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Book Review: Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done

This book. Oh, this book. If you thought the first book, Vicious, was a sick, twisted little treat, just wait until you get your hands on Vengeful. The game is vengeance (duh), but Victor and Eli are no longer the only players. In this book, we’re introduced to Marcella Riggins, a mob wife who wants to take her husband and the rest of the world down in a blaze of corruption and fame. We’re also introduced to June, an EO shape shifter who has her eyes on Sydney.

Of course, our old favorites were there, too. Victor, Mitch, and Sydney are still together, moving around as they track down more EOs. Victor’s characters undergoes some major changes that affect him and his powers. I was happy to see that Sydney is finally growing into her own and isn’t just a little girl anymore. Eli, stuck in a jail cell, has a very different role this time around, as well. It was interesting to see how much everyone’s characters changed from the first book to the second!

The story occurs over the span of five years. Despite the way it jumps around throughout the timeline, it seamlessly picks up where the last book left off. I loooved the new characters introduced. Marcella’s character was especially fun to follow because she was so over the top. She’s an excellent villain and the perfect match for both Victor and Eli.

The only thing that drove me nuts was June. Even by the end of the story, I still can’t figure out what her motives are or what her relationship to Sydney is.

Definitely add this one to your TBR list!

Adult · Books · Fantasy

Book Review: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

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My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.

In last week’s First Impression Friday post, I mentioned that Spinning Silver was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. I absolutely adored Uprooted back when I read it and I couldn’t wait to see what Novik came up with this time around. Having finished it, I am very happy to report that Spinning Silver did, indeed, live up to my expectations.

For those unaware, Spinning Silver, is an adaptation on the Rumplestiltskin story. I hate to even phrase it that way, because a lot of people will roll their eyes and say “Oh great, another fairy tale re-telling.” This book, like Uprooted, is incredibly unique in its interpretation and is a much looser re-telling than a lot of the counterparts out there. The story and characters the author has created can stand entirely on their own as a modern fairy tale.

The story is steeped with Jewish history and lore, fiercely strong characters, and gorgeous imagery. I loved the three women that the story followed: Miryem for her ruthlessness, Wanda for her strong will, and Irinia for her bravery. I loved the way the three women’s stories wove together, despite all the unexpected curves thrown at them.

Spinning Silver is more than a fairy tale re-telling, it’s a beautiful story about perseverance, family bonds, and things more valuable than gold.

Adult · Books · Fantasy

Anticipated Releases (Pt. 1)

If there’s one topic that book bloggers never tire of discussing it’s the ever-increasing TBR lists that we have. (For those of you who aren’t up on your bookish lingo, TBR stands for “to be read.”) Mine has been steadily increasing each year, no matter how hard I try to keep it under control. There are just too many amazing books out there and not enough time to read them all! *sad face* It feels like every time I finish a book I end up adding at least 3 more to my list.

The struggle is real.

It’s fine. I just accept it for what it is. I mean, what’s the alternative? To stop adding books to the list? To stop reading altogether? Pfffft.

Check out some of the books on my TBR list that are coming out soon that I can’t wait to read:

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Vengeful (Villains #2) by V.E. Scwab – I already pre-ordered my copy!

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.

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Bloody Rose by Nicholas Earnes – Okay, so technically this one came out last week. I haven’t gotten it yet though, so I’m still allowed to put it on the list.

Tam Hashford is tired of working at her local pub, slinging drinks for world-famous mercenaries and listening to the bards sing of adventure and glory in the world beyond her sleepy hometown.

When the biggest mercenary band of all rolls into town, led by the infamous Bloody Rose, Tam jumps at the chance to sign on as their bard. It’s adventure she wants – and adventure she gets as the crew embark on a quest that will end in one of two ways: glory or death.

It’s time to take a walk on the wyld side.

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited.

When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda.

Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…

Adult · Books · Fantasy

First Impression Friday: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

It’s time for another First Impression Friday post! For those who are unfamiliar, FIF is a weekly meme created by J.W. Martin. The goal is to talk about a book you recently started reading. Share you impressions, predict what you think will happen, say whether you think you’ll enjoy it, etc.

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Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.

This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and so far it has totally lived up to expectations!

The plot is quick-paced and sucks you in from the very first chapter. I love the way the fairy tales that this story is based on peek through in a very obvious way, while at the same time the story is very unique. I’m not even half way through it yet, but I imagine that at no point this is going to become your average fairy tale re-telling.

