Perfect for fans of Rick Yancey and Marie Lu, The Ones We’re Meant to Find is a sci-fi fantasy with mind-blowing twists, ready to burst onto the YA scene, from the critically-acclaimed Descendant of the Crane author, Joan He.
Cee awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her.
STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The Metropolis—Earth’s last unpolluted place—is meant to be sanctuary for those committed to planetary protection, but it’s populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most.
Joan was born and raised in Philadelphia but still will, on occasion, lose her way. At a young age, she received classical instruction in oil painting before discovering that stories were her favorite kind of art. She studied psychology and Chinese history at the University of Pennsylvania and currently writes from a desk overlooking the city waterfront. Descendant of the Crane is her young adult debut.
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THE LAST FRAGMENTS OF THE HUMAN RACE ARE FORCED TO ADAPT TO A DANGEROUS NEW WORLD OR FACE EXTINCTION.
When starship mechanic, Denton Castus, is caught in the destructive path of a devastating war, he abandons his home and seeks refuge on a distant planet. However, this new safe haven has undiscovered threats of its own.
Eliana Veston, a scout preparing the planet for the refugees, struggles with a deadly pandemic that is killing off colonists. The hunt for a cure unleashes a new threat to humanity— the Sirens—mysterious beings with incredible powers and a deep hatred for invaders.
This is a story about the last vestiges of humanity escaping a threat (some scary robot aliens), and running into a new one on the planet of Kamaria. It’s told from a few different perspectives. Humans face the threat of extinction in a new world that brings new threats that humans have no idea how to face. It is mainly told from the perspective of Eliana Veston, a doctor trying to save her fellow humans from a pandemic called “lung-lock” that is killing off colonists, and Denton Castus, an engineer who finds a safe haven in Kamaria. The hunt for a cure brings humans face to face with a threat humans have named -the Sirens- and the Sirens are not happy to be sharing their home.
The plot was pretty fast paced and moved really quickly. There were very sparse moments that it moved slowly, but the pacing wasn’t so off that I couldn’t stay focused on it. It was break-neck most of the time, and it hit all of the beats just right and from the first chapter I was hooked.
The world building here was some of the best I’ve seen in a while. The world of Kamaria, which is an Earth-like planet that humans run to after Earth and the entirety of the Sol system is overrun by a scary robot like alien called the Undriel. Kamaria, while having some similiarities to Earth, it is very different and you can tell that T.A. Bruno put a lot of work into his world building. The world of Kamaria features many many different animals and a race of aliens called the auk’nai, which is a race of humanoid telepathic birds. They have their own culture and are very fleshed out. The world building was half the fun since it was so well done.
The characters, Denton, Eliana and the whole cast of side characters were all so unique and different. You can tell that T.A Bruno put a lot of effort into writing them and giving them each a unique voice. I can’t say which one was my favorite because I like them all quite a bit. I loved the interactions between Denton and his family, some of those had me laughing out loud. I also liked the relationships and the way they progress throughout the events of the story.
The writing was great. It wasn’t flowery, which is the type of writing i typically love, but it was also not clinical. The action scenes and they way they were written made me feel like I was watching a movie The descriptions of the world, as stated above were also great. It made me feel like I was on an Earth that was not quite like our home planet. The writing had moments where it felt a little clunky but I feel like I notice these things much more when I’m reading it, knowing I’m going to review it, so that could just be me being overly-nit-picky. I still think that this book is worth the read and I would definitely read the sequel to this to find out where it goes from here.
In short, you should read this. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone who loves adventure stories, and sci-fi stories about strange worlds.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
T.A. BRUNO grew up in Chicago and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the film industry. Since then, he has brought stories to life for over a decade as a previsualization artist. At home, he is a proud father of two boys and a husband to a wonderful wife. IN THE ORBIT OF SIRENS is his debut science fiction novel.
Myridians are coming, each wielding one of Six Cataclysmic Powers that will lay waste to the world and wake the God of Neutrality. What happens when one refuses to succumb to her myridian nature and sets out to save the world instead?
