(This is a review for the second book in the series. Potential spoilers for the first book)
Sari has finally found true love. She has found a way to move her home and start life anew. Though that is a bit hampered by the fact that she is dead. Minya is out for revenge and is the one that holds onto Sari’s thin thread of life. Can Sari save not only herself but her siblings and Lazlo from oblivion.
For me this series has seemed more Minya’s series than Sari and Lazlo’s. While I like their characters I felt like Minya’s storyline was the more intriguing and interesting of the three.
I thought the way that Minya’s and Nova’s stories of revenge and anger were told were interesting. I felt like Nova’s story shocked Minya and put what she was fighting for in perspective. Minya was blinded by her anger and her fear. She wanted to fix something that could never be fixed.
We see that Minya has been the one holding too many secrets for way too long. She knows what life was like before The Carnage. She knows what she had to do in order to save her siblings. She is a child that had to make adult decisions that became etched into her soul.
While Nova was angry at being separated from her sister. She was single minded and she was ruthless. We see that she stopped caring about anyone and I think seeing her and where she ended up shocked Minya. I liked the way the story used Nova’s story to give Minya to see the consequences of her actions.
I also like that we learn more about the different realms or realities in this book. There was a good hint at where a series could continue to go in this world. Particularly with Thyon. I am very curious to know more about him and would love to get a whole series or book about him alone. I feel like there is a deep story there to explore.
I stated it above but I felt like Sari and Lazlo were telling this story but shouldn’t have been telling this story. I felt like their story ended in the first book. They both got what they wanted, they fixed their issues and in this one they became more a victim of circumstance than anything else.
I felt like they had no conflict or place to go after the first book. There was no real development of either of their characters. They were stagnant. Not saying I didn’t like them but I wanted to know them better, feel more connected to them. In the end I just felt like I wanted to get around them to get to the other characters.
We got hints at the original gods story but we didn’t get nearly as much detail as I would have liked. It started off promising. We got Nova’s story which was the beginning of Skathis and his crew but then it was rushed through. We got a paragraph describing how he got to Weep and that was it.
I felt like we needed to know more about them. I wanted to understand them and why they were so cruel and evil. Why did they choose this city to use as a hunting ground? Why did they go after all the women here? Did they do that other places? What were their plans? What were their histories? It may have been too much for this story but I felt like we needed a bit more to them.
I gave this book 3 stars. I think if it had answered a few more questions and tied Lazlo and Sari’s characters into the story more I would have felt like it was more complete.
“Have an enemy, be an enemy. Hate those who hate you. Hate them better. Hate them worse. Be the monster they fear the most.” (pg. 35)
“You can be on the same side and have different ideas.” (pg. 110)
“The mind is good at hiding things, but there’s something it cannot do: It can’e erase. It can only conceal, and concealed things are not gone. They rot. They fester, they leak potions. They ache and stink. They hiss like serpents in tall grass.” (pg. 227)
“There comes a certain point with a hope or a dream, when you either give it up or give up everything else.” (pg 328)
“Wishes don’t just come true. They’re only the target you paint around what you want. You still have to hit the bull’s-eye yourself.” (pg. 507)
Lazlo Strange is an outsider. He was orphaned by a war and left with a group of monks. He has grown up thinking he is nothing, just someone to be there to help but never to stand out in the crowd. He lives for one thing, the lost city of Weep.
He is the only one who remembers the real name of Weep which was stolen from his mind. He is the only one who believes that the place is real. He makes it his life mission to find this land and prove its existence.
That chance comes and he is taken to his long dreamed of land. Only it is not a magical place, like he thought. It is lost and needs his help. He finds that what he believed is not the whole story. Weep has a dark past, one that is being told from only one side.
On the other side of Weep’s story is Sari and her siblings. Children of gods who are thrown into a life they don’t know how to navigate. Are they the monsters everyone fears they are? If your parents do horrible things are you then horrible as well? Can you make peace with your past to live for a better future?
This book explores an idea that fascinates me which how is evil created. Is evil something that is born into someone or is evil created by circumstance? The godspawn in this story are the product of evil acts by their parents. They are babies when their parents are killed in what they call The Carnage.
