Review for Caraval

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Genre – Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Series – 1st book in the Caraval series

Rating – PG-13 for fantasy violence and innuendo

Synopsis –

Scarlet and Tella have lived on their tiny island of Trisda for their whole lives due to their father’s strict rules. Scarlet is preparing for her marriage to a count, meanwhile Tella has created a scheme to escape their island for good. Scarlet is abhorred at the thought of leaving, yet with a sailor’s help, Tella’s plan works and they arrive in time for Legend’s Caraval, a wonderful game lasting 5 nights where dreams and fantasies seem to come alive. Upon arrival, the sisters are separated. Scarlet makes it her goal to win the game and save her sister, but the game becomes very real, very fast. Will Scarlet be able to tell what is real or become lost in the land of fantasy?

My Thoughts –

Well, mid-January I kinda hit a reading slump. I’ve started some longer books like The Count of Monte Cristo and Hood which has slowed me down. Not to say that I’m not enjoying these books, but it takes a good amount time to sit and become enthralled with these stories. So, I decided to try a new book and was pleasantly surprised.

I had never heard of Caraval or Stephanie Garber before reading this book. It started a bit slow as I stepped into this mysterious world. Garber has a way of sweeping you off your feet with glittering descriptions and dazzling characters that felt just a bit like The Phantom of the Opera with a secret villain/hero who invisibly pulls the strings expertly. I enjoyed the whole mystery surrounding Legend and Scarlet’s Nana.

The characters were set in a beautiful world, yet seemed to lack something. I did enjoy a few like Julian and Scarlet, but the rest seemed to fade in the background at times. I wanted to like Tella, but she got on my nerves more often then not that I came to dislike her. Although the end helped me to like her better. *note* I’ve read the second book Legendary, and still dislike Tella so not just the setting. Julian was quit the swashbuckling rogue, that eventually won me over to his side. Scarlet was my favorite! I appreciated that the author gave her flaws and that she wasn’t perfect. Yes, she wanted to save her sister, but she also became lost and indecisive on how to precede. Julian and Scarlet did make a cute couple. 😉

Garber has a way with words and knows how to make things sparkle with color and delightful descriptions. You truly want to go visit Caraval and join the game. Yet, with all this word building, the world felt a little flat. I didn’t feel like she explained her world very well. Just sorta jumped right into the action. I wanted a little history. The plot is very action oriented and moves rapidly which makes it hard to put down.

I loved the idea of a game that takes place once a year and never in the same location twice. The actors switching roles every game was a neat little trick. Because of this, the actors couldn’t reveal certain information like who Legend is or key parts to the clues. Which lead to several actors having to lie to Scarlet about who they were. Although I didn’t appreciate all the lying that happened. We did end up seeing how lies can be harmful.

Language – Mild- maybe one or two uses of mild language, used pretty sparingly

Violence – Um, yeah, well there was violence kinda throughout. We have several characters die mostly off the page, but one that I’ll talk about later we see happen. Scarlet’s father was abusive to the girls growing up. If one disobeyed, the other sister was punished. At the beginning, we see him hit Tella. As a consequence for Scarlet trying to get a clue, she pays for it with a day of her life. She almost dies if not for Julian giving her some of his blood. Blood has power in the book. At the end, Tella falls off a tower dying instead of going to Trisda with her father. Turns out it was all it was all a plan, and through Scarlet’s love, comes back to life.

Innuendo – At the start we find Julian and Tella kissing in a cellar. Although Tella is just using him to get to Caraval and doesn’t truly care for him. Julian also was trying to orchestrate the girls coming to Caraval. Scarlet begins to fall for Julian during her stay in Caraval. There is a mix-up with their bedroom which only has one bed. Scarlet refuses to sleep in the same room as Julian. They share a passionate kiss after he saves her life.

Conclusion –

It was a frothy book filled with colors and imagination that you can almost taste. Despite its flaws, I enjoyed Caraval quite a bit and eagerly moved to the second one, (which is no where near as good as the first). The characters were flat at times, but also mysterious. For picking up a random book off a bookstore’s shelf, I enjoyed it.

