Review: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

I got to read this book for a class I’m taking. I was really excited when I saw it on the list of choices for this module because it’s been on my TBR since before it was published. I need to write a more analytical review for the class, but I figured I could process some of that by writing a blog review so here we are. Let’s dive in. As usual, TW/CW list will be at the bottom of the post. If you noticed any reading it that I’ve left out, please let me know in the comments or via this form.

The fact that this book is a novel written in verse makes it all the more impressive to me how well the characters are each developed. Each individual character has their own personality that is fully fleshed out through the book. I really enjoyed seeing the characters come to life through Xiomara’s understanding of them. I also really enjoyed seeing Xiomara’s character being built up through her impressions of and reactions to her world. We get to see a lot of her fluctuating emotions, which I haven’t gotten to see so realistically depicted in quite a while.

The story is set in Harlem, New York and doesn’t really travel outside of Xiomara’s neighborhood. Because of this, there is a lot of opportunity for the world to be built up. I was surprised to find myself being fully immersed in it. This is the first novel in verse that has been able to do that for me and I really loved that about it. We get to process Xiomara’s world as she does–as a place that wears a reputation it has long since outgrown and a place that is comforting in its familiarity. It is obvious that she feels at home in her world and allows the reader to process it through that lens.

The story itself is beautiful. It’s a contemporary coming-of-age story, but to simplify it into those few words seems unjust. Xiomara grows so much as a person from the beginning to the end. She develops her love of poetry and her ability to write and perform it. She grows to understand her relationship with Christianity and her mother and others around her. She feels pain and anger and happiness. Elizabeth Acevedo unabashedly portrays real life as many teens experience it and shows that it is possible to achieve a happy middle–I can’t say happy ending because Xiomara’s story obviously continues after the ending of the book.

I listened to the audiobook version of The Poet X while reading it for two reasons. First, because it was narrated by the author, Elizabeth Acevedo, herself and I can never pass up listening to an audiobook the author has narrated. Second, because I’m not used to reading novels in verse. I wanted to be able to read it as it was intended to be read. Elizabeth Acevedo did an amazing job bringing her book to life. I was excited to find out that she also did the narration for her latest book, With The Fire On High, and I’m looking forward to listening to that one as well.

I really enjoyed reading and listening to The Poet X and I’m very glad I picked it from the list of possible books for my class. I ended up listening to it a second time on my commute to work because I really enjoyed it and it’s only a few hours long. I definitely will pick up anything Elizabeth Acevedo puts out from now on!

Overall, I rate The Poet X 5 out of 5 bookworms. But don’t just take my word for it! Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!


Trigger / Content Warnings:

  • Burning of books (for censorship purposes)
  • Slut shaming
  • Sexism
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Sexual Assault
  • Physical and emotional abuse (parent to child)
  • Homophobia
  • Panic attacks

Review: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Hey there, bookworms and dragons! Surprise! An actual review from me! 📚🎉 What If It’s Us has been on my TBR since I found out Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera were writing it together. I was curious how it would come out, with Becky’s tendency for warm fluffy endings and Adam’s tendency to destroy every molecule of my feelings basically from beginning to end. Before we dive into the review, here’s the TW/CWs I remembered to mark. As always, if I missed one you noticed while reading please let me know in the comments or via this form.

  • homophobia
  • colorism? (I’m not sure what it’d be called, but it is confronted on the page.)

I love the amount of character development that went into the characters because, even if it wasn’t a lot in some cases, it always felt like just the right amount. I can’t give any examples without spoiling part of the story, so I’ll just say that the character development didn’t leave me wanting. Both Arthur and Ben are beautifully developed. Also, surprisingly, was Dylan who is actually my favourite character from the novel. The bromance between Dylan and Ben is perfect.

The entire story is set in New York City. I’m assuming it’s 2018 because of both the general feel of the world building (and slang used) and Friday the 13th falls in July during the book. (I guess it could be 2012? But, again, the slang…) I’ve only been to the city once and didn’t get much of a feel for it because it was only for a few hours (I will NEVER drive there again). The way the city is built up in What If It’s Us is enough for it to be immersive, which I love and is generally what I hope for.

