TTT: Favorite Book Siblings

For more information on Top Ten Tuesday, click here.

This week’s topic was on platonic relationships, and I actually had much to say about that last year. This time around, I’m coming back to this to discuss book siblings! I love it when books showcase siblings as well, because the interaction between brother and sister or sister and sister is always fun to read. You can tell a lot about a character with how they treat their family members.

So, once more, in no particular order…

Top Ten Fictional Siblings

Nesta and Elain Archeron (A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas) – When you have fairy tale retellings, you normally have sisters or stepsisters who are kind of not that great. In this case, though, Feyre’s sisters are a big part of her life, and both are devoted to each other. Once again, they’re not prominent characters in the second book of A Court of Thorns and Roses, but it’s clear that Nesta would do anything to keep Elain happy.

Zelie and Tzain (Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi) – I love Zelie and her antics, but Tzain is definitely the more grounded of the two. They pretty much get dragged into a quest to bring back magic, but both are definitely in it to protect each other in the end. Even though I’m pretty sure “protect Zelie from harm” also kind of is close to “I’m going to kill Zelie for getting us all in danger” for Tzain. Ah well!

The Rojas and Prentiss girls (One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus) – I couldn’t decide between showcasing Bronwyn and Maeve as siblings or Addy and Ashton as siblings in this book. Both sets of sisters were so good with each other though! In Bronwyn’s case, she’s the protective and caring older sister to a rather underestimated, geeky Maeve. In Addy’s, she is the younger sister who adores and looks up to her older, more independent sibling, Ashton. I loved the dynamic between each pair in the book.

Rhy and Kell Maresh (Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab) – Hah. Yeah, these two make an appearance in this list as they did in the last list about platonic relationships. I can’t help it, though! Even adopted, Kell is treated like a Maresh, often referred to as the “black-eyed prince”. Rhy is the true-born son of Maxim Maresh, but that honestly doesn’t stop him from sticking to Kell like glue especially during their childhoods. The banter they get to in the Shades of Magic trilogies are fabulous.

Elizabeth and Jane Bennett (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen) – Here’s my OG sister goals! The Bennett household has an entire ensemble of five sisters, but it’s the sisterly bond between the two eldest that was always the most endearing. I feel like this was a relationship that mirrored Austen’s own relationship with her sister Cassandra.

Thom and Alanna of Trebond (Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce) – My love of twins in books stems directly from this relationship. No joke, I adored the way the two managed to pull off their mischief at the early age of 10, and that it was done so well that it lasted a good 8 years before the whole of Tortall was made known of it. Honestly, Thom himself is a polarizing character, but honestly, I liked him, sass and all. In the end, both twins cared enough about each other to have had a lasting bond until the end.

Jenica and Tati (Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier) – Honestly, I could be talking about all five of the sisters because they were very close in the book! Jena and Tati were, once more, the two oldest, and in the story, this meant that there was more story, development, and interaction between the two than the other three.

Vasya and Sasha (The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden) – I mostly whined last time about not getting enough of Vasya’s brother Sasha in The Bear and the Nightingale, but then The Girl in the Tower came out! So here I am a happy camper. Sasha is often perplexed by Vasya, who turns out to be more free-spirited than what is expected of a girl in his time, but he loves and protects her nonetheless. Enough that he even keeps the deception of her being a girl for a long while. And, well, Vasya’s favorite sibling has always been Sasha, even since the beginning of the trilogy.

Raina and Amara Telgemeier (Sisters by Raina Telgemeier) – It’s totally not cheating to put in an actual set of sisters, because the graphic novel itself was just so relatable! Raina and her sister Amara have your typical sisterly bond, enough of one that it reminded me of my own family and how we dealt with each other when we were younger. I loved this graphic novel so much, actually, that I had my entire family read it.

Snow White and Rose Red (Fables by Bill Willingham) – Snow White and Rose Red have an extremely complicated relationship in Bill Willingham’s series. Honestly, it was hard getting 100 percent behind either of them with the way they treated each other. In fact, by the end of the series, it all boiled down to a fighting head between the two. All the same, in every respect, the two sisters do somehow care for each other, and eventually they do make it out, with a stronger bond because of what they went through.

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Mini Reviews: Argo, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

I don’t know what it is, but I’ve been on a story rampage ever since I finished Children of Blood and Bone. I guess I must have gotten out of my reading slump, judging from the fact that I not only got through a 600-page whopper of a book over the weekend, but two more audiobooks within the week. Good ones, too!

I’ve always liked Argo as a movie, so when I saw that an audiobook was available, I definitely went for it as soon as I could. Not disappointed at all.

