Tag Archives: V.E. Schwab

Series Review: Monsters of Verity duology by Victoria Schwab

I’ve been very hit-or-miss with Victoria/V.E. Schwab but my friends loved this series so I wanted to give it a shot! It made it easy to read with my library having copies of the first audiobook and I ended up purchasing the second to finish it out.

Reviews for each book/the series are a whole are generally spoiler-free for any major occurrences or twists but may contain info about plot points so I can properly discuss the plot. 

Series Review: Monsters of Verity duology by Victoria SchwabTitle: This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) by Victoria Schwab
Publishing Info: July 5, 2016 by HarperCollins
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 17, 2017
Related Posts: Vicious (Vicious #1), , A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1), A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2), A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3)

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

I wrote a pretty quick collection of thoughts on Goodreads and since it’s been quite a few months since I actually read the book, it’s interesting to read these thoughts and look back on my experience reading the book… which is that I don’t remember as much as I had hoped. THIS SAVAGE SONG was a solid read, but it didn’t really stay with me. The book kind of had a feel like THE 5TH WAVE except more of a paranormal/urban fantasy concept with monsters instead of aliens. (I mean, it’s not a direct comparison because a lot is different but that kind of post-apocalyptic feel is there.)

I was entertained the whole way though and I enjoyed the characters of August and Kate. I really liked Kate’s toughness and I appreciated August’s situation but I was always left feeling like I wanted a little more background. It’s only a two-book series so I was hoping there would be more world-building and set-up included in THIS SAVAGE SONG and there wasn’t, so I was left waiting for that in book two.

Series Review: Monsters of Verity duology by Victoria SchwabTitle: Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab
Publishing Info: June 13, 2017 by HarperCollins
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 19, 2017
Related Posts: Vicious (Vicious #1), , A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1), A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2), A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3)

THE WORLD IS BREAKING. AND SO ARE THEY.

KATE HARKER isn't afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she's good at it.

AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

THE WAR HAS BEGUN.

THE MONSTERS ARE WINNING.

Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims' inner demons.

Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?

OUR DARK DUET was a less enjoyable read for me. I kept hearing about all of the FEELS here but since I didn’t really have them for the first book, I really didn’t keep anything moving to the second book. I felt like the author was relying on feelings to carry the book through and still, I was really lacking that development of the world and the background of the story. I wanted so many more details on how the monsters are formed, WHY they started forming in the first place. I mean, this isn’t a fantasy world — it’s our world and monsters have changed the way we live in it… so where did they come from? Why did they start forming? The concept is there of the reason that they do but what changed that this process creates monsters? There’s a difference between an urban fantasy world in which these creatures have always existed and or own world in which a change has been made that created an urban fantasy setting. It’s SUCH an important part of my reading experience and without it, I just didn’t believe the story.

SERIES THOUGHTS

I find myself disappointed again with the lack of development from Victoria Schwab. Just a bit more thought on the background of things could make any one of her books so much richer. There was plenty of space for it and ample opportunities but she doesn’t seem to go that extra step to really make her worlds that much deeper.

I did enjoy THIS SAVAGE SONG but I lost something with my read of OUR DARK DUET. I just have a really hard time when I like the conclusion of a series less than its beginning because it ends on a lower note and I have a hard time wanting to recommend the series.

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Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

SO many people seem to love this series but it wasn’t a hit for me. I had some issues with the structure that really bothered me and it affected my whole read. I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend these books but I also wouldn’t go out of my way to tell anyone not to read them. It was just very middle-of-the-road for me.

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BOOKS LIKE MONSTERS OF VERITY

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

Series Review: Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I had put off reading A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC for a while now, for a couple of different reasons. I had some personal reasons involved, some worries that it might be too much like NEVERWHERE, and I actually wanted to let some of the craze die down because hype really kills a book for me and I didn’t want to be caught up in it. I started A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC on audio because I really wanted to listen to Michael Kramer narrate the 2nd and 3rd books (along with Kate Reading) because he’s one of my all-time favorite narrators. It was funny though — I actually preferred the 1st books narrator on a lot of things so that was a surprise! I think he just got those voices all set up in my head and then I couldn’t shake them.

Anyway… I binge read all three books on audio and decided to review them all together instead of one-by-one!

