A CROWN OF TALONS by Katherine & Elizabeth Corr

Fight or flight . . . or both?

Three months after Aderyn’s coronation the court is celebrating the Solstice, but Aderyn is preoccupied by Lucien’s continuing hostility. The celebrations are interrupted by the arrival of nobles who have escaped from the neighbouring country of Celonia – the flightless have risen up and overthrown their rulers. The world is changing.

As people being to question whether Aderyn and Aron are strong enough to rule, there is an attempted assassination on Aderyn’s life. Siegfried and Tallis have made their move – they have formed an army, declared war and will take the throne, by any means necessary.

Aderyn must fly to unchartered territories and risk the lives of everyone she loves to defeat her enemies, secure her throne and unite her people.

Epic, dangerous and impossible to put down, this finale takes you on a soaring journey through grief, strength and determination to fight for what is right, what you love and what is yours. 


Title : A Crown of Talons
Author : Katherine & Elizabeth Corr
Series : A Throne of Swans #2
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 352
Genre : YA Fantasy
Publisher : Hot Key Books
Release Date : January 7, 2021

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

How did I not realise this was a duology and not a series? I’m pretty pleased I got the culmination in book two and this was a pleasant realisation towards the end. I didn’t have chance to re-read the first book before diving into A Crown of Talons but I needn’t have worried, these authors caught you back into the tale with ease and without repeating lots of info. I knew where I was within a few pages and I was totally wrapped up in the story in those first few pages too.

The world of A Throne of Swans is built on humans that can transform into birds of flight but also an under class of the flightless and I’ve loved that it’s a historical fantasy world. This sequel brought war, leadership wrangling, marriage difficulties, betrayal and so much eye-glued to the page. I enjoyed reading the politics as Aderyn slowly and delicately considered and worked towards a place of equality for those of these lands. The politics in the book weren’t onerous but they were all part of the strategy and plot development.

Adaryn, Aron, Odette and of course Lucien were the characters I was dying to find out what was happening with. There were some gutting and clever twists to the story but I was always hoping. No spoilers here, you’re just going to have to read.

The Throne of Swans world has been one I’ve been so happy reading in despite book two not being a happy book as such. Talons was a fairly fast paced read but it also had times where you got to catch your breath and take stock.

This YA fantasy duology is such an all-encompassing reading experience with beautiful covers as well. These are going to look so pretty on my shelf and I will continue to recommend these reads to anyone who enjoys the genre.

Thank you Hot Key Books and Kaleidoscopic Tours for the review copy.

BRAMBLES by Intisar Khanani

In the kingdom of Adania, everyone knows what Princess Alyrra did to earn the court’s contempt, her mother’s disdain, and her brother’s hatred.

She betrayed her own.

Yet, the truth hides another story, one of honor and honesty, of a princess gambling her own life for another’s. It’s a tale of courage and consequences, and a choice that can never be undone.

A short story prequel to her multi-starred fantasy, Thorn, Intisar Khanani’s “Brambles” gives Alyrra’s account of what really happened all those years ago, and how a few critical days turned her life into a daily fight for survival.


Title : Brambles
Author : Initisar Khanani
Series : Dauntless Path #0.5
Format : e-ARC
Page Count : 40
Genre : YA Fantasy
Publisher : Hot Key Books
Release Date : December 7, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

Brambles is a prequel novella to the full length and wonderful Thorn (you can see my review here). This story finds Alyrra quite a bit younger and back in time in her original lands. This really is a brief origin story about why Alyrra found herself on the end of Valka’s wrath and how the plot for Thorn eventually unravels.

I hated Alyrra’s brother and Valka in Thorn so this wasn’t the nicest company to be keeping in this novella. These two were bullies in Alyrra’s life, manipulating and controlling. Alyrra’s mother wasn’t much better either. I always hated that Alyrra didn’t have any allies at the beginning of Thorn and this is what we see in Brambles. BUT this was still a very engaging world to be in. Reading about villians can still be fulfilling!

