Introverts Graphic Novels | Short Reviews

Are you in a reading rut? Bored in quarantine? Need memes to send to your friends about being bored in quarantine? Maybe even something to send to friends as a nudge towards staring into the darkness of depression, but not in a way that’s too concerning, but maybe they’ll check up on you more? Okay, that last one was too specific, and most likely the best thing is to just be honest with friends and all that, but it might have been what this post was born from. Anyway! Here’s some good graphic novels aimed at introverted people and perfect now that we all were forced to be more introverted during quarantine.

Emotions Explained with Buff Dudes by Andrew Tsyaston

I know this comic writer as Shen Comix on instagram, where you get a sneak-peak of what types of comics this whole collection is about. But it was my favourite of these ones for many reasons, it was both very cute illustration style, most relatable to me and it had worked well as a collection, without having the different comics be to similiar!

I’ll give it 5/5 stars. Definitely something I will pick up again and again when I need a pick-me-up. Funny comics explaining the weird happenings in life. “Life be like dat” in graphic novel form, if that makes sense.

Quiet Girl in a Noisy World by Debbie Tung

I like and relate to this girl’s introverted ft. bookworms story, with an interesting illustration style. I’m not that big of a fan of something leaning so heavily into being ‘introverted’ to the point where it seems less of a personality and more of an anxiety thing, but I’m not going to get into a discussion on that. It doesn’t really stand out among these others, except by trying a bit too hard to be relatable in every aspect. 3/5 stars.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

This is also a comic series that has lived on the internet as long as I can recall, without me realizing that it’s one person behind this style. Here’s the blog it was born from! It’s just so smartly written, and matched my humor great. It doesn’t shy away from the memoir/darker aspects dealing with depression especially, without overpowering the humor or taking away from anything, a balance which I really respect. The drawing style makes it feel like anyone could do this, but it takes real talent and craft to be this good. 5/5 stars.

There Is No Right Way to Meditate by Yumi Sakugawa

It’s not life-changing or very profound or even very helpful. But it is interesting to look at, a reminder and cute. Maybe being a reminder of what meditation can do for you is enough for me to deem this graphic novel practical in these times with its short colorful guides of genuine tips to practice peace among other such lists. Favourite parts were illustrations of anxiety as a rock, just laying on you. 4/5 stars.

Honorable mentions

Other graphic novels that I’ve read that is similiar to these ones are “I think I am in friend love with you” also by Yumi Sakugawa, and Sarah’s Scribbles vol. 1, 2 & 3. All of my reviews on them are linked. I almost forgot the amazing “everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too” by Jonny Sun!

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my tumblr & twitter

Also I’m doing mentally good for the first week in about two months. It’s a relief. Hope you are all safe!

Bad bad-boy romance & good queer fantasy | Short Reviews

The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski

It’s a young adult fantasy about an orphan Nirrim that has magical abilities (takes a while to realize), something that belongs to the upper classes in the society she lives in. Going through constant discrimination and trying to help those around her makes it important for her to keep her head down. But it also keeps her from developing or learning about the world around her, making it easy to be taken advantage of. Her fierce spirit lands her in prison, where she meets a stranger that transforms her life, and also starts a slow-burn of a queer romance. It’s a very character-driven novel and I really enjoyed it, while it was far from perfect. The magic system reminded me of a much less complex version of Warbreaker by Sanderson. A dubious 4/5 stars, for the f/f romance.

Vicious by L. J. Shen

You ever just pick up a book because it promises enemies to lovers romance and that’s what you’re craving. But while the writing isn’t bad, the dialogue is so cringy and you hope it gets better, but it doesn’t, but you’re too far in to quit, but it never ever gets better. Yeah, this is one of those types of books. I regretted even picking it up. It just has every element of a “rich bad boy poor good girl” thing, but never puts them together in a fresh or interesting way. The murders from the backstory that are never discussed much was the most interesting part, huh. I still give it 2/5 stars, for the good parts in between. I did like Emilia and her sister. The romance is not worth it, neither is the cringe. It’s almost my fault for starting to read it, almost.

