Hunted by Meagan Spooner Review

Hunted by Meagan SpoonerHunted by Meagan Spooner

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: March 14, 2017

Pages: 384

Summary: Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Spooner delivers a magical and captivating Russian-inspired Beauty & The Beast Retelling! With vivid characters, themes of sisterhood and family, immersive plot and rich world, you will be enchanted!

Told through a 3rd person POV, we follow Yeva (the Beauty) and the journey she undergoes when her family (Her sisters & father) loses their fortune! Forced to move to their old cabin in the woods, they must adjust to their new life.

However, when their father gets lost in the woods (presumably searching for the Beast), Yeva sets out to rescue him! As the story progresses she finds herself in Beast’s castle and learns more about herself and the magic that lies deep in the woods.

The characters were wonderfully written! While it may seem that this is a very romance-heavy novel, it really isn’t! It focuses so much on the characters and their development.

Spooner really showed the bonds that the sisters (Yeva+Asenka + Lena) have with each other and no matter what tragedies or trials they face along the way, they are always there to help and support each other! No jealousies or rivalries. Just sisterly love/support and I loved that so much! ❤ ❤

Even the male characters, who show feelings for some of the sisters don’t have romance as a central part of their story. They help the sisters and stick by them.

Each character was crafted wonderfully! There was never a character trait/motive that felt out of place or dragged the story. They all remained focused and nothing they did ever felt out of character!

Yeva was my favorite! She longs for freedom and wants to seek out more for herself and her life! While she may be eager to seek out the magic of her world on her own, she always puts others happiness first before her own! ❤

The world, while setting wise could have used a little more description, was very well constructed and the Russian-Folklore elements weaved perfectly into the story!

While reading, this story felt magical and I loved that!

Above all, a lot of fantastic elements to a fantastic retelling!

However, my only issue was towards the 50% mark or so, the story felt like it slowed down for me personally. For the rest of the novel, I was powering through. Not that I didn’t enjoy it…I really did! It just felt that once the story progressed and Yeva finds herself back home, the rest of the story’s pacing felt very slow.

Aside from that, as for the plot while I’m very familiar with the tale, I loved Spooner’s retelling and found myself surprised along the way! Overall the originality and surprises of this tale, kept me turning the page!

Spooner delivers a magical that puts emphasis on characters and their development! With magic weaved throughout each page, you will find yourself captivated Russian-Inspired retelling of Beauty & The Beast!
Spooner’s tale is spellbinding, bringing a wholly original take to a classic fairy tale!

March 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 7

wintersong-by-s-jae-jones1.Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Wintersong Full Review

Publisher: Thomas Dunne

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 436

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: There was so much pre-release hype + buzz surrounding this book and I was not disappointed! The writing-style (1st person POV) really sucks you into the story and brings the setting and characters to life! Elements of family, loyalty + independence were weaved all throughout this magical tale. What really stood out to me though was the atmosphere Jones created which really made this book stand-out! Highly recommend!

Daughter Of The Pirate King2.Daughter Of The Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller (DOTPK #1)

Daughter Of The Pirate King Full Review

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: February 28, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: I loved everything about this book! We follow Alosa as she plans her own capture aboard The Night Farer in order to help her father “The Pirate King” locate a map! Levenseller blends action, adventure, and romance perfectly! The plot surprised me with every page! The characters, plot and world are wonderfully developed. This was a perfect pirate adventure & I cannot wait for Book 2!

Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza Cover Reveal 20173.Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza (EOATS #1) 

Empress Of A Thousand Skies Full Review

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 314

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: A unique and fascinating character-driven Sci-Fi/Space Opera! Belleza discusses and expands on very timely topics and she kept those a central part of the novel! Told through 3rd person, she does an incredible job with dual POV! Additionally, the plot, characters (+diversity), politics, world, etc. are all put at the center which was fantastic! However I do wish the world was expanded on more (more/richer atmosphere)! Regardless, there were so many great elements to this novel & I cannot wait to see how it wraps up in Book 2!

The Girl From the Other Side-Siúil, A Rún Vol. 14.The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil A Rún Vol. 1 {TGFTOS #1} by Nagabe

The Girl From The Other Side Full Review

Publisher: Seven Seas

Release Date: January 24, 2017

Pages: 180

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: This manga was fantastic! Both dark + enchanting, we follow Shiva & “Teacher” as they live in a world with “Insiders” + “Outsiders” (monsters, similar to what Teacher is). Teacher wants to keep Shiva safe so they live in a quiet cottage near the woods. Themes of family + the shades between light vs. dark are central in this story! It kept me surprised with each and every page! The artwork is wonderful and really brings the story to life! 

under-rose-tainted-skies-by-louise-gornall5.Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Under-Rose Tainted Skies Full Review

Publisher: Clarion Books

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Norah has both agoraphobia & OCD and with that, finds it difficult to leave her house. However along the way, she comes to understand the bravery that she’s had all along. While reading, I could really follow Norah’s thought process and could really relate to her, in regards to her anxiety. However I did feel the ending was rather rushed near the end. This novel emphasized personal growth and I adored that so much! If your looking for a great YA Contemporary (+ #Ownvoices) definitely check this book out!

we-are-okay-by-nina-lacour6.We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

We Are Okay Full Review

Publisher: Dutton Books For Young Readers

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Pages: 234

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: The writing is what brought so much emotion and depth to Marin’s story.  Additionally, it also brought the characters to life + atmosphere to the setting! While there is slow pacing, themes and character development are weaved throughout! This novel discusses themes of friendship, family, grief/loss, and love! 

Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos Review7.Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos

Crazy Messy Beautiful Full Review

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Arcos delivers a unique contemporary that puts an emphasis on friendship. In English class, Pablo gets assigned a research paper on a classmate. Pablo & Callie really develop a friendship/bond over the course of this novel. However Pablo realizes he may be falling for Callie. I did find that aspect to be rather rushed + some other plot elements that felt incomplete! Regardless, Arcos really makes friendship a huge factor of this novel while also delivering a unique take on love.

However:*There was one line I *personally found to be questionable, which can be read on my Review* I would love reviewers to give me feedback, perhaps I just misunderstood? 

Additional Posts From This Month:

Literary Listens: Podcast Recommendations For Writers

Traitor To The Throne Reading Playlist + Wintersong Reading Playlist

Waiting On Wednesday I #8 (Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns)

Warcross by Marie Lu Cover Reveal

Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos Review

Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos ReviewCrazy Messy Beautiful

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 320

Summary: When your namesake is Pablo Neruda—the greatest love poet of all time—finding “the one” should be easy. After all, sixteen-year-old aspiring artist Neruda Diaz has been in love many times before. So it’s only a matter of time before someone loves him back.

Callie could be that someone. She’s creative and edgy, and nothing like the girls Neruda typically falls for, so when a school assignment brings them together, he is pleasantly surprised to learn they have a lot in common. With his true love in reach and his artistic ambitions on track, everything is finally coming together.

But as Neruda begins to fall faster and harder than ever before, he is blindsided by the complicated nature of love—and art—in more ways than one. And when the relationships he’s looked to for guidance threaten to implode, Neruda must confront the reality that love is crazier, messier, and more beautiful than he ever realized—and riskier, too, than simply saying the words.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Arcos delivers a unique take on love and puts an emphasis on friendship!

Highly recommend this novel if your looking for one that focuses on friendship while also discussing the complexities of love! Crazy Messy Beautiful is YA Contemporary that delivered a unique plot that had me surprised with each page!

Written through 1st Person POV, we follow Pablo Neruda who is an artist at heart. When he discovers his long-time crush Autumn (crush #8) doesn’t reciprocate his feelings, he is heartbroken.

Then in English, the entire class gets assigned a research project on a randomly chosen partner. He gets paired with Callie Leibowitz. Though both have sat at the same group table together for months, they’ve never really talked.

He had his preconceived ideas about her, however over the course of the novel they both learn much more about each other and develop an incredible friendship.

Arcos really brings the main character Pablo to life and I felt he was given such depth and I really understood his character over the course of the story.

Callie and Pablo bond over a number of different things like movies and art! They encourage each other to pursue their passions and really get to better understand each other!

Pablo learns more about Callie’s passion for makeup & makeup design and Callie learns more about Pablo’s passion for art (sketching, painting, etc.)

However conflict arises when Pablo realizes he may be falling in love with Callie. Regardless, they really get to know each other and the friendship forged between the two was truly the highlight of this novel!

Arcos also delivers the novel through a thought-provoking + at times poetic writing-style where you really get to understand these characters, especially Pablo!

The plot itself is very character-driven and overall was very unique comparing to other contemporaries I’ve read recently! It went in directions I did not see coming!

When Pablo discovers some family secrets and comes to terms with his feelings for Callie, he learns more about love and its complications over the course of this story, while also coming to terms with his perceptions and concepts of love.

