I am going to try my very damndest not to let this be as long and as rambling as my O.W.L.s wrap-up, which you can find here. As for my N.E.W.T.s TBR, that can be found here, and it’s quite a motley crew.
These are quite a few long books, and altogether, it’s about 2500 pages, so I am a bit nervous, but I have high hopes. I have the entire month to read them and nothing else planned, so let’s get started!
I’ll be breaking these up by book this time rather than day in an effort to make this shorter and easier to read.
I knew, upon figuring out that I could use this book, that I was absolutely going to read it first. This has been on my TBR shelf for a while, and I’ve been eyeing it ever since I first got it, and I am so excited to finally dive in.
@ 50 pages: This book is FANTASTIC. Right from the jump, we’ve got a kickass, hotshot pilot that’s been booted out of the Academy just in time for it to be wiped out of existence, and he escapes with three other Academy-rejects before they go warp speed to a different planet. Once there, the conspiracy theory levels start rising after a crash landing and a near brush with the police, and I am here for whatever comes after this. I love the pacing, love the characters, and I can’t wait. The only thing I wish was different is completely personal preference, and that’s the POV. I can’t stand first person in scifi/fantasy, but at least this is already better than the other space operas I’ve read recently. (I keep being vague with that statement. Please note this does not mean Once & Future. This is always in reference to 27 Hours.)
@ 150 pages: Remember when I was like ughhh I’ve been burned by space operas before I don’t want it WELL DON’T YOU WORRY THIS RAGTAG TEAM OF QUEERS HAS SAVED THE DAY!
Seriously, this book is fantastic. It’s making me actually laugh out loud, and every time they talk about the Breakbolt Mark III, I just think about Han Solo and how in love he was with the Falcon. These kids give me some serious Star Wars vibes, and it’s fantastic. I saw some people complaining that this is sold as a space adventure and is more of a conspiracy theory novel, and while they’re definitely dealing with a conspiracy theory, they’re doing it while on another planet that’s in an entirely different solar system than ours. Like, they warp speed jump to the planet. GUYS. And, to boot, it’s freaking hilarious, it’s full of gays, and the tea.
Anytime someone (Zee) compulsively made tea as a source of comfort, I just about died inside. I have this thing, right, which is to just compulsively drink tea anytime characters, whether in books or film/TV, are drinking tea. It’s a bit like an alcoholic drinking game, but instead of ending up in the ICU for alcohol poisoning, I just keep running to the bathroom to pee. I CAN’T NOT DRINK TEA WHEN IT’S RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF ME, YANNO?
Also, hi Q!
Seriously, this is delightful. There’s a totally harmless love triangle happening where our Disaster Bi main has got the hots for the Prep Boy Gay and Hermione Granger Straight
(BI?????), and both of them are like okay sure why not and no one’s mad at someone else and they all just touch each other a lot and it’s Great. Not to mention Disaster Bi spent an entire scene running laps up and down a stairwell with Ass-kicking Trans because they had to “do the jock thing” as Hermione put it because they were both literally going to explode with restlessness. IT WAS ADORABLE. I will never make my characters bond over running (because ew, my nemesis), but this was a very unique and super fun way to change up this kind of scene.
Things look like they’re about to shift from conspiracy theory to heist, too, so I’m doubly excited. Will I accidentally finish this today? It’s not improbable!
@ 200 pages: You know what one of my HECK YES check boxes is?
I am always here for sibling drama, but especially when it’s between brothers because, look, my sister and I could probably murder each other without batting an eye, but we’d be sad about it afterward. Brother? Naw. They’d just cold-shoulder that murder and silently carry it with them for the rest of their lives.
What I’m saying is Nax is about to talk to Malik for the first time in two years, and I’m not even the slightest bit ready.
@ 260 pages: WOW I ALMOST CRIED
@ 280 pages: NOW I AM CRYING
“I mean it. You’ve got this, Captain. Now fly.”
DONE: wow damn okay I fucking loved this
Oh man, I have been jumping up and down about getting to finally read this. I kept whispering sooooooon to it every month without having a single opportunity to read it. The first two in this series took me quite a while to read, so I’ve started at the beginning of the month to give myself space for breaks.
@ 50 pages: There’s so much going on! There are new characters (I think, unless I’m just being extra forgetful), we’ve picked right up with Prue, and the artwork is already excellent. This may be all I read for today since I got sucked in with The Disasters and I do want to finish Sorcerer’s Stone, but I’m so excited to be back in this world.
