Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes

“In GATHERING DARKNESS, book three of the New York Times bestselling Falling Kingdoms series, the stakes have never been higher as three teams push forward on a race to find the Kindred, the four elemental crystals possessing ancient all-powerful magic, first:

Prince Magnus has just witnessed torture, death, and miracles during the bloody confrontation that decimated the rebel forces. Now he must choose between family and justice as his father, the cruel King Gaius, sets out to conquer all of Mytica. All Gaius needs now are the Kindred – the four elemental crystals that give godlike powers to their owner. But the King of Blood is not the only one hunting for this ancient, storied magic…

• THE KRAESHIANS join the hunt. Ashur and Amara, the royal siblings from the wealthy kingdom across the Silver Sea, charm and manipulate their way to the Kindred, proving to be more ruthless than perhaps even the King of Blood himself.

• THE REBELS forge ahead. Princess Cleo and vengeful Jonas lead them, slaying with sweetness, skill, and a secret that can control Lucia’s overpowering magic – all so they can use the Kindred to win back their fallen kingdoms.

• THE WATCHERS follow Melenia out of the Sanctuary. They ally in the flesh with King Gaius, who vows to use Lucia’s powers to unveil the Kindred.

The only certainty in the dark times is that whoever finds the magic first will control the fate of Mytica… but fate can be fickle when magic is involved.”

-Synopsis on Goodreads

Hi guys! Allison here! Just finished Gathering Darkness and this series just keeps better and better!

“Some sought revenge against their mortal enemies with the edge of a sword. Her plan for vengeance began with the edge of a smile.”
Stars (Out of 10): 9.5
Overall Thoughts: This book lived up to and exceeded my expectations. I love how connected all the plots are and how much the simplest actions mattered in the end. There was a lot of pay offs and a lot of set ups that I hoped get payed off later on.
Spoilers begin below

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Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes

“The road to power… is paved with blood and magic.

Cleo is now a prisoner in her own palace, forced to be an ambassador for Mytica as the evil King Gaius lies to her people.
Magnus stands to eventually inherit the new kingdom but is still obsessed with his feelings for his adopted sister, Lucia.
Lucia is haunted by the outcome of the breathtaking display of magic that allowed her father to capture the kingdoms.
Jonas watched at the palace gates a troop of rebels behind him, waiting for him to tell them how he plans to overtake King Gaius.

After a bloody siege, Auranos has been defeated, its young queen orphaned and dethroned. The three kingdoms—Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia—are now unwillingly united as one country called Mytica. But the allure of ancient, dangerous magic beckons still, and with it the chance to rule not just Mytica, but the whole world over…

At the heart of the fray are four brave young people grappling for that magic and the power it promises. For Cleo, the magic would enable her to reclaim her royal seat. In Jonas’s hands, it frees his nation, and in Lucia’s, it fulfills the ancient prophecy of her destiny. And if the magic were Magnus’s, he would finally prove his worth in the eyes of his cruel and scheming father, King Gaius, who rules Mytica with a punishing hand.

When Gaius begins to build a road into the Forbidden Mountains to physically link all of Mytica, he sparks a long-smoking fire in the hearts of the people that will forever change the face of this land. For Gaius’s road is paved with blood, and its construction will have cosmic consequences.”

-Synopsis on Goodreads

Hey guys! This is Allison! I finally got around to finishing Rebel Spring. Life kept getting in the way, but I finally finished the book and I’m so glad I did!

 “Sometimes, to regain sanity, one had to acknowledge and embrace the madness.” 
Stars (Out of 10): 9
Overall Thoughts: This book was full of amazing twists that had me gasping and wanting to turn the pages as quick as possible. I loved this book!
Spoilers begin below

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Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

“In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed… and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It’s the eve of war…. Choose your side.

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.

Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword….”

-Synopsis on Goodreads

Hi guys! Allison here! It was my turn to read Falling Kingdoms and I can tell you that I loved it!

“Even in the darkest and most cruel person, there is still a kernel of good. And within the most perfect champion, there is darkness. The question is, will one give in to the dark or the light? It’s something we decide with every choice we make, every day that we exist. What might not be evil to you could be evil to someone else. Knowing this makes us powerful even without magic.”
Stars (Out of 10): 8
Overall Thoughts: When I first heard about this book, I knew it was the type of book for me: multiple characters in a fantasy world full of political intrigue and the characters all being on different sides? Sign me up. Turns out, I was right to get hyped about it. I fell in love with this book while reading it.
 Spoilers begin below

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The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

“Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their difference, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.

