The Storm Crow | Blog Tour // Review

Greetings readers!

I am so glad to be part of this blog tour for The Storm Crow, a new and highly anticipated read! Many thanks go out to Raincoast Books for inviting me to be a part of the tour and for sending over an ARC!

The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson

The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow, #1)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: July 9th, 2019
Publisher: SourcebooksFire
Price: $25.50 CAD
Goodreads

In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.

That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.

But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.


Buy It

Chapters Indigo | Amazon


The Likes

The Characters

Let’s start with Thia who was such an incredible character! I absolutely adored her. After basically witnessing the destruction of her beloved country, Thia’s grief totally overwhelms her and succumbs her to a several months long depression and it takes her a long time to call it what it is. She carried this exhausting weight with her all the time and it prevented her from being who she was before the destruction. Throughout the story and the challenges she is put through, Thia has to find a way to live on with that sadness that used to keep her under her covers. And as the story goes on, Thia really starts to shine. We get to see her spunk, her extreme curiosity and her passion. Her fears and grief are always near at hand, but she slowly starts to creep out of the darkness that she once found so comforting and confronts the world before her. The struggle is never easy and Jospehson doesn’t shy away from showing how tough it can be to hold on to hope. It’s very rare to see mental health rep in fantasy and I thought that this was an incredibly interesting take on it!

Ericen…hmmmmmmmmmmm okay. So I really liked to hate him??? And then I pitied him??? At one point he is just so terribly horrible and then things happen and other things are brought to light and it’s just a whirlwind of emotions with this guy. I don’t even know exactly what to say. I can’t say we get a completely unbiased portrait of him because the entire story is told from Thia’s POV so we don’t get to go into his mind. But he is very interesting and mysterious. And at the end there I had a lot of questions about him and I honestly don’t know what he is going to do next which is the most exciting bit.

Other characters…Are kind of spoilery if I talk about who I want to talk about. Um, but here are some I can talk about! The best friend, Kiva, was so ferocious and charming I loved her! She was a great, fiery addition to this adventure! The sister, Caliza, is also really interesting. We don’t get a lot from her, but she is in a tough situation, that by no means excuses some of the things she says to Thia, but a little empathy is required everywhere.

BUT THE VILLAIN-CHARACTER…OMG I HATE HER!!!!!!!

The World

Love. Love. Love. 

Okay, first off the ARC came with a map and an index with all the countries of the world and it was just amazingly helpful. There’s a lot happening here and not all of it is easily memorable so having those two points of reference was amazing.

Besides that, the countries and people of this world were so fascinating. The ways in which they lived and practiced and fought were pretty, pretty different. The story revolves largely around the threat of one country becoming too powerful and conquering and slaughtering only to swallow their victims into their own body.  Thia is trying to make sure that doesn’t happen to her country of Rhodaire but things get messy.

The politics of this world were very tricky. Thia gets into a very sticky and messy situation where they are trying to break her and use that depression against her. It was hard to read about sometimes because I wanted to help but there was nothing I could do obviously, so I really had to hang on during this wild ride. It’s not all black and white. There are are shades of grey that really bring a richness to the troubles of these countries.

The Magic

Giant, magical, elemental, crows. That’s it. That’s all you need to know. The index also explained the types of magic found in these birds so that was really helpful too because we get a better understanding of how Rhodaire used to function with them and why they are so pivotal to the characters. I really liked this magic system, I did. It was not exactly what I was expecting and it definitely comes with it’s surprises.

The Action and Intensity

Perfect for this high fantasy! There were lots of moments when I was screaming and yelling at the characters for making terrible decisions, but it was fun! I enjoyed myself immensely while reading this. It has an even pace with the promise of danger always looming and when it finally comes you can’t help but be surprised and completely sucker punched by it!

The ending took me a little by surprise, I was not expecting things to go down the way they did and that is always a wonderful thing because it amped up the risk!