Reviews for each book/the series are a whole are generally spoiler-free for any major occurrences or twists but may contain info about plot points so I can properly discuss the plot. 

Series Review: Shades of Magic by V.E. SchwabTitle: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab, Victoria Schwab
Publishing Info: February 24, 2015 by Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 24, 2017
Related Posts: Vicious (Vicious #1), , This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1), Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2)

Kell is one of the last travelers--magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.

There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King--George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered--and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London--a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive.

This was really good! I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect because I had really enjoyed VICIOUS and didn’t like THE NEAR WITCH (I never finished it) and I also had some personal qualms about starting this book… but I’m really glad that I did because it was actually really enjoyable! I actually enjoyed that some things were set up in book one that weren’t resolved. They weren’t cliffhangers but things that will be important to the plot in future books (I’m pretty sure I know what’s up with Lila) and I like that it wasn’t all resolved in ADSOM so it keeps me pulled to keep reading (even though I would anyway).

That being said…

This was a fantasy world that just totally came together as my kind of book. I LOVE anything with parallel worlds and I really liked how it was incorporated into fantasy instead of just sci-fi. The magic system is really interesting too. It’s not just magic and non-magic… there really are shades of magic and each world has varying degrees of how magic is incorporated and affects its citizens. I am still suuuuper curious about Black London and I kind of hope we journey there in a future book. I just have to know!!

ADSOM wraps up nicely and closes out a story line which is nice not to be left on a cliffhanger! There’s a lot more to discover so I’m sure the next book will get into that and also dip into what spiraled into play here so I thought it was nice on world-building side. There was a solid foundation but there’s still so much more to discover, and everything was nicely built into the story and I didn’t feel any infodumps about this world-system.

I also liked that the romance was slow and steady. Obviously there’s something building between Lila and Kell but it wasn’t instalove and their relationship is built on a friendship — that almost isn’t even a friendship! They butt heads, Lila is stubborn, Kell is kind of a loner (minus his affection for his brother), and yet their sparring and jabs totally work. I do love banter in my book relationships and although this was less flirting and romantic banter, it was just perfect for these two.

I’m actually surprised how much I enjoyed this because I really hadn’t expected to. I listened to the book on audio, having purchased it in an Audible sale, and mostly wanted to listen to the audio because Michael Kramer narrates the second and third books and he is one of my all-time favorite narrators! (Okay, and Kate Reading but Michael is most important.) I actually did like the narrator of this book so I’m not sure how the switch will go, even though I love the narrators of the next books! Steven Crossley is British so it was perfect for a book about Londons and I really enjoyed his narration and will actually go seek out more books that he voices. I didn’t like how he voiced the spell casting (it was much too formal because it wasn’t described as “said”, not anything that had to be so formally announced and pompous) but really that was the only thing I didn’t like about it.

Series Review: Shades of Magic by V.E. SchwabTitle: A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab, Victoria Schwab
Publishing Info: February 23, 2015 by Macmillan
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 31, 2017
Related Posts: Vicious (Vicious #1), , This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1), Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2)

It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell's possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland's dying body through the rift--back into Black London.

Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games--an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries--a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.

Wow, I am so sorry for anyone who read this book when it first came out and had to wait for the third book. That ending was EVIL.

A GATHERING OF SHADOWS was very enjoyable! The beginning was good but the first half sort of felt like a book one instead of a book two. SO much happened in ADSOM that when things slowed down to this pace again instead of continuing on and escalating, it felt a bit like a step back.

The games/competition was really fun, but also felt like a book one thing that could have set up the magic system, worlds, and characters so it didn’t really feel necessary at all for this book. Unless it plays a big part in the third book, I don’t really think it pushed the plot forward much at all. The characters from the neighboring lands don’t seem to directly play an important part in the book and actually, Kell even said it himself that there was a totally different way this could have all played out (that’s vague, I know, but if I say more, it’s definitely a spoiler).

I did LOVE Alucard, who is my new favorite. (I think I just love all privateers. They’re so sassy and are always involved in banter.) And I also loved where Lila and Kell’s relationship went in this book. We had a bit of book-two-forces-the-lovebirds-apart syndrome here but it actually resolved nicely which is better than a lot of books!

Series Review: Shades of Magic by V.E. SchwabTitle: A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab, Victoria Schwab
Publishing Info: February 21, 2017 by Macmillan
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 6, 2017
Related Posts: Vicious (Vicious #1), , This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1), Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2)

Witness the fate of beloved heroes - and enemies.

THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED...
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell - once assumed to be the last surviving Antari - begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace - but never common - thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

And so I say anoshe to this series.

The ending to this book was just beautiful and a wonderful way to wrap things up. I loved the finality of everything and yet the openness to allow the characters to go off and pursue other things. The series was complete and yet there could totally be more books or a spin-off series with more things to come.

I will say, though, that the thing that struck me the most about this book was HOW MUCH happened. It’s the last book in the series so of course things will escalate but there were so many things that could have been put in the second book — like backstories, more world-building, explanations, etc — that felt a little too crammed into the final book when this would have been more suited for the action and not building things up at the same time. I would have loved to have learned more about Holland in AGOS instead of ACOL, as a specific example, and some of the revelations could have been developed in AGOS with a final reveal in ACOL instead of it all happening at once. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the length of the book but it just did feel like a whole lot was flung at me at once, especially in the beginning. It’s not that it was hard to follow but it was a lot to constantly take in.

Definite (mild) spoilers for the series in the rest of the review below so skim to the bottom if you want to avoid them! 

I also still have some questions that weren’t really answered… I understand the unspoken concept of the one black eye for Antari but I also wish that was more directly addressed. I wish we had known who Kell’s parents were and what his name was before he came to the royal family but I understand leaving that one open because who he was is not who he is and he chooses to be present instead of dwelling in the past. I also wanted to know more about Lila’s past, how she lost her eye (it was said to be an accident but I always wondered if it was more to cover up her true nature), and what led her to where she was. There were so many hints that Lila was so much MORE than basically everything but it was never said that she was more than an Antari… so was she more or was she just Antari? Or an exceptional Antari? Or am I just looking for too many answers that I should attain for myself? I figured out that she was Antari pretty much immediately once it was revealed that she was missing an eye but then the actual reveal wasn’t even an event. It just kind of… happened. Like oh yeah, Lila is doing magic now and she’s doing crazy stuff so I guess she’s an Antari and everyone else was just like, okay, guess so. Maybe because Lila does whatever she wants so people weren’t surprised when she broke all the rules anyway, but still. Again, I understand not wanting to go fully into each character’s past and reveal every little thing but just a few words of wrap-up could have left things more final, I think.

Then there were the THINGS with the magic system. I’m a huuuuge magic-system geek and I love learning about all of the rules and what a magician/wizard/whoever can and cannot do. It felt a little inconsistent to me with new abilities popping up where they were convenient. I did like that average citizens of Red London were able to wield magic and how differently it was accessible to the “common” people and also how its accessibility was different from world to world. I did love that Antari were next-level magic users and the only ones who were able to use blood magic to perform extraordinary feats and that they could use every element and not just one or two or three. Does the black eye signify black magic? It seemed like it should due to the story line here but that really wasn’t addressed. Was it a piece of black magic within them or was it just magic and the essence of Black London had just turned bad? Was it a coincidence that the three Antari were from the three different Londons? Was there a Black London Antari and there is only allowed one from each London? Was it a coincidence that the three Antari had three different colored eyes (Lila: brown, Kell: blue, Holland: green)? Was this all planned and the rules of magic or was it all just randomly coincidental? Maybe I’m just naturally too curious but it seemed like these things were rules but never talked about. Maybe the characters don’t even know themselves. I’m just a total sucker for learning as much as I can about a magic system so that really felt incomplete to me. Maybe I’m just spoiled with Brandon Sanderson books that detail everything so much that I’ve eaten it all up and come to expect it in other books. (The Antari reminded me of Mistborn in a way, with their ability to use all types of magic so there was a minor association for me there.)

I also for some reason didn’t totally love the Osaron concept… maybe because I didn’t love the concept of magic taking a human form? I’m not sure. There was just something about it that I didn’t love and something just felt “off” there for some reason. Maybe because it seemed like some sort of a turn in the concepts and I was expecting a different direction regarding the escalation of the black magic. I was also hoping for more time in Black London because I’m just TOO DARN CURIOUS. So I guess most of my disappointments were just hopes and my curious brain demanding more answers!