SIDRA ANATOLA will soon die a human death and be reborn as one of the myridian, beings destined to destroy the World of Aetheria. In a desperate attempt to change her dark fate, she flees home and the young man she loves to seek help from a powerful entity who has lived through all the ages. But she may not make it in time before she is killed by hunters—or by the love of her life, also a myridian, who fights every day to hold onto the emotions that made him human.
BRESEIS ERISWEN was expelled from the academy and failed her father who expected her to carry on her late mother’s profession as a myridian hunter. But Breseis never wanted to be a hunter—she refused to kill, and she never believed in myridians, to begin with. She leaves home with big dreams, lacking experience, and a broken heart, to prove that she is more than a failed hunter.
Two contrasting paths converge to become a turbulent one. A mouthy intellect with a colorful personality, and a skilled warrior with a frosty attitude, put their differences aside and travel the rest of the way together, robbing temples, angering false gods, and escaping numerous predicaments with their lives. Amid the chaos, they form a friendship despite a gut feeling that both hide dangerous secrets that can save or destroy the world and each other.
This was a story about the end of the world and those who are destined to bring it. It mainly follows two characters, Sidra and Breseis. Sidra is a Myridian, otherwise known as a world ender. She is destined to end the world of Aetheria, and is making a desperate attempt to change her fate, she runs away from home, and from everything she has ever known.. Breseis is the daugther of a Myridian Hunter, leaving home with big dreams, with aspirations to prove that she is more than a failed Hunter.
The characters were very distinct with very different voices. Both characters are very vivid and feel alive. They have their own ambitions and were very fleshed out. I enjoyed going through this world with their very different perspectives. I also love that it was showing these two characters going to the same place for very different reasons and how their perspectives changed throughout this journey. They were also characters who were fallible, they were not perfect, they weren’t these all powerful Gods that fought and won with no effort. These characters made me invested in their story and in where they were going. I can’t wait to see where else they are going to go.
The world-building was pretty great too. The world here is fantastic actually. The world is full of magical and mythical creatures and an interesting and new magic system. I’ve never seen a magic system like this, and I’m loving it. There are also multiple kinds of magic in this world and it is very ingrained into the world building. One thing I’ll say is that sometimes it can be a little hard to see where you are in the world, but part of this is because flipping to the front of the book to see a map in an e-book can be tough for some (me lol). I love a good map, and this map is gorgeous. The world building and the way that Sonja built this world and the different cultures is very well thought out and I can’t wait to
The plot was decent, but there were moments that the plot lagged and the pacing was a little off for me. There were moments where the action was really high-octane, and then moments where it was sloooow. Regardless of that, it kept me engaged, even thought I had to push myself a little bit through the slower parts. I’m really excited to read the second one whenever it is released. I don’t want to give many details about the plot so at to not spoil anyone, but I highly recommend this to anyone who loves fantasy. This is definitely worth a shot.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sonja J. Breckon is a builder of fantasy worlds and not ashamed to admit she lives in them more than in the real world. Besides writing books, she works with various programs to create her own cover art, interior art, design, formatting, and fantasy maps. She loves nature, the universe, coffee, and bookstores. Oh, and chicken potato enchiladas.
As electrifying as it is heartbreaking, Sam Taylor’s explosive fantasy debut We Are the Fire is perfect for fans of An Ember in the Ashes and the legend of Spartacus.
In the cold, treacherous land of Vesimaa, children are stolen from their families by a cruel emperor, forced to undergo a horrific transformative procedure, and serve in the army as magical fire-wielding soldiers. Pran and Oksana―both taken from their homeland at a young age―only have each other to hold onto in this heartless place.
Pran dreams of one day rebelling against their oppressors and destroying the empire; Oksana only dreams of returning home and creating a peaceful life for them both.
When they discover the emperor has a new, more terrible mission than ever for their kind, Pran and Oksana vow to escape his tyranny once and for all. But their methods and ideals differ drastically, driving a wedge between them. Worse still, they both soon find that the only way to defeat the monsters that subjugated them may be to become monsters themselves.
So, it has been quite a bit since I’ve written a review, but I’m back again. Below is my review of We Are the Fire by Sam Taylor. This book was provided to me at no cost through Xpresso Book Tours, in exchange for a review. All thoughts below are my own.
This is a story told from the perspective of Oksana and Pran, two members of the Tuliikoberts army, who were stolen away as young children and transformed into ruthless killers of the Emperor’s army of fire wielders. Pran dreams of freedom, of rebelling against their oppressors and destroying the empire, while Oksana dreams only of returning home. They uncover secrets about the future of the Emperor’s plans for the army and vow to end the tyranny once and for all.
The world-building in this was good and felt well fleshed out. The magic was interesting, and well thought out as well. The idea of these kids being stolen from their homes and being changed to have this magical fire to fight wars for an evil emperor was incredibly interesting to read about. You could tell that the author put a lot of effort into the magic system and the way that it irrevocably changed things for our characters. I wish that the environment itself, the country of Vesimaa for example, had a little bit more to it. I feel like we didn’t get to see a lot outside of the military fort of the Tuliikoberts. The military was ruthless and also built in a way that felt realistic. There was very tense conflict of those who were forced to undergo this transformation against the Commanders, and the Emperor. The tension felt just right. The fact that the tensions build and that the characters motivations are so different really made me want to keep reading. Their motivations and reactions to the events being so different was realistic and made them so much more complex.
Speaking of the characters, it took me a little bit to get into the individual voices of these characters, as it felt like their voices were very similar at first, but once I got into the book, it was easier to tell them apart. Pran fights hard for what he cares about and you can tell that he cares for Oksana and his friends very much. He’s also ruthless and will stop at nothing to ensure they are safe. Oksana is stubborn and also fights for what she believes in. She is cunning as well. She knows what she wants and will trick those in power to get it if she needs to. The romance was also already there before the book started, and I almost would have liked to see it develop on the backdrop of the revolution, but it was certainly a new thing to read about, as I haven’t read many books that have a romance that has already been established.
The plot was interesting as well. The pacing was a little stilted. I felt like there were some periods where nothing was happening, and those dragged, and then it would pick up to an almost breakneck pace. I think that besides that, the plot was good. There were some unexpected twists that left me with my mouth hanging open. This is a standard YA Fantasy novel that I think many will love. I’m not going to go to deep into this since I don’t want to give any spoilers. I feel like the comparison to Ember in the Ashes is apt. I’d say it’s a mix of Shadow and Bone and an Ember in the Ashes, mixed with the tale of Spartucus. I’d say if you liked any of those stories, you’ll love this one.
Overall I liked this one. I’d highly recommend this to anyone who loved the above mentioned comparisons. Let me know if you read this, and what you think. Don’t forget to sign up for the giveaway below! You can win a print copy of We are the Fire by Sam Taylor! (Pst, it’s also open internationally). What have you been reading lately?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sam Taylor grew up in Arizona’s deserts and now lives among Connecticut’s trees. She spends her days writing, being mom to the world’s cutest boys, whirling through dance workouts, and baking too many cakes. She does not possess fire magic, but does have one fire-colored cat. We Are the Fire is her debut novel.
Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.
Wow wow wow wow. This is probably going to be a new favorite of mine. This is the story of Yadriel, a trans Latinx brujo who is having troubles being accepted by his traditional Latinx family. His family doesn’t see him as a real brujo and refuses to preform the ritual. Feeling frustrated and with the help of his cousin, and dear friend Maritza (who I LOVED by the way) they perform the ritual themselves. He then goes on a quest to find and release the ghost of his murdered cousin.
Instead he gets Julian Diaz, a ball of energy and rumor. He is the schools’ resident bad boy, and he won’t go to death quietly. Julian wants to find out what exactly happened to him and tie up some loose ends before he goes. Yadriel agrees to help him before he sends him to the great beyond. This is where our story begins.
I’ll start with the plot because this is the first thing that really sucked me in. The plot was exciting and moving. There was a solid balance between happy and sad moments and there were moments that had me laughing out loud. The twist was something that I didn’t really expect, although the foreshadowing was definitely there when I was looking back on it. The mentions of Latinx culture blended wonderfully with the tales of the brujx and Latin tradition.
I LOVED all of the characters. Yadriel was such a great character to read from the perspective of. He was honest and you felt for him as he struggled with his family’s unwillingness to accept him. Julian was a smart ass, but SO goofy and unexpected. I loved the relationship that the two of them had and the way that it developed. It wasn’t quick and easy, it developed over time (at least over the time of the novel) and it was well developed. There wasn’t love at first sight. The characters of Yadriel and Julian, with two very different and distinct voices were perfect for each other, regardless of being so different. Maritza was a sassy Latina queen and I love her. I love that she was a vegan Latina too. As a vegetarian Latina, I know that I got a lot of funny looks growing up because I refused to eat meat. Food is such a HUGE part of Latin culture, being different or eating differently than those around you can get you some weird looks, even though it shouldn’t. That being said, not just the romantic relationships are great. All of them are. They are so different, but well developed. You can really tell how much Maritza and Yadriel support each other and how willing they are to fight for the other.
Another thing I love is how diverse this book was. There were so many Latin and Caribbean cultures and traditions included here. Most of the time, unless something was describing someone gendered, there was no gendered language used. No “brujos” or “latinos” to describe the whole, but plenty of brujx and Latinx which is much more inclusive of how varied and wonderful the Latin culture is. That’s another thing, reading all about these Latin traditions, foods, music and words woke memories in me that I forgot about. As a disowned daughter of a Latin, and Hispanic (yes, there is a difference), I was raised in the culture but once I was thrown out of my parents life I lost that connection to my culture. I truly loved this story from start to finish and it made me feel so much. I highly recommend this to anyone and everyone. I want to thank Xpresso Book Tours and Aiden Thomas for giving me the opportunity to find one of my new favorite books.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aiden Thomas is a YA author with an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. Originally from Oakland, California, they now make their home in Portland, OR. As a queer, trans Latinx, Aiden advocates strongly for diverse representation in all media. Aiden’s special talents include: quoting The Office, Harry Potter trivia, Jenga, finishing sentences with “is my FAVORITE”, and killing spiders. Aiden is notorious for not being able to guess the endings of books and movies, and organizes their bookshelves by color.
Black Hollow is a town with a dark secret. For centuries, residents have foretold the return of the Dreamwalker—an ominous figure from local folklore said to lure young women into the woods and possess them. Yet the boundary between fact and fable is blurred by a troubling statistic: occasionally, women do go missing. And after they return, they almost always end up dead.
When Kai wakes up next to the lifeless body of a recently missing girl, his memory blank, he struggles to clear his already threadbare conscience.
Miya, a floundering university student, experiences signs that she may be the Dreamwalker’s next victim. Can she trust Kai as their paths collide, or does he herald her demise?
And after losing a young patient, crestfallen oncologist, Mason, embarks on a quest to debunk the town’s superstitions, only to find his sanity tested.
A maelstrom of ancient grudges, forgotten traumas, and deadly secrets loom in the foggy forests of Black Hollow. Can three unlikely heroes put aside their fears and unite to confront a centuries-old evil? Will they uncover the truth behind the fable, or will the cycle repeat?
Hollow Gods by A.J. Vrana takes place in a small town in Canada called Black Hollow. The town is surrounded by woods and shrouded in secrets and folklore. This town is plagued by the Dreamwalker, a mythical figure that takes women into the forest. When they women finally emerge, they are always changed, and they always end up dead.
Miya, a struggling college student is… well struggling. She is struggling with college while also dealing with her own mental health issues, depression and anxiety. When she begins to experience signs that she might be the Dreamwalker’s next victim, she embarks on a journey to try to find exactly what is taking the girls of Black Hollow, and how to stop it.
Kai, is a lone wolf. He lives away from the confines of Black Hollow and tries to scrape his living together in the woods of Black Hollow. He is hunted by the towns people as a messenger of the Dreamwalker and he is haunted by a dark entity. He was… an interesting character to read a perspective from. I am not usually a fan of the “alpha” male kind of personality, and Kai definitely has one. You can see a very distinct change come over him as he gets to know Miya and as he allows himself to get close to others.
Mason, a resident doctor, who is escaping his everyday life due to the loss of a patient. He is learning that his arrogance is a hindrance in his career. He escapes to Black Hollow on a vacation to get away from the trauma and pain that he is feeling. When he learns about the myths and folklore that is so embedded in the everyday lives of the townsfolk of Black Hollow he seeks to find the logical explanation for these occurrences.
These three characters come together in a snarky, arrogant and different mix. There is an underlying romantic aspect here that slowly builds up as the novel goes on. I’ll be honest here, like I said before, I’m not a huge fan of the “alpha male” personality, so I didn’t really care for the romance all that much, but as it went on I found myself enjoying it more.
Something I really liked about this is the folklore and myth surrounding the town and the Dreamwalker. I really liked the story behind it and finding out what exactly was going on in this town.
I would recommend this book for anyone who loves urban fantasy, thriller and spooky books!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A.J. Vrana is a Serbian-Canadian academic and writer from Toronto, Canada. She lives with her two rescue cats, Moonstone and Peanut Butter, who nests in her window-side bookshelf and casts judgmental stares at nearby pigeons. Her doctoral research examines the supernatural in modern Japanese and former- Yugoslavian literature and its relationship to violence. When not toiling away at caffeine fueled, scholarly pursuits, she enjoys jewelry making, cupcakes, and concocting dark tales to unleash upon the world.
While preparing for the birth of his first child, Chrys Valerian is tasked with uncovering the group responsible for a series of missing threadweavers—those able to see and manipulate threadlight. With each failure, the dark voice in his head that began during the war grows louder, begging to be released.
Laurel lives in Zedalum, a secret city in the center of the Fairenwild. During her most recent messenger run, Laurel veered off course to explore the streets of Alchea. She never expected that her journey would end in chains. When Chrys learns who is responsible for the missing threadweavers, they come for him and his family. He must do everything in his power to protect those he loves, even if it means trusting a strange girl or the dark voice in his mind.
I want to start by thanking Storytellers on Tour and the author Zack Argyle for giving me the opportunity to review this book!
This story follows Chrys, a threadweaver and a high general. He is expecting his first child with his wife. After making himself infamous in war, he has won himself the nickname the Apogee and fear and the respect from the people around him. He is just trying to settle down in his life and happily start a family. But threadweavers are going missing and Chrys as high general needs to find them. Meanwhile, Laurel, dweller of a secret hidden forest city is captured by those same men who are capturing threadweavers. When Chrys and her meet and he frees her, we start on a bloody course of secrets, revenge and betrayals.
This book was super readable. I’ll be honest, it took me a longer time to read it than usual, but that’s because shortly after I started it I started my first ever full time job, so I have been exhausted by the end of the day. All that being said, while at work I wanted to get off the clock just so I could read this. It was enjoyable, the characters relatable and real. These characters are flawed and have secrets that they hide from others, and they make some pretty…. dodgy choices. But that is what makes a character complex and real to me. Each character has their own personality, their own voice. Some are quiet and shy, others brash and still others are defensive and protective of the ones they love. They were all well-developed and had their own complexities. That being said, I wish I knew more about the villians. There were certain aspects of Chrys’s character, such as the dark voice mentioned, that were not as explored as I wanted it to be. I wanted to know more about that, but I’m sure it will be elaborated more in the second book in the series. Also, I want to make a note of this because I’ve seen others refer to this, but there were some heavy mentions of fatphobia here. There was a villain who also happened to be fat and you were reminded of it very consistently He was referred to as “gelatinous” and the character mentions the characters fatness every single time the villain is brought up. I feel like the character could have just been called fat and his corruption and evil could have stood alone. The two did not need to be tied together. This honestly brought my enjoyment of the book down. It didn’t sit right with me. I want to bring this up to my readers who may want to have a heads up about that.
That being said, this book has some pretty fantastic world building. The realm was described in every detail, without being overly info dumpy (although there was some info dumpiness in the story, it wasn’t used too much and it didn’t distract me too much). The world was built in such a way that every single city was fleshed out and perfect. I would love to live in Zedalum, living in the treetops sounds like such an amazing time. Each city had their own culture and their own cultures surrounding threadweaving. Speaking of threadweaving, the magic system was top tier. It was reminiscint of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series, which I loved. It was enmeshed in the world perfectly.
The plot was good. It was high stakes, but the villians felt a little caricature-y until the end. I mentioned it earlier in my review, but I wish that they had been delved into a little more, development wise. That being said this didn’t detract from my enjoyment. The plot felt a little slow in the beginning, it took me until halfway through to really be into the story, but that could also be because my life has been so hectic recently. The pacing was off until the halway point and then it evened out. Again, this could totally be on me.
I would recommend this to anyone who loves complex characters, high stakes plots, political intrigue and bangin’ magic systems.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zack Argyle was raised with a wonderful family motto: don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story. What better way than to write fiction? He spends his days writing code and his nights writing epic stories about family, love, loss, friendship, and pain all intermixed with a heavy dose of the fantastical.
Sirscha Ashwyn comes from nothing, but she’s intent on becoming something. After years of training to become the queen’s next royal spy, her plans are derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend Saengo.
And then Sirscha, somehow, restores Saengo to life.
Unveiled as the first soulguide in living memory, Sirscha is summoned to the domain of the Spider King. For centuries, he has used his influence over the Dead Wood—an ancient forest possessed by souls—to enforce peace between the kingdoms. Now, with the trees growing wild and untamed, only a soulguide can restrain them. As war looms, Sirscha must master her newly awakened abilities before the trees shatter the brittle peace, or worse, claim Saengo, the friend she would die for.
Danger lurks within the roots of Forest of Souls, an epic, unrelenting tale of destiny and sisterhood, perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Susan Dennard.
I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the FOREST OF SOULS by Lori M. Lee Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post below and make sure to enter the giveaway!
This was a book that was on my raider way before it was released. I remember being drawn to the beautiful cover and when I read the synopsis, I knew I was going to need to read it as soon as possible.
When I saw that Rockstar Book Tours accepted me to have a tour stop on the tour for FOS I got SUPER excited. I was lucky enough to get an eARC of this and I started reading it right away, and this book did not disappoint.
I loved this book from the beginning to the end. The pacing on it was phenomenal. There were the valleys of world building and set up along with the high peaks of action at all the right times. Speaking of, the action scenes in this book were AMAZING. They flowed just right and were awesome to read and imagine.
The world of Thiy was so well constructed, and felt real. I felt like I was reading about a real place. There was a lot of show and not much tell here. The Dead Wood, which gives me major Uprooted by Naomi Novik vibes, was spooky! It was certainly a new and different idea that was perfect executed. Every single kingdom and city had their own traditions, customs and beliefs that made them feel all the more real and fleshed out. Like I said, I felt like I was reading a story that took place somewhere real.
The characters were AMAZING. They all felt multidimensional, each with their own voices and personalities. They felt fleshed out, and real. You can tell that the author put a TON of work into character backgrounds. The internal dialogue of our main character, Sirscha was wonderful to read from. The dialogue that occurs between characters is also funny. There were moments where I would laugh out loud because Sirscha made a sarcastic remark that put the other character in their place. The friendship between Sirscha and Saengo was so pure and wonderful.
Next, the plot was great. Like I said before, the pacing here was great. There were a lot of unexpected turns but they came at the right time. The political intrigue was so cool and the motivations of the antagonists were not anticlimactic in any way and the villain felt like a real villain, not a caricature. I would HIGHLY recommend reading this book if you love fantasy, tales of friendship and standing for what is right. You can buy it at the links included above at your chosen retailer.
Oh, and the ending? How could the author do this to me? It was explosive and I cannot wait for the next entry to the series. I highly recommend it. Go read it now if you can!
Thank you Lori M. Lee, Page Street Publishing and Rockstar Book Tour for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book! If you want to support local bookstores use the bookshop.org link
Thanks for reading my review! Check out more info about the author of this amazing book, Lori M. Lee below, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!
PS: Check out the other tour stops too! Give some fellow book bloggers some love!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lori M. Lee is the author of FOREST OF SOULS, first in the Shamanborn duology, as well as GATES OF THREAD AND STONE and THE INFINITE. She’s also a contributor to the anthologies A THOUSAND BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS and COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES. She considers herself a unicorn aficionado, enjoys marathoning TV shows, and loves to write about magic, manipulation, and family.
Now that high school is over, Randi just wants to live her quiet life in her little town, but it doesn’t feel right without her friends there. Ever the daredevils, they’ve gone to seek adventure in the capital city of Grandin, and Randi can’t help but feel left behind.
Not to mention that she definitely can’t stop thinking about that kiss she and Eddy shared before he left.
When Randi discovers a mysterious mark on her skin that matches an illustration in A Handbook on Paragonhood, she’s thrown into a world of powerful gods and ancient magic that she thought only existed in the myths. She’ll have to step out of her comfort zone-and into the dangerous streets of Grandin-to find a way to protect herself and the people she loves.
Randi’s not the only one with a secret, and she finds herself questioning who she can trust. Randi will have to wrestle with what it means to be a Paragon and how far she’s willing to go to do what’s right.
With the fate of the world on the line, can she live up to being one of the chosen?
I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the PARAGON by Shauna Alderson Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post below and make sure to enter the giveaway!
I struggled to get into this at first, but once I got about 25% into it though, I was hooked and reading it was quick and easy. I started to like the characters more and the plot was getting increasingly interesting. The premise was also pretty interesting. We have a world where there are Paragons, powerful gods with ancient magic. They are believed to be mythical, but are still hunted by Hunters. Randi, our main character is one of these Paragons. She needs to step out of her comfort zone so that she can protect herself and those that she loves. She needs answers, and she struggles to find who she can trust.
You are given a lot of information about the mythology of Paragonhood at first, almost too much to know what to do with at first, but once you get used to that, the pace improves. I actually enjoyed reading about the myths, and in the end, all of the information that is given in the beginning makes sense and is important. I especially loved the sci-fi twist.I always love speculative fiction that implements twists that are rooted in sci-fi.
The trope of a teen who finds herself with magic, on a quest to save the world, is a rather common one. I feel like it was well executed in Paragon. The magic was something I had not seen before. There were elements of it (i.e. the dreamscape, totems, and the eighth power) that were new and intriguing. It definitely made the story more interesting to read.
The setting was also pretty interesting. Here we have a world where even speaking about the myths of Paragons could get you a visit from the Hunters. The world is dangerous and there are strange things happening in the nearby shrines. The world felt real and it felt like there were high stakes.
The characters were all fleshed out. They all had their own secrets that led to new twists and turns that were unexpected and fresh. The group of friends had such a strong bond and each had their own voices that all worked well together, without all sounding exactly the same. Some of them frustrated me, especially with some of the choices they made, but that did not hamper my enjoyment of the book. Randi was an interesting character to read a perspective from. You can see a lot of growth from her character. She goes from being very insecure and unsure of herself to knowing what she wants and how to get it. I really liked to see her grow through the course of the novel.
