Review: Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop

Alexis:

I hate giving a book 2 stars, but this one just wasn’t doing it for me.

I liked the overall idea, and I enjoyed the descriptions of the food. 

However, the writing style was stiff and didn’t have any variety to it; it felt like every sentence was the same length. It was very much so “She said this. They did this.” 

I found the dialogue and characters to be the same. The dialogue sounded very unnatural, and it didn’t help that all of the characters talked the same way. There was no subtext to the dialogue; it was all, “I’m sorry Auntie. I didn’t mean it.” “That’s okay. I still love you, Vanessa.”

Besides that, there was a lot of name dropping. There’s a scene in the Louvre where Vanessa and her love interest dissect every piece of art. Vanessa constantly talks about how fancy her aunt is, and name drops designers left and right. At times, it felt overly elitist. 

The romance in the book was also pretty weird, including insta-love that just didn’t feel genuine to me. 

And finally, whenever the background characters heard one of Vanessa’s predictions, they always accepted them as truth. I found this odd. I’d be very weirded out if I heard a prediction about my life come out of a stranger’s mouth, and I expected there to be more conflict from this. 

I was hoping this book would be a nice, easy change of pace, but I just found it a little disappointing. 

VERDICT: ⭐⭐/5

Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Alexis:

The Bone Season is packed with worldbuilding information. From the first page, Shannon slams you into a futuristic London where clairvoyants have to hide in order to survive and avoid persecution. The main character, Paige, works for an underground crime gang of voyants, each with a varying forms of power. But when Paige is drugged and kidnapped, she’s forced into slavery by an alien race called the Rephaim.

I tried to read this book sometime late last year but I wasn’t in the mood. This time around, the beginning of the book was just as hard to get through. Shannon wastes no time trying to explain Paige’s world. She introduces a plethora of jargon that I had to slog through until I figured it out, or until Shannon gave an explanation. And once I got used to that, Paige was thrown into the Rephaim’s space, and then I had to learn a whole new set of jargon.

Shannon certainly understands the world she’s created. I do wish the beginning of the book wasn’t so much of a chore to get through. I never fully understood all of the terms or all that was happening, and maybe that’s partly my fault for being a fast reader and not letting the information properly sink in.  

On the plus side, the first half of this book felt wholly original, despite the dystopian world and the aliens. I enjoyed learning about the world once I understood it a little more. The voyants and Paige’s abilities surrounding dreamscapes were fascinating and well-written by Shannon. I also really enjoyed the plot.

My favorite part of the book was Paige. Sometimes I struggle with liking main characters, and oftentimes strong female characters are strong and impulsive for the sake of it. But I really connected with her character. I found her actions and feelings true to her character and her surroundings. I think her flashback scenes and memories could’ve happened earlier on, though.

My biggest issues with the book happened in the second half. I wanted to understand Nashira more, so that I could understand her better as the villian. I also wanted to get to know Warden better. I liked his character, but by the end, Shannon never fully explained his motives.

I’m interested to see how Shannon will create a seven book long series. She definitely teased a lot of information for the next book.

VERDICT: 4 stars

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SPOILERS BELOW:

 I had a feeling that romance was coming, but I didn’t want to believe it. Romance doesn’t fit in The Bone Season. It’s about survival and Paige finding herself and developing her powers.

It would’ve been better if it had grown over more time. But Paige didn’t trust Warden and then all of a sudden she was having feelings for him. It just doesn’t help that was a huge part of her being kept as a slave: beaten, broken, and even branded. His true intentions don’t really matter, because he was still involved in it. So it made the romance problematic for me.