They can’t even remember what happened, except for Minya; more on her in a minute. Sparrow, Ruby, Feral and Sari were left orphaned by the people who were wronged by these gods. They did not grow up with the anger and dangerously dark influence of their parents. They got to grow up on their own, teaching themselves the rules of the world.
The people of Weep though only see their parent’s past mistakes. They hold onto the memories of that darkness. They can’t fathom the idea that Sari and her siblings are not their parents. They believe these gods are evil to their core, that it is part of their nature. But we see that not being true. We see the good these characters can do. I loved that idea and the way it was explored through the different characters.
Minay was the most fascinating character to me. First she is stuck in the body of a six year old. We know she has the mind of an adult but her growth stopped after The Carnage. The idea of this angry child walking around stuck with me. I can see her having this rough and dark attitude but then being in this small body, almost too small to contain all that anger and hurt.
She is the only one who remembers The Carnage. She saved who she could and it eats at her soul that she could not save more of the babies. We see that she is full of anger and resentment towards the people of Weep. She blames all of them for one man’s actions.
It provides an interesting question for the reader. Who is in the wrong? Is anyone in the wrong? The Godslayer did what he thought he had to do to protect his people. Minya did the same. Both see the other as monsters and both are right in a sense. I am very interested to see how this plays out in the second book.
While I like Lazlo and Sari’s relationship it took me a little by surprise. They moved really fast in their falling for each other and for me I felt it was a bit too fast.
Sari has been manipulated and isolated her whole life and she finally finds someone outside of the other godspawn who can see her. She is captivated by him and I understand why. What I didn’t understand was why she fell in love with him right away. I wanted to see her explore who he was more, to try to underhand where he came from better. I even wanted her to be a bit cautious and suspicious of him. Instead she falls right into his arms.
While it didn’t annoy me too much and didn’t make me hate their characters, I did feel like it made them a bit cliche. I am always looking for a character to act outside the norm and wanted her to be a bit darker and edgier. I am curious to see how Sari’s character develops in the next book.
There was nothing that made me upset to removed me from the story. I did feel like it was building quite a bit and a lot of set up but the story telling kept me interested. I think the writing itself helped move the slower parts along.
“It was impossible, of course.
But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming?” – pg. 25
“Beautiful and full of monsters?
All the best stories are.” – pg. 115
“And that’s ho you go on. You lay laughter over the dark parts. The more dark parts, the more you have to laugh. With defiance, with abandon, with hysteria, any way you can.” pg. 135
“Here was the radical notion that you might help someone simply because they needed it.” pg. 287
(This is a review for the 8th book in this series, there may be spoilers for previous books)
For this book we were back in Jalil’s head. I vaguely remembered this one, mostly because of the upside down world part. I found it interesting how as I read certain aspects came back to me. I was reading and was like “Oh yeah, forgot about that guy.” I found it a bit fun in this one to see how much I remembered and how much came back to me.
Two parts of this book stood out to me. One was this one centered on the African gods. The interesting part was that we never actually meet any of them. We meet a minor, messenger type god. We never meet the major ones. This portion gave me more a feeling of forbidding than anything else.
What this book did make me want to do is research the African culture and the gods that were mentioned here. I wonder if we don’t get to see much of them because the author didn’t know much about them or if the history and information available is scarce.
I also wonder if this part was smaller because people are not as familiar with these gods and thus she concentrated her time in the story on the stories people are more familiar with? Though that is a lost opportunity to learn more and become familiar with a new set of stories.
This all plays into the theme of this book though. In this one we see Jalil and April unwilling to submit to these gods and make a sacrifice. They anger the gods and get themselves in trouble. The issue is they learn that this not the world they grew up in. This is not our world and thus our rules do not apply here.
They both were firm in standing their ground and trying to not be “weak” but in the end they nearly get themselves killed. I liked this exploration of the idea of “giving in” or doing something to keep yourself safe. Does it really reflect bad on them if they had done the sacrifice? They couldn’t live with the idea but does it really change the way they think? Does it change their beliefs in the end?
What it does to Jalil is make him realize he has a darker streak to himself. He is willing to take out others and make them change but not for himself. I can’t quite remember how his story finishes but I am curious how he ends up and where he is at the end of this series.
