Skip to main content

Teen SRC 2021 – Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

In the kingdom of Astrea, Princess Theodosia Eirene Houzzara was imprisoned and inside her own palace since the day her mother, the Queen of Fire, was murdered by the conquering and merciless Kalovaxians. She was merely 6 years old when the Kaiser invaded her land and destroyed her family. Ever since Theo was forced into the title “Ash Princess” to insult the Astreans and the suffering country. Regardless, Theo kept grasping on the speck of hope that someone will rescue her from the horrid palace and aid her in reclaiming the throne. Now, 10 years have passed and Theo finally realized she needed to take action herself against the Kaiser and fight for her kingdom again. Throughout these years, Theo witnessed her people perish and land being abused. She is determined to take revenge and revolt on the battlefield against the malicious Kaiser.

At first, I was intrigued in this book because I hoped to see Theo grow into a powerful female lead. However, the book displayed her as a cowardly, naive, and indecisive girl despite the traumas she had experienced. I was also quite skeptical about the teen romance involved because everything seemed childish for a young adult fantasy novel. Even the names of the people, objects, and land were unnecessarily long and strange. I did not like this book because I think the reading and comprehension level is too simple for me.

You can find Ash Princess here and more of Laura Sebastian here

Teen SRC 2021 – The Kingdom Of Back by Marie Lu

The Kingdom of Back is a historical and fantasy novel that portrays Maria Anna (Nannerl) Mozart’s life through 18th-century Europe as the older sister of the legendary musician, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Nannerl was also a talented musician and composer, but young women were forbidden to compose music; therefore, she had no chance to be remembered or honoured as a respectable musician. However, her beloved brother Wolfgang was easily shining brighter every day and stealing all the fame she should have received as well. Nannerl was extremely afraid to be overshadowed by her equally gifted brother since he began his successful music career at 5 years old. Furthermore, the gender inequality in their society oppressed her as a female and her future lies in a marriage, not music. She felt utterly despaired until a mysterious princeling boy from a magical land came to offer her a divine bargain to make her dream come true. 

I enjoyed this book because I was fascinated by how Marie Lu incorporated magic, music, and fantasy into a historical novel. She also revealed Nannerl’s intricate and complex personality through numerous aspects. Most importantly, I was very surprised to find out that the famous pianist Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had an older sister who he admired and loved so much. I appreciate that Marie Lu brought her existence to life and understand her struggles as a girl during 18th century Europe.

Teen Book Review- Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent & Dove - Mahurin, Shelby

TL:DR: 7/10, not my genre. Enjoyed it overall, but won’t be picking up the next one in the series. 14+, mature scenes present.

Before reading Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin, I didn’t believe that a 495 page book could float only on witty dialogue and cliched tropes. I stand corrected.

Premise:

Lou is a witch in hiding. Ever since she fled her coven two years ago, she steals, lies, and tricks others to get by. Which is no easy feat considering that Cesarine is a place where her kind are hunted. If she is ever found out, she will be burned.

Reid is an orphaned witch hunter. The guiding principle of his life is to kill witches. Oh, and follow the Church’s teachings through his father figure, the Archbishop.

Their fates collide when a cruel trick forces them into the holiest of all bonds: matrimony.

Yup. They get married. And normally, I’m a sucker for that ‘fake marriage for convenience’s sake’ trope. But if you’re not going to do it like “My Lady Jane” then honestly, why bother?

Before I get further into my commentary, let me explains why I am reviewing a fantasy book, (and one whose main theme is romance?!) in the first place. This is not my usual kind of book, I admit, but…The cover. HAVE YOU SEEN THE COVER?! *contented sigh* I was also trying to be more open-minded about my preferences, and decided to give Serpent and Dove the benefit of the doubt.

Unfortunately it just proved that the fantasy/romance genre is not for me. Let’s get into why.

From the start, the world building was done poorly. Characters spoke French at odd intervals and Christianity was present throughout (as well as the Bible) but in all other aspects, it was a different world. So why not make up some other religion/language or simply set it in France–why one foot in this world and one in the other? I don’t know, but that irritated me.

