This month has been busy, but I’ve still got some reading done. Of course. Even if it was just during the evenings some days.
Three of these books are parts of series that I finally got around to reading. And only one of them is a library book. Hurray! I’m finally starting to read some of the books on my shelf. Or am adding more books to my shelf. But who really cares?
And if you do, what does it matter? They’re books!
Last month I told you about, A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes. And, this month, I read the second book in the Out of Time Series, A Time to Speak. What happens when one expected to die and finds themselves alive? With a mission to help and lead people who hate them?
Writing: 5 out of 5; well written and engaging. Like the first book, the style reminds me of how a biography would follow a person’s life more than the normal novel story arc, though there is an arc too . At the same time, it was a bit quicker with more action than the first book.
Characters: 5 out of 5; the poor characters. Nadine hasn’t grown any more merciful in the second book. But I love them. They are distinct and very human. And Parvin’s struggles connect me to her so closely even though we aren’t very much alike.
Dialogue: 5 out of 5; Fresh, strong.
Theme: 5 out of 5; Very clear and foundational to the story, but at no time does Parvin’s struggles seemed forced or sections turn preachy.
Recommendation: 5 out of 5; I highly recommend this book. Though be warned, the end will leave you in anguished expectation for A Time To Rise which comes out this fall.
I wrote about the first two books in The Blades of Acktar last month. In a fantasy land, set in some obscure corner of our world, Christians must worship in secret to escape the wrath of an evil king and his handpicked blades: assassins proficient at spying and fighting with knives. But now in Defy, war covers the land, Renna is a captive with a horrible choice before her, and the price Leith must pay to rescue her is indescribably high…assuming the rebels will even trust him enough to let him help.
Writing: 4 out of 5
Characters: 4.5 out of 5; there was so much character development in so many characters in this book. Especially Renna. And the things things Tricia makes her characters suffer…I’m so glad I’m not one of them.
Dialogue: 4.5 out of 5
Theme: 4.5 out of 5; Very clear and very up front, but it didn’t proceed to the point where it was annoying and preachy.
Recommendation: 4.5 out of 5; This is my favorite of the three books, and there’s a fourth book coming! I loved Renna in this book, and Leith, and basically everyone. Defy is a fitting climax to the last two books and is a exciting read filled with danger, turmoil, and treachery.
And here’s another third book in a trilogy, Arrow by R. J. Anderson. This was also a fitting climax to the No Ordinary Fairy Tale trilogy. In a world where fairies are real, they’re far from innocent glittering pixies. With an evil empress, rebels determined to fight for their freedom, and a fairy determined to stop bloodshed before it’s too late, this is a fascinating story. If you like reading about fairies, then this is a version of their life you will very much enjoy.
Writing: 4.5 out of 5; good pace; very interesting.
Characters: 4.5 out of 5; fairy and human are both excellently done, though compared to some of the other books I’ve read this month, they don’t have as many distinct quirks as they could. But still, well done.
Dialogue: 4.5 out of 5; sound, solid.
Theme: 5 out of 5; Subtly woven into the story.
Recommendation: 4.5 out of 5; I loved all three books in this trilogy. The climax didn’t disappoint and is probably my favorite of all three. I love the main character, the settings, the other characters…an exciting read.
And finally there’s this book. A single book, not part of a series, just one beautiful, delicious, single book…Waking Beauty by Sarah E Morin! I heard about this book during The Very Serious Writing show podcast and, when I saw it at the library, I couldn’t resist. What happens when a prince wakes up the Sleeping Beauty, but she refuses to believe she’s awake? What happens when a princess has been tormented by dreams for so long, she won’t let anything close to her heart for fear it will be torn away again?
Writing: 4.6 out of 5; a little slow at the beginning but very interesting.
Characters: 5 out of 5; fresh, fun, distinct.
Dialogue: 5 out of 5; sound, solid.
Theme: 5 out of 5; subtle at the beginning, but the depth of allegory by the end stunned me.
Recommendation: 5 out of 5; I loved this retelling of Sleeping Beauty! I enjoyed reading about the ‘after it all happened’ story and the allegory was wonderful. If you like fantasy and fairy tales, I highly recommend this book.
How about you? Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned and what did you think? What other Christian fantasy books do you love?
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