Book Review: Ruthless Magic

ruthless magic

Title: Ruthless Magic
Author:
 Megan Crewe
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Version: ARC – ebook
Page Count: 352
Publisher: Another World Press
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Diverse characters
Recommended Readers: Fans of Urban Fantasy and The Hunger Games
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Thank you to NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Ruthless Magic by Megan Crewe sets off with a spellbinding start that slowly peters out well before the end. The North American Confederation of Mages selects only the most promising sixteen-year-old students to enter their academy–or so they say. Rocío Lopez, a mage from a low-standing, new-magic family has done everything right to be selected, only for the Confederation to reject her. Now, Rocío’s only choice is to have her magic burned out of her or take the secretive and deadly Mages’ Exam, the same exam where her brother lost his life.

Finn Lockwood is in a similar predicament. Having been chosen unfairly by the Confederation because of his prominent, old-magic family despite his meager abilities, Finn declares for the Exam to prove his worth and support his friend, Prisha, a skilled new-magic mage who, like Rocío, is forced to declare for the Exam or lose her magic.

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Book Review: Claimed by Gods

claimed by gods

Title: Claimed by Gods
Author:
 Eva Chase
Genre: Romance/Urban Fantasy
Version: ARC – ebook
Page Count: 258
Publisher: Ink Spark Press
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: It’s reverse harem time!
Recommended Readers: Fans of Norse mythology and multiple pairings (not a slow-burn read)
Rating: ★★★☆☆

I wish I could give Claimed by Gods by Eva Chase a higher rating than this. It’s a reverse harem story (something much needed in book publishing period) featuring Norse gods Thor, Loki, Baldur, and Hod and a once-human girl, Aria Watson, who is resurrected to be the gods’ valkyrie, charged with the task of finding the Allfather, Odin. While I didn’t hate it, I didn’t particularly like it much either.

The book has its good qualities. I liked that Ari wasn’t a squeaky-clean heroine and wasn’t painfully edgy to read, either. All her POV chapters had a good cadence to them, and I liked her outlook on things; she behaved and reacted to her situations believably.

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Book Review: This Savage Song

this savage song
Title:
This Savage Song
Author:
 Victoria Schwab
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia, Fantasy
Version: Paperback
Page Count: 468
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Compelling human and non-human characters
Recommended Readers: Anyone who’s into monsters and morality
Rating: ★★★★☆

My best friend Jennifer and I read This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab as both a buddy read and as our pick for the Femme Trash Book Club featured on our podcast. We had a great time with this and hope you guys do, too, whenever you read it.

Ever since Vicious, I’ve been besotted with Victoria Schwab. I love how often and how well she writes about monsters and villains. Oh, boy, do I!

This Savage Song follows Kate Harker, daughter of the terrifying and powerful Callum Harker who rules North City and offers his protection from the monsters–for a price. In South City, we have August Flynn, a Sunai monster who looks human but is all too aware that he isn’t, even after Henry Flynn takes him in.

With the Corsai and Malchai siding with Harker and the Sunai siding with Flynn, Verity is locked in an uneasy truce and a gang war that’s about to errupt, and Kate and August find themselves caught in the middle.

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Book Review: The Fever Series, 1-5

fever-seriesTitle: The Fever Series (Darkfever, Bloodfever, Faefever, Dreamfever, Shadowfever)
Author:
 Karen Marie Moning
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Version: Hardback
Page Count: 309, 303, 327, 386, 608
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: In-depth world building in a modern setting, morally gray characters
Recommended Readers: Ages 16+, fans of urban, fae-heavy fantasy with a dash of mystery and romance
Rating: ★★★★☆ (Average of all five books)

So, I was going to review all of these books individually, but I ended up devouring them before I could even think about penning a review. As a result, I’m going to try something a little different, reviewing them somewhat individually but mostly as a series all at once. Haaaaaa, let’s see how this goes.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’ve been pining for an engaging, Fae-centered fantasy series after how disappointing Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series ended up being. I took a risk on Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series, and I’m glad I did because it healed me in ways I didn’t know I needed and provided me with content I’d been dying for.

