Review: Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

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Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by: Alison Goodman

My Rating: 4 Stars

Eon has been studying the ancient art of Dragon Magic for four years, hoping he’ll become apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. But he also has a dark secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been living a dangerous lie for the chance to become a Dragoneye, the human link to an energy dragon’s power. It is forbidden for females to practise the Dragon Magic and, if discovered, Eon faces a terrible death. But after a brilliant sword ceremony, Eon is catapulted into the treacherous world of the Imperial court, where his desperate lie comes to light …

Beware spoilers ahead!

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn was read during Tome Topple. And for The Dream Thieves December theme Missed TBR.

Trigger warning: Physical violence, bullying, harassment, drug addiction, mention of war, death, grief, misogynistic society, gory fights, critical injuries from battle, ableism, transphobia, disability cured via magic, mention of salt mines, mention of slavery, abuse of power via authority, taking control of one’s body, and rape.

Eon is a twelve year old boy with a lame leg. Eon is hoping to become a Dragoneye so his master can become rich again. There’s just one small problem. Eon is Eona a sixteen year old girl. And girl’s can’t be Dragoneye’s. It is punishable by death. If the council finds out Eona and her master will be punished. On top of all that there is a war brewing. How will Eona manage to balance her lies and survive the imperial court?

After reading The Dark Day’s Club by the same author I really wanted to read more off her works’. The Eon series has such rave reviews that I decided to give it a shot. I am really happy to say that I enjoyed it!

I am really happy that I read this! The book begins with a prologue was explains some of the world and magic system. There is a map of the palace, and dragon charts. Which lists each dragon and their dragoneye. The book is narrated in first person limited following Eona’s point of view.

I really enjoyed the world building and the magic system! It was very unique and interesting. Also the dragon aspect was so cool! Eona is still learning so not everything was explained. Particularly the bound with a dragon. The power that the Dragoneye’s have is explored but again to a degree.

The beginning was a bit dense as everything is being introduced to the reader. It did feel like an adult fantasy for that reason. Once I got into it, the book flew! This was so fast paced and I wasn’t expecting that.

I enjoyed the political intrigue! It’s very rare to find well done political intrigue. When Eona gets to the palace it’s a constant game of lies and a bit of cat and mouse with one of the Dragoneye’s. Whose name is Lord Ido. It’s get even messier when Eona make’s some friends and gets dragged into a battle of sorts. There is a bit of power imbalance which was is discussed multiple times throughout the book. 

I really liked Eona’s character! She’s very unique from some of the characters you read about now-a-days. She’s compassionate but ruthless as she’s backed into a corner most of the time. Eona was quite intelligent and very mature for her age. I think the author did a good job with Eona’s leg. I liked reading about her inner struggles. Particularly her fear off being herself and accepting her female side. With the help off her friends and her dragon Eona comes to accept herself. Her character development was truly excellent!

Eona is close to Chart and Rilla. Chart is disfigured and can’t speak. Due to this he is picked on quite a bit. Rilla is Chart’s mother. Barron is Eona’s master who she trained under. Barron bought Eona from a salt mine when he realized she could see all the dragons’ energies. She has a complicated relationship with him. Regardless they both still care for each other.

Eona becomes friends with Ryko, Lady Dela, and Prince Kygo. Also some of the dragoneye’s and their apprentices. Lady Dela spends her time navigating Eona through all the political intrigue and Ryko is tasked with guarding Lady Dela. Lady Dela is a transgender female. Prince Kygo and Eona become friends for mutual interests. There are hinting’s of a romance between the two. Nothing becomes of it in this installment.

All these characters shape Eona. And grow from one-another. I really liked the relationship’s she had with all of them! My favourite is Lady Dela. She was such a fun character but knowledgeable as well.

I also liked all the plot twist’s and foreshadowing you get throughout the book! Some of it was predictable. Though I still found it entertaining. Truly this book kept me on the edge of my seat. 

I did have some problems with this book. I felt that Lady Dela wasn’t done that well. There are several times when Eona will mention that Lady Dela would sometimes look like a male or have the strength of a male. Which didn’t feel that well done to me. Once Eona has truly bounded with her dragon her leg is ‘fixed’. Magically she’s cured. And it does send the wrong message.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I am looking forward to reading the sequel. I highly recommend this series!                

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Review: A Very Large Expanse of Sea

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A Very Large Expanse of Sea by: Tahereh Mafi

My Rating: 4 Stars

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: Violence, bullying, harassment, xenophobia, Islamophobia, discrimination, mention of divorce, mention of wars, mention of death and car accident, racism, blackmailing, and invasion of privacy via technology. 

A Very Large Expanse of Sea was read for The Dream Thieves: Badass Broads.

When I had first heard about this book I didn’t care. I’d tried reading some of the author’s previous works and they didn’t work for me. After reading all the rave reviews I caved in and gave it a shot. I am happy that I did so!

Shirin has spent most of her life moving from one school to another. She hasn’t stayed at one school long enough to make lasting friendship’s. With every move her parents try to put her in a better school, ideally make more money, and move into a better house. The latest move is no different. Another high school with mostly white people.

Shirin has been spending most of the schools’ she goes to putting up walls. She doesn’t talk to people and people don’t talk to her. Her hijab seems to be a large neon ‘Avoid this person’ sign. Much to Shirin’s surprise, her lab partner Ocean becomes her friend. And even more shocking they start to become more than that. Throughout the story Shirin starts to realize she may have been wrong about people.

Before starting A Very Large Expanse of Sea I didn’t read many reviews. I went into it with little to no knowledge but decently high expectations. It really surprised me! The book is written in first person following Shirin. It’s like Shirin is talking to you. Which I thought worked for the story. It’s really amazing how many times Mafi can change her writing style. There are some text messages, AIM messages, and chapter numbers. It takes place one year after the 9/11. The title of the book is also mentioned in the story.

Shirin was one of the best parts of this book! I found her so relatable, mature, and surprisingly funny. Seriously some of the things she says were on point and hilarious. Also completely vulnerable. Normally the character that puts up a lot of walls doesn’t admit they are vulnerable. Shirin on the other hand mentions so many times that she is vulnerable but wishes she wasn’t. Which I found to be rather refreshing.

Shirin and her brother Navid are born and breed American’s. Their parents are Iranian immigrants. There was quite a bit of mention about Persian culture. Such as the language and the food. Even some of the traditions. They are also Muslim’s. Islam play a large part in the story. As a Muslim I found the Islam rep to be amazing! Shirin also has a lot to say about wearing the hijab. Such as why she wear’s it and her views on the hijab. I also wear the hijab so I loved everything she had to say! Some of it brought tears to my eyes, and made me respect Shirin even more.

I really enjoyed reading about Shirin’s relationship with her family! Navid was such a sweetheart. And their parents were supportive in their own way. What really stood out to me was how much Shirin and her family love their religion and culture. Which is a rarity to read about.

Shirin has many interests. Breakdancing, fashion, books, tv, and music. These interests are always brought up throughout the book without being too in your face. Every tiny detail regarding Shirin as a person is weaved into the story effectively. 

I really liked all the diversity in this book! Navid has dyslexia. It’s treated like a part of him not something to ashamed off. Their breakdancing crew also has some diverse members. Bijan is gay and Middle Eastern. Not quite sure where exactly he’s from. Jacobi is black. Carlos I think is Hispanic. I’m not a 100 percent positive. It’s not really mentioned. But I have a feeling he’s not white either. 

I had so much fun reading about breakdancing! This is actually the first time I’ve read about the topic in a book. And I have to say that I did actually learn quite a bit. The competitions were the best to read about though. The relationship the crew had with one-another was also so cute!

Ocean really surprised me! I did not expect to like him as much as I did. He was really nice and of course due to his privilege a bit oblivious. I really liked that Shirin and Ocean were friends first then an actual romance formed. Rather than some insta-love. I loved their conversations! They were so cute together! 

Ocean as well as other characters allow Shirin to grow. And understand that Shirin was doing exactly what people did to her. Stereotyping everyone around her. Shirin herself allows Ocean to realize his privilege and allowed him to grow into himself more.

