🌿 Hi guys! I hope you’re having a beautiful day ❤️, here I bring you another edition of my double book reviews and this time I have a super popular book at the time that I enjoyed a lot, even more than I expected and another that unfortunately was a bit disappointing in execution, but it has a great diverse aspect that’s worth highlighting. I thank NetGalley and publishers such as Tor Books & Shadow Mountain for providing me with copies of these books in exchange for honest reviews. It’s really a blessing and I know that I’m fortunate to have these kinds of opportunities, so very grateful 🥰 & finally, I hope you enjoy the reviews and let me know everything you think about these books in the comments! 🌿
Title: The Unspoken Name
By: A.K. Larkwood
Series: The Serpent Gates #1
Published: February 11th, 2020
By: Tor Books
Genre: Adult | Fantasy| LGBT+
Buy it: Book Depository
What if you knew how and when you will die?
Csorwe does — she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.
But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.
But Csorwe will soon learn – gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.
| Goodreads |
I want to thank NetGalley & Tor Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
I feel really surprised that this is a debut book and I feel very happy to have read it before its release date. This is a very ambitious but very well executed fantasy that I think takes the genre to a new place and gives it a lot of originality, especially due to its subtle mix with sci-fi. That’s why I highly recommend it if you’re like me, a fan of fantasy, and feel that you have already read everything because this surely will give you a new perspective and you’ll feel you’re reading something completely different and new.
The Unspoken Name is the first book of what will be a series called The Serpent Gates, and it’s about Csorwe, a girl who has been raised to be offered as a sacrifice to a god. But near his death day, a powerful mage offers her the possibility of a new destiny to become the wizard’s loyal sword and help him recover his place in power. But Csorwe will soon learn – gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.
I think that one of the strongest and most remarkable aspects of the book is the way in which it contains SO many magical and whimsical aspects in such a harmonious way. There are many sources of information, you’ll meet many magical beings, gods and many strange things during the book, which will surely catch you. On the other hand, I think it’s a book that although fascinating in content, can be a slow-paced read, I think this is due to the way in which the book is built, with quite long chapters and a rare transition between a chapter and another, also the beginning was something difficult to follow. Even so, this shouldn’t be a major impediment to enjoying the story itself.
The characters are quite solid, but I think they still need some work in their development. I enjoyed very much the way in which the author has decided to execute their search for desires because it has always been very clear from the moment one and it’s not necessary this being explained to us countless times, but that you simply know about her goals in a very organic way and I loved that. Surely you’ll understand more about this once you read it, but I want to say that everything flows very well in accordance with the plot and the author hasn’t taken much time with each character. Personally, I enjoyed it, even if I think that a little more work on each character (especially in some of their personalities) would have liked me more, it’s super personal, thought.
And although the characters individually are fine, the relationships between them were the most interesting to follow especially Csorwe and Shuthmili & Csorwe and Tal, I don’t want to deepen much about each relationship because I think the fun is to discover it and see the growth, both are super different but both have enchanted me in their entirety, they give me all the feelings and made me suffer at the same time. The romance is very well created and managed so that it’s a natural complement and not something invasive that takes the whole plot, you know? I loved the sapphic relationship and how it’s managed, I think it felt so right and adorable, I just wanted to mention it. In summary, I think the relationships between the characters and the romance between them was a strong point, I enjoyed every dynamic
The world-building is very complex and well thought out, and although I can see its originality, it can also be somewhat complicated to understand, so I’ll not try or begin to explain it myself here lol. It’s very good that’s for sure and you can see all the work that’s put into this aspect, I enjoyed it and I’m excited to explore this aspect a little more so that I can get acquainted in the following books.
This is a book that I think also stands out a lot for the author’s writing style because it’s really very unique and it shows that it has something special that probably feels very original for you as it felt for me. I admire very much the way in which the author has managed to handle the transitions of the action scenes to the dialogue scenes or the magic scenes to the gore scenes, you know?. It’s a book with a LOT of content, as I mentioned before, and although everything is very original and incredible to read, you have to keep in mind that it can be sensitive content since it has violence, animal & human sacrifices, drug use, self-mutilation, and a lot of blood for everywhere. So be cautious if you decide to read it.
