Oct/Nov/Dec. Wrap Up Post

46777I’ve just started blogging again after an unexpected hiatus, which means I never posted an end-of-the-year wrap up. I only read one book in November but it was so great I finished it in a day or two. Tithe by Holly Black is a fantastic start to her Modern Faerie series and I definitely recommend it!

I’m really excited for all the upcoming 2019 book releases and I can’t wait to share them with all of you!

October Books Read:

None 😦

November Books Read:

Tithe by Holly Black

December Books Read:

None 😦

ICYMI:

Spotlight: Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

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Jan/Feb/Mar. Wrap-Up Post

IMG_6978My first wrap-up post of 2018 combines the months of January, February and March. I didn’t read that many books in January but I am happy with what I read in February. I wasn’t able to read any books in March. I have a lot more free time in April, so I hope to make up for it. One of my favourite reads was Sightwitch by Susan Dennard, which is no surprise. This book is part of one of my favourite fantasy series and I was 99.9% sure I was going to love it!

Sightwitch is an illustrated prequel novella, the next in Dennard’s Witchlands series, and is set one year before Truthwitch. Made up of journal entries, sketches and more, this is one of the most creative books I’ve ever read. The main POV is Ryber Fortiza, who we met in the previous books, and I absolutely loved learning more about her. We also got to see Kullen Ikray and Eridysi, a Sighwitch Sister who lived a 1000 years ago. Reading about Eridysi makes me want an entire book (or series!) about her. The world-building, the history and the character development was all phenomenal. Don’t miss out on this incredible, new release from Susan Dennard. If you haven’t read the series yet, definitely pick up Truthwitch.

January Books Read:

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

February Books Read:

Sightwitch by Susan Dennard

Inuyasha Volume 18

Mãn by Kim Thúy

March Books Read:

None 😦

ICYMI:

Top 10 Reads of 2017

Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Blog Tour & ARC Review for Sightwitch by Susan Dennard

Three Sequels You Need On Your TBR

Top 5 February Releases

Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (spoilers)

26032825The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)

Holly Black

3/5 stars

Release Date: January 2, 2018

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis on Goodreads:

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Review:

One: This review has spoilers. I tried to keep them as minimal as possible, but I wasn’t able to write this without mentioning them. If you’d still like to read this review, without the spoilers, I’ve blocked them out on Goodreads. I’m also undecided on what to rate this. I loved it but there were some parts I hated. Right now I’m choosing a neutral three star rating – it’s harder for my review to be found on Goodreads if there’s no rating.

Two: I’m including the TW’s for this book here.

TW: Murder, abuse, violence, Stockholm syndrome?? not sure what you call it when the MC is living with her parents’ murderer and thinks of that person as a father/doesn’t completely hate them?, being drugged against your will, sexual misconduct, harassment. There could possibly be more TW’s that I’ve missed.

On to my actual review!

THE CRUEL PRINCE by Holly Black is possibly one of the best Faerie books I’ve read in a long time. Before starting this, I was going through a really bad reading slump. Reading TCP did not feel like a chore. I sacrificed sleep for this book! Sometimes I’ll read a book and even if I’m enjoying it and really need to know the ending, the actual reading part will feel like a chore. I’m really thankful that the hype surrounding this book didn’t get to me and that TCP broke my reading slump. That being said, I had a lot of problems with it.

I think the world-building, the plot, and the protagonist’s character development were excellent. The book’s map confused me a bit in regards to the size of Faerie but the world itself was incredible. I loved that not every Fae you met was gorgeous – there were goblins, trolls, and all manner of creatures. Even the “beautiful” Fae had some animalistic underside to them. In this respect, the author’s vision translated to the reader. The plot’s pacing was great and even if I saw some things coming, I still felt the suspense. Finally, Jude’s character development was amazing and I felt like she really grew throughout the entire book.

Growing up, I was a huge fan of Fae/Faerie books and I would read any Fae book, even the terrible ones. My favourite author was O.R. Melling. It’s that one thing I can’t get enough of. This means I’m a little familiar with the folklore surrounding the Fae, and how cruel and devious they can be. I was not surprised to read about a cruel, dark world with violence at every corner.

That being said, just because I (an adult, and not the target audience) expected a dark, cruel world doesn’t mean the target audience will, or will even understand that some of the elements in this book are not what the real world/real people should actually be like. Some of my problems with this book would be something happening, that makes me include a trigger warning at the top of my review, and that thing being acknowledged but not challenged. I’m mostly worried about a reader connecting with one of these situations and thinking their own situation is standard, when it’s really concerning! Yes this is fantasy but that doesn’t mean a reader won’t connect their real-life situation with some aspect of this book.

