Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

Ragazza, serpente, spina di Melissa Bashardoust- Review Party

Salve e benvenut* alla mia tappa del Review Party dedicato a “Ragazza, serpente, spina” di Melissa Bashardoust. Un grazie enorme a Ambra per aver organizzato l’evento e alla Oscar Mondadori per il file in anteprima. Le mie opinioni non sono state influenzate in alcun modo.

Disponibile su:    

Collana: Fantastica

ISBN: 9788804739029

336 pagine

Prezzo: € 20,00

Cartaceo

In vendita dal 5 ottobre 2021

C’era e non c’era una volta − così cominciano sempre le fiabe − una principessa destinata ad avvelenare chiunque la toccasse.
Ma per Soraya, tenuta nascosta fin dalla nascita, cresciuta lontana dalla sua famiglia, al sicuro solo nel suo giardino, questa non è soltanto una fiaba.
All’approssimarsi delle nozze del suo gemello, Soraya deve decidere se uscire allo scoperto per la prima volta. Nelle segrete del palazzo una div, una demone, potrebbe avere le risposte che sta cercando, la chiave per ottenere la libertà. Al di fuori c’è un giovane uomo che non teme la principessa, nei cui occhi non si legge paura, ma profonda comprensione di chi lei sia veramente, oltre la maledizione e il veleno.
Soraya pensava di sapere quale fosse il suo posto nel mondo, ma quando le sue scelte portano a conseguenze inimmaginabili, inizia a chiedersi chi sia davvero e cosa stia diventando: una donna o una demone? Una principessa o un mostro?

“Le storie iniziano sempre allo stesso modo: C’era e non c’era.”

Inizia così “Ragazza, serpente, spina”, così iniziano tutte le storie, ma per Soraya questa non è una storia, una fiaba, bensì la sua vita. Costretta a nascondersi dal mondo e dalla sua stessa famiglia a causa di una maledizione che ha reso il tuo tocco velenoso, Soraya riesce a sentirsi al sicuro solo nel giardino di cui si prende cura, ma desidera essere libera e normale. Quando scopre che nei sotterranei del suo palazzo è tenuto prigioniero un mostro che, forse, potrebbe avere le risposte che cerca sulla sua maledizione e su come liberarsene, Soraya è disposta a tutto pur di provarci, ma la presenza di un giovane misterioso che pare non avere timore di lei la trascina in un mondo popolato da demoni, bugie, maledizioni e amore. Soraya si ritroverà costretta a lottare per comprendere quale e dove sia il suo posto, sia nel palazzo che nel mondo e cosa sia disposta a diventare.

“Ragazza, serpente, spina” è ambientato in un mondo ispirato all’antica Persia e al suo folkore, un mondo affascinante e intrigante. La storia è narrata dal punto di vista di Soraya e il lettore si ritrova a comprendere immediatamente le sue paure, il suo desiderio di normalità, il bisogno di riuscire a toccare e la necessità di capire cosa le sia realmente successo e perché, stanca di trascorrere la sua vita nascosta dal mondo e timorosa di se stessa e del suo potere. Lo stile è coinvolgente, Soraya è un personaggio molto realistico nei suoi pensieri e nelle sue azioni.

La trama risulta, almeno nella prima parte, più lenta, poiché la storia si focalizza principalmente sul suo viaggio, interiore ed esteriore, che la porterà a conoscere la sua maledizione e se stessa, ma nonostante il ritmo e alcuni colpi di scena abbastanza scontati, la storia è interessante e Soraya è un buon personaggio principale. La giovane si ritroverà a incontrare alleati che si riveleranno nemici e nemici che si riveleranno, invece, alleati, creando e stringendo relazioni complesse, piene di segreti e bugie, incomprensioni e imparando, nel suo viaggio, quanto, spesso, il passato sia capace di influenzare il presente e il futuro. Un mix di vendette, bugie, amicizia, amore e legami di famiglia, che cambierà la sua vita per sempre.

Il worldbuilding è assolutamente affascinante e ho adorato l’ambientazione e i personaggi. Soraya spicca, non solo in quanto protagonista, ma soprattutto per la sua fierezza, testardaggine e lealtà. Ha paura di se stessa, delle sue capacità e di ciò che potrebbe fare e lentamente imparerà a sentirsi sempre più sicura di sé, sia con che senza il suo potere, aiutata dalla sua rabbia, dal suo senso di protezione nei confronti delle persone che ama e dal suo coraggio. Ho amato anche conoscere Azad e Parvaneh, personaggi complessi, soprattutto nel loro rapporto con Soraya. Non dirò altro per non spoilerare, ma è stato davvero interessante poter leggere e comprendere le loro motivazioni, molto sfaccettate, in una partita senza esclusione di colpi, in un gioco di menzogne, tradimenti, violenze e perdono.

Il modo in cui l’autrice parla delle storie, dei miti, dei simboli e del potere e di come gli errori del passato e le incomprensioni possano giocare un ruolo molto importante nelle generazioni future, di come le proprie capacità possano cambiare il futuro di una persona e l’importanza di sapersi amare e accettare, sfaccettature e errori compresi, mi ha molto colpita. Consiglio, inoltre, di leggere le note dell’autrice, all’interno delle quali non solo ha narrato la genesi di questo libro, ma ha anche parlato dei termini usati e del perché li ha scelti, della cosmologia del romanzo, delle figure presenti in esso e di altre curiosità davvero molto interessanti. Un’immersione culturale davvero affascinante soprattutto per chi, come me, non era affatto a conoscenza del folklore persiano e che ho davvero adorato.

Inoltre vorrei aggiungere che, nonostante non sia una grandissima fan del romanticismo e l’avrei evitato in alcuni punti, ho trovato la relazione f/f molto dolce, il rapporto tra le due giovani ben scritto e abbastanza ben integrato all’interno del viaggio di Soraya.

“Ragazza, serpente, spina” è un libro davvero stupendo, sui legami, familiari e non, sull’amore, l’amicizia, la capacità di trovare la forza in se stessi e il viaggio che ognuno di noi dovrebbe compiere per accettarsi, amarsi ed essere fieri di chi siamo.

Concludo qui la mia recensione, consigliandovi questo libro se avete voglia di immergervi in una realtà fantastica, con personaggi ben scritti e una trama avvincente.

Ecco a voi il calendario delle altre tappe!


Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

Tunnel di ossa di Victoria Schwab- Review Party

Salve e benvenut* alla mia tappa per il review party di Tunnel di ossa della mia brillante Victoria Schwab. Un enorme grazie ad Ambra per aver organizzato l’evento e per le grafiche e alla Mondadori per avermi dato l’opportunità di leggere e recensire questo libro in anteprima. Le mie opinioni non sono state in alcun modo influenzate.

Disponibile su:    

Collana: Fantastica

ISBN: 9788804740247

352 pagine

Prezzo: € 15,00

Cartaceo

In vendita dal 28 settembre 2021

CASS È NEI GUAI. Ancora più del solito.
Insieme a Jacob, il suo migliore amico fantasma, Cass si trova a Parigi, dove i suoi genitori stanno girando il loro programma televisivo sulle città più infestate del mondo. Certo, mangiare croissant e visitare la Tour Eiffel è un vero spasso, ma sotto Parigi, nelle raccapriccianti Catacombe, c’è in agguato un pericolo spettrale.
Quando Cass risveglia un poltergeist terribilmente potente, deve affidarsi alle sue abilità di cacciatrice di spettri, ancora tutte da dimostrare, e chiedere l’aiuto di amici vecchi e nuovi per svelare un mistero.
Se fallirà, le forze che ha ridestato potrebbero rimanere a infestare la città per sempre.
L’autrice bestseller Victoria Schwab torna al mondo di Città di spettri, regalandoci nuove emozionanti avventure e un’indimenticabile lezione sull’amicizia (perché, a volte, anche i migliori amici fantasma hanno segreti).

Dopo le terrificanti, ma interessanti, vicende della Scozia, Cassidy è “pronta” a una nuova avventura e quando i suoi genitori arrivano a Parigi per un’altra tappa del loro programma televisivo la giovane spera che la vacanza possa riguardare soltanto croissant e visitare la città. Ovviamente non è così. Quando la sua presenza e i suoi poteri risvegliano un poltergeist, Cassidy è costretta a rivestire nuovamente il ruolo di cacciatrice di fantasmi e affidarsi a vecchi e nuovi alleati, mentre si ritrova a imparare nuove cose su se stessa, il mondo che la circonda e sul suo migliore amico, che sembra avere segreti potenzialmente pericolosi.

Victoria Schwab ritorna con una nuova intrigante avventura ambientata nella meravigliosa Parigi. Come era accaduto con Edimburgo, tramite il racconto dei genitori di Cassidy e Cassidy stessa, il lettore scopre la città e i suoi segreti, con i suoi miti e leggende, omicidi, morti e spiriti inquieti. La presenza del poltergeist apre a Cassidy un mondo del tutto nuovo e pericoloso, spingendola ad agire prima che l’intera città possa essere stravolta dalla rabbia e dal caos scatenato dal giovane spirito.

Ho adorato leggere Tunnel di ossa, perché, esattamente come il primo, mi sono ritrovata coinvolta nelle leggende e miti della città, ricca di storia e di passato, spingendomi a visitare con i personaggi le Catacombe, le strade di Parigi, a seguirli nelle loro ricerche. Molto interessante, infatti, è stata l’indagine condotta da Cassidy, Jacob e Lara nel trovare chi fosse il poltergeist e il modo di proteggere se stessi e la città dalla sua rabbia.

La storia è stupenda, intrigante e i personaggi sono ben caratterizzati, sia i nuovi che i vecchi. Lara con la sua saggezza e supporto, i genitori di Cassidy che si completano a vicenda nel narrare storie e leggende e visitare la città, la nuova guida e un’alleata inaspettata… Ho molto amato sia la curiosità e impulsività di Cassidy, che si ritrova a rivestire il ruolo di cacciatrice di fantasmi, lottando per abituarsi a questa nuova realtà, che l’essere leggermente più cauto e “fifone” di Jacob, il modo in cui i loro caratteri si completano e si bilanciano. Molto realistico il loro rapporto e le loro azioni, in quanto teenagers dinanzi a un mondo a loro quasi del tutto nuovo.

Uno degli aspetti che amo di più di questa saga è, infatti, proprio lo straordinario rapporto tra Cassidy e Jacob, il modo in cui comunicano, battibeccano, accettano e seguono suggerimenti l’uno dell’altra, si completano a vicenda. Il loro rapporto è, però, “appesantito” dai sospetti di Lara e la paura di Cassidy che Jacob possa acquisire maggiori poteri e rappresentare un pericolo e la consapevolezza che lui abbia dei segreti, rendendo il loro legame più teso.

Leggermente più inquietante e triste del precedente, sia per la presenza del poltergeist che per i segreti rivelati, Tunnel di ossa è un avvincente avventura, dove spicca l’amicizia e il legame tra Cassidy e Jacob, che s’impegnano per comprendersi e parlare, anche di ciò che li turba e spaventa, regalando un’importante lezione sui rapporti.

Tunnel di ossa conferma, come se ce ne fosse bisogno!, la brillante capacità di Victoria Schwab nel coinvolgere, attrarre e catturare l’attenzione del lettore. Pur essendo un middle grade, quindi “leggermente” lontano dalla mia età, ho amato leggere questo libro, ho adorato i personaggi, le loro interazioni e avventure e non vedo l’ora di scoprire cosa succederà dopo l’intrigante conclusione.

Date un’occhiata alle altre tappe! Ecco a voi il calendario!

Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

The orphan witch by Paige Crutcher

Page Count 352

Genre Fantasy

On Sale 09/28/2021 by St. Martin’s Griffin

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1250797373/ref=x_gr_w_bb_sout?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_sout-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1250797373&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2


https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250797384/the-orphan-witch

“Mystical, magical, and wildly original…If Alice Hoffman and Sara Addison Allen had a witchy love child, she would be Paige Crutcher. Do not miss this beautifully realized debut!”— JT Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of Her Dark Lies on The Orphan Witch.

A deeper magic. A stronger curse. A family lost…and found.

Persephone May has been alone her entire life. Abandoned as an infant and dragged through the foster care system, she wants nothing more than to belong somewhere. To someone. However, Persephone is as strange as she is lonely. Unexplainable things happen when she’s around—changes in weather, inanimate objects taking flight—and those who seek to bring her into their family quickly cast her out. To cope, she never gets attached, never makes friends. And she certainly never dates. Working odd jobs and always keeping her suitcases half-packed, Persephone is used to moving around, leaving one town for another when curiosity over her eccentric behavior inevitably draws unwanted attention.

After an accidental and very public display of power, Persephone knows it’s time to move on once again. It’s lucky, then, when she receives an email from the one friend she’s managed to keep, inviting her to the elusive Wile Isle. The timing couldn’t be more perfect. However, upon arrival, Persephone quickly discovers that Wile is no ordinary island. In fact, it just might hold the very things she’s been searching for her entire life.

Answers. Family. Home.

And some things she did not want. Like 100-year-old curses and an even older family feud. With the clock running out, love might be the magic that saves them all.

Thank you so much, NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and St. Martin’s Griffin, for the chance to read and review this book in exchange of an honest review.

Persephone May has been always alone. Abandoned as infant, grown up in foster care, strange things happen when she’s around, weather changes, things take flight and so on. So Persephone, to protect her heart and feelings, decides not to get attached, not to make friends or to date anyone, always ready to move from town to town. After another scary and accidental display of power, she’s ready to move again and she, luckily, gets a letter from the only friend she’s managed to get: Hyacinth, inviting her on Wile Isle. The timing is perfect, but as soon as she arrives Persephone understands the island isn’t an ordinary one. She can feel its power and mystery and Hyacinth and her sister Moira will open a brand new world for her, making her feel at home, accepted, loved and protected. But answers and family come with a price and Persephone finds herself involved into a 100-hundred-year-old curse, family feud, a Library of the Lost, a rude and fascinating librarian and, maybe, a way to save them all.

I really loved reading The orphan witch. It’s a brilliant fantasty story, captivating, the plot full of twists, secrets and discoveries and Persephone is a wonderful main character. She’s very realistic in her longing, pain and desires. She wants to belong to somewhere, to someone, she’s looking for answers about her past and family, finding more she was looking for, involved in a world full of magic, curses and so on. Persephone is dragged in a complex and scary reality, where she discovers her powers, where she belongs and her role in everything. The setting(s) are truly mystical and enchanting…and enchanted, too.
The island is beautiful, rich and evocative and its description made me feel like I was there with Persephone, discovering it slowly, smelling the flowers and the sea, the herbs, learning magic and connections, falling in love and so much more. On the other side the library is another captivating setting, with the rude and mysterious Dorian, books and secrets, voices and clues, scattered everywhere.

If the setting is evocative and intense, so the characters. As I’ve already written, Persephone is brilliant and a very relatable character. She’s also brave and stubborn and she’s, as she will discover in time, surrounded by love and bonds. Except for Dorian, the book presents only female characters, wonderfully complex and intricate in their feelings, emotions, past traumas, connections and mistakes.
The jovial Hyacinth and her struggles and pain, the strong and stubborn Moira, hiding her past and losses behind a facade, the mysterious and elusive Ariel and Ellison, the witches Amara and True, who started everything years and years ago. The side characters, as the main one, are brilliantly written, very relatable in their actions and feelings.
The writing style is captivating, it was impossible not to feel Persephone’s feelings and longing, her desires and fears, her dreams, to be involved in her adventure, following her discovering herself, her strength, her family and her love.
It’s an intense and magical fantasy with romance, action and sisterhood.

The orphan witch is a book about family and bonds, about belong to somewhere and someone, the sacrifices one would do for love and the right things, about being brave.
It’s a wonderful, evocative, sometimes sad and others funny, fantasy story about sisterhood and love, action and magic, family and curses to be broken.

Paige Crutcher is a former Southern Correspondent for Publishers Weekly, an artist and yogi, and co-owner of the online marketing company Hatchery.

Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

L’impero del vampiro di Jay Kristoff- Review Party

Salve e benvenut* alla mia tappa del review party dedicata a “L’impero del vampiro” di Jay Kristoff. Un grazie enorme ad Alessandra per aver organizzato l’evento e la Mondadori per la copia in anteprima. Le mie opinioni non sono state in alcun modo influenzate.

