Review: Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide”

REVIEW:

This book has been sitting on my TBR for awhile but I finally picked it up. Where Dreams Descend is different from anything I’ve read recently. This book gives Phantom of the Opera and Night Circus vibes.

Where Dreams Descend is told from three points of view, Kallia, Jack, and Demarco. Kallia is a showgirl and powerful magician. She has been performing at the Hellfire House, a mysterious venue run by Jack. Kallia doesn’t really know much of her past and a lot of her present life has been a lie. Jack is Kallia’s teacher, magician, and captor. He often tells her it is for her own good that he keeps her trapped at the Hellfire House, but never gives any answers. Demarco is a former magician with a tragic past. He is seeking answers to his own personal tragedy when his and Kallia’s lives begin to intertwine.

I love the concept behind this book and the idea that magicians have real magic. Kallia is a compelling heroine, who is easy to root for as the world tries to break her down. I think the relationships in this book are very interesting. With Demarco, Kallia has found someone who really understands her. Her relationship with Jack is very twisted, he is both her captor and her teacher. She does have this strange pull to him, that can’t be ignored.

I really liked this book and it is incredibly compelling and interesting. I also think this book is too mysterious. We aren’t really given any info about this world, kept in the dark like Kallia. My problem with Where Dreams Descend is that I still don’t really understand how the world works, how the magic works, or what is really going on. The fact that this book is still incredibly compelling and I couldn’t put it down is a testament to the writing. By the end of this book, the mystery has only deepened and ends with a completely crazy cliffhanger.

I’m excited to see what the next book reveals, and hopefully, a lot of my questions are answered because I have a lot of them.

RATING: 4/5

Review: Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too.

Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are. But when the monarchy and military unite to keep control of Orïsha, Zélie must fight to secure Amari’s right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy’s wrath.

With civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must discover a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.”

REVIEW:

I loved the first book in this series, Children of Blood and Bone, so I was very excited to see this at my library. That being said this book had a lot of ups and downs for me. When I was reading Children of Blood and Bone, I couldn’t put the book down because I was so sucked in, but with Children of Virtue and Vengeance I had to put the book down because I was so frustrated with some of the characters.

I was regularly frustrated with Amari and Inan. Inan is so completely spineless and can’t have a single thought of his own. He had grand plans in the first book and you understand his misguided prejudices. You would think after what happened to him in the first book, he wouldn’t be so susceptible to being pushed around by his mother. Amari, constantly insisting her way is right without any understanding of the situation at hand was frustrating to read over and over. It wasn’t until people died, that she was like “oh I really need to listen to other people”. Even though their actions frustrated the heck out of me, I don’t think they are necessarily a bad thing. Amari and Inan are outsiders trying to solve a problem that they truly don’t understand. They are not apart of the maji culture, and though their intentions are seemingly for the best, they don’t listen. This leads to their downfall.

Zélie’s journey is really incredible. This book handles her grief in a really believable way. She has become this savior to the maji, but magic has also killed everyone she’s loved. She really struggles with the weight of her new role in this revolution. There isn’t a simple, easy fix to her problems.

One big problem I had with this book was the forced romances. None of the romantic relationships felt genuine in this novel. They didn’t add anything to the story. I also wish we weren’t left with such a cliffhanger at the end of this novel. While I loved the cliffhanger at the end of the first book, this cliffhanger just felt like someone forgot to finish the chapter which was frustrating.

Overall, I have some mixed feelings about this novel. I think the pacing was a little too fast at times, sometimes I wished that we could let some actions breathe before we moved onto the next big plan. I really loved the handling of Zélie’s grief and trauma. I’m still interested to see where the next book in the series goes.

RATING 3.5/5

Review: Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin

SYNOPSIS (via goodreads):

“After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.”

REVIEW:

Ya’ll this book frustrated me. I was so excited for this book because I loved Serpent & Dove, but this book suffers from middle book syndrome. I didn’t expect everything to be sunshine and roses for Lou and Reid, but everyone is constantly fighting. It was truly aggravating to read at times. Lou is incredibly frustrating. There was this sudden push of her descent into darkness, which I think is an interesting story but it is not portrayed well in the book. Reid’s hesitation with magic makes sense for his character, he was raised thinking that all magic was an abomination. Why Lou can’t understand this reasoning at all is one of the more frustrating aspects of the book.

It takes a while for the book to get going. For me this book was a pain to get through. That being said, the last 150 pages are great. I felt like that last section of the book, everything came together. It felt like I was reading Serpent & Dove again in the best way. I also think that it sets up the next book very well, and makes me still interested to read the third book. I had one problem with a decision made toward the end of the book, but I don’t want to delve into it here because it is a big spoiler.

Overall, I was let down by Blood & Honey. Hopefully the next book will erase my worries for the series.

RATING: 5/10

Let me know your thoughts! You can always message me here, or on Instagram @kerryreadsthings

Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Louise le Blanc fled her coven two years ago, and is now hiding in plain sight, in the city of Cesarine. She has become a thief to survive. In the city, witches are hunted. They are the stories told to scare children. The city even has an elite witch hunting force, The Chasseurs. So now she is hunted by her coven, but also must keep away from the Chasseurs.

Reid Diggory was an orphan, taken in by the archbishop. His whole life he has been trained and taught to hunt witches. It’s the one thing in life he can depend on. Unfortunately for him, his world is turned upside down when, due to circumstances outside of his control, he finds himself now married to Louise le Blanc. Reid is unaware of Lou’s powers, and Lou thinks she might be safest of all amongst her enemies. However war is brewing, and as feelings develop between Lou and Reid, choices must be made.

REVIEW

Ah, enemies to lovers. It’s always one of my favorite troupes. I saw Serpent & Dove all over Bookstagram, and quickly added it to my TBR list. I think this book is well plotted out, and the characters’ actions are genuine. Every characters actions are believable with the current situation they are in. I loved the banter between Lou and Reid. Their romance is a slow burn in the best way.

I also really enjoyed the friendship between Coco and Lou. I love that they bicker, but they always come back to each other. Another important thing is that Coco is actually around for the whole book. A lot of the times with these Young Adult fantasies, you have a female friendship at the start but once the love interest is introduced that female friendship disappears.

Overall, I really enjoy this book and am excited to read the sequel Blood & Honey. If you enjoy witches and enemies to lovers romances then this is the book for you.

RATING: 9/10

Review: Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth

A decade ago, five teenagers defeated the evil enemy known as The Dark One. The Dark One caused widespread death and destruction. These five teenagers were brought together by the government because they fit the perimeters to be “The Chosen One” laid out in a prophecy on the defeat of the Dark One.

Ten years later, the world has moved on and The Chosen Ones have become celebrities. Sloan hates every minute of it, she doesn’t know what to do with herself. She can’t move on, The Dark One haunts her thoughts. She feels listless. Shortly after the dedication of a monument to the fallen lives, the Chosen Ones experience another devastating loss. As they gather for a funeral, they discover that the Dark One might not really be gone.

REVIEW

This is Veronica Roth’s first adult fiction novel after a string of young adult hits, such as the Divergent Series. Ugh this book, I need to stop giving Veronica Roth chances. I ended up completely hating the Divergent series, but I thought the synopsis of this book sounded interesting. I thought it was going to deal more with the aftermath and the trauma in these peoples’ lives. About 100 pages in there is a big reveal that thrusts them into a new conflict, and everything that was interesting just disappears.

It’s called Chosen Ones but you really only get to know Sloan. I didn’t like her as a character, all her decisions are incredibly selfish, and she is just frustrating. It annoyed me how little we got to know the other “chosen ones”. You only really ever go inside Sloan’s mind, so the other “chosen ones” feel like virtual strangers. In a weird decision, one of the “chosen ones” does not join the other three on their new adventure. So you don’t get to know her at all. I ended up hate reading this book, just powering through so I could finish it.

If you like Veronica Roth, you might enjoy this book. However, if you’ve had problems with her books before, I think you can skip this one.

RATING: 3/10