Book Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Genre: 

Young Adult, order Fantasy

Pages: 

465 pages

Part of a Series?:

1st in the Six of Crows series

Release Date: 

September 29th, price 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

 

My Review:

Leigh Bardugo has created yet another masterpiece that completely blows my mind. Its not just a great YA novel and its not just a great fantasy novel…its just a great book period. She created this incredible world in the Grisha trilogy, and made it so that it was one of my favorite series, period.

Then she goes and continues in this world, and she opens it up even more. She’s already created this beautifully complicated but addicting world, and she opens it up and it is so easy to just fall into it. This new place is so different than Ravka and what we were used to with Alina but it also feels familiar, like you’re stepping out of Ravka and traveling the rest of the world. That’s how great Leigh is at writing, that’s how fantastic she is at world building. World building is the one thing that I struggle with the most and its a HUGE part of why I admire Leigh so much.

But I also love how much more she opens up her world, and its more than just it taking place in another country. We get so close to Alina in the Grisha trilogy but in this book, there are six characters, so different from each other and yet they all have to work together in order to make this incredibly impossible thing work. Leigh’s ability to create such rich and interesting characters in the same book and make them all insanely likable and yet you kind of want to wring their necks too…I love it.

I never know what to say about Leigh’s books because I always just feel sort of socked in the stomach after I read her books. In a good way, of course. She’s just such an incredible writer. She tells amazing stories with these compelling characters and sometimes you feel like you could get lost in what’s going on, but it also is so easy to be a part of. Give it a few pages, you get yourself centered in the story and then bam! You’re there, you’re involved and literally can’t stop reading. She blows my mind. I throw myself at her feet. I could only hope to write as well as she does.

And she’s my friend. That part blows my mind too. I’m friends with someone who writes incredibly amazing books, YA or not, fantasy or not, just straight up these books ARE so good and I’m already addicted to this characters (Inej = life) and I can’t wait to read more!

12074700_853550301432500_3356373120625889927_n

Rating: 

5 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

14061957Genre: 

Young Adult, sales  Fantasy

Pages: 

417

Part of a Series?:

The finale book in the Grisha Trilogy

Release Date: 

June 17th, stuff 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble (Exclusive Edition)

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, diagnosis a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

My Review:

While this review will not contain any spoilers from Ruin and Rising, I cannot guarantee there will not be spoilers for Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm. 

Dear Ms. Leigh Bardugo,

I have been waiting over a year for this book to come out. When I first read Shadow and Bone, I could not believe that such a book could even exist. It was a beautiful blend of fantasy, power, politics, romance and so much awesome. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Siege and Storm and that book blew my mind anymore.

When I headed out to your release event for Ruin and Rising, I had high hopes, dreams, expectations, apprehension, and so much more when I picked up my copy. I’ve read finale books in series recently that have been disappointing, have left me wanting more. I had high faith in you, Ms Bardugo. I believed that you could do this.

I got home, wanting to crack up the book right away but you threw such an awesome launch party that I immediately crawled up into my comfy bed and went to sleep. When I awoke the next month, I immediately reached for my book and spent the next few hours wrapped up in the world of Grisha and Ravka.

The first thing I thought of when I finished the novel was, wow. The second thing was…this is how you finish a trilogy or a series. This is exactly the kind of feeling that I want to be left with when I finish a series that means as much to me as this one does. I felt sad, and happy and bittersweet and overwhelmed but satisfied. I was so utterly and perfectly satisfied with the way that this series ended. It literally could not have gone any different than it went.

What you did right was this: you wrote the ending that we both wanted and didn’t. There were things that I wanted so badly and it happened and it made me happy. There were things that happened that I wanted to curse at, but felt right in the story. You knew how to make the right sacrifices, knew each direction that the characters were going in. Each ending felt right, perfect. Nothing felt forced. It seemed like the natural ending for each person. It made sense. I was happy for some, heartbroken for other but I was so satisfied.

