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review 2017-08-18 13:30
Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi
Beasts Made of Night - Tochi Onyebuchi

When I first heard about this book I was immediately interested. I haven't read a Nigerian influenced fantasy before, so I thought that this would be really unique and have some intriguing concepts. I really liked the idea of this book and I was interested enough in the world to enjoy reading this, but there are also a few aspects of this book that I didn't really enjoy.


I highly enjoyed the idea of sin beasts and the aki. It's unique and unlike anything I've ever read before, so I was really interested in that. I would have liked things to be a little more clear with the world building though, like what math has to do with the Unnamed. It wasn't entirely clear to me why the aki are treated so poorly by the Mages and the rest of their society, other than this is what happens. The ideas were great, I just enjoy a little more clarification when it comes to things I'm not really familiar with and especially in fantasy worlds.

 

The main plot wasn't anything out of the ordinary, which was kind of disappointing, but it wasn't boring. I didn't really understand the reasoning behind Taj getting brought to the palace just to be shipped off to train aki. It seemed like an easy was for Taj and the princess to meet, but it didn't really make a whole lot of sense, especially considering how aki are viewed in this society. There was a lot of build up to the ending and most of it felt a little like filler. I wish that the more exciting stuff at the end of the book had taken up more of the story. It wasn't really a rushed ending, but I would have enjoyed it more if it was more drawn out. I haven't seen anything about a sequel yet, but there must be one coming because the ending was a little bit of a cliffhanger.


While the characters weren't bad, they also didn't feel unique. There was nothing that really stood out to me about any of the characters. Taj is super special and it's never really explained why and it doesn't really seem necessary for people to keep saying that. Having a super special main character is something that bothers me because it's essentially saying that this person is important and the hero because they're so special. Taj really cares about his fellow aki, but I didn't really feel a connection to the people he cares about. The romance felt like it came out of nowhere. As soon as Taj and the princess met, it seemed like they were into each other and I didn't really get it. It seemed like Taj liked her just because she was pretty and the princess, which isn't a good reason to like someone.


I especially enjoyed the writing during scenes with the sin beasts. I could vividly picture the beasts and the action that was happening. The descriptions of the world were also very easy to picture. Where the writing fell flat was with the character development. Overall, I did like the story though, which is unusual for me because good character development is something that is usually a must.


I did have a few issues with the book, but as a whole I liked it, mainly because it was so unique to me. If there is a sequel, then I may pick it up, but I won't be in rush. 


*I received this from First Reads in exchange for an honest review

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review 2017-07-04 12:00
Voiceless by E.G. Wilson
Voiceless (Voiceless Duology) - E.G. Wil... Voiceless (Voiceless Duology) - E.G. Wilson

This book was definitely unique and I was instantly intrigued by the idea that the main character had her voice stolen. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but I did enjoy it and I ended up finishing it much faster than normal. 


The world that the author created was really interesting. It took me awhile to figure out that it wasn't set in a made up place, but in New Zealand. There were a lot of words that I didn't really understand and at first I thought they were made up because I know next to nothing about New Zealand. The setting definitely made the book stand out more. I also enjoyed the technology aspect of the world. I loved the idea of the virtual psychoreality simulator because it sounds so cool and something I would be interested in trying if I could. 

 

The majority of the book takes place within the virtual psychoreality simulator and while I think that whole idea was really cool, it also seemed to take up a lot more time than necessary. The beginning of Addy's journey through that virtual reality was a little bit confusing and the chapters involving the house was repetitive to the point where I wanted the book to move on, even though I was interested in the simulation.


Where the story fell flat, was with the characters and particularly with their motivations. The characters were for the most part, fairly well developed, but they were lacking a believable motivation for their actions. Yes, explanations are given, but they aren't really satisfying and it made the characters less real for me. The reason for the Vox Pox disease didn't really seem that clear to me and I was really hoping there would be something more to it, but ended up being a kind of disappointing ending to the plot. 


I'm on the fence about whether I'll continue with the next book. I really wanted to enjoy this book a lot more because the idea seemed so unique and interesting. Plus, I really liked the development that Addy goes through during the story, so if the next one sounds good I'll probably pick it up. 


*I recieved this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-06-23 12:00
Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
Windfall - Jennifer E. Smith

I was really hoping that this book would be my next favorite, but it ended up being kind of blah. I'll admit, I was really only interested in this book because the cover is freaking gorgeous. Those colors just spoke to me and I really hoped that the story would be as beautiful as the cover.

 

The main issue with this book is that it's predictable. Imagine the cliche story about someone winning the lottery and you have this entire book nailed. It has all the elements that someone would usually come up with from the extravagant spending of money, wanting to do something nice for the mom, a gambling father that isn't around, and one best friend in love with the other. Add in the token gay best friend, the fact that the main character is an orphan and I'm sure you could figure out the main plot, if not the entire book.