My favourite part about their relationship was that they were more than their relationship. Shirin still keeps up her breakdancing, and Ocean still stays within the status quo. Sometimes I find that when the romance takes a center stage the characters are just demoted to dating status. It was nice that it wasn’t the case here.   

Mafi did an excellent job with the ramifications off Shirin and Ocean’s relationship. There is a large focus on politic’s as well as the high school social dynamics. The school, neighbors, teachers, parents, and students all react to their relationship in different ways. Peer pressure is brought up, even feeling powerless to an adult. Each aspect was done wonderfully! And with great care.

I do have some issues. I wish that the Mr. Jordan situation was handled a bit better. And I do agree that some things were pushed off to the side when Ocean and Shirin started dating. Also the dating situation may make a few Muslims uncomfortable. I was perfectly okay with it. But I know others won’t be. I also wish that Amna would’ve been mentioned at the end. Ocean was as the two were spending a lot of time together at the end. But Amna isn’t. 

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed A Very Large Expanse of Sea! I highly recommend it!        

Review: Children of Blood and Bone

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Children of Blood and Bone by: Tomi Adeyemi

My Rating: 4 Stars

The B&N Exclusive Edition includes six pages of handwritten, behind-the-scenes material plus a map of Lagos, the capital city of Orïsha. The city map shows the Royal Palace, the marketplace, and the diviner slums that ring the marketplace.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: Genocide, slavery, torture, abusive parent, discrimination, assault, colorism, and oppression.

GR Ultimate Summer Reading Challenge: Sand Between My Toe’s, Hook ‘Em, and Sports-a-holic. Tome Topple Readathon Round 6.

Last year I got a sample from Netgalley. I was so intrigued and thoroughly enjoyed reading the sample! Naturally I bought the final version. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

11 years ago King Saran ordered the murders of the former Maji. The same day that the Maji lost their powers leaving them defenseless. Zelie witnessed her mother being murdered. The King also ordered all the dead Maji to be put on display. So as to make the diviners fear him.

In secret Zelie and other girls in her village get training from Mama Agba. Mama Agba teaches them how to defend themselves with a staff. To further make the diviners miserable the King increases the diviner tax. In an attempt to be brave Zelie angers the guard and nearly gets herself killed. Much to Zelie’s surprise Mama Agba allows Zelie to graduate and awards her with a metal staff.

Zelie arrives to terrible news. Her father nearly drowns in an attempt to keep her from becoming a slave. Zelie agrees to sell fish in Lagos which is the capital city. While there she runs into the princess who is on the run from her father. Zelie, Amari, and Tzain (Zelie’s brother) then embark on a journey to bring magic back.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read such an intense fantasy! I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The B & N edition comes with an annotated chapter, and the map of Lagos. The hardcover is also a different color. Narrated in first person the book follows Amari, Zelie, and Inan. There is also a one page prologue and an epilogue. The point of views’ are actually written well! You can tell that their different people.

The world-building and magic system were incredible! Zelie lives in a very gruesome and tough society. When magic makes a vague comeback it got really intense! I enjoyed reading about the journey to all the sacred temples. And the I really liked that there were objects tied to getting magic back. There a huge part that mythology and religion plays into the story. I found the whole concept to be original. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the culture. Such as food, clothes, and language.

I’m just going to say this first: I understand why people don’t like Zelie. Zelie spends a majority of the book being angry. And she usually took it out on Amari and Tzain was always stuck fixing the mess. The reason I actually liked all the characters is because they were understandable. While Zelie could be a real pain, I understood where she was coming from. And she did actually develop throughout the book.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading from Amari’s point of view! It was lovely to read about her journey and struggles. I liked how Binta was a strong motivation for Amari. In some books said dead character usually disappears 20% in. That didn’t happen. From the beginning to the end Amari is always thinking about Binta. I also liked how Zelie and Amari came to be friends. Their chapter together was fantastic!

I found Inan’s chapters to be the most insightful. His character was very interesting. I enjoyed watching him develop and reading about his outlook on the world around him. While he did a lot of questionable things I understood his motivations. I look forward to his journey in the sequel. 

