Avenged

 

 

 

 

 

Rating: ⭐⭐.5
Author: Amy Tintera
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pub Date: May 2017 (read Mar. 2018)

Between my monthly challenges, my book club, Canada Reads, and Netgalley, I finally got a chance to read this sequel to Ruined. I’ve been trying to get to it for the last 2 months and I finally found some time. I shouldn’t have worried though because I devoured this book in a single day.

I LOVED Ruined. I know it’s not ground-breaking literature or anything, but it was just such a fast-paced and fun read! Avenged picks up right where Ruined left off, with the Ruined returning to their homeland after rescuing Olivia. This one has a bit more politics than the first one, but it’s still a fast paced read. I didn’t love it quite as much as Ruined, but I’d still give it a solid 3.5 stars.

Em and her sister Olivia have just returned to Ruina. Em is the oldest, but because she doesn’t have powers, the throne passes to her sister Olivia. The torture Olivia suffered at the hands of Lera has weakened her emotionally, but it has only strengthened her powers. She becomes incredibly powerful, but has little interest in politics and negotiations, so she proposes a diarchy with her sister whereby they will both be queen.

It’s a rough start for the Ruined. Their castle was destroyed by Lera and Vallos and the land in their country is dying. Em wants to continue their alliance with the Olso warriors because she fears the Ruined cannot survive without their aid and supplies at this time. Olivia doesn’t want their help and feels that her and Aren are strong enough to protect the rest of the Ruined and can teach them all how to be stronger.

At the same time, Cas struggles to take control of his own country in the wake of his parents death. He made a pact with Em that neither would attack each other, but his cousin (and only living relative) Jovita sees this as a huge sign of weakness and makes a coup to take control of Lera. She tries to attack the Ruined again and all hell breaks loose between the 4 kingdoms.

Like I said, I didn’t love this as much as Ruined, but it was still a solid second novel. Olivia is a 100% certified psychopath and she makes for an interesting and intense story. She had a pretty crazy introduction at the end of Ruined, but she was really only just getting started then.

I liked that this novel is still very morally grey. You definitely root for Em and Cas and their quest for peace, but you also couldn’t fault Olivia for how she felt about Lera. She was tortured by Lera for a year and even though Cas didn’t directly play a role, a simple ‘sorry’ isn’t enough for Olivia, especially when he’s done nothing meaningful to help the Ruined, like provide supplies or help them re-build their homeland.

“No. His regret was not enough for Olivia. Regret did not give her back her mother. It didn’t erase the year of torture she’s endured. No apology, no matter how sincere, was enough for her people.”

I also thought the dialogue was fantastic and I love how witty the characters are. Ruined had quite a bit of humour woven into it and Tintera continued that humour in this book. I can’t wait for the final book of the trilogy to come out in May!

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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!