Review: King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Series:  Nikolai Duology #1
Published: Imprint, 2019
Genre: YA fantasy
Pages: 511
My rating: 5/5 stars

Description: “Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.” (Goodreads)

Why I picked it up: I’ve been reading Bardugo’s work since The Grisha Trilogy was heavily recommended to me by some friends. While I’ve had my ups and downs with her books, Nikolai has always been one of my favorite characters, and I was stoked when I found out he was getting his own book.

I bought this book the week it came out and there was definitely a lot of hype, but prior to reading it, I saw a lot of mixed reviews. I was disappointed and almost put it off but ended up picking it as my next TBR jar pick. I tried to go into it with an open mind based on the reviews, and while it was different than I expected, I really loved it.

A lot of reviewers have said that the book is more political than the adventure of Six of Crows we might be expecting. I have to agree with this, and I think King of Scars was a great mixture of The Grisha Trilogy and Six of Crows.  It was a slow read, but not in a bad way. It was a read that I wanted to take my time with, to understand the intricacies of those politics and the threads that connect the novel with the rest of the Grisha-verse.

Because of this focus on politics, we got more of the Grisha-verse and of pre and post-war Ravka. Like I said, the book was more political than Six of Crows. Throughout the book, Nikolai grapples Ravka’s post-war politics, debt, and impending threats from other countries (and, of course, the demon hanging out waiting to take over his body). I got a better understanding of the inner-workings of Ravka and the affect that The Darkling had pre-war as well as the effects of the war itself. Grisha magic itself is political because of the prejudices. Through the politics of Grisha in the ranks after the way they were used by The Darkling and the first and second armies recovering from his rule, I felt we got some more information on the workings of Grisha and politics in the Grisha-verse.

The cast of characters is wonderful. I loved getting to follow old friends like Nikolai and Zoya, and even Nina. We also met some new characters like Isaak and Hanne. I did find Nina’s storyline to be slow at times, but I liked getting to know her character from a different angle after the events of Six of Crows, and even get insight to what her life was before joining the Dregs. I was surprised at how much I loved revisiting Zoya’s character. I didn’t care for her in The Grisha Trilogy, but King of Scars follows her in the aftermath of the war and her shattered relationship with The Darkling. She spends much of the novel attempting to understand her relationship with The Darkling and the trauma she had gone through as one of his right-hand companions. This was a rather deep storyline I didn’t expect, and I appreciated seeing Zoya’s character beginning her recovery.

One complaint I’ve seen a lot online that I have to agree with was that, for being the first book in the Nikolai Duology, it didn’t have enough Nikolai. We did get to know him on a deeper level than we did in The Grisha Trilogy, and I didn’t mind the changing point-of-view or different plotlines, but I was expecting the story to be more focused on Nikolai himself. I’m hoping book #2 is more Nikolai-focused.

And, to avoid spoilers, I’ll keep this short: one of the biggest problems I had with this book is the recycled villain. I really expected more out of the climax and certainly out of the antagonist.

Although this book was somewhat not what I expected, I did really enjoy it. I didn’t mind taking my time, understanding the depth of the characters and politics, and being immersed in the world. Though I do wish it had been more focused on Nikolai and the antagonist had been different, I did love the characters and the plot itself was well-written. I’m definitely looking forward to getting my hands on book #2!

Some Quotes:
“Tamar says fears are like weeds. They grow wild if left unattended.”

“Every day you choose the work of living. Every day you choose to go on. There is no failure here, Nina.”

“She would not be governed by her fear. She did not have that luxury.”

Recommend for fans of: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Buy the book: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Thriftbooks

Thanks for reading!
Find more reviews here.


Celebs as Book Covers: 2019 BBMAs

Hi there,

If you follow me on Twitter, you might be familiar with my wine-fueled award show live-tweet sessions. The 2019 Billboard Music Awards were May 1, and while watching, I thought it would be fun to combine my love with books and obsession with award shows and celebrity fashion.

