The Gunslinger- Stephen King *Book Review*

“The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.”

Roland Deschain is the last of the line of eld, gunslingers, who shoot with their hearts and never with their hands. Roland is on a quest to reach The Dark Tower and he pursues the mysterious man in black like a man possessed.

I DNFed this book the first time I tried to read it and I can’t really remember why. I was about halfway through and at some point I just set it down and never picked it back up. So when I received a complete box set of all the Dark Tower books from my boyfriend I was very excited to give it another go.

I found the Gunslinger nothing short of enchanting the second time around. I found myself constantly wanting to pick it back up once I put it down. I just had to know what Roland was going to do next, where he was going to go, what he was going to see. The world that Stephen King has created here is so weird and unlike anything I’ve ever read before and I love that. I love the snippets of culture we get throughout the book, such as the greetings between characters: “Long days and pleasant nights,” “And may you have twice the number.”

Roland is like a little bit of Lord of the Rings’ Aragorn and a lot of The Good the Bad and the Ugly’s Blondie. He’s gruff, handsome, and completely self motivated. He’s such a fun character to follow and I loved getting to see this world through his eyes.

All that being said, I don’t think I’d recommend this to someone unwilling to be open minded or someone who turns away high fantasy stories. There’s a lot to take in here and I think it could be a little overwhelming if you’re one of those people who needs to understand everything immediately.

I for one had a great time with this one and I cannot wait to continue my own journey to the dark tower.

Final verdict: 4/5 stars

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The Cruel Prince- Holly Black *Book Review*

Jude does not belong in Faerie. For one thing, she and her twin sister are human. The other thing is that the father of their half sister murdered their parents and spirited them away to his stronghold. Jude is tormented by Prince Cardan and his gang of equally merciless friends. All she wants is to find a place where she belongs. With the new king’s coronation fast upon her, Jude must fight not only for her future but for the lives of all others living in Faerie.

I was so worried that this book was going to be a cliched disappointment. I was ready for a premature enemies-to-lovers plot with predictable twists and turns. What I got was a beautifully crafted story in a truly enchanting world. The characters, the settings, the royal intrigue, all came together to form a rich folklore that feels like it’s really existed for hundreds of years.

The book itself is cosmetically gorgeous with poems segmenting the story, a map of Faerie and lovely chapter illustrations. The version I have has a striking dust jacket and cover art on the book itself.

The story is fast paced and I found myself unable to put it down for too long. There was not a dull moment to be found.

That all being said, The Cruel Prince is not perfect. A couple times throughout the book, characters (usually Jude) do some really baffling things that go against what we’re lead to think they would do, perhaps in an attempt to show “development,” I’m not sure. It comes off as contrived and stupid but I was able to those parts slide and I still had fun overall. The ending is a bit sudden but not altogether unsatisfying.

If you’re a fan of fairy stories, TOG, or ACOTAR by S. J. Maas you cannot skip this one, it’s a must-read.

Final verdict: 5/5 stars

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Wicked Like a Wildfire- Lana Popovic *Book Review*

Iris and Malina are twins that have inherited a “gleam” from their mother, Jasmina, who they live with in the quaint town of Cattaro, Montenegro. Malina can sing enchanting songs and Iris can make kaleidoscopic fractals appear from shapes and patterns. Iris has a very strained relationship with her mother and things get out of hand when a mysterious woman shows up at their cafe and days later Jasmina is violently attacked. While they try to find out who’s responsible and why, the sisters unravel a mysterious thread that ties them to their magic and a long line of uncannily beautiful women.

I wanted to love this book so badly and for the first few pages I was so sure I was going to. I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads and I’m sad to say that I feel I was being fairly generous since a 2.7 isn’t an option. This book was so confused about what it wanted to be that it all came together in a jarring mess of tones and twists that I had a hard time keeping track of. This book is like 80% gorgeous descriptions (I’ll never say Popovic doesn’t have a way with words there), 10% fantasy epic, 5% murder mystery, and 5% teen romance drama. The beginning is great, then it completely falls down a hole about 75 or so pages in and it doesn’t pick up until about 250. This was so close to being my first DNF of 2018.

There are passages that blew me away with how wonderful the imagery was and then one page later I’d be rolling my eyes at the juvenile dialogue between some pretty weak characters. Iris is the only interesting character. The magical abilities are cool but I really don’t feel like I got to know anyone in this book besides her. This made for some really unbelievable romances that I didn’t buy at all. The only one I could sort of subscribe to was between Iris’ sister and another character that we still don’t know too much about. The plot twists are half-assed and there’s a huge plot device that was just dropped and left for dead halfway through.

I’m so sad this book wasn’t what I’d hoped for because it had so much potential. I could maybe be convinced to read the next one at some point but my expectations will be so much lower.

Final verdict: 2/5 stars

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