*A FEW SPOILERS AHEAD*
A Deadly Education is all about a dangerous school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death – until one girl begins to rewrite its rules. Enter a school of magic unlike any you have ever encountered.
I have to admit this was a little difficult to get into. There is a bit of an info dump at the start of the book with a lot of different names and characters that I was a little confused at first. It wasn’t until like a third of the way through was I able to get my head around everything and enjoy the story.
El I really enjoyed as our main protagonist. The fact that she has to work so hard to be good it just such a fun and unique concept. I almost kind of wanted her to dip into that darker side; I thought that would be an interesting twist. I liked how straightforward she is and isn’t afraid to call it like it is and stand up to the enclave kids. It was nice to see her become a little more vulnerable when she started opening up more to her friends and starting the alliance, it was quite gratifying to see her finally being able to rely on others and not fight to be included.
Orion we always just kind of there but we don’t really get to learn much about him or see him open up and discuss his life with El all that much. After the kiss with El he did kind of explain his feelings for her and how he has been treated all his life but I wanted more of an in depth look at his character.
The school setting was fantastic. The stakes were at an all-time high throughout the course of the storyline and the conflicts got progressively bigger and more entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the pacing was fast, this was fresh and distinctive and I am sooo excited to see what will happen next!
⭐️4/5 stars has the potential to become a new all time fav!!!
On the Come Up is about 16 year old Brianna Jackson who has a dream to become a rapper just like her father. He was killed in an act of gang violence when she was a little girl but he was an underground rap legend in her community.
Brianna seemed very believable as a sixteen year old. A lot of times in YA the main protagonists would act a lot older than what they really were but this was very realistic. She has had to deal with a lot over the course of her life and I think that definitely came across in how she holds herself and acts around others. She struggles with issues about her self-worth and not being fully realized about her identity and the grief surrounding her father’s death and then the abandonment issues in regards to her mother. That’s a lot for one 16 year old’s shoulder’s so honestly it’s no wonder she lashes out.
I loved the familial aspect of the story; I thought that was very interesting and again very realistic. Bri’s relationship with her brother was lovely, he is always there taking care of her and making sure she is ok but then will also call her out on her BS. Her grandparents were hilarious and added another layer of realism and depth to the storyline. The little feud was entertaining and I appreciated the way both women hashed it out at the end and came together to form a solution to their problems.
I loved the banter between Bri and her friends. They have their fights but then they remind each other just how far back they go and how much they care about each other and then they are able to overcome their petty squabbles, which I found really cute.
These kinds of books frustrate me. I can appreciate how we see the evolution of Bri as she tries to save her family and not feel like a burden to them but at the same time watching her make all of these decisions that are questionable and all the angst involved just isn’t all that entertaining to me personally.
⭐️3/5 Eye opening, raw & real!!
After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too.
I have to admit I wasn’t as enthralled with this installment as I was with Children of Blood and Bone. It was a lot shorter than the previous book but I felt like it just wasn’t as immersive, which is mostly to do with the characters.
All Zélie cares about is her betrayal by Inan. It rules over her emotions and she is unable to see reason when he is involved in any plans. All she wanted to do is kill him for betraying her. As an elder now I feel like she definitely should have been able to see beyond her own prejudice and do what is best for her people.
Amari I can understand how frustrated she became after they joined with the resistance. I feel like she was frozen out of the plans almost immediately and wasn’t trusted by any of the maji even though she was integral in bringing magic back to the land. But instead of building rapport and trying to gain friendships naturally she was petulant and combative.
Miscommunication was the main source of conflict in this book and that frustrated me. If Amari and Zélie had just sat down and worked through their issues I feel they could of probably come up with a foolproof plan that would have saved a lot of lives.
⭐️3/5 Had a bit of the second book syndrome for me!
Watch Over Me is about a girl named Mila who has just aged out of the foster care system. She has been offered a job on a remote farm tutoring young foster kids who live there. She loves it there but is haunted by the past traumas that threaten to overwhelm her life.
This is not what I was expecting at all. I thought this was going to be a young adult thriller/horror novel where kids keep disappearing or found murdered on this farm, but really it was a contemporary with a speculative twist.
I think this book was structured perfectly. From the present timeline where Mila is being introduced to life on the farm and finding her place within this already established family. To the flashbacks of Mila’s time with her mother and Blake giving us much needed context and displaying how these events still have an affect on Mila all these years later.
The ghosts added the perfect touch of edginess to this otherwise quite rudimentary storyline. Had they not been there and having the mystery surrounding why they are haunting this farm I think I would of otherwise been a little bored with this book.
Mila is an endearing character. I found the relationship she developed with Lee to be touching and I feel she may have using him as a surrogate for her younger self and how she wished she would have been treated by her mother. We are only given a glimpse of what she had to endure in her past and we definitely see how some of the decision she made back then have just compounded on her conscious and are brought to the forefront for her to deal with.
This was a touching story about guilt and remorse and how someone who has been dealt a tough life is still able to move on and gain a family and a place to feel welcome and comforted.
⭐️3/5 stars haunting, poignant & moving
Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly. But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien, loosing her memory of him completely.
I liked that we got a more in depth look at the supernatural beings in this book. We learnt all about the Court of Lions and how they all came together and formed this family under Nicodemus’s charge. We are definitely given a lot of context and background around the war between the vampires and werewolves and how they all came to be in the mortal realm in the first place after being banished 400 years ago, which was what I was missing from the first book.
I was highly invested in Bastien’s character throughout the course of this book and I found he really took over most of the plot. I was a lot more interested in his point of view as opposed to all the others. It was entertaining seeing the shift from his human self and what he thought he wanted from his life to now being one of the Fallen wanting to be better and fix his flaws. Going on the quest to try to be unmade so he can reunite with Celine was adorable and commendable.
Celine again is not a favourite character of mine. I liked her more in this book than The Beautiful for sure, yet she is still a tad bland for me. There is nothing about her that captures my attention and she isn’t really differentiated from any other main female protagonist out there in the literary world. I appreciate her need to find the truth and I was surprised by the reveal of who her mother really is. I liked the call back at the end to her life back in France and what she was running from in the first place. I definitely think she owed Michael and explanation and she should of probably told him the truth from the start about her feelings for Bastien instead of just disappearing with him for weeks.
There were times when I thought the plot rushed through a lot of important events that could of been explored and explained a lot more. The first half of the book was a lot slower paced with not a lot happening and then it feels what should of been two thirds of the book condensed into the last 150 pages or so.
⭐️3/5 stars I’m left with a lot more questions than answers