I’ve been seeing a lot of the “Celebs as _____” posts, mostly as threads on Twitter.  I thought this would be fun to do with some of the looks from the BBMAs last week. Here are six celebrities from the 2019 Billboard Music Awards as book covers!

Patrick Starrr‘s full gold ensemble immediately brought Bardugo’s King of Scars cover to mind. King of Scars is the latest installment in Bardugo’s Grisha-verse, focusing on everyone’s favorite king, Nikolai. Patrick Starrr is one of my favorite makeup/beauty YouTubers, and I’m particularly a fan of his Drag 101 series. You can check out his Get Ready with Me for this look here.

Taylor Swift’s pastel frills fit perfectly with Sarah Dessen’s Once and for All. Swift doesn’t need an introduction, and I’m sure we’ve all heard her new single with Brendon Urie, “ME!”, that she performed at the BBMAs. Unlike the bubbly, happy single, Dessen’s Once and for All is a bit of a tear-jerker to say the least, but it’s also an adorable romance that I’m sure Swift herself would appreciate.

I absolutely loved Tori Kelly‘s yellow and green suit almost as much as I loved Marina Keegan’s The Opposite of Loneliness. Keegan’s book of essays and short stories is perfect if you’re feeling lost; I felt recognized when I read this. Tori Kelly is an award-winning pop, R&B, and gospel artist, and semi-finalist on American Idol season 9.

Sophie Turner‘s (stunning) green/blue/purple red carpet matches with Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. Sophie Turner is a phenomenal actress best known for her role as Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones. (Too bad she didn’t match one of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels!) Oryx and Crake is the first installment of Atwood’s dystopian series MaddAddam.

Queen Naija wore a burnt orange gown to the BBMA red carpet, which conjured up the cover of Lola and the Box Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. This book has been sitting on my TBR for a while and I have yet to get to it, but have heard wonderful things about Perkins’s Anna and the French Kiss series, in which this book is the second installment. I’ll get there one day! Queen Naija is an up-and-coming R&B artist who broke the Billboard Hot 100 while not even affiliated with a record company yet.

When I saw Yung Miami’s neon green gown, I knew I had to match it with the paperback edition of Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood. The Hazel Wood is still on my TBR, but the summary is so intriguing and I’ve heard so many positive reviews that I cannot wait to dive into this one. Yung Miami is one half of the female rap due City Girls, and their song “Act Up” hit the Billboard Top 100 just last month.

This post was so much fun to put together! I always go through the red carpet looks and point out performance outfits, and I loved matching them with book covers. Let me know if you enjoyed this post and would like to see more; I’m considering doing it with future award shows and events.

Thanks as always for reading!

Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3
Published: Feiwel & Friends, 2014
Genre: YA fantasy, sci-fi
Pages: 552
My rating: 5/5 stars

Description: In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has
.” (Goodreads)

Why I picked it up: I absolutely loved Cinder and had some mixed feelings about Scarlet, but I even so I wanted to see how their stories continued in Cress, which ended up being even better than I could have hoped for!

I had high hopes for this series after finishing Cinder, but I’ll admit I was a little less confident going into Cress after having mixed feelings about Scarlet. Cress didn’t have the same issues as Scarlet did, and I loved getting to know Cress as a character. There was action and adventure and romance and politics and I couldn’t get enough.

I absolutely adored Cress. She was awkward and uncomfortable a lot of the time, but I think any reader can appreciate the way she throws herself into fantasy. She uses imagined scenarios to get herself through different situations, imaging herself as an adventurer, for example, to get herself through being stranded in the desert. I loved this about her, and it definitely reminded me of how I used my imagination growing up.

By the time we get to Cress’s story, we already have a healthy amount of characters, storylines, and points of view: Cinder, Kai, Iko, Levana, Scarlet, Wolf, Thorne, and now Cress. I’ve said this about the first two books and I’ll emphasize it even more here—Meyer does a great job at balancing these points of view and storylines. The timeline of events falls together perfectly. Each chapter or POV pushes the overall story forward. We’re never in one POV or storyline for too long, but for just long enough that you want to know what will happen to them next. Each chapter ends with the reader wanting more, but often we switch to another POV and have to pass through several chapters to back to that character and get an answer to the question we had when we left them. Sometimes, I’d get engrossed in other storylines and by the time I got back to a character, I’d forget how much I’d ben engrossed in their timeline. As a reader, I was always, always, always wanting more and Meyer was always, always, always delivering with each chapter, character, storyline, POV. It would be so easy with this amount of characters and POVs to overwhelm or confuse the reader, but Meyer did a phenomenal job balancing it all out.

Cress also had a great balance of action and politics. When the Rampion crew wasn’t physically fighting off bad guys, we often switched to Kai’s or Levana’s perspectives, their battles of politics and wills and words. I loved reading about Kai consulting with other Earthen leaders and Levana her court, about the wedding planning. These scenes not only helped us understand Kai and Levana better, but also the relations between Earth and Luna, and therefore the dystopian state of the world that Meyer has created for the backdrop of this series, something I had wanted a lot more of after reading the first two books.

No spoilers, but there was a lot revealed in this book! A lot of my theories were confirmed true, and there were some reveals that were a bit more surprising. I won’t go over them to avoid spoilers, but I will say this was a satisfying book as far as secrets are concerned…

There wasn’t much I didn’t love about this book. The only thing I can say was that the individual groups were separated for a bit longer than I would have preferred and I did feel that the desert scenes had started to go on a little too long, but the pacing picked up early on and again, I do think the separate storylines were well-balanced. I loved getting to know new and even old characters, follow Earth/Luna politics,  get a little romance along the way, and prepare for the series finale of Winter!

Buy the book: Amazon,Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Thriftbooks

Also, take a look at my reviews for the first two books of the series, Cinder and Scarlet, and look forward to my review of the finale, Winter.

Thanks for reading!
Find more reviews here.

Discussion: Reviewing Older Books & Classics

Hi all,

Something that’s been on my mind a lot lately while deciding what reads to review is reviewing older books (anything published 5+ years ago) and classics, even modern classics. I’m sure I’m not the only book blogger to feel the pressures of constantly being up with new releases.

I know that books over 5 years old aren’t even that old, but in 2019 reviewing a book from 2014 feels old, especially when other bloggers and people on Book Twitter/Instagram seem to be writing (or at least talking) about the newest releases.

I try to keep up as best I can with newer releases, not just because of some of those pressures but also because of course I’m excited to read the shiny new books that people are raving about! Financially, this is definitely tough for me. I get a lot of books from thrift stores or book sales, and there are rarely ever newer releases there. I also do a lot of book shopping at secondhand or discount bookstores. While newer releases are more common at these settings, it’s still not common, at least to find ones I like that fit my tastes and interests. Certainly not the ones I see people talk about frequently online.

Am I being too picky? I’m not complaining about my finds. I have stacks of unread books in my house, each that I’m excited to read, many that came from thrift stores and secondhand bookshops. I’m happy saving money and I’m able to still find reads I like. But writing a review for some of these books feels silly sometimes. I wonder if anyone would really like to read a review of a book published way back in 2005, even if I’m giving It 5-stars and saying it’s fantastic, you know? I read mostly books published 5-10 years ago, but often wonder if there is any point in reviewing them at all. But if I don’t, and I can’t keep constantly buying new releases, where is my content coming from?

 I have a similar struggle with reviewing classics. I’ve been trying to read more of them lately, especially feminist and queer classics. But writing a review of a classic seems irrelevant because I mean, come on, it’s already a classic. Either I like it because of course, or I rate it low and who cares?

As a reader and someone who has been a literary scholar (though I don’t know if I’d call myself one now) I think it’s important to read classics from a contemporary lens (while considering the context in which it was written and published) for a lot of reasons, and also to admit that sometimes a classic isn’t exactly, well…great.