@ 200 pages: The last time I picked up a book was five days ago, and it wasn’t even a NEWTs book! I took two NEWTs books on vacation with me, and then read neither of them, but I’m finally caught up on my regular work and back to reading. My goal was to read 100 pages of this today, which I just accomplished, and it’s still just as lovely as before. There’s a ton of exposition happening still, but I just finished part one, and it was on quite a little cliffhanger, so I’m excited to see what comes next.
@ 430 pages: I just love this series, okay, and it just got so very Lord of the Rings that I had a moment of near swooning:
Even now, as we speak, the very ribbon of magic that separates the world of the Wood from the Outside is being challenged. The time of the First Trees is passing. A new One Tree is being born.
Like, I just? Love it so much? This third one is excellent. At around this point with the first two, I was ready to be done reading, but everything is coming to a close right now, and there’s so much still going on. I mean, Curtis just made his first appearance in this book! At 400 pages in! And everything that’s going on right now–man, you could so easily flip a couple words and this would be a nonfiction of our reality right now. This is a middle grade, sure, but Colin Meloy has done what Lemony Snicket did all those years ago. He’s not written down to children. He’s instead helping them learn about the world around them, and giving them the tools to see with their eyes wide open.
People say the Avatar: The Last Airbender show is one of the most adult shows out there for a cartoon (people = me), and this is one of the most adult books out there for a middle grade. I am really very impressed with it.
@ 500 pages: Planning on finishing this tomorrow, but I’m absolutely in love! I’m teetering between a four and five star review currently, so I’m curious to see how it plays out.
DONE: I am so damn impressed with this book. It’s such a phenomenal conclusion to this trilogy, and I couldn’t imagine it ending differently.
Between the idea of teenage Bruce Wayne angst and that brooding cover, I am ready for this. I loved Bardugo’s introduction to the DC Icons series, and I’m really excited to dive into more of them.
@ 75 pages: So, there’s this thing I say when people at my yoga studio ask me how my day job is. I say, “It’s a place that I work.” It perfectly conveys my sentiments, I think, and that’s pretty much how I’m feeling about this book so far. It’s a book that I’m reading. It has done nothing to make me feel good or bad about it. I’m just kind of here, feeling indifferent, plodding along. It’s interesting. The writing is decent. The angst is definitely there, and so good. But I’m just kind of shrugging while I read. Okay, sure. This is a scene in a chapter in a book that I’m not uninterested or particularly interested in. It’s a little weird.
@ 165 pages: IF ALRED DIES I SWEAR TO SATAN
don’t @ me Jeremy Irons is my fave
DONE: Okay, honestly? This wasn’t bad. I have no actual issues with it. It just also wasn’t good. The writing was decent. The characters were okay. The plot was fairly interesting. All of it was just middle of the road whatever. I’m not mad I read it. I also won’t be revisiting Lu. (I tried to read The Young Elites during a period when I’d just read several other books with the same exact plot and literally could not be bothered to do it again, plus the writing was also whatever, so this hasn’t convinced me to give her another go.) This was just a book that I read.
The Last Magician
I have had this book on my TBR since June? Yeah, I think so. I tried to do a fantasy marathon for June (and failed miserably), and then I had it on my catch-up TBR in July, and now it’s finally on my NEWTs TBR. And since I’m determined to actually read it, I’m not saving it until last.
@ 50 pages: WELL OKAY THEN I AM INTRIGUED
@ 250 pages: GUYS THIS BOOK IS LIKE SIX OF CROWS ON STEROIDS
I have been doing a shit job writing down my thoughts on this one, but that’s mostly because I cannot stop reading.
BUT I NEED YOU TO WITNESS THIS WITH ME
(for context: Esta is trying to convince a man to dress like a woman in order to escape (while she’s already dressed like a man no problem because she’s a straight up Badass™) and he flat out refuses her, like bro you could die)
Esta turned on him. “We have maybe two minutes left before the lights come back on. That means we have less than two minutes to get you out of here before we can’t. In about ninety seconds, I’ll be on the other side of that door and on my way to the carriage out back, and you’ll be on your own. You can either get over your fragile masculine pride and put on the damn skirt or deal with the Order yourself.”
