25.7.17

Blog Tour: Giveaway: Review: Buried Heart by Kate Elliott


Book Covertitle: Buried Heart
author: Kate Elliott
pages: 448
format: Hardcover
buy it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | TBD
rating: 5/5 (from hated to loved) or 8.5/10 (all books I've ever read)
recommended for: Fans of The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkowski, Red Rising by Pierce Brown, The Scorpion Rule by Erin Bow, and other gritty, epic sci-fi/fantasy.
The explosive finale to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's captivating, New York Times bestselling young adult series.

In this third book in the epic Court of Fives series, Jessamy is the crux of a revolution forged by the Commoner class hoping to overthrow their longtime Patron overlords. But enemies from foreign lands have attacked the kingdom, and Jes must find a way to unite the Commoners and Patrons to defend their home and all the people she loves. Will her status as a prominent champion athlete be enough to bring together those who have despised one another since long before her birth? Will she be able to keep her family out of the clutches of the evil Lord Gargaron? And will her relationship with Prince Kalliarkos remain strong when they find themselves on opposite sides of a war? Find all the answers in this beautifully written and exciting conclusion to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's debut New York Times bestselling young adult trilogy!


in depth


  • It's difficult to say goodbye to such a powerful series, and even more difficult to finish it on a strong, satisfying note. I should never have doubted Kate Elliott. She is a true master of fantasy, from her fluid, lush prose to her atmospheric worldbuilding to her multifaceted characters. From the first page of Court of Fives to the last page of Buried Heart, she spins a story of oppression, adventure, love, loss, rebellion, and redemption that eclipses almost any other series in the genre. 

  • We return to Jes in crisis. I was so afraid for this book. The climax of Poisoned Blade left Jes' world in shambles, and just from that and the blurb, I knew there would be difficult waters ahead. Elliott pulls no punches in her plotting. Characters are run through the wringer, forced into impossible choices, made to suffer grandly and break their own hearts. I was never sure of the outcome. Although I trusted Elliott to deliver something monumental and realistic, I just didn't trust her not to kill my darlings. 

  • It's no surprise, then, that it's a tense novel. Elliott weaves a plot of rebellion and betrayal, political machinations and war, into a familiar narrative of colonizer and colonized, Saroese and Efean. Will good Saroese like Kal take risks to undo injustice, or will they choose comfort over justice? Given the racial injustices in the US right now, with similar exhortations from some privileged liberals--be patient, slow change, etc.--it was an uncomfortable narrative to swallow. I could identify well with Kal, who never asked to be in this position, who could only do the right thing if he sacrificed the world he knew. 

  • That discomfort is essential, because you can't think deeply without it. This third book is an incisive criticism and exploration of how broken systems fail everyone within them. It doesn't flinch from calling out even unintentional oppressors, and when redemption is given, there is a cost, there are reparations, and it's messy and real. It did feel like every Efean tradition was better than every Saroese tradition (a bit of overkill), but for the most part, Elliott did a good job of considering the gray realities of war. 

  • I won't tell you how it all works out. I couldn't possibly do it justice. Buried Heart is full of surprises. Elliott drops bombs and ties up loose threads so cleverly, threads you'd forgotten about until she brings them back and you're gasping in shocked satisfaction. We get to see Jes grow so much in this book. She's forced to reckon with the two halves of herself, to deal with the fact that even though she is one whole person, she can only align with one way of life. Jes is a heroine worthy to stand next to Lyra Silvertongue, Hermione Granger, and Katniss Everdeen. The cast around her is varied and complex, real people with personal motives and moral ambiguity. 

  • If I haven't sold you on these books, I can only say: you're missing out on one of the best young adult fantasy series of all time. No exaggeration. It has the intricacy of Marie Rutkowski, the magic of Tamora Pierce, and a precision and flair that is all Elliott's own. Buried Heart is a dazzling conclusion to a breathtaking journey. My only regret is that, for now, I have to leave Efea behind. 

        in a sentence

        Buried Heart is a dazzling conclusion to a breathtaking journey, gorgeously written and intricately plotted. 


        rating         



        will i read this author again?  Yes probably immediately or as soon as humanly possible  
        will i continue the series?  It's perfect as is, but also I kind of want more... 