But who really cares about what some random, unestablished 23-year-old book blogger thinks about The Great Gatsby or The Handmaid’s Tale or The Bell Jar?

With classics, I’ve been trying a “discussion” approach instead of a review, where I just write about how I felt about certain aspects or what I thought of the book from my contemporary lens and what kind of rating I’d give it today. I try to frame it as more of a “here are some of my thoughts” rather than “here is a formal review of this literary classic” because I don’t feel like I have that kind of authority but still want to talk about my thoughts and feelings about the book.

Fellow book bloggers and reviewers, do any of you have a similar struggles? Do you review older books? Classics? Do you read reviews for books even if they’re older? Let me know! (Really, I want justification that I’m not totally overthinking this whole thing.)

Review: Children of Blood & Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Series: Legacy of Orïsha
Published: Henry Holt, 2018
Genre: YA fantasy
Pages: 531
My rating: 5 stars

Description: Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy
.” (Goodreads)

Why I picked it up: There was so much hype surrounding this book when it first came out that I didn’t know if I wanted to take a chance on it; I didn’t want to be disappointed, which often happens with hyped up books. Fortunately, this book lived up to that hype and more.

There was so much to love about this book that I can’t believe it took me so long to review it! Adeyemi used the foundation of a lot of YA and fantasy tropes and trends added her own flair, and created an incredible YA fantasy novel with badass characters, a fast-paced and thrilling plot, and a cliffhanger that has left me begging for book #2.

The first thing I have to mention is that I absolutely loved the characters in this book. Zélie was an incredible protagonist and I knew I’d love her from page one.  She was the exact kind of strong female lead that I love, especially in a fantasy setting. What really surprised me was how much I ended up loving Amari. I don’t want spoil anything, but Amari really grew into her own over the course of this book and just…no spoilers, but Amari was an absolute hero in this book and I cannot wait to see what’s in store for her in the rest of the series! I also liked Inan’s character; I never knew whether or not he could be trusted and while frustrating, he definitely added drama to the story. That’s all I’ll say about him for now, but I have a feeling that when book #2 comes out I’ll have a lot to say about him…

I also loved this for the same reason I gushed over Cinder—it was very action-packed and there were so many moments I was on the edge of my seat vigorously flipping pages. It was so well-balanced with moments of happiness and celebration, action, conversations, drama, and of course a dash of romance. I can’t remember a boring or slow moment in all 500+ pages of this book.

I also wanted to quickly say that this book reminded me a lot of Black Panther in the way that black culture is celebrated. I don’t see black characters or African cultures featured or celebrated in a fantasy setting very often at all, and I think Adeyemi did a wonderful job with this in Children of Blood and Bone. I think fans of the Black Panther film or comics will really enjoy this novel.

I will say, though, that were some moments that I felt were a bit out of character, specifically for Inan. I don’t know if this was part of his untrustworthy or questionable character, but there were definitely times where I thought, “Wait, where’d that come from?” I felt the same way about a few moments with Zélie and Tzain too, which was a little disappointing because I felt like I had a really good idea of who these characters were. But I’m also wondering if this does have to do with them being complicated characters, and we’ll get a better understanding of them as we move into book #2.

For the most part, I loved nearly everything about this book and I believe it deserved all the hype it got. And ya’ll, that cliffhanger…I read this months ago and I still can’t get over it. I cannot believe I made it this long without book #2, and you better bet I’ll be snagging that as soon as possible because I have to know what’s next for these characters.

Recommend for fans of: Black Panther (movie), Avatar: the Last Airbender (TV show), The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Buy the book: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Thriftbooks

Thanks for reading!
Find more reviews here.

The Fall Out Boy Book Tag

Hi all,

Recently, I was tagged by Raine Reads to do their original Fall Out Boy Book Tag. If ya’ll follow me on Twitter or read my seasonal wrap-ups and favorites posts, ya’ll know I absolutely love Fall Out Boy. I was so excited to be tagged in this because Fall Out Boy + books? It had my name all over it.

