ARC Review: Gilded Cage by Vic James

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts, #1)Gilded Cage by Vic James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t know where to begin as I feel bewildered and conflicted about the ending.
The only genres tagged for this book right now is ‘fantasy’ and ‘young adult’ but it is more complex than that. The story takes places in an alternate world where there are people who are Skilled (aka they have magic powers) and those that are unskilled who are all forced to do slavedays for 10 years of their lives. The premise is quite flimsy but it does raise a lot of interest because it is a difficult one to execute.
The plot meandered and took a while to pick up and I had to stop reading after events at the end of Chapter 3. Although I am used to reading gritty, dark themes, the scene in Chapter 3 was seared in my mind and I was slightly traumatized by what I read. Personally, this book toes the lines of the young adult genre and I would not recommend it to adolescent readers. I wouldn’t necessary place a trigger warning on it but there are mature themes dealt with throughout the book.

What I Liked:
-The descriptive writing and subtle humor
-Different point of views
-They talked about C-pop
-There were different settings
-Many plot twists
-Unique characterizations
-Multiple subplots

The first half of the book was boring for me and it spent a lot of time on developing the world and introducing characters. But if you can get past all of the trimmings and enter the latter half of the book, it picks up the pace and starts fleshing out the plot. The book’s biggest strength is the complexity of each character and their motives that drive their actions. The book’s biggest weaknesses is also the reader’s lack of connection with the characters. I don’t particularly care for the romance subplot, and I was somewhat apathetic to any character plights. Nevertheless, the wide cast of characters were fascinating, and I would still like to read about them even though I do not particularly like them. I still cannot pinpoint Silyen’s motives so he was the most interesting for me to read about. The villains are not clear-cut and neither are the heroes even though there is a central conflict to fight for. As the book ends on a disastrous note for many characters, I will be looking forward to the sequel. I was ultimately captivated by this dark, twisted story, and I really like it when the ending is left open-ended with many things gone wrong.

I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Waiting on Wednesday: 3/23/16

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.


 

The Star-Touched QueenThe Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: April 26th 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds friendship and warmth.

But Akaran has its own secrets – thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran’s magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar’s plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk – it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.

Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves.
Inspired by Indian mythology.


I’m seriously so excited for this one. It previously went by the title of The Bride of Dusk and Glass, and I’m happy they changed it because the current one sounds good and looks great on the cover.

 

ARC Review: Dreams of Distant Shores by Patricia A. McKillip

Dreams of Distant ShoresDreams of Distant Shores by Patricia A. McKillip

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Anticipated release date: June 14, 2016

The series of stories were each unique and contained within different settings. The continuous transition from one story to the next was extremely jarring and I felt like a fish flailing on land. There was so much detail and the characters were all so diverse that I felt overwhelmed…in a good way. The tales were simply bewitching and bewildering. I’m a new reader to Patricia McKillip but I loved the prose and the way the writing immediately sucked me in. I liked some stories better than most and each has something that snags my attention, but I favored The Gorgon in the Cupboard. There’s just something about it that fits and connects with me since I’ve always had a fascination for the Victorian era. I left that story (and many others) wishing to know more.

Weird (4 stars)

This was the shortest of the stories and thus does away with the formalities of introducing the characters’ names, the settings, and the conflict. It utilizes a common TV trope -in media res- with a man asking a woman what’s the weirdest thing that’s happened in her life. There are no contexts and in short, we are given no explanations. It’s a clever hook and I loved how things were left open-ended.

Mer (3.5 stars)

Witches and goddesses are given a new meaning in this story.
Note: By the time I started in on this story, I think I got the hang of ‘magic’ in McKillip’s mind. It’s a difficult concept to write about because it’s elusive and overridden with so many cliches. In a book, magic oftentimes must be explained and made sense of in order for readers to understand how it’s usually used to create a power struggle. However, McKillip does not manipulate the ‘magical element’ to exert power on characters. As readers, we simply observe the effects it has on people and how they react to it.

The Gorgon in the Cupboard (5 stars)

The moral of this story was very realistic and the fantasy element is kept to a bare minimum. I liked the combination of Greek mythology that played into the inspirations of Victorian artists. It’s a story rife with beauty and had much more character development than any of the stories. The characters had despair, fear, and hunger who was captured so well that it’s not hard to see why it’s my favorite. Character development is always a +1 for me along with a lesson well-learned at the end.

Which Witch (3.5 stars)

Witches in the modern-day world have animal familiars. I can’t say much about this because they live rather mundane lives as band members playing for a club. The writing is exceptional but I didn’t derive much enjoyment out of this story.

