BOOK REVIEW: KING OF SCARS by LEIGH BARDUGO

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King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

it took me a while to rid myself of the crushing weight of disappointed expectations that this book subjected me to, but here i am at last with a review, bullet point style

► the chapters i was most looking forward to—THE ICONIC NINA FREAKING ZENIK’S CHAPTERS—were the ones that disappointed me the most. they were honestly so boring . i didn’t care about the plotline, didn’t care about the new characters (which were severely underdeveloped, by the way), didn’t care about the burgeoning romance, didn’t care about anything, really. the stuff with matthias was beautiful but other than that it was all forgettable and mediocre, two words i honestly never thought id use to describe anything by leigh bardugo, but here we are.

i—and i cannot stress this enough—could not give one (1) single iota of a shit about [character name redacted]’s chapters. oh my god. i swear a part of me died every time his name showed up in the chapter headers. if i could barely care about nina’s chapters, and they were from the POV of the aforementioned ICONIC NINA ZENIK, then i sure as hell couldn’t care about [character name reducated] of all people.*

(*for those who’ve read the book, you know who i mean. he’s a new character.)

► other than that, nothing in this book really stood out to me. zoya’s story was fine, nikolai’s story was fine. the plot was fine…i guess? the ending was definitely NOT fine, but by the time i got to it i was so indifferent that i was like ok this dumbass ending might as well happen i dont really care at this point ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

ill still read the sequel of course because im still holding out hope that there’ll be a whiff of the six of crows characters but other than that im not looking forward to anything..

..it’s fine, im alright, not salty that this disappointed me or anything, everything is completely fine 🙂 🙂 🙂

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ARC REVIEW: STRANGE GRACE by TESSA GRATTON


Strange Grace has such a compelling, eerie premise: every seven years, a boy is sent into the Devil’s Forest as a sacrifice to allow the village and its occupants to remain safe and prosperous for the next 7 years. Except, one day, this spell is inexplicably interrupted 3 years into the 7 year interval. THE MYSTERY. THE SUSPENSE. And I gotta admit, the first couple of chapters of this book were very exciting. I wanted to find out what would happen and the air of mystery surrounding the whole thing was enticing. I also really appreciated the prominent role that diverse representation played in this story. There’s great LGBTQ rep (it’s hard to tell what the characters identify as since they don’t explicitly use labels, but to me it seemed like the main characters were bi- or pansexual), gender identity rep (again, I can’t tell for sure, but one of the main characters read to me as non-binary), and also one of the POV characters is black. Regardless, my initial interest in all of these things–the premise and the rep–waned and I was just left feeling more underwhelmed than anything. About halfway through the book I realized that I wasn’t enjoying this story anymore. 

I think my issue with this is that the story feels very static. It has plenty of highs and lows, and yet they never really feel all that high or low. Consequently, neither the story nor its characters end up reading as dynamic. Also, something about the writing style made this quite hard to follow. I don’t know if this was just me, but I had a lot of trouble visualizing scenes because the logistics were so hazy and the transitions very abrupt.

Strange Grace wasn’t a bad story, but the fact is, I didn’t particularly enjoy it. I loved the outline of its story, but its characters and writing ultimately fell short for me.

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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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