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DNF Series Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Magonia (from Goodreads):
Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

breakdown

Series: Magonia
Author: Maria Dahvana Headley
# of Books: 2 (Magonia, Aerie)

There may be a novella that is released.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: April 2015 – October 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Disclaimer: I stopped reading Magonia at 19% (Page 60 of 309; Start of Chapter 6). Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I think it’s obvious the cover is what had me picking up this book. I mean, it’s gorgeous and in person you can easily see all the details on the feather and it’s beautiful.

The synopsis immediately brought the Worldwalker Trilogy to mind: a girl who is (physically) just scraping by in this world due to some immunological reaction to the air around her. But that seems to be the only similarity. Regardless, it’s an intriguing concept and I was curious to see what was really happening.

What I Liked:

–Aza is Pretty Jaded/Cynical–

You have to be in the right mood for a cynical/jaded character and I happened to be when I started this story. I enjoyed Aza’s attitude about life. Her humour is slightly on the darker side which I find funny but I know that is off-putting for other readers.

But I understood her stoic mood. She’s been having a rough go of things and it’s easy to see that her attitude is her coping mechanism. Not everyone would be happy if they have a medical condition that no one can seem to pin-point, so it works for this story.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Very Slow Plot Development–

This is the main reason why I DNF’d it: I just felt like the story wasn’t going anywhere.

While I liked Aza’s narration style, it did wear on me a bit. I swear, the first 3 chapters were her just moaning on about her circumstances. And while that is necessary to establish her character and to see what sets her apart from the rest of earth, it just got monotonous to me. I felt like we were repeating the same notion over and over and not getting any further in the plot.

I could see the inklings of the plot emerging through when I stopped reading. We were starting to get some context for what the ship might be, but by that point I was over it.

In a book that is 300 pages, I want the plot to start before the 20% mark to make it worth my while.

Will I Finish It?

No. No matter how beautiful that cover is, I have no plans to finish this series. I even read the synopsis for Aerie (because I had taken it out from the library as well to binge the series) and it sounded even duller to me.

Series Rating: DNF

Magonia DNF | Aerie N/A

overall

If you like slower moving stories with unique worlds and characters, this is probably the series for you. Otherwise, there are better Sci Fi and Fantasy combo novels out there.

Read if You Like: slow stories
Avoid if You: dislike jaded heroines
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Series Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Red Rising (from Goodreads):
Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fave Read 2016
Series: Red Rising Trilogy

There is a spin-off series in the works, the Iron Gold Trilogy.

Author: Pierce Brown
# of Books: 3 (The Red Rising, Golden Son, Morning Star)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult/Young Adult, Science Fiction, Action, War, Dystopian
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: January 2014 – February 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Red Rising caught my eye around the time it was released in 2014 but I didn’t think much else of it. The synopsis sounded intriguingly vague and so I decided to “wait and see” if I should pick up the series. As time passed, it seemed to be getting lots of positive reviews and I made the decision to wait until everything was released so I could binge read it all.

I admit, I was a little worried when I first saw the cover of Red Rising, touting it to be like “The Hunger Games”. Lots of series of have tried but nothing has ever lived up to the rush I got reading the first Hunger Games novel. But, the promise of a male protagonist and a dangerous, political game made me excited to dive into this series.

The Concept / The World:

This is one dark, dangerous world–and it sucks you in. I adore dystopian stories that are rich in politics and strategies and this series has it in spades. You don’t know who to trust; you don’t know what games are afoot and if the characters are aware; and you definitely don’t know who will live to see another day.

In that respect, it reminds me of Game of Thrones. You have all these players vying for power in a world that is simple but complexly layered. And no one seems to be safe from the violence. Sure, get attached to the characters but be prepared that some might not make it far.

I also see where the Hunger Games links occur. The idea is very Katniss Everdeen-esque. Darrow is picked to the be face of the rebellion (like Katniss) but unlike Katniss, he doesn’t hesitate to do so. The plot of Red Rising is also very similar to the Hunger Games themselves–and I think fans will embrace the concept with open arms even if it is more politically driven than the need to survive alone.

The Plot:

This series is one of those 5 star reads you give simply because it is beautifully crafted from start to finish. You don’t give it 5 stars simply because you couldn’t put it down–you give it 5 stars for its methodical execution. Simply put, I’ve never read a series like this before. Though I found these novels addicting, I really took my time with them–averaging 7 days to read them instead of my usual 2-3 days.

