River’s Quickie Reviews #3

21842884Title: The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare (September 9th, 2014 by Scholastic)

Synopsis: From two bestselling superstars, a dazzling and magical middle-grade collaboration centering on the students of the Magisterium, an academy for those with a propensity toward magic. In this first book, a new student comes to the Magisterium against his will — is it because he is destined to be a powerful magician, or is the truth more twisted than that? It’s a journey that will thrill you, surprise you, and make you wonder about the clear-cut distinction usually made between good and evil.

River’s Review: Okay guys, I was nervous about this one. I love both Black and Clare, but this just SCREAMED Harry Potter.

Well, guess what. It’s not. Aside from a few similarities (magic, two boys & a girl becoming a BFF trio at magic school, and an evil enemy) there really isn’t TOO much Harry Potter-ness in this. And I loved that.

Another concern of mine was that it was going to try too hard to be the Anit-Harry Potter. And it did NOT do THAT either. So bonus points.

This book is instead a nice addition to a wonderful genre of MG books that have magic and magicians and mages and wizards and magical stuff whathaveyou and magic school. There are some plucky characters, some interesting takes on magic and magic school, and a nice twist on the ‘chosen one’ story.

I’m excited to see where these are going. Will they be THE NEXT BIG THING? Probably not. But they sure are fun to read and I’m loving two of my favorite writers doing this together. 4/5 Stars.


20877295Title: In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis (September 23rd 2014 by Katherine Tegen)

Synopsis: Lucy’s life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy’s childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy’s future is settled already—a house, a man, children, and a water source—and anything beyond their life by the pond is beyond reach.

When disease burns through their community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what’s killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn’s mind, and the prospect of a “normal” life for Lucy sets the two of them on an epic journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy fears she could be lost forever, only to disappear in a handful of dust.

River’s Review: This book was just as good as the first one. Full of heartbreak and raw emotion, there were times when I had to hold back the tears and I was cursing McGinnis for being so evil.

In this book Lucy is forced to leave the pond where she grew up because she might be a carrier for Polio. Her friend, Carter, is forced to leave as well. At first I thought this was going to be a story about the two of them being exiled and their trip to California. I expected hardship and romance but hahaha yeah right. Lynn, from the previous book, actually goes with Lucy, Carter a small blip in their wake. And I’m SO GLAD that it was Lynn and Lucy. I really liked Lynn from the first book, and was grateful that she didn’t just make a small appearance, but was a central character again.

Their trip across the USA is not difficult, it is impossible. And they make it. There are a few times that you think they wont, and they meet some horrible people and see some truly horrible things (Las Vegas, omfg). They do meet some good people here and there (Fletcher was the best!), but nothing is sugar coated and McGinnes does not soften anything for you.

If you liked the first book then you’ll love this one. 5/5 Stars.

Huge thank you to Katherine Tegen Books, Scholastic, Netgalley and Edelweiss for these ARCs!

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2 thoughts on “River’s Quickie Reviews #3

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