House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple -- ARC provided by publisher
Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves.
DNF'd at: 125/352 or 35%
I was just..... bored. Uninterested in characters or story. Too simplistic of a plot, and too reminiscent of other novels.
Talker 25 by Joshua McCune --- ARC provided by publisher
Debut author Joshua McCune's gritty and heart-pounding novel is a masterful reimagining of popular dragon fantasy lore, set in a militant future reminiscent of Paolo Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker and Ann Aguirre's Outpost.
It's a high school prank gone horribly wrong-sneaking onto the rez to pose next to a sleeping dragon-and now senior Melissa Callahan has become an unsuspecting pawn in a war between Man and Monster, between family and friends and the dragons she has despised her whole life. Chilling, epic, and wholly original, this debut novel imagines a North America where dragons are kept on reservations, where strict blackout rules are obeyed no matter the cost, where the highly weaponized military operates in chilling secret, and where a gruesome television show called Kissing Dragons unites the population. Joshua McCune's debut novel offers action, adventure, fantasy, and a reimagining of popular dragon lore.
DNF'd at: 115/432 or 27%
I will read anything with a dragon, but this was a struggle.I just wasn't invested in the characters and the writing wasn't really workign for me as well. It wasn't egregiously bad, I just never wanted to read it.
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison -- ARC provided by publisher
The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an "accident," he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.
Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.
Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend... and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne – or his life.
DNF'd at: 145/448 or 32%
There's nothing wrong with The Goblin Emperor -- it's just not the kind of fantasy I'm into right now. If it's not Sanderson, then I like my fantasy dark, gritty, uncompromising, full of morally grey characters. This seems more akin to earlier fantasy (heroic MC) though with an admittedly fun steampunk flair. Not a bad book -- just not the book for me right now.