Dino and July were best friends at one time. That friendship ended and now they are enemies. Now July is dead and Dino is lost. What happens when July sits up in his parent’s funeral home, alive but no quite? Can they fix what was broken? Or will their feud cause a rift in the world itself, stalling death and destroying life as we know it?
The reason I like Shaun David Hutcinson’s books and stories so much is because he knows how to write characters. His characters are vibrant and full of life (no pun intended). He creates people you can find in any place in the world and feel like you can connect with them. Any story that can create characters that I can understand is a story I am going to enjoy.
Dino was a great character. He is one of those people I can relate to really well. He is someone who wants to make sure the people around him are taken care of and are understood. He is willing to put aside what he wants or likes in order to make others happy. He is pretending he is going to join the family business to avoid the conflict with his family.
He spend so much time trying to keep the peace and please others he is losing himself. I understood him because I am much the same way. I define myself by how the people around me are doing. If I can help them and make them happier then I assume I am happier. I forget that sometimes you have to find your own way and find what you want. Sometimes you have to define yourself in your own terms and hope others understand. And if they are people who love you and care about you they will understand.
Now July is Dino’s opposite. July is harsh and brash. She is someone who is going to fight you at a drop of a hat. She is someone who will tell you what she thinks, could care less about what you think and is going to tell you why you are wrong. She is the kind of person that when you first meet her you are going to be turned off by her attitude. You are going to think her rude and selfish.
What Hutchinson does is show that she has a softer side. Right away we see that she cares about her family. Throughout the story you see her reasons for her actions and you realize she is willing to fight for those she cares about. She is just lost. She needs that softer and kinder hand to temper her down. I loved her character because she was complicated. While she was annoying and harsh I understood her. I liked that we see that life is not easy and understanding people is complicated.
Hutchinson has a tendency to put in slight bits of the supernatural or the otherworldly in his books. In we are the ants it was aliens but you never wanted to quite understand the aliens. The larger story dominated and you knew the aliens were there and were important but you didn’t focus on them.
Unfortunately that didn’t work as well in this book in my opinion. I wanted that deeper connection to the story so I didn’t constantly wonder at the reason that July was back from the dead and why no one else was dying. That is touched on but never explained. I found myself wondering about it the whole book unlike we are the ants where I barely registered the aliens purpose.
I think that is largely because this book felt like it was a lot of running around in circles. They went from one place to another and had a heart to heart conversation over and over again. I felt like we could have done all of this really well in a short story or even a novella. I think the larger format made it so we had to rehash ideas too often and drug it out. I think I would have connected more if the story had been shorter.
While the plot didn’t hold my attention it didn’t throw me out of the book. It didn’t make it unreadable and I wasn’t just waiting to get to the end. There was nothing that really stuck out as parts that I disliked. It was a quick read that hit some powerful notes.
I gave the book three stars. While I loved the characters and the development of them I just wish the plot had been a bit more robust or the story had been shorter.
“People, Like cats are obsessed with boxes. Cats are content to squeeze their own furry assess into boxes clearly too small for them, whereas humans take sadistic pleasure in trying to shove one another into boxes.” (pg. 14)
“Mirrors are liars. They never show us what’s truly there. They show us what we expect to see.” (pg. 134)
“Men who’ve been taught that emotions are a weakness, and they’re never to show weakness, or they bottle it up and camouflage it with laughter or anger or silence.” (pg. 171)
“Even when she didn’t know who she was, she fought for the right to screw up and figure it out on her own.” (pg.235)
The group of friends is beginning to realize their lives are now in to parts. There are the Everworld parts, full of adventure, danger and new ways of seeing themselves. Then there is the real world part, school, the mundane and the normal. Which is the one they are meant to live? Where do they belong?
This book was told from April’s POV. We see that she is struggling with a few things in this book. First she can’t understand the way the gods think. They are literally under siege and yet they are barely able to make any changes. They can’t think outside of what they normally think. They can’t adapt.
I thought it was super interesting the way this idea was explored. The idea that the gods are stagnant. They can’t dream or imagine. They are the molds created by the stories that were told about them in the old world. Once they left that world there was no one left to make them into new people or give them new abilities. They are stuck in one form, unable to adapt or change.
