G. Bianco, 2019
Fans have been long awaiting the sequel to Rainbow Rowell’s 2017 young adult fantasy novel, Carry On. This novel, which was a spin-off of a novel mentioned in her 2013 novel Fangirl, has a Harry Potter-esque storyline featuring a British teen who is “The Chosen One” in the world of magic he was thrust into at age 11. Sound familiar? However, Rowell’s newest installment in the series, Wayward Son, focuses on what happens after the story is supposed to be over.
At the end of Carry On, the villain was defeated, the war ended, and Chosen One, Simon Snow, was trying to live a normal life. At the start of Wayward Son, we find Simon, along with boyfriend and vampire Baz, and best friend Penny, decompressing after the war and trying to figure out what “normal life” is. Penny proposes that what the gang needs is a good old fashioned road trip across America! But of course, things don’t go as planned and Rowell shows how when one story ends, another begins.
In case you thought a group of characters couldn’t get into any more trouble, you’d be wrong! This was a great way of delving back into the world of mages and expanding upon the other non-mage beings, like vampires, to the reader. The alternating POVs are something to get used to, but overall helped round out the story.
The main cast of characters returns for danger, magic, and hilarity as they travel across the United States. The new characters were entertaining, but ultimately it seems that Rowell is going to expand upon their stories and plot lines in the next novel. I felt that there were too many unanswered questions and things that were started, but not finished.
One thing Rowell does well is the way she gives reason/answer for everything and continues to have a logical explanation for anything that happens, making the story a little bit more realistic (or as realistic as one can get with a story about vampires and magic and a boy with dragon wings and a tail...).
I will admit that I was a little bit disappointed with the build up of this novel. I felt like we were waiting and waiting for something only to be left on another cliffhanger ending. There could’ve been a little more romance between Simon and Baz, but hopefully Rowell is saving it for the next book in the series! I also hope that there is a little more character and plot development, seeing as this novel seemed to be more of a set-up for the next novel. Overall, it was a good read, but I think we have to wait for the sequel for the good stuff to happen.
Katie McGarry has written many romance and young adult novels over the years, but her most recent novel, Only a Breath Apart, shows the raw and real side of a love story. This YA romance shows how external factors can determine how people react and behave, but only you can change your destiny.
Jesse’s family is supposedly cursed. However, the only thing he’s worried about right now is his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, Scarlett, the girl he froze out his freshman year. A fortune-teller tells Scarlett she's psychic, but the only reality in her life is Scarlett’s father’s controlling attitude and the dark secrets at home. She may be able to escape her current life, but only if she can rely on, Jesse, the one boy who broke her heart. With each secret midnight meeting, Jesse and Scarlett come closer to confronting their secrets and their feelings for each other. But as their love blooms, the curse comes back to bite them…
What was first an impulse buy at BookCon has quickly turned into a favorite read of the year! Simply put, this story is beautiful. The imagery of Jesse’s land is stunning and the way the story is written is just eloquently done. The alternating POVs allows for the reader to get a better sense of what the characters are feeling and shows the progress in their respective battles with past pain and figuring out what they need in life.
It not only has romance, but also involves dealing with your past trauma, family obligations, and knowing when to put yourself first. There is an emphasis on the complexity of human relationships and what is means to forgive and love. Jesse and Scarlett both have pain they are burdened with and don’t know how to release it. Their journeys of self reflection and figuring out what is best for them leaves them with tough choices to make.
With themes including abuse, trauma, and loneliness, both Scarlett and Jesse deal with many issues and the reader gains a better understanding of what it’s like living with secrets and pain that no one else knows about. But it also how you don’t have to go it alone. Only a Breath Apart perfect blends romance, pain, and a bit of mysticism into a beautifully moving novel that hits all the right notes. For fans of YA or modern-day romance, this novel is sure to make you feel.
Best known for her young adult novels, Leigh Bardugo penned her first adult novel early in October 2019. Pulling from her own experiences as a student at Yale, Bardugo’s novel, Ninth House, strays on the darker side of fantasy and has left readers across the globe reeling and wanting more.
Galaxy “Alex” Stern feels like she doesn’t belong at Yale. Raised in the Los Angeles, Alex dropped out of school early and jumped into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. At 20 years old, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away, but at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most prestigious universities on a full ride. But why her? And what’s the catch? The catch is that she’s tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living. Still searching for answers, Alex struggles to make sense of this new world while also digging up deep secrets that could make the world of magic crumble.