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

Far far back I wrote a five star predictions post. It’s a lot of fun until you have one book left that you never get to reading. This was that book and I bought it, I tried to read it once. Gave up because I wasn’t in the mood. Tried to give it a real try the second time, but the writing just didn’t click with me, and that’s the one thing that makes it nearly impossible for me to care about a book. There was nothing luring me in. So I’m considering this a DNF, even though it has such good ratings and I can remember nothing from it already.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath | Book Review

Genre: classics, feminism

Pages: 230

Synopsis

I was supposed to be having the time of my life.

When Esther Greenwood wins an internship on a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther’s life begins to slide out of control. She finds herself spiralling into depression and eventually a suicide attempt, as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take women’s aspirations seriously.


The Bell Jar
, Sylvia Plath’s only novel, was originally published in 1963 under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. The novel is partially based on Plath’s own life and has become a modern classic. The Bell Jar has been celebrated for its darkly funny and a razor sharp portrait of 1950s society and has sold millions of copies worldwide.

My thoughts

Rating out of five: four stars

I definitely get why this is a classic. I get how important it is as a semi-authobiographical story about being a woman in 1950s New York. Especially as she deals with being hospitalized for mental illness, with depression and suicidal thoughts. It’s a fantastic insight into Sylvia’s point of view. I also get why when white feminism is brought up, Sylvia Plath readers are an often used example, as there’s quite the 1950s white college woman’s racist views and not seeing longer than her own situation in here as well.

Reading it with modern eyes, I didn’t like the first half of the story. It was quite boring, seeing her trying to fit into this New York society, or how she didn’t fit in. But I realized the importance later on, it shows how her depression took hold of her. It’s a major contrast between the person she used to be, or could become, up against who she was while institutionalized. The whole book is a fascinating look into a particular situation, especially as the main character (and Sylvia) is so perceptive.

I would recommend it, but you’ve got to continue reading until the hospitalization happens to get something out of it. I’m glad I read it at this point in my life and not earlier. It required a certain patience, maybe not for the writing which flows great, but for the point of view and voice it’s written with. There’s these debates about whether to read Sylvia Plath’s work with her life in mind always or to not, but it’s not possible for me to read this without seeing it as semi-authobiographical. u also got to remember you’re reading the work of a deeply conflicted person who is going to have a more flawed perception than the average. As someone who deals with mental issues, even then I can’t understand the complete situation Sylvia Plath was in. She’s got brilliance in describing certain things and feelings, but you also got to remember you’re reading the work of a deeply conflicted person who is going to have a more flawed perception than the average. I think I disagree more about how this book is used as a classic than anything else.

Feelings while reading this book: I did cry at points. Mental health treatment was as terrifying as I expected in the 1950s. I really hated Bobby from the moment he was introduced. Worried about how relatable a Sylvia Plath novel was to me.

Favourite moment:

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

Bipolar books; When We Collided, An Unquiet Mind | Book Review

This is basically me doing two reviews in one, with an intro.

Do you every just realize that you don’t know enough about a group of people’s situation? That’s me after bipolar disorder is a thing that has popped up with a question mark among multiple friends more recently. It makes sense; there’s a lot that will show first signs of bipolar in their early twenties, I’ve started at university where people are under a lot of stress, people are separated from their families and more open because they need support. There’s a whole list of causes.

Read a webmd page on what bipolar is on your own, I’m not going to oversimplify it and then obviously get it wrong. I think An Unquiet Mind’s description of it and constantly using manic-depressive instead makes more sense for people unfamiliar, if not for the actual researchers.

I think I knew more about bipolar than most going into this tiny project, but that’s just because the bar is low. I love this podcast especially by sickboy, called My little blue devil and I where a girl Siobhan talks very openly and with humor about her experiences living with bipolar type 2.

As someone who has other illnesses; what I think is most important to keep in mind is that if you’re reading an account of one person’s experience, that’s that one single person. It might give you better insight into what they’re dealing with, but you can’t apply that to everyone else in that category, which makes sense logically, but people seem to completely forget it when it comes to physical and mental illnesses.