 

Unfortunately, the predictability of the story wasn't the only downfall. The main character, Alice, was very hard to connect to. She was perfect in every way imaginable, and not in the good way. She spends a lot of time volunteering at soup kitchens, teaching a child to read, and doing various other charitable things. When she is offered a portion of the winnings, without hesitating she turns it down. What kind of person turns down that kind of money, at least without thinking about it first? She then thinks that she has the right to judge how Teddy spends his money and looks down on him for not immediately donating it to charity.

 

The romance was also quite bland. You're supposed to root for Teddy and Alice, but honestly I didn't really care for either of the characters. Teddy was not the greatest friend and it was hard to see why Alice was in love with him. As I said before, Alice spends a lot of time telling Teddy what he should do with the money and it almost felt mom-like, which isn't something you want in a relationship that is potentially romantic. 

 

The redeeming qualities of the book were not many, but they were strong. Strong enough to keep me reading and make me nearly cry. Alice has been through a lot due to losing her parents. There was an underlying theme of belonging throughout the book, that really should have been the center focus. The moments between Alice and her relatives were poignant and heartfelt. Seeing Alice's character develop and accept that she no longer had her parents was something I would have liked to have more of a focus on that.

 

While this isn't my favorite book, it wasn't bad by any means. I wish that certain things, like the romance was less of a focus and there was more of an emphasis on family.

 

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review 2017-06-16 12:00
That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim
That Thing We Call a Heart - Sheba Karim

I was really excited about this book mainly because a lot of the books I read are really lacking in diversity. I really wanted to love this book and there were some parts that I did, but the main character kind of killed some of my enjoyment. 

 

I was not really a fan of Shabnam throughout the book, until maybe the very end, but even then I still didn't really like her as a character. She was selfish and way too obsessed with a boy that she barely knew. She falls in love with Jaime in a very short amount of time and that really put me off from the romance. She was also a terrible best friend and at least she acknowledges this to an extent. The first thing she says to Farah when they start talking again is that she's in love. Not "I'm sorry I abandoned you" or even "how are you?". I really enjoyed the fact that Farah voiced my same thoughts when they talked about their falling out.

 

Shabnam also took it upon herself to scrutinize her parents marriage/romance/sex life and I just found this weird. She had been "in love" for maybe a month so what gave her the authority to say that they weren't happy or in a loving marriage? It seems that she was comparing her relationship with Jaime to her parents', but those aren't really two comparable relationships. I didn't like her father as a character, he just didn't seem to work very well and I guess that was the point, but honestly I didn't really see the point of him behaving that way. 

 

Thankfully, Shabnam didn't ruin the book for me. I absolutely loved Farah and honestly wished that she was the main character. I thought that her self discovery and journey to figure out where she fit in as a Muslim was so much more interesting than Jaime and Shabnam's relationship. She was a badass feminist and so much of what she said was so important. 

 

I also enjoyed the incorporation of poetry throughout the book. It was interesting and unique, especially because I had never encountered that type of poetry before. I also enjoyed the difference between Shabnam and Farah's experiences as Muslims. They both have such a different relationship with their own culture and I thought that portraying that was really important, especially Farah's experience. 

 

The book showed a lot of promise, especially with the side characters. I think that it's something important for people to read, even if it might not have the best main character.  

 

*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! 

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review 2017-06-09 12:00
Talon by Julie Kagawa
Talon - Julie Kagawa

I've been a long time fan of Julie Kagawa and honestly I'm pretty disappointed by this. I was expecting something amazing, especially because I loved her Blood of Eden series. If you want to see Kagawa at her finest I'd skip Talon and read The Immortal Rules


Now, this book wasn't terrible by any means. It was just so freaking predictable that the fun and intrigue was sucked out of it. If I already know how the book will end from the first couple of chapters, there's a problem. The entire story had been done many times before, even with the exact same concept of a dragon and a dragon hunter falling in love. I thought I was going to get a fresh new take on that story, but all I got was the feeling that I'd already read this before. 


I expected a lot more about dragons, considering this book is about a girl than can transform into a dragon, but the majority of the book was spent with all the dragons in human form. I found this very disappointing and if not for the occasional mention of flying and Talon, then you could probably forget that the main character was a dragon because she was hardly ever actually a dragon. A weird thing that I'm a little confused about was that Ember kept referring to the dragon part of her as her dragon and not herself. It was odd because she literally is the dragon, but she made it sound like the dragon part of her was a separate personality.


The romance was ok, if you can get past the insta love. I'm pretty sure, but not entirely positive that Garret and Ember's relationship develops over like one or two weeks, which made their whole situation a little unbelievable. I'm also not entirely sure if there's a love triangle.


Not only was Garret and Ember's relationship predictable, but also the behavior of Ember's twin, Dante, was predictable. He is literally the stereotypical perfect, rule following older sibling, while Ember is the unpredictable, rule breaking sibling. 


As you can see my main problem with this book was that everything was predictable and nothing seemed to really stand out to me. It wasn't a bad book and there were definitely some parts I enjoyed, but this definitely isn't my favorite. I may continue the series because I love the author's other books so much, but I definitely won't have high hopes, like I did for this book.

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