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!
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!
Rating: 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.
Rating: 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.
Rating: 4 stars
Series: Caraval #1
I was hesitant to read this because it’s YA and has tons of rave reviews. Usually that’s a recipe for disaster, but this was good, damn good. I read the whole thing in one sitting. The best thing about it is that it’s YA that doesn’t feel like YA. The characters were mature. I easily could have thought they were in their twenties. In fact Scarlett was cautious, almost too cautious for her own good. She was the antithesis of a TSTL heroine.
Caraval was a magical game only held once a year in a different location each time. Scarlett dreamed of going to the mysterious games for her whole life. The opportunity to go finally came, and it didn’t turn out like she expected. The rules of the game were vague. She didn’t know who to trust or what was real. It was far more dangerous than expected.
I loved the characters! Scarlett did what she thought was best even when it wasn’t what she wanted. That’s admirable in its own way. She always analyzed the best way to handle a situation. Doesn’t mean she always made the best decision though. The main side character was Julian. I didn’t know what to make of him until the very end. He went from scoundrel to kinda sweet, but what was real?
The ending was one hell of a surprise. Didn’t see it coming at all. There was a lot more going on than I would have guessed. I can’t wait for the next one because I’m dying to know more. The ending wasn’t really a cliffhanger. The main story was wrapped up, but some things were left open ended.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Series: The Hollows #0.1
Finally an explanation for how tomatoes almost wiped out the human population! It makes more sense getting the whole story rather than getting bits and pieces in the Hollows. I still question why tomatoes, but then again it’s not like any other food would have been less ridiculous.
Trisk was an elf in the sixties. She had two strikes against her: being a dark elf and being a woman. At that point in time all supernatural creatures were still in hiding. Trisk, despite being the smartest in her class, was sent to work in a human lab. She managed to do two amazing things while there. She made the T4 Angel tomato which was helping to feed the hungry around the world and perfected Daniel Plank’s virus so the biological weapon could not harm the inderlanders.
Kal had picked on Trisk for her whole life. An argument between them caused Kal to lose his shot at getting a prestigious job. After a while he was tasked with the job of verifying Trisk’s work would work as she claimed. If there were fault with her work, Kal would be able to take it over and make a name for himself when he perfected it. He was determined to find fault with it whether it was there or not.
I liked Trisk. She made the best out of what she was given. Sometimes she made some stupid decisions but it made her seem normal. They weren’t of the TSTL variety. She was strong, caring, and determined to do what was right regardless of the odds being against her. Kal OTOH was a self serving bastard. It’s easy to see where Trent got his ruthlessness and superiority complex from. Kal would have done anything, manipulated anyone to get what he wanted. Despite being privy to his thoughts, I didn’t like him. Regret and self doubt weren’t there, so it was hard to see him as redeemable. I didn’t hate him, but there sure as hell wasn’t much to like either.
I enjoyed the book, but it took me a while to get into it. I was pleasantly surprised to see a few characters from the Hollows series like Al. I’m not sure if this is a prequel series or simply a novel. The storyline about killer tomatoes was wrapped up, but I want to know more about Kal, Trisk, and Quen. Things weren’t settled between them, and I’m hoping they end up better for them at some point.
Thanks so much to Netgalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review!!!