Showing posts with label jay kristoff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jay kristoff. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff & Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Can't-Wait is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released! This meme is based off of Jill @ Breaking the Spine's Waiting on Wednesday meme.

I have more than a few August releases I still want to feature this month for CWW, so this week I'm sharing three instead of only two because it's hard to narrow it down!

This week's upcoming book spotlights are: 

NOTE: Just a word of caution-- this synopsis has spoilers from previous books!
Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle, #3)
Darkdawn (Nevernight #3) by Jay Kristoff
Publication: September 3rd, 2019
St. Martin's Press (US)/HarperVoyager (UK)
Hardcover. 512 pages.

"The Republic of Itreya is in chaos. Mia Corvere has assassinated Cardinal Duomo and rumors of Consul Scaeva’s death ripple through the street of Godsgrave like wildfire. But buried beneath those same streets, deep in the ancient city’s bones, lies a secret that will change the Republic forever. 

Mia and her brother Jonnen must journey through the depths of the ancient metropolis. Their quest will take them through the Godsgrave underdark, across the Sea of Swords, back to the library of the Quiet Mountain and the poisoned blades of Mia’s old mentors, and at last the fabled Crown of the Moon. There, Mia will at last discover the origins of the darkin, and learn the destiny that lies in store for her and her world. But with the three suns now in descent, and Truedark on the horizon, will she survive?."
I don't think this one really needs any explanation. I'm so eagerly anticipating this conclusion, though I am admittedly a little sad that it'll all be over after!

Kingdom of Souls
Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron
Publication: August 13th, 2019
Hardcover. 496 pages.

"Magic has a price—if you’re willing to pay.

Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval. 

There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit. 

She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him."
I think this might be the UK cover (?), but I am just in love with it! This sounds incredible also--witchdoctors, children disappearing, a Demon King!? Sign me up!

What do you think about these upcoming releases? What are your anticipated upcoming releases?

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Review: LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

*LIFEL1K3 will be published Tuesday, May 29th!*

LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff 
Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2018
Hardcover. 416 pages.

**There is a pre-order campaign for LIFEL1K3 pre-orders that is ongoing until May 29th where you can receive a print of the map in LIFEL1K3 as well as four character cards! You can find out more here.**

LIFEL1K3 was a solid book, but it was also one of my biggest disappointments this year.

Everything about this book screams 'Jay Kristoff,' which is part of what made me so excited to read it. I expected a fascinating world, strong and unforgettable characters, a compelling plot, and a book that I would find impossible to put down. Instead, I got an overly predictable story, characters that I lost interest in, and a book that I found myself increasingly bored with.

Before getting into the details, I want to say that LIFEL1K3 is very much trademark Jay Kristoff and I could hear his voice throughout the entire story. The problem was that I felt like I'd read this book a hundred times before in many other books. It seemed like this book was more about the dialogue, the world, and the characters, with less emphasis placed on the plot itself, and this is where I had issues.

The world-building is fantastic and this is one area in which Kristoff shines. He not only builds an in-depth world with different locations and elements, but he also invents his own slang and manner of speaking that really brings it to life. I did have some issues with the slang in parts because I didn't always know what they were talking about, but idea and execution of it did help with the world-building. The only issue I had was that occasionally I felt confused and as if things weren't fully explained, but this wasn't something that lingered too long and was only minor. The Mad Max inspirations in his world-building really shine through in this world, though, so if you're a fan of that franchise you might want to pick up this book.

The characters in this book were really hit or miss for me. The main protagonist, Eve, irritated me more than I expected. I felt very little connection to her and that her reactions to various revelations and events were somewhat off. On a somewhat minor but still irritating note, she also made endless references to how 'she'd looked death in the face before and wasn't afraid to do it again' so. many. times. that I truly did not care anymore. I did, however, love Eve's cyborg dog Kaiser--Kristoff did great work on that. Lemon Fresh, her best friend, was one of the characters that I did really love. She seemed to have the most well-rounded and interesting personality of the bunch. She did feel slightly one-note at the beginning of the book, but as the story progressed I felt she more well-developed and I loved her personality. I also really loved Lemon and Eve's friendship and really enjoyed seeing their love for another shine throughout this book. Ezekiel, a character we meet fairly early in the story, was one of the least interesting characters for me. There was nothing interesting or endearing about him, and I think Cait at Paper Fury got it right when she likened him to her toaster. The last character I want to mention is Preacher, only to say that I still don't understand what his purpose was and all he seemed to be to me was a huge pain in the ass for no reason.