The second audiobook was narrated by a cast of stellar female, including Alicia Keys, Philippa Soo, Esperanza Spalding, and Ashley Judd, among others. I’d definitely recommend it as a jumping-off point to introducing females in history.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think?

Operation Bring Back Magic || Children of Blood and Bone Review

Initial Thoughts: 

OMG I AM CRYING WHAT THE FRELL HAS THIS BOOK DONE TO ME. I AM NOW AN EMOTIONAL WRECK AND WHY ISN’T THE NEXT BOOK OUT WHY.

This is fantasy at its finest. Actually, the last bit in the book reminded me of Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce because both books clearly touched upon real-world issues and influences and put these issues in mothereffing FANTASY and it was. SO. GOOD.

Needless to say, it’s taken me ages to get from start to finish, but that’s what made the journey a million times worthwhile.


CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE

Tomi Adeyemi
Henry Holt Books, March 2018
YA fantasy
Rated: 5 / 5 cookies

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

Listen. LISTEN. There’s only been a handful of audiobooks I’ve listened to that I then had the need to read a hard copy of, and seriously, that list only amounts to two so far. One was A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, and the other is Children of Blood and Bone. Now, this could very well just mean “oh hey, I really shouldn’t listen to fantasy at all, because knowing me, I’m gonna want a copy of the book anyway,” and yeah, this is very true. There’s a reason I don’t normally listen to fantasy on audio.

But this book. I urge you to listen to it. I urge you to read it. Seriously, from the beginning of the very first page, I had chills as I listened to the audiobook. And then I had chills again when I read the page myself. And then I had chills thinking about both altogether.

I think about the way her corpse hung from that tree.

I think about the king who took her away.

And there’s every reason to squee, because as a reader, I savored the book as slowly as I could, entrenching myself in a world where magic is on the verge of coming back. And as a writer, I had to keep getting snapshots of my favorite lines because holy hell, the words fell so elegantly on the page that I had to admire Adeyemi’s word choice.

I fucking loved this book. So much. I don’t care what anyone else says.

But let’s pretend that I didn’t already love the book on page 1. Let’s play a game of:

If I Didn’t Already Love The Book…

If I didn’t already love the book, I’d love it for its diversity. It’s a book inspired by Yoruba culture and West African mythology. It is an African world that touches on heavy themes like colorism (because it’s clear in the book that the lighter-skinned nobles and kosidan are treated better than the darker-skinned diviners). It is a world that touches on deep-rooted prejudism for “the Other” that every single time the word “maggot” is mentioned, you can’t help but flinch because of how much that word is drenched in puddles of hate. It is a world where women are once again marginalized by society, but it is also a world where many of the women are not at all defenseless (Kaea, Mama Agba, Amari, Zelie, Zu, Folake, the diviners and kosidan in Mama Agba’s care just to name “a few”). And hot damn it felt good to see so many of them rise up and fight.

I nod, remembering Father’s rants from long before the Raid. The Britaunis. The Porltoganes. The Spani Empire–all civilizations destroyed because those who had magic craved power, and those in charge didn’t do enough to stop them.

If I didn’t already love the book, I’d love it for the worldbuilding and rich history. There are maji clans listed in the beginning of the book. There are places I would love to visit, including the temple at Chandomble. There’s even mention of worlds that had succumbed to the dangers of magic, which gave rise to a fear and hatred against it. I loved that the world got fleshed out, and if that meant a lot more exposition happened in certain parts, then so be it!

If I didn’t already love the book, I’d love it for its very non-subtle Avatar: The Last Airbender parallels. It is no secret that Adeyemi pulled inspiration from places like AtLA and Ember in the Ashes (which I saw with glee when the actual term, “ember in the ashes” got used in the book at least once). She’s said so in interviews herself. I mean, Inan is definitely an African Zuko, complete with amber eyes, uncanny competence in finding the Avata–erm, the ONE diviner, and a shitton of daddy issues. Okay, so Inan isn’t scarred physically, but he does gain a bit of an interesting physical feature, has a tendency to hate himself, was on his way to a really good redemption arc throughout the book, but somehow manages to eff that up like Season 2 Zuko.

Yeah, pretty sure if I had to peg Inan somewhere in the Avatar: The Last Airbender universe, he’d be season 2 Zuko. Without the influence of an awesome Uncle Iroh–which TOTALLY made all the difference.

If that itself wasn’t already a dead giveaway of Blood and Bone’s AtLA-ness, how about the random mentions of Zelie–whose power over the dead can be greatly enhanced by bloodbending–and her affinity to water?

“You seem at home in the water,” I say. “I’m surprised you’re not a Tider.”

