REVIEW: Sky in the Deep – Adrienne Young (ARC)

34726469Title: Sky in the Deep
Author: Adrienne Young
Rating: ★★★★★

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Vegr yfir fior. Honor above life.”

I am going to attempt to write a coherent review but I don’t know if I can even put into words how much I loved this book. This is exactly everything I want in a story. I read the entire thing in one sitting because it was that amazing and I couldn’t put it down; this is is the kind of book that reminds me of why I love reading. 

Sky in the Deep is a stunning debut by Adrienne Young, whose talented writing and gorgeous storytelling is showcased clearly. She has done a fantastic job creating a wonderful world full of complex characters. The dynamic relationships between the characters is one of the best features of the book; they were capable of evoking emotions in a meaningful and achingly real way. The relationship between Eelyn and her brother, Iri, is one of the most poignant and best written portrayals that I’ve ever read. I felt all of her anger, love, confusion, heartbreak, and betrayal alongside her. Eelyn was such a strong, brave, determined heroine and it was very easy to empathize with her. The characters and their personal stories and struggles are what truly captivated me. 

Ǫnd eldr. Breathe fire.”

From the very beginning, the story is full of action and adventure. The Viking-inspired setting and descriptions are written so vividly that I could easily feel myself immersed in the story. This book bypassed every expectation I had, and then some. It has become one of my favorite books and I know it will have a lasting impression in the future.

Sky in the Deep is a outstanding book by a debut author. Everything was executed perfectly to created a breathtaking, emotional story full of grit and heart. Please do yourselves a favor and add this book to your TBR. You will not be disappointed.

P.S. check out Adrienne Young’s amazing playlist inspired by the book, which I totally listened while writing this review (although personally, I had the song Trøllabundin stuck in my head the entire time I was reading).

REVIEW: The Traitor’s Game – Jennifer A. Nielsen (ARC)

35238069Title: The Traitor’s Game (The Traitor’s Game #1)
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Rating: ★★★

ARC provided by the publisher through a giveaway.

This cover is absolutely gorgeous and even prettier in person. I’ve never read Jennifer A. Nielsen’s The False Prince series, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it so I was intrigued when I saw the blurb for her newest book.

The Traitor’s Game was very similar to many other books in the YA fantasy genre. It was full of all of the same cliches and tropes, down to the somewhat predictable ending and romance. However, the book did manage to keep my attention and I never grew bored or impatient while reading, which is a huge plus. And although there was a bit of insta-love, the romance wasn’t overwhelming to the story and didn’t present much of an issue. I was also really glad that there was no love triangle, something that is way too common for this genre. Overall, it was a pleasant reading experience and I look forward to continuing the series!

 

REVIEW: To Kill a Kingdom – Alexandra Christo (ARC)

34499221Title: To Kill a Kingdom
Author: Alexandra Christo
Rating: ★★★★½

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. 

I needed zero convincing to read this story once I saw that it was about lethal sirens, arrogant princes, and PIRATES. To Kill a Kingdom is a loose retelling of The Little Mermaid, but way more awesome and vicious. 

Lira is a siren princess and unashamedly skilled at taking the hearts of human princes. I loved everything about her as a character: her sarcasm, her ruthlessness, her intelligence. We also have Elian, who is a charming, conceited pirate prince set on hunting sirens. When Elian and Lira’s lives are thrust together, the real fun begins. I breezed right through this book because it was just so entertaining! Alexandra Christo’s writing, setting, terrific pacing, and great characters all blended together seamlessly to create a stunning story. I loved the interactions and witty banter between Lira and Elian, and the slow build of their hate-to-love romance. My only complaint: that the book wasn’t longer.

To Kill a Kingdom is a plot-driven adventure – full of deadly sirens and pirate princes – that everyone should read. This is a spectacular debut book by Alexandra Christo and I can’t wait to read more from her in the future!

REVIEW: The Girl in the Tower – Katherine Arden

34050917Title: The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy #2)
Author: Katherine Arden
Rating: ★★★★★

“She had a fleeting taste of winter: smoke and pine and deadly cold, and then there was a warmth, too, and a swift, impossible sweetness.”

I greatly enjoyed The Bear and the Nightingale when I read it last year upon its release, but I wasn’t as awestruck and enamored by the book as everyone else seemed to be. I never expected to love The Girl in the Tower as much as I did. It completely blew me away and I want to sit down and read it all over again. 

“That love of maidens for monsters, that does not fade with time.”

The Girl in the Tower picked up right where the first book left off, but I felt much more invested in the story and characters this time. I was more apathetic towards Vasya in The Bear and the Nightingale, and now she has become one of my favorite female protagonists. She has grown as a character throughout the book and I loved following her on her journey. I’m so excited for where her story is going to take us next. I also felt pretty meh about Morozko when I read the first book, but now I’ve seen the light and I’m completely in love with a morose frost-demon. 

“Once in the chaos, he could have sworn he saw a tall white horse beside the bay stallion, whose rider kept the bandits’ blades from finding the girl. But then Sasha realized it was only a cloud of flying snow.”

The setting in these books are totally atmospheric. Katherine Arden is such a talented writer; her lush writing and vivid descriptions create a magical world unlike any other. I have a particular fondness for Slavic folklore, and she does such an amazing job weaving history with elements of Russian fairytales. 

The Girl in the Tower is an enchanting read that has become a favorite of mine. The gorgeous writing easily immerses the reader into this atmospheric world and I highly recommend the series. The Winter of the Witch releases in August and I cannot wait to read the rest of Vasya’s story!

 

 

REVIEW: Your One & Only – Adrianne Finlay (ARC)

33413958Title: Your One & Only
Author: Adrianne Finlay
Rating: ★★★★

ARC received through NetGalley.

If you’re looking for a unique YA Dystopian story with excellent execution, skillful writing, and great characters, look no further than Your One & Only. What seems like would be a typical YA Sci-Fi novel, rife with tropes and romance-heavy, Your One & Only actually focuses on plot and character growth, with the romance riding shotgun, much to my pleasant surprise. 

The concept is so intriguing and refreshing that it was not hard to get into the book. The plot was fast-paced and had a lot going on that it was difficult for me to stop turning the pages. Adrianne Finlay did a great job with the world-building and the scientific aspects of the story. The characters she created were well-written, compelling, and believable. I especially loved Jack and reading from his POV. His loneliness and struggles were portrayed in a heartbreakingly real way, and I easily sympathized with his character. I felt particularly horrible for him after the “prank” with the Nylas. I really enjoyed watching the way the relationship between Jack and Althea-310 unfolded and developed over time. 

There was just one tiny issued that bothered me, and it’s more just me being nitpicky, but I was a little disappointed that there was no romantic love scene between Jack and Althea. Considering how much time was spent in the book talking about and mentioning Pairing, I was really surprised a scene wasn’t included to contrast both Jack’s and Althea’s previous experiences (Althea having only participated in Pairings, Jack’s misconception and deception with the Nylas) with feelings of love and desire of being with each other. It seems like a missed opportunity to showcase an important parallel for the characters.

As a standalone, the book wraps up nicely with a slight open ending that allows the reader to feel content, but also creates the question of whether more may follow. (Adrianne Finlay, if you are reading this review, I wouldn’t mind a sequel. I’m just saying…) I was approved for this title months ago, and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t read it sooner. Your One & Only is a fascinating concept with skillful writing, compelling characters, and a great story. I highly recommend this book and I think other readers will become as enraptured by the story and characters as I was. 

(P.S. I miss the old cover 🙁)