        Note: I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions. 



        meet the author 

        Kate Elliott has been writing stories since she was nine years old, which has led her to believe that writing, like breathing, keeps her alive. As a child in rural Oregon, she made up stories because she longed to escape to a world of lurid adventure fiction. She now writes fantasy, steampunk, science fiction, and YA, including recent works Black Wolves, Court of Fives, and Cold Magic.

        It should come as no surprise that she met her future husband in a sword fight. When he gave up police work to study archaeology, they and their three children fell into an entirely new set of adventures amid dusty Mexican ruins and mouthwatering European pastry shops. Eventually her spouse’s work forced them to move to Hawaii, where she took up outrigger canoe paddling. With the three children out of the house, they now spoil the schnauzer.






        enter to win

        a Rafflecopter giveaway




        take the tour 


        Week One:
        7/17/2017- YA Books Central- Interview
        7/18/2017- The Eater of Books!Review
        7/19/2017- Novel NoviceGuest Post
        7/20/2017- Just CommonlyReview
        7/21/2017- Two Chicks on BooksInterview

        Week Two:
        7/24/2017- My Thoughts LiterallyReview
        7/25/2017- Sarcasm & LemonsReview
        7/26/2017- Stephanie PlotkinReview
        7/27/2017- PaperTrailYAExcerpt
        7/28/2017- Seeing Double In NeverlandReview





        24.7.17

        ARC Review: C.J.: The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley

        review         book



        Book Covertitle: The Bedlam Stacks
        author: Natasha Pulley
        pages: 336
        format: Paperback ARC
        buy it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
        rating: 3/5 (from hated to loved) or 5.5/10 (all books I've ever read)
        recommended for: Fans of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, Cat Winters anything, and other magical histories.
        In 1859, ex-East India Company smuggler Merrick Tremayne is trapped at home in Cornwall after sustaining an injury that almost cost him his leg and something is wrong; a statue moves, his grandfather’s pines explode, and his brother accuses him of madness.

        When the India Office recruits Merrick for an expedition to fetch quinine—essential for the treatment of malaria—from deep within Peru, he knows it’s a terrible idea. Nearly every able-bodied expeditionary who’s made the attempt has died, and he can barely walk. But Merrick is desperate to escape everything at home, so he sets off, against his better judgment, for a tiny mission colony on the edge of the Amazon where a salt line on the ground separates town from forest. Anyone who crosses is killed by something that watches from the trees, but somewhere beyond the salt are the quinine woods, and the way around is blocked.

        Surrounded by local stories of lost time, cursed woods, and living rock, Merrick must separate truth from fairytale and find out what befell the last expeditions; why the villagers are forbidden to go into the forest; and what is happening to Raphael, the young priest who seems to have known Merrick’s grandfather, who visited Peru many decades before. The Bedlam Stacks is the story of a profound friendship that grows in a place that seems just this side of magical.

        in depth


        • After loving The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, I had high hopes for The Bedlam Stacks. While they were not fully met, I still had a lovely time reading this book and will be happy to devour Pulley's next literary offering. Bedlam Stacks is a sharply written adventure about love and sacrifice, with a little bit of magic. 

        • The story is an important but lesser known historical phenomenon. Heard of the East India Company? They controlled pretty much everything, and at the time, quinine was a crucial resource. We take it for granted now (it's in tonic water), but back then it was the only defense against malaria. Pulley's mastery of historical detail, her ability to weave it seamlessly into the plot without a bunch of info dumping, is a strength of Bedlam. Even when it's draggy, it's never dry. 

        • Unfortunately, it does get a bit draggy. I'm not sure if the plot really did run too slowly in the middle, or if it was just too familiar. There are many elements familiar from Watchmaker: a sort of awkward, sensitive male protagonist; a dangerous political game; an intimate friendship that develops between the protag and a man of another culture, a friendship that trends towards romance. It was a bit too much deja vu. And while too much of this carried over, too little of Watchmaker's beloved cast was featured--although this is a petty gripe, I just loved them so much. We do get a fabulous cameo that I'll keep to myself. 

        • Despite the too familiar scaffolding, the new elements in Bedlam create a rich, luxurious near-fantasy world that dazzles and delights. Pulley paints a jungle village in Peru with loving respect and care and a bit of magic: moving statues, glass towers that set the land aflame, forest secrets. The atmosphere she creates is palpable in its wonderment. My only worry is whether she trespasses on any myths sacred to the indigenous people, or falls too close to the line of stereotypical magical natives. It's a question I hope native readers will comment on in their reviews. 

