Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Book Riot Read Harder 2018 in review: Inkspell #BookReview #ReadHarder2018 #Blogmas



Category 19: A book of genre fiction in translation


Inkspell


Author: Cornelia Funke, Anthea Bell (translator)
Publisher: Chicken House
Published: April 1, 2007 (first published October 1, 2005)
Page count: 655
Genres: fantasy
Date read: May 27, 2018
Number of times read: 1
Format: paperback/audiobook
Source: Amazon/Waterloo Public Library









Summary

The captivating sequel to INKHEART, the critically acclaimed, international bestseller by Cornelia Funke--available for the first time in a beautifully designed trade paperback!

Although a year has passed, not a day goes by without Meggie thinking of INKHEART, the book whose characters became real. But for Dustfinger, the fire-eater brought into being from words, the need to return to the tale has become desperate. When he finds a crooked storyteller with the ability to read him back, Dustfinger leaves behind his young apprentice Farid and plunges into the medieval world of his past. Distraught, Farid goes in search of Meggie, and before long, both are caught inside the book, too. But the story is threatening to evolve in ways neither of them could ever have imagined.-- via Goodreads 

Review

In the first book in the series we got to see how the fictional characters of a book react and behave when they're brought into the real world. Spoiler alert: it doesn't end well for most of them. The problem with that is that that first story built up so much anticipation about the Inkworld, and we never really got to see it at all in that first book. We only heard about it. Inkspell where we've done almost a complete 180, almost all of the action in Inkspell takes place in the Inkworld. The characters of the fictional work and some of the real world people end up getting drawn back into the world of the book. Obviously, hijinx ensue. Meanwhile, in the real world outside the book, Meggie's parents are trying to figure out how they can get her back or how they can get in to help her. I use real world very loosely in this explanation. This book has done a very, very good job of blurring the lines between fiction and reality. Obviously, Mo and Meggie and Elinor don't realise that they are characters in a fictional world themselves, that would be far too meta, but the reader is aware and so it becomes very interesting. It's actually got a very Matrix-y quality to it, you remember, that scene where Morpheus talks to Neo about the meaning of realness? Well, this whole book is like 655 pages to explore that talking point.

There are some things about this book that annoyed me though, Dustfinger and Farid for one and two. They're both so completely single-minded that they often end up making decisions that I as a reader find frustrating, especially Farid when it comes to the relationship he is trying to cement for himself with Meggie. He doesn't do a very good job of that at all. Fenoglio is by far the most annoying though, sometimes I really just wanted someone to push him out a window. Although I think I want to revise that statement because there is actually someone more annoying than Fenoglio and that character is Orpheus. I have so, so much hate for Orpheus I can't even completely articulate it. Mainly because to explain my hate properly I'd have to give away too many spoilers.

There's an interesting controversy surrounding the title of this book and its translation from the original German. If directly translating it should have been Inkblood to tie in thematically with the title Inkheart. I'm not surprised it was changed in English though because especially in the US there's a whole thing about changing the title of the book if it seems like it's going to cause any form of scandal. Remember what happened with the first Harry Potter adventure? They changed philosopher to sorcerer because they were afraid people wouldn't know what philosopher mean. Luckily Inksspell doesn't go down that route.

This is the book series for anyone who ever wanted to meet their favourite fictional character.

Overall Rating


4 bolts


Book Riot Read Harder 2018 in review: Princeless v. 2 : Get Over Yourself #BookReview #ReadHarder2018 #Blogmas



Category 18: A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image  


Princeless, Vol. 2: Get Over Yourself


Author: Jeremy Whitley
Publisher: Action Lab Entertainment Inc
Published: June 26, 2013
Page count: 122
Genres: fantasy, adventure
Date read: May 29, 2018
Number of times read: 1
Format: paperback
Source: Amazon