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Book Review: Between the Blade and the Heart

between the blade

Title: Between the Blade and the Heart
Author:
 Amanda Hocking
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Version: ARC (Uncorrected Proof)
Page Count: 319
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: LGBTQ+ characters
Recommended Readers: Ages 14+, mythology enthusiasts, newcomers to fantasy
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

I received an ARC from St. Martin’s Press and Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review.

When I found out I had won an Advanced Reader Copy of Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking, I was ecstatic. First ARC and a new author? Well, she’s new to me. I have yet to read her Trylle trilogy or Watersong series, but this book instantly had my attention. Valkyries? Revenge? Shattered world views? Sign me up!

Even from the get-go, however, this book threw me off guard. I was expecting a Norse/Valhalla-inspired world of old, especially given the lovely, simplistic cover with the glowing blade in front of some dark, spooky woods. Instead, I was thrown into a futuristic, soft sci-fi city setting, but I adapted to it and was intrigued to learn more about it.

Unfortunately, the intrigue dried up rather quickly because the author didn’t give the city so much as a name. It’s just some vague, made-up city in the United States. In fact, everything about the world seemed vague and made-up as the author drew inspiration solely from past mythologies, which is a shame. The concept of walking into a bar and seeing demons, incubi, goblins, and mortals all hanging out is my aesthetic, but here it came across as flat, not possessing its own breath of originality that I was hoping for.

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Book Review: Ironside

Ironside

Title: Ironside
Auth
or: Holly Black
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Version: Paperback
Page Count: 323
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: POC characters, LGBTQ+ characters
Recommended Readers: Ages 14+, Lovers of Dark Themes
Rating: ★★★★☆

 

I chose to skip Valiant, book two in this Modern Faerie Tale trilogy, because it didn’t have much bearing on the actual plot. Ironside picks up where Tithe left off, with Kaye preparing for Roiben’s coronation and Corny trying to discover how he, as a human, can become immune to faerie charms. When Kaye drunkenly declares herself to Roiben in front of his court, he gives her a seemingly impossible task to fulfill: find a faerie that can tell an untruth.

Kaye spends much of the novel separate from Roiben, attempting to solve his riddle while wrestling with her Changeling status. Meanwhile, Roiben is dealing with Fae politics, both from the Seelie Court and within his own court, which he’s chosen to rule and protect although the denizens there revolt him.

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Book Review: The Ninth Circle, Book One: Fire

the ninth circle

Title: The Ninth Circle, Book One: Fire 
Author:
 C. A. Harland
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Version: ARC – eBook via NetGalley
Publisher: Self-Published
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Loads of Action Scenes, Emphasis on Family, No Romance
Recommended Readers: Fans of Supernatural and monster-hunting tales
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Well. This whole thing was eerily familiar.

You may see people compare this book to Supernatural but with women, and honestly, they’re not wrong. Filling the role of Dean Winchester is Tala Morgenstern, a demon hunter who is all about the business, about family, who’s got a foul mouth, a chip on her shoulder, and a sacrificial streak. Sam Winchester is played by Aiva Morgenstern, the sister who tried to get out of the business and lead a normal life, who gets dragged back in after the third sister, Hartley (Castiel? An OC?), goes missing. Like Sam, Aiva’s secretive, unsure of herself, often gets in over her head, and tries to steer Tala’s morality toward something more to Aiva’s liking. The sisters even have an old family friend, a once-hunter, to help guide them whenever they need help, like Bobby does for the Winchesters.

Normally, I might have given this book a pass, but I found a free copy of it on NetGalley, and I do like stories of demons as antagonists. But those stories are a dime a dozen and tend to blend together in terms of unoriginality. However, The Ninth Circle, Book 1: Fire seemed to offer an interesting twist: demons engaged in organized crime, and if that ain’t my speed, I don’t know what is.

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