Review: Wanted by Betsy Schow

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Rexi Hood has a problem. As the perpetual sidekick in the fairy tales, she’s destined to be Forgotten. Her name will be wiped away and no one in Story will remember her. Rexi is determined to be more than a sidekick, however. She’s the daughter of Robin Hood and an outlaw. All it will take is a devious plan- and a whole lot of luck- but maybe Rexi can avoid being Forgotten.

WANTED is the second book in the Spelled series and I highly recommend reading SPELLED first. The events in WANTED strongly depend on the reader understanding the ongoing story threads as well as the character development already established. In fact, I wish Betsy Schow would have given us a short recap of the past events as it took me a while to reorient myself to the intriguing world she has crafted.

I really wanted to like Rexi as her underdog role appeals to me. I cheered her desire to become the hero of her own story, rather than disappearing from all memory as a forgotten sidekick. Unfortunately, WANTED seemed overly convoluted at times as the story twisted and turned, and then twisted and turned yet again. To further confuse things, Rexi’s own identity becomes dangerously entwined with Dorothea’s and it became difficult to distinguish what in the world was going on.

I finished WANTED with mixed feelings. The ending, although somewhat abrupt and unexpected, leaves me hopeful about the third book in the Spelled series. There are elements of WANTED that reminded me of the magic in SPELLED that first enchanted me and I’m hopeful Betsy Schow can rekindle those aspects in the third book.

Review: Incubation by Laura DiSilverio

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Reunion Day is approaching and Everly Jax is excited about the possibility of learning who her parents are. Unfortunately, everything she hopes for is shattered that day and Everly instead escapes from her home in the Kube. Everly and her two best friends, Halla and Wyck, struggle to survive the dangers lurking in the outside world, but each one of them has a different goal in mind. Can they forge a path in a world outside the Kube?

I love that Laura DiSilverio takes time to build up her characters as we begin to get a sense for just how much they have endured in this harsh, dystopian world. Everly is, of course, my favorite. She’s a spunky heroine, loyal to her friends even when that loyalty hurts. Halla and Wyck are interesting as well, but it is Saben and Fiere who intrigue me the most. I hope we see more of them in the second book as I’m fascinated by their stories so far.

INCUBATION is the first book in The Incubation Trilogy, and wow, what a way to kick the series off! I’ve read some of Laura DiSilverio’s cozy mysteries before but I think I love her writing style all the more in this genre. I can’t wait to start on the second book, particularly considering the major cliffhanger that ends INCUBATION. Easily recommended!

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review*

Review: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

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Print books are a black market commodity as the Library provides all the knowledge anyone needs in the Codex. Jess Brightwell has always cherished books, even as his family is part of the black market that smuggles and sells print books to the highest bidders. Unfortunately, Jess holds little interest in following the family business so his father offers him an ultimatum- Jess is to gain admittance to the Library and become an internal asset to the family. Jess has always loved the mystery of the Great Library but he’s about to discover some secrets that have remained hidden for years. What happens when knowledge holds absolute power over the people?

The world building in INK AND BONE is outstanding! Rachel Caine crafts a dark, richly layered world full of political machinations, war, and even the oh so mysterious alchemy that underpins the Library. The scenes with the automaton lions (and other creatures) are spooky. However, it’s the ink-lickers and burners who truly horrified me and solidified the eeriness of a world where physical books are a rarity.

Rachel Caine does a beautiful job with character development in INK AND BONE. Jess is an interesting main character and his love for books permeates every action he takes. However, he recognizes that there is a line between the love of books and the love for human life- a line that the Library doesn’t appear to recognize. I particularly love the glimpses we get into the lives of Jess’ fellow classmates although I have to admit that Scholar Christopher Wolfe’s story intrigues me the most.

INK AND BONE is the first book in The Great Library series and oh my, am I hooked! I’m always a sucker for books about books and it only gets better when the author is none other than the wonderful Rachel Caine. If you love fantasy or dystopian young adult novels, don’t hesitate to give INK AND BONE a try. The deeper themes set INK AND BONE apart from many of the other books in the genre and make it a highly recommended read!