I’m kind off hoping that for the sequel we’ll get Tzain’s point of view. I would love to read his thoughts! And hands down Tzain is my favourite character. He’s serious while also showing a goofy side. And he’s a very fair person. 

I really liked how there was a large focus on family! As someone who has siblings it was so much fun to read about the relationship’s between Amari and Inan, as well as Zelie and Tzain. Even the King’s relationships’ with his children. Mama Agba was a mother figure to Zelie and Tzain. And I really loved Zelie’s father! He was so sweet.

Onto the romance! I loved Amari and Tzain together! They developed such a sweet relationship and get along so well. They bring out the best in each other. I would love for them to be official in the sequel. As for Inan and Zelie I felt nothing. Yeah they got along but it came it off nowhere. It’ll be interesting to see where the sequel will take them.

I liked the involvement of Zu’s crew as well as Tzain’s opponents. They made the story and the journey to get magic back so interesting. I am really looking forward to reading about them again in the sequel! 

There are some deaths’. Starting from the beginning of the book. I appreciated that the author didn’t hold back. I’m sort of weary and curious as to who will die in the sequel.

I only had one problem. I honestly did not understand Zelie and Inan’s relationship. They spent a good bit of the book hating each other. Inan was trying to kill her. They had an opportunity to work together. Which lasted two days. And somehow in those two days they were basically in love. They moved very fast. It was very surprising.

Overall I really liked Children of Blood and Bone! I high recommend to fantasy fans.    

Review: Defy the Stars

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Defy the Stars by: Claudia Gray

 Nate Begle (Narrator) and Kasey Lee Huizinga (Narrator)

My Rating: 4 Stars

Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that’s now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth’s robotic “mech” armies for decades with no end in sight.

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel’s programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis–even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: War and death. Dystopian society.

Part of Defy the Stars was read during #rimpysreadsathon. 

Defy the Stars was recommended to me by my dear GR friend Elise! Click on her name to read her review. When I heard that Claudia Gray was releasing a new book I didn’t particularly care. I’ve never read any of her books nor did I care too. Then I came across Elise’s review and was instantly captivated! Listening to the audiobook sample sealed the deal. I am happy to say that I enjoyed this!

Noemi along with the rest of the pilots is about to go on a suicide mission. She isn’t necessarily comfortable with this, but is still ready to die. However Noemi is considered with her adoptive sister and best friend Esther. Plunged early on into the an attack from Earth Noemi sees Ether’s ship in the far distance. Steering herself to it, Noemi comes across an abandoned looking ship.

The two land on the ship, while Noemi quickly tries to save Esther’s life. In the process she runs into Abel. A mech that has been abandoned for the past 30 years. Abel swears himself to Noemi and proclaims that he will follow her every order. Thus shenanigans ensue.

Defy the Stars is a unique Sci-Fi! I had a lot of fun reading. It is narrated in third person omniscient following Noemi and Abel. There are some flashbacks. The narrators did an excellent job bringing the characters to life! Nate Begle was especially impressive as he did a monotone robot like voice for Abel.

Let me start off with saying that Defy the Stars is a journey book. I mean this in a literal sense. Abel and Noemi travel to many different planets. This took up a good 20 percent. So if you don’t like that then I would suggest that you read another book. Or you could finish this, as each planet had it’s own culture and religious views. Which was written beautifully!

My other point is that there is a large focus on religion. Noemi identifies as a Christian and throughout the book she is questioning God’s existence. And how she fits into this world. I personally thought that the author did an excellent job! It was relatable and I do think that others would relate. There are also several other religions and races. Yay for well done diversity!

And lastly Defy the Stars deals with refugee’s, assimilation, and the messy war. Each planet has a different culture and in order to fit in to said planet you have to assimilate to said culture. Also when Earth was in terrible condition they migrated to the other planets and assimilated. The refugee’s actually had a name but because I was listening to the audio I have no idea how to spell it. The refugee’s travel the galaxy and try to find a home. The Liberty War and all the different sides was handled excellently! It was messy and really great to read about all the different sides and opinions.

