Review; Crescent Calling

Crescent Calling (The Crescent Witch Chronicles #1)
by Nicole R. Taylor

My Rating: 2 of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads:

Skye Williams is an ordinary woman, living an ordinary life.

Or so she thought.

When she receives news of her estranged mother’s death, she must go to Ireland to claim her inheritance, but when she arrives in the tiny village of Derrydun, she isn’t prepared for what she finds nestled amongst the rolling hills of the Emerald Isle. 

Lumped with a funeral, her mother’s crystal shop, a moody goth girl for an employee, and a crumbling cottage with horrible floral curtains, selling up and getting out sounds like a great plan, but everything and everyone seems determined to keep her from going home.

Skye doesn’t want any part of her mother’s life or the people of Derrydun until she sees the hot Irishman she’s been crushing on turn into a fox.

More absurdly, he tells her her dead mother was a witch who battled evil fairies, there’s magical trees growing in the centre of the village, there’s a parallel universe where the fair folk live, and she’s meant to be the last defense of the magical peoples of Ireland.

Turns out Skye Williams was never an ordinary woman. Not by a long shot.
She’s the last Crescent Witch and has a destiny to fulfil.

Whether she likes it or not.


Witches in Ireland?

I picked up this book as the premise looked interesting, and a story taking place in Ireland would take a change from the usual urban fantasies I read.

Not reading any of the author’s work prior to this, I didn’t have any expectations going in. It was a quick and easy read, but felt underwhelming and I wanted more.

Impressions

The two characters, Skye and Boone, had a few small conflicts but it didn’t feel to hold much weight. Skye came across younger than her age, acting more like an immature teenager rather than the adult she was supposed to be. (Running away from Boone to not let him explain something, cutting people off and refusing to hear a perfectly reasonable explanation that would release tension, etc.) I wish the tension around the conflicts was written in a different way, too, rather than to simply draw it out with delays. In doing this, Skye’s immaturity was emphasized and it was difficult to relate to her because of it.

Be aware of Spoilers below.

The main conflict arcs were… unearned. It felt too easy. An enemy is alerted to Skye’s presence because she was negligent, she figures out she needs a weapon, she uses her new powers (that she doesn’t know how to use and has had no training to use) to find just the weapon she needs, and somehow knows where to go to imbue that weapon. And then defeats the enemy with said weapon. Easy. Fast.

Everything happened in a flurry and there was no real “work” done by the main character. She just… figured it out because she’s a “badass witch” and she could?

The worldbuilding did not pull me in, either. Aside from a few things like names, sayings, and possibly lore, this story could really have taken place anywhere.

And unfortunately, I didn’t care about Skye. Or Boone. If there was a reason to, I missed it completely. Their romance felt forced and I wasn’t at all interested in reading about them being together. But I think that’s related to the issue of my not being able to really care about the two of them.

Overall

This story is likely directed toward much younger readers. They may be able to relate to the characters better. For me, Skye just made too many bad and immature decisions unlike someone her age. (If I recall correctly, mid twenties?)

This is one of the times I wish there was more of a distinction between the types of Young Adult novels out there. It’s a difference in audience, and this book is just intended for a younger one.

I will not be picking up the in the series.

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Review; They Called us Enemy

They Called Us Enemy
by George Takei (co-writer),
Justin Eisinger (co-writer),
Steven Scott (co-writer),
Harmony Becker (Artist)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads:

In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten “relocation centers,” hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard.

They Called Us Enemy is Takei’s firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother’s hard choices, his father’s faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.

What is American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do? To answer these questions, George Takei joins co-writers Justin Eisinger & Steven Scott and artist Harmony Becker for the journey of a lifetime.

Goodreads.com

George Takei’s The Called Us Enemy is a captivating work of art. The story he has to tell is a horrible one, and one of great injustice to a portion of America’s citizens. And it’s one story that is, unfortunately, still relevant today. There are terrible acts going on in America today, right now, and while this is a tale of the country’s history it’s also relevant to the present day.

The art of this book is also spot-on, and Harmony Becker’s attention to detail is admirable. The artistic style works in unison with the story, hitting the high and low points with precision.

I picked it up today, intending to sit down and read a few pages, and finished the book without moving from my spot. This is a book I would recommend to everyone. There are great lessons to learn here, and should be considered required reading.

Review; Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart (Reckoners, #1)Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

Summary from Goodreads.com

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.

Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

Brandon Sanderson quickly became one of my favourite authors with his Mistborn series, so discovering Steelheart on Audible.com was awesome. I hadn’t been keeping up with any upcoming books, and had no context other than the blurb for the book on what was coming in this novel. My expectations were high though, because hey — it’s a new series (at least for me, not paying attention) from Brandon Sanderson — and I was not disappointed.

The way Sanderson builds the world and lays down the rules for magic and abilities is, as always, a strength of his that is put to good use. Understanding how the world works is made easy, and the characters feel real despite their… shall we say Epic… abilities? The main character, David, is an awkward teenager and I’m constantly feeling embarrassment on his behalf. The type of character works for the book, though, and while I found him a bit annoying at first that quickly dissipated and I found his character to be a great choice for this type of story. It didn’t worsen my enjoyment of the book, but I guess I wanted someone more badass rather than awkward and… well, relatable. (I might have been an awkward kid, too, okay? It hits too close!)

Another thing to note is that I listened to the audiobook version of this title, narrated by MacLeod Andrews. I had not heard any of his voice work previously, and was quite impressed with his range and consistency with the characters in the book. I’m glad he’s the choice for the remaining books in the series, and will definitely keep a lookout for more of his work in the future.

Steelheart is fast-paced and concise. I really enjoyed the ending, and what it means for the next book in the series.  I look forward to checking out the next one.