Summary

A new collection of the adventures of everyone's favorite runaway princess, the incomparable Adrienne. This time she's out to rescue her older sister Angelica, the most beautiful princess in the world. It won't be easy though. Not only does Adrienne have to deal with Angelica's legions of admirers and their sibling rivalry, but the King has hired a band of ruthless mercenaries to track her down. Can she save Angelica? Does she want to? And how will she deal with these deadly knights who are after her head?-- via Goodreads 

Review

In yesterday's review, I talked about female fairytale characters and agency and how Marissa Meyer handled that. Today's book is another take on the same issue. This whole series is about breaking out of the stereotype of females who need rescuing and it's all about a princess who rescues herself and then makes it a mission to rescue all of her sisters too. She's joined by her faithful dragon companion and her half dwarf blacksmith pal Bedelia. This whole thing can be best summed up by two panels near the end of this volume, when a knight that Adrienne, Bedelia and their new friend Raven have trapped in a tower accuses them of not being very ladylike, their respective responses are "We're not ladylike," (Adrienne), "I never said I was," (Raven) and a loud belch (Bedelia). It's a great story for young girls and teen girls to see that they can save themselves and fight their own battles. And it's a great story for little boys and teen boys so that they can see strong female characters and that girls don't have to be girly to still be awesome human beings who are interesting. 

The artwork of Emily Martin is another spectacular aspect of this book. I really love her graphic style, it's sort of reminiscent of 90s Disney but also feels really fresh and unique. Martin creates incredibly expressive faces on all of her characters. Together Martin and Whitley have done a great job of creating very distinct characters for their very diverse cast. Each character has their own personality. Some are very tropey but in a very parodic way. Sir Zachary the Pure, for instance, he's the character who accused our heroines of being unladylike, is so pure that it's clearly meant to be satirical. And it's the same with Adrienne's sisters, each of them has a dominant trait that is ratcheted up to eleven for the purposes of humour. And it succeeds, it's an incredibly funny book with lots of witty repartee and lots of good visual gags courtesy of Martin's artwork.


If you're into stories about princesses who can save themselves this one is definitely worth checking out. If you like slapstick adventure comics this is also up your alley. And lastly, if you like taking fairytale tropes and seeing them get made fun of, this series is definitely for you.

Overall Rating


4 bolts


Monday, 17 December 2018

Book Riot Read Harder 2018 in review: Cress #BookReview #ReadHarder2018 #Blogmas



Category 17: A sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author 


Cress


Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Square Fish
Published: January 27 2015 (first published February 4 2014)
Page count: 550
Genres: scifi, fairytale retelling
Date read: November 4, 2018
Number of times read: 1
Format: paperback/audiobook
Source: Bookoutlet.ca/Waterloo Public Library









Summary

Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together they're plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker; unfortunately, she's just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can. -- via Goodreads 

Review

This is the third book in Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series, which in addition to being a really well-developed scifi series, is also a series of adaptations of traditional fairytales. Cinder was an adaptation of Cinderella, Scarlet retold the story of Little Red Riding Hood, and in this volume, we're treating to Meyers take on the tale of Rapunzel. One of my favourite aspects of these retellings is that Meyer has turned them into feminist stories. In the original fairytales, the aforementioned heroines had no agency of their own. They were all rescued from their respective circumstances through no will of their own but were all saved by big strong men entering their lives. Meyer's versions of the heroines, however, don't need to be rescued by men, for the most part, they're pretty good at saving themselves. Occasionally, they need the assistance of the male characters, but it doesn't happen often and it's usually when they're in a situation where it makes sense that the male character would be better at stopping the action such as the situation in Scarlet where for most of the novel the titular Scarlet is quite capable of taking care of herself. When wolf does come to her rescue it's because she's up against trained soldiers and he has the training to fight them where she doesn't. Cress is treated similarly in her point of view story. She's shown to be a capable and skilled hacker, but she acknowledges her limits and accepts Carswell Thorne's help when she needs it but doesn't rely on him for everything.