When We Collided by Emery Lord

This is a contemporary young adult with a bit of romance. It has such great characters who form a big chosen family type of bond (though many are siblings so … actual family) with their different problems. The main character Vivi is new in town & has bipolar disorder and is definitely the best written of them. It brings all the summer feelings of a romance, along with all the messiness of someone not stable, but naturally so extroverted and fierce that at the beginning it’s hard to tell for those she interacts with. I’m so mad about reviews that call her a manic pixie dream girl because 1) didn’t someone write a long article about never using that description again and we all agreed and 2) she’s literally manic and you can obviously see the switch. Is there anything I’ve learned in the past couple months it’s that a symptom of manic state is that people don’t have the same risk calculation ability.

4/5 stars. I didn’t enjoy every part as I read it, but it’s stuck in my head, especially Vivi, for a month now.

An Unquiet Mind by Kay. R. Jamison

Trigger warning for suicidal and suicide attempt.

This is a memoir from someone who knows what she’s talking about, having bipolar in her family, struggling with it through her university days, eventually researching bipolar disorder and then getting the diagnosis.

I decided early in graduate school that I needed to do something about my moods. It quickly came down to a choice between seeing a psychiatrist or buying a horse. Since almost everyone I knew was seeing a psychiatrist, and since I had an absolute belief that I should be able to handle my own problems, I naturally bought a horse.

That quote sounds about right. Reminds me a lot of;

Anyway, she eventually sells the horse and gets a psychiatrist and Lithium basically saves her life, as she describes it. Along with the amazing descriptions of living with bipolar, the part where she questions her intentions and her career really got to me. She’s got to face the concept that her disorder might make her a bad psychologist, then she goes through all the reasons why that’s wrong. And the checks she has in place if she were to go suddenly into mania (though unlikely). She instead uses that drive and passion to be a better researcher on her own disorder, which was really inspiring.

But I compare myself with my former self, not with others. Not only that, I tend to compare my current self with the best I have been, which is when I have been mildly manic. When I am my present “normal” self, I am far removed from when I have been my liveliest, most productive, most intense, most outgoing and effervescent. In short, for myself, I am a hard act to follow.

They all seemed very related to one another at the time. Not only did they seem related, but they seemed together to contain some essential key to the grandiosely tizzied view of the universe that my mind was beginning to spin.

5/5 stars. It’s beautifully written, so honest and I’m honestly impressed about the courage to publish (in 1995) for someone who is very aware about the risks of having her career as a clinical psychologist questioned afterwards.

Circe by Madeline Miller | Book Review

Genre: Fantasy – greek mythology

Pages: 344

Synopsis

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.

When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe’s place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.

There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe’s independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

My thoughts

Rating out of five: four stars

I love me some stories of greek gods & godesses, especially when they’re as flawed and vengeful as can be. And our main character Circe certainly has her flaws as well, to the point where her insecurities becomes a huge part of her choices even after hundreds of years of getting to know oneself. It started to get a bit boring halfways through. And then Circe shifts and it all gets more badass and filled with action and again grief, without sacrificing the flowing descriptive writing, focusing on details and swiftly taking you through decades. I loved how she gets these pieces of information of the “human” history happening out in the world through Hermes to her exile on the island, and also how their interactions change.

There was a line of female empowerment going through this book, a sign of greek mythology stories done well. How Circe sees what has become of her sisters, how they’ve gathered their influence and power. Not to mention her way of feeling powerful constantly shifting through the book, as the decades pass and she grows into herself.

What I reflected on most reading this book was how Circe meets this constant choice of following the rules, of staying within her boundraries, or to stand up and fight for herself and others. And it’s not one choice, but many. The clearest picture of this is how she creates this life for herself on the island and then goes back and forth about if she likes it, if she prefers this exile; sometimes lonely, sometimes with more action (through pirates and other need-a-lesson semi-exiled girls) than she would’ve liked.

My island lay around me. My herbs, my house, my animals. And so it would go, I thought, on and on, forever the same. 

It’s a more complex story than I though walking into it and certainly one I will pick up again to reread the multifaceted person Circe is throughout it.

I thought once that gods are the opposite of death, but I see now they are more dead than anything, for they are unchanging, and can hold nothing in their hands.

The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic | Review

I wrote a review after reading this book series for the first time in 2016, and found it on goodreads after rereading this series again. So enjoy my unfiltered thoughts from seventeen-year-old me about this book series I truly still love;

Pages: 237

Genre: Young Adult – lgbt characters (gay and demisexual character(s)).

Synopsis

Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He’s short, he’s fast, he’s got a ton of potential—and he’s the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher.

Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn’t need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed.

But Neil’s not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil’s new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can’t walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he’s finally found someone and something worth fighting for.

My thoughts

Rating out of five stars: four

I couldn’t put this book down. Sports! Friends forming a family! Dramatic misfits! Such cute (with that I mean hardcore) characters!

First, let us get this out of the way: this book sucks the first pages. Probably the first two chapters, or even longer. But do not give up on it, because the rest of the book is completely worth it. So is the rest of the series, which I read in less than twenty-four hours.

This is a book about family, but not only the biological one. It is about the importance of support and friends, how they can change your life and you change theirs. “The foxhole court” family is not perfect; they are a bunch of misfits thrown together with only one common goal: to be champions & make people stop laughing at their Exy team. That is: except for Andrew, because he is an uncaring, high (and protective) jerk.

“The Palmetto State University Foxes were a team of talented rejects and junkies because Wymack only recruited athletes from broken homes. His decision to turn the Foxhole Court into a halfway house of sorts was nice in theory, but it meant his players were fractured isolationists who couldn’t get along long enough to get through a game.”

And yes… this is a sports book about a sport that does not exists outside of “The foxhole court”s cover. Exy is completely fictional, but seems like a mix between lacrosse and… Rugby, perhaps? A more violent twist to the sport anyway. It seems like making up a sport was preferable in how certain rules and the whole sports culture had to be different from what we know, for this book to be what it is. We already have Quidditch, so why not Exy. Easier name to spell too. Fictional sport or not, this book has an authentic i-will-do-anything-to-be-the-best feel and passion, which I like. Nothing better than jealousy and threats to motivate you.

There is no romance in this book, for reasons you will realize if reading the rest of the series. I found this really refreshing? There is a lot going on with backstories, trying to get these fucked up teens on a straight path and be sort of friends/teammates. There is definitely enough drama to go around anyway. A lot like the raven cycle, this book has the notion of a coming romance, but is too busy that it is of importance.

“Hope was a dangerous, disquieting thing, but he [Neil] thought perhaps he liked it.”

I will be the first to admit that this book got some problems, much like the characters in it. I love “The Foxhole Court” and its characters anyway, with flaws and all. Uncommonly, the series only gets better from here, and at the end of the first book, it was pretty exciting already. It was an easy read, but with dept as well. And with a squad you will love.

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling | Review #PrideLibrary19 🌈

I’ve already made a post of queer girls YA book recommendations, if you’re looking for a list of f/f romances. So today, let’s give a review of a new release with more than one f/f romance, that I read and enjoyed very much this month.

The Pride Library 2019 Challenge is hosted by Library Looter, Anniek’s Library and Michelle Likes Things. Join in on it anytime or link your post in the comments so I see it! Also all reviews I’ve written will be linked.

Genre: YA urban fantasy, with lesbian witch protagonist and at least three other lesbian/bi girls, trans minor character.

Pages: 336

Synopsis

Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans. 

But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.

My thoughts

Rating: I’ve never had a book be more of a 3.5 out of five stars. I’m giving it a four star because it made me smile so much and was filled with small relatable moments for its queer girls.

I went into this book expecting fun, dramatic moments, a city of witches, covens arguing and lots of lesbians. I got it all. I really liked the protagonist and the voice and writing of this book. The title is so awesome and I was so excited to find out how literal it was, the magic in this book started interesting enough, but then the limits of it was never explored much or explained.

The way the main character’s witch family was incorporated isn’t something you see a lot in YA fantasy and I really liked it. It also annoyed me how the author made them very much go out of their way at the beginning to not see the signs of trouble their daughter did, so that it led to the typical scenario of the main character having to – on her own – investigate if new witches that meant harm had arrived.

My fav thing: Hannah and Veronica’s relationship/friendship, having grown up together and then become a couple and now exes. How they know each other very well and constantly edged the line between it being suspensful & teasing and manipulating. Also how Hannah resolves this in the end, while there also being a love for each other that comes up throughout the whole book. Don’t expect a cute f/f romance book, but it has those moments as well. Friendships in general are a really strong influence in this book and I love that.