The world created in this series is intruiging, pretty fresh and as a collective, I’ll alwaysbe happy to read in this world. If you aren’t aware, the second book in the series The Theft of Sunlight is coming in March 2021 and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Whilst Brambles is not essential reading to the series, it’s a welcome snippet and insight into the grand story.

Thank you to the author for the early review copy.

THE UNBOUND by Victoria Schwab

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.
Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she’s struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn’t easy, not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real. When her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she’s truly safe.

Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She’s sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. Unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she’ll lose everything: not only her role as Keeper, but her memories – and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?



Title : The Unbound
Author : Victoria Schwab
Series : The Archived (book two)
Format : physical/hardback
Page Count : 346
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date : January 28, 2014

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★



Hollis’ 4 star review

THE UNBOUND picks up a few weeks after the end of book one and things are both better, for having survived and having come out ontop of the villain from the previous book, and also worse because surviving, and winning, doesn’t mean you come out unscathed. Family dynamics take an even messier turn over the course of this installment because of near misses and secrets and oh boy. I get the difficulties but these particular parentals were something. Additionally, Mackenzie is haunted both literally and figuratively by what happened to her but this time she doesn’t have the freedom of movement or time because summer break is over and school’s in session. It’s a new school, too, which means new routines and new faces but maybe one familiar one.

“I’m not ready for this.
You hunt down the animated records of the dead in your spare time. I’m pretty sure you can handle private school.

I’m always a sucker for an ensemble and while Mackenzie’s new social group doesn’t take up too much page time they are still very present and very fun — and not without complicated histories (little h!) to navigate.

The walls between worlds used to feel like they were made of stone — heavy and impenetrable. These days, they feel too thin. The secrets, lies, and monsters bleed through, ruining the clean lines.

And it’s not the only thing to navigate. The Archive is coming down hard on her, in new ways, and while in some ways the villain from before is still present in this book, there’s also a new baddie : one of the top members of the Archive is out to discover what Mackenzie is hiding, by any means necessary, but all for the good of the Archive. I did kind of question this insane zeal but it does kind of fit with the the mixed bag of feelings about the Archive itself; it has an important role but not everyone involved is on the level.

And speaking of important role? Wesley. That’s all.

I don’t remember this feeling as open ended as it clearly is but in the years since I’ve read this at least we know (?) there are plans to continue this series. Eventually. Maybe. That’s reassuring. Plus I’d love to see where Schwab goes with these characters after all these years. I am definitely here for it. I’m not sure I liked this one as much as book one but as an overall arc? It works so well. Plus this just brought with it so much more Wesley and, as established, that’s all I need.

One more thing? Don’t forget to read this after you finish.

THE ARCHIVED by Victoria Schwab

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost, Da’s death was hard enough, but now that her little brother is gone too, Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself may crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.



Title : The Archived
Author : Victoria Schwab
Series : The Archived (book one)
Format : physical/hardback
Page Count : 337
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date : January 22, 2013

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★



Hollis’ 4 star review

This was another reread I chose to do for a spooky readathon and yet another world I’m really happy to have revisited. Similarly, it’s been about five years since I first read this series but this one has stood out in my mind pretty vividly. Up until Schwab’s most recent release, I considered this duology my favourite by this author. And while it’s easy to see how much progress she’s made as a writer, which sort’ve implies this is inferior.. it isn’t quite that. It’s a different target audience, for one, but yeah it does read a little younger — which is fitting for the characters. But my biggest issue with this on reread is perhaps the pacing. Everything else was still great. Also side note, I guess I just love all of Schwab’s writing when she’s in dark moods or leaning in melancholy and grief?

I flew through in a few short hours (yes I’m one of those one or two sitting binge readers!) and while that clearly implies it sucked me in — which it did! — I think this could’ve done with about a hundred more pages. Some places to flesh out events and characters but also even out some of that change in pace. To a certain degree it makes sense that the latter half is faster because events have escalated and are happening at breakneck speed, and you do get a sense of that slow building with the increase in Histories, so.. maybe it’s not quite so unbalanced. But I still think it would’ve been improved by more. Particularly in the case of a certain romantic element; had it been built up a little slower, giving it more strength, it might have felt less out of character. I got the why of the appeal but it did feel unlike our lead character.

Ultimately, if you didn’t already know, this story deals with a group of people who work for the Archive. Which is where, for all intents and purposes, a copy of those who die are kept. The visual is a big library, everyone a book on the shelf, but a backed up copy of a person’s life and/or upload into the metaphysical Cloud works, too. Within that Archive are levels of people from the Keepers, tasked with returning Histories (what amounts to our ghosts), all the way up to Librarians who monitor the Histories who are sleeping or have been returned to sleep after their escape. There are other players, too, but that’s the gist. It’s not dissimilar to THE STARLESS SEA in that sense but the story itself is vastly different.

After a loss, Mackenzie’s family uproots into a new town, into a new home, and there her responsibilities take an uptick as the hotel-turned-apartment building seems to have a high traffic of Histories to manage. In doing so she meets another Keeper, the first outside of her grandfather, and increasingly things change and also begin to spiral out of control. She’s balancing a new home, a discordant family dynamic as they all try to adjust to the new normal, grief, and suspicions that something within the Archive isn’t right.

There’s feels, and danger, and secrets. And also Wesley. Boy did I ever love him just as much the second time around.

And yes, surprising no one, even though I’ve just completed my required readathon reading by finishing this, I’m diving right into the second book.

CRUSH by Tracy Wolff

Everything feels off—especially me. I’ve returned to Katmere Academy, but I’m haunted by fragments of days I have no recollection of living and struggling to understand who, or what, I really am.

Just when I start to feel safe again, Hudson is back with a vengeance. He insists there are secrets I don’t know about, threatening to drive a wedge between Jaxon and me forever. But far worse enemies are at our doorstep.

The Circle is caught in a power play and the Vampire Court is trying to drag me out of my world and into theirs. The only thing Hudson and Jaxon agree on is that leaving Katmere would mean my certain death.

And not only am I fighting for my life, but now everyone else’s is at stake—unless we can defeat an unspeakable evil. All I know is that saving the people I love is going to require sacrifice.

Maybe more than I’m able to give.


Title : Crush
Author : Tracy Wolff
Series : Crave #2
Format : Hardback
Page Count : 704
Genre : YA Fantasy
Publisher : Entangled Teen/Hodder Books
Release Date : September 29, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 3.5 star review

I knew what I was getting into with this book, lots of drama, angst and quite a teen narrative. Nevertheless, I was glad to be reading the next installment what with that ending of Crave.

What Tracy Wolff did with Crush was not new, of course it had some shades of Twilight, coupled with story arcs we’ve previously seen in Maas’ series. Even so, it had its own brand of uniqueness. I’ve enjoyed these characters across the two stories but I sometimes struggled with the writing style.

Let me tell you about how I felt about the characters firstly. Grace I’ve liked all along, but it was a surprise to me to find the twist in which male character I liked. I’m not going to name names because this twist is the basis for the story in book two, but suffice it to say, I was very satisfied with the final line in the book!

From a writing style perspective, it was very drama orientated and written with a fast pace. I found the endless snark in dialogue a little tiring over time and sometimes I wanted a more serious tone. I really got a little fed up of the long descriptions of the games. All that said, the last 150 pages of the book were absolutely great.

Tracy Wolff has a way of luring you in and then finishing the book on an absolute BAMMMMM. There’s no way I can resist picking up book three.

THE WOLF AND THE WATER by Josie Jaffrey

Some secrets are worth killing for:

The ancient city of Kepos sits in an isolated valley, cut off from the outside world by a towering wall. Behind it, the souls of the dead clamour for release. Or so the priesthood says.

Kala has never had any reason to doubt their word – until her father dies in suspicious circumstances that implicate the city’s high priest. She’s determined to investigate, but she has a more immediate problem: the laws of the city require her mother to remarry straight away.

Kala’s new stepfather is a monster, but his son Leon is something altogether more dangerous: kind. With her family fractured and the investigation putting her life in danger, the last thing Kala needs is romance. She would rather ignore Leon entirely, however difficult he makes it. But when she learns the truth of what really clamours behind the wall at the end of the valley, she faces a choice: share what she knows and jeopardise her escape, or abandon him to his fate along with the rest of the city.

