5 stars · reread review · young adult

Reread Review: Strange the Dreamer (Lazlo Strange is mine)

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Strange the Dreamer

Strange the Dreamer #1
book 2: muse of nightmares

author : laini taylor

summary :

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

REREAD REVIEW :

Just as good this time around, and sort of fun because now I’m picking up on the foreshadowing on plot points that I missed my first time around. And, like last time, the very first and last chapters succeeded in making me cry. Lazlo is the best thing to ever happen to the world and no one can convince me otherwise.

Please enjoy this summary of my thoughts in GIF form, presented to you by Loki and Captain America.

me when I think about lazlo strange:

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me when I started this book:

yeeeaaahhh-loki

me when I finished this book:

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lazlo at the beginning of the book:

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lazlo at the end of the book:

giphy

5/5 STARS

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1 star · Fantasy · fiction

Kill the Farm Boy: more like kill my interest in this book

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Kill the Farm Boy

authors : delilah s. dawson and kevin hearne

pages : [hardcover] 364

summary :

In an irreverent new series in the tradition of Terry Pratchett novels and The Princess Bride, the New York Times bestselling authors of the Iron Druid Chronicles and Star Wars: Phasmareinvent fantasy, fairy tales, and floridly written feast scenes.

Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born . . . and so begins every fairy tale ever told.

This is not that fairy tale.

There is a Chosen One, but he is unlike any One who has ever been Chosened.

And there is a faraway kingdom, but you have never been to a magical world quite like the land of Pell.

There, a plucky farm boy will find more than he’s bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there’s the Dark Lord who wishes for the boy’s untimely death . . . and also very fine cheese. Then there’s a bard without a song in her heart but with a very adorable and fuzzy tail, an assassin who fears not the night but is terrified of chickens, and a mighty fighter more frightened of her sword than of her chain-mail bikini. This journey will lead to sinister umlauts, a trash-talking goat, the Dread Necromancer Steve, and a strange and wondrous journey to the most peculiar “happily ever after” that ever once-upon-a-timed.

review :

I’ve never DNF’d a book so fast. I’m sure that this is someone else’s cup of tea, but Kill the Farm Boy is not for me.

As something compared to The Princess Bride, possibly one of the greatest, funniest takes on fairytale tropes that still manages to tell a fantastic story, Kill the Farm Boy is nothing like that. I read slightly less than fifty pages and then, when I found out this had a sequel coming, decided to end things there. I have too many other books to read to commit to . . . this.

I’m genuinely confused because I feel like if this book was scaled back–like if the lewd jokes disappeared and the characters were aged down, this would work so well as a middle grade book. In all seriousness, I think readers would love that. Because in the 40-50 pages I read, there were at least a dozen poop and fart jokes. In an adult novel. Ooooooooookay.

Besides that, the rest of the humor wasn’t for me either. Like, there was a lady running around in an armored bikini, I think just because it would be ‘funny’ to have her do certain things in a bikini? The bulk of the rest of the jokes felt like I was reading a mash-up parody of The Three Stooges. And that sort of humor doesn’t work on the page.

That said, I’m sure someone will like this. But if this sort of humor isn’t for you–maybe skip it, because Kill the Farm Boy is more about the jokes than the plot anyway.

1/5 stars

 

5 stars · Fantasy · young adult

Muse of Nightmares: I’VE DONE MY WAITING FOR THIS! IN AZKABAN!

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Muse of Nightmares

Strange the Dreamer #2

author : laini taylor

pages : [hardcover] 514

favorite character : lazlo strange

memorable quote :

Wishes don’t just come true. They’re only the target you paint around what you want. You still have to hit the bull’s-eye yourself.

summary :

Sarai has lived and breathed nightmares since she was six years old.

She believed she knew every horror and was beyond surprise.

She was wrong.

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice—save the woman he loves, or everyone else?—while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the Muse of Nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of.

As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?

Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this astonishing and heart-stopping sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Strange the Dreamer.

review :

Have you ever dreamed up something wild and improbable? Something that isn’t just in your mind but in your heart–your soul? These books are for those dreamers. The ones working toward those dreams and the ones who’ve realized them. The ones who’ve had others achieve them not knowing how precious they should regard them, and the ones who’ve reached their dreams only to find they are not quite what they had hoped they would be.

