For generations, four Clans of wild cats have shared the forest according to the laws laid down by their warrior ancestors. But the ThunderClan cats are in grave danger, and the sinister ShadowClan grows stronger every day. Noble warriors are dying– and some deaths are more mysterious than others. In the midst of this turmoil appears an ordinary house cat named Rusty … who may turn out to be the bravest warrior of them all.
When I was a child, the Warrior series was apparently a series of books a lot of children enjoyed. However, I never heard about these books until I was an adult, and decided I’d give this series a try. When reading Into the Wild, I realized these books were something I’d enjoy.
Even though this series is supposed to be geared towards children, what I enjoyed about this first book was how it introduced me into the world of cats. As someone who likes cats and animals in general, I found the world of cats and how they interact with each other interesting. The dialogue between all the felines in this book was enjoyable to read as you can tell that you are reading a book about cats.
I also enjoyed reading Into the Wild because of how light of a read it was for me to get through. The characters and dialogue were simple to follow, and the story was enjoyable for me for this book to be considered a children’s book. I found the universe wild cats verses house cats inhabited interesting as the main character the story follows went from becoming a cat who was used to getting fed by humans to a cat who found himself wanting to see what was out in the wild and decided to join a clan of wild cats when he met several of their members. It was also interesting to see all the different names a wild cat was given once they joined the clan as each cat was given a name based on their physical appearance and their hierarchy in the clan. And learning about all of the different clans and where their territory is out in the wild was interesting to me too.
I also loved this book because I felt like I was able to escape into the world between its pages. It was a story that for me I enjoyed because I felt like I was with the warriors and wanted to see what was going to happen to the clan next. It was also just the right of fantasy for my imagination to run wild and continue turning the page.
The only real issue I had with reading this first book in the Warriors series was the treatment of the main character by other members of ThunderClan for being what they called a kittypet. In these books, house cats are considered cats who don’t have the ability to become warriors because of being born as house cats instead of being born in a clan. So when the main character joins ThunderClan, many of their members don’t like him being in the clan and being trained to become a warrior because of where he was born, which is something beyond his control.
Despite this though, I enjoyed Into the Wild because Rusty/Firepaw doesn’t take what the other cats in the clan think to heart and he develops into a cat ThunderClan can be proud of to have as a member of their clan. I’m enjoying this series so much that I can’t wait to review the second book, Fire and Ice, which I’ve also already finished and am planning on writing a review of very soon.
Have any of you here read any of the books in this series before? If so, what was your experience with this series as a whole? Please leave a comment below because I’d like to hear your thoughts on a series I’ve just started reading that I can’t seem to put down.
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away–by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began–and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.
This book is one of many books I’ve read in my life that I was sad to put down. I enjoyed it so much that I didn’t want it to end. What I loved about The Hazel Wood was all the elements of fantasy embedded within, such as the dark/grim fairytales told within its pages and the world of the Hinterland where refugees and Stories resided together. I love how dark the fairytales mentioned are because real life isn’t always so pretty. So, for me, it was refreshing to read a book with fairytales that were grimmer than what they usually are. I also liked seeing the world of the Hinterland because you see all these different characters from different stories, but you also see real people in this world too. I found it really fascinating to read about.
What I also enjoyed when reading The Hazel Wood is how the author explained where Alice’s bad luck came from with regards to why the characters in the Hinterland world wanted her back there so badly and how this led to the events that happened within the book’s pages. I found it interesting to discover how Alice connects to this terribly grim world and to get a logical explanation as to why bad luck was following her and her mother everywhere they went as she was growing up. While I felt bad for Alice when she finds out the truth about who she really is, it also made sense to me because of the way things were happening in the story.
I also love this book because you can see the effect the magic of the written word can take through Alice’s grandmother Aletha when she writes her book about the Hinterland. The written word is so powerful that it bridges two worlds together. When she writes about a world that she herself went to, it allows characters from that world to get out. And as Alice explores this world, she learns what type of effect that had on the Hinterland as well as the world she grew up in.
But what I loved most with reading this book was how I felt like I was there in the book with all these characters. Most of the time I was reading this book, I felt like I could picture myself with Alice as she’s going on this journey to rescue her mother while simultaneously discovering the truth about her own story and what she needed to do to guarantee a happy ending for herself and her mother. While the Hinterland isn’t necessarily a world I’d personally want to live in, I found myself when reading longing to get a chance to see this world for myself and to learn more about the Stories in this world. If anything, I would want to be like the refugees in this book, exploring the world of the Hinterland before finding my way back home.
