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review 2017-12-03 20:28
Sekret is full of intrigue, supernatural mind-reading, and even a little romance.
Sekret - Lindsay Smith

 

Book Title:  Sekret

Author:  Lindsay Smith

Series:  Sekret #1

Genre:  YA | Historical Fiction | Supernatural

Setting:  Russia

Source:  Kindle eBook (Library)

 

 

 

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Plot:  4.5/5

Main Characters:  3.5/5

Secondary Characters:  3.5/5

The Feels:  3.8/5

Pacing:  3.8/5

Addictiveness:  3.5/5

Theme or Tone:  4.2/5

Flow (Writing Style):  3/5

Backdrop (World Building):  4/5

Originality:5/5

Book Cover:  5/5

Ending:  4/5  Cliffhanger:  Yes.

Steam Factor 0-5: 1

Total:  3.8/5 STARS - GRADE=B

 

 

 

A completely different kind of read for me.  One that starts off at a slower pace but cleverly creeps up on you.  Sekret is a story that's shaped by actual historical events, some you will immediately recognize, like the assassination of JFK. 

 

The Good:  The intriguing premise makes this a notable and interesting read.  Along with the supernatural abilities, that are explained in a way that makes them seem completely natural.

 

The Bad:   I really would have liked the characters to be more relatable, although, towards the end, I did find myself liking them.  Also, the reading flow was compromised due to the many names she called the characters by.  Apparently, Russians have several different names they go by where they add certain endings depending on whether they are male or female, or something like that. The Author explains all this in the beginning of the book with "A Note on Russian Names".  Even with that, though, I still struggled to keep the characters straight.  I wish she would have just called each character by one name, even if it made it less credible.

 

Will I continue this series?  I will have to be in the mood for something like this, but yeah, I believe I will, eventually.

 

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review 2017-02-10 02:19
Awakening - Lindsay Smith

A marvelous start to the second "season" of "The Witch Who Came In From The Cold". Allies-by-circumstance are now looking at each other with suspicion for a variety of reasons. One being that there appears to be a third player in the magic game, competing with both the Ice and the Flame.

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review 2016-04-10 09:00
A Long, Cold Winter
A Long, Cold Winter - Lindsay Smith,Max Gladstone

[I received a copy of this novel through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

Not exactly a novel, as it's the first episode of a serials, containing chapters 1 to 3. Which makes it a bit frustrating, as in, obviously, at some point one wants to know how it goes next. Fortunately, a lot of episodes are already out at serialbox.com

It introduces the major, or at least some of the major players (there may always be new ones in later chapters, after all) of a Cold War fought behind the Iron Curtain, but also behind other front lines, ones that not necessarily follow the former... Which makes, and is hopefully going to make, interesting conundrums as far as the characters are concerned: two people may be on the USSR side as far as their mundane lives go, but one is fighting for the Ice while the other is fighting for the Fire when it comes to magic. This cannot go well, can it?

On the side of Ice, and incidentally of the KGB, Tanya and Nadia are seeking a Prague student whose affinity for magic makes her a target for the Fire. Meanwhile, Gabe, a CIA agent, is trying to do his job while struggling with a little magical problem of his own, that may or may not demand he joins Ice in the end (it'd be that or dying, I suppose). The Fire players are honing their weapons, and independent players are also introduced—not everyone wants to join one side, but can they really remain independent, or will they be terminated at some point?

This first installment was sometimes a bit rough on the edges (some parts veered on mixing points of view—though the Kindle formatting didn't help in that regard, and it was a bit less problematic in the PDF I got). However, as far as introducing characters and setting, this was definitely intriguing, and I'm of a mind to get all the episodes once they're out. Hopefully in a couple of weeks?

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review 2016-02-01 17:38
bysinginglight.wordpress.com/2016/02/01/january-2016-round-up
Dreamstrider - Lindsay Smith

I really liked the worldbuilding for this one, and the overall setup of the characters and plot. I don’t think it’s perfect, but it’s doing some fun, interesting things.