Despite all of the thoughts I’ve just expressed, I did enjoy the series. I actually think the first book was the strongest in terms of plot and structure and it still remains my favorite. If things hadn’t gotten derailed with the games in AGOS and had continued with strong plot development, I think the series could have been even stronger and more cohesive. All of the books were entertaining and the characters were really just wonderful. I really loved the character dynamics, the personalities, and the wonderful relationships. As a series, I think AGOS just really killed the plot momentum and while it was still highly entertaining, it could have pushed things so much further and more time could have been dedicated in ACOL to tying things up along with the action instead of jamming everything into a final book. I loved every character and the ways that they all interacted with each other and I did think that was so well done. I really connected with each one and just loved the feelings that I got from their relationships. The ending of the series was bittersweet and just the perfect way to say goodbye, or rather, anoshe.

SERIES THOUGHTS

The first book in this series was definitely my favorite. I thought it was the most solid in terms of setting up the book’s overall plot and kicking off the series. I was disappointed with the lack of series development in A GATHERING OF SHADOWS (book two) because of the games involved and that really ended up taking the spotlight. It was still very entertaining but I’m such a world-building nerd that I can’t get enough of it and I don’t feel like things kept developing until the end of the book. A CONJURING OF LIGHT was also still very entertaining but things took a biiiiit of a weird turn for me and mostly, I just wanted more answers about this world. I feel like some were implied, some we could infer, and others were maybe coincidental? I thought things could have shaken out just a bit more to really settle all those burning questions, although the overall wrap up was very nice!

Now I just need to own the series in print so I can put them with my As Travars candle…

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Addiction Rating
Read them!

To my surprise, I really enjoyed this series. I had no idea what I was going to find within these pages (or I guess… audio files in my case) and I think it’s a solid series that could benefit from a little more plot and world-building.

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BOOKS LIKE SHADES OF MAGIC

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

Vicious (Vicious #1) – V.E. Schwab

Vicious (Vicious #1) – V.E. SchwabTitle: Vicious (Vicious #1) by V.E. Schwab, Victoria Schwab
Publishing Info: September 24, 2013 by Macmillan
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: February 22, 2014
Related Posts: , A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1), A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2), A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3), , This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1), Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2)

    Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end? 
In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

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I had heard so many good things about VICIOUS before I had finally gotten around to it for our group read with On the Same Page. I actually didn’t quite know what it was about due to my penchant for going into books blind, but I did know that it was something along the lines of science mixed with superheroes. I mean honestly, how can you say no to that? It’s always a bit nerve-wracking to go into a book that so many people LOVED, but clearly I had nothing to fear here!

VICIOUS was actually my first Schwab book and I somehow started with her adult book before I read her YAs — seems a bit out of order for me, but there you have it — so I actually wasn’t familiar with her writing at all beforehand. I felt like the book really flowed well, from character to character as well as from scene to scene. There are moments when the book jumps from present day, back to ten years ago, and even hopping around from time to time, but I really never felt lost or confused. I actually really enjoyed following this non-chronological way of story telling because I got exactly the story I needed at exactly the right times. If told chronologically, there wouldn’t have been nearly enough suspense or too many details all at once.

The story line of the EOs (Extraordinary [humans]) was fantastic. If you were a fan of the TV show Heroes, it had very much of the same vibe, except there are a few interesting twists to the “superhero” concept which also brought quite the darker tone to the novel. I won’t go divulging what those little twists really are (although the synopsis touches on it) because I like to let the reader experience that journey of discovery themselves, much like the characters did. I really loved the idea of how each EO obtained their powers and how their power directly related to their specific situation. It was incredibly fascinating and the way science, research, and Victor and Eli’s thesis papers all tied in was truly interesting and I was totally captivated the whole time.

I love the tale of revenge in this story. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Victor and Eli, formerly best friends, are now mortal enemies and Victor is hell bent on getting his revenge against Eli and ending their connection once and for all. I really, really loved seeing Victor as this antihero. I just love a good antihero. I was totally rooting for him, pretty much at all costs, and I really felt a lot of sympathy for him. I also loved that Victor, aside from his relationship with Eli, had his own unique and interesting relationships with each of the secondary characters in the book (specifically loved this post that Amy wrote for our On the Same Page feature of this book)! The relationships created in this book are just so interesting and each one is complicated and yet delicate.

