Book Review: The Starless Sea, by Erin Morgenstern

The Starless Sea, by Erin Morgenstern

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Published by Doubleday on November 5, 2019

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, fantasy

Format & Length: e-book, 487

Source: library, purchased

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Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.

A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and each other, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.

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Book Review: Sword and Pen, by Rachel Caine

Sword and Pen, by Rachel Caine

Sword and Pen by Rachel Caine

Published by Berkley on September 3, 2019

Series: The Great Library, #5

Genre(s): fiction, fantasy, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 368

Source: library

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With the future of the Great Library in doubt, the unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone must decide if it’s worth saving in this thrilling adventure in the New York Times bestselling series.

The corrupt leadership of the Great Library has fallen. But with the Archivist plotting his return to power, and the Library under siege from outside empires and kingdoms, its future is uncertain. Jess Brightwell and his friends must come together as never before, to forge a new future for the Great Library . . . or see everything it stood for crumble.

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Book Review: Ninth House, by Leigh Bardugo

Ninth House, by Leigh Bardugo

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Published by Flatiron Books on October 8, 2019

Series: Alex Stern, #1

Genre(s): fiction, fantasy

Format & Length: hardcover, 458

Source: Netgalley

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Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

The mesmerizing adult debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.

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Mini Reviews: His Dark Materials Trilogy

Mini Reviews: His Dark Materials Trilogy

For this set of mini reviews I’m going to talk about the His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman. I’ve been intrigued by this series for some time and after purchasing the ebooks over a year ago, finally decided to dig in and (more or less) marathon my way through them. Here is the blurb for the first book, The Golden Compass (published as Northern Lights in some countries), and read on for my (spoiler-free) thoughts on all three books.

What Lyra likes best is “clambering over the College roofs with Roger the kitchen boy who was her particular friend, to spit plum stones on the heads of passing Scholars or to hoot like owls outside a window where a tutorial was going on, or racing through the narrow streets, or stealing apples from the market, or waging war.”

But Lyra’s carefree existence changes forever when she and her daemon, Pantalaimon, first prevent an assassination attempt against her uncle, the powerful Lord Asriel, and then overhear a secret discussion about a mysterious entity known as Dust.

Soon she and Pan are swept up in a dangerous game involving disappearing children, a beautiful woman with a golden monkey daemon, a trip to the far north, and a set of allies ranging from “gyptians“ to witches to an armor-clad polar bear.

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Book Review: Aleks Mickelsen and the Call of the White Raven, by Keira Gillett

Aleks Mickelson and the Call of the White Raven, by Keira Gillett

Aleks Mickelsen and the Call of the White Raven by Keira Gillett

Published by Keira Gillett on April 6, 2018

Series: Zaria Fierce, #5

Genre(s): fiction, adventure, fantasy, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 286

Source: author

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“Whose white raven is this?”

Aleks Mickelsen is a changeling with diminishing magical powers and a complete nuisance for a new a pet. For the first time in his life, he’s lost. He led his friends to the wrong place. They might joke about there being worse things to face than disorientation, but comparing what Aleks did to the Wild Hunt breathing down their necks (even if the comparison is somewhat favorable) isn’t all that comforting. Hopefully, Aleks can get his head on straight and get them all back on track to fighting Fritjof, otherwise chaos is going to win.

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Book Review: Firstlife, by Gena Showalter

Firstlife, by Gena Showalter

Firstlife by Gena Showalter

Published by Harlequin Teen on February 23, 2016

Series: Everlife, #1

Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, fantasy, romance

Format & Length: e-book, 475

Source: library

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Step one…you die.

ONE CHOICE. TWO REALMS. NO SECOND CHANCE.

Tenley “Ten” Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she’ll live — after she dies. There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death.

In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, long-time enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms that will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she’s drawn to isn’t where the boy she’s falling for lives? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…

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Book Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon

The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing on February 6, 2019

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, fantasy

Format & Length: e-book, 848

Source: purchased

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A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

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Book Review: Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well, by Keira Gillett

Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well, by Keira Gillett

Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well by Keira Gillett

Published by Keira Gillett on July 7, 2017

Series: Zaria Fierce, #4

Genre(s): fiction, adventure, fantasy, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 260

Source: author

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First Aleks’ mom loses the car keys, which he finds in the fridge, and then Christoffer forgets how to get to Aleks’ house. On the surface it doesn’t seem so bad, but events become more disturbing as the day progresses. Something strange is happening in Norway, and Aleks Mickelsen is the only one who can stop it. Too bad for us, the last thing he wants is another adventure.

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Mini Reviews: Duology Sequels – Wildcard, by Marie Lu & Evermore, by Sara Holland

Mini Reviews: Duology Sequels

For this set of mini reviews, I want to talk about a couple duology sequels that I listened to the audiobooks for, specifically Wildcard, by Marie Lu and Evermore, by Sarah Holland. I had listened to the first books in both of these series and really enjoyed them, and after waiting to get my hands on these sequels was hoping they’d live up to their predecessors. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as we hope…

Ready to see the reviews?

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Book Review: The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Published by Ecco on August 28, 2012 (originally published September 20, 2011)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, romance

Format & Length: paperback, 378

Source: purchased

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Achilles, “the best of all the Greeks,” son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods’ wrath.

They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

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