These books have so many layers; so many doorways for the plot to move down. The twists were amazing. I love stories that have so many games afoot you don’t know fact from fiction or who is in on the betrayal or not.

That being said, I can see why people wouldn’t enjoy them that much. They do start slow, each book rebuilding itself after the amazing ending of the last. I know the violence and murder will turn a lot of people off. People may have a hard time liking the characters. And if you don’t enjoy the mind-games of characters and the charades of politics, you might find this series dry as well.

All I can suggest is to try the sample or give the first book a shot because this whole series builds up beautifully. I feel like these books are ones you appreciate more in hindsight, when you can see how everything unfolded and how it all works together.

The Characters:

Most YA dystopian reads that I pick up have female protagonists. Honestly, I think Winston from 1984 is the only male dystopian lead I can think of off the top of my head if pressed. And while I love reading about strong female protagonists, I always enjoy seeing a male hero rise to the occasion.

Darrow is an interesting character. He easily garnered my sympathy early in the series and maintained it throughout. I loved the way his mind worked–it was endlessly fascinating. His plans, his manipulations, his compassion–they make him unique and a joy to watch. Seeing him grow over the course of these novels was a real treat.

I won’t say much about the other characters because it will lead to a lot of spoilers but I really grew attached to a lot of them. Some I didn’t even realize until something awful happened. I definitely loved and hated these characters and I love when a series brings that out in me!

The Romance:

This is such a minor part of the series but I love how it adds to the depth of the story. This isn’t a romance series by any stretch of the imagination.

My Expectations for the Spin-off Series:

I have my hypotheses for what will happen next but I can NOT wait to see what happens next!

Series Rating: 5/5

Red Rising 5/5 | Golden Son 5/5 | Morning Star 5/5

overall

If you love a good science fiction novel rich in action, political intrigue and many, many plot twists, you NEED to read this series!

Read if You Like: politcal dystopians, male protagonists, science fiction
Avoid if You: dislike violence, want more romance

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Series Review: Newsoul by Jodi Meadows

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Incarnate (from Goodreads):
New soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Heart

Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Biggest Disappointment 2016
Series: Incarnate Trilogy
Author: Jodi Meadows
# of Books: 3 (Incarnate, Asunder, Infinite)

There is a novella #2.5 Phoenix Overture

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Supernatural
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: January 2012 – January 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Last year, I started Jodi Meadow’s Orphan Queen Series and it was one of my favourites of 2015. Her Incarnate Trilogy had been on my radar thanks to their beautiful, eye-catching covers but I didn’t get inspired to pick them up until after I finished The Mirror King, the finale to The Orphan Queen Series. I think it is fair to say I was in a bit of a book-hangover and thought another Jodi Meadows series could be the cure.

So I went to check what the waitlist was like at my library and saw that all the eBooks were available for checkout simultaneously–it was just a sign I had to listen to and so I picked these novels up!

The Concept / The World:

Reincarnation is a concept I haven’t really read about in a long time. The last series that really focused on this was the Immortal Series by Alyson Noel for me. Instead, I’ve been reading more novels focusing on alternate dimensions.

It’s an interesting concept that meets a cool fantasy twist with the appearance of dragons, centaurs and sylphs. Unfortunately, not much is done with these elements until the 3rd book (and by then I wasn’t really a fan of its execution), but it gives the world a unique flare that intrigued me.

The Plot:

Incarnate felt like it had no plot whatsoever–I literally just think time passed as Ana explored the new city and her relationship with Sam. But even then, I felt like nothing happened. The romance is subdued and predictable–your typical young adult fodder. The plot is so slow, I contemplated DNFing the book multiple times. Sure, there is a little bit of world-building to the story as the pages go by but I just wanted it to GO somewhere.  And it does get more interesting near the end when a major event happens, paving the way for Asunder.

Asunder has more of a mystery feel to it and starts much stronger than its inaugural novel. Now, Ana actually does something about the problems of her situation and the world. I started to get drawn into the world and the plot. Because there actually was a plot! But it started to lose me near the end; I felt like it was waiting to long to make its move. However, I much preferred Asunder to Incarnate.

Infinite gets some more physical action but didn’t impress me any more than the rest of the series. I actually would have DNF’d it if it wasn’t the last book–and by this point I just wanted to see how everything would wrap up. Even the use of the fantasy elements didn’t keep my attention. It was just too late to make me a fan of this series.

The Characters:

Ana is duller than an unsharpened pencil if you ask me. Even being an outcast didn’t help give her much of a personality. Part of the issue is that I understand why she is on the boring side: she is an outcast and has been raised her entire life to believe she is nothing. So it is fitting that she has a subdued personality. She does start to grow as the series does but she isn’t anything new nor anyone who inspires me to follow her story closely.