This novel does a really great job of building and expanding on the two stories that came before it. We change major point of view characters in each of the three novels introducing a new "main pair" with each book. But we never abandon the previous pair and Meyer does a good job of making sure that all of the disparate plot threads stay connected and stay in the mind of the reader. Meyer does a good job of including enough callbacks from previous books so that we can see how Cress has been connected to the story the whole time. It's very easy to see that she's had an overarching plan for where this series was going since the first book, the puzzle pieces all neatly fit together. 

I also love the scifi world that Meyer has built and the way it has expanded in this book. We get to see a little more of what's actually going on in space and the Moon in this book compared to the first two books which are very much earthbound. I like the substitution of a satellite orbiting earth for what was traditionally a tower in the original Rapunzel tale. Because Cress isn't completely cut off from Earthen and Lunar cultures she is still completely informed about what's going on in both places and is actively trying to change what she can while being imprisoned. Speaking of Meyer's scifi world, I love the way in this book that she melded her futuristic world with traditions of geographic regions. Cress and Thorne at one point find themselves in remote North African villages and even though it's a scifi novel with vast technological advancements and sentient AIs you can still appreciate her use of traditional architecture and food. They even meet a group of nomads who use tech to their benefit.

If you're into fairytale retellings, this is a series of great ones. Cress is action-packed and emotionally moving at the same time.

Overall Rating


5 bolts


Saturday, 15 December 2018

Book Riot Read Harder 2018 in review: Loki's Wolves #BookReview #CanadianContent #ReadHarder2018 #Blogmas



Category 16: The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series


Loki's Wolves


Author: K.L. Armstrong & M.A. Marr
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: May 7 2013
Page count: 358
Genres: fantasy, mythology
Date read: January 6, 2018
Number of times read: 1
Format: paperback/audiobook
Source: Chapters/Indigo/Waterloo Public Library









Summary

In Viking times, Norse myths predicted the end of the world, an event called Ragnarok, that only the gods can stop. When this apocalypse happens, the gods must battle the monsters--wolves the size of the sun, serpents that span the seabeds, all bent on destroying the world.

The gods died a long time ago.

Matt Thorsen knows every Norse myth, saga, and god as if it was family history--because it is family history. Most people in the modern-day town of Blackwell, South Dakota, in fact, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt's classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke.

However, knowing the legends and completely believing them are two different things. When the rune readers reveal that Ragnarok is coming and kids--led by Matt--will stand in for the gods in the final battle, he can hardly believe it. Matt, Laurie, and Fen's lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team to prevent the end of the world. -- via Goodreads 

Review

Okay, we've gone from Norse mythology to Christian mythology and now we're going to circle back around to Norse mythology again. This time in the form of Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr's YA series The Blackwell Pages and specifically the first book, Loki's Wolves. The little cover blurb on my edition is from the Kirkus Review and states that the book is ideal for fans of Percy Jackson. Well, as a fan of Percy, and Riordan's work in general, accurate cover blurb is accurate. I was initially leery of trying these books even though, as you know, I love Kelley Armstrong; I was nervous that it was just going to end up being too derivative of Riordan's work. But I really shouldn't have been. Having come to this series later because of that trepidation, I got the read Riordan's first two Magnus Chase books before I got to this one. And I can safely say it's not derivative, they have taken two very different approaches in their adaptations of the Norse myths. I actually regret not asking Kelley Armstrong about her and Melissa's writing process for this series at the meet and greet I attended with her in February of this year, because you can definitely tell the books have been written by two people but it' kind of hard to parse out whose contribution was whose, at least for me.