But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Hi guys! Allison here! So I just finished Song of Achilles. It was great and I’m crying. I heartily recommend it to everyone. I also recommend reading it on a free day because I sat down and read it for seven hours straight and did not put it down once.

“And perhaps it is the greater grief, after all, to be left on earth when another is gone.” 
Stars (Out of 10): 10
Overall Thoughts: I had to write this blinking through my tears. I have always been a fan of Greek mythology, so I was pretty sure I was going to love this book. I was right. I loved it a lot. I sat down and read it and did not put it down for a full seven hours.

Spoilers begin below

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Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes

In GATHERING DARKNESS, book three of the New York Times bestselling Falling Kingdoms series, the stakes have never been higher as three teams push forward on a race to find the Kindred, the four elemental crystals possessing ancient all-powerful magic, first:

Prince Magnus has just witnessed torture, death, and miracles during the bloody confrontation that decimated the rebel forces. Now he must choose between family and justice as his father, the cruel King Gaius, sets out to conquer all of Mytica. All Gaius needs now are the Kindred – the four elemental crystals that give godlike powers to their owner. But the King of Blood is not the only one hunting for this ancient, storied magic…

• THE KRAESHIANS join the hunt. Ashur and Amara, the royal siblings from the wealthy kingdom across the Silver Sea, charm and manipulate their way to the Kindred, proving to be more ruthless than perhaps even the King of Blood himself.

• THE REBELS forge ahead. Princess Cleo and vengeful Jonas lead them, slaying with sweetness, skill, and a secret that can control Lucia’s overpowering magic – all so they can use the Kindred to win back their fallen kingdoms.

• THE WATCHERS follow Melenia out of the Sanctuary. They ally in the flesh with King Gaius, who vows to use Lucia’s powers to unveil the Kindred.

The only certainty in the dark times is that whoever finds the magic first will control the fate of Mytica… but fate can be fickle when magic is involved.

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey! It’s Meaghan again! I just can’t seem to put this series down! I actually read this book before Aristotle and Dante, but only got to sit down and write my review now! There is the chance for spoilers under the read more, so read at your own risk!

“And those with dark pasts didn’t always yearn for dark futures.”

Stars (Out of 10): 10/10!

Overall Thoughts: Oh my wow this book was amazing. I absolutely devoured it. It was rich in betrayals, revealing of secrets, plot twists, and romantic and sexual tension. Everything that the last books did wrong were fixed in this book, and this was definitely my favorite of the series so far.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE
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The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

“Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love… or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear… the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.”

-Synopsis on Goodreads

Hi guys! Allison here! I just finished the Crown’s Game and loved it a lot!

“Imagine, and it shall be. There are no limits.”
Stars (Out of 10): 9.5
Overall Thoughts: Despite the slow beginning, I found I enjoyed the Crown’s Game immensely. The in depth world, the amazing characters, and the terrific yet frustrating plot makes this book a must read. I was lost in the impossible situation Nikolai and Vika found themselves in. I recommend this book to fantasy-lovers everywhere.

 Spoilers begin below
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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

This Printz Honor Book is a “tender, honest exploration of identity” (Publishers Weekly) that distills lyrical truths about family and friendship.

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey! It’s Meaghan here, back with another review! This time I’m here with the beloved Aristotle and Dante. Let me preface this by saying that I did not enjoy this book at all, and that if you loved this book, the review below will not match up to your opinions at all. This book was not my thing at all, and I enjoyed almost no part of it unfortunately. I had high hopes for it, and unfortunately my expectations were a tad too high ): Please be aware of the spoilers after the read more!

“We all fight our own private wars.”

Stars (Out of 10): 3.5/10

Overall Thoughts: I really wanted to like this book, I really did. The amazing reviews, all the awards, and the synopsis drew me in, and therefore my expectations may have been too high. Maybe this just wasn’t the right time for me to read this book. But in all honesty, I had to struggle to finish this book. So many times I wanted to just quit, but I pushed through, thinking “it has to get better, right? There has to be a reason why this book was rated 4.33 stars.” But I never found that reason. I never even found a true plot. I didn’t enjoy the characters, I didn’t enjoy the plot, I didn’t enjoy the writing style, I just didn’t enjoy the book at all. I feel almost like I read a different book than everyone else. While the ending did save this book from being 1 star, it didn’t explain why the rest of the book didn’t draw my attention. And therefore, my rating can only be 3.5 out of 10 stars, and even that I feel is optimistic.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE
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Rebel Springs by Morgan Rhodes

The road to power… is paved with blood and magic.

