As you might have read in the title I struggled this week to come up with a tune I wanted to share with you all. If I’m being honest, I’m still listening to Bad Bunny’s album, but A) I wrote about that last week and B) I’m listening to the more umm smexy songs so I don’t of books to go with those…
ANYWAY. I thought I’d show a different side of me today. We are taking a 180° flip on my musical tastes. Today we are getting a little more classical. Now not that classical because I still like some pump to my tunes, but I won’t lie there are some old classical jams out there. Anyways without further ado:
Tune: Audiomachine – Remember not to Forget
I really like groups like Audiomachine that make epic instrumental music that you would hear in like a movie! (Two Steps from Hell is also a really amazing group!) Everything they put out is incredible. One song might be big and banging, while another could be soft and lulling and I love them both! Listening to it makes me feel like I am in a movie myself!
Title:The Kingdomof Back by Marie Lu
Of course I chose the book that follows the amazing Nannerl Mozart! Musical genius and creator of fantastical worlds! Lu’s latest book has taken my whole world by storm this past month! I loved everything about it and keep mentioning it every chance I get! The song, besides the title which is so complementary to the theme of the book, is quite beautiful and ethereal like the overall ambience of the book itself!
Let me know what you think! Do you listen to instrumentals? Have a favourite band? What kind of music would you want in the movie about your life?
Pinterest is a lot of fun and looking up mood boards by your favourite authors and seeing what kind of stories they have lined up in their WIPs is always fun! Well, Marie Lu has lots of interesting boards including one that was entitles The Kingdom of Back. I remember going through it and quickly falling in love with the whimsical pictures she had saved.
The moment I heard the announcement for this book, I was so ready to drop all my dollars to have it in hand.
THE MOMENT PENGUIN TEEN CANADA GOT IN ARCS, I WAS SO HAPPY TO FIND OUT I GOT ONE FOR MYSELF!
Then I read it. Loved it. SOBBED. And here I am trying to write an elegant and coherent review about how much I adored this. I cannot say if my attempt will be successful, but here we go.
The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu
Pub Date: March 3rd, 2020 Publisher: Putnam Goodreads
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu comes a historical YA fantasy about a musical prodigy and the dangerous lengths she’ll go to make history remember her—perfect for fans of Susanna Clarke and The Hazel Wood.
Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart.
Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish—to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age—her tyrannical father has made that much clear.
And as Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true—but his help may cost her everything.
In her first work of historical fiction, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically-told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.
*Thank you Penguin Teen CA for the ARC*
I didn’t know what to expect, if I am being honest. This was historical fantasy, something I have never read from by Lu, but my oh my did she deliver with this book. I was touched body and soul by this story.
These characters were phenomenal. I’ll be honest (again), I had no idea that Mozart had a sister who was also a musical genius, but if book-Nannerl was anything like historical-Nannerl I would have loved to meet her. Nannerl was a wonderfully crafted character in every way possible. She had a passionate spirit and a wicked imagination that kept her company during her most lonely times. She had a fierce love for her family, especially her brother and she had ambition even when she was told to hold it in. But she was not all heart of gold and devotion, she was petty and jealous and resentful of the conventions that held her back. And I loved her for it. I would find it highly unrealistic if she didn’t feel any of those emotions when she never got any credit or was given less than she deserved. But God I loved her. I loved that she was so real and raw.
Woferl…who I called Will Ferrel for like half of the book. He was such a sweet heart. And wow a genius! And his devotion to Nannerl, I am sobbing!!! He was just a kid for most of the book, but he makes mistakes too and I couldn’t help but feel mad at him and bad for him!
The dad. God I hated him. Nannerl is a better person than I am, trust me.
Hyacinth. Well, if a cute magical boy showed up out of the blue and took me to an imaginary world…I would not have acted much different! He was quite something!
The music. Let me tell you, I know nothing about music and composition and I know nothing about Mozart really. But I did not for one second feel lost in this story when Lu explored the musical adventure of these siblings. The descriptions of music were lovely and it is constantly interwoven beautifully in the narrative! I mean if you have musical knowledge I’m sure you will find even more nuance then I did, but even if you are a music noob like me, you’ll find something impeccably beautiful about its role in the book.
