Experience has value & where I'm at now



In the last real period of consistent content on this blog, I was on the verge of adulthood and college. I was confused, excited, and deeply aware of being in a transition time. I stopped blogging in college.

It's different; my interests changed, my time became further constrained, and I felt like I had exhausted everything I wanted to say about YA and books. I returned to being a fan, reading books on vacation, but also allowed myself the intellectual freedom to explore other interests. I became deeply interested in feminism, Canadian politics, and rather than, or in addition to, reading books, I started to read longform journalism.

I changed. I still read YA. I also read adult. I also read the news. All of what I was remains true, but evolved. Perhaps more mature, perhaps more thoughtful.

When you're young, you understate the value of experience. Everything is always new, and that's fun. It's exciting. It's also deeply anxiety-inducing. Moving out to live on my own at 17 was very difficult. Adjusting to college was difficult. Getting my first real job was incredible. Attending company recruitment events, adapting to office culture, soon I'll be studying in another country. Networking at conferences. I'm not an expert at these things, but I've done them, and that's valuable.

I'm writing this post not because I'm done learning or growing. There are many things I have not done, and there are new stressors that have come up in my life. But I have been pondering adulthood for a long time, and as I am now 20 years old, I believe there is one truth I have discovered, at least for the moment.

Things don't get easier. There are studies that say you are about the same level of happy throughout your entire life. But having dealt with tough situations before, I know that I can deal with other tough situations again. It's not that life is any easier. I just feel better equipped to handle it. I feel more confident that everything will end up being okay because bad things have happened and life goes on. Experience has value.

I hope that is reassuring to everyone worried about the future and nervous about starting college. moving away from home, getting your first job, etc. I know it's easy to be reasonable and calm in retrospect. Hell, now I'm applying for jobs, not merely for the short term, but for a career and it is really hard and scary. I don't know if I'll get the job I want. I don't know if I'll bomb the interviews. I don't even know where I'll live. But, at this particular moment, I think it'll turn out okay. At least, I hope it will. If one path doesn't work out, I'll try another, and eventually I'll get to where I want to be. I think you will too.

Review: Golden Son

With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, debut author Pierce Brown’s genre-defying epic Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation.
Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom from the overlords of a brutal elitist future built on lies. Now fully embedded among the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his work to bring down Society from within.
A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Son guarantees Pierce Brown’s continuing status as one of fiction’s most exciting new voices. 


My Review 

Author: Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising #2
Pages: 464
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Source: Library

I’m rusty at this review thing but I’m going to try for Darrow.

With the exception of Harry Potter, Outlander and maybe the Lumatere Trilogy, Red Rising is the absolute epitome of all the books I’ve read.

There is this chill that goes down ones spine when they know they are reading a great book. I felt that with Red Rising and the feeling was intensified in Golden Son, which was so much more complex and dramatic than its predecessor and if you’ve read Red Rising you’d also know that that’s quite a feat in itself. Pierce Brown has outdone himself.

The world is ten folds that of what we saw in Red Rising and so are the friendships, betrayals and action-drama sequences. I took a 3 day break because I couldn’t deal with certain revelations and other possible outcomes. This series has broken my heart so many times thus far and all that’s keeping me going is Darrow’s hope. It takes a moment to realize that his problems aren’t mine and his world is not real, however, Brown’s Martian society very closely resembles our own and its hard to not be fascinated and horrified by this paradigm.

Golden Son begins with a 2 year leap, Darrow begins the novel at age 18 commanding fleets at the Institute fresh and yearning for action, but finishes the novel as a full fledged man of war at age 20. I loved the subtle yet continues passage of time. A war doesn't happen in a month, it takes years and a lot of manpower something Pierce Brown made sure to address.

Darrow is a fantastic character to be inside the head of. His faith in humanity and capacity to love is heartbreaking given what he went through and continues to go through. It does help that he has some wonderful friends like Sevro and Ragnar. Sevro's sailors-mouth was always a welcome reprieve. This midget in wolfs clothes has really grown on me. On the other hand Ragnar was newly introduced in Golden Son and his relationship through not too deeply explored foreshadows to the future Darrrow's been working on and I'm so excited to see more and learn more about Ragnar's sisters and family. Also, special mentions go to the Telemanus's and Lorn of Arcos. Pax was my teddy bear in Red Rising and I'm glad there was more of the Telemanus's in this book.

“Rise so high, in mud you lie.” So many left in the dirt and now I have a sopping month to wait for the conclusion.

-MARI


Cover Wars: Riot of Storm and Smoke vs A Study in Charlotte

Cover Wars is a weekly showdown of two beautiful covers. The winner, as voted by you, goes on to face a new cover, and wins bragging rights. This is basically a fun way to discuss what we like in covers.

It's been a while since we did a CW but I passed by a gorgeous cover and had to put it up!





April Genevive Toucholke's books have always had very intriguing covers but this is my absolute favourite. I love the black. The font is gorgeous and stands out but also gives the cover the basis for all the little trinkets that are placed around it. Ah, I want to own it.

Vote for you favourite!

Which cover should win Cover Wars?


Personal Fandoms & Life



I'm going to try to write this post without beating myself up too much.

Anyway, you all know of my undying love of Supernatural. I've watched this show for literally a third of my life (OH SNAP) and that's because of the great storytelling, the wonderful self-awareness, and my ... thing  with Dean Winchester.

It's weird to say I relate with Dean because I'm a lot more like Sam. I don't drink or party or act as impulsively as Dean. I love school, reasoning with people, and I'm generally as self-aware as Sam is. But for whatever reason, I feel like I get Dean.

Dean is loyal and cares about his family. He is all bravado and jokes. He doesn't commit to much, or share all his feelings all the time. He's a bit of an asshole, and I fully admit that he is misogynistic, and yet I love him anyway. Does that make me a bad feminist? Well, it's hard because there's not much I can love if it has to be perfectly feminist. So I love him despite his flaws.

But this post isn't about my love of Dean. It's about fandom, and passionately one can love fictional worlds. How characters can feel like best friends, comforting me when I'm lonely, or available any time I want to celebrate.

It's such a personal relationship I have with the things I love that I try to downplay it. I really do. When I say I love Dean Winchester, people don't get that I genuinely do feel a really strong protectiveness for this character that means so much to me. I'm not loving it because of my friends, or because of anything that can variably change. I love it because I can't touch it. I can't ruin it. It can't be ruined for me.

This is something truly significant to me. At one point in my life, I felt like everything was changing and I didn't want it. I felt like I was trying so hard to hold onto something that was slipping away. Everyone else was moving on, and I was left behind with nothing but memories of better days. I remember the phrase I would use "searching for constancy, seeking permanence." I think this is the point where my fandom would always grow.

People come and go. This isn't to say I don't love people. I think there's something so special about the people that stay, that are constants in life, but that's another conversation, and even those people can leave you or you can leave them. I've experienced both. I think people are unreliable. Fandom is different.

When you love something in fandom, it stays with you. It's that one moment in time that never changes. It's these characters and their story, that you can watch when you're 13, or when you're 18, and it's still yours to love. These characters aren't real. They don't move on or change. Eventually, if you hate the direction a fandom or story is going in, you can just quit. It's not something that forces you to hold on, there are no messy goodbyes, there are no demands made of you. You love it because you love it and if you don't love it, you don't. There's no sympathy or sorrow, shame or regret. It's just what it is.

And because of this lack of commitment, because of how easy it is, it feels like I can love fully when it comes to my fandoms. This content is mine. The creator creates it, and I experience it in whatever way my mind conceives, and it's such a personal thing.

It's midnight and I'm writing this as I was pondering how one scene with Dean Winchester utterly devastated and broken could have me so emotional too. And not the kind of emotional where I'm sad when I'm watching, and then I let it go. How can I just absorb a mood from TV like that? How can I let myself fully feel this when real-terrible things have happened and I didn't flinch?

Fandom is safety. It's private, and personal. It doesn't demand anything from me, and I can just fully enjoy it without reservation. I thought this applied to real life fandoms too (think sports) but I've grown up past the point where sports stars are heroes.

I'm lucky to have fandom. But sometimes, I can't help but wish for more. Everything comes at a price, and this is fandom's. As much as I love it, as satisfying as it can be, sometimes it leaves me hollow because I wish so much that there could be more to a story. It's a strange yearning, it's muddling that so much love can be put into something that won't reciprocate, and that can so easily be forgotten and left behind.

