The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

26032825Rating: 4 stars

Series: The Folk of the Air #1

Think Game of Thrones without sex and less violence with fairies.

It had a slow start. For a while it seemed just like tons of other YA novels about the fae where the lowly human and faerie prince beat the odds and eventually fall in love. That’s where I thought this was going. I was wrong. Halfway through I couldn’t stop reading. The level of treachery impressed me. I had a few things figured out but not all of it.

I’m giving this 4 stars because of the phenomenal plot. It would have been 5 if I had liked the characters. It is told from Jude’s POV. I did not like her and couldn’t relate to her at all. She reminded me of Arya on GoT, but even she is more selfless than Jude. Being angry and bitter caused her to be hellbent on getting vengeance on the people who had wronged her. To stop people from looking down on her, she needed power and lots of it. Jude wasn’t evil but has the potential to be because she wanted power for all the wrong reasons. It could easily corrupt her. Power was a way for her to make her life better, not the lives of others. Her concern for the downtrodden was vastly eclipsed by her concern for herself. Anger and selfishness are two of my most hated traits in people, and Jude exuded them. Her lot in life was not fair, but it is no excuse for the person she became. Despite her claims that she was an excellent spy, clearly she was not. There were many things she did not figure out and could have if she looked beyond the obvious.

Surprisingly Cardan was the only character I really liked. Despite his tendency to be an asshole, he was incredibly charming when he wanted to be. Some of his appeal may be because he wasn’t drawn to power although he was in a position of power. Ironically Jude was like him, the prince she hated. Both were mad at those in their families who had wronged them and took it out on people their own age to feel better about themselves.

There may be a romance later on in the series, but it wasn’t the focus of this. It’ll definitely be a slow burning enemies to lovers romance. It was great that Jude didn’t turn into a complete idiot just because a good looking guy showed interest in her. I was very happy with the ending. Jude’s plan was not sitting well with me, to think that she would subject a young child to that kind of life with no choice of their own in the matter. I am looking forward to the next one to see where it goes from here.

Advertisements

The Breathless by Tara Goedjen

Rating: 3 stars

A year after Ro’s death, the people who loved her were still deeply affected. Her younger sister Mae desperately wanted to know what happened when she died. Unexpectedly Ro’s boyfriend, Cage, showed up at their house wanting to know what happened to Ro which didn’t add up since he was there when she died. Mae was the only one who believed Cage didn’t kill Ro. The two of them tried to figure out what happened when Ro died.

Ro had secrets. Mae knew they had something to do with an old family book. It was filled with vague spells and cryptic writings. Some of the things Mae uncovered from the book and around the house were spooky. All the while she was meeting with Cage while he regained his memories of what happened a year before.

It was interesting at first. The things going on were eerie and mysterious. After a while it was boring because nothing of significance was happening. Although Ro was dead, her presence was strong because many of Mae and Cage’s thoughts were about her. She was a major obstacle in becoming deeply invested in the story. I didn’t like her. Two boys were in love with her and fought for her attention, and I couldn’t understand why. Ro was obnoxious. She used various methods to manipulate people, some of them cruel. She thought she was hot shit and flaunted it. The rest of the characters were one dimensional. I was never invested in their fates.

The ending was lackluster after all of the build up about magic. The key to completing the spell seemed quite obvious to me, so I didn’t get why it was shocking to the characters. There were a lot of little things that weren’t explained in the end. What was up with Fern seeming to be in the know? Why was Lance different after being away for a year? Why did Cage have severe headaches all of the time? The main thing that should have been explained and was not was what happened to Cage during the year he was missing. Leaving those things open ended would have been okay if this weren’t a standalone.

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

510nyozy-xl-_sy346_Rating: 1.5 “I’m too old for this shit” stars

Series: The Iron Fey #2

It was all so stupid. There’s nothing good to say about it. Meghan is a moron. If it wasn’t for her merry gang of followers, she either be dead or someone’s slave by now. Whenever something happens someone always pops up at just the right time to save her. People continually warn her that Fairyland is dangerous especially since she doesn’t know the rules and customs. Apparently she isn’t capable of heeding anyone else’s advice. She makes one mistake after another only digging herself into a deeper hole. Then she seems shocked when the thing that people told her would happen happens.

All of the characters act like petulant children. Meghan is young, so it’s somewhat excusable. Most of them are supposed to be hundreds or thousands of years old. They’re all so rash. Every time their feelings get hurt they immediately lash out. All of them use modern slang and simple language. Maybe it’s wrong of me to expect ancient beings to be more sophisticated and cunning.

Some things didn’t make sense. 1) Oberon asked Mab to release Meghan and let her go with him. She said no, and he was basically like well okay and rides off into the sunset. WTF? He is the king of half of fairyland. It’s pathetic to give up so easily. Shouldn’t someone of his caliber excel at bargaining? 2) Mab said Oberon couldn’t have her back because she made a deal with Ash to come to her. Wouldn’t that bargain have been fulfilled when she went back with Ash? She didn’t specify that she would stay for any length of time. No one ever noticed this. Fae are supposed to be crafty and manipulative and spot pathetic loopholes like that a mile away. 3) When Megan bargained with a fae in the last book and agreed to give up a memory, why is it that she can no longer remember the man she believed to be her father? She got fucking screwed on that deal. IMO that’s a lot of memories that were taken, not just one because someone being in a person’s life for 10 years comprises far more than one memory. None of these crafty fae saw that something was off with that situation either.

The love triangle was one of lamest, most pathetic love triangles ever. It was clear in The Iron King that Puck had feelings for Meghan although it wasn’t brought up. She and Ash lusted after each other. Neither of her relationships with them felt solidified romantically. From the start of this she acted like Ash was the love of her life. He had to put on a show and act like he hated her to protect her from his family. She was too stupid to understand what was going on even though he tried to explain how it was going to be beforehand. She was hysterical half of the time, going on and on about how she couldn’t be without him. It didn’t take long for her to inexplicably develop feelings for Puck, all the while still thinking of Ash. It was resolved at the end and went the way I expected it to, but it would have been so much better if there hadn’t been a bunch of bullshit along the way.

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.

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!

The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire

23383896Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Toby Daye #11

Finally Amandine made an appearance!!! I had been waiting so long for this. It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting. Amandine is formidable woman. She makes the Luidaeg look sweet and sane, and she’s known as the sea witch. I have the feeling this book only showed one side of her personality. As someone who loves psychology, I’m curious to see what makes her tick and why exactly she feels the way she does about Toby. I think there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

Since these books are becoming increasingly character driven, I can’t talk about much in regards to the characters because there would be major spoilers. One thing that made this book very different from the others was the lack of Toby’s usual sidekicks. Quentin was around but not highly impactful on the plot. The other main character was someone from Toby’s past who she detests. I would love to say more, but I was absolutely shocked at how that played out. It was this forced relationship that made the book great.

Amandine forced Toby’s hand and made her look for her long lost sister. In the century or so that she had been missing no one could find her and some incredibly powerful people looked. I like how the whole plot unraveled. The thing I didn’t like was that it was too convenient that Toby was the only person alive with the right abilities to possibly make it happen. The end game of the series has finally been laid out. Based on the few hints that were dropped, it’s looking grim. After all the title of the final book is When Sorrows Come.

Thank you so much to DAW and Netgalley for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!!!