To summarize, I think that to be a debut book… is incredible, it has a very unique writing style as well as a very original plot and construction of the world. I still wish to have a little more character development as individuals in the next books, but the relationships from romantic to friends and enemies, are very well thought out and executed, as well as the diversity of them. The paced can be a problem as well as the transitions from one chapter to another, but I strongly emphasize the handling of the sci-fi elements in a fantasy plot and the action scenes with very good ones. I highly recommend this book if you want to read something different, diverse and entertaining. Plus: the ending is super solid and leaves you very satisfied, so don’t be afraid to go for it!
Title: What the Other Three Don’t Know
By: Spencer Hyde
Publication: March 3rd, 2020
By: Shadow Mountain
Genre: YA | Contemporary | LGBT+ | Diversity
Buy it: Book Depository
Will I still be loved if I show people who I really am?
Four high school seniors. Four secrets about to be told.
If Indie had it her way, she would never choose to river raft with three other high school seniors, mostly strangers to each other, from her journalism class.
A loner, a jock, an outsider, an Instagram influencer. At first they can’t see anything that they have in common. As the trip unfolds, the unpredictable river forces them to rely on each other. Social masks start to fall as, one-by-one, each teen reveals a deep secret the other three don’t know.
One is harboring immense grief and unwilling to forgive after the death of a loved one. One is dealing with a new disability and an uncertain future. One is fearful of the repercussions of coming out. One is hiding behind a carefully curated “perfect” image on Instagram.
Before they get to the end of Hells Canyon, they’ll know the truth about each other and, more importantly, learn something new about themselves.
What the Other Three Don’t Know is a poignant and gripping YA novel about the unlikely friends who accept you for who you really are and the power of self-acceptance.
| Goodreads |
I want to thank NetGalley & Shadow Mountain for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
This book was a bit disappointing being honest, I hoped to enjoy it much more. I like the promise a lot, it sounds simple but it keeps a lot of feelings and discussions about loss, sexuality, and social stereotypes. And although it sounds very promising ends up being quite flat.
This book is about four high school senior students who go on a trip to a river from her journalism class. A loner, a jock, an outsider, an Instagram influencer. At first, they can’t see anything that they have in common. As the trip unfolds, the unpredictable river forces them to rely on each other. Social masks start to fall as, one-by-one, each teen reveals a deep secret the other three don’t know.
I think that again, as already mentioned, the concept and the idea is very interesting, but the execution fell on being quite flat and for me personally, it didn’t feel real. The characters’ voices are weird and un-believable for young people, and the dialogues didn’t flow at all. On the other hand, I understand the final message that the author wanted to give regarding stereotypes and as in spite of everything we all have flaws and the most improbable people can end up being the ones who support you and understand you the most.
Indie is the main character and she struggles internally with the loss of her mother, who died in the river by drowning and when she goes on this trip what she least thinks is to meet her guide who, from what we understand has to do with the death of her mother or at least Indie blames him for it. And that point of the plot seemed super interesting to me and I don’t think it’s executed in a way that keeps you expectant, it also resolves in a rather superficial way. Her voice as a narrator was quite unbearable for me, sadly, but I admit that her internal monologs have a very nice writing style and are also atmospheric. I end up being more interested in Shelby who’s the “popular girl” but ends up being a better person and her voice was the best in my opinion. I didn’t like any of the guys in the story: Wyatt & Skye.
The transition from one scene to another felt quite dirty and doesn’t have a good fluidity which makes it difficult to place yourself on the scene, but I really liked the setting, though, because I adore when there’s a lot of nature, woods, and rivers, I think it gives a good atmosphere to the plot. On the other hand, it has an insta-love thing, that honestly seemed ridiculous to me, the characters didn’t have chemistry and suddenly rebelled their secrets to each other & fall in love, I don’t get it.
Speaking of the long-awaited secrets, I think the author had very good ideas and his message is super positive, I want to highlight that, but I think there’s a mistake in wanting to execute these ideas through the eyes of teenagers because simply felt very artificial and forced. Secrets as such are linked to personal stories of overcoming and suffering, family violence, standards “to fill”, sexuality & disability, so that was great, it didn’t have an impact because of the way in which it is executed, but I respect that the idea has been so inclusive.
.Another thing that I want to highlight is that the author himself has created these characters based on his own experiences and he shares that with us before starting the story. I understand that it can be very difficult to develop a story that’s so personal to him, so I really appreciate he to tell a story #OwVoices that of course deserves to be heard, that the execution hasn’t worked personally for me, but I really want to you to know how much this means for the author himself
I still recommend it, if you want to read something fast-paced that also has a lot of diversity and a very atmospheric setting, but without a doubt, the execution needs work, just like the characters, their developments, and dialogues.