review-ish-thingy: vicious by v. e. schwab

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This book is an utterly fascinating take on superheroes. The concepts are so well-developed and believable that I’d be surprised if things didn’t actually work that way. It’s basically a character study involving trauma, super powers, and questionable morals. No side is made out to be the good side or the bad side–they’re both terrible, it’s just difficult to decide which one is worse.

And oh, it is so good.

Every character is given the attention they deserve from the narrative, but it leaves enough open to interpretation. I found myself drawing on elements from the story and expanding them in my head, coming up with ideas that weren’t explicitly mentioned but were definitely implied just subtly enough. The characters were made out to be distant, almost inhuman, but the characteristics they showed even when lacking any sense of empathy or fear still helped me to relate to them and see how yes, this could be me.

Reading about their super powers was enjoyable and exciting, and the non-linear storytelling did well in keeping some secrets but not being too vague. At first it was a one-sided story with little explanation of the true motives of the other side, but at the halfway point it delved straight into the other side and why they did what they did.

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The hours drawing towards the climax increased in intensity and the climax itself was no disappointment. I feel like that was the moment when the superhero inspiration it drew from comics and movies showed through, because I can easily picture it on a big screen.

All in all, the characterization, plot, and concept were all very well delivered and the blurred line between good and evil was intriguing and perfect for the story. This book is very worthy of your time and money, and I recommend it heartily as well as all of V. E. Schwab’s other books, of course.

MAGICAL WORD OF THE DAY/WEEK/MONTH/WHATEVER:

Cathexis, which means a concentration of mental energy into one specific thing.

-THE END-

newly released books i’m excited for

Alternatively titled, brand new books with gorgeous covers that I definitely would not mind someone giving me out of the kindness of their heart, hint hint. (Even though I already own one out of the list. But I wouldn’t object to a second copy!)

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (feb 28)
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    I’ve heard so much good about this one! It’s a YA contemporary inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and everyone is raving about it. It tackles serious topics from the view of a sixteen-year-old girl, it’s simultaneously important and humorous, and I really want to get my hands on a copy.


  • The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi (march 28)
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    I’ve been waiting for this one for at least a year and it’s finally out! It’s an MG adventure about “a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair” with a Bangladeshi-American main character and lots of family dynamics. Also, apparently, a lot of food descriptions Every aspect of the book just looks so good. Out of this entire list, this is the one I currently want most.


  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (march 28)
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    I actually don’t know the premise of this one clearly, so it’s kind of a mystery to me, but I’ve heard the prose is really beautiful. It’s apparently about an orphan-dreamer-librarian and a mythical lost city, which is a really cool premise even though it doesn’t give away much. Of course, the only way to find out more is to read it!


  • Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (feb 21)
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    This one is a YA historical fiction mystery with two points-of-view a hundred years apart! There’s a girl who finds a skeleton and starts investigating a century-old murder, and a boy in Tulsa in 1921. And of course I love mysteries and historical fiction (well, I love everything and those genres fall under everything), so I really really want this book.


  • A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab (feb 21)
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    This is the only one from the list that I’ve actually started. I’ve already posted pictures of my (twice) signed copy here and I’m reading this slowly, but I’m very excited to see how everything concludes. The basic concept is four parallel Londons with varying degrees of magic, if you don’t already know that. In this book specifically, there are boats and funny scenes on said boats and very intense moments, as well as multiple things I haven’t gotten to yet so no spoilers. This is a wonderful series, people. Read it if you haven’t already!


  • Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves (march 28)
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    This one is a YA historical fantasy! It takes place in Hungary and it’s about a girl who can’t do magic at all but comes from a family of people with pretty powerful magic. Of course, it’s a concept that has been done before, but I want to read it for the setting, history, and pretty cover if nothing else. Plus I’ve heard that it takes its own unique spin on the concept, so I’m excited to read it!


  • The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (march 7)
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    This is a YA paranormal fantasy about a necromancer named Tea! According to the summary, necromancers are feared and she has to leave her kingdom to train under an older, wiser necromancer. I love stories about necromancers and such, so nothing to object to here!


  • Strangers in Atlantis by Matt Myklusch (april 1)
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    This is the second of the Seaborne books, and it happens to be by one of my favorite authors (who also wrote the Jack Blank series, which I HIGHLY recommend). It’s MG and it’s about pirates and apparently there’s a gateway to Atlantis, so all good things!


  • Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan (march 14)
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    This one is a contemporary MG featuring a Pakistani-American girl! It’s about identity and culture and dealing with vandalization, and I want this book so much. I want them all so much. Please give them to me.


Do any of these books appeal to you, and if so, which ones? Are you willing to gift me any of them? Or all of them? Let me know!

