Kingdom Of Ash And Briars Playlist

kingdom-of-ash-and-briars-playlistHappy Monday!

Today’s reading playlist is inspired by A Kingdom Of Ash And Briars by Hannah West!

If you’ve read it, check out my ARC Review Here!

If you haven’t read KOAAB, this debut novel centers around Bristal a girl who realizes she has elicromancer abilities and is tasked with protecting the 3 kingdoms of her world when an army/war is brewing! It incorporates many classic fairy tales and puts unique twists on them (Cinderella, Mulan,Sleeping Beauty)

While reading, I listened to many Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep OST’s & I felt they really matched with the overall plot/tone of the story + I’ve also included a few tracks from Final Fantasy!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 🙂

 

Kingdom Of Ash And Briars by Hannah West ARC Review

kingdom-of-ash-and-briars-24hryabookblogKingdom Of Ash & Briars by Hannah West

Publisher: Holiday House Books

Release Date: September 15, 2016

Pages: 352

Summary: Bristal, an orphaned kitchen maid, lands in a gritty fairy tale gone wrong when she discovers she is an elicromancer with a knack for shape-shifting.

An ancient breed of immortal magic beings, elicromancers have been winnowed down to merely two – now three – after centuries of bloody conflict in the realm. Their gifts are fraught with responsibility, and sixteen-year-old Bristal is torn between two paths. Should she vow to seek the good of the world, to protect and serve mortals? Or should she follow the strength of her power, even if it leads to unknown terrors? She draws on her ability to disguise herself as a man to infiltrate a prince’s band of soldiers, and masquerades as a fairy godmother to shield a cursed princess, but time is running out. As an army of dark creatures grows closer, Bristal faces a supernatural war. To save the kingdoms, Bristal must find the courage to show her true form.

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: *Thank you to the publisher for sending me a review copy! This in no way influences my thoughts!*

An immersive YA Fantasy that draws inspiration from classic fairy tales and weaves together a wonderfully crafted story that is both magical and filled with adventure!

This book was all kinds of amazing! I need more!! ❤ ❤

Just as a warning, there may be some fangirling ahead!!

This book doesn’t come out for a couple days, but PLEASE do yourself a favor and add it to your TBR if you haven’t already + read it on release day/pre-order it if you can!!

Now I’ll try to explain in the best way I can, why I adored this book and why you should read it too! ❤ 

Fairy tales collide in this magical debut surrounding Bristol, a kitchen maid, who finds herself becoming an elicromancer!

From page one I was immediately transported to the world of Nissera and through Bristol’s 1st Person POV, I really felt both the worlds and the characters come to life!

Plot:

The author introduces us to Bristol who realizes she has magical abilities (shapeshifting) after being brought against her will to a magical lake that awakens Elicromancers called The Water!

With her power resonating in an “Elicrin Stone,” she finds herself meeting Brack and Tamarice who have elicromancer abilities as well and they find it best to train her and fulfill their purpose of keeping peace across the 3 kingdoms:

Volarre, Calgoran, & Yorth.

But things aren’t as they seem, when someone threatens to upset the balance and bring Elicromancers to their former glory. But will do anything (even use dark elicromancy) to achieve it!

She then finds herself tasked with protecting all three kingdoms as best she can to prevent the evil from taking over!

With her power as a Clandestine she takes on a variety of appearances to find a way to unite the kingdoms!

The plot itself is very unique and while it introduces elements seen before, through the author’s writing and her wonderfully developed characters/world + the mix of classic fairy tales she creates a wholly original and immersive story!

I won’t get into tons of spoilers, because I found it fun to make my own connections along the way with Bristol coming to understand the world of Nissera.

I will admit at some moments the pacing is a little slow, but overall the story kept me turning the page!

+  There is a time jump in this novel (explained early on) and I will admit I was unsure how I felt about it in the beginning, but along the way with the characters and intricacy of the plot I grew to not only understand it, but felt it was perfect for the story!

2.Characters/World-Building:
Both of these aspects went hand in hand! The world of Nissera is both magical and fantastical!
You get that right away from the authors descriptions!

The fairy tale elements are seamlessly weave their way into the plot from Cinderella to Sleeping Beauty, even elements of Mulan.

I loved how each fairy tale connected to tell an epic tale! It was incredibly done!

She wrote her characters wonderfully!
Each and every character is written with such depth and you truly feel connected to each one through Britsol’s eyes!

With the task of taking on a variety of appearance’s Bristol finds herself struggling to understand who she is, while creating such deep connections with the friends she encounters along the way.

There is a war brewing and it was written so well! The build up is the best part! With Bristol traveling across the land to form alliances and prepare for the battle, it also gives background into Bristol’s past + the deeper/intricate plot that unfolds!

+ There are so many swoon-worthy princes in this story!! (Prince Anthony was my favorite BTW) ❤ ❤

I’ve seen so many fantasy series that have multiple books, however according to the author Kingdom Of Ash & Briars is a STANDALONE!
I don’t usually see that in YA Fantasy and it was definitely refreshing to see once I saw how the story wrapped up! However it just brings me to tears because that means:  I WON’T  have another book with these amazing characters and world.
I really felt this story was its own magical fairy tale come to life and loved it with each and every page!! ❤ ❤
Overall a magical debut that pays an homage to classic fairy tales, while weaving them together to deliver a tale magical and original all on its own!! 
If you’ve read this KOAAB or are planning to, let me know in the comments below! 🙂
+ I’ll have a Reading Playlist For KOAAB Coming Sometime This Month!

 

The Winners Kiss by Marie Rutkoski Review

20443235The Winners Kiss by Marie Rutkoski (The Winners Trilogy #3)

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Release Date: March 29, 2016

Pages: 496

Summary: War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

My Thoughts:

“No battle is won without a good gamble.”

An epic conclusion to an incredible trilogy!

First and foremost, what I love about this trilogy so much is Kestrel as a character.

She is powerful not in a sense of her strength as a fighter, but through her mind and development of strategy.

This final installment, as with the past 2 novels, is presented with an exquisite writing style!

Each and every sentence carries so much weight and meaning to overall story and is delivered in such an elegant manner.

There is immense character development in this novel and can be seen through the actions each character takes. With the 3rd person POV, we see just how important perception/strategy is and how its weaved into to the main characters personality.

In addition, politics/strategy plays a huge role and weaves in perfectly with the plot.

At the start of the book, Kestrel is sent to a prison camp and she reflects on all that has happened (from what happened w/ Arin, her father, etc.). Feeling guilty she does what she can to erase those past memories.

Arin is now plays an important role in the battle between the Valorians & Herrani, while still holding onto his moments w/ Kestrel.

An aspect to plot which I really loved, was the dynamic between Arin & his god of death (which later is reveled to be himself)

As the plot continues they reunite, but Kestrel has lost important memories and Arin no longer sees her as who she once was.

While forgetting some memories, she recovers but throughout this novel there is definitely growth to Kestrel. In addition to her incredible logic, she also develops her strength through combat.

Kestrel and Arin’s relationship while important, did not remain the focus and development for their relationship was definitely there when necessary.

In terms of world-building it is definitely there, with the descriptions during battle/strategy planning. And through the characters reflecting on past events.

*This novel also has a slower pace in my opinion than the previous two, but does not make the story drag*

While reading, what I also loved about this book was the character dynamics/interactions. From conversation to battles, the writing style really sets this final book up as a strategy game with the characters each playing their part.

Overall each element from plot to politics weaved together perfectly to deliver an action-packed and stunning conclusion to The Winners Trilogy ❤ ❤