Book Review: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

8709528Genre: 

Young Adult, cure Paranormal

Pages: 

348

Part of a Series?:

The finale to the Bloodlines series

Release Date: 

February 10th, stomach 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author’s Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, about it one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series. When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.

My Review:

Please keep in mind, while there will be NO spoilers for The Ruby Circle, there might be spoilers for previous books. Please check out my past reviews for those books!

I feel like I have been waiting for this book to come out forever, and really, it hasn’t been that long. But I WHIPPED through this thing and I’m so completely satisfied.

I love this story and I love that Richelle Mead was able to take the world that she built in the Vampire Academy series and continue it so well in this series. The relationship that she builds between Sydney and Adrian, especially after their marriage in Silver Shadows, is so real, and feels like it was just meant to happen all along. Who knows? Maybe it was haha. But I love the continuation of their relationship in this book. Now that they’ve got the chance to be honest about their relationship…they have the struggle of getting everyone else on board with it. But they also have the struggle of figuring it out themselves. What they are willing to do for each other, how they fight together, how they trust each other. Its a beautiful, real relationship and I enjoyed every single minute of it while reading this book. The love that Sydney and Adrian have for each other…its just beautiful.

But what I really love about this book is how it concluded the series. It was GREAT. I’ve had such wariness with authors lately on how they conclude series. They’ve been sloppy or rushed, all kinds of things. This ending was great. From the beginning, they’re on the hunt for Jill and the hunt for Jill takes a lot of time, effort, hard work  and a lot of super fun fight scenes. What I love about this is that everyone has their piece in it. We get to see Sydney using her magic, Adrian using his spirit magic, the guardians fighting their way. I love every bit of it. In Vampire Academy, it was centered on the fighting of the dhampirs and a few Moroi but in this book, we get such a hodge podge of people working together: Moroi, dhampir, alchemist, human witches, the Warriors of Light, etc. Its amazing.

We also get to explore and discover more. We see a commune of dhampir women who have chosen a life different from a guardian. We have new revelations about dhampirs and Strigoi and spirit magic. We have a super fun revelation about Dimitri and Adrian that I won’t go into because SPOILERS. We get to meet new characters and revisit old characters and I just loved every single minute of it. It was action and romance and drama and it was a great ending. I loved seeing Adrian and Sydney’s story conclude and I loved seeing new things happen but I also loved seeing Rose and Dimitri together. ESPECIALLY after the epilogue!

But I’ll also say this…I love the things that Richelle did with this book. She concluded the story, left us with a satisfying ending, all the loose ends tied up. For the most part. She opened up some new ideas, left us hanging a little, left us wondering. I think that means we just might get some more VA stories soon and I’m ALWAYS okay with that.

Rating: 

5 out of 5 stars

Book Review: The Iron Trial ARC by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

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This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through Scholastic at the American Library Association Conference for free. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.

Genre: 

Middle Grade, malady Fantasy

Pages: 

295

Part of a Series?:

This is the first novel in the Magisterium series, viagra 100mg of five planned novels.

Release Date: 

September 8, medications 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Cassandra’s Website / Holly’s Website

GoodReads Summary: 

From two bestselling superstars, a dazzling and magical middle-grade collaboration centering on the students of the Magisterium, an academy for those with a propensity toward magic. In this first book, a new student comes to the Magisterium against his will — is it because he is destined to be a powerful magician, or is the truth more twisted than that? It’s a journey that will thrill you, surprise you, and make you wonder about the clear-cut distinction usually made between good and evil.

My Review:

When I heard that Holly Black and Cassandra Clare were releasing a new book together, I knew immediately that I had to read it. When I found out it was a middle grade, I was slightly deterred because I feel like I just getting older and older but I adore both of these authors and still felt the desire to read the book. I got my hands on an ARC at ALA in July and it was one of the first books that I knew I wanted to read.

That being said, it took me a couple weeks to read it. I started it, got about half way through and then had to put it aside for a bit. I read 8 other books, including my Bloodlines reread, before picking it up. Once I picked it up again, I sped through the last half and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think I was used to YA and the sort of adult stories in that and it took me a second to adjust to a middle grade story. Once I was able to do that, I immediately fell in love with the stories and the characters.

This is perfect for fans of Rick Riordan and his Percy Jackson series, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series and John and Carole Barrowman’s Hollow Earth series. It’s obviously influenced by the first two. Its full of adventure and magic and humor and the uncertainties that come with being a tween. Callum Hunt has all these insecurities, hidden behind a pretty thick veil of sarcasm and dry humor, added in with the fact that he is handicapped too. He’s brought to the Magisterium to learn magic and it feels like Harry going off to Hogwarts or Percy arriving at Camp Half Blood. Its a whole new world and you get to experience that will Callum and its so fun. Throw in his mentor, his two new best friends and a pretty awesome animal that becomes a kind of an unusual pet.

But what I love about it is the depth that comes from that. What could be a silly story of magic and spells actually holds a lot of depth. I mean, don’t get me wrong: this story IS fun. Callum makes me laugh and his friends are awesome, and there’s just a lot about it that’s just so whimsical and really makes me think of Harry Potter. But, like HP, there’s a deeper story there, one that is very unexpected. It actually threw me quite off guard and when it happened, I knew immediately that I needed to keep reading. The story is twisting and turning and I honestly hope that it will make its way into plenty of middle grader readers because I think its a great book. There’s magic and adventure and friendship and insecurities, and doubt and learning and growing up and so much that I would want in a book at that age and even now, and that’s what made it so good.

