Tag: mythology

Book Review: The Immortal City, by Amy Kuivalainen

the immortal city
Image belongs to BHC Press.

Title:  The Immortal City
Author:    Amy Kuivalainen
Genre:  Fantasy
Rating:  3 out of 5

Dr. Penelope Bryne has been shunned and ridiculed by the scientific community for her theories about Atlantis. Until a woman is sacrificed in Venice, and an ancient script is found at the murder site and the police need Penelope’s help.

Alexis Donato has spent the last few years trying to destroy Penelope’s career from afar, so she doesn’t discover the truth about Atlantis:  it did exist, and seven of its magicians escaped its destruction.

With Carnivale erupting around them, Penelope and Alexis will have to work together to keep dark magic from pulling Venice into the sea—just like Atlantis.

I love the tales of Atlantis and I love archeology, so this book sounded exactly suited for me. However…this felt more like a rough draft than a polished novel. Some of the relationships (like Penelope’s friendship with the detective) escalated too quickly to be believable, and there were a few too many instances of things conveniently/coincidentally working out for me to be fully invested in and believing the story. At this point, I wasn’t satisfied enough with the writing to want to read more of the series, as fascinating as the premise was.

Amy Kuivalainen likes to combine fantasy, mythology, and magic in her writing. The Immortal City is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of BHC Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

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Book Review: Lovestruck, by Kate Watson

lovestruck
Image belongs to Flux Books.

Title:  Lovestruck
Author:  Kate Watson
Genre:  YA, fantasy
Rating:  4 out of 5

Kali is sixteen and convinced the Fates control everything, so what’s the point of even trying? That’s not a good attitude for a cupid-in-training, but Kali wants to be a Muse, so she’s phoning it in anyway. Until she breaks the cardinal rule for cupids—don’t poke yourself with the arrow—and falls in love with Ben, her hot, mortal target.

The God of Love is going to kill her—even if he is her dad.

Desperate to escape her fate, Kali will do anything to reverse the unbreakable spell: sneak out to see the Oracle, defy the gods (and the big-G-Gods), help her mentor…all while dating the (mortal) love of her life and trying not to break her best friend Hector’s heart.

The Fates have nothing on her.

Lovestruck is a quick read, and I really enjoyed it. I love the idea of the gods of mythology having jobs and lives and interacting with humans, and the cupid set-up is great—and makes just as much sense as falling in love possibly can. Despite being the daughter of a big-G-God, Kali’s feelings and thoughts are entirely human—and entirely teenage. Why am I here? What’s the point of life? Is that a cute boy? I thoroughly enjoyed all the characters and would love to read more set in this world.

Kate Watson was born in Canada and now lives in Arizona. Lovestruck is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Flux via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Shadow of the Fox, by Julie Kagawa

shadow of the fox
Image belongs to Harlequin Teen.

Title:   Shadow of the Fox
Author:   Julie Kagawa
Genre:   Fantasy, YA
Rating:   4 out of 5

Yumeko has been raised by monks in the Silent Winds temple. The isolation helps hide her half-kitsune nature—along with the training of the monks who want to suppress her mischievous personality. The temple exists to protect part of an ancient scroll fated to summon the great Kami Dragon. The last time the dragon was summoned, a thousand years of darkness followed.  When the temple is destroyed, and the monks slain, Yumeko is left with the scroll fragment—and instructions to find a hidden temple.

But Yumeko isn’t the only one interested in the scroll. Kage Tatsumi, a samurai of the mysterious shadow clan, has been charged to find the scroll—and let no one stand in his way. Yumeko has no idea how to survive outside the temple and promises to take Kage to the scroll if he helps her find the temple. Kage has no idea she’s holding a piece of the scroll, and her deception could tear them apart—if his dark secret doesn’t destroy them both first.

I am fascinated by Japanese culture and mythology, and I really loved the Iron Fey series, so I was excited to read this. However, I found it pretty slow going until the last third of the book. The setting is fantastic and fascinating, but the plot seemed a bit predictable. Yumeko was very naïve—to be expected from her upbringing—and I actually liked that about her, although I think she needed some more common sense at times to counteract her lack of experience. A solid read.

Julie Kagawa is a New York Times-bestselling author. Shadow of the Fox is her newest novel.

