Review: Forestborn by Elayne Audrey Becker

Alexis' arm, in a corduroy jacket, holds a copy of Forestborn on top of a fence, with a view of woods behind it.

Alexis:

5-star review!

Forestborn follows Rora, a shifter. Though feared by humans, she and her younger brother, Helos, live under the protection of King Gerar, as Rora spies for him. But when Prince Finley, Rora’s best friend, falls ill with a spreading magical illness, she’s tasked by the king to find the cure. Together with Prince Weslyn, Finley’s older brother, and Helos, Rora treks through dangerous woods in search of stardust. 

I loved this book! Rora is an amazing main character; sometimes protagonists can feel a little one-dimensional, but Rora is anything but. I loved her backstory, motivations, and character arc. Helon and Weslyn are also great, well-rounded characters, and I loved the dynamic between the three of them.

Becker’s writing is lovely, and I loved how the setting, despite being magical, feels grounded. I loved the quest plotline, the subplots, and the magic system. Not only was the pacing great throughout the entire story, but the ending set up a lot for the sequel, which I can’t wait to read!

VERDICT: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My Summer Re-Read of Harry Potter

Alexis:

Before Coronavirus and JK Rowling’s (yet another) transphobic comment, I planned on re-reading the Harry Potter series this summer. My goal was to browse used bookstores to finish my own collection of the series. But now, I’m going to be reading my family’s copies, as well as my own copies of the 5th and 7th books. 

I finished re-reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and it was so much fun! I haven’t read the entire series in such a long time; it’s definitely been over 10 years.

The first book is chock-full of subtext and foreshadowing. Harry learns at the end of the first book, from Quirrell, no less, that the reason Snapes hates him is because he and James went to school together, and James saved his life. There’s even a paragraph at the end where Harry muses that it seems like Dumbledore wanted him to face Voldemort. I enjoyed re-experiencing all of the plot points and the side characters that the movie missed. But that being said, it was also nice to be reminded that the first movie took so many direct quotes from the book.

Even characters that come into play later, like Sirius and Lavender Brown, are mentioned in this book.

I loved immersing myself in the Wizarding World again, and I’m looking forward to re-reading the rest of the series!

ϟ 9¾

Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Alexis: Read 2/20/19

Ruin and Rising was certainly the best book of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy. I disliked Alina’s character in the first two books, and I felt like she became a more complex character in this one. Additionally, Mal had zero personality in the first two books, and he felt more real to me in Ruin and Rising, as well.

Everyone can agree with me here: Nikolai is still the most vibrant character. He has a sparkling personality and he knows what he wants. He echoes the beginning of Bardugo’s masterfully crafted characters in the Six of Crows series.

As for the plot, I feel like the first half of the book meanders. There’s a whole host of secondary characters that I didn’t really care about, except for Genya.

And time for an unpopular opinion: I don’t like the Darkling. He’s creepy, manipulative, and honestly rapey. His beauty doesn’t make up for that.

SPOILERS BELOW:

Okay, so I really enjoyed the plot twists in the second half of the book. Mal being the third amplifier? Nikolai getting turned into a monster? I didn’t see either of those coming, and it made the book more exciting!

The ending felt very Hunger Games to me: boy and girl get together and live a nice, normal life together, where they can grieve together forever. I honestly didn’t mind the ending, as I think it was the happiest ending for Alina and Mal. But Alina losing her power was anticlimactic and confusing. It felt unnecessary. Plus, she had such a good character arc by Ruin and Rising that I felt it was unfair for her to return to how she was in the beginning of the series.

Despite some of my issues with this book, I really enjoy the Grishaverse and I couldn’t put this book down. I enjoyed seeing Bardugo’s writing style evolve!

VERDICT: 4 out of 5 books