It’s the same sort of situation with the other characters. Given the state of their world (which is more apparent in the 2nd and 3rd books) it makes sense that these characters fit molds and see no issue with breaking out of them. I felt like everyone was subdued–even though I knew why–and I just didn’t “connect” with anyone.

The Romance:

Nothing new or exciting here. It actually got a little bit nauseating as I pressed on through the series. Though it was refreshing not having everyone in love with the heroine for once.

The Novella:

Definitely read the Phoenix Overture AFTER book 2, Asunder. It will spoil most of Asunder for you as it elaborates on the “big reveal”. The novella is well done and I does a good job of building upon the momentum of Book 2. It isn’t necessary to read but I highly recommend it if you are able to get your hands on a copy.

Series Rating: 3/5

Incarnate 3/5 | Asunder 3/5 | Infinite 2/5

overall

If you don’t enjoy Incarnate, I highly recommend that you do not pick up the rest of the series. All the books have the same slow plot mixed with some cheesy romance and dull characters. I’m glad I picked up Orphan Queen before I read this series because it would have made me super hesitant to pick it up.

Read if You Like: slow stories, fantasy
Avoid if You: want more action, dislike slow stories

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Series Review: Gold Seer Trilogy by Rae Carson

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Gold Seer Trilogy

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Walk on Earth a Stranger (from Goodreads):

Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.

Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.

She also has a secret.

Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.

When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.

breakdown

Series: Gold Seer Trilogy
Author: Rae Carson
# of Books: 3 (Walk on Earth a Stranger, Like a River Glorious, Into the Bright Unknown)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Into the Bright Unknown, will be published in October 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Adventure, Western, Magic
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: September 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to reflect my conclusion to DNF this series. It will not be further updated.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

After I read Vengeance Road, I was on the look-out for another great Western YA read. I stumbled upon Walk on Earth a Stranger when I was reading Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat’s review of Vengeance Road. I read Carson’s The Girl of Fire and Thorns years ago but never managed to read the rest of the series. That one started slow but I came to really enjoy it by the end, so I was curious to see what another series by her had in store.

It went against some self-imposed rules I had in place (ie, I’m trying not to start new series by authors that I have unfinished series for) but the wait-list was super long for this one. I actually started Walk on Earth a Stranger in November but couldn’t get into it. So I re-added myself to the wait list and patiently waited.

What I Liked:

–The Nitty, Gritty Western–

What I really enjoyed about this book was that it was very realistic. The pilgrimage to the West was a gruesome and often deadly journey for those who decided to try it. Whether it was for gold or a new life of freedom, some people and families found it to be worth the risk and I think that is all beautifully represented here. Carson has done her research about what was in store for these people and it shows throughout her writing. For world-builder fans, you will be more than satisfied with this.

–The Premise–

I liked the supernatural element of Leah’s ability. It really isn’t too much of a focus–I think that’s going to come into play more later in the series–but it puts a unique spin on this story.

What I Didn’t Like:

–It was more Adventure than Action–

That isn’t to say that things don’t happen in this story–because they do and Carson isn’t afraid to throw some hard realities in along the way. What I mean to say is that this story is pretty much documenting Leah’s journey West once she discovers the truth about her uncle. I wanted gun fights and showdowns, not the dark reality of a pilgrimage West. 

I don’t enjoy adventure stories all that much. I need my brain to be stimulated by conniving plot twists or revealing secrets or a romance. Adventure stories don’t provide that for me. They move at a slower pace that just builds and builds yet never seems to go anywhere. I actually contemplated DNFing this book at 60% because there didn’t seem to be anything happening and I knew that I wouldn’t be impressed by the ending or, at the very least, enticed to pick up the sequel when it came out. (For the record: guilt and the fact that it took be almost 9 months to get a copy of this book made me push through).

–The Romance–

Not that I was expecting a lot of it in this novel, but I wish it was established more in the story. It’s a minor side aspect that only gets brushed upon here and there. I wanted it to distract me from the slower pace of this novel but it didn’t.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m hoping that Leah’s ability takes more of a focus in the future books and the possible revenge plot-line emerges. Little inklings of information were given out early on in Walk on Earth a Stranger but nothing was ever expanded upon, leading me to believe they will be in the next book. But, I won’t be sticking around to find out.

