ARC Review · Reviews

ARC Review: Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis

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*Thanks again to Penguin Random House for sending me an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* 

Nedra Brysstain is a seventeen-year-old girl from the northern territories of the Lunar Island. She likes her life up there but as a deadly plague starts spreading through the North, Nedra decides to leave her home to learn the trade of medicinal alchemy at the prestigious Yugen Academy. Nedra is determined to find a cure for the plague but as the disease begins spreading faster and faster, she becomes desperate to find the needed cure and suddenly finds herself diving into alchemy’s most dangerous corners and ultimately turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy.

I’d never read anything by Beth Revis prior to starting this novel but the synopsis of it sounded extremely interesting which is why I originally requested an ARC of the book. And the first 60% of “Give the Dark my Love” were indeed great and I would’ve easily given this book at least four stars if it had continued being that good which unfortunately wasn’t the case.

At first I was really interested in the story especially because I have only read about two or three books about necromancy in my life and so it was very cool to learn more about the topic. The plot during the first half was also very interesting and I pretty much flew through the chapters because I always needed to know what would happen next. But around the 60% mark, the plot became really slow and I began not really enjoying this book anymore because many scenes just really dragged on.

As for the characters, they were all pretty interesting and I actually liked all of them. Either because they were just very likable, or because they just fit the story very well. But it was the main character, Nedra, who ended up acting in a way that made me enjoy the last 40% of “Give the Dark my Love” a lot less than the beginning of it. She was very likable and interesting at first, but at some point she just began doing things that often made me roll my eyes or shake my head. Especially between the 70% and 90% mark of the novel, I felt like she was often being quite unreasonable which suddenly turned her into a character that I began disliking.

Furthermore, during the first three or four chapters, I also had a bit of a problem with Beth Revis’s writing style but thankfully, it either got better in the subsequent chapters or I just got used to it quite quickly.

Overall, this was still definitely a book I mostly enjoyed reading which is why I’m giving it three out of five stars. As I’ve said, the first half was definitely a lot better than the second half and made me want to read the entire series. But the second half just kind of “destroyed” the story for me and I unfortunately have to say that I probably won’t be picking up the sequel once it comes out next year.

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ARC Review · Reviews

ARC Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers

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*Thanks again to St. Martin’s Press for sending me an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* 

When Sadie’s younger sister Mattie is murdered, she swears to get revenge. She is going to kill the man who murdered her but for that she has to find him first. And so she gets herself a car and drives through the country on the trail of the guy who took away her favorite person.

Sadie is told from two different perspectives. The one of Sadie herself and through a podcast called The Girls that was started to look into the murder of Mattie and the disappearance of Sadie and that has the goal to find answers about really happened. But that dual perspective is actually the only reason I gave this book four instead of five stars. It took me a couple of chapters to get used to it and at first it was a little confusing. It started making sense after some time though and ultimately it was actually quite interesting to see things from Sadie’s POV and then get the background information through what they discover on the podcast. Apparently, by the time the book comes out the podcast is also going to be fully available for the readers to listen to which I think will add such an interesting new dimension to this novel.

But like I said, that was the only thing that bothered me about this novel and apart from that, this was a great book. I was really invested in the story but be aware that even though this is YA, it’s a very heavy novel. It includes murder, sexual abuse, child abuse and other topics and especially if you have a sibling just like me, this book will probably hit home. If something happened to my little sister, I’d never be happy again and thus this story really moved me.

Another factor that greatly contributed to my enjoyment of this novel was the author’s writing style. Sadie was written in such a beautiful way and I’ll definitely be checking out some of her other work in the future just to get more of that writing. So all in all, this was a great read and if you’re interested in reading a beautifully written but heavy YA mystery with lgbtq+ representation, this is the book for you. I’m giving Sadiefour out of five stars and since Summers decided to leave the ending a bit open – which I actually really liked because it’s so different from how most others would’ve probably ended this book – I’m now going back to trying to decide what I think really happened at the end of the novel.

ARC Review · Reviews

ARC Review: Seventh Born by Monica Sanz

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*Thanks again to Entangled Teen for sending me an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* 

Seraphina Dovetail is a witch. But not just any witch. She is a seventh-born one and in order for her to live, her mother had to die. Thus, she’s subject to a lot of hostility. All kinds of horrible names are hurled at her on a daily basis at the academy she’s training at, but Seraphina willingly puts up with all that because she has one dream. She wants to become an inspector and find her real family.  For that to happen though she needs a referral for the Aetherium’s Witchling Academy to start training there and getting a referral sounds easier than it is for someone like her. But one of her professors seems to have a solution. He needs her help with one of his projects and in return, he’ll give her the referral she needs. But will that really be as easy as it sounds?

Unfortunately, this book just wasn’t for me. I originally requested it because I thought the premise of “Seventh Born” sounded very promising and like something I might really enjoy but there were just so many things that ultimately resulted in me losing interest in this novel quite quickly.

My main problem with the book was definitely that there was almost zero world-building and that a lot of information and context I would’ve needed to fully understand the story was just missing. Quite early in the book, I already started feeling pretty lost and the whole plot just began being very confusing because it often just wasn’t explained what they’re doing and how things work in the magical world Sanz created. It was a little like starting a good fantasy series but deciding to skip the first few books and just reading the third or fourth part right away. Due to this, the story also dove right into action and the first half of the book was just way too rushed and the pacing was really off.

