“Every story has four parts – the beginning, the middle, the almost ending, and the true ending.” // Review of “Legendary” by Stephanie Garber

Title: Legendary (Caraval #2)
Author: Stephanie Garber
Genre: 
Fantasy
Target audience: YA
Date Read: 22/10/18 – 2910/18
Rating: 
★★

Review: 

I honestly thought this would be a 4 star read at least, and for the most part it was. It was really only the last few chapters that disappointed me but they left me feeling unsatisfied enough that it brought me overall rating down.

This book picks up pretty much exactly where Caraval leaves off, and follows Tella, who is drawn into a second round of Caraval in order to uphold her end of a deal to find her missing mother. 

I really enjoyed the expansion of this world. We got to see the capital of the country the story takes place in, and I could really picture it. There was also an expansion of the mythology and history, and I really loved how this was woven into the plot, and some of the characters we got to meet as a result. 

Like in the first book, I actually found the game itself a bit dull. The suggestion is that Caraval is usually much more general and it is only the two games described in the book that are tailored to individuals (Scarlett and Tella respectively). Still, it feels a bit of a stretch that so many people would play when there can really only be one winner, since the clues won’t make sense to anyone else. 

I don’t want to give anything away so I’m going to be rather vague about what happened in the end that left me disappointed. It was mostly the revelation of Legend’s identity. It just… didn’t seem epic enough after all the build-up. Some readers will probably find the whole scenario quite romantic, but I just rolled my eyes. 

The very ending was still compelling enough that I want to see the series through, but I can’t say that it is an all-time favourite. 

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#WWW Wednesday – October 31, 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

Has October dragged on for everyone else? It’s been three weeks since my last WWW Wednesday post, and the reason I wasn’t posting is because I felt like I hadn’t read anything. Which isn’t true, but I felt like I was in some kind of funk, even as I was getting through things. I’m not sure I’m making any sense whatsoever.

Anyway. Let’s get on with the questions!

What have you recently finished reading?

First of all, I finished my ARC of Unwritten by Tara Gilboy, and while I didn’t love it, I felt it was one that could be enjoyed by MG readers. You can read my review here.

Next I read Two Ways Strong: Jaz’s Story by the Deadly Mob from Concordia, Shallow in the Deep End by Tiwi College Alalinguwi Jarrakarlinga with Jared Thomas and Japarrika by Tiwi College Alalinguwi Jarrakarlinga with David Lawrence & Shelley Ware. These books came in a pack and were put out by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. They were written by Indigenous Australian students with help from mentors and all the proceeds go back to ILF. I wasn’t really sure how to review these so I haven’t written anything yet and I’m not sure that I will.

After that, I finished Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman and reviewed it here. It was tricky to review without spoiling the twist, but it’s definitely a well-written book with lots of social commentary.

Next, I  finished The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor on audio. This was a sweet book and got me quite emotional in the end! I reviewed it here.

Next was Legendary by Stephanie Garber, which was better than Caraval in my very humble opinion. I thought the plot of this one was better developed, and the stakes were higher, but I ended up being a bit disappointed about the reveal of Legend’s identity. It just didn’t seem very epic after all the build-up. 

Last but not least was Ruby Moonlight by Ali Cobby Eckermann, which was a very short verse novel and… I had a lot of mixed feelings about it which I will try to explore in my review. 

I also posted my review of Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel for those who are interested.

What are you currently reading? 

What are you reading this week? 🙂

I’ve just started Sugar Spells by Lola Dodge today. This is the second book in the Spellwork Syndicate series (I reviewed the first one here). I’m only about 10% in at time of writing this post but I am remembering what came before and already into the story, so that’s a good sign. Also I love the descriptions of baking witchcraft. And the covers are so stunning, I love them! 

What do you think you’ll read next?      

Circus Hearts: All Aces by Ellie Marney comes out tomorrow so I assume she’ll be sending ARCs to her review team very soon. I’m looking forward to seeing how this series winds up. Say what you want about self-publishing but getting the installments in a trilogy only a month apart from each other been awesome. 😀 

What are you reading this week? 🙂

“I love you, Tella.” “I know. I wouldn’t be here if you didn’t.” // Review of “Caraval” by Stephanie Garber

Title: Caraval (Caraval #1)
Author: Stephanie Garber
Genre: Fantasy
Target audience: Young adult
Date Read: 17/09/18 – 21/09/18
Rating: 
★★

Review:

I decided to pick up this book because I was in a circus mood for quite a while and this seemed an obvious choice. It wasn’t terrible, and I liked a lot of the ideas, but I ultimately felt everything was just a bit underdeveloped.

