Review: Fortuna Sworn, by K.J. Sutton

Fortuna Sworn started with an interesting order of events in the first two chapters. Instead of the common ways action -> world building during action -> more action or world building on a regular day -> action, K.J. Sutton chose for action with little world building -> regular day with more world building -> LOOOOTSS OF ACTION. I liked that. It was refreshing.

I started this book with no expectations because I prefer going in blindly. It was already visible in the first chapter that Fortuna Sworn is a badass as she kicked some goblin’s asses and escaped certain death. After getting a lead on the whereabouts of her brother Damon, who has been missing for two years, Fortuna does everything she can to bring him back. But has she risked too much by doing so?

After a few chapters, I noticed that this book is dark. Really dark. Fortuna Sworn includes slavery, possible Stockholm Syndrome, graphic violence and a seriously toxic relationship. The graphic scenes mainly happen at the begining of the book, so if you really want to read the book but aren’t a fan of graphic scenes I recommend pushing through.

Fortuna Rising actually had some major ACOTAR vibes. So if you’re looking for books similar to ACOTAR and don’t mind a darker twist, DING DING this is your book! K.J. Sutton has created a special world with so many interesting characters (especially Collith and Laurie). I can’t wait to start in the next book: Restless Slumber!

Next read: Pax, by Sara Pennypacker

P.S. Check out this amazing fanart of Fortuna and Collith by Salome Totladze! (morgana0anagrom on Instagram)

Review: Dragon Rising, by M. Lynn

I’m so glad I was able to read an ARC of Dragon Rising! It’s a Mulan inspired story, but with a huge twist, because being a woman pretending to be a man isn’t the only thing that Hua Minglan has to hide.

When reading the note from the author before starting the story, I came across the following sentence:

Also, please forgive the addition of live dragons. Those did not exist in ancient China.

That was it. That was the moment I had high expectations. Not only showed M. Lynn that the had a good sense of humour, but the book WOULD HAVE DRAGONS!!!!

I expect you know what happens in Mulan. In Dragon Rising, Hua and her family are invited for the festival of the dragon by the new emperor of Piao. Everything is going fine during the festival, until the Kou attack and Hua’s sister is killed. Afterwards, Hua wants nothing more than to get revenge for what happened to her sister. So, as you probably know from Mulan, she pretends to be a man and joins the army to wage war against the Kou.

Jian is the commander of the Piao army. After most of his men died in a trap set by the Kou, he started training new recruits. Despite being an honorable man, rumours are going through the camp that he deliberately lead his men into the trap. Because of this, Jian is struggling to keep the confidence of his men, while also dealing with his past.

Dragon Rising is a well-written retelling. All of the characters have a lot of depth and the character growth is amazing. I love the twists M. Lynn gave to the story. I haven’t mentioned them all, so you should read the book for the rest of them!

P.S. If anyone knows other Mulan retellings, please tell me. I need more.

Review: The Hunt, by Frost Kay

I really should stop reading books during my exams, I just keep procrastinating. Even though Frost Kay potentially ruined my grades by writing this book and allowing me to review it, I want to thank her for providing me with an ARC of this book.

The book starts with the history of The Twisted Kingdoms: it states how a world where Elves, Shapeshifters, Giants, Dragons, Humans and Merfolk used to live in peace with each other, but then grew hostile towards each other.

17-year-old Tempest has been training almost all her life to become a Hound: the king’s assassins and warriors. If she passes her final trial, she will become the first female Hound in the history of Heimserya, the land of the Humans.

After making a dangerous bargain with her King, Tempest had to infiltrate the enemy and kill The Jester, their leader. But in The Hunt, Tempest learns that she never knew everything that was going on. She discovers things that make her question everything she stands for. Do Tempest’s loyalties lie in the right place?

