Spoiler Free Book Review – Mistborn: The Final Empire

Hello hello! Welcome back y’all!! Today, I’m going to be reviewing Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. You’ve all seen me scream about how awesome and believable this book was, so let’s jump right in to my finally full review.

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson - Cover

Book: Mistborn: The Final Empire

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Epic Fantasy, Adult

Summary: For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the “Sliver of Infinity,” reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler’s most hellish prison. Kelsier “snapped” and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.

Kelsier recruited the underworld’s elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Only then does he reveal his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot.

But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel’s plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she’s a half-Skaa orphan, but she’s lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets, and gotten it. She will have to learn to trust, if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.

This saga dares to ask a simple question: What if the hero of prophecy fails?

Continue reading “Spoiler Free Book Review – Mistborn: The Final Empire”

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim – Review

Good morning and welcome my friends! I hope your week is off to a great start. Today, I shall be reviewing Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim. This was an interesting retelling of Mulan, I really liked Maia and Edan, and the plot was really good.

Book: Spin the Dawn

Author: Elizabeth Lim

Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.


Quote: “Seize the wind,” I whispered. “Don’t become the kite that never flies.”

*Maia. Maia was fierce, independent, and determined to make a place for herself in a world dominated by men and I loved her. Her loyalty to her family, her strength in the face of all those who tried to end her, and the lengths to which she went to save her father’s business and become the Imperial tailor were extraordinary and I was so proud of her for that. The flashbacks that she had of her family before the war were so sad, and I missed them as much as she did.

*Edan. Edan is over 500 years old, but who cares? He still seemed to be an annoying teenager, and I loved him for him for being that obnoxious and annoying but also pretty wise guy. Him and Maia bickering and arguing was amazing, and the lengths that he went to save and protect her was so sweet. His past was also heartbreaking, and it just made me want to hug his annoying self and make everything okay.

*Lady Sarnai. We don’t get much of her, but I think she’s an awesome character. Yes, she’s the villain, yes, she’s beyond cruel, but I felt so sorry for her, especially after Maia found her crying, and I really hope that she has some sort of character arc in the next book. It would be awesome, because she also kind of challenged the patriarchy in her own way, creating terror wherever she went, and I secretly wish that she and Maia become friends.

*Book in general. I loved the plot, the world-building, and the writing. I’m not one for flowery writing, but I really liked it here. The world was beautiful, and I liked the inclusion of magic and demons, and how everything was set up (minus the scissors, more on that below). It was really interesting and new. The plot, and Maia’s quest to sew three gowns from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of the stars was super amazing. The ending didn’t really shock me, but I’m kind of excited to see what happens in the next book.

*Mulan Retelling. This had so many elements of Mulan and I loved it. Mulan is probably my #1 favorite Disney movie, and there are a bunch of similarities between Spin the Dawn and Disney Mulan (in my opinion). Some people have said that it’s not really that similar beyond Maia dressing up as a boy, BUT, a friend of mine has pointed out that it is more similar to the original ballad and she listed the evidence in her review.


Quote: “Sometimes we must let go of what we value for the future of our country.”

*Calm down please! Maia and Edan couldn’t get their hands off of each other after ~60% and it was a bit annoying to continuously read about. I mean, I’m glad they’ve finally confessed all these feelings, and all that tension is over, but calm down a bit please??

*Magical Scissors. How the scissors work is beyond me. Maia paints with scissors, sews with the scissors, and cuts, and creates completely different things with the scissors. How? Does she cut the fabric and it stitches and paints itself in its wake? Or does she wave the scissors over it and it creates on its own? How does the scissors sew?? I’d have loved for this to be explained a bit more.

*Ending. The ending didn’t wow me, which was pretty disappointing. I didn’t really feel anything, and just continued reading, and was like “oh well, it’s over”. But I am a bit excited for the second book, so it wasn’t completely horrible. I was kind of expecting something that would hurt and rip my heart out, but it was nothing like that for me.


Quote: “You will hold the seams of our family together, Maia. No other tailor in the world can do that.”

In the end, I really liked this, I would recommend it, and I hope you enjoy it if you read it! Maia’s courage, Edan’s obnoxiousness, Lady Sarnai’s cruelty, and the plot were super great. Besides the scissors, the disappointing end, and the excess touching and kissing, this was a pretty great fantasy, and I wouldn’t mind reading more about these characters in the next book.

One sentence summary: A great fantasy with awesome characters, and a few flaws.

Overall, 4 amazing stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Have you read Spin the Dawn? What did you think? Were you also intrigued by the great Lady Sarnai? Do you think she and Maia might somehow become friends? Did the huge age difference between Edan and Maia bother you? Am I the only one who was disappointed by that ending? Chat with me in the comments below!

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal – Review

Hello everyone!! I hope you all had a great weekend. Today I’m going to review We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal. The plot was predictable and the story was slow, however, the characters were hilarious and amazing. I was a bit disappointed because the plot wasn’t as great as I hoped it would be.

Book: We Hunt the Flame

Author: Hafsah Faizal

Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary:

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. 

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.


Quote: “Be as victorious as the name I have given you, and bring the desert to its knees.” 

*Nasir and Altair. Words can not begin to describe how amazing both of these guys are. Altair Al-Badawi is annoying, talkative, obnoxious, and a serious pain. Yet I still enjoyed his jokes and endless talking. Nasir Ghameq, the notorious Amir Al-Maut (Prince of Death), was gloomy, very dark, and such a poor boy who’d been wronged too many times in his young life. I just wanted to hug him and tell him that he didn’t have to carry so much pain in his heart. I absolutely loved him. He and Altair were such great platonic friends and made me feel amazing.

*Zafira. She was okay. I didn’t love her, just found her likable. Her strong bond with her best friend and sister of her heart Yasmine was amazing. I also loved how she fed her people in return for nothing, and her decision to fight the sexist views of the Demenhur caliph. She was definitely a strong heroine. Her romance with Nasir was perfect.

*Kifah, Benyamin, and Deen. They were all great side characters. Kifah was strong, ferocious, and not someone to mess with. Benyamin was quietly wise, and the way he treated the rest of the characters like a tired mother was sweet and hilarious. Deen’s love for Zafira and his loyalty was very heartwarming.

*Arabian Rep. The representation was great. There were a lot of Arabic words sprinkled across the story which I really liked. The setting of the story also had the feel of Arabia to it, and I loved reading about the food, and experiencing part of the culture through a wedding.

*Writing. I loved the writing so much. It was super eloquent, and it made me smile reading the Arabic words that were used to emphasize or curse (there was a Glossary and Pronunciation Guide linked). The descriptions were beautiful and it added so much depth and beauty to the story.


Quote: “Promise me,” Yasmine said softly, “that if you die, you will die fighting to return to me.” 

*Plot. I wasn’t really invested in the plot, and it was also pretty slow. The story was also rather predictable and the twists didn’t ‘wow’ me. Not much happened until the last third or fourth of the book. However, I loved the characters and the slow-burn relationships.


Quote: “Maybe the tiny lions were merely ornaments, a display of pride for the victory over a man who defied men, only to be slain by women.”

In the end, I really liked this, I would recommend it, and I hope you enjoy it if you read it. The characters were amazing and in my opinion the strongest point of the story, though the plot was predictable. I loved the Arabia aspect and the Arabic words and culture helped enhance the story.

One sentence summary: An amazing Arabia inspired fantasy with phenomenal characters.

Overall, 4 stars!

★★★★☆

Have you read We Hunt the Flame? What did you think? Do you prefer a great plot or awesome characters? Let’s chat in the comments below!

The Wicked King by Holly Black – Review

Welcome to another book review my dear friends!! Today, we’ll be reviewing The Wicked King by Holly Black. This was so much better than The Cruel Prince. Jude and Cardan were a lot more interesting, and the plot twists were amazing.

Book: The Wicked King

Author: Holly Black

Other book in the series: The Cruel Prince (Review)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.


Quote: “Someone tries to betray the High King, murder. Someone gives you a harsh look, murder. Someone disrespects you, murder. Someone ruins your laundry, murder.

*Cardan. Sassy, lazy, and an absolute jerk, but I love him! His smug arrogance and constant bickering with Jude was awesome. I also like that he is actually a broken guy with a good heart but it is the anger and blame placed on him that makes him hurt others. It makes his character a lot more complex. The things he did to save Jude, and the last few chapters made me love him – while simultaneously hating him for that ending – even more.

*Jude. She improved in this book and I felt she was more relate-able. Her struggle with power and making the right decisions were also very realistic. I think that as the story progressed, she grew more power hungry and too harsh on herself especially since she tried to solve every crisis by herself. She was also kind of an anti-hero, since her reasons for controlling Cardan are a lot deeper than just to keep the throne for Oak (that’s what I’m guessing).

*Jurdan?? Cardan and Jude were great. Their fascination with each other was amusing, and I was very happy that they were making some progress to not-hating-each-other-so-much until that catastrophic ending.

*Plot and Character. This was great. I didn’t anticipate many of the plot twists, and I didn’t guess correctly who was behind any of the betrayals. The many alliances and oaths that Jude had made were now catching up to her. The many different problems caused by Locke and Cardan was also very fun to read and I loved the other side characters. I’m not sure if it’s a spoiler to mention who was in this book, so I’ll stay on the safe side and just say they were all great.

*The Ending. The ending also took a different turn than I anticipated. I was so shocked and definitely not expecting anything like that to happen. However, it was realistic and plausible. I can’t wait for book 3!


Quote: “Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.” 

*Taryn, Locke, and Vivi. Taryn’s such an evil and cruel sister. I can’t imagine that she could do that to her own twin. I also passionately hate Locke, especially after the first book, and my feelings about him only intensified in this one. Vivi isn’t necessarily bad, but she made some very very questionable decisions, that I thought were cruel. I think she deserved what happened to her at the end. I originally kind of liked her, but now, not so much.

*Memorable. After two weeks, I was unable to remember the smaller bits of the story. The major plot twists and the ending, I definitely remembered, but not some of the smaller twists. I just think that is a little disappointing that it was so easy for me to forget.


Quote: “If he thought I was bad, I would be worse. If he thought I was cruel, I would be horrifying.” 

Overall, I enjoyed this a lot more than book one, and I’m so excited for the third book. The characters were more likable for me, and the plot wasn’t I’d definitely recommend it, and I hope you love it if you read it!

One sentence summary: A surprising political fantasy with great characters.

Overall, 4 stars

★★★★☆

Have you read The Wicked King? What did you think? Did you enjoy The Cruel Prince better than TWK? Are you excited for The Queen of Nothing? Let’s chat in the comments below!

Vicious by V.E. Schwab – Review

Welcome to my first post of April. Today, I’m going to be reviewing Vicious by V.E. Schwab. Vicious is a part sci-fi, part paranormal, part fantasy story with an amazing anti-hero and a great plot.

Book: Vicious

Author: V.E. Schwab

Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. 

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

__


Minor spoilers possibly ahead: Read at your own risk!


___

Quote: “Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”

*Plot. I loved the scientific theories and aspects to the story. The possibility of humans becoming superheroes by surviving near death experiences was very interesting. Even though it can’t happen in real life, it was fun to see how it could turn out in this book.

To help with understanding this, I’m going to give a brief explanation of how EO’s, or ExtraOrdinary, humans work. After surviving a near death experience, a person would wake up with super powers. For example, after electrocuting himself, Victor was able to turn pain on and off for himself and others. Eli, after freezing himself to the very brink of death, could heal himself after getting hurt.

*Characters. Victor is a villain, but a good one. His supposed best friend, Eli, turned him in after Victor accidentally killed Eli’s girlfriend Angie. After Victor breaks out of prison ten years later, he is determined to destroy Eli however he possibly can. I was cheering for Victor the whole time because as the story progresses, you realize how evil Eli really is, and you also grow to feel somewhat sympathetic for Victor. There are two other characters that make up Victor’s team: Mitch, a huge and imposing tattoo-covered hacker, and Sydney, a tough young girl who is also an EO. Her power is to bring back the dead. I loved the relationship between the three of them, and Sydney was one of my favorite characters because of how young, sweet, and innocent she was.

*Timeline. I liked how the story flipped back and forth between the present, 10 years before, and also between the several different characters. It was nice to see everyone’s perspective of what happened and what was happening.

*The Ending. I was very satisfied with the ending, and I’m very curious to see what will happen in the next book.


Quote: “When no one understands, that’s usually a good sign that you’re wrong.”

*Star-minus. This was great, and I really liked it, but I don’t really feel that ‘five star’ feeling with this book. I wasn’t overly attached to the characters or the story. However, that shouldn’t deter you from trying this out!


Quote: “The absence of pain led to an absence of fear, and the absence of fear led to a disregard for consequences.”

Overall, I really enjoyed this, but it wasn’t a five star for me. However, I would still recommend it and I hope you enjoy it if you read it!

One sentence summary: An interesting read with great characters, and an amazing plot!

Overall, 4 stars.

★★★★☆

Have you read Vicious? What did you think? Do you have any other suggestions for books such as this? Let’s chat in the comments!