        • The glue holding Bedlam together is Pulley's writing. So precise and clever! Such evocative descriptions! Such natural dialogue! The conversations between Merrick and Raphael, a Peruvian priest, are filled with cleverness and snark. Merrick's white friend and companion is a little bit of a caricature of colonialist bluster, but he also allows Pulley to unpack some of the crude assumptions that fueled British imperialism. 

        • All in all, Bedlam was an intriguing read with a deep sense of magic about it. Though it did not depart quite enough from Watchmaker's formula, its complex world and strong emotional beats make it a worthwhile endeavor. 

            in a sentence

            Bedlam Stacks is a sharply written adventure about love and sacrifice, with a little bit of magic. 


            rating         



            will i read this author again?  Yep yep   
            will i continue the series?  I would like more Keita and Grace and Thaniel and Matsumoto, please. 



            Note: I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions.


            18.7.17

            Top Ten Tuesday: Ten spring releases we really, really meant to get to but which are still languishing on the TBR

            top ten tuesday                tbr



            Hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  


            Want to help support your broke blogger so she can host more giveaways and give swankier prizes?  Click the book covers.  If you like the book and choose to purchase it from Amazon, a little bit of the proceeds goes to Sarcasm & Lemons!   

            Just catching up while TTT is on hiatus!          



            c.j.'s selections                         ten ten ten


            one
            Saints and Misfits - S.K. Ali 

            I know, I know. I'm seriously a bad person. This amazing contemporary about a young Muslim woman with a passion for photography sounds so fierce and amazing and I let ARCs pry me away from it. 
            two

                

            Eliza and Her Monsters - Francesca Zappia 

            Speaking of books that were eaten by ARCs... I still haven't read Zappia's first, so now I need to read that and this awesome geeky web comic gem that promises to be basically my teenage years but without the fame or romance. 
            three
                   
            The Library of Fates - Aditi Khorana

            My amazing friend lent this to me and I'm terrible and didn't read it yet. But I 1000% am going to because give me all the fantasy in diverse worlds! 
            four
                   

            The Upside of Unrequited - Becky Albertalli 

            Yeah, so just send me all the shocked faces now. I KNOW. I HAD A ROUGH SPRING. Maybe I'lll read it in anticipation of the Simon movie because that sort of makes sense not really whatever don't @ me. 


            five
                   
            Serpentine - Cindy Pon 

            This didn't come out this spring, but I'd planned to breeze through it during the early months. Remember what I said about non-Western fantasy? Someday, when I'm no longer being crushed under the weight of 1000 ARCs, I will laugh with devilish glee and race through this duology.  

            whitley's selections                         ten ten ten


            one
            https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1478804846l/29939047.jpg
            A Crown of Wishes - Roshani Chokshi 

            I was thrilled to get a copy of Star-Touched Queen last year and absolutely feel in love with the writing, but thought the plot lacked. So a even more me-perfect plot matched with that gorgeous prose? Sign me up! Sign me up for several months of shelf-sitting, apparently. Still have no idea what knocked this off my radar.
            two
            25669098    

            Shadow Run - Adrianne Strickland & Michael Miller
             
            I've had an ARC of this for so long that, to write this post, I went back and re-read the summary to try and remember why I requested it in the first place. Oh, right, space captains and runaway royalty! 
            three
                   31423549
            Royce Rolls - Margaret Stohl

            It sounds like a hilarious spoof on 'reality' TV, and I'm all for that. The names ALONE make me want to read this book. Rolling with the Royces? Bentley? Yessss.
            four
                31423554   

            The Takedown - Corrie Wang

            I love near-future sci-fi, and this seems like a plot that could be handling some pretty relevant issues. I'm interested to see how it handles the topic of internet harassment and privacy, plus I love books where quasi-mean girls get to be the protagonist!


            five
              31371284     
            The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre - Gail Carson Levine

            When I saw there was going to be another Bamarre book, I HAD to have it, if for no other reason but nostalgia. At least I know what knocked this one off my radar; I wanted to reread Two Princesses first and, well, too many steps, oh look something shiny.





            Your turn!  What spring releases are still in TBR dungeon?