With my first FairyLoot Book!
Here are all my April reviews:
- A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
- A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair
- Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
- The Quarter Storm by Veronica North
- The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh
A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
Themes: YA fantasy, dark academia
My rating: 5/5
A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets.
There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere.
El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.
Quick review: The month began very well with this book! I loved the atmosphere, the parallel society created by the students, and the subversion of traditional YA tropes. Perfect for the lovers of dark academia settings, monsters, and books where the hero is more a weight to the heroine than something else!
A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair
Themes: fantasy, romance, adult, Greek mythology
My rating: 2.5/5
Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.
Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible.
After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever.
The bet does more than expose Persephone’s failure as a Goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows—and it’s forbidden.
Quick review: This one was a real miss for me. I am not fundamentally against steamy romances (even if I prefer seeing the development of the relationships between the characters) but I am absolutely against whiny and silly heroines. Nothing was developed in this book and I do not understand why the author chose Greek gods and goddesses as characters if it was not to make them behave as such and make them brainless…
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Themes: YA fantasy, magic
My rating: 5/5
In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.
The last queen standing gets the crown.
Quick review: A very good beginning for this new series! I really enjoyed the different narrative voices and discovering the personalities of the three sisters. I also liked the worldbuilding and magic system, as the politics of the world which is very interesting. This book is falling under a darker side of the fantasy genre since the three sisters are in a deadly competition to become queen, making the characters especially interesting because much less naive than what I am used to seeing in YA novels.
The Quarter Storm by Veronica North (ARC)
Themes: fantasy, adult, mystery/thriller
My rating: 3.5/5
A practitioner of Vodou must test the boundaries of her powers to solve a ritual murder in New Orleans and protect everything she holds sacred.
Haitian-American Vodou priestess Mambo Reina Dumond runs a healing practice from her New Orleans home. Gifted with water magic since she was a child, Reina is devoted to the benevolent traditions of her ancestors.
After a ritual slaying in the French Quarter, police arrest a fellow vodouisant. Detective Roman Frost, Reina’s ex-boyfriend—a fierce nonbeliever—is eager to tie the crime, and half a dozen others, to the Vodou practitioners of New Orleans. Reina resolves to find the real killer and defend the Vodou practice and customs, but the motives behind the murder are deeper and darker than she imagines.
As Reina delves into the city’s shadows, she untangles more than just the truth behind a devious crime. It’s a conspiracy. As a killer wields dangerous magic to thwart Reina’s investigation, she must tap into the strength of her own power and faith to solve a mystery that threatens to destroy her entire way of life.
Quick review: It was not my favourite read of the month but still was an enjoyable one. I really liked the voodoo dimension, which was totally unknown to me. It can be for you if you do not mind a slow pace and a descriptive writing style which sometimes leads to some lengths.
The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh
Themes: YA fantasy, romance, Korean retelling
My rating: 5/5
Deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland for generations. Floods sweep away entire villages, while bloody wars are waged over the few remaining resources. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them with death and despair. In an attempt to appease him, each year a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s bride, in the hopes that one day the “true bride” will be chosen and end the suffering.
Many believe that Shim Cheong, the most beautiful girl in the village—and the beloved of Mina’s older brother Joon—may be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is to be sacrificed, Joon follows Cheong out to sea, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save her brother, Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead.
Swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina seeks out the Sea God, only to find him caught in an enchanted sleep. With the help of a mysterious young man named Shin—as well as a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits—Mina sets out to wake the Sea God and bring an end to the killer storms once and for all.
But she doesn’t have much time: A human cannot live long in the land of the spirits. And there are those who would do anything to keep the Sea God from waking…
Quick review: This one is probably my favourite book of the month (and not only because this edition is simply stunning). If you are interested in retellings or Asia and want a heart-warming, simple story with a breathtaking worldbuilding that will remind you of studio Ghibli, this is the book!
Still reading: Heir of Blood and Secrets by Linda Xia (ARC)
DNFs: A Darker Shade of Magic (for the moment)
Tell me in the comments what has been your favourite book of the month!
Note: Most synopses are taken from Goodreads.