Conspiracy of Ravens (The Shadow, Book 2) by Lila Bowen

img_8349Conspiracy of Ravens begins moments after Wake of Vultures . Nettie Lonesome made a leap — not knowing what would happen. Well change is funny that way. You know it is coming but you have no clue what the end product will look like.

As with the first book, Conspiracy of Ravens is beautifully written. I’m pretty sure that Lila Bowen sits are her computer and spends hours coming up with the most beautifully written sentences and paragraphs. For example: “And if there was one thing Rhett hated, it was rude people who didn’t quite deserve to die.” Or “What part of I don’t know sounded like keep on asking?” I spent so much time reading and re-reading this book. I desperately wanted to know what was going to happen and yet I did not want to rush the magic that was this book. So many parts touched and moved me that I found myself lingering, not being able to read another page. (I mean this in the BESTEST possible way.) As with the first book, Conspiracy of Ravens lives in the ‘grey’ of life, not all humans are good and not all monsters are bad. Bowen, in the most enjoyable and accessible way, takes the reader out of their comfort zone and questions the supposedly black and white view of the world that Nettie grew up with. I applaud Bowen amazingly beautiful transformation of confused Nettie to confident Rhett. That is not to say that Rhett now magically has all the answers but he is definitely more open to the possibility that come when the strict black and white view of the world is done away with and the million shades of grey are accepted. As before, 1) I lack the words to do this book justice and 2) I don’t want to inadvertently spoil the magic. But for the love of chocolate, go forth and read this book.

Conspiracy of Ravens comes out tomorrow, October 11th, 2016. Seriously, go forth and read this.

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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers

22733729A friend highly recommended The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. With so many books on my reading list I didn’t think it would be possible to get to this, so I opted to try to audio book.

Wayfarer is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there. To the galaxy at large, humanity is a minor species. But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling. Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own.

I don’t really want to give anything away and honestly it is so richly complex that I’m not sure I can really summarize this book. I lack the vocabulary to do this book justice to portray the elegant way the universe is created through little details of life and habits. I lack the eloquence to describe the food and the soap and wine and small intricacies of life in space that Chambers weaves into the story. I will no doubt be inadequate to express the characters, their complex lives outside the plot, the expansive ideas of what a person can be, and their beautiful, beautiful relationships. I will also fall short of explaining the interaction of the alien species, the coming together, the falling apart, and the (mis)understandings. But most importantly I lack the ability to articulate the love of love in this book, the many ways of different people being together – as friends, as family, a colleagues and collaborators, as lovers, pairs, and more.

But I can clearly say that the wait for book two, even though it is coming out in a few weeks, will most definitely kill me.

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A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire #1) by Jessica Cluess

A shadow Bright and Burning(Looks left, looks right) Uh where have you been all my life??? Okay stop me if you heard this one before: an orphan girl and her boy best friend are attacked when the magical powers she has been hiding are displayed so that she can rescue her friend. Total cliché. BUT Cluess weaves such an interesting tale that this was unputdownable and so much of this was original that I am okay with the cliché beginning. But I am getting ahead of myself.

In this Victorian-era fantasy, sixteen year old Henrietta Howel, has developed an ability to magically set things on fire. She can burst into flames. But female magic, witchcraft, is criminal and the sentence is death. In fear, she hides her ability, but when she is found out, rather than being punished she is hailed as the first female sorcerer in ages. She is the one who is prophesied will save England from the Ancients, seven magical demons who have been terrorizing England for many years

A Shadow Bright and Burning grabbed me like nothing has in a while. I totally stayed up wayyyyy pass my bedtime last night to finish it. Henrietta is amazing, ballsy, clever, and imperfect. It is set up in Victorian-era England so of course she is surrounded by dashing young men, which could be total cliché but Cluess does an excellent job of making it interesting. I don’t want to give too much away but not everyone is happy that the chosen one has been found and sexism is alive and well in Victorian England. And to be honest, I don’t seen Young Adult deal with that enough. It was a refreshing change of pace. Over all, the cast of characters is interesting and multidimensional. A Shadow Bright and Burning isn’t perfect. There were sections that did drag a bit, but for 95% of the time I was captivated. I loved the world building and all of the magic.

I enthusiastically await book two in the series. Although I’m pretty sure the wait is gonna kill me.

A Shadow Bright and Burning came out today, September 20, 2016.

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