Sunday, June 25, 2017

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare - Book Review

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
Publication date: May 23, 2017
My rating: 3.5 stars

Here I am.
Trying to find the right words to describe all of... this.
, but I suppose I should initially mention this is the second book in The Dark Artifices series and you should by no means read this review if you haven't read the first book, let alone the previous books in the Shadowhunters world.
Here's my review of Lady Midnight and here's my explanation of Cassandra Clare's books for you there who want to jump onto the Shadowhunters train (highly recommended, BTW).
Sorry for being so... well... flippant, should I say?
I think I'm a little shell-shocked.
There's no possible way I can talk about this book without freaking out or being none spoilery so... there's that. 

*Full Review - With Spoilers*

*taking a deep breath* 
God, where to even begin? 

I suppose I should start with my rating?

For those of you who don't know me, I'm a huge fan of Cassandra Clare (to put it mildly). For me to rate a book by her less than 4 stars has... well, quite frankly, never happened.
But then again it seems to be an occurring this with me this year - rating my most anticipated books in the history of ever by my favorite authors so low.
It's not that I don't find them great, or awesome, or fantastic.
They're still all of the above.
It's just that... there's something missing. Something I know in my heart should be there but isn't.
Something I'm sure I'll see again in the next books to come and will be able to explain why I didn't love this one quite as much more clearly. 

It wasn't that he had any particular desire to learn how to use a dagger - nothing beyond the general interest he figured most teenagers had in deadly weapons. 

Ah, Kit.
I knew I was going to love you from the very end of Lady Midnight.
There's just something about Kit that is so obviously Herondale yet... different.
He's not as bitter and as self-destructive as Jace & Will, and he also lacks the general arrogance of Shadowhunters since he didn't grow up knowing he was one (in many ways, thank the angel for that).

At the same time, he's terribly (by which I mean awesomely) sarcastic, charming, and a natural warrior.

For me, Kit & Ty were the highlights of this book.
There were no characters I loved both separately and together as much as I loved these two.
I lived for every interaction they had.
It was the sweetest, the most heartwarming, and definitely the best parts of Lord of Shadows.
The way they slowly grew from curiosity to the kind of friendship you can only dream of, into something more... was bordering on heartbreaking with how wonderfully sweet those two characters together are. 

I was so happy Cassandra Clare developed their bond as strongly has she had, and soon enough I realized why.
Because Ty can't possibly handle what that ending brought on his own.
Hell, I'm not even sure he can handle it now. 
He's going to need Kit, and he's going to need him bad, to be there for him. And just the thought of what Ty is going to go through in the next book - and books - to come... breaks my heart. 
And Julian... Oh, Julian. Who was more of a father to Livvy than a brother is now... is now...
God. That ending. 

I usually don't see Cassie Clare's deaths coming, but I saw it this time.
The Livvy part, not the Robert one.
I was certain of it after she was injured at the Shadow Market. I don't know why, it just... felt like this was what was going to happen. It felt certain and imminent.
Something about Livvy and Ty and Kit this book all led to this terrible, terrible, terrible conclusion of Livvy's death. 

*shaking my head* 

I'm not broken (not as much as I was in Clockwork Princess or as much as I would have been if Ty, Kieran, Jace, Clary, Alec or Magnus died), but I'm so very sad.
Because Livvia was such a bright and beautiful character.
And because she was so loved. And so happy. And so sweet.
And because I know what it's going to do to the blackthorns (Julian & Ty specifically), that my heart cries out to them all. 

Ty... Ty is going to be catatonic, possibly bordering on self-destructive. He's going to blame himself for ever contacting Annabel.
And Julian... Julian is going to be so full of hate and guilt and self-blame it's going to kill him from the inside out.
And poor Alec... losing his father just after finding him for the first time.
Not to mention Isabelle, Jace, Clary and Simon who are all connected through this death of Robert Lightwood.  

It was a bloodbath. 

Beside her was Diego Rocio Rosales, notable for the Clave for being a highly trained centurion and to the Blackthorns for having the nickname Perfect Diego.

Diego was very imperfect this book, huh?
Poor guy, having to deal with Zara Dearborn (I hate her I hate her I hate her I hate her) - whom I simply had an undeniable case of immediate hatred to.

Speaking of the Rosales, we finally got to see the much talked about Jaime.
Whom I really liked. I found him charming, and I loved his interactions with Dru - super fun. I would say I ship them together if not for the fact they have an age gap that I'm not sure can work.
But even them just staying good friends would be perfect to me.
That being said, I'm sensing that Jaime is going to come into bigger play in The Queen of Air and Darkness. As well as Cristina's strange connection to the Fey and the unknown and dangerous artifact Jaime is smuggling.

We also got a glimpse of a very interesting looking character, when Dru got temporarily sucked into Feary. She met this fairy boy who asked her if his mom sent her.
Said boy had pale blond hair and green eyes.
Now, I did not think anything about it - hell, I didn't even remember it - until I saw this booktalk of Lord of Shadows by my favorite booktuber.
It turns out that boy could quite possibly be Sebastian Morgenstern's child. 
Shocking? I know!