It's very tropey but not in a bad way, I find a lot of people denigrate the use of tropes, but we've literally been doing it for centuries. Archetypes are classic storytelling tools, and really they're totally just tropes, that's all tropes are, just a less pretentious sounding way of saying archetype. But there is tropey in a bad way and tropey in a good way. This book uses tropes really effectively, as any good mythological revisioning should. You want to be hitting the tropes that remind people of the original myths with your retelling, but you want to do it so that it still seems fresh and new and interesting. I think that's especially well encapsulated in the characterisation of the three main characters in this novel. They are distinct, complex individual teens with their own well-developed characteristics and personalities but there are just enough notes of sameness to the mythological characters that they're representing that you can see the tropes that tell you "Yes, Matt Thorsen, on the nose name aside, is absolutely a descendant of Thor, but he's also his own person." It's also narratively tropey, with a similarish series of events to the events of the first Percy Jackson book, but not in a derivative way as I much feared before reading the series. Percy's crew and Matt's crew go on journeys with similar enough end goals, but that's to be expected because they're mythological retellings. The elements of the Norse mythology do make this a vastly different story than did the Greek elements in Riordan's series.

One really nice touch to this book was the sporadic illustrations by Vivienne To, they really do add a pop to the story and make it interesting. And one downside is that all of the adults in the book were just awful.


If you like any of Rick Riordan's books, or if you're a Potterhead then I think you'll find these books enjoyable.

Overall Rating


4 bolts


Friday, 14 December 2018

Book Riot Read Harder 2018 in review: The Magician's Nephew #BookReview #ReadHarder2018 #Blogmas


I am still working on finishing all the books for categories 12, 13, and 14 of the Book Riot Read Harder challenge, so we're skipping ahead to category 15 and we'll double back as I finish the books. It is VERY interesting to skip to this category though. For yesterday's category, you'll see that I reviewed The Last Battle, the final book of the Chronicles of Narnia. Well for today's review as you saw in the title, we're going right back to the beginning of the chronicles (according to the internal chronology) because I am reviewing The Magician's Nephew as my pick for:


Category 15: A one-sitting book


The Chronicles of Narnia : The Magician's Nephew


Author: C.S. Lewis
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: September 16 2002 (first published 1956)
Page count: 776 (whole omnibus), 100 (The Magian's Nephew specifically)
Genres: fantasy, mythology
Date read: January 18, 2018
Number of times read: 4
Format: paperback/audiobook
Source: Chapters/Indigo/Waterloo Public Library









Summary

The secret passage to the house next door leads to a fascinating adventure

NARNIA...where the woods are thick and cold, where Talking Beasts are called to life...a new world where the adventure begins.

Digory and Polly meet and become friends one cold, wet summer in London. Their lives burst into adventure when Digory's Uncle Andrew, who thinks he is a magician, sends them hurtling to...somewhere else. They find their way to Narnia, newborn from the Lion's song, and encounter the evil sorceress Jadis before they finally return home. -- via Goodreads 

Review

It's interesting to me to be coming back to the beginning of Narnia the day after I just went on a tirade about how disappointed I was by its ending. What I find most striking between the two is that in terms of the original publication order of the books The Magician's Nephew came right before The Last Battle. I think it would have been a completely different experience reading them in that order rather than reading them in the order of the internal chronology of the books which is how they've been packaged and presented for decades now. When I first started reading them as a kid in the 90s, the boxsets had Magician's Nephew as the first book, but the set I grew up on was my mum's original first editions from the 1950s/60s when they were still published in original publishing order. So The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe was always the first book for me and I never made it past the 3rd book as a kid. It wasn't until I bought my omnibus edition in 2004/5 (as a means of wishing to preserve my mum's much loved first editions) that I'd ever thought of reading them in any other order. I tried several times to read through the omnibus (I believe I mentioned that yesterday?), but I always stopped  after Voyage of the Dawn Treader mainly because I wasn't sure I wanted to read a Narnia book where Eustace was the star and Lucy and Edmund (my two favourite Pevensies) weren't going to be around at all. As you might remember from yesterday I set out to change that this year. A project I started in January by re-reading The Magician's Nephew.

