Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, Book 2) by Leigh Bardugo

img_8164img_8168Why yes, yes I did go to NYC for the book launch of Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. Why no, no I did not run home and read it. Why? Because I knew my life would be over once I was done reading it. And as predictive, everything I am reading right now pretty much sucks because it is nowhere near as awesome as this was.

img_9593NO spoiler here. Honestly, I’m not gonna say much, other than there was lots of stress eating during the reading of this book. Crooked Kingdom picks ups hours after Six of Crows. There are cons inside of cons inside of other cons. So basically it was fabulous. But with everyone’s life hanging in the balance it was super stressful. In the end, it was so worth it.

I wish all the books I read were as awesome as this. I’m so sad that its over.

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These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

23688792England, 1882. Evelyn is bored with society and its expectations. So when her sister, Rose, is kidnapped, she ignores her parents and travels to London to find her. Two dashing men try to help her. She uncovers a much larger plot to ‘study’ and ‘experiment’ on those with special gifts, in other words, specials powers. Mayhem ensues.

The set up and beginning were SLOW. Then the set up in London was also SLOW. Honestly, the book didn’t really come together until the last 100 pages and at which point, I was like eh. I greatly enjoyed the interactions between the three main characters: Evelyn, Mr. Braddock and Mr. Kent. Many of their conversations are priceless. There interaction was the only thing that kept me interested in the book. I think more attention to the villain’s characterization would have improved the book. Everything else is beaten like a dead horse but the lack of development of the deranged Dr. Beck as main antagonist speak of sloppiness and of a hastily sketched character. Dr. Beck was such a big part of the story and yet he was not given the time and attention he required. It hardly helps that he’s meant to be the tip of the iceberg and, he’s only one member of a far larger organization. But he was simply reduce to the stereotype of the mad doctor obsesses with the greater good even if it means hurting innocent individuals.

I’m on the fence as to whether or not I would be interested in book 2.

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The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy, Book 1) by Marie Rutkowski

16069030I feel like I have been reading a lot of disappointing books the last few weeks. It’s kinda killed the fun of reading and posting about great books that I have enjoyed. The Winner’s Curse has been on the mountain of books to read and a friend highly recommended it. I really enjoyed Rutkowski’s Cabinet of Wonders series and figured The Winner’s Curse would be a good way to end the year.

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. One day, she randomly buys a young slave up for auction with unexpected consequences. But the slave, Arin, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

The writing in this is good but it’s not the kind that sweeps the reader up and transports them fully within the pages, but it gets the job done. Throughout the first half of the book, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the slow revelations of the character’s depths. The plot is there too; star crossed lovers, a power-hungry empire, and a slave rebellion. What’s not to like? The story never grabbed me. Never really took hold. I definitely bothered me that it did not bother Kestrel just how many slaves she had. Sure she was good to the ones she liked but the others became faceless, nameless. The second half of the book, during the slave rebellion, the story did start to take hold of me but I feel as if this could have been done ‘better’. This read less like a YA novel and more like a ‘mature’ middle school book. The politics, and war strategies and larger scale conflicts are sugared down. That being said, the end. Oh the end. Darn you amazingly wonderful, jaw dropping, must find out what happens next. Hopefully book two will be better and I won’t regret giving it a shot.

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