ARC

ARC Review- The Bird King

Overall enjoyment: 4/5

World building: 4/5

Characterization: 5/5

Diversity: 3/5

Goodreads Summary:

Set in 1491 during the reign of the last sultanate in the Iberian peninsula, The Bird King is the story of Fatima, the only remaining Circassian concubine to the sultan, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker. 

Hassan has a secret–he can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls?

As Fatima and Hassan traverse Spain with the help of a clever jinn to find safety, The Bird King asks us to consider what love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.

Review

I was given a free copy of The Bird King by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I started this novel with some hesitation. The concept sounded interesting, but historical fiction is hit or miss with me. This novel was definitely a hit. I would say until towards the end the novel is fairly slow paced. I enjoyed it, but if you’re looking for some fast-paced crazy action this generally won’t be for you. The amount of love and care that I felt from this book was incredible. Just the amount of historical facts sprinkled within the novel was wonderful and then the fantasy elements just blended seamlessly together.

World building. The detail described throughout the book is wonderful. I read it and definitely could imagine the world. I’m not familiar with that time period in history or that particular area at the time, but it was easy to imagine. As a speculative novel there wasn’t anything to crazy from our normal world when it comes to governments, religion, etc.

Characters. This is what really sells the book to me. Wilson focuses most of her attention on mostly three or four character at a time and its perfect. Fatima is amazing. A concubine who was educated and uses that to power her through a tough journey. Hassan, our devote Muslim who draw fantastical maps. I don’t want to give a ton away, but I feel like you do get to really see into who these characters are and to watch them grow. They’re messy and imperfect, but there’s just something I find so interesting about all the characters we meet in this novel. Maybe it’s the realism, but I fall in love with them.

Diversity. This books diversity is mainly through Hassan I would say. He’s a devote Muslim who also happens to be openly gay. There are other characters in the book who are also Muslim in the first half of the book. Fatima I believe would identify as Muslim if asked, but she’s not very religious.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The ending left me feeling a little unsatisfied, but I think it was a realistic way to end it and it is probably the best way to end it. Fatima has some great quotes about women that I really enjoyed. I would call her a determined feminist. If you have any interest at all in historical or speculative fiction I would highly recommend this book! It will be released on March 12th.

Reviews

The Fever King by Victoria Lee

Overall Enjoyment: 5/5

World building: 4/5

Characterization: 5/5

Diversity: 5/5

Goodreads summary:

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good. 

Review:

So, I’ve been excited about this book for awhile. Magic as a virus rather than a cool mystical force? I was sold. I’ve had the book for a week or two before finishing up my previous book in order to get started on this book. This book didn’t disappoint and I can’t wait for the sequel! This is definitely a relevant book for the current culture of the USA.

The characters. What I think I love most about Lee’s characters is they all have backstories. We might not have fully gotten all of them in this book, but we’ve gotten hints of them. These characters have had it rough maybe not in all the same ways, but they all have reasons for being the way that they are. Let’s start with Noam. I adore Noam. He reminds me of a student I use to have. He’s young and he’s got big ideas and he’s willing to put himself on the line to accomplish what he sees as needing to be done. A+ character. Then we have Dara. We don’t necessarily get a ton of information about him until the end, but I still like him. He’s been in this whole mess of the plot since he was young and he’s got some serious stuff going on. Then, there’s Lehrer. Wow, this dude. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll leave it at that. If you want characters with sad backstories then you’re going to enjoy this. The one thing I was a little bit disappointed about was Noam and Dara. I wanted more build-up and interaction between them where they weren’t at each other’s throats. The ending with them was amazing, but I’m just not quite sure how they got to that level with each other.

Worldbuilding. This is a dystopian futuristic world with hints of fantasy. I initial started reading this book with the assumption that it was more of a fantasy novel, but it’s definitely more speculative fiction. There’s lots of elements that tie into what elements are currently happening in our own world which I personally enjoyed; especially, in regards to immigrants legal or otherwise. It’s hard to describe without going into too much detail, but Lee took the time to craft an interesting, dark history for her world that really spoke to me.

Diversity. It’s everywhere and I love it! Lee via twitter says Dara is Persian. Noam is a bi man whose half Jewish, half Colombian. There are other characters with other elements of diversity throughout the novel that you’ll find out about as you read, but this is probably the book with the best inter-sectional diversity that I’ve read so far. Major props.

If interested you can buy The Fever King by Victoria Lee here.


