Author: Minerva Cerridwen Publication date: September 15, 2020 Genre: fantasy, LGBTQIA+, novella My rating: 5/5 stars
In today’s divisive society, uniqueness can become a point of shame rather than pride. The Dragon of Ynys is a perfect balm to soothe everyone and anyone who feels hurt by the lack of acceptance that is often so prevalent–it will make you smile, lift your spirits, and reaffirm your belief that there is good in the world, all in the span of roughly 100 pages. I seriously cannot adequately express how much I loved this book.
Author: C.M. McGuire Publication date: August 25, 2020 Genre: young adult fantasy My rating:3.5/5 stars
Queer besties! Welsh mythology! Fae and magic! Adorable little shadow creatures! Ladies, gentlemen, and nonbinary pals, Ironspark is a solid urban fantasy with a lot of heart. It may not be a perfect book, but it was one I had fun with–with the exception of the ending, but hey, you can’t win ’em all, right? (Plus, there is an ace character, which, you know, is a huge plus for just about any book in my opinion.)
Author: Margaret Owen Series: The Merciful Crow (#2) Publication date: August 18, 2020 Genre: young adult fantasy My rating: 5/5 stars
In short: this book rocks. It’s dark and magical and serious and funny and full of so many elements that ought to conflict but instead just weave together and make the storyline even stronger. I laughed. I was anxious. I was angry. I was happy. And I think you will be, too. This post is part of a blog tour, so there is a lot of content here, including a giveaway at the end–hopefully you’ll read it all 😉
Author: Hanna C. Howard Publication date: August 18, 2020 Genre: young adult fantasy My rating: 3/5 stars
Ignite the Sun is a quick, simple, straightforward YA fantasy that makes the whole light-versus-dark concept quite literal. Set in a world where the sun has been blocked from view by an enormous shield of darkness, the story follows a reluctant heroine on a quest to overthrow a corrupt leader and restore light to the world. Though certainly not a perfect book, and though it is a bit predictable (which isn’t quite my taste), this story is nevertheless a great choice for younger YA readers.
Author: KayLynn Flanders Publication date: July 21, 2020 Genre: young adult fantasy My rating: 4/5 stars
Familiar yet fresh, and filled with some of my favorite character-related tropes (including badass warrior princesses, royalty in disguise, and a “mutual pining” sort of romance), Shielded was an enjoyable read and a solid start to what promises to be an interesting new fantasy series.
Author: Elizabeth Lim Series: The Blood of Stars, #2 (find my review of Book 1 here!) Publication date: July 7, 2020 Genre: young adult fantasy My rating: 3.5/5 stars
Spin the Dawn was one ofmy favorite books of last year, so I was beyond ecstatic when I was approved for the sequel on NetGalley. Unfortunately, while this was not necessarily a bad read, it pales in comparison to its predecessor, which made me a very disappointed K-Specks. Although still beautiful, Unravel the Dusklacked the same magic and emotional pull that made me so enamored of Spin the Dawn.
Author: Bethany C. Morrow Publication date: June 2, 2020 Genre: young adult, fantasy My rating: 3.5/5 stars
First, I want to make something abundantly clear: this is a tremendously important book. It deals with lots of major issues that the Black community is currently facing, and has been facing for a long time, and it uses a highly unique premise (some very literal Black Girl Magic) to convey those ideas. I feel like I need to stress that part because this was one of those books that I loved in theory, just not in execution. I don’t want this review to be taken as, “This book isn’t important.” I think it is a book that is very, very much worth reading. However, it would be disingenuous for me to rate it higher, because it faltered in its actual writing, on technical elements like worldbuilding and pacing.
Author: Bethany C. Morrow Publication date: June 2, 2020 Genre: young adult, urban fantasy, contemporary Publisher: Tor Teen
If ever there was a good book to promote now, given the widespread Black Lives Matter protests in the United States, this is it. Written by a Black author, and dealing with topics including systemic racism, social justice, body image, and misogynoir, the relevance of this book to today’s situation cannot be overstated. The characters attend Black Lives Matter protests. They discuss everything from natural hair and gospel music to traffic stops and police brutality. And above all, this book is a celebration of literal Black Girl Magic–this is a story about sirens, and in its world’s mythos, only Black women can be sirens.
Author: Seanan McGuire Series: Wayward Children, #5 Publication date: January 7, 2020 Genre: fantasy, portal fantasy My rating: 4.5/5 stars
Let me start this by saying that Seanan McGuire is an absolute gem. Her writing is always brilliant, and I absolutely adore all the worlds she created in this series, so I of course was looking forward to getting to further explore them in this latest installment. In fact, after Down Among the Sticks and Bones, Jack and Jill quickly became my favorite characters in the series (alongside Kade, but alas, he hasn’t gotten his own book yet). However, this wasn’t a five-star read–honestly, it’s on the lower end of the 4.5-star rating. I guess I just didn’t quite feel the same “spark” with this one that I did with some others from the series. (Was that a pun referencing the excessive lightning in the Moors? Maybe…)
Anyway, given that it is a short book, I don’t quite feel up to a full review, but here is the publisher’s blurb, followed by my thoughts in a quick bulleted list for your enjoyment/reference. Please be aware, there aresome spoilers in here for the earlier books in the series, if you haven’t read them yet–though, of course, no spoilers on this particular installment!
Author: Roshani Chokshi Series: Pandava Quartet, #1 Publication date: March 27, 2018 Genre: middle grade, fantasy My rating: 4/5 stars
This was a cute and enjoyable read, for sure, with a delightful voice, a feisty and salty protagonist who was a little too relatable, and so much mythological fun. Obviously the #OwnVoices take on Indian mythology was a strong point in its favor. Seriously, props to Rick Riordan for helping support authors from other cultures in getting their mythologies into stories to be published and loved as much as his own Percy Jackson was. He could have written those books himself, but instead he decided to step away and let #OwnVoices authors take the spotlight. But I digress–let’s start with the publisher’s blurb!