It's not a perfect book, and I'm glad because it's actually much more interesting when a book is flawed. I always try and think critically about whatever I am reading, that doesn't keep me from falling in love with books, it just makes sure that I question even the books I love. (Thanks $35k English degree!) I can admit that this book has flaws, both as an individual book and as part of a larger series. I think Lewis made a mistake by publishing this one so late in the series. Being about the creation of Narnia, and including the backstory for one of the biggest bads in the series, I think it really only does make sense to have this book appear first in box sets and omnibuses. The only issue I have is with how they really didn't handle the villain at all, which is why she's still around hundreds if not thousands of years later for the Pevensies to vanquish. But this is also probably a result of writing the book after writing the events of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

The good things though are plentiful. First and foremost there is the world building. Narnia is literally brought into existence from scratch by Aslan, and he does a damn fine job of setting up the parameters that govern this world and the way it connects with other worlds. The characters are another fantastic element Diggory and Polly are among my favourite characters in the series and I wish we got to see more of them. Uncle Andrew was the weakest character but I suspect that that was an intentional choice.

I also loved Lewis's set up and reveal for the villain. You could really see how she was manipulating Andrew and Diggory, but Polly saw right through her which feels very feminist. Overall though I loved this book and out of all seven Narnia books I gave it a seven and on a scale of one to seven I would rank it at a three3 in terms of ranking, with LWW taking number one and the Horse and His Boy at number two.


As the first book of the series, it sets an interesting tone with its mix of Christian allegory and high fantasy elements. What are your thoughts on changing the order of The Chronicles of Narnia to present them in terms of the series's internal chronology vs. the original publication order in which this book is book 6?

Overall Rating


5 bolts


Thursday, 13 December 2018

Book Riot Read Harder 2018 in review: The Last Battle #BookReview #ReadHarder2018 #Blogmas



Category 11: A children’s classic published before 1980


The Chronicles of Narnia : The Last Battle


Author: C.S. Lewis
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: September 16 2002 (first published 1956)
Page count: 776 (whole omnibus), 103 (The Last Battle specifically)
Genres: fantasy, mythology
Date read: August 27, 2018
Number of times read: 1
Format: paperback/audiobook
Source: Chapters/Indigo/Waterloo Public Library









Summary

In the light of a huge roaring bonfire the last battle of Narnia is about to take place between King Tirian, aided resolutely by Jill and Eustace, and the cruel Calormenes, when the struggle between the forces of good and evil will finally be decided. But with doubt and confusion everywhere, will King Tirian be able to stand firm at Narnia's darkest hour? -- via Goodreads

The conclusion of the saga that began with The Magician's Nephew. NARNIA...where you must say good-bye...and where the adventure begins again. The Unicorn says that humans are brought to Narnia when Narnia is stirred and upset. And Narnia is in trouble now: A false Aslan roams the land. Narnia's only hope is that Eustace and Jill, old friends to Narnia, will be able to find the true Aslan and restore peace to the land. Their task is a difficult one because, as the Centaur says, "The stars never lie, but Men and Beasts do." Who is the real Aslan and who is the imposter?  -- via Goodreads 

The last battle is the greatest battle of all. Narnia... where lies breed fear... where loyalty is tested... where all hope seems lost. During the last days of Narnia, the land faces its fiercest challenge - not an invader from without but an enemy from within. Lies and treachery have taken root, and only the king and a small band of loyal followers can prevent the destruction of all they hold dear in this, the magnificent ending to the Chronicles of Narnia. -- via Goodreads 

