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review 2019-01-21 17:35
The thrilling sequel to ‘Reign of The Fallen’ takes us back to a very different Karthia; this time foreign invaders, political unrest, and Odessa’s relationship take center-stage
Song of The Dead - Sarah Glenn Marsh

This is the thrilling sequel to ‘REIGN OF THE FALLEN’, a novel that introduces us to Odessa, a necromancer in Karthia, where she has the special magical ability of raising the Dead. She is able to cross into the spirit world called the Deadlands, and she also is a fierce fighter; when monsters called Shades start kidnapping Dead nobility, Princess Valoria has Odessa and her fellow necromancers investigate (including Evander, someone who she loves deeply).

Odessa and her friends do all they can but  it’s not enough to save someone she loves; a Shade rips apart and kills Evander, and Odessa turns to ‘potions’ to cope with her loss.

 

Without revealing ALL details of the book (because you need to be reading THAT NOW before you read ‘Song of The Dead’!), by the end of the novel we have Odessa leaving Karthia aboard The Paradise to pursue Evander’s dream of seeing unknown. So where will the sequel lead us?

 

SONG OF THE DEAD

 

With Karthia behind them, Odessa and Meredy are aboard Kasmira’s ship The Paradise, ready to discover new lands and bring word back to Queen Valoria about the new world. They discover a friendly land, Sarral, where people keep dragons, and the Dead only come out at night, and before they get a chance to get settled, news of unrest back in Karthia has them back on their ship sailing for home, their long trip cut short.

Instead of the threats of the past, open borders  means the threat of foreign invaders, on top of political unrest, and Valoria is hoping that one of her mages can create a new weapon good enough to fight it all now that the Dead can’t help them win this battle.

 

While ‘Reign of the Fallen’ was filled with monstrous death and loss on account of the bloodthirsty Shades, giving the book a very dark tone, ‘Song of the Dead’ begins with a feeling of hope despite all that the Karthians have gone through. 

The beginning ocean voyage initially made me feel as though Odessa and the crew were going to be gone long from the difficulties of their homeland, and I was worried that things had got too easy for them (!), but the adventure of this book, while quite a departure from ROTF, quickly takes off. The book actually goes through several different ‘phases’, with the ocean voyage, the time in Sarral, the return back to Karthia, and because of the vivid world-building, you will be easily carried through them, experiencing all the different chapters and introducing new characters along the way.  

 

There is a lot of internal drama due to the political unrest in this book (the Karthians start to rise up against the changes that Valoria wants to make) as well as thanks to the new emotional ups and downs experienced by Odessa. The outside foreign threat and new civil crisis are a great juxtaposition, and I actually it think could be seen as a bit of a gamble when the first book was almost entirely  about the Dead and then they barely appear in the plot of the second. I personally think the gamble works.

 

But the biggest twist of all comes late in the novel, and while Odessa is not having to fight Shades or something as gruesome, she finds herself fighting something harder and puts her life on the line to save everyone. I think this twist is especially clever, particularly with how it ties in with the first novel and how Odessa’s magic works. 

 

At the heart of this exciting novel is the relationship between Odessa and Meredy, despite both of them reeling from the loss of Evander. Author Marsh, who champions LGBT romance, devotes plenty of page time to the complicated ‘keep us guessing’ relationship between the two girls. Marsh also includes a number of other characters with relationships on the LGBT spectrum, and the representation feels positive and realistic and actually as though it’s quote/unquote ‘normal’ (whatever that is!). This is a breath of fresh air, because it just feels like it ‘fits’ and there isn’t a lot of posturing or trying too hard. Marsh just gets it.

 

I am fortunate, nay, blessed, to be immortalized in this book as Baroness Katerina (along with my cat), and then to be acknowledged at the end. I will be forever grateful to Sarah for this. I am also so very sad that my trip to the magical Karthia and the Deadlands is now over, but I enjoyed it enormously. I can’t wait for another bookish adventure at the hands of Sarah Glenn Marsh, and I hope many YA fantasy readers enjoy these two books as much as I have.

