In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki—son of a giant—blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.

Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose, these gods emerge with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

I already knew going in that I liked Neil Gaiman’s writing style, so I was excited to experience the Norse myths though his style. I think this is a great example of modern language and story telling techniques refreshing these old myths and making them more accessible to people who may not want to read them as they were originally written.

Gaiman injects his usual wit and cleverness in the stories and in my opinion makes them vibrant and an easy, enjoyable read. He sets up the myths well and laid a great groundwork so that the worlds and characters could be understood. This is great for people who already love the myths or those just getting into them.

Happy reading!

Review: Crystal Fighters

Through a series of events, she discovers that other players in the game have created a secret magical girl fight club that adds a whole new world of thrills and challenges to her mundane world. Now that she’s gotten her wish of finding peers like her and something exciting in her life, she also discovers a dark side to magical girls, and finds herself having to prove her worth in a series of tournaments where if she loses she can never come back.

What drew me to this graphic novel was the cover, then I read the premise and immediately wanted to pick it up. A virtual reality game where a glitch leads to a cutthroat arena? Yes, please. Stella could definitely use some more fleshing out as a character but she was by far the most individual of everyone. I really hope this becomes a series as there are a few characters I would love to find out more about, and I’m very interested in the events that were alluded to at the end.

I loved the art style of this graphic novel, so many poppy bright colors and saturated tones. The illustrations themselves were very dynamic and moved the story along wonderfully. It’s a fun adventure that I’m excited to see more from if more comes out.

Happy reading!

Review: The Crowns of Croswald

In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret…

For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic—and her life—is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.

This book was such a fun adventure! I hesitate to compare any books to Harry Potter, because I know that such a suggestion can bring certain preconceived notions to mind, but if you’re looking for something about a magical world including a school setting then this will definitely fit the bill.

I love that a good chunk of this book is world building and that special attention was paid to fleshing out different aspects of the magic system. I’m super excited about the future books and getting to learn even more about the history of this world and its magic and creatures.

Ivy as a character is very impulsive, but driven by an inner purpose. Her moments of vulnerability are understandable and fitting for her situation. While she didn’t always full think through her decisions, she knew that there was a reason for the things she had to do and let herself be led by her instincts, which was both bad and good. While only a couple other characters were truly fleshed out, most of those who had a voice were distinct and individual.

All in all this was a great adventure full of twists and turns and I can’t wait to read more from this series!

Thank you again to Stories Untold and D.E. Night for sending me a copy of this book. D.E. Night’s books can be found on Amazon, or purchased through her website at DENight.com.

Happy Reading!

Review: Aru Shah and the End of Time

Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?

Anyone who knows me knows that anything based on mythology will pique my interest, so when Rick Riordan started the Rick Riordan Presents line I was super excited. I finally got around to picking this one up and was not disappointed.

Chokshi’s writing is beautiful and the personalities she creates for her characters are very individual. Aru grows a lot in this book, but she still has flaws and still has things she needs to work on. This is something I really appreciate as it keeps her more human and easier to identify with.

I can’t wait to get to the second book and see how the characters grow even more. I have a feeling even more backstory will be revealed and we will learn more as the series goes on.

Happy reading!