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Tag Archives: high fantasy

Review: The Glass Casket

Review: The Glass Casket

Title: The Glass Casket
Author: McCormick Templeman
Published: 2014
Length: 337 pages

My star rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Standing there in the snow, one raven-haired beauty wrapped entirely in crimson and one pale-haired sparrow of a girl swathed in white. 

“We must look like a tragedy,” Fiona said. “We must look like blood in snow.”

A series of disturbing deaths suddenly plague the small mountain community of Nag’s End during the same winter that Rowan Rose’s mysterious cousin Fiona Eira moves there with her stepparents. Things go from bad to worse not long after Fiona and Rowan’s best friend Tom fall in love. Bodies pile up as Tom’s behavior becomes erratic and violent, and frightened rumors begin to fly. But not all is as it seems. Rowan must discover the truth about her cousin–and herself–before years of secrets destroy Tom–or Nag’s End itself.

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Review: Three Dark Crowns

Review: Three Dark Crowns

Title: Three Dark Crowns
Author: Kendare Blake
Published: 2016
Length: 383 pages

My star rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Three dark queens / are born in a glen, / sweet little triplets / will never be friends
Three dark sisters / all fair to be seen, / two to devour / and one to be Queen

Katharine, Arsinoe, and Mirabella are the latest generation of gifted queens born together but raised separately–raised to compete with, and ultimately to kill, each other for the throne of Fennbirn. But as Beltane approaches–and with it the Ascension Year, when the deadly competition begins–tension runs high on the island. Katharine is a poisoner but lacks the proper immunity to poisons. Arsinoe’s naturalist gift never manifests, leaving her weak and vulnerable but nonetheless defiant. The beautiful Mirabella, whose elemental gift is strong and who is favored by most to emerge triumphant, is reluctant to act as the puppet the Temple expects her to be. The magical, doomed sisters contend with love, lust, and above all, fear as their times draw near and rumors about sacrifices and sinister religious plots fly.

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Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published: 2015
Length: 416 pages

My star rating: ★ ★ ★ ¾

After killing a wolf in the woods outside her village, Feyre is ripped away from her miserable life with a crippled father and ungrateful sisters by a faerie who demands her life in exchange for the wolf’s. He takes her north of the wall that separates the mortal world from faerie realm of Prythian. Feyre slowly adjusts to her new life and, despite her lifelong hatred and mistrust of faeries, begins to warm to her companions–Tamlin and Lucien–after learning that she will never be able return to her home in the south. Yet the longer she spends in the faerie world, the more aware Feyre becomes that something is terribly wrong there. Prythian, she discovers, faces a threat that even its seven powerful High Lords cannot stand against.

Note: this review is mostly spoiler-free. I’ve included some spoilers in my Goodreads review.

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Review: The Star-Touched Queen

Review: The Star-Touched Queen

Title: The Star-Touched Queen
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Published: 2016
Length: 339 pages

My star rating: ★ ★

Princess Mayavati of Bharata is cursed, or so everyone thinks because of her unfavorable horoscope, and thus she is shunned and feared by the other women of her father’s harem. Now seventeen and lacking either a betrothal or prospects of one, Maya looks forward to a life of scholarly solitude–only to discover that her father has other plans for her. She finds herself used as bait to secure a “favorable” war for her kingdom, but at the last moment is rescued by a masked man called Amar, who offers her unimaginable power and influence in exchange for her hand in marriage. Now queen of a fantasy realm she’s only ever heard of in stories, Maya attempts to make sense of the sudden changes in her life, including whether she can trust her mysterious new husband.

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Review: A Thousand Nights

Review: A Thousand Nights

Title: A Thousand Nights
Author: E.K. Johnston
Published: 2015
Length: 325 pages

My star rating: ★ ★ ★

When the king comes to her village looking for his three-hundredth wife, she dons a purple gown and sacrifices herself to save her more beautiful sister from the terrible fate that awaits his queens: death in the marriage bed. In turn, her sister promises to make her a smallgod–a minor local deity–while she yet lives. That night, the new queen tells her murderous bridegroom about the sister whose place she took, and somehow, she survives until morning. As the days and nights pass, she begins to unravel the mystery of why the king has murdered three hundred brides, and her sister’s prayers and rituals begin to instill in her the power she needs to save them all.

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Review: Sorrow’s Knot

Review: Sorrow’s Knot

Title: Sorrow’s Knot
Author: Erin Bow
Published: 2013
Length: 342 pages

My star rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Sorrow’s Knot is quasi-high fantasy aimed at a slightly younger set, and written in a style that sounds more like an oral story than a novel. What makes it really unique, though, is that the world in which it takes place is based not on medieval Europe, but pre-Columbian North America. In combination with the very oral tone, this gave the novel a very unique, fresh feel. While some of the details were simplistic and perhaps the world-building was underdeveloped, the subject matter was deep and emotional.

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Review: Winterspell

Review: Winterspell

Title: Winterspell
Author: Claire Legrand
Published: 2014
Length: 454 pages

My star rating: ★ ★ ½

Clara Stole, seventeen-year-old daughter of the mayor of New York City, has struggled to keep her family together in the year since her mother’s brutal murder. Despite being illicitly trained in fighting techniques by her godfather Drosselmeyer, Clara lives in fear of Concordia, the organized crime organization to which her father belongs. At her family’s Christmas party, she overhears  Concordia’s plan to assassinate her father and marry her off to one of its most sinister members, the perverted Dr. Victor. But her Godfather crashes the party, and at midnight Clara discovers that she has more than Concordia to fear–and to fight.

Note: I hope you all had a great holiday season because we sure didn’t. This is my last new read of 2015 (60 books this year!), though my plan is to reread Hannibal this week. If I don’t get that reflection up before the end of December, I wish all of you a very happy New Year!

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