Defy the Stars is very similar to most YA dystopian books. I personally think that this book is much better than a lot of dystopian books. Earth is the villain, which is a surprise because most books have another planet as the main villain. There is a man made disease, a rebellion, and a war. Regardless all these points are handled really well where as some books aren’t.

Noemi and Abel’s relationship was fantastic! They don’t agree with each other at first. And all Abel is to Noemi is a tool and a means to a mission. As they spend more time together Abel grows to genuinely care about Noemi. From her health to her mental well being. Noemi too grows to really care for Abel. They develop a really great friendship! The romantic aspect doesn’t come until the end of the book. I appreciated that the author develops Noemi and Abel through their friendship. 

Noemi’s relationship with Esther and Esther’s family is a huge part of her character. She thinks that she’s always angry and not compassionate. Abel is the one to point out that isn’t true. Noemi overcomes a lot of her misgivings with the Gatson’s and tries to move on with her life. Her parents and baby brother died in a car accident. Noemi is a Lationa! Her culture isn’t mentioned but her religion is.

Abel’s fatherly relationship with his creator Mansfield is a huge part of his character arc. Abel truly loves Mansfield and wants to see him one day. Throughout the book Abel comes to terms with the fact that he has feelings. And even begins to question Mansfield and his motivations. This is partly due to Noemi. Also Abel’s sarcasm was really funny! And it was surprisingly sweet to read about his love for Casablanca. 

While on their journey Abel and Noemi come across various people. They come across the Razors. A group of hackers who aid Noemi and Abel. The leader of the Razors is Virginia and she was awesome! Her and Noemi’s friendship was really sweet to read about. Also Virginia is implied to be LGBTQ. Virginia’s lines were some of the best. Like so on point and hilarious. 

Harriet and Zayan are a biracial couple. Harriet a black and Zayan an Indian. They were so nice! Riko and Ephraim are a part of Remedy which is a rebellion. Both were very interesting as was their relationship to one-another. All the side characters are useful to the plot and have their own back stories. Which is quite rare in YA.

There are multiple hints throughout Defy the Stars about Mansfield’s questionable motives and the reason behind creating Abel. I still have to admit that I did not see that plot twist coming! I look forward to reading about more of his motivations in the sequel. 

The book does end on a sort of cliffhangers. Noemi and Abel are separated. With Noemi being back on Genesis and Abel seemingly starting up a business of sorts. Considering how high the stakes are I am excited for the sequel!  

I only had a few problems with Defy the Stars. I wasn’t invested in the first 20%. This is a character driven book, so in the beginning I wasn’t that into Abel and Noemi’s story. However the more I read the more I grew to love Abel and Noemi! Seriously those feelings kind of snuck up on me!

With the amount of POC and religions I was really surprised that there wasn’t any racism. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s just kind of odd. And logically speaking it doesn’t make sense. To be honest I didn’t really mind while I was reading. But now that I’m typing this review I’ve come to realize this. Maybe this will come up in the sequel. We’ll have to see.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Defy the Stars! I am looking forward to the sequels. I highly recommend it! 

 

Review: Piecing Me Together

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Piecing Me Together by: Renée Watson

My Rating: 4 Stars

A timely and powerful story about a teen girl from a poor neighborhood striving for success, from acclaimed author Renée Watson.

Jade believes she must get out of her neighborhood if she’s ever going to succeed. Her mother says she has to take every opportunity. She has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for “at-risk” girls. Except really, it’s for black girls. From “bad” neighborhoods.

But Jade doesn’t need support. And just because her mentor is black doesn’t mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.

Friendships, race, privilege, identity—this compelling and thoughtful story explores the issues young women face.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: Racism and police violence.

Piecing Me Together was completed during #rimpysreadsathon. Piecing Me Together was a book talked about last year through booktube. Surprisingly I hadn’t heard about it through GR or Twitter. After reading some reviews and seeing that it was in my library, I requested a copy. I’m very glad I did!

Through her mother’s encouragement Jade has taken every opportunity her school has offered. The latest opportunity is Woman to Woman. A mentorship program. Jade is initially reluctant to accept. Jade feels that she won’t gain anything from it, and it’s not really for her. Until her guidance counselor mentions that if Jade completes the program then she’ll receive a scholarship for any university in her area. Naturally Jade accepts. Throughout the book Jade learns more about speaking up, and gains some vital experiences.

