February 2020| Reading Wrap Up

Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

*** SPOILERS FOR THRONE OF GLASS (because this is the sequel)***

Crown of Midnight is the second book in the Throne of Glass series. In Throne of Glass Celaena becomes the King’s Champion. This book is about the experience that she has being the Champion. The struggles of having to kill for someone she hates, and all of the judgement she gets for it. The mysteries in this book were fascinating, and the addition of magic (that was seen at the end of Throne of Glass) into this story added another element to it that I loved. This books brings us closer to side characters and learning more about them was exciting to me. I loved all the side characters and hope that we continue to learn more! The main thing that I disliked with this story were all of the secrets between characters. Especially because I truly believe it goes against the character’s personalities and relationships. I don’t believe it is something that they would have done, it seems like the secrets were there to move the plot along. Some devastating things happen that could have been avoided if there weren’t so many secrets.

Pros: gained more information on side-characters, mysterious, magic system was interesting, wrenched my heart.
Cons: so many secrets that were unnecessary and unbelievable.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/05/05/crown-of-midnight/

Author: Marie Lu
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Rating: ★★★★

Legend takes place in what used to be western United States, but is now the Republic. It is a story of a girl named June – who is trying to become a top military leader – and a boy named Day – who is one of the most wanted criminals in the Republic. June’s brother is murdered and Day is the main suspect. This is a story full of mystery, hardship, relationships, and trust. One of the things that I love about this story is that it has so many themes, there isn’t just one main element to the story, there is a lot going on. What we are lead to believe at the beginning of the story quickly shifts and changes as the story progresses. I love this complex aspect of the book. It also has two wonderful main characters who both believe that they are doing good, even though some might see them as “bad guys”. I appreciate when books have complex characters that are morally gray. It leads to great morality discussions which I believe are important to grow. Though I did love the two main characters, I did not enjoy parts of their relationship that developed because it seemed too fast and unrealistic given the circumstances. It seemed forced to me.

Pros: complex story arc, morally gray characters, good pacing, full of surprises.
Cons: main character’s relationship seemed unnecessary and unrealistic.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/05/08/legend/

Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Strange the Dreamer is about a boy named Lazlo Strange whose dream is to go to the lost city of Weep. He is a junior librarian who spends most – if not all – of his time in the library, so it seems like he will never fulfill that dream. However, one day a band of warriors from Weep show up requesting that people come with him to their city. This begins a huge journey for Lazlo, who wants more than anything to solve the mystery of Weep. I love Laini Taylor’s writing; Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of my favorite series ever, and I was not disappointed with this story. The writing was just as beautiful, and the world building was complex and thorough. I loved the characters, as well as the relationships that evolve between them. The magic in this book was surprising and interesting, not what I was expecting at all. The only thing that I did not care for was that it was pretty slow in the beginning. I still liked what I was reading, it was just a little slow for my taste.

Pros: plot twists, beautiful writing, interesting magic system, intriguing mystery.
Cons: pacing was slow in the beginning.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/05/13/strange-the-dreamer/


Legend (Legend, #1) by Marie Lu

My rating: five stars

Genre: YA, dystopian

Edition: audiobook

Goodreads Summary: What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

After reading Warcross, I knew that I needed to read more by Marie Lu. I love her writing style, and the audiobooks are incredible! I chose to listen to this book and I was not disappointed in the quality of it.

Likes: I absolutely love the two main characters. They are so similar to each other, and yet they both have completely different goals and are on different sides of the war. It reminds me of Renegades in the fact that it is about two people who both want to do good, and they both think they are on the right side of the war. I love these type of stories! Another thing that I liked about the book is the fighting match that takes place later in the book. I know it is such a minuscule part of the story, but I love how Marie describes the character’s thought process while fighting and I love how she describes the moves. I also like how surprised I was through the whole thing. The whole book was fast paced and there seemed to be surprise after surprise. Usually this could get tiring, but somehow Marie just made me want more. It was wonderful pacing and terrific writing.

Dislikes: I thought the relationship between the two main characters happened in a strange way. It just seemed fast to me considering the circumstances that they were under. She is so distraught and laser-focused on finding her brother’s killer, it just seems unlikely to me that she would be able to be distracted that easily. It would have made more sense to me if they had just been friends in this book, their relationship just seemed unnecessary to me.