Disponibile su:    

Collana: Fantastica

ISBN: 9788804728177

720 pagine

Prezzo: € 25,00

Cartaceo

In vendita dal 14 settembre 2021

Dal pluripremiato autore bestseller della trilogia Nevernight, una nuova magnifica serie.
Sono passati ventisette lunghi anni dall’ultima alba.
Per quasi tre decenni, i vampiri hanno mosso guerra all’umanità; hanno costruito il loro impero eterno, a costo di demolire il nostro. Ormai, solo poche minuscole scintille di luce resistono in un mare di oscurità.
Gabriel de León, metà uomo, metà mostro e ultimo dei Santi d’argento – confratello nonché una delle migliori spade del sacro Ordine d’argento, dedito a difendere il regno dalle creature della notte -, è tutto ciò che si frappone tra il mondo e la sua fine.
Imprigionato dagli stessi mostri che ha giurato di distruggere, è costretto a raccontare la sua storia. Una storia di battaglie leggendarie e amore proibito, di fede perduta e amicizie trovate, della guerra del Re Sempiterno e della ricerca dell’ultima speranza rimasta all’umanità.
Il Sacro Graal.

TW: sangue, violenza, tortura, omicidio, omofobia

Sono trascorsi ventisette anni dall’ultima alba e i vampiri hanno preso possesso del mondo, creando un vasto impero e distruggendo quello umano. Sono poche le luci che contrastano l’oscurità, come il sacro Ordine d’Argento, ma ora Gabriel de León è l’ultimo Santo. Imprigionato dai mostri che ha combattuto per decenni, è costretto a raccontare la sua storia allo storico, Jean-François della casata Chastain. Inizia così un epico racconto, di lotte, amori passionali, vendette, fede e morti.

Ho trovato molto difficile esprimere a parole ciò che mi ha trasmesso “L’impero del vampiro”. Mi ha coinvolta sin dall’inizio, travolgendomi emotivamente e spingendomi a divorarlo perché la storia è tremendamente avvincente e che mi ha lasciata con il desiderio di saperne di più, quindi…dov’è il secondo libro, Jay? Io ne ho bisogno!

Un romanzo complesso, stratificato, un racconto epico, di vampiri, ma anche di legami, d’amore e amicizia, di fede e la sua perdita, di speranza e lotta, di dipendenza e lutto. Non è semplicemente una storia di lotta contro il male e i mostri che popolano il mondo, non solo. Si tratta di un libro che affronta con delicatezza e arguzia temi come l’amore e l’amicizia, il sacrificio e la fede, la perdita della speranza e la lotta per ritrovarla, la dipendenza da qualcosa (droghe, alcool, ricordi…) e la depressione quando si ha perso ogni cosa. Lo stile è coinvolgente, la storia è ben scritta e i personaggi caratterizzati perfettamente. In un racconto di oltre 700 pagine è normale trovare momenti più lenti e altrettanti rocamboleschi e Jay Kristoff li dosa sapientemente.

Il worldbuilding è deliziosamente complesso e ho trovato molto affascinante il racconto delle varie casate di vampiri, i loro poteri e influenze, i loro schemi politici, il complicato mondo dell’Ordine d’Argento, con i loro riti e la loro fede, l’apprendistato di Gabriel, le lotte interne ed esterne e il contrasto socioeconomico che il protagonista si ritrova ad affrontare e subire nel corso della sua crescita. Jay Kristoff racconta di un mondo terrificante, popolato da diversi tipi di mostri e, soprattutto, da vampiri terribili e al tempo stesso affascinanti, in grado di donare vita eterna e poteri straordinari, un mondo dove non esiste alba, solo oscurità e semi-oscurità.

“Chi cazzo ti ha detto che ero un eroe?” esclama Gabriel, nel raccontare la sua storia a Jean-François, sottolineando quando i racconti su di lui appaiano distanti dalla realtà dei fatti. Non ci sono eroi in questa storia e il suo protagonista è decisamente particolare. Sagace, sboccato, drogato, deluso dal e arrabbiato con il mondo, senza fede, Gabriel mi ha colpito sin dall’inizio. Non è il cavaliere delle leggende. Certo, ha fatto (quasi) tutto ciò che viene raccontato su di lui, ma è amareggiato, ferito, tristemente e dolorosamente umano, pur non essendolo del tutto e conservando ancora la sua rabbia. Uno degli aspetti che spicca, sin dalle prime pagine, è il rapporto che si crea tra Gabriel e Jean-François. Da un lato un eroe in disgrazia, dall’altro uno storico vampiro, mandato lì per trascrivere il suo racconto e i loro battibecchi, le battute, gli scambi irritati, il continuo saltare da un tempo dall’altro per irritare il vampiro…sono tutti aspetti che ho trovato creativi e divertenti, soprattutto perché ho amato il modo in cui la storia viene narrata.

La storia oscilla avanti e indietro, intrecciando tre sequenze temporali, che si incastrano sapientemente come pezzi di un puzzle. La prima è ambientata del presente e funge da cornice all’intero racconto. Al suo interno troviamo Gabriel che racconta la sua storia e Jean-François che la trascrive, abbellendola con disegni e interrogando il cavaliere. Uno degli aspetti che mi ha incuriosito della storia è come Jean-François sembri incarnare il lettore, fermando il racconto, chiedendo delucidazioni, invitando Gabriel a raccontare in modo più esaustivo la sua storia. Immaginando di consegnare la storia ai posteri e rivestendo i panni di chi non sa nulla di quel mondo, Jean-François sembra rappresentare chi sta leggendo, che è all’oscuro di tutto ed è quindi necessario essere più specifici possibile. In questo modo il lettore viene a conoscenza di un mondo popolato da mostri per un evento misterioso accaduto decenni addietro, dell’esistenza della progenie di vampiri ed esseri umani, i “sanguepallido”, alla cui categoria appartiene Gabriel, alla sua vocazione presso l’Ordine, cosa sia l’Ordine e via discorrendo.

Le successive due sequenze temporali si dividono in due diversi momenti del passato di Gabriel. In una Gabriel narra la sua infanzia, i legami con i genitori e le sorelle e gli eventi che cambiarono la sua esistenza, spingendolo nell’Ordine d’Argento, il suo apprendistato, le rivalità con gli altri giovani e via discorrendo. Presenta, quindi, al lettore un Gabriel curioso, disposto a tutto per provare le proprie capacità, per appartenere al complesso e stratificato mondo dell’Ordine d’Argento, un microcosmo di lotte e differenze socioeconomiche, dove il tipo di sangue rappresentava prestigio o scherno. Il lettore segue, quindi, Gabriel nella sua crescita, apprendendo i riti, le armi, facendo conoscenza con persone che gli cambieranno la vita. L’altra sequenza temporale, l’ultima, riguarda, invece, l’interesse principale di Jean-François: Il Santo Graal. Sono trascorsi molti anni dal Gabriel di Santa Michon, dall’apprendistato e Gabriel è ormai adulto, è cresciuto, disilluso, drogato e costretto/convinto a unirsi a un gruppo di fedeli alla ricerca di un modo per sconfiggere il sine die e portare la fine del mondo dei vampiri.

Gabriel è protagonista assoluto della storia, oscillando tra le sequenze temporali, interrompendo il racconto, fermandosi per riprendere fiato e trovare coraggio, bisticciando con Jean-François. Come scritto in precedenza, Gabriel è un personaggio particolare, arrabbiato, deluso e intrigante nel suo dolore e la sua rabbia. Il modo in cui narra la storia, fermandosi, andando avanti e indietro, da un lato irrita il lettore e lo stesso storico, dall’altro fa comprendere la difficoltà del protagonista di parlare di certi avvenimenti.

Se mi ha colpito Gabriel e il suo rapporto con Jean-François, rapporto che ho trovato stimolante e divertente, non sono da meno i personaggi secondari che riempiono il libro e le interazioni che Gabriel ha con essi, personaggi snob e antipatici, severi e litigiosi, pieni di rabbia e risentimento, tutti quanti ben scritti e caratterizzati e che accompagnano Gabriel nella sua crescita e vocazione. Anche in questo caso le differenti sequenze temporali presentano personaggi diversi l’una dall’altra, nonostante alcuni travalichino i decenni. Nel passato di Gabriel, incontriamo il maestro Manogrigia e il serafino Talon, il rivale Aaron de Coste, che si scontra più e più volte con Gabriel nel corso del loro apprendistato, ma il cui rapporto si approfondisce e cambia nel tempo, le ricerche con la sorella novizia Chloe Sauvage, ma soprattutto spicca Astrid Rennier, personaggio che cambierà la vita di Gabriel, la cui presenza indugia su di lui anche nel presente, durante il racconto con Jean-François. Nella timeline di Gabriel adulto troviamo, invece, nuovi e vecchi personaggi, ma a farla da padrone è Dior Lachance e il suo rapporto, sboccato, pieno di insulti e prese in giro, con Gabriel e la cui presenza cambierà ogni cosa.