It was towards the last half this book dropped to a three stars with the predictable plot and suddenly having to tie everything together to set up for a sequel. But I have my hopes up that it’s going to be great as well, if a bit nervous that the ball is going to be dropped again on the character development and special moments in favour of following a strict plot.

Fav quotes *spoilers below at own risk*

“You and I are going to scry for the Blood Witch.” I pour the water into the bowl and set it on my desk. “That’s why I had you bring your grimoire.” “This is ridiculous.” Veronica reaches into her bag and pulls out her personal Book of Shadows. “Why can’t you be a normal ex and post angry poetry online?”

Legion Series by Bradon Sanderson | Book Review

The book Legion is the first of three in a series by the same name, which has also been collected and sold as one bigger book, which is makes it a bit awkward to search for. Here is it all collected in one book.

Genre: Sci-fi

Pages: 350 in total

Synopsis

Stephen Leeds is perfectly sane. It’s his hallucinations who are mad.

A genius of unrivaled aptitude, Stephen can learn any new skill, vocation, or art in a matter of hours. However, to contain all of this, his mind creates hallucinatory people—Stephen calls them aspects—to hold and manifest the information. Wherever he goes, he is joined by a team of imaginary experts to give advice, interpretation, and explanation. He uses them to solve problems. . .for a price.

His brain is getting a little crowded and the aspects have a tendency of taking on lives of their own. When a company hires him to recover stolen property—a camera that can allegedly take pictures of the past—Stephen finds himself in an adventure crossing oceans and fighting terrorists. What he discovers may upend the foundation of three major world religions—and, perhaps, give him a vital clue into the true nature of his aspects.

My thoughts

Rating out of five: Book One – 5 stars. Book Two – 4 stars. Book Three – 2 stars.

Brandon Sanderson is one of my favourite authors, which is what made me pick up this series. It started out with a great concept, a genius who has split himself into aspects, creating side-kicks with specialization in different skills, different personalities and made up backstories. For example can there be one expert in language, fighting, deciphering code or computers. With Sanderson funny dialogues, and an imaginative plot with a camera that can take pictures of the past, the first book comes together into one perfectly entertaining story.

In the second book it starts to get a bit repetitive. The plot is still exciting, the interaction between the different hallucinations/characters still entertaining to follow. But it also brings with it the beginning of what becomes my big problem with book three, where Stephen Leeds becomes even more overwhelmed with the aspects he’s created, and Sanderson repeating how they’re made up way too often. It feels clunky in the story, which is weird since the fact that they’re in Stephen’s mind doesn’t really matter to it. He’s created them in a way where Stephen does everything he imagines the aspect characters doing.

In book three Sanderson doesn’t succeed in portraying how Stephen is suddenly losing his mind completely, and still finish the plot he’s built up. It doesn’t feel as fast-paced, entertaining or exciting anymore. My thoughts through the whole third book was “let’s get to the end and see if the aspects are still there or if he’s gotten rid of them somehow”. To me it feels rushed and much less clever than the first book, somehow. It was the execution I disliked more than the concept of the ending, I think.

I would definitely recommend this book, especially to anyone wanting to read some sci-fi, have a quick refreshing read between larger books or want a book that include some questions of psychology.

Favourite quotes

“My name is Stephen Leeds, and I am perfectly sane. My hallucinations, however, are all quite mad.”


The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown | Book Review

Pages: 336

Genre: young adult, lgbt characters

About the book

Sydney loses her dad abruptly in a car crash. He was a therapist, helping a lot of people. But with the job came keeping a lot of secrets. After the funeral June, a popular girl Sydney has never talked much to, starts to show interest and they become friends. Their sudden bond doesn’t make much sense to Sydney or anyone else. It’s a story about grief and how differently people deal with it, about friendship and relationships, and discovering who you are and what your limits are.

My thoughts

Rating out of five: four

I started out this book with high hopes and immediately loathing how slow it felt.. So far I’ve liked Savannah’s poetry, but while the writing in this book is direct and easy to follow, I didn’t like it overall. The book starts with a huge a loss. And if you’ve ever lost someone, you know that pain and emptiness – this book doesn’t described it particularly elegantly or extraordinarily – resulting in how a beginning that felt really bland. It wasn’t before I was halfway through the book that it started to really pick up.