The Rules
Link to the creator’s blog (Raine Reads)
Thank the person who tagged you
Pick a book or character to answer each prompt
Tag as many bloggers as you’d like to do the tag next!

Take This to Your Grave
A book that’s a little rough around the edges but you love it anyway

The Frame-Up by Meghan Scott Molin

This was a Kindle book I got for free as part of Amazon’s Kindle First program. As ya’ll can read in my full review of the novel, there are definitely some critiques I have of it, but I have to admit I had so much fun reading this! Despite it’s flaws, I’m really looking forward to the sequel. (Check out my full review here.)

Sugar, We’re Goin Down
A book that lives up to the hype

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

There was so much hype surrounding this book that I almost didn’t read it because I figured there was not a chance it could possible live up. I was horribly mistaken. The characters! The emotion! The romance! The action! The betrayal! I cannot wait for book #2! (And I just realized I never wrote a review for this? What??? Gotta get on that ASAP!)

A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More “Touch Me”
A book with pop culture references

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This was an easy one. The Hate U Give is full of pop culture references, from music to Vines. I mean, the title it’s self is a reference to Tupac Shakur’s Thug Life. (Review)

Thnks fr th Mmrs
A book that you changed your opinion about

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

I went through lots of emotions with this book that had little to do with it’s content. I didn’t like this book at all when I read it for the first time way back in middle school. When I read it again for college, I really appreciated the story and characters, as well as what it did for the foundation of YA in the classroom. However, this was amidst the author’s not-so-great response to readers speculating about some of the characters’ sexualities, and it makes me look at the author’s work a bit differently. Sigh. A mess.

What A Catch, Donnie
A character that you want to take care of

Ya’ll, I have so many characters I want to take care of that I keep a list in the back of my book journal. I definitely have to say Ronan Lynch from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, who I feel would not let me take care of him but probably needs it. The second is Wylan van Eck from Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows, who I think can’t ever get too much love and protection.

Just One Yesterday
A book you wish you could read for the first time again

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

This was another easy one for me. I picked up The Raven Boys because I loved Stievfater’s Shiver Trilogy so much years and years ago, and I didn’t anticipate how much the book (and whole series) would come to mean to me. I wish I could go back and experience it all from the beginning, and maybe appreciate experiencing it for the first time.

Hot To The Touch, Cold On The Inside
A book that you were excited to read but ended up being a disappointment

An Absolutely Remarkable thing by Hank Green

I was so excited to read this, especially after seeing so many high reviews. Unfortunately, it was not my cup of tea. It certainly wasn’t what I expected it to be and there was definitely more about it I disliked than liked. I go into depth more about it in my recent review if you wanna get the details.

A book you see everywhere but are afraid to read

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

I have seen some people say this is their favorite novel of all time and some people rate it 1-star with a ranting review and hardly anything in between. To be honest, the premise of it doesn’t sound very interesting to me (in fact, it sounds like the same kind of story I’ve read a dozen times already), which makes me wonder why it has so many high ratings. I have to admit my curiosity is piqued, but the one-star ratings point out all of the things I was afraid the story would have. I may get around to picking it up, just to see what all the fuss is about. (I will also admit that this book has a gorgeous cover.)

Ghost Busters (I’m Not Afraid)
A new take on a classic story

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

If ya’ll follow me on Twitter or have been reading my recent reviews, you know I have been all about Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles. I had so much fun reading this series, and Cinder is my favorite classic or fairytale retelling to date! It’s also one of my favorite YA series I’ve ever read, and it reminded me of all the reasons I fell in love with YA in the first place. You can read my full review of Cinder here.

Young and Menace
A controversial book

I simultaneously can think of a hundred books that could fit this and none at all. I feel like I constantly see books being called out for this or that, but I also can’t think of any books I’ve read that I would really consider controversial… (Can I use Uprooted again? Does that count as controversial? Nah, don’t quite think so.)

