ARC Review: Blessed Monsters

Title: Blessed Monsters
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Version: ebook – ARC
Page Count: 528
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Dark, gothic atmosphere with eldritch horror descriptions; villain romance; diverse LGBTQA+ cast
Recommended Readers: No one; I fear we’ve jumped the shark
CAWPILE Rating: 3.57
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher, for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

For the record, I’m not going to be reviewing the author and her behavior here but the book. If you’re curious about the former, plenty of folks on Goodreads have already done so for me. I have, frankly, read much better from much worse people.

So what’s the deal with Blessed Monsters by Emily A. Duncan? Well, it turns out it’s better than Ruthless Gods, but it’s still not good. Descriptions of cosmic horrors and eldritch monsters were emphasized vastly over setting, so I never got a clear sense of where we were in Kalyazin. Characters would be at a nondescript palace, manor, safe house, graveyard, capital city, etc., and then they would be at the next nondescript place. So my brain did what it does: imagined whatever it wanted with nothing to ground its imaginings. Neither author nor editor has gotten a handle on the comma splices, either, so they were beyond annoying, along with the “noun and noun and noun and noun” description style. Whatever weight those had before gets beaten to death in this book. Whatever enthusiasm I had left for this trilogy was slowly chipped away as I read, to the point where even if other books were planned to be set in this world, I wouldn’t reach for them.

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Book Review: Warcross


Title: Warcross
 Marie Lu
Genre: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Version: Hardback
Page Count: 353
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Diverse Main Characters
Recommended Readers: Y’all like video games and action, right?
Rating: ★★★★★

I’ve only ever read Legend by Marie Lu, so I’m glad I gave her latest series a chance. I have a soft spot for virtual reality stories (thanks, Tron: Legacy), and Warcross promised to be in a similar vein.

Every day all around the globe, millions log in to Warcross, a virtual reality game that blends seamlessly with real life through special glasses technology. Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter in New York City, tracking down those who bet illegally on the official Warcross games. The job is the only thing keeping her from being evicted from her apartment, having lost her father and only parent. When the job goes awry and Emika needs some fast cash, she hacks into the opener of the international Warcross Championships out of desperation—but in doing so, she glitches herself into the game, something that should be impossible.

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