Book Reviews

Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout Review

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout ReviewStorm and Fury (The Harbinger, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: The Harbinger #1
Published on June 11, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Links: Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
Pages: 512
Format: ARC

Source: NetGalley

Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.

When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…

Book Review

Let me preface this review by stating that I don’t know anything about Jennifer Armentrout’s other books or stories. I decided to give Storm and Fury a try because the plot appealed to me. Gargoyles and demons? Okay, I’m listening.

However, ultimately, this book fell short for me. While I do enjoy reading young adult fiction, Storm and Fury harkened back to the early 2000s. I felt like I took a time machine a few years ago. How many times did I read the phrase “crap on a cracker” or a myriad of other cringe-worthy phrases that no real teenager would ever utter?

How do you do fellow kids meme - Storm and Fury reaction

The most substantial component of this book was the romance. Armentrout knows how to write sexual tension. Looking at her pedigree of romance novels, I can see why. The intimate scenes made me feel more than anything else in the story.

My main caveat with the story is it feels as if the mythos and worldbuilding came secondary to the romance. A great deal of exposition came from the protagonist info-dumping. That’s fine if you’re writing a romance novel, but this is meant to be a sweeping fantasy, and I didn’t feel like it was fleshed out enough.

There is nothing wrong with romance. I have my issues with the YA cliches, but I was okay with the one in this book. If only it didn’t overshadow everything else.

All that said, I did find something oddly compelling about the story, after all, I did finish it. The twists during the climax shocked me. But I wish they felt more earned. Vast swaths of this story meandered into nothingness. There wasn’t enough action, or there was too much talking. Regardless, this needs another round of editing.

Should you read Storm and Fury?

Honestly, I’m going to say no. You can find better written YA fantasy novels. Many of the plot points in here are retreads of those found in The Mortal Instruments. While there are some new and exciting concepts, they don’t get nearly enough time to shine, and therefore the storyline falls flat.

But, as I said, I’m not familiar with the world. Perhaps if I had read the other books surrounding this one first, I might feel more in touch with Storm and Fury. People who are already a fan of hers may find themselves enjoying this much more than I did.

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Book Reviews

Book Review: Carmilla by Kim Turrisi

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Carmilla by Kim TurrisiCarmilla by Kim Turrisi, Shaftesbury Sales Company
Published on May 7, 2019
Genres: Fiction, LGBTQ+, Young Adult, Fantasy
Links: Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
Pages: 224
Format: ARC

Source: NetGalley

An adaptation of Shaftesbury's award-winning, groundbreaking queer vampire web series of the same name, Carmilla mixes the camp of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the snark of Veronica Mars, and the mysterious atmosphere of Welcome to Nightvale. Newly escaped from the stifling boredom of a small town, college freshman Laura is ready to make the most of her first year at Silas University. But when her roommate, Betty, vanishes and a sarcastic, nocturnal philosophy student named Carmilla moves into Betty's side of the room, Laura decides to play detective. Turns out Betty isn't the first girl to go missing? She's just the first girl not to come back.

All over campus, girls have been vanishing, and they are completely changed when (or if) they return. Even more disturbing are the strange dreams they recount: smothering darkness, and a strange pale figure haunting their rooms. Dreams that Laura is starting to have herself. As Laura closes in on the answers, tensions rise with Carmilla. Is this just a roommate relationship that isn't working out, or does Carmilla know more than she's letting on about the disappearances? What will Laura do if it turns out her roommate isn't just selfish and insensitive, but completely inhuman? And what will she do with the feelings she's starting to have for Carmilla?

I have heard quite a bit about Carmilla over the years. I’ve yet to get around to watching the web series, and I don’t know much about the history behind Carmilla, I was primarily interested in this book because of the romantic relationship between two women. I thought if I got into the book, I could check out the web series after (I tend to read before I watch).

But unfortunately, I didn’t make it far into this book before deciding it wasn’t for me. The writing style is far too condensed, and the author tends to tell rather than show. I didn’t feel a distinctive voice for any character, and therefore it failed to grip me.

Book Reviews

Book Review: Fruit of the Gods by William C. Tracey

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Fruit of the Gods by William C. TraceyFruit of the Gods by William C. Tracey
Genres: Fantasy, LGBTQ+, Fiction
Links: Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
Format: ARC

Source: NetGalley

Sisters Kisare and Belili uproot an ancient box in their owner’s orchard and find a miracle inside: a fifth godfruit in a society that knows only four. It is punishable by death to eat godfruit, so the sisters hide the discovery and plot to escape servitude for good. With the power represented in the box, they could live as nobles themselves.

But Kisare finds her new freedom more difficult than she imagined, and Belili has many secrets she strives to keep hidden. With the help of a people slowly losing their culture and technology to the powerful nobles, the sisters lead an infiltration of the highest levels of noble society.

While Kisare finds she cares for the captured leader of the people helping them, Belili comes to love her noble suitor’s guard—a fierce woman with a similar past to her own. In the end, the fifth godfruit may bring harmony to the world, but the sisters’ only hope of succeeding lies in deciphering ancient mythologies surrounding the gods’ original plan for their people.

Fruit of the Gods is a unique fantasy novel with a surprisingly complex system of magic. It navigates the tropes of the genre with relative ease, delivering a story that bypasses overly predictable beats. For the most part, I was immersed in Kisare and Bel’s world, enriched by the imaginative culture the author created and surprisingly delighted by the fact one of the main characters was gay.

But still, I felt some parts of the book were too dense and it slowed the pacing down to a slog at times. The characters too, were not always as fleshed out as they needed to be. The alternating perspectives between the sisters also made the book far more confusing than it should have been. I wish the chapters were marked with the name of whichever sister would be narrating each passage instead of it randomly switching back and forth.

Still, I appreciate the novel’s ingenuity and I enjoyed myself reading it.