Obsidio Book Review

obsidioTitle: Obsidio
Series: Illuminae Files #3
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Illustrator: Marie Lu
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: March 13, 2018
Genre: Young Adult – Science Fiction
Pages: 615
Format: Hardcover

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha’s past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken. 

I. Loved. This. Whole. Trilogy.

This whole book was a whirlwind of emotions: anxiety, fear, anger, happiness, sorrow, joy, you name it, I probably felt it. The only thing that could’ve made it better was it actually playing out like a movie in front of my eyes because Jay and Amie brought the visuals again (literally and literary [ha, see what I did there?]) and I couldn’t have asked for a better conclusion to a trilogy. And as this is the third book, there will probably be spoilers ahead.

Alright, so, where to even begin?

After the events of Gemina, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Obsidio when it came to the plot because how could it possibly live up to that? Well, it brought on another level of many questions and action that had me on the edge of my seat from the beginning.

We’re introduced to two new main characters: Asha and Rhys. They were once star-crossed lovers, so to speak, and so totally in love, but events caused them to be separated by time and space (literally), and one went to become a medical intern (Asha), while the other got shipped to military school and went to work for BeiTech (Rhys).

Now as this was the third book, there was a lot going on. I don’t know that I’m as attached to these to as I am to Nik and Hanna, but I still loved their characters. They were just trying to each do their jobs, to look humanity in the face and question it, and to really put to the test about morality and how the decisions you make can really affect everything around you.

Asha is Kady’s older cousin and a strong, brave woman. She’s pretty ordinary, but she has a fierce love for others and she isn’t about to put up with anyone’s bullshit when it comes to that love. I loved one of the lines in one of the surveillance footage chapters where it says how she doesn’t have anything special about her like Hanna and Kady do, which probably makes her the bravest of all – and, frankly, I have to agree. She’s not a martial arts or tactician like Hanna, or a computer whiz like Kady; she’s just a young woman trying to survive on a planet much too unforgiving with people even more unforgiving than that.

And then we have Rhys who’s a tech whiz from the spaceship Magellan with the perfect quiffed hair that seems to defy all laws of physics. The part about him that I loved the most is that he never stopped questioning the morality of what was happening on the planet Korenza IV. He never stopped asking why the BeiTech soldiers did what they did, why they killed for some stupid reasons, etc. I think that even though he was a trained military soldier, he was still so fresh and human compared to the other BeiTech soldiers that it pushed some other characters to really reflect on their own decisions.

When they managed to work together despite their past, they really managed to do so well. I liked their dynamic and how one was looking out for the other while also trying to look out for others.

And then we have everyone else that was important coming back full force and there was a lot of death, a lot of pain, but so much to look forward to.

Kady and AIDEN were two of my favorite aspects of this story, in particular. AIDEN is actually one of my favorite characters in any series, and he’s an AI system. A monster. And I can’t help but feel attached to him because despite all of that, he was still… human. It’s hard to explain, really, but his character was one of the best I’ve read. And Kady was fighting so hard and showing that she wasn’t going to back down for anything, even the few times that AIDEN showed how unstable he was and how weak he was becoming.

Nik, Hanna, Ezra, and Ella were all key players in this story, as well, but not as much as in previous books (obviously, because we had two new main characters). There were a few times that they brought a lot of humor to tense situations, which I found to be a nice buffer in all of the chaos.

Also, shout out to Dr. Isaac Grant for being the best dad ever and caring not just for his own daughter, but for all of our main heroes aboard. My heart. It weeps.

Okay, but the plot? ACTION. PACKED. Like I seriously felt like I didn’t have a break from someone being shot or yelled at or AIDEN being all “I am a monster,” or anything because holy crap, this plot moved fast. But like, it was a good kind of fast like the other two books. It encompassed so much in its 600+ pages that my brain is still wrapping around it. There was a lot of death and destruction, yes, but there were also moments of tenderness, of grief, of solitude and togetherness, of mutiny and anger. There was so much wrapped up into this plot that I felt so much a part of it.

I think that’s one of the main reasons I loved this trilogy so much. It really brings you into the story – and not just because the formatting of the book is awesome and very visually stimulating, but also for its characters and the lives they’re trying to lead.

Overall, this book was a great conclusion. I didn’t know how it was going to end. There were twists and turns, places where I gasped, where I wanted to cry, where I was shocked, laughed out loud, angry. It brought out a whole well of emotions, and I’m beyond happy I read it.