If I have any criticisms when it comes to this book, it would be that I didn’t want the story to end along with wishing there were more stories from the Hinterland that we could read about. I overall enjoyed reading The Hazel Wood and was sad to see this story end. I just wish we learned more about the Hinterland while Alice was stuck within that world. Luckily, there’s a sequel called The Night Country that came out this month, which I’m definitely planning on giving a read.
I recommend The Hazel Wood to all fantasy lovers like me, especially to people who want to read darker fairytales and find themselves immersed in a world unlike any I’ve read about before.
As a human vessel for an ancient spirit, Sandis lives no ordinary life. At the command of her master, she can be transformed against her will into his weapon—a raging monster summoned to do his bidding. Unlike other vessels, Sandis can host extremely powerful spirits, but hosting such creatures can be fatal. To stay alive, she must run. And in a city fueled by smoke and corruption, she finds a surprising ally.
A cunning thief for hire, Rone owns a rare device that grants him immortality for one minute every day—a unique advantage that will come in handy in Sandis’s fight for freedom. But Sandis’s master knows how powerful she is. He’s determined to get her back, and he has the manpower to find her, wherever she runs.
Now, to outwit her pursuers, Sandis must put all her trust in Rone and his immortal device. For her master has summoned more than mere men to hunt her down…
I’m having a hard time deciding on what rating to give this story. I overall enjoyed reading it because I found the story and world-building interesting. The author does a wonderful job creating an immersive world to pull us into with a story and unique characters that you as a reader can get behind. I especially enjoyed reading from Sandis’s perspective and learning more about her abilities as she runs away from the man trying to capture and control her.
But at the same time, I personally sometimes found the story itself to move at a very slow pace. Not because I didn’t find the story interesting or wasn’t enjoying what I was reading. It just felt at times like the plot was moving too slow for me like I was always waiting for something to happen to Sandis and Rone. Even during the moments when they were just resting and had successfully managed to avoid capture.
What I enjoyed with regards to Smoke & Summons is the world our protagonists are in. I wouldn’t necessarily call it grim, but it’s not exactly what one would call one of the safest universes to be immersed in. Especially for someone like Sandis who had no choice in the matter in being able to control an ancient spirit. In their universe, her abilities are considered something to be feared. So, she’s not only on the run from the man who’s controlled her powers but the authorities in their world.
I also enjoyed reading about her powers. Especially since you as the reader discover that Sandis has started forming a connection with the ancient spirit she’s been a vessel for. I found learning about her abilities interesting because it’s a power I haven’t read too many stories about before. It’s also very interesting to read about too because her abilities with this ancient spirit aren’t like all the other vessels her master Kazen has control over. She has more control over summoning this spirit than any of the other vessels does and has a memory of what the spirit does whenever it takes over her body. None of the other characters in the story with her abilities have that type of control so I found that interesting to see.
What I enjoyed the most when reading Smoke & Summons was there was no forced romance between the two protagonists. Yes, it’s clear that they both have feelings for each other. However, Charlie N. Holmberg never forced romance into the story with Sandis and Rone. Most books of this genre always try to include romance into the story in some form or another. So, it was nice to see that not occur in this book.
But while I enjoyed this world and the overall storyline, the biggest criticism I have I already mentioned earlier, with regards to the pacing of the story. I found there were some moments when reading that the story just moved too slow. Most of this book I noticed involved Sandis and Rone on the run from Kazen and the numerous Numen and people he used to help catch them. There really wasn’t too much plot that moved the story forward involving Sandis discovering her connection with the ancient spirit that controlled her body. While I overall didn’t mind because when reading the story, you understand why that’s the case, it sometimes made the story drag on a little too much when you wanted to know more about Sandis and her abilities.
I overall enjoyed reading Smoke & Summons and am definitely planning on reading the next book in the trilogy Myths and Mortals. I just hope the next book improves in the pacing of the story so that this trilogy continues to interest me enough to want to read the next book to see what happens to our protagonists.
“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course, that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.
But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.
Uprooted is one of many stories that reminds me of why I love reading fantasy so much. The amount of fantasy in this story was beautifully written, hooked me from the first page to the last. It was like I could feel the magic being told in this story all around me as I read, and I loved every minute of it. As someone who loves reading fantasy, this book took me on a magical journey that I never wanted to see the end of.
The story building Naomi Novik does to bring this world to life is very well done. You get a wonderful glimpse of the world Agnieszka grows up in and see how the dangerous Wood plays a pivotal role in events that shape up parts of her life. At first, you don’t understand why the Dragon chooses a new girl every ten years to live in his tower until you get further into the story and learn more about him as a character. I found learning about all these intricate details to create the world these characters live in fascinating and wanted to see more of this world with each page I turned. Her writing is very powerful because it sucks you as the reader into the story she’s telling and makes you want to go on this adventure, into this world along with them.
While the world and story in Uprooted really sucked me in because it was interesting and very magical, I do have some criticisms with this story too. For starters, it took me a little while to like the characters in the story Novik introduces the reader to and the decisions they made. This was especially true to me for the protagonist Agineszka because she made some very irrational decisions in the story because people she loved were in danger. While I could relate to her character overall because she somewhat reminds me of myself, there were moments I didn’t like her due to the decisions she made without thinking of the consequences her choices would cause. Not to say I didn’t understand why she made these choices, but I sometimes thought she needed to put in some more thought to the decisions she made and how her choices would impact the lives of others.
I also wasn’t particularly fond of the romance Novik set up between two of the characters in the story. I honestly felt like it wasn’t necessary because it just didn’t make sense for these two people to be romantically involved with each other. They weren’t well suited for each other and it wasn’t something I was interested in seeing whenever I was reading this book. It just didn’t feel like it belonged in the story, so I was disappointed when I saw this romance occur between the two of them.
However, I really enjoyed reading this book because the world and the magical fantasy within its pages captivated my attention. This book reminds me so much of why I love reading fantasy books so much and I can’t wait to read Spinning Silver, even though it’s not a sequel but sounds like its very similar to Uprooted. I recommend this story to fantasy lovers like me and anyone who wants to read a story set in a wonderfully detailed world that’ll take you on a journey unlike any other. This book had a story that captivated my heart and that I know in the years to come I’ll be reading again.
Don’t miss this spectacular new series that will steal your heart and haunt your dreams, Welcome to Shadow Falls camp, nestled deep in the woods of a town called Fallen…
One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.
Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.
Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…
Born at Midnight is an interesting read. However, it’s also a story that falls flat in a lot of areas too, making it a book series I’m still trying to decide if it’s worth investing time into.
The premise of the story centers on a young girl named Kylie who finds her life going wrong in every way. Her boyfriend breaks up with her, parents are getting divorced and her grandmother has recently passed away. To make things even more difficult, her parents send her off to camp for troubled teens after being arrested at a party even though she didn’t smoke or drink anything. But she soon discovers this camp isn’t for troubled teens like it’s made out to be, but for young teenagers who are supernaturals with abilities. Despite not knowing what she is, Kylie finds that for once in her life, she fits right in. But her life at camp isn’t quite so easy either with her attention shifted between discovering who she is, her feelings for two different boys, and the problems going on at camp that could result in it being shut down.
What made this book an interesting read for me was all the supernatural elements in the story and the characters themselves. While I feel like they didn’t highlight the supernatural parts of the story all that much, what I found of them in between the pages was interesting enough to make me continue reading. I found the idea of the camp to be interesting even though some aspects of it were poorly executed. It reminded me a little bit of Camp Half-Blood from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series as well as the boarding school in the House of Night series. What I liked about the Shadows Falls camp that reminded me of both series was the one-hour session these teens had where they drew names and learned about the other person’s supernatural culture. While I felt like the way C.C. Hunter went about this wasn’t the best (aka, Kylie ended up most of the time getting the names of the two guys she’s debating between so I feel like most of the time was spent with her romantic interests), I still liked the idea and was intrigued to learn more about the different supernaturals in the story.
Another supernatural element in the story that interested me was learning about Kylie’s abilities. While during most of the story she tried the best she could to suppress her powers, I found that whenever Kylie did use them, it made the story that much more interesting to me. What intrigued me about her powers was that she didn’t have too much control over them, but also the way they were described in detail to the reader. It makes me interested in wanting to continue the story just to find out how as a character she grows into her supernatural identity, whatever that may be since that’s a mystery to us too.