Did I mention how incredible you are at writing fantasy? It blows my mind how you can create this beautiful, complicated world and make it feel so real and so addicting. Every moment in Ravka is important to me, and everything feels like its this whole different world. That’s the beauty of really great fantasy. You believe it. There’s nothing about it that feels fake or forced. Ravka is real and every character in this book is so real. I care so much about all of them. You’re an incredible writer. I could only hope to write like you one day. You are such an inspiration.

You can write action, you can write tension, you write beautiful romance, and you write politics and you write scary scenes and you do it all so well. All of these weave so well together into 400 pages of pure awesome.

Basically, thank you. Thank you for writing this book. Thank you for the entire series. It is incredible from the very first page to the very last page. All three books make so much sense together, flow perfectly, and tell a beautiful story. You left us with an epic cliffhanger in Siege and Storm and brought us in, answered our questions, wrapped up our story, and left this reader feeling incredibly satisfied. Its hard to let go of these characters but I’m anxious for anything and everything you write in the future because if they are even a fragment of what the Grisha Trilogy, and Ruin and Rising is, I know they are going to be epic.

Sincerely,

One Super Stoked and Happy Reader :)

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite Cliffhangers

So I was hanging out with my girls yesterday, ed (that would be Tatiana, Sylvia and Paulina, my girls from iFandoms Collide) and of course, most of our conversations center around books. Books books books. I run a young adult book blog, as well as Sylvia, Tatiana runs a Mortal Instruments site and Paulina runs a Divergent site.

Anyway, we obviously were talking about all these books and how we absolutely cannot wait until the sequels or final books, like Allegiant and City of Heavenly Fire and books like that.

And its SO true. There are so many books out there that I just can’t wait for. I can’t wait for Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and House of Hades by Rick Riordan and Allegiant by Veronica Roth and Champion by Marie Lu, and SO so so so many more.

Because let’s face it, these authors? They know exactly how to torture us, how to leave us hanging, dying for the next book, counting down the days just to find out what happens next .

So this is the inspiration for this week’s Tuesday Top Ten: the top ten cliffhangers. These nine books (and one movie) leave us hanging, cursing the authors and lamenting over the fact that we have to wait days, months, years to find out what happens next.

So here it goes guys, my favorite cliffhangers…that both left me excited and pissed off. In good ways of course :)

I am going to warn you guys right now, I’m talking about cliffhangers. Which means if you haven’t read these books, it includes spoilers. Just deal with it. Haha. Skip the ones you haven’t read yet!

10. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins 

url-5

Suzanne Collins is a brutal lady who is fully capable of breaking all of our hearts and she seriously did that with Catching Fire. Honestly, she is SO lucky that I picked up this series literally like a few days before Mockingjay came out. If I would have had to wait all that time like the original fans did…I’d probably die. What a ridiculous ending. Like HOW DARE YOU Suzanne Collins for ending Catching Fire with the words “District 12 is Gone!” Like, how could you do that? I knew that there were rumblings of a rebellion going on, but I honestly didn’t expect this plan that they had come up with to actually work, or to lead to what it did. One minute, they’re trying to eliminate opponents in the arena, the next thing you know, Katniss is basically blowing up the arena and being taken away. It was insane. All this action is suddenly happening and you don’t know what’s going on, and then it just ends. It ends with the line that District 12 is gone, Katniss’s home is gone. You don’t know if her mother or Prim or Madge or anyone is safe. You don’t know anything. It just ends. I swear, I almost threw the book across the room.

9. Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

Opal cover 500px

I like these books a lot. I think Jennifer Armentrout creates a really fun, sci-fi book, with a lot of epic sexiness in it too. But there’s a lot of awesome sci-fi in it. I think people might look at a cover like this and be deterred from it because it looks like a romance novel, but it is SO much more than that. That being said, in this book, there’s a lot built up to this moment where Katy, Daemon, and the rest break into a facility to get Beth back. And here’s the thing, you know its not going to go perfectly. What plan ever goes perfectly? I’ll tell you: none. Ever. Never. So I knew something was going to go down, and I knew I was getting close to the end so I had a feeling it was going to be a pretty epic ending. What I didn’t expect was for it to end with Daemon, safe, and Katy, stuck inside, facing the very people that she needs to stay very, very far away from. She’s stuck! She turns away from Daemon to face whats coming after them and then it just ends! How could you do that to me? I was like, NO WAY! And now I have to wait until August 27th to find out what happens next. Who knows what happened to Katy!

