Ranking Recent Reads 11 – Spindle Fire, Dividing Eden, The Bone Witch, Saving Hamlet and Shimmer and Burn

Fantasy rules the day in this list of five books!

  1. Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

What it’s About: When Aurora falls into a cursed sleep, her sister Isabelle races to find the prince who will be able to wake Aurora up with the kiss of true love, as a malevolent fairy queen prepares to attack the kingdom.

What I Thought: An intriguing concept, and I liked (but didn’t love) Hillyer’s first book, so I was hopeful this one would hit the spot for me. Unfortunately I found the book really hard to get into.  It just seems stilted, dense, and confusing.  There are a few interesting moments that kept me going, but they were few and far between.

  1. Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau

What it’s About: When their father and older brother are murdered, twins Carys and Andreus are next in line for the throne. But since it is not known which one of them was born first, it can’t be determined which of them is actually entitled to the throne.  Scheming councillors say that the rules of the kingdom mean that neither of them can inherit and attempt to hand the throne to their chosen ruler, but an obscure rule insists that the twins must actually compete against each other for the right to the throne.

What I Thought: There is one really big problem with the book. While we are told that the twins have this incredible bond, which thus makes it all the more tragic to see their relationship fall apart, in reality the relationship between the siblings seems rather shallow, and begins to fall apart very easily.  This makes it a lot harder to feel any real connection with the characters.  I’ll be keeping an eye out for the sequel, but I’m not feeling any great anticipation for it.

  1. The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

What it’s About:  Tea’s gift for necromancy makes her a feared outcast in her world of witches, so she is taken away from her family to trained as a bone witch, while getting pulled into growing unrest in the land.

What I Thought: I have mixed feelings about this one. It seems like there are a lot of references to what are meant to be important plot threads, but none of them really get developed, leading to the book feeling like it ends up being less than the sum of its parts.  I was still interested in the characters and the world, but I think this is a book that will test a lot of readers’ patience.

  1. Saving Hamlet by Molly Booth

What it’s About: Emma is thrilled to be the stage manager for her high school’s production of Hamlet, but everything starts going wrong and the play seems sure to be a disaster. Then Emma is suddenly sent back in time and finds herself in the middle of preparations for the original production of Hamlet, which has its own troubles to deal with.  Travelling back and forth in time, Emma must try to save both versions of Hamlet from falling apart.

What I Thought: Not much to say about this one, other than I really enjoyed it, even if the side characters were annoying at times. This is a fun read, especially if you happen to like Hamlet.

  1.  Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta

What it’s About: In order to save her enslaved sister, Faris is drawn into a plot to smuggle magic into a nearby kingdom, tying herself to a devious princess who is determined to steal her father’s throne.

What I Thought:  If you are one of the happy few who follow this blog, you know that this is a book I have been anticipating for a while.  I included it back in my list of books that I thought could become good TV series, and then linked to a couple reviews of the book in another post. Those reviews noted that the world building can be a bit confusing, a complaint I have to agree with.  But that’s pretty much my only complaint about this one.  Even if I sometimes wished things were a bit clearer, I still sucked into the story, and am now eagerly awaiting word on the sequel.

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