Genre: YA Fantasy

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Review: Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast

December 23, 2016 Diversity 0, Reviews 3

Review: Moon Chosen by P.C. CastMoon Chosen by P.C. Cast
Series: Tales of a New World #1
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on October 18, 2016
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, YA, YA Fantasy
Pages: 608
Format: Hardcover
Source: finished copy from the publisher
Goodreads
zero-stars
Chosen to embrace her true identity. Chosen to follow her destiny. Chosen to change her world.

Mari is an Earth Walker, heir to the unique healing powers of her Clan, but she has been forced to turn from her duties, until she is chosen by a special animal ally, altering her destiny forever. When a deadly attack tears her world apart, Mari reveals the strength of her powers and the forbidden secret of her dual nature as she embarks on a mission to save herself and her people. It is not until Nik, the son of the leader from a rival, dominating Tribe, strays across her path that Mari experiences something she has never felt before…

Now evil is coming, and with it, a force more terrible and destructive than the world has ever seen, leaving Mari to cast the shadows from the earth. By breaking Clan Law and forming an alliance with Nik, she must make herself ready. Ready to save her people. Ready to save herself and Nik. Ready to embrace her true destiny…and battle the forces that threaten to destroy them all.

Diversity: -5 – What the Fuck Is This?

Racial-Ethnic: -5 (this is some goddamn racist shit)
QUILTBAG: 0 (one blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gay character; there’s a lesbian couple, but one of them dies soon after being introduced)
Disability: 0 (one blind girl, heavily fetishized)
Intersectionality: 0

This is gonna be a long review and I’m not even covering everything I want to, so I’ve uploaded my notes on Google Drive for easy viewing. Just click the link! All quote citations and page numbers are in that document and based on the US hardcover edition.

Once upon a time, there was Revealing Eden by Victoria Hoyt, a novel that turned white people into the oppressed class and made the white main character donning blackface a narrative necessity. It was rightly called out for racism then and is still ridiculously racist now. If I weren’t already familiar with the Cast family’s brand of racism thanks to their House of Night series, I’d think Moon Chosen was written specifically to out-racist Revealing Eden and all the cultural appropriation and Magical Native American fuckery from the aforementioned series.  Between blackface and all the racial coding, Moon Chosen may actually be the most racist YA novel of all.

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Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

September 2, 2016 Diversity 0, Reviews 1 ★½

Review: Heartless by Marissa MeyerHeartless by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 8, 2016
Genres: Magical Realism, Retelling, YA, YA Fantasy
Pages: 464
Format: ARC
Source: ALA Annual 2016
Goodreads
one-half-stars
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: 0 (Hatter has a thing for Jest, but it falls into old tropes)
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

The gleeful absurdity of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has always been up my alley, but no adaptation of it so far has impressed me. The renowned Disney film annoyed me the many, many times my teacher in elementary school put it on for the class and the live-action film was a boring technicolor nightmare. Heartless made me wonder for a hot minute if the key was to tell the origin story of Queen of Hearts instead, but it turned out to be worse than either film. If I were the Queen of Hearts, I’d want this book’s head in a heartbeat. Read more »

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Review: Entwined by Heather Dixon

August 5, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★★★

Review: Entwined by Heather DixonEntwined by Heather Dixon
Published by Greenwillow on March 29, 2011
Genres: Retelling, YA, YA Fantasy
Pages: 480
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads
five-stars
Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it's taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

Due to a reading slump/me being more interested in video games and trying to get a job, I’ve run out of books to review. Whoops! It’s a good thing there are a ton of posts from my original blog that weren’t imported to WordPress properly, so here’s an old review of a longtime favorite novel: Entwined by Heather Dixon. Enjoy!

Entwined is one of those novels that would have done very well if it were published within the last two years, but it came out before the retelling trend really kicked in post-Cinder. Sad, really. This atmospheric, sweet gem of a book is lost in the backlist. Y’all, go buy this book. You need to experience this book if only for the incredible characters and the strong bonds of sisterhood.

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Review: Guile by Constance Cooper

March 26, 2016 Diversity 0, Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review: Guile by Constance CooperGuile by Constance Cooper
Published by Clarion Books on March 1, 2016
Genres: Magical Realism, YA, YA Fantasy
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: print ARC from Amazon Vine
Goodreads
four-stars
Yonie Watereye lives in the bayou. The water there is full of guile, a power that changes people and objects. Yonie, 16, makes a living investigating objects affected by guile, but in fact it’s her talking cat, LaRue, who has the power to see guile.

Yonie becomes aware that someone is sending harmful guile-changed objects to certain people, including herself. Her investigation becomes entwined with her hunt for the secrets of her mother’s past and leads her to discover dangers hidden within her own family.

In the suspenseful adventure that follows, Yonie and her furry sidekick face challenges that could end their adventuring forever.