The Romance

I’m not gonna even spend time on this. Um. What do I even say? Things happened. Then more things happened. Then some things happened too quickly and I was kind of like ??? and then OTHER things happened and I cringed out of second-hand embarrassment. So I will just say that it helped with the drama, but I refuse to get attached for *reasons.* But I think others who’ve read this might already have made an attachment. Who knows?

The Questionable

Maybe I just wanted a little more with the magic. I felt like bigger things could have been done there even though the window for it was limited. I just think that’s what’s missing for me to give it the full stars!


The Quickie Fan Art

This is a very–very–quick sketch of a certain drawing that is actually in the book. I felt inspired when I read it so I took a shot at it!

It’s most definitely not perfect and I plan on doing a much better and cohesive version of it sometime soon! But for now enjoy the quickie sketch!


Overall, I had a wonderful time reading this book! It had all the right action and suspense. Thia is an incredible character with such raw experience and heart. The politics of the world will have you nervous and the magic in awe! I am so excited to see where the sequel takes us next!

Rating: 4.85 / 5 Stars (What is even this rating, Rendz????)

Recommend: YES! Oh yes, oh yes!

Let me know what you think! Are you looking forward to reading this? Have you ever read fantasy mixed with a mental health rep before? Isn’t that cover gorgeous!?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

Spin the Dawn |Review // This book. This. Book. Ahhhhhh

Greetings readers!

One of the many, many flaws I possess, according to my mother, is that I cannot sew. Correction: I cannot sew properly. I can do a sloppy job of it, but actually doing a clean seam is beyond my abilities.

Alas, I still read this book which was all about sewing. And it was quite something. Quite something.

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars, #1)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: July 9, 2019
Publisher: Knopf
Price: $24.99 CAD
Goodreads

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.


Buy It!

Chapters Indigo | Amazon


*My thanks goes out to Penguin Teen CA for providing me with an ARC*

I had the lovely opportunity to buddy read this with my fabulous friend, Mandy @ BookPrincessReviews. Considering our last two buddy reads went less than spectacular, we were pretty stoked knowing that this book came with such good buzz! And we are both so happy that we both actually enjoyed the book this time!

The Likes

The Characters

Maia: Ohhhh I loved her. I loved her. She was truly a fantastic MC to follow. She grew up in a house full of brothers who loved and doted on her. She had a mother, who was taken too early, but adored her so much as well. And her father who taught her almost everything she knows about being a seamstress. I loved the way she treasured and practically carried her family in the toughest of times, especially as a woman in a trade meant for men. I loved that she literally risked it all for her family, even if on the inside she knew that she really wanted to risk everything for her own aspirations. I loved her honesty because she literally couldn’t lie to save her life.

Edan: I pitched it to Mandy that he was a Tragic Magic boy and honestly I still stand by it. He was all charm and you guys all know how much of a sucker I am for the charming, borderline annoying ones. He was mysterious and harbored lots of secrets, some of which we get into. He was an interesting character to have around as more than just simple a love interest. His role was pivotal to the politics of the book too, which are quite tricky to maneuver.

Others…There aren’t many. The other tailors in the competition are not at all what they seem at first glance. Trust me, keep yer eyes on them. Then there are the emperor and Lady Sarnai, who were quite, quite not at all who they seemed to be!!!

The World

It was so, so rich. And we go everywhere–well most everywhere. It was incredibly fascinating to explore the different landscapes that the characters live in and journey. You get a sense of the difference in lifestyle between the royal characters and the civilians. The politics of the world are communicated very well. The society is suffering after a war and the court machinations in the palace may not be helping at all. It is a seducing setting no doubt.

The Plot

I loveeeeeeeeee competition books. And I also adore quest books. And this story was literally the best of both worlds.

The first part was all about Maia making it as a tailor and passing all the tests in order to serve Lady Sarnai as her official tailor. It was soooooo crazy and cool at the same time. It was a cutthroat killer competition about sewing!!! Sewing! I loved the challenges that they got, with materials so unconventional that I applaud Lim’s imagination for creating pretty pieces (even if they are just being described in words 😉 )

Then came the journey which takes up a chunk of the novel. it comes with three pivotal challenges that Maia has to pass in order to A) survive and B) become the Imperial tailor. It was full of danger and intrigue and risk. I know they have a lot of down time during this part of the book, but I didn’t mind. I lived for every moment between Maia and Edan.

