Review of This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

ThisSavageSongThis Savage Song
By: Victoria Schwab
Release Day: July 5th 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Format: Print ARC
Source: Gifted

My Rating:
star

Summary:
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

My Thoughts:
I see Schwab’s name and I’m immediately know I’m going to read the book. She’s a must read/buy author for me and I was not at all disappointed in This Savage Song. It was such an original story, with characters I was completely riveted by. I wanted to know more and I loved how things were slowly revealed throughout the story.

My only small issue with this book was that I had some confusion at times about the secondary characters- like – who’s that again? And the world building was a bit lacking in detail for me. I needed a bit more to wrap my brain around why things were the way they were. I prefer this confusion though to a massive info dump so it’s not a huge issue. And honestly, it might have just been me. I’ll be interested to see if others struggled with this aspect too or not.

The characters! I absolutely adore August. He was such a well developed, and original character. I could feel his inner struggle and sadness. He’s the type of character you wish were real because you would love to know them. Granted, I’d not want our world to be like the one in this book but you get the idea. The idea of having different types of monsters- Corsai, Malachai and Sunai- was so wonderful. Schwab created so much depth within each type and I was completely convinced they could logically be real in this world she created.

I struggled a tiny bit with Kate at the start because she’s not exactly the nicest person but I found her to be very realistic in the sense that she’s dealt with such hardship. I loved how she had tough edges and was set on accomplishing her goal- winning her father’s approval.

The pacing was done wonderfully- lots of action sequences with vivid descriptions which helped up the tension. Interspersed were great moments of character development so really- this all worked so well for me.

Final Thoughts:
Can Victoria Schwab do any wrong? I think not. Once again she has created a beautifully written book with excellent characters.

Review- Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

WoEaSWalk on Earth a Stranger
By: Rae Carson
Release Date: September 22nd 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow 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:
Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety?

The Story:
I really didn’t know what to expect from this book when I requested it. I admit, I saw that it was by Rae Carson and requested it without reading the summary. I was so impressed with the research, captivating story telling and characters in this novel.

The pacing was very slow and though the characters travel a great distance it didn’t seem that a lot happened. We follow the story through Lee’s point of view on her journey to California. The story begins in Georgia and we really get a feel for the setting and time period. I found myself intrigued by Leah (she changes the spelling when she pretends to be a boy to Lee). Her ability to sense gold seemed like such a hindrance to me. I loved that Carson approached practical elements…such as if you can sense gold you still can’t cash it all in because that would cause suspicion.

Once Leah dressed as a boy and hit the trail I was so reminded of the old 80’s game my generation played in school, The Oregon Trail. This game was IMPOSSIBLE and I died of dysentery every time I attempted to play.

oregon_trail
Carson represented the hardships of traveling by wagon over miles of land so beautifully. I was so impressed with how she handled the small aspects of life (our main characters gets her period!) I loved seeing how things were handled and I felt that Carson did one of the best jobs I’ve read representing a girl character hiding as a boy.

As I said the pacing was slow and the action sequences scarce but I felt completely captivated and I read this book in a short number of days. Where the story left the reader also has me really ready for the next book…not a cliffhanger all that much but it’s the type of ending where you flip the page expecting the next chapter and not the end of the book.

The Characters:
Wow, Carson did such an excellent job creating a cast of characters that were unique, well rounded and so realistic. I loved Leah/Lee and felt she was incredibly easy to root for and connect to. I wanted for her to succeed and I was worried for her multiple times throughout the story. Her best friend, Jefferson, was so likeable though I could use a bit more focus on him in the next novel.

I became attached to the people Lee traveled with on the trail to California and I was as engaged with their stories as I was with Lee’s. I was very impressed with the depth Carson gave the secondary cast of characters.

You might be wondering if there was a romance? Not really though there will most likely be one as the series progresses. I was very much behind a couple though and I’m hoping my ship will sail (or there will be tears).

Final Thoughts:
I was very impressed with how beautiful and captivating Walk on Earth a Stranger was. Although the pacing was slow the story was easily able to keep my interest and I’m incredibly eager for the next book. I must know what happens next in Lee’s life!

Review of The Fall by Bethany Griffin

The FallThe Fall
By: Bethany Griffin
Release Date: October 7th 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher

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

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Madeline Usher is doomed.

She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.

Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.

My Thoughts:
First, the cover of The Fall is so creepy! I couldn’t help but be drawn to this book, especially in October. I found The Fall to be well done though it really wasn’t as scary as I wanted it to be. There were a few spots that gave me the shivers but overall it was more of a strange read than a scary one.

I have not read Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher in a long, long time so I had trouble recalling the details of the original this was based on. I think if I had reread the classic I would have found more enjoyment in this book. I felt like I was missing small details that would have enriched my reading experience. Taken as it was, with no regard to the story it was based on, it was still a good read though the ending confused me. I hate to admit it but I was very lost in the last few pages. I had to DM some friends to get their take on it. I will say that it makes me want to reread it and pay closer attention.

Griffin was very good at creating an intense and creepy atmosphere. I found her descriptions of the Usher house to be vivid and very easy to imagine. The house’s presence did feel like an additional character.

The Fall starts with a flash-back and this continues into the story. The chapter titles are Madeline’s age and the story unfolds in a non-linear way which adds to the confusing yet intriguing nature of the book. Since the story jumps from different time periods in Madeline’s life the reader gets to see her struggles and the toll the house and curse have taken on her. Though this storytelling method was confusing at times (I had to check back to the chapter headings a couple of times to verify which age she was at) I thought it was a successful method.

Because of the central theme of the family curse the Usher’s suffer from Madeline was an unreliable narrator. I never knew for certain what was a true account and what was only in Madeline’s mind. I loved this aspect of the story. I thought that Griffin was successful in still making her relatable and though we know she’s cursed I did feel that she might be the sanest person in the household.

Final Thoughts:
If you can, brush up on Edgar Allan Poe’s story before diving into this one if you want to get all the details and references I’m confident Griffin threw into her version. Taken by itself, The Fall was still intriguing and gripping though I was confused a few times especially with the ending.

Review of The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex, #1)The Murder Complex
By: Lindsay Cummings
Release Date: June 10th 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: ARC

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

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

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