This story is very intricately written, but it can be a bit hard to get into or to follow with the jumping time periods (early spring, winter, fall, summer). There are also some dark themes and scenes including drug use, rape, and other weird and gross scenes.
That being said, this story was extremely well written! The entire plot was planned out from start to finish and every detail came together at the end to lead to the climax at the end of the novel. Yet, there is enough left unfinished at the end to lead into a sequel (which is planned for publication in 2021).
Alex is a character you learn to love, but also want to knock some sense into at certain points. She is very rough around the edges, but when you learn what she’s gone through in her life, you can’t help but sympathize with her. The reader can’t help but fall in love with Alex’s mentor, Darlington, even though he is only featured in flashback chapters. Also, the weird friendship between Alex and Dawes, Lethe’s research assistant, lends to a comic relief of sorts for the story. Two completely different people who are basically forced to work together yet eventually develop a unique friendship creates such an amazing dynamic to such a dark novel.
This novel also shows how even when life knocks you down and it seems like all hope is lost, self-perseverance is all it takes to take control of a situation and your life. Alex shows how being badass and feared is sometimes the only thing you can be in a cruel world.
Upon finishing the novel, the hype that this novel generated becomes understandable and while I wasn’t obsessed with it like others were, I thought it was very well written and engaging at the end. If you aren’t a fan of darker issues or plotlines, then this may not be the novel for you; however, if you love delving deep into a secret world hidden beneath the real one, you will love the world of Yale’s secret societies. I will definitely be grabbing the sequel when it comes out to see what trouble Alex will get herself into next!
When Marie Lu concluded her Legend Trilogy back in 2013, fans were pretty satisfied with the way it ended. The epilogue showed the readers a glimpse into the future, ten years to be exact, where protagonists June Iparis and Day Wing reunite after Day’s memory loss caused him to forget who June was. It was a hopeful ending to a series about rebellion, poverty, and loss in a dystopian society. Now that it’s 2019, Lu has decided to return to the series and give the fans a more conclusive ending to her bestselling series. Her newest novel, Rebel, picks up about a month after the events of the epilogue and gives the readers a deeper and comprehensive look at life after a revolution.
Eden Wing has been living in his brother’s shadow for years. Even though he’s one of Ross City’s top students and a brilliant inventor, most people know him only as Daniel Wing’s little brother. Ten years ago, Daniel was known as day: the boy from the streets who led a revolution to save the Republic of America. Now he’d rather leave his past behind and just focus on his new life and keeping Eden safe, even if it means giving up June, the love of his life. As the two brothers struggle to accept their past and how it has changed them, a new threat arises that draws Eden to the dark side of Ross City. The brothers must work together and learnt to trust one another in order to save their new home and take back their own lives.
This novel was a fabulous way to bring the reader back into the word of Legend and the Republic! The brotherhood, the action, the romance, and the drama all unfold beautifully throughout the story and was engaging and action-packed. The alternating points-of-view are as effective as always in Lu’s writing and really displays how two brothers can react so similarly and differently to the circumstances around them.
It was quite interesting to hear from Eden’s POV alternating with Daniel’s POV because the reader was able to see just how much the characters have grown since the end of Champion. The fact that the reader doesn’t get June’s POV really solidifies that this is a different book that is set in a different time and place. Even though we see a few of the same characters again, they aren’t quite the same characters they were in the first three books. The reader sees the way the rebellion in the Republic has affected everyone, not just Eden and Daniel, and how not everything ends with happily ever after at the end of a series/war.
Lu utilizes the setting of this novel to contrast the setting of the original trilogy, as well as connect certain themes that run throughout all four books. The main setting of the novel is Ross City, Antarctica, a technology-driven and futuristic city. Society is run on a level-system where your level determines where you live, what you have access to, and where you can go. This society is seemingly flawless, but as the novel goes on, the reader and characters see that it’s not as perfect as it seems. Lu creates a social commentary of sorts through Eden and Day comparing life in Ross City and life in the Republic. It soon becomes clear that there’s no such thing as a utopia and even the glitziest of places have underlying problems.
With the wit, humor, drama, and romance from the first series carrying over to this novel, fans of the original trilogy will fall back in love with Marie Lu’s world and won’t want this book to end. If you thought the end of Champion was well done, you won’t be disappointed by Rebel.
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!