They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

Publisher: Simon & Schuester
Release Date: 7th September 2017
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Goodreads

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When Mateo receives the dreaded call from Death-Cast, informing him that today will be his last, he doesn’t know where to begin. Quiet and shy, Mateo is devastated at the thought of leaving behind his hospitalised father, and his best friend and her baby girl. But he knows that he has to make the most of this day, it’s his last chance to get out there and make an impression. 

Rufus is busy beating up his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend when he gets the call. Having lost his entire family, Rufus is no stranger to Death-Cast. Not that it makes it any easier. With bridges to mend, the police searching for him and the angry new boyfriend on his tail, it’s time to run.

Isolated and scared, the boys reach out to each other, and what follows is a day of living life to the full. Though neither of them had expected that this would involve falling in love… 

This is the first Adam Silvera novel where I haven’t cried, which is sad in itself because I love it when I cry at Adam Silvera novels. You’re supposed to cry; you’re supposed to have emotion pouring out of you. So while I enjoyed They Both Die At The End, there was always a small voice in the back of my head wondering why I don’t have butterflies in my stomach and my eyes not on the verge of tears.

I loved both Mateo and Rufus and how distinct their voices were. They definitely complimented each other and would have loved to see their relationship evolve, but I think it would have felt a little more realistic if maybe there was a bit more time in between them meeting and falling in love? I already had to suspend my disbelief with Death-Cast which, I really couldn’t, and it glared out at me while I was trying to concentrate on other part of the stories.

I want to point how happy I was when I found out that Rufus was bisexual. This isn’t a spoiler, a character’s sexuality isn’t a spoiler or a plot reveal, but it was so lovely to see the word used, to have a character to say that they are bisexual and to be proud and wear the label on their sleeve without any ‘I don’t use labels’ or ‘I’m just fluid’. Sometimes, people are bisexual, and characters who allude to be don’t say it enough in canon. So thankyou Adam Silvera. BISEXUAL VISIBILITY! *raises fist*

Great third novel by one of my favourite authors. But not my favourite novel by one of my favourite authors.

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Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicles #2) by Jay Kristoff

Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: 7th September 2017
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Goodreads

Mia Corvere, destroyer of empires, has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry do not believe she has earned it.

Her position is precarious, and she’s still no closer to exacting revenge for the brutal death of her family. But after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it is announced that Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself into slavery for a chance to fulfill the promise she made on the day she lost everything.

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Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold, secrets are revealed and the body count rises within the collegium walls, Mia will be forced to choose between her loyalties and her revenge.

WELL SHIT HAS CERTAINLY HIT THE FAN HASN’T IT LADS?

Falling in love with Nevernight was such a surprise for me. I hadn’t heard of it, was given an ARC, and fell head over heels with the language, concept, the setting, and just everything about it. I still can’t decide whether to call it YA or not, and whether it would be insulting to assume that this is not for adults just because of the violence, swearing and sexual scenes (like come on, young adults watch Game of Thrones, it’s not like they’re new to it), but at the same time, I can never find these books in the YA sections of bookstores, so the marketing is different, who knows.

But I’ve always shied away from adult fantasy because of some of the content; primarily male writers who can’t or won’t write female characters, with plots that are all just Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones regurgitated en masse. And while Nevernight and it’s sequel, Godsgrave, don’t have the most unique plot you’ve ever heard of, I am still enthralled by the twists and turns that this series has, and what it will do to keep you on your toes.

It’s getting better and better too, I cannot wait to stick this on lists of fantasy reads you SHOULD be reading this year and talking about it lots all over my social medias. If you love foul mouthed, bloody thirsty anti-heroines who possess the magic of shadows and will stop at nothing for revenge against the death of her family, including competing in one of the deadliest fighting matches in the country, then look no further than Mia Corvere.

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As I Descended by Robin Talley

Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 2016
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Goodreads

Plot: Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.

Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.

Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.

But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.

Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.

But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.

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I’m not a massive fan of retellings.

True, I haven’t read many, but I guess that’s part of the criteria for ‘not liking it’. Retellings are often retellings of stories that I don’t really know about in the first place. Unless, it’s a retelling of a book that I do know, then I may get excited, but I purely picked up As I Descended because while it may be a retelling of Macbeth (a play I haven’t read), it was specifically an LGBT retelling.

Que fireworks and cheering!

So this story is very weird; it’s knee deep in magical realism and things happening for no logical reason. There were times I was screaming at the characters to act with more common sense, and I assumed when they didn’t it was because the characters from Macbeth didn’t. I don’t know. I haven’t read Macbeth, have I? And while I was surprised at everything they did because it was crazy and so unexpected, I did find it quite frustrating, but I assume Macbeth must be quite frustrating too.

I didn’t particularly like any of the characters apart from Mateo, who seemed to be the only one who was self-aware and not acting strange, unlike the others who did silly things for silly reasons. But hey, so is the nature of a retelling – a modern day story with a similar plot to an older, maybe more dramatic story is always going to come across a little odd, but I still enjoyed the eeriness and the spookiness of the setting.

Will I read another Robin Talley book? Most definitely. Will I put retellings on the back burner? Most definitely.

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: January 2016
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Goodreads
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Plot: In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home… forever.

So, until recently, Alexandra Bracken was one of my favourite authors. It’s a sad sentence, and I hate to demote authors from ‘faves’ to ‘really like’, but after reading In The Afterlight and now Passenger, I feel like I can’t call Bracken a fave when I’ve started to give her books four stars instead of five.passenger

I love stories about time travel, particularly stories that visit multiple eras, rather than just going back to one time, like Outlander. So when I saw Passenger just sat on the shelf at work, I thought I just had to. I loved The Darkest Minds and Never Fade. And, while I didn’t enjoy the third book so much, I can still safely say that the series is one I will cherish forever.

But Passenger falls under that awful umbrella term of average.

Etta and Nicholas are very interesting characters with stark different upbringings and personality, and are thrust together on an adventure that spans time. But while exploring that further, instead of understanding how these individuals can actually time travel, we’re given, yep, you guessed, it a romance plot line.

I don’t know whether that’s a spoiler or not, since there’s no romance tag for it on Goodreads (oh no wait, yes there is), but honestly, what did you expect? I was not at all surprised, but I was disappointed. We have this fantastic aspect of time travel, of portals and pieces of technology that can bend and create tears in time, but instead we go on a wild goose chase which in the end, is pointless, and watch two people who don’t know each other and are from different times and cultures automatically fall in love.

But I gave it four stars, because I still loved the idea. I still loved the delicacy of time travel and changing the course of history by one single act, and that was clearly shown. And I mean, while the story was bogged down by insta-love, I can’t say I didn’t ‘Aww’ a few times.

I’m hoping for much more action and peril in Wayfarer, which is set to be released in January 2017, and hopefully more well-rounded side characters too.

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