I always try to write my posts with some sort of conclusion, but I can't think of anything appropriate for this post. I guess it's that fandom is something really important in my life, and yet I never think of it that way except when I'm immersed in it. I don't remember my life based on which story enchanted my mind for what period of time. I look at actions, and people, academics and careers. And yet whenever I need it, there it is.

And to be honest, that comforts me. I'm happy to be able to live in a world where I can find these things that drive me to write a random blog post in the middle of a Saturday night. It's like a reminder that the world has so much to offer, and I'm excited about the fandoms that matter to me today, and I'm also excited about the new things I'll love tomorrow.

Thursday Thoughts: Gimme more DUFFS, Girls Run the World

Gimme More DUFFS

by Mari

Whilst reading The Wrath and the Dawn I realized how much I despise beautiful protagonists. Beauty is the biggest cheat in YA romantic fiction. Why does the Caliph of Khorasan, the man known to kill his bride's by dawn get wooed by Shahrzad?

Psst. Mari, Mari, Mari. Haven't you heard? SHE IS BEAUTIFUL, ELEGANT, QUEENLY!

Honestly? Where are all my DUFFs at? Whats wrong with being the "average" looking girl next door with an epic personality? Nothing. I want more romances where little or no focus is on looks and more on personality and wit. Please, take pity on me and send some recommendations my way. Will be eternally grateful.

(Psssst Mari, check out The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson! (From P.E.)) 
(Psssst. P.E. already read it. (From Mari))

Who Runs the World? GIRLS.

by P.E.

I read The Mime Order about a week ago, and I'm still obsessed with it. You see, my favourite new thing to read about is girls in charge. Ambitious types. Girls that lead. We've had enough reluctant heroes. I want protagonists that want to take charge and change the world. Especially girls that are like, "I got this." College has exposed me to many powerful women, and the dilemma of few women at the top. It's tough for women to get there, and stay there. That's why I'm so up for reading about women that are ready to not only fight for rebellion, but lead it. 

Paige does that. Elisa from the aforementioned Girl of Fire and Thorns is another example. Jodi Meadow's The Orphan Queen has that too. Queen of Someday, Queen of Tomorrow both feature this. I'm further hoping Celaena gets there too! (She's powerful, but somewhat reluctant... c'mon Celaena, GO FOR IT.)


100 Bloglovin Followers

Also, we'd both like to make a quick note of reaching 100 followers on Bloglovin! To be honest, we're stunned. We haven't been as active as we want to be, but we've always wanted to post quality posts. We hope you enjoy what we've written, and we'd like to thank you for following us on this blog, and through our lives. We started this blog in high school, and now we're in college. Thank you for joining us on our journey, and you are awesome and deserve lots of wonderful things. 



Review: The Winner's Curse



Winning what you want may cost you everything you love...

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

My Review 

Author: Marie Rutkoski
Pages: 355
Publication Date: March 4 2014
Source: Library

We were not meant to be. I adore this cover fiercely, but the contents of the story just never sat well with me. 

First, I don't particularly like any of the characters. Kestrel plays piano, cares for music, and buys Arin on a whim. She's spirited, argues with her father about joining the military, and is very crafty. And yet I never liked the way the world bent down to Kestrel. Okay, she's strategic, but she is also someone with very little training. Later on, she also does something I can't reconcile whatsoever. 

Arin also didn't interest me. Not for a single second was I surprised about his storyline, and it's not something I wanted to see. It's the easy way out. It avoids the messes of the relationship that this story needed to deal with better. 

Mostly, the massive power imbalances. Arin is Kestrel's slave. His very existence depends on her. No matter how much you like someone, you're not free to really be honest with someone and have a real relationship if that person has that kind of power over you. A romance between Arin and Kestrel is something that, if it did happen, needed to delve into those psychological issues more than it did. This is more than forbidden romance, two lovers from the wrong sides of the track. I didn't like their relationship in any part of this story. 

There's also the way the story stretches my believability. The main characters are so special and talented. So special. Anyway, there is fighting, questions of duty, and the really fascinating colonial aspects as the Valorians have pretty much stolen everything the Herrani have and even live in the former's homes. Yuck. 