If you remember, Sebastian and the Seelie Queen had quite the... arrangment in City of Heavenly Fire. Which included them being intimate, which then fired up the theory of a possibly Sebastian child.
Not to mention, it was said the Unseelie king was holding someone precious to the Queen hostage. Who could be more precious to her than her own child? And we all know the queen isn't the heartwarming type. The only person she could truly care about is her own flesh and blood. 

If this is indeed their child it would simply be... mindblowing. 
For everyone and especially Clary.
But maybe Clary already knows? She and Jace are, after all, on a secret mission to fairy. Is the boy who they're looking for?

The only question this theory holds is how the boy could possibly be around 13 when it's only been 5 years since The Dark War?
I think it could be pretty easy to explain with how time flows differently in feary. We mainly discussed how it flows slower, but does it nececerily mean it can't flow faster?
We shall see. 

"We're shadowunters," said Jace. "You'll find that the crisis is never over."

And that's precisely why we get a neverending amount of books. *smirk*.

It actually reminds me of a qoute in an anime I recently watched 'no tale is more compelling than one that never ends.'
I, personally, find it to be true.
But that just may be because I hate endings more than anything else. 

I actually didn't expect Annabel and Malcolm to still play such a strong role in this book. I suspected that, perhaps, Annabel may have risen from the dead, but I actually did not see her killing Malcolm happening. 

I understand that she was angry, furious, and betrayed by him but... like Kieran said, I think I also found it rather ungrateful of her (?).
I don't know.
All I'm saying is I'm surpsied she didn't even give him a chance to talk or explain or do something before she killed him.
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad Malcolm is dead (for good, though, I wonder?), it's just that the kind of love they had... I didn't think it would end like that.
But then, not everyone gets their happy ending.
That said, Annabel is not the same girl she was before. Not only did she come back as the broken girl she was after all her torture, she also has risen from the dead - which we have no idea what consequences it has on a person.
Or, actually, we do now...
Complete and utter bloodbath.
Which I also didn't see coming.
I knew Livvy was going to die, I just did not expect it to be by Annabel's hand.  

And now Annabel is in the Unsealie's king hold.
I was totally hoping for Emma to kill her, avenge Livvy, at the end.
And when it was taken away from her... the only thing she could do in a situation like that... I could practically feel her heart breaking. 

What do you suppose is going to happen now?
Will Annabel cooperate with the Unseelie king? She's definitely not going to be one big happy family with the Blackthorns now. There's no redemption left for her, sadly.
I can't hate her... I don't have that kind of hate towards her in me.
I'm more... disappointed, sad, and feel bad for her.
That being said, I will not - cannot - ever forgive her for what she has done. 

"That I'm going to die," Clary said. "Not a long time from now. Soon." 

Excuse me, but WHAT?
*Hysterical laughter* 

Just no.
Cassandra, if you kill Clary I... I don't know what I'll do but I'll definitely break.
What the hell!
Clary can't die.
No... she can't... can she?
Like HELL she can. 

Prophecy or no prophecy, there's no way Clary is dying and leaving Simon & Jace.
Not after everything they went through.
They went through hell - LITERALLY.
And Jace did die once.
And Simon also died - many times.
So... so... even if Clary does die, no WAY is it going to be permanent.
Sorry, but no.
I refuse to even hear about it.

And why, by the angel, oh why, does she think it's ever a good idea to hide it from Jace?
In the history of ever, did hiding this kind of secret ever worked for anyone?

Just ask Emma and her infuriating game of tag just not to tell Julian the truth (how did that work out, huh?). 

Up until that moment in the book I had a ridicules smile on my face.
I did not smile often after that scene on the roof.

"And I am a prince of Fearie," said Kieran. "Son of the king, Prince of the Frost Court, Keeper of the Cold Way, Wild Hunter, and Sword of the Host. Do not annoy me." 

I stand by my love for Kieran.
I love him even more so now than I did in Lady Midnight. And I also still stand by him and Mark as a couple, Cristina be damned.
Sorry, Mark & Cristina fans.
Okay, so I don't really want Cristina to be damned, that was a strong reaction on my side.
I just... never really connected to Cristina.
Everyone loves her, and I definitely do not hate her, I just... can't seem to see what everyone else sees in her.
I'm sorry, but I can't.
I simply can't seem to feel for her, no matter how hard I try.
And this is also why I just can't root for her and Mark together. You can't love a couple together if you don't first love them individually.
For me, it's always going to be Mark & Kieran till the end.
I adore Kieran and I really like Mark (he's so endearing).
Just a tiny question: 

"I danced with him. With Mark. And we kissed." 
"That's good! That is good, right?" 
 "It was, but then Kieran came in-"  
"But he wasn't angry. He just told Mark that he should dance better, and he danced with me. It was like dancing with fire." 
 "Woah, sexy weirdness," said Emma. "This may be more sexy weirdness than I can handle." 
"It is not weird!" 
 "It is," said Emma. "You're headed for a faerie threesome. Or some kind of war." 
"Hot faerie threesome," said Emma cheerfully. "I can say I knew you when." 

