Fangirl of Kings

Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl
by Rainbow Rowell

Cath is starting her freshman year of college, and for the first time in her life, her twin – her partner-in-crime, her constant companion – has decided that they might be better off with a little elbow room between them. Or, you know, half the campus. Within a month, her sister has decided to run wild, and Cath… has barely left her dorm. Her roommate is prickly, classes are hard, boys are strange, and she’s pretty sure she can survive by keeping her head down and rationing the protein bars she keeps under the bed.

But when her twin’s antics start dragging Cath out of the dorm at midnight, old troubles crop up faster than she can get home to deal with them, and the things which she’s worked the hardest for start pricking her in return, she has a hard time believing that locking her door is still the best way to get through it all.

Contemporary young adult romances are not the sort of things that I usually pick up to read. I picked this one up based on some glowing reviews from the internet, and the fact that I am a giant fangirl for so many things. I waded in with some trepidation, but found a lot of things to enjoy.

Rowell writes with a cleverness that gives all her characters bright edges. Cath was quiet, but so much more defined by her loyalty and willingness to meet other people where they were. Wren was reckless, but you could always see what she was reaching for. As prickly as Reagan was, you never forgot her charm. Although Levi smiled on almost every page, he never walked by without the impression that he was capable of something else, and he chose to be this way. With all their humor and raw moments, I would have happily spent a few more pages with them.

This book will never be one of my favorites, because it is a contemporary young adult romance, complete with several of the elements that tend to stress me out while reading. But I liked it. I will probably read it again, and honestly, enjoy it more the second time around.

If you like the genre, I’m pretty sure you’ll love this book.

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor HermanLegacy of Kings
by Eleanor Herman

Alexander is sixteen years old, and desperate to prove to his father and the rest of the expectant world that he is not a child anymore. Zofia is going to marry Alexander, but she would give up everything she has, everything she is, for a chance at happiness with a very different Soldier Boy.

Katerina has her gaze set firmly on revenge, and isn’t sure what will be left of her life when she’s completed her goals. Hephestion is dependent on Alexander’s good graces, to keep his past from catching up to him.

Jacob needs someone‘s helping hand to pull him up to the position he’s always dreamed of. Cynane just needs an opportunity, and she’ll make the world bend to her will.

This is the first book in a series depicting the life of Alexander the Great, if magic had been a real element running loose in the world. I was interested as soon as I heard about it, and in fact, went out of my way to get my hands on a copy. Then, within twenty pages of starting the book, despite the deck being stacked in this book’s favor as far as subject and genre were concerned, I knew that I wasn’t going to love it.

The book was written in present tense, which actually jarred me several times when first picking it up, but also should have lent the story a sense of immediacy. Instead, the rawness I expected from these old world warriors, princes, and queens felt always hidden behind a screen. Events felt distant. The need for revenge, the cut of betrayal, the race of love, which should have fueled every motion of the characters, felt dry.

Whether or not I pick up the second book, depends entirely on what I hear about Cynane when it comes out. Because sometimes a single character can save a series, and she just might manage it for me.

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