This atmosphere was just ethereal. The real-world itself was pretty enchanting. We get to follow the siblings as they tour Europe and play for different aristocrats. Lu crafted three stupendous settings for readers. There was the warm–sometimes harsh–home of the music room of the family home, the glamorous life of the courts the children got peaks of on their tours and then there was the Kingdom of Back! I loved how Lu transported us to the imaginary world, with subtle changes to the atmosphere as it got more whimsical and magical with each word on the page. The creatures and beings of the kingdom were so rich and mysterious for *reasons* and ugh, I loved everything about it! If I could step into that kingdom, 10/10 I would go!
The FAMILY DYNAMICS. I am sobbing. This family was something else. It was loving at the same time it was suffocating. Nannerl and Woferl’s father had high expectations for his children, he wanted them to achieve everything they could with the talents that they had. And he pushed them hard to get them out there. But he wasn’t always that amazing at being a dad. He actually sucked a lot. You can’t help but be angry every time he praised Woferl and critiqued Nannerl. Her constant desire for his validation and praise—I AM CRYING! All she wanted was to make him proud and be on the receiving end of his unconditional love. AND I AM SOBBING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The things this family goes through honestly pulls so much at the heartstrings you cannot help but sob.
The sibling relationship was my absolute favourite part of this book. I loved that it was a complex dynamic between Nannel and Woferl. There was the unconditional love that just existed between them, then there was the utter devotion to each other and finally the resentment, the jealousy, and the pettiness that exists too! Trust me, I know, I have two older sisters and we all sometimes hate each other as much as we love each other!
I am not one to say that this is historically accurate because I just don’t know, but Lu does hit Nannerl’s historic troubles on the nose. She is a girl of the late eighteenth century who has an amazing talent, but knows she will never amount to much because she is a girl. And I felt rage. A lot of rage. Rage at the unfairness that was and is our world. That her greatest wish to be remembered didn’t exactly come true. She is always in the shadow of her brother as much as she tries to fight it. AND I CRIED. I CRIED. I CRIED. I CRIED AT THE UNFAIRNESS OF IT ALL. Then the Author’s note and acknowledgements did me in because they spit out so much truth and !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I sobbed!
The ending. I–I was—Marie Lu did that with her words. And I fucking sobbed. I’m writing this now and choking up a little because she did that. And *that* is probably one of my favourite kinds of way to end a book because it is a full circle. None of what I just wrote makes any sense because I am being super vague. Just know that it is amazing and pulls hard at the heartstrings!
There is not one thing I have to critique about it. Marie Lu completely knocked it out of the park. This is a fabulous and incredible love letter to a lost but never forgotten musical genius. I already want to reread it!
Overall, This book is amazing. The story enchants you from page one and you cannot help but love following these two siblings as they grow up and are thrust into the lime light and create their own magic with music. It is a compelling read and makes an honest and heartfelt statement about the historical limitations put on people like Nannerl who didn’t get to have their glory and names woven directly into the fabric of our cultural history. It’s a story about family and forgiveness and self-love. It’s an emotional roller coaster with a sweet yet longing ending.
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
Recommend: YES. YES. YES.
Let me know what you think! Are you looking forward to reading this? What is your favourite Marie Lu book? Have you ever cried to books?
You know that feeling you get when you finish a series and you’re in total denial that the series is actually over. Yeah. Here I am. In that exact state. I have things to say and I’m going to say them down below, so keep scrolling!
Wildcard by Marie Lu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers Pub Date: Sept 18th, 2018 Price: $24.99 CAD ISBN: 9780399548017
Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.
Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.
Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?
*Let me take a moment to praise the beautiful people at Penguin Teen Canada who sent me a finished copy! Thank you! I don’t know what I did to deserve this much love, but I think I did something good.*
It’s no secret that I harbour a great love for Marie. She was one of the first YA authors that I actually read out of my own violation and not because everyone was reading her (Yeah, I’m talking about Suzanne Collins and THG) Since the beginning of my teen years, I knew how much Marie liked to rip her readers hearts out at the end. So heading into Wildcard, I braced myself for the worst and well Marie did things.
What I Liked:
Emika: WHAT A GODDESS. I don’t even know where to begin. After the events of Warcross Emi–and the readers for that matter–are left in a major moral dilemma. We kind of question how the heck we move on from here? Emika is still reeling from Hideo’s betrayal and is having a tough time balancing her calls from Zero too. Basically she is in a mess, is herself quite a mess and I love her ever so dearly. LIKE SHE IS A MESS. But I love her! *shrugs* Her courage to face each day, to keep reciting her father’s mantra (“Every locked door has a key.”) even when she felt that it was wrong. Her growth from Warcross is incredibly well done and she has such an inspiring monologue to go along with it, so I won’t leave any spoils here. Emi is flawed main character, no doubt, but one who is willing to go that extra mile even when it shouldn’t concern her. She is truly spectacular.