Still, I don't think this story is for me. The romance isn't working, and it's so central to the story that I can't just suck it up and ignore it. 

-P.E.

Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before


To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all. 

My Review

Author: Jenny Han
Pages: 288
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: April 15 2014
Source: Library

This is a very good book. You should trust me on this because I rarely read contemporary, muchtheless romance, high school, sweet contemporary. I gave this one a try because of the hype, and that I liked the surprising depth to Jenny Han's writing I saw in The Summer I Turned Pretty. This one was even better.

Let's get over one thing; I want a Margot-goes-to-college story. I want Margot's perspective on leaving her family, on her life, on her challenges, etc. I started the story really identifying with Margot because I just finished my first year of college and I understood how Margot felt. The whole college thing was really well explained and very accurate, in my opinion. The awkward moments when you leave, when you're on the phone, when you return, all of those things are true.

Jenny Han wrote a story that was very true to me. I also have a younger nine year old sister (although no Lara Jean middle child) that I feel very responsible for. I also live with a single parent, and although I'm not Korean, I could relate to Lara Jean's perspective on culture. This story was great, because these are not really typical in the contemporaries I read, and all together they helped create a fresh reading experience.

The writing was really nice, and the relationships shined. Lara Jean is very fancy, and sweet. She is deeply loyal to those she cares most (and loyalty is one of my favourite character traits). She doesn't always get things right but she tried. And she's scared of driving, like me. I'm pretty sure this book is going to eventually motivate me into driving a car again. She's someone I would be friends with, and someone I can clearly imagine. She has a unique perspective on life, and I love it.

Throughout this book, Lara Jean learns a lot and experiences a lot. I won't spoil the fun of it, but once her letters are gone, Lara Jean has some stuff she needs to figure out. The best part is that Lara Jean's relationships with everyone shape her so clearly. Her sisterly bond with Margot and Kitty was powerful; her bond with her dad was sweet; her loyalty to Chris, her best friend. And of course the connections she formed to every one of the boys she loved.

Basically, I'm ready for the sequel! And I'm so up for a Margot book. Jenny Han, please make that happen?!

-P.E. 

Mini Review: Taken By Erin Bowman


There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.


They call it the Heist.


Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

My Review

Author: Erin Bowman
Pages: 360
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 16 2013
Source: Library

For a really scary second, I remembered absolutely nothing about the story when looking at the cover. And then I realized why: the title of this book, Taken, is incredibly generic and it doesn't do the story justice.

The title I've been associating with this story is The Heist. Because the heist is basically what this story is about. It starts as your typical dystopia, only really fascinating because you're seeing a society in which boys' lifetimes are limited and so society is run by women.

There were fascinating aspects to making life work, and the really weird occurrence that was the heist itself-- a boy, when he turns 18 literally disappears in front of all the people in the village.

The story surprises me because it goes beyond the typical and establishes itself really well with lots of action and smart character development. Gray is impulsive and sometimes a jerk. He loves his brother and his family, and he just keeps running into trouble. He learns and grows a lot through The Heist, and I'm curious to see where his story goes.

Something that really stood out for me is spoilery, so I'll keep the spoilers out and say that I loved the way romance was woven into the story. It is very out of the norm and believable. Of course, there are some moments in which I think Gray is a massive jerk, but in general, I love what Erin Bowman did. It was unexpected and great.

Another random comment is that the villain in the story was not that scary to me. They were sleazy, but a la House of Cards, and those kind of characters don't work for me. Still, they antagonized Gray enough and the story was pretty interesting.

I'll probably read the sequel because this was pretty good! In some ways, it reminded me of The Maze Runner.

-P.E.




Mini-Review: The Falconer

Hello! 

Here's an update from the scintillating world of P.E.

I started the summer with pretty much one goal: get a job. My first job.

It was a long time before I secured employment. And apparently, I not only secured a job, the part-time job I thought I signed up for ending up being full-time. So now I labour long hours behind a computer, pondering SEO and CTAs, Adwords and Analytics, content marketing and graphic design.

Some days it is terrible, and other days I love it. But that's life!