Have you read this book? Does it sound interesting? What do you think? Is it on your TBR?

lists

Top 5 Books Featuring Werecreatures

Hello everyone and welcome to this top five list. I love urban fantasy and I really enjoy when they feature werecreatures. Now, I say werecreatures and not just werewolves because some of these books feature other types of weres like werejaguars! Cool, right? I think so. Take a look below and see what you think! Note: These are adult fiction books and can contain explicit content.

  1. The Change of Heart Series by Mary Calmes. These are the werepanthers! It’s a five part book series and totally worth the read. It is sold as a romance series and it is, but it’s so much more than that. These werepanthers have a whole culture and history all of their own. That become more apparent later in the series.

Diversity Note: This story is based on a gay couple.


2. The Green Creek series by TJ Klune. I’ve already review this series when I first started my blog, but I really can’t recommend it enough. The story contains werewolves and kept me on the edge of my seat.

Diversity Note: This story is based on a gay couple


3. The Others Series by Anne Bishop. This book contains a variety of weres though I use the term loosely here. Crows, coyotes, bears, and wolves are all within this series. This series takes the stereotype of werecreature and turns it on its head. I love the world, the characters, everything about it.

Diversity note: I would consider Meg neurodivergent. She has some sensory issues very unique to her character.


4. The Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs. I’m not sure if there are many fans of werewolves that haven’t heard of this series. Mercy is a werecoyote mechanic that has a habit of getting herself into trouble.

Diversity note: Mercy is native american.


5. The Thirds Series by Charlie Cochet. This is a series based on people in a specialized police force. This includes werecats. If you like high stakes and some suspense this is a good choice for you.

Diversity note: This features a gay couple.


So, what do you think? Have you read any of these books? What are you favorite books featuring werecreatures?

ARC, Reviews

ARC Review- Prince of Air and Darkness by M.A. Grant

Release Date: February 25th

At a Glance

Overall: 3/5

Characterization: 4/5

World building: 2/5

Diversity: 2/5

Note: I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Personal Summary: Finn, an all American boy from a small town in Iowa, who has powers beyond his control.

Roark, the prince of the unseelie court, struggling to be true to himself under the weight of the thrown.

Roark and Finn both attend Mather’s School of Magick together and have been uneasy roommates for several years. Finn, is constantly being targeted for his powers and Roark is constantly helping him. This is both their final year at Mather’s and tensions are running high. There’s a war brewing and their growing feelings for each other could be what saves them or the very thing that destroys them both.

Review

I have mixed feelings about this book. I love the premise of the book. I was highly intrigued by the idea of Finn having a power that was a bit beyond his control. What a flaw, right? I loved the characterization of Roark and Finn. They were obviously very different people with different dialogue and tone patterns which is something a lot of books I’ve been reading recently sometimes struggle with. So, I was very pleased with that. I think their behaviors also speak well to their backgrounds and personal histories. But, the world building was sorely lacking. There’s fae and even other patheons all at Mather’s, but it didn’t really play into the story in any major way that I was hoping for. I wanted a lush fae culture that somehow managed to stay hidden in the human world with the help of magic, but if you took out the fact that Roark was a fae and made him human it wouldn’t make much of a difference to his character. He was basically a human with powers. Now, there were tiny bits of world building in the novel with the concept of the knight of the winter court. I thought that was a really interesting idea. The pacing of this book is kinda shaky, but the end of the book the plot definitely picks up and things start falling into place. I enjoyed the last part of this novel way more than I enjoyed the beginning so if you pick up this book I recommend sticking with it until the end. With a note to diversity, our main diversity in this book is the two main characters are gay, but that’s all the diversity we get. Both characters are young white males.

In conclusion, it was an enjoyable, light fantasy read with two enjoyable main characters, but if you’re looking for something new spin on the fae and/or a deep, gritty story then this is not the book for you. If you would like to check out The Prince of Air and Darkness you can find it here.


Has anyone else read this book? Is it on anyone’s TBR? What do you think?

Reviews

Mindblowing! – A Review: Ravensong by TJ Klune

I thought that Wolfsong was amazing, but Ravensong blows it out of the water. If you like Wolfsong you are going to fall in love with Ravensong no doubts and if you were kinda meh about Wolfsong then you should still read Ravensong, because it’s worth it! If stars are your thing 5/5 and I don’t say that lightly.

My Personal Summary: Gordo, the witch with a grudge. Gordo paid for his place in the pack with blood, but though he suffered that wasn’t enough to make the pack stay. He was abandoned and left to keep the territory safe. Now, years later the pack is back and with them Mark, the one who truly broke his heart. While the pack worked together to defeat a shared enemy that isn’t enough for Gordo to forgive and forget. There’s something coming for the pack though and when push comes to shove Gordo has a choice to make. A choice that will affect them all.

