Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1)Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for allowing me to review an advanced copy of this book. I apologize for the delay in reading and reviewing this book. I have been ill this year.

This book started out on a great note. It was fascinating, exciting, and dramatic, for those first few chapters. It showed such promise that I couldn’t wait to read what came next, and the magic system had me absolutely captivated. Unfortunately, after that, the plot faltered, the characters meandered, and it was mostly a downhill slide for me.

I think I had my heart set on a truly epic dark fantasy novel, in the vein of Leigh Bardugo, and this just couldn’t touch that level of writing or world building. Instead, I got a rather tedious story about political betrothal with completely undeveloped side characters and way too much telling and backstory, primarily delivered through the dialogue. Because the dialogue was often used as a tool for telling, that impacted the character development, especially in regards to personality.

Basically, with the exception of the start of the novel and a few moments at the end of the novel, the plot lacks intrigue, and the action scenes aren’t enough to hold it together, since the storytelling lacks suspense and emotional resonance. I probably should have stopped reading, since I became more and more frustrated and disappointed the longer that I read, but I kept on, since the magic system was of interest to me. I kept hoping that everything would arrive, all at once, but that never really happened. It had short moments of promise, and then it would lapse back into telling me what to think, feel, or know, instead of just showing me and allowing me to make my own judgments.

The world building was also a bit weak for me, but that may be because it’s hard to settle into the world building, considering the issues with the writing and storytelling. On some level, I’m very interested in this world, even though I didn’t love this novel, and I’m not sure I really understood the complexity of this world, based on the delivery.

This book might be ideal for the types of fantasy readers who care more about concept and magic system than overall storytelling. There’s a small part of me that wonders if with time, and/or future books, this could grow into something amazing. For me, it’s just not there yet.

View all my reviews

Share Content:

The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

The Love & Lies of Rukhsana AliThe Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rukhsana is an average American teen with makeup, crop tops, a girlfriend, and a desire to become a scientist, all of which must be hidden from her strict and traditional Muslim parents. When her mother catches Rukhsana kissing her girlfriend, things go from bad to worse, and her parents pack her up and sweep her away to Bangladesh for what is supposed to be a 2 week visit to her ailing grandmother but instead turns into a 2 month stay in order to force her into an arranged marriage with a proper man.

This is a fascinating and layered read, full of Bengali culture, generational family history, angst, drama, and determination. I liked it a lot.

Pages: 336

View all my reviews

Share Content:

Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody

Sky Without Stars (System Divine, #1)Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a YA space Sci-Fi that is a reimagined and futuristic take on Les Miserables. Let’s just appreciate that strange meshing of worlds for a moment.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel, including the multiple POVs and the fascinating world/universe. Occasionally, it felt a big sluggish, and I think in this instance, the story would be better if it was tighter and the pacing faster. Probably the 3 POVs ended up slowing the story down, though I found them quite interesting and necessary to showing the depth of the world.

This story is also a bit rambling at times, and I did zone out occasionally and have to force myself to refocus. It’s occasionally guilty of throwing too many unnecessary details at you at once, which becomes too much to absorb, but then it recovers pretty quickly. In addition, the plot lingers at times, when it should just press forward, so instead of an action-packed adventure, it sometimes feels like more of a character study.

Despite some of those issues, I enjoyed the character building and growth, though with a novel of this size, I do wish it had run even a bit deeper than it does. I’m happy this is a series, because I think this is a good step in the right direction, and I’m curious to see what comes next. I remain very hopeful that this is one of those series where the first book is busy laying the groundwork, but it’s the later books that make you love the world beyond compare.

—the French influences
—the wildly different worldviews of the 3 POVs
—the social hierarchy

—more diversity
—more twists and surprises
—more complex relationships between characters

This is a great pick for YA Sci-Fi and fantasy fans, as well as for those that like unique retellings/reimaginings, and/or multiple POVs.

Pages: 592

View all my reviews

Share Content:

The Iliad by Gareth Hinds

The IliadThe Iliad by Gareth Hinds
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I love this concept of telling the story of the Iliad using a graphic novel, but I confess that I did still struggle to push through this, often caught myself skimming, and probably didn’t absorb much of it. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, as it has very text heavy panels and the art is a bit rough around the edges, with an almost biblical feel.

It can be a challenging read in its original format, with all of the different characters. They did a good job of trying to include identifiers to help you recognize certain characters, and they even included a character key/chart at the start. However, if you aren’t the type to just memorize all the names, facts, and pictures, it’s a bit like information overload. You aren’t going to remember any of it when you actually need it.

In other words, they did everything they could to help me successfully read this graphic novel, but I still fought against the archaic language and overwhelmingly quick introduction of characters whom I was just expected to know.

The panels are very text heavy, and while I understand why, it became tiring. I think this is like a retelling of the Iliad with pictures, and I wanted a true graphic novel format, which might have been unreasonable of me. What I really hoped for, when I opened this one, was for the story to be broken down into easy to follow scenes and everyday language. But maybe I was asking for and expecting too much from this particular piece of literature. The original is a bear, and on some level, this graphic novel does make the story more readable and interesting. However, I’ve come to realize I’m just not that interested in reading this story again. It was painful and confusing enough the first time I read it in the full text version.

I think what they did was try to stay true to the original, and while this would be handy in a school or research setting, when you are forced to read or study the original version, I didn’t enjoy revisiting this story as an adult. I just wanted to really be able to wrap my mind around it and enjoy the story, but I found it tedious and often confusing. Most of the time, I wasn’t sure who was who or what was really happening and why, which I hate to confess, since I’ve studied the original Iliad before (sorry, mom!).

Thank you to Netgalley, and the publisher, for allowing me to read an advanced copy. This graphic novel will be available tomorrow, on March 12, 2019. If you are currently reading or studying The Iliad, then I definitely recommend this as a tool to help you better understand the literature. It would be absolutely great for that purpose. For all others, this one is for either big fans of ancient lit, or those who love to bury themselves in overwhelming details about characters and Gods. It’s definitely not for your average graphic novel reader, who will likely find this version to be tiresome.

Pages: 272

Share Content: