Blood of Wonderland (Queen of Hearts, #2)

Colleen Oakes

Dinah is now in hiding, exiled from Wonderland. Her own father has framed her for the brutal murder of her brother and turned the kingdom against her. With only her war steed at her side, Dinah must choose—leave Wonderland forever, or stay and fight her father for the throne.

When a chance encounter with one of her father’s long-lost enemies brings Dinah more allies than she ever could have imagined, war starts to feel inevitable. Before Dinah can lead her people into combat, she must confront certain truths about her heart and her destiny—no matter how dark those truths may be.

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The Gathering (Darkness Rising, #1)

Kelley Armstrong

Maya is in grade 11 and lives a pretty ordinary life. Since she was adopted, she doesn’t know much about her biological family or how her life would be if she lived with them. The only clue she has is a paw shaped birth mark that sits on her hip. However, Maya had never really thought about her biological parents as she is happy with living with her adoptive family in a very small community on Vancouver Island until strange events start to happen in the small town. Events that for some reason make her think of her best friend Serena’s strange and ‘freak accident’ drowning. For instances, mountain lions always seem to be near wherever Maya is. And a mysterious new boy starts to slowly draw her in.

After a ‘reporter’ starts to come around the island and ask unusual and out of place questions, Maya and her best friend Daniel feel that something is off. As they investigate further, a puzzle starts to form about her biological family, the medical institute in her small community, and the incident of her best friend’s death. As she dives deeper down into this entanglement, relationships start to form, even in a way she would never expect.

‘The Gathering’ was enjoyable for me to read as I connected it to my life and my experiences. This book draws you into a web of secrets, puzzles, and questions that can only be answered by guessing and reading. My recommendation for this book would go out to people who relish in fantasy novels, as well as trying to figure out many mysterious questions and characters. – Juliana M.

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Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

Leigh Bardugo

“No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.’”

Kaz Brekker, known as “Dirtyhands” to many, is given an offer he can’t refuse. If he manages to complete the task of infiltrating the Ice Court, the most highly secured prison, he’ll be paid a large sum. Within the Ice Court, Kaz is supposed to kidnap a scientist who is being kept there. He will have to gather six of the deadliest outcasts known throughout Ketterdam if he wants to be able to pull this off. If he can get them to join him, they could manage to finish without a hitch. But they’ll have to learn to trust each other and work as a team, first.

Not only one of my favourite books, but one of my favourite series of all time. This book takes a group of characters from a number of different backgrounds, as well as the reader, on a journey of crime and desperation. Filled with magical realism as well as action and adventure, the characters we meet make us question what really is good versus bad in the world. Can something that we would normally see as a crime be justified for the right reasons?

Six of Crows is filled with so many incredible characters that are strong, intelligent and quick-witted. You’ll end up loving most, if not all of them.

This book is such a fun and enjoyable read, as well as very well written. I became a fan of Leigh Bardugo because of Six of Crows. – Stacie C.

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Caraval

Stephanie Garber

Just reading the synopsis of this novel is enough to get you excited for what’s to come. Straight from the get go I was anticipating the world created in Caraval to be an intriguing one, and it definitely lived up to my expectations. Caraval is a book you won’t want to put down.

Scarlett Dragna has lived her life without achieving her dream of visiting the annual performance, Caraval, when her father sets her up in an arranged marriage. Believing her dreams of seeing the performance are crushed, she’s elated when an invitation finally reaches her, a letter from the master of the game, Legend, after years of her writing to him. The game of Caraval is a magical one, and readers get to learn its rules at the same time as Scarlett does.

The whole mystery aspect of the novel, as well as being a world of fantasy and magic, is something that really appeals to my taste of books. While those three points are a big part of Caraval, the elements of love, romance and family are also present, and the subject of abuse is touched upon too. Combining the characteristics of the book and the important points brought up throughout it, was what sold me completely. That’s all I can tell you about this one. Stephanie Garber created the type of plot in which you end up enjoying the story more when you know less about the plot.

Fantasy fans will enjoy this one. It keeps you waiting for more, with the thrill and action of the world inside this book.– Stacie C.

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The Speaker (Sea of Ink and Gold, #2)

Traci Chee

The sequel to the critically-acclaimed The Reader. Having barely escaped the clutches of the Guard, Sefia and Archer are back on the run, slipping into the safety of the forest to tend to their wounds and plan their next move. Haunted by painful memories, Archer struggles to overcome the trauma of his past with the impressors, whose cruelty plagues him whenever he closes his eyes. But when Sefia and Archer happen upon a crew of impressors in the wilderness, Archer finally finds a way to combat his nightmares: by hunting impressors and freeing the boys they hold captive.

With Sefia’s help, Archer travels across the kingdom of Deliene rescuing boys while she continues to investigate the mysterious Book and secrets it contains. But the more battles they fight, the more fights Archer craves, until his thirst for violence threatens to transform him from the gentle boy Sefia knows to a grim warrior with a cruel destiny. Sefia begins to unravel the threads that connect Archer’s fate to her parents’ betrayal of the Guard so long ago, she and Archer must figure out a way to subvert the Guard’s plans before they are ensnared in a war that will pit kingdom against kingdom, leaving their future and the safety of the entire world hanging in the balance.

 

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La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust, #1)

Phillip Pullman

The Book of Dust is a work in three parts, like His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass). The book is set ten years before The Golden Compass and centers on the much-loved character Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon.

Philip Pullman offers these tantalizing details: “I’ve always wanted to tell the story of how Lyra came to be living at Jordan College, and in thinking about it, I discovered a long story that began when she was a baby and will end when she’s grown up. This volume and the next will cover two parts of Lyra’s life: starting at the beginning of her story and returning to her twenty years later. As for the third and final part, my lips are sealed.

“So, second: is it a prequel? Is it a sequel? It’s neither. In fact, The Book of Dust is . . . an ‘equel.’ It doesn’t stand before or after His Dark Materials, but beside it. It’s a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognize, and characters they’ve met before. Also, of course, there are some characters who are new to us, including an ordinary boy (a boy we have glimpsed in an earlier part of Lyra’s story, if we were paying attention) who, with Lyra, is caught up in a terrifying adventure that takes him into a new world.

“Third: why return to Lyra’s world? Dust. Questions about that mysterious and troubling substance were already causing strife ten years before His Dark Materials, and at the center of The Book of Dust is the struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organization, which wants to stifle speculation and inquiry, and those who believe thought and speech should be free. The idea of Dust suffused His Dark Materials. Little by little through that story the idea of what Dust was became clearer and clearer, but I always wanted to return to it and discover more.”

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Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2)

Jay Kristoff

The second thrilling installment of the award-winning Nevernight Chronicle, from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.

In a land where three suns almost never set, a ruthless assassin continues her quest for vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church hierarchy think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending the men who destroyed her familia; in fact, she’s told directly that Consul Scaeva is off limits. But after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia’s suspicions about the Red Church’s true motives begin to grow.

When it’s announced that Scaeva 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 him. 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 love and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.

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This Savage Song

V. E. Schwab

In a crumbling city where the violence has begun to breed monsters, Kate Harker and August Flynn are heirs to the divided city of Verity. Kate strives to be just as ruthless as her father, even if that means getting expelled from six boarding schools. August just wants to be human, and to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent. Torn between his ambition and the ideology of monsters given to him by Leo, who acts as an older brother to him, August is given a mission. As Kate moves into the city and joins an esteemed high school after an attempt to burn down her previous boarding school, August goes undercover to keep an eye on her. But Kate discovers him, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair is forced to flee for their lives.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Unlike many post-apocalyptic young adult books, this one has a refreshing storyline that does not revolve around a romance. The characters are not one-dimensional, they make mistakes that have legitimate consequences, and they have flaws and disabilities. The combination of a monster-run city and in-depth characters makes This Savage Song an extremely good read. Anyone who is interested in thrilling action sequences, monsters that are both human and creatures, minimal romance, and a bit of music should definitely pick up this book.

This Savage Song is the first book in The Monsters of Verity Duology. – Janki V.

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Keeper of the Lost Cities (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #1)

Shannon Messenger

Sophie Foster is a twelve-year-old girl who lives with her mom, dad, sister, and cat. Sophie is exceedingly smart for her age, and is already a high-school senior. But Sophie has a secret. She is a Telepath, and can hear the thoughts of everyone around her. In Sophie’s town, there are strange, white fires burning. Human arsonists are suspected, but what’s really behind it? Sophie’s life is as normal as it can be for a twelve-year-old telepath, until she meets a mysterious boy named Fitz. Fitz is also a Telepath and lives in a world where telepathy, among other abilities, is considered normal. Fitz and the people in his world are elves, but not the pointy-eared Christmas kind. These elves live in a world of magical creatures, like gnomes, alicorns, and many others. Sophie Foster’s life is about to change forever.

Sophie is an elf. Neither Sophie nor her family knew it, and the elf community cannot risk exposing themselves to tell them. Soon, Sophie is forced to leave her human family for this new world of elves. There, Sophie has many problems to face. Will she like her new foster family? What will the kids at her new school think of the “human girl”? Will she do well in her studies? Sophie has a lot to worry about before a mysterious criminal organization starts wreaking havoc among the elves. Who are these elves? What does the banned ability of Pyrokinesis have to do with them? What is this group planning? And what do they want with Sophie?

I loved this book and the entire series. My friends and I are totally obsessed with Keeper of the Lost Cities, and we can’t wait for the sixth book to come out in November! I loved Shannon Messenger’s writing style and the characters are so relatable. If you like books set in magical worlds such as the Unwanteds series or the Land of Stories series, you will like this book. – Madeleine D.

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Invisibility

Andrea Cremer and David Levithan

No one has ever seen what Stephan looks like, and that includes himself. Stephan has been invisible his whole life because of a curse he knows nothing about. He was invisible when he was born, and he is still invisible now at the age of 16. His mother took care of him when his father left them when Stephan was just an infant. It wasn’t until Stephan’s mother died from the toll of taking care of Stephan, that he felt totally lost and helpless. The topic of why he was invisible was never brought up and he now has even more questions than before, with no one to answer them. No one knew he was there. No one could know he was there. He got used to living this life, with everyone totally oblivious that he existed.

As Stephan was sneaking in the elevator to go up to his apartment as he does every day, somebody new to the building notices him. Her name is Elizabeth, and she has no idea that he is visible only to her. Both of their worlds are flipped upside down as they find out more about this other world. A world that involves cursecasters, spellcasters, and spellseekers. Terrifying truths are revealed as these two award-winning authors keep readers guessing and developing theories after every page they turn.

This book takes you on a journey involving many questions that include misfortunes and lifelong grudges. I would recommend ‘Invisibility’ to anyone interested in fantasy and action books, along with some romance. . – Juliana M.

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