The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

34050917Rating: 4 stars

Series: The Winternight Trilogy #2

Vasya was independent as ever. She refused to do the only two socially acceptable things which were get married or go to a convent. With the help of Morozko she went out to see the world. The only way to do it was to pretend to be a boy. After inadvertently getting the attention of the Grand Prince, she put the lives of her siblings in danger.

I admired Vasya for being bold and brave. She was willing to risk it all to live life on her own terms. However risking it all meant possible death. She had no desire to die, but didn’t do much to prevent it either. Her recklessness aggravated me. It was hard to believe someone could be so cavalier about their own life. It was that behavior that made her seem immature. Even with everything she had been through she managed to be incredibly naive about the dangers of the world.

In those days the world did not favor women, so pretending to be a boy seemed wise in the moment. Some things about it did not seem entirely plausible. It was always emphasized that Vasya was not pretty, but would she have passed for a boy? Masculine was never used to describe her. It was unusual that two of her siblings lived in the palace yet no one thought it odd that they had a brother whom they’d never heard of show up. It irritated me that Vasya was blind to the consequences of her actions. Her rouse put her siblings and nieces in danger.

Morozko was my favorite character. He stole every scene he was in. I really like him and Vasya together although when I think about it I don’t understand why he feels the way he does about Vasya. She always doubted his motives. Creatures like him don’t do things out of the goodness of their hearts. OTOH how many times does he have to come to her rescue before she sees the truth? Almost everyone in her life let her down at one point or another, so that may be why she was hesitant to trust him.

It didn’t end on a cliffhanger, but a lot was left open ended in regards to Vasya’s fate and her relationship with Morozko. I looking forward to the next book especially since this was even better than The Bear and the Nightingale.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

33380869Rating: 3.5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this. It wasn’t face paced, but I didn’t want to stop reading either. The writing was good enough that I still liked it despite being aggravated at some of the things going on. The first half was so good. I wanted to know what would happen next because it was obvious whatever goal Hector was trying to achieve was going to blow up in his face. Nina was so innocent. I felt bad for her. I didn’t like what Hector was doing, but I understood it.

Things changed about halfway through. I liked Nina and Hector much better then. They both grew and matured. The amount of drama that ensued was too much. It was frustrating and not in a good way. The one thing this story had not needed was another love triangle thrown in in the second half especially since it was obvious Nina did not have feelings for the other guy. Nina’s behavior was aggravating at times and seemed somewhat OOC compared to the earlier part of the novel. She had always been the type to do what she wanted regardless of whether or not others approved. Some of that defiance disappeared. Most of the truly dramatic parts towards the end could have been completely avoided if Nina would have been honest with herself and spoke her mind. The end was satisfying, but I wish there had been less angst in the process of getting there.

Thanks to Netgalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

51jpv68vvzl-_sx333_bo1204203200_Rating: 4 stars

New York City was surrounded by a barrier called the brink. It prevented anyone with magic from leaving the city. It would strip them of their magic and at best cause considerable pain and at worst cause death. The order, a group of humans, created the brink. Those with magic wanted to be free and were trying to find a way to take down the brink and the order.

It took a little while to get into it, but it was so damn good. Esta had the rare ability of being able to travel through time. Her guardian used her ability to go back in time and steal items from the order. There was a bit of an info dump in the beginning. It complicated matters more that Esta was sent back to the past and the world building of that time period had to be introduced also since what was going on in the world magically was quite different.

The whole cast of characters was interesting. I liked Esta. Her ability was useful and got her out of a few tricky situations. Her actions in the past were important because the butterfly effect was a major possibility. She was loyal and trustworthy which made her more unpredictable as the story went on because it was hard to tell if she’d be loyal to the people of her time or to the ones in the past she’d grown close to. I loved Harte Darrigan. He and Esta had good chemistry from the first time they met. For most of the book I wasn’t sure how to feel about him. I genuinely felt that he was a good guy at heart, but part of him was incredibly selfish. His main concern was always getting the best possible outcome for himself even if it screwed everyone else over. It was his connection to Esta that made him think of others more, but I hadn’t been sure where his loyalties would lie in the end. Dolph was the leader of a magical mafia. It was obvious he was trying to do the right thing all along. He had a rat in his midst and was going to get screwed for trusting the wrong person. I wanted him to be more proactive and figure things out.

