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

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

Stepsister – Jennifer Donnelly

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Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Scholastic Canada
Published: May 14th, 2019
Publisher: Scholastic
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Feminism, Dark Fairy Tale, Magic


REVIEW:

This is not a pretty fairytale. The story isn’t pretty. The world isn’t pretty. The characters aren’t pretty. Even the magic isn’t pretty.

It’s not a story that will make you dream a thousand beautiful dreams of happily-ever-afters. I’m not saying the contrary applies—that it will give you a thousand nightmares in which you die a thousand different deaths—but it is indeed DARK. Continue reading

Super Jake & the King of Chaos – Naomi Milliner

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Super Jake & the King of Chaos by Naomi Milliner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: May 2019
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Recommended Age: 7+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Family, Dreams, Magic


REVIEW:

If every Middle Grade book was as heart-warming, realistic and interesting as this one, I can tell you I would be reading them more often than once/twice a month. It’s pathetic really because I love the genre, I’m so happy it exists, but many simply don’t appeal to an older audience. Continue reading

Blog Tour: Enchantée – Gita Trelease

36613718Enchantée by Gita Trelease

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: February 5th, 2019
Publisher: Flatiron/Macmillan
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Magic, Family, Romance


REVIEW:

Let me just take a quick second here to say that I finished four novels this weekend. It feels like I’m binge-reading (so you know it won’t last), because I only recently got back into reading fiction so it’s like my subconscious (and body overall) is trying to make up for the ‘‘lost time.’’ That said, if this book had been awful, I would not have forced myself to read it. My experience reading it may be a little different than an Anglophone’s experience because I went to a Francophone school and we looked at the French Revolution again and again and again. I also studied Marie Antoinette in my Art History classes, which helped humanize her in my eyes, because her family portraits showed her love for her children. Continue reading

A Curse So Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer

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A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Library
Published: January 29th, 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Romance, Fairy Tale, War Setting


REVIEW:

This is hands down one of the best fairy tale retellings I have ever read. I did not have high expectations at all, having found Brigid Kemmerer’s Letters to the Lost to be a MEH read (please don’t curse me!), but this story hooked me right from the start. Continue reading

Fairest of All (Whatever After, #1) – Sarah Mlynowski

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Fairest of All by Sarah Mlynowski

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Library
Published: 2012
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Recommended Age: 7+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling, Magic, Adventure, Family, Humor


REVIEW:

This was a charming feminist retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs for middle graders (or anyone who enjoys a story well told). Abby and her brother Jonah have found a magical mirror in their basement that can transport them from their mundane world to a fairytale one. Continue reading