Size Doesn’t Matter: Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger (3)

Size Doesn’t Matter: Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger (3)Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Published by Del Rey on May 19, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 435
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted
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four-stars

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Uprooted has been hyped to the skies and back and then back to the skies. I maybe should have waited for the hype to settle a bit before I ventured. I mean, it’s no tragedy, because I do think the book is really fabulous, but it also wasn’t the shippy be all end all feelsplosion that I was hoping for. Sorry, Gillian (Writer of Wrongs) and everyone else I’m disappointing.

For all that, I did totally eat up this book. I read it all in just a few hours from cover to cover. It enraptured me utterly. I was spellbound by the magic and the prospect of the ship and the world. What awed me most was the magic, I think. There are a lot of magical systems that have been invented by authors throughout the years, and I’m always really impressed when one feels like something new to me.

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The plot takes some turns along the way, eventually ending up sort of where I expected but not at all in the manner I expected whatsoever. This book surprised me over and over again, which is something I always really like. It was darker and more hopeful both. Also, boss women getting shit done hollaaaaa.

So about the ship. At first I totally didn’t see it, and then a thing and then OMG SHIP IT and then….nothing. For a long time. And then SHIP. And then that’s pretty much all that you get. I just wanted more. What was there was good but left me sort of unsatisfied ship-wise. I like a little bit more time with the ship when the world isn’t on the verge of ending.

I realize this is sort of a mess of reactions, but the point is that you should read it for sure. It’s a really great book, hype aside. Acquire a copy and save it to read later if you’re feeling too much pressure now. I know I’ll be rereading mine a couple years down the road to see how it hits me then.

Size Doesn’t Matter: Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger (3)Voice of Gods by Eleanor Herman
Series: Blood of Gods and Royals #0.5
Published by Harlequin Teen on July 15, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Short Stories, Historical
Pages: 122
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Goodreads
four-stars

s the end of an age approaches, gods whisper horrors, families scheme for power, and one woman may hold the secret to a lost legacy.

At 19, Ada of Caria yearns to take the Snake Blood throne from her mad older siblings—and seeks the help of a young orphaned girl named Helen, the first True Oracle to have walked the earth in more than three hundred years.

Helen may be able to channel the voice of the gods, but she hates her gift, and will do anything to get rid of it—even lie to her best friend, Myrtale, the priestess-princess of Epirus who is destined to marry King Philip II of Macedon even though she loves another. And in the shadows lurks a handsome green-eyed stranger who has more at stake—and more to lose—than anyone could possibly imagine.Amid jealousy and heartbreak, torrid affairs and secret rendezvous, it is spoken by the gods that either Helen or Myrtale —newly named Olympias— will carry the destiny of the known world within her womb.

The prequel to LEGACY OF KINGS, VOICE OF GODS traces the intricate web of love and betrayal that led up to the birth of history’s most powerful leader, Alexander the Great.

Based on how badass this prequel novella is, Legacy of Kings is going to be off the hook. I’d downloaded the novella on a whim because it was free and, when I was about to start, I remembered I had it and decided what the hell.

Generally, I feel like novellas were sort of a waste of my time, but Voice of the Gods was different. The world building, the magic, the darkness all set the stage for what’s to come. Plus, there’s an actual plot which often there isn’t.

Voice of the Gods centers on Ada, an oracle, possibly the only true oracle. She meets a lot of important people and goes through some seriously rough stuff. Her big prophecy about Alexander is what the series is going to be about, and the main characters here are the generation above the main characters for the rest of the series. I figure knowing the adults will make the whole thing way more intense. This ought to be EPIC.

Size Doesn’t Matter: Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger (3)Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham
on May 19, 2015
Genres: Mystery, Romance, Paranormal
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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Goodreads
one-half-stars

Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic fifteen-year-old, ready to take on crime in her hometown. When Scarlett agrees to investigate a local boy's suicide, she figures she's in for an easy case and a quick buck. But it doesn't take long for suicide to start looking a lot like murder.

As Scarlett finds herself deep in a world of cults, curses, and the seemingly supernatural, she discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks...and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father's murder.

Jennifer Latham delivers a compelling story and a character to remember in this one-of-a-kind debut novel.

Chalk this one up as a major disappointment. I was promised a diverse Veronica Mars, and instead I got a paranormal that reads more like a middle grade and doesn’t feel the slightest bit like VM.

The font in Scarlett Undercover is huge, perhaps so that it will even read 310 pages of actual story. The large font immediately made Scarlett Undercover feel more like a middle grade than a YA, and the writing and voice only aided this feeling. Scarlett’s sixteen (according to the book, though the blurb asserts she’s only fifteen so umm what) and she has an office where she works as a Private Investigator. Yes, she’s a fifteen year old private investigator with her OWN office. Based on some very brief internet research, she would need to be licensed and likely at least 18 years old. Suspension of disbelief issues ran high for the entire book. Still, I would have been willing to let this slide if she seemed like the prodigy she supposedly is, having tested out of high school already, but she doesn’t. And yet somehow she even gets hired by the police department sometimes. Um, yeah, okay.

Scarlett’s client is Gemma Archer, a younger girl, perhaps ten. She came to Scarlett because she found one of Scarlett’s business cards in her school’s bathroom, because that’s how Scarlett does her advertising. No, seriously, she put business cards all over the bathrooms of local schools rich kids attend. HOW IS THIS A REAL BUSINESS? THIS IS CREEPY.