The story itself? I LOVED it! I went in with mixed but high expectations and they were blown away. The plot twists didn’t seem very twisty to me as a reader, but I think they were more the kind that’s meant for the character than for the reader, which seems to be Becky Albertalli’s style. Looking it them from this perspective, the twists were perfect. I love the speed at which the story progresses and, for the most part, I also love how it progresses. I also loved the ending. I feel like it really does the story and characters justice.

Honestly, this is the contemporary novel I didn’t know I needed to read and I’m really glad I decided to pick it up. It was just enough fluff with just enough reality and just… read it. It definitely isn’t set up for a sequel, but I kinda hope Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera get together and give us one anyway. Or maybe a novel in the same universe? (I’m lookin’ at you, Dylan and Samantha!)

Overall, I rate What If It’s Us 4.5 out of 5 bookworms. But don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!

Do you read contemporary fiction? What are some of your favourites?

Review: This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Where to even begin with my review of This Mortal Coil… I have no clue. I didn’t note any TW/CWs while I was reading this one, which is part because I read it at rest stops while driving back from Maine and part because I was pretty much just powering through it. If you’ve read This Mortal Coil and you know of a TW/CW that needs to be added, please let me know in the comments and I’ll update the post. Let’s dive right in!

I had a bit of a hard time with the characters, specifically because so many of the plot twists in the story revolve around the character development aspect. I felt like I kinda knew a couple of them, but then there would be a plot twist and the metaphorical rug would be pulled out from under me. At the end of the story, I really only feel like I know one of the characters… maybe two… with enough certainty to tell you that I could have a conversation with them.

The world the characters live in, however, was pretty well developed. Post-apocalyptic United States with a pretty interesting and unique form of plague still actively attacking the populace? Yes, please! There were a couple different factions in this one and the rules on how they work in relation to the world itself seemed pretty steady throughout the novel. While the world building wasn’t quite as immersive as I was hoping for with a post-apocalyptic novel, I really enjoyed it.

The story itself… was kinda shaky for me. There were loads of plot twists and most of them were really good. I love a good plot twist! Though, I also kinda feel like there were too many plot twists in a way because the story wasn’t allowed to progress very well before another twist came along. It left parts of the novel feeling a little disjointed and confusing. There were honestly a couple of points where I wasn’t sure if I wanted to finish reading the novel, but in the end I’m glad I did. Confusing as it was, I really enjoyed the story and I’m curious about what happens next.

I’m torn between having enjoyed the novel and still being confused by some of it. I will definitely read the next novel in the series though because, unfortunately, the end is a HUGE cliffhanger and now I’m curious and have to know what comes next. Especially now that I’ve seen the synopsis for it.

Overall, I rate This Mortal Coil 3 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!

What are some of your favourite post-apocalyptic novels? Let’s talk about them in the comments!

Audiobook Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

So, I know I just posted my review of Lady Midnight last week, but as I said I am devouring the Shadowhunter books. I was torn between wanting to make the series last a bit longer (because the next book isn’t out until December) and needing to know what happens next to all my favourite Shadowhunters and Downworlders. And so here we are.

I really enjoyed that in Lord of Shadows we got to know a bit more about Ty, Livvy, and Kit. They’re three of my favourite characters in the series so seeing more of them up close and personal was really great for me. It was also more painful to see them struggle through the plot points but c’est la vie. I also like that we get a good bit more about Mark in this novel than we did in the last one. I really liked what Cassandra Clare did with his character arc and I look forward to seeing more in the next novel of the series.

The novel is set in the Shadowhunter world, with the addition of the Shadow Market gaining a good deal of depth. I do not think for a second that someone could pick up this series and know all of what is going on in the Shadow world but I still think they might enjoy it. The world building in this novel was heavy because of the addition of the Shadow Markets and the way they have their own sets of rules. I really liked this added bit of depth to the world and I wasn’t expecting it going in. Definitely a nice surprise.

I can’t even think about the story without my mind going to one specific thing that happened at the end and my heart breaks. I refuse to write spoilers into my review so just… be aware that you will likely need all the tissues and chocolate and kittens for snuggling. Your faves, as usual with Cassandra Clare’s work, are far from safe. The story itself flowed very well. Fast paced at the right moments and slower at the right moments, just long enough for the reader to nearly catch their breath before the world comes crashing down and things pick up again. Cassie Clare is basically a plot master at this point and we should all salute her.

