Wednesday, January 25, 2017

[Review] The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Rating: 4.5 stars

Version: ARC Paperback
Published: January 10th 2017

Goodreads Synopsis: 
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.
After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.
And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.
As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

"You will ride to where earth meets sky. You will be born three times: once of illusions, once of flesh, and once of spirit. You will pluck snowdrops at midwinter, weep for a nightingale, and die by your own choosing." 

This was just to beautifully written to put down. It was truly a mystical fairy tale that captivated me, from the poetic language to the marvelous characters. Every time I saw a Russian word I understood I was happy (from years of taking it in high school).

Katherine Arden outdid herself, bringing together bits of old Russian folklore and combining all into one marvelous story. I felt as though I was in the forest with Vasya, immersed in the magic and mystery behind the woods.

Monday, January 23, 2017

[Review] The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga #1) by Elise Kova

The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova
Series: Loom Saga #1
Rating: 3.5 stars

Published: January 10th 2017

Goodreads Synopsis:
Her vengeance. His vision.
Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer turned thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.
Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins.
When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.
He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom. 

I would like to thank Elise Kova for providing me with a review copy of The Alchemists of Loom. This does not effect my review in any way.

Elise Kova crafted a vivid and intricate world in her new series, The Alchemists of Loom. We follow the adventures of Arianna, the infamous White Wraith of Nova, as she makes a perilous journey to the mysterious Alchemists Guild. Accompanying her is mentee Florence, and a Dragon of the Xin house, Cvareh. Cvareh actually stole something of importance from the Dragon King, and so in an attempt to retrieve it, the King sends his Dragon Riders, the most deadly of all Leona. All four of them have alternating POVs in this whirlwind steampunk magic tale.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

[Review] Ivory and Bone (Ivory and Bone #1) by Julie Eshbaugh

Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
Series: Ivory and Bone #1
Rating: 2 stars 

Version: ARC Paperback
Published: June 7th 2016

Goodreads Synopsis: 
A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.
Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.
As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.

Ivory and Bone is set to be a prehistoric romance that reminded me of Romeo and Juliet. Or West Side Story. I don't really remember if I even read Pride and Prejudice.