The three women the story are strong, beautifully independent women. I expect that all of them are going to do some amazing things. While the three women’s paths intertwine, they all seem to be heading in different directions. I’m hoping that by the end they will come together to…I don’t even know what they’re going to do yet. (Defeat the Staryk? Steal mass quantities of gold? Set the town ablaze? Honestly, I can’t even guess.) Whatever it is, I pity the poor fools who get in the way.

My prediction: 5 out of 5 stars.

 

Adult · Books · Fantasy

First Impression Friday: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

It’s time for another First Impression Friday post! For those who are unfamiliar, FIF is a weekly meme created by J.W. Martin. The goal is to talk about a book you recently started reading. Share you impressions, predict what you think will happen, say whether you think you’ll enjoy it, etc.

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The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.

Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor.

I started this one earlier this week, after having it stare back at me from my shelf for the better part of a year. Having known nothing about this book when I purchased it, I really didn’t know what to expect. (If I am remembering correctly, I think I was drawn to it because I have very few books with goblins in them.)

Thus far, I am enjoying this one. It’s heavy on the political side, but it’s told from the unique perspective of Maia, who is far too humble for his role as Emperor. For this reason, I really like Maia. I hope he doesn’t get wrapped up in the complicated court life and become just another self-absorbed ruler. His innocence and politeness is so sweet.

I don’t know a lot about Maia’s background yet or what makes him different, given his goblin heritage. The world he’s apart of seems to be a diverse one where humans and goblins live and work alongside each other. I am very curious to learn more about this world and what everyone’s role is.

I feel like there’s going to a be a lot of huge changes ahead for Maia and some dark plot twists. (There are some real shady mother-effers roaming about the palace.)

I predict at least 4 out of 5 stars.

 

Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites

Book Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

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My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

Vicious is a dark, engrossing tale about friendship gone horribly wrong. Right off the bat, you can tell that Victor and Eli’s relationship is going to be a unique one. Both are smart and ambitious, yet so blinded by their own egos that they are the result of their own sabotage.

While there are running themes of “good” vs. “bad,” throughout this story, there is no good guy or bad guy. Victor and Eli are both, undeniably, the villains of this story. At times I loved and hated both of them. While I’ve seen other reviewers calling Victor the villain, I feel like I have to disagree. Of the two, Eli seems like the more dangerous one, with his self-righteous attitude and complete lack of empathy.

I loved Sydney’s character. Her innocence is quite refreshing among an otherwise f*cked up cast of characters. She’s the victim of some rather unfortunate circumstances, yet instead of letting it turn her bitter and angry, she just accepts her new powers and her fate. I really hope that she maintains some of that innocence as the story goes on. Sydney’s sister, Serena,  and her abilities are absolutely terrifying. As much as I hated her, I kinda wished we had seen more of her and the horrible things she could get away with.

The plot is great one. There were a few similarities to the author’s Monsters of Verity series, but it didn’t bother me. I love a good anti-hero story. If you like stories about people with supernatural abilities and super-flawed personalities, this book is definitely for you.

I’ve already pre-ordered my copy of the sequel Vengeful, which comes out in September.

 

Adult · Books · Fantasy

First Impression Friday: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

It’s time for another First Impression Friday post! For those who are unfamiliar, FIF is a weekly meme created by J.W. Martin. The goal is to talk about a book you recently started reading. Share you impressions, predict what you think will happen, say whether you think you’ll enjoy it, etc.

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Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

By the time you read this post I will most likely be 2/3 of the way through Vicious. I know FIF posts are supposed to be about your early reactions to a book, but since I haven’t been able to put it down, I’m already about halfway into the story.

The relationship between Victor and Eli is quite intriguing. There’s nothing usual or endearing about their friendship. Right off the bat you get the impression that Victor is insanely jealous of his roommate. I expect that this is only going to escalate, resulting in some horrible event that is what ultimately puts Victor in jail. Perhaps an attempted murder attempt? I can definitely see Victor getting angry enough to try to kill Eli.

Sydney is a wild card at the moment. We hardly know anything about her, but I think she’s going to come out of her shell and do something epic. (Why? I don’t know. Just a hunch.)

I really hope we learn more about EOs and what they can do (and more detail about how they come to exist). I feel like some of that might be reserved for the next book, however. Can’t spill all the juicy secrets at once now.

I’m usually a fan of the good vs. evil power struggle, so I already know I’m going to enjoy this book. Plus, I think all the author’s books are great, so it’s kind of a given.

My prediction: 5 out of 5 stars.