Tag Archives: Arthur A. Levine Books

Late to the Party ARC Review – The Cracks in the Kingdom (The Colors of Madeleine #2) by Jaclyn Moriarty

19160352Title: The Cracks in the Kingdom

Author: Jaclyn Moriarty

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Princess Ko’s been bluffing about the mysterious absence of her father, desperately trying to keep the government running on her own. But if she can’t get him back in a matter of weeks, the consequence may be a devastating war. So under the guise of a publicity stunt she gathers a group of teens — each with a special ability — from across the kingdom to crack the unsolvable case of the missing royals of Cello.

Chief among these is farm-boy heartthrob Elliot Baranski, more determined than ever to find his own father. And with the royal family trapped in the World with no memory of their former lives, Elliot’s value to the Alliance is clear: He’s the only one with a connection to the World, through his forbidden communications with Madeleine.

Through notes, letters, and late nights, Elliot and Madeleine must find a way to travel across worlds and bring missing loved ones home. The stakes are high, and the writing by turns hilarious and suspenseful, as only Jaclyn Moriarty can be.

Huge thank you to Scholastic and Netgalley for this this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

I really enjoyed A Corner of White. It was quirky, fun, and a little crazy. But then again, the The Colors of Madeleine series has always been about crazy ways of communication, and the second book Cracks in the Kingdom continues the adventures in cross-communication between Elliot and Madeleine.

Overall, this took me awhile to get into. The plot started off a bit slow, a touch unfamiliar and it wasn’t until about halfway through that I found the pacing had really hit its stride and took hold. The characters are still fantastic, the new ones just as fun and well-realized, and once again there was such a fantastic sense of humor that I found myself laughing throughout.

This book’s touch of seriousness though was really its best part. Some of the communication between Elliot and Madeleine gets so heated, and yet you understand both sides of the argument without much difficultly. Totally broke my heart so many times.

I do think this book is actually on par with the first one> I don’t know if I would say it’s better, but the charm and the insanity of the first book is still very much alive in this story. The ending was solid and fit really well that I hope that there isn’t a continuation. If you like fun, quirky world-building and characters, I highly recommend this series. The writing isn’t always the easiest to get into, but once your in — your in for the long run.

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ARC Review – Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow

17675463Title:  Sorrow’s Knot
Author:  Erin Bow
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: In the world of SORROW’S KNOT, the dead do not rest easy. Every patch of shadow might be home to something hungry, something deadly. Most of the people of this world live on the sunlit, treeless prairies. But a few carve out an uneasy living in the forest towns, keeping the dead at bay with wards made from magically knotted cords. The women who tie these knots are called binders. And Otter’s mother, Willow, is one of the greatest binders her people have ever known.

But Willow does not wish for her daughter to lead the lonely, heavy life of a binder, so she chooses another as her apprentice. Otter is devastated by this choice, and what’s more, it leaves her untrained when the village falls under attack. In a moment of desperation, Otter casts her first ward, and the results are disastrous. But now Otter may be her people’s only hope against the shadows that threaten them. Will the challenge be too great for her? Or will she find a way to put the dead to rest once and for all?

Sam’s Review:

Huge thank you to Scholastic and Netgalley for providing an advance copy of this book.

Reading Plain Kate earlier this year, I knew Erin Bow was an author to watch out for. Crafting deep worlds and strong characters having very intimate connections to their environments, I hoped that her second novel, Sorrow’s Knot would deliver in the same vein.

I wasn’t  disappointed. While I felt like Sorrow’s Knot pacing was a touch all over the place, it weirdly didn’t effect my connection to the overall narrative Bow was trying to craft. A lot of this novel is very slow, deliberate, and methodical. There’s a lot of connections throughout the narrative, weaving together a lot of mystery elements. This is a book that is constantly building, never backtracking, so it’s one where you really have to pay close attention to make sure you know what is going on. Erin Bow also always has some of the most beautiful, if simplistic prose I’ve seen. It’s stunning without being convoluted, and she makes the story so engaging just by the strength in her style.

Sorrow’s Knot is very atmospheric. Bow does a great job of crafting the world and making it a vivid place to be pictured. She also gives us great characters who are easy to empathize with. I had to hold in a few tears because some of the death scenes are so bittersweet. This is a story of friendship and loss and Bow weaves these themes together with ease. It’s so easy to fall in love with the characters and understand their motivations within the context of the world.

I also loved the whole element of weaving knots and how it relates to life and death, but how it’s also a practice that the inhabitants of the world know is important but equally still fear it. The world building is just so stunning, and Bow makes it so easy for the reader to just cuddle into this dark world and view it from the inside-out.

While I do like Plain Kate a touch more, Sorrow’s Knot is a worthy second novel. Fans of strong world-building, unique magic systems, and great characters will easily love what the novel has to offer. I look forward to reading more of Bow’s work as it’s published, but the woman really has a gift for the written word.

River’s Review –

Coming soon.