Usually I don’t really attention to the Goodreads Choice Awards but I have seen the criticism in the past about how it’s more of a popularity contest rather than going off actual ratings. Which is apparent this year as one of the nominees for the Fantasy category is Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson and it hasn’t even been released yet. I wanted to make an informed decision when I vote so I have decided to try and read all of the nominees from the YA Fantasy category and see which I think should be the winner!! There are a couple that I have already read and a few on my physical TBR and I will have to try and source the rest and try to get to them in the coming weeks.
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 starshas the potential to become a new all time fav!!!
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!
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
I just completed the second book in this series A Torch Against the Night a few days ago and I have thoughts. For one I loved that we get some new perspectives in this book, especially Helene’s. I loved seeing how drastically her position has changed over the course of the storyline and how she has had to make some immensely difficult decisions which could lead to ramifications either for her or the ones she loves. I loved getting more of an insight into her character and the depth of feelings she has for Elias and how she has had to quell them and put her family and her Gen first. Second the world expands so much more in this book as we follow Elias and Laia on their journey to Kauf. The amount of time it actually takes for them to reach the prison gives us more of a scope of just how big the empire is. Speaking of Elias and Laia it was great to see them grow closer and come to trust each other completely and how unfair it is that they have to keep each other at arms length. Elias’s whole storyline I am not a fan of simply because I am yearning for them to be able to be together but alas that is not going to happen any time soon. Reading this the second time around I completely forgot about the twist involving Keenan. It was a nice experience to kind of be surprised again and connect all of the dots that were littered throughout the storyline. I wasn’t as in love with this book as opposed to the first simply because there wasn’t as much going on in this book. The stakes were definitely there and there is a lot of context given but it felt like a filler book for the series. It sowed the seeds that are definitely going to come into fruition as the series continues and I am excited to read on!