As mentioned, it was the plot that I really struggled with. The twists and turns were interesting, but also easily guess-able; it's a well thought-out story, but it just wasn't new enough. I feel like if you don't read a lot of books then you might enjoy this book a lot more than I did, but since I read a lot all the tie I just feel like I've read and seen this all before.

The writing, however, was great. Kristoff is wonderful at creating engaging and witty dialogue that lets you easily imagine the story in your head and feel like you are there with the characters. The descriptions of the world were strong and I appreciated Kristoff's accessible prose. The biggest complaint I have about his writing was that there was way too much action for my taste. I felt like the characters were constantly on the run or involved in some sort of action drama and I just got so tired of it and found myself desperately wanting to skim over large chunks of this book.

Despite my rather ambivalent review, I do still recommend you check this one out if you are a Kristoff fan or if you think the synopsis sounds good. There are so many other readers that have fallen head over heels for this book, so there's a good chance that you might still like it. People are even calling this some of Jay's best work, which I personally find a bit insulting to Nevernight, but that's just my personal opinion. Overall, I've given LIFEL1K3 three stars. I liked parts of it, but I just didn't enjoy this as much as I expected to and I look forward to reading more reviews from other readers to see what their thoughts were.

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

*I received an ARC of LIFEL1K3 courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating of the book.*

You might also like:

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg & Obsidio by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released!

This week's upcoming book spotlight is:
The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg
Publication Date: March 13th, 2018
Holt Paperbacks
240 pages
Pre-order: Amazon Book Depository 
From Goodreads:

The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror
"From Mallory Ortberg comes a collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales. Adapted from her beloved "Children's Stories Made Horrific" series, "The Merry Spinster" takes up the trademark wit that endeared Ortberg to readers of both The Toast and her best-selling debut Texts From Jane Eyre. The feature become among the most popular on the site, with each entry bringing in tens of thousands of views, as the stories proved a perfect vehicle for Ortberg’s eye for deconstruction and destabilization. Sinister and inviting, familiar and alien all at the same time, The Merry Spinster updates traditional children's stories and fairy tales with elements of psychological horror, emotional clarity, and a keen sense of feminist mischief. 

Readers of The Toast will instantly recognize Ortberg's boisterous good humor and uber-nerd swagger: those new to Ortberg's oeuvre will delight in her unique spin on fiction, where something a bit mischievous and unsettling is always at work just beneath the surface. 

Unfalteringly faithful to its beloved source material, The Merry Spinster also illuminates the unsuspected, and frequently, alarming emotional complexities at play in the stories we tell ourselves, and each other, as we tuck ourselves in for the night. 

Bed time will never be the same."

"Tales of Everyday Horror"... now that sounds interesting. I've never read any by Ortberg before, but this sounds super intriguing!


Obsidio by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
Publication Date: March 13th, 2018
Knopf Books for Young Readers
608 pages
Pre-order: Amazon Book Depository 
From Goodreads:

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3)
"Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they'll find seven months after the invasion? 

Meanwhile, Kady's cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza's ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha's past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. 

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heros will fall, and hearts will be broken. "

I am so excited for this to finally come out! I can't believe this trilogy is almost over, but I can't wait to see how it ends. Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman are a brilliant, wonderful team and these books have been amazing!

What do you think about this upcoming release? What are your anticipated upcoming releases?

Planning to purchase a book or two? Consider purchasing on Book Depository through my affiliate link! Book Depository has worldwide free shipping and millions of titles to choose from.

I am also an Amazon affiliate, so if you'd prefer to shop through Amazon, just click the banner on the upper right hand side of my blog! (above the 'Follow by email' box, you may need to pause adblock to see it!)

