February 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Hero At The Fall by Alwyn Hamilton1.Hero At The Fall by Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel Of The Sands #3)

Owned | Started January 31 + Finished on February 2 |Rating:★★★★☆ ½ |Hero At The Fall Full Review

Overall Thoughts: The Rebel Of The Sands Trilogy concludes with such a character-driven and immersive finale! Amani and the remaining rebels band together to take down the sultan. There’s so much character-development and the depth to the world of Rebel, the magic system, and politics continue to develop till the very end! My issues however continue to be the time-jumps/quick pacing through locations and how they tend to rush through character development/interactions & setting description/atmosphere. However, above all Hero At The Fall really wraps up Amani’s adventure & the trilogy as a whole, to a very satisfying conclusion!

Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones2.Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones (Wintersong #2)

ARC| Started February 5 + Finished on February 7|Rating:★★★★☆ ½ |Shadowsong  Full ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: Shadowsong is an enchanting and captivating finale to the Wintersong duology. I loved every moment of this book! Very much a darker continuation, this novel takes place 6 months after the events of Wintersong, focusing on Liesl as character with her internal development + growth as she comes to terms with having left the Underground + the Goblin King behind. The elegantly constructed POV continues to brings such depth and life to the many aspects from world to characters, music etc. of this phenomenal duology. The dynamic between Liesl & Josef is heavily explored in this novel & plays such a huge role in this novel. Shadowsong is a captivating, elegant, heart-wrenching, and brilliant finale to the Wintersong duology! (This novel is #OwnVoices for bipolar disorder)

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton3.The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles #1)

Owned | Started January 23 + Finished on February 9|Rating:★★★★☆ |The Belles Full Review

Overall Thoughts: The Belles seamlessly weaves in political intrigue, themes and discussions of beauty, all through a descriptive and dazzling writing! Camellia Beauregard wants to secure her spot as the Favorite, but not everything is as it seems. Soon, the idea of beauty and power begin to shift as Camellia learns in her quest to prove herself as the Favorite! The descriptive, dazzling, and magical world of Orléans immediately transports you and the mythology/history of the world itself is explored in such an intriguing way! Though the pacing does slow throughout the middle, the intrigue, magic & mystery of the plot keeps you immersed! (#OwnVoices for black rep.)

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman4.Starfish by by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Library |Started February 12 + Finished On February 16 |Rating:★★★★☆ ½ | Starfish Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Kiko wants nothing more than to get into her dream art school. Living with a family, who never seem to understand her, she learns what family means to her and figures out who she wants to be along the way. Kiko has anxiety and because of that, its difficult for her to speak her mind. However, throughout the novel she knows she has support from friends, both new & old, that help her find her place in the world.The writing flows so beautifully, though the heaviness of the story is there. The writing really allows you to see the characters in such a unique way and are given such depth. Starfish is a character-driven and beautifully written YA Contemporary that builds to an inspiring message of hope! (#OwnVoices for Japanese-American rep. + Social Anxiety)

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black5.The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (The Folk Of The Air #1)

Library | Started February 18 + Finished on February  22 | Rating:★★★☆☆ ¾ | The Cruel Prince Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Jude and her 2 sisters were forced to go to the land of the Fae when they were young, however 10 years later all Jude wants is to fit in. Both Jude & her twin sister Taryn are bullied by the fae royalty and this just fuels Jude’s anger to prove herself to them. The descriptions of the setting and various themes of politics, intrigue, and mystery all weave together really well. There were characters I was unsure how I felt about in the beginning, but ended up truly surprising me as I read. While there were elements I really enjoyed, sadly there was a mix of reasons why I rated the book low: I did find the pacing to slow a bit and felt the direction of the plot got a bit lost at times. Personally, I also didn’t really connect with or enjoy the twin sister relationship between Jude & Taryn. I also found that big moments nearing the middle and end really had much build up, so it felt difficult to really invest myself. I also found that the morally grey/anti-heroine aspects of Jude’s character that many had mentioned, felt more sporadic than I had hoped.However, the ending did leave me interested in seeing what happens next.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo6.The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo 

ARC | Started February 24 + Finished on February 25 | Rating:★★★★☆ ½ | The Poet X Full ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: The Poet X is such a powerful and unforgettable YA Contemporary. Told through poems, Xiomara goes on a journey of questioning and exploring many different aspects of her world from love to religion, and finding her voice through poetry. There were a number of topics explored and discussed such a relationships, body image/self-love, and tackling sexism. Character-driven and impactful, the poems are filled with so much heart, emotion, and depth. The power of Acevedo’s words shines with each page. I also really loved the dynamic between Xiomara & her twin brother Xavier and seeing their relationship change and grow as the book progressed. The Poet X is a must read, so definitely keep an eye out on this book in March! (#OwnVoices for Dominican rep. + there is also gay & Trinidadian rep.)

Additional Posts From This Month:

February 2018 YA Books I’m Looking Forward To!

Literary Listens: Audio Drama Podcasts That Need Book Adaptations

Hero At The Fall by Alwyn Hamilton Review

Hero At The Fall by Alwyn HamiltonHero At The Fall by Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel Of The Sands #3)

Publisher: Faber&Faber

Release Date: February 1, 2018

Pages: 506

UK Edition Available Through: TheBookDepository

Summary: When gunslinging Amani Al’Hiza escaped her dead-end town, she never imagined she’d join a revolution, let alone lead one. But after the bloodthirsty Sultan of Miraji imprisoned the Rebel Prince Ahmed in the mythical city of Eremot, she doesn’t have a choice. Armed with only her revolver, her wits, and her untameable Demdji powers, Amani must rally her skeleton crew of rebels for a rescue mission through the unforgiving desert to a place that, according to maps, doesn’t exist. As she watches those she loves most lay their lives on the line against ghouls and enemy soldiers, Amani questions whether she can be the leader they need or if she is leading them all to their deaths.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Amani’s journey wraps up in this character-driven, magical conclusion to the Rebel Of The Sands trilogy! World-building, magic, politics and character-development become such central aspects to this novel as we see what happens to the rebellion!

I just can’t believe this trilogy is actually over? I remember reading Rebel Of The Sands as an ARC back in 2016 & was just immersed in the unique world that merged magic, desert, and machines.

No matter how many books I’d read since then, I’ll always have such vivid memories from this series. There’s always just been something about this series that always had me constantly thinking/reminiscing, from Amani’s introduction in Deadshot to gather enough money to leave her town behind in Rebel to the inner politics that had Amani question her new-found place in the rebellion in Traitor!

Hero At The Fall was just such a unique, surprising, & captivating conclusion that I’m not entirely sure how to put my thoughts into words (but I’ll do my best!). *I’ll try to be as vague as possible, however there may be some minor spoilers as I go further into my review, so read w/ caution*

What I loved about this novel so much was that it was much more reminiscent to Rebel Of The Sands. From the numerous journeys across Mirjai, to the politics, adventure, and so much more, I felt this novel really brought back all those elements that reminded me  of the adventures Jin & Amani had in Book 1!

With the rebellion now in the hands of Amani, a few remaining rebels + old friends, she does what she can to ensure the Sultan doesn’t turn all that they’ve worked months for, into nothing. The rebels plan to not only take down the Sultan, but continue pushing on to get Ahmed his rightful place on the throne.

What I loved so much about this conclusion was that we really see Amani’s growth as a character. She constantly remembers her selfish + reckless behavior just a year ago and how her role in this rebellion has allowed her to become a different person. Now focused on much more than just herself, she works with her crew to keep the Sultan from destroying all that they’ve worked for. She considers decisions from so many different angles because she wants to ensure the safety of the people of Miraji and the rebels who’ve already sacrificed so much.

There’s so much depth and growth to Hero At The Fall from the expansion on the politics and world, as Amani tries to keep the rebellion going. We return to old places and explore new ones as along the way as the rebels Amani, Jin, Tamid, Hala, Izz & Maz, & many more as they try to save the crumbling rebellion.

The uncertainties in Hero At The Fall left the adventure filled with mystery, suspense, surprises, depth and so much more that not only builds into something new and unexpected than in previous books, but also manages to weave together all those aspects + threads that were built in Rebel & Traitor!

Without spoiling, what I can say is that Hero At The Fall just doesn’t go the way you think!! Hamilton brilliantly makes Hero At The Fall work for the series & on its own. For me, its seen as such a separate piece from the previous books in the series, while also being a brilliant addition to it (if that makes any sense?).

Sam, though he was only introduced in Traitor To The Throne, easily became one of my favorite characters of the entire series!! ❤ ❤ From his wit & humor, to the mystery surrounding him as a character & the phenomenal growth seen in him in Hero At The Fall was just so spectacularly done. I just…loved Sam so much! His dynamic with Jin, Shazad, & his comedic flirting with Amani + his own growth as being more than a deserter of Albis.~ Hamilton just really created a character in Sam who is so much more than he appears to be.

I also loved the development between Amani & the crew. From Jin to Prince Ahmed, Sam, Shazad, Tamid,  & all the others. Seeing how much their relationships changed and grew in Hero At The Fall really made this book special also considering how much Amani has grown too.

The magic system really becomes such a pivotal aspect to the world and politics that occur as the rebellion builds in Miraji. Hamilton really made it such an integral part to the story than I expected. I felt she easily balanced the politics, magic, character/world-development and all the other elements so well that Hero At The Fall always had something new to discover with each page!

I want to be as vague as I can on the plot to avoid spoilers, but overall keep in mind that Hamilton just continues to build the intriguing plot of Hero all throughout the story and I felt it just being so reminiscent of book 1 really made this conclusion special.

My only issues that kept this from being a full 5 was that, as with previous books, I haven’t always been such a huge fan of the time-jumps. I felt that the time jumps made moments feel rushed and left some character interactions + settings under-developed as the plot went at such a quick pace. Additionally though this is the conclusion, I felt compared to the previous books, at points some aspects of the setting description/atmosphere weren’t present. This made it a bit difficult for me to really picture the settings at times.

I will also note that the ideas of stories and myths, how people remember you and their importance was such a present theme in this novel compared to previous books and Hamilton weaved it in such a way where it becomes such a bigger part as the novel progresses.

Hero At The Fall brings the Rebel Of The Sands trilogy to a satisfying conclusion as you join Amani on one last adventure to fight for the rebellion! With action, adventure, twists + turns, even more depth to the plot, characters, politics, & world, it creates such an immersive and page-turning finale that will leave you hooked till the very end!