While I enjoyed reading Born at Midnight, there are some flaws with this book too that need to be addressed. While I enjoyed learning more about the characters in the story and their different abilities, I wish there was more of a focus on character development. Yes, Kylie does undergo some changes because of where she’s at and her relationship with both of her parents completely shift. But at the same time, I still don’t see her character changing all that much. While she does seem to fully accept her powers and that she does belong at this camp, I still don’t see her fully coming into her own by the end of the story. Maybe that happens more so in the rest of the series, but I didn’t see that happening in this book. I know part of that struggle could be due to not knowing what type of supernatural she is, so I do applaud the author with having that struggle continue into the next book in the series. But for this book, it would’ve been nice to see her character develop more and see her fully come into her abilities.
Another criticism I have for this first book in the series is the love triangle between her, Derek and Lucas. It felt like with both boys there was an instant attraction, but for different reasons. Her feelings with Derek were due to him being a reminder of her ex while her attraction for Lucas seemed to stem from her past with him. But with both, it seemed like she was instantly attracted to them whenever she had some alone time to spend with them, which didn’t feel right to me. I also didn’t like this dynamic because I’m not fond of love triangles. I don’t like them because you as the reader get forced to choose between two different characters who both have an appeal but for different reasons. But in this book, I just didn’t see her having any chemistry with these two because it just felt like the author was forcing the romance when there wasn’t any.
Overall, I’ve enjoyed my reading experience with Born at Midnight. I loved all the supernatural elements included in the story because it made reading this book more enjoyable for me. I just wish there was a little more character development with Kylie and that she had some chemistry with her two love interests instead of the book forcing romance between them. Maybe the next book in the series Awake at Dawnwill improve what’s missing from this first book and bring even more interesting details when it comes to the character’s supernatural abilities.
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.
The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?
I originally heard about this book after reading Tiana’s book review on her blog The Book Raven. The premise of the book sounded really interesting to me so I decided to give it a read. And I enjoyed it so much.
I found To Kill A Kingdom to be quite an engaging story. What made me so interested in this story was reading it from the perspective of two characters who have a lot more in common than they know. While Lira and Elian both were fighting the same war on two different sides, it becomes obviously clear that they are more similar to each other than different. When Lira and Elian meet each other for the first time, you as the reader can see that both characters want the same thing: for the war between the sirens and humans to end. You can also tell that they’ll both do whatever it takes to achieve that goal even if that results in their own death. I found seeing this story being told from both of their perspectives to be interesting, but also enjoyable because I found both characters delightful. I found Lira’s perspective especially enjoyable for me because I’ve never read a book where the point of view in the story was told from the perspective of a siren. But at the same time, I enjoyed reading the story from Elian’s perspective too as a siren hunter/pirate.
Another reason I’ve enjoyed reading this book so much is because I love stories featuring mythical creatures such as mermaids and sirens. I especially love the way sirens were portrayed in this story because it made you sympathetic to Lira’s character. As a reader, you originally recall sirens from stories as being creatures who would sing to lure their victims to their death. While that origin story is an important part of the plot in the book, you find out that there’s more to sirens because of Lira. She gives you a better understanding of why sirens kill people to begin with and does her best as the story progresses to work on bringing peace between humans and sirens. She isn’t your typical siren and I love her for it.
I also love this book because I haven’t read too many books that feature sirens as a main character, especially ones like Lira who start questioning their upbringing. She and many of the other characters in this story go through a tremendous amount of character development that allows them to question their morals. The two characters who face development the most are the two protagonists, Lira and Elian. Lira has grown up her whole life believing humans to be her enemy and taking the hearts of princes to prove her worth as the next Sea Queen. Whenever she becomes human, however, she begins questioning her choices and realizes that everything she’s grown up believing about humans is wrong. Elian, the prince of Midas turned siren hunter/pirate, discovers siren hunting as being his true calling in life despite being heir to one of the most powerful kingdoms. Then one day he saves a mysterious woman from drowning in the ocean after he’s already plotting on finding an item that’s said to destroy sirenkind for good. This woman he barely knows agrees to help him and while he’s reluctant to trust her to begin with, he starts warming up to her as they get closer to what he’s searching for. As the plot of the story continues and he realizes who the woman really is, he still trusts her when the plot reaches its climax. It’s when he trusts Lira with his life despite her being a siren that he starts realizing that maybe not all sirens are bad and that if they work together, they can kill the Sea Queen and create peace between humans and sirens. Both of these characters overcome their initial beliefs about each other’s kind which allows them as characters to develop and do exactly what they need to make things right between humans and sirens.