Edith and Henry Go Motoring (5 stars)

I’m not sure if there was a typo because Harry, not Henry, went motoring with Edith. This seemingly innocuous trip led to a visit inside an ‘abandoned’ house. Edith and Henry appear to be fanciful people prone to a little bit of adventuring so I’m pleasantly surprised that the author delves into the multi-layered nature of a person’s life.

Alien (3 stars)

Rational relatives deal with their old mother who they believe is going cuckoo because she’s spouting some ridiculous nonsense about aliens abducting her at some point in her life. A story steeped in reality, I can’t say that it goes hand in hand with the fantasy/sci-fi genre. These relatives take everything with a healthy dose of skepticism but in a while, they question it. The multitude of names being thrown around irritated me because many of them were never mentioned again.

Something Rich and Strange (4 stars)

Taking place in a touristy beach town, the story starts out with a couple who are content with living by the sea and indulging in their hobbies. One of them loves discovering fossils while the other loves drawing the sea and everything underwater. A string of mysterious incidents and visitors leads to some turbulent upheavals in their lives. The longest of the stories, Something Rich and Strange places a heavy emphasis on the ecological effects of humans on the sea. It’s a very insightful writing piece and I thought the subject was handled very well along with the involvement of mermaids that played into it. The two main characters were rather lackluster but they weren’t meant to be drawn out as magnificent protagonists. It rather underlined the moral of the story through ordinary people who share an affinity for the sea.

Thank you to Tachyon Publications and to NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens AgendaSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Becky Albertalli honestly gets kids. She understands us on a deep level and Simon is like my spirit animal. Leah, on the other hand, is my inner fangirl and she’s literally so shameless with her cosplay of Tohru from Fruits Basket and all the anime plushies.


I admit this book is not one I would voluntarily pick up on my own will. The cover doesn’t really scream ‘BUY ME’ and the title is confusing because it gives no hints as to the plott. However, the clothes on the guy is contemporary and that’s a genre I generally steer clear of.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against contemporary YA but I think I’m past my prime because it no longer interests me. I’m not in high school anymore and I can’t seem to get immersed in high school YA nowadays. It was never really my cup of tea because I had always enjoyed the fantasy genre more. Besides, I’ve basically read them all: the cliques, tropes, mysterious guy, gossip, and drama all ensconced within a classroom.

So I’m pleasantly surprised by this book because Simon is a refreshing character with his own unique traits. People have pegged him as the theater geek but he knows he is more than that. He is also more than just a gay character. As a teenager, identity crisis is very real and no one knows it better than Simon. He believes that he is always changing and he’s afraid of who he’s becoming because he doesn’t ‘feel’ the same.

It’s not even about me being gay, because I know deep down that my family would be fine with it. We’re not religious. My parents are Democrats. My dad likes to joke around, and it would definitely be awkward, but I guess I’m lucky. I know they’re not going to disown me. And I’m sure some people in school would give me hell, but my friends would be fine. Leah loves gay guys, so she’d probably be freaking thrilled. But I’m tired of coming out. All I ever do is come out. I try not to change, but I keep changing, in all these tiny ways. I get a girlfriend. I have a beer. And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.

His innate fear of change doesn’t stop him from trying new things aka beer, parties, and making new friends. Simon and his group of friends have the best types of interactions: they’re casual, they talk about everything and nothing, and they bond through their experiences. Ahhh, it reminds me of my happy-go-lucky days.

Since this story takes place in a backwater town in Georgia, Albertalli shines light on relevant issues that exists in such an area. There’s the racism, bigotry, and anti-gay mindset which makes Simon reluctant to reveal his orientation.  Simon has a great support system and he has long come to terms with his sexual preference. He also has a multicultural group of friends. (That’s an A+ in my book for promoting diversity in books!) In that sense, he’s got most of his life figured out but it’s not ideal to come out of the closet in front of his non-progressive town. The plot was character-driven heavily and it was so sweet and cute (YES, IT WAS ADORABLE) to watch Simon grow and experience new things through his snarky, ingenuous perspective. His voice was hilarious and relatable. I really felt like a teenager again.

[Email to Blue:] So, I keep thinking about the idea of secret identities. Do you ever feel locked into yourself? I’m not sure if I’m making sense here. I guess what I mean is that sometimes it seems like everyone knows who I am except me. Okay, I’m glad you mentioned homecoming, because I totally forgot that Spirit Week is this week. Monday is Decades Day, right? I guess I should check online so I can avoid making an ass of myself. Honestly, I can’t believe they schedule Spirit Week right after Halloween. Creekwood really blows its load on costume days all at once. How do you think you’ll dress up for Monday? I know you’re not going to answer that. And I totally figured you’d be ogling the cheerleaders on Friday, because you’re all about the ladies. Me too, Blue. Me too.

