REVIEW: Unearthly Things

Book Review: Unearthly Things
book cover Book title Unearthly Things
Series/standalone standalone
Author Michelle Gagnon
Pages 288
Year published 2017
Category | Genre Young Adult | Retelling | Mystery | Supernatural | Contemporary
Rating 3star

Official Summary

Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre retold against the backdrop of San Francisco’s most fabulous—and dangerous—elites.

After losing her parents in a tragic accident, surfer girl Janie Mason trades the sunny beaches of Hawaii for the cold fog of San Francisco and new guardians—the Rochesters—she’s never even met. Janie feels hopelessly out of place in their world of Napa weekends, fancy cotillions, and chauffeurs. The only person she can relate to is Daniel, a fellow surfer. Meeting him makes Janie feel like things might be looking up.

Still, something isn’t right in the Rochester mansion. There are noises—screams—coming from the attic that everyone else claims they can’t hear. Then John, the black sheep of the family, returns after getting kicked out of yet another boarding school. Soon Janie finds herself torn between devil-may-care John and fiercely loyal Daniel. Just when she thinks her life can’t get any more complicated, she learns the truth about why the Rochesters took her in. They want something from Janie, and she’s about to see just how far they’ll go to get it.

Review

In A Nutshell

A modern retelling of Jane Eyre with biracial MC, 100% more wave, and more … ghost? Or was it an actual ghost?

Highlights

  • Biracial protagonist. Janie Mason, the lead/narrator is half Filipino. She spent her childhood in Hawaii before being transported against her will to San Fransisco to live with the Rochesters. Janie didn’t know much about her ancestors since her parents, specifically her mother, didn’t want to talk about her painful past. Despite not knowing much, Janie is curious and trying to learn more about her roots, something many readers may find themselves relate to.
  • The story pace. I recalled vehemently trying to finish Jane Eyre on two separate occasions before finally succeeded. It took me sometime around 2 years?! Unearthly things is definitely faster paced than its predecessor. For some readers, this might be the book’s Achilles heel, trying to fit so many things in less than 300 pages and truth be told, characters development suffered slightly from it. However, for me, the pace is probably the saving grace of this book. It made Unearthly Thing a fun ride and compulsively readable.
  • The contemporary part. Honestly, I opted to read this book for its paranormal/mystery aspect since I’m now focusing on reviewing speculative fiction. However, the part I enjoyed the most is the story of Janie, the surfer girl, moving to new family and meeting new people. She is a sympathetic protagonist and easy to root for. Her interactions with her evil and not-evil ‘siblings’ are hilarious and occasionally heart-breaking.

Things I Wish Were Different

  • Stereotypical characters. The necessary evil siblings, nerdy best friend, and hot boyfriend were all there and made it felt formulaic. For readers who have read Jane Eyre, let me tell you that this is a loose retelling and for most part, the author just borrowed the names and slap them to completely different characters. Unfortunately, for Unearthly Things, character depth is lacking and I found no chemistry between Janie and her love interest. It was so insta-love, I couldn’t get on board with it even if I liked the person who became her love interest. Similarly, Janie was said to have close friends, but there was nothing in the book that suggest the close relationship between them.
  • The book is a mystery, but somehow it’s lacking in atmosphere. Jane Eyre might take me forever to read, but one thing it truly delivers is Gothic atmosphere. Unearthly Things is more generic in comparison; the description not nearly as haunting and the scenes didn’t scare me.
  • Compare to its predecessor, Unearthly Things didn’t deliver as strong message of female empowerment. Granted this might be an unfair comparison seeing that Jane Eyre is a classic. However, when I hear ‘Jane Eyre retelling’, I’m hoping for a book in a similar vein. Unearthly Things is surely fun, but it didn’t have the same power nor did it make an effort to.
  • Some of the key plot and twist are not convincing enough. There were scenes that made me think, “did they actually buy that explanation?” and they did! Sure, it’s fiction and a speculative one at that, but readers still want logical explanation.

Final Score

3star
3 stars (out of 5 stars)

Verdict

Unearthly Things is a fun, modern retelling of Jane Eyre. The author’s effort to support diversity by putting a biracial protagonist at the front and center is commendable. However, stereotypical secondary characters, plot holes, and the lack of convincing atmosphere made it fall short from being a truly satisfying read.

REVIEW: Every Heart A Doorway

Book Review: Every Heart A Doorway (Seanan McGuire)
 book cover Book title Every Heart A Doorway
Series/standalone Wayward Children #1
Author Seanan McGuire
Pages 173
Year published 2016
Category | Genre Young Adult | Fantasy | Novella
Rating

Official Summary

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

Review

In A Nutshell

Atmospheric, beautifully written novella about identity and belonging.

