Thursday, May 18, 2017

Mini Reviews - Caraval, Half Lost, The Midnight Star, The Gauntlet, & Norse Mythology


Happy Thursday, everyone!  Today, I'm sharing mini reviews of five recent favorite fantasy reads: Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber, Half Lost (The Half Bad Trilogy #3) by Sally Green, The Midnight Star (The Young Elites #3) by Marie Lu, The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi, and Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman.  I've been really lucky to have found such wonderful stories and had the opportunity to read them nearly back to back.  Read on for my mini reviews:


❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ 

Caraval by Stephanie Garber is quite an impressive YA debut! The hype for this novel is sky high, and while I enjoyed this 2017 debut it didn't fully live up to all of the hype in my mind. That being said I was absolutely hooked on Garber's writing style and the world of the Caraval. I loved the dark twists and turns, the magic, and the mystery at the heart of the story, although I will admit that I was expecting a bit more of a carnival story than how it turned out. As for the characters, Tella grated on my nerves (am I getting old?), Scarlett grew on me, and Julian totally stole the show (even though I was suspicious of him from the get-go). The world-building for the Caraval is pretty great, but I wish we had a better look at the wider world where Scarlett and Tella live. Overall, if you like The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, I have a feeling that you'll love Stephanie Garber's debut novel. Now it's just a waiting game until the release of the sequel!



I read this novel from March 16 - March 23, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.



❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ 

What an excellent ending to a favorite series! Sure, it really put me through the wringer pretty much throughout, especially that ending, but it's well worth it. This series is just stunning and if you haven't read it I can't recommend it enough, so just get to reading. I don't think you'll be disappointed in how it turns out. By the way, the audiobook production is absolutely stunning. I think Carl Prekopp is getting added to my list of favorite narrators!



I listened to this audiobook from April 2 - April 8, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.



❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ 

I had high hopes for the grand finale of The Young Elites series, and I have to say that The Midnight Star fully delivers. It has everything I could have hoped for in this satisfying conclusion. That's not to say I could predict what exactly coming because it kept me on my toes with each twist and reveal, but honestly as I thought there was only one way it could really end. Of course, it's very dark and heartbreaking at times, so be sure to have tissues at hand while reading. Adelina isn't exactly a good character, if you've read the series you know she's done some downright evil things, but she is certainly one of the most fascinating characters I've read in awhile. If you're interested in morally gray or villainous leading characters, I highly recommend Marie Lu's The Young Elites series.


I listened to this audiobook from April 8 - April 12, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.



❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ 

The Gauntlet, a reverse steampunk-esque Jumanji and meets The Wizard of Oz inspired MG adventure with a Middle Eastern flair, is exactly my cup of tea! I don't know about you, but the moment I heard about this novel I immediately knew I had to get my hands on a copy. I don't read middle grade that often, but this one sounded like it would be well worth my time. Sure enough, it absolutely paid off. There is so much to love about Riazi's diverse fantasy debut - it has something for everyone and it is perfect for readers of all ages who love a good adventure. I'm really looking forward to Karuna Riazi's next project!



I read this book from April 14 - April 20, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.



❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ 

If you're interested in mythology of any kind this is a must-read, especially on audio. Gaiman himself provides the narration and it's just wonderful. I have to give him credit for pronouncing all of those words! I couldn't help myself but imagine Marvel Cinematic's and Rick Riordan's take on Norse mythology while I was listening. I would love to have heard more of Frey and Freya. Even if you don't know much about Norse mythology going in, Gaiman's retelling of these tales is very accessible.



I listened to this audiobook from May 13 - May 16, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.


Thanks and congratulations if you made it this far!  Have you read any of these books yet?  If so, I hope you enjoyed them as well.

18 comments:

  1. Wow, so many reviews, look at you go! I've read Caraval and The Midnight Star and I loved both of those as well. I can't wait to read the next book in the Caraval series - that epilogue at the end of Caraval promises SO much more. :D Wonderful reviews, Lauren!

    Have a wonderful week. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Alyssa! I'm playing catch up... :)

      I can't wait to see where the sequel to Caraval will take us.

      Delete
  2. I should get back to Green's series. I read the first one and enjoyed it quite a bit (Half Bad?). For some reason I didn't ever move along to the next one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Half Bad - book 2 is called Half Wild. The series is one of my all time favorites. :)

      Delete
  3. I adored Caraval when I read it, and am eager to see more of that world. I have been avoiding Midnight Star. It's a thing I do with series enders for worlds I love. I may bite the bullet soon to see how it all ends.
    Sam @ WLABB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I put off The Midnight Star for as long as I could - I just didn't want that series to end. I hope you'll enjoy it once you get there. :)

      Delete
  4. It's great that you liked all the books here! My expectations for Caraval are actually super low, because of all the hype! I'm pretty wary, as I'm sure you can tell. :D I tried to read Half Bad two years ago, and just couldn't get into it. I'm glad you loved it though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I hope you'll like Caravel when you try it, Genni! :)

      Delete
  5. I loved Caraval and I'm glad you liked it! For a debut I thought it was really great. I still need to get on to the Young Elites! Book one has been sitting on my shelf for a while now and I desperately want to read it. I haven't picked up Norse Mythology yet, either, and I love Neil Gaiman so I don't know what's stopping me from doing so. Glad you enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's a very strong debut! I really hope you love The Young Elites - I actually prefer the series to Legend. :)

      Happy reading, Sam.

      Delete
  6. I'm glad you give Caraval such high praise since it's on my TBR. I'm interested in the Gaiman book but don't know when I'll get around to it. Great reviews on these.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gaiman hasn't let me down yet. Happy reading, Barb!

      Delete
  7. If you're getting old then so am I cause Tella grated on me at times as well! I really, really need to read The Young Elites because I love morally ambiguous characters!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I really need to read this latest by Gaiman. Yes, I have listened to other books by him, he's an incredible narrator on top of it all!

    ReplyDelete