VICIOUS was a tale of revenge, intrigue, adventure, and brought up several issues of morality and faith. I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it and I’m so glad the hype I’d seen from my fellow reviewers hadn’t affected the outcome for me at all! The mash-up of supernatural and science was excellent and VICIOUS was definitely a fantastic read for me!

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Victor // Character Obsessions: Revenge, taking care of Sydney, recruiting EOs.
Ooooh, I loved Victor. I always root for an antihero, I think. I loved his quest, his motivation, and everything he went through with Eli. It was really interesting to see his history as well as his present-day situation. I loved reading about his journey and it was really interesting to see how different he and Eli were and how their differences split them apart.
Eli // Character Obsessions: EOs, God, doing the “right” thing.
Eli was an interesting sort of human being. (More than a human being?) He ended up going through a MAJOR internal struggle until he found a path he felt was right for him — a path of justice. A path of righteousness. And yet, who’s to say what he feels is right really is the right thing? I found him incredibly interesting, although a bit annoying at times… But I understood his reasons for his actions, even if they were ridiculous reasons at that.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Superheroes. The EOs in this book aren’t exactly like superheroes, but this book reminded me so much of the TV show Heroes and I just really, really loved it!
Left Me Wanting More: Adventure + science. This book really wasn’t short on adventure or action or science, but I just loved every bit of it! I just want so much more! (Greedy, I know.)

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

I loved this one. VICIOUS was such a “me” book and I loved all of the elements that V.E. Schwab put into this book!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE VICIOUS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        How to Lead a Life of Crime        Pivot Point

Novella Mini-Reviews: The Little Android, Bridge of Snow, Warm Up

I’ve been reading some AWESOME books lately that also has some great novella/companion stories. I don’t really write full reviews for novellas, so here’s a quick round up of what I thought and if they’re worth your time!

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Title: The Little Android (The Lunar Chronicles #2.5)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Completed: January 27, 2014
Source: I read it for free on Wattpad and you can too! [The Little Android]
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Related Posts: Cinder (#1) || Scarlet (#2) || Glitches & The Queen’s Army: Novella Reviews ||  My Latest Bookish Addiction: The Lunar Chronicles || Quiz: Which Lunar Chronicles Character Are You? || Cress (#3)

The Little Android is an adaptation of The Little Mermaid and can be read out of sequence/in any order/independently of the rest of the books in The Lunar Chronicles series.

WHAT I LIKED

  • The Little Mermaid parallels. Definitely interesting and fun to spot!
  • The characters. They definitely caught my attention and kept me on my toes!
  • The ending. I really appreciated what Marissa Meyer did with the end of this short story. I think not a lot of people were expecting that! (Or were they? I wasn’t.)

WHAT I WAS MISSING

As most short stories for me go, it was a just a little short. Whereas with the other Meyer shorts, I was dazzled and impressed, this one didn’t QUITE grip me as much… Maybe because I was coming down off of CRESS which is quite a tough act to follow! Anyway… Loved the adaptation of The Little Mermaid and just the ticket to hold you over until you can get your hands on WINTER!

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Title: Bridge of Snow (The Winner’s Curse #0.5)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Completed: February 20th, 2014
Source: I read it for free on Tor.com and you can too! [Bridge of Snow]
Genre: Fantasy

Bridge of Snow is a short prequel/tie-in to THE WINNER’S CURSE. It can be read before or after the full-length novel. The story covers Arin (one of the main characters in THE WINNER’S CURSE) as a child, being told a bedtime story of the legends and mythology of their culture.

WHAT I LIKED

  • I love stories that come up with their own mythology/gods/creation history. I think it’s incredibly fascinating and just adds a real layer of depth for the entire world-building aspect.
  • Seeing Arin’s history. You don’t have to read this book before THE WINNER’S CURSE but I like to read the novellas after the main story. Why? I just like getting to know the characters in the full-length novel first and then seeing more about their past and history in the novellas. I feel like reading the novella first and getting that kind of history is easily lost on me because I don’t get to know the character well enough in such a short period of time. Just a personal preference!
  • It’s not afraid to be dark. Yes, this is a bedtime story to a child, but it does have a certain darkness to it. The story itself felt very reminiscent of The Tale of the Three Brothers in Harry Potter!

WHAT I WAS MISSING

Really not a lot. I thought this was beautifully done and so impressive! I loved almost everything about it and I highly encourage readers of THE WINNER’S CURSE to read it!