Arcos focuses this novel on Pablo and his development, while making friendship and family central parts of the story!

Additionally, I loved that there were diverse Main + Side characters! (Chilean + Mexican Representation!)

There were some moments when the pacing was rather slow and I felt Pablo’s feelings for Callie came rather quickly. Additionally there were plot points that felt not only incomplete, but unnecessary (b/c they were never really expanded upon)

Overall Arcos delivers an engaging YA Contemporary that focuses on friendship and family, while also delivering a unique take on love!

EDIT/UPDATE: *Perhaps I just misread/misunderstood this line, however after finishing, this line has still stuck in my mind. This line personally just left me uneasy b/c I’m surprised the MC would just assume that to begin with!! Just to be sure, I wanted feedback from fellow reviewers.*

Background: Ezra is a pen-pal that Neruda mentions he had when a class of his assigned students to inmates to write letters back & forth, and now is acquainted with Ezra who’s now out of prison, they still talk and hang out.

Over the years I’ve teased out bits and pieces of his story. From what I can tell, he was trying to help his brother,Rafa, and ended up going with him to rob a house. I think Ezra was trying to stop him from doing it. The house was supposed to be empty, but it wasn’t.  Rafa was shot and killed and Ezra was sent to prison. He was eighteen at the time and served ten years for an armed robbery conviction. But as soon as I got to know Ezra I immediately doubted his guilt. He just didn’t seem like the typical stereotype of a Mexican guy in jail, the one you see portrayed on TV shows and movies-shaved head, arms covered in tats, maybe even one circling his neck or a teardrop close to his eye…(page 24-25)

Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza Review

Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza Cover Reveal 2017Empress Of A Thousand Skies (Empress #1)

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 314

Summary: CROWN PRINCESS RHIANNON TA’AN WANTS VENGEANCE.

The only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, RHEE has spent her life training to destroy the people who killed her family. Now, on the eve of her coronation, the time has finally come for Rhee to claim her throne – and her revenge.

ALYOSHA is a Wraetan who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. Despite his popularity, Aly struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices and the pressure of being perfect in the public eye.

Their paths collide with one brutal act of violence: Rhee is attacked, barely escaping with her life. Aly is blamed for her presumed murder.

The princess and her accused killer are forced to go into hiding – even as a war between planets is waged in Rhee’s name. But soon, Rhee and Aly discover that the assassination attempt is just one part of a sinister plot. Bound together by an evil that only they can stop, the two fugitives must join forces to save the galaxy.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Belleza delivers a character driven sci-fi space opera that discusses very timely issues + politics as a princess + a tv celebrity find themselves on the run!

Empress had so many great elements! It was very plot + character driven and had little to no romance for most of the novel.

Being told through dual POV (3rd person) and it worked extremely well for this story! Because both characters aren’t exactly together for most of the novel, we get to see the politics, culture, etc. of the unique worlds from differing perspectives.

Aly, due to his Wraetan background is seen as different by others and fears if he is to do anything to damage his reputation while on TV, it would look bad for all Wraetans. Reading that made me feel so bad for Aly (with all the pressure upon his shoulders). Reading from his POV brought up very relevant and timely issues one could mirror to our own world that is sadly still seen today, how there are those out there who aren’t as accepting when they view people from other cultures and see them only as “different.” Which is so wrong!

Through Aly’s POV we see that just because he is Wraetan, he is framed from Rhee’s assassination.

Aly really goes into depth about his war-torn home and the struggles he’s faced to get to where he is. I loved the expansion on this subject, not only because it mirrors our own and gives perspective, but it shows how wrong/harmful these ideas are and can be.

As with Rhee, she flees her home planet after she nearly escapes an assassination attempt on her own life. She finds herself charting across different planets to track down who she suspects is behind her assassination and reclaim her throne!

She was very determined and came up with plans, however usually hesitated when the moments to enact her revenge finally came. With this all suddenly upon her, it would make sense that she would have her reasons for hesitation. Regardless, while she does make mistakes, she grows and no matter what happened along the way, she stayed true to herself and her goal. She never strayed away from it!

My heart broke reading what he had faced! I loved reading from both POV’s however Aly’s was definitely my favorite! Aly lost his family, his home, faced discrimination but no matter what, he kept pushing forward and never gave up fighting to clear his name.