And somehow, in the middle of the beginning my job, my mother scheduled us for a vacation to the big T-O. (Toronto, for those unaware of the "Centre of the Universe".)

To Toronto I went, other responsibilities be damned. I had a darn good time, too.

Throughout my trip, I read voraciously. I suppose I could write long reviews for every book I read. It's been too long for me to do that, and my memory is absurdly horrid. Instead, I'll mini-review these books.

The Falconer is the first of the books I'll review.



One girl's nightmare is this girl's faery tale

She's a stunner.

Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.

She's a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she's leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She's a murderer.

Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She's a Falconer.

The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother's murder—but she'll have to save the world first.

The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller combines romance and action, steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.

My Review

 Author: Elizabeth May
Pages: 378
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: September 19 2013
Source: Library

I'd say this one was moderately entertaining. Frankly, it's been a while and my recollection of the story is slim. I do remember that there's a case of perfect girl syndrome, in which the main character has it all.

Nothing wrong with having it all, but the story of "she looks like she has it all, but she really doesn't" is not exactly ripe.

There are fairies, however! And Scotland! Although the environment didn't use that setting to its fullest potential. The fairies were fascinating. Especially Kieran. And fascinating is as far as it goes, because I really lacked a grasp on his character. He was very mysterious. Also, there is a tiny fairy that loves to get drunk on honey. I adore this little fairy.

Aileana is hell-bent on revenge. I did feel bad for her because she felt so alone after her mother's death, and her father was a bit of a jerk (as far as I remember).

Strangely enough, this story reminded me of The Winner's Curse in the set up.

The ending wasn't really memorable, in the sense that I literally can't remember any part of it beyond some battle that I think Aileana won? And I suppose the next book deals with the consequences.

I would recommend this to people looking for some easy excitement. It didn't do enough to impress me, but it was a solid read.


-P.E.



Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue



There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel. 

My Review

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Pages: 391
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: October 21 2014
Series: The Raven Cycle #3
Source: Library

I feel like the more of Maggie Stiefvater I read, the more I start to understand her writing. I've often called Stiefvater's writing atmospheric, haunting, blah blah blah but this time, a different work came to mind: quirky.

Stiefvater's writing, characters, and world is quirky. The prose is charming and funny; warm, and inviting. There is a sense that Stiefvater is in complete control. There are metaphors, and patterns, and it is done with an astonishing control.

Now, what can I say about the characters that I haven't said before?

Except that the characters still change in little ways, and their relationships change with them. Adam is probably my favourite change. It's remarkable to see his growth as he becomes more comfortable with the person he is to everyone else. Adam is rebuilding himself on new foundations, and he's growing up from a scared boy to a man. He has come so far, and I loved his tentative assuredness, and his acceptance of who he was.

Gansey is showing signs of weakness, but that doesn't make him any less awesome than ever. Still, I'm getting a little worried for him. Don't you break my heart, Stiefvater.

I'm a little surprised with my deep love for Ronan. In fact, I wanted more of him in this book! #MoreRonan2015 It's not that he wasn't there. It's just that in The Dream Thieves, he rocked the story and he wasn't as focal in Blue Lily, Lily Blue. This time, the story was more balanced.

And I suppose the biggest part of Blue Lily, Lily Blue is Blue. Blue is always a little out of my centre of attention because I find the boys more interesting than her, and that's not a comment on her character. I loved Stiefvater's character development for Blue. Blue is considering college, she misses her mom, she acts out, and is arrogant but in the best teenage way. I really like Blue's fiestiness.

Now, if we have to talk comparisons, I will say that The Dream Thieves is still my favourite of the series (and of Stiefvater). Something about the rawness of Ronan's story appealed to me. The style of Blue Lily, Lily Blue feels a little different, and you can tell that something is happening.

And here is the part in my review where I check Goodreads and realize there is only one more book. Ohmygosh there is ONE more book left. JUST ONE.


via GIPHY

Can we talk about this? Because I've barely finished any series in the past few years and I've kept up with this one.

AND IT'S ENDING.

I'm so lost. What do I do in life if I don't have another book of Gansey and Ronan and Blue and Adam to look forward to? What else is there?