As for the trilogy itself, it’s become one of my all-time favorites. From page one of book one it’s had me hooked. I can honestly say that this series is one I would recommend to anyone, especially if they’re look for a visual stimulating, high stakes, whirlwind of an adventure.

If you haven’t read this trilogy yet, what are you doing?

I rated this book 5/5 stars, and this trilogy 5/5 stars.

Dreams of Gods & Monsters Book Review

dreamsofgodsandmonstersTitle: Dreams of Gods & Monsters
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publication Date: April 17, 2014
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 613
Format: Purchased Paperback

What power can bruise the sky?
Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.
When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited–not in love, but in tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.
But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?
The New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy comes to a stunning conclusion as–from the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond–humans, chimaera, and seraphim strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

I feel as though I’ve become an emotional wreck on the inside. My heart is filled with happiness after reading the third and final installment to this trilogy.

This book picks up right around where the last one let off and it was filled with nothing short of action, heartbreak, vengeance, mystery, love, and so much more.

The plot of this book encompassed so much and introduced us to a few important characters, namely Eliza, and the Stelians. Each were crucial to the story, and though I didn’t figure out why until the end, I thought that their parts in it played important roles and that they were much needed and added not only to the story itself, but to the lore of the world that Laini Taylor created.

I’m not sure that I can fully do justice by explaining the plot without giving away too many spoilers, as this is the third book, so just know that there is a lot of tension between the chimaera and angels, and that Jael wants to have complete control over Eretz by not only using what powers he may have available to him there, but also from Earth. It’s a crazy, twist and turn story that weaves itself in ways I wasn’t expecting, telling the story from many points of view. Each part of it, though, I felt like progressed the story and didn’t hinder from it.

There was a heavy focus on the romance aspect at times, but from the first book – where it was introduced and we learn of the manner of Karou and Akiva’s relationship – to the second book where there was virtually no romance, it was kind of understandable why it was there as much as it was. And trust me, I’m not complaining, because there were a few scenes in particular that made me squeal in excitement for what was going on – and it wasn’t between our two main heroes.

So let’s talk about the characters.

Karou really bounced back from the grieving, anger driven girl in the second book to a strong individual in this book. She has her moments where she is lost or down, as there’s a lot of war and death and destruction going on around her, so it’s understandable. I thought that she came a long way from where she first started not knowing anything about who she is or where she came from, to accepting her fate, to making it her own and realizing the dream she wanted to see come true when she formed it with Akiva so long ago. I thought that her persona was true to who she was and that she was really a huge driving force in this book.

Akiva seemed a bit more lovesick than anything in this book, but he also had a lot going on in terms of learning about himself and his people, and his powers and the consequence of using his powers. We still got to see a warrior side of him, but I think that it was more of the strategic side than the fighting side. He, too, has come a long way, but like I said, the romance was a large driving force between him and Karou in this book – and again, I can understand why. I think that their love and relationship is beautiful and strong, and even though they may desire after one another, it’s not in itself a bad thing; it’s a very powerful motivator for them. I do love how their relationship is often described as two magnets either being pulled together or pushed apart, because it’s true.

We got to see more chapters from Liraz’s point of view, and oh. My. God. I love her. She’s become one of my new favorites, especially toward the end. When we first meet her she seems like this cold, mean person, but it’s the way she’s brought up and how she has to stifle that part of herself that makes her that way. But as she warms up to others and slowly gets to understand them and care for them, the ice in her heart cracks and she shows that she is capable of having emotions and feelings. She’s strong, though – physically, mentally, and emotionally – and I love that about her. My favorite quote that I read about her was, “She was no mere weapon as she was trained to be, but a woman in full command of her power, unbowed and unbroken, and that was a dangerous thing.” Like, seriously Liraz, SLAY.

We got a lot from Ziri, too, as he was performing in secret as someone for a while, and though he tried his best to be like the one he had to portray, some of himself continued to shine through, and that was tough on him. I really enjoyed his chapters because I felt myself growing more and more attached to this kind soul. He has a sense of innocence about him that draws you in, but he’s still an incredibly capable warrior and just, wow. I’m amazed at what he can do.

Also, for the record, I SO ship Liraz and Ziri. Read the book to find out why because I was giggling like a freaking schoolgirl, and omg I can’t even.

Eliza was a new character introduced, and at first I was confused as to who she was and why she was important to the story to have her own perspective and chapters thrown in. As the story of her and who she was unfolded around her, though, and the circumstances for which she was put into, I realized that she is incredibly important. I just didn’t know how much so until the end. I found her character to be useful, and slightly filler, but not really? I liked her, though, and I think that she’s a very bright woman.

