Review of The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine

TheImposterQueenThe Impostor Queen
By: Sarah Fine
Release Date: January 5th 2016
Publisher:   Margaret K. McElderry 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:
Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

My Thoughts:
Oh, how I loved this book! I’ve read a good amount of Fine’s other books and have loved all I’ve read from her. But this one stood out to me as the best so far. I was immediately pulled into the world, magic use and setting. It was the type of book I melted into and didn’t want to end.

The world building was incredible- I loved that we were introduced to Elli as she waits to take on the role of Valtia. Her future had been mapped out for her and as the reader we felt the pressure, expectations and excitement that she felt. I loved the power of Fine’s writing and her ability to enhance on the plot summary I read before starting the book. I knew from the tag line that Elli wasn’t going to take on the Valtia’s magic nor fulfill her prophesized role. At times, knowing these things prior to reading the novel might take away from the experience but not so in this book. I knew what was coming but it in no way detracted from the suspense I felt. As the story progressed I dreaded the moment Elli would find out that things weren’t going to happen for her as suspected. I worried for what would happen to her with the priests.

I completely fell in love with Elli’s character. I found her innocence (possible naiveté) to be enduring and honestly incredibly relatable. I could see myself reacting very much how she did to her situation. Though she accepted her role she didn’t hold off on asking questions and learning more about how things worked. I loved her inquisitive nature. Her character growth and development was exquisitely done and really a pleasure to read.

Another character I loved was Oskar. He came into the story about midway and was such an amazing character. I loved his stoic nature (and he maybe reminded me a tiny bit of Jon Snow?) I could picture him so clearly and really felt his character. I loved his internal struggles, denial/guilt and loyalty. The perfect foil to his character was Sig. I expect to learn much more of him in the next book and look forward to it. I didn’t care for him initially but I must say he really grew on me with his cynical humor and all out there attitude. The little tid-bits we learn of his history were so interesting (and heart breaking).

The dynamics between the characters were so strong and there was so much chemistry. It was easy for me to connect the characters and understand what drew them together. I loved the sibling, romantic, and friendship relationships throughout the novel. Not only that, but the bad guys were extremely bad! I felt fear in regards to their plans and power.

Final Thoughts:
It is very difficult to review this novel because of my overwhelming love for the characters and world. I am completely entranced with this story and am desperate to read more. I’ve not seen how many books will be in this series but I honestly would be happy for more than just three. I want sooo much more (yes, I’m greedy). I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys Fine’s other work, fantasy or generally great books.

In short- read this book- you won’t regret it.

Review of Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

PassengercoverPassenger
By: Alexandra Bracken
Release Date: January 5th 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Format: Print arc
Source: Big Honcho Media

A copy of this book was given to me in consideration for review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever

My Thoughts:
There has been a lot of excitement surrounding this book and there were aspects I really appreciated but overall, I wasn’t 100% in love with this one. I was lucky enough to get ahold of the corrected arc so this review will be for that version. I’m not sure if things will change or not for the final copy.

First let’s talk about what I really did enjoy about this book. First, the writing was well done and I think that Bracken did a great job in describing her setting, time periods and characters. I could easily visualize all the various locations which was really impressive. This was a time travel novel and the way that Bracken approached this aspect was really brilliant. I loved the passages to time periods she created. I thought that the rules she associated with travel made a lot of sense and didn’t bog down the story at all.

Though I was sad about it, I did like that the color of Nicholas’ skin was a factor in how comfortable or not he felt in different time periods and how he was treated. Reminders like this need to continue and I felt it was a very important message to readers.

One character in particular, Alice, Etta’s musical mentor and life long friend, was such an amazing character and she was really my favorite piece of the story. I felt she was well developed and added a lot of heart to the book.

Where things went a bit astray for me was at the beginning to middle of the book. I felt it was rather slow paced and I wasn’t able to connect. I think because there was a lot of world building to explain things were slower paced than I’d prefer. I never was able to really form an attachment to any of the characters (except Alice) or really feel much chemistry between them. This was a rather important element to the story and since I wasn’t fully invested it did negatively impact my reading experience.

Why didn’t I form an attachment? I’m really not sure. I wanted to, but it just wasn’t happening. The secondary characters, minus Alice, were fairly weak and I really didn’t get much of a lasting impression of them. I never feared for Etta’s mother which took away a sense of urgency that would have helped the pacing for me.

As for the main character’s romantic relationship it didn’t move me like I wanted it to. I never really felt much between them and it felt a tad insta-love? I never got a sense for why they felt the way they did. Maybe, things were rushed between them? I’m not sure but it didn’t work for me (even though I really, really wanted it to). I was starting to appreciate them a tad more towards the end of the book and I’m hoping that if I read the next in the series I’ll form a deeper attachment.

Final Thoughts:
I think for Passenger, the hype I created,  the eagerness, and longing I had to read this book might have set up an unfair disadvantage for the story. I had so many expectations (so not fair, I know) about how much I’d love every moment I did feel a bit disappointed that I couldn’t really form a connection in the first half of the book.

I ended up setting it aside for a week or so midway. When I picked it back up I did enjoy it more and felt that the ending really left things open and (cliff hanger!) made me more eager to read the next book.

I’m curious have you read Passenger yet? If so what did you think.

Also, if you are really eager to read this book I do have a giveaway running for a finished copy.