The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

6644117Rating: 3 stars

Series: The Iron Fey #1

It could have been better. Everything unraveled too quickly, so there wasn’t a chance for a mystery about who Meghan really was to build up. The plot was too chaotic. She constantly went from one dire situation to the next. She’s damn lucky she didn’t wind up dead. She bartered with the fae without giving a second thought as to what she was giving up. It really bothered me that Meghan had no forethought whatsoever. If she’s going to be dealing with some of the craftiest fae in existence, she really needs to up her game.

None of the characters were appealing. Meghan was annoyingly predictable because she’ll do anything to do the right thing which often means doing something stupid out of desperation. Puck was a pushover. He did anything Meghan wanted even when he knew it was a stupid thing to do. Half of the time if he had given it more effort he could have swayed her opinion. At first I thought he’d be a love interest but I quickly realized he’s way too boring for that. Ash had potential. He needed more wit or charm to be really interesting. I did like it that he was willing to bend the rules. Grimalkin annoyed me. He popped up at the most convenient times. He was always amused with Meghan although I can’t figure out why.

I’ll probably read the next one. It could be interesting to see where things go from here, but there needs to be more character development or I’ll never be able to finish the series.

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Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

21518344Rating: 3 stars

Peter Pan was never one of my favorite stories although I do like it. This retelling of it had a darker twist but not enough that I’d actually consider the book to be dark. Gwen spent her whole life moving around. Her mother was odd and constantly afraid that people were after them. One night Gwen was kidnapped and whisked away to Neverland.

There weren’t any big surprises in the plot. It pretty much worked out the way I thought it would. Gwen got on my nerves sometimes. She was smart but had poor instincts when it came to people. Every time she believed something about a character, it went against what I believed, and my instincts were spot on.

The side characters desperately needed work. Rowan and Pan were fleshed out well enough, but all of the other characters were one dimensional. I didn’t care when anything happened to any of them often because I didn’t know much about them.

The world building was alright. Everything was explained well, but I wanted more details. They weren’t necessary, but I wanted them. I felt like there was a lot more that could have been explored. There could have been more to the history. All it did was touch on the surface of things. The dark fae were around and supposedly evil, but they didn’t do much. The fairies mattered but weren’t the focus.

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!

Colorless by Rita Stradling

51dctryq5al-_sy346_Rating: 2.5 stars

Annabelle’s parents died. Then something bizarre happened. All of the color seeped out of her body, and she became invisible. Everyone she had ever known instantly forgot her. She wandered around unsure of what to do. Eventually there was one person who could see her. Magicians began snooping around. They couldn’t see Annabelle but somehow they knew she existed.

The idea for this was good. The story itself was not. It took me quite a few days to get through this, which if you know me is not common. I was bored once the magicians started stalking Annabelle. There was obviously a lot going on in the world with gods, magicians and iconoclasts. None of it was explained well. Annabelle was an iconoclast, but WTH does that mean? What did the magicians really do other than hunt down anyone that was a threat? The gods didn’t come into it until the end. Basically the world building sucked.

I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. Annabelle was a stuck up bitch. She’d act down to Earth at times. Then she’d let loose and show her superiority because she was of a higher social class than the people she was interacting with. I sympathized with her at first. As the book went on I wished she would get over herself. She wasn’t horribly snobby but just enough to annoy me. Dylan the guy who could see her was alright. He was nice and helpful but not terribly interesting. The other main character was Annabelle’s cousin Anthony. Why the hell was he in the book? The story could have been altered slightly and would have been the same without him. At the very least he could have been in the story but didn’t deserve many chapters from his POV.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t waste your time on this one.

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

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

28145767-_uy200_Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Strange the Dreamer #1

Absolutely beautiful! The writing is captivating. The story slowly builds. I admit it took me awhile to get into it, but I was hooked once I got a third of the way in. The world and more specifically the city of Weep is truly unique. It’s a living legend, a place so far off the beaten path that most people no longer believe it was ever real. Lazlo did. He always believed.

I fell in love with the characters! Lazlo and Sarai are the same yet not. They both possess an astonishing level of compassion for others. Neither of them see the world in black and white but in various shades of gray. Lazlo amazed me with his selflessness. He expected nothing from the world. He was happy with what he was given no matter how small. Nonetheless he was a dreamer with high hopes for fantastical things. He didn’t aspire to be great or do things to make a name for himself. Everything was done simply because it was the right thing to do.

Sarai broke my heart. For many reasons, she believed she was a monster, but at the same time, she knew monsters didn’t have to do monstrous things. Sarai knew from experience what it felt like to be an outcast, to be viewed as evil just for existing. Nothing she did mattered because of what she was.

“She saw only what humans would see. Not a girl or a woman or someone in between. They wouldn’t see her loneliness or fear or courage, let alone her humanity. They would see only obscenity. Calamity.”

Her power allowed her to get into the minds of anyone in the city giving her a diverse perspective no one else could possibly have. The more she learned about the people who hated her the more she empathized with them because they suffered just like she did. And that is the core of this story: hatred and how it changes people, even good people.

“Good people do all the things bad people do, Lazlo. It’s just that when they do them, they call it justice.”

The story has many layers but not a lot of action. It’s about the characters and what caused them to be the people they are and how all of them developed their extreme positions. Many of the gods secrets remained hidden at the end, all of which I’m sure will be revealed in the next one. The end was devastating. It ripped out my heart and stomped on it. However it didn’t leave me without hope, but I was not expecting things to do down like that.

The Heartstone Thief by Pippa DaCosta

32cc464f6ff9393819fdfb30b0b65b13Rating: 3.5 stars

Most people believed magic was nothing but a fairy tale. Those who used it were killed. Curtis Vance wanted to forget about magic and those who control it. After meeting a sorceress with some special skills, he was forced to face his past. She convinced him to help her find something rare. He didn’t help her out of the goodness of his heart; he was a thief after all.

The world building was great! There was a constant stream of new things to learn about it. I didn’t want to put it down because I wanted to find out more. It was action packed with one crazy thing happening after another. The characters were deceptive, so it hard to gauge who Vance could trust.

The reason I didn’t rate this book higher was because of the characters. Vance and the sorceress were the main ones. I liked Vance. He was intelligent and could manipulate others to save his own ass. It was kinda hard to believe the guy had lived so long because he couldn’t do shit to save himself when physical skills were required. The sorceress was fascinating because I never knew what her ultimate goal was. She did enough good things that I wanted to trust her, but she had too many secrets. My biggest issue with her was her lack of personality.

The plot was entertaining, and I liked the direction the story went in at the end. It’s unfortunate this is a standalone. The plot was wrapped up, but it’s a shame to develop such an interesting world and only get one story about it.

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