“Maybe in another life.”

Zelie smells like the ocean. There’s a whiff of saltwater and sea whenever Mr. Dreamie McDreamer thinks about her silver eyes and white hair. And like…COULD THIS SHIP BE ANY MORE CUTE THOUGH?

“What were you thinking?” I ask.

“You were in danger,” he answers. “I wasn’t.”

He reaches down and grazes a cut on my chin. A strange flutter travels through me at his touch. Any possible response jumbles in my throat. I don’t know what to say to that.

And maybe, just maybe in another life, my ship actually, truly happens, too. Or, you know, there’s always fanfic!

…ZUTARA FTW #sorrynotsorry #fightme

If I didn’t already love the book, I’d love it for the perfect composition of sentences. Some sentences were like music to my ears. I had to repeat reading them because they were so well-placed. I don’t know how long Adeyemi stared at the computer for as she typed her book up, but if it were me, I’d still be racking my head around how to sort my sentences out. She just makes word choice look effortless.

But for all my plotting and maneuvering, it’s obvious the girl isn’t here. Though there’s no shortage of glaring diviners, her silver gaze is not among them.

I release the throwing knife as something I can’t place deflates in my chest. It sinks like disappointment.

It breathes like relief.

I just…sigh.

If I didn’t already love the book, I’d love it for the fire in Zelie and the lionaire in Amari. I will admit Amari wasn’t as interesting to me up until she’d started to show her competence with a sword. But she is a lionaire by the end of the book, and I was rooting for her to get shit done and shank a few people (which she does, so YASQUEEN to that!). Zelie was always my favorite, though. She is your feisty protagonist with a responsibility like no other. I cannot wait for what happens next, and if it means going back into Orisha with Zelie and Amari in tow, I wouldn’t mind it one bit.

“You clutch it the way a child clutches a blanket,” Zelie releases a heavy sigh. “You fight for a man who will always hate you just because of what you are.”

You tell him, Zelie. You tell him.

5 out of 5 cookies! Seriously, you guys. This is definitely one of my favorite books of the year.


Have you read this book? What did you think?

Mini Reviews: Monstress Vol. 3, A Study in Charlotte

Reading may have been slowing down a bit, though it’s hardly surprising on my end. I get too distracted these days. Also, *coughNaNoWriMocough*.

That being said, I think I will hit my reading goal this year, so I’m not worried at all! In any case, here are some reviews.

I am still a huge fan of the Monstress series by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, and it’s still currently the only comic book series I’m faithfully collecting in volume form. The third volume was finally released in time for New York Comic Con, so of course I jumped at the chance to not only own a copy of the third volume, but to also have it signed by the lovely Liu herself! (A pity Takeda wasn’t around for signing…)

Volume 3: Haven was just as good as the first two, and I can’t wait for the next set of issues!

This second book I read was out of pure curiosity. In all honesty, I didn’t know much about A Study in Charlotte other than the fact that it played on the Sherlock Holmes title, A Study in Scarlet. So when I saw the title, I kind of thought the whole thing was going to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina. I mean…this is a complete distance from its actual setting–Sherringford Prep in Connecticut–that I was surprised up until I realized the title was referring to CHARLOTTE Holmes. Meh. Would have been cool to have southern-twanged Holmes and Watson, but that’s another thing entirely.

I’m still on the fence with this book. On the one hand, I thought there were some nice moments between the friendship of Jamie and Charlotte. On the other, the story itself kind of just made me roll my eyes. Especially because of how dependent it is that Charlotte has the same exact personality as her ancestor. I mean, her being a girl doesn’t even give much of an impact on the plot itself, but eh, to each her own?

Have you read either of these books? What did you think?

Mini Reviews: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Rat Queens

Two totally completely reviews, but there it is! I’ve been waffling through my current read, but I think getting distracted by Octopath Traveler has something to do with this…or maybe it’s my dog-nephew, I’m not quite sure…

Anyway, I watched To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before on Netflix and absolutely adored the movie. Peter Kavinsky was just…aww, and I totally dug his relationship with Lara Jean. The book was just as entertaining, though to be honest, this may have been one of the rare times I prefer the movie over the book in this case.

As for Rat Queens

I didn’t read the series until recently, so I skipped out on the Roc Upchurch drama that encompassed the beginnings of the series. That being said, I honestly thought the move from Upchurch to Sejic was a decent one; volume 2 was my favorite of the series, artwork and storyline both. This third volume changed it up again with Tess Fowler, and the later volumes have a different artist once again. Frankly, at this point, I think I’m good on stopping right at Volume 3.

Have you read either of these? What did you think?