But not only the world wasn’t properly introduced, I also felt like  a proper introduction of most of the characters was missing completely and thus I just didn’t care about any of them. This also meant that the romance in this book wasn’t really that interesting to me. Also, quite early on  it is said that Seraphina is actually scared of closeness to men due to something that happened in her past and so I found it extremely weird and random that suddenly from one chapter  to the next one, she completely trusted her professor and even began fancying him. Furthermore, she also just let one of her classmates kiss her and didn’t seem to have any problem with that which I think just didn’t make sense when you keep in mind how scared she’d still been of men just a few pages earlier.

So due to all of this, I just didn’t enjoy reading the book and lost interest in it quite quickly. I actually just skimmed the last 40% of it and it’s definitely a series I unfortunately won’t be continuing. I have to say though that I actually liked the author’s writing style and that I wouldn’t be averse to reading some of her future work if she ends up publishing a new series at some point. However, “Seventh Born” ultimately just wasn’t for me and even though I always hate giving only one star to a book, I just can’t give this a higher rating.

ARC Review · Reviews

ARC Review: Fling Club by Tara Brown

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*Thanks again to Skyscape for sending me an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* 

Every year Cherry spends her summer in the Hamptons and every year her summer revolves around the “Fling Club”. The point of the club is that its female members get to choose a guy for a fleeting romance each summer who will then accompany them to functions and other events of their choice. This year is supposed to be Cherry’s last summer in the club but instead of just finding a guy for a short summer romance, she’s out for revenge this time around. Revenge on the club’s founder who slept with her ex-boyfriend. Cherry has a plan but for that plan to work she still needs to find the perfect guy and Ashley, a nerd from MIT, seems like the right candidate. But what happens when after some time, Cherry and Ashley realize they’re more than just business partners and the plan unravels?

The plot of “Fling Club” unfortunately was very predictable. The first third of the novel was actually alright and I was very interested in seeing where the story would go, but then everything just started going downhill from there. All the plot twists were pretty unoriginal and none of them surprised me. Especially the last 10% after a certain bigger plot twist were incredibly boring and I had to force myself to even finish the book despite only having a few pages left to read. There was also lots of slut shaming in this book and overall, the story was just overly dramatic and too much for me. I have to say though that for the most part, this was a very quick read and I flew through the majority of the book.

As for the characters, the two MCs Cherry and Ashley were okay characters, but I have to say that neither of them left a lasting impression and I ultimately didn’t really care about them. The same goes for most of the other characters except for Cherry’s younger sister Ella, who seemed like a very interesting character and quite unlike all the other flat characters in this book. I definitely would’ve loved to still read a little more about her.

The writing style was fine and didn’t bother me too much. It was a little repetitive at times but while I’ve definitely read books from author’s whose writing style is a lot more to my liking than Brown’s, I’ve also definitely seen worse before.

Overall, this was a pretty disappointing read but I’m still giving it two out of five stars because of the promising first third of the novel and because of Ella. If you’re looking for a very dramatic revenge summer romance novel though, this is definitely a book you might enjoy a lot more than I did. But in my opinion, it was simply a very unoriginal and boring book.

 

ARC Review · Reviews

ARC Review: Kingdom of Ash and Soot by C.S. Johnson

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Synopsis

PRAGUE, 1870. 

For the last ten years, nineteen-year-old Eleanora Svobodová has worked as a servant in her stepmother’s household. Along with her older brother, she dreams of the day they will be free to live life on their own terms.

But everything changes when their estranged grandmother comes to Prague on behalf of Queen Victoria. Throughout Bohemia, a string of murders and secret whispers hint at a larger coup. As the leader of the Order of the Crystal Daggers, an ancient order of spies and soldiers that protect kingdoms and their rulers, Lady Penelope is determined to mete out the perpetrators. Now, Eleanora must make the choice between a life of intrigue and saving the lives of others.

Can Eleanora find a way do the right thing and still find freedom?

 

My Review

*Thanks again to Prodigy Gold Books for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.* 

The first half of „Kingdom of Ash and Soot“ was absolutely amazing and I was so invested in the story, I couldn’t put the book down anymore. Back in high school, I always hated history classes but ever since passing my a-levels and leaving school, I’ve become more and more interested in history and have also found out that I actually really enjoy reading historical fiction. As a European, I of course am particularly interested in European history and so the fact that this book was set in Prague back in 1870 made it even more interesting to me.

An important part of every story certainly are the characters and I really liked them. Eleanora, the female protagonist, was a little annoying sometimes, especially towards the end of the novel, but I still liked her. But my favorite character was definitely Ferdy, one of Eleanora’s love interests, who was funny and interesting and stole my heart quite quickly. 

Another very positive thing about this book was C.S. Johnson’s writing style. “Kingdom of Ash and Soot” was very well written and you could clearly see that she already has quite a lot of experience when it comes to writing books and I’m definitely interested in checking out some of her other work now.

But even though the first half of the book was definitely worth five stars, the story kind of lost its momentum after the half-way point and I began losing interest in it. I started struggling with trying to understand what exactly the Order of the Crystal Daggers was trying to do in Prague and how everything was interconnected. There were a lot of different characters mentioned when the order began trying to figure out why and how so many people had been murdered and I quite quickly lost track of who is who and what kind of role they played in Prague or Europe in general back then which sadly tarnished my reading experience. 

All in all, this book started out strong but then lost its momentum and so I decided to give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. I do not yet know if I’m going to read the next part of the series even though the book ended with a very interesting twist and a freaking cliffhanger. But I think the next book hasn’t even been announced yet, so I still have some time to figure out if I’m actually interested in finding out what happens next or if it’s just a momentary thing.