I was happily surprised about how much I enjoyed Piecing Me Together! I didn’t have high expectations. It is narrated in first person following Jade’s point of view. Each chapter has title, wherein there is a word in English and translated to Spanish. Some chapters were shorter than others.

Jade was such a great character! I found her to be relatable. I too have some trouble speaking my mind from time to time. I loved reading about her growth and how she gained the courage to speak up! Jade actually read mature for her age, which I appreciated.

Throughout the story Jade struggles balancing her two worlds. At school she has to act and dress a specific way. At home she reverts to normal but her friends are still a bit apprehensive with her attending a mostly white school. Spanish and art is a huge part of Jade’s character. Jade makes collages about her surroundings and the people in her life. Her biggest dream is go to Spain and experience the culture first hand. I enjoyed reading about her passions and how much work she put into achieving her goals!

I loved Jade’s family! Her mother worked as a caretaker and was such a strong woman. She had a lot of good advice to give Jade and Maxine! And for once a parent in YA actually gave meaningful and relevant advice. Jade’s relationship with her uncle E. J. was so sweet!

Jade’s best friend Lee Lee was also fantastic! These two supported each other and were for each other there in times of need. Jade’s relationship with her mentor Maxine was also well done! They had lots of rough patches but in the end they became close. Maxine was a good mentor to Jade and two helped each other grow. Maxine frustrated me in the beginning. But once she told her side of the story, realized her mistakes, and started to grow I grew to admire her. 

Jade’s relationship with Sam was complicated. Sam is a white poor girl, whereas Jade is a black poor girl. The author effortlessly shows the reader the difference between their situations and how it is linked to their skin tone. Sam does and says some pretty hurtful things to Jade. She realizes this comes back and apologizes. Jade also owns up to her own mistakes. Together they start their friendship anew with no more secrets from each other.

Woman to Woman was an amazing edition! I honestly wish there are books with this type of mentorship which I can read about. All the women had different experiences and supported each other! The trips that Sabrina assigned were fun to read about! I truly believe that all women should have access to this type of mentorship. Regardless of color and background. It’s necessary and you can gain so much knowledge.

Several different issues are brought up! From police violence, social class/status, racism, to catcalling. The author handles this all effortlessly without sounding preachy. I loved how Jade teams up with her fellow classmates and friends to do something to raise money for Natasha Ramsey, a black girl who was brutally attacked at a party. All the conflicts were realistic and I rooting for Jade.

I’m just going to mention two things that really surprised me. Towards the end of Piecing Me Together Jade confronts her teacher about not being nominated for the school trip to Costa Rica. He explains that he has to give other students a chance, and that Jade already has so many opportunities. Jade calls him out on his prejudice and leaves.

The teacher comes back around to Jade to apologize. He also mentions that she has been nominated for the trip next year. I found this to be truly beautiful! Rarely do you ever experience let alone read about a teacher realizing his/her mistakes. And actually acting upon that realization!

There is no romance! That’s right you heard me, a contemporary without romance. While it isn’t impossible it’s quite rare. Jade does make mention off maybe dating and getting married. Right now Jade remains focused on her life and school. I really appreciated this!

The only problem I had was that I wasn’t invested. I was enjoying reading but I just wasn’t invested. Then out of nowhere Piecing Me Together grabbed hold off me and never let go. I was invested in Jade’s life and all the characters. While this is a minor complaint it still prevented me from giving a 5 star rating. 

Overall I really enjoyed this! I recommend this book for everyone. You’ll all find something to relate too.           

Review: Hero at the Fall

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Hero at the Fall by: Alwyn Hamilton

My Rating: 3 Stars

Once, in the desert country of Miraji, there was a Sultan without an heir.

The heir had been killed by his own brother, the treacherous Rebel Prince, who was consumed by jealousy and sought the throne for himself.

Or so it was said by some. There were others who said that the Rebel Prince was not a traitor but a hero…

In the final battle for the throne, Amani must fight for everything she believes in, but with the rebellion in pieces, and the Sultan’s armies advancing across the desert plains, who will lead, who will triumph, who will live and who will die?

