Series: Set Fire to the Gods #1
Published by Balzer + Bray (8.4.2020)
Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Format: Audiobook, 432 pages
Length: 12 hours, 41 minutes
Narrator: Andrew Eiden, Stacey Glemboski
Ash is descended from a long line of gladiators, and she knows the brutal nature of war firsthand. But after her mother dies in an arena, she vows to avenge her by overthrowing her fire god, whose temper has stripped her country of its resources.
Madoc grew up fighting on the streets to pay his family's taxes. But he hides a dangerous secret: he doesn't have the earth god’s powers like his opponents. His elemental gift is something else—something that hasn't been seen in centuries.
When an attempted revenge plot goes dangerously wrong, Ash inadvertently throws the fire and earth gods into a conflict that can only be settled by deadly, lavish gladiator games. The fights put Madoc in Ash's path, and she realizes that his powers are the weapon her rebellion needs—but Madoc won’t jeopardize his family, regardless of how intrigued he is by the beautiful warrior.
But when the gods force Madoc’s hand, he and Ash uncover an ancient war that will threaten more than one immortal—it will unravel the world.
Okay so I wasn’t a huge fan of Snow Like Ashes, and I tried to read These Rebel Waves and couldn’t get into it. But when I saw that Kristen (who I adore) was co-writing the book, of course I had to pick it up! I didn’t love it like I’d hoped to, but I did enjoy it while I was reading it even though it didn’t necessarily stick with me.
I am a HUGE fan of stories with gods in them. The concept of this one was fantastic! I loved the idea of gladiator games being fought with gods’ champions. So cool! The narration was pretty good and kept the story flowing. I honestly don’t know if I’d have enjoyed it as much if I hadn’t listened to it. I think maybe my expectations were just too high. I love Kristen and was hoping to feel more of her style shining through, and I think it may have been the fact that I’m not a super fan of Sara’s style that spoiled it for me. It just felt bland overall despite the awesome concept. I do want to see where things go in the next book, though!
Writing style: 4/5
Overall rating: 3/5
Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger
Published by Del Rey (9.24.2019)
Genres: Adult, High Fantasy
Format: Audiobook, 528 pages
Length: 23 hours, 20 minutes
Narrator: Kim Mai Guest
Four destinies collide in a unique fantasy world of war and wonders, where empire is won with enchanted steel and magical animal companions fight alongside their masters in battle.
A soldier with a curse
Tala lost her family to the empress’s army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress’s crimes don’t haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has committed against the laws of magic... and her own flesh and blood.
A prince with a debt
Jimuro has inherited the ashes of an empire. Now that the revolution has brought down his kingdom, he must depend on Tala to bring him home safe. But it was his army who murdered her family. Now Tala will be his redemption—or his downfall.
A detective with a grudge
Xiulan is an eccentric, pipe-smoking detective who can solve any mystery—but the biggest mystery of all is her true identity. She’s a princess in disguise, and she plans to secure her throne by presenting her father with the ultimate prize: the world’s most wanted prince.
A thief with a broken heart
Lee is a small-time criminal who lives by only one law: Leave them before they leave you. But when Princess Xiulan asks her to be her partner in crime—and offers her a magical animal companion as a reward—she can’t say no, and soon finds she doesn’t want to leave the princess behind.
This band of rogues and royals should all be enemies, but they unite for a common purpose: to defeat an unstoppable killer who defies the laws of magic. In this battle, they will forge unexpected bonds of friendship and love that will change their lives—and begin to change the world.
I have very mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, the concept is amazing and unique – I LOVE the idea of shades!! They were so cool! I also loved the Asian setting as I am a huge fan of Asian fantasy. On the other hand, the book was waaaaay too long and the pacing was sometimes rather slow and plodding. I also didn’t connect to the characters very well. I never felt emotionally attached or particularly compelled by any of them. There was also a F/F romance that had great potential but sadly fell pretty flat for me.
The narration was good, not great. Which makes me sad because I LOVED Kim Mai Guest as Auri in the Aurora Rising audiobooks. I’ve listened to her as a sole narrator in a couple other things and wasn’t a fan either. I guess she’s just Auri to me and doesn’t work for anything else. Womp womp.
Writing style: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5