This book!!!! I was on the edge of my set the whole read and I struggled to put it down. Now, if you know anything about TJ Klune you know he’s not above making you cry and while I didn’t cry it was a near thing. This book is packed with emotion and when I say emotion I mean you will be drowning in the feels. We get a more detailed version of Gordo’s back story which really starts to make you understand why he’s kinda grouchy all the time. It also really adds to some of our previous characters. Wolfsong painted a picture of all the characters in one way and Ravensong really makes you question whether any one character is all good or all bad. It’s that depth, that grey in the characters that makes me really love them so much. Life is hard and while we might want to think that we can all be good all the time we’re human and we can’t be and neither can Klune’s characters. They do the best they can and then they will deal with the consequences whether good or bad. They’re complex.

A note on diversity. It’s still pretty basic, but there are a few tiny moves. There’s more female representation and we do learn that there is an asexual character which was nice.

Now, the plot. There’s a lot going on in this book. We meet some enemies that we knew were coming and were introduced to a new character we didn’t expect. There’s so much action, so much. I don’t want to give anything away so I won’t really go into it, but the Mark story line is really just a fraction of all that is going on though I would still say it’s the focal point. Oh, and we find out what went on in those three years that He, Joe, Carter, and Kelly were gone for. Now, I was worried about this part taking up too much of the story when I first started reading it, but it’s just enough to really explain what happened to form them into such a tight group. Klune makes you fall even more in love with all these character and don’t worry Joe and Ox along with the rest of the family and friends are still in there too!

The ending, be prepared. TJ Klune always knows how to get you when you least expect it. He leaves you wanting more and I can’t wait for the third book, Heartsong, to come out this fall! Put it on your want-to-read shelf if you’re a Goodreads fan or just save that knowledge in your brain. You won’t want to miss it. Go read Ravensong here!

Reviews

The First Review-Wolfsong by TJ Klune. Amazing!

I bought this book from Dreamspinner Press on a whim thinking it’d be an okay werewolf story which I could enjoy over winter break. Well, I was in for quite the surprise, because this book wasn’t just okay it was so wonderful, so real, and worth every penny (honestly worth more in my opinion). While I’m not a huge fan of the star rating system if that’s your thing I’d say definitely 4/5. If you want a more in-depth review continue below!

My Personal Summary: Ox started life with a father that didn’t believe in him and a mother struggling to make things work.  It didn’t help when his father left and he was alone with just his mother. Things weren’t looking too good until he met a boy. A boy that just clung to him like glue and that’s when a beautiful friendship was born. But, while things start looking up a murder came to town and destroyed what happiness Ox had created. The boy left, running after the monster, and leaving Ox behind. It took three years for the boy to return and when he did he wanted to pick up where they left off. But, three years is a long time to wait and Ox has done what he needed to do to survive. Will they ever be able to reconnect or are they to be forever apart?

Now, I know the summary might not be superb, but don’t let deter you! This book as I mentioned is wonderful! This is a paranormal novel centered on werewolves and TJ Klune does a marvelous job.

Let start off with the characters. Ox, wonderful beautiful Ox. I must admit when I read Dreamspinner’s summary I wondered if maybe this character wasn’t very bright, but no no no. Ox is the lifeblood of this story and it didn’t take long for me to absolutely fall in love with him. TJ Klune does a really fantastic job of giving us insight and understanding into Ox’s life and why he is the way he is. I don’t want to give too much away so let’s talk about Gordo, the witch.  We don’t know a lot about him, but he has a soft spot for Ox and definitely has a major beef with the werewolves. What I enjoy most about this character is that there’s obviously a past there, and a painful one. Klune is giving us a very real person with Gordo and I can’t wait to read more about him (he’s the focus of book 2, Ravensong.) Now the werewolves.

The werewolves while your typically moon-pulled creatures have their own unique ritual that really gives them an enjoyable new spin that sets them apart from werewolves in other stories. The werewolves aren’t the only thing given a spin in this novel and you can be prepared for some fun twists in the book that keep you on your toes.

Now, one of the goals of this blog is to talk about diversity within books and I’d say this book definitely has some basic diversity in it. Many characters in the book are gay which is expected given the nature of the book and there is a tiny bit of racial diversity, but nothing too major.

While there might not be a ton of diversity in this book I still couldn’t recommend it enough as a great piece of paranormal fiction. Be prepared to fall in love, cry, and scream (both with joy and other feelings) as you read this story. So, go my bookworms and read it! You can get it here.