I would recommend this to anyone who loves magical worlds or quest stories. I would also recommend this to anyone who likes sci-fi twists or mythical tales of overcoming overwhelming adversity!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shauna Alderson is a Young Adult fantasy writer and author of PARAGON (Zimbell House, 2020). She began writing teen fantasy even before she was a teen. After she “grew up”, she completed creative writing courses (and a BA in Development Studies) at the University of Calgary. When not reading or writing, she can usually be found teaching ESL, composing on the piano, creating art, or volunteering abroad. She also enjoys dessert, Studio Ghibli films, and being the silliest person she knows. Connect with her on Twitter @AldersonShauna.
SHE WANTS TO LEVEL UP HER HUMDRUM EXISTENCE. BUT HER NEXT QUEST COULD SPELL LIFE OR DEATH. Jen Jacobs’s nights are spent traversing a strange city finding hidden objects, slaying dragons, and tangling with a host of fellow adventurers. And her days are spent counting down the seconds until she can return to the grind and continue racking up tokens and leveling up.
Except Jen isn’t playing a video game.
It’s all real and happening right in New York City.
After a particularly harrowing quest pairs her up with Beatrice Taylor, a no nonsense and ambitious mentor, Jen hopes she’s on the path to becoming a big time player. But as she dives deeper into the game’s hidden agenda, she realizes Beatrice has her sights set on the Guild, the centuries-old organization that runs the Questing game. And the quests Jen loves are about to put both of them in grave danger.
Will Jen survive the game before powerful forces cut her real life short?
Guild of Tokens is a thrilling new twist on conventional urban fantasy. If you like determined heroines, gritty cityscapes, and vampire-free adventures, then you’ll love Jon Auerbach’s roller coaster tale.
This book had me interested from the start. The premise is interesting and something that I have never seen before. The idea is that Jen Jacobs gets an email to start doing quests in real life. She completes the quest and in return gets tokens. The quests range from easy and mundane, such as getting blueberries and popsicles and leaving them at a certain location, to difficult and seemingly impossible, such as stealing a certain kind of pocket watch. Think your average RPG game, but in real-life. Jen embarks on a journey into the unknown, a world of magic, Councils and Guilds that have been hiding in plain sight the whole time.
The world built in Guild of Tokens felt real and well built. It was a solid and realistic world with a believable magic system built in. The magic had stakes. There aren’t overpowered villains or heros here. Each use of the magic takes a toll on the user, which is something that I greatly appreciate when we are talking about a magic system.
The RPG elements were interesting to someone who loves to play video games. The fact that it features a female coder is cool too. As a woman in the tech field, I felt some of the issues that Jen faced in her workplace.
The characters felt very varied and so did their relationships. They were flawed as well as morally gray at times. All of the characters who are introduced here play a vital role in the plot and move the story forward in a cohesive and important way. Their interactions are organic and there aren’t any “cop-out” moments where a character is just used as a device to forward the plot, as each character is important in their own way. They are all fleshed out and are easy to connect with. Sometimes I felt bad for Jen as I felt like nothing was really working in her favor.
That being said, the middle felt like it could have used a little bit of tightening up, as the plot felt like it jumped around a little too much and I couldn’t catch the direction of it until later in the book. There were also some small typos and grammatical errors that the aforementioned tightening up could fix, but none of those detracted from my enjoyment of the book.
The end was very fast paced and interesting and I had to read the last 100 pages very quickly, as I needed to know exactly what happened in the end. I still have some questions about things that were not answered in this book, but I plan on reading the second book when it comes out later in 2020!
Overall, I would HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who loves Urban Fantasy or loves MMORPG games.
Again, my many thanks to the author, Jon Auerbach and Storytellers on Tour for providing me with a copy of Guild of Tokens in exchange for an honest review!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jon Auerbach’s love of fantasy began at the tender age of six, when his parents bought him the classic 1977 animated version of The Hobbit (the less said about the recent trilogy, the better). His passion for sci-fi developed from nights watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and from his dad’s old paperback copies of Foundation and I, Robot. Jon writes in both genres and hopes to pass on his stories to the next generation, including his kids, who have their own copy of The Hobbit that they lovingly call “the Bilbo book.”