Review of Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

TellTheWindandFireTell the Wind and Fire
By: Sarah Rees Brennan
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Clarion Books
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
In a city divided between opulent luxury in the Light and fierce privations in the Dark, a determined young woman survives by guarding her secrets.

Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own—one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised.

Lucie alone knows of the deadly connection the young men share, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth.

Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy—or herself?

My Thoughts:
I had really high hopes for Tell the Wind and Fire. I loved that it was inspired by A Tale of Two Cities and that it was written by Sarah Rees Brennan. But, sadly, this book didn’t work for me. I found the pacing to be slow, the characters a bit static and the overall plot predictable.

I’m not sure what I expected from this book but I did somewhat enjoy the overall plot and I kept reading because I kept thinking that something would surprise me and leave me intrigued to read the next book. The beginning was full of info-dump. So much world explanations were given and it wasn’t delivered in a very interested fashion. We are literally bombarded with information about the Light and the Dark. And yet, though we are told that once this Light and Dark magic were discovered the world changed, we aren’t given much of a real look at it. We are told many things but I found it hard to really feel any of it.

Throughout the novel we spend more time in the Light world and are given examples of how the Dark lived ‘buried’ and flash backs to Lucie’s childhood but I never really could visualize how these people lived. Because I failed in visualizing and emotionally getting involved I wasn’t ever to really understand how bad things were. I was told, and shown examples (like the cages) but none of it really resonated with me. I couldn’t really feel for those people are understand their anger.

This emotional disconnect never allowed for me to care for any of the characters in a deep way. I wasn’t overly invested in the outcome of any of their stories. Live or die- I honestly wasn’t all that concerned. I did feel there was real potential and perhaps, other readers will bond. I believe that if you can then the reading experience would be much improved.

There’s a romance that was already well on its way prior to the events in the book. We don’t watch this couple fall in love throughout the book-they are already very much together at the start. I felt that they did develop as a couple but I wasn’t overly shipping them. There was a slight (and I mean slight) bit of what some might consider a love triangle. I didn’t find it so since Lucie’s feelings are never in question.

Lucie was a passable main character and we do get the story from her point of view. I never really cared much for her though and her character did feel very typical for the genre. She’s the Golden Thread in the Dark- an unwilling participant in bringing change to a world desperately needing it. Ethan, her long time boyfriend, was underdeveloped and under- utilized in my opinion. He has a large role to play in the story line but I just never really cared about him. I wanted to and I did think his character was likeable but I just felt like he could have been so much more involved. I think I’d have liked to have seen his side of things perhaps.

Carwyn, the book’s representation of someone with Dark magic, was probably the most interesting character to me. I wish he could have been more involved and we could have learned more about him. We are told about his past but we don’t really experience it. We get a few lines at the end that sort of connect him more to the story but it felt a bit under utilized.  I could easily see his role in the book and I easily what his character would do. I didn’t really question his motivations though I believe I was supposed to?

Final Thoughts:
So, the beginning felt like a lot of info dump with rather slow pacing-we find out the history of our main character and why she feels the way she does. Other than a couple of scenes there was very little action involved. There were some twists by the end but none of them took me by surprise. They all seemed rather obvious and because of this I felt that nothing was shocking though I think the reader was supposed to feel that way. Overall, this novel just failed for me in almost every way. I will say that something kept me reading until the end so there was that. I did consider DNFing about 20% in but I really hoped I’d start loving the characters.

What My Glittering Court Would Be Like

I am so excited to have read (and loved) The Glittering Court. If you’re curious about the book you can read my review here. Let’s just say this book was expansive and had a great mix of historical genres all meshed into one.

About the Book

TheGlitteringCourt
The Glittering Court
By: Richelle Mead
Release Date: April 5th
Publisher: Razorbill

Summary:
For a select group of girls, the Glittering Court offers a shot at a life they’ve only ever dreamed of, one of luxury, glamour, and leisure. To high-born Adelaide, whose wealthy family is forcing her into a loveless marriage, the Glittering Court represents something else: the chance to chart her own destiny, and adventure in an unspoiled, prosperous new land across the sea.

After a chance meeting with the dazzling Cedric Thorn, Adelaide poses as a servant to join the crop of impoverished girls he promises to transform into proper ladies. But her familiarity with upper class life comes with a price: she must hide her identity from her new friends, mysterious refugee Mira and fiery former laundress Tamsin, and most importantly, from Cedric himself—even though she’s falling in love with him.

Everything begins to crumble when Cedric discovers Adelaide’s ruse, and she catches the eye of a powerful young governor, who wants her for a wife. She didn’t leave the gilded cage of her old life behind just to become someone else’s property. But nothing is as daunting—or as wonderful—as the potent, forbidden attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. One that, if acted on, would make them both outcasts in a wild, dangerous, uncharted world, and possibly lead them to their deaths.

My Glittering Court

Today I’m sharing with you my Pinterest board on how I’d like MY Glittering Court to look. I’ve been trying to think who’d I’d have join me so decided I’d bring along some of my favorite blogger gals. First Crystal from Bookiemoji would have to be there since she’s a necessity in my every day life. I’d need her there for sure. Rachel from A Perfection Called Books would be there to keep things positive and help keep our schedules up to date (she is amazing at planning). I’d want Britt from Please Feed the Bookworm because I love her and her humor. Goodness…can we just include all our bloggers?

Follow My Friends Are Fiction’s board The Glittering Court on Pinterest.

Review of The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

TheMirrorKingThe Mirror King
By: Jodi Meadows
Release Date: April 5th 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

My Rating:
star

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:
Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.

HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right.

HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.

HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.

My Thoughts:
I think after that traumatizing ending from The Orphan Queen we were all ready to find out what was going to happen. The Mirror King picks up directly after that scene…you know the one. I was so happy that we were thrown RIGHT back into the fray and didn’t miss days or weeks of the story. I didn’t reread TOQ before reading this one and it might have helped if I had just so I could remember the secondary characters a bit clearer.

Overall I liked this book and it did answer most of the plot points (though the very end was left fairly open). I did feel like there was way too much shoved into this one book and I think the series would have benefited from one (or even two) more books. Too much happened and things that could have been developed far deeper were somewhat rushed over. It was far too many plot points and characters to have it all try to wrap up in this one book (granted it is a rather thick book).

I really felt that TOQ was a much stronger book and I honestly felt a bit bored through the middle of this one. A lot was happening but I wasn’t as invested. There were entire sections I could have done without personally. I did still like the magic system and the addition of the wraith boy. I thought his character was interesting and I liked that he was so uncontrollable for Wil.

Wil was still bad ass and we get to see her come into her own and even deal with self doubt. Tobiah continues being…Tobiah. I wanted to shake him a few times but I still enjoyed his and Wil’s relationship (though not as well as in the first).

The secondary characters, the Osprey’s etc, were well developed and I thought added to the story well. I’m not sure we really got all that much insight into the more minor secondary characters but some, like James, we really got a lot more about their backstory. I am very much in the minority that this book didn’t rock my emotions or cause me emotional distress. I must have a cold heart because I never could get really emotionally invested. Maybe I would have had I read the prior book again?

Final Thoughts:
I did enjoy The Mirror King though I felt some plot points were rushed (or left open) while other areas dragged. I think this series would have benefited from being a trilogy rather than a duology since there was just so much to address. I do think that fans of TOQ will find this novel to be gratifying and a great read.

Review of The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

TheGlitteringCourtThe Glittering Court
By: Richelle Mead
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Big and sweeping, spanning the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies capable of arranging powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together, they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first, as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and later, when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands. . . .

My Thoughts:
I’ve not been a long time Mead fan though the books I have read (some of The Vampire Academy and her adult books) I’ve really enjoyed. I was over-joyed to be able to read this book early and dived right in.

I honestly had no clue what to expect but the cover looked rather fantasy-esq. I also love the title and had a great feeling about how this reading experience would be. I immediately became immersed in the story and world. The story begins with Lady Whitmore, our heroine, realizing that her life is about to take a turn she’s not very keen on. Due to the sorry state of her family’s financials she’s being arranged to marry a stogy, boring sort whom also happens to be a cousin. Unable to tolerate that outcome for her life, she steals the identity of her maid, Adelaide, and joins the Glittering Court.

I don’t know why I thought this book would have a more fantasy feel to it or why there would be something supernatural going on but you should know-it does not. This book does take place in a ‘fantasy’ world but really it’s not s0 different from our own. The story read more like historical fiction (ranging from Elizabethan feel to pioneer) meets The Selection. Does this sound like an odd mix? It IS. But somehow Mead makes it all work. The book was rather thick but it read fairly quickly and enough goes on that I was invested.

I will say that there’s a lot of talk about high society, lady-like manners, dresses, etc. The characters are all driven to excel in the Glittering Court and land a wealthy husband. The Glittering Court takes those of lesser fortunes, educates them, and teaches them manners and how to be lady-like (large scale My Fair Lady). once the women are ‘trained’ they are dressed to impress and sent by boat to the new world where they will be at the height of society.

There’s a bit of an ick factor at the idea of landing a suitor to save the poor, impoverished girl but really the characters and writing take this idea and delve into it. I felt that the book had just the right touch of social commentary. I don’t know if it was meant to but I read it there. Adelaide and her closest friends at the Glittering Court refuse to stand by and have their lives dictated. They want control of their destiny.

I liked that this book had me questioning each of the girls motives on why they decided to join up and to actually wonder- would I have in their place? The father and son team that run the Glittering Court were also of interest. What type of person facilitates and in reality ‘sells’ these women. I was unable to not like Cedric (the son) though I did stop to wonder why he’d be involved in the venture. The further I read though the more I got to know his character and, like I said, I was really fond of him. And, as the summary informs you, Adelaide and Cedric have some love sparks.

I thought their relationship was really well done. They had great dialog and chemistry and their scenes together were some of my very favorites. The two really understood one another and I love the way that they grew together and separately as the story progressed.

The side characters were very present and developed though I never connected as deeply to them as I did to Adelaide and Cedric. For me, this was their story. I looked forward to reading about those two the most and looked forward to each scene they shared. I do see the side characters, especially Adelaide’s room-mates and closest friends, really being accessible to readers.

Ok, I mentioned the setting going from Elizabethan to pioneer? That was easiest the strangest part of the story, though Mead was able to seamlessly combine the two. I can’t go into it too much detail just know that the New World has some rough and tough areas and some more civilized towns. It had a very ‘old west’ or pioneer feel to it all. There’s even the hunt for gold! It was really impressive that Mead was able to add so much into this one book and it really has left me curious to see where things will go.

Final Thoughts
The Glittering Court was a really unique book that focused on a strong lead character working to change the path of her life. I loved the jump in setting from Elizabethan to pioneer/wild west/gold rush and felt that the character dialog and chemistry was spot on. I was a tad disappointed that there wasn’t a supernatural or fantasy slant to this book. Once I was able to align my expectations to the reality-I was easily absorbed and invested.