It lived up to its selling points

Mulan x Project Runway. Let me tell you. This book is most definitely Mulan x Project Runway in every way that you can think and beyond. Maia had such a moment when she cuts her hair, I actually screeched a little bit to myself. It might not have had dramatic music in the background, but it was no less intense and magical.

I’ve already talked about the tailoring competition, but I cannot stress how Project Runway it truly is! So much talent, trash talking and crazy amazing dresses. The tailor competition is a little (a lot) more umm bloody, but still. Amazing. And the PR vibes run beyond just the competition. Maia’s skill is so wonderfully explored, I would LOVE to wear any of her creations!

ALL THOSE COVER SECRETS

This stunning cover gives a lot more away than you might think. I’m screaming.

The Romance

I didn’t think we’d get that far with them in this book, but neither Maia nor I could resist Edan’s charm! I loved them together. I truly did. Mandy is right when she says that they goes back and forth a little too much, but I was swooning the whole way there. AND OF COURSE THINGS GET ROUGH TOWARDS THE END. But I still truly love them together!!!

The Questionable

Just one tiny thing. The antagonist(s) were a little lack luster. Um I wanted a little more sleeziness and creepiness and well villain power. They were a little too mellow for me, even though they caused plenty of trouble for our dear characters. So I lacked that drama. However, I think we are gonna get a lot more from them in the sequel!!!


Overall, I loved this book. I loved the ending because it is not at all what I expected and it has been a while since I have been surprised by a book! I also LOVED that Lim put in this little excerpt before chapter one that when I read it again after having read the whole book…it just transformed the whole experience for me.

Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars

Recommend: YESSSSSSSSSSSSS

Let me know what you think! Are you excited for this book? How easily do you trust comps/selling points? How stunning do you think this cover is? Can you sew, are you any skilled in tailoring?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Even the Darkest Stars | Canadian Dragon Tales Buddy Read Review // We Have Questions!!!

Greetings readers!

Sha and I are back with a long overdue review! We read this book back in *checks calendar* March. Then we created a Google doc, but we didn’t finish writing in it until this past month.  Let’s just say that life got in the way…but we are here now!

Even the Darkest Stars (Even the Darkest Stars #1)

Even the Darkest Stars (Even the Darkest Stars, #1)
via Goodreads

Author: Heather Fawcett
Pages: 432
Release Date: September 5 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Fantasy
Goodreads Rating: 3.93 (of 2,310 ratings)

Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.

But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives in her village and demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister, Lusha, as everyone had expected—for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means cimbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then, Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.

The challenges of climbing Raksha are unlike anything Kamzin expected—or prepared for—with avalanches, ice chasms, ghosts, and other dangers at every turn. And as dark secrets are revealed, Kamzin must unravel the truth about their mission and her companions—while surviving the deadliest climb she has ever faced.


THE PLOT

“A few yards from where I lay, the snow began to move. Something was rising out of it, something with an enormous belly, round head, and an absence of limbs. A snowman.”

SHA: This book had a plot, but it was so scattered with the most obvious foreshadowing scenes thrown in that I kept stopping to ask myself what the end goal could possibly be. I wanted to shout “have you ever heard of Chekhov’s gun?”. Characters came on the scene, introduced emotional backstory, and were never heard from again. Like, whyyy. (*There is indeed a sequel but this does not relate to that.)

RENDZ: So she’s gotta climb a mountain to find a..a..uhhhhh. To find something. And things go downhill a couple of times (literally). But. Yeah. Mountain climbing. That’s the gist of it. And snowmen soldiers. But Sha is super right we get decorative characters that don’t serve much of a purpose but they COULD HAVE, if they were given the proper attention.