Zero: How very interesting. I won’t spoil anything about who he is, but all I can say is I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING. Okay. I held out hope, however futile it may have been.
Hideo: Flawed, most definitely. Hideo also goes through some change in this book. It is his evolution into seeing how far his grief has taken him and how incredibly wrong his actions were despite his intentions being good. He is a man of warring emotions and goals, while he wants to do good his reasons behind it are selfish and his actions are corrupt. And he is swoony. So he is definitely a mix of good and bad, but which in the end will prevail?
Other characters…secondary characters from book one, like Hammie, Asher, Roshan and Tremaine all make a great come back! We delve deeper into some of their backgrounds and they are really essential to helping Emi in her quests and just being great friends in general. Then there are new people!! And boy oh boy do they take us for quite a spin!
The Intensity and Action:
Gosh it was only the third chapter and everything was already going wrong!!! Marie Lu really kept a fast-paced sequel. Poor Emika hardly ever got a breather. From beginning to end, this book is a race. Who will get what information first? Who will learn who’s plan in hopes of getting an advantage? Who is in the lead and who is desperately far behind? It’s a roller coaster of events and emotions. There is betrayal left, right and center. There are twists coming at you from all angles. It was an incredible RUSH.
The Plot & Writing:
I think Marie did a really good job in crafting the continuation of Emika’s journey. After all the turmoil that she put her characters through in Warcross, she followed it up by adding more information, more revelations that really helped piece together this intricate story line. It was not exactly what I expected, which I liked. As for her writing, I am always a fan. It was not too showy or too slangy, but a nice blend. It was clear and descriptive and so easy to follow, which is perfect when your trying to connect so many dots together!
Swoon. We really get more than one romance. Roshan and Tremaine get to be all adorable in the midst of all the action. Seriously, though: *heart eyes everywhere*
Then there is Hideo, Emika and a yacht and I screamed.
What I Disliked:
Yeah I have a bone to pick. Ummm the ending…….was just not enough for me. I mean I liked how it ended…but it just lacked the drama I hoped for. I don’t want to say too much in case of spoilers…but I will warn you the following is SPOILER-Y-ISH-NOT-REALLY-BUT-STILL.
Read at your own discretion. Potential mild spoiler ahead.
No tragedy…where is the tragedy!?!?!?!:
Here I am, the fool complaining that there was no tragedy in the book. Well..can you blame me? Marie is known to give sad and heart-wrenching finales. I expected as much from this book, but the final scenes were super light. Which I’m not complaining about, what I am complaining about is that there was no intense moment where I just wanted to break down out of rage/shock/sadness….it went as follows: action, action, action, intensity, intensity, intensity, mellow mellow, light end. Apparently, I was hoping for tragedy. (Even through plenty of sad things happen before hand!!!!)
Overall, I am in denial that this series is over. This book was such a rush. With the perfect action, the much needed suspense, the swoon worthy romance and a final snippet that warmed my heart. I am not ready to let go of Emi, she has so much ahead of her and I couldn’t be more proud. I feel like a proud mom, oh wow.
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Recommend: MARIE LU IS MY IDOL, I RECOMMEND ALL OF HER WORK!
Let me know what you think! How excited are you for Wildcard? If you have read it, what were your thoughts? Are you a general fan of Marie Lu?
You should all know by now that Marie Lu is one of my all time favourite writers. She is one of the first YA authors I discovered and ever since that fateful day when I ordered her book from the Scholastic catalogue in my school, my life changed forever.
And do you know what book I ordered that day? Yeah, you guessed it.
Legend by Marie Lu.
For the next two years, I, unknowing, went down a path leading to a life changing moment. The end of the Lu’s trilogy, Champion. That was something I was not prepared for. I have not been able to reread the books since I sobbed and my tears stained the pages of my book.
BUT ENOUGH OF THAT. That is a story for another time.
Now when I discovered that this trilogy that ruined my life (in the best way possible) was going to be adapted into a graphic novel series, I vowed to never read it. Clearly, I suck at keeping my vows because I willingly bought the first one and then the lovely people of Penguin Random House CA completed my set so I could feature this post today. My deepest gratitude goes out to them!