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Warm UpTitle: Warm Up (Vicious #0.5)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Completed: February 22, 2014
Source: I read it for free on Tor.com and you can too! [Warm Up]
Genre: Sci-Fi, Paranormal (Adult)
Related Posts: On the Same Page features Vicious

Warm Up is a short story connected to VICIOUS by V.E. Schwab. It can be read independently or in any sequence but personally, I think it makes much more sense if you read VICIOUS first! It follows the story of David, a man with an unexpected new power that he obtained after a life-threatening accident.

WHAT I LIKED

  • The ability. One of my favorite things about VICIOUS was getting to know all of the different abilities! I find it incredibly interesting as well as how that ability ties into the life-threatening event.
  • David. I really felt for him! I liked his character a lot and felt really bad for him and his situation.
  • Cameos from VICIOUS main characters. I don’t really want to say too much about it but it DOES tie into the main story!

WHAT I WAS MISSING

I loved it! Wasn’t missing much. It was short, dark, and held my interest. If you’re unsure about reading VICIOUS, this short story lets you test out the waters because the feeling was exactly the same.

Have you read any of these novellas? Did you think they were worth your while?

On the Same Page: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

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ON THE SAME PAGE: VICIOUS and ANTIHEROES

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Upon finishing VICIOUS, I came to the somehow surprising realization that I really, really enjoy antiheroes. Really, I don’t know why this was a surprising revelation for me since I’ve grown attached to quite a few antiheroes featured in literature, TV, and film, but for some reason main character Victor Vale really opened my eyes to this.

Why do I love the antihero so much? I think it’s in part because I love seeing justice being served in a way that doesn’t compromise the protagonist’s virtue in a traditional sense. A lot of antiheroes have already been hardened. They’re not you’re typical hero so they tend to have dark pasts with dark motives and may or may not have already committed a few unspeakable crimes before we even meet them. When it comes down to that final moment for the antihero to eliminate the villain, and let’s face it, usually with murder on the mind, it doesn’t feel like an innocence is being lost if they succeed. We all knew that it had to come down to Harry Potter killing Voldemort, for example, but he was just a kid! He didn’t want to kill anyone. He did have a dark past but he was truly a good person and no one wanted to see him have to kill someone, no matter how evil. When a true hero is put in the position to kill someone, it’s heart-breaking and bittersweet. When an antihero is put in a position to off the villain, I find myself rooting for them.

The antihero is also very appealing to me, I think, because the villain that they come up against has committed WAY more heinous crimes. If I find myself rooting for someone who’s not a traditional hero, chances are the person they’re battling has done something extremely terrible! There always has to be a guy who’s worse, right? Often times the villain has done things that are just TOO appalling that it takes a special kind of someone to take him down where others have failed — maybe the traditional hero’s conventional methods just aren’t enough. Enter: antihero.

I also enjoy being able dabble in the dark side while still rooting for the side of “good”. Sometimes the dark side is the more interesting side. It’s like passing a car crash that you just can’t help but stare at — it’s horrifying but incredibly interesting. The antihero sometimes has a much more interesting past, or a much more complicated present and often times their morals function with more of a gray area. The antihero allows us to look the other way on certain crimes in order to right the wrongs and establish justice once more.

Enter the soft side: One of my favorite things about antiheroes is seeing them soften towards other characters. Be it a child, a dog, a romance… It’s so much more touching to see the softer side of them because it’s not something you often see. Antiheroes are more likely to keep to themselves, keep their emotions under wraps (whether by choice or by initial nature), and so when they show a compassionate side, it just makes my insides melt! I think that really establishes an emotional connection with the antihero and it makes me want to root for them even more. There’s a bit of a good guy deep down there somewhere and when the audience sees that side, it just makes them feel so much more wronged and betrayed if something bad happens to those characters!

Victor Vale is a complicated character. He’s never quite been the traditional good guy and he makes a fantastic antihero in VICIOUS. I loved seeing his motives, his thought processes, and the way he formed relationships. If I didn’t know if before, I surely know it now: I really do enjoy a good antihero to save the day.

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Don’t forget to check out Alyssa’s and Amy’s posts for Vicious today too!

Alyssa — Books Take You Places ||  Amy — Tripping Over Books