THE CHARACTERS

“ […] everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known […] ”

SHA: *heavy sigh* Somehow, I needed to believe River was this great explorer (chosen by the emperor himself, mind you!) while River makes nonstop novice mistakes on the journey and has the behaviour of a fourteen-year-old. I have never been climbing but I have seen mountain trek documentaries and know more than him. (Yes. He’s a character. But if you’re writing a character as an expert, they need to show knowledge in such-and-such area.)

RENDZ: Do I have a favourite? Mhmmhmhmhmh not really. River was not it for me. Kazmin was there and I was trying so hard to root for her but at the same time I was like GIRL. STAHP. Then there was the best friend and his name escapes me and he was this great mage but his arc isn’t explored that much either. And this old guy. None of them stuck out for me. And I am a character person…so you can already see how this is not going well.

SHA: Basically, I didn’t like any character because they weren’t intelligent. They made dumb mistakes (not “I didn’t think this through” but “I have no knowledge in an area I boast about having knowledge in”), they judged others, and they had no real characterization. I only somewhat liked Tem, Kamzin’s best friend, because Tem saved their lives maybe ten times (didn’t ask for thanks) and stayed humble. THANKS TEM.

RENDZ: Ah yes Tem. That’s his name. Tem. AND DO THE OTHER CHARACTERS APPRECIATE TEM. I think the f*** not. And then there was the sister…who…Sha what happened with her?

SHA: Oh wow, just realized I have NO CLUE. To paraphrase our heroine’s favourite motto: “We can’t do anything about it now, let’s just move on.”

RENDZ: *cackles*

THE GOOD

“Trust me?” [River] shook his head, bemused. “You’re worrying about the wrong thing. Trusting me is not something I recommend to anyone.”

SHA: I kept reading. I wanted to know if all the foreshadowing I guessed at was true. The culture.

RENDZ: Same. I kept wanting to read. Which is a good sign. But this could have been something better if the characters had been different. And if River wasn’t in it entirely.

SHA: Yes. Removing River would have been nice.

WE MUST APPRECIATE THE YAK AND LIGHTBULB DRAGONS

RENDZ: The characters that held this novel up to be honest.

SHA: The yak is basically like Scrat in Ice Age, in the sense that no matter what deadly, dangerous thing happens, the yak is still there. Unscatched. Just being a yak. Same for the lightbulb dragons. Quietly being amazing without any appreciation. (Rendz and I appreciate though. We see you.)

THE RATING

2.5 / 5 Stars 



Let us know what you think! Did this book work out better for you? Have you read the sequel? Have any recs for our buddy reads? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

get-reaidng

Nocturna | Review // There is much fun to be had!

Greetings readers!

First of all, I need to shame myself because this review was supposed to be published way before the release date, but life got in the way and I didn’t get around to it. But it is here now so at least there is that!

I also had the lovely opportunity to meet the author this past weekend, but more on that will come in a later post!

Nocturna by Maya Motayne

Nocturna (A Forgery of Magic, #1)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: May 7th, 2019
Publisher: Baltzer & Bray
Price: $23.99 CAD
Goodreads

Set in a Latinx-inspired world, a face-changing thief and a risk-taking prince must team up to defeat a powerful evil they accidentally unleashed.

To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks.

As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.

After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.

But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.


Buy It

Chapters Indigo | Amazon


*I was provided an ARC by the HCC Frenzy team!*

OKAY so here is the deal. This is the first ever Latinx YA that I have read written by a Latinx author. So expect my expectations to be mighty high. The novel is inspired by the author’s Dominican heritage, so while it might not be my specific culture, I was still jumping off the rooftops so excited for this book!

The Likes

The Characters:

These trouble makers were the #1 reason I was so enchanted by this book. I absolutely adored them.

First and foremost there is Finn. Our fierce and mighty faceless thief. You might be a little ??? like I was when you read the faceless bit, but trust me it makes total sense. After after years and years of changing your face you seem to lose yourself in it. But yes. FINN. I truly did enjoy her. She was not a *good* person and she did a lot of shitty things, not all that she regrets. And I loved that we got to see why she was who she was. I loved reading about her backstory and the pain that she went through. I loved that she was incredibly unapologetic and yet she still had room for remorse. She was a walking, talking contradiction and I really enjoyed reading about her.