From what I’ve read, I’m pretty sure there is a sequel! So I’m hoping with the next one, Rhee, Aly and the other characters introduced are given even more background and development, because there was so much mystery surrounding these characters.

I loved the unique aspects that Belleza was able to weave into this story, from the memory cube technology to the unique creatures found across the planets.

Additionally, a majority of the cast of characters were people of color, which is amazing!! I’m always happy to read a book with a diverse cast!! ❤

For the plot as a whole, I was kept surprised with each and every page! I could never guess where the story was headed which I adored, because it kept me invested from start to finish!

As for the pacing it was rather slow for me, however the mysteries that unfold had me turning the page to figure out who was behind it all!

As mentioned + introduced above, Belleza continued to discuss very timely issues such as immigration, politics, views on technology & privacy + so much more!

That is an aspect I loved so much about Empress! She really makes them an integral part of the plot and overall themes of the novel that really have you thinking all through out the entire story.

Additionally, there are so many layers to the story as a whole. Essentially, from Rhee’s perspective you learn there is a treaty in place and while it made the worlds stable when Rhee’s father established it, there’s still discrimination and tension between the planets.

Now as to why it wasn’t a full 5-stars:

First off I will admit, the summary was a little misleading for me, because going into the book I assumed Rhiannon + Aly would be together for most of the novel, however that wasn’t the case which is what I was expecting.

There were some moments I wish the worlds themselves were fleshed out a little more, while a lot of social issues are brought up within each world and discussed when Aly or Rhee visit them, in terms of descriptions + atmosphere I wanted a little more!

Empress Of A Thousand Skies is a thought-provoking story which takes the time to discuss very timely issues, introduces multi-layered politics and world-building, puts characters and plot at the center, and overall delivers a refreshing and unique tale in YA Sci-Fi!

February 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 8

traitor-to-the-throne-by-alwyn-hamilton1.Traitor To The Throne by Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel Of The Sands #2)

Traitor To The Throne Full Review

Publisher: Faber&Faber

Release Date: February 2, 2017

Pages: 512

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A fantastic sequel that truly surprised me! Hamilton focuses more on the politics and world of Miraji, while expanding on the magic/mythology. Her writing style as with Rebel keeps the story moving and really immerses you into the story! I am beyond excited for what’s to happen in Rebel Of The Sands #3!

kings-cage2.King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #3)

King’s Cage Full Review

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 528

My Rating:★★★★☆ 

Overall Thoughts: The world and characters really develop over the course of this novel compared to the previous installments. There is much needed expansion beyond Norta & many aspects of the world and politics surprised me + really added more depth to the world. However with the addition to multiple POV’s, there was 1 POV in particular really dragged the story  & did more of *showing instead of *telling.  Additionally, there are certain characters who I wish were present more. Regardless, Aveyard’s 3rd installment was entertaining and kept me turning the page! Interested to see how the Red Queen Series ends in Book 4!

welcome-to-the-ballroom-volume-13.Welcome To The Ballroom Vol. 1 by Tomo Takeuchi

Welcome To The Ballroom Full Review To Come

Publisher: Kodansha Comics

Pages: 192

My Rating:★★★★☆ 

Overall Thoughts: A great introduction to a new manga series about Tatara, a high school student who gets involved with ballroom dancing! I wish there was more development with the characters b/c they were all introduced wonderfully! Overall there’s comedic moments, dynamic characters and a unique plot that has me eager to read the next volumes!

the-valiant-by-lesley-livingston-book-review4.The Valiant by Lesley Livingston (The Valiant #1)

The Valiant Full Review

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Pages: 384

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A character-driven tale about a Celtic princess turned gladiator! The engaging and well-rounded characters made this novel so much fun to read. I do wish the story’s pacing was a little faster + had more action! Regardless, this was an immersive tale about sisterhood, family, & honor! Cannot wait to read where Fallon’s journey is headed in the sequel!

because-of-the-sun-by-jenny-torres-sanchez5.Because Of The Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Because Of The Sun Full Review

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Pages: 272

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: The writing style is very “dream-like” and makes this YA Contemporary so unique! Dani has lost her mother and must adjust to a new life with her aunt in New Mexico. She forges a friendship w/ Paulo and he is very supportive during her time of grieving. There is an additional POV in this story, which added tons of background but did slow the story a little for me. Overall, themes of grief, family, love and loss are weaved perfectly into this novel that truly focuses on Dani’s journey as she comes to terms with her mother’s death.

ronit-and-jamil-by-pamela-l-laskin6.Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin

Ronit & Jamil Full Review

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Pages: 192

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Written in verse, Laskin’s modern take on Romeo & Juliet is lyrical and fast-paced! Ronit & Jamil can’t help but fall in love. However a wall across their lands keeps them separated, but they know deep down their love won’t be fractured. Conflicts arise and their family wants what’s best for them. While there are some moments it does feel rather rushed, overall this tale delivers a message of hope!

