Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

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4 Stars (4 / 5)

Akata Witch #1

“I’d seen the end of the world in its flame. Raging fires, boiling oceans, toppled skyscrapers, ruptured land, dead and dying people. It was horrible. And it was coming.”

This book is so different that I knocked it up from 3.5 to 4 stars just for that. I know practically nothing about African mythology, which made this novel feel so fresh and new. There is not a lot like this out there, and I can’t help but love when something new and different comes along.

Akata Witch is set in Nigeria, where Sunny learns that she is a Leopard Person, someone who is in touch with her spirit-self and can use juju to work magical feats. She discovers a whole hidden world of learning and magic, one that embraces the differences between people instead of scorning them. Sunny, along with her cohorts Chichi, Orlu, and Sasha, is tasked with defeating a great evil and saving the world from destruction.

I’m not sure how much of this book was based in real Nigerian myth and culture, and how much was Okorafor herself, but everything felt so genuine I have to applaud it either way. Some of the aspects of the story were a little hard to swallow, but that could be my unfamiliarity with african culture (grown men beating each other to death was a little hard for me to digest). The style and pacing of the novel put me off at first, everything seemed to feel a bit superficial, but once I realized this was a Middle Grade novel (and not YA as I originally thought), my annoyance bled away and I was able to fully engage with the story (apparently my expectations can have a lot more to do with my enjoyment of a book than I realized).

All and all a very interesting and unique story. I will definitely have to check out the sequel!


Legion by Julie Kagawa

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4 Stars (4 / 5)

Talon #4
In Legion, we finally begin to see Talon’s plans come to fruition, and their endgame starts to become clear. Our ragtag band of rogues is in the thick of it once again, attempting to put a stop to Talon’s plans once and for all. And Ember finally learns her importance to the organization and puts herself head-to-head against her brother, Dante, for the first time.

In Rogue and Soldier we get flashbacks from Riley and Garret’s points-of-view respectively, and Legion is no different, finally cluing us in to Dante’s backstory. It was great to finally learn more about his and Ember’s youth and how they grew up in the organization. It helps to understand Dante’s perspective and why he is so driven to succeed in Talon.

While still a bit predictable, there were a few surprises in this one that I didn’t see coming. Overall, a very fun series and I look forward to seeing how things end.


Soldier by Julie Kagawa

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4 Stars (4 / 5)

Talon #3
This series has really started to draw me in, and in Soldier we finally start to unravel the mystery that is the inner workings of Talon. We get an even more behind the scenes look with Dante and our heroes start to uncover some of the manipulations that Talon has been running. It was nice to see the group finally starting to work proactively against the organization, instead of just reacting to their direct attacks. No longer are they simply “on the run,” as they begin to unravel Talon’s plans a little at a time. And as we uncover the inner workings of St. George, we learn more and more about that dangerous organization.

I love how each of these books gives us flashbacks of a character’s past. In Rogue, we got to learn more about Riley/Cobalt. In Solider, we see Garret’s history and how he came to be a part of the order. I was starting to get a bit annoyed with the love triangle and Ember’s indecisiveness over her feelings, but I’m happy to say she finally seems to make a choice in this book. The ending is explosive and cliff-hangery and includes a big reveal (that was fun, but I have to admit a little predictable), that left me eager for more.


Rogue by Julie Kagawa

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3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

Talon #2
Rogue is quite the change of pace from its predecessor, Talon. Our heroes are on the run from both Talon and St. George, and they do make quite the motley crew. While being constantly “on the run” did make for a bit of a tedious plot, I think it was a necessary step in the progression of our characters. I think that Ember is finally starting to realize what going rogue really means, and is ready to start fighting back.

I really loved the snippets of Cobalt’s backstory. It was great seeing where he came from and how his little underground came to be. And I can’t help but love Wes’ witty retorts and snarky attitude. And I was glad to get some more chapters from Dante’s POV. I still haven’t quite figured out how I feel about him, but it’s nice to get some insight into where he’s coming from.

By the end, we start to get a hint of the danger that lies on the horizon. I’m curious to see what the future holds for our small band of heroes.


This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

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4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Monsters of Verity #1

“Mind over body over bodies on the floor over tallies seared day by day by day into skin until cracked and broke and bled into the beat of gunfire and the melody of pain and the world was made of savage music…”

What a unique and fascinating premise. Imagine a world where the very worst of our sins birthed literal monsters. This is the world of This Savage Song. But it’s also not that simple. Not all monsters are created equal, and just because it is decidedly wicked acts that create them, they may not all be wicked by nature. And August is one such monster…

And then you have Kate, working all her life to live up to the brutal and ruthless reputation of her father. Trying to prove she deserves a place by his side, in the only “home” she has left. But though she puts on a hard and vicious front, does she really have what it takes to rule this savage world.

Schwabs worldbuilding is subtle. It happens slowly over time, instead of being thrust at you all at once. Instead it is inferred as we get to know the characters and see them interact with the world. Told from alternative points-of-view, we see a divided city from both sides of the wall, from both perspectives of a war. And then our characters, who should be divided, are thrown together by circumstance. And we learn to see what makes a human and what makes a monster, and how the lines blur.

And then you have passages like the above, which is so beautiful that I just can’t stop thinking about it. I’m not usually a fan of stream of consciousness, but in the context of the book this passage elicited such beautiful and powerful imagery that I can not stop thinking about it. And that is a powerful thing!

So read This Savage Song. It does not disappoint!