For the last couple of years I’ve been listing 5 of my favourite fantasy stand-alone books that I read in the year previous. So I figured I had to continue on and list 5 more for you all!
A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson
Nettle and Bone by T. Kingfisher
Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree
House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson
The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
The Alexandrian Society is a secret society of magical academicians, the best in the world. Their members are caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity. Each decade, the world’s six most uniquely talented magicians are selected for initiation. When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they must spend one year together to qualify for initiation. During this time, they will be permitted access to the Society’s archives and judged on their contributions to arcane areas of knowledge. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated.
I can’t say I overly enjoyed any of our main characters but I appreciated that we got to read from each of their perspectives and get a gauge on what kind of person each of them are. Libby was probably my favourite of the bunch because she adds so much to the story. Her and Nico are actually actively using the library and exploring how far they can go with their abilities. They are coming up with theories using their research and garnering results.
Callum and Parisa I didn’t really like at all. I can appreciate how integral both of them are to the storyline and they both seem to have ulterior motives they are also working towards. However, they are both too overt and discreet with their powers. They are both unlikeable and even though we learn quite a bit about them through their perspectives I feel like I didn’t connect enough with them to care at all about their plans.
Tristan was an interesting character for sure. Not having a full grasp on what he is able to do was compelling and seeing how he learns more about the scope of his powers was entertaining. But he is always so unsure of himself and questioning everyone’s motives all the time it was a little exhausting. Atlas was an enigma that I wanted to learn more about and eventually we do but I would of liked to see in real time as opposed to memories.
Not enough was explained about the actual society and the library. I understand that this is going to be a series and we are only in the initiation stage but we are kind of just thrown in and each character begins their studies and things get kind of repetitive and boring. How do they get the books? The library is described as being sentient but how is everything stored and how do they request things? I thought this was going to be a lot more fantastical as opposed to academic and I think it the fact that we are mostly in the same setting the whole time that made this a bit tedious to read.
⭐️3/5 stars Didn’t quite live up to the hype for me…
For the last couple of years I’ve been listing 5 of my favourite stand-alone books that I read in the year previous. So I figured why not continue on with that tradition!
5 more of my Favourite Fantasy Stand Alones are:
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson
The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould
Gallant by V.E. Schwab
For seventeen-year-old Fable, the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home she has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one, and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her.
I really like Fable’s character, though I feel she does need that little bit more growth and development. When we learn about her story and how she has had to stay alive for so long I definitely feel sympathy for her yet she does all the things she knows she shouldn’t do any has to flee from Jeval for her life. I am very curious about her powers and how her mother taught her, I wish we would have found out a bit more about that but hopefully in the next book all is revealed.
West is one of those broody male love interests in YA books that I just happen to love. He is rude and standoffish and lays down the law with Fable right from the start and yet he has a softer side that we learn about throughout the course of the plot that just makes you fall for him. He is very secretive and I am curious as to how he brokered the deal with Saint in the first place and what he will do next! The relationship did kind of feel a little rushed even though not a lot happens. There was a bit of tension between the two of them but not enough for me to quite believe the depth of their feelings.
I am very intrigued by the crew of the Marigold and how they all came together. West really seems to trust each of them with their lives and it is really shown in the plot. They were all so wary and untrusting of Fable at the start that I wonder how what happened with their previous dredger. I feel like they are so much more I want to learn about each of them and I really hope we delve more into their characters in the next book.
Overall I love the premise and tone of the story, it’s very cutthroat and unyielding. The stakes are continually raised and I was definitely reading with anticipation about what was going to happen next! There are still so many questions I have in regards to the world, the magic system and these characters and I am hopeful that the next book delivers!
⭐️4/5 stars I was taken on a journey and enjoyed every minute!