And that’s it for the Fall Out Boy Book Tag! I want to thank RaineReads again for tagging me in this super fun book tag!

I never do direct tags when I do a book tag, so I want to tag anyone who is a Fall Out Boy fan. If you like tying together your love of books and music, this is a great tag to do!

Thanks for reading, ya’ll!

Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2
Published: Square Fish, 2013
Genre: YA, fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian
Pages: 452
My rating: 4/5 stars

Description: Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.” (Goodreads)

Why I picked it up:
I picked Cinder, the first book in this series, out of my TBR jar in January, and I loved it a hundred times more than I could have expected. Before even finishing it, I bought the rest of the series, including Scarlet. I immediately wanted to dive into the rest of the story after finishing Cinder, and I didn’t hesitate to start Scarlet right away.

As much as I love this series, I have to admit that Scarlet was a pretty disappointing sequel for me, especially after the fast-paced Cinder. It was quite slow to start for me, and Scarlet wasn’t exactly the best protagonist. However, I did like the unpredictability of Wolf’s character, and how the series’ overall arc moved forward in this second installment.

One of the things I liked most about Scarlet was Wolf’s character. Not necessarily Wolf himself, but what his character did for the story. He was mysterious and unpredictable even until the end of the book. I had a hard time staying interested in Scarlet’s story, to be honest, Wolf was one of the only aspects of her story that kept me wanting to know what happened next with her.

We still had chapter from Cinder and Kai’s points of view, and I was infinitely more invested in what was happening with them. This was probably in part because I had already had more time to get to know and care about them, but also in part because I found their stories more interesting and characters more likable than Scarlet.

Also, through Cinder and especially through Kai, we get bits and pieces of the politics between the Eastern Commonwealth and Luna. This was one of my favorite parts of the series overall, as the tensions build between Luna and the Eastern Commonwealth and Earth as a whole. I liked watching Kai and Levana’s moves (and countermoves) and my nerves getting ever the more frayed the story went on. This left me begging to know what happened next by the end of the book!

I do have to admit, as I’ve already hinted at, that I just did not come to like Scarlet in this book. I wasn’t her biggest fan at the beginning, but I had a hope that by the end, that would change. I thought maybe I wasn’t giving her a fair shot since I liked Cinder so much and really wanted to read about her more than Scarlet. By the end of the book, though, I still didn’t care for her. She talked a lot of smack but rarely delivered, and that arrogance was something I couldn’t quite stand.  (After finishing the full series, I have some Thoughts that this was just the beginning of her arc and her growing into the badass person she pretended to be, but that’s for another review).

I think the main reason why I didn’t like Scarlet is that I found her backstory to be weak. Scarlet’s main problem at the beginning of her story is that her grandmother is missing. There are no leads, and the police have given up searching, and no one seems to care very much because everyone thinks her grandmother was just a crazy old lady anyway. But here’s the thing – I didn’t care, either, not because she was a crazy old lady, but because she was no one to me as the reader. I don’t think we got enough of their relationship for us to care about the grandmother. The main reason she matters is because Scarlet is invested in her and upset that she’s missing – but I don’t know enough about Scarlet to care that she’s upset or enough about her relationship with her grandmother to care that her grandmother’s missing. Especially when there’s an epic tension growing between Luna and the Eastern Commonwealth? When Cinder is on the run? When Kai is constantly being threatened by Levana and is facing pressure of his Earthen allies and Luna, and the supposed threat of Cinder being on the run? A missing grandmother simply does not compare.

I have lots of mixed feelings about this book. What I liked about it had very little to do with Scarlet or her arc, and much more to do with Cinder, Kai, and the overarching story of the series.  There were things I did and didn’t like about Scarlet but overall, I have to admit it just didn’t pack the punch I expected it to following Cinder.

Buy the book: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Thriftbooks

Check out my review of Cinder and look forward to my reviews for Cress and Winter!

Thanks for reading!
Find more reviews here.