GET OVER YOUR
AND PUT ON THE
what a legend, honestly
Also, why the hell is there no fanart of Dolph Saunders? He is literally a dark-haired sad boy with a cane that’s got a gorgon head on it. And my girl Esta Filosik? Guyyyyyys. Come on. She is a time traveling magician who is schooling these early 1900s imbeciles on a woman’s proper place, which is in the fucking resistance.
DONE: Wow, what an adventure that was. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and it’s probably going to show up on my Top 10 at the end of the year. (I’ve said this about so many books, it’s ridiculous.) I’ve already purchased the sequel, so hopefully getting around to that soon! Also, this review is pretty short because I was honestly so absorbed in the book that I couldn’t put it down. But don’t let that belie you into thinking I wouldn’t have climbed right inside those pages and lived there for the rest of my life if it was possible.
Alright, I’ve got one week left and still two books to read. I’ve also got to finish reading Emma by Jane Austen in that time frame, so I’m putting my nose to the spine and getting to work. I’ve heard some not great things about this book, so I’m really curious to see if I end up liking it!
@ 50 pages: This is interesting so far. I definitely can see why people are angry about it. It makes absolutely zero sense why Sera is straight when she grows up in a city that has literally never seen a single man, but I digress. I’m going to try to ignore that idiocy so that I can try to enjoy the rest of this because the City itself is very cool. I love all the different words–cloudspun and sungold and stargem–and the culture of the City itself is captivating. Admittedly, I’m pretty excited for Sera to jump and hopefully (?!) land on the planet below them.
There is one thing that’s driving me nuts, but it’s completely my own preference. There are almost no contractions, both in dialogue and in the text at large. This is just something that annoys me, so if you also hate when everything is “do not” and “is not” and “it is,” fair warning.
@ 80 pages: okay what the fuck
The contractions have suddenly appeared in Leo’s chapters, but the writing is atrocious. It’s like a completely different author wrote this section. Sera’s chapters honestly weren’t that bad.
I’m also getting mild racist undertones now that we’ve met Leo, so we’ll see how that progresses.
@ 150 pages: Okay, seriously. There was a Sera chapter thrown in the middle of the Leo & Agnes ones, and that was well-written. The others are not. I’m super confused. Not to mention, the racist and severely sexist undertones are just making this even worse.
@ 220 pages:
How could she have known? She had never seen a male until she had come to this planet.
For one whole second, I was about to say that this book wasn’t that bad, and then I got to the part where Sera realizes she’s straight, and I just?
She cries, that’s how relieved she is to realize she’s straight.
wow I hate this book
You know what else I hate? Leo. Xavier. James & Co. The only characters I like in this book are women. Interesting. It’s almost as if this would have been 100% improved if this was just sapphic and not all “wow I’m such a special snowflake because I’m straight guys.”
But seriously. If Sera realized suddenly, that it wasn’t that she didn’t like girls, but that she’d just never met the right girl? Like if she started having feelings for Agnes? HERE FOR IT. Instead, she thinks James is hot, and I want to vomit. This is worse than most straight YAs because it’s a celebration of heterosexuality, and, as a brilliant person once said:
@ 360 pages: I read a bunch of this at night, and like, I gotta set the scene for you. When I read at night, it’s usually because I’m super into a book. I’ve got pillows everywhere, a huge mug of tea, and probably popcorn or some other snack. I snuggle up under a quilt, there’s almost always a cat either curled up against my chest or in my knee, and it’s highly likely there’s a candle lit or incense burning. Reading at night is a treat for me.
Y’ALL I WANT TO LIKE THIS BOOK SO BAD
Every time it’s just Sera and/or Agnes, this book is really good. Allllllll of the bad shit literally just falls away. The plot is interesting, the writing is good, the characters are fantastic. There’s no sexism because I forget that we’re not in a sapphic story when it’s just those two because they also forget they’re not in a sapphic story. There’s no racism because they see each other as equals and just want to help each other. And there’s no homophobia because DEEP DOWN WE ALL KNOW SERA IS GAY AND BELONGS WITH AGNES. (Except not because ya girl Agnes has got the hots for Vada, and I want that story instead of this shitty one we’ve been given.)
Also, I saw someone say that they would have been fine with Sera not being a lesbian if she was ace or aro, and uh yeah. 100%. Her being straight makes zero sense, but her being ace or aro if not lesbian makes perfect sense. Like, you had some really good options here, and they were just completely ignored in favor of the straight agenda.