Highlights

  • What will happen to Alice if she got kicked out of Wonderland and have to live among us? 

    What if there’s a magical land out there, far from perfect, yet fits you perfectly?

    What if you found a way to that magical land?What if they kicked you out and you are again stranded in the world where you’ll never fit in?

    Such a perfect premise.

  • Ace protagonist. I feel like we haven’t gotten a decent amount of asexual representation in Young Adult, and to have one as a lead is definitely a welcome change. Another thing I appreciate is that McGuire put it in the narrative that Nancy (the protagonist) is asexual and even pointed out the difference between being asexual and aromantic.
  • It also tackled the issue of identity, specifically but not limited to gender identity. The teenagers in this novella were kids who didn’t fit in at first place, and now after they were back from magical world, they found it even harder to blend in. Even within this group of outcast, there were hierarchy and cliques; bullying was mentioned and witnessed, as each of the character struggle to find their place or keep trying to go back to their magical world.
  • It was dark, mysterious, and haunting, yet I didn’t find it too violent or gory. As a matter of fact, I think McGuire nailed those darker scenes as they were some of my favorite passages.
  • Well-written characters. It’s like high school, but where all of the students were misfits. As I mentioned before, there were cliques among the teenagers: the queen bee, the new kid, and the outcast. Just like your regular high school. Only weirder and with more magic and charm. All the main characters were unique and well thought out. I won’t get to details here as it’s better if you meet them yourself.
  • It’s thought-provoking. I’m honestly surprise that a book this short could challenge my opinion and thought. Should you a) kill people’s hope to force them to live in the now when you know the chance of their wish will ever get fulfilled is next to nothing? Or b) nurture the hope and let these children keep hoping even though you know it might hurt them in the long run? I am choosing b) right now, but we’ll see.
  • The length. It’s perfect as novella. Too short and we’ll get less character development, too long and it’ll get too convoluted. It’s short, simple, and beautiful. McGuire said what needs to be said and ended it before it got too complicated.
    Speaking of…
  • The ending. It sorts of open-end, but by no means a cliffhanger. It lets readers decide for themselves and made their own conclusion based on their perspective.

Things I Wish Were Different

  • Couldn’t honestly think of one.

Final Score

4.5star
4.5 stars (out of 5 stars)

Verdict

Highly recommended for both contemporary and speculative fiction readers as it has enough of both and leave many things to readers’ imagination/interpretation. Asexual protagonist and transgender main character accompanied by strong diverse cast of characters were another highlight of the novella. In short, it is well worth your time.

REVIEW: Dreadnought

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Book Review: Dreadnought (April Daniels)
 book cover Book title Dreadnought
Series/standalone Nemesis #1
Author April Daniels
Pages 276
Year published 2017
Category | Genre Young Adult | Science-Fiction | Superhero
Rating 4star

Official Summary

Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.

It should be the happiest time of her life, but Danny’s first weeks finally living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined. Between her father’s dangerous obsession with “curing” her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and her fellow superheroes arguing over her place in their ranks, Danny feels like she’s in over her head.

She doesn’t have much time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer—a cyborg named Utopia—still haunts the streets of New Port City, threatening destruction. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.

Review

In A Nutshell

An action-packed superhero story with a transgender protagonist about saving the world and being true to yourself, whatever the cost.

Highlights

  • First and foremost, a book with transgender lead who refused to be put down by her surrounding. YES, please.
  • The thing I liked the most about Dreadnought is how unapologetic it was. Danny as the protagonist carried the heaviest weight on bridging superhero life (aka caping) with the ‘real world.’ She’s a flawed, realistic character, and so very relatable.
  • If you like science and physics, you’ll probably geeking out with the amount of science Daniels put into her book. The “hypertech” was creative and fun.
  • At its core, Dreadnought is a superhero story. It then came at no surprise that it’s filled with action sequences. The author has a knack on writing action scenes and I enjoyed them a lot.
  • It’s hearbreaking and then some. As a teenager, Danny was forced to face her family and friends at school after her physical transformation, many of them refused to accept that she is and has always been a girl. A lot of cussing, cursing, and words that shouldn’t be said to a girl (or anyone really) were spoken. I found myself disgusted and angry at them, yet at the same time the realization that this is happening in real life today – to people with no superpower to defend themselves – hits me.
  • Consequences and cost. You’re not getting a free pass for being a protagonist. The battle Danny has to go through for coming out and standing up for herself is very tough, never-ending, and costly. It was shown that it’s worth it, though, and I think that’s important.

