Hi friends! I’m back with my book reviews for the month. It was a solid reading month with 5 books read and none of them were duds.
What I’ve been reading lately
Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton: Amani is captured and ends up in the Sultan’s palace living in the harem. She takes it upon herself to try and get as many secrets from the enemy to help the rebellion. But as she gets deeper, she begins to question everything. Who is really the villain? This book has all sorts of betrayals and it makes it so interesting. I loved Amani’s interactions with others, especially the women in the harem. Plus we get to see the Sultan as a person, rather than just the bad guy that is far away. While this book doesn’t quite live up to book one, it is a solid follow up.
3.5 out 5 stars
Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton: When the rebellion is falling apart, Amani takes control and tries to keep it moving. I enjoyed this book, but it didn’t have the same wow factor of book one. I love the way that we see Amani questioning herself but still just going for things. She feels like a real person. But what I didn’t like nearly as much about this book is the focus on the collective good/country with so little focus on the characters and their relationships. And I wasn’t a huge fan of the way the author did interludes when a character died in a storytelling format. At first I liked it, but it seemed overused in this one.
3 out 5 stars
Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan: Set in a world with two countries at holy war – Kalyazin believes in the gods and has clerics that can talk with them and be granted powers and Tranavia only believes in the power that they create with blood magic. Nadya is one of the last clerics and can work with the entire pantheon of gods and wants to save her country. Serefin is the High Prince of Tranavia, a strong blood mage, and sick of the war. And then there is Malachiasz, a Tranavian defector that isn’t at all what he seems. The three characters enter a tentative alliance to take down the Tranavian king in the hopes of stopping the war. I mostly liked this book with a few caveats. I loved the mix of politics, magic and power. I enjoyed Nadya’s character for the most part – she was willing to question her beliefs when shown something different. But what I didn’t like is the romance. Rarely does the enemies-to-lovers troupe work for me and this one seemed a little forced. The betrayal at the end did help (for me at least) just to make less cookie-cutter. I will give the next book a chance in the hopes that the romance is left behind, because I think the setup for the next one is definitely intriguing.
3.5 out 5 stars
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine: This is a good one. It is a space opera with all sorts of political intrigue. It reminded me of The Traitor Baru Cormorant (which was one of my favorite books of 2016). Mahit, the main character, is the new ambassador from her mining station to the Teixcalaanli Empire. She had to replace the old ambassador that suddenly died (aka was murdered) but no one wants to talk about it, including the leaders of her station and the people she meets of the Teixcalaanli Empire. But his death might have been the catalyst to a huge change in the Empire and Mahit needs to figure out all the intrigues to save herself and her station from being engulfed into the Empire. And it all might tie to the technology that the station has hidden for years. I so enjoyed this book. I loved the characters and the way they interact, especially Mahit and Three Seagrass (her Teixcalaanli liaison). I love the political intrigues that she has to navigate. And I loved the world building and the culture of the Teixcalaanli Empire (language and poetry are a huge part of the culture). If you enjoy expansive world building tied to politics, you will likely enjoy this book.
5 out 5 stars
Prism Cloud by Jeff Wheeler: Reading a Wheeler book is like pulling out a favorite blanket. I love the worlds of Harbinger and the way they interact. Sera and Cettie are best friends but they don’t interact at all in this book. Sera is right in the middle of negotiations between the worlds of Kingfountain and Comoros. But an evil plot throws everything into disarray and Sera is forced to flee to become empress of Comoros. Cettie is trying to just live her life but continually gets pulled into the machinations of others and pushed into a fate she never wanted. This book definitely feels like a setup for the final (I think?) book in the series. There is a ton of action and the plot was flying. But one of the things I love about Wheeler books is the character development and that seemed to be lacking a bit. Sera was the leader we all know she could be. And Cettie just seemed to wallow in this book. Here is to hoping Cettie steps up in the next book.
4 out 5 stars
Linking up: Jana Says