Review


The reason you got the summaries for three different editions is that I am not happy with any one of them on their own as a summary for this book. This is a strange book so I suppose it makes sense that it has a strange summary that requires multiple versions. We're going from Norse mythology yesterday to Christian mythology with this one, anyone who knows anything about the Narnia series knows that it was a heavy-handed Christian allegory from start to finish. I as a reader can choose to ignore that and do when I read them, so it doesn't bother me in a way that it bothers a lot of readers. Maybe its because I do look at it as a mythology in the same way that I look at Norse and Roman and Celtic mythologies. I don't deny anyone their beliefs, but I don't personally believe them. I do believe that the stories having meaning and power though and that that is not nothing. Lewis doesn't hide the fact that this series is Christian fantasy he basically sticks it on a billboard with flashing lights. And The Last Battle adds trumpeting fanfare and fireworks to the show, it's that heavy-handed with its Christian allegory.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, I've read it about two to three dozen times over the years. And I've read The Magician's Nephew and The Horse and His Boy two or three times before. Other than that I don't remember reading any of the other Narnia books growing up and I kept meaning to as an adult but never got around to it. I decided to change that and made this year my year to read all seven of them finally. And so I did, obviously, or you wouldn't be reading this review. The allegory is not as thick in The Horse and His Boy, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, or, The Silver Chair as it is in LWW, Magician's Nephew and The Last Battle. The middle four books read as much more fantasy.

I knew things about The Last Battle going into it just from the existence of pop culture. I knew about the Susan problem for example. I also knew what my mum had been telling me my whole life, that I wasn't missing out by not reading The Last Battle. She didn't enjoy it and she didn't think I would either. And she's not wholly wrong. There were a lot of parts of it that I didn't enjoy. For example, I really do feel like this book could be the trope named for rocks fall, everyone dies. If I had read this as a child I probably would have been traumatised by the way this book ended, or maybe I specifically wouldn't have been because I was a very strange child with some weird experiences around death. But we're talking the kind of ending here that traumatises normal children! Bambi and Dumbo's mother level stuff here guys! And it's not just the death, it's the way the death is treated and almost glorified. I also wasn't overly crazy about the whole fake Aslan prophet plot. It was very contrived and forced. I get it, Lewis wanted to get out of Narnia and stop writing these stories, but he could have and should have left it open-ended.

One thing I think was handled particularly well though was the characterisations of Eustace and Jill. I hated Eustace when he first showed up in Dawn Treader but by Last Battle, he'd really grown on me and he and Jill made a great team. I think Jill may be overall my second favourite character in the whole series, just behind Lucy who will always be number 1 to me. Although the characters in Horse and His Boy are pretty awesome too, I enjoyed that one immensely. This is about The Last Battle though so let's re-focus back on that. Tirian had potential but I don't think it was fully realised. The Calormenes were treated badly even for villains. But as usual, the setting of the book was stunning and wonderful. 


As the final book in the series, it was kind of a deflating letdown. What final book in a series has let you down the most as a reader?

Overall Rating


2.5 bolts


Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Book Riot Read Harder 2018 in review: Winds of Salem #BookReview #ReadHarder2018 #Blogmas



Category 10: A romance novel by or about a person of color


Winds of Salem


Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: Hachette Books
Published: April 15 2014 (first published August 13 2013)
Page count: 336
Genres: fantasy, mythology, paranormal, historical, romance
Date read: December 11, 2018
Number of times read: 1
Format: paperback
Source: Chapters/Indigo









Summary

Freya Beauchamp is trapped in 1692, in Salem of all places, with no recollection of her past. A powerful enemy spell has sent her spiraling away so that she is separated by centuries from her mother, Joanna, and sister, Ingrid. This is not good news for a twenty-first-century witch. Not to mention the immediate threat she faces from the wealthy and influential Putnam family. When little Annie Putnam is one of the first to make accusations of witchcraft, her landowner father jumps at the opportunity to consolidate his power and expand his holdings in Puritan Salem Town. If Freya is caught using magic, she will be forced to relive the witch trials, and this time, even her immortality is in question. 

Meanwhile, twenty-first-century North Hampton has its own snares. Joanna and Norm consult the Oracle for advice, and Freddie and his pixie allies search for a missing totem that could reopen the passages of time and help bring his sister home. When Ingrid bumps into an old flame, she finds that her new love for Detective Matt Noble is in doubt.