If she doesn’t move fast, then no one will make it out of the valley alive.


Title : The Wolf and the Water
Author : Josie Jaffrey
Series : The Deluge #1
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 268
Genre : YA Historical Fantasy
Publisher : Silver Sun Books
Release Date : October 8, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3.5 – 4 star review

The Wolf and the Water was a complex and fresh historical fantasy told from a Greek mythological context. The characters were YA in age but the themes felt older and I appreciated the story not holding any barrs.

Kala, the protagonist was the newly bereaved and unwanted daughter with a physical disability. Kala was not unused to derision and rejection from her community but with the loss of a loved one, she’d lost protection. Kala was a strong young woman with courage and her tale was compelling.

This was an intricate story, some re-envisaging of elements of Greek mythology tales influenced by Atlantis. Misogyny, slavery and power was on the menu and in reference to my earlier comment about themes, some elements were brutally told. I did lose my stride with a bit of confusion at one point, but I was able to pick up the story again and what was happening.

The story felt unpredictable, the friendships, relationships and allegiences were interesting and the eventual story direction left me wanting to know more. This was the first time I’ve read Josie Jaffrey but I’ll definitely read her work again and follow this series further.

Thank you to the author for the review copy.

THE WINTER DUKE by Claire Eliza Bartlett

SHE SURVIVED THE CURSE. NOW SHE MUST SURVIVE THE THRONE.

All Ekata wants is to stay alive—and the chance to prove herself as a scholar. Once Ekata’s brother is finally named heir to the dukedom of Kylma Above, there will be nothing to keep her at home with her murderous family. Not her books or her experiments, not her family’s icy castle atop a frozen lake, not even the tantalizingly close Kylma Below, a mesmerizing underwater kingdom that provides her family with magic. But just as escape is within reach, her parents and twelve siblings fall under a strange sleeping sickness, and no one can find a cure.

In the space of a single night, Ekata inherits the title of duke, her brother’s captivating warrior bride, and ever-encroaching challengers from without—and within—her ministry. Nothing has prepared Ekata for diplomacy, for war, for love. . .or for a crown she has never wanted. If Kylma Above is to survive, Ekata must seize her family’s magic and power. And if Ekata is to survive, she must quickly decide how she will wield them both.


Title : The Winter Duke
Author : Claire Eliza Bartlett
Format : Hardback
Page Count : 400
Genre : YA Fantasy/LGBTQIA
Publisher : Titan Books
Release Date : October 13, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3.5-4 star review

I’m rounding this one up to 4 stars.

This was a YA fantasy with a historical feel. It had some foundations in Russian royal history and I enjoyed that element and this was some brutal family right here. The dukedom were out to kill one another for power, and the protagonist Ekata, felt justifiably out of the running as an insignificant daughter about to travel away to university. A curse hit and she found herself in a new position.

“Long live Her Grace.” Impossible, impossible. I was a middle child of thirteen.

This read had some great strong points, it was definitely a feminist tale. The title of Duke was genderless, power could be held equally between men and women but there’s a but. In reality, Ekata was surrounded by men who made her feel like a fool, wielded their power over her and used their gender to quash her thoughts, words and ideas.

All my life, these men had ignored me. It had never bothered me until now.

Those contrasts of what seemed to be equality and in acutality wasn’t, were frustrating for Ekata and the reader but this was the story, how Ekata navigated this. All this happened in the middle of a bride parade and Ekata chose her consort, a young woman. The romance and LGBTQ+ elements were a little weak but the protagonist was only 16 and so that did feel in the background somewhat. I would have liked this to have felt more developed, however.

I enjoyed the worlds of above and below and honestly, I read this over two days whenever I could; it had an unputdownable feel. There were elements to this story that felt unique, the magic was vague, unfathomable and mysterious, which I liked. Overall this was a good read and bonus, it was a standalone.

Thank you to Titan Books for the very pretty hardback review copy.

AS THE SHADOW RISES by Katy Rose Pool

The Last Prophet has been found, yet he sees destruction ahead.

