by Mercedes Lackey

2/5 Stars

Hunter by Mercedes Lackey takes place in a world that is ravaged by monsters. The most fortunate people live inside cities that have a border protecting them from the monsters. The not-so-fortunate live outside the cities, left to fend for themselves. There are some people with the ability to battle and defeat monsters called Hunters. Joyeaux Charmand is a hunter who’s lived in the mountains her entire life. One day, she’s called by her uncle to go to the city, where she finds out that things aren’t as they seem. The situation keeps getting worse and worse and Joy might be too late to stop it. 

I think that the author had a really good idea. I liked the mix of dystopian fiction and fantasy; however, the story was very repetitive and there was a lot of info-dumping. At the start of the story we get page-length descriptions of things that don’t add to the story. Approaching the middle, the story becomes really repetitive, with the same events taking place every couple of chapters. It’s only in the last couple of chapters that the story gets really interesting. I was forcing myself to read the book, thinking that it would eventually get interesting, but I was wrong. Overall, the author had an excellent idea, but their execution of said idea was rather poor. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this book. 

Haniya W.

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by Leigh Bardugo

5/5 Stars

Nina Zenik, Zoya Nazyalensky and Nikolai Lantsov are all fighting desperately to save their country. Nina has disguised herself and fights hard from inside the Fjerdan capital. Zoya sacrifices a part of herself to become the weapon her country needs. Nikolai uses everything in his power to get the help he needs to win this war. A war with Fjerda, a conflict with Shu Han and wavering relations with the Kerch—can Ravka really be saved? 

Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse series is one of the best series I’ve ever read. The characters in this book were amazing, and their personalities weren’t lost or changed; they were the same as the previous books, which I liked because I hate it when characters go through a sudden change in personality (because it usually makes them worse). The plot was pretty intriguing and I really liked how this book was more about the political side of ruling a kingdom. Even though this is a fictional story, I liked how the portrayal of the kingdom, government and wars were pretty realistic. Nothing was too far-fetched. The book was much longer than the previous ones but it wasn’t without reason; there were lots of things happening and it didn’t feel like a slow-paced story. 

Haniya W.

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by Melissa de la Cruz

1.5/5 Stars

Lilac is now the queen of Stavin. But Lilac didn’t want to become the queen. She was forced to sacrifice her relationship with the boy she loved in order to become queen. While Lilac is suffering from this, a series of magical attacks hurt the citizens, and Lilac is framed for them. The citizens of Stavin were already uneasy about having a Renovian on the throne, and these attacks threatened Lilac’s reputation as queen. Cal is sent to Renovia to get to the bottom of these magical attacks, and Lilac is left to fight for her throne alone.  

This book was sort of a downgrade from the last one. Lilac was a lot more likeable in the last one; in this book, she’s rather bland, boring and whiny. She’s become quite pathetic after being crowned queen. There isn’t much to her character anymore. The book was really uneventful and a total of three major things happened in the entire book. It was pretty slow and dragged out when it didn’t need to. I don’t know what happened to all the characters after the last book, but they became really confusing because they would contradict themselves a lot (especially Lilac and Cal). The reason why this got two stars is that I liked how it reflected how much someone’s reputation can impact them, whether the rumor’s are true or not, and the ending was well-written and it tied up the story nicely. 

Haniya W.

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by Jennifer Lynn Barnes 

“Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future. The Inheritance Games follows Avery, whose plan is to go through high school, secure a scholarship, and leave. But when millionaire Tobias Hawthorne passes away and leaves Avery nearly his entire fortune, her circumstances quickly shift. The problem? Avery doesn’t even know who Tobias Hawthorne is, let alone why. Avery must relocate to the enormous, secret passageway-filled Hawthorne House in order to claim her fortune. The old man, who also enjoyed puzzles, riddles, and codes, has left his mark in every corner of this place. I found the characters to be nicely written, which was one thing I noticed when reading this novel.