Legend: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu
Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a military prodigy. Born into the slums of the Republic’s Lake Sector, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives are not as sinister as they often seem. One day June’s brother is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Now, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June tries desperately to avenge her brother’s death. And the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together and the lengths their country will go to in order to keep its secrets.
So when I picked these up again, I decided to simply rip off the band-aid. I read all three in one day and basically I was destroyed (again).
What I Liked:
Day and June come from two completely different worlds and are fighting on the opposite sides of the “war.” But this is YA people, so of course they come together, open each others eyes to new possibilities and question everything they have believed in. Day is a suave, easy going and talented outlaw. He’s been on his own since he was ten and turned into a sort of Robin Hood character for those on the outer sector. Then there is my beloved June. Fiercely intelligent and quite a quick thinker. She has her loyalties tested and makes many life altering decisions that influence the plot to keep it moving faster.
Adaptation vs. Original
In terms of the story, the graphic novels are a very bridged version of the original novels. Despite this, I thought that these books stayed very true to the story. It kept all the really important plot points in and left room for some of the charm that I remember loving so much from the full length story. Of course, not everything can make the final cut and while I did spot things that were missing from the full story, I think that people who read the graphic novels without reading the actual books will be able to understand perfectly.
Because how can I not judge it! Unlike other graphic adaptions that I have read that used a monochromatic colour scheme to convey the story, these babies were in FULL COLOUR! Colour is important people! It is an essential element of expression. It communicates mood, conveys a tone and heck it makes reading all the more enjoyable! As for the actual illustrations, I think they were done beautifully. Kaari stayed very true to the characters and I think they all look hot! *wink wink* I was even surprised that some of the backgrounds were detailed so wonderfully. I expected a lot of blob background figures, which there were, but it had a nice balance of detail too!
It still destroyed me. While I didn’t cry this time (I was splotchy and red when I read the actual novel), I was perfectly content and heart broken! It’s, and I quote my sister Maz, a Hopeful Ending. As hopeful as it can possibly get, but I still love it despite the pain it causes when I think about it.
What I Disliked:
Yeah…um not much really. Yes, it’s a little hard to believe that teenagers and kids could have this much power to influence the politics, while adults just kind of stand around. But this is YA people, it teaches us to have faith in the kids who are advocating for justice. Which does happen in real life.
Overall, I really enjoyed the graphic novels of this trilogy that I hold so dear to my heart! It was fun, COLOURFUL, quick and easy to read. While I appreciate the full length novels and all their glory, I can totally see a lot of people loving these shorter more visual versions too!
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars
Recommend: I always recommend Marie Lu!
Let me know what you think! Have you read this series? Full novels or graphic? What books would you like to see adapted into graphic novels? Any other apadtation recommendations?
There are some moments that just stick with you forever. Those moments that either truly traumatized you or just leave you feeling good inside.
I have a lot of traumatic memories, most of them are embarrassing but hey, that’s just me and my awkward self.
One of those special moments is a mixture of both traumatic and happy! I was lucky enough to meet Marie Lu almost a year ago, in October when she was on her The Midnight Star tour. Meeting her left me shaking, if you don’t know, MARIE LU IS MY IDOL!
Her books have left me mostly traumatized since I was 12 (but traumatized in a good way!)
So earlier this summer, I, for some odd reason, got a magical stroke of luck and won my first Goodreads giveaway! (It was the first one I ever entered!) AND I WON A GALLEY OF WARCROSS!!! Just imagine loud screeching and jumping up and down, that was basically my reaction! Then I actually received the book on Book Lovers Day!! I can’t even explain how over the moon I was!
Warcrossby Marie Lu
For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.
Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.
*I received this galley from a Goodreads giveaway, which doesn’t affect my opinion in any way.*
I’ve been waiting for this book since she first announced it! I will gobble anything written by Marie Lu. Even though I am not a video game kind of gal (I’ve never played a real video game in my life….it’s true!) I was still super excited for this! Virtual reality and a hot swoony billionaire, Y A S! So after having read it, I can happily tell you that it is classic Marie. Fun, stressful, and a hell of a lot twisty. PLUS THAT ENDING! I almost died.