Then there is Alfie. Who is a Soft Boi™ even if he’s got issues. (I guess his issues add to his soft boi-ness) I really enjoyed reading from his POV too. His grief from losing his brother really tore him apart and he–omg–he makes so, so many mistakes!! Half the time I was like Alfie–please think!!!!! But no character ever listens to me! *shrugs* And yet there was something so evidently interesting watching him fumble and put his heart and soul on the line to mak things better. I loved reading about his growth from this boy with no future, the spare to the throne that all of a sudden has to grow up. And he doesn’t grow gracefully, he is challenged by others and himself each step of the way and I just thought his journey was really interesting

Others…

All the characters, even the side ones, had so much heart and soul and dimension in this book. They weren’t stock characters that serve one person but they had all these layers to them that I really enjoyed watching come apart. I have to shout out umm…a certain…uhh…*father figure* because holy cannoli whenever he came onto the page I got major heebee geebees.

There was Light and there was Dark:

This book is not what I consider a Dark fantasy. It really didn’t strike me as such, but there were definitely some heavier themes in this book that struck our characters lives deeply. Physical, psychological and emotional abuse played such a critical role in one of our character’s lives and journeys that it was really heart-wrenching to read about sometimes. Grief was also a huge factor in the lives of these characters as they have both lost so much and continue to lose so much throughout the story. So alongside this general mischievous and snarky dialogue and plot, there are shades of gray that these characters have to face along the way.

The Writing:

I really enjoyed the writing. You’d think because this book deals with some heavy topics that the overall tone would be a lot more somber. But these characters and this world had so much heart. There was this constant humour that had me giggling here and there and the characters sure knew how to crack a joke and a comeback–something I cannot for the life of me do.

Can we call this a romance?:

It is technically a play on my favourite trope. Enemies to lovers. But you know how people like to extend that to: enemies to reluctant allies to reluctant friends to friends to maybe more than friends to I would die for you friends to lovers. Well this book stops about when they get to Maybe more than friends and I was left wanting so so much more. But I really did like the fact that there growing feelings for each other took a back seat and that it festered quietly sneaking up on both of them at the end. And the ending is really sweet. But yeah I want MOAR.

This oh so magical world:

This was really cool magic. Alongside your regular elemental powers, everyone has their own propio magic.  A personal magic that is unique to the one person and I absolutely loved this part. As much as I love elemental magic, the propio magic just gave this world a richer character! I could definitely see some of the Dominican influences in the food, the music and obviously the Spanish that was used!

The Questionable

I really did enjoy myself while I was reading but I still felt like something was missing. I mean the action was there, the magic was there, the great characters were there…but I can’t say it’s the perfect five stars. I know I wanted more from their relationship…but it’s not that either. I know I was left with a lot of questions about the plot, but there is a sequel so I think more of those will be answered with the books to come.

There was also a lot less Spanish than I expected too. I have to say that I am a little disappointed with it and the times it was used felt a little awkward here and there. (Although I did love the Sana sana colita de rana-bit) I think the Spanish verbs would have worked better conjugated when using magic, but that’s just me *raises hands*
BUT there is a big historical reason behind the lacking Spanish so yeah–let’s just say that colonialism sucks.

So the thing is I can’t really tell you what it is that I feel is missing. Maybe the darker undertones needed a little more exploration or maybe not. I really can’t say. I just can’t put my thumb on it and it is really frustrating!



Overall, despite not knowing what exactly is making me question my love for this book, I DID TRULY LOVE THE EXPERIENCE. There is a lot of action to be had and the magic is one you will envy to have. I loved the characters the most, they are what really made this book for me and I hope to see more of them in the sequel!

Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars 

Recommend: YEAH! Yeah! YEEAAHHH!!!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this book? Are you looking forward to reading it? What kind of elemental or propio magic would you want to have?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Candle and the Flame | Review

Greetings readers!

I would love to thank Scholastic Canada for sending me one of my most anticipated reads of the spring! I had the lovely opportunity to buddy read this book with a friend on bookstagram @Faris_books, with whom I had lovely conversations with about this novel.