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: War and death. The LGTBQ characters have been killed off.

Buddy read with Tova! Click on her name to keep an eye out for her review. Part of this book was read during Kimi’s (GR friend) 24 hour read-a-thon. Tova and I also buddy read Traitor to the Throne. Considering how much I enjoyed that one, naturally I finished the sequel. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

Amani is woken up from her nightmares and told to follow Sara. The two make their way up to the roof and notice a sort of glow. Amani realizes that it’s fire and likely has something to do with Leyla’s latest invention. The rebels are a mess. Amani has taken leadership and is struggling. Amani and the rebellion need to come up with a plan to defeat the Sultan.

I’m really happy that Hero at the Fall was a solid conclusion to the series! Like the previous installments, Hero at the Fall is narrated in first person following Amani’s point of view, and third person omniscient. There are chapter numbers and some chapters have titles. And lastly there is a character list and a map.

I may as well mention this first: some of the characters from the previous installments do die. I’m not going to mention which one’s die. That’s way too spoilerly even for me. Looking back on it now I probably should have predicated those deaths. Although I am still sad. I genuinely like all the characters in this series.

More information is revealed about the Dijinn’s. Some of the tales come into question, when Amani meets another dijinn. There was a huge focus on stories, choices, and the truth vs. what you’re told. Morally grey characters as well. As Amani herself is a questionable character. I really liked how well the author handled all these points!

I loved Amani’s character development! In the beginning Amani is in charge of the rebellion. She’s trying to make do but realizing that she isn’t fit to run a rebellion. Amani constantly berates herself, as she feels that she’s not well versed enough to be making such decisions. Amani also meets her aunt Farrah as well as Noorsham. Throughout her interactions with them, Amani comes to realize that she does matter. It was really beautiful to read about!

As per usual Amani’s relationship with Shazad, and the twins was fantastic! Her relationship with Hala even improved. Though I was anxiously waiting for some interactions with Ahmed. After everything that happened in the Harem I was wondering what would happen between the two of them. Ahmed actually took Amani seriously when she gave him suggestions. Their interactions were sweet and very important for the events in the last chapter.

When Amani meets her aunt again she is very nervous. To top it off Amani had to tell her aunt that Shira is dead. Through some rough patches, they sort of come to an understanding. In a sense the two move. This is largely due to Amani telling her aunt about Shira’s son. Something is better than nothing though. Amani and Tamid also make up. While they aren’t really friends anymore, they still care for each other and continue to do so.

Noorsham now rules over Dustwalk almost like a God. The people see him as their savior. Amani and the rebellion are taken to Noorsham first. Noorsham uses this magical object to see into their intentions, in order to deem them worthy or not. I’d say as I character Noosham definitely improved. His and Amani’s interactions really did read like a sibling relationship. I’m glad that he was introduced again and that the author did a good job with Noorsham’s character!

The rebellion getting an army was so much fun to read about! Amani tries to make some alliances in Ahmed’s place. Shazad’s father spread the word of Ahmed’s return and several people decide to join.

Jin’s backstory is expanded upon more. There is a chapter in his point of view. Wherein it starts with a flashback and ends with the present. I enjoyed having some insight into his thoughts. Really made some things clearer about his behaviour. Blissfully Jin and Ahmed do make up.

Amani’s relationship with Jin was strong throughout. Jin was the one person she actually got advice from. I also appreciated that Amani and Jin would call each other out on their faults and still be okay. I truly felt that their relationship grew stronger. It was lovely to read about!

I did have some issues with Hero at the Fall. I was very uncomfortable with Noorsham’s God-like rule. He treated himself like a God as did the rest of the people. Amani was still stupid and reckless in the beginning. Unfortunately this affected how she ran the rebellion. While I understand this was intended, it really wasn’t the that great to read about. Hero at the Fall wasn’t as engaging as Traitor to the Throne. It took me awhile to get invested into the story. The ending was rushed and anti-climactic. All of these points prevented me from giving Hero at the Fall a higher rating.

Overall I enjoyed this book! I highly recommend this series.