Zuzana and Mik, ah, one of my OTPs, never fail to make me smile. They go through a lot in this book with Karou and everyone else, but they always try to stay true to who they are and how they react to situations and everything. I love the dynamic that these two throw into the mix because they a) provide much needed comic relief sometimes, b) they’re adorable together, and c) they each have distinct personalities that really help to show the story in a different perspective. I think that they really helped to progress the story, as well, and am so glad as to where they were at the end.

P.S. Morgan Toth is a jerk and I hope he enjoys his punishment delivered to him.
P.P.S. Razgut is also kind of manic and crazy, but he does provide us a lot of insight into who he is and what happened when he was, you know, not a crippled Fallen.
P.P.P.S. I don’t like Ester. She got her just desserts.

As for the rest of the novel, well… there is honestly so much I could cover, but that would be an extremely long and spoilery post, and since this is the third book I’d rather you all read it and then see how much I loved this book and why this trilogy has become one of my favorites of all time. The writing is still exquisitely beautiful in this book with many phrases that caught my eye, and the story was all encompassing and I felt a sense of completion when I finished. I didn’t think that there was any kind of cliffhanger or anything like that.

I still want more, though.

Overall, I think that this was an extremely solid final book to the trilogy. Not only was the plot large and encompassing and complete, but it allowed the characters to reach out and reach their final destinations – their potential destinations – whatever they might be. It’s filled with heartbreak, romance, friendship, betrayal, second chances, lore, truths, discovery, and so much more.

I rated this 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.

My overall series rating: 5/5 stars

The Final Empire Book Review

thefinalempireTitle: The Final Empire
Series: Book #1 in the Mistborn trilogy
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Gollancz
Publication Date: July 25, 2006
Genre: Adult – High Fantasy
Pages: 647
Format: Purchased Paperback – UK Edition

In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with colour once more?
In Brandon Sanderson’s intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage – Allomancy, a magic of the metals.

This book was incredible and I can’t believe it took me about four months or so to finish reading it. Holy carp.

So this book intrigued me, initially, because so many people were talking about it in the Booktube community earlier this year. I had to know why it was so popular and gaining a lot of hype, and, frankly, I wasn’t disappointed.

The plot of the story seems kind of simple at the beginning: can the evil overlord be taken down? But there are so many facets and different levels to the plot that turn into subplots and break down ever further into smaller bits that it’s no wonder than this book gained so much praise. From the lore behind a lot of who and what the Lord Ruler is, to what Allomancy and how it works, to the political and cultural structures, to the subtle romance, to the amazing adventure that takes place, this plot has a little bit of everything that please my inner reader.

So let me briefly talk about the magical aspect of this fantasy novel: Allomancy. Allomancy is a type of magic in this world that not many people are able to use. It’s a type of magic that relies on metals and being able to use ten different known types of metals to one’s advantage. There are Mistings: people that can use one type of metal, like pewter to gain strength – they’re called Thugs or Pewterarms, or copper to prevent from other Allomancers discovering them – they’re called a Smoker; and then there are Mistborns: a rare few who are able to control and use all of the metals known: zinc, copper, pewter, gold, tin, iron,steel, bronze, brass, and the strongest metal, atium.

The fact that Allomancy is used throughout this book already makes it unique. Often when I think of magic in fantasy books I think of being able to manipulate objects or use elemental magic – not like this. And the way Sanderson describes how the characters use it is detailed and vivd, allowing you to picture what’s going on and how they’re using the metals that they’re using.

The main characters that we follow, Vin and Kelsier, are very different in some ways, but very similar in others, and I loved being able to get a dual perspective throughout most of the book; there were even a few times when other characters were introduced and we got some of the story from their perspectives.

Vin is a street thief skaa (skaa being a peasant in this society), working and fighting to just stay alive. She doesn’t trust anyone and she has a hard time opening up or believing what other people say. Once she is introduced and thrust into the life that Kelsier’s crew whips up, she slowly unfolds and learns more about herself than she ever thought possible: she is a Mistborn.

When she discovers this news, she becomes an extremely quick learner, even impressing Kelsier with how fast she learns. She slowly becomes a pawn to be used in the plans set forth against the Empire, becoming a noblewoman to go to parties and balls to gather information, but she soon realizes that not all of the noblemen, despite what Kelsier thinks, are bad people and she wants to help them – specifically one over any other.