Thank you Albertalli for mentioning how hard the job of a teacher is! Yes, teachers get some credit for doing a good job in this book and I’m elated because it gives me hope for positive representation in YA as a future teacher! (Oftentimes, teachers are insignificant and pushed aside in contemporary YA but we want our parts too!) I love the email exchanges between Simon and his secret guy, Blue. They’re very honest and open with each other which is rare because communication is so complicated in the real world right now. People be playing mind games whenever they text each other.

So should you read this book?

LGBTQ is an important topic and I’m glad to read a book that showcases it from a gay teen’s perspective. Sure, you can read books that have gay characters but it’s different when you are involved and reading about a gay main character. So yes, read this book and enjoy it not just as an LGBTQ book but as a book about high school, Oreos, romance, and Oliver! musicals.

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Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2)A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Everyone, GO READ ANYTHING BY VICTORIA SCHWAB.

A Gathering of Shadows is the second book in the ‘Shades of Magic’ series and I’m beyond ecstatic to know that there’s a third book coming out. Back when A Darker Shade of Magic first came out, I was disappointed to discover that it was a standalone just like her other book Vicious. There was just something about her book that had that extra omph which made me crave more of the writing. Especially the way she ends the story leaves many loose ends and so much to speculation.

Victoria’s writing has always been excellent but her writing just flies off the pages in this novel. Especially with the premise of the Element Games Tournament, the excitement is palpable and I felt entrenched in each match from the beginning to the aftermath.

Lila didn’t try to be a wave, or a door. She simply pushed, not with force, but with will, and the wall of fire shot forward, barreling toward Sar. To Lila, whole thing seemed to take forever. She didn’t understand why Sar was standing still, not until time snapped back into focus, and she realized that the wall’s appearance, its transformation, had been the work of an instant.

A shout out to one of the cutest characters in the book! In the words of Schwab, “T.O.P. inspired a tournament magician named Jinnar, a sexy and adorable wind mage.
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Also a heads up, A Gathering of Shadows continues Schwab’s trademark cliffhanger that is simply unfair to all readers. Basically, everything is left unresolved and now I can’t wait for the third book in 2017!


 

WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD

The truth was, Lila understood why Alucard did it. Why he traded safety and boredom for adventure. She didn’t know what it felt like to be safe, and she’d never had the luxury of being bored, but it was like she’d once told Kell. People either stole to stay alive or to feel alive. She had to imagine that they ran away for the same reasons.

 

 

Capture

*SCREAMS INTERNALLY*

Alucard has got to be one of my favorite new characters. Aside from his name spelling Dracula backwards, he’s another enigma with a disreputable past tangled up with Rhy and he’s a hard one to figure out. He’s not very forthcoming but neither was Lila. The author always does a skillful job of writing out intricate characters with dynamic personalities that change over the course of the plot. Although Alucard changes slowly and surely, he retains the same charm and nonchalance throughout. HE SHIP HIM SO HARD WITH RHY. He has a lot of hidden strengths and edges so I look forward to seeing more of him in the next book.

Now, Lila, that girl is just fierce. She continues to surprise me and manages to overcome each new obstacles with her cleverness and quick thinking. Her rise from a street thief to the empowering magician is simply astounding. I relished the journey she went through to get where she is and I loved that she still cared about what Kell thinks. Despite her hardheartedness, she really does like Rhy and Kell. Shes’ a softie underneath that tough exterior. She’s the true MVP in this story. Honestly, she’s grabbed everyone’s attention and is THE main character. (At least for me but I don’t know how Kell would feel about that.)

What are you? Kell had asked her once.
What am I? She wondered now, as the fire rolled across her knuckles like a coin.

I think by now, everyone has a hint of what’s going to happen with Lila, Kell, and Alucard. There are still a few plot twists thrown in so the story is never boring despite the Element Games not taking place until 200 pages in. However, I still think the Tournament was the most exciting part of the book because there’s so much flourishes and it easily goes from mildly amusing to frenetic within a few sentences.

Rensa tav,” answered Kell automatically as his chest hummed with nervous energy. What was he thinking? What was he doing here? This was all a mistake…and yet, his muscles and bones still ached for a fight, and beyond the tunnel, he could hear them calling the name–Kamerov! Kamerov! Kamerov!–and even though it wasn’t his, it still sent a fresh burst of fire through his veins.

Nonetheless, it’s not just all fun and play because a lot of crap really went down in ADSOM and there’s so much trauma in the aftermath of the wreckage. Rhy still suffers a huge amount of guilt and Kell is no longer the way he used to be. Even the king and queen are skirting around and holding grudges.