Things I Wish Were Different

  • The uneven pace. The book starts out slow, then build up halfway through. Afterwards, it became nearly unputdownable.
  • More depth on some of the characters, especially the villain. As much as I do think that some people are jerks, adding a cardboard-cutout villain just doesn’t make sense in a book as heavy-weight as Dreadnought. When I said heavy-weight, what I mean is that it tried to tackle a lot of important issues about living as a transgender. The villain felt too superficial, and a bit insignificant, compared to what Danny has to wake up to everyday

Final Score

4star
4 stars (out of 5 stars)

Verdict

Dreadnought is a powerful superhero story about a transgender girl facing the consequences of coming out and standing up for herself while trying to save the world. The parallel between her struggle to save the world and her struggle to be accepted as a girl is one that blew my mind as April Daniels showed again and again that one is not more simple or easier than the other.

REVIEW: The Weeping Books of Blinney Lane

Book Review: The Weeping Books of Blinney Lane (Drea Damara)
 book cover Book title The Weeping Books of Blinney Lane
Series/standalone Blinney Lane #1
Author Drea Damara
Pages 448
Year published 2015
Category | Genre New Adult | Fantasy | Romance
Rating

Official Summary

Sarah Allister just wants a normal life running her book shop and enjoying the smiles of handsome delivery man, Henry. She almost has one in spite of the three hundred-year-old curse that rules her life and the rest of the shop owners on Blinney Lane, a niche shopping district in historical Salem. Just when Sarah thinks she is content with the unusual phenomenon that occur in her shop everything goes awry when her brother sends his troublesome teenage son Ricky to stay with her for the summer. Now Sarah must work to keep Ricky from discovering the curse of Blinney Lane and worse yet, awakening its full power.

Will Ricky listen to Sarah without question? Will he unknowingly awaken the Weeping Books of Blinney Lane forcing Sarah to lead them on a journey to a land she swore never to return to and to people she has long tried to forget? Hold on as the characters must balance family, love, and duty in a suspenseful tale of two worlds and passionately flawed characters. The Weeping Books of Blinney Lane will make you never look at a book the same way again.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Review

In A Nutshell

A Narnia-esque fantasy for new adults/older spectrum of YA.

Highlights

  • The writing was good. For a debut novel, Damara’s words flow smoothly between pages.
  • The world building was a reminiscent of Narnia, blended with romance and politics.
  • The curse incorporated in the story was a nice touch and it helped in building the background behind the existence of the weeping books.

Things I Wish Were Different

  • There were some scenes that show how a character view other characters that made me feel uncomfortable. One such scene was the way Sarah’s nephew described her in rather sexual way. Of course, Blinney Lane is a new adult/adult novel so romance and steamy scenes are to be expected, still there were scenes that I felt was out of place.
  • I really don’t get the appeal of the Lords and Ladies in the story. They were rather bland, and somewhat infuriating. Maybe that was on purpose, though?
  • This being a fantasy, I wish there was more explanation on how the bodies could survive for days or weeks without liquids and nutrients. Also, aren’t those people worried that something’s going to happen to their bodies when they’re taking those family trips? In short, I think the “magic system” still needs work, but the concept was alright.
  • More diversity please. (You’ll probably hear this a lot from me from now on). Both the real world and the world inside the weeping book would benefit with inclusion of people of colors and other marginalized groups. It should be workable too, since the protagonist’s ancestor basically wrote the weeping book – and wouldn’t they want their family to meet all kinds of people they wouldn’t be able to see in real life because of the curse?
  • Unexplained plot holes. How could one learn the instinct of sword fighting in one day is one example where I found the explanation was not believable enough. Sure, there was magic, but even then how could the character read the opponent’s movement and has the instinct of veteran fencer was beyond me.

Final Score

3star
3 stars (out of 5 stars)

Verdict

The Weeping Books of Blinney Lane was an enjoyable read and quite a solid debut. It still needs work in regards to world building and characters, but overall if you’re looking for a new adult fantasy novel that’ll take you to a magic land, you might want to give it a try.

REVIEW: These Shallow Graves

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Book Review: These Shallow Graves (Jennifer Donnelly)
 book cover Book title These Shallow Graves
Series/standalone Stand-alone
Author Jennifer Donnelly
Pages 488
Year published 2015
Category | Genre Young Adult | Historical | Mystery
Rating 3.5star

Official Summary

Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo secretly dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter like the trailblazing Nellie Bly.

Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. Charles Montfort accidentally shot himself while cleaning his revolver. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was partner in a massive shipping firm, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun.

The more Jo uncovers about her father’s death, the more her suspicions grow. There are too many secrets. And they all seem to be buried in plain sight. Then she meets Eddie—a young, brash, infuriatingly handsome reporter at her father’s newspaper—and it becomes all too clear how much she stands to lose if she keeps searching for the truth. Only now it might be too late to stop.

The past never stays buried forever. Life is dirtier than Jo Montfort could ever have imagined, and the truth is the dirtiest part of all.

Review

In A Nutshell

These Shallow Graves is a rare blend of young adult fiction, historical, sleuthing, and romance about an upper class white girl who was trying to solve the mystery of her father’s death.

Highlights

  • The feminism and female empowerment is strong with this one. The main character, Jo Monfort, tried to balance her curiosity about the world outside her upper class upbringing with being a good girl and doing her duty. What I really like about Donnelly’s book is that she managed to do this without getting overly preachy and ridiculing other girls of their choice to adhere to the social norm. There is also a scene of female friendship that might be my favorite scene of the book.
  • The balance between romance and mystery. Yes, there is a romance in this book, but it was not the main point of the story. To add to the point, the protagonist kept her wit about her despite her feelings – which is refreshing too see after reading countless stories where the protagonist simply lost all kind of rational thinkings due to angst or insta-love.
  • This is not a fairy tale. Often, I read books with great premise and characters that eventually fell short because the author cannot resist the temptation to solve all of their characters’ problems and give everyone a happy ever after. On the other side, there are those who go the extreme opposite way. These Shallow Graves fall somewhere in between the two extreme. I liked how Donnelly handled the story conclusion as it felt realistic, albeit rather convenient.

Things I Wish Were Different

  • It is too … white. I get that the main character is a white upper-class girl and all of her friends are too. And it is not to say that the cast is ALL upper-class white socialites. The book actually did quite well in term of socio-economic representation. It’s just that I wish for more diverse cast on a book sets in New York City. I honestly couldn’t recall one single important character that is not white.
  • The mystery part was not very well written. There were things so obvious thrown at our face that made it so clear that X is blablabla, yet the main character did not connect the two things and we have to spend hundreds of pages waiting for her to connect the dots. Then, there were other stuffs that were kept hidden from the readers then revealed as plot twist. To be honest, what kept me reading was not the mystery itself, rather it’s the character arc.

Final Score

3.5star
3.5 stars (out of 5 stars)

Verdict

Three and a half star for great character arc and good take on feminism theme. It could have been more with addition of more diverse cast and with better executed detective sleuthing.

Changes are coming!

Hello all!
Yes, it’s me, Windie, back after a 6 month of unannounced hiatus. I’d love to tell you why I left this site collecting dust for months, but that’s a long story for another time.
Anyway, even though I have not been blogging, I spent the last few weeks brainstorming ideas for the site. After dozens cups of coffee and power naps, I arrived at these conclusion:

  1. As much as I love writing a long winded review, I no longer have the time to write a fully-fleshed reviews for every book. As you might have noticed, English is not my native language and I spent more time editing and revising rather than reading and writing. Counter-productive as one might say.
  2. I need more ORGANIZATION.
  3. I have mostly reviewed popular or best-selling books, most of them are from cis-het white authors. I did this because it’s just so convenient and let’s admit it, those books have tons of followers. On the other hand, it’s not easy to know about or get my hand on books from authors from smaller publishing company, and many of own voices still fall into this last category.

Clearly, I need to make some changes to the site in order to motivate me to go back and post regularly. So, here’s what I decided.

  • From now on, my reviews will be in a short (well, short-ish) bulleted format. As a new bujo addict, I found bullet format that much easier to write. No promise that I won’t digress though.
  • Calendar! As you can see from the menu, I have now added a calendar to the site. In here, you can find schedule of new book releases that I prepared for the site and my plan for upcoming blog posts. The calendar will not include all books release since I don’t have the resources to do so. However, I’ll add books I intend to read and review here so in a way you’ll get a teaser on what’s to come. As for how I select books to add to this calendar, I’ll explain in #3 below.
  • I’ll be dedicating more space for authors of color, authors from LGBTQIA+ spectrum, other own voices (including but not limited to physical disability and mental illness), and diverse books. This also means I will have to focus on a more specific genre since I cannot possibly keep up with everything. After a long deliberation, I decided to focus on speculative fiction – for now – from my reviews. This is a difficult decision to make, but I do have my reasons: 1) SFF was my first love 2) SFF was one of the more problematic genre in term of diversity representation (compare let’s say to contemporary young adult fiction).

