Tag Archives: Trilogy

Series Review: Servants of the Fate by Sarah Fine

Marked (Servants of Fate, #1)  Claimed (Servants of Fate, #2)  Fated (Servants of Fate, #3)

Servants of the Fate by Sarah Fine
Marked: 4 of 5 stars
Claimed: 4 of 5 stars
Fated: 5 of 5 stars

Series Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

She laid her cool palms over the backs of his hands. “You’re making this so hard.”

“Good. We’re almost there, then.” He ducked his head until they were nose to nose. “My plan is to make it impossible.”

Servants of the Fate is an adult paranormal/urban fantasy trilogy, with a hefty dose of Greek mythology thrown in. Each book follows a Ferry sibling, a long-living descendant of a family that ferries souls into the afterlife after they die. The setting is post-apocalyptic Boston, and due to environmental disasters, it has been transformed into a dangerous network of canals (think Venice). The world is a fascinating blend of dystopian/urban dangers, the surviving modern technology, and mythological beings – namely ferrymen, Keres, Moros, and the Fates.

Each novel features its own main couple, with their own romance, but the overarching trilogy plot is also compelling, and everything comes together excitingly in Fated.

I really enjoyed this series! It has a blend of both YA and Adult themes that add up to a winning combination for me. As with Fine’s Guards of the Shadowlands trilogy, I was hooked within the first couple of chapters, and I raced through the whole series in less than a week. It helps that I had a great time reading them, and I was always dying to know what would happen next, even without cliffhangers.

Recommendation: Read this if you are a fan of YA urban fantasy with some sexy times thrown in, especially if you’re intrigued by Greek mythology!

Minute Review: The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy, #1)The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg (The Paper Magician Trilogy, Book 1)
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Remember that you are much different now than you were an hour ago, Ceony. Before you merely read about magic; now you have it. Denying it won’t make you return to ordinary.”

This is a lighthearted and whimsical story with wonderful characters, humans and enchantments alike. It did read a little bit like a debut novel, but that’s alright, and I’m looking forward to continuing Ceony and Emery’s story in The Glass Magician.

Recommendation: I highly recommend this if you love quirky magician stories, dogs, origami, and/or intellectually adorable characters.

Side note about genre: I’ve seen this categorized as both Adult and Young Adult Fiction. It fits pretty well into both categories, and I think readers of any age can enjoy this story.

Minute Review: Penryn and the End of Days Trilogy by Susan Ee

I’m posting all three reviews for the End of Days trilogy in one go because that’s how I read it. Thanks to a quick, easy narrative, a constantly moving story, and well-placed cliffhangers, I read these three books in quick succession without any regrets.

Before I dive in, I have one overarching recommendation: If you are a fan of the Hunger Games trilogy, you should definitely give this one a try! It’s a pretty dark story for YA, with a seriously kick-ass heroine, an unlikely friendship, and a little bit of romance to break through the gloom.

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1)
Angelfall by Susan Ee (Penryn and the End of Days, Book 1)
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

My hand stays out with the offered food long enough to make it awkward. “Don’t you want it?” I ask.

“That depends on why you’re giving it to me.”

I shrug. “Sometimes, as we’re stumbling along in the dark, we hit something good.”

In a post-apocalyptic world with angels trampling humanity into the ground, Penryn is just trying to keep her family safe. Who knew that an injured angel would turn out to be exactly the partner she needs?

World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2)
World After by Susan Ee (Penryn and the End of Days, Book 2)
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

“You saved my life back at the aerie. By definition, you’re my hero.”

“I left you in a basement to die.”

“You broke me out of the grasp of a living horror when I thought all hope was gone. You gave me the opportunity to crawl back to life when no one else could.”

She glances over at me, her eyes shining in the dark. “You’re a hero, Penryn, whether you like it or not.”

Picking up right where book 1 left off, World After continues Penryn’s story with more of the Resistance, more angelic politics, and yes, more of Raffe. Oh, and another cliffhanger-esque ending.

End of Days (Penryn and the End of Days, #3)
End of Days by Susan Ee (Penryn and the End of Days, Book 3)
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

“If I were human, I’d plow the nicest farm for you.” He sounds completely sincere. “Better than anyone else’s. It would have golden pineappes, the juiciest grapes, and the most flavorful radishes in the entire world.”

