“The trees grew dense and close together in the quarantined zone, magic humming through their branches and stretching in their roots beneath soil and snow.”First line in The Electric Heir by Victoria Lee
Hi, guys. March didn’t exactly turn out to be a typical month. The world has been crazy and strange but it seems like we’re nearing something that looks like an end to it all here in Denmark. Our government has talked about an opening of society in 2 weeks if all goes well until then. It should still be a slow and gradual opening but it’s something. I’m sitting here hoping that the libraries will be the first open. Pleeeeease!
In other news, March was also the month were I started a Twitter account for this blog @FirstLineReader. I’ve never used Twitter before but I’ve been considering starting one for a while. Now with the O.W.L.s happening in April, it seemed necessary to have an account to actually be a part of that. Unfortunately, my anxiety is just spiking over it because there are so many unknown factors involved. So yeah, I have a Twitter account but I’m going to take my time figuring out what I want to do with it.
Reading-wise, my month was actually pretty good. Just take a look at my stats:
The average rating was highly affected by the 2 (!!) 5-star reads I had this month. Some duds found their way in as well but it was an overall good month for me. So here you have 6 mini-reviews of the books I read in March.
The Library of the Unwritten (Hell’s Library #1)
Author: A. J. Hackwith
Published: October 1st 2019
Buzzwords: Books about books, angels and demons, diversity, magical library
Synopsis: Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing– a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.
But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil’s Bible. The text of the Devil’s Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell….and Earth.
I loved it! It’s a character focused story with a cool concept about a magical library so how could I not love it. I have a full review right here if you’re interested in more of my gushings about this book.
Infinity Son (Infinity Cycle #1)
Author: Adam Silvera
Published: January 14th 2020
Genre: YA Fantasy
Buzzwords: Urban fantasy, superpowers, fantastical creatures, LGBTQ+
Synopsis: Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.
Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.
Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.
Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.
I’m disappointed. This book didn’t manage to live up the quality we’re used to seeing from Adam Silvera in his contemporary stories. His first attempt at fantasy sadly shows that this is not his usual genre. The world building is done very offhandedly which left me confused. I felt like I had to stop reading several times because I was wondering how the world worked and fit together. I wanted that information from the book itself instead.
I had similar issues whenever there was a fight scene. I didn’t feel like I got enough information. People were moving around and doing stuff without my knowledge and then suddenly they were somewhere else (often a very convenient place). It’s very difficult to write good fight scenes because you can also give too much information and slow down an action-packed scene but in Infinity Son I needed more.
I did quite like the messages and the themes that this book wanted to highlight. Especially those surrounding family and how to be brave. Those felt very much like Silvera. I also think the ending was quite good although not perfect. It’s making me think that I’ll probably read the next book in the series, even though this first one wasn’t much to my liking.
A Touch of Death (The Outlands Pentalogy #1)
Author: Rebecca Crunden
Published: February 23rd 2017
Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopia
Buzzwords: Oppressive government, horrible futuristic disease, romance
Synopsis: A thousand years in the future, the last of humanity live inside the walls of the totalitarian Kingdom of Cutta. The rich live in Anais, the capital city of Cutta, sheltered from the famine and disease which ravage the rest of the Kingdom. Yet riches and power only go so far, and even Anaitians can be executed. It is only by the will of the King that Nate Anteros, son of the King’s favourite, is spared from the gallows after openly dissenting. But when he’s released from prison, Nate disappears.
A stark contrast, Catherine Taenia has spent her entire life comfortable and content. The daughter of the King’s Hangman and in love with Thom, Nate’s younger brother, her life has always been easy, ordered and comfortable. That is, where it doesn’t concern Nate. His actions sullied not only his future, but theirs. And unlike Thom, Catherine has never forgiven him.
Two years pass without a word, and then one night Nate returns. But things with Nate are never simple, and when one wrong move turns their lives upside down, the only thing left to do is run where the King’s guards cannot find them – the Outlands. Those wild, untamed lands which stretch around the great walls of the Kingdom, filled with mutants and rabids.
This was an exciting take on a dystopian story with a very dark world. It had adventure and romance, while also dealing with themes of grief and finding yourself after losing someone close to you. If you’re interested in more of my thoughts, you’re welcome to check out my full review of it.
