Soldier by Julie Kagawa

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4 Stars (4 / 5)

Talon #3
This series has really started to draw me in, and in Soldier we finally start to unravel the mystery that is the inner workings of Talon. We get an even more behind the scenes look with Dante and our heroes start to uncover some of the manipulations that Talon has been running. It was nice to see the group finally starting to work proactively against the organization, instead of just reacting to their direct attacks. No longer are they simply “on the run,” as they begin to unravel Talon’s plans a little at a time. And as we uncover the inner workings of St. George, we learn more and more about that dangerous organization.

I love how each of these books gives us flashbacks of a character’s past. In Rogue, we got to learn more about Riley/Cobalt. In Solider, we see Garret’s history and how he came to be a part of the order. I was starting to get a bit annoyed with the love triangle and Ember’s indecisiveness over her feelings, but I’m happy to say she finally seems to make a choice in this book. The ending is explosive and cliff-hangery and includes a big reveal (that was fun, but I have to admit a little predictable), that left me eager for more.


The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan

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5 Stars (5 / 5)

The Trials of Apollo #3
Damn Riordan, I was not expecting that! The Burning Maze is a game changer, and one that I definitely did not see coming. Now that I think back on it, Riordan’s always seems to throw a curveball in book 3 (at least in his 5 book series). I can’t really say much else about this without spoilers (for this book and his other series), so we’ll leave it at that.

As always, you can’t help but love Apollo’s wit and self-deprecating attitude. He’s not a hero, but is constantly thrown into these heroic situations. His character and relationship with mortality has grown in leaps and bounds through this series, and his development is just so heartwarming to see. The events of The Burning Maze are likely to change Apollo forever, and I just can’t wait to see where this series ultimately takes him.

As always, I loved getting cameos from some of our favorite characters from past series: Grover, Piper, Jason, and even Coach Hedge make a comeback in this one. It’s always great to catch up with our old friends and see what they are up to.

I’m not sure how I’m going to make it till next Fall for the sequel!


Rogue by Julie Kagawa

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3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

Talon #2
Rogue is quite the change of pace from its predecessor, Talon. Our heroes are on the run from both Talon and St. George, and they do make quite the motley crew. While being constantly “on the run” did make for a bit of a tedious plot, I think it was a necessary step in the progression of our characters. I think that Ember is finally starting to realize what going rogue really means, and is ready to start fighting back.

I really loved the snippets of Cobalt’s backstory. It was great seeing where he came from and how his little underground came to be. And I can’t help but love Wes’ witty retorts and snarky attitude. And I was glad to get some more chapters from Dante’s POV. I still haven’t quite figured out how I feel about him, but it’s nice to get some insight into where he’s coming from.

By the end, we start to get a hint of the danger that lies on the horizon. I’m curious to see what the future holds for our small band of heroes.


This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

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4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Monsters of Verity #1

“Mind over body over bodies on the floor over tallies seared day by day by day into skin until cracked and broke and bled into the beat of gunfire and the melody of pain and the world was made of savage music…”

What a unique and fascinating premise. Imagine a world where the very worst of our sins birthed literal monsters. This is the world of This Savage Song. But it’s also not that simple. Not all monsters are created equal, and just because it is decidedly wicked acts that create them, they may not all be wicked by nature. And August is one such monster…

And then you have Kate, working all her life to live up to the brutal and ruthless reputation of her father. Trying to prove she deserves a place by his side, in the only “home” she has left. But though she puts on a hard and vicious front, does she really have what it takes to rule this savage world.

Schwabs worldbuilding is subtle. It happens slowly over time, instead of being thrust at you all at once. Instead it is inferred as we get to know the characters and see them interact with the world. Told from alternative points-of-view, we see a divided city from both sides of the wall, from both perspectives of a war. And then our characters, who should be divided, are thrown together by circumstance. And we learn to see what makes a human and what makes a monster, and how the lines blur.

And then you have passages like the above, which is so beautiful that I just can’t stop thinking about it. I’m not usually a fan of stream of consciousness, but in the context of the book this passage elicited such beautiful and powerful imagery that I can not stop thinking about it. And that is a powerful thing!

So read This Savage Song. It does not disappoint!


The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

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3 Stars (3 / 5)

The Thousandth Floor #1
The Thousandth Floor is like a train wreck that you can’t stop watching. Its full of vapid trust fund youths with a lot of first world problems. You have some classic troupes: riches to rags, forbidden love, drug addiction, crazy jilted love; but all of it is set within the glamorous life of the rich and famous in a near-future society. It’s a quick, super trashy, chick-lit story without a lot of substance, held together by the fact that you know someone is going to die at the end, but who?

While the novel does touch on some important issues, nothing is given enough attention to be of value. I was slightly angered by the prolific drug and alcohol use, as I think it sets a poor example for the intended audience (teens). I just don’t like it when these things are seen as “cool” instead of as dangerous and life-altering as they can be, at least when your audience is the very people that you should be instilling with positive values. There are no good role models in this book, not a lot of redeeming quality, but it is entertaining in a sick way, and I did enjoy it for what it was. Just be warned not to have high expectations.