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“The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” Review

“You are what your creators and experiences have made you, like every other being in this universe. Accept that and be done.” — N.K. Jemisin (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms)

“The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” Review

This post may contain spoilers.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is the first of The Inheritance Triology by the talented N.K. Jemisin. In the pages of this book, Jemisin crafted a universe of gods and mortals, power and hope.

I’ll admit, I was fairly lost throughout most of the beginning of the book. Like most fantasy novels, many elements of the story were crafted for the world inside the pages, and it was a touch difficult to follow the lore and names at first.

However, as I delved deeper into the story, I was intrigued by the main character’s quest for answers regarding her past and her mother’s lost life. Yeine Darr was ripped from her life due to being summoned by her grandfather, essentially the reigning king of the land, to the city of Sky, where her grandfather rules over the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and Yeine has just been selected to participate in the power struggle to be the next heir.

Yeine has no desire to rule like her bloodthirsty distant family, and it becomes apparent that no one has any faith that she will win the competition. Gods are mere slaves to the ruling family, and Yeine uses and befriends them in order to help figure out what had truly happened to her mother, just as they use and befriend Yeine.

She knows just as well as they that she is destined to die.

The story snowballs into wars between gods while the mortals fight amongst themselves for a sliver of power. While the mortals believe the gods to be under their thumbs, it is the gods that are using Yeine to orchestrate a war between the worlds’ creators. Yeine was smack in the middle of both, navigating as best as she could while following her own agenda.

The ending of the first book of the trilogy was definitely satisfying and wrapped up the elements that I had been confused about in the beginning. It’s the type of book that one will probably understand everything better the second time around, but ultimately it was a good read.

 

“The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” gets a 4 out of 5 stars.

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Posted by on May 25, 2016 in Book Reviews

 

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“Spelled” Review

“No need to panic. I was the heroine in this story, so everything would get fixed somehow.” — Betsy Schow (Spelled)

“Spelled” Review

This post may contain spoilers.

Spelled is a twist on the classic fairy tales. It stars Dorthea, the very spoiled princess of Emerald. She’s been stuck inside her kingdom’s castle her entire life due to an impending curse on the girls of the Emerald family. No one is sure which generation will inherit the curse, so better safe than sorry.

The lucky winner of the curse is, of course, Dorthea.

Through an ill-worded wish, Dorthea brings hell to her kingdom, making her parents vanish, destroying her castle and the guests within it, and being stuck on a journey with a couple of companions — one of which is her transformed betrothed Prince Kato — that she’d rather be without. The entire journey is filled with puns, play-on words and locations, from all sorts of beloved fairy tales, and it was fun reading through these unique twists.

Dorthea, however, was not a reason as to why I kept reading. She was the picture of a spoiled rotten princess. She was egotistical, shallow, and selfish. Her first thoughts were always about herself and, “as the heroine” of the story, everything should work out just fine. Of course, she redeems herself with the help of her allies by the end of the story, but it was really due to the side characters and the funny, unique twists to the fairy tales that kept me reading.

Generally, I need to be invested in the main character in order to keep reading a story. Dorthea was not that kind of character at all, and there were a few times that I almost closed the book. Overall, however, the book wasn’t too bad, and anyone who has fun reading fairy tale retellings will probably find this book a worthwhile pick-up.

 

“Spelled” gets a 3 out of 5 stars.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2016 in Book Reviews

 

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“George” Review

“She’s always going on about how we’re not supposed to let people’s expectations limit our choices.” — Alex Gino (George)

“George” Review

This post may contain spoilers.

This middle-grade book by Alex Gino is a progressive novel, aimed at promoting transgender acceptance, especially in youth.

“George” is all about a young girl who is trapped in a boy’s body. She wants everyone to believe that she is a girl and hates the boy body that she has been born in. Her role model is Charlotte from the classic “Charlotte’s Web” for how kind and accepting she is, and it breaks George’s heart when Charlotte dies, prompting George’s desire to show the world that she is a girl by playing Charlotte during the school play.

This book is a quick read — I had finished it collectively in just a few hours, especially when one considers that it’s middle-grade fiction. I had picked it off the shelf for the important message the book wanted to share, and it did not disappoint. It brought us into the innocent world of a young child who did not feel comfortable in her body. George knew that she was a girl deep inside and, understandably, was nervous about how those closest to her would take the news.

The book is filled with characters who all have different, realistic reactions to George coming out as a girl. Some of the adults were put-off by it, even in denial, yet George’s best friend took the news in stride and became one of the most supportive roles in the book. Even George’s older brother mulled on the news and accepted it better than their mother had. These roles showed how the younger generation are more accepting of transgender and other diversity, while it may take the older generation a bit longer to get used to the idea.

“George” has a powerful message and is a great story for those who are looking to dive a little deeper into a wonderful type of character who needs more representation on our bookshelves.

“George” gets a 4 out of 5 stars.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2016 in Book Reviews

 

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Whoops.

I don’t have a book review today. I had an awesome long weekend and forgot to finish a book. Sorry!

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2016 in Home

 

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“Carry On” Review

“I know that things will only get better if good people fight for what’s important.” — Rainbow Rowell (Carry On)

“Carry On” Review

This post may contain spoilers.

We’ve all heard of this book, right? Based on a fanfiction created by her character in “Fangirl,” Rainbow Rowell wrote “Carry On” when the premise took a life of its own.

