Waiting on Wednesday: The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King

The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King

Paperback, 300 pages
Expected publication: June 1st 2017 by Skyscape
Such a compelling read that I had to finish it in a day. I couldn’t get myself to put it down for very long!  It was also refreshing to visit a different culture than that of European origin or inspiration.  I love fantasy books that use knights and dragons and lush forests, but it’s also fun to visit the desert.  Drawing on Sumerian mythology and desert nation cultures, King did a great job of blending magic and intrigue into a maturation and finding-self tale.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson

Dark Breaks the Dawn

Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: May 30th 2017 by Scholastic Press
Today’s second Waiting on Wednesday comes to you because I had already featured Dragon’s Green a couple months ago.  Oops!  So instead of deleting it, I decided to just share a second title that I’m excited for that comes out at the end of the month.  I’m so far behind on my May reading (I haven’t even finished ACOWAR yet!), so I don’t think I’ll get this one read for review before it’s release date.  BUT, I am super excited about the premise and really hope I can get back to it after I catch up with June.  So many good books to read, and no time to read them. LOL

Summary:

On her eighteenth birthday, Princess Evelayn of Eadrolan, the Light Kingdom, can finally access the full range of her magical powers. The light looks brighter, the air is sharper, and the energy she can draw when fighting feels almost limitless.

But while her mother, the queen, remains busy at the war front, in the Dark Kingdom of Dorjhalon, the corrupt king is plotting. King Bain wants control of both kingdoms, and his plan will fling Evelayn into the throne much sooner than she expected.

In order to defeat Bain and his sons, Evelayn will quickly have to come into her ability to shapeshift, and rely on the alluring Lord Tanvir. But not everyone is what they seem, and the balance between the Light and Dark comes at a steep price.

In the first book of a remarkable duology, Sara B. Larson sets the stage for her reimagining of Swan Lake — a lush romance packed with betrayal, intrigue, magic, and adventure.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Sand Warrior by Mark Siegel

The Sand Warrior (5 Worlds, #1)

Hardcover, Graphic Novel
Expected publication: May 2nd 2017 by Random House Books for Young Readers
I ran out of time to read this one before it publishes, but I still wanted to share it with all of you.  This full-color graphic novel features a diverse group of children and fun-sounding magic.  It’s still definitely on my TBR!

Summary:

The Five Worlds are on the brink of extinction unless five ancient and mysterious beacons are lit. When war erupts, three unlikely heroes will discover there’s more to themselves and more to their worlds than meets the eye. . . .
The clumsiest student at the Sand Dancer Academy, Oona Lee is a fighter with a destiny bigger than she could ever imagine.
A boy from the poorest slums, An Tzu has a surprising gift and a knack for getting out of sticky situations.
Star athlete Jax Amboy is beloved by an entire galaxy, but what good is that when he has no real friends?
When these three kids are forced to team up on an epic quest, it will take not one, not two, but 5 WORLDS to contain all the magic and adventure!

Waiting on Wednesday: Dragon’s Green by Scarlett Thomas

Dragon's Green (Worldquake Sequence, #1)

354 pages
Expected publication: April 6th 2017 by Canongate Books
Besides the fact that this book has Dragon in its title, I was super intrigued that this book focuses on an old family library, which leads to crazy puzzles and adventures.  The UK cover is gorgeous, and I think I read somewhere that it was going to be glow-in-the-dark for the first print run.  Or maybe that was for a special edition?  Either way, so excited to read this one!

Summary:

‘Some people think opening a book is a simple thing. It’s not. Most people don’t realise that you can get truly lost in a book. You can. Especially you. Do not open any of these books without my permission, Euphemia.’
Effie is a pupil at the Tusitala School for the Gifted and Strange. When her grandfather becomes ill she discovers she is set to inherit the family library. The more she learns about it the more unusual it is. Before she knows it, her life is at risk from dark forces from this world and beyond, intent on using the books and the power they contain.
With her grandfather gone and the adult world ignoring her, can her unreliable classmates help save her life?
Packed with puzzles, curses, evil nemeses and a troupe of beguiling heroes, Dragon’s Green is an adventure novel for children about the nature of magic. It is the first in a chapter-book series for fans of Pullman’s Northern Lights, Diana Wynne Jones’ Chrestomanci series, T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events series and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

The Beast Is an Animal

Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: February 28th 2017 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
This book sounds amazing and that cover is gorgeous.  After reading And the Trees Crept In last year, I’ve discovered that reading books that border on the thriller/horror line can be quite fun to read (for me as I have issues with a lot of horror stuff).  I don’t know that I’ll be able to read this in the near future as I’m booked for several reviews and blog tours coming up, but I really hope to get to it this year!

Summary:

A girl with a secret talent must save her village from the encroaching darkness in this haunting and deeply satisfying tale.

Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village.

These soul eaters, twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human, devour human souls. Alys, and all the other children, were spared—and they were sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.

Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch. When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from the outside—and from within her own heart and soul.

Waiting on Wednesday: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

Hardcover, 544 pages
Expected publication: March 28th 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
 After waiting
and waiting
and waiting
and waiting,
and then some more waiting in desperation,
I can finally say that I’ve read this book!

And it was awesomely amazing!

When Laini Taylor spoke at the SLJ Day of Dialog in May of 2016, she spoke about our myth-hole.  The part of your soul that craves mythology and storytelling.  Well, Strange the Dreamer made me realize just how empty my myth-hole has been the last couple of months.  Part of that has been stress from work, but another part of that has been the books I’ve chosen to read.  There were some stand-outs (i.e. A Shadow Bright and Burning), but I had been reading to finish lists and challenges, so it felt like “required” reading.

Well, no more!  Laini’s beautiful wordsmithing has reawakened my awareness of my myth-hole’s requirements, and I’ll be paying closer attention to what I want to read while still working in books that I’ve promised to read (either to NetGalley or authors).  I did make a point to only request things that I was really excited about instead of titles that just looked kind of interesting, so that shouldn’t be much of a problem anyway.

I really don’t want to spoil anything about this book, so I’ll just leave a few quick statements about the actual book and leave it to you to read the story 🙂  I can’t wait for the sequel to come out though.  I hope we don’t have to wait too long!

The characters had a lot of depth and interpersonal reactions that felt solid and true in a fantastical setting.

The setting was beautifully described with vivid imagery without taking any of the focus away from the story or characters.

The ending was complete but also a cliffhanger.  It was the kind of wrap-up that leaves you wanting more but not with the anger of a crazed person.

Summary:

Strange the Dreamer is the story of:

the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular dream
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

Waiting on Wednesday: Ariadnis by Josh Martin

Ariadnis

Paperback, UK Paperback, 356 pages
Expected publication: February 9th 2017 by Hachette
I accidentally stumbled across this title while browsing Twitter, I think.  Anyway, I loved how catching the cover was and the synopsis sounded like something I’d like.  It’s not available in the States yet, so I went looking on Book Depository and put in the order.  It will be very interesting to see where this story goes.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Wintersong

Hardcover, 448 pages
Expected publication: February 7th 2017 by Thomas Dunne
 I liked this book, but I didn’t LOVE this book.  The story and characters didn’t live up to my expectations, which stemmed from learning this is a Labyrinth reimagining, and, in the end, I couldn’t overcome my disappointment.  That’s not to say the writing isn’t good, and I know that people have–and will–love this book.  But, I didn’t, and that makes me sad.
To try and explain my feelings without being spoilery, I’m going to use my older method of review with pro/con bullet points.  I apologize if there are minor spoilers, but I’ve tried my best to avoid them.

Pros:

  • The characters have depth that matches the story
  • Goblins act like goblins
  • Focus on music throughout
  • I liked the inclusion of both the old religion and the new
  • We get to see what happens after the main character goes through the “labyrinth”

Cons:

  • Not enough clever riddles
  • The term “sacrifice” means you give something up completely (to me anyway) and that’s not how it was used in this novel
  • Goblin King presents as sullen throughout most of the book
  • I wanted the Goblin King to be snarky and clever, and he fell far short of that
  • The ending was unsatisfactory after the rest of the novel, not a cliffhanger, per se, but close to it

I’m hoping this author has more stories to tell, so I can give it another go.  Normally, I prefer authors to focus on the characters’ development, but here I felt like the story was under done.  As a debut, this was a fun effort, I just wanted more.

Summary:

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.