La caratterizzazione dei personaggi è splendida. Se Gabriel spicca in quanto protagonista, gli altri non sono da meno e sono complessi nelle loro paure, desideri, nella loro fede e speranza, nei loro rapporti d’amore e d’amicizia. Sono, inoltre presenti, relazioni LGBTQIA+, che ho molto apprezzato, soprattutto una in particolare perché evidenzia e rimprovera l’omofobia presente in alcuni personaggi secondari e quanto l’amore venga visto come in contrasto con la fede e la missione, scoperchiando una complessa riflessione su Dio, le scritture, dovere verso se stessi e ciò a cui non si è disposti a sacrificare. La fede è un elemento ben presente all’interno del racconto, fede che aiuta e dona forza a coloro che appartengono all’Ordine d’Argento, ma anche, e si evince nel corso della storia, fede perduta, rabbia nei confronti di un Dio che sembra aver dimenticato ognuno di loro.

“Non chiedermi se Dio esiste, ma perché è così stronzo.”

Il romanzo inizia proprio in questo mondo e il contrasto tra la fede, l’orribile mondo che li circonda, l’amore e il desiderio e ciò che viene considerato peccato è ben presente in molti personaggi, come Gabriel, Astrid, Aaron, Baptiste.

“E se il tuo Dio definirebbe il mio amore un peccato, allora non è un Dio che conosco.”

In quanto figli del peccato e sanguepallido, Gabriel, Aaron, Baptiste si muovono in un mondo che non li accetta, pur servendosi di loro come paladini contro i mostri e l’oscurità. Questo continuo contrasto, tra il sangue che scorre nelle loro vene e l’umanità, tra la fede e il peccato (peccato secondo altri uomini, secondo scritture passate e regole), tra bene e male, spicca nel corso dell’intero romanzo. Come scritto in precedenza, nessuno dei personaggi è un eroe e tutti sono contraddistinti da rabbia, vendetta, desiderio, risentimento e amore.

Decido di concludere qui la mia recensione, altrimenti finirei per scrivere un romanzo sul romanzo e non posso non consigliare assolutamente “L’impero del vampiro” (pur facendo attenzione ai numerosi trigger warnings).

Date un’occhiata alle altre recensioni del review party! Ecco a voi il calendario:

Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

Sidelined by Kara Bietz- TBR and Beyond Tours Book Tour




Hello and welcome to my stop for Sidelined by Kara Bietz book tour! Thank you so much to the publisher and TBR and Beyond Tour, for the free copy in exchange of an honest review!


Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publishing date: September 21st, 2021
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Indigo

An emotional YA romance about small town secrets, high school football, and broken hearts.

Julian Jackson has a short to-do list for his senior year at Crenshaw County High School in Meridian, Texas: football, football, and more football. He knows he’s only got one chance to earn a college scholarship and make it out of his small town, and keeping his head down, his grades up, and his cleats on the field is that one chance. And then Elijah Vance walks back into his life, throwing all of his carefully-laid plans into a tailspin.

Elijah and Julian used to be best friends, maybe even on their way to something more than just friends. But three years ago, Elijah broke into the school to steal money from the coach’s office, and Julian was the one who turned him in. After that, Elijah and his family disappeared without a trace. And now he’s back, sitting at Julian’s grandmother’s kitchen table.

But time and distance haven’t erased all of their feelings, and Elijah knows that he finally has a chance to prove to Julian that he’s not the same person he was three years ago. But with secrets still growing between them and an uncertain future barreling towards them, it may be harder to lean on each other than they thought.

Julian Jackson knows what to do in senior year: get good grades, play football and hoping to get a scholarship and make it out of Meridien, but all his plans are upset when his best friend (and maybe something more) comes back in his life. Elijah Vance and Julian Jackson were best friends years ago, but when Julian caught him breaking into school to steal the car wash money and turned him in, Elijah and his family left without saying goodbay. Now that he’s back, Julian and Elijah realize time and space didn’t erase their feelings and Elijah is determined to show Julian he’s not the person everyone thinks he is. Between secrets, between them and in the city and the fear for their own futures, Julian and Elijah fight to be themselves and together.

Sidelined was a brilliant, sweet and funny read I devoured right away. The story is told by two POVs, Julian’s and Elijah, while they navigate high school, expectations from others, their history together, their past and present. Julian and Elijah are very different from one other. Julian is the son of the town hero, a town obsessed with football, traditions and history, while Elijah is, unfortunately, seen as the son of Eric Vance, who is in jail and who tried to steal money, three years ago. Both of them are weighed down by people’s, right and wrong, expectations and both are struggling to fit and escape them, to show the world and themselves they are more than their fathers’ sons. Elijah’s return to Meridien upset Julian’s plans and changes everything, unearthing secrets and so much more.

The story focuses on Julian and Elijah, on their journeys, getting more and more close to one other and facing the world and future together, understanding each other better, while, also, focusing on football, friends, town’s traditions and funny and moving moments.

Through Julian’s and Elijah’s POVs, the author talks about their feelings, attraction and love, their passions and friends, their struggles and fears. Julian and Elijah are teenagers, dealing with school’s pressures and expectations, unpredictable futures, friends and family and they are very realistic in their feelings and actions. They fight, laugh, they are scared, upset, in love with one other, afraid to lose each other in a windwhirl of emotions and beautiful and intense moments.

Their relationship is lovely, complicated by misunderstandings and secrets and I loved the way they are open with one other, talking and explaining, trusting, helping, supporting and loving one other.

The author also deals with people’s prejudices and preconceptions, expectations and how hurtful they can be, how often push others into boxes and refuse to let them out. Julian and Elijah are determined to be themselves, to be seen as they are, to be free from others’ expectations and be in love and together.

Here’s my interview with the amazing author!

1) 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐨 𝐰𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤?


I lived in Texas for a few years and worked in a high school guidance office and later in the school
library. I learned so much about the culture of high school football and homecoming, and just how
important some of these traditions are to the students and honestly, the whole school community. I
also had a personal wish to see more joyful stories with queer characters falling in love, feeling safe
and respected in their neighborhoods, and being loved and celebrated by their families. These two
things were front and center in my life when I began writing Sidelined.


2) 𝐈𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐛𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐢𝐧 𝐚 𝐪𝐮𝐨𝐭𝐞, 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐢𝐭 𝐛𝐞?


Ooh, that’s a tough one. I think I’ll go with a Maya Angelou quote: “In all the world, there is no heart
for me like yours. In all the world, there is no love for you like mine.”


3) 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐝𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐮𝐥𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐰𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐲?


I think Julian and Elijah were both equally hard to write. There was never a point in which I felt
overwhelmed by either of them, though, and I think that’s important. If I absolutely had to pick
between the two of them, I think it was slightly harder for me to fall into Julian’s voice. He’s a rule-
follower and often sees the world in black and white. While I’m definitely a rule-follower, I think I
see the world a whole lot differently than Julian does.


4) 𝐂𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐥 𝐮𝐬 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐟𝐮𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐣𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐬?


I have a couple of (secret) YA projects cooking at the moment. I’m so excited to share details when
the time is right!


5) 𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐦𝐮𝐜𝐡 𝐨𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬?


I think most writers will tell you that there’s a tiny little bit of themselves in every character they
write. There are some things about Julian that are very much like me, and some things about Elijah
that I can relate to. Usually, my characters tell me little quirks about their personalities throughout
the writing process. I don’t know that readers would be able to pick out the pieces of either Julian or
Elijah that are me, even readers who know me really well.

Kara Bietz was born in New England but currently resides just outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her family. Her first novel, Until I Break, was a Texas Library Association Spirit of Texas Reading Program selection. Her newest release, Sidelined, is a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection.
When she’s not writing, you can find Kara hanging out with her family, singing show tunes to her dogs, and adding to her impressive pen collection. 
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook


https://tbrandbeyondtours.com/2021/08/19/tour-schedule-sidelined-by-kara-bietz/
Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

Things we couldn’t say by Jay Coles- CP Tours Book Tour

Hello and welcome to my stop for Thing we couldn’t say by Jay Coles! Thank you, CP tour, for the chance to read this amazing book and for the free copy.