A Conjuring Of Light7.A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (Shades Of Magic #3)

A Conjuring Of Light Full Review

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Pages: 624

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Phenomenal character development + world-building weave throughout the masterfully crafted plot! A truly phenomenal conclusion to the Shades Of Magic Series!

monthly-girls-nozaki-kun-volume-28.Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun  by Izumi Tsubaki (Vol. 2)

Monthly Girls Full Review To Come (Vol. 1-3)

Publisher: Yen Press

Release Date: February 23, 2016

Pages: 144

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun is easily becoming one of my favorite Manga series!
As always, romance/high-school tropes are given unique+comedic spins & that’s what makes it so fun to read! There is tons of character development and the plot continues to be fun, unique, & engaging! Cannot wait to read volume 3!

Additional Posts From This Month:

~None This Month~

Because Of The Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez Review

because-of-the-sun-by-jenny-torres-sanchezBecause Of The Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Pages: 272

Summary: Dani Falls learned to tolerate her existence in suburban Florida with her brash and seemingly unloving mother by embracing the philosophy Why care? It will only hurt. So when her mother is killed in a sudden and violent manner, Dani goes into an even deeper protection mode, total numbness. It’s the only way she can go on.

But when Dani chooses The Stranger by Albert Camus as summer reading for school, it feels like fate. The main character’s alienation after his mother’s death mirrors her own.

Dani’s life is thrown into further turmoil when she is sent to New Mexico to live with an aunt she never knew she had. The awkwardness between them is palpable. To escape, Dani takes long walks in the merciless heat. One day, she meets Paulo, who understands how much Dani is hurting. Although she is hesitant at first, a mutual trust and affection develop between Dani and Paulo, and Dani begins to heal. And as she and her aunt begin to connect, Dani learns about her mother’s past. Forgiving isn’t easy, but maybe it’s the only way to move forward.

*Note this novel does contain physical/emotional abuse*-Be aware if those are triggers for you.*

My Rating:★★★★☆ 

My Thoughts: Because Of The Sun follows Dani as she grieves the loss of her mother. Told through a unique prose, this novel discusses death, family and love.

This was a unique contemporary I won’t forget!

What made this novel truly stand out was the atmospheric writing-style! Written in an almost “stream of consciousness” we follow Dani Falls, who has lost her mother due to a violent accident and must now leave her home in Florida behind to live with her aunt Shelly in New Mexico.

After spending weeks at her aunt’s house, she rarely leaves and manages to speak only a few words at a time. We begin to wonder if Dani will ever recover and find the strength to accept.

Blurring the line between reality and dream, a bear is mentioned when Ruby passes away and throughout the novel and just like Dani, we are left to question whether it was ever truly there to begin with.

Through out the story, she struggles with the fact that she had a very difficult relationship with her mother and wonders if she ever even truly loved her. When truths about Ruby Falls comes to light, Dani questions whether she even knew her mother at all.

The characters were all very well written and I could truly picture them and understand them fully through Dani’s eyes!

She comes to know Paulo and the two bond over movies! Dani gets to know Paulo and while the do start a relationship Sanchez never makes it a central part of the novel and truly focuses on Dani’s personal growth as she grieves and comes to terms with whats happened. I adored the dynamic between the two of them and no matter what, Paulo respected when Dani wanted to help herself and always gave her the space she needed!

I do wish Paulo was included more, because he was a very loving and supportive friend/boyfriend to Dani. However I loved that Sanchez really left the romance in the background!

There is also a big emphasis on family. With the loss of her mother, Dani comes to know her aunt Shelly and understands she isn’t alone and that she can confide in her through her struggles. She also finds comfort with Paulo and his grandmother as well. They provide her with the emotional support and love she never had.

In terms of plot, it mainly focuses around Dani and her new life when she moves to New Mexico and comes to terms with her mother’s death. What I also really loved about the plot was how this novel truly centered around Dani and her personal growth.

