A Torch Against the Night 4 Stars

25558608Title: A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes book 2)

Author: Sabaa Tahir

Publication Date: August 30, 2016

Note: An advanced copy was provided by the publisher, but opinions are my own.

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Synopsis: *This is the second book in a series. This review will be spoiler free, but the synopsis isn’t. Those who haven’t read the first book might be interested in my review of An Ember in the Ashes.*

Lila and Elias must work together in order to free Lila’s brother from the most secure prison in the emperor. Along the way their own freedom will be threatened. They must free Lila’s brother while trying to avoid being captured or put to death themselves.

Thoughts: The second installment in the An Ember in the Ashes series proved a fast paced, engaging read.

My favorite part about this book was the author’s use of tension. I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next particularly since it seems Tahir has no problem with killing characters off.

One think I would have liked to know going into this book is that this is not a finale. I heard somewhere that this series was meant to be a duology, but it is most certainly not. I ended the book very confused as to why everything felt so open ended, but learning this book is the second in a series made a lot more sense.

I still felt the magic system wasn’t fleshed out all the way, but there was more of it mentioned in this book than the first one. It was nice to see more magic in this book, and I hope there will be more of it in the books to come. The magic system doesn’t strike me as particularly original, but it’s still a change from the element based magic systems that seem to dominate recent fantasy releases.

My main gripe with this book is similar to the one I had for the first book in the series. That is to say I didn’t find the story sticking with me long after I read it. 

Rating: This is a great book for people looking for a fast-paced read or need something to get out of a reading slump, but I didn’t find it particularly memorable, so it gets 4/5.

4 blue jays

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June 2016 Wrap-Up

Monthly Wrap-Up (1)

June was a busy month for me. I spent most of it traveling, and since I get motion sick there wasn’t much time for reading, but I did still manage to read four books and a novella.

Reading

25558608Short Synopsis: Sequel to An Ember in the Ashes.

Note: An advanced copy was provided by the publisher. Opinions are my own.

Thoughts: Like the first book my thoughts on the sequel are very mixed though positive overall. It is addictive while reading, but I didn’t find it to be as memorable as I like books to be. This is a good book for someone trying to get out of a reading slump.

Rating: 4 blue jays

13836Short Synopsis: An orphan with a gift for caring for animals must come to terms with the fact that she has special abilities.

Thoughts: Loved the atmosphere and magic system, but had a hard time fully immersing myself in the story and kept getting distracted.

Rating: 3.5 blue jays

25067046

Short Synopsis: Two young Imperial recruits follow very different paths. AKA Published Star Wars fanfiction.

Thoughts: The beginning felt very cheesy and a bit cliche, but the second half more than made up for it. It’s rare to find a story that follows a character who remains in a system deemed to be evil by society at large like this one.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

7824322Short Synopsis: A 15-year-old is abducted from her home and taken to a Soviet prison camp in Siberia during WWII.

Thoughts: This was a somewhat personal book for me since some of my relatives have narrowly escaped these camps. If they hadn’t I wouldn’t be here today.

I’m debating whether or not I’m willing to share my relatives’ full story publicly on the internet. Depending on my decision, I might write a full review.

Other than that though, this is a good historically accurate account, but it doesn’t have as much plot as I like in the books I read. However, it might be more shocking for someone who didn’t already know this happened.

Rating: 

3.5 blue jays

18075001Short Synopsis: Young orphan tries to find her way in  a world where she must hide her true nature.

Thoughts: I enjoyed the atmosphere and magic system introduced in this story, but ultimately thought it was too short for me to become entirely immersed in the story. However, this is not unusual for novellas.

Rating: 4 blue jays

BEA 2016 Experiences Part 2: Books and more Books

This is part two of posts on my experience at Bookexpo America. To see part one click here.

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Picture of the inside of McCormick Place during BEA.

The second day of BEA there were two books I wanted more than any others provided for the day. They were Heartless by Marissa Meyer and Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi. Unfortunately, I didn’t get either.

I got to the line for Furthermore with only three people away from where they ran out of tickets. On my way away from the line I was able to see Mafi signing the books. It was hard to be standing so close to where she was with a huge stack of books and know I wouldn’t get one. I’ll just need to wait for the release date like the rest of you.

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The “PBS presents: Young Adult Reads” panel with speakers Chelsea Sedoti, Jennifer Niven, David Levithan, and David Arnold.

The panel I went to on the second day of BEA focused primarily on young adult contemporary, which is not something I read much of. I went to the panel hoping there would be more discussion of sci-fi and fantasy young adult, but the panel was interesting none the less.

I learned a lot about what is currently popular in young adult contemporary, and it was interesting to hear from people who were both experienced in and somewhat new to writing in the genre.

(Most of) the books I acquired on the second day of BEA.

After not getting Heartless on the second day of BEA I arrived at the expo hall to wait in the lines for the ticketed signings at 6:30 a.m. There were already a lot of people there. The first in line had gotten there at around 5 a.m. I sincerely hope they were from a time zone where that is not early, but judging by how tired they were I don’t think so.

There were only two tickets left for the Heartless signing that morning, and they went to the people who had been waiting since 5 a.m. I can’t find myself to be too jealous because they deserved it for waking up that early.

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The “What’s new in Young Adult??” panel moderated by Veronica Roth with speakers Lauren Oliver, Alyson Noël, Kendare Blake, and Melissa de la Cruz.

The “What’s new in Young Adult??” panel was almost surreal for me because it featured so many author’s I’ve been reading books, blog posts, and watching YouTube videos from for years now. It was a nice change to hear them speak in person as opposed to on a screen.

The line for A Touch Against the Night when I joined it about an hour before the signing started.

I spent a significant amount of day three waiting in long lines for books I really wanted.

The longest line was either for A Touch Against the Night or Gemina. They were both so long it was hard to tell which had more people.

At least I got to wait next to some awesome people!

Picture of the booktubers playing a game while they sat in front of me in line.

I feel somewhat creepy for having taken this picture, but I got board waiting in line and started taking pictures of everything, not just them.

Picture of Sabaa Tahir signing my copy of A Torch Against the Night.

She was so concerned when she misprinted my name it was so sweet. Personally, I blame the fact that I took this picture while she was signing. I know I’d be misprinting names almost constantly if I had to sign as many books as she did.

Picture of the line for Gemina featuring Jay Kristoff. 

The only authors I heard cheered on throughout the entire event were Jay Kristoff and  Amie Kaufman. I’m not quite sure why. Perhaps because it was only an ARC drop as opposed to a signing so no one there was expecting to see the authors. Whereas, people waiting in line had time to prepare themselves to meet the others.

(Most of) my acquisitions on the final day of the event. 

The books I got on the third day are definitely the ones I’m most excited for when taken as a whole. The Sudden Appearance of Hope, which I have already read and reviewed, was also a nice surprise since I did not realize it was there until I saw a stack of the ARCs being handed out.

All the books boxed up. 

After the event was finished my traveling companion and I had to hurry to a post office before they all closed for the day. Only one of these boxes is mine. The rest are all my traveling companion’s. She got a lot of books, and we had more in our suitcases. Our suitcases were so heavy we had to reorganize some of what we had in them so they wouldn’t go over the weight limit.

The view of my home city’s coastline from the air. 

My plane left early the next morning, and by the time I was back in my own city I was prepared to hug a palm tree. Okay, not really, but I was very happy to see them again.