What the heck is that? 
And Emma basically said exactly what I feared some chapters before it actually happened.
And... what even is that?
Because I do not get it.
Is Cristina some fearie whisperer?
She even bewitched Kieran!
I'm honestly not sure what is going on with those three. What is going to happen in the final book should resolve this but still. I'm dreading it. 

My parabatai, she thought, looking at Jules, standing with his back straight and his head back, the only seventeen-year-old boy in the world who could make the King of the Dark Court doubt himself. 

So... can we talk about Julian for a sec? Because I'm pretty sure he's bordering into evil overlord territory.
We only saw a glimpse of that in Lady Midnight, but it became very much apparent in Lord of Shadows. Julian's... let's call it 'dark side'?

Eeveryone has one - Emma, Ty, Kit, everyone - but in Julian's case it's... so much darker, so much thicker, so much harsher. It's... kind of evil. And it's not something we expect from our main love interest and main protagonist. Racking my brain, none of Cassandra's previous protagonist ever went into... this kind of dubious territory where you honestly don't know if that good guy isn't actually capable of some pretty evil stuff.
Still don't know what to think about it.
Personally, I love dark characters, ones who are morally dubious (says a lot about me, doesn't it?), but it Jullian's case it feels... different. Which is why I haven't made up my mind about whether I like it or not.
After all, there's a great difference between being dark and evil.

I can't even begin to imagine what's going to happen to him now, after... after Livvy (*sob*).
Will it make him weaker? Stronger? Darker?
Will he honestly risk breaking every Parabatai bond from here on out for a future with Emma? (that was one dreadful truth to find out).
We know Emma would never, but Julian... Julian is an uncertain territory here.
Can you imagine - no more Parabatai ever again? *shudders*.
I love the parabatai bond (not Emma's and Julian though, that one was... I don't know what they were thinking). So much. If it was only real, huh?

"Magnus Bane," said Barnabas, with clear loathing. "The Ultimate Traitor."  
"Not my favorite nickname," Magnus said, gently wiggling his fingers in Barnabas's direction. "I prefer 'Our Lord and Master' or maybe 'unambiguously the Hottest.' "

Magnus Bane, high warlock of all. 
By the Angel, I missed him. Terribly.
That scene when he suddenly showed up for the first time... my reaction was: 'MAGNUS! HERE TO THE RESCUE!'  

The ending was such a mess of blood, murder, feelings, chaos, and tragedy, that it was easy to forget all the other revelations at the end.
Like the one where we're practically told all warlocks - including our favorite Magnus and Tessa - are very sick.
Apprently, much like with the blight that renders Nephilim powers useless, someone is determined to take all power away from Shadowhunters. Even if it means hurting the warlocks as well. 

We have no idea what that sickness is, or how to cure it...
All we can do is hope for Magnus and Tessa and... well, everyone. Ty, Kit, Emma, Julian, Mark, Helen, Dru, Cristina, Clary, Jace, Simon, Isabelle, Tessa, Jem, Kieran, and even Perfect Diego... so many people, so much to lose.  

The new Jace Herondale.

For goodness sake, what is all this talk about 'the new Jace Herondale'?
Jace is still alive here, people! Hopefully for a very long time with Clary and some children of their own. And anyways... if anyone's going to be the so-called 'new Jace Herondale', it's going to be Kit.
And, well, even 100 years from now no one could truly replace Jace.
Like no one can replace Will, or Clary or Tessa or Jem.

Seem as if you're paying no attention, but absorb every detail, Gwyn had often said. A hunter's life can depend on what he knows. 

Gwyn & Diana were an unexpected and welcomed surprise.
Despite not knowing them, well, at all, I found myself totally shipping and rooting for these two to stay alive and together.

Diana's revelation was heartbreaking. I did not see it coming.
She deserves to be happy. 

"Break my heart," he said. "Break it in pieces. I give you permission."

That scene when they finally - mercifully - gave up all the pretense and came clean was... I wouldn't say beautiful more than it was a HUGE relief.
Okay, so it was beautiful. I was just too busy to notice that with how annoying those two were throughout the book until that scene. 

I can't believe I'm saying this - ME! - but... Lord of Shadows quite possibly had too much romance in it. 
I know, I can't believe I just said that.
I'm a HUGE-HUGE-HUGE-HUGE (add a few more HUGE there) fan of romance. I'm hardcore on all the shipping and fangirling stuff.
And yet I found there to be too much romance. Ha.
I think the main reason was, most likely, how fast things happened. The romance - aside from that of Mark & Kieran and Kit & Ty - was bordering on insta-love.
Not enough for me to scream 'Insta-love! My greatest enemy!', but enough for me to feel uncomfortable and often bored with it. 

And I think... no, I'm pretty sure, I just reached the heart of the problem I had with Lord of Shadows.  

A bad law is no law.