The characterization was average, and sadly stereotypical. We have the petite but fiery female MC. She is ‘selfish’ because she puts her life before the lives of others. Noble and muscular male MC. He is judgemental and has some anger issues but is really just a nice guy. Let’s not forget the Black best friend who is beautiful and supportive with no apparent flaws of her own. The Archbishop, regular ‘father-figure’ baddie.

What about the plot? Slightly better. There were some twists and surprises which were pleasant, but did it completely redeem the book? Not for me. The romance was passing, but it felt like a stale version of Nina and Matthias from Six of Crows. Which is not to say the romance was bad, by the way. Just not amazing.

Okay so now we come to the good parts. (yes, there are good parts). The humour. Maybe that’s what’s so attractive about these types of books, they have the ability to be light-hearted. The witty banter, the jokes and heart-felt scenes… even when the plot darkens, the drama of life and death adds feeling to the relationships.

This might sound like a complete plot twist of my own, but I did enjoy reading Serpent and Dove. It was fun and suspenseful but I just didn’t find it a good book in the ways that matter to me. (In addition to the minute scenes/details I found irritating)

Teen Book Review – The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

The Unwanteds

In Lisa McMann‘s fascinating fantasy series, The Unwanteds, twins Aaron and Alexander Stowe are forced to be separated, in a land of unfair and unjust rules. In the land of Quill, children are separated into Wanteds, Unwanteds or Necessaries. While being an artistic is a death sentence, Aaron is treated like royalty as a Wanted and sent to university. I absolutely love Lisa’s stories because the detail and creativeness that goes into her stories is incredible. A fantasy series filled with magic, art, and wonder is just my cup of tea. With magic and creativity, Alex and his friends bring the stories to life with their special talents and unique ideas. If you love magic and fantasy, I definitely recommend this spectacular series.

Teen SRC 2020 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Rowling, J.K.: 8601404281891:  Books - Amazon.ca

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

You’re probably wondering why I’m reviewing Harry Potter all of a sudden… and I can explain.

It took me almost 5 years to become a calm, hidden Harry Potter fan, and in about a month, TikTok has reversed all of that hard work. My entire FYP is Harry Potter edits and thus, I have been re-reading the books, and re-crying about how I’ll never get to go to Hogwarts. But, enough about that, let’s get on with the review.

Summary (Spoiler-Free): After another uneventful summer, Harry Potter has finally returned to Hogwarts for his third year. He has a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher: Professor Lupin, and Hagrid, his friend, has begun teaching Care of Magical Creatures. Oh, and did I mention a vicious Death Eater has escaped from Azkaban? Well, he has, and he goes by the name of Sirius Black.

Every single review I write for the Harry Potter series is going to be biased because I am in love with their world. In. Love. No other words for it. The plot lines are always amazing, full of mystery, suspense, and action. The characters are very well built as well, with Harry being an extremely likeable protagonist, and Ron and Hermione exceptional characters each on their own.

I believe though, that the true magic lies in the emotional aspect of this read. First, J.K. Rowling created a universe so real, so layered and magical and mysterious, that it’s impossible not to get lost in it. And, secondly, the characters are written so realistically that one feels they could very well pop out of the book, flesh and blood. These combine to create a story that leaves the line between fantasy and reality blurred, a feeling that I absolutely love experiencing. In addition to this, reading the series reminds me of my childhood, and I can relate to growing up, right along with the Golden Trio, which adds to the overall nostalgia, and hiraeth.

Hogwarts is my home, and I will laugh, cry, and grieve with Harry Potter, until the end of time.

I think it’s obvious what my rating is, and I’ll leave you with a quote from Dumbledore because although I talk about missing Hogwarts, you must remember that “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” So, go make the most of your life, and live it like you would as the main character of a story.

As well, here are a few songs that I recommend listening to, if you’re missing that magical feeling.

  1. Leaving Hogwarts – John Williams
  2. Welcome Home, Son – Radical Face
  3. Harry’s Wondrous World – John Williams
  4. Dragon Flight – Alexandre Desplat

Teen SRC 2020 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Rowling, J.K.: 8601418346777 ...

Wow, a double post?! I haven’t done that in a looong time. Anyways, I have been devouring the Harry Potter books for literally the 7th time recently, and I have just finished this one. The ending made me feel a lot of ~emotions~ so I am going to rant about it on here, because it makes me keep my thoughts in order!