What I’ve found I love the most about To Kill A Kingdom is the references to The Little Mermaid you can see throughout the book. First, there’s Lira and Elian who both are very similar to the main characters in The Little Mermaid. While Lira isn’t a mermaid, there are definitely quite a bit of similarities between her and Ariel, such as both of them being princesses and getting turned into a human. Elian is like Prince Eric in that he’s also a prince who also seems to love traveling in the sea. Then there’s the Sea Queen who punishes her daughter by turning her into a human who’s robbed of her siren song, just like Ursula turns Ariel into a human without a voice. The Sea Queen is also a lot like Ursula too in that she wants to make sure she gets what she wants but also does the best she can to destroy both Lira and Elian once her original plan is thwarted. While the overall plot in To Kill A Kingdom isn’t at all like The Little Mermaid and there are some obvious differences between the characters, you can still see similarities between the two stories and I really enjoyed seeing them while I was reading this book.
The only thing I didn’t enjoy when reading To Kill A Kingdom was when I finally finished reading the book. I really loved reading this story so when I was finally done with it, I was sad to see it all end. It was a book I was enjoying immensely so I didn’t want to leave the tale behind.
Other than being sad when this book ended, I overall loved reading To Kill A Kingdom. The story as a whole was interesting because of the two unique perspectives of the characters telling it. I loved hearing this book from Lira’s perspective who let us know that not all sirens are bad, which allowed us to see these mythical creatures in a different light. I appreciated that both of the main characters had character development that made them realize that they could work together to bring peace to their world. And I really loved seeing the references to The Little Mermaid story that I love so much, but was glad to see that this book didn’t follow that plot completely. I believe this book along with The Night Circus are my two favorite reads of this year so far, and I highly recommend giving this book a try.
Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.
That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.
Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.
Carry On – The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story – but far, far more monsters.
After reading Fangirl, I knew I needed to read this book to see if I’d enjoy it just as much. And I did, maybe even more so for several reasons. But I found I couldn’t give it a higher rating than Fangirl because I found a lot more things wrong with it that I’ll discuss shortly.
Carry On is about the universe Cath fantasizes about in Fangirl. It’s about the world of Watford, a school for those with magic. It centers on Simon Snow, a boy who’s supposed to be the greatest mage the World of Mages has ever seen. In this book, he returns to school for his last year at Watford and his biggest nemesis/roommate Baz doesn’t return until several weeks later. It centers around the death of Baz’s mom along with Simon stopping the evil Humdrum who’s face is very similar to his.
What I enjoyed so much when reading this book is that it’s unique. While the storyline, characters and everything else in it are supposed to be a play off of Harry Potter, you can tell when reading it that it’s a completely different universe. I like that this story is very similar to the world I already love because it made it that much easier for me to understand everything that happened. The universe was very similar to Harry Potter, but in a humorous way that I appreciated. It was like Rainbow Rowell was writing a one novel parody of the Harry Potter series, but twisting it into something else that is just as enjoyable.
I enjoyed reading Carry On so much that when I was finished, I was sad to see the story end. It felt like a piece of me had gone and went into Simon Snow’s world. And I know why I felt that way. This book has all of the elements I like in a story. It’s fantasy with a mixture of mystery, comedy, and its young adult literature that features LGBTQ characters. I like that the world Rowell portrays has magic in it, yet also has some real world elements mixed in that allow you as the reader to see magic alongside normal reality.
