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Review, Young Adult / March 7, 2017
The Song Rising by Samantha ShannonThe Song Rising
Author: Samantha Shannon
Series: The Bone Season #4
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Date: March 2017
384 pages
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Fantasy
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The hotly anticipated third book in the bestselling Bone Season series – a ground-breaking, dystopian fantasy of extraordinary imagination

Following a bloody battle against foes on every side, Paige Mahoney has risen to the dangerous position of Underqueen, ruling over London's criminal population.

But, having turned her back on Jaxon Hall and with vengeful enemies still at large, the task of stabilising the fractured underworld has never seemed so challenging.

Little does Paige know that her reign may be cut short by the introduction of Senshield, a deadly technology that spells doom for the clairvoyant community and the world as they know it…

* This review is for the third book in a series. While there are no big spoilers for the previous two, this is not a stand alone and will make more sense to those who have read the previous installments.

If I am reading a series that is longer than three books and am going to lose interest in it, typically book three is where it all starts to fizzle out. I enjoyed the first two book in The Bone Season despite the fact that, in general, I have no interest in dystopian novels. However the criminal underground + supernatural element in this one kept me invested and entertained. I went into The Song Rising with some prejudice, almost prepared to finally get bored and be let down.

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By: Diane
Review, Young Adult / May 8, 2015
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Date: May 2015
432 pages
Source: ARC from publisher
Genres: Fantasy
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Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price.

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

This book was everything I’ve been waiting for from Sarah J. Maas. I’m a fan of the Throne of Glass series, but this made me light-headed, blurt ‘you have to read this’ to everyone I know, and deliciously excited for the sequel. And that’s only a small glimpse of what A Court of Thorns and Roses has done to me. I loved it. Hands down, the BEST new adult book I’ve ever read and my favourite of Maas’ work (to date—I fully expect to be blown away by the next two books in this trilogy).

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By: Daphne
Review, Young Adult / August 27, 2014
The Winner’s Curse by Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Curse
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Date: July 2014
368 pages
Source: Review copy from publisher
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Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction.

Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

After reading The Winner’s Curse, I was in a haze for days—a little daydream bubble that couldn’t be popped because this beautiful book was such a delight to read. I wanted to lock myself in a room with a cosy blanket and a cup of tea and savour it again and again.

Make no mistake, if you’re looking for a high-action fantasy read, this isn’t the book for you. In a world where the Valorian race conquers and enslaves the Herrani, most of the story is gradual strategic manipulation and spans themes of slavery, politics, and rebellion. It makes you question whose side you’re on, page by page. It is a beautifully deliberate and concisely written book. Best of all, there is a wonderful slow-burning relationship that I adored.

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By: Daphne
Review, Young Adult / July 9, 2014
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. MaasCrown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #2
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Date: August 2013
418 pages
Source: ARC from publisher
Genres: Fantasy
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Eighteen-year-old Celaena Sardothien is bold, daring and beautiful – the perfect seductress and the greatest assassin her world has ever known. But though she won the King’s contest and became his champion, Celaena has been granted neither her liberty nor the freedom to follow her heart. The slavery of the suffocating salt mines of Endovier that scarred her past is nothing compared to a life bound to her darkest enemy, a king whose rule is so dark and evil it is near impossible to defy. Celaena faces a choice that is tearing her heart to pieces: kill in cold blood for a man she hates, or risk sentencing those she loves to death. Celaena must decide what she will fight for: survival, love or the future of a kingdom. Because an assassin cannot have it all . . . And trying to may just destroy her.

Love or loathe Celaena, she will slice open your heart with her dagger and leave you bleeding long after the last page of the highly anticipated sequel in what is undeniably THE hottest new fantasy series.

Crown of Midnight was an epic read in all respects. What I loved about the first book was all here and MORE. There was more world building, more character development, more magic, more surprises, and just generally more awesome. For a high fantasy lover like me, this wasn’t the fantasy-light of Throne of Glass and I loved it for that.

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By: Daphne
Review, Young Adult / August 8, 2013
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin TerrillAll Our Yesterdays
Author: Cristin Terrill
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Date: August 2013
362 pages
Source: ARC from publisher
Genres: Dystopian
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Em is locked in a bare, cold cell with no comforts. Finn is in the cell next door. The Doctor is keeping them there until they tell him what he wants to know. Trouble is, what he wants to know hasn't happened yet.

Em and Finn have a shared past, but no future unless they can find a way out. The present is torture - being kept apart, overhearing each other's anguish as the Doctor relentlessly seeks answers. There's no way back from here, to what they used to be, the world they used to know. Then Em finds a note in her cell which changes everything. It's from her future self and contains some simple but very clear instructions. Em must travel back in time to avert a tragedy that's about to unfold. Worse, she has to pursue and kill the boy she loves to change the future.

When time travel is done right, it is phenomenal and Cristin Terrill got it absolutely spot on with her sci-fi, time bending debut! All Our Yesterdays had me hooked from the start and took me on a heart-pounding, fast-paced dystopian adventure. I haven’t cared for characters’ survival this much since The Hunger Games—Em and Finn completely won me over and the ending absolutely blew my mind!

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By: Daphne