Also can we congratulate me for actually putting an ARC review out before the book is published. I feeeeel accomplished!

The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

The Candle and the Flame
via Goodreads

Pub Date: May 14th, 2019
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Price: $24.99
Goodreads

Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population — except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.

But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.

Nafiza Azad weaves an immersive tale of magic and the importance of names; fiercely independent women; and, perhaps most importantly, the work for harmony within a city of a thousand cultures and cadences.


Buy It!

Chapters Indigo | Amazon CA


What I Liked

Characters

FIRST OFF CAN I SAY THAT THERE WERE SO MANY POWERFUL LADIES

AHH I’M GONNA RAVE FOR A BIT

Fatima. Okay. I feel like she is a little tricky to talk about for reasons, but I did enjoy her growth and journey very much. It was a little jarring after the first 100 pages because of said *reasons* but it was all really quite interesting. There was a very important change to her that I really enjoyed seeing unravel despite the jarring sense that I had when it first happened. Overall, I did love Fatima’s character. Her strength, her resolution, her experience with grief and learning to embrace the changes of her life and circumstances made her such a remarkable character.

Bhavya…I didn’t know exactly what to think of her at first but her amazing transformation towards the end there. I WAS LEFT WITH MY JAW ON THE FLOOR. My love for her was completely cemented in those chapters. WOW.

Sunaina……….mmmmm I had trouble with her. To be honest she was not one of my faves for a lot of reasons and I tried very hard to ~~empathize~~ but we reconciled and I really enjoyed her growth throughout the book too!

The Maharani…a boss. A boss. A GODDESS. *snaps fingers three times*

The Alif sisters…they were so much fun! Absolutely incredible and dynamic, the life that they added to the story, the heart and soul that they put in was so much fun and warm and incredible.

Zulfikar was also pretty amazing. I loved his inner wars against himself and his duties. His self-doubt in juxtaposition with his self-assertion. I really enjoyed watching him grow alongside Fatima and the way he had to maneuver between the Ifrit world and the human world.

And shout out to the Maharaja for being the softest of all Soft Boys™.

The Magic

I loved the characterizations of the djinn. I loved the exploration of the different species. The justifications behind their actions and the histories that they share with the humans and other djinni. I loved their magic and powers they wielded. I thought the Naming gift was the most interesting of them all! It was just so cool how its versatility was described and the power that names have in this story!

The World

Just set on the outskirts of the silk road. There was a lot of cultural expression and lots and lots of food descriptions. There were so many languages, religions and cultures included even if we only got glimpses of them here and there. I am so thankful for the glossary, it really helped keep me in check. It just made the experience all the more richer and much more tangible for me. And now I know a few new words in another language and as a language student that pleases me immensely XD

The Political Intrigue

Quite, quite, quite interesting. It really was a highlight to this story. The nail biting bits toward the end there really had me on the edge of my seat. As mentioned, the powerful ladies of the novel really stepped it up and came out to slay in this game of politics played by men. AND I MEAN IT WHEN I SAY THAT THEY SLAYED.

The writing was quite poetic.

It was highly enjoyable, easy to understand and overall beautiful! At first I wasn’t quite sure if writing this novel in 3rd person was gonna fly with me, but I totally see why it worked in the end. THE INTENSITY IT CREATED!! *I almost teared out my hair* It kept up the suspense and Azad was able to dig deeper into more characters and the world.

The Romance

I thought it was sweet. Especially the end there. My heart.

The Questionable

I felt like certain things were a bit too convenient. Some events were predictable and there was not much of a shock while reading so I was missing those AHHH moments. But then again I wouldn’t exactly call this a high fantasy, so don’t expect too much physical action although there was some included. It was more about the politics of it all and the inner struggles of the characters that we had to contend with.


Overall, I really enjoyed myself while reading this. I flew through it which is always a great sign. I learned a few things that I didn’t know beforehand about Islam, seeing as it is such an important part of Fatima’s being. I laughed, my heart clenched and found it to be an absolutely beautiful experience.