Title:
Things We Couldn’t Say
Author:
Jay Coles
Publisher:
Scholastic Press
Publication Date:
September 21st, 2021
Genres:
Young Adult Contemporary



From one of the brightest and most acclaimed new lights in YA fiction, a fantastic new novel about a bi Black boy finding first love . . . and facing the return of the mother who abandoned his preacher family when he was nine.


There’s always been a hole in Gio’s life. Not because he’s into both guys and girls. Not because his father has some drinking issues. Not because his friends are always bringing him their drama. No, the hole in Gio’s life takes the shape of his birth mom, who left Gio, his brother, and his father when Gio was nine years old. For eight years, he never heard a word from her . . . and now, just as he’s started to get his life together, she’s back.


It’s hard for Gio to know what to do. Can he forgive her like she wants to be forgiven? Or should he tell her she lost her chance to be in his life? Complicating things further, Gio’s started to hang out with David, a new guy on the basketball team. Are they friends? More than friends? At first, Gio’s not sure . . . especially because he’s not sure what he wants from anyone right now.


There are no easy answers to love — whether it’s family love or friend love or romantic love. In Things We Couldn’t Say, Jay Coles, acclaimed author of Tyler Johnson Was Here, shows us a guy trying to navigate love in all its ambiguity — hoping at the other end he’ll be able to figure out who is and who he should be.


Book links:

Goodreads
Amazon
Book Depository
Barnes & Noble
IndieBound
Indigo

TW: racism, homophobia, parental abandonment, parental abuse, side character’s death, suicide (prior to the story), depression, trauma

I love reading Things we couldn’t say. With incredible sensitity, the author deals with themes like grief, parental abandoment, homophobia and racism, telling Gio’s story in his complexity, struggles and hopes. I loved the way the author talks about depression and anxiety, in a very relatable way and his writing style is absolutely amazing, I was really in love since the beginning.

The story is told by Gio’s POV and he’s a fantastic main character, complex and intricate, brave and scared, upset and willing to fight for himself, to be who he is. In his life there always have been an hole, ever since his birth mother left him, his bother and father, when he was nine years old. Gio struggled and struggles with depression, anxiety and, thanks to his therapy, is trying to get his life back together, when his mother suddenly came back, crashing into his life and upsetting everything and everyone. Things are even more complicated since the basketball team has a new member, Gio’s new neighbour, David and when they start to hang together, Gio is even more confused about his feelings, what he wants from life and for himself.

Things we couldn’t say is a powerful and moving book, written beautifully and I felt really involved in Gio’s story, following his struggles, fears, desires and hopes. He’s a very relatable character in his feelings, thoughts and actions and it was incredible following his journey towards accepting and loving himself, learning more about love, family and forgiviness.

Gio’s life isn’t easy. At home he struggles with his drinking and preacher father, who doesn’t want to accept his bisexuality and wants to impose his ideas and thoughts on Gio. He battles with his anxiety and depression, his feelings of unworthiness, ever since he was abandoned, fighting against nightmares and bad thoughts. His mother’s return upsets his already messy life, forcing him to deal with his feelings, fears and hopes. At the same time, while dealing with themes like abandoment, depression, homophobia and abuse, the story stands out for its hope and love, because it’s clear, right away, how Gio is surrounded by people who loves him, from the beautiful and strong bond with his best friends, Olly and Ayesha, his relationship with his brother Theo, with his stepmother Karina and, also, with David, his new friend and, maybe, something more.

I loved reading Gio’s journey, his friendship with Olly and Ayesha, the sweet and intense story with David, how they meet, fit together and love one other in a wonderful and brilliant relationship, made of love, understanding and support.

In Things we couldn’t say Gio tackles relationships and love, between friends, siblings, lovers and parents, grief, rage, identity, struggling to accept and love himself for who he is in all his parts, fighting against those who wants only some of him, learning what love and family means, learning to accept and forgive. It was moving and interesting reading how much Gio grows in this book, realizing how is worthy of love, what family means, the importance of being oneself in all his parts. I loved the importance of talking and therapy in this book, how much people can change and grow, how it’s vital to fight for one’s happiness and freedom.

I totally recommed this book to those who are looking for a cute love story, a journey to love and accept oneself and amazing friendships!





JAY COLES is the author of critically acclaimed
TYLER JOHNSON WAS HERE, a composer with ASCAP, and a professional musician residing in Muncie, Indiana. He is a graduate of Vincennes University and Ball State University and holds degrees in English and Liberal Arts. When he’s not writing diverse books, he’s advocating for them, serving with The Revolution church, and composing music for various music publishers. Jay’s forthcoming novel
THINGS WE COULDN’T SAY is set to be released 9.21.21 with Scholastic! His novels can be purchased at Barnes and Noble or at Amazon.

Author Links:
Website:
https://www.jaycoleswrites.com/
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/mrjaycoles
Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/mrjaycoles/?hl=en
Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/11573940.Jay_Coles
Tumblr:
https://jaycoleswritesbooks.tumblr.com/


“Lately I’ve felt so much like all my emotions are exposed to the world and I feel like I’ve got no place to hide.”

Loss fucks you up, but it doesn’t change who you are. I have to believe that. It forces you to be brave and strong so you can hold your life together, and the lives of the people you love together- the ones who are still here.”

“It’s like grief is a backpack we wear through life and we’re costantly putting hard things inside it. Not to ignore those things, but to carry them with us as we go on.”

“The most powerful and insanely beautiful thing you can be is yourself.”

“Memories can be recycled and forgotten, but feelings cannot.”

“When I look into your eyes, I see constellations.”

“You make me brave.”

“And I’m tired of feeling like a prisoner in my own body every damn day. I guess sometimes we meet people who remind us of all the reasons why we exist.”

This world can be so dark and cold and cruel and lonely. I’m so glad that we can face it all together.”

Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

Le streghe in eterno- Alix E. Harrow- Review Party

Salve a tutt* e benvenut* alla mia tappa per Le Streghe in eterno di Alix E. Harrow! Un grazie enorme a Valeria per aver organizzato l’evento, ad Ambra per la grafica meravigliosa e alla Mondadori per la possibilità di leggere in anteprima questo libro. Le mie recensioni non sono state in alcun modo influenzate.

Ecco a voi il calendario con le varie tappe!

Disponibile su:       
Collana: Fantastica
ISBN: 9788804737674
576 pagine
Prezzo: € 24,00

“Sono terrorizzata e sono terrificante. Sono spaventata e sono qualcosa da temere.” Nel 1893 non esistono streghe. Un tempo sì, c’erano, negli oscuri giorni selvaggi prima che iniziassero i roghi, ma adesso la stregoneria è solo una questione di graziosi incantesimi e filastrocche e vecchi racconti per bambini. Se le donne vogliono avere una qualsivoglia forma di potere, devono cercarla nell’urna elettorale.
Ma quando le sorelle Eastwood – James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth e Beatrice Belladonna – entrano nell’Associazione per le Donne di New Salem, iniziano a chiedersi se, recuperando antiche parole dimenticate, non sia possibile trasformare quello delle suffragette da un movimento di donne a un movimento di streghe. Inseguite da ombre e morbi, perseguitate da forze che vogliono impedire a una strega di votare – e forse persino di vivere -, le sorelle dovranno immergersi nell’antica magia, tessere nuove alleanze e recuperare il legame che le unisce.
Perché le streghe non esistono, ma esisteranno.
Le streghe in eterno è un racconto potente che parla di sfide, sorellanza, e del diritto di voto.

C’era una volta un tempo in cui esistevano le streghe, capaci di potenti incantesimi, prima dei roghi, prima delle violenze, prima di essere quasi del tutto estinte. Nel 1893 solo semplici incantesimi esistono, passati da donna a donna, di generazione in generazione, incantesimi per rammendare, pulire, guarire, magia nascosta in filastrocche, rime e canzoncine, considerate per bambini. Nel 1893 non esistono più le streghe di un tempo e l’unico potere che le donne possono sperare di avere è la speranza di poter votare. E’ all’interno del movimento di suffragette, che le tre sorelle Eastwood, James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth e Beatrice Belladonna, iniziano a pensare a ciò che potrebbero fare e ottenere se quel movimento diventasse un movimento di streghe, se ritrovassero i poteri perduti e riaffermassero le proprie identità.