The primary character, Avery, was intriguing, but I thought there was more to her that we should know. She was a character who was undoubtedly intelligent and skilled at solving problems, but I think there’s more to her. Once I remembered everyone’s names, it was simple to tell each brother apart who get introduced as Avery makes her way through her journey because they all had distinctive personalities. It became a little more challenging for me to keep track of the other side characters once they were introduced but weren’t given any tasks to complete. I’m hoping that further books will feature these characters. Although I wouldn’t describe these developments as fantastic, I was entertained enough to be surprised nonetheless. To entertain and divert the reader is, in my opinion, a delicate balance. I thoroughly enjoyed this book overall. It was a cozy mystery with some entertaining puzzles and drama thrown in, and I’m eager to read more works by these authors and others in this genre.” 


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by : Namina Forna 

“Deka, age 16, is terrified and eagerly awaits the blood ceremony that will determine if she will be accepted into her village. Deka, who already stands out from the others due to her unusual intuition, prays for red blood in order to feel more at home. However, on the day of the ritual, her blood turns a purplish gold tint, and Deka knows she will suffer an outcome worse than death. Then a mystery woman approaches her and offers her the option to either remain in the village and accept her fate or to join an army of girls who are just like her in fighting for the emperor. They are known as alkali-near-immortals with exceptional abilities. The biggest threat to the empire can only be stopped by them. The characters had a strong sense of development and reality. Deka developed alongside us, and we gained insightful knowledge about her world in the process. She felt genuine and unforced in how she learned. She had real and profound relationships with the other Aliki. Forna does not, however, devote much of the page to illustrating the development. We catch the crucial details, and although not spending the entire time with Deka, we can still make out the genuine friendship and trust that have grown over this period. In the end, her boyfriend Keita proved to be such a wonderful character. It’s intriguing to see how this friendship develops because, like with the girls, we only get to see little glimpses of their interactions. 

Although the world is highly imaginative, it is not so fantastical that it is impossible to imagine. You can see the parallels to the real world that Forna made while writing, brought the universe to a whole new level. Without being info-dumpy or making the reader feel overburdened by the magical features, Forna was able to inform us about an entire world and how that civilization is organized. Overall I found the plot and the story structure itself to be very intriguing and organized. Nothing was unnecessarily added to the story and nothing seemed to be missing either. From the amazing cover art to the story, It really was such a satisfying read and I will for sure recommend this book to anyone!” 


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Cinda Williams Chima 

“In Trinity, a town in Ohio, teenager Jack Swift lives an ordinary life after surviving a deadly heart condition when he was a baby. However, one day he forgets to take his medicine and discovers he is more powerful than ever before until which leads to disastrous consequences. Soon his mysterious aunt shows up under the guise of genealogy and searching for a family heirloom. One thing leads to another, and he discovers the Weir, a secret, magical society of enchanters who can convince others into anything, sorcerers who craft magical amulets called Sefas, warriors who are physically strong and skilled at combat, seers who can see things others can’t, and wizards, who rule them all. The wizards are divided into the Red Rose and White Rose, and in an endless fight for power, they invent the Game, where each Rose hunts down a warrior and forces them into battle against another, nearly bringing them to extinction. When Jack’s world turns upside down, will he be able to survive the wizards that now hunt him down? 

Warrior Heir is a perfectly refined tale, with readers following Jack as he discovers the truth about his family, friends, and Trinity. It has many shocking points and surprises that, through a second read, you can find phrases foreshadowing future events that you may not have paid much attention to before. This book can be read countless times and is just as good as the last. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys modern fantasy and secret groups. The books only get better from here!” 

Kyle M.

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by Holly Black

The romance/fantasy Fiction, The Cruel Prince, written by Holly Black, was a dangerous yet charming book. It tells the story of Jude, her parents were murdered when she was only seven. But by whom? The person that murdered her parents is the person that adopted her and her sisters. Can you believe that? I would’ve never seen that coming. Throughout the book, you truly get to see how Jude develops as a character. Honestly, the character she becomes at the end isn’t what I was expecting and neither did I like the way she turned out.

But what else would she have done? Ever since she entered fairy land, she was treated horrible by the prince and his friends because she wasn’t like anyone of them. She doesn’t have their ears, their eyes, their skin or their body. She wants to be them, but she can’t. Eventually, as so many events happen throughout the book, you won’t be able to put the book down. When I mean I don’t like to read books like this, I couldn’t stop once I finished reading it. I just wanted to read the second book. Did I mention this book is a part of a series? Well, there are three more books, and I can’t wait to read them. I definitely recommend this book to anyone over the age of 14 and up. Overall, I rate this book a 4/5 stars!  