The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms #4)
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Published: October 23rd 2012
Genre: YA Fantasy
Go to Goodreads to read the synopsis of the first book in the series, The Demon King.
I was blown away by this ending to the Seven Realms series! Mind you, I went into it with very low expectations because I deeply hated the previous book in the series. The Crimson Crown, however, gave me everything I wanted.
The pacing was great. I wasn’t bored because things kept happening. It was easy to see how all the events were related, and how they were all just small stepping stones to the great finale. Everything had a purpose.
I also loved how the stakes were raised so that I was actually afraid for these characters. There are some dark and brutal scenes that I applaud Chima for putting in a book/series that is quite romance heavy.
Finally, I want to say that I did find the book a bit predictable. Its foreshadowing is pretty obvious but I won’t hold that against a YA book. However, I did not see the final plot twist coming, and that was basically what made me realize that I had to give this book 5 stars.
The Electric Heir (Feverwake #2)
Author: Victoria Lee
Published: March 17th 2020
Genre: NA Science Fiction/Fantasy
Go to Goodreads to read the synopsis of the first book in the duology, The Fever King.
After finishing the duology, I can say that these books will stay with me. They tell a very impactful story that really culminates here in The Electric Heir. It’s centered very heavily around the topic of abuse and how victims deal with it later on. I really like it when these kinds of topics are discussed in a fantasy setting, and this is no exception. Lee has managed to create a world that isn’t just a backdrop but actually amplify the story she wants to tell. A story that is based on a very real-life issue.
Along with the well-crafted world, Lee has also created two main characters that you can’t help but root for. They are the heart of the story and each represents a different aspect of the abuse situation that the author wants to highlight. And she doesn’t hold back.
My only criticism is that the story was a little slow sometimes and I couldn’t help but get the feeling that we were just waiting for all hell to break loose. And it could have done so earlier. I wished that some of the sub-plots were developed a bit more so that there were something to fill out the gaps. Still a duology that I will highly recommend!
Master of Sorrows (The Silent Gods #1)
Author: Justin Call
Published: August 8th 2019
Buzzwords: orphan boy, school setting, detailed culture and mythology
Synopsis: You have heard the story before – of a young boy, orphaned through tragic circumstances, raised by a wise old man, who comes to a fuller knowledge of his magic and uses it to fight the great evil that threatens his world.
But what if the boy hero and the malevolent, threatening taint were one and the same?
What if the boy slowly came to realize he was the reincarnation of an evil god? Would he save the world . . . or destroy it?
Among the Academy’s warrior-thieves, Annev de Breth is an outlier. Unlike his classmates who were stolen as infants from the capital city, Annev was born in the small village of Chaenbalu, was believed to be executed, and then unknowingly raised by his parents’ killers.
Seventeen years later, Annev struggles with the burdens of a forbidden magic, a forgotten heritage, and a secret deformity. When he is subsequently caught between the warring ideologies of his priestly mentor and the Academy’s masters, he must choose between forfeiting his promising future at the Academy or betraying his closest friends. Each decision leads to a deeper dilemma, until Annev finds himself pressed into a quest he does not wish to fulfil.
Will he finally embrace the doctrine of his tutors, murder a stranger, and abandon his mentor? Or will he accept the more difficult truth of who he is . . . and the darker truth of what he may become . . .
Well, the fact that this book took me 2 whole months to finish should tell you how much I didn’t like it. It has an incredibly slow pace because we practically follow the main character for every single minute of his life for 3 days. That means we also get the boring, everyday kind of stuff described in detail and I’m just sitting here wondering… why?
After the slow start and middle, it does pick up the pace a little towards the end but I still found most scenes too long. Like they were being dragged out unnecessarily and that left me kind of frustrated.
On top of that, I don’t like stupid main characters and Annev here is on another level entirely. He’s even supposed to be smart (and also think he is) which makes it even worse. His cringey “romance” with practically the only female character of the book didn’t improve my opinion of him either.
I will say that the one thing that impressed me about the book was the world building. It’s very detailed in terms of mythology especially, and it’s clear that the author put a lot of effort into crafting it. It’s something I expect will come more into play in the next books in the series.
That was all the books I read in the month of March. Have you read any of them or plan to? How was March for you? Chat with me in the comments.