Up next, I’ll be finishing Hood and continuing my reread of The Count of Monte Cristo.

Can you believe that January is almost over!? What have you been reading this month? Any fun new reads?

Anna

Marvel Cinematic Universe Tag

I am finally getting around to participating in this Marvel Blogathon hosted by Miss Woodhouse –http://notesfromahartfieldgirl.blogspot.com/ and Winchester North Star – https://www.thewinchesternorthstar.net/2020/12/tag-of-ten-mcu-bolgathon.html. Thank you guys for hosting this!! What a fun event!! Throughout the month of January they are reviewing favorite characters, movies and superpowers. For my contribution, I will be doing the tag of ten!! Whohoo!!

Just a heads up there are spoilers throughout this post. So here we go!

1. What is Your Favorite Movie?

Benedict Cumberbatch Reaction GIF

Hmm, this is a hard one. I have several contenders: Doctor Strange, Endgame, & Ant-Man. Visually, Doctor Strange is stunning, both odd and cool at the same time. Plus an amazing character arc! Endgame is well the endgame. A culmination of all the movies. Ant-man is just hilarious! Well, I’m gonna say Doctor Strange just cause I feel like everyone will say Endgame.

2. What is Your Favorite Stan Lee Cameo?

Honestly, the one that made me laugh the hardest was his appearance in Captain America Civil War “Are you Tony Stank?” 🙂 It’s perfect way to close an intense and emotional movie.

3. Who is Your Favorite Character from the Original Six?

It’s between Hawkeye and Captain America. Although, we don’t get much screen time with Hawkeye in movies, what we do see is that he is a wonderful father and husband. He quits being an avenger to stay home and be with them. On the battlefield he is focused and precise while also giving advice to those who need it. Cap is a stand up guy trying to do the right thing for his friends. He will have your back no matter what and will take risks if it means saving a friend in trouble * cough * looking at you Bucky.

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4. Who is Your Favorite Sidekick (characters not from the Original Six who don’t have their own movie)?

It’s got to be Luis!! He is such a funny character and supports Scott Lang albeit in a bit of an odd way. Luis goes from being a hacker/bugler to forming a security agency. I really wanted Luis to do a recap of all the movies for Endgame, but that didn’t happen.

5. What is the Funniest Moment?

There are so many funny moments throughout these movie. Hmm, oh I remember one. Get Help! Loki and Thor are having a conversation in an elevator before a battle and Thor suggests they “Let’s do Get Help.” Loki is adamantly against it. Yet, we get this is hilarious scene of Thor throwing Loki at an assailant. Priceless!!

6. Who is Your Favorite Villain?

Loki, that’s easy! He is a conflicted villain who at times you kinda feel sorry for. Then at the beginning of Infinity War we get a powerful redemptive moment with Loki and Thor. While no where near as power as Thanos, Loki has some charm.

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7. What is Your Favorite Power or Technology?

The time stone is unique and would be fun to use! I think it would be a lot of fun to travel around in time. Although, being careful about not upsetting the different realities. 😉 So yeah, that’s my favorite.

8. What is Your Favorite Sequel (no trilogies!)?

What a hard question! Hmm, Spider-Man Far From Home is the best so far. Ned and Peter learn some life lessons and begin to grow. After Endgame, it held up quite well, & even had some surprises. Mysterio made for a pretty decent villain. Although the Spider-Man Homecoming was better in my opinion.

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9. What are Your Favorite End Credits? Or End Credit’s Scene?

Honestly, I’m drawing a blank on end credit scenes. So much for staying in the theaters, waiting patiently for such short scenes that I can’t remember . ;)I remember the scene in Doctor Strange caused more questions then answers. So I’m just going to use that one.

