Top 5 Wednesday: Autobuy SFF Authors

Happy Wednesday everyone, and here is another Top 5 Wendnesday and the topic is:

April 11: Auto-Buy Scifi and Fantasy Authors – Booktube SFF Awards Babble Crossover Topic! 
— This month’s crossover topic is your auto-buy authors that write SFF.

Top 5 Wednesday is a group in Goodreads and was formerly created by Lainey at gingerreadslainey and is now done by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. It is open to everyone.

VE Schwab

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Author of great books such as Vicious, This Savage Song, and Shade of Magic series. I have a read most of the books she has published, but I need to read A Conjuring of Light. I am also very excited for the sequel to Vicious, which is Vengeful. Her worlds are magnificent, the characters are engaging and well developed, and her stories are amazing.

Marie Lu

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She wrote the Legend trilogy which was amazing. The Young Elites trilogy which I really liked. Warcross was one of my favorite books of last year, and she wrote Batman Nightwalker, which I loved. I love that she is willing to write different genres and go from dystopia, to high fantasy and futuristic Sci Fi. I am very excited for Wildcard this year.

Leigh Bardugo

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While I did enjoy Shadow and Bone, my main reason for loving Leigh Bardugo, was the Six of Crows duology. The characters, the worlds and the story, drew me in. While I am disappointed that I won’t see those characters again I am excited to read what she has written.

Cindy Pon

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She is, in my opinion a very underrated author. I loved the Serpentine duo-logy, especially with the use of Chinese mythology into a fantasy world. I loved Want, which was another favorite book that I read last year. I loved all of the characters she has written and I can’t want for the sequel to Want,

Marissa Meyer

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For those who have been following blog for a long time,should know how much I love the Lunar Chronicles. Sci Fi retellings mixed with fairy tales are my jam. I loved Heartless which was a stand alone retelling of the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland. I also loved Renegades which dealt with the superhero genre. Her characters are amazing and I am excited for Archenemies.

Honorable Mentions: Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman, Megan Spooner, Holly Black, Susan Dennard, Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, Cinda Williams Chima

Those are my SFF auto buy authors. Who are your SFF auto buy authors? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Wonder Woman Warbringer by: Leigh Bardugo

Summary:

Daughter of immortals.

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together.

Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

The Review:

This is the first book in the DC Icons series, which combines YA books and comic book characters written by popular YA authors. I was very excited to read this mainly because I love the character of Wonder Woman, and also this was by Leigh Bardugo, one of my favorite authors.

This book is also a very different interpretation of the character of Wonder Woman, while she does borrow elements from the comics, it does stand alone as its own thing. The story starts off in Themyscira, the home world where Diana is from, and it also starts her as a teenage girl rather than a full adult woman like the comics does. It was nice to see Themyscria and I also pictured it like the movie which is a an incredible world.

I like Leigh Bardugo’s interpretation of the character of Diana, while she is the daughter of the Queen and a princess, she still wants to do what’s right and try to protect the people she loves. She even makes a decisions to try to protect Alia, even if it means exile from Themyscria.

Alia is another main character of the story. She is said to be a descendant of Helen of Troy or the Warbringer. It is said that her existence causes war. After a shipwreck she is brought to shore by Diana who protects her and goes to New York with Alia in order to drain her power and bring an end to wars. Alia is a pretty good character, while I would have like to see her have a more kick ass role within the book, she does tend to hold her own, especially once they head to New York.

What I liked about the book was how it ties into the Greek mythology. I also liked how it fleshed out the story of Helen of Troy and how she was more than “the face that launched a thousand ships” She was a warrior of Sparta and when she became married to Menalaus she loss her identity as a person. It also had a lot more back story with Greek mythology that is often talked about in the comics but not fully fleshed out.

I felt the pacing could have been better. There was a lot of points within then book where it was a lot of waiting for the plot to finally pick up. While slow sections of a book is good, I felt in this case that it was a bit boring. I also wanted the book to have a little bit more action. While the museum fight was good, I kinda wanted a few more action scenes. Maybe its just me being spoiled by the movie and I could have used a nice “No Man’s Land” scene.

I also would have liked to see a more fleshed out friendship between Diana and Alia. While both of them are great characters I would have liked to see a friendship blossom rather than a protector-protectee relationship which the book had.

I did like the supporting characters; Nim, Theo and Jason. They each contributed to the story in their own way and had their mini arcs within the story in order to flesh out their characters. They also provided some back story with Alia. They also made the story a bit more grounded.

In the end, Wonder Woman Warbringer was a good book. While as a fan of Wonder Woman the comic character it was nice to see a different interpretation. I would recommended it to anyone who is new to comics. It provides a semi origin story of Diana Prince and I hope to see more in the future.

