Yay, round two! Here are my reviews for the second half of the Summer Book Trek. As before, I will be placing them here on my new and improved blog and also on Goodreads.
I love high fantasy and this seemed to have a neat hook so I snatched it up. I looked at the earlier reviews before I got it, and it’s a good thing I did. There is actually a free prequel/novella that comes before it. It gives a lot of the history of the characters—something you do get in the flashbacks in the novel as the story goes along, but I really appreciated getting beforehand. I think it made me enjoy the book so much more. The story here starts out as being fairly familiar, but the writing here is really clever, and the emotional conflict sucks you in and gives a fresh light to everything.
The only real negative I have is that some of the plot started to get repetitive and I wished we could understand how more of the magic works, but since the main character doesn’t use much magic herself, I guess it would make sense that it should be a bit vague.
This novel stands alone well (something I’m getting increasingly grateful for in first-of-the series books), but I would LOVE to see more from this author.
I AM SLEEPLESS: SIM 299
After filling my list with so much “girl” fantasy, I picked this one as a nice change of pace. It’s sort of a YA dystopian with some elements of Ender’s Game, but even with those two pieces, there were so many original and cool world-building details in this book! I love that every chapter started with a neat drawing of the fantasy creatures and a blurb where you get more of the history. At the end, there is a guide to the power system too, which gave you all sorts of extra details. I really could see it fitting a lot of the current trends that it’s intended audience (pre-teens?) would just devour.
What I struggled with here was how much the narration bounced around—I never was quite sure whose head we were in and wished it could have been a bit more focused on just a few characters. I think it just started to get a bit jumbled for me. But then, I do tend to me a more character-focused reader, and someone looking more for action and cool images probably wouldn’t struggle with that piece at all. :)
I loved the potential of this world and look forward to it really hitting its stride in whatever comes out next!
BEYOND THE RISING TIDE
Last but not least, I was so excited to read this book, that when I got my first Summer Trek win, I requested it in hard copy. And I am so glad I did, it’s a book I would love to pass to my friends and keep on my shelf. It’s a romance with a paranormal twist and had such a neat atmosphere to it. It’s one of those immersive books where you just feel like you’re on the beach, in the chocolate shop, and even a glimpse of how a soul might spend their time before completely moving on. The characters were unique and really well drawn. I liked them all. And it also has a lot of heart as it works through heavier emotions of survivor’s guilt and redemption.
I think the ending could have been a bit stronger. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the final conclusion, but I wished they had found another path to get there. It just seemed that the main characters had accepted different directions for themselves, then suddenly all the obstacles and consequences were ripped away as the agonist (not really a villain) sort of shrugged his shoulders, or perhaps even set up the circumstances in which the main characters got their happy ending. I think it would have had a bit more impact if the main characters had figured out how to get their happy ending themselves and worked hard for it, even had a few lingering consequences they had to accept or work through. But with the initial premise, I could see this book being a VERY difficult one to craft the perfect ending for, so I might just be splitting hairs.
It’s beautiful, it’s well written and I would recommend it highly as a light read on a Sunday afternoon.
You might think my summer book trek is at an end, but you would be wrong! Through some other fortuitous channels, I gained two other free books on the list. I finished one in a few hours and the other I’m now halfway through. Heck, at the rate I am going, I might even be able to squeeze out a ninth book for the month, so expect my special “bonus round” reviews soon!