In this sequel to the critically-acclaimed There Will Come a Darkness, kingdoms have begun to fall to a doomsday cult, the magical Graced are being persecuted, and an ancient power threatens to break free. But with the world hurtling toward its prophesized end, Anton’s haunting vision reveals the dangerous beginnings of a plan to stop the Age of Darkness.

As Jude, Keeper of the Order of the Last Light, returns home in disgrace, his quest to aid the Prophet is complicated by his growing feelings for Anton. Meanwhile, the assassin known as the Pale Hand will stop at nothing to find her undead sister before she dies for good, even if it means letting the world burn. And in Nazirah, Hassan, the kingdom-less Prince, forms a risky pact to try to regain his throne. When the forces of light and darkness collide in the City of Mercy, old wounds are reopened, new alliances are tested, and the end of the world begins. 


Title : As The Shadow Rises
Author : Katy Rose Pool
Series : Age of Darkness (book two)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 496
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Release Date : September 1, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

I’m not going to say this was a disappointing sequel, because it wasn’t, but I’ll admit that the excitement I felt in book one was mostly missing here. Whereas in THERE WILL COME A DARKNESS I think I was pretty interested in all of the POVs, this time I definitely had favourites and sorta slogged along in some of the paralell plotlines as they eventually converged into one. That said, this is definitely a twisty installment and of a few of the reveals, I think I only managed to predict one of them. I really liked that.

I mentioned in my review for book one, this is definitely a darker, grittier, version of the Falling Kingdoms series. And I totally stand by that assesment; in fact, this book only solidified my opinion on that comparison. We didn’t gain any new POVs, though we did gain quite a few new faces along the way, but what did change were many of the dynamics we had been given in book one. I enjoyed seeing these characters overlap, pass amongst each other, and then come together.

I did like this installment, it pretty much absorbed me all afternoon, but I hope book three pushes this out of like-zone and back to really like (if not love!)-zone to round out the series.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

A DEADLY EDUCATION by Naomi Novik – double review!

In the start of an all-new series, the bestselling author of Uprooted and Spinning Silver introduces you to a dangerous school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death – until one girl begins to rewrite its rules.
_______________________________________

Enter a school of magic unlike any you have ever encountered.

There are no teachers, no holidays, friendships are purely strategic, and the odds of survival are never equal.

Once you’re inside, there are only two ways out: you graduate or you die.

El Higgins is uniquely prepared for the school’s many dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out untold millions – never mind easily destroy the countless monsters that prowl the school.

Except, she might accidentally kill all the other students, too. So El is trying her hardest not to use it… that is, unless she has no other choice.
_______________________________________

Wry, witty, endlessly inventive, and mordantly funny – yet with a true depth and fierce justice at its heart – this enchanting novel reminds us that there are far more important things than mere survival.


Title : A Deadly Education
Author : Naomi Novik
Series : Scholomance #1
Format : eARC
Page Count : 336
Genre : YA Fantasy
Publisher : Random House UK/Cornerstone / Del Rey
Release Date : September 29, 2020

Reviewer : Micky / Hollis
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4-4.5 star review

I’m a bit dithery over that rating, take it as 4.25 if that helps! I just about devoured this book whenever I could and it made for tasty reading. The Scholomance was a school like you’ve never imagined, a school trying to kill its pupils with brimming magic, a void and tonnes of deadly creatures.

This was a witty read and that really surprised me. We’ve definitely seen shades of Novik’s sarcastic humour through Uprooted but this story had a lighter, laugh-out-loudness to it. I thought the whole concept of The Scholomance (the boarding school for wizards) was unique. Add to that the snarkiest heroine I’ve read in a while in Galadriel (El) and it was hard for this book to put a foot wrong.

When I want to straighten my room, I get instructions on how to kill it with fire.

Odd right? Spells didn’t flow in the expected way for her, but Galadriel was not a conventional wizard by Scholomance pupil standards, she was quietly and covertly exceptional. I loved reading about her systems, her talents and the languages she was studying. Most of all, I enjoyed reading her growth in friendships. El was almost made perfect with her use of British swears. I can say that Novik wrote a Brit (she was actually Welsh) particularly well.

The begrudging friendship/white knight (not needed) in Orion made for hilarity and chuckling. It was hard not to like Orion despite his saviour complex but there’s definitely more to unpack with him and I’m so glad we hopefully get to do that in the next book.

“You know, it’s almost impressive,” he said after a moment, sounding less wobbly. “You’re nearly dead and you’re still the rudest person I’ve ever met.”

The heirarchies in the school were something else and the void was just nausea-inducing to me. This truly was the school of nightmares and I wouldn’t last more than a minute in there! I simply cannot wait for the next instalment. And so I leave you with my favourite line (kudos to Jane Eyre here).

Reader, I ran the fuck away.

Thank you to Cornerstone/Random House for the early review copy.


Hollis’ 4 star review

A DEADLY EDUCATION is like a dark mashup of Harry Potter — if the only class was Defense Against the Dark Arts — complete with the magical puberty problems and monster-attraction issues ala Percy Jackson, but if instead of Buffy we had Faith saving the world all the time.. though hella reluctantly. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

This book is nothing like what I expected a book by Novik would be. This, for all the darkness and the fact that it’s set inside a castle that seems to be actively working to kill it’s residents — or at last lead it’s inhabitants into a position to die and casually look away — is funny, quippy, and strange.

Unlike Harry Potter or Percy Jackson or even Faith, we are tossed into the depths of things via Galadriel’s (El’s) point of view. She isn’t a noob blinking big innocent eyes as she wanders into this new world, no. She’s in her second to last year, having survived many years, many near deaths, with a prophecy already hanging over her head; she’s full of the bitterness and disdain from years of rejections, years of loneliness, and completely unimpressed when the school’s hero not only suddenly takes a shine to her but also saves her life.. a lot.

I liked our MC so much. I thought El’s snarky voice, her rudeness, was great. She has cultivated her niche deliberately because of circumstances completely out of her control but as delightful as she is at the onset, I loved her journey and evolution even more. Equally fun was Orion, the hero, the saviour, was equally not as one-note as he could’ve been. There are layers to both these characters and their interactions were a lot of fun as this definitely leaned into the enemies-turned-reluctant-allies-turned-friends trope. Infact, I don’t think I disliked a single character? Yes, I, too, am shook.

Though we never leave this young-person death trap of a school, Novik still manages to make her world feel big. This is helped not only because of the diversity of the students we are exposed to but, more importantly, all the Enclaves all over the world (think of them as Shadowhunter Institutes) they might be invited to after graduation if they are smart, skilled, or sought after enough. The rules are strange. I won’t explain further but.. don’t expect House points!

I had such a good time reading this, despite how different it was from my expectations, and I devoured it in less than a day. I enjoyed this so much and am very intrigued and very keen for more.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

UK BLOG TOUR – LEGENDBORN author Tracy Deonn tells us her top 5 YA fantasy books!

We have such a great video for you today from Tracy Deonn, author of Legendborn. Today she’s talking exclusively to our blog about her 5 top YA fantasy books and Hollis and I are super-excited to find we have some in common with Tracy.

You must have seen this book by now, it’s all over Instagram, Goodreads and book groups, with good reason. The cover is a visual feast of colour, magic and the main character.


First of all, here’s the synopsis:

Filled with mystery and an intriguingly rich magic system, Tracy Deonn’s YA contemporary fantasy Legendborn offers the dark allure of City of Bones with a modern-day twist on a classic legend and a lot of Southern Black Girl Magic.

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.


Now lets see Tracy Deonn’s Top 5 YA fantasy book!

So here’s a recap:

  1. The Grey King by Susan Cooper
  2. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  3. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  4. The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
  5. A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

We both love Uprooted and Shadow & Bone, so we are checking out these other titles and adding to our tbr!


Micky’s review will be coming to the blog soon and in the meantime here are the buy links for Legendborn. Please do check out the other tour hosts too. They’re going to have a range of different features for each post.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster UK for the #gifted copy and this epic tour they’ve organised. We couldn’t be more excited to get reading.