Ambientato in un mondo profondamente patriarcale, all’interno del quale le donne sono incastrate in una serie di ruoli, quali la donna del focolare, la donna di chiesa e casa, le anime perdute, come le prostitute e le streghe, Le streghe in eterno è un libro potentissimo, brillantemente scritto e con una caratterizzazione fenomenale, ambientato in un mondo dominato dal sessismo, razzismo e dalla violenza, all’interno del quale le donne sono costrette a muoversi lungo binari precisi e violenza e morte aspetta chi osa ribellarsi. In queste circostante claustrofobiche e soffocanti, James e le sue sorella danno il via a una ribellione, determinate a recuperare il potere perduto delle streghe, ad affermare se stesse nelle loro complessità e desideri.

La storia è narrata da tre punti di vista, dalle tre sorelle che sono profondamente diverse l’una dall’altra. James nel suo essere selvaggia e ribelle, determinata a bruciare il mondo per ottenere rispetto e libertà, Agnes, quieta e attenta in un mondo che ha denti e non ha paura di usarli, Beatrice con i suoi libri, il suo rifugio e la sua saggezza. Le tre donne sono legate da un legame di sorellanza che, a causa di traumi, violenze e incomprensioni, si è sfilacciato e quasi distrutto nel corso del tempo. Ritrovatesi dopo anni, saranno costrette dagli eventi a ricucire il loro rapporto, a sostenersi e a riscoprire il loro legame, ritrovandolo più forte e solido che mai.

Il libro ruota attorno alla loro crescita, al loro legame e a ciò che saranno costrette ad affrontare, lottando contro i demoni del loro passato, contro una stregoneria potente fatta di ombre e controllo e disposta a tutto per impedire loro, alle donne, di reagire, vivere ed esprimere la loro opinione, di essere se stesse, di amare chi vogliono.

Le streghe in eterno è un libro molto stratificato. In quasi 600 pagine vengono affrontate numerosi questioni, quali il sessismo, il razzismo, la violenza di genere, abusi familiari, il diritto al voto e, in particolare, i problemi legati all’essere una donna nel 1893, in una società patriarcale, all’interno della quale incombe l’ombra dei roghi e delle violenze della Salem originale. Sono rimasta piacevolmente impressionata dalla caratterizzazione dei personaggi. James, Agnes e Beatrice si muovono in un mondo pericoloso e dove la politica si mescola alla violenza e alla magia, dove il loro sviluppo personale e la crescita del loro legame in quanto sorelle e streghe avviene di pari passo con i loro problemi, i ricordi, i traumi passati, nuovi amori e avventure.

I personaggi principali e secondari sono interessanti nelle loro complessità e sfaccettature, non sono stereotipati, si rifiutano di aderire ai ruoli imposti loro dalla società. James, Agnes e Beatrice sono donne che non rientrano nei canoni (non dirò in che modo per evitare spoilers) e non cercano di rientrarvi, si rifiutano di adeguarsi, ma lottano per essere libere di essere chi vogliono, vivere la loro vita e amare la persona che scelgono.

Ho adorato il modo in cui l’amore è presente all’interno della storia, nelle sue varie sfaccettature. L’amore nei confronti di una sorella, di una figlia, madre, nonna, di un’amica, di un’amante. La rappresentazione LGBTQIA+ è dolcemente presente in una relazione, della quale non parlerò per evitare spoilers, ma che ho molto adorato. Inoltre, è anche presente un personaggio secondario trans, del quale ho amato lo sviluppo, determinazione e forza.

Il libro è costellato di filastrocche e rime, incantesimi e formule magiche e il lettore segue le sorelle nella loro ricerca della magia antica, connettendosi al passato e al presente, incontrando diversi tipi di magia, tra storia antica, libri e magia nascosta in canzoni e storielle. La parte fantasy è mescolata sapientemente alla storia personale delle protagoniste, all’ambientazione storica e ho amato leggere Le Streghe in eterno. Se

Gli uomini presenti nella storia sono stereotipi di uomini crudeli, padri violenti e possessivi, mariti malvagi, politici assetati di potere e disposti a tutto per schiacciare le donne che non rientrano nei loro canoni. Pochissime le eccezioni (solo una, probabilmente) e il libro ruota interamente sulle donne, sul loro trionfo e la loro lotta.

Le donne sono le protagoniste assolute di Le Streghe in eterno. Donne come madri, sorelle, figlie, nonne, amiche, amanti, donne disposte a tutto per lottare per un mondo più giusto nei loro confronti, per proteggere se stesse e le persone che amano, per rivendicare il diritto di essere ciò che vogliono e amare chi vogliono. Questo libro è un inno al potere femminile, alla resilienza delle donne, capaci di trovare modi incredibili e fantasiosi per conservare e proteggere il loro passato e le loro conoscenze, in un mondo in cui uomini al potere sono disposti a tutto per schiacciarle e annullare la loro storia. Un inno alla sorellanza, alla speranza e alla resilienza e una storia che consiglio a tutt* coloro in cerca di un libro pieno di personaggi femminili nella loro complessità, trama avvincente e interessante e un bellissimo e coinvolgente stile di scrittura.

Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

Forest of souls by Lori M. Lee

I received this copy from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review! Thank you, Page Street Publishing, for this earc!

Sircha Ashwyn has no family, no name, abandoned in an orphanage when she was very little, but she’s determined to find her own place in the world.

Trained by the mysterious Kendara, hoping to become the queen’s next Shadow, a royal spy, and training as a soldier, all Sircha’s plan are ruined when she got involved into a shamans’ attack and her best friend Saengo is killed. But, without even knowing how, Sircha manages to bring her soul back, discovering an ability and a power she knew nothing about.

Unveiled as soulguide, a rare and powerful kind of shaman, Sircha and Saengo are summoned to the Spider King, Ronin, whose power is vital in maintaining the peace between kingdoms and in controlling the dangerous Dead Wood, a forest possessed by trapped souls. But his powers seem to be weakening, since the trees are becoming more and more wild and spreading.

Sircha finds herself involving into the dangerous task of taming the Dead wood, before the trees claim her friend’s life and welcome a war between kingdoms.

Forest of souls is a lush, evocative and magical fantasy first book of the Shamanborn series, set in a world of political conflicts, mysterious powers, magic, intrigue, sisterhood and friendship. The world-building is spectacular and the author has the ability of grabbing’s the reader’s attention right away, thrusting her/him/them into a world skillfully written, with magic, drakes, plot twists, secrets, murders, giant spiders, ambigous and complex characters.

The writing style is absolutely evocative and the characterization is brilliant. Told by Sircha’s POV, the main character, Sircha is determined, stubborn, loyal and strong. She came from nothing, in a world, a place where family’s name can be very important, but she’s determined to prove to everyone and to herself her worth, her abilities and her loyalty.

When she discovers a new truth about hersef, changing her whole life and future and those of Saengo’s, Sircha proves herself to be even more adaptable, strong and skilled, relying on her training and bond with Saengo, looking for answers, eager to do something to save her friend and her country, fighting for beliefs she believes in, her loyalties tested when she discovers the cruelty and intrigues of her queen. Forest of souls is full of wonderful and intense characters.

Besides Sircha, Saengo is brilliant, loyal, a true friend and their relationship and sisterhood is one of the things I loved the most in this book. How both of them would do anything for the other, how they are bonded, how they love and trust one other implicitly.

Theyen is another complex figure and I really liked his sarcasm and the way he and Sircha bicker and prince Meilik is a wonderful written character, whose loyalties and beliefs are constantly tested throughout the whole book, pushing him to chose and I liked his relationship with Sircha, how it changes from prince and subject, to commander and soldier to become allies and friends. Intense and ambigous are the characters of Kendara and Ronin and I really need to know more about them and what will happen in the next book to this wonderful and skilled characters.

Overall, I really loved Forest of souls, the story was thrilling and captivating and the characters are impossible not to love and cheer on. I can’t wait to have this book in my hands and I will wait devoutly for the sequel!

4.5 stars

Pubblicato in: Book preview

The electric heir by Victoria Lee ARC review

480 pages

Expected publication: March 17th 2020 by Skyscape

The electric heir is the sequel of the brilliant and amazing The fever king in the Feverwake duology.

SPOILERS AHEAD

TW

https://victorialeewrites.com/2019/10…

PLOT

The electric heir starts six months after the ending of The Fever King. After Noam helped overthrow the goverment of Carolinia, the Atlantians became citizens and Lehrer chancellor.