Anyway, Gemma thinks her brother is acting weird, so Scarlett needs to be on the case. Things quickly take a turn to the paranormal that I do not like one bit. I made so many faces at this book.

The characterization is laughable. Scarlett’s probably the best developed but I know very little about her really. Her parents died, her sister’s going to medical school, she’s lax about praying, and she private investigates. She tries to talk like a noir gumshoe but her voice didn’t really work for me at all. Her love interest Deck is tall and works in his mom’s diner. Her sister wants to be a doctor and for Scarlett to stop private investigating (probably because she’s doing it illegally because sixteen year old kids cannot have PI licenses???). The villains feel like they escaped from a Scooby Doo episode. Wait, that’s it. The whole thing kind of feels like a Scooby Doo episode, only one that takes itself really seriously. There’s even a loyal dog friend.

Despite the fact that I was bored and unimpressed the whole way through, I was going to rate this one two stars because eh it might not just be my thing, but I dropped it a star rating for the needless animal violence. The loyal dog friend is badly wounded but saved. Four other dogs however are brutally murdered. Those dogs did not have to die for the plot to unravel the way that it did, so it was clearly just for shock value.

Size Doesn’t Matter: Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger (3)Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron
Series: Heartstrikers #1
Published by Author on July 14, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 315
Format: eARC
Source: Author
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three-half-stars

As the smallest dragon in the Heartstriker clan, Julius survives by a simple code: keep quiet, don’t cause trouble, and stay out of the way of bigger dragons. But this meek behavior doesn't fly in a family of ambitious magical predators, and his mother, Bethesda the Heartstriker, has finally reached the end of her patience.

Now, sealed in human form and banished to the DFZ--a vertical metropolis built on the ruins of Old Detroit--Julius has one month to prove that he can be a ruthless dragon or kiss his true shape goodbye forever. But in a city of modern mages and vengeful spirits where dragons are considered monsters to be exterminated, he’s going to need some serious help to survive this test.

He only hopes humans are more trustworthy than dragons...

Given that I just read Nice Dragons Finish Last a year ago, I’m actually pretty happy with my original review. It’s still a super fun read, though it lacks the intense ship and action-packedness of the Paradox trilogy. I reread this one to prepare for the sequel, which I’m reading next. So yeah, check the review link for my thoughts because I don’t really have anything new to say. I am glad I reread to remember the characters, and I’m excited for book two.

Size Doesn’t Matter: Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger (3)George by Alex Gino
Published by Scholastic on August 25, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
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three-stars

BE WHO YOU ARE.

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl.

George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part . . . because she's a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte -- but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

I’m so happy that George exists. It’s going to be amazingly important for young kids who never had any way to quantify why they don’t feel right in the body they were born in. It will also be so important for other kids to gain understanding and empathy. Books like George pave the way for greater tolerance and acceptance.

As an adult reader, much of George skewed too young for me. George is ten and the novel very much reads young. That’s not a bad thing, but I tend to like the fancy schmancy middle grades, and this one’s on the younger end of the spectrum. It’s a cute story that will have special interest for anyone who really loved Charlotte’s Web as a kid.

 

5 responses to “Size Doesn’t Matter: Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger (3)”

  1. I’m super super curious about Legacy of Kings (and the novella). I’ve heard really mixed reviews from trusted sources so it looks like I’ll have to read and make up my own mind haha. But I’m glad the novella was so badass! It’s rare that I enjoy novellas or find them necessary to the story.

    I can completely see where you’re coming from with Uprooted. As much as I did ship it (I think I burst into flames at the ONE PART towards the end. You know which), I would have liked more because who doesn’t want more romance and ship moments?! And you are spot on with the magic system. It was really unique and I loved how her powers were different yet complimentary to his. I also super loved the Wood mythology and how the story unfolded. It was really lovely and dark, definitely rereadable.
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    • Christina Franke says:

      Okay, so I’ve given some thought to Legacy of Kings and why I think it’s awesome and most people haven’t been fans. Herman’s coming from writing adult non-fiction, and her writing style sort of bears that out. It reads much more like an adult fantasy and the narration is distancing. I’m not sure if starting with the novella helped ground me and make me care or not, but I was a big fan obviously.

      Oh yeah, the Uprooted romance scenes were super hot and I totally ship it, but I just expected MOAR SHIP. That’s really the only problem that I had. Expectations are the worst sometimes.

      • True, I loved her two non-fiction books. That’s good to know it feels more adult with the perspective, I’m sure that threw a lot of people off. It’s not offputting to me to know going in, but it would have been a surprise otherwise. I hope I like it!

        Expectations are totally the worst. I’ve saved a bunch of coveted sequels to read bc the hype machine was intense. I needed some space haha.

  2. Lyn Kaye says:

    I’m glad that you enjoyed Uprooted (I’ll even forgive that you didn’t ship it….sorta, kidding). I’m glad that there was a lot more to enjoy besides the romance – the relationship between friends, the world building, the magic – this book catered to so many people, and it just seemed to work.
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    • Christina Franke says:

      Hey now, I totally shipped it. I just thought there would be a bit more of the ship to ship. :-p I mean, I very much appreciated the not romance stuff but, with all the hype, I expected a bit higher romance quotient. *sighs*

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