My Rating: 2/5

Walk on Earth a Stranger 2/5 | Like a River Glorious N/A | Into the Bright Unknown N/A

overall

If you want a gunslinging story about revenge: pick up Vengeance Road instead. If you want a historical journey through the midwest with a dash of supernatural elements, pick up Walk the Earth a Stranger. This is perfect for fans of adventure stories!

Read if You Like: slower stories, world-building, Westerns, realistic historical novels
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance

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  • Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
  • Girl of Thorns and Fire by Rae Carson (Fire and Thorns Series #1)

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Series Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Darkest Minds (from Goodreads):
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.

breakdown

Series: The Darkest Minds Trilogy
Author: Alexandra Bracken
# of Books: 3 (The Darkest Minds, Never Fade, In the Afterlight)

There are 3 novellas. See their reading order here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Post Apocalyptic, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: December 2012 – October 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was lucky enough to get my wish granted to read Bracken’s Passenger before its release and really enjoyed it. While it had its longer moments, I really loved how Bracken built her world and was curious to see what else she had written. Turns out, The Darkest Minds is a big hit among my fellow bloggers and so I was more than curious to pick it up. It was also one of my “Weekly” series to read for my personal 365 Days of YA Challenge and so I did just that during my “Reading Week” (study break) in February (well, at least I attempted to. More on that later).

I don’t really enjoy witch-magic based stories but this seemed to be more of a Darkest Powers type of magic and I was cool with that. Other than that, I really wasn’t sure what else to expect from this series and so I went in hoping to be impressed.

The Concept / The World:

The world of The Darkest Minds seems like a hybrid of many other books that I’ve read before (you can check them out below in my Similar Reads section) but still had its own unique vibe. I didn’t feel like I was reading a knock-off of another novel nor a regurgitation, making it enjoyable to read. It reminded me a lot of the Red Queen in that sense–just a mash-up of the best tropes of its genre.

I also like that the premise is easy to follow. I’m of the philosophy less is more and that fits this series perfectly. I’m not a fan of “magic” based stories but the powers here have a great set-up that makes sense to me.

The Plot:

It took me a long time to get into The Darkest Minds. While I liked that it was building, it definitely hit a plateau for the vast majority of the book that had me wondering “when is this going to get exciting?”. The answer is the last 100 pages. Once you reach the climax of the series, things get pretty great and it makes all those previous pages worth it.

I expected Never Fade to keep this momentum going but that wasn’t necessarily the case. Never Fade, like its predecessor had a strong finish but it was an uphill struggle to get there. I found it to be a little dry at times despite the fact that the plot kept moving. It’s a solid sequel–just don’t expect it to hit the ground running from the get-go.

It was the same situation with the finale, In the Afterlight, but worse. This book seemed to reset everything back to an exposition like level and slowly made an upwards climb to the exciting parts. But by then, it was too late for me. I honestly skimmed this last book just because I didn’t want to leave this series open-ended. I contemplated DNFing it probably once a day for the nearly 2 weeks it took me to read.

I had planned to read this series in 1 week–it took me 1 month to read everything. Sure, it doesn’t help that they are longer than your average book but I just found them all to be so slow and overly descriptive that I didn’t get into them as much as I had hoped. It was like a flashback to the torture that was reading the Maze Runner Trilogy. I would find my mind drifting because nothing was happening and inevitably bored.

The Characters:

I’ll admit, I wasn’t really won over by Ruby. She’s a bit of a dud but understandably so. I mean, she has been in a rigid camp for the last 5 years, negating any chance for fun or a personality. What I really liked was her character development. While the plot might not have been super exciting in The Darkest Minds, Ruby’s character was constantly evolving giving some purpose to the story. I also like that she isn’t perfect–that she makes stupid mistakes–but that she learns from them. It’s a trend that continues throughout the series. She does get a good case of Lead Heroine Sacrifice Syndrome in In the Afterlight and that got to be annoying; but at the same time, I was in such a sour mood reading that last book that I think it altered my perception slightly.

For me, I always connect more to the side characters. I definitely have a few faves in this bunch and I think if you can’t connect/like Ruby, you’ll find someone else to root for somewhere along the way.

The Romance:

The romance was really sweet and was there enough to add to the story, but never took away from it. Which is important I think. I never felt smothered by the romance and its devices where always there to move the story forward. But I could have taken or left it.

Novellas:

There are a total of 3 novellas: In Time, Sparks Fly and Beyond the Night  .

