Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard

Cruel Crown is the bind-up of Queensong and Steel Scars, two novellas by Victoria Aveyard that take place in the Red Queen world. As companion novellas tend to do, both tell the stories of secondary or behind-the-scenes characters and events that readers are introduced to in the books but never get to know very well.

Before I continue, I’d like to include two warnings. First: I listened to this bind-up on audiobook, which is useful for passing time in my car, but I have to admit audio books are not my favorite, primarily because A.) I can’t see how things are spelled, and B.) The reader’s voice becomes an intrinsic influence to the story that I will never be able to unassociate. I will try to be as objective as possible here, but there are some things that I might think a little differently about by virtue of having “read” these books via CD. Second: If you have not yet read Glass Sword, there are some spoilers in this article! Continue reading “Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard”

Messenger by Lois Lowry

I was not introduced to Lois Lowry’s award-winning novel, The Giver, until I was halfway through college. As many other readers will agree, to finish The Giver is to want to know what happens after the ending, so I found out what happens after the ending. As it turns out, Lowry has written three more books in the same universe to create The Giver Quartet (including, in order, The Giver, Messenger, Gathering Blue, and Son). None of the sequels quite measures up to The Giver itself, but Messenger was the sequel that I enjoyed best. Continue reading “Messenger by Lois Lowry”

King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

I was suspicious as soon as I opened King’s Cage, because while the first two novels in the series (Red Queen and Glass Sword) had been narrated singularly from Mare’s point of view, the chapters in this novel are each marked with the name of the narrator. I know what that means: the main character’s death is imminent. Narration shifts are just an author’s trick to try to get readers used to hearing other characters’ thoughts so we are prepared, so the story can go on even after the main character is gone! Continue reading “King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard”

Deception’s Princess by Esther Friesner

Deception’s Princess is one of eight books in the Princesses of Myth collection by Esther Friesner. This collection takes old legends from various cultures around the world and reimagines them as novels. (Usually, two novels are devoted to each legend.) I had not heard of Friesner’s works before I happened across them in the library, but it is obvious by this point that I do, in fact, judge books by their covers, and the cover of Deception’s Princess intrigued me. Combine a picture of a red-haired girl who looks like Disney’s Merida, a falcon on her arm about to take flight, and the fact that I am a sucker for all things princess, and we have a very good recipe for a book that Natalie is going to read! Continue reading “Deception’s Princess by Esther Friesner”

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

I had a hard time settling into Aveyard’s world in her first novel, Red Queen, but I was completely entranced once I arrived. It took me about fifty pages or so. As the second book in the series, Glass Sword is no less well-crafted or exciting than the first–in fact, there may be more get-up-and-go action in this second novel than there was in the first–but unfortunately, my original hardships immersing myself in Aveyard’s fantasy world struck again.

It was worth the wait. Continue reading “Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard”

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

I would love to be able to say something cheesy about this story like, “The Jewel is a shining gem in my treasury of novels!” Unfortunately, though, this jewel is not a glittering diamond, not a geode that’s better once you crack it open (the cover is one of the best things about it, actually–and don’t you all pretend you don’t judge books by their covers, too!), not even a fun pebble that a little kid might find in somebody’s flower garden and decide to keep. Honestly, it’s more like a rock that you try to skip across the water but that only succeeds in sinking to the bottom. Continue reading “The Jewel by Amy Ewing”

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

I began reading Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians when I was about sixteen when I had run out of my own books to read and had to raid my brother’s stash.

It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the series. Riordan is an incredibly creative writer, and I can honestly (and gratefully) say that everything I know about Greek mythology–which turns out to be quite a lot–I know because of his novels. They are definitely some of my favorites.

The Magnus Chase books, dare I say it, are even better. Continue reading “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan”

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Jennifer A. Nielsen’s The False Prince lacks for nothing. Sass. Adventure. Sass. Competition. Sass. Action, plot twists, humor, a few light sprinkles of romance to top it all off.

And did I mention sass?

This book follows the tale of Sage, a young orphan boy who gets pulled into a regent’s scheme for power. Lord Bevin Conner pulls three young nobodies from the kingdom’s orphanages and trains them to imitate the kingdom’s long-lost prince, but only one can claim victory–and keep his life.

Continue reading “The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen”