This Savage Song






Rating: ⭐⭐
Author: Victoria Schwab
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Read: Mar. 2018

This Savage Song is the second book in my March Challenge to read 3 fantasy novels and the first book that has disappointed me this year as part of my monthly challenges.

I had mixed feelings about Schwab’s Darker Shade of Magic series because while I did like it and thought she had some really great characters, I never really felt that engaged while I was reading it. But afterwards, even though I hadn’t totally loved the series, I just couldn’t stop thinking about it and think fondly of Kell, Lila, Rhy, and the whole London gang.

I don’t know if that will be the case with this series as well. Again, I liked the characters and I did fly through reading this, but I was never super into the story. Maybe I just don’t love Schwab’s writing style? I honestly don’t know. This is another beloved series, but despite all the monsters and the high stakes, I just never got into it.

This Savage Song is an urban fantasy that I pictured as being set in America, but now I can’t actually remember if it was or not. Either way, it’s a kind of post apocalyptic world where monsters have risen up out of the darkness and the country has been divided into 6 different realms, all separated by the lawless “waste”. Verity is one of those realms and Verity City is fractured in two between Harker and Henry Flynn (North City and South City). Harker has made some kind of deal with the monsters whereby they won’t harm anyone who pays to be under his protection. On the other side, Henry’s Flynn Task Force is trying to rid the city of evil.

Kate Harker has been kicked out of boarding school after boarding school and her father has finally allowed her to return to V-City. However, the truce between North City and South City is fracturing, so Henry sends his adopted son, August, undercover into North City to get close to Kate and see if they can use her to their benefit. Kate and August become close, everything goes to hell, and suddenly they find themselves fighting for their lives across Verity City.

The book did have an interesting ending and there’s only 1 more book in this series, so I would like to read it, but I think it’s going to fall pretty far down on my list as there are a lot of other books I’d rather prioritize. I did still like the book, I just didn’t really see anything that special about it. Oh well.


The Thief






Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Author: Megan Whalen Turner
Genres: Fantasy
Read: Mar. 2018

The Thief was the first book in my March Challenge to read 3 fantasy novels. It’s been on my TBR since Thick as Thieves came out last year and I heard that the series has gotten really good reviews. I’ve heard that the second book, The Queen of Attolia, is really the star of the series, so I wasn’t sure if The Thief would be that great, but I still really enjoyed it!

It’s a short book and it has a fairly simple plot, but it was a lot of fun! Gen claims to be able to steal anything, but he finds himself trapped in the King’s prison at the start of this novel. He’s very weak from being confined to the prison, with painful wounds on his ankles and wrists from the chains. But he’s offered a chance to get out of the prison when the King’s Magus appears to take him on a quest to steal an item for the King of Sounis. If Gen is successful, he’ll be granted immunity and allowed to walk free, the only catch is that he’s not told where they’re going or what they’re going to steal.

Gen sets off on a journey with the Magus, his 2 apprentices, and a solider, Pol, to steal an item of great value to the 3 kingdoms: Sounis, Eddis, and Attolia. This item will give Sounis a political advantage against their enemies. Gen isn’t interested in the journey or the task at hand, but he does want freedom, so he agrees to aid the Magus in his task.

I thought Gen was a fantastic character. He’s a bit full of himself and a bit dim-witted – he got thrown into prison because he spent too much time bragging in a wineshop about what a good thief he is. He’s got a dry sense of humour and his only real joys seem to come from eating and sleeping. He may be along for the journey, but he’s not going to make it easy on his captors. He knows that he has no real power, but he also knows that they need him, so he takes the opportunity to mess with them a little bit since they don’t want to see him harmed before he can steal for them.

It is a bit of a slow moving plot – there’s a lot of journeying and not a whole lot of action until the second half of the book, but I enjoyed the writing and the characterization. But the ending is what really made this a great book. The plot seems simple, but it’s the first of 5 books, so you know this book has to be setting up the rest of the story, and it is, but Turner puts in a great twist at the end to really give this book a meaningful start to the story.

It reminded me a little of Howl’s Moving Castle, one of my favourite middle grade books, in that a lot of seemingly random, unimportant stuff happens and it’s not until the end that you realize that all those incidents and conversations actually do mean something and that this book was actually a lot more complex and clever than you realized. You have a great epiphany at the end and everything comes together so well that you can’t help but be impressed with the structure and writing!