I think that she also picked up some mannerisms from Kelsier, but those mannerisms were probably just hidden deep down somewhere within her, such as stubbornness. She acts foolishly a lot of times, but at the same time I think that she almost follows suit after Kelsier. He’s like a fatherly figure to her and I can understand why she wants to stick near him often.

Kelsier, on the other hand, is the lone Survivor of Hathsin, a hellish place where he had to work night and day to gather atium for the Lord Ruler after having been captured with his wife when they were on a mission. Despite what he’s gone through, and despite what he does at night in the mists, Kelsier tries to keep an upbeat and cheerful personality, making light of many situations. But he is full of a lot of passion and I think that passion is what helps to really drive the others to listen to him and respect him as a leader.

A lot of the choices he makes, though, are risky at best, but as the story progresses and we see it all come together, after a major plot point happens, we can see just how his planning and actions have helped all along – even if it’s in a very different way from what was expected.

I found him to be a very likable character. Though he sometimes seemed to let his ego get the best of him, it just showed that he was still just a man, even though he had Allomantic powers.

Also how the characters grew from one another and their surroundings I felt was a really important aspect of the book. Even though Kelsier was a grown man in his mid-thirties with a huge ego, he still managed to learn from Vin, who is a seventeen year old girl. And she, in turn, learned from Kelsier and everyone else around her.

The lore behind who the Lord Ruler is and was surfaces time and again throughout the book, and we get some logbook entries at the beginning of each chapter (which I didn’t realize that’s what they were until much later into the story). I thought that these little snippets were nice insights into the man who was to be the Hero of Ages. Though there are so many questions behind why the Lord Ruler does the things he does and how he became the way he is, we never really get answers to those questions. Well, kind of. A few questions were answered, in my opinion, but maybe more will be answered in the upcoming books.

Also, that plot twist at the end, though. And my heart. The feels. Just, so many feels.

This book was phenomenal. If you’re looking to get into an adult high fantasy series with a unique spin on magic and a detailed plot with lots of action, political intrigue, hints of romance, and more, I highly recommend this book for starters. I seriously can’t wait to read the second book.

I rated this book 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.

Days of Blood & Starlight Book Review

daysofbloodandstarlightTitle: Days of Blood & Starlight
Series: Book 2 in Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Publication Date: November 6, 2013
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 513
Format: Purchased Paperback

As this is the sequel, there will be spoilers in this review.

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.
This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is–and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

This sequel held many aspects I wasn’t expecting, and it was just as beautiful, if not more intense, than the first.

I found this sequel to be a little slow at the beginning, but I don’t know if that was because I was in a reading slump at the time. But once I got more into the story and saw a lot more happening than what I first thought, I was hooked.

The storyline picked up right where it left off, or just a short time after, and it was interesting to see just how different the characters were for one reason or another: Karou knew the truth of her past; Akiva had his own guilts to deal with; many things had happened in the time between what happened in the last book until now and it was just mind blowing to see just what was going on.

I thought that this book was a bit more intense and serious than the last. It focused more on the war aspect, and a lot more on resurrection and plots and vengeance than I was expecting. It did have a few light-hearted moments, but this book was mostly one in which dealt with a lot of different action sequences from one to the next and the next.

This book followed a lot more perspectives than the last, too, where it included not on Karou’s and Akiva’s points of view, but also a seriph soldier, the White Wolf, a new/old friend, and several others. I thought that the way Laini Taylor placed those new voices into the story truly benefitted it rather than hindered it as it was good to see what was happening in both worlds and in completely different places in those worlds.

As for the characters, I thought that Karou was being a bit too rash when it came to some things, though I could understand where her anger was coming from. She tried to do her best with what she had to do, but I also just think that she could have tried to be stronger or acted more on certain things. Though she was broken emotionally and tried to be strong in front of others for her own safety, when she was around friends and finally had some glimmers of hope, I think that’s where she really shined.

I really enjoyed getting to see more of her knowing that she’s chimera, as well. Though she struggles in her environment, and with her memories, I think that by having her memories unlocked she was able to deal with a lot more than if she hadn’t had those memories back in the first place. And a few times I wanted to smack her because I thought she was just trying too hard to be mad at Akiva. Or maybe that was just me wishing for some more romance. Who knows?

At first I thought Akiva was just being too… emotionless? Reckless? I’m not sure what the word is that I’m looking for, but I thought that he was just kind of floating there for a while. But I did love that he was extremely brave and tried to save as many chimera as possible before the seriph slaughtered them. I think those moments really showed his character and how much he changed from before and after he met Karou/Madrigal.