Overall, I am again blown away by Marie Lu. She really can make some great books, this one was extremely entertaining. I loved the characters, the growth that they exhibit as more information is given to them, and the conflict between them. I would recommend this to everyone, but if you liked Warcross or Renegades, I think you will especially like this.


Wildcard (Warcross, #2) by Marie Lu

My rating: four stars

Genre: YA, dystopian

Edition: Audiobook

Goodreads Summary: Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?

I really liked Warcross and so chose Wildcard as my next month’s audiobook. I usually prefer physical books of stories that I love, however, the audiobook for the first one was incredible that I decided to listen to the second one!

Likes: I still love the technology and game in this book. It focuses less on the game I think in this story, but I do still love the new things that are shown about it. We also get more into the potential positives and negatives that could come about because of the advanced technology and I enjoyed reading about those. It reminded me of Black Mirror in that it shows how technology can be beautiful but also destructive. The relationship between Emika and Hideo is an enigma to me. I love it and hate it and don’t know what to feel because of that. I want them to be together, and I don’t think that he is the worst person in the world (he is a great example of a bad guy with good intentions), but he is still a bad guy. I love how they bonded in the last story, and I still saw hope for them. A writer that can make me so conflicted is a powerful one. I also liked how we learned more about certain characters and their backstories. This helped make them seem more “real” and showed the motivations behind their actions. However, this is one of my negatives because while I learned more about most of the “good” characters, I did not learn much about the villain.

Dislikes: I did not care for the ending to this book or for one of the bad guy’s incentives. They just seemed so shallow and were not given a lot of depth or backstory that would allow me to understand them more. Also, how certain characters just believed the bad guy and let them do whatever they wanted was insane. It is hard to believe that they would get away with it. This is personally why I did not like the ending, it just seemed like the reasoning behind a lot of why what was happening, was happening, just didn’t make sense. I didn’t mind the very end, I am talking about leading up to it, there are certain spoiler events and revelations that I did not care for.

Overall, I did still really like this book and the series as a whole. The characters were fun, the world and the technology were innovative and enticing, and I did not mind the plot for the most part. I prefer more flushed out villains which I didn’t feel like I got in this story though. Therefore, I am deducting a star. I just didn’t get the satisfaction from the villain that I would have liked. I still am so glad that I read this series and look forward to reading more by Marie, she is truly a wonderful writer!


Warcross (Warcross, #1) by Marie Lu

My rating: five stars

Genre: YA, sci-fi

Edition: Audiobook

Goodreads summary: For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

I have been wanting to read Marie Lu’s writing for a long time. All three of her series seem incredibly interesting, but since I love gaming, I figured I should read Warcross first. I listened to the audiobook and it was great, I will probably listen to the rest of her books since I liked it so much.

Likes: As stated above, I love the narrators and listening to her book. Some books either have narrators I don’t care for, or the books themselves don’t translate to audiobook well. However, this one worked great in this form! As with the story itself, I love how Marie Lu describes the game. Creating and describing a video game sounds difficult, but she does it so well that I can picture the game as if I have played it before. The game sounds like so much fun, I wish that I could play it! The romance was cute, and though it seemed unrealistic, I didn’t mind it. I enjoyed most of the characters and how they learned to like each other and work together. Being able to learn about each character, and see their growth throughout the story, made me connect more to the story and come to love it.

Dislikes: Unfortunately, it was predictable to me. I won’t say exactly what since this is spoiler free, but there was a certain part of this that I saw coming since the beginning of the book. This book also seemed a little unrealistic to me. It is hard to imagine that someone so important, with so many resources, picked Emika to help him fix the security problem. I understand that she is incredible at what she does, but he is literally one of the richest, most famous men in the world. I just felt like there should have been another way that she was picked because it just seemed far-fetched.

Overall, this book was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the video game, the characters, and the way that they had to learn how to use team work to get past problems. The overarching story line wasn’t as interesting to me as the game was, but I still enjoyed it. I felt for the characters and wanted to learn more about them. The writing style was so good! It made me able to picture what was going on and made me invested in the characters which is what I look for in stories. This was a great book – five stars from me!