His voice fell a measure. “I think the king and queen are mad for blaming one son above the other.”
Kell swallowed. “Will they never forgive me?”
“Which would you rather have? Their forgiveness, or Rhy’s life?”
“I shouldn’t have to choose,” he snapped.

This whole compromise is bound to have many costs. Kell is chaffing at his leash and Rhy is resentful towards everything. In a way, they survived but they’re still broken. I love the way Schwab writes these flawed characters beautifully; they elicit such empathy and support from the readers. They’re still resilient and strong despite all the tribulations and Lila is a perfect example of it. Everyone, just be like Lila.

 

 

Major Spoiler:

And that ending!! ((Lila is an Antari. I CALL IT. She’s got one fake eye, that’s a sign that she’s probably had a black eye in the past. Anyways, I ship her so hard with Kell. UGH THE OTPS ARE STRONG IN THIS NOVEL. Rhy and Alucard. YES PLEASE.))

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Review: Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Morning Star (Red Rising, #3)Morning Star by Pierce Brown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodreads Blurb: Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within. Finally, the time has come. But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied – and too glorious to surrender.


 

After: I want to cry but I can’t. This was a gritty, bittersweet ending to a wonderful sci-fi series.

Spoiler-free Review:

I have to give props to Pierce Brown for completing this amazing trilogy within 3 years. What an incredible gift it is to churn out this tomes each year for your readers!
Morning Star starts off nine months after the crazy cliffhanger in Golden Son and whereas the previous books started with a bang, this one was rather miserable. Darrow is disillusioned and suffering mentally from replaying all his mistakes in his mind. Even though he reminisced for over a dozen pages, the writing was engrossing and made up for the lack of action. One of the biggest strengths of this book is the eloquence of the writing and mastery of vocabulary with which each word is chosen.

I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war. My name is Darrow of Lykos. You know my story. It is but an echo of your own. They came to my home and killed my wife, not for singing a song but for daring to question their reign. For daring to have a voice. For centuries millions beneath the soil of Mars have been fed lies from cradle to grave…They expect your obedience, ignore your sacrifice, and hoard the prosperity that your hands create. To hold tight to their reign, they forbid our dreams. Saying a person is only as good as the Colors of their eyes, of their Sigils.

In all honesty, it took me much longer to read these 518 pages because I stopped to absorb the complexity of the sentences. Part of this might also have to do with the wide cast of characters and the long list of scientific terminology for the world. Brown graciously provided us readers with a Dramatis Personae and a helpful map that delineated the political boundaries between the Sovereign, Rim, and other planets.

The story line was fast-paced and had me flipping pages like there was no tomorrow. Darrow goes through a tremendous amount of character development from being reckless, arrogant, and insouciant to valuing rationality, seeking mediation, and humility. I liked this new side of him very much because if fans remembered, his downfall in Golden Son was his extreme sense of righteousness. I liked the epic sprawl of battles in which glory beget glory but this book opened with Darrow steeped in defeat. By tracing back to his roots, it was nostalgic of Red Rising (and Golden Son: “Rise so high, in mud you lie.”) but Darrow is no longer confident that he is the right person to lead this revolution. Oftentimes, people forget that leaders have as much insecurity as a normal person and their abilities to bring change lies not only in themselves but with the help of others. Behind Darrow, stands an amazing crew of loyal friends that took care of the logistics and all minor kinks in the plan. Mustang proved herself to be exceedingly intelligent and supportive of Darrow. Without her, the tides would not shift as strongly as they did. Ahh, true love prevails.

“An outlandish promise,” Roque says. “Darrow is only who he is because of who is around him.”
“Agreed,” Mustang says cheerily.
“And I still have everyone around me, Roque. Who do you have?”
“No one,” Mustang answers. “Just dear old Antonia, who has become my brother’s quisling.”

Of course, we can’t forget our precious Victra who suffers from her own disappointments, fears, and the realization of those very fears. It still harbors a vendetta against Antonia which is well-justified so she was sort of a loose cannon. She’s not quite tamed but her wit made for a lot of entertainment.

“My name is Felicia au…” I feint a whip at her face. She brings her blade up, and Victra goes diagonal and impales her at the belly button. I finish her off with a neat decapitation.
“Bye Felicia.” Victra spits, turning to the last Praetorian. “No substance these days. Are you of the same fiber?”

But I have to say  Sevro’s ultimate blunders takes the cake and makes him one of the best characters so far. One of my favorite scenes that officially made me a fan of Sevro was when he tried to hang himself to prove a point. The mob is set to hang Cassius for being a Gold and murderer, but Darrow’s words do not placate the seething crowd. And then Sevro intercepts.