I do believe that the beginning lagged a bit but whether that was because I wasn’t feeling that sort of book at the moment or it could be that the beginning honestly lagged. Only a reread of the book would tell me the answer completely but I do feel like the beginning lagged a bit due to the lessons that Callum and his companions were learning. As time went on and the story progressed, it made sense but I did struggle with the beginning, definitely.

In the end, it became a truly good novel, and it is a definitely one of the few middle grade series that will remain on my radar in the next couple years.

Rating:

4 out of 5 Stars

Giveaway: The Iron Trial Advanced Reader’s Copy by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black!

When I was at ALA just a few weeks ago, order I managed to grab an extra copy of The Iron Trial. The Iron Trial is a brand new book coming out this fall, seek from well-known YA authors, this web Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. I’m about 80 pages in and I’m loving it. Its middle grade but these are two authors that I absolutely love so I’m enjoying it.

I have no idea how I ended up with an extra copy but I did and of course, I don’t need an extra copy! SO! I’ve decided to have a quick giveaway for this book!

Here are some pictures of what it looks like!

The Prize!

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Those are NOT real signatures on the book. Sorry :(

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Please keep in mind that this is a paperback, advanced copy. That means there could be changes between this version and the final hardback copy.

Rules! (Yes, there have to be rules!)

The contest will run from today, June 12th to June 20th!

The winner will be contacted within 24 hours of contest end. If winner(s) do not respond within a 24 hour period of contact, their prize will be forfeited and a new winner will be chosen.

Come back every day to share on Twitter and Instagram to earn more entries!

This giveaway is in NO way endorsed by any authors, their publishers or any other affiliates.

What A Nerd Girl Says is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged prizes. It HAS happened before, but only once!

Enter Now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Good luck!

Book Review: The Young Elites (ARC) by Marie Lu

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This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through Penguin Teen at the American Library Association Conference for free. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.

Genre: 

Young Adult, approved  Fantasy

Pages: 

368

Part of a Series?:

Yes, see the first novel of what I believe is a planned trilogy

Release Date: 

October 7th, 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is amalfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.


Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.
 
It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

My Review:

Honestly, I can’t imagine there is ever going to be a book by Marie Lu that just doesn’t completely floor me and leave me absolutely dying for the next book.

This book is so incredibly different from her Legend trilogy but that is what makes it so good. You still have the great writing and storytelling and the unique “voice” that is Marie Lu, but it in an entirely new story, an entirely new world. I think sometimes its difficult for an author to venture outside the way they’ve written, but Marie Lu proves in The Young Elites that not only can she write fantastic dystopian but she writes dark, rich fantasy as well.

In Legend, there is a constant struggle for truth, who is right, who is wrong, what is the right thing to do, how much of the truth do you tell a person. In The Young Elites, its all about power, and the use and abuse of it. Adelina is a malfetto, an abomination. The malfettos are blamed for everything wrong in the country: poverty, starvation, bad crops, whatever. They have no power as those in power, the Inquisitors, take them out at every possible chance. Even Adelina’s own father shares in the opinion that she is worthless, she will gain no good for him.

Until it is discovered that she has an absolutely incredible, terrible, dark, and out of this world power, and suddenly she’s a hot commodity. She’s hunted down by two different men, one working for the queen and one trying to fight for a rebellion against them. What makes this beautiful is there is no clear right and wrong, no dark and light. Each side is full of darkness. Each side bears so many questions. Its hard to know who to trust. Even those who say they are the right side have their own things to gain, their own reasons for using Adelina. That’s what makes it so good. You are constantly questioning everyone in the book. You never really know who is telling the truth, or what the truth even is. Even the supposed good guys don’t always seem like good guys. You’re even questioning the main character throughout the novel as well.

Its a book full of darkness, and power and its chock full of mystery. That’s what keeps you turning the pages. Its so dark. I feel like…I never know what direction this story is going to take and its frustrating and exhilarating. I honestly have such a hard time figuring out who is going to do what, and what I want people to do. I can’t even figure out what I want for the characters because its so back and forth. As soon as I sort of kind of figure out what I want for them, what I hope happens to them, the direction veers so dramatically in the other direction that I suddenly feel like I was knocked off balance. This book kept me hooked because it kept surprising me. Every time I thought I got a measure of a character or a group of people or anything, something would change and it would make it a whole new story.

I read somewhere, I can’t remember where, that this book was a sort of cross between X-Men and Assassin’s Creed. Now I don’t know much about Assassin’s Creed so I can’t say much about that. From what I understand, the main character goes back in time, with his ancestors, to different parts of history? Something like that. The history, that sort of old time feel is definitely in the book. This is a world that could exist but there’s just a bit more to it than we know. The X-Men thing is easy: some of these malfettos have powers: power over fire, wind, animals, Adelina’s power of illusion. The Young Elites totally feel like medieval version of the X-Men and they too have their prejudices against them, because they are different. They are blamed for things, and they want to fight back. They remind me of both Professor X, who wants to live in peace with them, and Magneto, who is angry at the way they treat them and wants revenge. It had a very X-Men feel about it but in a very whimsical, dark and fantastical way. I loved every bit of it.

I don’t know how much of this book will or could change before its release in October but I hope its very little. This book was absolutely incredible and I am so insanely grateful that I managed to get my hands on a copy this weekend. Marie Lu is such a gifted writer, and tells such a fresh and interesting story every single time. I was intrigued immediately from page one to the last page, unsure of what to expect. In fact, the last few pages left me in wonder, my jaw dropped, in a revelation as I discovered just a bit of something that literally leaves me incredibly impatient for a book two, even though book one hasn’t even released officially yet. Just when you think, the story is wrapped up, but you’re unsure of what direction the characters are going in, a curveball is thrown and you’re left thinking “But wait, what happens next?” I hope to find out very, very soon.

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars