Sorcery of Thorns, Margaret Rogerson

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Night fell as death rode into the Great Library of Summershall

Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power. Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital.

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3 / 5

I love books. So it stands to reason that I would enjoy a book about books, right? And I do! I loved all the aspects in Sorcery of Thorns that were to do with books: sword-wielding librarians, grimoires that turn into monsters, books that whisper secrets to you, a child raised in a library who dreams of becoming a Warden. Unfortunately, the book didn’t manage to wow me. 

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Arm of the Sphinx (The Books of Babel #2), Josiah Bancroft

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We are, each of us, a multitude. I am not the man I was this morning, nor the man of yesterday. I am a throng of myself queued through time. We are, gentle reader, each a crowd within a crowd.

Forced into a life of piracy, Senlin and his eclectic crew are struggling to survive aboard their stolen airship as the hunt to rescue Senlin’s lost wife continues. Hopeless and desolate, they turn to a legend of the Tower, the mysterious Sphinx. But help from the Sphinx never comes cheaply, and as Senlin knows, debts aren’t always what they seem in the Tower of Babel. 

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4 / 5

Arm of the Sphinx is the sequel to Senlin Ascends, the second book in The Books of Babel series. It has a rather different vibe. Where I would described the first book by saying something like “it’s about a mild schoolteacher who goes to a tower full of wonders and cruelty and loses his wife. On his search up the tower to find her, he encounters numerous weird and wonderful people and things”, I would describe Arm of the Sphinx as “previously mild schoolteacher becomes pirate airship captain leading a crew he doesn’t particularly trust but still loves, into shenanigans whilst having some sort of pseudo-affair with his first mate“.

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Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel #1), Josiah Bancroft

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“It is easier to accept who you’ve become than to recollect who you were.” 

Soon after arriving for his honeymoon at the Tower, the mild-mannered headmaster of a small village school, Thomas Senlin, gets separated from his wife, Marya, in the overwhelming swarm of tourists, residents, and miscreants.

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4 / 5

I love books about towers where people enter the Tower with a quest to get to the top where there will be a wish-granting deity/treasure/whatever. Please see the LitRPG book Sufficiently Advanced Magic and the manhwa Tower of God for examples. I’m a real sucker for this trope, lord knows why, but for this reason I picked up Senlin Ascends.

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The Storm Crow, Kalyn Josephson

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It was joy, as wild and powerful as a storm, and it was hope, as tentative and newborn as the hatching crow

In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything. When Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.

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4 / 5

Huge crows that you can ride that have magical powers. I was completely sold on that premise alone. Throw in a complex female protagonist with depression that she is fighting, a whole cast of women, an unlikely marriage, and a revolution and you have a solid YA fantasy.

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Furyborn, Claire Legrand

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You are the One Who Rises. The Furyborn Child. You are the Sun Queen, Eliana, and I have come to bring you home.

When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes. 

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2 / 5

Furyborn ensnared me with its enticing title and beautiful cover and then failed to deliver. The book was overly lengthy, clocking in at over 500 pages, and was rather confusing. It seemed like it tried far too hard to be complex and just ended up being badly communicated and slightly weird.

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Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor #3), Mark Lawrence

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“Nona, my fierce little Nona, remember mercy. Mercy for others in victory. Mercy for yourself too. You deserve happiness, child. Never forget it.”

Nona faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. But it seems unlikely that Nona and her friends will have time to earn a nun’s habit before war is on their doorstep. Even a warrior like Nona cannot hope to turn the tide of war.

Read my reviews of Red Sister (#1) and Grey Sister (#2).

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5 / 5

Holy Sister sent shivers all the way down my spine. We have been travelling down the path towards the encounter that has threaded its way through the first two books: Lano Tacsis and his two hundred men, coming for Sister Thorn. Sister Thorn, it has been revealed, is Arabella Jotsis and Sister Cage is none other than Nona Grey. It is epic. It is heart-wrenching. It poked at my soul and wouldn’t stop.

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Lord of Secrets, Breanna Teintze

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People see the world and think it’s made of wind and rock and water, when really it’s made of spells and words

Outlaw wizard Corcoran Gray has enough problems. He’s friendless, penniless and on the run from the tyrannical Mages’ Guild – and with the search for his imprisoned grandfather looking hopeless, his situation can’t get much worse. So when a fugitive drops into his lap – literally – and gets them both arrested, it’s the last straw – until Gray realises that runaway slave Brix could be the key to his grandfather’s release.

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3 / 5

Lord of Secrets was a deceptively simple story: a young man is searching for his captured grandfather. He is told to find a man and steal a relic from a temple. To be honest, it was very refreshing to read a book that had a clear direction. I’ve read way too many books that are needlessly complicated for the sake of surprising the reader.

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The Last Hope (The Raging Ones #2), Krista & Becca Ritchie

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We are together. We are one, and we are two and then three, and finally, we have found real, everlasting peace

Legend says, a baby—the first of her species—has the power to cloak and teleport planets. Tasked with retrieving the infant, Court fears the baby is just a myth, and if they fail, they’ll never find the truth about their origins. As Court and Mykal grow closer, their linked bond becomes harder to hide, and dynamics change when Franny begins to fall for someone new. 

Read my review of the first book in this series The Raging Ones.

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3 / 5

I really loved The Raging Ones: I thought it was so creative, with a setting on a frozen world with a lilac sky where everyone knows the date that they will die, and a trio of soulbonded characters where the two men are in love. I knew it was going to be a hard act to follow and The Last Hope was a good book, but it was a little “far out”.

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Descendant of the Crane, Joan He

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This fate had chosen her. It was only now, seventeen years later, that she chose it back

When Princess Hesina of Yan’s beloved father is found dead, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of a surprisingly unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s actual killer, Hesina does something desperate: she enlists the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death, since magic was outlawed centuries ago.

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4 / 5

I love books like Descendant of the Crane: rich in political intrigue, soft, and beautiful and strange. Books full of myth and legend and mystery. Books with a main character that is somewhat unusual; Princess Hesina of Yan is willing to take up her crown, rather than being a rebellious and slightly bratty teenage girl, and she takes the advice of her advisors and trusts in her friends and siblings. It was a refreshing read.

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Skyward, Brandon Sanderson

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Bravery isn’t about what people call you, Spensa. It’s about who you know yourself to be

Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul. 

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5 / 5

I have loved everything I have ever read by Brandon Sanderson. I love some of them more than others (sorry Mistborn, but you’re at the bottom somewhere), and yet still my foolish self was reluctant to pick up Skyward because I’m not a big alien fan. I just don’t like books about aliens. Well, I was a fool. This book is a masterpiece and it didn’t have that many aliens in it anyway.

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