What I Liked
Emika: I love her, rainbow hair and all. (Not going to lie though, I would sometimes forget her colourful hair in my imagination and have to fix up my visual image!) But yes, Emika! A super talented hacker and incredible Warcross player with a tragic life story. She lives day to day just thinking about the amount of money she owes and scratching up just enough to get by, but time ran out for her and she had to make some big decisions. One of those obviously including hacking into the biggest game in the world! Perhaps not the most well thought out plan, but she is crazy smart and so brave considering how alone she has been her whole life. She is no Cress (the hacker-love of my life) but she knows what’s she’s doing and she does it well!
Hideo: Oh my God, *swoon*. Marie always makes up such great complex and broody book boyfriends that I just cannot! And he is a young, successful billionaire! Plus insanely hot! *I’m not saying I’m a gold digger, but billionaire is a pretty attractive word 😂* He is a rather elusive character, but slowly he is revealed to the reader. His own tragic past and his plans for the future: to make it different, make it better. He is as I mentioned a very complex guy.
Other characters…Marie never fails in the diversity factor! Long before it was even a hot topic in YA (though it should have always been) There are all kinds of characters in this killer novel. Disabled, gay, various different races including a Latina (yay!) not to mention Emika is Chinese-American. I loved all the side characters of course! They were so much fun to explore and added an extra richness to Emika’s life and story!
Setting: Hello Japan! A country I have actually never visited, but I would love to some day! Though the Japan in this book is very, very different from Japan today! I don’t know the exact year, but I am pretty sure this book takes place in the future where technology has reached levels so incredible that only books likes these know of them! The descriptions of the tech and scenery really gave a beautiful distinction between the reality and virtual world, which I will talk about next!
The Virtual Reality: Since tech is so advanced in this story, people can live in Warcross basically all the time. (Which while I think is cool, is also pretty scary!) I loved every moment of playing the Warcross game and exploring the worlds within it. I loved the use of the characters’ knowledge in coding and all things computer science! I think it added authenticity to the story instead of the characters just knowing how to do all that crazy nonsense!
Action Packed!: Marie also never fails to keep me on my toes. When I was reading I wouldn’t leave the couch because there was always something next. Another game to play, another hacker to stalk, another secret meeting with Hideo. It was a constant pull to just keep reading, keep going. Plus the actual Warcross games themselves were like actual video games, so they were very action packed and suspenseful! Not to mention those that went downhill!
Romance: Slow burn! It’s always a slow burn with Marie, nothing ever happens in the moment, it happens with time. Emi and Hideo build a relationship. One that was supposed to be strictly business, but it leads to more. As they interact they find their commonalities, they find their differences and everything in between. Emika has looked up to Hideo since she was 11 in foster care and he was a 13 year-old genius. She might have idolized him just a tad, but who would ever think that they would get to meet and find more to love in their idols?! And find out that their idol is secretly impressed with them and begins to open up about himself to them. The chances of that happening is like 0, but this is a one in a million romance guys and I SHIP IT!
Those Legend & Young Elites Easter Eggs: I just about died, when I read “Daniel Batu Wing”. I highly doubt he has any relation to my precious Daniel Altan Wing, but still! And then the one-eyed white wolf showed up in a Warcross game and I just about died again!
The Ending: Welp. I saw it coming and at the same time I didn’t. If that makes any sense. You see I predicted it but usually my predictions are never spot on…and while I wasn’t exactly spot on, I still got it!!! Was I a little upset that I guessed it? Yes and no. Yes, because darn it! I like to be surprised. And no, because darn it that was a great ending! THAT TWIST! It makes you seriously questions your morals and what you think “saving the world” is all about! Magnifique!
What I Disliked
It Took A While: As much as I say there was Suspense! Suspense! Suspense! There was that little section of the beginning where I felt like Emika was just drawling on and on about her tragic past. Which was very tragic…but I got tired of it a little too soon…Awesome things did happen at the beginning, but there was no effortless connection to the characters. Everyone was a stranger to me until things finally started to happen!
Overall, I loved it! This book has had some intense amount of praise and hype because it deserves it! I’ve never read a book half set in a VR and it was an incredible experience! Trust me, once you let the characters grow on you a little bit you’ll be sobbing, panicking and cheering right along with them. Until the end of course, then you’ll just be sobbing!
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars
Recommend?: HECK YEAH! It’s Marie Lu people, MARIE LU!
Let me know what you think? This book came out last week so if l would love to hear your thoughts on it! What’s your favourite Marie Lu book? Does she always make you sob? (The only answer is, yes.) What are some of your favourite video games?
As part of my March TBR, I listed The Midnight Star by Marie Lu as one of my need-to-reads. I have had this book since October. I even got it signed that same month when Marie Lu came up here for her tour. Let me tell you, I’m a huge Lu fan. And when I found out she was coming I literally screamed! You can read more about the signing event here.
The Young Elites is the second Marie Lu series I have read. It is a fantasy series that follows the journey of a villain. It is really dark and gruesome, but I have been enjoying them so far. The first one was great, the second instalment The Rose Society, lacked a little umph for me, but it is a good book over all!
The Midnight Star by Marie Lu
Goodreads summary:There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.
Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all she’s gained.
When a new danger appears, Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds, putting not only herself at risk, but every Elite. In order to preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.
Okay, so a little note here.Regarding a series end, Lu is a heart-twister. She likes to yank on your feels and make you cry. I fell victim to her “Finale F*** Me Ups” before.(Pardon my language) If you have read Champion, from her Legend Trilogy, you know what I mean. Thus, going into this series finale, I carefully guarded myself, as to not have too much hope for a happy ending. Especially since this is a villain’s story.
What I liked
Characters:This series has an abundance of characters, some that I like and others that are kind of just meh. I shall highlight those of greater importance though!
Raffaele Laurent Bessette : My sweet, beautiful, lovable and dear Raffaele. I really love this guy. He is so kind hearted and caring. Despite his mishaps with Adelina and the struggles he faced, he stayed true to who he was and worked with compassion.
Magiano : My love. After my initial distrust and coldness towards him in book 2, I really came to love him by the end. And in this book I was all heart eyes for him. He is funny, charming and brave. His character was a little vague, he kind of just popped out of no where. But then we get a glimpse of his backstory and my heart breaks for him! Even though he supports Adelina through and through, he understands that he has to push to change and show her that the path she is headed down is dark. However, he loves her regardless.
Teren Santoro : I know he is the bad guy. Like a really bad guy, but I couldn’t help but like him. Not like him as in book boyfriend, but as a paradoxical character. He is a malfetto, who hates, hunts and kills malfettos whom he considers abominations like himself. He is an interesting character and I really enjoyed seeing his descent into madness.
Violetta Amouteru : Although she is barely in the first one and hardly in the third one, she is still my favourite character. I identify with her in many ways. The most prominent is that we are both younger sisters. Although my sisters are nothing like Adelina (you know…evil tyrant queens) , they still mean the world to me and I want to protect them as much as they protect me. All Violetta wants to do is save Adelina. The one thing she failed to do before while their father tormented her. She was voiceless but now she wants to grasp what courage she has to save her sister. Does she? Well…yes…kind of…maybe…no…eh? You have to read it!
Adelina Amouteru : Oh, mi Adelinetta. My troublesome lady. My White Wolf. Adelina lived through Hell, survived Hell and then became Hell. A hell of an adventure this was to share with her. I loved this girl, despite her many, many, MANY flaws. She is the embodiment of what happens to us when we get angry and let the anger consume us. She is the picture of vengeance at its most gruesome level. And she falls. She falls, but her deep, deep moral saves her. If only ever so slightly. She is not a character you look to to be heroic, you look to her to understand and learn that the path we choose will affect our conscious and that our actions define us.
The World: In this one we get to see more of the surrounding lands, apart from Kenettra. There is one particular setting that I really enjoyed exploring. (Though I wish it had been explored longer) It was thrilling and added to the dark atmosphere that the entire book was set in.
Dark, Gruesome and Scary: Not scary, like thriller scary, but scary in that I know I would not survive ten minutes in that world. The mood is very eerie and dark. It adds to the journey as we see Adelina fall to the whispers’ directions and develop her villainy ways. Reading this story through the perspective of the villain made me feel uncomfortable at times. What she thought and how she justified it made some sense and at the same I agreed with her. That’s what scared me. It made me think like a villain but also retrace my steps and find the wrongness in her thinking.
Romance: Lu has been very open in that she has tough times writing romance scenes. She spends hours on them, but I think she deserves a big round of applause because although the romance is subtle it is swoony. Yes I’m talking about the bath scene. Very steamy, very much appreciated.