MAGICAL WORD OF THE DAY/WEEK/MONTH/WHATEVER:

Savoir faire, which is the ability to act or speak appropriately in a social setting. Also known as something I do not have.

-THE END-

Gallery

bookish photos of a conjuring of light

MY SIGNED COPY OF A CONJURING OF LIGHT BY V.E. SCHWAB (THIRD BOOK IN THE SHADES OF MAGIC TRILOGY) HAS ARRIVED AND IT IS BEAUTIFUL.

SO, OBVIOUSLY, I AM GOING TO FORCE ALL OF YOU TO GAZE UPON ITS BEAUTY AS WELL!

APPRECIATE MY PHOTOS I SPENT A LONG TIME TAKING THEM.

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-THE END-

review-ish-thingy: this savage song by victoria schwab

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How does Victoria Schwab gets ALL THE GORGEOUS COVERS? Also, yes, that’s a sugar cookie.

This is a story about violence.

It’s about the consequences of violence. It’s about violence creating more violence. And it’s about MONSTERS.

The story takes place in a divided city where violence breeds literal monsters–shadowy creatures called Corsai, vampire-like creatures called Malchai, and the least common kind: Sunai. Sunai are monsters born of the worst violent acts, and they look human . . . but they can use music to steal your soul.

It’s about August Flynn, the youngest Sunai who is constantly at war with who he is. He’s the sweetest little monster, but he wants to be human and forget about needing to feed on souls.

And it’s about Kate Harker, daughter of the ruthless Callum Harker, who keeps trying to prove to her father that she’s worthy of her surname by being the toughest, cruelest person she can be.

Despite their differences, the two form an unlikely friendship complete with BANTER and SECRETS. But then . . . things unravel.

The distinction between good and evil is blurred, and though the characters keep trying to stick to their black-and-white ideas of what’s good and what’s bad, the dual narration provides a clear picture so that you know that neither is right.

Numerous things in this book are really well done, such as the blurred distinction between good and evil, as I mentioned. The characters and all their different views on the same things are nuanced, the characters themselves are well-developed, the atmosphere is always perfectly suited to the story.

(Also: people keep saying that Kate doesn’t have an arc in this book. She does. It’s slow and someone unnoticeable, but it is there and I have a feeling there will be more of it in book two.)

This Savage Song is not quite as fast-paced as Schwab’s other stories, but I still hated to put it down. (The only reason I did that, by the way, is so that I would have an excuse to show it off at school.)

So if you’re interested in

  • dark urban fantasy
  • Romeo and Juliet MINUS romance PLUS monsters
  • music-playing soul-stealing broken boys
  • tough girls distancing themselves from everyone because they’re secretly broken too
  • everything by Victoria Schwab (’cause who isn’t?)
  • violence with very real, permanent consequences
  • books exploring identity and human nature . . . and I guess monster nature, too?

. . . then this is the book for you!

And if you’re still not persuaded, have some quotes.

  • “It was a cruel trick of the universe, thought August, that he only felt human after doing something monstrous.”
  • Now, the way other people felt about food, that’s how August felt about music.
  • “Not with a bang, but with a whimper.
    In with gunfire and out with smoke.”

-THE END-

five fantastic opening sentences

Okay, so I just really like posts about the first sentences in books (plus it’s a great way to get more people to join me in my obsessions) so here are a few of my favorites in no particular order! BUT remember this list is by no means complete. It’s just five out of MANY MANY great first sentences, but five’s enough for now. Plus, I wouldn’t want to go on forever, so yeah. Here they are!

On the morning of its first birthday, a baby was found floating in a cello case in the middle of the English Channel.

-Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

As they ascended, retreating farther from the winding trails that marked the way to nearby villages, the world opened to him in its purest form: silent, ancient, mysterious.

Deadly.

-Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

The Narrows remind me of August nights in the South.

They remind me of old rocks and places where the light can’t reach.

They remind me of smoke—the stale, settled kind—and of storms and damp earth.

Most of all, Da, they remind me of you.

-The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Kell wore a very peculiar coat.

It had neither one side, which would be conventional, nor two, which would be unexpected, but several, which was, of course, impossible.

-A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Once upon a time, a hundred years ago, there was a dark and stormy girl.

The girl was Russian, and although her hair and eyes and fingernails were dark all the time, she was stormy only when she thought it absolutely necessary. Which was fairly often.

Her name was Feodora.

-The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

AREN’T THEY GREAT? NOW GO READ EVERY ONE OF THOSE BOOKS. IMMEDIATELY. I ORDER YOU TO.

unrelatedly i just realized that there are only three different authors on that list. ignore that.

Since there are a lot more great first sentences from books that I haven’t quite finished yet, I’ll probably have another post like this up soon! Or not-so-soon. It depends on when I get through them all.

-THE END-