Source: bysinginglight.wordpress.com/2016/02/01/january-2016-round-up
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review 2015-12-09 04:05
Review: Dreamstrider - Lindsay Smith

Published by: Roaring Brook
Source: ARC via publisher
Release Date: October 6, 2015

Dreamstrider - Lindsay Smith | Goodreads

A high-concept, fantastical espionage novel set in a world where dreams are the ultimate form of political intelligence.

Livia is a dreamstrider. She can inhabit a subject's body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. But her partner, Brandt, has lately become distant, and when Marez comes to join their team from a neighborhing kingdom, he offers Livia the option of a life she had never dared to imagine. Livia knows of no other dreamstriders who have survived the pull of Nightmare. So only she understands the stakes when a plot against the Empire emerges that threatens to consume both the dreaming world and the waking one with misery and rage.

A richly conceived world full of political intrigue and fantastical dream sequences, at its heart Dreamstrider is about a girl who is struggling to live up to the potential before her.

 

I'm surprised that Dreamstrider didn't catch more in the YA blogosphere-- it's got such a beautiful message, and should overlap with fans of Shadow and Bone as well as fans of Lindsay Smith's previous novels.

 
On that note, the blend of religious elements, political intrigue, and magic as well as the romance should appeal to fans of Shadow and Bone. Lindsay Smith is also one of the few YA authors whose work seems to highlight political espionage. Of the books that feature political intrigue, most seem to be high fantasy, and even then few that I know of focus on espionage itself. It's wonderful. I love that element in Smith's work, and if you like Sekret and Skandal for that, you should also enjoyDreamstrider. The book builds action fast, especially given the nature of the main character's dreamstriding missions, so it's a good combination, too, of political intrigue, action, romance, and world-building.
 
Dreamstrider takes something as simple as our dreams and fashions an entire society around them: a dreamstrider invading other bodies while their hosts dream; temples of priests devoted to shaping the dreamworld and studying the history fought between the Dreamer (the ultimate god figure) and Nightmare (the ultimate devil figure); theories focusing on how to manipulate dreams and the dreamworld; conversations devoted to sharing each other's dreams and interpreting what messages lie within from their god; and much more. And in taking something simple, Dreamstrider also carries an empowering message - this is tied intricately to the main character's growth arc, and may potentially be a spoiler should I discuss it further, but the message of hope, of fulfilling your own dreams is a strong theme throughout the work... and that inner core is what really made the book for me.
 
As you may have inferred from above, I thought that the world-building was perfect. There were enough details to ground us in the Barstadt Empire (the priests, Dreamer/Nightmare, Hesse's theories, the Houses, class differences, and Writ of Emancipation, etc.), while offering us the opportunity for more in another side novella (the history of the different countries, the first battle between Dreamer and Nightmare, etc.). I've seen it said that you'll come up with more of the world than can be mentioned in your book; this is certainly true of Dreamstrider. While the world-building provided a good backdrop for the novel, so did the romance; always it remained a side plot, fueling the main character's motivation and her character arc and adding emotional intensity but never overshadowing the main plot of political espionage. Livia, the main character, underwent significant growth throughout the novel. Her position as a dreamstrider is uncertain; the Minister for whom she works holds her citizenship papers over her head. At any moment, the life she has worked for and dreamed of might crumble around her feet, but she perseveres despite self-doubt and comes to realize more about herself, her powers, and her world. I already compared Dreamstrider to Shadow and Bone, but really, if you enjoyed Alina's character growth arc and her moment of embracing the light within her, Livia's self-acceptance and self-realization may also appeal to you.
 
Bright with hope and inventive details, Dreamstrider tackles deeper issues like class warfare and historical constructs within an action-packed, intrigue-driven narrative led by a heroine as fierce as she is determined.
 
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