So definitely a great start to a new series, I’m just lamenting that I can’t jump right into the next book!

The Lightning Thief






Rating: ⭐
Author: Rick Riordan
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Read: Feb. 2018

I picked up the entire Percy Jackson box set on a whim when I saw it on sale and decided to give it a try. It’s a middle grade book, but like Harry Potter anyone can enjoy it. I loved it!

It definitely had some similarities to Harry Potter, but it’s also totally different. Percy has always gotten in trouble as a kid by events that seem to be completely outside of his control, but just keep happening to him. He’s been diagnosed with ADHD and dislexia and has been expelled from a dozen schools. When he’s in the 6th grade, mythical creatures start showing up everywhere and attacking him and he suddenly finds himself dropped off at Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demi-gods.

That’s right, Percy, along with all the other kids at the camp, are half-blood children of the Greek Gods. Around the 6th grade the monsters start becoming aware of their power and attacking the kids, so they are transported to Camp Half-Blood to train to defend themselves against monsters.

Percy doesn’t know who his father is, but it pretty quickly becomes obvious and he is asked to go on a quest to recover Zeus’ master bolt, which has been stolen, and return it to him before the solstice, only 10 days away. Percy accepts the quest and heads off on adventure with his school chums Annabeth and Grover and gets into a whole lot more trouble along the way.

First of all, Rick Riordan’s writing is great! It is hilarious and I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself from the first chapter onwards. Harry Potter has humour in it, but it has a more serious tone, which is what I was expecting from Percy Jackson, but this was definitely the funnier read and had humorous elements throughout the entire story.

That’s not to say it didn’t have action, it definitely had a ton of action. Percy seems to go from one bad situation to the next and you can’t trust anyone he meets. I really liked both Annabeth and Grover. Annabeth is the daughter of Athena and is a bit of a brainiac and Grover is a Satyr who likes to eat tin cans and provides even more comic relief throughout the story (also, his name is Grover, LOL).

Emotionally, I don’t think this had a whole lot of depth, but it’s the first of 5 books, so I’m expecting a lot more character development in subsequent books and a bit of a darker story line, although please stay funny! I probably won’t get to the rest of the books for a while as I have a million other things on my TBR I want to read, but I think these are quick books I’ll pick up whenever I’m in the mood for a laugh! I wish I’d had these when I was a middle schooler!


Tiger Lily






Rating: .5
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Read: Feb. 2018

Apparently I’m on a bit of EpicReads kick and have just read two books in a row recommended by Margot Wood. I was a little skeptical about whether I would actually like Ruined or not, but I loved it. Tiger Lily I suspected I would really like, and I did, but maybe not quite as much as a thought I would.

You’ll have to forgive my ignorance of the Peter Pan universe, I have only ever seen the Disney film and that was ages ago, so I actually remember very little about Peter Pan, with the exception that he’s the boy that never grows up. I didn’t remember who Tiger Lily was at all, but this story basically focuses on the love story Tiger Lily has with Peter before Wendy shows up. The story is narrated by Tinkerbell, who can’t speak, but follows Tiger Lily around and is a little bit of an omniscient narrator since she can flit back and forth and spy on all the characters.

First of all, the writing is beautiful! Props to Jodi Lynn Anderson, this is the first of her books that I’ve read and I was really impressed with the writing. I never really cared for Tinkerbell in the film, but she makes a damn good narrator. In some ways this is a coming of age story. Tiger Lily has always been a bit of an outcast in her village and when she saves an Englishman who washes up on shore she becomes even more of a pariah because the villagers are scared of catching the “aging disease” from him since they never die of old age.

When she is betrothed to marry a mean villager named Giant, Tiger Lily starts spending more time away from the village and meets Peter and the lost boys and they all become very much enamoured to one another. Peter is impetuous, rash, and often unreasonable; he has a need to always be the strongest and the smartest. As the leader of the lost boys, he takes on a lot of responsibility in taking care of the boys, but he is also very lonely. He has been a boy for a very long time and you do get the sense that he is ready to grow up.

Tiger Lily is very much a young girl. She also makes rash decisions and doesn’t think too much about the consequences of her actions. She loves her village and Tik Tok, the shaman who found and raised her, but she also yearns for more. She doesn’t want to be trapped in a marriage to Giant and spend forever cooking and cleaning for him. Peter enables her escape into a new world where there are no rules. She wants to be a part of Peter’s world, but she also finds it impossible to leave her village behind.