Rating:  4 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Absolutely! This is a new fresh feminist fantasy that I am sure many will DEVOUR!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this? Are you looking forward to reading this book? Are you more character-driven or plot-driven in your reading? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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Wicked Saints | Review // It was fine…it was simply just fine.

Greetings readers!

You know those books where you just don’t know exactly where to place yourself on the star scale? Those times when you are just not 100% certain of how to explain your thoughts? Well I am in that spot right now.

I buddy read this book with Angelica @ The Book Cover Girl so be sure to check her out for more thoughts in this book!

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: April 2nd, 2019
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Price: $24.99 CAD
Goodreads

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy..


BUY IT

Amazon.ca | Chapters.Indigo.ca


I would like to send many thanks to Raincoast books who sent me an ARC of this book!

The Likes

Okay. So here is how it goes. What I really enjoyed about this book is that I was oddly engrossed each step of the way. And I say oddly because there were moments when nothing much was going on yet I was still interested in reading. I still wanted to know what was going on and what was going to happen next. I’m not quite sure what it was exactly that kept me intrigued, I think it has more to do with the plot than the characters…they are talked about further down in this post.

I also really enjoyed the divine intervention elements! I love it when the gods come out to play, you know I do. However this book had a lot–and I mean a lot–of saints. It was a little hard to keep track of them all, but I also really enjoyed the mini history snippets that at the beginning of every chapter. It made their participation in the story much more engrossing.

The plot in general was something I rather enjoyed. Although the characters were on the run for most of it there was some good action to be had. A little predictable here and there, but it was not too bad. Like I said. I enjoyed myself very much while reading it. Yet, it had a lot of build up *in certain points* and then the execution was a let down for me. Or at least it was just not as shocking as I thought it would be which was a bit of a downer.

The Questionable

The characters were just really not it for me. Let’s start off with Nadya. She’s the gods-chosen one. She is an angry bean. Snarky and stubborn. Really cared about her people. (Like she did not give a toot about what happened to the other kingdoms people) And I just did not feel connected to her. It’s not that I didn’t like her, it’s just that I personally never found that connection. And since I am such a character driven person it was a bumpy ride.

Um Serefin was one I just did not really care for at all. I didn’t take much interest in his chapters and I felt like there was a lot of history to unpack there so like it was a little tedious here and there.

Malachiasz was my fave of the three. Although he was very elusive. I liked the banter he kept up with Nadya and the way he challenged her to think. Was he OMGAMAZING? No. But he wasn’t too shabby.

I also didn’t like how quick thinking and smart these characters were because it just confused the hell out of me. Both Serefin and Nadya would hear pieces on information and instantly they were able to figure the enemies plans to a tee. Seriously? Like I’m still stuck on the first clue we got…???

The magic had its confusing moments too. Like can anyone do blood magic? Can you literally do anything with it? Why are some people more powerful than others? I just have a lot of questions. **ALSO HUGE CONTENT WARNING: Blood magic is done via cutting one’s flesh…so be weary of that**

The romance was okay I guess. If it had been dragged out a little bit more and been a slow burn, I think I would have enjoyed it more. But like I ship ’em.

The ending scene was more confusing than anything. It was literally just a buzz of things happening and I turned into a human question mark. And because of that I found no AHHH moment. I wanted that unexpected betrayal…but I feel like it all got clouded and jumbled at the end there.


Overall, it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t amazing. I didn’t have that many expectations, but I was hoping it was going to be much more soul-crushing. Unfortunately, I am not soul-crushed. And yet, I am still interested in reading the next book! We shall see what happens in the future.

Rating: 3.75 / 5 stars

Recommend: Um. Sure. It’s not horrible, but I was hoping for more.

Let me know what you think! Did you enjoy this one? Are you thinking of picking it up? What divine intervention books do you enjoy?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe | Review

Greetings readers!

Earlier this month (March), I had the lovely opportunity to do another Buddy Read with the fantastic, Mandy @ Book Princess Reviews! Reading with Mandy is always great fun, she comes up with some really insightful notes that lead to such great discussions. And I am so looking forward to our next read together…whenever and over whatever book it may be!