Grade: 3.6/5

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Summary:

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

The Review: 

I seriously don’t know what to say in this review without spoiling anything so here we go. This book was an amazing conclusion to an awesome duology. I really liked Six of Crows, and I thought it was leaps and bounds better than the Grisha trilogy. Here is my review for Six of Crows.

Crooked Kingdom picks up right where Six of Crows left off, with Inej captured, and the rest of the crew trying to rescue her. Right within the first few pages the book was in GO mode, and it did not stop at all. It did not have one dull moment, and it was exciting page after page.

The characters are still amazing, and each of them went through their own significant arc. One of my favorites is Inej, even though she spent the first few chapters of the book imprisoned she still was very useful and could still handle herself which is what I loved about it. Most times when you see a strong female protagonist in a book than all of a sudden in the third act she has to get rescued and become damsel-ed. Here she wasn’t damsel-ed and was even trying to rescue herself before the crew got her and finished the job. I also loved her relationship with Kaz. It was well written, and well developed and you want to see them succeed in the end. I even liked the scenes where she had to fight another “spider” like her, which was of course amazing.

I also loved Kaz in this book. Like I said in the Six of Crows review, he is basically the Malcolm Reynolds of this world, and while he mostly cares about money he cares a lot about his crew and what happens to them. He was still the snarky con man who was always trying to be one step ahead of everyone.

My other favorite character is Jesper. I really liked his storyline in this book especially the scenes with his father, and the relationship with his dead mother. Even though he found out he was a fabrikator, in Six of Crows, I liked his struggle with his Grisha powers, but I would have liked to have seen more of his powers. His relationship with Wylan was also great. I loved their back and forth with each other. I also liked Wylan’s story and I liked the fact that he had POV chapters, and got to see more of what he was thinking. Also looking into his relationship with his father. I liked that Wylan and Jesper are the very few LGBTQA+

Nina and Matthias character arcs in this book was also well done, especially Matthias’s arc. Dealing with his personal religions and his relationship with Nina.

The crews relationship with each other is what really made the book work. Like I said in my Six of Crows review, they reminded me a lot of the crew from Serenity in the show Firefly. They all have distinct personalities and Leigh Bardugo did a good job at meshing all of those distinct personalities within the story. This is a cast of characters I would love to see in more books, but since it is a duology this is unfortunate the least we will see of the characters.

In the end, Crooked Kingdom was a fantastic conclusion to an amazing duology, with great characters and a plot that keeps you engaged from page one. Even if you weren’t a fan of the Grisha trilogy like I was,, I would still fully recommend this book series.

Grade: 5/5

Six of Crows by: Leigh Bardugo

Summary: 

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

The Review:

I was very hesitant to read this book, mainly because I wasn’t a huge fan of Leigh Bardugo’s other series The Grisha Trilogy. I read Shadow and Bone and really didn’t get what the big deal about the book was. I thought it was just an okay read and it didn’t make me want to continue the series. But I was told that this book is better than the Grisha trilogy,and let me say that she was totally right.

First, lets discuss the characters. Kaz is my favorite, I know it may seem obvious because he is the main character but I like that he is snarky, a trickster, willing to do anything to get ahead. I see him as a young Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly. Than there is Inez, who is basically Kaz’s lieutenant, who does most of his spy work. She me a lot of Black Widow; in which she knows how to sneak around places. Jesper, who is the gunner of the group is sort of like Jayne from Firefly and I like his back-and-forth with Kaz during the mission.

Nina, is one of my favorites of the group. She is a Heartrender, within the Grisha hierarchy in which she can basically give people heart attacks. She uses most of skills to survive. Matthias, who is a witch-hunter who joins the group after they break him out of prison has some strange history with Nina and I also love their relationship in the group. Wylan is the son of a council member of Ketterdam who acts as a Sixth ranger of the group who specializes in explosives.

I love all of the characters in this book. I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but it reminded me of the crew from Firefly. All of them have very distinct personalities and they have to work together. They all also have a great set of skills that is helpful for the mission.

The plot focuses involves bringing in a scientist who is building a formula that will increase a Grisha’s power. Kaz is responsible of getting a crew together in order to do it. While the mission may seem generic at first but I like that the main focus of the book is the relationship between the characters and how they work together. That is what made the story very strong.

I also love a lot of the twist and turns that the happens throughout the story, and seeing how the group has to adapt to them and being forced to change their approach to the mission.

If I were to point out a negative I think it is the world-building. I could tell as I read the book that it was made for those who have knowledge about the Grisha trilogy. As I said earlier I only read Shadow and Bone, so some of the terminology confused me a little bit and I had to think about how that term fits within the story. Maybe if I continued to read the Grisha trilogy I would have gotten those terms.

In the end, I enjoyed reading this book and finally sees what the fuss was about. I am definitely excited to read Crooked Kingdom when it comes out next week and to see what’s in store for our characters.

Grade: 4.4/5