When Savannah Brown stepped up the action, the writing, characters and mystery really came together. This book describes my first experience being drunk nearly perfectly, and I was laughing out loud. Probably because Sydney also likes to have much control, at least over herself. It’s in passages between characters where I really feel how Savannah is my age and a recent teenager. The questioning of sexuality. The use of technology and phones. It was all really well done.

It’s one of those books that is so difficult to pitch to someone without spoiling the plot, as it has mystery-vibes to it as Sydney tries to figure out who’s harassing her and what happened to her dad. I completely recommed it though! Be prepared to perhaps cry (like I did towards the end).


SPOILERS BELOW

Some particularly interesting parts:

  • The inclusion of a webside similar to the recently banned r/watchpeopledie was unexpected, obviously this protagonist becomes obsessed with the macabre as a coping strategy and she walks the reader through her thoughts around that, as well.
  • The relatable moment of an introvert being like “is she this touchy feely with everyone or am I special?” – it’s an issue.
  • The back and forth of whether Sydney’s view of June was something she had created in her head, on a pedestal, or if their relationship was much more real than that
  • Olivia seems like a very shitty friend?? Like I get that there’s some unreliable narration through Sydney’s eyes, but come on. She feels so realistic.
  • The out of body moment Sydney has when she watches the video of her dad was one of the better written parts and while it was harrowing to the character, it was really a moment I’ll remember in this book
  • A very satisfying, but still realistic ending!

Favourite quotes

“This was when I realized why, exactly, I got along with June, and why it was so easy to trust her: she didn’t treat grief like a problem to be solved, but a constant to be endured.”

“I’m worried that I’ve made you out in my head to be something that you’re not.’ June was silent for a moment, then said, in a small voice, ‘I’m worried I did the same thing for you. […} Like looking out of a window of a house I was locked inside.”

The Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan | Book Review

Pages: 400

Genre: young adult fantasy

Publish date: 2. April 2019

Synopsis

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself. A prince in danger must decide who to trust. A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light.

My thoughts

Rating out of five: four

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I read this book in one sitting and found it very entertaining and better than I expected. It’s more of a high fantasy than a lot of other young adult fantasy books, especially since it has a magic system tied to what’s seen as gods, something I already really like and hope to see more of.

The writing is fenomenal. It’s really what sold me this book already a few pages in. The dialogue is a bit worse at points, but for the most part it had enough humor and cleverness.

The problems I have with these books think I have a lot to do with the level the beginning was at, and the expectation it created in sense of style and progress. I really felt in the beginning that this book was well thought-through, with a vast world and great, complex characters. A minor problem, but one that irked me, was the names. Like why don’t make the names easier, when you chose to introduce so many places and characters at once, slavic-inspired or not. Like main characters are Malachiasz Czechowicz and Nadezha. Thinking more about this, I think it might also be a problem with the voice of the book chosen as very personal, because it’s young adult, and then Nadezha trying to give a bunch of information about this world as if it was knowledge she just gained. I get that it would’ve taken a lot more effort probably, but I feel that it can be done better with enough tweaking.

The big problem I had was the composition of the book and the plot in that it tried to do a lot. I usually never complain about this! But the introduction and reader’s connection with the characters, which turned out to be so interesting, was swallowed by the need to move on with the plot in the story. It succeeded in going straight into one life-and-death conflict, but then it did so again, without yet having given the slower moments in between where you get to know the characters. It was too obvious that the plot needed to progress at a fast pace, especially in how characters – especially Nadezha who is the “outsider” – suddenly puts together things they shouldn’t have been able to! It happens enough times that it became a big problem for me.

I would recommend giving it a try, because there’s things this book does really well, out-weighing what I see as the more awkward parts. Nadezha dealing with conflicts towards her gods and how the gods worked in this world was a favourite part of mine. Still, of the alternatives given to her towards the end, one seemed much less preferable than the others, and I wonder if that was like a flaw in how unbalanced the portrayals actually were or like a very personality based opinion. So if anyone has read the book – I would really like to discuss the Nadezha’s choices at the end!


In general, I liked this book and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the trilogy.