8. The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson 

url-2

I tend to throw my books across the room, either when I’m like “that book was TERRIBLE” or when a book makes you so mad but in a good way. That’s exactly what The Crown of Embers did…except I had to hold myself back because I was reading this book on my Kindle. Probably not a good idea to throw that. But damn, does Rae Carson create an amazing fantasy world and weave a great story. She’s talented writer, but oh was I SO angry when I read the end of this novel. There had been so much going on, Elisa was on this impossible quest to find something that she didn’t even really know exists, she nearly dies, escapes, and is finally going to head home and hopefully bring her kingdom back together…and then the love of her life, Hector, though he doesn’t know it yet, is taken from her. Yanked away from her and now she has to go and rescue him, before they hurt him or torture him or kill him. I was SO MAD. All I could think of was…no, Elisa has to bring her kingdom back together, and she needs to save her people, and there’s already been way too much drama for this book AND NOW YOU TOOK AWAY HECTOR! I was not pleased about having to wait until August 27th for that but I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC so I know what happens :)

7. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo 

original

OHMYGOD Leigh Bardugo is AMAZING. I am so into her books and I only picked them up a month ago! But I am officially addicted. She gives us an intricate fantasy world with incredible characters and an addicting story. She has inspired me so much with her books, and her world that I just started a fansite for her trilogy called The Grisha Army, and you should totally check it out! Anyway, that being said, and taken care of, Siege and Storm came out one week ago today. And I am STILL reeling over what happened in this book. I’m not going to spoil too much on this one because it just came out and I really am pushing people to read this series, but what Leigh does to her main character, Alina, is incredible. The kind of power she gives her, the motivations, the situations. You don’t see that ending coming in the slightest and when it does, you’re left, jaw dropped, heart racing, hoping for more pages, and knowing that you aren’t going to get any more. Rune and Rising, the third book, has no cover, no release date, nothing, of course, since Siege and Storm came out just last week. But I don’t know if I’ll make it, I need to know what happens with Alina and Mal and the Darkling and Sturmhond and all of them.

6. Insurgent by Veronica Roth

url-4

Oh Veronica Roth, you sneaky talented lady you know. Actually I can’t call you lady because that’s weird; you’re six months younger than me haha. But oh how dare you! The thing you have to understand about the Divergent series is that I purchased the first book on my Kindle and stayed up until about…I think one a.m.-ish to read it. Insurgent had just come out THAT day and so I immediately downloaded Insurgent and read it in about 3 or 4 hours. I distinctly remember the sun coming up as I finished that book. And I couldn’t even believe it. I was exhausted and uncomfortable and my eyes were burning and I was like…you did NOT just do this. You did not just end it that way, Veronica Roth. How dare you? And like I said, I read this book the day it came out, which is May 1st, 2012. The release date for Allegiant is October 27th. I’ve been waiting FOREVER it seems like to find out what is going to happen next. The very last line of the book is “Then the shouting begins.” SERIOUSLY? I can’t even handle it. I need to know what is going on…and I’ll have waited a year and half by the time I know.

5. Prodigy by Marie Lu 

url-1

This has major spoilers. Don’t read this if you’ve never read Prodigy before. Seriously.

Marie Lu, you are an absolute genius. In a world where we are constantly getting new young adult dystopian series, you are an author that stands out amongst them all and I truly believe this. I know so many people who are over the whole dystopian books thing but this is one series I will pressure you to try, even if you’re over it. Its totally worth it. Its an absolutely amazing, one-of-a-kind series :) But this book…it almost feels like it would be the last book of the series, in a way. A lot of things happen to make it seem like a conclusion but then it completely 180s on you! Sure, there’s a leader but its a shaky leader and a shaky government and a government that is NOT supported by outside governments. And yay, maybe June and Day can finally get to be together but June is offered a position that would keep her away from Day, permanently and she doesn’t want to do that but then Day tells her to do it, and you learn that he does it because he is DYING. Day, the MAIN CHARACTER OF THE NOVEL BESIDES JUNE, is dying. How…how…how…NO! There’s NO way this is happening right now. Luckily enough, Prodigy came out in January of this year, and we only have to wait until November, not even a full year. Because I NEED to find out what happens next. You can’t kill a main character, you just can’t!

4. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare 

city_of_bones

This is one of my favorite cliffhangers mostly because its absolutely hilarious. Seriously if you have not read these books yet, do not read this. Because it will kill the entire book series for you. You’re brought into the world of Shadowhunters, by Clary, a normal sixteen year old girl whose mom is kidnapped and she then finds out she’s a Shadowhunter and she meets super hot Jace Wayland and they’re trying to find a way to get her mom back and they learn she was once married to an evil guy named Valentine and he kidnapped her. All this fun, awesome, dramatic stuff is going on. And just when you think, there’s going to be this battle scene and things are going to mostly work out, and then you learn that Jace’s father is Valentine, and that Clary’s father is Valentine and that they’re brother and sister…and they’re falling in love. And you’re like…no, no way. No way is this happening right now. How, what, but, he’s and she’s and they…what?! I went out and bought City of Ashes the next morning, basically as soon as the bookstore opened because I was like…this can’t be right, this is NOT right. What a great way to get people to continue to read your books, Cassie, seriously.

3. Empire Strikes Back-Star Wars by George Lucas 

url-6

The one movie on the list. I was trying to keep it all books but…I had to put it on there because it is one of the BEST cliffhangers of ALL time. The only reason its number 3 and not number 1 is because this movie and the following movie, both came up before I was even born so it wasn’t a huge cliffhanger for me, personally. I watched this movie for the first time when I was about five years old so it probably didn’t have the same impact on me as it would have if I had seen it for the first time, in theaters, at an older age. But its an amazing cliffhanger. Literally everything has gone to CRAP! Han Solo is frozen in carbonite and taken away to Jabba’s palace. The rebellion is feeling less than spectacular. Yoda and Obi Wan are hinting that there is “another” that could save the galaxy from the Empire and the Sith influence. And Luke! Luke has just found out that the person he must take down, the person he has to face and get rid of….is his FATHER! What an amazing moment in movie history. George Lucas kept this a secret from pretty much EVERYONE, and it was the most shocking moment, and the best cliffhanger. I’ve never felt more defeated at the end of a movie, ever. I don’t know how people waited to find out what happened next, I don’t think I could have handled that.

2. Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Jacket

This book. This book KILLED me. There were so many feels, yanking you in about a hundred different directions. The biggest thing that I just loved about this book is that we finally get the whole gang, both old characters and new characters of the Heroes of Olympus all together in one book. Jason, Piper, Leo, Hazel, Frank, Percy, Annabeth, they’re all together now. And Percy and Annabeth are finally back together and they’re so cute and in love and I’m shipping them so hard, and then they get separated because Annabeth has to go on her own little separate quest for the Mark of Athena. But then they end up back together, he comes for her and you think, everything is going to be okay! We’re all going to get this statue out of this big ol’ hole in the ground and we’re going to restore peace between the Romans and the Greeks and we’re going to save the world! Yeah, of course, that wouldn’t be the way it happened. Percy and Annabeth get themselves into an impossible situation and they literally FALL INTO TARTARUS! They fall into the inescapable part of the Underworld…and then the book ends. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read this. I thought for sure it was a joke. I kept turning the pages, hoping there was more. I am seriously counting down the days for The House of Hades this fall. I need my Percabeth back!

1. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

url-7

Of course this is number one. This isn’t so much as a single cliffhanger; its more of a….how dare you leave us with such a defeated feeling and now we have to wait for the last book? The Half Blood Prince was released in July of 2006 and we didn’t get Deathly Hallows until July of 2007. A whole year of utter pain and agony, waiting to find out what happened next. And J.K. Rowling is amazing; she doesn’t reveal ANYTHING. No spoilers, no snippets, no sneak peeks. She just releases the title and the title doesn’t tell us anything. Half Blood Prince ends Dumbledore’s death, Hogwarts torn apart, the revelation that Snape is still a Death Eater (I mean, as far as we know) and just KILLED Dumbledore, and that Harry has to find these Horcruxes, which can be anywhere in the entire world, and its just…its like Empire Strikes Back all over again. You just feel so defeated. Dumbledore is dead, and he’s the head of the Order of the Phoenix…and the Horcrux they just went to go and find is a fake, and Snape…Snape is a BAD guy and everyone is just so sad and Harry just broke up with Ginny, and its just sad, sad, sad feelings all around. But its also excited and anxious feelings too because Harry isn’t coming back, and he’s going to go hunting for these Horcruxes and he’s going to go hunting for Snape and Voldemort and its just SO EPIC.

*     *     *     *     *

So I hope you all enjoyed this week’s edition of the Tuesday Top Ten, and I hope I didn’t ruin too many books for you, because I would NEVER want to do that.

And don’t forget to check out some previous Top Ten Tuesdays!

If you guys have any ideas for some Top Ten lists, please contact me :) I am running out of ideas!

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE CLIFFHANGERS? AS ALWAYS, SHARE IN THE COMMENTS!

Book of the Week Part Two-Seige and Storm

Oh you read that right, sickness I’m doing TWO Book of the Week reviews in ONE week.

I know, crazy, right? Its totally outside the box, breaking the rules. I’m such a rebel, you can’t handle how off the charts awesome I am right now.

So basically the plan had been to do the Book of the Week post on Siege and Storm and then do an episode of Sara’s Quick Picks on The Moon and More, and a couple other books I had read. However, I did not finish Siege and Storm in time for the Book of the Week, which is always (mostly) posted on Thursdays, therefore I did a review on The  Moon and More.

Well I stayed up til 2 am to finish Siege and Storm tonight (yeah, its nearly 4 am while I’m writing this. Yay, insomnia!) and it was absolutely positively brilliant and I’m still kind of recovering from it and I decided I would write a review for it while it was fresh in my mind.

I mean, I could write it for the Book of the Week on Thursday BUT it won’t be as fresh in my mind as it is RIGHT NOW. So this week, you’re all treated to TWO book reviews in one week. How crazy for you guys.

I just want to warn you, since this is a sequel, there will be spoilers to Shadow and Bone in this review. There are very, very minimal to zero spoilers for Siege and Storm but in order to talk about this book, I have to spoil things from the first book. I’m warning you now, don’t read this review if you haven’t read the first book.

Whew, got that out of the way. Now enjoy the Book of the Week, Part Two!

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

original

Genre:
young adult, fantasy

Part of a Series?:
yes, it is the second book of the Grisha trilogy, preceded by Shadow and Bone, and followed by Rune and Rising, out in 2014

You May Like if You Liked:
anything by Tamora Pierce, the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima, the Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson

Plot Summary: 

Siege and Storm picks up where Shadow and Bone has left off: with Alina and Mal on the run from the Darkling, trying to escape into another world, to be forgotten. Alina is forced to wear a scarf to hide her new amplifier that’ll identify her in a second, and to hold back her powers because let’s face it, they are one of a kind. But Alina can’t run forever, and its not long before the Darkling catches up to her and Mal and is prepared to bring her back to Ravka so he can take over and rule it, so he can have even more power than he already has.

But soon, Alina and Mal are meeting a new friend by the name of Sturmhond, a privateer who has a bigger background than Alina and Mal are prepared for. Suddenly, Alina is alive with new purpose and escaping and running away. She has purpose; there are more powerful amplifiers to help her gain more power and more control, now that the Darkling has scary and impossible new powers. But the further she pushes herself into the Grisha world, trying to save Ravka, trying to gain more power, the further away she gets from Mal. She has to choose whether to keep going in order to save her country or pull back to be with the person she loves.

The Bad:

I have literally nothing to say. I mean, usually, even if I absolutely adore the book, there’s always something kind of nit picky that bugged me but I can’t even think of anything. It was so insanely good. I can’t…I can’t think of anything bad. Maybe I’m on a book high right now and its impossible to get down so I can’t think of anything but its just left me going WHAT THE HELL, and I can’t…too much book happiness right now. I guess the only bad thing I can think of was that it left on kind of a cliffhanger, with SO much hanging in the balance, and I have to wait until 2014 for Rune and Rising. And I’m so bad at waiting.

The Good: 

There is SO much good in this novel, I can’t even begin to start to talk about it. This book held my captivated the entire time that I read it. Alina…is such an interesting character. She’s so real and raw, and such a strong female character. I love that she’s so addicted to her power. I love that the power of it, the strength it gives her, the command that it gives her, just the sheer feeling of pure power it gives her, is so addicting to her, its something that she can’t stop fighting for. She already has an incredibly strong amplifier but she’s not satisfied until she searches for others to make herself even stronger. And I do believe that is in part to be able to be on the same page as the Darkling, who has gained IMMENSE powers since she was on the run. But I also think a HUGE part of it comes from the fact that she feeds off the power, just as the Darkling does, even though she doesn’t want to admit it.

I also like the relationship dynamic in this book. There’s enough romance and kissing in this book to satisfy everyone but it doesn’t distract from the main story, it weaves in and is a major aspect of it without turning the book into a lovey dovey mushy mess. And you’ve got kind of a love…I don’t know, square? Pyramid? A slightly bigger love triangle going on? And I don’t even mind it. Because you have three people fighting for Alina for different reasons…and even though I was so strongly Mal since Shadow and Bone…I find myself rooting for the other two that are so interested in her as well, because all three of them have their perks, their values, and they all can do something for Alina, as she can do something for them. Because its not all about love, you know? Its not like, oh god Alina is the most beautiful person ever and all the boys just LOVE her. She’s powerful, she’s the Sun Summoner, and the people of Ravka worship her, and so some of these desires come from her powers and abilities or from political strategies. I love that. I can’t decide who I like the best because it all just fits and makes sense to me.

Which leads me into the other characters in the novel: all of them who are so built, so complex, so filled out. The thing with fantasy novels is that you tend to get a TON of characters involved; it just comes with the territory of building this new, fictional world. And sometimes you can get SO confused with all these characters, and sometimes there are so many that they just aren’t flushed out well enough, they just don’t have distinct personalities. Even the smallest of characters should have a defining personality. Even if you only see them for one scene, that scene will tell you something of their personality enough to recognize them. And Leigh accomplishes that completely with all her characters. Even the smallest characters, such as Nadia’s brother, have a personality and you’re able to recognize who they are, easily, without the reminder of who they are. I love that she can briefly mention a character and you remember who they are because they were established so well previously. Like I said, so many fantasy novels just fail to do this.

Speaking of fantasy worlds, Leigh creates an amazing, believable, well thought out world. Another issue with fantasy novels is that authors tend to kind of…make up things as they go along sometimes. Like, they don’t full flesh out their world, whether it be customs or culture or religion or just the locations of different places but there isn’t a problem in the SLIGHTEST in this book. Ravka, and the surrounding countries, and their ways, their towns, people, cultures, religion, etc. come so naturally as if it were all real. It reminds me of Tortall or the Fells, in Tamora Pierce or Cinda Williams Chima books because these places feel so real. I feel as if you were to ask Leigh a question about her fictional world, she would have an answer because she’s thought about it, she’s given it life. Its not just a fictional world in paper but its a real world to Alina and Mal and the Darkling and the readers. I don’t question anything about the world because it feels SO real. Everything comes so naturally and there isn’t anything forced.

