Goodreads Review – The Hidden Kingdom (Wings of Fire, #3)

The Hidden Kingdom (Wings of Fire, #3)The Hidden Kingdom by Tui T. Sutherland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Definitely my favorite Wings of Fire book yet. Glory was always the most interesting of the dragonets. Very defensive and sarcastic, but also carrying the most emotional baggage, from abusive caretakers to not even being part of the official prophecy. Her POV is immensely satisfying.

I also enjoyed that it breaks away from the “go somewhere, get captured, eventually fight their way out” formula of the first two books. The peaceful RainWing tribe is vastly different from the other areas. But we also get brief glimpses into NightWings and IceWings. The overarching plot lays down interesting developments that stay unresolved, but also make getting to the next book even more exciting. And we still get a really fun climax that’s far different than the action-packed endings of the first two novels.

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Goodreads Review – The Lost Heir (Wings of Fire #2)

The Lost Heir (Wings of Fire, #2)The Lost Heir by Tui T. Sutherland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second book in the Wings of Fire series centers on Tsunami the SeaWing as the Dragonets travel to her homeland. This time we’re treated to some lite political intrigue surrounding the mysterious deaths of the Queen’s royal daughters, of which Tsunami is a returning surviving heir.

The overall mystery is a bit lackluster and few of the new SeaWing characters are interesting. I also didn’t like that most of the dragonets are sidelined for the entire middle of the book, leaving just Tsunami to explore and deal with the new characters and setting. Yet that also gives her a much bigger chance to grow and develop as a character.

I’m giving it four stars like the first one because it’s still very well written, with excellent pacing and a good mix of violent action and quiet introspection. I am a bit worried that the books will feel formulaic as the dragonets travel to each different kingdom and end up as prisoners having to escape – thankfully they themselves call that out at the end of this book!

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Goodreads Review – The Dragonet Prophecy (Wings of Fire #1)

The Dragonet Prophecy (Wings of Fire, #1)The Dragonet Prophecy by Tui T. Sutherland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This will always be a special book for me, as the first novel my 7yo asked me to read to her. We do a chapter every night!

The Dragonet Prophecy (Wings of Fire #1) is a masterclass in fantasy world-building and character development. Our five young heroes may be familiar if you enjoy certain friendship-based action-adventure cartoons. They each belong to a different dragon tribe, such as SeaWings or NightWings, each with their own unique characteristics and abilities. Yet they’ve also been imprisoned and sheltered from the outside war, knowing little of the waging dragon war going on around them.
Their bond with each other is tested and explored in fun ways, though this novel primarily focuses on Clay the MudWing and Tsunami the SeaWing. We’re eventually introduced to more characters and events in a world ruled by, and ravaged by warring dragon tribes, though it’s a bummer that our heroes spend much of the story under someone’s thumb and reacting to events rather than making choices on their own.
The Dragonet Prophecy tells a satisfying story while expertly teasing future events – the perfect starter book for a grand YA series.

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Goodreads Review – I Shall Wear Midnight

I Shall Wear Midnight (Discworld, #38; Tiffany Aching, #4)I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the fourth novel in Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series much more than the previous two. The first one is a classic coming of age adventure, while the second focuses on social drama among tween girls (yeesh) and the third an annoyingly awkward pining romance (double yeesh).

The fourth book, however, stars an older teenage Tiffany, comfortably seated as the witch of her lands. The new villain is yet another malevolent force and too similar to book 2’s hiver. But what made it a wonderful read was the fantastic, complex relationship between Tiffany, Roland (the young prince, now grown up), and Roland’s new fiance Letitia.
Pratchett smartly stays far away from a tiresome teen love triangle, allowing all the characters to breathe, develop, and interact in a much more likable, but still dramatic, way. Plus we’re given a fun side jaunt to Ankh-Morpork, including guest stars from the City Watch series. It also provides a satisfying ending, though there’s one more book to go.

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Goodreads Review – The Ring of Winter

The Ring of Winter (Forgotten Realms: The Harpers, #5)The Ring of Winter by James Lowder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Primarily read because of any possible ties to our ongoing Tomb of Annihilation campaign. It’s a short, easy read with paper-thin characters, but it’s a decent little swashbuckling adventure in the jungles of Chult. Too many goblins and not enough of everything else, however, as Artus Cimber hunts the Ring of Winter, befriends goofy talking wombats, battles dinosaurs, and meets the immortal defenders of Mezro. The brief but intriguing Ras Nsi cameo and the climax featuring the unleashed Ring of Winter are the most relevant sections to ToA, though Artus himself is a generically boring hero. Not a horrible book but not exactly a memorable adventure.

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Goodreads Review – The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Phenomenal. It’s been a long time since a book started out rather ho-hum, and by the end I had to devour the last 50 pages in a single sitting, desperately wanting more. Jemisin created not just an intriguing retrofuture world of extreme, apocalyptic weather but also a rich culture surrounding the caste-bound humans who survive these Seasons, including those special humans who can feel the Earth and control it.
The setting is a delicious mixture of X-Men, Dragon Age, and even some Horizon Zero Dawn, yet it’s not derivative at all but feels like a natural evolution for sci-fi/fantasy. And the multiple POV features some incredibly rewarding and satisfying twists, including a very bold second person narration. Highly recommended and I cannot wait to read the rest of the trilogy.

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Goodreads Review – Raising Steam (Discworld #40)

Raising Steam (Discworld, #40, Moist von Lipwig #3)Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Even a mediocre Discworld book is still pretty good. In the Discworld series, the Moist von Lipwig books are solidly at the bottom. They’re as much about the city of Ankh-Morpok and the steady march of progress as anything else, and Raising Steam is no exception, with the invention of the locomotion. Unfortunately a good chunk of the novel is spent on a wider lens look at the city, the inventors, and the Patricians’ machinations.
I do adore the Patrician but it’s mostly a snooze-fest, and I never did care about the locomotion pair of Dick and Harry, whom we spend a lot of time with.
The final third of the book picks up steam (sorry) into a nice little ending, and I did love the inclusion of Commander Vimes and the City Watch as supporting characters.
Note that although it’s a Moist book, the surrounding plot is a sequel to the Troll-Dwarf war story in Thud!, nearly making it required reading to know what’s going on. Of course, you’ve already read all the Discworld books, right?

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