But Noam remembers everything Lehrer did, with the magic, to Dara and he’s ready to do anything to bring him down, even playing the double agent, tricking Lehrer to think he’s on his side. When Dara, who Noam thought dead, returns to Carolinia, without his magic, stripped away by the same vaccine it saved his life, both of them are forced to play a dangerous game to bring Lehrer to justice and save their country.

And themselves.

MY THOUGHTS

This book is raw and brutal and so hard to read. Victoria Lee poured her heart in this duology, talking about suffering, abuse and survivors. It’s a book about survivors and surviving.
Dara and Noam’s abuser is charismatic and powerful, persuasive and sick and it was so painful to read how Noam struggled to see what is happening to him as an abuse, as a violence.

He’s so manipulate by Lehrer, so involved into this big game he has trouble realizing he’s a victim. Both Noam and Dara fight to recover and call things by their name, during the book and after.
It was hard to read both of them feeling shame and guilt and blaming theirselves for others’ sins and I love how Ames was such an amazing friend, ready to open their eyes and pushing them to see the truth.

In The electric heir Lehrer’s policy is still brutal and Noam and Dara chose to fight with the Black Magnolia, a rebellion movement, looking for a way to kill an immortal human being, while Lehrer continued his power climbing, using the IV teenager as weapons, Noam included.

Noam found himself playing a double role, a spy for the resistance, living with Lehrer, faking it to be still under his persuasion (the Faraday cage helped him to protect himself and to remember everything Lehrer did to Carolinia, the virus and to Dara) and aiding the resistance.


It was hard to think about how was hurt and manipulated by Lehrer, how twisted Lehrer’s mind could be, forcing Noam into a parody of a couple, when Noam is seventeen and under his power. It was difficult to read, too, when Dara confessed to Ames that Lehrer first and then Ames’ father raped him, when he still thought and yearned for Lehrer’s affection, before he realized the truth.
Reading about Noam trapped in this big scheme was absolutely chilling, how determined he was, despite the dangers how being there with Lehrer, to destroy him, to find a solution against him, to avenge Dara.

In The electric heir we have two POVs, reading Dara’s for the first time. I loved his POV’s, it was brilliant and interesting reading about his thoughts and feelings.
Like in The fever king, Victoria Lee’s writing style is intense and powerful, so captivating I could feel Dara’s anxiety, his feeling powerless without his power, forced to hiding because Lehrer was looking for him and his being worried for Noam.

The relationship between Noam and Dara is incredibly complex in The electric heir. They are both victim, both struggling with the notion of abuse and powerlessness. I loved how Dara decided, thanks to the QZ, to stop drinking and I was so anguished to read how him and Ames were so self-destructive, trying to feel the hollowness and pain with booze, drugs and sex.
In Dara’s and Noam’s relationship there is hurt, betrayal, resentment and so much love and affection. During the book they still want and love each other and Dara hated seeing Noam with Lehrer, so in danger to be hurt, raped or killed. Reading about Dara and Noam being raped and hit was so awful.

I felt so involved, my heart was beating so fast, screaming against the brutality, the unfairness.
It was painful reading how both Dara and Noam thought they wanted to have sex with Lehrer, to consent to that, craving for his attention, manipulated by him.


Before meeting Dara again at the gala, Noam felt guilty because he abandoned him and he spent six months thinking he was dead. His pain, his guilt and anguish were incredibly written. He got close to Lehrer for this reason, too and only after talking with Dara, Noam realized Lehrer had his eyes on him since the beginning.

It was awful, heartbreaking to read how Noam was stressed and tense, refusing to have sex with Lehrer, starting to realized their relationship, since Dara is back. Difficult to read his denial, almost until the end, when Lehrer almost killed him because he refused him.

I really loved this book, it was a difficult read because it’s impossible not to love these characters (Except Lehrer, even though he is a complex character and not the usual flat villain of the story).

I loved the way the author talked about surviving and survivors, calling things by their names, talking about rape. Both Noam and Dara are survivors and they experience lots of feelings, like shame, guilt, powerlessness, denial. The reader is able to follow them struggling with their feelings and, above all Noam, realizing what is happening to them.

Both Dara and Noam are abused by the same man, Lehrer, but they experience and react to the abuse in a different way. Dara was abused, physically, sexually, psychologically by his adoptive father, while Noam was involved, coerced, manipulated into an abusive relationship, a parody of a couple. Dara reacts in a self-destructive way, drinking, partying, having sex with strangers, Noam, at least in the beginning, can’t see or don’t want to realize what is happening to him as an abuse.

Both of them has to come to term with their abuse, they went through hell, feeling shame, guilt and powerlessness, and it was great and moving reading about their friends, new and old, supporting and helping them. I loved Ames, Bethany and Taye (I’d love more Taye scenes since he’s really cool), their friendships, their wanting to protect each other.

THE WRITING


This book made my heart beat faster in more than one occasion, I have to say. Victoria Lee’s writing style is powerful and intense. Her characters are complex, real, authentic and the story is gripping and it leave you bleeding, in a very good way. They are brimming with life, anger, love, hope, rage and reading about them being hurt and scared was a punch in the gut.


I was so involved, I felt everything. I was scared, I was angry, I felt Noam’s and Dara’s pain, shame, love, guilt, hope, rage.
It was emotional, raw and it wrecked me completely.
I was so captivated, so caught in the story I couldn’t stop reading and hoping for the best. It’s full of angst, revelations, truths and plot twists and I absolutely loved the final chapter, when everything comes to an end in a perfect way.

It’s not saying they will never have nightmares and traumas, but it’s saying it’s possible to heal and move on. I loved seeing Dara and Noam together after all the things they have been through, living together, helping each other through the bad times, Dara cooking and showing Noam the constellations.
Beautiful book, raw, painful and so necessary.

I don’t think I will stop freaking out about this book, because I’ve been obsessed about it for months, since October. And about The Fever king since March, so…TOMORROW IS THE BIG DAY! The electric heir will come out to the world and you shouldn’t miss this amazing and intense book!

https://www.bookdepository.com/Electric-Heir-Victoria-Lee/9781542005081

Pubblicato in: Book preview

Docile by K.M. Szpara ARC review

480 pages

Expected publication: March 3rd 2020 by Tor.com

SPOILERS AHEAD

There is no consent under capitalism

TW: rape, dubious consent, sexual harassment, drugs, forced drugging, attempted suicide, suicidal thoughts, violence, torture, bdsm

PLOT

In a dystopic society, thanks to the Next of Kin law, people inherit their parents’ debts (if they are married) and they are forced to interact with the Office of Debt Resolution and sell themselves to work their debts. The ODR works with the Dociline, a drug that “helps” debtors to be docile and compliant while working and to erase their memory when under the drug. The Bishops invented the Dociline and the whole debtors’ system use it. In a world where the consent is “optional” and where trillionaires control, through Dociline and the ODR, the life of others, Elisha and Alex struggle to be themself and maintain their soul.

Elisha Wilder’s family is ruined by debt and his mother is under a Dociline state after spending 10 years paying part of her debts. To save his thirteen years old sister from the ODR, from selling herself (usually trillionaries seeks Dociles for sex), Elisha tricks his parents and he registers himself to the ODR, hoping to choose a kind Patron and a short term.

Alexander Bishop the Third works for his family company and he’s forced by his father and the Board to look for a Docile, since he pushed away their choice for him. After refusing the choices prescreened by his father and the Board, Alex is attracted by Elisha and decides to be his Patron, offering him a monthly salary for his family and a full life term. Alex feels the pressure of the society, of his father and his role as CEO and the creation of a new version of Dociline, that he wants to test on Elisha. But when Elisha uses one of the seven Docile rights, refusing to take the drug, Alex is put in a difficult position and he’s forced to show his father, the Board and his influential friends he can train an off-med Docile.

They begin, this way, a complex relationship, where Alex enforces rules upon rules on Elisha, telling him how, when and where to stand and sit, not to ask questions, not to be curious, how to dress, how to eat, molding him into a perfect Docile. And disciplining him with cruel punishments, like putting his knees on rice, when he misbehaves. Slowly, forced to obey because he fears Alex could stop paying his family the salary decided in the contract, Elisha lets him changing him, shaping him into a perfect Docile, making him taking cooking, piano, language lessons and so on.

Bit by bit, in six months, Alex erases his personality, his being Elisha, until Elisha can’t function by himself anymore, doesn’t how how to act or sit or dress and only wants only to please Alex, to make him happy, Elisha suffers from a kind of Stockholm Syndrome.

