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review 2017-05-21 15:14
Audio Book Review: Fall of Thrones and Thorns
Fall of Thrones and Thorns (Threats of Sky and Sea) (Volume 3) - Jennifer Ellision

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Bree and her friends have come to help Nereidium stay safe from King Langdon and his Ruin Reaping. But as everyone's trying to adjust to the life altering news shared, they learn that Nereidium is suffering from new troubles of their own - earthquakes. Could it be that King Langdon has found an Earth Shaker and looking for their hidden land. King Langdon needs to be stopped before he gains to much power and destroys more than his own lands.

The writing sounds so poetic in how the moment and feelings are described as we open on the beach with Bree and her friends. Grace's narration keeps a rise and fall to the words and sentences that adds to the feeling we get. Very beautifully written.

Grace feels to put a lot of thought in the story as she voices the characters. The sentences flow neatly together, making us feel as the scene and words are together in thoughts. No sentence or words, unless needed to be, feels to stick out as an extra addition. I like this flow. But, with this strong thinking also comes a feel as though the pacing is slow with the drawing out of the words. This was an easy fix for me as I bumped the speed a quarter to keep going a bit faster.

We start at the exact moment Riot of Storm and Smoke ended.

Everyone's lives are changed coming into this book. Bree's true self is known. Which also goes to say for Aleta as well. Caden left his father, the king, and his land. There are so many possible ways this could play out, and for the good in coupling way. But these are drastic, sudden changes.

We also start to get to know new characters that are from Nereidium. In the beginning, Lady Helen seems nice and could be easy for Bree to talk and work with. I feared she would turn on Bree as others had in the past.

We start to see there is more at work than just people and Elementals. The Makers are gods/goddesses that are believed in (though not truly called gods/goddesses) have an influence in what's happening too. They have attempted to contact those of our group in different ways, some ways that may not be direct. It was a gradual draw to this through the books, but we get there and I like it. Though, if the balance in the world doesn't come to an even keel, the Makers may let the world go. I enjoyed this story as we get a connection to the Water Element and gods/goddesses in the world.

We move through time quickly with this book. We get the telling how many days or weeks have passed as we start into each chapter, if time has passed. There are times we don't get a time frame but know they've crossed sea or land to be to a destination point.

We get the story from Bree, Aleta, and Caden's POV. As all in their group are important, these three are the one's impacted the most and have connections we need to know about. Their feelings and knowledge is very important in how things will play out in the end. Bree grows up in this book, growing into a strong young woman. Aleta, strong as she is, has a brief fall but her determined personality returns and she moves on. Caden still has things to work through as he hasn't faced his biggest. Things come together and work, mostly, out after they all fight for their lives and countries.

There were are few moments with these characters that felt breezed over and not 100% believable for me. The separation from Bree, they didn't work harder to see each other and the time frame apart seems long but may not be as long as I got the feel for. They are determined young adults and this seems to not fit for me. Then when they leave Nereidium, the queen is let go easily. Really? After being lost all these years they'll let her leave without argument? Let alone on such a dangerous expedition? Erm... I don't know. I felt these moments could have been strengthened.

One big fight for part of the crew is very neat as it's a battle of Elementals, nature and humans fighting. Lots happening and sounds fast but cool seeing the use of Elemental powers. I've enjoyed seeing them use their powers in small moments and this is bigger and more action.

In the end this was a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. I like where the relationships are left. These are young adults with important lives to live. But where the major arc ends is fitting as well.

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review 2016-08-18 04:05
Death's Gift
The City of Death - Sarwat Chadda

This is even darker than the first book. Ash's problems grow exponentially. He suffers a terrible personal loss that drives him over the edge and forces him to return to the place of origin of his dark powers: India. This time, he is following the trail of Alexander Savage, his nemesis with strange companions, the street thief John and Parvati, a half-demon girl with a very ancient heritage. Ash has to face that the person he was before will never fit again. Too much has happened, and integrating all his past selves into that mundane existence doesn't work.

I know little to nothing about Indian mythology and folklore, but this book fills in a lot of those gaps. Ash has powers endowed by the black goddess, Kali, and that means that he draws from death energies. A horrible thing when it becomes apparent that those closest to him give him even more energy. Ash is learning the cost of his abilities and what powers they give him. He gains the accumulated knowledge of his past lives, but must suffer through the violent memories of those past selves and for them not to take control of him. The people, history, and places of India are vividly illustrated in this book.

Chadda writes excellent action, and there are no opportunities to be bored. Ash is an ideal hero, likable and snarky, and while he's powerful, he has not allowed those powers to give him a sense of overpowering arrogance, knowing how flawed those abilities truly are.

This book isn't for those who balk at seeing young people in danger. Oh, there is plenty of danger for the youngsters in this book. Some blood and guts, but not over the top. Ash and his companions end up in some nasty scrapes, and the bad guys aren't afraid of harming a young boy, or anyone else who gets in the way.

The characterizations are complex and layered. There are no blacks and whites, but instead each person has a little of both inside of them. Ash has to decided what path he will take and what he is willing to sacrifice to defeat Alexander Savage and to gain his greatest hope in this book.

The narrator does an excellent job with the various accents, Indian and British, not stereotyping either. I have enjoyed both books on audiobook and I hope to continue listening to the series in the future.

This series is a distinctive one, touching on a culture that is not often explored in young adult books. While the ending isn't strictly a cliff-hanger, it ends in a way that will make readers eager and ready for the next book, myself included. I'm looking forward to more adventures with Ash Mistry.