The Clave.
They never learn, do they?
If they only. Just. Stopped. And. Listened.
Their fear, their hatred, their mistrust and none-change policy will be the end of them.
Hell, it's already the beginning of the end of them. And they don't even know it.
Something is coming. Something darker, more dangerous, and eviler than anything that happened so far.
And that says a lot, considering how horrible The Dark War has been. 

Heroes aren't always the ones who win. They're the ones who lose, sometimes. But they keep fighting, they keep coming back. They don't give up. That's what makes them heroes. 

We thought, we hoped, Clary & Jace were able to bring change and peace to the Clave and Downworlders.
And they did - they did so much more than anyone before them. And yet... it still isn't enough. The clave is still the clave. Their laws are still bordering from insane to ridicules. 

They don't want change?
Well too bad, because they're going to be forced into one.
And it's all because they refused to listen, to try.
All that's now is survive and put our faith our heroes.

Favorite quotes (aside from, you know, all the quotes thus far): 

"After all" - Jace grinned - "Herondales can't resist a challenge."

(Kyaa, Jace! If this just didn't make me want to re-read TMI I don't know what would). 

"It is too bad - I was going to name in Magnus, because of it has sparkly scales." 

(A shadowhunter fish named MAGNUS due to his sparkly scales? Yes please. Magnus the fish did not survive this qoute, though. *too bad*). 

"I trust you to always keep fighting, Emma. I trust you not to ever give up."

(That reminds me... is Cortana the new Mortal Sword now? What in the world was that at the end when the Mortal Sword broke? We know Cortana is one hell of a sword, challenged by no other, but... breaking the Mortal Sword and absorbing its powers? Whoa, what will happen to the sword - and Emma - now?
On a completely different matter, I trust you not to give up, too, Clary). 

"Come to the library," she announced. "The tentacle is starting to dissolve." 
"You drive me wild with your sexy talk," said Jace, pulling on his gear jacket. 

"Fiction is truth, even if it is not fact. If you believe only in facts and forget stories, your brain will live, but your heart will die." 

(A new favorite, this one. Right alongside 'heroes aren't always the ones who win' and 'all the stories are true'). 

Everything went. Happiness went, and so did loss and pain. Everything but love. 

(Julian, cruel and uncompromising, says the most heartfelt of things).

But you couldn't speak to fear, couldn't tell it the truth. Fear lived in your bones. 

"We fear things because we value them. We fear losing people because we love them. We fear dying because we value being alive. Don't wish you didn't fear anything. All that would mean is that you didn't feel anything."

"We should get going, though. Morning is probably in just a few hours. And if we don't have Energy runes, we'll have to get our energy the old-fashioned way."  
Mark looked puzzled. "Drugs?"   
"Chocolate," Emma said. "I brought chocolate. Mark, where do you even come up with these things?" 
Mark smiled crookedly, shrugging one shoulder. "Faerie humor?" 

"Herondales don't do perfunctory kisses," said Kit. 

(They sure don't. *smirk*). 

After a moment, Kieran drank. Suddenly he pushed the vial away, coughing. "How dare you-" he began, and then his eyes rolled back and he sank down to the pillows. Mark caught him before his wounded back could touch the bed, and helped Nene carefully roll him onto his side."Don't feel bad," Mark said, noticing Nene's set jaw. "He always falls asleep yelling that."

Julian felt his mouth go dry. Why had Nene left her a dress? Why couldn't Emma be coming to bed in filthy gear? Why did the universe hate him?

... 2 seconds later: 

The gown fell away slightly as she climbed onto the bed, and Julian realized to his horror that it was slit up the side almost to her hip. Her long legs flashed against the material as she settled herself onto the bedspread.The universe didn't just hate him, it was trying to kill him. 

The weapons were carefully locked away, he didn't know how to sell candlesticks on the street, and though there were valuable first editions of books in the enormous library, most of them had been scribbled in by some idiot named Will H. 

(W-Wiiiiil *sob* *sob* *sob*. Will would approve of your sense of humor, young Kit. Also, he's not an idiot). 

"The world isn't the way you want it to be. It's the way it is." 


" 'The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for. ' "

"I swear I've seen it in the movies," Kit said. "Or maybe on TV." 
"Who would ever want movies or TV when there are books?" Said Ty with disdain. 

"It's not shadowhunter magic. We don't learn other kinds. It's forbidden."This struck Kit as a stupid rule. How were you ever supposed to know how your enemies operated if you made it forbidden to learn about them? 

(Welcome to 'the law is stupid, but it is the law' club, Kit). 

"This is the problem with revenge - you wind up destryong the innocent as well as the guilty."


She edged sideways, slipping her fingers out of his - closer to the edge of the bed - and went over the side with an ungainly tumble. She landed with a thump and a scream that woke Julian, who peered over the side of the bed in confusion. 
"Why are you on the floor?" 
"I've heard rolling out of bed in the morning helps you build up resistance to surprise attacks," Emma said, lying sprawled on the hardwood. 
"Oh yeah?" He sat up and rubbed his eyes. "What does screaming 'holy crap!' do?" 
"That part's optional," she said.

