Pub Writes

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Posts Tagged ‘ya fantasy’

Some YA Mini Reviews

Posted by Caitie F on March 19, 2015

I have so little time, but wanted to get some reviews in!

Title: Heir of Fireheir
Author: Sarah J Maas
Hardcover: 562 pages
Pub Date: Sept 2, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

Mini Review

This series is the absolute best. You should read it if you haven’t. This book is absolutely incredible – it is a little different from the first two, but in the best possible way.I am eagerly waiting for QUEEN OF SHADOWS just like everyone else.

Title: FireFire
Author: Kristin Cashore
Hardcover: 461 pages
Pub Date: Oct 2009
Publisher: Dial Books
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.

This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.

Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there’s more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.

If only she weren’t afraid of becoming the monster her father was. (less)

Mini Review:

I read Graceling way back in 2011 and have wanted to read Fire every since then. But I didn’t. I kept putting it off because it was so beautiful and I was crushed by the idea of having such a limited amount of Kristin Cashore books left. I got over it and finally read Fire and I am so glad I did!

Fire is such a complex character. The world building is excellent. All the other characters are just as complex and flawed. The writing is gorgeous. Everything about this book is wonderful. It was a little long, but I really didn’t mind since it meant I got to stay in the world for a little longer.

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The Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde

Posted by Caitie F on October 6, 2014

Title: The Eye of Zoltar
Author: Jasper Fforde
Hardcover: 416 pages
Pub Date: Oct 7, 2014
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

Although she’s an orphan in indentured servitude, sixteen-year-old Jennifer Strange is pretty good at her job of managing the unpredictable crew at Kazam Mystical Arts Management. She already solved the Dragon Problem, avoided mass destruction by Quarkbeast, and helped save magic in the Ununited Kingdoms. Yet even Jennifer may be defeated when the long-absent Mighty Shandar makes an astonishing appearance and commands her to find the Eye of Zoltar—proclaiming that if she fails, he will eliminate the only two dragons left on earth.

How can a teenage non-magician outdo the greatest sorcerer the world has ever known? But failure is unacceptable, so Jennifer must set off for the mysterious Cadir Idris in the deadly Cambrian Empire—a destination with a fatality index of fifty percent. With the odds against them, will Jennifer and her traveling companions ever return to the Kingdom of Snodd?


This series continues to be one of my favorites. I always worry that a great series will go downhill, especially when it starts as well as this one did!

Jennifer Strange continues to be a fantastic character. She is smart, funny, and adventurous. She looks at the world differently than most other people. She cares about all of those around her and always thinks of others.

My second favorite character in this book was the princess who has to deal with being…not a princess for a little while. She starts off as such a spoiled little brat, which is really fun to read. Sure, she is annoying, but understanding how ridiculous she is just makes her funny! She is also really smart when it comes to very specific areas.It is nice that she isn’t a complete stereotype.

This book had a lot of action and imagination in it. I don’t know how Fforde thinks of so many of the beast and rules of the world, but they are all great. If you want to flex your imagination a little, you need to read this series.

My one complaint is a couple of the side characters felt a little flat. I get that part of it was just who they are, but I would have liked to see a little more.

This continues to be one of my favorite series and I will be so excited to read the next book!

Have you read any of Fforde’s books?

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The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Posted by Caitie F on October 8, 2012

Title: The Girl of Fire and Thorns 
Author: Rae Carson
Hardcover: 424 pages
Pub Date: Sep 20, 2011
Publisher: Greenwillow (HarperCollins)
Rating: ++++


Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do.


I have read a lot of great reviews of this book and had to pick it up. For the most part, those reviews were spot on.

Elisa is a fantastic main character. It would seem hard to feel sorry for a princess, but I had a lot of empathy for her situation of feeling never good enough because she was always in the shadow of her beautiful, perfect older sister. Being chosen must not be easy, especially when you don’t know what you have been chosen for or why.

I don’t like that she doesn’t seem to think highly of herself and just labels herself by the way she looks and the Godstone. She is brilliant and brave from the beginning, so it was frustrating to see her at first. It felt like she was saying she wasn’t good enough because she was fat and that made me very uncomfortable, especially since it seemed that part of her new confidence wasn’t just because of what she did, but how she looked. As her character grew, the enjoyment of the book grew. I couldn’t put it down and had to know what Elisa is going to save herself and others.

I really thought all of the secondary characters brought out the best is Elisa and challenged how she thought. They never felt flat and I really enjoyed learning more about how the kingdom and fantasy world functioned. It reminded me of other set ups for fantasy novels, but the world had some unique twists that made it distinctive. I actually really liked how the book ended and it could have been a stand alone novel, but the world is so intriguing that I am glad there are two more books there. I hope to find out more about how magic functions and hope there is more to the Godstone.

Though the Godstone and the religious aspects of the book are what bothered me the most. The blind faith of everyone involved seemed irritating. No one seemed to question the faith or that the Godstone was ever good, though they had plenty of reasons to do so. It was just unrealistic and kind of irritating and ridiculous. Someone would be a skeptic and since it seemed that no one was, I thought the book was good, not great.

I would recommend it and lok forward to the next book!

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The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Posted by Caitie F on November 20, 2011

Title: The Demon King
Author: CInda Williams Chima
Hardcover: 506 pages
Publisher: Hyperion
Publication Date: September 2009
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

This novel marks the first giant step in a momentous fantasy journey orchestrated by Cinda Williams Chima, the author of the popular Warrior Heir series. Its two chief protagonists are ex-thief Han Alister, an impoverished commoner, and Raisa ana’Marianna, the headstrong Princess Heir of the Fells. The Demon King brings them together, creating part of a volatile mix of action, magic, and danger. Empathetic characters; wizardly attacks


I have been reading amazing book after amazing book lately! I have always loved fantasy, but one bad fantasy book can turn me off of the entire genre for months. One LONG one (Game of Thrones) can make me need a break. It has been over two months since I read a fantasy and luckily this one reminded me why I love the entire genre, and YA fantasy specifically.

The Demon King  has it all. THere are wizards, clans, princesses who are more than they seem, guards who are more than they seem, and a boy finding out there is much more to him than he could ever imagine. There is romance and actions and suspense. There are several times when it looks like someone may die (and people sometimes do in this dangerous place). I sped through the book because I just needed  to know what happened next.

There was also a lot of kindness and intelligence. People didn’t just jump into plans without thinking it through first. They worked together and faced obstacles. It felt like it was how real leaders act and think, which makes it easy to get lost in their scary and beautiful world.

The history of the realms is very complicated and has many different stories to why there are limitations on magic and royalty. The backstory of each character and their family is just as interesting as what is going on with them in the present. The rich history makes the grudges and alliances that more brutal and tight.

This series is like the Game of Thrones series, but for kids. I would not be surprised if they pushed for movies or a TV show from it. I would be so excited to see it.

If you are looking for an amazing fantasy story, no matter what your age is, be sure to check this book out! The second one is waiting for me at the library and I can’t wait to read it (well…as long as I read another 200 pages of Clash of Kings first!).

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