Tangle’s Game, Stewart Hotston


We are your slaves, and we do not wish to be

Yesterday, Amanda Back’s life was flawless: the perfect social credit score, the perfect job, the perfect home. Today, Amanda is a target, an enemy of the system holding information dangerous enough to disrupt the world’s all-consuming tech—a fugitive on the run. But in a world where an un-hackable blockchain links everyone and everything, there is nowhere to run.

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2 / 5

I was expecting something akin to Suicide Club when I picked up Tangle’s Game, a book about a woman with a life that seems perfect right up until it isn’t. Instead I got something a bit confused, a bit slow and dragging, with a main character who didn’t interest me much.

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The Sin Soldiers, Tracy Auerbach


This was where all the magic happened; where ordinary people were transformed into slaves and monsters

Red compound makes them angry. Yellow exhausts them. Blue drives them into a state of ravenous addiction. The thief Kai knows about the chemically controlled soldiers of the Eastern forces and their savage, deadly nature. When a robbery attempt at Club Seven goes wrong, Kai is captured by a handler and his bestial soldier-boy. She wakes up inside the military base with no idea what happened to her twin brother, Dex.

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2 / 5

The Sin Soldiers has a cool concept and it hooked me at the start, but unlikeable characters and a confusing setting left me unsatisfied.

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American Royals, Katherine McGee


Beatrice wasn’t living a story. She was living history, and history went on forever.

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne. Like most royal families, the Washingtons have an heir and a spare. A future monarch and a backup battery. Each child knows exactly what is expected of them. But these aren’t just any royals. They’re American. And their country was born of rebellion.

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2 / 5

McGee’s other series, The Thousandth Floor, is a guilty pleasure of mine. I loved the drama, the glitz, the glamour, the rumours, the intrigue, and the imaginative setting. Instead of being set in a futuristic tower, American Royals takes the premise “what if George Washington made himself King?” and runs with it. Well, it’s more of a shuffle. 

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We Hunt The Flame, Hafsah Faizal


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”

Furyborn, Claire Legrand


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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Girls With Sharp Sticks, Suzanne Young


Wake up, Philomena. Wake up now.

The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. They are obedient young ladies, free from arrogance or defiance. Until Mena starts to realize that their carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears.

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2 / 5

It’s official: I am simply not a fan of Suzanne Young. I tried The Program a few years ago and now I’ve tried Girls With Sharp Sticks, and the problem is that Young comes up with some fantastic sounding premises and then fails to deliver on them in a way that I find enjoyable.

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Master of Sorrows, Justin Call


Every master has an apprenticeship

Among the Academy’s warrior-thieves, Annev de Breth is an outlier. Unlike his classmates who were stolen as infants from the capital city, Annev was born in the small village of Chaenbalu, was believed to be executed, and then unknowingly raised by his parents’ killers. Seventeen years later, Annev struggles with the burdens of a forbidden magic, a forgotten heritage, and a secret deformity.

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2 / 5

The premise of Master of Sorrows was intriguing: a boy missing an arm in a world where those with physical scars and “deformities” are presumed to be worshipers of the dark god, with forbidden magic and a secret quest. But mostly I picked it up because I read a review that compared it to The Poppy War. The Poppy War was a dark, compelling, haunting and disturbing masterpiece. It literally haunts me sometimes. Master of Sorrows was nothing like The Poppy War.

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Lovestruck, Kate Watson


It’s everything I can do not to shoot him with an arrow. And not the love kind

Sixteen-year-old cupid-in-training Kali is in an Olympus-sized mountain of trouble. Rule number one in arrow-toting matchmaking: don’t stick yourself. But accidents happen, and Kali instantly falls hard for her indie rock, bass-playing target, Benicio. The God of Love is going to kill her. Even if he is her dad.

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2 / 5

It’s not often that I pick up a romance novel. It’s a rare occurrence in fact, but a great romance novel can be a little guilty pleasure of mine. But unfortunately whilst Lovestruck had a pretty cool premise, it devolved into a bratty girl wanting to make out with a boy who was petty and jealous whilst not loving another guy but also not wanting to let him be with anyone else. How exhausting.

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Romanov, Nadine Brandes


Yes. With all of my broken Romanov heart

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.

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2 / 5

I’m not particularly familiar with Russian history, but I am a sucker for magical realism and I enjoyed Brandes’ other book, Fawkes, so I decided to give Romanov a shot. The spells and magic aspect of the book is awesome, but the story itself was so incredibly slow. Perhaps this was my fault, not knowing that Anastasia Romanov spent most of her life under lock and key in a house, but I do feel like the book needed a much faster pace.

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Only the Ocean, Natasha Carthew


Nothing was too much for a girl with nothing to lose

15-year-old Kel Crow lives in a water-logged world, with a family with whom she shares nothing but blood and a heart defect that she knows could kill her any day. She has a plan to escape, and it’s a good one: stowaway on the ship, kidnap the girl, swap the girl to buy passage to America and a life-saving operation. But plans never go how they’re meant to. 

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2 / 5

I loved the premise of two girls falling in love in a boat floating on the ocean as the world drowns around them. Unfortunately I found the writing style so incredibly aggravating that it made it really hard for me to enjoy the great aspects about Only the Ocean: fast plot, interesting universe, and cool main character.

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