(Galley provided by Harlequin Teen in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Circe, by Madeline Miller

Circe
Image belongs to Little, Brown, and Company.

Title:   Circe
Author:   Madeline Miller
Genre:   Fiction, literary fiction, mythology
Rating:   4.5/5

Circe is the daughter of Helios, god of the sun and the mightiest Titan. Her mother is both cruel and alluring. Circe is not like either of them. Nor is she like her three siblings, striving for power and fame.

Circe prefers the company of fragile mortals to that of the powerful—and cruel—gods. In her search for companionship, Circe discovers she does have power:  that of witchcraft. Her power to transform her rivals into monsters makes the gods fear her, and she is banished by Zeus himself to a deserted island.

There, Circe learns her craft, growing in power and knowledge as she comes to know some of the most famous individuals in mythology:  The Minotaur, Medea, Daedalus, and especially the mighty Odysseus. But Circe draws the anger of one of the most powerful god in existence, and it will take all of skills and cunning to survive—and to decide if she will be a god, or a mortal.

I’ve always loved mythology, and I knew a tiny bit about Circe from a year spent studying mythology in high school (Thank you, Mrs. Skidmore!), but this novel is a riveting and personal journey into Circe’s life. Her treatment at the hands of the gods made me sad—kind of like the behavior of a lot of society these days—and her fumbling attempts to find friends and figure out her own truths drew my sympathy.

I loved reading about mythology from an insiders’ view—I truly felt I was part of the tale, experiencing Circe’s pain, grief, horror, and happiness right along with her. Well-written and engrossing, this book is a journey readers will love to take!

Madeline Miller is the award-winning author of The Song of Achilles. Her newest novel is Circe.

(Galley provided by Little, Brown, and Company in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: All the Wicked Girls, by Chris Whitaker

atwg
Image belongs to Zaffre.

The small town of Grace, Alabama might be highly named, but it’s a little short on its follow-through. Populated by rednecks, people haunted by regrets, and economic depression, the town is full of hurting people shadowed by darkness. Then bright spot Summer Ryan goes missing, and the entire town fears she’s been taken by The Bird, believed responsible for the disappearances of five other local, church-going good girls.

But as Raine Ryan—Summer’s twin sister—investigates her sister’s disappearance, she discovers that Summer wasn’t quite the good girl everyone thought. With the help of Noah, a local boy who adores Raine, she starts asking questions, and soon the darkness that’s been hidden in Grace is visible to the whole world.

All the Wicked Girls shows a good picture of life in a small Southern town:  the town busybodies who want to know everyone else’s business, the good ol’ boys who think they know more than the guys in charge, the teenagers yearning to get out of town. In fact, the Southern gothic feel of the novel is so spot-on, that I was surprised to learn the author is English, not Southern. The setting is fantastically well-done.

I love how the story is told in alternating points of view, including the missing Summer telling of thing that happened before. Raine is a force of nature, and Noah is endearing as he struggles with his health issues as well as the loss of his father. There’s a lot of twists in this novel, and the suspense will keep the reader gripping the pages to find out what’s really going on.

Chris Whitaker was born in London and worked as a financial trader. All the Wicked Girls is his newest novel.

(Galley provided by Zaffre in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Patchwork, by Karsten Knight

patchwork
Image belongs to Karsten Knight.

Karsten Knight lives in Boston and writes YA fiction. His newest novel is Patchwork.

Renata Lake expects prom night to be full of the typical things one finds on prom night: moonlight, dancing, teenage hormones, and an epic prank by her group of friends involving throwing a dead body over the side of the boat into Boston Harbor. What she doesn’t expect is a proposal or a bomb explosion, leaving real bodies in the water before she sinks beneath the waves.

Renata wakes up in Patchwork, a ghostly world where all her memories come together in a crazy pattern, and her friends’ murderer chases her through these memories, determined to kill her—and everyone she loves—once and for all. Reliving her memories and watching her friends die over and over is enough to drive anyone insane, but Renata must rise above that if she is to figure out who the killer is, and get back to her real life.

Patchwork is a fantastic read, fast-paced and with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing all the way to the final pages. There’s a bit of mythology here, not enough to overpower the action and the mystery, just enough to spice it up. I wanted to read this straight through, but real life had to take priority. This is a must-read for anyone who loves fast-paced fantasy with an edge.

(Galley provided by the author via NetGalley.)