Before I read The Raven King *sobs* and write my series review (oh please, we all know that the last book reviewed in a series is always a series review), I'm just going to take a moment and try to remember the characters as they are right now, on the precipice of tragedy. I will remember their friendship, and their unique relationships, and the personal challenges they have all overcome.


-P.E.


Review: The Wrath and the Dawn


One Life to One Dawn.
In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.
Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

My Review

Author: Renee Ahdieh
Pages: 388
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Source: Library

If only this book could have continued the way it started.

I have to give Renee Ahdieh credit for trying to bring together a very complex culture, one not well explored in YA. If my ancestors didn't hail from the ancient Persian country of Khorasan, I doubt I would have known about it so it's great to see it be explored for once. I do have to say that the amount of exploration was quite limited. I don't have any image beyond a grand palace in my head but to be fair most of the book was set in this palace. Still, it leaves more to be desired.

Come to think of it, many aspects of this story leaves more to be desired. For the first time in a long time, a debut novel blared its imperfections and roughness to me. It caught me off guard, especially with the rave reviews everyone's thrown around about this book.

First there was the jumping narratives. I'm a sceptic with narratives that jump between more than 2 people so it's understandable when I wasn't enjoying them. But by the end, I didn't even understand the reason for them. Jahandar and Tariq were these two stubborn, dull and flat characters that embody the YA character version of men who think they know what is best for a woman. Neither had much backstory to even deserve a portion of the narrative and their great quest ended in an anticlimactic 10 page abrupt end. Ugh, that ending.

Unfortunately, Jahandar and Tariq weren't the only pointless and bland side characters. All of the side characters were 8 by 11inch paper flat. Shiva who's death sparks the whole entire plot was a distant ghost of a friend who stood by our protagonist when her mother died. Great. Lets all repay our friends with our lives since we have many of them. To make me even more agitated, Shahrzad's plan of attack was to find a plan of attack... so exciting.

Then comes the bane of my existence characters: Jalal and Shahrzad's handmaiden who's name slips my mind and who's importance ranks below a google search. These two were the most obviously positioned and "tell not show" developed characters I've read in a while. They had convenient positions in both Shahrzad and Khalid's lives to drop unmasked revelations that were used as plot progression tools.

After that little rant it may surprise you if I said that I was actually enjoying this at a 4star level up to around 70% of the way through. Most of this is attributed to Shahrzad and Khalid, who I actually liked. I loved the story telling addition which was done really well and one of my complaints is that it wasn't continued. For a story of 1001 nights, the story telling ended way too early.

Also, something that really stood out for me was the incorporation of marriage and its consummation which I thought Ahdieh did a really good job handling.

Overall, I'm quite broken up about this book. I have so much to complain about because I felt like my enjoyment level was inclining and then suddenly it plummeted. Also, what the heck was that ending? Action action, the end. Meh.

-MARI


OMG ALLIE BROSH HAS A NEW BOOK!

I was recently doing my work and blah blah blah found an advertisement for Chapters (which is the largest bookstore chain in Canada) and it featured this amazing cover:


It only showed the top of the cover, and yet I felt a flutter in my heart. "This can't be," I murmured to myself and clicked on the advertisement. I didn't see the cover I was looking for. Not to worry: I am a child of the Google generation. I googled it and there it was. 

A sequel. 

To one of my favourite books ever. 

*confetti explodes*

I loved Hyperbole and a Half. I still do. I never reread, and yet this is the one book I've brought with me to college, to back home, and back to college again. This is the one book I always reread. I have lent this book to so many people, and I have laughed and cries countless times while reading it. 

I have also, periodically, scoured the internet for some sign that Allie Brosh is still doing her thing. I have read interviews, and Reddit AMAs, and Twitter feeds. Somehow, I missed this. Oh well. Now I know. 

It comes out in June 2016, and you might say it's an awfully long time away. But it's not. I never thought she would write anything again, and she did, and I can't wait to read it. 

I don't have any expectations for her or her book. I want her to be true to herself and keep writing honestly, and authentically. Until then, this feels like the biggest happy surprise to know that at some point in the future, something really awesome is going to happen. 

And to think, all this started as I was browsing a bookstore and saw a yellow book on sale that I bought on impulse...

-P.E.