But, like? This book is good when it’s leaning into what it was actually meant to be, or just should have been. But then you draw Leo back into the story, and hey, did you know Sera was straight? Did you know POC were evil? Did you know women were lowly creatures that realized their gender was offensive? LITERAL WORDS IN THE BOOK: “I know my gender offends you.” (Okay, maybe not verbatim, but she uses the word offends in reference to her being a woman, and I’m pretty sure she says gender in the same conversation.) Which is right before the father goes, “I wish you were born a boy.”
I HATE THIS BOOK
AND I DON’T WANT TO
BUT IT’S IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO
@ DONE: This sucked. Honestly, for a moment there, I considered maybe reading the sequel, but it seems like Sera/Leo is going to be a thing, and there is no universe where I’m ever going to read that, so two stars and I’ll be unhauling it from my shelf as soon as I get home.
Amber & Dusk
Okay, for real, this is a cover buy. I could not get over the pretty cover and the interesting title, and as I’m cracking this open, it’s with the realization that I have absolutely no idea what it’s about. However, I’m not going to reread the summary because I love going blind into something, so we’ll see how this goes. I’m only hoping it’s better than ^^^ because I’m starting it while I’m about 150 pages into The Cerulean, and I really need to not be reading two shitty books at the same time.
@ 15 pages: I AM WEEPING
THERE ARE SWEET BROTHERS
AND INCREDIBLE LORE
(I want a map, damn it)
AND MAGIC SO FAR, AND IT’S ALL SO GOOD
Also, I have a soft spot for anyone named Luca, so that’s only helping. Plus, he smiles a lot, which obviously means he’s going to get his heart broken at some point, and I am already ready.
It’s too early to preorder the sequel, I realize, but stay tuned.
@ 120 pages: oh BOYYYY. Someone said that Sunder made Cardan seem like a sweetheart, and I did not believe it until this moment.
“It’s alive,” he whispered, leaning closer. “And it bites.”
WHAT A PSYCHO
@ 150 pages: Okay, count me a fan. I’m curious about Sunder. I’m curious about Lullaby. I hate Severine. I have mixed feelings on Mirage, which I’m enjoying a lot. AND I MISS LUCA. I’m taking a break so that I can read Emma for the rest of the day, but I’m thinking about just finishing this tomorrow.
@ 160 pages: jfc Lyra Selene knows how to hook a damn audience
He hesitate, his eyes bright and rigid as polished dristic.
“The Gauntlet,” he said at least. The word was a knife honed too sharp; brittle at the edges and so thin it might have been translucent. “Now hurry, or we’ll miss the start.”
And this is all after Sunder snuck to Mirage’s room and said, “If I wanted to murder you in your bed I probably wouldn’t have knocked.” WELL OKAY THEN
(ps: so far, he’s nowhere near as bad as Cardan, y’all are just obsessed with Cardan and it’s weirddddd
yes I still hate Cardan is anyone even surprised)
@ 200 pages: I swear to ALL THAT IS HOLY if they kiss in a second
False alarm. Everything’s fine.
@ 250 pages: BUT SOMEONE ELSE DID AND I’M STILL UPSET SO
@ 316 pages: The kiss has happened, and I was ready and happy for it because there’s been enough development. Thank you, Lyra Selene, for not making these two idiots a mirror of Jude & Cardan, who are confusing af and so abusive to each other, it’s not even funny, but instead making them complex and deserving of one another.
I mean, yeah, don’t get me wrong, I saw that “plot twist” coming from about the first 50 pages of the book, but the payoff was great, and I am here for the eventual romance now.
Also, if we want to compare Sunder to anyone, he’s not Cardan, he’s Serefin from Wicked Saints by Emily A Duncan, but a more mature, slightly less drunk version of Serefin, and that’s 1000000% why I love him so much.
@ DONE: OKAY FIRST, Selene mentioned “inappropriate Dracos” in her Acknowledgements, and yup, that’s where the comparisons should end, Sunder is Draco, but with a dash of Serefin and Cardan mixed in, AND IT’S DELIGHTFUL. I’ve preordered the sequel, Diamond & Dawn, which comes out in December, and you should all do that as soon as you finish reading this, so what are you waiting for?
Okay, four out of six isn’t that bad, BUT GUYS I PASSED MY NEWTS! I AM OFFICIALLY A WANDMAKER!