“I am Ares! I am a murderer too!” He puts his hands on his hip. “And what do we do to murderers?”
This time no one answers.
He never expected them to. He grabs the cable from the neck of one of the kneeling Golds, wraps it around his own neck…winks and backflips off the railing.
…Sevro’s rope snaps taut. He kicks, choking beside Cassius. Feet scrambling. Silent and horrible. Face turning red, on its way to purple like Cassius’s.

It’s powerful and effective because what do you think happened next?
I admit, I still haven’t warmed up to Cassius and I think his twisted sense of honor came around to bite him. Roque carried that pride and honor which is the complete opposite of Darrow’s underhanded methods. However, what’s honor worth when you’re under the reins of the Sovereign? Although these were characters that fought on the wrong side, I still retained a remnant of empathy for their misguided notions. Ultimately, I felt sympathy for the Jackal, Aja, and Octavia because I understand why they did the things they did but in no way did it excuse the tragedies they wrought.

Aside from several major character deaths, the book was still relatively gruesome and the casualties were high for the war. I wouldn’t recommend this book to kids under 14 and this borders onto the adult genre. Although there’s a grim outlook on whatever future the solar system will encounter, the last two books gave me immense faith in Darrow’s abilities. He may have been broken many times but he still emerged as the undisputed leader of the Rising. The powerful ending tied up many loose ends but it also spawned a new trilogy (Iron Gold) for 2017. There are ramifications for all that Darrow has committed and he continues to do whatever he must to achieve his means.

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Look at how pretty and color-coded these books are side by side!

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Review: Half a War by Joe Abercrombie

Half a War (Shattered Sea, #3)Half a War by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This was by far the easiest series to finish reading! There’s just something so compelling about Joe Abercrombie’s stories which immerses me into the characters and the world. It’s one of those rare occasions where I wish for a sequel or more books in the series. In every book, there’s a different protagonist although the previous ones all play a heavy role in the current book. From Yarvi to Thorn Bathu to Skara, these are all complex characters who change drastically throughout the plotlines; I am startled to discover how differently they act over time. It’s interesting to see what war can do to a person when push comes to shove and desperate times call for desperate measures.

The titles have all carried intelligent meanings for the story starting as Half a King for Yarvi, to Half the World for Thorn, and to Half a War for Skara. Where war was foreshadowed in the first book, it was imminent and prevented in the second, but it became inevitable in the third. I loved the gradual progression and great pacing of the whole series. Joe is one fantastic master storyteller and honestly, he deserve all the recognition he gets in the fantasy genre.

This the real fantasy filled with gritty elements of the battle field, ship invasions, and war strategies. Skara gets orphaned within the first few pages and becomes queen immediately. However, she’s queen of a conquered land so she ends up running. She’s made out to be a victim of circumstances and a weakling who has nothing to her name. I loved how much perseverance and spunk she had. She has the gift of words and years of teaching has made her cunning and practical; she’s ambitious, all right. I love that the books all contain strong female characters that can easily rival the male ones. I see a parallel between her situation and Yarvi’s when they both lost everything and had to climb their way back up. However, they are quite different even though they both seek revenge and are willing to go the extra mile to do so. Yarvi is proud and it’s been seen time and again through the series; it’s one of the steady parts of his personality. Skara, on the other hand, does not prioritize pride. I love how they act as two sides of the same coin and sometimes are foils to each other. It’s interesting because they play mind games and there’s a lot of intrigue with both of their underhanded tactics.

There is romance but it’s very realistic romance; it’s not a love story if that’s what readers are looking for. Fantasy and war is always on the forefront so I liked how the author also portrayed how love was being affected by it. People want to seek fame and glory in battle but they also want to keep love; this is the prime dilemma of Koll. I’d say Koll was not a strong character to start out with but he continued to surprise me with some hidden iron depths. Without proper guidance, he’s a lost boy trying to grow into a man. I see a lot of what youths go through in today’s society reflected in his choices and worries. He is very indecisive and he admits himself that he is a coward. In my opinion, he’s braver for admitting what he’s afraid of. Which is why I’m more satisfied when he gets the happy ending that he actually wanted.

Half a War ends on a lighter note despite several major characters dying and soldier casualties. Not everyone gets their happy ending but that’s how the real world works. It’s quite like how The Hunger Games series ended which may piss people off. But not everything is unicorns, rainbows, and cupcakes. As the author said, “Every victory is someone’s defeat.”

I’m excited to read The Blade Itself especially for more of those sarcastic quips and intense battles.

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The Shattered Sea series