I usually try to do four books when I do these mini-reviews, but this time around there are two series and the first book in a series, so there will be more than four. Many of these are also audio books. For the most part I read the series back to back which is always a treat, no long wait to see how things work out for the characters. As usual the covers are linked to their Goodread pages.
The Girl From Everywhere
by Heidi Helig
Read by Kim Mai Guest
This was an awesome time travel book, plus the bonus of most of it being set in Hawaii before it became the tourist mecca it is today. This book really made me want to travel back to that time in the island’s history, just to see it so unspoiled. The characters were awesome too, especially Nix and Kashmir. Nix’s problems with her life could take place at any time, but the added danger of her existence possibly being wiped out adds a bit of anxiety to her life. Kashmir is her love and I just adored the two of them together and the subtleness of their love. The time traveling ship is a great idea and I love the fact that they can travel to mythical places as well as historical as long as they have a map.
The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Helig
Read by Kim Mai Guest and James Fouhey
In this second book the crew of the Temptation head to a mythical land with Nix at the helm. There is a lot more issue with time paradoxes and rewriting history, but if you can muddle through all of that this is just as great a read as the first. Plus a bonus of having some chapters from Kash’s point of view. It was great seeing things through his perspective. He has a lot of doubts and we learn a lot more about his past and where he came from. I will admit there there were some slower sections and we meet many new characters that made things a little confusing, but overall a great read. I loved the addition of James Fouhey to narrate Kash’s part. He had a great voice and did him justice.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
When I first started blogging and following fellow book bloggers I kept seeing this series all over the place and everyone had high praise for it. And it was justly deserved. This world has a great magical system based on the elements, which is the best kind of magic. I loved Kell and I so want that coat of his. I also fell in love with the multiverse of the four Londons. What a fascinating take on alternate histories and worlds. Delilah was also a great character, she was fierce and fearless and not afraid of doing what needed to be done. I initially didn’t like Prince Rhy. I is a bit of a spoiled royal brat, but he does grow on you and when his leadership is required he will go to hell and back for his kingdom.
A Gathering Of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
This book was just as good as the first and maybe a tad better. I loved the Element Games and Lila scams her way into it. Our Lila has certainly become better at magic, which I knew she would. The games also expands this world, because magicians from other countries come to London to compete, it is sort of a magical Olympics in that respect. So lots of new characters and places to learn. My favorite though was Alucard Emory, Lila’s captain. He is a great character and I though for a while there might be something between him and Lila, which would have been ok. We also see and learn a bit more about Black and White London and what has been happening there. This one has a cliff hanger at the end so I was really glad that I was able to pick up the next one right away.
A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab
Although this one was perhaps a tad long, it was just as wonderful as the first two. We got a lot more back story on Holland, which was interesting, but not that necessary to the overall plot. It does show his growth as a character and his redemption arc though. Holland is the evil magician through all of the books and I found him to be a very interesting character, and he was certainly the one that showed the most change. Although I enjoyed this book it was a bit bitter sweet. I hated to say good-bye to this cast of characters and this world. Luckily there will be another trilogy set in the Shades of Magic world, which I am sure will be just as good as this one.
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
Read by Rosie Jones
I kept passing this one by when it kept popping up on my NetGalley dashboard. I just really had no interest in it. I think it was mostly the cover. I am not a big fan of models on covers and the look on this one’s face, kind of turned me off. But then I saw an interview with Dhonielle and Scott Westerfeld, where he compared the book to his Uglies series. I loved that series so decided to give this one a chance. I am glad I did. Except for it being a little bit long and slow moving, the world this author has created is fascinating. It is a little bit steampunk tech and a little bit magical, but everyone is consumed by how they look. The Belles are an interesting concept and I hope we learn more about them as the series goes on. Camellia was a likable character, although quite naive and selfish. The princess Sophia was just a little too nasty without reason, or at least explanation why she was that way. There are way too many secondary characters and many of them blend together and are indistinguishable from each other, but that happens a lot when dealing with courts and all of their intrigues. I loved Remi, Camellia’s guard although I have to wonder when he gets to sleep. He just always seems to be on duty. Overall a great start to a series that I will look for in the future.