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0 (if the characters are POC to go with their Creole accents, it isn’t mentioned)
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

There are some books you instantly know you want as soon as you hear about them. Others need some time to grow on you. Guile was neither of these. To be entirely honest, I requested it on a whim based solely on the fact that one of the major characters is a talking cat. REMEMBER, DON’T FOLLOW MY EXAMPLE. I MAKE BAD DECISIONS OFTEN. Surprisingly enough, this was not one of my bad decisions! Guile entranced me and drew me right into the heart of the Bad Bayous that Yonie calls home. Read more »

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Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

March 24, 2016 Diversity 1, Reviews 0 ★★½

Review: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn HamiltonRebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Series: Rebel of the Sands #1
Published by Viking Juvenile on March 8, 2016
Genres: YA, YA Fantasy
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: print ARC from Amazon Vine
Goodreads
two-half-stars
She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up "wed or dead," Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she'd gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan's army, with a fugitive who's wanted for treason. And she'd never have predicted she'd fall in love with him...or that he'd help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

Diversity Rating: 1 – Tokenism

Racial-Ethnic: 1 (most characters are dark-skinned, but the culture isn’t there)
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 1 (character with a bad leg featured early on, but he disappears)
Intersectionality: 0

This year, I’m trying to be a smarter reader by reading publisher-produced samplers and samples of books I want to read. Then I can get into the groove of the writing and decide if I like how it opens enough to keep going. I save time and money and everyone wins! Well, Rebel of the Sands was one I read a bunch of in a sampler and I expected to come out of the experience in love. Nope. It’s bad, but it’s the kind of bad that comes from the lack of something, not from the presence of something absolutely horrible.
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Review: Kingdom of Ashes by Rhiannon Thomas

March 17, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review: Kingdom of Ashes by Rhiannon ThomasKingdom of Ashes by Rhiannon Thomas
Series: A Wicked Thing #2
Published by HarperTeen on February 23, 2016
Genres: YA Fantasy
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: YA Books Central
Goodreads
four-stars
Asleep for a hundred years, awoken by a kiss. Aurora’s life was supposed to be a fairytale.

But since discovering that loyalty to the crown and loyalty to her country are two very different things, Aurora knows she can only dream of happily ever after. Once the enchanted princess, savior of her people, she is now branded a traitor.

Aurora is determined to free her home from the king’s tyrannical rule, even if it means traveling across the sea to the kingdom of the handsome and devious Prince Finnegan—someone who seems to know far more about her magic than he should. However, Finnegan’s kingdom has perils of its own, and any help he gives Aurora will come at a price.

As Aurora and Finnegan work together to harness her power—something so fiery and dangerous that is as likely to destroy those close to Aurora as it is to save them—she begins to unravel the mysteries surrounding the curse that was placed on her over a century before…and uncover the truth about the destiny she was always meant to fulfill.

Brimming with captivating fantasy and life-threatening danger, the sequel to A Wicked Thing takes Sleeping Beauty on an adventure unlike any she’s ever had before.

Diversity Rating: NA (because I admittedly can’t remember)

Y’all know I’m all about feminism and not all that here for fantasy. For some reason, the two clash more often than I’d like thanks to copy-of-a-copy fantasies that overdo it on the patriarchies (see: Defy by Sara B. Larson, The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons) and I’d rather not choose. WHY NOT BOTH FEMINISM AND ORIGINAL FANTASY?

A little Spanish girl shrugs and asks

Well, A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas gave me both last year and I loved every page of it. Of course I’d hunt down a copy of the sequel! (aka I got one from my lovely friend Dahlia and then ended up with a second copy from YA Books Central.) The more plot-driven, discovering-the-truth nature of Kingdom of Ashes will do a great deal for readers who weren’t fans of the character-driven first book. Plus there are dragons.

A dragon from Games of Thrones get pet.

They aren’t like this one getting cuddled, though. These dragons have reduced an entire kingdom to a single city.

Read more »

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Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

February 18, 2016 Diversity 0, Reviews 0

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 5, 2015
Genres: YA, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal
Pages: 432
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought (Used Bookstore)
Goodreads
one-star
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin--one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin--and his world--forever.

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 1 (Lucien is missing an eye, but it doesn’t do much to impair him)
Intersectionality: 0

Ah, ACOTAR: the book so hyped up by the book blogger community that I waited seven months to read it and kept a lid on my thoughts while I did so. I needed the madness to die down a bit before I felt comfortable touching it; I did the same thing with Mad Max: Fury Road (loved it) and Hamilton (LOVE). Mentioning ACOTAR in the same paragraph as them feels a bit like an insult, though. Sometimes, the hype is absolutely justified. A Court of Thorns and Roses doesn’t justify any of its hype. It just takes tropes I remember from the heyday of paranormal YA and throws them into a fantasy novel. Read more »

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