But most of all, one of my favorite features in this book is the relationship between Simon and Baz. Both characters are confused about their own identity, yet end up finding each other and connecting in a way you as the reader don’t expect: through the loss of a parent, aka, Baz’s mom who died many years ago at the hands of vampires. Simon could relate to what Baz was going through because of his own loss of not growing up with parents. So Simon did what he thought was right: to help Baz find out who really orchestrated the attack on the nursery that resulted in her death. This connection resulted in showing us their relationship continue to grow, from being roommates who hated each other to lovers. I loved seeing it come together because it was fun to watch the commentary between both of them as they uncovered the truth. It was entertaining, a breath of fresh air that I didn’t realize I needed. And it made moments in the story when things were turning weird more enjoyable for me. I could see the love for each other with each page I read and just couldn’t wait to watch their relationship continue to grow.
What also made Carry On an enjoyable read for me was the different points of view. I enjoyed reading this story from all of the character’s perspectives. It allowed me a better understanding of what was going on, gave me a clue about things I didn’t know before. It also made this book even more interesting because we were given access to these character’s thoughts and feelings, given an understanding as to what they were doing and why. I liked having access to all of the characters in this way because it allowed me to immerse myself even further into the story. It’s also different from any other fantasy novel I’ve read because there’s usually only one perspective that you have access to.
While Carry On is definitely a page turner, there were some elements when it came to the story that I disliked. For one, I thought the names of the spells in this world was ridiculous. I don’t know what Rowell was thinking when she came up with that idea, but it didn’t make sense to me. Especially because it wasn’t at all realistic to what magic is normally like in books. While this allows her world to be uniquely different, I don’t see how these different incantations would even be justified for someone with magic to say. I don’t know if she thought of this as a way to make fun of magic or something, but I just don’t see why magic wielders would have incantations that are nursery rhymes or common sayings that someone normal could say. That sounds like it could potentially lead to an accident, an incident that very easily could’ve been prevented.
I also wasn’t particularly fond of Agatha’s character. I felt like she acted throughout the story like she was above everyone else and just didn’t seem to care about the people she had called friends for the past seven years. Throughout Carry On, she was completely selfish, focusing only on the things that affected her life. She didn’t seem at all remotely interested in keeping up a friendship with Simon and Penelope, yet felt like she could criticize both of them for working with Baz to uncover the truth about his mother’s death. I felt like her character just existed in the story, but didn’t really belong. She was just in the story, wasting space that could’ve been better spent on other characters that played a crucial role in the overall plot. I just didn’t like Agatha and wish she wasn’t a part of the story at all.
While this book was definitely a page turner for me, another criticism I have is that the overall plot was okay. It definitely had quite a chunk of holes in it that made it difficult to enjoy it as much as I’d have liked. I think part of the problem for me is that Simon Snow’s story is rushed. The whole plot structure in this story runs a little too fast, leaving very little room for making sure nothings being left out. I think part of the reason this is even a problem is because I feel like this story should’ve been spread out into multiple books. That would’ve given Rowell the chance to get the structure and story together and figure out how to end it. Instead, this story is at the final chapter of Simon Snow’s whole story. You learn most of what Carry On is about if you’ve read Fangirl, but I don’t think it’s enough because we miss out on all of the other years Simon Snow is at Watford. You get bits and pieces of some of the important details, but it’s not enough for us to just jump to the finale and see how everything will end for Simon Snow, which by the way is actually pretty disappointing too. With the plot, it feels like you’re missing something, yet not missing anything at all. It would for me be like only reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in the Harry Potter series and expecting to know every detail of the whole series without reading any of the other books. I feel like we miss too much and that the details we are given aren’t enough and have holes in them that don’t really connect the story.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Carry On much more than Fangirl. But because of the amount of criticisms I found myself having about it, it would’ve been unfair to give it a higher rating. But that doesn’t make it any less of a good read for those who want to be taken away to a magical world or for people who want to read about two boys falling in love.
J.K. Rowling’s screenwriting debut is captured in this exciting hardcover edition of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay.
When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt’s fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone…
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them marks the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, author of the beloved and internationally bestselling Harry Potter books. Featuring a cast of remarkable characters, this is epic, adventure-packed storytelling at its very best.
Whether an existing fan or new to the wizarding world, this is a perfect addition to any reader’s bookshelf.
As a whole, I enjoyed reading Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The story and characters were interesting, making me want to continue reading to find out what happened next. I especially enjoyed reading about all of the fantastic creatures Newt Scamander had in his suitcase. They really made the story magical and interesting for me. All of the creatures that escaped had different quirks, which is what helped Newt Scamander figure out where they’d be in New York. I also liked all of the characters in this story and how they worked together to get the magical creatures back in Newt’s suitcase.