So, what does this means for the site and me in general?

  1. (See me trying to keep up with bullets and numbered list?) I will post REGULARLY. At least once a week.
  2. There’ll be less Brandon Sanderson mentions in my site and there’ll be fewer recs of contemporary books too. I’ll still be reading them, obviously, and I’ll be reviewing them on GOODREADS and quite possibly still fangirl and goes into hysterics on twitter whenever I get my hand on Oathbringer. Please still love me talk to me, my contemporary lover/cosmeranauts friends.
  3. Hopefully, more time to interact with my fellow bloggers. I haven’t been blog-hopping for almost a year now and I do miss leaving long nonsensical comments on people’s posts. ^^

These changes will not happen overnight as I still have a couple of book reviews in other genre I need to post, and I need time to adapt the site, but rest assured that I’m committed to them.

That’s all for now! If you have any feedback, suggestions, virtual hugs, and coffee, please send them to me. Love you!

FBCYA Blog Tour: Diversity Talk with Tara Sim, Author of Timekeeper

timekeeper tour

Hello everyone! As I mentioned a couple of posts back, I am very excited to be a part of blog tour for Timekeeper by Tara Sim. As part of the tour, I got to interview the amazing Tara Sim. Tara, if you’re reading this, thank you for taking your time to answer the questions! I also would like to thank Bianca for organizing the blog tour, my fellow book club members at FBCYA, Sky Pony Press, and Tara herself for this opportunity.

Lack of representation is always one thing fictions, especially Science Fiction and Fantasy, kept getting called on. I am a big fan of fantasy books, and even as a fan, I could admit that it’s true. Science Fiction and Fantasy, especially what’s known as epic fantasy, is still dominated by white straight cis male authors. In term of characters, the existence of proper POC representation and own voices in mainstream SFF genre still needs to be improved. That is why when I had the opportunity to interview Tara, I decided to tackle this lack of diversity issue. In the interview, Tara explained about her view on diversity in SFF fictions, the danger of misrepresentation, the importance of #ownvoices stories, and give us some recommendations for diverse books.

About Timekeeper

Timekeeper (Tara Sim)
book cover Book title Timekeeper
Series/standalone Timekeeper #1
Author Tara Sim
Pages 368
Publisher Sky Pony Press
Year published 2016
Category | Genre Young Adult | Science Fiction, Historical, Fantasy

Synopsis

Two o’clock was missing.

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

The stunning first novel in a new trilogy by debut author Tara Sim, Timekeeper is perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Victoria Schwab.

Continue reading “FBCYA Blog Tour: Diversity Talk with Tara Sim, Author of Timekeeper”

REVIEW: The Hawkweed Prophecy

Book Review: The Hawkweed Prophecy (Irena Brignull)
book cover Book title The Hawkeed Prophecy
Series/standalone The Hawkweed Prophecy #1
Author Irena Brignull
Pages 304
Year published 2016
Category | Genre Young Adult | Urban Fantasy
Rating 15star

Official Summary

The babies were born as the clock struck twelve. A bat fell from the air mid-flight. A silver salmon floated dead to the surface of the river. Snails withered in their shells, moths turned to dust on the night breeze and an owl ate its young. The spell had been cast.

Poppy Hooper has managed to deceive her father into believing that there is nothing mysterious or unnatural about her. He ignores the cats that find her wherever she goes, the spiders that weave beautiful lacy patterns for her, even her eyes – one blue, one green with an extra black dot orbiting the pupil.

Ember Hawkweed is a pitiful excuse for a witch. When the other girls in her coven brew vile potions, Ember makes soap and perfume. Fair and pretty, Ember is more like a chaff than a witch. One of the Hawkweeds will be queen of the witches – but everyone knows it won’t be Ember.

When the two girls meet, Poppy discovers her powers, and finds out the truth. Bound by their unlikely friendship and the boy they both love, the girls try and find their place in the world. But the time of the prophecy draws nearer – and the witches won’t give up the throne without a fight.

Review

Disclaimer: I received an e-galley from the publisher via netgalley.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. A surprise, for once. A fresh take on tropes so common like “switched at birth” and “prophecy”. Whatever it was, it wasn’t this.

The Hawkweed Prophecy opened with two witch sisters. One of them was having a baby and the other one… well, she wasn’t happy with the fact because she envisioned her own daughter to be the one prophesied to bring glory to their people. The prologue, I’m sorry to say, was the most interesting part of the book. Raven and Charlock are at least interesting and had a complicated relationship, they loved each other and Raven couldn’t bear the thought of her sister got hurt, but she didn’t want her niece to become the child of prophecy.
Unfortunately, the story then jumped into years later and switched to Poppy and Ember, now in their teenage years. These two were pretty much two-dimensional characters. Essentially, however, they are still okay and even had a few interesting encounters and scenes together. Just when I thought this book would deliver a nice take on female friendships or well, any kind of relationship really, Hawkweed Prophecy dropped a brick on my hope. Enter Leo, the least interesting, cannot make up his mind, most annoying love interest ever. Oh and everyone seems to fall in love head over heels with this guy. What really annoys me was not the insta-love (there’s plenty of it here), but I’m talking about how this book treated him as the only eligible bachelor in the entire planet and that all the girls are hopeless once they laid their eyes on him. The story tried to explain this with how the ladies are quite isolated and never saw a male before, but to be honest that sort of a weak excuse to explain the insta-love. Curiosity maybe, but not love. Okay, back to the love interest. He was not only unnecessary for the protagonists’ character development, he made them seem childish and unlikeable. The only thing he adds was another conflict to the already bloated storylines.
Another character, or should I say characters, that suffered from two dimensionality were the enemies. They were so cliché and had no layer of complexity on their evilness. I wish for more historical background of the enemies here, perhaps of the century-long conflict between the two clans. Lacking context, the big battle turned into just another part of a formulaic story.
Alright, let’s talk a bit about the writing. There is no doubt that the writing was competent. There was, however, something about it that I couldn’t quite put my fingers on that made the narrative felt jumpy and the dialogue awkward. The multiple narrators were also not very well executed. The author tried to tell the story from different perspective, instead it turn into an overexplanation with no surprise left for the reader.

Final Score

15star
1.5 stars (out of 5 stars)

Verdict

The Hawkweed Prophecy tried to give fresh take on common tropes, but it felt flat due to poor execution, unnecessary love triangle, and the blandness of characters.

Review: White Sand

Graphic Novel Review: White Sand (Sanderson, Hoskin, Gopez)
wht_sand Book title White Sand
Series/standalone White Sand #1
Author Brandon Sanderson, Rik Hoskin, Julius M. Gopez
Pages 160
Year published 2016
Category | Genre Graphic Novel | Fantasy
Rating 3.5 star

Official Summary

A brand new saga of magic and adventure by #1 New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson. On the planet of Taldain, the legendary Sand Masters harness arcane powers to manipulate sand in spectacular ways. But when they are slaughtered in a sinister conspiracy, the weakest of their number, Kenton, believes himself to be the only survivor. With enemies closing in on all sides, Kenton forges an unlikely partnership with Khriss — a mysterious Darksider who hides secrets of her own. White Sand brings to life a crucial, unpublished part of Brandon Sanderson’s sprawling Cosmere universe. The story has been adapted by Rik Hoskin (Mercy Thompson), with art by Julius Gopez and colors by Ross Campbell. Employing powerful imagery and Sanderson’s celebrated approach to magical systems, White Sand is a spectacular new saga for lovers of fantasy and adventure.

Review

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy from the publisher via netgalley.

Any long-time visitor of this blog would know that Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors. Some of the things I admired the most from his writing is his solid worldbuilding and innovative magic system. Naturally, when I heard that one of his older work – part of Cosmere world nonetheless – was going to be adapted into graphic novel, I jumped at the chance to download an e-galley.
It’s always interesting to look back to an author’s earlier work after reading one of their more recent, polished works. Astonishingly, Elantris, Sanderson’s first published novel, is still a good piece of fantasy even when compared to Mistborn or the Stormlight Archive. White Sand was written around the same time as Elantris, and so I held it to the same standard as the latter. So how did it fare?

Continue reading “Review: White Sand”

Favorite Books I First Read Because of Recommendations

Hello everyone! I am back with another Top Ten Tuesday post, a fun weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is all about recommendations, so I decided to share a list of 10 of my favorite books that I first read because of recommendation. For fun, I also listed the person who recommended the book and how they ‘sold’ it to me. Not gonna lie, this list is quite easy to make because I am so easily swayed. LOL.

Continue reading “Favorite Books I First Read Because of Recommendations”