While I would usually be unhappy about having to wait until December for the next novel in the series, I’ll probably need the next full six months to recover from what Cassandra Clare just did to me. I’m definitely going to need all the coffee and chocolate and baked goods for this one. For now, I’ll tide myself over with the Shadow Market novellas and chocolate chip pancakes.

Overall, I rate Lord of Shadows 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!

Have you read any of Cassandra Clare’s books? Who are your favourite characters in the Shadowhunter world?

Audiobook Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

As many of you already know, I’ve been practically devouring the Shadowhunter books by Cassamdra Clare, so deciding whether or not to read Lady Midnight was a no brainer for me. The one thing I was wary of going in though is that I know the series is not yet finished. However, I couldn’t stop myself and now I’m invested so here we are at the crossroads of “the next book is staring me in the face” and “but I haven’t reviewed the first book yet.” Let’s dig in and remedy that. 😉

Most of the characters are ah-may-zing. I could easily imagine myself having a conversation with almost any of them. They’re so incredibly realistic and three-dimensional. There were a couple main-ish characters who I felt could use more development. The one that pops to mind most often when I ponder this is Malcolm Fade, which is… unfortunate.

I loved seeing more of the characters that we got a peek of in The Mortal Instruments series, but for the most part Cassandra Clare handles their development as though their earlier appearances did not happen. I like this because it means that someone can pick up Lady Midnight without having to have read the other Shadowhunter novels and still enjoy it.

The Shadow world… As I said, I’m pretty much steeped in it now so I knew what the general rules are to it. There is not a large amount of world building, though. This is the one area of the novel that I felt kept Lady Midnight from being as good as possible for the first novel in a series. It definitely added to what was already there, but as far as creating anything beyond an immersive quality to the locations this one is a bit lacking. Basically, you’ll want to read the other books first to understand the world that the story takes place in.

The story itself flows along really well from beginning to end. It consistently speeds up and slows down as needed without being too slow (i.e. boring) or too fast (i.e. how did we get here? idk). Instead, the plot rises and falls similar to being out to sea. And, much like being out to sea, there are sharks (i.e. plot twists) all over the place waiting to jump up and eat you and your feelings. The ending didn’t feel cliff-hangery but I definitely want more and need to know what happens to the characters. So, basically, the end was perfect.

I… can’t even lie. I listened to this one about four books ago so I have very little memory of what I liked or disliked about Morena Baccarin’s narration of this book. I would definitely remember if I had disliked it a lot or if I had loved it, so I’m going to assume she did a good job.

I really enjoyed this novel as someone who has already read the other available Shadowhunter novels. Like I said before, I do recommend reading the others before this one because of the world building, but the novel can be enjoyable without that. I am going to go start listening to the second novel in this series now, though this review probably won’t actually go up until next week because… editing. Where is the time? (If you know, tell me!)

Overall, I rate Lady Midnight 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!

Have you read any of the Shadowhunter novels? Which is your favourite? Let’s talk about it in the comments! 😀

Review: Circle of Ashes by Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh

Hellooooo, bookworms! And welcome to today’s edition of Can Kitty actually get a full review written before she starts reading something else! It’s one of my favourite games that I’ve been losing lately so let’s give this a go while the book is still fresh, shall we?

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Circle of Ashes is the second book in the Wish Quartet. Because I already read the first book in the series (you can find my review of that here), I already kind of knew the characters going in. Because of this, I think the amount of development that went into them during this novel was more than I was expecting. We got to see a bit more about each of the characters in both good ways and bad.

The Society of Wishes is set outside of time and reality. This was built up so well in the first novel, but wasn’t touched on so much in this one. Some new dimension was added, but there’s definitely an expectation that the reader has started at the beginning of the series. This book’s world building doesn’t allow for it to stand on its own at all.

As for the story itself, WOW. This is what really kept me going with this novel. It’s so fast paced for most of it that I had trouble putting it down for things like “adulting” and “sleep.” Who needs those anyway, ammirite? There’s also one HUGE plot twist toward the end of the story that blew. My. Mind.

The one thing that bothered me about Circle of Ashes was Jo. She’s very white-coded so I honestly completely forgot she’s Mexican American until the end where she references having light brown skin and Nico calls her by her full name. I feel like a good bit of effort went into making sure her heritage was obvious in Society of Wishes and it kind of dropped off afterward. I’m hoping the next novel improves upon this.

