I remember my initial amazement at the sheer volume of fan theories surrounding A Song of Ice and Fire as I clicked through westeros.org and r/ASOIAF posts to discover postulation after postulation, many of them tinfoil based off of nothing more than a few scant lines pulled from chapters with no relation to each other. At the very top of the totem pole you had R + L = J (of course), the greatest theory of all time. Then there were the A + J = T's, the Grand Northern Conspiracy's, the Pink Letter speculations, and on and on and on. The number of unsolved mysteries, both real and imagined, was staggering. The Three Dark Crowns series doesn't quite reach that level of cloak-and-dagger hint-dropping, but it comes splendidly close for a combined length that's only about half that of A Storm of Swords alone.
I have nothing against long books, as long as the amount of content justifies the length. A Storm of Swords justifies its 400k words. Tower of Dawn doesn't justify more than 100k. It's glaringly obvious that this was originally a novella that spiralled out of control when SJM couldn't be bothered to cut it down.
When it's good, it's really, really good. The novel, which is billed as a YA supernatural but has more than a touch of horror mixed in, includes some deliciously scary moments that gave me the chills as I read it in bed late at night...Echlin and Watrous's writing style is down-to-earth and authentic, and you can tell that there's incredible potential there.
It took until her third series, but I've been converted: Leigh Bardugo is worthy of the hype. Wonder Woman: Warbringer fulfils just about everything that could be expected from it, like an elaborate juggling act keeping five or six balls suspended in the air at a time and ultimately succeeding at catching them all.
Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody My rating: 2 of 5 stars Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare … Continue reading REVIEW: “Daughter of the Burning City” by Amanda Foody
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell My rating: 4 of 5 stars Ugh. I've never felt such varying opinions about a book over the course of reading it. By which I mean, at one point I was ready to give The Last Magician 5 stars, while at another I was thinking, "no way this is … Continue reading REVIEW: “The Last Magician” by Lisa Maxwell
Read on Goodreads 3.25/5 stars On the whole, Flame in the Mist was solid. I expected a well-researched setting, a sympathetic protagonist, and a nuance extending beyond most YA. I got all of it and more. Some notable points: Historical flair - I'll be the first to admit that I'm no authority on Imperial Japan, … Continue reading REVIEW: A Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh