Queen’s Thief Series Review | Thick as Thieves Reivew

tumblr_oqqp8yyzs41tfx1a7o1_540Series: Queen’s Thief
Author: Megan Whalen Turner
Genre: Fantasy, YA

Under the books section of my rec page you will find some of my favourite books, but like many a bookworm, I will get squeamish if you asked me to pick my One True Love. I’ll play coy if you ask, but secretly, I know that my favourite book of all time (if you set aside Dream of the Red Chambers, The Last Unicorn, Ella Enchanted, The Secret Garden, etc. etc. etc.) is Queen of Attolia, the second book in Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series. It has everything that a then-10 year old girl could want: romance, revenge, murder, delicate political machinations, trauma, working through trauma, swashbuckling, worldbuiding, asshole gods (from a girl from a culture with asshole gods: this is so #relatable), complex interpersonal relationships, introspective, lonely characters, SADNESS––I could go on, but I think you take my point. It’s a flipping good series, okay.

It’s a hard series to talk about without some major spoilers, so I’m going to give an attempt at a spoiler-free review, but if you trust me enough, buy the books, exit from this page without reading anything, and then come back to me in two months with eye bags, tears, and several broken (and then unbroken, and then rebroken) hearts and then we can talk spoilers at each other. If not, don’t blame me if you’re spoiled, because it’s impossible to talk about the premise of some of these books without spoiling all previous novels in the series.

The Queen’s Thief series (The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, A Conspiracy of Kings, Thick as Thieves) is set in a vaguely Mediterranean, alt-Byzantine world where the gods are real, and are sticking their noses into the business of three small kingdoms, Attolia, Eddis, and Sounis, which are on the brink of war both with each other and with a neighbouring empire, the Mede Empire (like an alt-Byzantine Empire). Its follows multiple protagonists across the progression of the books, but its main focus is Eugenides, a young thief who holds many unexpected titles and roles, as he attempts to maneuver these politics, sometimes for his own gain, but more often for a larger purpose.

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Love Letters in the Sand

20393Title: Love Letters in the Sand
Author: Khalil Gibran
Genre: Poetry
Rating: ★★★★★ | 5.0 out of 5.0

Gibran Khalil Gibran is the third-bestselling poet in the world after Shakespeare and Laozi, and a bilingual Lebanese American who wrote poems in English to boot, and a major influence on American countercultural icons in the 1960s, but I hadn’t heard of him until recently.

I’m not actually big on English language poetry in general (I’m actually unsure if these poems were originally written in English or in Arabic, but English is a language that’s difficult for me to connect emotionally to), because I often feel like I can’t “get” it. But beautiful language is a pretty universally loved thing, right, and this was gorgeous. And not just the words––this particular collection also features the calligraphy of Lassaad Metoui, which is incredibly appealing.

The poems are tender and sad, delicate and affecting. The language is simple, but constructed to deliver a real punch of emotion. I enjoyed the way he writes about love, enjoyed his sometimes contemplative, sometimes moody tone. I think an added positive for me was the fact that the volume itself was so short, because as I have been constantly stressing since the start of my last semester at college, I am in a constant state of stress, and I have zero time to dedicate to anything outside of school and clubs and politics. Not good for my blood pressure, but good to increase my appreciation for short, concise volumes.

Definitely worth a read, because even if you don’t like it (which I highly doubt), it’s not long enough to do any permanent offense to your sensibilities or whatever.

The Girl From Everywhere

21979832Title: The Girl From Everywhere
Author: Heidi Heilig
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★☆☆ | 2.5

I’m already tired of writing this review, and I haven’t even begun. This is largely because I have very few feelings about this novel and quite a few thoughts, and I’m honestly not even sure I have energy enough––or frankly, that I give enough of a shit––to write a whole review, which is kind of a problem when you’ve read a whole novel.

Like, I liked it fine? I just have a total of zero emotions about it otherwise, which may be in part due to the stomach virus I came down with after graduation and in part due to the reading slump I’ve been in all year. Maybe the novel just hit me at a bad point, because it has many things that I would otherwise enjoy. But I read it when I read it, so these thoughts will have to suffice, and this is as fair as it’s going to get.

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Mad Miss Mimic | DNF’d (67%)

tumblr_or6ubvefmq1tfx1a7o1_540Title: Mad Miss Mimic
Author: Sarah Henstra
Genre: Historical Fiction, YA, Mystery
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆ | 1.5 out of 5.0

not spoiler free –

I’m not really looking forward to writing this review. You know those books that are just kind of a chore to get through and you don’t care enough about them to write a long, thoughtful, in-depth review and really want to fall back on platitudes? This is it.

But I’m writing it anyway, because I don’t often see fiction that deals in a serious way with speech disorders, doesn’t treat the subject as a joke. In that respect, I was very gratified by the book. In many others, not so much.

Leonora Somerville is in many ways the perfect girl––she’s wealthy, she’s beautiful, and she’s well-connected. But she’s been through one too many Seasons and she can’t seem to find someone to wed––because she also has a stutter. Not merely that, but she possesses the ability to recall someone else’s voice with near-perfect accuracy––something her sister calls Mimic, which comes out when she is most anxious to repress it. The servants all call her “Mad Miss Mimic.”

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God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems

Screen Shot 2017-04-01 at 12.35.10 AMTitle: God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems
Author: Ishara Deen
Genre: Mystery, YA, Contemporary
Rating: ★★★☆☆ | 2.5 out of 5.0

Asiya Haque didn’t mean to stumble upon a dead body. All she wanted to do was take a walk in the woods with new-boy Michael, her crush. But then they come across a corpse, and Asiya was never supposed to be out in the woods to begin with (let alone with a boy), and so to cover for her Michael, insists that she go, and he’ll call the police after she’s gone.

But that’s before it becomes clear that Michael’s connection with the woman is more than it seems, and soon Michael becomes the prime suspect in the murder of Sue, his social worker, the one contact he had left with his biological family.

DNF’d at 33%, which really does seem to be my curse.

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Camp So-and-So

27242422Title: Camp So-and-So
Author: Mary McCoy
Genre: Contemporary, YA, Thriller, Mystery
Rating: ★★★☆☆ | 2.5

The letters went out in mid-February. Each letter invited its recipient to spend a week at Camp So-and-So, a lakeside retreat for girls nestled high in the Starveling Mountains. Each letter came with a glossy brochure with photographs of young women climbing rocks, performing Shakespearean theatre under the stars, and spiking volleyballs. Each letter was signed in ink by the famed and reclusive businessman and philanthropist, Inge F. Yancey IV.

By the end of the month, twenty-five applications had been completed, signed, and mailed to a post office box in an obscure Appalachian town.

Had any of these girls tried to follow the directions in the brochure and visit the camp for themselves on that day in February, they would have discovered that there was no such town and no such mountain and that no one within a fifty-mile radius had ever heard of Camp So-and-So.

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Two Fathers 《两个爸爸》

Two Fathers 《两个爸爸》Title: 《两个爸爸》 Two Fathers
Actors: Lele, Yang Yizhan, Lin Youwei, Lai Yayan (Megan Lai), Liang Jing
Genre: Comedy, Family, Contemporary
Rating: ★★☆☆☆ | 2.0 of 5.0

[spoilers, but they’re pretty much forgone conclusions]

So like, not to be a hipster, but I was into this drama back when it was popular (in 2013). But then I completely forgot how much I loved it, or that it even existed, until I saw one of my friends posting on Snapchat about it, and she told me that it was on Netflix. And I can’t read and do my homework at the same time, right, but I can watch Netflix and do my homework. Which is exactly what I did.

Two Fathers follows the story of aspiring lawyer Tang Xiangxi (Yang Yizhan) and student horticulturalist Wen Zhenhua (Lin Youwei)––college friends who find out that a girl they both slept with, Su Wenwen, has had a baby––one of theirs, but she doesn’t know whose–and then promptly skipped town because she was unable to give up her dreams, leaving the child in their care. Fast forward eight years, and Xiangxi has his own firm, Zhenhua has a flower shop, and they’ve made their own unique family with their daughter, Tang Wendi. The series takes place between the winter break and through the summer vacation of Wendi’s first grade, when the two fathers meet her new teacher, Fang Jingzhu (Lai Yayan), which sets in motion a series of events that allows three families––the Tang/Wens, the Fangs, and the Wus––to find their own happiness.

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