In Time bridges the story arcs of The Darkest Minds and Never Fade though it focuses on characters elsewhere in the world. It gets alluded to a lot more In the Afterlight I found so it might be worthwhile to read. Sparks Fly is kind-of a separate short story that takes place in the world. It’s with a character you’ve met before but it isn’t necessary to read. Beyond the Night is the follow-up to Sparks Fly and is an epilogue of sorts to the series.

Series Rating: 3/5

The Darkest Minds 3.5/5 | [In Time 3/5] | Never Fade 3/5 | [Beyond the Night 3/5]  | In the Afterlight 2/5 | [Sparks Fly 3/5]

overall

Maybe the hype-monster killed this one for me but I think I would have had the same results regardless. This series just had too much description and not a whole lot of action so I found it hard to get into it. While I like the premise, I struggled to get into the plot and enjoy the characters. It needed that little bit more for me.

Read if You Like: post apocalyptic world, teens with powers
Avoid if You: dislike slower starts, want more romance

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Series Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

The Falconer Trilogy

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Falconer (from Goodreads):
One girl’s nightmare is this girl’s faery tale

She’s a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.

She’s a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she’s leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She’s a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She’s a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother’s murder—but she’ll have to save the world first.

The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller combines romance and action, steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.

breakdown

Series: The Falconer Trilogy
Author: Elizabeth May
# of Books: 3 (The Falconer, The Vanishing Throne, The Falling Kingdom)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, The Fallen Kingdom, will be published in North America in June 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Steampunk, Faeries, Action, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: May 2014 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook, Hardcover

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to reflect my conclusion to DNF this series. It will not be further updated.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

This book was everywhere early last year and the cover captured my attention. What made me super eager to pick it up was the fact that it was set in Scotland AND had faeries! I love faery stories and pretty much reading anything featuring them. This one promised to have a lot of action with a dash of romance and so I put it at the top of my TBR for 2016.

The Concept / The World:

I totally forgot this book was steampunk until I started to read it. It gives the world a really neat flavour to it and makes everything seem so much more badass. Steampunk is another favourite genre of mine and I really liked the world we get here–it has its own unique spin on everything.

I thought it was the perfect hybrid between the aristocratic world of Scotland and England during that era, and the supernatural elements like the faeries. It was an easy world to understand and has a lot of complex features to it so you pay attention to what is happening. I highly recommend reading the “bestiary” glossary at the back to keep everything straight though.

The Plot:

I thought there was a great balance between the social aspects of Aileana’s life–such as her duties as a daughter of the upper class–and her supernatural pass times. This book honestly had a great flow to it and kept you interested. I always felt like it was building to a grand moment and that kept me reading.

I also love the action! It has been a long time since I’ve read a book with such great action scenes that are easy to understand and visualize in my head. I had a lot of fun reading this book!

The Characters:

I liked Aileana a lot! I really liked the fact that she isn’t some heart of stone heroine who can kick serious ass but that she has emotions and isn’t too afraid to show them. Sure, she wants vengeance but I liked that her character had more depth than that to her. It was great watching her grow as a young woman and I find it easy to root for her.

Everyone else does their jobs perfectly and add to the story without taking too much away from Aileana.

The Romance:

This is probably why I dropped my rating to a 4.5/5 instead of a 5. I just didn’t like the way this one progressed exactly. The romance really plays a very small role in this story and so it takes a bit of a backseat. While I had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen romantically, I felt like its flow was a little off and perhaps a little sudden? I wasn’t in love with the romance as much as I thought I was going to be but I’m hoping that changes in the sequel.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m looking forward to learning more about the fey world and how Aileana is going to handle everything going forward. There were some great developments and I’m stoked to see how everything unfolds in the next one!

updates

–November 3, 2016– Book #2: The Vanishing Throne

This novel was super easy to get reoriented with. There was enough recap to quickly get you up to speed with everything that had happened but not so much that you were bored out of your skull waiting for some action.

When compared to The Falconer, I thought this one had less physical action. It’s more political and drama filled, meaning you get some fantastic reveals and character developments. So it’s a strong sequel in that sense because it starts to bring everything together.

However, I did find it lag a bit in the middle. In a series like this where action is at the pinnacle, it’s easy for you to see when things slow down. But that being said, I never got bored with this book and I am desperately in need of the finale!

Series Rating: 4.5/5

The Falconer 4.5/5 | The Vanishing Throne 4/5 | The Fallen Kingdom TBD

overall

If you want a historical fantasy that is lighter on the romance and heavy on the action, I think this is a great one for you to grab!

Read if You Like: action, steampunk, faeries
Avoid if You: want more romance

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