After I completed Ace of Shades I immediately knew I had to pick up King of Fools straight away!
King of Fools continues immediately after the events of Ace of Shades. Enne saved Levi’s life in the Shadow Game and now her identity of Séance has become a legend around New Reynes. Now that the Chancellor of the Republic is dead both Enne and Levi have massive bounties placed on their heads. With a street war brewing and the Vianca forcing them to play a dangerous game of crime and politics their demise seems imminent!
There was quite a lot of political maneuverings happening with the election and that kind of threw me off a little. I felt like the plot was leaning more in that direction instead of the more fantastical, fast paced, highly entertaining storyline I came to love from the first book. I am not that big of a fan of politics in fantasy and that was one factor that brought the book down a little for me.
On the other hand I love seeing the progression of Enne’s character. Now that she knows that he mother has passed and she has come into her Mizer powers she has really become this whole new character, who is unapologetically unique. She has embraced her past at the etiquette school and incorporated that into the Spirits which I loved! Their whole aesthetic of being female only, wearing their signature white lace gloves was fantastic. I just wish she tapped a little more into her families powers and made some volts. I would of loved to see her and Levi working together more in this book.
I felt like Levi really struggled throughout the storyline. He has so much riding on his partnership with Harrison and also has to worry about the Irons and building up their empire as well as his decision to send Jac into the underbelly of the Torren crime family. Some of the decisions he made throughout the book was questionable but I felt given the gravity of his situation they all felt realistic. He’s had a slow progression in this book but I think he came out of it stronger and ready to fight!
I like that there are always consequences in these books. The characters don’t really get a pass for anything that they do which makes the stakes so much higher. I thought the ending was a little rushed to be honest and a little all over the place. I really had to slow down my reading and focus on what was happening and who was doing what, which brought me out of the story a little. Definitely ended with a bang and the book went into a lot more detail about the gangs and the north and south side of New Reynes.
⭐️4/5 stars Really liked it, didn’t love as much as Ace of Shades!
Khai has no interest in dating or marriage so when his mum goes over to the Vietnam and brings a potential wife back to live with him for the summer he is outraged. Forced to cohabitate Khai starts to get used to the idea of Esme living with him and she is starting to see that he does have feelings after all.
I absolutely loved this story! It was a very fast paced, quick read for me that I finished in one sitting and I came out of it with just warm fuzzy feelings. I think the book really explored the cultural differences between the generations. Like how Khai’s mum is perfectly comfortable interviewing for potential wives for Khai and trying to push him to get married ASAP and how uncomfortable and resistant Khai and Quan are about the whole situation. Also Esme’s mum telling her to seduce Khai just to marry him quickly because he lives in America and is handsome.
I love how unique and interesting Khai’s character is. I thought his autism was represented very well throughout the course of the plot and his reactions to certain situations was consistent and felt real. The way he struggled to understand other people’s emotions when he processes things in a very different way was interesting to read. He felt like a truly well rounded character and his naivety and inexperience really endeared him to me. The whole conversation he had with Quan and Michael after his first time was super cute!
I had some mixed feelings about Esme throughout the course of the book. I was a little skeptical about her reasoning’s for accepting the deal in the first place and I can’t help but feel that she was intentionally trying to just seduce Khai at first without even attempting to get to know him. But as the story progressed I definitely warmed up to her as she started to dig into her own background and better herself whilst she was there; trying to find her father and going to back to school and getting her GED.
The whole concept for the story I found super entertaining and I just can’t help but think that this kind of situation really happens in real life; mothers pushing their sons to get married because everyone else in their families is getting married. I don’t know if they would go as far as to return to their home countries to pluck a random girl from a bathroom but that’s the beauty of fiction. I was highly entertained and engaged throughout the book and I can’t wait to see what Helen Hoang comes out with next!
⭐️5/5 stars Loved it!
*A few Spoilers*
Ace of Shades follows the story of Enne Salta who has made her way to the city of New Reynes nicknamed the City of Sin to find her mother. She has been missing for the last month and has left Enne a letter with the name of a man of might be able to help her, Levi Glaisyer.