I just stare at him, trying to figure out if he’s joking. I think he’s serious. “You haven’t been to a lot of farms, have you, Raffe?”

This was actually my least favorite installment of the story, but only because I wanted a bit more of a wrap up. Overall, though, I really enjoyed the twists and turns of the story, and I would definitely read the trilogy again.

Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Poison Study (Study, #1)

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder is the first book in the YA fantasy series Study. It tells the story of Yelena, a young woman who was sentenced to death as punishment for murder. As luck would have it, she’s offered a position as the poison taster instead, allowing her to live out an uncertain number of days while she searches for a way to take her life back into her own hands.

I loved this book 😀 It was recommended to me by a friend months ago and I finally got around to it. Of course, now I’m wishing I’d read it a whole lot sooner. I think what I love the most about this story boils down to its complexity – that of the world, the politics, the characters, and the plot. I was really impressed that Snyder was able to achieve all of this, along with a writing style that moved the story along in a way that kept me from feeling bogged down by details. She focused on the elements that are essential to the experience, and skipped over the extraneous bits. There are no 50 page walking scenes here.

Because of the complex-yet-pertinent style, this is a really approachable book for anyone wary of heavy fantasy stories. If you are new to the genre, or generally avoid epic fantasy due to all of the “walking,” I highly recommend giving this one a try.

I actually don’t want to go into too many other details, because watching the story unfold is part of the magic, but I would like to say that I really liked Yelena and Valek, both as characters and as a couple. This is a point of contention for some reviewers, but I thought that their relationship progressed quite naturally given the setting. I also feel like they are well-matched, both in intellect and maturity, despite Valek being a decade or so older. Besides, who doesn’t love a master spy? 😉

He was right, I didn’t need him but I wanted him to be with me forever.

Definitely time to move on to book two, Magic Study! I’m excited to see how the story continues to unfold, and even when the book is done, this is one of those worlds that you just aren’t ready to leave yet.

See my review on Goodreads for Some Particulars.

Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

Splintered (Splintered, #1)

Splintered by A.G. Howard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Splintered by A.G. Howard is the first book in the Splintered trilogy, which is a YA Alice in Wonderland retelling and continuation. The story is steeped in fantasy that is morbidly vivid, which fits the Alice and Wonderland theme perfectly and is great for fans of the darker side of fairy tales. There is also a pretty hefty dose of typical YA romantic elements.

If I could give this book two ratings instead of one, I totally would:

5/5 Stars for the fantasy adventure elements

The world of Splintered drew me in immediately. I was fascinated by Alyssa and her reality. By way of explanation, here’s the opening paragraph:

I’ve been collecting bugs since I was ten; it’s the only way I can stop their whispers. Sticking a pin through the gut of an insect shuts it up pretty quick.

Howard had me at “gut of an insect.” Reading on like a bystander watching an impending crash, I was hooked.

Netherling logic resides in the hazy border between sense and nonsense.

This adventure thrives on that border. There are fedoras crafted from dead moths, giant octobenus-eating clams, frothing carnivorous flowers, wish-granting venomous ferret creatures, and so much more. Not having read Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland in many years, I can’t remember exactly how many of these scenarios and characters came from the original story but regardless, Howard’s contributions and descriptions are phenomenal.

2/5 Stars for the romantic elements

I had several issues with the romance in this story. Overall, though, I felt like it was trying to be too many things at once – the new paranormal “it” romance, best friends turned lovers, good girl meets bad boy, true love conquers all, etc. The end result was a mishmash of tropes that kept pulling me out of the story.

***

All in all, I’d be up for continuing the trilogy with Unhinged, but I’m not racing out to start it immediately. I’m going to save it for a time when I’m itching for more of Howard’s morbidly fascinating setting.

See my review on Goodreads for Some Particulars

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)

 

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins is the third and final book of the Anna and the French Kiss trilogy. It follows Isla and Josh back in France for their senior year at the School of America in Paris. It is a roller coaster of a young love story, with really high highs and really low lows. If you’re a fan of the first two books, Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, I highly recommend it!

This is one of those stories that is simultaneously emotionally challenging to read and impossible to get through fast enough. Don’t start it at the end of the day unless you don’t plan on sleeping!

“Oh.” My shoulders sag. “You want to draw.”
“Yes. You.”

That perks me up. I try to hand him a sketchbook, but he refuses it.

“No,” he says. “I want to draw on you.”