The end was shocking! I was really surprised at how far the bad guy was willing to take things to achieve his goal. I did not see that coming at all. The truth about Esta’s past was revealed. I probably should have pieced that together, but so many other things were going on that I didn’t even give it any thought. The only thing that truly disappointed me with this book was that I didn’t know it was the first in a series. A lot of things still need to be resolved, but I can’t wait to read the next one!

Ride the Storm by Karen Chance

25962913-_uy200_Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Cassie Palmer #8

Three things happened that I have been desperately hoping would happen since book 4, and it was about damn time. I would love to discuss those things in detail, but it would give away some major plot points. I was beginning to lose my faith and thought that some of these issues would be dragged out forever, but good things come to those who wait!

I’ve got to be honest the first half was aggravating and too chaotic without any real progress being made. Cassie was time jumping from one place to the next and dealing with many issues. All of those issues were the same ones from the last book. I really didn’t think it was necessary for two books to be devoted to Pritkin’s sojourn in the past.

The other pythias were irritating. They didn’t add much to the story and were a constant distraction causing the resolution to Pritkin’s situation to take too long. Cassie never had formal training with her pythia powers, but shouldn’t she be more powerful than the average pythia? One parent was a goddess and the other was a necromancer. She should be a badass from that alone. Throwing pythia powers into the mix should make her extremely powerful. Despite her ability to do things others can’t, it always seems like other pythias can overtake her too easily.

Finally the time came for Cassie and Mircea to have a talk. Cassie found out something about him, and he was forced to explain the situation. It turned out much better than I thought it would have. He revealed much more than I would have expected. Well it turns out what I always thought about him was true.

The end was great! The final showdown with Ares happened. The way that got settled was completely unexpected and fantastic! The best part was that Cassie finally made a choice, and it was the one I wanted her to make. No more love triangle drama, hopefully anyway. The other guy isn’t going let Cassie go easily. There was a cliffhanger at the end, but it was one I can deal with.

Thanks so much to Netgalley for giving me this in exchange for an honest review!

Witches’ Bane by Pippa DaCosta

30899389Rating: 4 stars

Series: Soul Eater #2

Ace Dante is awesome! I love how conflicted he is. There’s a constant struggle between being good and bad although for the most part good seems to be winning out. In this not only is he conflicted but slightly confused. It’s like he’s on the verge of remembering what happened in Hidden Blade but the memories are resurfacing. You know they will and there will be hell to pay (probably from Cat) when they do.

I am more curious than ever as to who he really is. Is he even part of the Egyptian pantheon? Why is who he is being kept secret? Is it dangerous for him if he knows or is it too dangerous for the other gods if he knows?

There was more character development in this than in Hidden Blade. I really enjoyed the addition of Cat. She and Shu are awesome sidekicks. Shu was way more likeable this time around. The budding friendship with her and Ace is a good thing. They’re stuck together anyway. It’ll be beneficial to them to be friends rather than reluctant adversaries.

I have mixed feelings about the end. Did Ace do the right thing? It seems like all of this is going to come back and bite him in the ass. Thoth alluded to a prophecy. He may not have interpreted it correctly. That alone could have consequences for Ace’s actions. Chances are things will get worse for Ace before they get better.

Hidden Blade by Pippa DaCosta

30031040Rating: 4 stars

Series: Soul Eater #1

Ace, the nameless one, is stuck in a rather unfortunate situation. He’s a powerful being but his life isn’t his own. By nature he’s a bad guy. It can’t be helped. Eating souls is what he does. He’s also forced to do bad things because of his situation with Osiris. At heart he wants to be good, but it doesn’t come easily. I love characters that are as conflicted as Ace is. 

All of the other characters were interesting, but it was hard to get attached to them. The world building was good. The use of Egyptian gods was cool. I definitely want to know more about Ace’s past and about what was going on with his mother. There is a lot more to explore in this world, and I definitely want to read the rest of the series.

So this was probably worth somewhat less than 4 stars, but it was too good to give it less than 4. Something was missing for me, but I’m not sure what. Nothing was wrong with this, but for some reason I just didn’t love it.