Posts Categorized: 2.5 star books

The Wrath and the Dawn: Review

The Wrath and the Dawn: Review

My subtitle for The Wrath and the Dawn: A (Whole New) World of No. This book seemed chock-full of things I love: a good enemies-to-friends romance! something inspired by One Thousand and One Nights! and, last but not least, as an Arab-American, a story with a kickass Middle Eastern protagonist. So you can see why I fully expected to enjoy this one. I kept on seeing rave reviews for this on GoodReads and Twitter, so my hopes were way up. But in truth? I was not the biggest fan of this book, you all, and I’m still sad about it. (Though I am not alone in my black sheep pen: Wendy was mostly underwhelmed by this, too.) I want to begin, though, by making mention of the things I did like: Shazi is pretty excellent. She is brave, she knows how to use a bow and arrow, she’s mouthy, and she’s out for revenge. These… Read more »

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The Glass Arrow: Review + Giveaway

The Glass Arrow: Review + Giveaway

Oh, The Glass Arrow. How desperately I coveted you. At NCTE/ALAN this year, along with A Court of Thorns and Roses, you were the book I was most excited to find, take home, and tuck away into my heart forever. But unfortunately, our love was not to be. Why was I even excited about The Glass Arrow in the first place? Ahem. It’s a dystopian novel about women’s reproductive rights and/or bodily autonomy being taken away! It features (in theory) a badass, bow-wielding protagonist! It was being compared to Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale! Augh, how could I not want to read that? If you like those things, you may also be tempted to pick this up (and don’t let my review stop you from doing so, buuuuuut). In practice, you should probably just read The Handmaid’s Tale (for the first time! or again!) instead. Here’s why. 1. I was disappointed in… Read more »

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Zodiac: Review

Zodiac: Review

Zodiac is the first in a science fiction series that centers around a galaxy where every planet takes after, both in name and its populations’ core values and personality, the different signs of the zodiac. Sounds cool, right? I was intrigued by the premise both because it seemed ripe for lots of cool world-building (and also anything centered around astrological signs is awesome). Unfortunately, Zodiac suffered from too much exposition and flat characters. The plot of Zodiac centers around there being a thirteenth sign that has returned to destroy the rest of the signs. After one of these attacks decimates most of Cancer’s population, including its Guardian, the person who protects and  leads the planet, our main character, Rho, is chosen to be her successor. Rho is the only person who believes Ophiuchus, the thirteenth sign is to blame. She goes across the galaxy with her advisor and an envoy from Libra to… Read more »

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All the Bright Places: Review

All the Bright Places: Review

I’m a black sheep with this one, you guys. (Baa.) But I was really underwhelmed by All The Bright Places. I suspect I will be in the minority here, so, you know, your mileage may (and probably will) vary. But this book features a number of things I don’t care for: most prominently, I don’t tend to like books where one character changes another character’s life (by being irrepressibly quirky, or by teaching them to see the boring old world around them with new eyes, or by being impossibly good) , leaving main character changed for good and with a renewed sense of hope and potential. You know – it’s where characters aren’t important in-and-of themselves but are important for the transformative effect they exert on other people’s lives. (Think of the manic pixie dream girl, something along these lines.) And … All the Bright Places was a bit like this for me. I… Read more »

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Stitching Snow: Review

Stitching Snow: Review

I have read a lot of fairytale retellings recently, many of them sci-fi, a lot of them doing very interesting things with the stories they are retelling. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one, but I was excited for a science fiction story that did something different with the Snow White tale. I will be honest: Stitching Snow was not the book for me. Stitching Snow is about Essie, the princess of Windsong, the planet that rules the galaxy. She runs away to the mining planet of Thanda after her step-mother tries to kill her and lives there somewhat peacefully for eight years until a mysterious boy, Dane, crash lands near her home. Also, she is something called an Exile, an otherwise normal human with the genetic quirk that she can enter another person’s consciousness and know everything they’re thinking. The premise was interesting enough, but I found… Read more »

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A Thousand Pieces of You: Review

A Thousand Pieces of You: Review

This book. This book, you guys. I wanted angst, and torment, and heartbreak across dimensions. Instead I got a sort of weird sci-fi light story, mixed with historical fiction, and a half-hearted love triangle to boot. The basic gist is that consciousness swapping across multiple universes is real and scientifically supported. If you like any sort of novel in which the character escapes reality and is able to visit other worlds this will immediately appeal to you. But where the story began to lose me is that it dumps you into the “after the fact” of the protagonists’ emotional journey. She is already in deep mourning for her father who was apparently sabotaged by his graduate student, Paul. There is an attempt to make up for this by showing us flashbacks of family interactions and how Paul, and Theo, another grad student, interacted with Marguerite’s family before, but everything after… Read more »

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Lies My Girlfriend Told Me: Review

Lies My Girlfriend Told Me: Review

Julie Anne Peters’s latest – and last, it seems – novel, Lies My Girlfriend Told Me really made me think about what I want from LGBTQ YA. (It also made me want to check out Julie Anne Peters’s book Luna, which Wendy has read and reviewed.) To begin: there are lots of things to like about this novel: it avoids the coming-out narrative and surrounding conflict that is common in LGBTQ YA; the queer protagonist isn’t destined to a life of solitude and unending misery; the prose is good (and there are moments of unexpected humor that really worked for me). I am really pleased about all these things – coming-out stories are important, but LGBTQ teens have other kinds of stories, too, and it’s nice to see those other stories getting some attention. Lies My Girlfriend Told Me is great in that respect; our protagonist Alix’s sexuality – or that of… Read more »

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