One last thing, I loved the additional characters added to this novel, especially Sturmhond, who we find out is someone super important. I’m not going to reveal anything because that would just be plain mean, but let’s just say, I did NOT see that one coming. I love him a lot because he brings the humor, the sarcastic, cocky, okay I’ll say it-SEXINESS, to the book. You guys know me, I love those kind of characters (Han Solo, Sirius Black, Jace Wayland, etc) and I was so excited when I started to get to know Sturmhond. And I developed a crush on him ultra fast. Plus…once you figure out his secrets and his motivations, he becomes a complex character, despite his charms and his cockiness and his good looking face. There’s so much more to him, and I’m really hoping he appears in the third book because I’m interested in seeing where Leigh is going to take him.

I am SO not looking forward to waiting until 2014 though :(

Rating: 

5 out of 5 stars. Its hard to get that but it earned it, completely.

Recommended or Not?

HELL YES. Honestly, if you’re a reader and you love young adult literature and you love the fantasy aspect that has been blowing up, this is a series for you. Even if you’re a fantasy lover period, and not into YA, you should still read it. Just read it. Leigh Bardugo has created a masterpiece in this series so far, and I’m going to be WAY too anxious waiting for Rune and Rising next year!

*      *      *      *     *

If you liked this review, you should check out previous Book of the Week reviews as well :)

If you missed out on my recap of Leigh Bardugo‘s book release party for Siege and Storm, check it out HERE.

Also, if you’re a fan of Leigh Bardugo and her books, you might also like Tamora Pierce and Cinda Williams Chima. 

My Fandom Friday post yesterday as ALL about Tamora Pierce and her YA fantasy novels, so check that out HERE.

And come back later for a post about Cinda Williams Chima and an exclusive interview!

Leigh Bardugo’s Siege and Storm Release Party!

So I feel like its been forever since I went to an author event. Its probably only been a couple weeks, sickness but it feels like SO much longer haha. I think the last one I went to was the Mission Viejo stop on the Summer Lovin’ Tour with Suzanne Young, ambulance Sarah Ockler, try Shannon Messenger, Morgan Matson, Jessi Kirby and Kimberly Derting.

You can read all about that here :)

So I was starving for some author interaction!

And luckily enough, my dear friend Perla told me all about Leigh Bardugo (who I met about a month ago at the Ontario Teen Book Fest, which you can read about here) and how she was having a super cool release party for Siege and Storm, the second book in her Grisha Trilogy, preceded by Shadow and Bone and followed by Rune and Rising (coming sooooon).

I was SO excited about this.

I just recently read Shadow and Bone, probably about two weeks ago and absolutely loved it. I am a big fan of YA fantasy writers like Tamora Pierce and Cinda Williams Chima, and this felt similar but also unique to these two, and she just created a great story. You can see me review for it here.

(Side Note: Follow my friend, Perla, on Tumblr! She goes to author events ALL the time. In the last week, she’s met SO many. She’s meeting Richelle Mead tonight! She’s bombtastic :) You thought I met a lot of authors!)

I have never been to a book release party before. I’ve been to events where the book is released for the first time, but it was never termed a “party”, and I was never told to dress up!

And I totally didn’t dress up by the way, because I’m uberly lame and impossible when it comes to costumes and such. My version of a costume is making a tutu in a specific color, pairing it with a tshirt of that fandom and calling it a day :) I did wear a dress and some nifty high heeled boots so I felt pretty awesome.

So me, Tatiana, Sylvia, and my awesome friend Erin headed down to the Hemingways Lounge in Hollywood, California to go to this book release party.

Can I just say it was SO weird having my little beat up Honda valeted? The guy took my keys and looked at my car, completely with personalized Harry Potter license plate (and frame!), Harry Potter stickers, Star wars stickers, Hunger Games stickers,…and he just kind of sighed haha.

But anyway! What an awesome, awesome, awesome event! They went above and beyond for all of this! First off, there was a raffle for every single person who attended and the prizes were SO cool. There was this awesome grab bag of all sorts of cool Grisha swag, that my friend Sylvia won!

They also had a prize that was like 15-20 brand new books of various authors in Los Angeles. I wanted that one so bad. I didn’t win though :( Which was okay!

I was one of the first twenty five people to arrive, so I was able to get a tote bag, which I LOVE. I love me some tote bags!

