Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

“But in trying times, truth is the first thing we betray.”

Friends, this book gripped me from the first page to the very last. Descendant of the Crane is a stunning debut fantasy that delivers on the “Chinese version of Game of Thrones” comparison that I’ve seen. This is a fast paced and action packed book that you cannot miss!

The plot of the book seems simple enough: the king died mysteriously and his daughter launches an investigation because she’s convinced it was murder and is determined to uncover the truth. But it is so much more than that. It turns out the truth is more than just with the king’s death, but the 300 year history of the country following the revolution against the previous empire. The oppressed rose up to make things more equal for everyone… except for the sooths. I appreciated Hesina’s sympathy for the sooths and the moral dilemma she faces while having to also not increase tensions and fear for her people.

“A dead king. A deceived populace. A truth seeker. Sounds like a story that could end very well or very poorly, and I want to spectate.”

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The Fever King (Feverwake #1) by Victoria Lee

“I would rather die than do nothing.”

Friends, there are some books that just suck you into their pages from the start and stay with you after you finish. The Fever King is one of those rare books. I was captivated from the first page and filled every spare moment I had with reading this amazing debut novel. For two days I started and ended my day reading The Fever King, and actually went to work an hour later than normal so I could finish the book yesterday. (and I absolutely hate having to stay after it gets dark!)

I honestly have no idea how to even find the words to review this book. The Fever King is an amazing debut fantasy/speculative fiction novel that takes place in the year 2123 in an alternative United States. I think for me the thing that stuck out the most about this was that the point of divergence into this possible future was 2019, and even though we don’t have outbreaks of magic spreading (that we know of) it feels so incredibly authentic. And that’s terrifying to me, and the best parts of science fiction. In this 2123 new countries exist but there is still the same hatred and nationalistic rhetoric that we are experiencing today.

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This Cruel Design (This Mortal Coil #2) by Emily Suvada

This review is spoiler-free but exercise caution when reading the book’s synopsis if you haven’t read This Mortal Coil yet.

“If there is a design that underpins us, Catarina, then it is cold, it is violent, and it is cruel.”

One of the biggest surprises that I read in 2018 was Emily Suvada’s debut novel this Mortal Coil. I’ve shouted about this book countless times and shoved it in the hands of many of my friends so they too could have their hearts broken experience this amazing book for themselves. My Twitter mentions are full of people screaming at me, and it brings me immense joy like the Slytherin that I am. Suffice to say that I was anxious & terrified to see what is in store next for the characters that I have come to love would be a drastic understatement.

📝 Related: read my spoiler-free review of This Mortal Coil

Just when you thought everything was over, the story seems to have only just begun. The plot thickens for our group: this is a solid continuation of the series and the story is plotted intricately well. Reading the overarching storyline of the series is like a play broken down into three acts, and Suvada plotted it very well.

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The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2) by Maureen Johnson

“In life, the murderer is anyone. The reasons, the methods, the circumstances – the paths to becoming a murderer are as numerous as the stars.”

The Vanishing Stair was one of my most anticipated sequels for 2019 after falling absolutely in love with Truly Devious last fall. I was really excited to see what happened after that incredibly rude cliffhanger, and hoped to get more answers in this installment. 🕵️ I am pleased to say that we got some much-needed answers (& some new questions!), as well as more actual investigating, but overall this one fell into themiddle book syndrome for me. It was an enjoyable and I will finish the series, but if I am being honest I could have done without the first 40% of this book.

My friend Hamad @ Book Prescription summed up my feelings pretty well in his review:

“The Vanishing Stair was what I expected it to be; an unnecessary bridge to the third book and this whole series could have been a duology.”

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Gemina (Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

BRIEFING NOTE: After absolutely falling head over heels in love with Illuminae , I didn’t think it could get any better. Hahaha joke is on you, this one is ███████ fantastic and I loved it even more than the first book.
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Chums, I was sucked into Gemina immediately. It builds on the action from Illuminae and starts with a court proceeding of sorts for BeiTech. The evidence provided are the documents provided by the Illuminae Group, and the briefing notes we read in Gemina are part of the official record. I thought this was such an innovative way to frame the story, and I love books that start at the end and watching how things got to that point. 

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