Welcome back to Thinking Thursday everyone! Retro reviews is essentially me providing 3-5 very short reviews for books I read some time ago. These will be abbreviated reviews and will not include all the information I would in a normal review for the sake of your time (and mine). All cover images were retrieved through Google Images or Goodreads and do not belong to me. Enjoy!
Title || How to Catch a Bogle [Goodreads]
Author || Catherine Jinks
Rating || 3/5
Yay || The characters, fun, the emotion
Nay || More details would have been nice
Summary || A little girl and her reluctant mentor team up with a scientist to hunt down child-eating bogles in London and surrounding areas.
The main point about this book is that it was fun. I appreciated the ride so much more than I expected from this middle grade. I particularly applaud the emotional manipulation; I was so in tune with Birdie that I grew to sorely dislike a character I would have really identified with otherwise. I also like that it got a bit darker than I initially anticipated, but I would have liked to learn more about the mythos and magic system.
Recommended for? You if you’re looking for a fun middle-grade with supernatural elements and lovable characters.
Title || The Forbidden Library [Goodreads]
Author || Django Wexler
Rating || 3/5
Yay || The magic system
Nay || Plot > Character
Summary || When her father disappears, a girl is pulled into the magical world of The Library and attempts to use newfound magic to recover him.
This was also a fun book, though I have more salient gripes with it; namely, I struggled with that fact that the book was more plot-oriented than character-oriented. This is a personal preference, I own, but I was frustrated that everything was geared more toward moving forward in the mystery than on developing the characters as real people.
That aside, I am over the moon with how the magic system in this works and wow it sounds wonderful. It’s magical and wondrous and if you are a reader at heart, I think you will appreciated the possibilities of The Library.
Recommended for? Readers and those who enjoy plot-oriented tales.
Title || Reserved for the Cat [Goodreads]
Author || Mercedes Lackey
Rating || 2/5
Yay || The magic system
Nay || Too much description, too little going on, the dual perspectives
Summary || A down-on-her-luck ballet dancer gets a lucky break with a talking cat that leads her to some elemental masters who want to put her on the stage.
This book disappointed me because it could have been so great. The material was there. The mystery could have been interesting–but wasn’t because I as the reader knew too much to care for the floundering of the protagonists. The world could have come alive–but it was bogged down in pages of description. The characters had sparks–but never caught flame became internal monologues just wouldn’t end. IN short, this book could have used a lot of cutting of material and refining, in my opinion. The magic system was the saving grace, because it, unlike some other details, was well-developed and intriguing to me.
Recommended for? Readers who don’t mind lengthy descriptions or antagonist POVs, and readers fond of fun magic systems.
Title || Grave Mercy [Goodreads]
Author || Robin LaFevers
Rating || 4/5
Yay || The magic system, the characters, the writing
Nay || So many names, the genre
Summary || A nun to the god Death must assist the Duchess’s relation in preventing a dangerous marriage.
I am not a huge fan of historical fiction or low fantasy; there are tropes and conventions in these genres that don’t jive with me, and so I tend to avoid them. The “Handmaiden of Death” thing attracted me to this particular piece, and I don’t regret it. Although those things I don’t like were a part of the book, I was nonetheless swept up in the characters, the writing, and the mythos that ground on me wondering whether it was real magic or a religion that was followed but not necessarily confirmed. I was fascinated, and it was exactly what I needed at that point in time.
Recommended for? Readers who enjoy a little bit of romance in their historical fantasies, well-treated religious magic, and political intrigue.
Have you read any of these books?
If so, what did you think?
If not, do you think you will?
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