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Review: Siege and Storm

siegeTitle: Siege and Storm
Series: The Grisha (#2)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Pages: 432

First Line: “The boy and the girl had once dreamed of ships, long ago, before they’d ever seen the true sea.”

“Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.” – from Goodreads

My thoughts: I’m feeling really “meh” about this whole series actually. It makes it kind of hard to review. I don’t really care about it. I still don’t really like Alina, and I don’t really care what happens to her. I was happy that there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of “triangle” to the love triangle at the end of the first book (sort of)… but then OH A NEW MAN. He must be pretty and nice and perfect for her. BAM ANOTHER LOVE TRIANGLE. And honestly, it’s been a little while since I finished this, and most of what I remember is the love triangles and there might be a fragment of action holding on to a memory spot in my brain. Anyway, it’s not that it was terrible, but I just feel like it has the potential to be so much BETTER. I mean, she’s the f-ing SUN SUMMONER. DO SOMETHING AWESOME! I’m still going to continue to read the series when the next book comes out, but I expect more, Bardugo. More action, less angsty romance.

My Ratings:
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Subject: 3/5
Kept me interested: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Review: The Rithmatist


Title: The Rithmatist
Series: Rithmatist (#1)
: Brandon Sanderson
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Pages: 378

First Line: “Lilly’s lamp blew out as she bolted down the hallway.”

This is a fantasy book in which grown men and women draw shapes and figures in chalk. In fact, some students in Joel’s school are there specifically to learn the skill, which is called Rithmatics. Joel has a great interest in Rithmatics and understands the principles of it more than some of the students chosen to practice it. But in the case of his drawings, they simply stay chalk drawings on the ground, whereas when a Rithmatist draws the chalk figures, they come to life and fight. The Rithmatist students at Armedius Academy are training for service in Nebrask, where they defend against the wild chalklings that are trying to escape and attack more of the American Isles.

When Rithmatist students start mysteriously disappearing, leaving behind only blood trails and the remnants of a Rithmatic chalk battle, Joel finds himself using his interest in and knowledge of the practice to try and help solve the crimes, along with the quirky Professor Fitch, and his new friend Melody, a struggling Rithmatist with a penchant for unicorns.

My thoughts: Yes, the magical element in this book is two-dimensional chalk drawings that come to life when drawn by certain people called “Rithmatists.” It doesn’t actually sound that exciting, but it is! I enjoyed the different defense drawings and explanations throughout the book. There is strategy involved in Rithmatics practice, and it’s interesting that Joel is so good at it despite the fact that his drawings can’t actually come to life. I have heard great things about Brandon Sanderson, and I’m currently reading the Wheel of Time series, which he finishes (although I’m still near the beginning of the series so it will be a while before I get to his writing in that). I figured a new fantasy YA book by him would be worth reading. This book would be good for anyone interested in dipping their toes in some fantasy, or who likes magic, strategy and drawing.

My Ratings:
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Subject: 4/5
Kept me interested: 4/5
Overall rating: 4/5


Review: Shadow and Bone

shadowTitle: Shadow and Bone
Series: The Grisha (#1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Pages: 356

First Line: “The servants called them malenchki, little ghosts, because they were the smallest and the youngest, and becuase they haunted the Duke’s house like giggling phantoms, darting in and out of rooms, hiding in cupboards to eavesdrop, sneaking into the kitchen to steal the last of the summer peaches.”

“The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?” – from

My thoughts: Sometimes after reading adult fantasy, YA fantasy is a little too… I don’t know… simple, for me. But I still did like this one, although sometimes Alina got a little bit on my nerves. I think Ms. Bardugo did put a little too much emphasis on physical beauty, although maybe that’s some kind of theme I didn’t really pick up on. I tire of love triangles, although at least this one wasn’t that hard to decide on in the end! I don’t think that’s a spoiler… Anyway, aside from all of that, I did enjoy the book. There were enough twists and turns to keep me into it, and I’ll definitely pick up the next one.

My Ratings:
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Subject: 4/5
Originality: 3/5
Kept me interested: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Review: City of Lost Souls

lost soulsTitle: City of Lost Souls
Series: The Mortal Instruments (#5)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Pages: 535

First line: “Simon stood and stared numbly at the front door of his house.”

“What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?” – from

My thoughts: I didn’t really connect with the fourth book in this series, but I will say that I felt this one was an improvement. I still hate that Clary and Jace can’t just EVER have a normal relationship, but at least there seemed to be more going on in this book than in the last one aside from that. Sebastian made an interesting character, and I was interested in Simon again. I didn’t really like the conflict between Magnus and Alec, but I guess there has to be more drama than I find necessary. Anyway, as I said, I think this book was a lot better than the previous one, and I will be willing to read the next one when it comes out.

My ratings:
Writing: 2.5/5
Characters: 3/5
Subject: 3/5
Originality: 3/5
Kept me interested: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5