Released: March 10th 2015
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5
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The walls of Ninurta keep its citizens safe.
Kai always believed the only danger to the city came from within. Now, with a rebel force threatening the fragile government, the walls have become more of a prison than ever.
To make matters worse, as Avan explores his new identity as an Infinite, Kai struggles to remind him what it means to be human. And she fears her brother, Reev, is involved with the rebels. With the two people she cares about most on opposite sides of a brewing war, Kai will do whatever it takes to bring peace. But she’s lost her power to manipulate the threads of time, and she learns that a civil war might be the beginning of something far worse that will crumble not only Ninurta’s walls but also the entire city.
In this thrilling sequel to Gates of Thread and Stone, Kai must decide how much of her humanity she’s willing to lose to protect the only family she’s ever known. (from Goodreads)
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and while this one was good, I didn’t like it quite as much.
Kai was struggling with several things in this book; after the end of book one, she was feeling guilty and unsure of herself. There was also the fact that she couldn’t seem to use her powers, which was highly concerning. I so wanted her to tell someone but she wouldn’t and I was worrying the whole time what this would mean for. As the book went on, Kai became more assertive and I appreciated her character development.
Avan wasn’t in this book as much as, and when he was, he was very different (as to be expected after the end of book one). I wanted him to get his memories back so much, and even though I knew there would be a love triangle in this book (the typical “the first guy isn’t here so let’s give this other guy a chance”) I couldn't get behind it because I still remembered how Avan was in book one and couldn’t properly root for the other love interest (even though he was actually really nice).
I loved that we got to find out more about the world in this book, and explored different places. The writing was really engaging and I liked reading about the new characters that were introduced.
The ending was another huge cliffhanger and I have no idea if we’re getting a book three, so I am left with many, many questions. I really am hoping for another book, because I’ve enjoyed this series overall and would like to see how it all ends!
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Released: May 5th 2016
My Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
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On trial for a crime he did not commit, Fletcher must face the Inquisition who will decide his future - the process is gruelling, lead by those who will do anything to see him suffer and haunted by ghosts from the past with clues to Fletcher's tragic origins.
But Fletcher has little time to dwell on these new revelations when the king announces a deadly challenge to the graduating students at Vocans. One that involves entering Orc territory to complete a risky mission. With loyal demons by their sides, commoners and nobles, dwarves and elves must overcome barriers of class and race and work together to triumph. The reward: a fortune in gold, the safety of an empire and PEACE.
With the entire empire watching, Fletcher has much to prove, but there are those out to get him and it soon becomes clear that there's a traitor in their midst, trying to thwart the mission and create unrest within the Empire.
With everything stacked against him, Fletcher must use everything in his power to fight his way to victory. (from Goodreads)
This is another book that, while still good, I didn’t enjoy as much as the first in the series. I did really like seeing all the characters again and jumping back into the world, and it was great to learn more about the magic system, which is one of the main reasons these books are so appealing. At the same time, however I had a few issues. Mostly I was left a little confused at how some things occurred and I questioned the reason behind certain events [spoiler, highlight to view] I couldn’t get behind making Fletcher a noble, wasn’t the point that he didn’t have to be? To me, it kind of undermined the message of the last book, though that is of course just my opinion[end of spoiler]. I also wanted to spend more time at Vocans, but I could understand why this didn’t happen and there was a lot of other exciting stuff going on that made up for it. One thing I really would have liked to have seen was how Fletcher recovered; he spent a year locked up in a cell, isolated from the rest of the world, and yet he seemed to get over it pretty quickly. I wish we could have had more insight into his thoughts. I did like this book overall, though, the plot was interesting, and Fletcher was a compelling main character that you couldn’t help but root for. I will definitely be reading the next book, and look forward to finding out what will happen next!
The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3) by Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Released: March 24th 2016
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
10 parts 12 hours 1 minute
War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.
At least, that’s what he thinks.
In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.
But no one gets what they want just by wishing.
As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win? (from Goodreads)
The Winner’s Kiss was a really satisfying conclusion to the series, and I am very much looking forward to whatever Marie Rutkoski writes next.
If we were to compare the Kestrel and Arin from this book to the Kestrel and Arin in book one, the differences would obvious. The character development for these two has been excellent; in this book, they were older and wiser. They had both been through so much, and had both changed in different ways. Kestrel’s final confrontation with the emperor was one example of how she had grown. She had always had a brilliant mind but this just showed what she willing to do now that she wouldn’t have done before. Arin played an important role as well, he was less reckless, and I really enjoyed getting to know him more in this book. Their relationship was never going to be smooth sailing, but I liked that it wasn’t easy, that they had to work hard for it, and I actually really appreciated that we got a happily ever after, because these characters deserved to be happy! I would have been devastated if it ended any other way.
There were some intense twists in this book and I think I finished the whole thing in one day because I was desperate to find out what would happen. The writing was as compelling as ever and while I’m sad this series is over, I am now eagerly awaiting Marie Rutkoski's next book.