"The Lightwood family motto is 'We mean well'." 
"Very funny." 
Julian looked over at her. "No, really, it actually is." 
"Seriously? So what's the Herondale family motto? 'Chiseled but angsty'?"  
He shrugged. " 'If you don't know what your last name is, it's probably Herondale'?" 
Emma burst out laughing. "What about Carstairs?" She asked, tapping cortana. " ' We have a sword? ' ' Blunt instruments are for loseres'?"  
"Morgenstern," offered Julian. " ' When in doubt, start a war'?"  
"How about 'Has even one of us ever been any good, like ever, seriously'?"

(That nearly killed me. I was cracking up on the floor! 😂 We mean well? If you don't know what your last name is it's probably Herondale? We have a sword? When in doubt, start a war? I was cackling on the floor like crazy. This was HILARIOUS. Funniest conversation of the book). 

"All the stories are true." 

"Wikipedia knows about ley lines?" Emma took her phone back. 
"Wikipedia knows about everything. It might be run by warlocks."

(That's an exciting thought). 

"Now we know nothing we can do will change how we feel about each other. We'll have to find another solution." 

(This is no more of a quote than it is food for thought for every single annoyingly stubborn couple and love interests out there). 

Magnus Bane appeared in their kitchen, wrapped in a long black coat, his right hand sparking blue fire, his expression thunderous."Why in the names of the nine princes of Hell are neither of you answering your phone?" He demanded.Emma and Julian gaped at him. After a moment, he gaped back. 

(How is it Magnus always hilariously stumbles onto those types of situations? Although I can't think of anyone better to stumble onto these situations upon. It's like some sort of quirky kind of fate. Poor Magnus, lucky us). 

"You're suggesting we burn down Blackthorn Manor?" said Ty, his eyebrows up around his hairline. 
"Oddly," Magnus muttered, "you wouldn't be the first people ever to have that idea." 

(Do tell. Does it have anything to do with TLH? Looking forward to that). 

"They didn't see how revenge begets more revenge." 

(That's the thing about revenge. It's a neverending cycle. unless someone chooses mercy). 

If there was one thing Julian's life had taught him, it was that nothing was more dangerous than hope. 

(You can never truly lose hope. It'll come back to haunt you at the slightest of chances). 

"No one looks forward to meetings," said Emma. "They're a necessary evil." 

"Come on, Alec," she said. "The truth is that Shadowhunters and Downworlders aren't meant to be together. You and Bane are a disgrace. But you can't just be content with the Clave letting you pervert your angelic lineage. No, you have to force it on the rest of us." 
"Really?" said Kieran, who Kit had nearly forgotten was there. "You all have to sleep with Magnus Bane? How exciting for you." 

(Ha! Serves you right, Zara). 

There was a long silence. Magnus broke it. "I have to hand it to you," he said. "I never thought Jace and Clary would be topped by anyone else in terms of insane, self-destructive decisions, but you're all giving them a run for their money." 

(*laughing*. Too true). 

In conclusion: Lord of Shadows was a great sequel to Lady Midnight. It had too much of stuff (romance, drama, angst) and too less of others (action, plot development, etc.), but overall I really did love this book. It was a good one. I had great times reading it, and I absolutely cannot wait for the final one in the trilogy (oh boy, this is going to destroy us, isn't it?).
Although it seems like I'll have to wait. The next Shadowhunter books that are coming out next year are The Lost Book of the White (the first in a whole new Magnus trilogy) & Chain of Gold (the first in the heartbreaking The Last Hours trilogy, taking place almost a hundred years previous to Julian and Emma's story). 

Ahhhh, and the wait begins!
I'm not ever going to catch a break, am I?
Serves me right for loving these books so much.

"When people die, our dreams of what they could be die with them."

"You're wrong. No one dies alone. When someone dies, the part of them that lives inside someone else also dies." 
-- SAO

Friday, June 23, 2017

Most Anticipated Books of June 2017

This post almost didn't happen.
I was in a terrible blogging slump this month and just couldn't seem to write ANY posts.
I even got stuck in the middle of my Lord of Shadows review! Which, may be, the cause for this. You know how it is after finishing a book like Lord of Shadows. It's a lot to take in. 

But anyways! I struggled to write this post. Struggled. This post that is usually so fun for me to write.
Not to mention it took me, what, 23 days to write it?
At least it's still June, huh? Haha...
Apologizing in advance if this post seems off. 

So before I'll dive right into it, here are some announcements: 

  • My review of Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare should be up sometime in the next few days (took me a while to write that one).
  • Now that Lord of Shadows is finished (*sob*), the next big book release I'm dying anticipating is none other than Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff - 2 months, people! 2 months! 

And now... let's welcome June - or what remains of it - with our most anticipated books of the month, shall we? 

Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger
Publication date: June 6, 2017

Who doesn't love a good thriller-mystery?
Especially one told through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts? 