IMG_5822

I was also able to grab a TON of swag, like buttons and all kinds of stuff. I’m hoping to have a Leigh Bardugo contest by the end of the month, so check back to see if you can grab yourself some of this swag, and who knows, maybe a signed copy of Shadow and Bone ;)

Book Swaaaaaaaag

IMG_5820

They also had a really cool photo booth set up as soon as you walk in where you could pile in with your friends, get some props and make some awesome faces.

IMG_5787

It was a seriously awesome time though. I had never been to a book release party so I wasn’t really sure what to expect from it, but if book release parties are all like this, I want to go to more! There was all the free swag and the photo booth to begin with. There was an open bar that was serving this sparkling sweet wine and waiters and waitresses were going around, passing out little hors d’oeuvres, like mini burgers and mac n cheese and all sorts of yummy.

Leigh was mingling with the crowd, hanging out, looking like she was having a seriously fun time :) I ran into her once, and she totally remembered who I was, and knew who I was, which was pretty cool, I’m not going to lie. She is so funny, and she’s so down to earth too. I honestly really love that she is so available to her fans through social media. I’m friends with her on facebook and she nearly always replies to my tweets. She is SO available to her fans.

IMG_5798

IMG_5795

And she’s so hilarious! For her presentation, she read some writing she did when she younger about the kind of abilities that she wished she could have. There were the usual, like flight and invisibility and being able to read people’s minds (though with an on/off switch haha, but the best one was the ability to write and publish a novel.

I’m not going to lie, I kind of teared up at that. Because the fact that when she was younger, she paired writing and publishing a novel with something impossible like being able to fly. But she did it, and she’s a fantastic writer, and so popular, and her book, Shadow and Bone, has been optioned to be a film. It really gives aspiring writers, like myself, a lot of hope. Writing and publishing a novel seems as impossible as becoming a Major League baseball pitcher, or a Grammy award winning musician. But its possible :)

IMG_5800

Sorry for the blurry pictures. It was all dark and funky lighting so it was SO hard to take good pictures.

Moving on though, Leigh also did a Q and A, which was fun because most of the questions, and all of the answers, were making people laugh. She also read a little excerpt from Siege and Storm, a scene between Alina and the Darkling, which was awesome, and which you see above. (And yes, that is Margaret Stohl holding her flashlight for Leigh to read).

There were so many authors there as well :) I saw Morgan Matson and Jessica Brody, both of who were SUPER excited to see us, and remembered us (Morgan told us we needed our own reality show, and Jessica said we were loud, but in a good way). Jennifer Bosworth was also there, as well as Melissa de la Cruz, Lissa Price, and Marie Lu. I’m sure there were more, but it was hard to tell. Its always fun to hang out with authors, especially when you look up to them so MUCH. Such a fun time :)

IMG_5806

Meeting Leigh again was REALLY cool, and she’s seriously a fun lady. Her remembering me was a nice little cherry on top to a super fun night, and I loved that she really took the time to talk to each and every person who came and take pictures with them, and sign their books and all of that. She really reached out to all of her fans, and it was awesome. She makes me laugh, and she wrote “I’m hilarious” in her books, when I had a word vomit moment and asked her to write something funny in my book, because I’m awkward like that.

IMG_5821

I’m having SUCH a blast lately, with all these author events, and making author friends, and getting to meet the people whose books are so amazing, and inspire me so much. Its been SUCH a blast.

I just started Siege and Storm today (I had to read The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen first, and I finished that in less than a day), and I’m already loving it, and I’m only 50 pages in. I hope, hope, hope, and should be done with it by tomorrow and I’ll have an AWESOME review for you guys!

I’m going to see her again (and Marie Lu, and a couple other cool people) on June 26th at the Grove in Los Angeles so I hope to get a pretty copy of Shadow and Bone signed for you guys! You guys love giveaways, don’t ya? I know you do! And then I can throw some of those buttons in there too!

Hope you enjoyed my recap of Leigh’s party!

And come back tomorrow for the Book of the Week, and keep an eye out for Sara’s Quick PicksEpisode Three, and an interview with the AMAZING Cinda Williams Chima!

Happy Reading!