I liked that the characters in this novel had so much depth. I didn’t really like Peter, but I liked how Anderson wrote all of these characters and captured their essence. There is definitely tragedy in this story and it is incredibly heartbreaking. The characters are all looking for and needing different things and yet nobody can be what the other person needs them to be. There are several stories going on at once and you can very much feel the era of change that is upon the island. The world is progressing, but Neverland has always been a place onto itself. The Englishman eventually integrates himself into the village and pushes christianity on the villagers, shaming the villagers for their false idols and Tik Tok for dressing in women’s clothes. It’s hard to watch the villagers forsake their traditional spirits and way of life, but it’s equally upsetting to witness the ignorance that has flourished in the village for years.

It’s a very interesting story. I think I’m probably at a 3.5 for my rating and I can’t quite pinpoint what I didn’t love about it. It’s a bit slow moving in the beginning and I never really got super into it. The writing was definitely my favourite part and how heartbreaking the story is. I really did grow to love these characters and I really felt for their hardships.







Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Author: Amy Tintera
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Read: Jan. 2018


Everyone seems to have really mixed feelings on Ruined – the reviews are all either “1 star I hated it” or “5 stars I am obsessed”. But I definitely fall into the latter category. I guess I could maybe see why some people might not love this and think it has a recycled plot, but it was such a fast-paced emotional, fantasy, thriller that I just didn’t even care.

I actually wasn’t that intrigued by the plot, but EpicReads seems obsessed with this one and I was in the mood for some action, so I decided to give it a try. The idea is that there are 4 different kingdoms and they’re all at war with each other in some way or another, with everyone trying to seize the most power. Our main character, Emelina Flores is from Ruina, a kingdom of magic wielders who are slowly being exterminated by the Kingdoms of Lera and Vallos because of their fear of the Ruined’s magic. Even though Emelina is a princess of Ruina, she didn’t inherit the Ruined’s powers. Her parents were murdered by Vallos and her sister taken prisoner by Lera. She is determined to get her sister back and take her revenge on everyone who opposes her.

Mary, Princess of Vallos, has been betrothed to Casimir, Prince of Lera. Emelina hatches a plan to kill Mary on her way to Lera, impersonate her, and infiltrate the castle to find out the location of her sister, Olivia. She’ll have to marry Prince Casimir, but it’s just another unfortunate event on her way to revenge. It’s fair that it’s pretty easy to guess the direction of the plot from there, but there were still so many surprises in this novel. It’s incredibly fast-paced, surprisingly humorous and a lot of fun!

Sometimes I really don’t like romance in my fantasy novels, but I loved it in this one. I can definitely be a sucker for a good romantic side story and I loved the slow build romance in Ruined. I loved the characters and their development throughout the novel and I loved that Amy Tintera basically wrote this story in the morally grey areas. There’s no obvious good guy. Lera and Vallos have done some shitty things, but so have the Ruined. Nobody really knows where to point the finger of blame of who started the whole thing and I really enjoyed watching the main characters trying to navigate these ambiguous ethical areas.

In a way Emelina is your classic female heroine; she’s incredibly skilled in swordplay and she is bloodthirsty and unforgiving. But she’s also a 16-year old girl being married off to the son of the man who destroyed her family. She was very vulnerable. I can’t imagine any 16 year being so ruthless and still being emotionally stable. I liked that she was able to be powerful, but still show emotions and vulnerability. Same with Cas. He was never emasculated by Em, but I liked Tintera’s portrayal of him as a boy who has had power and responsibility thrust upon him and how overwhelming that feels.

I pretty much inhaled this book and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of the next one. Ruined has the perfect cliffhanger in that it answers all your questions, but still leaves your mouth hanging out wondering what kind of crazy shit is going to go down in the next book. I need it ASAP!

Side note, I love that Amy Tintera actually says the word “sex” in this book. YA fantasy authors tend to sidestep their way around explicitly talking about sex and use all these really weird innuendos and double entendres to describe their sex scenes (looking at you Sarah J Maas), it was refreshing to see a YA author just call it what it is. Let’s all be grown-ups about it so actual teenagers can be too.