BOOK REVIEW: BRIGHT WE BURN BY KIERSTEN WHITE

I enjoyed this for what it was, but this series has never really been a 5-star series for me. To be honest, I think I’ve fallen out of love for this series. I loved And I Darken, but Now I Rise and Bright We Burn I just felt lukewarm about. My problem with this book (and Now I Rise) basically comes down to one thing: too much plot, too little character. I like books where characters talk. I’m not talking about superficial, expository dialogue. I’m talking about the kind of dialogue that builds characters: complicated, messy conversations rife with anger and jealousy and revelations and just a lot of Feelings. And I don’t need this dialogue to be dramatic, I just need it to develop the characters and their dynamics with each other. Where Bright We Burn falls short is that that dialogue is just not there. The 3 main characters are almost never together, so naturally, they never get the chance to properly talk. And I love introspection as much as the next person (Call Me By Your Name was my favourite book of last year, and lol that book is like 99% introspection), but I’d also like to see the way characters articulate and express those introspections.

To add onto this, I felt like, just as with Now I Rise, this installment was really bogged down by its plot. There are so many moving parts to this plot that the characters end up taking a backseat to its various details and complications. Political maneuvering and planning is all fun and games until you stop caring about the characters involved in it. All of this is not to say that I was disappointed by the ending of this trilogy, per se. It was more its execution that I found subpar, not necessarily the plot itself. Though White arrived at the book’s ending kind of abruptly, I liked the ending nonetheless. It’s a solid trilogy with a lot to offer, but it’s unfortunately not gonna become a favourite of mine anytime soon.

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BOOK REVIEW: MY LADY JANE BY CYNTHIA HAND, BRODI ASHTON, AND JODI MEADOWS

My Lady Jane is just so damn fun. It kinda reminds me of Guardians of the Galaxy in the way that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but still manages to make you genuinely invested in its characters and their plot lines. It knows when to be funny, it knows when to be serious, and it never veers off too much in one direction, making the story lighthearted but still grounded. The characters are marvelously charming, and very hard not to love. We have Jane, who is smart, level-headed, and SO VERY BOOKISH; Gifford who is hilarious and so so sweet; and finally, Edward, who is sarcastic, willing to learn, and just very teenager-y (in all the good and angsty ways). The character dynamics are also a joy to read, the banter consistently and confidently hilarious. It catches you off guard in the best and most unexpected of times. And with such a peculiar twist to a historical fiction narrative—including people who can morph into all sorts of strange animals—and wonderfully self-aware narrators, the story shines even more. Having characters morph into these animals that were representative of them kinda felt like Patronuses 2.0, and also allowed for some weird, undeniably comical scenes between certain characters.All in all, My Lady Jane was the refreshing, entertaining read I was looking for, and then some.

BOOK REVIEW: MIDNIGHT AT THE ELECTRIC BY JODI LYNN ANDERSON

wow. what a warm, understated gem of a novel.

Midnight at the Electric is a novel that epitomizes “less is more.” I don’t even know where to begin with this novel. On its surface, Midnight at the Electric is not a particularly epic or sweeping tale, but that’s because grandiosity is not what it draws its strength from. This a quiet, unassuming novel, seemingly straightforward until you turn its last page and realize that you’re devastated and/or crying your eyes out. If you don’t think short books can be powerful, this novel will prove you wrong. Everything about it works precisely because it’s so condensed; it’s distilled into its best possible form. The writing style is sleek, elegant, powerful—all without veering into sentimental or purple prose territory. It’s comprised of 3 separate stories—one in 2065, one in 1934, and one in 1919—all of which are cohesive but distinct, each capable in their own right, but together forming a poignant and memorable whole. The stories are brimming with feeling, set in compelling time periods, but always, always grounded in their respective protagonists’ psyches. They’re heartbreaking but hopeful stories, bittersweet in the best ways.

I don’t know what else to say. Just go read it. Midnight at the Electric is definitely gonna be at the top of my “best books of 2018” list because damn, what a beautiful little novel.

4.5-


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