That being said, I am definitely looking forward to the next bit of the story! I’m definitely invested in the Society now and I need to know what happens next, especially after some of the newer developments to the story and characters. I really look forward to the third novel of the series.

Overall, I rate Circle of Ashes 3 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!

Have you read Society of Wishes and Circle of Ashes? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! I’m still hurting over how Circle of Ashes left me and I need to talk about it. 😭

Review: Society of Wishes by Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh

First book in the Wish Quartet, a new-adult, urban fantasy series set in a near-future alternate reality

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.

Josephina Espinosa makes her living as a hacker-for-hire in the Lone Star Republic, a remnant of the fractured U.S.A. That is, until the day she and her best friend are gunned down in a government raid.

With her dying breath, Jo uses magical lore passed down from her grandmother to summon a wish-granter. Her wish? To save her friend’s life. Except wishes have costs, and for Jo, the price is the erasure of her entire mortal existence.

Now, as the most recent addition to the mysterious Society of Wishes, Jo must form a new “life” alongside the seven other members, one of which being her savior himself. Living as an occupant of the Society’s lavish mansion should be quite the perk, but while it is furnished with everything its inhabitants could possibly need, it lacks one thing—freedom.

Her otherworldly identity crisis takes a backseat, however, when Jo learns that the friend she sacrificed everything for is headed down the same path to ruin. Jumping in head-first, Jo uses her newfound magical abilities to protect him, only to realize that the ripples of her actions have far-reaching consequences. When the Society’s aloof leader Snow decides to give her a taste of his own ancient magic, Jo discovers that there are threads woven into the tapestry of her new reality that reach far beyond the wishes she is now required to grant. Ones that, if tugged on, could mean the unraveling of the world itself.

 

My Review

So, I started reading Society of Wishes along with the Official Facebook Read Along. I accidentally read ahead to the point where I was so close to the end I figured I might as well finish it. So, while the read along is still going strong, I’m here writing out my review. That should at least tell you something about how this is going to go.

The characters are quite mysterious and it’s hard to feel like I know them much. Aside from Jo, they weren’t overly three-dimensional, but I do feel like we have at least bits and pieces of the characters enough to at least start seeing them as people. Also, I can not speak to the authenticity of Jo’s Mexican American representation because I am not Mexican American, but she felt very white-coded to me. At the moment though I feel mostly like we have bits and pieces without that extra something that pulls it all together. Given what I have already seen from Elise Kova’s work, I have to assume this will come later.

Society of Wishes is set in a futuristic United States that are no longer United following a third World War. This was built up fairly well, but the majority of the story takes place in the Society, which is built up very well. As a location, it was relatively easy to immerse myself into, but also the hierarchy and expectations of the characters were very clear and easy to visualize. The world building was a strong point in this novel for me.

While I did really enjoy the semi-immersive quality of the world building, Society of Wishes is a very plot-driven book. And drive it does! The story flows very well from one bit of excitement to the next, which is what led to my accidental finishing of the book in two days instead of thirty-six days. It was very easy to get caught up and keep reading from beginning to end.

That is one thing I need to talk about though. The end. It just… kind of… stopped? Like… I hate cliffhangers. This much has been established repeatedly in my reviews and blog posts. But this… wasn’t even a cliffhanger? The story was building up to another bit of excitement and then… Nothing. Needless to say the ending of this book was not a win for me.

I really did enjoy the story while I was reading it and I’m curious to see more about the Society and its members so I’ll definitely be continuing with the series. I did not like the way the book just kind of stopped, but I am invested in the plot so I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the series. Hopefully, the ending to that one will be a little easier to sit with.

Overall, I rate Society of Wishes 3 out of 5 bookworms. But don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!

Review: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

 

My Review

There are quite a few ways to get me to bump a book up on my TBR list and having one of my autobuy authors call it “a must read” right on the cover is definitely one of them! It has also come highly recommended by a few people whose taste in books I tend to trust so it quickly made its way to the top of my TBR pile and almost as soon as it came in at the library, I started reading it.

The main character in this novel is Justyce, whose name I felt was incredibly fitting to the plot of the story. I almost feel like Dear Martin could be characterized as a coming of age story for Justyce but I also feel like leaving it only to that would be ignoring how much more the story really is. The characters in the story are so utterly three-dimensional that I have trouble no trouble imagining them as real people.