Lazlo and Sarai are dreamers. Their dreams are beautiful and kind. But Muse of Nightmares explores what can shatter or twist them into mere shadows of themselves. Dreams and nightmares are not so far apart. Laini Taylor effortlessly wove this thread in with another big theme in this book: what makes the different between a hero and a villain? Seen from different perspectives, the “good guys” might not be so great. The villain might be able to save everyone. The hero can destroy them all. Laini Taylor’s cast of characters is so diverse and flawed and lovely. One of the things most impactful in her books is the fact that the characters never shy away from their true selves. They do not bend to fit the plot; there’s no breaking of character here. The characters, and the character arcs, are gloriously complicated.

The world of Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares is so rich and beautiful that it’s hard not to crave more of it. The world-building here is fantastic; Muse picks up on it right where Strange left off. And the connections that appear, linking this story back to another beloved one by Laini Taylor, are both fun and curious.

I can’t wait to see what she’ll write next.

These books are like sugar and dreams–they’re so rich and sweet and beautiful, that you want to take your time sinking into them so you won’t overindulge. Still, you’ll be tempted to devour them all at once.

Muse of Nightmares is a perfect conclusion to this duology. It’s gorgeous. It’s terrifying. And it’s complicated. It’s . . . strange. And if you haven’t read either book yet, you should. Then you too can dream up something wild and improbable.

5/5 stars

 

 

 

Fantasy · series · young adult

This Savage Song: so you say you want to read about an attractive violinist


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This Savage Song

Monsters of Verity #1

author : victoria schwab

pages : [paperback] 468

favorite character : august

memorable quote :

I mean, most people want to escape. Get out of their heads. Out of their lives. Stories are the easiest way to do that.

summary :

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 Schwaba 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.

review :

Part of me loves to read books years after their release. On my own time, with no rush, so I can fall right into the story.

The other half of me wonders why I didn’t read this years ago.

Okay. It was partly because I thought this was a contemporary book, and I don’t normally read contemporary. I KNOW. You’re thinking, Kayla, read a summary some day why don’t you. I don’t know how it got in my brain that this was, like, a light romance between some girl and a musician. Maybe because the cover looks like a contemporary?

I’M HERE TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. This is definitely a fantasy, sort of dystopian fantasy (but not in the overdone, mid-2000s sort of way). This Savage Song is beautiful. The story is told in two points of view and at first there was that thing happening where I preferred reading one over the other. Then we got to know the characters, their pasts and motivations, and I fell for both of them. Hard.

This Savage Song is one of those fantasies where the less you knowing going into it, the better, because the world-building here is so great that you don’t need to know anything in advance. Sure, I would die within a day if I lived in this place, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to imagine it.

Also, this book is a little . . terrifying. And I loved it. And I realized that I need more slightly horrifying protagonists in my life, who are really pure cinnamon roll characters underneath. That dynamic will never get old.

All said, I can’t recommend this book enough. I finally got around to it because of a friend’s recommendation, so let me be that friend to you: Read. It. Now.

5/5 stars

 

 

children's books · fairy tale · graphic novel

Jasmine Comics Collection: explore a whole new world with this Disney Princess

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Disney Princess Comics: Jasmine

pages : 89

summary :

Like a shooting star . . .

Explore a whole new world with Princess Jasmine, Rajah, Aladdin, and all of your favorite characters from Disney Aladdin. What does Jasmine find when she explores a mysterious cave with Iago? What happens when Jasmine goes on a shopping spree with Genie? These adventures and more await in this collection of colorful comics and are sure to delight Disney fans of all ages.

review :

These comics are adorable and fun–perfect for every Disney fan!

I think we all know how bold and outgoing Jasmine is in her role in Disney’s Aladdin. In these short comic strips, we get to see more of her palace life, after the movie. She’s incredibly witty, sassy, and speaks her mind. I loved getting some insight into the dynamic that happens after Aladdin begins to stay at the palace. But some of my favorite moments came between Jasmine and Rajah–her pet tiger is really just a giant kitty, who gets very jealous when anyone else tries to take the attention away from him!

These comics can be enjoyed by any Disney fan, young and old. They’re simple enough to be read and beloved by kids, and still have the quick wit and humor that adults will appreciate. The art is incredibly cute; all of the characters are stylized and bubbly. I loved seeing their different iterations in this book.

Jasmine truly has the chance to shine as the main character here. We get to see the world through her eyes, now–not Aladdin’s. This is an exciting shift for fans of the princess. I highly recommend picking this up!

5/5 stars

 

 

1 star · Fantasy · young adult

A Court of Mist and Fury: where did the plot go?

 

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A Court of Mist and Fury

Author: sarah j. maas

favorite quote :

To the people who look at the stars and wish, Rhys.

favorite character : rhys

summary :

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

review :

I know that many people love this series, which is why I’m very okay with stating that I did not like this book. It doesn’t need me to vouch for it; this isn’t my kind of thing.

A Court of Mist and Fury begins where the last book ends. One thing I did appreciate about this book is that it genuinely shows the consequences of book one on these characters who had to live through it. They’re scarred, physically and psychologically, they’re depressed or angry. They’re imperfect, and the ways in which they fit together before the events of A Court of Thorns and Roses don’t really exist anymore. They need to find a new way to live.

What follows is just . . . not very good writing. Without giving anything away (for the people like me who are very late to reading this series) the plot seems to sort of disappear, when convenient. There is a big push to find and accomplish certain things because a new threat is rising, and yet it somehow simultaneously leaves Feyre with months to do things that don’t affect the ‘plot’ very much at all.

When certain things do appear, there is no real correlation relating them to the bulk of the book, much less to the first one. The world-building here is a mess, as things aren’t mentioned until the moment they’re served up to the reader. Then, we’re either given a two page info dump to catch readers up on information the characters supposedly knew all along, or no real explanation is given which leaves the prose filled with confusing holes.

Part of my problem here is that because we aren’t given the full scope of the world and the stakes, it’s very difficult to care. You can’t care about something that might be destroyed or lost if it only appeared pages beforehand. You can’t be worried about any situation because Feyre is now as overpowered as someone like Superman. I understand that not even she know what she’s capable of, but her training is described so vaguely and off-handedly that it’s impossible not to think that there’s no limits to her abilities. We never see her struggle with the depths of her power or strain under physical exhaustion. Because we aren’t told the extent of the abilities she’s been given, with each new situation that is presented, she can come up with some miraculous solution that literally pops up out of nowhere with no precedence. Forgivable, maybe once or twice, but it happens over and over and over again. She isn’t even the only deux ex machina to appear in this book!

Some miscellaneous things that weren’t very enjoyable:

–Feyre thinking of herself as beautiful and then consequently appearing shocked when anyone else says that she’s beautiful

–this book could have been 100 pages long because apart from the beginning and end there were only a few plotty chapters in the middle

–villains spieling too much about their motivations while simultaneously not making much sense at all

I understand that most people read these books for the romance and the . . . raunchy bits. As someone who would read for the fantasy and story over that, I think perhaps this series is aimed toward a different kind of audience. But to give readers two characters to ship together, these important story elements shouldn’t be sacrificed.

1/5 stars

5 stars · graphic novel · middle grade

Ariel Comics Collection: go under the sea with this mermaid princess and her friends

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ARIEL

pages : [hardcover] 89

summary :

Dive under the sea for magical adventures with Ariel, Flounder, Sebastian, and all of your favorite Disney The Little Mermaid characters. What do Ariel and her shark friend had in common? What happens at Sebastian’s choir rehearsal? These adventures and more await in this collection of colorful comics and are sure to delight fans of all ages.

review :

These comics are so cute, bubbly and fun! If you’re a Disney fan, and especially like The Little Mermaid, you’ll love this nod to the movie.

Most of the comics show Ariel’s life under the sea–skipping music lessons, finding human objects, and getting into trouble with her many sisters. It’s an interesting look at the life she leads that isn’t really shown in the movie. This gives you a chance to see more of Ariel’s imagination, humor, and rebelliousness–no one can tell her what to do, much to the chagrin of many characters in these comics. In the last portion of the book, there are panels describing her life with Prince Eric as she adjusts to living in a palace by the sea. Not everything can go swimmingly when she’s had Scuttle misguiding her attempts to learn human culture! It’s fun to see how Eric reacts her to unique view of the human world.

This collection would be perfect for any Disney fan, young and old. The art, humor, and storylines can be enjoyed by anyone. They’re like fun little extensions of the story we all already know and love!

5/5 stars