Mermaids are Real: The Mystiq Prong by Bo Wu
“’Crabs talk?’ asked Benji.
‘Everything in nature speaks. Not everything in nature listens,’ said Octavius nodding Topside.”
A self published YA fantasy novel, Mermaids are Real explores the relationship humans have with the ocean and our general disregard for the damage our lifestyles are doing to it. Benji is just turning 13 when he discovers that he isn’t actually a regular human kid that just happens to be able to talk to animals, he is in fact the last of his kind and belongs in the ocean with the rest of the mermaids. His parents were killed when he was just a baby because of their belief that if they revealed themselves to the humans (topsiders), that humans would stop damaging the ocean. However, not all of the merfolk shared their belief and instead want to punish the topsiders. It is now up to Benji to find the missing mystiq prong and stop them from starting a war with the topsiders. I found this to be a delightful read, these characters (especially the aquatic ones) are so charming and the humor throughout kept me smiling. I was very invested in these characters and wanted desperately to see them all survive and succeed in their mission. The writing style felt really natural and easy to read, the chapters were also nicely paced which is a big plus for me. Some of the book is extremely dark, one part in this book got me tearing up and the underlying message of how destructive our way of life is to our environment is very powerful. Can not wait for the second book!
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Book kindly sent to me by the author for an honest review
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
‘Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.
But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.’
I’m still recovering from reading this book! Lei is stolen away from her family to become a paper girl along with 8 other girls. The king can choose to bed these girls whenever he wishes and the girls are forbidden from bedding anyone other than him (trigger warnings for rape and sexual abuse/abuse in general). The king is a ‘demon caste’, the highest regarded class in society, followed by ‘steel caste’ and then the lowest class of society, ‘paper caste’. Demon castes are pretty much humanoid animals, steel castes are human with animal elements (tails, antlers e.t.c.), and paper castes are purely human and seen as the lowest of society and treated as slaves or forced to live in poverty. some of the paper girls are raised and trained their whole life to become a paper girl (seen as an honor and brings favor to the family). Lei ends up falling for one of the other paper girls who herself hides a secret, ultimately they both wish to end the king’s reign. I absolutely loved this book even though some parts were obviously hard to read, the author herself is a victim of abuse and has written this book so well and respectfully. I could not put this book down once I started reading it as I got so invested in these girls and wanted to see them happy. Highly anticipating the second book!
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Book received in Octobers Fairy Loot box purchased by myself
Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
‘One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.’
A YA Japanese fantasy with ALL of the mythology! Reading this felt like watching an epic anime and I bloody loved it. Yumeko is half Kitsune and grew up in a temple, Tatsumi is a shinobi demonslayer. After Yumekos temple is burnt and her mentors slain, she is sworn to protect a part of the ancient scroll, Tatsumi is quested to obtain the ancient scroll. With Yumeko hiding her part of the scroll, Tatsumi swears to escort her safely to another temple where he plans on stealing the scroll parts. They make acquaintances along the way aswell as being tracked by an evil blood witch who summons demons to try to stop them and obtain the scroll for herself. The book is written from both perspectives which sometimes can be hard to tell apart. It has great humor and the fighting scenes are quite graphic. The second book in this trilogy releases next summer and I can’t wait!
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
eARC provided by NetGalley, hardcover purchased by myself
Doll Bones by Holly Black
‘Poppy swears that she is being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. Poppy, Alice and Zach must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity.’
I was expecting this middle grade book to be a lot creepier than it was and I was ultimately a bit disappointed. The story is more focused on the children’s relationship with each other and the struggles of growing up. Still a charming read and maybe children will get more from reading this than I did. Saying that, the 3 main characters were very interesting and likable and I enjoyed following them along on their last quest, just not what I was expecting.
My Rating: 3/5 Stars