The History Snippets: I’m not sure what to call them…so I’ll just call them snippets. Before every chapter from Adelina, there is a short paragraph or line that gives detail into what is happening elsewhere in that world or how the rest of their world perceives the story of the White Wolf. It is a poem, a letter, a few lines from a history record, or in one case a grocery list and they all give detail about the going-ons in the rest of that world. It shows how Adelina’s villainy spreads, how it affects others and the thoughts of the people. It gives insight on the story of their gods and how they also play an important role.
The Ending and the Epilogue: First of all, I would like to say I didn’t cry outwardly. Inside, I was dying. My eyes did get misty, but no tears shed. The ending had me nuts. So much went down in those final chapters. Some of it expected, some of it not expected. It had me dazed and a little choked up. The epilogue is what really broke me. It left me hopeful and also sad. (A true Marie Lu ending) I like to think of it as the introduction to the story of how the world will interpret Adelina’s story. The story of a tyrant or the story of a scarred girl. Also MAGIANO 😭😭😭😭😭 HE IS PERFECT! JUST SO PERFECT!
The Title Epiphany: I love it when I find meaning in titles. And this title! THIS TITLE HAD ME…
This kid says it all for me. As I explained this epiphany to my friends I noticed how cheesy it sounded. But it was the BEST cheesy I have read!
What I Disliked:
It Was Mellow:This one did not have the same action and thrill as the previous books. A lot of it was just walking and talking, but there were not too many battle scenes or epic fights. I mean this book was about a bloody war, but it focused more on the politics of it. There are bloody scenes, just not enough.*tries not to sound like a blood thirsty maniac?*
I Felt Some Disconnect: There were times in the book where I felt that it was just dragging and the characters were going through the same situation over and over. Even though this book is mostly told in the perspective of Adelina, I felt that she was going through the same struggle every chapter. I don’t even think I’m explaining this right…but I just wasn’t completely enthralled with the story.
Overall, I really enjoyed this series. It has wonderful magical elements and creative world building. There are creepy creatures and gory scenes that will make you flinch and recoil on the inside. I was so captured by Adelina’s story and her descent into villainy. This story really shows that the the face and action you show to the world can be interpreted in any way, good or bad. You may be a hero to one and a villain to another. It is about facing your mistakes and embracing your error.
Rating:4.5 stars (That title epiphany still has me reeling)
Recommend: For those looking for a really dark, fantasy give this series a chance!
That is all for me! Now I wait for Marie Lu’s new novel WARCROSS which comes out in October! I cannot wait to read it!!!
As promised, I am finally bringing to you my thoughts and experience from The Lady is a ChampTour. This amazing event featured four incredible writers in which they answered some very important questions and let the audience in on their life as writers. This event was held about three weeks ago (I know it has been a while) but it was so amazing, I am glad I get to share all the details with you.
It was a chilly Sunday afternoon in October and I arrived about an hour before the event. It turns out that I should come to these events earlier if I want to sit because there was a huge crowd and I had to stand the entire time. (Still it was so worth it.) Anyways, a short while later, our amazing authors arrived at Chapters Brampton. Marie Lu [The Midnight Star], Kiersten White [And I Darken], Catherine Egan [Julia Vanishes] and Morgan Rhodes [The Darkest Magic] all paraded through the crowd and sat at their table. (At this moment I was very, very star-struck) Once seated, the real show began.
The event started off with a few questions from the MC, about the author’s books and various struggles to write them. Marie Lu spoke about how The Young Elites began as a novel about Raffaele, but was soon took over by Adelina and thus began her villainous journey. Kiersten White talked about how difficult it is to write historical fiction and the amount of research it required to get dates correct. Catherine Egan spoke of her drafting process and that as she writes she has to keep changing and starting again before her book can have a solid outline. Morgan Rhodes said that she has to reread her books to remember the details and tie up the loose ends of stories. She also said writing involves a lot of wine and chocolate.
The authors then diverged on to the topic of villains. Marie said that writing a villain is basically allowing the character to do whatever they want, morals were thrown out the window. Catherine agreed and said that writing villains was very cathartic for her. She also stated that villains were easier to write because they just came to her. Morgan Rhodes agreed and said “the nicer the character, the harder to write.” Kiersten said that writing Lada was tough, since she had to restrain from softening her up (if you don’t know, Lada is not exactly very nice) and that she had to throw out the idea of likability.
Afterwords the authors shared stories about strong female characters they read about as teens. Marie Lu praised the novel Julie of Wolves as her inspiration and model growing up. Morgan shared that she read adult novels in her teens, and teen novels as an adult, but over all it was Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy that resonated with her. Kiersten White shared that her influential female Character was Anne from Anne of Green Gables (I was a very, very proud Canadian) Anne’s coming of age story and fearless self gave Kiersten confidence growing up.
There were many moments of laughing and fun especially when our authors would go off talking and forget whether they had answered the questions. (Morgan I’m talking sbout you) Marie Lu said that she had trouble writing romance scenes because she felt that her mother was scrutinizing her and asking “Where did you learn that, huh?” Marie takes months to write kissing scenes, so appreciate them. Morgan said that she dealt with difficult situations with lots of wine and chocolate, the other authors agreed straight away. She also finds it very easy to kill characters off, so be warned.
They also each shared a genre of writing they would not be able to explore or take on. Kiersten and Marie both said contemporary and agreed that fantasy and Sci-Fi was far more interesting. Morgan said that middle grade was not for her as well as an all male 1st person POV. Catherine always shies away from historical fiction, in which Kiersten said “don’t go down that road” humorously.
After a couple audience questions, the infamous “How tall are your characters?” was brought up again, the signing began.
Now as I mentioned I was towards the back of the line and had to wait three hours, standing carrying seven books! I was extremely tired, but again, so, so worth it. Anyways as I approached Kiersten and Catherine, I got really nervous and my heart started beating fast. (I’m very introverted so it’s my usual reaction) However, I got up there introduced myself and presented them with little pieces of fan art I made. They were both very delighted and Catherine almost cried! (SCORE) I had Illusions of Fate signed by Kiersten while she and I talked about Narnia (2nd SCORE) and how her boyfriend (now husband) gave her The Horse and his Boy as her first Christmas present. (He is definitely a keeper)
Then I approached Morgan Rhodes, I didn’t have a book to get signed by her since I had them signed at a previous event, but I still handed her a piece of fan art as well, which she graciously accepted. It was a painting of a pouty Magnus and she reasoned that his angry expression is what won him the ladies. (She’s not wrong) Then came the moment of truth!
I stood in front of Marie Lu. Six years I suffered under these woman’s books. Six years. And do you know what I said?
“Hi, I’m Rendz and I just want you to know I’ve been waiting for this moment for six years.”
*face meet palm*
Oh but it gets worse:
Marie: “I’m so glad you came!”
Me: “No, no, I’m so glad YOU came!”
COULD I HAVE BEEN MORE OF A DORK?!
Afterwords, I just kept calling myself a loser in my head! It was slightly embarrassing since the other authors listened in and started laughing. I turned red in the face, but kept on talking so I was proud of myself for that. After she signed six books (her hand must have ached afterwards, she had already signed so many) I left her saying thank you once again, walked down the steps shaking from head to toe because ladies and gentlemen I had just met Marie Lu.
Overall it was a long day, full of standing, waiting and fangirling, but I couldn’t have asked for more! My feet did ache the whole rest of the night through the next day but I would have stood even longer if it meant I got to meet my idols!
Experience score: 10/10 (even though I had to stand the entire time)
I do sincerely love author events. Although I do not see any in my immediate future, rest assured you will read about another time I embarrass at these events. If you have any author event stories you would like to share, comment below or shoot me an email, I would love to hear about it!
So this past month I have completed a total of 0 books.
*womp womp wompppp*
Yes, yes I know. Shame on me. Shame on me. BUT, in my defense it has been a pretty busy month for me. October was not how I planned it would be. It turns out, being two months into school, means being bombarded with loads and loads of work. I am lucky I have time to write this post since I’m in the middle of working on two assignments. *procrastinating*
As for my reading I’m still not done Replica, I only have a few chapters left and I’m dying to find out the end of Gemma’s story. I am also still working my way through the Assassin’s Blade audio book. I like to listen to it in big chunks of time so I don’t forget what has already happened. Seeing as it’s not a regular book where I can flip back, I need to make sure I listen carefully and don’t lose the story!
So that is my unfinished, wrap-up. Don’t worry though. I will finish these books very, very soon.
Although, I have not read many books this month I have accumulated some great books.
*Each have the Goodreads link if you would like to know more about it
I have not read any of these books, except for Illusions of Fate and Fairest, which I read about a year ago and enjoyed very much!I am so excited to read the rest of these books, there have been such great things said about each of them.
Coming soon, I will be recapping one of the most wonderful days in my bookish life and my November TBR. (Perhaps I’ll have more time to read this month)