I’m going to start with the romance because that was probably the thing that stood out the most to me and not in a great way. Mostly because it only took place over five days, and I’m sorry, it’s not true love after a week. I’m not saying you can’t be attracted to someone in that time, but from Julien’s perspective, particularly, it wasn’t enugh time for such strong feelings to develop. And from Scarlett’s perspective, I didn’t buy that he was as important to her as her beloved sister after only a few nights.

Speaking of the characters in more general terms, I didn’t feel like they had a whole lot of personality. I will say I did like Scarlett’s development from doormat to… well, I won’t say she became badass, but she definitely became less doormat-y and grew into her own.

The plot and world-building had similar issues. I just wished everything was a bit… more. A bit more magic, a bit more exploration of the island, a bit more explanation of who Legend was and how and why Caraval was the way it was… There was a line in the last third that said something along the lines of “Scarlett had been collecting buttons since she’d been here” and my first response was “… had she?” Because nothing was memorable.

I also had some issues with the reveals in the final chapter. I know we were supposed to think the character orchestrating everything was terribly clever, but… it seemed far-fetched, and honestly made this character seem like a bit of a psycopath to put Scarlett through it all?

Having said all of that! I actually am still intrigued enough by this world that I am interested in reading the sequel. So make of that what you will.


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#WWW Wednesday – September 26, 2018

 

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

What have you recently finished reading?

This is the last two weeks’ of reading for me as I didn’t post last week.

I finished Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend, which was charming, but maybe a bit long. I persuaded someone at work to order a copy so fingers crossed she’ll read it soon and I’ll have someone to talk to about it. I reviewed it on Monday.

Then I finished Dear Martin by Nic Stone. I actually thought I had downloaded the audio book, but when it ended up being the ebook, I read it in a day. It was very engaging. Like The Hate U Give, it is partially inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement but it presents the issues in a different way. I posted my review on Monday.

After that was Caraval by Stephanie Garber. This was… fine. It had a lot of potential that I don’t think it truly lived up to. Everything was just a bit underdeveloped. But I still kind of want to read the next book? I’ll have a review up on Friday.

I picked up The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide because it was on display at the library. It was fine but it was very US-centric for something claiming to be “worldwide” and it also was very literature-heavy. There was a bit of genre fiction and some childhood classics but it was very heavy on the James Joyce and Dostoevsky types.

Last but not least, this morning I finished My Whole Truth by Mischa Thrace. This was a good depiction of dealing with sexual assault and other related trauma but I did feel like it went around in circles a bit and there wasn’t a huge amount of character development. I’ll get my review up next week.

What are you currently reading? 

circusheartsallfalldowncoverI’m still in the first chapter of All Fall Down, the second in Ellie Marney’s Circus Hearts series because I only started it today. Say what you like about self-publishing, I love that I only have to wait a month between each book in this series rather than a year.

onlyhumancoverI have to be honest that Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel is a let down after the first two books in this series. It’s just one big lecture. I have a long drive tomorrow and will probably finish it during that, but it won’t rate as highly as the other two.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Since I’m in the middle of reading various ARCs, the next one I need to get through is Unwritten by Tara Gilboy. This is a middle-grade fantasy and sounds a bit like Nevermoor, which I read recently. So I’m looking forward to it.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

#WWW Wednesday – September 12, 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished White Night by Ellie Marney and totally loved it (I am two for two with 5 star reads from this author now). I used to say “Oh, I don’t read much contemporary YA” but I realised I actually read a lot of it, and this one gave such a good sense of growing up in a country town and trying to work out your place in life as you finish school and it was also so Australian. Review will be up Friday.

I only ended up reading maybe six of the stories in Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy edited by Amerie. It wasn’t really doing it for me.

I also posted two reviews this week: Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel and Blackwing by Ed McDonald.

What are you currently reading?

finally put Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel onto my phone this morning, so I’m actually starting to get into it properly. Vincent is definitely my favourite character of this series, giving me all the feels. I am a bit annoyed that they appear to have changed some of the voice actors, though? Eva now just has an American accent, where she had a Puerto Rican one in Book 2. I could understand her losing her accent in the time between the events of the two books, but there are flashbacks, dammit!

I have also started Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend today and I’m only 57 pages in but if it stays this delightful the whole way through, then the hype is totally justified. The cover describes it as Harry Potter meets Alice in Wonderland and it basically is that. It’s not nonsensical like Alice in Wonderland but it is whimsical. Also there’s a character I suspect is based at least in part on David Tennant’s Doctor.

What do you think you will read next?

It was going to be Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman, but after Nevermoor, I don’t know if I’ll be in quite the right mood for hard-hitting dystopia. I picked up Caraval by Stephanie Garber from the library this morning, and I might read it instead.  It has mixed reviews among my GoodReads friends but I am still in a circus mood so hopefully that will help.

What are you reading this week? 🙂~ Emily

 

 

P.S. If you’re interested, head on over to my writing blog to read an excerpt from my current WIP.