As time progressed in the story, I thought that Akiva was holding a lot more secrets than he originally let on, but I also think that he, himself, doesn’t know what those secrets are. The fact that he was able to experience certain things was interesting and I really want to see it come into play in the next book.

We also got to see parts of the story from Thiago, whom I dislike greatly; Ziri, who is an awesome friend for Karou and just a gentle soul for sure; Zuzana, whom I love because of her fiery spirit and her willingness to just chill with some monsters; and others. It was definitely a treat to be able to read parts of the story from these other perspectives because it showed multiple events happening at once, but in different places and in different worlds. Plus there was some extra backstory in a few places, which is always nice to have.

I think that the next book is going to be an epic one. There’s going to be a lot more battling and war, and probably more loss occurring, but I also have hope for Karou and Akiva, and all the others, and I really am excited to see what happens next.

Overall, I thought this was a strong sequel. It didn’t falter from the original storyline, but added to it, and I think that we definitely got to know the characters better and that we got to see more of who they are and just what they’re fighting for. And as always, Laini Taylor’s writing is beautiful and strong.

I rated this book 4.5/5 stars and highly recommend it if you’ve read the first book.

Ignite Me Book Review

igniteme

Title: Ignite Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Series: Book #3 in the Shatter Me trilogy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Genre: Young Adult – Dystopian, Romance
Pages: 408
Format: Purchased Paperback

“Ignite Me” by Tahereh Mafi is the third and final book in the Shatter Me trilogy. It follows Juliette, a girl with a touch that can kill – literally – and a super strong power that she has begun to finally understand and harness to its true ability. It’s also about her conflicts of the heart between two guys, Warner and Adam, and how she, along with several others, have to fight against the Reestablishment to regain control of their country – and their lives.

This review will probably contain some spoilers as this is the third book, so if you haven’t read it yet, please come back when you do.

THIS BOOK, GUYS. It was SO good. As far as wrap-ups to trilogies go, this one was on point. It wrapped up a lot of conflict, both inner and outer, and it also showed some amazing character development from a beginning of a series to the end.

Okay, let’s talk about the characters.

Juliette. She was so BADASS. She really came into her own in this book, and though she was a little whiny at the beginning, she really opened her eyes and finally realized a lot not only about herself, but about others. She became physically strong (like, ridiculously physically strong) as well as mentally and emotionally. When we first met her in the first book, she was a super unstable girl who counted cracks in the ceiling tiles and how many seconds of every day went by. In the second book she started to really see more of the world, and though she still had far to go, she was starting to learn to trust herself. And then in this book? WOW. She really showed that she’s not afraid of anything anymore, that she’s willing to make a difference in the world if it means helping others and herself. And she finally understood the complex feelings in her heart (YAY) and chose based on those feelings rather than by the first kind interaction she ever had.

Adam was a total jerk throughout a majority of this book. He showed a lot of his true colors when presented with stress and a broken heart. I really wanted to hit him a lot. I mean, he didn’t even apologize in the end, and I don’t really care what happens to him anymore, but yeah. His sweet and gentle personality was really, really tested in this book and it showed that he wasn’t all he was cracked up to be. I mean, throwing insults at Juliette and telling her what she can and can’t do? Yeah, no.

Warner showed so much more of himself in this book than any other and it really shed so much light on him that I kind of can’t believe I thought he was a super creep in the first book. But his actions in the first book really showed he kind of was, but that’s not the point. In this book we get to know more about the past and how Warner really thought. We also got a more in depth look into his personal life and his feelings and how much he would risk for Juliette. I thought it was very brave of him to be able to do so much for her, and really sweet. He became one of my favorite characters.

Kenji is also the best. I want him to be my BFF right now. Like seriously, I laughed out loud at so many of his interactions with Juliette and the others, it was great.

The plot of the story continued from the previous book, but it had to refocus as a lot happened in the second book, including (spoiler alert) Omega Point getting destroyed. So not only did it deal with the repercussions of that, but it also dealt with two sides joining forces with each other to try to overcome a common evil. I mean, obviously there was more than enough romance in this book (including lots of steamy parts [ohhhh myyy]), but I think it did give an ample amount into the Reestablishment and how they wanted to overtake it and regain control for the citizens and everyone out there.

Overall, I thought this book was an amazing trilogy finale and I highly recommend it if you’ve read the first two books. Seriously, this trilogy got better with each book (and the only reason it doesn’t get a full 5 star is because Juliette was still whiny and stuck in her ways at the very beginning).

I rate this 4.5/5 stars.