Bite-Sized Reviews of One Dark Throne, Wonder Woman: Warbringer, Before She Ignites & A Crown of Wishes

September 27, 2017 Reviews 26

I’ve got four bite-sized reviews today—three of these are recent releases and one is a book I’ve been avoiding for a while. Oh, and a “bonus” review of a novella. 🙂  I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!


Bite-Sized Reviews of One Dark Throne, Wonder Woman: Warbringer, Before She Ignites & A Crown of WishesOne Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
Series: Three Dark Crowns #2
Also in this series: Three Dark Crowns
Published by Harper Teen on September 19th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 464
Source: ALA, Edelweiss
My content rating: YA (Some violence, Characters have sex but it's not described)
My rating:
5 Stars

The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.

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If you’ve already read this book, check out my Spoiler-Filled Discussion of One Dark Throne and let me know your thoughts and predictions about what’s going to happen next!

If you’ve been around my blog at all in the past year, you know I’ve been anxiously awaiting this book. After all, I adored the first book—and then my Spoiler-Filled Discussion of Three Dark Crowns became my most viewed post of ever, which managed to keep the series at the forefront of my mind (always important when you’re waiting for the next book). I even reread TDC in preparation for One Dark Throne, and I never reread. (Turns out, I’m really glad I did—I had forgotten more than I’d realized.) Still, I was nervous enough to keep putting off reading the sequel—what if I didn’t love it? What if I was disappointed?

I had nothing to worry about. This book is a fantastic sequel! We get plenty of answers to the many questions book one left us with, but there’s still more to ponder. And the stakes in this series just keep getting higher—the idea of the queens killing each other is no longer a distant reality, but an actuality that they might not be able to escape. Lives are in peril in this book because the world they live in is dangerous and there are forces at work that are bigger than any one queen. The book left me breathless in some parts, crying in others, and ever curious… What will happen next? Only time will tell.

I give One Dark Throne 5/5 Stars and the series remains an All-Time Favorite!

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via ALA Annual and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of One Dark Throne, Wonder Woman: Warbringer, Before She Ignites & A Crown of WishesWonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
Series: DC Icons #1
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on August 29th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Superheroes
Pages: 369
Source: ALA
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, Some violence)
My rating:
3.5 Stars

Daughter of immortals.

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together.

Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

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I’ve never been a huge superhero fan, but I’ve been curious about Bardugo for a long time, so when I (accidentally) ended up in line to pick up this book at ALA, I decided it was a sign that I was meant to read it.

The book started out perfect for me. Bardugo’s amazing writing skills were highlighted, and the beginning of the book read just like a fantasy since it took place among the Amazons in their mythical world. I was immediately pulled into the plot. Once the story moved into the “real” world, it lost a little bit of the magic for me—I just wasn’t always feeling compelled to pick the book back up—but I still enjoyed it overall. I especially appreciated the focus on mythology and diversity and the feminist leanings of the book. Plus, I really liked Alia, who was a completely unknown character (at least for me) going in. I wasn’t as excited about the twist, which felt like it came a bit out of nowhere. Still, if you’re a fan of Wonder Woman, then you’ll definitely enjoy this book, and I recommend it.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via ALA Annual in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of One Dark Throne, Wonder Woman: Warbringer, Before She Ignites & A Crown of WishesBefore She Ignites by Jodi Meadows
Series: Fallen Isles Trilogy #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on September 12th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 400
Source: Edelweiss
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, Some violence)
My rating:
4 Stars

Before

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.

After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.

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This is yet another book that grabbed me in the beginning but sort of lost me in the middle. Luckily, this one picked up again at the end, so my overall impression was definitely positive. The book features an incredibly unique world with several societies that I found intriguing (I was even interested in the political machinations of those societies, which is unusual for me). I also appreciated the diversity and the fact that Mira, the MC, suffers from pretty extreme anxiety, which she feels the need to hide because of her station in the world. Oh, and there are dragons! Who doesn’t love dragons? (I hope there’s even more of them in future books.)

I did think the book stalled a bit in the middle—there was a whole section of the book where not much happened at all because Mira was in prison, but at least I really loved her company there. And things definitely picked up again at the end of the book. Enough so that I’m eager to find out what will happen next!

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of One Dark Throne, Wonder Woman: Warbringer, Before She Ignites & A Crown of WishesA Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Star-Touched Queen #2
Also in this series: , The Star-Touched Queen
Published by St. Martin's Griffin, Macmillan Audio on March 28th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 369
Narrator: Priya Ayyar
Length: 10 hrs. 54 min.
Source: NetGalley, Library
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, Some violence)
My rating:
4 Stars

An ancient mystery. An unlikely union. For one young princess in a state of peril, a dangerous wish could be the only answer…

She is the princess of Bharata—captured by her kingdom’s enemies, a prisoner of war. Now that she faces a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. But should she trust Vikram, the notoriously cunning prince of a neighboring land? He promises her freedom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together they can team up and win the Tournament of Wishes, a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor. It seems like a foolproof plan—until Gauri and Vikram arrive at the tournament and find that danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans, mischievous story birds, a feast of fears, and twisted fairy revels. New trials will test their devotion, strength, and wits. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

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I put off reading this book because I honestly wasn’t a huge fan of the first one. I enjoyed the writing and the gorgeous worldbuilding, but the story itself didn’t really go anywhere. I was pretty disappointed because I had this book for review, and after reading the first, I couldn’t really bring myself to read it.

So, I ended up finally deciding to listen to the audiobook of the sequel instead of reading it. For some reason, I’ve found that I have a higher tolerance for slower stories when I’m listening than when I’m reading. Turns out, that I didn’t have to worry at all because I actually really enjoyed A Crown of Wishes. You see, this book has all of the wonderful qualities of the first, but without its one major flaw. Just like the first book, this installment features beautiful storytelling, richly-drawn mythology, and elaborate magic. But this book also has a strong plot, something that I found severely lacking in Star-Touched. And because of that, I was much more engaged with the characters. I cared far more about what happened to Gauri and Vikram than I ever did for Maya and Amar. The Tournament of Wishes was a wonderfully fantastical backdrop that gave Gauri and Vikram plenty to do—and the stakes felt much higher in this book. Sure, the story still occasionally got bogged down in the elaborate details, but I found myself engaged most of the time, which I couldn’t say with book one.

So, if you’re like me and you loved Chokshi’s gorgeous writing but found yourself a bit bored with the story in Star-Touched, I highly encourage you to give this second book a try. I’m very glad I did.

Oh, And you might want to pick up the audiobook because Priya Ayyar’s narration certainly does the book justice!

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of One Dark Throne, Wonder Woman: Warbringer, Before She Ignites & A Crown of WishesDeath and Night by Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Star-Touched Queen #0.5
Also in this series: , The Star-Touched Queen
Published by St. Martin's Griffin, Macmillan Audio on May 2nd 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 132
Narrator: Priya Ayyar
Length: 3 hrs. 30 min.
Source: Library
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing)
My rating:
4 Stars

An exclusive Star-Touched novella over 100 pages long!

Before The Star-Touched Queen there was only Death and Night.
He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

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But, Nicole, if you didn’t care all that much about Amar and Maya, why on earth would you listen to a bonus novella with the story of how they first fell in love? (Or, I guess, how the original incarnation of Maya fell in love with Amar.)

Hmmm… this is a good question. Because it was there? This novella was included with the audio of the Crown of Wishes, and somehow that made me feel compelled to keep listening even though I would have never picked it up on its own. But, ironically, I enjoyed it much more than I expected to—much more than Maya and Amar’s main book. I loved Maya as Night—-she was a much more compelling character than she was in the original book, actually.

The novella wasn’t perfect. There were moments that it felt like the relationship was built on instalove, and there was no plot beyond the romance—but I was expecting that going in, so it didn’t bother me all that much. Basically, I just really loved hearing a bit of Death’s backstory and I could truly feel Night’s longing for more. Chokshi managed to get me to connect to these characters more than she had previously (maybe because I was still high on listening to Gauri and Vikram’s story and I loved their romance?).


That’s it for now! Have you read any of these? What did you think?

 

26 Responses to “Bite-Sized Reviews of One Dark Throne, Wonder Woman: Warbringer, Before She Ignites & A Crown of Wishes”

  1. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    JEEEEZ Nicole, do you realize what you have done to my TBR? I was mostly convinced to not read Wonder Woman and Before She Ignites, and then BAM, there you are. (Well, I did read one other good review of BSI recently that had me mostly convinced, so you just pushed me over there hah.) I also still need to read Roshani’s next books (book and novella, whatever). Like you, I wasn’t in *love* with book 1, so I’ve been putting it off. But… since we’re twinsies, guess I have a lot of reading to do 😀

  2. Dina

    Nicole! I haven’t visited your blog in AGES! Sorry about that. I haven’t read any of Roshani Chokshi’s stuff, but I have both books on my shelves. Slow books sound discouraging, but I want to read more diversely so…I got to give her a shot. Also: Leigh Bardugo is an incredible writer, but I have zero interest in the Wonder Woman book. Funnily enough, I watch those superhero movies from time to time. But, it just sounds like a book would be dull in comparison.

  3. ShootingStarsMag

    I still need to read Three Dark Crowns, but I’m so glad that you loved the sequel! Makes me even more excited to start the series.

    I am curious about Wonder Woman. I kind of just want to read all of these – and Batman is the one I’m REALLY excited for.

    -Lauren

  4. Christopher Whittington

    I have a copy of One Dark Throne, but I still haven’t read the first book. Ugh. I need to do that and soon. Before she Ignites is one that I did really enjoy though. I am going to have to check out The Star Touched Queen series though, it sounds like one that I would like. Great reviews.

  5. Karen Blue

    Glad to see (and not really surpised about) your love for One Dark Dark Throne. I am also super happy to see that you enjoyed Before She Ignites, I think I gave it the same rating. I am really curious now about The Star Touched Queen. I was bored to tears with the first book, even though I could totally see why people loved it. I guess I will have to try to read it again. I am not planning to read Wonder Woman at all. It doesn’t interest me one tiny bit. Nice to see you liked it but I am still not convinced I need to read it. Thanks for sharing all these reviews!

  6. Jen

    The first line of your review, for A Crown of Wishes, is exactly what’s been going through my mind. I’m SO happy to hear you enjoyed it so much more than the first book!
    That gives me lots of hope that I will too! And somehow I had absolutely no clue about Death and Night. I think I’ll see how I feel after reading A Crown and Wishes, and that’ll determine if I pick it up too. 😀

  7. Lois @ My Midnight Musing

    I’m so glad you have A Crown of Wishes a chance. Like you, I was hesitant to read it because the first book wasn’t the best but I was so glad that ACoW didn’t fall into the same trap.
    I’ve been excited about Bardugo’s Wonder Woman book but also a little nervous. I think for me it’d be a tough job separating Bardugo’s WW to the one we know of and also with the limitations that come with exploring that character as part of a team up with DC comics. I’m on the fence now about whether or not I should read the book.

  8. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I have Wonder Woman sat on my shelf and it wasn’t a book I intended to get but got in a book box. Your review has definitely gotten me a bit more excited to read, though, even if you didn’t like the twist in it. At least I know it won’t be a total waste of my time.

    Before she Ignites also sounds like a good read even if the middle lets it down on pacing a little. It still sounds interesting and I’ve heard good things so I hope to read that.

  9. Kaleigh

    I am SO glad there are still two more books. In her blog, Kendare Blake wrote that One Dark Throne ends where it always would have, but now instead of being the last book she’s writing two more. Can you imagine if that ending was all we got? But that does explain why it felt like there were fewer unanswered questions than after the last book.

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