 

‘Song of The Dead’ is available from Penguin Teen on January 22nd, 2019!

You can buy it right HERE!

 

*Warning: you will want a pink dragon after reading this book.

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/40125269-song-of-the-dead
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review 2018-03-15 17:43
No dragons despite cover.
Tess of the Road - Rachel Hartman

I got this book off of Netgalley as an eARC.

I have mixed feelings about this book.
It has a strong female protagonist as does Seraphina, however it has the whole rape backstory, which sucks.
So the whole premise is that Tess needs to get away from her mother as she's pretty much abusive and hates Tess for being raped and getting pregnant as the religion of her mom is St. Vitt which is an analog of Christianity.
Tess then gets the opportunity to run away from home and meets up with Pathka, her childhood quigtl friend.
We then find out that quigtl can change their sex so Pathka is now male instead of the female quigtl that Tess knew. This is important as quigtl have the gender neutral pronoun 'ko' which never gets used when talking about Pathka. This really bothered me because there is a correct pronoun and it's not being used.
There's also a homeless man that Tess is horribly cruel to, just so she can have a moment of redemption getting help for him.
After she meets Pathka then the whole book is about her going after ko goal of Anathuthia. After thus it's pretty much set in arcs of what happens. She gets to a place then thing happens, gets to another place and another thing happens. That may or may not be your thing, but to me it felt like it was padding.
Overall it felt as if there was a hatred of women as it was women that seemed to be the ones hurting Tess, even inadvertently, to where she'd run to the arms of a man to seek consoling. This is kind of painful to see for a book that wants strong women. They just don't seem to support each other as much as I'd like to see.

Overall it's not a bad book, but I really wish it wouldn't have done a lot of things it did.

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review 2017-09-03 00:00
Penguin Teen Game-Changers
Penguin Teen Game-Changers - Marie Lu,Kristin Cashore,Stephanie Perkins,Peter Bognanni,Julie C. Dao These little excerpt books are great, and totally can be 'game-changers'. This features five highly-anticipated Fall 2017 Release YA books, and I read this, thanks to NetGalley. I would say it was a game-changer for me, as I changed my mind about some books I'd set my sights on from reading this...

- WARCROSS (this may be the most anticipated book of them all, and of the Fall!) - to be honest, I wasn't totally engaged by the character, and I'm not usually into dystopian/gamer books, BUT there was something about the idea of the hunt, AND just having a hint of 'Back of The Future' for me (I still want to believe there will be hoverboards one day), that made me want to read more. Truth be told, I have preordered this and will be going to Marie Lu's signing next week.

- JANE, UNLIMITED - this has one of those pretty good book setups, where there's a dead relative (I did like that the Aunt was a deep sea photographer!), so there's suddenly a new environment for the protagonist to explore and for the story to be set. But right away I didn't feel hooked by the characters. I think I would have to read more, but from the amount I read, it wasn't really enough.

- THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE - the title is the sort to grab me immediately so you had me there. As for the short excerpt I got to read here, I've worked on too many horror movies to be that gullible...I thought the opening story hook of the egg timer was a little on the obvious side but there you go. I was also then very disappointed in the teens' reaction to a schoolmate's murder; I'm getting a bit tired of this being the clichéd response for teens today. Maybe I need to read more and find out if the teens' reactions change and to find out about the other murders. Plus I DO like that cover, I have to admit.

- THINGS I'M SEEING WITHOUT YOU - the cover of this is absolutely beautiful, I have to say. Stunning. And the title made me think immediately of what I'd say to myself soon after someone close to me had died. I didn't realize when I first saw the title that the book directly is about how the main character Tess reacts to a boy's suicide. I can tell right away that this is probably an emotion-laden read, and is a book that you should probably carefully choose just the right time to hold in your hands and absorb.

- FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS - this excerpt took me the most by surprise, as this book was the lowest on my radar. I loved the setting, the mythology, the language, the interesting characters: right away I was drawn in. I grew up in Hong Kong and particularly love the idea of the setting being in East Asia, which seems to make a change for me. This was a surprise addition to my TBR list after reading the sampler and the one I wanted to continue on with most.

Overall, great sampler! I'll probably end up reading them all at some point but 'Warcross', 'Forest of a Thousand Lanterns', and 'Things I'm Seeing Without You' became definites.
**I was disappointed that two of these books have school dropouts; it seems to be too much of a trend with YA novels.
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text 2015-01-16 21:33
AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir - Excerpt reveal & Giveaway!

Hey GCReaders!

I am seriously sitting here jumping with excitement! MTV shared an excerpt of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir today, and reading it reminded me of why I LOVED this book so, so, so, much!

Good Choice Reading, along with some other amazing bloggers, will be sharing a lot of post about AN EMBER IN THE ASHES leading up to it's release on April 28th!

Penguin Group/Razorbill has also thrown in an awesome prize for one lucky reader! All you have to do is follow along and enter via the rafflecopter. The giveaway is open all month long!


First, here is a little bit about the book that I am raving about...
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Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.


READ THE FIRST TWO CHAPTERS OVER AT MTV.COM 
 
 
 
Pre-order today! 
You won't regret it!
 
AmazonB&NKoboiBooks
 
 
 
 
Leave a comment below telling us your thoughts on the first two chapters! What did you think? 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SPONSORED BY PENGUIN GROUP/RAZORBILL
5 WINNERS WILL BE CHOSEN
 
 
Head over to Good Choice Reading for a chance to win!
 
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review 2015-01-07 00:23
All The Bright and Wonderful and Dark and Horrible and Amazing Places...
All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven

All The Bright Places is just one of those bowl you over, knock you for six books. It is wonderful and heartbreaking and … just …. Arghhh!

 

It’s difficult to write a coherent review because it should be done with the least amount of spoilers as possible. But I want to write about all the amazing and awful things, I am in serious need of an All The Bright Places wordvomitfest (like my new word?). I will try to keep it limited though while still providing you with all the reason to read it – wow reviewing can be hard!

 

All The Bright Places is the story of Violet Markey, dealing with the death of her sister, and Theodore Finch, who has an obsession with suicide that traces back to an abusive and neglectful past but just hasn’t brought himself to do it yet. They meet in the bell tower where Finch talks Violet out of jumping. Two very broken souls come together and it could either be the start of something magical, or something heartbreaking.

 

This book covers some heavy topics – its characters are both dealing with depression of different kinds and when they fall in love they not only have to deal with their own problems but each other’s while never asking for or receiving the help they really need from parents or teachers or counsellors. All they have is what they have found in each other and I spent the majority of the book hoping it would be enough. I have never wanted a fictional couple – or any couple, really – to be together so much and not only that, to be able to stay together against all odds. I wished, unrealistically, for them to fight harder, to want to survive. I hate suicide stories but I read so many of them because I’m looking for not necessarily a happy ending, but an ending that will convince likeminded people to stay. I just want them to stay.

 

Both Violet and Finch were such real characters who felt so alive which I think is why it got to me. They felt as if they could have been people I knew or had once met or even just passed in the street. From their adventures through Indiana that brought out the wandering nature in me, to their poignant moments with each other, to their interactions with their families and peers, everything about them felt real to me. I could have read a neverending book about Finch and Violet. I loved them even when I was annoyed, and when I tried to understand what they were going through but felt like I must have just been missing it, and when I was begging them to stay, I loved Finch and Violet all throughout this book. Jennifer Niven has crafted some wonderful characters and a poignant, moving story I won’t forget in a hurry. There were moments when they frustrated me, especially Finch, as much as I tried to understand him I just wanted to shake him and yell at him to GET HELP.

 

So please, if you ever feel depressed, if you ever experience something like this, like Violet or Finch or even something different – there are places you can go and people you can go to for help. You are never alone.

 

If you only read one contemporary this year, make it this one.

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