Thoughts on books, family, and life in one impressive package.

Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

It may start slowly, but hang on to your hats, folks. It is one wild ride. I absolutely loved the diversity and gender fluidity within the novel. The magic is intriguing with its message of harmony and partnership. While it is not as unputdownable as I wanted, I still enjoyed it. There is a ton of world-building and character introduction, and the character development is fairly weak, existing only to help characters resolve major conflict. I particularly enjoy the fact that it is a stand-alone story, especially as it has such a great resolution. I wouldn’t want anything added.

Crier's War by Nina Varela

This one is not nearly as exciting or interesting as I expected. There is simply too much emoting. That is all Crier does. I didn’t care for any of the characters; for all their emotional turmoil, they don’t inspire sympathy. I remain bothered by the lack of explanations about how the Automae work. I also question the obvious plot issues – unwavering belief in characters in spite of evidence to the contrary and the lack of substantive action by any character. Being the first in a series does not, in my opinion, excuse or explain the issues, and I am not certain whether I would bother to continue with the series as a result.

Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa

Now, this is a sequel. I loved the ongoing character development, the unsolvable mystery, the action, the dialogue, and the chance to learn about other cultures and their myths. There is nothing about this sequel that is disappointing, and I am more than a little anxious for the next book.

Dev1at3 by Jay Kristoff

Jay Kristoff never disappoints. This geeky, tech-filled, post-apocalyptic world and amalgam of machine, artificial intelligence, bio-engineering, and superpowers hit all the right buttons. The dialogue is snappy and full of sass. The world-building is crystal clear, disturbingly so given its bleak view of the world. The story and action are rapid and fascinating, so much that you can only hang on for the ride. Focusing on Lemon gives us the chance to see this world from a different viewpoint, and seeing it from Cricket’s point of view is sheer genius. I cannot wait for more.

A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

This is nothing but a continuation of my fascination with the world of Westeros. Again, I found that the television show remains very faithful to the original story. However, I like the added insight into Sansa’s thoughts that the novel gives us. I also enjoyed the slight differences between the major battle. While there were no major surprises, I still enjoyed the listening experience, even if the narrator remains mediocre.

Angel Mage by Garth Nix

While not by any means a young adult or middle-grade novel, the story reads like one with its basic sentence structure and relatively simple plot. We never really get insight into Liliath’s motivation or her obsession even though it is the driving force of the entire story. There is a distinct lack of insight into all of the characters in fact. The whole story is very superficial, more action than character development even though the characters are what make the story. The whole experience is very unsatisfying.

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