Another feature of this book I particularly enjoyed was seeing how the magical world worked in America. As an American myself, when I read the Harry Potter series, I always wondered how different the magical world would be in America. How non magic folk and witches and wizards would interact. However, the way it’s incorporated in this book is different from what I expected. But at the same time, I’m not quite as surprised. It’s different because the setting for this book takes place in a different time period than the Harry Potter series. The events in this book actually take place long before Harry Potter is born, at a time when non magic and magic folk are at odds with each other. At a time when witches and wizards have to hide who they are for fear that knowing of their existence will cause a war. I find this to be an interesting time point for these events to take place because it makes the story that much more riveting to read so that you can find out what happens. It’s also interesting to see magic folks having to hide who they are for fear of exposure and threat to the safety of the world. There’s just something about knowing everything is at stake that makes this even more interesting to read.
I also find that this book has a beautiful cover. I like the way it looks because it draws me in. Now I normally don’t judge a book by its cover, but sometimes when you find a book and it has a really nice cover, you just have to read it. For me, this was one of those books. I also liked the cute little illustrations you could find in between the pages. Seeing some of the creatures illustrated in the book was really nice because it added something to the pages for me. I also liked hearing this story told as a screenplay. I found this format of the story to be very interesting because it allowed you as the reader to notice things you probably wouldn’t have if J.K. Rowling had written it as a novel. While I didn’t like this format when I read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, since this screenplay isn’t a part of a series I feel like it fits better here.
However, there are a lot of things about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them that I’m critical about that made this screenplay not as much of an enjoyable read for me. Unfortunately, I’ve already seen the film based on this screenplay so I already knew about all of the events that took place in the story before reading it. And the movie adaptation of the screenplay is exactly the same so it made it hard for me to enjoy reading this because I already knew what happened. Usually when I hear a book is being made into a film, I try to read the book before seeing the movie because I don’t want the film to ruin my reading experience. Part of that is while most of the time the book and movie adaptations are completely different, I worry that there’ll still be enough similarities that the film will end up ruining the book for me. That is why I don’t mind there being differences between a book and its film adaptation. However, I saw the film a while ago, but the plot is still fresh in my mind. So it was harder for me to enjoy this book because I remembered everything that happened. I believe if I’d read this before going to see the movie, my opinion of it would be different.
Another criticism I have for this book is the relationships J.K. Rowling made between the main characters. I felt like they were forced, as if she was trying to make this story a romance along with fantasy. In the film, it wasn’t quite so bad but in the screenplay, it’s very easy to notice. Because while I like the two pairings she created, I just feel like they aren’t meant to be. Especially the relationship that starts to form between Queenie and Jacob. It’s a relationship that just doesn’t seem realistic to me. I think part of it is because you know it’s not meant to be since Jacob isn’t a part of the wizarding world.
I also would’ve liked to have learned a little bit more about Newt Scamander and the creatures he has in his suitcase. He’s one of my favorite characters in the story so with each page I wanted to learn more about him and how he became interested in magical creatures. I also wanted to learn more about the creatures he collected. I know J.K. Rowling created a Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them glossary long before she wrote this screenplay. But I think it would’ve been nice to hear more from Newt in the story about these creatures. Maybe even have some background of how he found them to give us a perspective of why they mean so much to him.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. But there were a couple things with the story I wish were included that would’ve made me enjoy it even more. Plus, I wish I hadn’t already seen the movie adaptation too so that I could feel like I’m coming to this story with new eyes. But I do highly recommend this story to those who’ve read the Harry Potter series and want to see more from the wizarding world by J.K. Rowling. Just make sure you don’t make the same mistake I did when you read it.
R.S. Belcher’s debut novel,The Six-Gun Tarot, was enthusiastically greeted by critics and readers, who praised its wildly inventive mixture of dark fantasy, steampunk, and the Wild West. Now Belcher returns to Golgotha, Nevada, a bustling frontier town that hides more than its fair share of unnatural secrets.
1870. A haven for the blessed and the damned, including a fallen angel, a mad scientist, a pirate queen, and a deputy who is kin to coyotes, Golgotha has come through many nightmarish trials, but now an army of thirty-two outlaws, lunatics, serial killers, and cannibals are converging on the town, drawn by a grisly relic that dates back to the Donner Party…and the dawn of humanity.