10. Who is Your Favorite Ship?

So, I have three! The first is not cannon with the movies. Peggy and Daniel Sousa. This is from Agent Carter a show that takes place after WW2 and we see what Peggy does after finding out Captain America supposed death. I liked their chemistry and to me it makes more sense for her to have gotten married. Like is suggested in Captain America Winter Soldier as apposed to Endgame. I know lots of people like Peggy and Cap, but I think it would have upset a whole timeline having him stay.

Also Dr. Strange and Christine! I thought they made a cute couple. Plus, what a way to come back after a break-up, almost dying.

lincoln, Marvel, and shield image

The other ship is Daisy and Lincoln from Agent’s of Shield. They worked so well together!! Ugh, so mad they killed him off, but at the same time quite a sacrifice.

Anyway, that’s my contribution to this Blogathan!! Hope you enjoyed it!!

What’s your favorite Marvel Movie? Have a favorite sidekick or ship?

Anna

Review for Nova

Nova by Chuck Black

Genre – Christian Fiction, Fantasy, & Sci-fi

Series – 1st in The Starlore Legacy

Rating – PG – for science fiction related battles and violence

Synopsis –

Daeson Lockridge is the cousin to the prince of Jypton, Linden. Jpton has three castes: Elite, Colloquials, and Drudge (A.K.A Rayleans). The Drudge make up the whole working class who submit to the Elite’s authority. Despite being apart of the royal family, he dreams of being a becoming a topnotch pilot at the academy. Having almost finished his training, Daeson life it turned upside down when he meets Raviel, a Drudge mechtech. Upon talking with her, Daeson realizes everything he once held dear was a lie. Force to flee Jypton, Daeson must decide what he believes before it becomes too late.

My Thoughts –

So far in 2021, I’ve finished 3 books, two of which I loved: a reread of Salt to Sea which made me love that book even more and Nova!! I have been waiting to read Nova for quite some time, having read almost all of his previous books. Most of his books involve a Christian virtue or Biblical story woven throughout. It was a wonderful mix of a retelling of Moses with a unique technological universe of planets.

I liked Daeson, Raviel, and Tig. Daeson especially felt fleshed out. I kept hoping we would get more about Tig. Compared to some of Black’s previous female leads, Raviel is a definite improvement and I liked her and Daeson together. Not sure what to make of Rivet the droid. Is he good or just waiting to betray them? The AI wars reminded me of Star Wars and Rivet of a droid from Mandolorien series.

Black’s strong suit is setting and word building. He does a great job creating a believable world with unique technology and writes in a way that makes you fell like you are there with the characters. I mean he even provides diagrams of some of the technology. I do wish he had a map of the galaxy or of Jypton.

You can tell it’s based off Moses and the Isrealites in Egypt, but it’s subtler then I had expected. Which is totally fine and works! The prologue introduces Immortals who I am assuming are angels?? Ell Yon is the one true God who is with the Immortals. Both are invisible. Ell Yon makes an appearance to Daeson somewhat similar to the burning bush. They have an exchange where Daeson asks questions and Ell Yon answers, “I am.” Very similar to God’s words to Moses in Exodus.

The plot moved a quick pace and had a fair amount of action sequences. Intriguing enough to keep you hooked, but felt very predictable. I’d say The Clock of Light had a better plot, but Nova had better characters, but that’s just my opinion.

Language – None

Violence – There are fighter jet type ships that Daeson flies so we get several aerial battles. Several enemy Starcraft are blow up during Daeson’s escape. In protecting a meeting with Raviel, Daeson destroys a few drones and knocks out a sentry. Later rogue robots shoot and almost kill both Raviel and Daeson. We see the desolation that occurs when the Elite’s massacre most of the Raylean population.

Innuendo – None

Conclusion –

A solid start to a new series! I love science fiction and am always on the lookout for anything new, especially Christian science fiction, which is difficult to find. Nova was a pleasant surprise and very clean. It’s something you could easily read in a day or two. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Next – I’ve already started my next books which I will be reading at the same time: Caraval by Stephanie Garber and rereading The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.

Now over to you! How’s your January going? Have you heard of Nova or Chuck Black’s other series?

Anna