But Alex’s plan to change Elisha goes both way. When a cruel incident forces him to realize he’s falling in love with him and that he’s hurting him, Alex’s only choice is to get Elisha far away from him, to save him, to let him heal with his family and friends.

But at this stage, their relationship, their bond is too strong and complex. Their feelings, their heartstrings and the consequences of their actions get Alex’s company, his friends, his convictions involved, changing his perception of his world and reality.

Abused, changed and broken Elisha is forced to slowly heal himself, to live his life without Alex, forcing to accept the truth about their relationship, while fighting against a trillionaire system that wants to hurt him and his family, his feelings for Alex and how to be his own person again. Raw and moving is realizing how Elisha was so deep in their relationship, so coerced and controlled he couldn’t recognize the abuse.

Important in the life of Elisha and Alex are the Empower Maryland, an organization that helps poor people, assisting them, providing food and clothes, tutors and school, that fights against the Docile and debtors’ system. They contacts Elisha, when he becomes Alex’s Docile, to help them fight the Bishops’s Dociline. And then, when Alex’s family files a lawsuit against Elisha and his family, they helped him fight and get better.

MY THOUGHTS

Docile is a book full of intense and incredibly complex characters, written skillfully and set in a dystopian society. It’s a story about abuse, power, love, need and desire. Told by two POVs, Elisha’s and Alex’s Docile follows their relationship, how they change and grow up. It’s a book about relationships, how to be true to himself, how to maintain his own personality in a world where debts and need want to change you.

Elisa is one of the most relisient and stubborn characters I’ve ever read. He loves deeply and it’s his love for his family that pushes him to sign the contract with Alex. It’s chilling getting to know him and his personality and seeing it being chipped away by Alex’s rules and impositions.
Elisha is forced by need and fear for his family to sign his contract with Alex and even though there is an undeniable attraction between them, his relationship with Alex is not consensual. He’s expected to have sex with him, he loses his virginity with Alex the first night, to satisfy his desires, sexual or not.

In Elisha’s society Dociles are seen like things and in the upper class society, the trillionaire’s one, with Alex’s friends like Mariah and Dutch, they are sexual doll. During one of the first society events Elisha is raped by Dutch and drugged to have sex with another Docile, and that was completely normal for them.

That Alex has feelings for Elisha, that he cares for him, more that he should have (according to the society’s way), is right away seen as weird, dangerous, not socially acceptable. Elisha is forced to be Alex’s perfect Docile, dressed like Alex says, doing whatever he wanted him to do. Elisha slowly changes, until his family, above all his father, can’t recognize him anymore, can’t believe he’s his own person.
It is moving and awful reading how Elisha loses himself and struggles with rules and feelings, not knowing what he did wrong or how to function without Alex.

When Alex realized how much he hurts Elisha and lets him go to his family, Elisha’s world is destroyed, without him and he has to go through a painful process of reasserting himself, learning again how to ask things, how to like things without Alex’s brainwashing. Reading about this was so raw and moving, how he was helped by the Empower Maryland, by his family and friends.

Alex’s character, as Elisha’s, is complex and intriguing. Pressured by his family, the whole city to prove the effectivness of Dociline, he’s torn between his growing feelings for Elisha and his loyalty to his father, Board and legacy.

For me, it wasn’t easy to see Alex as a villain in Docile. He was shaped by the world he lives in, Alex is the product of a society where Dociles are seen as things and where he, as Bishop, has to act and be a certain way.

But Alex’s action are not justified by his being grown up in a certain way. Throughout the whole book Alex is forced to open his eyes and recognize his mistakes and actions.

While reading Docile it’s impossible not to compare both of them, to see Alex as the villain and Elisha as the victim, the abuser and the abused, the rapist and the raped. But they are so much complex that that. In a game of seduction, love, violence and hurt, they move and they live in a society that shapes them and wants to mold them in certain ways.
Thanks to his relationship with Elisha, Alex begins to understand how his POV was biased, how his being rich and spoiled prevented him to see the truth, even when it regarded his closest friends. Jess and Dutch are Alex’s best friends, they work for the Bishop Labs and both of them were under Dociline, when kids.

Discovering Dutch’s and his Docile Onyx’s true nature and intentions was a surprise for me, so it was reading them helping Elisha get back on his own feet and forcing Alex to see what his family company did to debtors in general and Elisha and his mother in particular, pushing him to open his eyes and recognize his feeling and what he should do. Jess is another complex character, her expertise in Dociline helping Alex and Elisha, her friendship with them and Dylan sweet and sure.

THE RELATIONSHIPS

I love how the characters grow in this book. Alex, from rich and spoiled and blind to others’ suffering and feelings, becomes a more mature version of himself, deciding to free himself from his father’s and the company’s clutches and owning the truth about what he did to Elisha, how he hurt and broke him.
Reading how Alex sees that and at the same time that is ready to make amends, helping him and his mother, denouncing his family’s company was incredible.


Reading about Elisha’s depersonalization was awful and raw, so like reading his slow reasserting his own identity and personality, his indecision, his pain, his attempted suicide, his healing, helped by his family and friends. Every character is complex, flawed and utterly human in his faults, desires and needs. None of them is completely bad or good, but they are in the gray area of humanity, pushed and manipulated by a society and system that want to mold them, where debts create slaves and riches. Alex and Elisha change one other and, above all, Alex’s world and convictions are upturned.

The lawsuit was a brilliant way to force the characters to realize and talk about their own feelings and faults.
I love reading how Dutch tells the truths about Docile, how the trial showed the fault in the Docile’s system and the debtor’s reality, how Elisha decides to own his own truths, admitting to himself and other to have been raped and brainwashedand how Alex realizes his faults and tries to fix it, testing himself with drugs and trying to find an antidote for Elisha’s mother.
I was unbelievably proud when Elisha breaks up with Alex and they both realize it’s the right thing to do in that moment, because they need to heal and fix their relationship. I was proud of both of them owning their truths.
I love reading how Abby, Elisha’s sister is supportive and how Nora, Dylan’s mother and David, Elisha’s father are so close to him, even after the first fights because Elisha couldn’t realize he’s changed.
It was fun and interesting reading about the sex scenes, about the BDSM, about the poliamorous relationships.

I loved reading how Elisha and Alex change during the whole book, how they become different people, owning their own truths and faults. Their relationship is incredibly complex. Their love, born in a not consensual relationship, change both of them. Pushed Alex to realized how much he’s hurting Elisha and to letting him go to his family, understanding how, living with him, wouldn’t help. Elisha, after all he’s been through, still have feelings for Alex, strong ones.

After being so dependent in Alex, reading how Elisha reasserts himself, making his own decisions, asking his own questions, was absolutely amazing. So was reading how Alex owns his mistakes, his faults, his guilt, deciding to give Elisha space, to letting him heal, piece by piece. Their relationship change a lot throughout the book, from owner and owned, abuser and abused, from Elisha being dependent on Alex, to be his own person, again and starts a new relationship with him, without disparities, helping each other and seeing one other as how they really are, without pressures and social impositions.

I loved the ending. It was hopeful and sweet, social justice aside. I loved reading how both Elisha and Alex still have feeling for each other and they are willing to give each other space and time, while deciding to work together and be together.

QUOTES

“I want to be with you- want to be around you without the pressure”

“He kissed me again, and again, parting so slowly I feel dazed. Heady. Elisha leans his forehead against the base of my neck and I rest my chin on his head, the hood long fallen off. When he finally looks at me, he says “I’m not giving up on you, Alexander Bishop.” I don’t answer him, because I want him to feel like he can go on without me if he needs to. He’ll see me soon, anyway. We’re neighbours, now, and I think I promised to open a clinic with him. This isn’t a goodbye. It’s a beginning- one we’ve agreed on. Together.”

CONCLUSION

Docile left me breathless and full of things to say and write. I loved the plot, the characters, the themes. I loved Elisha and Alex and the ending left me so hopeful for them, showing how it’s possible to heal and starts love again even after awful experiences. How it’s important to be true to oneself and do the right thing, how it’s right to fight for what it’s right. Docile is a book with intense and skillfully written themes like abuse, power, consent and love. It’s raw, beautiful, heartbreaking and sexy. It’s impossible not to love Elisha and Alex.

Let me now what do you think! Will you read Docile? Are you excited as I am to have this book in your hands? Comment this post and share your thoughts.