Friday, January 19, 2018

Book Recommendations: If You Like Your Fantasy on the Darker Side

I enjoy most book genres, but fantasy tends to be one of my favorites, and although I enjoy many different types of fantasy, I have to say that I'm usually drawn to darker books and settings. Because of this, I decided that I might as well make a post with some of the ones I've really enjoyed that I am always recommending to people. About half of these were actually released in 2017 because it was such a fantastic year for debuts in fantasy, but the rest vary in release date. Many of the books on this list are also referred to as 'grimdark' novels, which, for those that do not know, does not have a firm definition, but generally refers to fantasy books that have dark, nihilistic, gritty settings with morally ambiguous characters. Of course, don't let the definition confine your opinions, because it isn't a fully defined term, but just that be a guideline. Now, on to the books!

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
I love Nevernight so much it's ridiculous. This is a story of Mia Corvere, who competes to become a true assassin so that she can take revenge on those who killed her father. It's super bloody, brutal, and all-around amazing. The second book, Godsgrave, is also already out and the final book should be out this year.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

The Court of Broken Knives (Empires of Dust, #1)
The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark -- Review
This book was so dark in such a beautiful way. Anna Smith Spark uses a really unique writing style that is, at times, almost reminiscent of a steam-of-consciousness style. From my review for it: This is true grimdark, meaning it is dark, full of gory details and violence, and spilling with characters whose morals lie in the grey area of life. The Court of Broken Knives is a devastating duet of beauty and cruelty that weave together to create a breathtaking book that is impossible to step away from. The sequel is coming this year!
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Jade City (The Green Bone Saga #1)
Jade City by Fonda Lee -- Review 
Jade City really stood out from other fantasy books that I read this past year because it was more of an urban/contemporary Asian setting, but still a very different world from what we have now. It's a gritty world with mafia-inspired groups that don't shy away from violence. 
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Blackwing (The Raven's Mark, #1)Blackwing by Ed McDonald 
I have a really hard time describing this book, which is partially why I do not yet have a review up for it. This is essentially set in a post-apocalyptic world that includes a huge wasteland known as the Misery, which is basically a terrifying, unpredictable, and incredibly deadly expanse of land that many do not survive crossing. The story focuses on a sort of bounty hunter who regularly crosses the Misery, and that's about all of the story I'll dive into. This book maybe be on the shorter side*, but it is brutal, dark, and not overly optimistic. It's great!
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

*Okay, so I just checked and it's actually 380 pages, but for some reason it looks really short and read really fast, so I thought it was shorter than it is. Oh well.

The Last Wish
The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski - Review
I've never played The Witcher games, but I have read a few of the books that inspired them and I love them! This particular book in The Witcher series is a series of short stories that each focuses on one instance of Geralt taking down some crazy creature, spirit, etc. It's dark, bloody, and fantastic. I can't recommend these books enough--the entire series has about seven books so far.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)Scythe by Neal Shusterman - Review
So this one isn't your typical grimdark-style fantasy that I've been recommending, but I still think it's very dark. It takes place in a world in which death is pretty much eradicated and everyone can live forever. To combat the risk of overpopulation, every year a certain amount of people are chosen at random to be 'gleaned' (aka: killed). This book dives deeply into many topics surrounding death and the many grey areas of life. Thunderhead, the sequel, just released this week. (This is also more dystopian, but thought that it fit on this list.)
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1)
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
Assassin nuns.
In this book, young girls are trained to become assassins and are taught how to fight, poison, lie, and do all-around not socially acceptable things--this book has it all! Oh, and magic. The second book, Grey Sister, is coming out this year.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1)
Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence 
Mark Lawrence is pretty much just great for grimdark. The protagonist in this book/trilogy walks a very thin line between a mere 'grey' character and being completely heartless.  It is absolutely not recommended for the faint of heart, but if you tend to think 'the darker the better,' then step right up.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Godblind (The Godblind Trilogy #1)
Godblind by Anna Stephens 
This is another one that doesn't have a review yet because I've had a hard time putting my thoughts into words. Essentially, a group of peopleknown as the Mireces worship the rather bloodthirsty Red Gods and decide to invade the land of Rilpor. It is much, much more complex than that, but just be aware that this book is dark, bloodt, full of deceit, and hard to put down. 
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)
The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
I will confess that I have only ever read the first fifty or so page of this because I had to put it down for school and then sort of forgot about it.... but I plan to finally finish it up this year! Abercrombie's First Law books are dark and tend to be the top recommendation when people are asking for grimdark/dark fantasy. Let's just say that it's recommended for a reason.

(Note: I thought I included The Lies of Locke Lamora in this list, but after proofreading it I can see that I didn't. Oops. Please consider The Lies of Locke Lamora in your future book reading endeavor because it is fantastic. You can purchase it at Book Depository or Amazon [or any other bookstore probably].)

Have you read any of these? What books would you add to this list?

Planning to purchase a book or two? Consider purchasing on Book Depository through my affiliate link! Book Depository has worldwide free shipping and millions of titles to choose from.

I am also an Amazon affiliate, so if you'd prefer to shop through Amazon, just click the banner on the upper right hand side of my blog! (above the 'Follow by email' box, you may need to turn off adblock to see it!)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff (spoiler-free!)

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff. Thomas Dunne Books/Harper Voyager UK, 2017. Hardcover. 448 pages.

Where do I even begin writing a review for a book that I found to be simply flawless? Godsgrave is installment number two in Kristoff's Nevernight Chronicles, a trilogy that has only one more book to go. I'd been waiting for Godsgrave since I read the ARC of Nevernight last year in late June and completely fell in love with the world, characters, and writing style Kristoff created for this trilogy. Just as a preface before I fully dive in to this review: I'm going refrain from mentioning any specific plot points, largely because they could easily give away spoilers for Nevernight, and that's not something I want to do in case you are interested in this series and haven't yet read started the trilogy (my review for Nevernight can be found here!).

The first thing about this book that I loved before I even read the first page was a beautiful, in-depth character list found at the beginning of the book. It listed all of the important characters from the first book along with a brief-but-thorough description of who they are and what they did/what happened to them in Nevernight. It was so helpful.

 This book was truly brilliant. Kristoff's worldbuilding is once again filled to the brim with fascinating details and vivid descriptions. It is a wonderful blend of Ancient Rome and Old World Venice, which creates a truly exciting backdrop for the events of this book, while also maintaining an overarching sense of a historical setting that is wonderfully appealing.

Mia herself is such a fantastic character with so many things that I love about her. She's tough as hell, but at the same time... she's utterly human. She struggles just like the rest of us, and even though she seems like a tough shell that's impossible to crack, we reader are allowed to see that she still has doubts, uncertainties, and hard emotional struggles to deal with. However, she does possess a strong amount of confidence that grows throughout this book, although she is often knocked down a peg or two, which seems to keep both her character and the events of this book extremely realistic. Her confidence and ability to find strength in the hardest times is part of what is so enticing about her.

I also love Mister Kindly and Eclipse. They are perfect in every way, and I can't get enough of their additions to the dialogue. Mister Kindly feels like that inner voice that we all (well, I, at least) have and he is absolutely one of the best characters.

As much as I want to into depth about some of the other supporting characters, I'm going to refrain from doing so because the could be spoiler-y in general. However, I will say that new characters we meet are just as wonderfully crafted as Mia and every other character in Nevernight.

One of the best things about Kristoff's writing is you never know what's going to happen. I'm pretty sure that he just delights in throwing curveball after curveball to keep his readers--and his characters-- on their toes. Just when you think you know how something will work out, he does something completely contrary to whatever you're thinking and it blew my mind. Even if you're right about how something will work out overall, the way in which it gets to that point is absolutely crazy. If you want a crazy, intense, amazing ride--read this book. Oh, and there's blood. Lots and lots of blood. And yes, many figures in this book will indeed meet a dark, bloody end.