Dear Martin takes place in a few different settings that can easily be found in modern America. From the Urban Core to the private high school to the college campus, each of the places and hierarchies described and built up throughout the novel is done with such precision and accuracy that it was easy to lose myself within the pages and hard to notice when it happened.

From the very beginning, Dear Martin sucked me in and made it very difficult to put down. I’ve heard some younger readers say it was boring and they had a hard time getting into it at the beginning. I do feel like it might have started a bit slow, which can often hurt a novel as short as this one, but personally I enjoyed it from beginning to end.

The story goes back and forth between two different points of view, though instead of being between two characters, Dear Martin is told in both third person and first person, which is accomplished through the addition of letters written to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from the main character, Justyce McAllister. Though this could have easily taken away from the novel and stretched it into nothing comprehensible, this 210 page novel and the characters within it are given a great amount of depth.

Dear Martin was also a finalist for the 2018 William C. Morris award from the ALA, which is an award presented for debut novels to first-time authors writing for teens. It most definitely deserves this distinction. From the very beginning, I was sucked into the story and invested in the characters. Dear Martin covers a hard topic in a way that is easily digestible, and I’m in awe of Nic Stone’s ability as a writer. I can not wait to read more of her work!

Overall, I rate Dear Martin 5 out of 5 bookworms.

Don’t just take my word for it. Get your hands on a copy and enjoy it for yourself! A few places you can order your copy from are:

 

That’s all for this post, bookworms. Happy reading!

Review: Sightwitch by Susan Dennard

From New York Times bestselling author Susan Dennard, Sightwitch is an illustrated novella set in the Witchlands and told through Ryber’s journal entries and sketches.

Before Safi and Iseult battled a Bloodwitch…

Before Merik returned from the dead…

Ryber Fortiza was a Sightwitch Sister at a secluded convent, waiting to be called by her goddess into the depths of the mountain. There she would receive the gift of foretelling. But when that call never comes, Ryber finds herself the only Sister without the Sight.

Years pass and Ryber’s misfit pain becomes a dull ache, until one day, Sisters who already possess the Sight are summoned into the mountain, never to return. Soon enough, Ryber is the only Sister left. Now, it is up to her to save her Sisters, though she does not have the Sight—and though she does not know what might await her inside the mountain.

On her journey underground, she encounters a young captain named Kullen Ikray, who has no memory of who he is or how he got there. Together, the two journey ever deeper in search of answers, their road filled with horrors, and what they find at the end of that road will alter the fate of the Witchlands forever.

Set a year before Truthwitch, Sightwitch is a companion novella that also serves as a set up to Bloodwitch, as well as an expansion of the Witchlands world.

My Review

Okay so this is one of the few books I preordered this year because Katie got me hooked on the Witchlands series. After having read the other two books currently published for the series, I’m already fairly certain I will reread them at least once each, so I went ahead and preordered this one to read. And wow am I glad I did! (Though now I have to wait for Katie to catch up before we can flail about it together because her copy hasn’t arrived just yet….)

While we already knew a little about Ryber, most of the other characters we got to see were entirely new. We also got a great deal more background on Ryber and Kullen during Sightwitch, which brings me so much joy and I’m trying really hard not to flail here about it because I refuse to knowingly add in spoilers so JUST KNOW IT’S GREAT, OKAY?!

I also really liked getting to know the various characters to do with the Sightwitch Convent and Eridysi’s background since she’s spoken of quite a bit in the novels. It could easily have been overwhelming to have so many characters developed in such a small span, but Susan Dennard does a masterful job juggling the multiple points of view to create a clear picture of the story as a whole.

Returning to the world of the Witchlands honestly feels a bit like coming home. I did enjoy seeing the new addition of the Sightwitch Convent along with its various eccentricities added into the Witchlands mix. I feel like the world building was really well done. It felt a bit like viewing the same world from a different angle and I really enjoyed it.

The plot in Sightwitch doesn’t really become clear until a little ways in. In fact, I was worried for a bit that there wouldn’t be one because everything at the beginning almost feels a little random. However, it quickly pulls together in a way that had me hooked and wanting to find out what happened next.

