About a month or so ago I had the great pleasure of reading Bright Smoke Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge. This book is a Romeo and Juliet retelling where we follow four main characters as they work on seemingly separate missions. Romeo Mahyanai and Paris Catresou work to expose the higher ups of the Mahyanai clan, who seem to be breaking various laws that hold the dying city together. Juliet Castresou and Mahyanai Runajo work to save the city through finding the ancient knowledge that could save the city. In this book the small city known as Viyara is the last living civilization in a world ruled by the dead, and seem to simply be buying time until they all become a member of the undead.
Overall I give this book four out of five stars. It was an awesome read that I couldn’t put down. Ultimately this book lost the last start because I wanted to see more of the world, watch the characters grow more, and learn more about the magic system, the Juliet, and The Sisters of Throne. I felt like these characteristics really set this book apart from others but we didn’t see a lot of it, which could really set this book apart from a traditional retelling.
If you haven’t read the book I urge you to stop here, but if you’re ready for some spoilers keep reading.
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A few months ago I finally got around to reading Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and I’m very conflicted about how I feel about it. On the positive side I really did like the story and I got through the first two thirds in a day or two, but then I just sat on it and I didn’t end up loving it by the end. The story itself was very compelling, and I loved it, but I felt like many of the characters fell sort of flat and I didn’t really end up feeling like many of them grew over time. I am still going to continue with the series for two reasons. 1) I have the first book 2) I’m hoping the characters grow and become more 3D in the second book.
Shadow and Bone is set in the Grisha universe, where the elite of the population have abilities to manipulate, create, or change things around them. Shadow and Bone is mainly about an orphan named Alina who lives in a country named Ravka and worked as a map maker for the military. Her best friend, Mal, knew her since she arrived at the orphanage and followed Alina as they both continue their paths in the military. That is, until the day they are sent on a mission to attempt to cross the fold, a great darkness that has taken part of the country hostage. While in the fold Alina releases a great power that fends off not only the darkness of the fold, but the monsters that live inside it. The problem? She didn’t know it was there, she doesn’t know how to control it, and she’s taken from her friend to be taken to the small palace and serve the Darkling. That’s where this story begins. During the book we follow Alina as she spends her time at the small palace developing her power, growing stronger, and falling in love.
Overall this book got a four out of five stars because I love the universe and the story was entertaining. I didn’t love the characters as much as I hoped to, but they have a lot of growing to do and I think in the next book is when that I will really happen because they are left to a much more difficult situation than what they’ve been used to. I also hope to watch as their relationship grows a little more.
Warning: stop here if you haven’t read the book. I recommend it if you’re looking for a new fantasy series, and I really do hope that you read it, but if you don’t want spoilers stop here. If you’re read it, keep going.
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