Hoda D.

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by Zoraida Córdova

Emotions: Surprised but not disappointed

Brujas. Bisexuals. Mistakes. Apologies. Love. Hate. Good. Evil. Diverse. Alice in Wonderland. All those words describe Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova and yes, I recommend it.

The book follows Alejandra, aka Alex, a powerful encantrix (a bruja, latinx witch, who can essentially do everything) who doesn’t like magic. As a result, she tries to get rid of it on her Deathday (a made up quinceañera but for brujas kind of thing) but instead she ends up getting rid of something else, something more important to her than magic: her family. Frantic, Alex enlists the help of Nova, a bruja who annoys the heck out of her, and together, they venture into Los Lagos (a place in between heaven/hell). There, they discover an evil sorceress has taken the place — and Alex’s family — captive. Together, Nova and Alex have to find a way to defeat her. Oh, and Rishi, Alex’s HUMAN best friend who followed them.

Review: Wow, I… I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. At first, it started out as a badly written fanfiction but it actually, thankfully, got better. Alex was an OK character but truly, I was immersed in the world and the surrounding characters. Zoraida did an incredible job making everything easy to understand but also interesting so props to her for that! On the other hand, I disliked the love-triangle (though loved the queerness-bisexuality- of it). It felt forced and reinforced negative stereotypes about bisexuals not being able to make up their mind. However, I did appreciate the romance that was included- the LI, Love Interest, and the MC, Alex, had a super cute romance.

Conclusion: read it if you like diverse, sapphic, YA, fantasy books!

3.5 Stars

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by Leigh Bardugo

3 Stars

The young adult/fantasy/adventure fiction, Shadow And Bone, written by Leigh Bardugo, was a very mystical book. I am not the type of person to usually read any fantasy books, but I was a part of a book club and this was the book we were reading. This story is about Alina Starkov, all her life she felt as if she never belonged, she felt as if she wasn’t good enough, but thanks to her best friend Mal, the guy who she’s secretly in love with but won’t admit it.

But where she lives, the fold, gets attacked and Mal is awfully injured, she reveals a power that saves his life. Alina never knew she had a power like that, or maybe she did, but she kept it a secret and slowly forgot about it because she wanted to stay with Mal. Once her power is released, Darkling realizes she had a power that could save her town, take her to the royal court to be trained as a Grisha. As love sparks between the two, Alina doesn’t know the actual plan the Darkling has for her. Some parts of the book, as I was reading, was truly boring, but other parts of the book makes you feel as if you were right there or even more you’re Alina. Which by the ending of the book, you wouldn’t want to be in the position Alina was in. Either way, I would still recommend this book to people over the age of 12 and up. Overall, I rate this book a 3/5 stars!  

Hoda D.

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by Emily Skrutskie

3.3 Stars

The Abyss Surrounds Us: Skrutskie, Emily: 9780738746913: Books -

“Come back alive and victorious or don’t come back at all.”
Cassandra Leung, Cas, was born into a family of reckoner trainers. Training giant, genetically engineered beasts that protected ships was all that she knew, all that she longed for. Life was simple and straightforward: pirates are bad, so train reckoners to destroy pirate ships- easy peasy, right? Well, it would have been if she weren’t captured by the very pirates she was raised to despise on her very first solo mission. The pirates, led by Captain Santa Elena, revealed that they had managed to acquire their very own reckoner (despite the fact it was near impossible to steal one) and were in need of a reckoner trainer. Cas, being a reckoner trainer-in-training, had no choice but to oblige.

Disclaimers before I begin my review:
Sci-fiction is not one of my favorite genres. I prefer NA and Adult books to YA. I read an incredible – INCREDIBLE book before I started The Abyss Surrounds Us.

Now, with that out of the way, I rated this book a solid 3.3 out of 5 stars.
Stuff I liked: Loved the world building and, obviously, the pirate aspect. The main character was realistic. Easy to follow plot and writing. Queer (sapphic: woman loving woman) and forbidden relationship.
Stuff I disliked: Plot was weak. Slow paced until the very last third of the book.
So, in conclusion this book would be perfect for younger me but older me is a bit too picky for books now. Happy reading! 


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