Review: This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede

A Kindle rests on a marble table next to a Nintento Switch with Animal Crossing, surrounded by cactus/succulent votive candles

Alexis: Are you looking to add more fantasy romance reads to your 2022 tbr?

Synopsis:

In This Vicious Grace, Alessa is the Finestra, chosen by the Gods to ward off the coming apocalypse. But she needs a magical partner, and unfortunately for everyone, she keeps accidentally killing everyone she touches. When she survives an assassination attempt, she hires a street fighter named Dante as her bodyguard, who ends up helping her in ways she never imagined. 

Review:

This was such a fun book! The banter and the chemistry between Alessa and Dante was great. Dante is your classic broody love interest. And I loved reading about Alessa figuring out how to control her powers.

I especially enjoyed Alessa’s character arc. The story focuses on Alessa growing as a person as she overcomes loneliness and self-doubt. It’s a character-driven story, which I love, but just be aware going into it that it’s not plot heavy until the end. Because of this, the main plot didn’t feel as high-stakes as it could have.

If you’re looking for a book with the vibes of Kingdom of the Wicked and From Blood and Ash, then I definitely recommend it!

VERDICT: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

PUB DAY: June 28, 2022

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press/Wednesday Books for my e-ARC!

Review: The Bone Maker by Sarah Beth Durst

Alexis holds a paperback copy of The Bone Maker in front of the beach: sand and a wave crashing on shore.

Alexis:

Despite copious amounts of rain, our beach trip ended up being a successful reading trip! While The Bone Maker isn’t the usual kind of beach read, I’m always in the mood for a spooky read.

The Bone Maker follows Kreya, a hermit living in a tower with no one for company but her constructs, little creatures and dolls she created from pieces of bone. Oh, and her dead husband, Jentt, who she raises from the dead as often as she can.

Twenty-five years ago, Kreya and her group of heroes risked their lives to defeat the bone maker Eklor—a corrupt magician who created an inhuman army using animal bones. The heroes reunite to help Kreya on her journey.

The story is primarily told from Kreya’s POV, though we dive into each of the character’s heads at one point or another. I thought the world was super interesting. There are bone makers, who created constructs from bones; bone wizards, who create talismans with powers (think playing an action card in a card game); and bone readers, who predict the future by reading bones. The characters’ successful backstory was great fuel for the plot, and I almost wish I could read a prologue book!

While I liked the plot, I really enjoyed getting to know the cast of characters. This book has the perfect balance of darkness (lots of bones, dead people, war, and death) and lightness (witty dialogue, funny characters). I love when I can find an adult fantasy that also has humor and great dialogue. But what kept this book from being 5 stars is that I wanted to get to know the characters even more! That, and the plot didn’t feel as urgent as it probably should have. 

If you’re looking for a fun book with necromancy, defeating evil, and a journey with loveable characters, then I think you’ll enjoy this.

VERDICT: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Review: The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

Alexis holds a library copy of The Bone Shard Daughter in front of a fence and trees.

Alexis:

At first, I wasn’t sure this book would be for me. I was unaware that it has a total of five POVs, some in first person and some in third person, something I’m usually not a fan of. The writing style is slightly more “tell” rather than “show,” and the book takes a while to set up the scene for each character.

However, I found myself drawn into this story. All of the characters have very interesting backstories and motivations, and I found their stories engaging, and the world itself to be fascinating. While Jovis’ perspective was my favorite, as he seemed to have the most personality (and more page time than the other characters, besides Lin) I never found myself bored by any of the perspectives. 

While the pacing remains fairly slow throughout the book, I hardly noticed it, because there was such an atmosphere of mystery and suspense; there were so many mysterious things working in the background that I found myself endlessly curious about, and I kept wanting to know what was going to happen!

While I sometimes struggle with the accessibility and writing style of adult fantasy, I found this book to be a great segway from my usual YA fantasy. It was also nice to see a fellow twenty-something in a book, as Lin is twenty-three.

So here’s what you need to know before going into this book:

Lin, the Emperor’s Daughter, is trying her best to get her memories back after an illness. She’s also trying to figure out what her father, who can wield bone shards, is keeping from her. 

Jovis, the Empire’s best smuggler, is on a mission to find his long-ago kidnapped wife. He finds a mysterious little otter-like creature, Mephi, who becomes his sidekick, and who quickly became my favorite!

Phalue is the daughter of Nephilanu Island’s governor. She’s a fighter who’s trying to win the hand of her girlfriend. 

Ranami, Phalue’s girlfriend, is a woman with a heart of gold who’s doing her best to make a difference in the world. 

And finally, Sand is a woman stuck on a remote island, whose job is harvesting mangoes. But she doesn’t remember why she, or the other island inhabitants, are there, how she arrived, or who she really is.

The Bone Shard Daughter is one heck of a debut, filled with political intrigue, creatures created from bone shards called constructs, and a chilling yet thrilling ending filled with twists and turns.

VERDICT: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