Mini Audio Reviews: Together We Burn, Luminaries, Princess of Souls

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on June 2, 2023 | 0 Comments

Mini Audio Reviews: Together We Burn, Luminaries, Princess of SoulsTogether We Burn by Isabel Ibañez
Published by Wednesday Books (5.31.2022)
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Format: Audiobook, 368 pages
Length: 13 hours, 6 minutes
Narrator: Ana Osorio
Source: Library

3 Stars

Eighteen-year-old Zarela Zalvidar is a talented flamenco dancer and daughter of the most famous Dragonador in Hispalia. People come for miles to see her father fight in their arena, which will one day be hers.

But disaster strikes during their five hundredth anniversary show, and in the carnage, Zarela’s father is horribly injured. Facing punishment from the Dragon Guild, Zarela must keep the arena—her ancestral home and inheritance —safe from their greedy hands. She has no choice but to take her father’s place as the next Dragonador. When the infuriatingly handsome dragon hunter, Arturo Díaz de Montserrat, withholds his help, she refuses to take no for an answer.

But even if he agrees, there’s someone out to ruin the Zalvidar family, and Zarela will have to do whatever it takes in order to prevent the Dragon Guild from taking away her birthright.

An ancient city plagued by dragons. A flamenco dancer determined to save her ancestral home. A dragon hunter refusing to teach her his ways. They don't want each other, but they need each other, and without him her world will burn.

My thoughts

While this book didn’t necessarily stick with me, the concept was awesome! DRAGONADORS!! Like matadors, but with dragons! Fucking awesome, dude. It was unlike anything I’ve ever read before!

I adored the dragon parts of this story and appreciated the Spanish culture, but the emotion was just not there for me. I would have liked to have connected to the characters and the story much more than I did. Especially considering there were dragons! The romance didn’t do it for me, despite being enemies-to-lovers (my fave trope), and it’s kind of the main focus of the book. The dragon parts were few and far between – I think if there’d been more dragons I’d have loved this.

There was a glorious little How to Train Your Dragon moment toward the end there, though. Yaasssssss.

Overall Assessment

Plot: 3/5
Premise: 5/5
Writing style: 3.5/5
Originality: 4/5
Characters: 2/5
World-building: 4/5
Pace: 3/5
Feels: 0/5
Narration: 3.5/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Mini Audio Reviews: Together We Burn, Luminaries, Princess of SoulsThe Luminaries by Susan Dennard
Series: The Luminaries #1
Published by Tor Teen (11.1.2022)
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Format: Audiobook, 294 pages
Length: 9 hours, 45 minutes
Narrator: Caitlin Davies
Source: Library

2 Stars

Hemlock Falls isn't like other towns. You won't find it on a map, your phone won't work here, and the forest outside town might just kill you.

Winnie Wednesday wants nothing more than to join the Luminaries, the ancient order that protects Winnie's town—and the rest of humanity—from the monsters and nightmares that rise in the forest of Hemlock Falls every night.

Ever since her father was exposed as a witch and a traitor, Winnie and her family have been shunned. But on her sixteenth birthday, she can take the deadly Luminary hunter trials and prove herself true and loyal—and restore her family's good name. Or die trying.

But in order to survive, Winnie enlists the help of the one person who can help her train: Jay Friday, resident bad boy and Winnie’s ex-best friend. While Jay might be the most promising new hunter in Hemlock Falls, he also seems to know more about the nightmares of the forest than he should. Together, he and Winnie will discover a danger lurking in the forest no one in Hemlock Falls is prepared for.

Not all monsters can be slain, and not all nightmares are confined to the dark.

My thoughts

I think it’s time for me to give up on Susan Dennard books. I will say, though, that this may be the best of her books I’ve read even though calling it mediocre is generous. I outright hated Truthwitch and wasn’t a fan of Something Strange and Deadly (which I actually gave 3 stars because I was more generous with ratings way back then XD). This one wasn’t terrible, but it was overall meh.

The plot, the setting, the characters…it was all generic and felt like a million other books I’ve read before. I’m not a huge fan of Susan’s writing, either. I find it to be quite bland and sophomoric. The romance was dull and lacked chemistry, probably because the two main characters lacked any personality to speak of. Everything fell flat.

Shame, since that cover is so pretty.

Overall Assessment

Plot: 2/5
Premise: 3.5/5
Writing style: 2/5
Originality: 1/5
Characters: 1/5
World-building: 2/5
Pace: 3/5
Feels: 0/5
Narration: 3/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall rating: 2/5

Mini Audio Reviews: Together We Burn, Luminaries, Princess of SoulsPrincess of Souls by Alexandra Christo
Published by Feiwel and Friends (10.11.2022)
Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Format: Audiobook, 352 pages
Length: 10 hours, 49 minutes
Narrator: Suzy Jackson, Will Collyer
Source: I own it

3 Stars

For sixteen years, Selestra Somniatis has been trapped in a castle on the Floating Mountain, preparing to take her mother’s place as King Seryth’s right hand. Tied by blood to steal souls for the immortal King of the Six Isles, the Somniatis Witch foretells the deaths of participants in the Festival of Predictions. To outrun your fate is to save your soul and steal the King’s immortality. But if you die, your soul is forfeit. And though thousands have tried, nobody has ever beaten death.

As a soldier in King Seryth’s army, Nox Laederic is an unlikely candidate for the Festival, but he has no plans to die at the hands of the King or his witches. His plan is more akin to violent revenge: steal the King’s immortality and kill the entirety of his court, starting with Selestra herself.

But when Selestra touches Nox in her very first prediction, she sees her own death alongside his--their fates are unmistakably intertwined, and Selestra is no longer safe in the only home she’s ever known. Nox and Selestra will have to enter a turbulent alliance in order to survive long enough to free the Six Isles from King Seryth’s clutches and escape the new fate that hunts them.

My thoughts

I really enjoyed To Kill a Kingdom, so I was kind of sad that I didn’t love this one more. I did enjoy it while listening, but I found it to be a bit generic.

It was super cool that Selestra had green hair! I did like her name, too, it’s pretty. Nox is also a cool name. The romance was just okay for me, I found it to be lacking in feeling. The emotion wasn’t there for me at all while I was listening. Looking back, the book was overall forgettable. I think the only reason I enjoyed it as much as I did while listening was because Suzy Jackson is Selestra’s narrator (she narrated Skyward, which is one of my fave audiobooks), and I adore her narrating!

I actually didn’t even realize this was marketed as a Rapunzel retelling until after I’d read it, because to me it didn’t seem like it at all. The only similarity was that Selestra had a magical ability and was allowed very little freedom.

Overall Assessment

Plot: 3/5
Premise: 4/5
Writing style: 3.5/5
Originality: 2/5
Characters: 1/5
World-building: 3/5
Pace: 4/5
Feels: 1/5
Narration: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Jessi (Geo)

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