Tag Archives: fantasy

YA Book Review- The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Every four years, two children disappear from the small village of Gavaldon: one beautiful, delightful child, and one ugly, horrible child. No one knows where they go, but the village children will come across new fairy tales years later that star characters eerily similar to their missing playmates. Most of the villagers find this to be a terrible situation, but beautiful Sophie has been waiting all her life for her chance to be stolen away and become a fairytale princess. Her best friend, miserable Agatha, decides to try and protect Sophie the night she hopes the mysterious Schoolmaster will steal her away, but when he comes he decides to take them both, and before they know it they have arrived at the School for Good and Evil. Something is very wrong, though. Agatha has been taken to the School for Good, and Sophie to Evil. When they confront the Schoolmaster, they learn that their very own fairytale has already begun to write itself and is out of their hands. That doesn’t stop Sophie from trying to get in the School for Good where she thinks she belongs, while Agatha makes desperate attempts to get them both back home. Will the girls get out, switch schools, or learn to rule the Schools they’re in?

This book is non-stop action. The author made his name as a screenplay writer, so this story really moves like a movie- which is what it is rumored to be in a couple of years! Also, this is the start of a series, so look for the sequel in early 2014. This book is perfect for fans of Harry potter, and anyone who loves magic, action, and school stories!

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YA Book Review- Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

If wishes were real things you could spend like money, what would you wish for? Karou’s friends don’t believe that her blue hair grows naturally, but it does, because of a wish she got for her birthday. She was raised by strange creatures she calls monsters that are part human and parts of lots of other animals. Brimestone’s shop, full of teeth from all kinds of creatures, is where she learned to read and write and play. She’s been sent to school all over the world through the strange shop door that opens to different cities every time she leaves it. For high school, she’s been attending an art school in beautiful Prague and living her life as mysteriously as she can while maintaining a few good friends. Things are nice and as normal as they can be for her- until the day she meets an angry angel on the streets who she soon learns is out to destroy her family and the life she knows behind the shop’s doors. What she doesn’t realize is how much has been hidden from her about the lives of her monster friends, and how important she will be in the dangerous battle that is looming between angels and devils.

Laini Taylor weaves an incredible tale of heartbreak and beauty and life and death. Her words will make you want to visit Prague and peak in to alleyways to see if her characters are real. This book is great for anyone who likes supernatural romances and strong female characters. Bonus: it’s the first in a trilogy and you will not want to miss the other two books!

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YA Book Review- Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore (Graceling Realm series)

This book opens up eight years after Graceling. Bitterblue is Queen of Monsea, busy with trying to lead her kingdom in the wake of her sadistic father’s rule. While she trusts her group of advisers, she is starting to realize that she doesn’t know much about her kingdom or her people at all. This leads to her sneaking out at night and witnessing the deteriorating villages that surround her castle, which her advisers had carefully kept quiet about. Bitterblue slowly starts uncovering secrets and exposing lies, but it all just makes things more confusing: Why is no one in her kingdom taught to read? What is causing everyone around her to act irrational and crazy? How will she discover all of her father’s horrific secrets in time to save her kingdom? The lead characters in Graceling and Fire make appearances to assist the brave Queen, but is the web her father wove too thick and deadly to be undone?

This is considered a sequel to Graceling and definitely worth reading if you loved the other two books in this series. Fantasy enthusiasts will get wrapped up in the kingdom details, and mystery lovers will try desperately to figure things out before Bitterblue does.

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YA Book Review- Fire by Kristen Cashore (of the Graceling Realm series)

Imagine a world where there are not only regular animals and humans, but brightly colored monster animals and humans that are vicious and beautiful and can compel you to do anything they want you to do? This is the world where Fire lives, and she is one of these monster humans, with hair all shades of reds and pinks and beauty so stunning that men and woman alike will do unreasonable things, like try to kiss her or kill her on sight. Fire has always hated her abilities, but she is the only monster human left ever since her greedy and scheming father, Cansrel, killed himself. Monster human blood attracts monster animals, and so she is in constant danger of attacks- the only thing that saves her is her ability to manipulate creature’s minds, which is something her father delighted in but she has always felt made her a terrible person. When mysterious attacks by blank-minded men make her home estate an unsafe place, she happily takes the invitation to visit the King’s city, even though it means having a constant steel-minded guard with her and trusting herself to the sullen younger brother of the king, Prince Brigan. The dangers are many and the longer she is away from home the more mysteries present themselves. Can she help a kingdom that is quickly falling apart, a good king who cannot control himself around her, and a damaged prince who seems to be the only one to understand her?

Once again, this author does a wonderful job of world building. This book is part of the Graceling series but is set in a land that knows nothing of the Graceling-filled kingdoms, separated from them by a treacherous mountain range. You do not need to read Graceling in order to understand the story- Fire actually takes place before Graceling and is considered a companion novel. Fantasy lovers, you will not be dissapointed!

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YA Book Review- Graceling by Kristen Cashore (of the Graceling Realm series)

In the land where this story is set, there are humans that are Graced with special abilities, and they are clearly marked by having two differently colored eyes. In most kingdoms, the Graced are bound by law to be given to the kings as soon as their Grace shows itself.  Katsa has always known herself to be Graced with the art of fighting, and as the niece of King Randa she was close enough to the crown when this was discovered that she was immediately put to work as one of his thugs. She hated to be used by him in this way, so she started a Council of trustworthy people throughout the kingdoms that secretly work against the ignorant kings and lords. Despite Katsa’s good heart and selflessness, her general distrust only allows a very small circle of people close to her heart. When the Graced prince from a local kingdom comes to her court in order to solve the mystery of his missing Grandfather, Katsa cannot decide whether or not to trust him- especially because he is the first man to ever get under her skin.

If you have ever been a lover of fantasy, you simply MUST pick up this title. The world that the author builds is dazzling and intriguing, and the mysteries that Katsa works to solve will have you guessing until the last pages. This is also a great pick for anyone who likes to read about strong, independent female characters! Once you read this, you will be excited to know that there are two more books set in this world- Fire and Bitterblue.

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