The last area I'd like to discuss is prose. Some people don't like Kristoff's narrative voice or his usage of footnotes in these books, but they are what make me love this book so so much. His voice is incredibly distinct and full of life -- it is witty, sarcastic, and wonderfully done. The footnotes only serve to further comment on and expand upon certain ideas or parts of the world, which only enhanced the worldbuilding.

Overall, absolutely five stars!

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

I am also an Amazon affiliate, so if you'd prefer to shop through Amazon, just click the banner on the upper right hand side of my blog! (above the 'Follow by email' box, you may need to turn off adblock to see it!)

You might also like:
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released!

This week's upcoming book spotlight is:

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff (Nevernight Chronicles #2)
Publication Date: September 7th, 2017 (UK)/September 5th, 2017 (US)
Harper Voyager UK (UK)/Thomas Dunne Books (US)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2)Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2)

From Goodreads:

"A ruthless young assassin continues her journey for revenge in this new epic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.

Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. 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 within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.

Set in the world of Nevernight, which Publishers Weekly called “absorbing in its complexity and bold in its bloodiness,” Godsgrave will continue to thrill and satisfy fantasy fans everywhere. "

Okay, so this one seems like a given - I am beyond excited for Godsgrave! This is easily one of my most anticipated releases of this year and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. I am so thankful to have been able to pre-order a copy of the Goldsboro numbered editions since I also ordered the Nevernight Goldsboro edition, and that just makes me even more excited.  After the way the way Nevernight ended, I have no idea what sort of things Kristoff will pull this time, but I've only seen raves for it so far. Also, all US pre-orders will be signed, so get on that if you're interested!

What do you think about this upcoming release? What are your anticipated upcoming releases?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (Spoiler-free!)

*Nevernight will be released on Tuesday, August 9th!*

(US cover here - I am in the U.S., but I just really love the UK/AUS cover)
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. Harper Voyager, 2016. Ebook. 448 pages.

*I received an ARC of Nevernight courtesy of Harper Voyager and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

I have been wanting to post this review for what seems like ages now, but since I generally tend to post my review closer to the release date, I've  been waiting and waiting - but I am waiting no more!

Nevernight is truly a masterpiece of immense proportions. If you want a brief review: Go read this book. If you want a more expansive review, please do read on.

This was my first experience with Kristoff's writing, and I fell in love with it almost immediately.  By probably the fifth page or so, I could tell that he was one of those authors that writes with a wonderful flow and instead of merely using words to convey his story, he commands words to say what he wants - his storytelling becomes those words. That probably sounds completely ridiculous, but my point is that his prose is both effortless and powerful all in one and it really makes for a breathtaking (sometimes literally for the characters) reading experience.

Nevernight is essentially about a girl named Mia who hopes to join the ranks of some of the deadliest assassins in the land. There is a boatload of juicy intrigue, plots, and secrets. This a bloody, brutal book with fierce characters and competition and I loved every minute of it.

First, I adored whoever our narrator was. The dry wit and sense of humor were such welcome additions to this dark story. I also particularly loved the footnotes. They added a wonderful dimension to the story and provided detailed background information (or mere asides) that firmly enforced the world-building and truly brought the world of Nevernight alive around me. I don't often see footnotes in fiction books (with a few exceptions), and I really enjoyed the concept. It made it feel much more like I was reading something real and authentic.

For many of the chapters, there is a switch between the telling the story of the present day and telling the story of Mia's past and what got her to the present day. This was one of those rare occasions in which I liked the occasional switches between present day and experiences from Mia's past. Sometimes these can be overdone and a tad on the dry side, but learning about Mia's past was just as interesting and also helped with understanding her and her story. This brings me to Mia, a realistic, badass, and wonderfully developed character that I loved reading about. She's serious and tough, but also maintains her own distinct sense of humor and endearing personality. Along with Mia is Mister Kindly, her not-cat shadow that acts as her constant companion; I loved the relationship between the two characters, as well as the overall concept of what Mister Kindly is as well (keeping it vague because spoilers).

As far as secondary characters go, there is such an abundance of outstanding ones that I'm not going to go through and discuss each one individually here because I'm pretty sure none of you want to sit and read this review all day. Suffice to say, Nevernight is full of interesting, well-developed, and wonderfully molded characters that do nothing but add immense depth and entertainment to the story.

 I was so immersed in this novel that I ended up speeding through it faster than I've sped through a book of this size in a while. The ending was absolutely brutal and  beautiful and heartbreakingly perfect all in one. I sat in awe for quite a long time after finishing this book, and I still occasionally like to sit back and think about what a wonderful journey this book was.

I would like to quickly add that I was pretty confused for the first few pages, as I wasn't sure how long the parallel format storyline was going to continue (despite how wonderfully written it was), but once I got into the groove and things started happening, I was completely hooked and everything fell into place.

Side note: I've been on a very successful book buying ban this year (I've bought hardly any books - most have been ARCs or library books, though I do go to a lot of library sales... but they're so cheap I don't always count them), but I completely splurged and went for the red stained pages from Goldsboro - I'm so excited and it's gorgeous!

I think a star explanation is unnecessary - this is hands down a five-star book that earned itself a place on my favorites shelf. And I personally don't even want to compare this to Harry Potter because it's in a league all on its own - no comparisons or mash-ups necessary.

You might also like:
Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
And I Darken by Kiersten White
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Monday, July 18, 2016

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2015. Hardcover/Hardback. 599 pages.

I genuinely don't know how to start this review because there are just so many thoughts racing through my head about this book, but I will do my best.

I've seen Illuminae around the book community for what feels like ages now, even though it just came out last year, and now that I've read it I'm also mad at myself for not picking it up earlier. I think it was mainly because I'm not normally that interested in futuristic worlds or high school romance (which, by the way, is not an adequate classification for Illuminae). Illuminae basically follows the story of Kady Grant and Ezra Mason as their planet is invaded and those remaining from the attack must battle for their lives. Oh yeah, and a horrible plague has broken out that essentially makes people violent and crazy. This book is made up of classified documents, IMs, surveillance footage transcripts, and transcripts from crew members.

First off, it's just utterly brilliant. I love novels that try to break through the binds of traditional presentation and do something different, but it's often heard to achieve without coming across overly cliche'd or try-hard. Fortunately, Illuminae is one of the few that pulls off this feat remarkably well and thus created a truly breathtaking story as a result. The only other book that comes close to invoking somewhat similar feelings as Illuminae by using unconventional formats and typography is Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves, and even then there is still much difference between the two books.

This book took me on such a roller coaster of a ride that I feel like I'm still feeling the aftereffects. The characters are all absolutely brilliant, which I'll admit was something I worried about due to the setup of the book; I wasn't sure if it allowed for the development of many characters. Well, I was needlessly worried. I fell in love with Kady and Ezra, as well as a few of the minor characters that we are introduced to as well. Everyone is so animated and each character has a strong, exciting personality that makes it hard not to become fully engaged with each one. I thought the romance element would bother me, but it was surprisingly entertaining and didn't drive me completely crazy; I instead enjoyed watching the growth and the strong bond that lay between them despite their past and current situation. I'm also very intrigued by Ezra's mysterious family and I'm hoping Gemina delves into that whole situation more deeply, which I assume it will.

I also really liked exploring the theme of artificial intelligence and the potential impacts it can have upon a society when things don't always go according to plan. I feel like that entire aspect of Illuminae brings up so many great potential discussion points that really need to be had.

In order to make sure this stays spoiler-free, I'm going to leave much of the rest of my analysis of the plot out because this is definitely a book that thrives on the element of surprise and the unexpected.

Illuminae will make you laugh, cry, cringe, and gasp in horror as you continue to uncover this tragic, incredible story page after page - and it's all completely worth it. Overall, I am definitely giving Illuminae a well-deserved five stars for creating such an in-depth, captivating story that kept me on the edge of my seat and for making me so excited for the next installment (this August!)

Side note: I loved the shout-outs to various authors and such. When I came across the casualty list, I thought 'I bet the author's names are in there' - and yep, they were! There is also a movie poster at one point, and more fun authors names can be found there as well. So very clever - I love little easter egg type things.

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