The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie

The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe
via Goodreads

Pub Date: March 26, 2019
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Price: $24.99
Goodreads

Who do you become when you have nothing left to lose?

There is something Poe Blythe, the seventeen-year-old captain of the Outpost’s last mining ship, wants far more than the gold they tear from the Serpentine River.

Revenge. 

Poe has vowed to annihilate the river raiders who robbed her of everything two years ago. But as she navigates the treacherous waters of the Serpentine and realizes there might be a traitor among her crew, she must also reckon with who she has become, who she wants to be, and the ways love can change and shape you. Even—and especially—when you think all is lost.

Ally Condie, the international bestselling author of the Matched trilogy, returns with an intricately crafted and emotionally gripping story of one young woman’s journey to move beyond the grief and anger that control her and find the inner strength to chart her own course.


Buy It 

Amazon CA | Indigo.ca


*Thanks to Penguin Teen CA for providing me with an ARC. This does not affect my opinion*

Despite having had some amazing discussions with Mandy…this book really just didn’t work out for either of us. (If you want to know more about Mandy’s thoughts click here!) While the premise was something to really draw us in, it unfortunately lacked in execution.

It Was Just…Okay

The short chapters kept up whatever suspense this book had. It’s not that the book was entirely boring, but the most absolute positive thing I can find about it at the moment is that the short chapters kept up the suspense.

Poe was…well she was okay. There are two versions of her presented. Her life before a traumatic event and her life after, it should be noted that the former version of Poe is in the book for a prologue only. Otherwise…I just didn’t feel like I got much out of Poe. She was simply a vengeful amateur captain with the love for a boat. I rooted for her, don’t get me wrong, but there was no real connection for me.

None of the other characters had much personality. Brig…served one purpose, otherwise he was irrelevant. Map girl, whose name escapes me, didn’t do much, Naomi who I sometimes forgot was even present in the story *which presents a huge problem for reasons* and Tam. The only one with a semblance of a personality that was more than one-dimensional.

The actual antagonist, was probably the most underwhelming character of them all. He had very little page time which is why I think his character suffered so much. There was really no time to spend with him in person to get a sense of his sinister-ness. Instead we just got indirect knowledge from Poe and the other characters.

The world building was also fine. Umm I assume people who have read Condie’s Matched series would have a better understanding. What bothered me the most was the visualization of the ship and this epic armour that Poe had designed for it. Turns out it looks more like a porcupine than a ship, which brought up many questions about it’s ability to float…but that’s just me taking things too far. There was also lots of commenting on environmental issues in the book which were important.

I’m also like 95% sure Condie used this book to comment of settler society and colonialism. There was one point where I even found a sort of parallel to the residential school system and the Settler kidnapping of Drifter kids to give them a “better chance at life”. However, I don’t think that Condie approached this message or theme sufficiently or effectively. It’s simply mentioned in passing and while it did have some impact to the plot, it was more of an impact on Poe’s character, a settler. I just don’t think it was handled well.

The book is not bad. It has drama. It has action. It has heartbreak. But it is all so completely underwhelming. The danger these characters were in lasted a few pages at most and then it would turn into smooth sailing. I just…it lacked so much for me.

The ending…I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I understand that it is supposed to signify a new start for Poe…but I don’t think she has changed that much except in some ideologies. I would share more things but spoilers.

All I can say is that this book builds and builds and builds…but then instead of this smack to the head, all the drama fizzles out. 

And one random detail drops in that…no I just couldn’t get on board with it. XD


Overall, I had an okay time with this book. I don’t hate it. I don’t love it. It’s not something I would read again. It was just okay. That’s the best way I can describe it! Perhaps the experience for you will be different, who knows, but for me…it was simply okay.

Rating: 2.5 / 5 stars 

Recommend: Imma say no this time.

Let me know what you think! Have you had the chance to read it? Are you thinking of picking this one up? What is a revenge story you have read? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz

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