After completing the novel it was clear that Dani still had a long way to go to recover and was doing it slowly but surely, however Sanchez did a fantastic job to show that her recovery wasn’t going to be an easy transition and would take time. She was still accepting the truths she learned about her mother, but with her new family and friends it was clear she would be okay.

I will admit I did take off a star, because while the inclusion of Shelly’s POV added much more to the story and really gave more background to Dani’s mother Ruby and why she was very detached, it did slow down the story for me. However, I really got to know more about Shelly and that was great because through Dani’s POV, I felt there was still a lot to learn about her.

Additionally after the section centering around Shelly + Ruby’s past, I felt that the ending felt a little rushed and wanted more page-time/interactions with Dani & the side-characters who now really supported and helped her when she needed it most.

Through a dream-like writing style we follow Dani as she adjusts to a new home and grows to find the strength to accept her mother’s death and all the complexities that come with it!

King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard Review

kings-cageKing’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #3)

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 528

Summary: Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

My Rating:★★★★☆ (maybe 4.5? Still deciding on rating!)

My Thoughts: King’s Cage expands the Red Queen world and Aveyard delivers incredible character development + will leave readers ready for Book 4!

Looking back while Glass Sword wasn’t the strongest addition to the series, King’s Cage definitely delivered!

I’m never let down by Aveyard’s writing and as always I find myself surprised at how fast I finish reading her books!

~Major Spoilers Ahead~

The story starts off with Mare as both Maven’s prisoner and pawn. She is being tortured and due to the Silent Stone, can’t use her ability!

Maven forces Mare to use her identity as the “Lightning Girl” to bring Newbloods and Reds to his side and expand his power as king.

An aspect which took me by surprise was seeing the inner workings of Maven’s rule! Mare states during her time in the palace, he looks weaker and more tired. Due to all the stress he is put under, he knows he can easily loose his grip on power, so he will do anything to keep the throne!

The Scarlet Guard doesn’t give up hope to get Maven off the throne & it was definitely a surprising twist to see them get stronger as the months passed, becoming an unexpected obstacle for him.

Mare comes to terms with how she treated people back in Glass Sword + over the course of the novel she really changes and reflects on her behavior to become a better person.

The last act mostly revolves around getting Mare comfortable with the guard/her friends & family now that she’s escaped + prepping her for to join the expanded guard ready to fight Maven!

The aftermath of the battle was definitely fast-paced and had me unsure what was going to happen next!

*No spoilers, but while I didn’t absolutely love it, I really enjoyed the ending to King’s Cage and I definitely feel the final installment will end the series off on a good note!

One of the best parts of this series is Maven! Aveyard really knows how to handle his character and we really come to know more about him and his past! While I do enjoy reading about him, I definitely applaud Aveyard for not excusing or showing redemption for his behavior!

Over the course of this story I really felt more connected to Mare than I did in GS and through her narrative it was clear that Maven’s equally expanding rule would bring trouble for the Scarlet Guard as well!

I adored getting more from the world! We know there is more beyond the Kingdom of Norta and while we get a bigger scope of RQ’s history we also get introduced to the surrounding kingdoms and their rulers.

Another interesting addition was Multiple POV! I’ll be honest, my rating is low because while I enjoyed the new perspectives and adored the characters themselves, *Which I won’t spoil* and while I enjoyed both pretty equally I felt one of the POV’s both dragged the story and just directly told us of events going on behind the scenes, instead of letting us figure it out ourselves.

As for other aspects I really loved about King’s Cage:

~What truly took me by surprise was the inner turmoil and rebelling of the other Houses! How it was developed was something I really enjoyed. I loved how Aveyard showed the costs for Maven taking the throne! I was not expecting Maven to show stress/fear from his position!

~We get more development from characters like Evangeline, Maven of course, Kilorn and it was great to see different facets to their character. (Kilorn + Cal development was also done very well!)

~I loved the Cal + Mare development! 

~Mare bonds more with the other women in this series which was awesome and I loved how they helped/relied on each other along the way!

Aside from some minor issues with the POV, I also took off a star b/c:

~I wish there more  page time with Cal + Maven! I felt this novel showed how big of a role they have in the series overall+ once Book 4 comes and overall it would have been great to get more scenes with them!

+ I tried my hardest to, but personally I just couldn’t avoid similarities between this novel and another I previously read before getting into King’s Cage! 😥

Regardless of those issues, King’s Cage is filled with fun twists and turns, expansion beyond Norta and overall this novel truly shines because of its characters! Aveyard as usual will leave you wanting the next book right away!