Tessa is an agoraphobic, confined to her bedroom. Her only solace is online, where she's a part of a fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn.
(sounds familiar? I'm sure many of us can relate).
But what starts as something else entirely quickly turns into a relationship they did not expect, and they both arrange to meet IRL.
If only it were this easy. 
It is a thriller mystery, after all. 
Just look at the cover. 
Definitely not your typical romance.
I'm so in. 

Rules of Thieves by Alexandra Ott
Publication date: June 6, 2017

Now this sounds cool.
I have to admit, reading the synopsis I couldn't help but think about Fairy Tail (one of the best anime out there & a favorite of mine). 

12-year-old Alli Rosco has just been cursed by a deadly curse.
Good news: there's a cure.
Bad news: not easily achieved for an orphan girl like herself. 
To afford the cure, Alli must join the mythical Thieves Guild, pass the trials, and somehow - before the curse makes its way to her heart - survive. 

I don't tend to love many MG books (Harry Potter & Rick Riordan books being the exception), but I'm hoping this one is also going to be an exception (since it sounds really good).

Publication date: June 6, 2017

This is a book I knew nothing about up until this month.
But I immediately requested an e-ARC (to which I was approved - Thank you as always Netgalley!) after reading this review. 

Great reviews from my Goodreads friends are always a good cause to be excited about a book.
That, and cool looking plots. 

And Then There Were Four by Nancy Werlin
Publication date: June 6, 2017

This looks crazy. 
Which is exactly why I want to read it. 

I mean, I know the overall rating is 3.59 thus far but come on... this book is about a bunch of teenagers trying to figure out why their parents want them dead.
Did someone say crazy alert

Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser
Publication date: June 8, 2017

This seems to be received very well, along with getting some very good reviews.
There's no doubt I'm intrigued.
I may not have had the best of lucks with finding truly amazing pirates YA romance stories of late but... whenever a new one comes around I'm terrible at resisting it. 

Roar by Cora Carmack
Publication date: June 13, 2017

Does anyone else gets Daenerys Targaryen vibes from this cover?
The resemblance in uncanny. 

Okay okay, so this may be some of the reason I want to read this book.
But only some because this book was on my TBR long before the cover was revealed. See? totally not biased. 

So this looks like a kickass YA fantasy with gushing reviews all around.
I also received an excerpt of this book from Netgalley (Netgalley, you're amazing!), but since I was so busy reading Lord of Shadows, and not busy reading The Shadowhunter's Codex... I hope I can get to it soon (hopefully before the actual book is coming out in a few days).  

She had hoped. And hope broke more hearts than any man ever could.

Perhaps death is all that waits for me across the great waters, but better to know death than to choose fear of the unknown.  

The gentleman's guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee
Publication date: June 27, 2017

There is not much to say other than: GIMME!
I mean, just read these bunch of quotes and tell me this doesn't sound awesome, hilarious and wonderful. 

"God bless the book people for their boundless knowledge absorbed from having words instead of friends."

If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak
Publication date: June 27, 2017

This one sounds both serious and light-hearted.
A YA contemporary romance about two teens whose only connection to one another is an obsession with a novelist and filmmaker who just returned after mysteriously disappearing for 3 years. 

Definitely checking this one out!

The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young
Publication date: June 27, 2017

One more interesting-looking YA Contemporary Romance.
I'm on it.

And that's it for my Most Anticipated Books of June 2017 (that almost never was '^^)
Thanks for reading!
How was your June? Read anything good? Any of these books, by any chance?
I'd love to hear from you, as always! (:

(anyone else has been obsessed with this app? Piano Tiles. This game is addictive! and beautiful)

"We're not courting trouble," I say. "Flirting with it, at most." 
           -- The Gentleman's Guide to the Vice and Virtue  

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan - Book Review

The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan
Publication date: May 2, 2017
My rating: 3.5 stars

Now, before anyone starts screaming "OMG, 3 STARS?! Zoey, are you alright? What is happening?!" let it be told that I very very much enjoyed The Dark Prophecy by my favorite author since childhood. 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Rick Riordan can do no wrong. At all. Never. No chance.
And despite the fact that it emotionally hurts me to rate a Rick Riordan book any less than 4 stars, It will be even worse to be untrue to my feelings.

This book had it all: hilariousness, new characters, well known and beloved characters, Peaches, kickass demigods, a god going through a humanization phase, Leo Valdez, crazed emperors, sad moments, happy moments, heartwarming moments, heartbreaking moments.
I highlighted so many quotes in this book I might as well have highlighted this whole book since it was so quotable.

I laughed, I smiled, and I went all 'awww' over almost everything.
So then what didn't I like about this book? 
Nothing, really. 
"So why did you rate it 3.5 stars?" you might be thinking. 

Well, you see... it simply didn't give me the BANG I was looking for. You know, that punch to the heart when all of your feelings are a mess and through them, the only thing you can think is: "yes, this is... this is what my heart has been looking/searching/hoping for." 

Maybe I don't make much sense. 

This book had many small bangs, just not a big enough one to make me truly, truly fall in love with it. 

That being said, it's only the second book of the series, you guys! There's so much more epicness coming our way - I can feel it.
And... well, it is a truth universally acknowledged (sorry, I just came back from watching Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) that second books in a series are the least favorite ones. That, at least, had been something that always seemed to happen to me with book series. Like how Percy Jackson and the sea of monsters is my least favorite book of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Or how the second book of the Heroes of Olympus is my least memorable one.

Not to say they're not great. Just like not to say I didn't like The Dark Prophecy. I totally had my moments of "this is some awesome stuff" and "oh I missed this so much!" I can't seem to stress this enough but I think you got what I'm trying to say here. 

My only consolation after saying goodbye (yet again) to my beloved characters of the Percy Jackson universe and having to wait until May 1st, 2018 (please don't let the date change any further) for the third book to come out, is that we get another Rick Riordan book this year and it is none other than the highly anticipated third and last book in the Magnus Chase trilogy! 

And now, the wait for The Burning Maze begins.
Shall we enter the depth of the labyrinth once again, my friends? 

*Full Review - With Spoilers*

"This doesn't mean I can pinpoint her location with my mind! Zeus as revoked my access to GPS!"  
"GPS?" Calypso asked. 
"Godly Positioning System." 

Meg is back!
I'm sure I'm not the only one to have been so worried about her after the terrible events that left us speechless at the end of The Hidden Oracle.
Oh Meg, you were dearly missed!
Apollo would never admit this but he was not his same glorious self without yo *wink*. 

We're still not completely off the hook with Meg, though.
Meg might have escaped and rejoined team good but she has yet to face Nero - her evil and abusive stepfather who we all wish will burn it hell - since her betrayal.
And we all know how Nero has always had his way with Meg.
It would take some serious willpower for her to resist him.
And we can only trust Apollo to help her achieve that. 

Speaking of our favorite god, the things he went through in this book...
He's changing.
And I'm so heartwarmed by the fact that he starts to actually care about the world around him.
Apollo, as it seems, has a hidden heart of gold.
I liked him since the first time we met him years ago in Percy Jackson book 3, and now that I've gotten to know him all I can say is... you go, Apollo. I'm rooting for you. You're amazing. 

I cannot give up. Apollo/Meg needs me. 

Their bond is just... so... precious. *sob*.
Nothing can break it. You hear that, Nero?
Those two are best friends for life (even if they're way too stubborn to ever admit this).

I can't even envision a romantic relationship between them because they're just so best friends - bordering on brother-sister - material.
Not to mention, Meg is, what, 12?
And even if age wasn't the problem, they're just so perfect in this relationship of theirs.
I want them to be closer, and I want them to find love, but between the two of them... they're just so precious the way they are. 

It was even made clear when Apollo had to give Meg a mouth to mouth and described it as 'a slimy, unpleasant sensation - much like what I imagined Poseidon experienced when he realized he was kissing the gorgon Medusa.'
Luckily, Meg was unconscious and couldn't punch him in the face for the insult.
Then again, she probably would have punched him in the face for giving her a mouth to mouth in the first place (even if it was to save her life).
Meg is charming this way. 

I'd always thought of my sister's followers as a sort of all-maiden mafia. Once you were in, you never left - unless you left in a lovely silver coffin.

Ah, Thalia Grace!
You are a true sight for sore eyes.
It's been, what, a few books now?
I sure did miss our fearless huntress.
*the nostalgia* 

Okay, okay, so I was actually hoping - praying, liked Apollo - for Artemis to show up.
Even though it was made clear she wasn't going to, I still wanted to see the two of them interact now that Apollo is mortal.
That should be great fun.
Not to mention, Apollo truly does miss his sister. Which I found heartbreakingly beautiful.
I just love a good brother-sister bond.
I wonder if we'll get to see Artemis, despite the restrictions, soon.  

In the meantime, don't die in your foxhunt, Thalia Grace.
I get the feeling you and your hunters will be desperately needed in times to come. 

Was there anyone I hadn't betrayed and disappointed? Any relationship I hadn't destroyed? 

If I thought The Hidden Oracle was sad with all those flashbacks to Apollo's past...
Hearing Apollo's stories of past times was just... so... very... sad. 

That scene when he cried in the toilet was heartbreaking. I wanted to rush in there, hug him, and tell him everything was going to be okay.  

I blinked back tears. I was not sad. I was not overwhelmed by their friendship. No, it had just been a very long day and my nerves were fried. 

Oh, Apollo.
I find the way he admits to things by denying them is simply adorable. 

Leo Valdez - savior of earth (quite literally).
Calypso - an ancient sorceress.
Apollo - a former god turned teenager. 

I found this unlikely trio to be so wonderfully fit together.
They had rough times. They argued and shouted and disliked one another. But at the end of the day... they were like family. 

That "goodbye" scene between Apollo and Leo & Calypso was just so touching.
I wasn't entirely expecting it because I thought those two would keep on journeying with Apollo and Meg but... I understand why they need some normalcy in their life after everything they've been through (not that it seems they're going to get it so quickly, given Leo's recent mission to warn the Romans of their impending doom). 

