How is it Monday again please? Today’s Mini Reviews is YA Fantasy, so I can at least pretend it’s not Monday.
A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer
This is the sequel to A Curse So Dark and Lonely, and this book is much more about Grey than it is Harper and Rhen. I loved Grey the most in book one, so this change of focus was a big hit with me, and I enjoyed it so much. Grey has fled the castle with a secret, and Rhen is furious to hear rumours of a rival heir coming to take his crown. We also have the introduction of one of the most vile characters in Nolla Verin, who has little respect for her daughters and tries to trade them for power and political allegiances. There is a new romance to enjoy, and I loved this. I want this ship to survive book three, and I’m going to be super cross if it doesn’t. There is big tension in this book between Rhen and Grey. Rhen becomes cruel to his former guard; I never really liked Rhen, but I can’t stand this new version of him. He is so desperate for his crown that he will stop at nothing to protect it. In contrast Grey is determined not to lose himself or his humanity to the secret he carries. This book has a lot happening, and some shocks that I am still not over, so I will be needing the finale immediately, thank you very much.
Havenfall by Sara Holland
Havenfall is the first in a new fantasy duology from Sara. I absolutely loved her previous duology Everless so had high hopes for this next series, and it did not disappoint. The concept and setting of Havenfall is brilliant; an inn at the point where the ancient realms intersect with an innkeeper (human) who keeps the peace between the magical lands. I could not get enough of this setting. Maddie, the main character, is next in line to be innkeeper, but finds herself pushed into the position early when there is a murder at the inn and her uncle, Marcus, is incapacitated. Maddie has a lot to balance on her shoulders, it’s a lot of responsibility and you really feel for her, but she is brave, clever and determined and gets things done. This book is filled with secrets and mysteries. There are some big shocks and unpleasant revelations. There is a dangerous romance and some big betrayals. It has everything that you want from a fantasy book. I am really looking forward to the sequel.
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
Girls of Paper and Fire is set in a world where eight girls are chosen each year from the Paper Caste, the lowest class of Ikhara, to be brought to the castle, groomed and set to servicing the king in his bed. There is no mystery or subtlety around this; the chosen girls know what they are in for. This year, a ninth is sent: Lei, and she is taken because there is something unusual about her. The Royal Court is brutal; these girls are abused in every possibly way. It is supposed to be an honour to be chosen, but it is very hard to read it that way. I felt nothing but revulsion and rage for most of this book. There were times when I almost put this down because the king is vile and the things he does made me sick to my stomach. But I am glad I read on, because what happens in the later part of the book is just brilliant. Lei has things she wants to learn in the Court, which adds an element of mystery. And there is a queer, forbidden romance in this story that gave me such hope. I didn’t think I could bring myself to read the sequel after the content of this first book, but that ending makes it impossible not to want more of this story.
And that’s the end of another selection of Mini Reviews! Have you read any of these?