The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater *****
Blue has spent the majority of her sixteen years being told that if she kisses her true love, he will die. When Blue meets Gansey’s spirit on the corpse road she knows there is only one reason why – either he is her true love or she has killed him. Determined to find out the truth, Blue becomes involved with the Raven Boys, four boys from the local private school (lead by Gansey) who are on a quest to discover Glendower – a lost ancient Welsh King who is buried somewhere along the Virginia ley line. Whoever finds him will be granted a supernatural favour. Never before has Blue felt such magic around her. But is Gansey her true love? She can’t imagine a time she would feel like that, and she is adamant not to be the reason for his death. Where will fate lead them?
I’m not sure where to start with this book. I’ve been struggling with my thoughts on this one. Objectively, this is a book about a special snowflake of a girl with a unique name to boot that meets a bunch of boys from a local private school who shes sworn never to get mixed up with. But oh, these boys are different from all the others and romance ensues. But- and its a big BUT – I loved this book. I fell in love with the characters pretty much from chapter one. This isn’t a book about a girl falling in love. This is a book about the friendship dynamics between the boys and it broke my heart. Even just thinking about this book weeks later my heart is aching. I wanted to give them all a hug and never let go. And I guess when a book makes you that invested in the characters then objectivity has to go out the window. The only reason this doesn’t have five stars (and if I could rate it 4.5 I would) is that I thought the ending was very blunt and sudden. But then, it’s part of a series and I’m sure it will be expanded on in the next book. If you love books that focus on friendship and group dynamics (like I do) then I recommend you read this book.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers *****
Somewhere within our crowded sky, a crew of wormhole builders hops from planet to planet, on their way to the job of a lifetime. To the galaxy at large, humanity is a minor species, and one patched-up construction vessel is a mere speck on the starchart. This is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there. But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling. A young Martian woman, hoping the vastness of space will put some distance between herself and the life she‘s left behind. An alien pilot, navigating life without her own kind. A pacifist captain, awaiting the return of a loved one at war. Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own.
This book is something a little different. It’s a story set in space that isn’t a rip roaring adventure with the universe at risk. It’s set mainly on a small ship that only has a handful of crew and we get to know them all pretty well. We get introduced to different species and cultures and, while there isn’t a massive adventure. it has just enough happening to keep you hooked. Think Star Trek without the life or death missions. We get some amazing world building (galaxy building?) and all the characters have their own backstories and lives. I thoroughly enjoyed it but for some reason, while I liked the characters, I didn’t feel as invested in them as I’d have liked.
The Beginning Woods by Malcolm McNeill *****
The Vanishings started without warning. People disappearing into thin air – just piles of clothes left behind. Each day, thousands gone without a trace. Max was abandoned in a bookshop and grows up haunted by memories of his parents. Only he can solve the mystery of the Vanishings. To find the answers, Max must leave this world and enter the Beginning Woods. A realm of magic and terror, life and death.
But can he bear the truth – or will is destroy him?
This book is a whole host of magical fairytales mixed in with a good dose of adventure. If you want to know how snowflakes are made, learn about the forest dwelling dragons that only eat certain types of trees or the magic of old light then this book is for you.
Unfortunately, the amazing stories and ideas in this book have a way of slowing the pace down. The writing is beautiful but during the first third of the book while we are being introduced to all these different magical stories the plot comes to an almost standstill. It is worth carrying on though. As, when all the elements finally come together, we get an exciting story that I didn’t want to put down.
It’s just a shame about the start otherwise I would have given this a higher rating than three stars.