I also liked how this book begins to explore the idea that this life is not a nightmare for these four kids. They are beginning to see the advantages to this life. April is conflicted because she likes the independence and the importance she feels in Everworld. She fights, she wins and she is in control.
But that also terrifies her. She is scared of leaving what she knows behind. She is scared to think that Everworld is becoming where she wants to be. For the others there are plenty of reasons why they would choose the other world but for April she doesn’t have a bad home life or OCD to force her to choose this world. She is just seeing that maybe there is more for her here.
I also liked that her conflict is many sided. She is confused not only about her desire to stay in the world but also about what being in a new world is doing to her belief system. She is losing her faith a bit, seeing the world in a new way. She is scared to change her way of thinking and and I am curious how that evolves over the last few books.
This book is the turning point in my memory of the series. I know we are going to move to Egypt and African Gods soon but I don’t remember much beyond that. I am eager to continue from here because my memory is fuzzier. I am interested to see how we get to the end, which I do remember and know I loved.
Katherine Lundy makes a choice early on in her life. She is going to live her way, she is going to do what she wants when she wants. She learns quickly the world is not going to work in her favor. She finds a door to The Goblin Market, a world where you can get whatever you want as long as you are fair with your deals. But what happens when some deals ask for too much?
I love this series. I love the way this feels like a fairytale while also capturing some important issues of today. You get a lesson without realizing it and you get to see that not all stories end with a happily ever after moment.
This story in particular was about a girl who realizes early on that she is okay being alone. I think I like this one the best so far because I identified with Lundy so well. I was also the quiet child, who loved books and followed the rules. I also balked at the idea of having to fall into line of what a true woman is supposed to be.
I felt like we got to understand Lundy so well. Her back and forth through the door showed us that she was struggling with deciding where she belonged. While the other books the characters stayed, finding their new lives and ways of life, Lundy was stuck in this in-between. She wanted both and learned the hard way that life is not always fair.
Not much threw me out of this book. They are shorter so we get hints at bigger events that happen but I am starting to see that it fits in with the fairytale atmosphere of these stories. While it was a bit bothersome not knowing more about the battles she fought I realized it was more important about what happened afterward. Lundy was created from those after moments and choices and not from the moments themselves.
There was nothing that kept my from enjoying the story. It was fast paced. It hit all the points of the character development well. I read it in 2 days and was sad when it ended.
I gave the book four stars. I loved the story and can’t wait to see who we get to understand better next.
“If the children in the yard next door or on the playground couldn’t find her worth loving the same way, she wasn’t going to change for them.” (pg. 17)
“Following the rules didn’t make you a good person, just like breaking the rules didn’t make you a bad one, but it could make you an invisible person, and invisible people got to do as they liked.” (pg. 38) (This hits very close to home).
There is a Library full of Librarians whose job it is to go to alternate worlds and find important books. They are returned to the Library where they are kept safe and all knowledge is contained in one space. Irene is a junior librarian, someone raised her whole life in this world. Kai is her trainee with secrets. Together they are tasked with retrieving a version o the Grimm fairytales. Seems easy until twists, turns and secrets are revealed. Quickly it becomes a quest for survival for not only the book but themselves as well.
I love the concept of this book. I loved the idea that there are alternate worlds all connected through this Library. The idea that there are people whose sole job it is to go into all these worlds and get important books is fantastic. This is 100% the job I would want if it was an option.
I love that this also connect magic into these worlds. At first I wondered if it was just going to be alternate worlds that certain things didn’t happen in. But no, there are worlds like our own and then there are world with magic and then there are worlds that are a combination of both. I like this because it extends the scope of these stories. I wonder how they will play out throughout the series.
Kai was an interesting character. I knew there was something more about him from the very beginning. You get a hint he is hiding something. I liked the fact that he can switch his personalities so much. One minute he is able to play a proper gentleman of the times then he goes into thief mode. As a reader I felt like I was kept guessing. We still don’t know everything about him and I wonder where his story will go.
Alderich is also an interesting character. I know there is so much more to their story. I want to know how they became who they are. ( I am going to use they because it is unclear what Alderich is at this point, whether human or even has a gender). There is mystery here and I am curious about it all.
I had a few minor issue that didn’t necessarily take me out of the book but kind of gave me pause. First I wasn’t thrilled with the Language system being called The Language. It felt like a lazy name to me. Every time I read it was jarring almost like it was left there a placeholder and was never changed. I felt like it could just have used a better title.
While this world as fascinating I found myself very unclear of how it all worked. I don’t quite understand The Language itself. Why it matters? Who can use it? How do you use it? How do you learn it? I felt like it was there as a way to get out of situations.
I also didn’t quite get the whole chaos idea. It was vaguely explained but I needed a bit more to understand it. Why was there this chaos idea? Why are Fae the main issue around it? How does it work? Why is it called chaos? I again felt like it was hinted at but no real detail given.
My biggest issue with this book was Irene. I honestly did not care for her character at all. She was all over the place. She felt like a strong minded character at the beginning but she got weaker and weaker as the story went on. I thought she could take care of herself but then she went alll damsel who needed men to save her.
She got herself into situations that made no sense. She inner monologued a lot but she never came to any real conclusions in time. She doubted herself too often. She was vague about what she was talking about. I just wanted her to get herself together a bit more. I hope she gets better throughout the series.
I ended up giving this book 3 stars. There is a lot of potential here. The world in fascinating. Some of the characters are great. The mystery is there. I am planning on continuing on with the series but just not right away. I just hope it gets better.
The dead are not gone forever. When you die your body and all your memories are preserved in the Archive. There you are stacked on shelves, able to leave a lasting impression on the world. Mackenzie is a Keeper, charged with keeping Histories from escaping. An easier said then done job when the Archive begins to break down and her world is upended. Can she stop those responsible or will time run out and will she be added to the shelves?
I misunderstood what this book was about when I read the summary and read other reviews. I have seen people praising this book and I loved Victoria Schwab so I knew I had to read this one.
I thought that the idea was that people’s consciousness were preserved in literal books. Instead their bodies are recreated in this Archive and that is where their memories are stored. I really liked the concept. I liked the idea that when you die you are not dead and gone forever. I liked the idea that there is a literal library of people and their histories. Each person is important because of the life they have lived and the things they have learned throughout that life. I loved the idea of preserving everyone.
I thought the pacing of this story as great as well. It didn’t drag on. The mystery was presented early and I liked that our main character was the one to stumble upon the mystery right away. She didn’t just hover around waiting for someone to tell her what to do. She was curious and began investigating. She worked to find the answers she wanted.
The story moved a perfect pace. We got our mystery and pieces were slowly revealed bit by bit. I liked that we weren’t stumbling around wondering what was going on or the end being just a huge info dump. Everything seemed to work in the right order.
Wes was my favorite character in this book. He felt original and fresh. I loved that he wore earrings, nail polish and eyeliner. I loved that he is an individual and he isn’t someone who is going to fall into a generic category. I think too many times male characters are just described as handsome in a super generic way. Wes felt more dynamic and real.
I could have used a bit more detail about how the Archive itself works. I don’t quite understand how they get all the people and their memories there. The world isn’t magical one so I am unsure how that works. Especially since it is so secretive. It isn’t like everyone knows about it yet everyone is cataloged there.
I also saw hints of one of my least favorite things in this story near the end. Thankfully it didn’t go that route but I still feel like the possibility for it, is there in the sequel. The idea that you don’t have to tell someone something in order to protect them. I hate the idea of keeping secrets because you want to keep someone safe. It never works and I hope it doesn’t become a thing in the next book.
I enjoyed the whole ride of this book. I see hints of where the next book could go. I didn’t have anything that threw me out of the story and made me want to put it down.
I have this book 4 stars. I really enjoyed the story, the characters and am excited to read Unbound to see where the story goes.
“We leave memories on objects we love and cherish, things we use and wear down.” pg. 26
“Lying is easy, but lonely.” pg. 84
“Things only hurt more when you can see them.” pg.251
We jumped back into David’s perspective again in this installment in the Everworld series. While we were in the other’s POV’s I was having issues with David. I was falling into this way of seeing him as love struck and wannabe hero. I was having trouble remembering who he truly was.
This book reminded me who this character actually is. David is a kid who is desperate to get back control of his life. He has not felt like he is strong or worthy since his childhood. What happened to him as a child has broken him and he is starting to see the real damage done at that camp.
I find it really interesting how this storyline is being handled. While nothing is blatantly stated or shown you get a good idea of what happened to David. It’s even more interesting because as a teenager I never caught on to what happened. Or if I did it didn’t stay with me.
Now this storyline I can see and I can understand the true impact it is having on David as a full character. He is very self aware. He is trying hard to not show the rest of his friends what happened to him. He can’t watch as his worst fears about himself are being proved true. We hear how he knows he is weak around Senna but not willing to walk away from her. This push and pull makes their relationship more than just a normal crush relationship.
I remembered this part of the main plot well too. This is the point where our group starts having a lasting impact on the world around them. They are introducing aspects of the real world to this new world. I did have a little trouble believing they could do all the work they needed to do in such a short amount of time. But Jalil is smart so I am letting that slide.
I know the next book is one that I struggled with when I first read the series. I remember it being about fighting and tactic heavy and less about the characters. I am interested to see how I feel about it now.
Robin walks down the aisle and marries Matthew, but no one could call it a happy marriage. Strike is riding high after his last case that put him in the spotlight and finally gave him the chance to create a successful business. Though he isn’t exactly happy with his own personal life.
Billy, a mentally ill man, walks in and throws the pair of them into a mystery that wraps up an entire family. Affairs, unwanted children, possible murders and much more take theses two through a mystery that makes them not only question who is truthful in the case but in their own lives.
I don’t read this series for the mystery and detective elements. I read it for the personal stories of Strike and Robin. These two characters keep me coming back to these books. J.K. Rowling or Robert Gailbraith has a way of creating characters that are alive and familiar. We feel connected to them because they go through many of these same things we go through as readers.
The end of the last book was a bit of a cliffhanger. We wondered how Robin’s life would play out and what Strike would do. The prologue in this book answered those questions in a very realistic way. There is no dramatic runaway bride or abrupt change of heart. Instead the way things resolve is a slow burn. It plays out as I think it would in real life.
I thought it was interesting in this book how Strike and Matthew’s characters were played against each other. This what set the stage for the majority of the conflict in this book. When we met Matthew in the first book we thought him the perfect fit for Robin. He seemed loving and their story was fairytale-esque. Then, as happens when you truly get to know someone, we realized that he is not the perfect man for Robin. He is far from the right person.
Strike at first seemed gruff and uncaring. He was about himself and wanting to make his way in the world. He didn’t care about anyone really but we see again that first impressions don’t tell us anything about anyone.
Robin wants to be taken seriously, she doesn’t want to be told what to do and when to do it. She is afraid of being vulnerable. There is some great commentary about the way a woman can’t show her pain and anguish like a man because then she will be sidelined.
While Matthew tries to push Robin into a safe space, which would change her whole world; Strike does the opposite. He acknowledges her issues, makes her confront them and yet lets her still do what she wants to do. He doesn’t force her to a desk, he let her continue working.
But he also makes sure she knows that she has to deal with her issues. He won’t let her ignore them. He shares his own struggles and makes sure she understands that he is on her side. He cares about her and wants her to heal but he also knows putting her in a box won’t do anything to help her.
I didn’t think I wanted Robin and Strike together after the other books but after this one I think they would work perfectly together. There is understanding and truth there that will make a good relationship.
The mystery element and major plot of the book was as well done as the other books. I have mentioned it in previous reviews but the way the details are given is thorough. There is no sensational elements only there to make the pages turn. It gives what would happen in the timeline it would happen.
While I enjoy the details of the case, the length of the book was a bit much. I felt like the middle dragged. It is a hefty book and I think that some of the details of going back and forth and who was riding what train were not needed. We would have cut some of that and some of the retelling of the details in order to move the pace up a bit.
What I wished was different:
I had a little bit of trouble keeping all the characters straight in the story. There were a lot of names and different players. I think it was good for the mystery element, more people to suspect, but I found myself wondering who was who.
I had to remind myself every time I picked up the book who was the main characters, who were the side ones and what plots mattered. I wished I had an easier time keeping everyone straight.
I gave this book three stars. I liked the mystery and I loved the development of the characters I just thought it a little too long.