The characters and plot are rich and easily sweep a reader away into the world of Watford, the school for wizards in this world. It has an interesting take on the Chosen One plot, what with the character Simon Snow shouldering the idea that he is the most powerful wizard in the world.

Except he’s not that good at magic.

The supporting characters — Baz, Penny, and Agatha — are all unique and fun to read about in their own right. Penny was a particular favorite of mine. Intelligent and quick, she was quirky, had no filter, and knew her way around in the magical world. Agatha was the girl who wasn’t enamored with her world and yearned for a way to escape the magic for a normal life. Baz was the anti-hero and the love interest, and he was deliciously snarky throughout both roles.

Simon, I felt, could have used more development, especially in regards to his feelings towards Baz. While we could see Simon’s attention zeroed in on Baz a majority of the time, his infatuation seemed to get lost until it was suddenly thrown at you.

One of the biggest accomplishments of this book was having the main couple be homosexual. The book itself doesn’t hinge on the characters’ queerness, as it shouldn’t, despite the hype and excitement that surrounded that particular aspect of the novel. Then, of course, everyone is making a point to mention that there are two boys kissing, but it just proves to the publishing industry that, HEY, readers want more sexual diversity in their books.

All of the characters had their places in the plot, which tied up satisfactorily with a twisted bow. It was the kind of read that made you want to turn page after page with the quick point of view changes and lines of story that eventually weaved together into a masterful tapestry.

When I had first read “Fangirl” and the character’s obsession with this series that involved wizards and a magic school and all that good jazz, my mind instantly went to the Harry Potter franchise, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. That’s not a bad thing, of course, as it was originally just supposed to be a fake fanfiction inside of another fictional book (reminds me of Inception, actually). However, with that fanfiction getting a novel of its own, it’s hard not to see the similarities.

With that said, I suppose after the Harry Potter franchise, it’s just difficult to not think of Hogwarts whenever someone comes out with a school for wizards.

My biggest gripe about this book is that I felt it was too quick of a read. With the Harry Potter franchise we got seven amazing books. With “Carry On,” it felt as if I was reading the seventh book out of series, like I was missing something. If this had been a couple of books, maybe a trilogy, and it led up to “Carry On,” perhaps I would have felt better about it.

All in all, though, it’s definitely recommended for those who enjoy fantasy, magic, and witty dialogue from the mouths of teens.

“Carry On” gets a 4 out of 5 stars.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2016 in Book Reviews

 

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“Anything Could Happen” Review

“There’s sickness, and there’s sadness. But the thing is, there’s love, too.” – Will Walton (Anything Could Happen)

“Anything Could Happen” Review

This post may contain spoilers.

This book was cute. A quick-enough read, I was able to get through Will Walton’s “Anything Could Happen” within a few hours spaced out throughout the day. While it got me out of a little reading slump, it wasn’t the type of book that needed to be glued to my hands.

Found in the Young Adult and teen section of bookstores, this book’s narrator is teenaged Tretch, a young man in love with his straight best friend. Add in the beautiful girl that said straight best friend has a crush on and the quirky girl that has a crush on Tretch, and you’ve got a good handful of the usual cliches found in teen LGBT+ books.

While the cliches existed, they were broken in the sense that the beautiful girl was more than just a prop to promote jealousy, the quirky girl found her own sense of self-worth that existed outside of Tretch, and the straight best friend stayed as the straight best friend. The friendships that the author created were wonderful, age appropriate, and refreshing in its simplicity.

There weren’t any huge drama scenarios that usually are saddled with stories revolving around high schoolers. Instead, the author focused on the teenagers being teenagers, enjoying themselves while trying to navigate this thing called “growing up.” Besides unrequited feelings, this book also deals with family, death, and letting go. Sharing a theme with Ellie Goulding’s song of the same title, “Anything Could Happen” is a great book showing that you never know what is right around the corner of life.

“Anything Could Happen” gets a 4 out of 5 stars.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2016 in Book Reviews

 

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“Tuesdays with Morrie” Review

“There is no such thing as ‘too late’ in life.” – Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie)

“Tuesdays with Morrie” Review

This post may contain spoilers.

If you only read one more book in your life, make it “Tuesdays with Morrie.”

This beautiful book, which will make you laugh and cry equally, details the final leg of a professor’s journey through life. The author was the only student in the professor’s “last class,” a class that met on Tuesdays and was about The Meaning of Life. There were no grades, no tests, but oral exams, along with the student being expected to ask and answer questions. The professor taught through experience.

Professor Morrie Schwartz was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ASL), a terminal disease that attacked one’s neurological system, while in his sixties. Mitch Albom had been one of his students years before and, upon hearing that Morrie had gotten sick, finally went to visit the older gentleman again. Together, the pair hatched an idea to do one last thesis. Thus, “Tuesdays with Morrie” was born.

This book — this thesis — covers several topics that most avoid: regret, money, the fear of aging, and, of course, death. Morrie shares his experiences and wisdom in gentle, simple, sometimes heartbreaking, ways. His words make you want to copy down quotes, sentences, entire paragraphs, and paste them up on the wall, decals to look at and put the rest of the world in the right perspective.

Ultimately, this book is about love and living even while you’re dying. Don’t just wave as life passes by — join life on the ride.

“Tuesdays with Morrie” gets a 5 out of 5 stars.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2016 in Book Reviews

 

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