Moving between past and present, with dizzying plot twists and page-turning suspense, Winds of Salem is sure to bewitch fans old and new.  -- via Goodreads

Review


I almost don't want to admit how long it took me to remember/realise that this book would actually work for this category...This is the final book in Melissa de la Cruz's Beauchamp Family saga. Beauchamp is just the modern day moniker of the Vanir, a branch of gods from Norse Mythology. I was expecting that when I started reading the series, I was just there for the witches, which I also love. But when I found out that the witches were actually Norse gods and goddesses? Oh hell yeah, I was all over that! So quick backgrounder, I gave the first book 4 bolts and the second book only got 3. Because I hate love triangle drama and the second book had a lot of love triangle drama. I discussed my re-read of the first book in a Musing Monday post last year. And in a coincidence of the highest order, the question of the week that week was about writing book reviews right after finishing the book, which is exactly what I am doing now. I finished the book at 9:55pm and at the time of writing this sentence it's 10:13pm. You, of course, will be reading this after 2pm ET on December 12th ;).

Without further ado, let's get into the meat of the review. As the final book in a series, I will try my very best not to include spoilers for anyone out there interested in reading it. We'll start with the things I liked about this book, and there are quite a few. I have to first mention that my favourite part of the second book, Serpent's Kiss, was at the end when Freya got yanked back in time to Salem because I knew that meant I was going to get some Salem Witch Trials fiction. I have been fascinated by that period of history for years, so that got me super hyped for Winds of Salem, while at the same time making me leery. I knew it was either going to be really well handled, or really horrible, and I was worried about being disappointed if it were the latter. I'm very pleased to say that de la Cruz did not let me down. I thought she did a fantastic job fictionalising the story of Salem and weaving in her characters. She gave knew motivations to the situation that I've never seen presented in Salem stories before, very modern-seeming ones, namely greed on the part of Thomas Putnam. Her characterisation of Abby Williams was fantastic, I've always hated Abby, she reminds me so much of every girl who was ever mean to me growing up and de la Cruz hits that on the head with her. 

The other part of the book that I really liked was Freddie's growth and his whole arc. We only met Freya's twin brother in the second book but he quickly established himself as a presence. He started off very annoying and entitled, which I mean, he spent like 5000 years in Limbo I think he was allowed. But he really matured and evened out as a character over the course of Winds of Salem. The only part of his story that I found confusing is the break down of his relationship with Gert - I am still not 100% certain what happened there so I feel like some important parts may have ended up cut by an editor's pen. 

Now, speaking of things that feel like they were cut with an editor's pen, this leads into one of the parts I had a problem with. The climax. It was WAY too rushed. We've spent 3 books hearing about the bofrir bridge being destroyed and trying to figure out who did it and why. We finally on page 275 of this book, and then by 279 the entire confrontation with the culprit is over and done with. The fighters barely said anything to one another nevermind actually you know....fighting? The villain didn't even get to attack. I just feel she wrapped up that portion of the storyline in a really poor way.

The other thing I was going to say I didn't like I'm kind of waffling about now, because there are actually a lot of ways to interpret it. I was going to be upset about the love triangle and the way it ended. But upon further reflection, I am thinking that I might be thinking about it wrong. Freya is the goddess of love, why shouldn't she be polyamorous? And if both of her lovers are okay with that then it works, there's nothing that says that all parties in a polyamorous relationship have to be mutually involved with one another, it's perfectly fine for A to have relationships with both B and C without B and C having to be involved with one another. So long as all parties are cool with and into the arrangement. So that's what I have decided right at this moment that it's not and never was a love triangle, Freya came to that same realisation towards the end of the book.


If you're into witches and Norse mythology then give this whole series a try. Definitely don't start with this book though, start with Witches of East End, it's book #1.

Overall Rating


5 bolts!