Archive | alternate history

Review: A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

I feel like I’ve been waiting to read this book forever. ADSOM came out in February, but I’ve been making grabby hands since Ms. Schwab first mentioned her work in progress (then dubbed “Pirates, Thieves, and Sadist Kings”) on Twitter. Everyone I follow seemed to love it, so the longer I had to wait for my library hold to come in, the more nervous I became. What if I was the black sheep?

Guys. I am so not the black sheep. THIS BOOK ROCKS.

I’m a white sheep, hooray!

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Review: A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU by Claudia Gray

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

Whoo! I did it! You have to understand, I was terrified to start this book. None of my canaries had read it, so I had no way of knowing if it would be any good, and just LOOK at that cover. What would happen to my heart if the book didn’t live up to that beauty? But here I am, alive and whole on the other side of this book, so let’s get down to business.

I repent.

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Mini Trend Alert!

I’ve been noticing a sort of mini-trend in my reading, and I’d like to talk with you all about it. To be fair, I don’t know if the theme in question is an actual mini-trend or if it’s a trend that’s been around and I’m just paying better attention lately. Either way, I think it’s interesting and wanted to submit my findings before you all.

In the last half-dozen or so books that I’ve read, three have them have, in various ways, analyzed attitudes regarding race* and civil rights. What makes this trend unique, in my opinion, is how the analysis is handled. Rather than start the discussion in, say, a historical novel set during the 1960s at the height of the Civil Rights Movement or in a present-day urban setting, none of the three books I read are even set in our world.

Let me break it down for you. Continue Reading →

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Review: PLUS ONE by Elizabeth Fama

Divided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.

Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.

Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.

One of these days, I will learn my lesson, I promise. I don’t know what it is about Ms. Fama’s magical prose that makes me binge like a Augustus Gloop in a chocolate river. No matter how much I try to limit myself or slow myself down, I physically cannot stop reading. I read this book in five hours and received a headache and a heart full of feels for my trouble. Continue Reading →

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Review: ALL THAT GLOWS by Ryan Graudin

Emrys—a fiery, red-headed Fae—always embraced her life in the Highlands, far from the city’s draining technology, until she’s sent to London to rejoin the Faery Guard. But this isn’t any normal assignment—she’s sent to guard Prince Richard: Britain’s notorious, partying bad boy and soon-to-be King. The prince’s careless ways and royal blood make him the irresistible for the dark spirits that feed on mortals. Sweet, disheveled, and alive with adventure—Richard is one charge who will put Emrys’s magic and heart to the test.

When an ancient force begins preying on the monarchy, Emrys must hunt through the London’s magical underworld, facing down Banshees, Black Dogs and Green Women to find the one who threatens Richard’s life. In this chaos of dark magic, palace murders and paparazzi, Emrys finds herself facing an impossible choice. For despite all her powers, Emrys has discovered a force that burns brighter than magic: love.

Believe me that it’s a compliment when I say this book was not as bad as I thought it would be. After reading feedback from my blogger friends, I was mentally cringing in anticipation as I started to read. And while I cannot and will not say that this is a book that I’ll ever visit again, it had moments of merit that may entice other readers. Continue Reading →

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