I really enjoyed Enne’s character and the growth she shows over the course of the storyline. She starts off very naive and unsure of herself, very prim and proper and eventually becomes Séance, the badass gang lord who has defeated the Shadow Game. She’s very self-aware and almost unapologetic in terms of who she is and how she conducts herself. She isn’t the cliché damsel in distress in need of rescuing, she takes on the city head on and will do just about anything to find out where her mum is.
I loved Levi! He is one of my new favorite male protagonists. He is a very complex character and I loved seeing all of the different sides of him come out during the plot. He has the persona of the Iron Lord and has to be the strong, resolute and almost cruel at all times, yet he has so many doubts and guilt and he is being pulled in all these different directions.
The romance was a little bit of a slow burn, it was obvious right from the start that they would get feelings for each other because they were thrown together so quickly. I thought they complimented each other quite well and I loved the banter between them.
I thought the magic system was quite unique and very interesting. Having the different families with different abilities and having split abilities depending on your heritage I found very clever. I like that in this world you’re limited by who your family is; it makes it simple to understand and also adds an element of mystery if someone doesn’t know who their mother or father is.
I liked that the book spanned the 10 days that Levi’s debt was due. This format enabled the plot to really go in depth on what the characters were doing at every moment of the day; all the mundane actives that would otherwise be overlooked had the story been longer. This really helped me form a connection to the characters and made me a lot more invested in the story.
All in all I really loved this book! From all the characters, to the setting, the world building and the plot. It all really came together so well and had me intrigued and invested right from the start.
⭐️4.5/5 stars I could not put it down!
*Spoilers, Spoilers, Spoilers*
Wilder Girls follows the perspective of two girls Hetty and Byatt who are best friends attending a boarding school in the middle of Raxter Island off the coast of Maine where around 18 months ago the Tox took over the island and started to mutate everyone; their bodies becoming sick and foreign, with things bursting out of them, bits missing. When Byatt suddenly goes missing Hetty will stop at nothing to find her and as she digs she starts to uncover secrets and discover truths that were being kept hidden.
I didn’t really find any of these characters particularly likeable, but in this context I didn’t think any of them needed to be. Hetty had her moments but overall I didn’t really gel with her character. I thought she was a little contradictory at times. She wouldn’t give Reese a chance to grieve after seeing her father killed in front of her and then when she found Byatt and it seemed like she was dead she refused to leave her. I found her a little selfish and unfeeling but it really worked for the storyline if that makes sense. These girls are only 16 and are having to make decisions that are well above their level of maturity.
With Byatt I just didn’t really form enough of a connection with her character. I think because she was taken quite early in the plot and was out of it really for the most part of the rest of the storyline I wasn’t all that invested in her personally. I was intrigued to find where they had taken her and if she was able to figure out what the Tox is and if they could be cured and that was about it.
I thought this concept was super original and highly engaging. I was definitely drawn into the storyline right from the start and was eager to read and see what would unfold. I was definitely more interested in the overall plot and trying to figure out who was behind Byatt’s disappearance and where they were taking her, whether or not the Tox could be cured and how they are going to make it out alive as opposed to the actual characters themselves.
⭐️4/5 stars Super atmospheric, eerie and a little savage!
I found this highly engaging!
The Test focuses on a British Citizenship Test taken in the not too distant future by a man names Idir from Iran. He wants his family to belong in Britain so he decides to sit the test when something unexpected occurs.
This was a very short book (under 150 pages) that packed a mighty punch! This was unlike anything I’ve read before. I really loved the format of the story and the fast paced, charged, psychological nature of the story. It really went in depth on the nature of humans and what choices we are statistically going to make in certain situations given a certain stimuli.
I honestly didn’t know what this book was really about when I picked it up other than the Citizenship Test and really that’s all you need to know going into it. It’s definitely better to not know what is about to happen and just ride the journey as Idir undertakes it.
The ending took a turn I didn’t anticipate and that made the read all the more thrilling for me. Thinking on all the possibilities that could occur and how realistic this situation could really be. I could go more in depth and break down every plot point but I think I would prefer to just say if you’re a fan of Black Mirror you would definitely enjoy this!
⭐️5/5 the stakes are super high!