Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull


Everything with a beginning has an ending. Any magic that can be done, can be undone. Anything you make, can be unmade.

The Rise of the Evening Star is the second book in the Fablehaven series. It follows Kendra and Seth, siblings that are set to inherit a secret magical preserve that their grandparents run. The problem is another secret society is set on demolishing them to get ancient artifacts. 

I gave the first book an average of three stars, and left it with the doubt that I would ever come back to the rest of the books. Over the passed year I’ve gotten more into middle grade books. When I’m in a book slump or life slump, there’s something about them that brings me a certain comfort. As I figured this out, I found my mind drifting back to Fablehaven and its characters. I wondered how they were doing, if the books got better as many others claim. So I picked it up, and I’m glad I did.

At the end of the first book, everything seemed pretty tied up. I thought the reader and Seth and Kendra finally knew everything the grandparents did. I was wrong. Things that appeared tied up were not, or they were more than it was appeared in the first book. This really brought the book into an interesting place. Also last book a lot of it had them not knowing anything about magic. This time they knew about the magic, but also the grandparents told them more secrets in the beginning. Which also helped the book a lot. I hate plot hooked on secrets. It’s mostly frustrating, and simply makes me uninterested in reading it.

Kendra and Seth continued to grow in this book. I like how they are growing while still being kept their age. Seth acts just like my boyfriend’s nephew which yeah can be annoying, but also lovable. There are also new characters introduced in this book which only serves to flesh everyone out better.

The stakes are getting higher and more intense, and so did my enjoyment of the story. The ending caught me completely by surprise, and I find myself eagerly waiting for my next trip to the library so I can pick up the third book.

4 stars

Book Reviews

Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi – Book Review

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“Why did I think I’d be capable of running an entire continent? How did I allow myself to imagine that a supernatural ability to kill things with my skin would suddenly grant me a comprehensive understanding of political science?”

My love for Warner is still strong. That much has stayed consistent throughout the series. But, of course, Restore Me is about many, many other things besides Warner — unfortunately.

I devoured the first three Shatter Me books when they were only a trilogy. I read them all over a weekend, and then re-read them recently with Nicole. She reviewed all three of them before, but now it’s my turn.

Restore Me picks up about sixteen days after the end of Ignite Me, which continues to be my favorite book in the series. We follow Juliette and Warner in the aftermath of taking over The Reestablishment. There were a lot of loose ends to begin with, and some of them were covered, but many were not. I’ll break this down.

The characters: Anyone who’s read this series is well aware that it’s very character driven. The characters make the series worth reading. We still have Juliette, though her character development is doubtful. I still don’t know what to make of her, especially after the ending. I definitely do not trust her to run a nation. My personal favorite, Warner, is still a sweet boy (who’d hate me for calling him that). He claims he never changed, but there’s an obvious change to him, both outside and inside. Aside from the haircut, Warner is learning to be less selfless, and trusting of other people outside of Juliette. We have Kenji, possibly the greatest character ever written. Kenji is everything that’s good with the world, and more. He’s comic relief at its finest, and we finally learn more about his past.

I loved some of the new characters, but I feel like there wasn’t a lot of them outside of Nazeera, who was fantastic. I was grateful for such a wonderful female character, who Juliette actually got along with. I liked seeing more of Adam and James, but other than them, the other characters faded to the background. I found myself missing them, and overall just wanting more.

The plot: I was very intrigued by the sudden world-building drawn out. There was a lot of explanation about the world, and the leaders of the different continents. However, there wasn’t much expansion of some pressing issues because the romantic drama kept getting in the way. Then I realized what series I was reading, and I wasn’t angry about it. Basically, there were a lot of plot holes, but Warner’s hot, so all is forgiven.

The romance: The love I have for Warner runs deep. Juliette is okay. I fear that the roles have switched between him and Juliette. I thought it was natural the way he closed off from her. There was a big reason for that. I didn’t think Juliette fought enough to get inside Warner’s head, though. My problem with Juliette is her selfishness. She doesn’t realize how awful she tends to be, and Warner sees her as a perfect woman. There are so many issues with their relationship, but I gotta say, I’m still rooting for Warner’s happiness.

Representation: The anxiety rep was amazing. Suffering from anxiety myself, I can’t explain how incredible it felt to see myself in this book. My anxiety tends to make me feel like a burden sometimes, but seeing it represented so well here made me hopeful. I want the stigmas to be removed, and I think it’s important to incorporate this into stories. There was a trans character, but she was outed without consent by a transphobic character, so heads up for that. Aside from that, there were characters from different countries who spoke different languages, but again, they were far from the focus of the story. I feel like I hardly learned anything about them.

There are trigger warnings for panic attacks, depression, mention of suicidal thoughts, and transphobia.

I still haven’t gathered my thoughts completely. That ending left me breathless. I don’t know what to make of it, but I know that I cannot wait for book five. Or maybe a novella in between? We’ll see.

This weekend we’ll have a spoiler review of Restore Me on our podcast, so look out for that.

4,5 stars

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

         The Iron Trial (Magisterium, #1)

          The Iron Trial is the first book in the Magisterium series. The Magisterium series is a five book fantasy series. The third book, The Bronze Key, will be coming out August 30th of this year. The series follows Callum Hunt from when he is twelve to seventeen years old through his years at his magic school.

            In The Iron Trial Call is twelve and goes to take the Iron Trial, which is a test to get into the magic school. The twist is he wants to fail because his father has renounced magic ever since his wife died in the war. He passes, of course, and goes onto school. In this universe, they draw magic from fire, earth, air, water, and the void, or chaos. The rest is pretty generic. Call wrestles with the prejudice his father instilled in him, he struggles to make friends and to learn magic, and he has to deal with some stuff relating to the war and his mother dying, basically.

            I did not like this book. The magic school was interesting. But it showed maybe four magic lessons in all, and three were all of the same lesson. It just took them a long time to get what the mage was trying to show them. There was one twist that surprised me, and that was good. There were two others that either didn’t have the right build up, or simply bored me. That’s pretty much all I can say that was good about this book.

            Telling and summarization ran rampant in this book. Character development was done so poorly. The prejudice that Call had to struggle with? Never affected him in a negative way, and he got over it after two months at the most. The book tried to drag it on, to the very last page, but it was unbelievable. His friends’ development was basically, “After a while, Tamara started to smile more.” It was neither shown that she was uptight before that or that she was more relaxed after. That sentence was all the reader got. The resident bully, Jasper, only existed to insult Call randomly, and fail at magic. There was no real rivalry going on, and Call had no real struggle with him.

            The only thing that was shown in detail was the school itself. Every room was talked about in detail, and honestly, it all sounded the same. It was very annoying.

            There’s a lot of talk about this book being a Harry Potter rip off, and I can see where they are coming from.  I know not every magical school with a trio of friends is like Harry Potter, but there are a lot of other elements very similar that you will see if you read the book. With Cassandra Clare’s past, I don’t feel like giving her the benefit of the doubt.

            I don’t like giving books one star. I typically feel very guilty about it. However, this book is a one star out of five. And I won’t be giving the other books in this series a chance.