Sheriff Jon Highfather and his deputies already have their hands full dealing with train robbers, a mysterious series of brutal murders, and the usual outbreaks of weirdness. But with thirty-two of the most vicious killers on Earth riding into Golgotha in just a few day’s time, the town and its people will be tested as never before—and some of them will never be the same.
The Shotgun Arcana is even more spectacularly ambitious and imaginative than The Six-Gun Tarot, and confirms R. S. Belcher’s status as a rising star.
As someone whose reading R.S. Belcher for the first time, this book was an amazing read. Part of the reason I enjoyed it so much is because this book has an abundance of genres. Its part western, steampunk, fantasy, sci-fi, and history all in one. But it’s done in a way where you’d enjoy the story, even if one of the genres mentioned doesn’t always suit your fancy. These genres also aren’t too overwhelming in the story to where one overtakes all the others. They all flow together, make sense with how they are incorporated into the storyline.
Another thing I enjoyed about reading The Shotgun Arcana is you don’t have to read the books in this series in order and the shift in character perspectives. I’ve never read The Six-Gun Tarot, which is supposed to be the first book in this series. But I can still follow along to the storyline because you don’t need to read the first book in this series to understand the characters and events that happen. This is something I appreciate because with some book series, you have to read the books in order to understand what’s going on. But with this series, you can read the books separately and still get a good grasp on what’s happening to the characters. I also like that Belcher had each chapter covered by a different characters point of view. There are quite a lot of characters in this story, each with their own unique lives. So it was nice seeing all of these characters point of view, and seeing how their storyline connects with the overall picture.
What I also enjoyed about this book is seeing some powerful female figures in the story. All of the women in this story grew up during a time when women were still considered property, and didn’t have access to their own funds. But all of the women in this story were pretty level headed and strong, despite the way some of their male counterparts treated them. My favorite female characters in this book were Maude Stapleton and Kate Warne. I like them both because they were the fiercest characters in the book, but in different ways. Most of Maude’s abilities involve elements of the supernatural while Kate Warne is a part of the law. But both characters used their strengths to their advantage, overcoming obstacles that made them the strong women in this book I enjoyed reading about.
I also appreciate that the story didn’t shy away from tough subject matters, like including racism through Mutt’s character. You see this in The Shotgun Arcana through the amount of disrespect some of the townspeople in Golgotha treat him despite that he’s one of the sheriffs in the town. Belcher also brings up interracial relationships with Mutt through his interest in Maude. Every time the two of them are seen talking together, people are always watching them, wanting to make comments about the two of them being together. There’s even a part in the story where Mutt and Maude go on a date and some of the townspeople see Mutt touch Maude so they want to hang him in a tree. What I appreciate about all this is that Mutt doesn’t let any of it get him down. While it’s a terrible thing for anyone to have to deal with, Mutt uses it to make himself a stronger and even better person. So while it’s a horrible thing to see in this book, I’m glad they include it because of the way Mutt handles it.
I also appreciate that this book has a lot of mythological things in it too, such as human characters who are actually angels. You see this through the characters of Biqa and Raziel, both angels in exile for different reasons. Both play a central role in the overall plot of The Shotgun Arcana, and I enjoy seeing them in this book because I find it to be an interesting element to include in the story.
The one thing I didn’t enjoy when reading this book is that I sometimes found the storyline to be a little overwhelming. Part of it was due to the back and forth between different characters. But I also feel like there’s so much going on in this book that it can be overwhelming for some to follow. The chapters that made me feel this way in particular are the ones that give background information about some of the villains who join forces with Raziel to try and take over Golgotha. While I found this information to be enlightening/useful, I also felt like these chapters added nothing to the story. All this information was useful, but I just didn’t see the point of adding these chapters when Belcher could’ve very easily mentioned this information when the characters actually came into play in the story. I felt like that would’ve definitely been a better way to handle them because I honestly forgot the information I read about them once these characters were finally introduced into the story.
But otherwise, I really enjoyed reading The Shotgun Arcana. It’s quite an interesting page turner that has a little bit of everything for those who don’t like reading books with one particular genre. But it also has enough action to get you wanting to see what happens next. I highly recommend this book, and hope to read the rest of the books in the series in the future.