I have to admit, I did get some whiplash from the emotional roller coaster. I could see it coming a mile away just based on my experience reading romances, but it still hit me full force. The manic mix emotions and hormones that go into young love were undeniable and the writing brought back so many of my own experiences that I couldn’t help but get swept away. As Isla and Josh spent more and more time together, the quotable moments and happy feels just kept coming. But then, of course, real life and consequences assert themselves with equal force.

And holy COW the romance was intense! Just like the first two books in the series, I found myself reading with a silly grin on my face again and again, but this one was more extreme. Maybe it was because there was nothing to stop them initially; Isla and Josh slammed into each other full force. Maybe it was just because of their personalities, both of them being passionate and deeply-loving introverts. Whatever the reason, this story was personal and consuming. My favorite section, by far, was their trip to Barcelona.

I’m not going to say anything more about the details of the story. In this case, encountering everything firsthand with Isla is such a big part of the experience. And on that note, I am going to end this review with my favorite quote from the book. I know everyone forgets things like this from time to time, and I’m so grateful that I have Isla’s story to remind me.

We can’t stop smiling at each other. I can’t believe that adults get to do this every day. And I don’t even mean sex, though it’s wonderful, but things like this. Brushing our teeth at the same sink. Do adults realize how lucky they are? Or do they forget that these small moments are actually small miracles? I don’t want to ever forget.

I hope I get to read a lot more from Stephanie Perkins in the future, but even if she never writes another thing, I will always be grateful for this series.

PS – For those curious about Anna, Etienne, Lola, and Cricket’s presence in the book, it’s there, but not nearly as much as in the last book. It’s an appropriate amount, though, given the themes and emotional atmosphere of the story.

See my review on Goodreads for Some Particulars, including a swoon rating!

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2)

 

 

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins is the second book in the Anna and the French Kiss series and it follows Lola, Anna & Etienne’s coworker and friend in San Francisco. In this story, Lola reconnects with her first love, Cricket, after he and his twin sister move back into the house next door.

(Before I dive into this review, I should probably admit that I happily gave this book a whole extra star because of how much I loved Cricket. No regrets…)

Just because something isn’t practical doesn’t mean it’s not worth creating. Sometimes beauty and real-life magic are enough.

Lola: Lola is an awesome character. She’s spunky, unique, and full of life, as well as burdened by a host of challenges, some common and some not so common. Two bits that I especially loved are: her personal goal to never wear the same costumed outfit twice and her rant regarding the nickname “Lolita” (fellow Lolita readers may appreciate that one, too).

There’s something about blue eyes. The kind of blue that startles you every time they’re lifted in your direction. The kind of blue that makes you ache for them to look at you again. Not blue green or blue gray, the blue that’s just blue. Cricket has those eyes.

Cricket Graham Bell: What to say about Cricket… He is smart, genuine, loyal, adorable, and absolutely devoted to Lola. While he and Lola have a bit of a turbulent past, they are so well matched. His creative nerdiness and her creative artistry complement each other wonderfully and they understand each other in ways no one else does. Speaking of Cricket’s nerdiness, here’s the moment when I knew I was a goner:

Rube was famous for drawing those complex machines performing simple tasks. You know, where you pull the string so that the boot kicks over the cup, which releases the ball, which lands in the track, which rolls onto the teeter-totter, which releases the hammer that turns off your light switch? That was Cricket’s bedroom.

Despite liking Lola and LOVING Cricket, I didn’t enjoy their story quite as much as I did Anna and Etienne’s, though it was close. I think it was missing some of the magic of Anna and the French Kiss, or maybe it was that they were so similar in story structure. I can’t seem to put my finger on it. That being said, Perkins’ ability to empathize with young love and being seventeen is here in full force. Her writing absolutely whisked me away and I inevitably flew through the book. So much for trying to pace myself…

A quick note about Anna and Etienne’s role in this book: Anna and Etienne work with Lola at a San Francisco theater. They pop up frequently throughout the story, and I loved it. Whenever things grew too serious or sad, they would appear, being adorable and happy. I don’t want to reference anything specific for fear of spoilers, but as a fan of the first book, I was definitely not disappointed.

I am really excited to read Isla’s story in Isla and the Happily Ever After.I’m also hoping that Anna, Etienne, Lola, and Cricket make some appearances in the third and final installment.

See my review on Goodreads for Some Particulars!