While the use of multiple points of view is similar to the other books of the series, Sightwitch is the only Witchlands novel that uses multiple points of view from different times. In fact, one of the timelines occurs a full thousand years before the other, which added to the seeming randomness in the beginning but by the end brought an amazing fullness to the story. Sightwitch so artfully written that it’s honestly hard for me to think back on all that happened and come to the realization that it’s a novella and not a full novel.

There were quite a few questions at the end of the novel that are left unanswered, which did affect my bookworm rating a bit. But… I feel like I should at least mention that there isn’t a doubt in my mind, given my existing experience with Susan Dennard’s writing, that these questions will be answered in subsequent novels in the Witchlands series.

While I did listen to the other two in audiobook format, I’m glad I read this one in physical format because of the way it’s laid out on the page. In this specific case, I feel like something of it could be lost in a translation to audiobook formatting. Not at all surprisingly, I enjoyed this novella thoroughly and I’m so happy that Susan Dennard decided to give us this amazing story while we wait for the next book in the series to be ready for publication.

Overall, I rate Sightwitch 4 out of 5 bookworms.

Don’t just take my word for it. Get your hands on a copy and enjoy it for yourself! A few places you could order your copy from are:

That’s it for me, bookworms. Now I get to (im)patiently await the publication of Bloodwitch next year and shake my fist at Katie for introducing me to this wonderfully addictive series. Happy reading!

Review: Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised–the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer’s magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?

 

My Review

Reign of the Fallen was the book that came in the Shelflove Crate January ‘Royal Pains’ box. It’s a book I’ve been really looking forward to reading because the premise looked so unique, so it didn’t take much urging for me to read it as soon as it got here. It did take me a few days to read it, but that’s mostly because I mainly read physical books on my days off from work (which are low in number lately) and on my lunch break. The lengthy read time, however, has not given me any less to say about this novel and I will probably ramble a bit so buckle up and grab a snack because this is probably going to be a long one.

The cast of characters is incredible and diverse and I really enjoyed getting to know them. The main character is very well developed and I had no trouble fitting myself into her headspace. The secondary characters might have done better with a little more development but I could imagine having a conversation with most of them so they were developed well enough for the purpose of the story.

What really stood out to me about the characters was the amazingly accurate representation. There was one secondary character who was gay and in a committed relationship with a soft boy whose orientation is never discussed beyond the relationship itself. However, the main character represents multiple things that I identified with on a deeply personal level.

The main character is a bisexual woman who suffers from grief at the loss of a loved one and addiction. The accuracy of the grief and addiction representation in this book is so incredible that even thinking on it now has me tearing up a bit. I will say that if it hadn’t been so long since the beginning of my fight with addiction, I would probably have been more tempted by it so please keep that in mind if you’re thinking of reading it.

The entire story is set in a world where some people are magicians but most are not. There are a few different types of magicians and the type of magician a person can train become is determined by their eye colour. I couldn’t help wonder what kind of magician I might become in such a world, given that my eyes are multiple colours that frequently shift and change, but after finishing the book I realized that I would probably not be a magician because of it so that was slightly disappointing.

One type of magician in Reign of the Fallen are the necromancers, who have varying shades of blue eyes. The main character and most of her friends have recently completed their training and become Master Necromancers, which is how the king, who initially died centuries before, is still able to reign over Karthia instead of passing the rule along to his heirs. With a world this complex, it could be difficult to build up on the page but Sarah Glenn Marsh didn’t seem to have any trouble with it at all and the world quickly became quite immersive.

The opening line of this novel is epic and the story flows well from it. There are a few plot twists, which I absolutely LOVED, but I figured them out long before the characters themselves did, making me believe that these were the type of plot twists meant for the characters instead of the reader. The plot flows back and forth between relatively slow progress and action sequences, but all the while kept me thinking and enjoying the story.

I’m really happy that this book came with the Shelflove Crate box this month because my library hasn’t even ordered it yet. I really enjoyed reading it from beginning to end. At the end of the story, most of the loose ends are tied up, but there is most definitely room for a sequel or companion novel. I really hope to see one, but I would also like to read more from Sarah Glenn Marsh!

Overall, I rate Reign of the Fallen 4 out of 5 bookworms.

Don’t just take my word for it. Get your hands on a copy and enjoy it for yourself! A few places you could order your copy from are:

 

That’s all for me this post, bookworms. Keep living one page at a time!