The Grace Year, Kim Liggett

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“Kneeling in the dirt, barefoot, eyes to God, bathed in golden light, they look like something not of this earth.”

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden. In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

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4 / 5

A classic tale of womanhood, first love, fighting oppression, and becoming your basest self. The Grace Year hung in my thoughts for days after reading it, clouding my mind with the violence and savagery of it, the subtle horror and the sheer weirdness of the tale of it weaves.

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The Rage of Dragons, Evan Winter

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He would fight until he won or he died. There would be, he swore, no days without difficulty

The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. The lucky ones are born gifted. Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, and when those closest to him are brutally murdered, his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him.

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3 / 5

The Rage of Dragons has been getting a good rep in book reviewing circles for its epicness, African-inspired setting, and readability. I’m here to offer a slightly controversial opinion: this book was okay.

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The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2), R. F. Kuang

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Your bond will shatter. You will destroy one another. One will die, one will rule, and one will sleep for eternity

Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.

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3 / 5

I listened to The Poppy War last year and it was fantastic. The narration was superb, the storyline was gripping, the characters complex and divisive. I loved Rin and I hated her. I wanted to keep her safe and I wanted to chuck her off a cliff. I recommended The Poppy War left right and centre. As a sequel, The Dragon Republic was disappointing.

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The Ten Thousand Doors of January, Alix Harrow

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She accumulated the dust of other worlds on her skin like ten thousand perfumes, and left constellations of wistful men and impossible tales in her wake

In the summer of 1901, at the age of seven, January Scaller found a Door. You know the kind of door–they lead to Faerie, to Valhalla, to Atlantis, to all the places never found on a map. Years later, January has forgotten her brief glimpse of Elsewhere. Her life is quiet and lonely but safe on her guardian’s estate, until one day she stumbles across a strange book. 

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4 / 5

I don’t believe I’ve ever read a book quite like The Ten Thousand Doors of January. It was whimsical, charming, adventurous, strange, and daring. It wasn’t what I expected it to be and I loved it for it.

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We Hunt The Flame, Hafsah Faizal

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She was going to bring her father justice, kings and witches be damned. And when she returned, magic in her grasp, she would give a calipha her throne.

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. 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.

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2 / 5

When I picked up We Hunt The Flame I wasn’t aware that it was a hotly anticipated YA release. I just thought that the premise and the cover were cool. Whilst I was intrigued by the magic and adored the setting, We Hunt The Flame failed to connect with me emotionally, resulting in me half-heartedly leafing through it. Continue reading “We Hunt The Flame, Hafsah Faizal”

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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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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Shadow Frost, Coco Ma

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Discipline, talent, and hard work fueled by the burning desire to impress her mother had honed her into a terrifying force to behold

When Asterin Faelenhart, Princess of Axaria and heir to the throne, discovers that she may hold the key to defeating the mysterious demon terrorizing her kingdom, she vows not to rest until the beast is slain. But as they hunt for the demon, they unearth a plot to assassinate the Princess herself instead. 

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1 / 5

I don’t really like writing negative reviews, so I’ll keep this one short. I massively respect anyone who can write a book and get it published. UnfortunatelyShadow Frost made me feel pretty similar to how I felt when reading Frostblood, which is super bored. I read somewhere that the author first wrote this when she was fifteen, which made total sense, because this book is chock-block full of the kinds of things I might have written when I was that age, like being a magical super-powerful princess with several men fighting over me because I’m just that awesome.

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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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