For example, at one point in the book the MC is forced to eat Faerie fruit (which is basically a drug to humans) and had a very real chance of being raped or sexually assaulted. I considered it a date rape drug. The MC is compelled to take off her clothes while bystanders & the person who forced her to eat the Faerie fruit either laugh, take advantage of the MC or ignore the situation. This is acknowledged as wrong later on, but it’s never fully challenged. The assailant is never even brought to justice (for this, at least). There are probably more examples I could find but I don’t want to write a 10 page review.

As I said earlier, the MC’s character development was great but any development between Jude and other characters were basically thrown out the window. I would say the bond between Jude and her older sister Vivi were good but I was expecting more. I always want more when it comings to the MC and their sibling(s). Also, the title and the synopsis makes it seem like Cardan is the second biggest character in this book and yet there was hardly any real development between him and Jude. It’s only two thirds in that there’s any real progress.

Jude did learn that maybe there was more to Cardan than meets the eye but it was usually through a third party. So, Jude might witness something, without Cardan knowing, or she might learn something about him but from someone else. It was so dissatisfying. How is he “the cruel prince” if he’s always in the background?! The title was possibly referring to someone else (who I won’t name for spoilers) but yeah. Very disappointing.

The romance was also terrible! I expected some romance between Jude and Cardan which didn’t happen until the end. What I did not expect was Jude/Locke romance. I’m like okay, maybe it’s a love triangle. Locke turns out to be really sweet, probably the nicest of Cardan’s friends. UNTIL. We find out that Locke is secretly engaged to Jude’s twin sister, Taryn AND that he forbade Taryn from telling anyone, especially Jude. So Taryn is acting weird, always asking Jude what she’s doing with Locke AND IT ALL MAKES SENSE. I’m sorry if this seems unprofessional but this is a really creepy love triangle/square. And at the end, Taryn still wants him, while he wants both of them. Being a Fae is not an excuse for this not to be challenged. The romance was all ruined by this. Also, if my sister chose some creepy guy over me, believe me when I say we’d be having words. I can’t believe I got less Cardan for this!!

Obviously the author is really good with plot twists but I did see the ending coming. Did anyone not see it coming?

There was a slut-shaming moment/quote I’m including below because it went unchallenged and it could have been done without the slut-shaming. Totally unnecessary.

“I turn toward Oriana, expecting another speech about not getting into trouble or even a speech about keeping my legs closed around royalty, but she is too busy pleading with Oak to get out of the road” page 227.

For context, Oriana (basically Jude’s stepmother) believes Jude is becoming involved with a Fae prince and she’s warning her that wives and consorts of Fae royalty always end up as pawns. The warning was fine but not the “keeping my legs closed” part. The author could’ve just said something like “don’t be involved with a prince, it always ends bad”. This definitely lost a star.

Thank you for reading! Just to rehash, I loved THE CRUEL PRINCE but it has a lot of unchallenged problems and it is important that readers are aware of them. I’d love to know your thoughts on this book, if you’ve read it!

Book Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

tumblr_njn5luO0PI1sefywro1_400The Darkest Part of the Forest

Holly Black

4/5 Stars

Release Date: January 13, 2015

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Reader

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis on Goodreads:

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.
Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

Review:

The Darkest Part of the Forest is a beautifully crafted work. With faeries and knights, it can really be compared to a fairy tale. I love how detailed the world and its creatures were; it brought out a desire to experience it firsthand. I like the way Arthurian legends were incorporated into the book so that Hazel and her brother Ben were truly living them. It was really ingenious!

The town. I like how Fairfold is privy to the Fae’s activities, knowing they exist and not just playing the part of superstitious townsfolk. At this point, I was curious of the world outside Fairfold – whether it too was like this. It seems my wish was granted. When Hazel experiences a life outside of Fairfold, she realizes not all towns are like this one – monsters and magic exist simply for children.

For the most part, the reader experiences this world through Hazel’s eyes, but the POV does change. Although I noticed the change in personalities, their voices did not stand out individually. This was one of the few flaws I had with the book.

Hazel goes through a lot of character development. She is engaged in an internal battle with herself. She keeps a lot of secrets from her friends and family, and her struggles with this make her very real. I like how when her bad decisions get her into trouble, she realizes it when it’s too late. I was able to connect with this part of her and even though I didn’t like her in the beginning, she really grew on me.

Overall, Holly Black has created this perfect blend of story-telling – one that I love reading. This is the first work I’ve read of the author and definitely plan to read her other works – having fallen in love with the way she spins magic and ink together.