Wicked Fox – Kat Cho

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Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: June 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Mythology


REVIEW:

Somehow I knew this would not work well for me and I am all about mythology in my fantasy reads. But after reading the cheesy summary mentioning a forbidden romance that could potentially become Miyoung’s downfall, I was like, ‘‘I really hope YA Fiction moves on from this type of character arc, man.’’ I gave it a chance anyway because sometimes blurbs are awful but the characters wonderful so it’s always possible to be surprised when it comes to books. Continue reading

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Spinning Silver – Naomi Novik

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Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: 2018
Publisher: Del Rey
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling, Magic, Feminism, Power Relations


REVIEW:

This is a whole different beast from most fairytale retellings I read. Different even from the author’s previously released magnificent tale—Uprooted. Uprooted, from what I recall, was thoroughly enchanting and exquisitely written. Spinning Silver is not quite like that. It is not a love story first and foremost—it is a story of survival. It is very feminist with three central female protagonists who experience, learn and grow. The writing is in no way purple-y. The author’s main concern is not to wow us with long beautiful descriptions of what are ultimately meaningless things and she doesn’t embellish what is meant to be raw and impactful. Continue reading

Lanny – Max Porter

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Lanny by Max Porter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: PRH Canada
Published: May 2019
Publisher: Strange Light
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Fantasy, Mystery, Magical Realism, Dark, Creepy, Short, Family


REVIEW:

This is an odd little book that I did not want to stop reading one second. It’s perplexing, confusing and creepy at times, but it has a fairytale-esque atmosphere that gives it a mystical quality, as though you’re lost in a forest, trying to find your way out of it, and the only way you can do that is by getting to the end of this story. Continue reading

The Brilliant Death – Amy Rose Capetta

The Brilliant Death (The Brilliant Death, #1)The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: 2018
Publisher: Viking
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Fantasy, Magic, Family Relations


REVIEW:

Normally, when I read a book, the more I read, the more I understand. In this case, the more I read, the less I saw the point of this story. The beginning sounded exciting: a mafia daughter with hidden abilities has an important mission to accomplish and is helped by another power-wielding boy/girl who she falls for. Continue reading

Give the Dark My Love – Beth Revis

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Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: 2018
Publisher: Razorbill
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic School, Health Issues (Plague), Family, Politics, Romance


REVIEW:

I can see how this is a hit or miss for most people. It’s not your typical YA fantasy—not what I’m used to reading and not mainstream. But that’s a good thing. I actively seek originality in my reads and this unconventional fantasy, with its limited world-building and romance, worked for me well. The storyline is straight-forward in the sense that we know what Nedra, the new student at the prestigious school of alchemy, is trying to accomplish and for what purpose. Continue reading

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein – Kiersten White

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The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: PRH Canada
Published: 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mystery, Retelling, Historical Fiction, Gothic, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Childhood Friendship


REVIEW:

I am so glad I finally got around to reading this book, after months of deliberation (and a bit of procrastination), because Kiersten White develops her ideas in interesting ways. Granted, this is a retelling, so credit must be given to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley as well, as the author of the original Frankenstein tale, which White would approve of based on her note at the end. But inspiration aside, this retelling stands out in a pool of other books of its kind. Continue reading

Dark Shores – Danielle L. Jensen

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Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: May 7th, 2019
Publisher: Tor Teen
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Piracy, Politics


REVIEW:

This is a DNF for me. I instantly knew after reading the first page that it would be a DNF. Sometimes you just know. It’s like when you meet someone knew. The first conversation you have with that person can determine whether you can connect on a deeper level or not. Of course, it’s good to give the other person a more meaningful chance than one simple conversation, so I pushed through that boring first page. But like most relationships, if the beginning isn’t beautiful, the rest of it usually isn’t. It CAN get better, but that’s extremely rare and involves growth. Continue reading