WARNING: SPOILERS FOR BOTH BOOKS
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR BOTH BOOKS
320 pages | HaperTeen | Fantasy| 10/01/2019
are alchemically created “Made” humans designed to serve as humanoid companions and servants. They were not supposed to rise up, they were not supposed to conquer humanity…but they did. It’s been nearly fifty years and The Age of
The world created in Nin Crier’s War is a twist on the uncanny valley and robot apocalypse. The highly detailed world-building and the mythology was one of the best parts of the book, but this book hinges so hard on what felt like a lukewarm forbidden romance between Crier, an noble and Ayla a vengeful human girl working in secret for the resistance and motivated only by her need to kill Crier.
Crier’s War has a promising start as Ayla and Crier have an accidental run-in where Ayla witnesses Crier…cry, something Automae are not supposed to do. As Crier finds herself experiencing new emotions she decides to keep Ayla close by making her her handmaid. But the more time Crier spends with Ayla the more she begins to feel the one thing Automae aren’t supposed to have; passion.
This could have been so compelling, but in a book that is about forbidden emotions ALL of the emotions felt a little muted.
⭐⭐Rating: 2 out of 5.
496 pages | Bloomsbury YA | Fantasy | Release Date: 01/29/2019
The big marketing push for this book in the blogosphere totally put this book on my radar. Brigid Kremmer is a veteran YA author and the premise of this book sounded pretty intriguing; Harper, a modern teen girl, teams up with Rhen a prince from another world, to end a curse. While the ending is quite the cliffhanger I generally found that this book wasn’t for me
I want to preface this all by saying I’m sort of fascinated by YA Fantasy and the tropes it often inhabits. Tropes that I think are so prevalent that the YA Fantasy novel Damsel purposefully turns them on their head. Some things I keep an eye out for are :
No Boys …. Unless They’re Cute
YA Fantasy has no shortage of brooding cute boys. Usually royalty. If there isn’t one just wait until book 2
Capitan of The Guard
In a YA fantasy world, you can usually count on a high ranking bodyguard or royal protector. 9 times out of 10 this character is secretly in love with their charge. I feel like this character’s existence is an easy way to create an emotional bond between the main (usually royal) protagonist and the secondary character. Kremmer turns this concept on its head during the last few chapters which was pretty interesting.
There is always a rebellion. A lot of YA fantasy has a fight-against-the-machine-tear-it-down mentality. This is one of my favorites tropes in YA fantasy because whether or not I will read the second book in a series depends on how much the rebellion has changed the status quo.
⭐⭐⭐Rating: 3 out of 5.
358 pages | Henry Holt and Co, | Fantasy | Release Date: 06/05/2012
Wow, reading this book was a blast from the past. Shadow and Bone was first published in 2012, which was our first full year of blogging. The then-unknown Bardugo was part of a group of debut YA/MG authors called the Apocalypsies that included several other YA fantasy powerhouses like Zoraida Córdova, Sara J. Maas, Brigid Kremmer and Marissa Meyer.
On to the book!
Shadow and Bone takse place in the Russian-inspired land of Ravka that has been divided by a dark shadowy wasteland known as The Fold. Wars have broken out at the borders leaving devastation in its wake.
Childhood friends Mal and Alina are soldiers in Ravka’s First Army, which is nothing compared to Ravaka’ Second Army—made up of Grisha, individuals who have mastered the small science (magic) and can wield elements in mind-bending ways. When Alina discovers she maybe one of the most powerful Grisha of all time, she is thrown into the opulent Grisha world and at the arms of the Grisha’s charming leader The Darkling.
unrated | 7 hrs. 42 min. | Balzer + Bray | YA Fantasy | Release Date: 10/2/2018
So about this book. I’m not really sure what to think of it. I like that it’s not trying to be what you expect in a YA fantasy. It’s not a story about rebellions, handsome princes, faithful sidekicks, and adventure–instead, it manages to be…I’m going to go ahead and say viscerally transgressive.
I can see Damsel being used to that introduce teens the concept of how to do a feminist reading of a text or apply feminist literary theory (which is totally a class I took in college, okay) It’s chock-full of allegory and symbolism in a way that is raw and at times a bit heavy handed but it’s the kind of strangeness and unease that you can’t look away from.
And whooo, boy…that ending. Like I get what Arnold was doing but I was not expecting that. . .
Check out the audiobook review on AudioFile !
⭐⭐⭐⭐Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
512 pages | 2/23/16 | Shades of Magic #2 | Tor Books | Fantasy
A Gathering of Shadow picks up a few months after ADSOM and our characters are reunited just in time for an international contest that pits magician against magician— and it’s a lot like Goblet of Fire. I legit kept thinking that for the first few chapters of the books. I mean Lilah even “Harry Potters” herself into the competition. You know that thing where an underqualified competitor gets themselves into the competition and The Powers That Be let it slide because. . . Chosen One? (yes, I know Harry doesn’t put his own name in, but still.)