To be honest, I expect all of you guys to have read this book already, so I am going to… *gasp*… include spoilers for the first time ever! So, if you have not read up to this book yet, what are you even waiting for????? I would give my soul to live at Hogwarts, you’re missing OUT! Go on, this review isn’t going anywhere… come back when you’re ready!

Read More

Teen SRC 2020 – Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie

Bone Crier's Moon - Purdie, Kathryn

Bone ​Criers have a sacred job. Them alone can keep the dead from preying the living. But their power to ferry the spirits of the dead into goddess Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’s Underworld comes with a great sacrifice. The gods order a promise of dedication to their duty. And that promise includes the life of the Bone Criers’ one true love. Ailesse has been molded since her first breath to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers. But first she must successfully complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she loves. Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier which he wasn’t supposed to wittiness, and now he seeks revenge. Along with his companions’ whose family has also been taken as sacrifice by Bone Criers. But when he finally kidnapped one, his craving for vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fate has already been tied. Sabine, Ailesse’s best friend, never had the guts to take part of the Bone Crier’s work. But when Ailesse had been caught, Sabine will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means breaking their traditions or acting against their matriarch just to break the bond between Ailesse and Bastien. And to just make circumstances even worse the matriarch seems to be harboring dark secrets and Sabine only has one year to save Ailesse, or they will all die.

Read More

Teen SRC 2020 – Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer - Taylor, Laini

Hey y’all! I’m back again, and this time I’ll be reviewing Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.

I first opened this book a year ago, but I couldn’t get past the first chapter. This week, I finally gave it a second try, and what do you know? I finished it in 3 days.

The story is told from two alternating perspectives from two very different people: Lazlo Strange and Sarai.

Read More

TeenTober 2019 – Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Legendary by Stephanie Garber is the second book in the Caraval trilogy. There will be Caraval spoilers in here so beware but none for Legendary.

While Caraval was written in Scarlett’s perspective and didn’t give us much insight into Tella’s personality, Legendary is entirely narrated by Donatella. For this reason, it took me a while to warm up to the book because obviously, I’d developed a connection to Scarlett in the last one and switching it up so drastically did not endear to me. I came around eventually though I still wasn’t as taken with it as I was Caraval.

In Legendary, Caraval is to perform at Empress Elantine’s 75th birthday and Tella plans to use this chance to find out Legend’s true name and fulfill her part of the promise she made with a “friend”. When Caraval starts though, Tella realizes that this performance is quite a bit different than the previous and that the dangers may no longer be a part of the game but as real as you and me.

I would give Legendary an 8.5/10 because I wasn’t very impressed with the ending… I was expecting a few mindblowing plot twists like Stephanie delivered in Caraval but I was VERY disappointed with the actual results. That said, I did enjoy the story and plotline overall and I’m definitely going to give the final book a read!

Teen Book Review – Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Hey all! How is school life? Hope you’re not being overload

Anyways, I’ve been reading up a storm lately and one of my favourites so far is Caraval by Stephanie Garber.

Caraval is the story of two sisters, Scarlett and Donatella, who have been trapped on their island with their abusive father for their whole lives. Growing up, Scarlett had always dreamt of attending Caraval, an incredible performance given once a year in which the audience participates in the games; however, given that their last attempt at escape had resulted in their father murdering the nice boy who’d been stupid enough to help them, Scarlett had long since dismissed that dream as an impossible wish. Yet, dreams have a knack for coming true, especially if you wish for them enough.

Thoughts: Caraval has been on my To-Be-Read List for so long that it was a such a relief to finally get around to it! It was the perfect blend of mystery and magic, romance and danger. I was hooked through and through. The plot twists were very, very good and the story was told in a way that made me just as confused as the characters (this may sound like a bad thing but it’s actually very good in this case, just let me explain). The audience members that participate in Caraval are thrust into a mystery they need to solve, with performers and a set that makes everything seem super realistic. Therefore, saying I was as confused as the characters means the story was so well written it was hard for me to differentiate between acting and reality. To describe Caraval in one word: Spellbinding; which is which my rating is a 9/10.