It was a truly heartfelt moment to see Apollo caring about these two - about everyone at the waystation - as the story progressed.
As arrogant and goddy as he can get, he truly does have a hidden heart of gold.
It only shines brighter with every passing moment.
I already can't wait to see the growth of the Apollo of book 5. 

Jimmy's electricity was different - a more humid scent of ozone, a darker red hue to the flashes. 

Who is the world is Jimmy?
My suspicions that Jimmy is, in fact, of a different mythology, have been confirmed by the end of the book. 

At first, I thought maybe he was part of the Magnus Chase world or even The Kane Chronicles world but oh no, oh no my friends... Jimmy is of different mythology entirely. 
And I can't help but think - can't help but hope - that this is a sort of preparation for a brand new Rick Riordan series (!).  
Oh please let it be so. 

Rick Riordan is not the type to throw in random clues.
Which means... our dreams for a new mythology series after The Trials of Apollo might come true. 

There are so many mythologies out there to explore - Japanese, Chinese, Hindu, etc. - and I can't think of anyone other than Rick Riordan who is better for the job.  

In all, the boy reminded me somewhat of Nico Di Angelo, the son of Hades, if Nico was slightly older, more vicious, and had been raised by jackals. 

It doesn't matter that I only just saw Nico the other book.
No, I want him around all the time. 
That is precisely that kind of obsession I have with Nico Di Angelo. I have been dealing with it since book 4, gasping as every strap, mention, and sightings of him.
That boy really should have gotten his own books. *sigh*. 

I scowled at him. "Don't test me, Valdez. When I am a god again, I will make a constellation out of you. I will call it the Small Exploding Latino."  
"I like it!" He patted my shoulder, causing my knife to jiggle. 
 Did no one fear the wrath of the gods anymore? 

Sorry, Apollo, but you're talking to the people who saved the world - multiple times - and faced the earth itself.
It would take some serious stuff to rattle them.
And, well, Leo Valdez is Leo Valdez. He's, like, in his own category. 

"The only mortal sin," I said. "Would be failing to incinerate you as soon as I become a god again." 
"You could try," Leo said. "But then how would you learn those secret scales on the Valdezinator?" 
I accidentally sprayed myself in the face. "What secret scales?"

Oh god, flashback to the Valdezinator!

You know the feeling when you suspect you might have fathered someone thousands of years ago, but you're not really sure? Then you see that child as a grown man, and looking into his eyes, you know beyond a doubt that he is yours? Yes, I'm sure many of you can relate. 

Oh yeah, sure. Happens all the time. *nodding*.

Speaking of, do you think Georgina really is Apollo's daughter?
I believe so. But then the matter of who her mother is - and why she was abandoned - is a big question.
I wonder if that's going to play a part in later books, or if Rick is going to leave it like that. 

Percy Jackson could drive a car.

Percy Jackson can do so much more than just drive a car.
He's the amazing Percy Jackson, after all.

We were ten feet away when we triggered the First Law of Percy Jackson.

That moment when you realize Percy has a law named after him.
They grow so fast *sob*. 

I smiled. "Hello, Grover Underwood. I am Apollo. This is Meg. And you, my lucky friend, have been summoned to lead as through the Labyrinth." 

That ending, though! 

GROVER! It's been too long, buddy! 

We missed you in Heroes of Olympus, but now you've got yourself a spot in The Trials of Apollo, so all is well again. 

Favorite quotes:  

Calypso called me a few names the reminded me how colorful the Minoan language had been before it went extinct. 

I hated having a mortal body. I experienced so many bothersome things, like fear, cold, nausea, and the impulse to whimper Please don't kill me!

All those people whose names ended in O - Jo, Leo, Calypso, Apollo - suddenly made me feel like my brand was being diluted. I thanked the gods we were not in Ohio and our dragon was not named Festo. 

Demigods today. I blame social media for their short attention spans. When you can't even take the time to listen to a god hold forth, that's just sad. 

"What about that song Zeus used to sing?" 
 I blinked. "Zeus... singing?" I found that concept mildly horrifying.

"Trust Meg, Leo, and Apollo. This is their task: to find and free the captives, to retrieve the Throne of Mnemosyne-" 
"And get Festus," Leo added. 
"And especially Georgina," Jo added. 
"We could pick up some groceries, too," Leo offered. "I noticed you're low on hot sauce."

I sighed inwardly. First it had been the zoo at first light. Then the Canal Walk at first light. Now the caverns. I really wished dangerous quests could start at a more reasonable time, like perhaps three in the afternoon. 

"We only fail when we stop trying."

Random thoughts:  

  • How will the new prophecy play out?
  • Will Artemis make an appearance?
  • Will we see Demeter - Meg's mother? Or maybe Persephone - Meg's immortal sister?
  • Will Leo and Calypso ever get some peace and quiet?
  • What is the dreadful punishment of river Styx going to be? (you should never have made that oath, Apollo!)

All we can do now is wait and see.
2018, here we come. 

One should never underestimate the healing power of music.