Cleo is now a prisoner in her own palace, forced to be an ambassador for Mytica as the evil King Gaius lies to her people.
Magnus stands to eventually inherit the new kingdom but is still obsessed with his feelings for his adopted sister, Lucia.
Lucia is haunted by the outcome of the breathtaking display of magic that allowed her father to capture the kingdoms.
Jonas watched at the palace gates a troop of rebels behind him, waiting for him to tell them how he plans to overtake King Gaius.

After a bloody siege, Auranos has been defeated, its young queen orphaned and dethroned. The three kingdoms—Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia—are now unwillingly united as one country called Mytica. But the allure of ancient, dangerous magic beckons still, and with it the chance to rule not just Mytica, but the whole world over…

At the heart of the fray are four brave young people grappling for that magic and the power it promises. For Cleo, the magic would enable her to reclaim her royal seat. In Jonas’s hands, it frees his nation, and in Lucia’s, it fulfills the ancient prophecy of her destiny. And if the magic were Magnus’s, he would finally prove his worth in the eyes of his cruel and scheming father, King Gaius, who rules Mytica with a punishing hand.

When Gaius begins to build a road into the Forbidden Mountains to physically link all of Mytica, he sparks a long-smoking fire in the hearts of the people that will forever change the face of this land. For Gaius’s road is paved with blood, and its construction will have cosmic consequences.

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys, it’s Meaghan again! After my quick break from the series, I came back to the Falling Kingdoms series and finished Book 2, Rebel Springs! My full review is below, with spoilers under the read more!

“Sometimes, to regain sanity, one had to acknowledge and embrace the madness.”

Stars (Out of 10): 9/10

Overall Thoughts: I definitely enjoyed this one much more than the first book, as everything seemed to mesh together more! The writing style and plot seemed to click together more in this book, and characters that I either lost interest in in the first book or grew to dislike have redeemed themselves! All in all, this is definitely a book that makes me want to continue the series!

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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The Boy with Words by C.E. Wilson

“White Frost has only ever known the darkness. Everything outside of her closed society is The Unknown – a strange and dangerous place accessible to only a chosen few. White’s only glimpse of the world beyond comes from her beloved cousin in the form of mysterious collections of words that hint at astonishing wonders. When an accident upends her simple existence, she’s given an unlikely chance to see the truth for herself. What she finds is greater and more terrible than she could have imagined, and before long she is forced to make the most important choice of her life: does she accept her safe, limited world that she’s known or take a desperate gamble in a world not meant for her with the Boy with Words?”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Hi guys this is Allison! I was given the book The Boy With Words for an honest read to review by the author. I finally got around to it and found I enjoyed it a lot.

“You can’t control what the truth is.” 
Stars (Out of 10): 7.5
Overall Thoughts: While I was not a fan of the romantic aspect of the book, the rest of it was amazing. C.E. Wilson built an awesome world filled of all sorts of quirks that made it truly amazing to read. I can’t wait to read more books from this author!

 Spoilers start here! 

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The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

“Mary Renault lives again!” declares Emma Donoghue, author of Room, referring to The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller’s thrilling, profoundly moving, and utterly unique retelling of the legend of Achilles and the Trojan War. A tale of gods, kings, immortal fame, and the human heart, The Song of Achilles is a dazzling literary feat that brilliantly reimagines Homer’s enduring masterwork, The Iliad. An action-packed adventure, an epic love story, a marvelously conceived and executed page-turner, Miller’s monumental debut novel has already earned resounding acclaim from some of contemporary fiction’s brightest lights—and fans of Mary Renault, Bernard Cornwell, Steven Pressfield, and Colleen McCullough’s Masters of Rome series will delight in this unforgettable journey back to ancient Greece in the Age of Heroes.

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

It’s Meaghan here, and back again with a new book! I started A Song of Achilles last night, expecting something great, and actually getting greater in return! (I also may have stayed up until close to 3 AM reading until my eyes rebelled against me and begged me to sleep.) My full review is below, but it does include spoilers under the read more!

“And perhaps it is the greater grief, after all, to be left on earth when another is gone.”

Stars (Out of 10): 9/10
Overall Thoughts: There are some books that are purely entertainment, there to please your mind for a few hours, linger a little after, but fade in importance in your mind after time. This book was not one of those books. The Song of Achilles was an experience, with beautiful writing and lessons to learn. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, from the character growth seen in Patroclus to the relationship between him and Achilles. My only issue with the book was just how slow it moved, but it does fit the writing style and story. If you’re looking for a book to move you, and make you feel and experience reading differently, I would say to definitely pick up this book.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

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