REVIEW: Diamond City – Francesca Flores (ARC)

Title: Diamond City (Diamond City #1)
Author: Francesca Flores
Rating: ★★★½

ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter. 

What is this book about? Diamond City follows Aina, an assassin working for one of the worst crime bosses in Koshima. When presented with an opportunity to break away from the Blood King and start her own establishment, she takes on a high-profile assassination job. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned and she gets caught up in a game of politics, conspiracy, and murder.

What did I like? This is a case where the book started out so amazingly but slowly lost steam as the story went on. I thought the world-building was clever: a world caught between industrialization and religion. The struggles between the two sides felt very believable and added depth to the story.

I also really loved Aina! It was refreshing to have an assassin that actually commits murders without qualms. Orphaned at a young age, she struggled to overcome poverty and homelessness, and is eventually “saved” by the Blood King, the leader of a ruthless gang. Speaking of the Blood King, Francesca Flores did an excellent job exploring the kind of power and emotional control people like Kohl have over impressionable younger girls such as Aina. Aina transitions from romanticizing him and their relationship to finally opening her eyes to the kind of person he truly is.

What didn’t I like? Towards the end of the book, the story started to lose a bit of steam. The action really picked up, but the conflicts were resolved quickly and without much fanfare. There were also a few aspects and “plot twists” that felt a little forced and a bit too clean for the kind of story this started out as.

Overall thoughts: I highly enjoyed this debut book from Francesca Flores! The world-building was unique and different from what I was expecting for a novel about a young assassin, and the heroine was truly the heart of this book. I look forward to reading the rest of the series!

Young Adult Fantasy Standalones of 2019

December is almost over, which means I survived an entire year of nursing school! 🎉 Sorry I haven’t been active the last couple of months, but now that I have a two week break from school/work I plan to spend that time reading, relaxing, and catching up on blogging! This year, I’ve noticed a lot more standalone novels being released in the YA genre and I am loving it. I’m a big fan of a series as much as the next reader, but there’s so something so satisfying about a really well-written standalone novel. 


ECHO NORTH

40046030The was such a breathtaking, brilliant retelling of one of my favorite fairytales, East of the Sun, West of the Moon. The book completely blew my expectations out of the water. Joanna Ruth Meyer did such an excellent job in taking the original elements of the fairytales in which the book was inspired by, and adding little twists to create a whimsical story that was both true to its roots, and yet totally unique. The vivid descriptions and writing had me completely enamored by the book. The ending was a little bittersweet, but it was entirely satisfying and wrapped the book up perfectly. 


STAIN

34842208This book blew me away. It was a hauntingly beautiful fairytale unlike any other. The dark, gothic elements and vivid descriptions made this such an atmospheric read. There were so many clever intricacies to the plot and the small details were woven together so carefully and in a way that made this a really well-constructed book. I also loved the theme of a rose gaining thorns in regards to Lyra’s character growth throughout the story.


WARRIOR OF THE WILD

43446574This book was so much fun to read. It was action-packed, fast-paced adventure with a loveable, fierce warrior girl as the star of the novel. The action starts from the first page, and doesn’t let up until the last. Rasmira was such a wonderful heroine and I enjoyed reading through her point of view so very much. In addition to our protagonist, we also are introduced to two side characters, Iric and Soren, and I loved the interactions between those two boys and Rasmira. The book has an important and inspiring message of overcoming adversity and growing into the person you want to be, regardless of what others believe of you.


DESCENDANT OF THE CRANE

36430989This book might be low on the action, but it’s high on the suspense and political intrigue. I actually really enjoyed the slower paced story and how the focus was instead on the intricacies of the murder mystery and the inner court machinations. Hesina was a character that I greatly enjoyed following as she attempted to navigate her struggles between her personal wants/beliefs and what she needed to portray in order to gain the support and find justice for her father’s murder.


THE CANDLE AND THE FLAME

39821312This was an excellent, beautifully written debut. The writing was absolutely gorgeous. I loved how diversely rich in culture and history the book was; the author’s descriptions paint a vivid picture for the reader. And of course any story featuring djinn is a story for me! I really loved all the different characters, relationships, romances, and the political intrigue featured in the story. I wish the book had been a bit longer because I would love to have seen what happens next!


SORCERY OF THORNS

42201395This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and I had a lot of fun reading it! This book contains sentient books; a fierce, sword-wielding librarian; and a handsome, broody sorcerer with a tragic past. What more could any bibliophile ask for in a book? Margaret Rogerson did an amazing job with the world-building and the magical aspects of this story and I cannot wait for whatever she writes next!


THE BONE HOUSES

36524503The story follows a gravedigger and a mapmaker on an epic adventure full of family, magic, and the undead. The book heavily features elements of Welsh mythology, meanwhile other parts were reminiscent of The Black Cauldron. The eerie, atmospheric settings gives a haunting feel to this mesmerizing story that reads as if it’s a dark fairytale.

 


Do you enjoy standalones? What was your favorite one you’ve read this year? Let’s chat in the comments!

 

WWW Wednesday #23

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words in which the three W’s stand for:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

43979540WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

Starsight (Starward #2) by Brandon Sanderson

 

 


43263331WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard

 

 


44441993WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

The Dating Charade by Melissa Ferguson