I ADORED this book. The Hunt was incredibly hard to put down. I really connected with some of the characters and it’s been a while since I’ve felt that way. The only thing that troubled me a little was the world building. Kay started the book wonderfully with the History of The Twisted Kingdoms, but she hardly explained the world and its inhabitants throughout the book. That made it hard to follow at some points. One example is that the book mentions shifters, but I can’t remember it being explicitly stated that they can shift between an animal form and a human form. It took me a while to figure that out.

Next read: Moonburner, by Claire Luana

Review: Finale, by Stephanie Garber

SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN’T READ CARAVAL OR LEGENDARY!!!!

I started Finale with high expectations. Caraval and Legendary managed to take me away to a magical place, and after finishing Legendary I couldn’t wait to start Finale. Now that I’ve read the last book in the trilogy, I’m happy to say that Finale definitely lived up to my expectations.

The story picks up a few weeks after the Fates have been freed from the Deck of Destiny and Legend claimed the throne of Valenda. Scarlett has been writing Count Nicolas D’Arcy while Julian was away. Donatella is being visited by Legend in her dreams every night, where Legend is urging her to accept her prize for winning Caraval. Meanwhile, Scarlett and Donatella are waiting for their mother Paloma (or should I say Paradise?) to wake up.

So let’s start with Legend. I didn’t know what to expect after Dante revealed himself as Legend. Would his personality change a lot? Is there a future for him and Donatella together? What will happen with Jacks? Well I don’t want to spoil anything, but all I’m saying that I wasn’t amused. To be honest, Finale definitely made me lose my interest in Legend. He didn’t have a mysterious aura around him anymore. Jacks on the other hand? Well I only started to love him more. Jacks is a wicked, complicated character and I love that. The way he handles things is thrilling, even though the things he does are horrible.

I believe Donatella stayed the same throughout the series. I didn’t notice any character growth, but I might be wrong. I still love her daring personality, willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish her goals. I didn’t enjoy reading how she kept going back to Legend, without barely any effort from his side.

Scarlett really did grow some balls after Caraval. I enjoyed reading about her again, after having a minor role in Legendary. I was definitely impressed when she announced the contest between Julian and Nicolas (even though she wanted to call it off later). Scarlett showed in Finale that she was more than willing to put herself in dangerous situations to save her loved ones and to keep Valenda safe from the Fates.

I would definitely recommend the whole Caraval series. It is one of the only series where I always feel sad after finishing each book, because I have to get back to reality. If you loved the magical world of The Night Circus but prefer a faster paced book, Caraval is a perfect choice!

Next read: The Hunt, by Frost Kay

The Frost Eater, by Carol Beth Anderson

Release date: January 28th, 2020   
 
First of all, I thank the author for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book! I absolutely DEVOURED it despite having exams.
Nora is a 17 year old frost eater (woops, excuse me, ice lyster*) and is next in line for the throne. Her father, the king, is an honorable man and Nora and her father love each other dearly. During a tour, Nora meets Krey, an ice and feather lyster. Nora invites him with her to the palace, so he can get an apprenticeship with master lysters, and more importantly, become her friend. Krey agrees with an ulterior motive of his own. He wants to save his girlfriend Zeisha, whom Krey believes was kidnapped.
The world and its magic system were very well written. Not everyone has powers, and the powers only work after people eat certain types of fuel. Ash eaters have to eat ash before they can create fire, feather lysters have to eat feathers to be able to fly, and healers have to drink blood of Anyarian animals before they can heal injuries. The fuel doesn’t replace regular food. It was unique and I haven’t found a similar magic system yet. Everything was explained very clearly.
Despite this being a very different world, I found myself connecting with the characters. Their reactions to several events and reveals are logical to me and match with their age. And the book mentions needing to pee and having periods and needing tampons! I never noticed how much I miss these little things when reading other books, until I read The Frost Eater.
And most importantly, THE BOOK HAS DRAGONS
 
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Carol Beth Anderson, please hurry up with the second book because I needed it like a week ago. (And please keep mentioning Ovruns muscles because I really enjoy imagining them)