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review 2016-07-19 04:01
Welcome to Emelan
Magic Steps - Tamora Pierce

I've been a fan of Tamora Pierce for a long while. She writes strong (mostly female) characters, creates vivid and unique worlds, and her plots are well-paced. I think I've nearly exhausted her collection of works, but I've still got a few series to read yet.

 

Magic Steps is the first in The Circle Opens quartet. Before I go on I should say I'm doing this a bit backwards. The Circle Opens quartet follows the Circle of Magic quartet. I didn't feel like I was missing huge chunks of information by not reading the Circle of Magic books first, the story stands on its own. But if you are anal about that kind of thing, read the Circle of Magic books first.

 

The edition I read didn't have a map in the front (humph) but I've gathered that these stories are set in a world outside of Tortall. So that's cool, the chance to learn about another world! The heroine of this book is Sandry, a young stitch witch. She must help young Pasco learn to control his magic through dance, and at the same time help track down murders using a most unusual magic.

 

Tamora Pierce once again has created a interesting world waiting to be explored. There are new kinds of magic to learn about and new evils. Sandry, still being fairly young, has lots of growing up to do. It will be interesting to see what other challenges she faces later in the series.

 

~Ren

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text 2016-07-13 03:35
Sarah J. Maas adding to Court of Thorns and Roses, Throne of Glass series

Exciting news came out today allowing all of us fellow Sarah J. Maas fans to freak out about.  Entertainment Weekly released an article today saying that the acclaimed series A Court of Thorns and Roses will get six new additions and The Throne of Glass will get two new books.

 

More about the article here:

http://www.ew.com/article/2016/07/12/sarah-j-maas-court-thorns-roses-throne-glass-sdcc

 

 

Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series (Queen of Shadows, Book 4, will be out in September 2015), as well as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series (out 5/5/15).

 


'Sarah lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV. When she's not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.' 

 

The World of Throne of Glass

One of the two new books coming out with this series. According to Goodreads it is the ultimate guide to the Throne of Glass series and the world of Erilea, including an illustrated compendium of characters, settings, magic, gods, politics, creatures, and vocabulary, plus a timeline of events.

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2016-05-22 13:46
Audio Book Review: The Mainframe
The Mainframe (The New Agenda) (Volume 3) Paperback November 19, 2014 - Simone Pond

*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBoom dot com, at my request.

Ava knows Morray will return, but when is what she doesn't know. She's scared she'll lose her daughter, Grace, when he does. Ava's built a wall between her and her family with working non-stop for 16 years at finding Chief Morray through researching journals and searching mainframes. But she's doing it to protect her family she loves so deeply. Now she's got a chance to search the new powerful mainframe for any trace of the man that could destroy everything she loves.

Grace wants to be a soldier like her father, and winning her way into Silicon Valley Academy will be a start, and a way to break away from her mothers protectiveness. Grace wants to live, love, and see the world freely. Her chance to make a life for herself and not living off the reputation of her heroic parents. When Grace realizes her mother will be at the academy too, Grace sets boundaries. But Grace will find she needs to help her mother when she gets lost in the mainframe.

Sarah returns to voice the second book in this series. I like listening to her voice. She fits this world and characters very well with what Simone is putting in words. I love when Sarah does the hologram voices. Holograms have the sound and feel we expect, but it also gives us a great feel for how personal she is with the characters.

If it's been a while since you've read the first book, this one will fill you in at the beginning with what the past was. Enough to remind all readers, YA and Adult, of what the brief history is. I found this story a quick and easy listen.

This book is from the view point of Grace, the daughter of Ava and Joseph, at the age of 16, we also see things with Ava's view too. Ava sounds like she's obsessed and paranoid over Morray returning. She's convinced that he will return, she just doesn't know when or in what body. What is found in Grace's test makes Ava believe without a doubt that he's returned, in a new body. Ava dives into the mainframe to see and investigate. Ava just doesn't know what Morray is after, until it's to late.

The world has changed for the better, but there is still a feel of separation between the Insiders and the Outsiders. It's been said it'll take a few generations before the divide is completely washed away. The world is building on the outside of the city as well as in the city with the walls gone. We get to see this through Grace as she has big plans for herself at the Academy, in Silicon Valley.

We see Silicon Valley with the creation of the world now. It's a blend of old world before Repatterning and new with the technology. When Grace goes on a tour, we get a history of the Repatterning and what happened in the first book along with prequel. Also giving us a view of the city. We even learn of a forgotten city center, Emerald Mountain (which I believe is what is depicted on the cover). When Grace learns of the old city center, she becomes curious of it. Wanting to know if there are people inside, and saving them. But the city is protected by the natives there.

We get to meet a potential love interest for Grace early in the book. Lucas seems so sweet and a great balance for her. We see a few friends, and not so close friends, of Grace as she goes to the Academy and then on her mission to save her mother.

Some of the relationships and events are predictable, what she doesn't want is what she gets, but the story around them are what is interesting and fun.

I found I really enjoyed listening to Grace's story. She interacts with her mother, Ava, like many teens fighting for their freedom with parents, but love them as well. Grace ventures in the worlds and engages with what the world has become around her. Grace even falls in love, a feel that balances the story and feels equal to what we got with Ava and Joseph in the first book.

We end the story with a lead to the next book, which I will be needing as I want to see how things turn out for a few people.

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