Mini Reviews #31: November – December 2022 Reads

Last of the Talons by Sophie Kim {eARC}

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I received an eARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

TW: blood, murder, PTSD, deaths, abuse

What a ride. This book was an unexpected surprise for me, since the synopsis doesn’t seem to have a lot going on. I knew going in to expect enemies to lovers kind of story, but I LOVE the slow buildup and getting to know each other phase! The attraction wasn’t instant, the trust growing between them was tentative and wasn’t linear. It encapsulates everything I enjoyed about the trope. It was also a bit darker than expected, as Lina keeps having flashback about her life before the Talons and the night the Talons were murdered. She had PTSD and also smoking addiction, so please tread carefully. As the backstory unfolded, we grew to understand each characters more and see them grow throughout the book. Other than that, I wish it has more world building and political intrigue, but I really enjoyed the tidbits of mythology woven into the story. The ending was a little too perfect for me that I’d be fine without reading the next book, but I admit, I’m also curious of what will happens next!

After the destruction of her entire Talon gang, eighteen-year-old Shin Lina—the Reaper of Sunpo—is forced to become a living, breathing weapon for the kingdom’s most-feared crime lord. All that keeps her from turning on her ruthless master is the life of her beloved little sister hanging in the balance. But the order to steal a priceless tapestry from a Dokkaebi temple incites not only the wrath of a legendary immortal, but the beginning of an unwinnable game…

Suddenly Lina finds herself in the dreamlike realm of the Dokkaebi, her fate in the hands of its cruel and captivating emperor. But she can win her life—if she kills him first.

Now a terrible game of life and death has begun, and even Lina’s swift, precise blade is no match for the magnetic Haneul Rui. Lina will have to use every weapon in her arsenal if she wants to outplay this cunning king and save her sister… all before the final grain of sand leaks out of the hourglass.

Because one way or another, she’ll take Rui’s heart.

Even if it means giving up her own.

Jade Fire Gold by June CL Tan

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

TW: blood, murder, deaths, abuse, torture

This was my most anticipated release in 2021, with the whole “Zutara” promotion going on at that time. While it was not a bad book, I just feel like there is a lack of depth and intensity in terms of the world building and characters. It has great premise, but the plot and emotions just fell flat. I think the characters actually have a lot going on, with backstories and all, but there’s just something that made them feel underdeveloped. I think it was the pacing: it was neither too slow nor too fast, it’s just not right? Like there are certain situations that will have more memorable weight if the characters and readers are given more moments to absorb/reflect on that. If there’s a book 2 I will still be reading it though, since I want more adventures with the 6 of them and that epilogue really intrigues me!

Girls of Paper and Fire meets The Tiger at Midnight in June CL Tan’s stunning debut, inspired by Chinese mythology, with rich magic and an epic slow-burn romance.

In an empire on the brink of war . . .

Ahn is no one, with no past and no family.

Altan is a lost heir, his future stolen away as a child.

When they meet, Altan sees in Ahn a path to reclaiming the throne. Ahn sees a way to finally unlock her past and understand her arcane magical abilities.

But they may have to pay a far deadlier price than either could have imagined.

Ferocious action, shadowy intrigue, and a captivating romance collide in June CL Tan’s debut, a stunning homage to the Xianxia novel with a tender, beating heart, perfect for fans of The Bone Witch and We Hunt the Flame.

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Rating: 3 out of 5.

It took me 1.5 years, but I finally finished this!!! I would admit the plot get convoluted at times, but not as much as I thought; I stopped reading at the beginning of the Thule arc because I started to lost interest with all the problems and POVs, but it was not as long as I thought it would be and actually heart breaking 😭 What got me really slow at reading this is that I’m just tired of the romance, especially Emma and Julian storyline :/ I love the plot, the heavy political play, the strong Blackthorn family bond and the Parabatai lore finally revealed, but the main romance is just not it :/ It’s forbidden and has higher stakes than Jace and Clary that times because theirs involve destruction, and they know it and keep talking about maintaining distance and exile and stripping marks but never actually do it- it gets tiring :/ And I think it also bleeds out to the other romances- I love the glimpses we got of the TMI romances, but the Kieran/Mark/Cristina also became tiring at times. You guys are at war, stop trying to kiss each other at the most inconvenient times! 🤦‍♀️

The epilogue got me kiiinda excited, but I do hope it will be the last series in the shadowhunters series. They (especially the TMI gang) deserve some rest!

What if damnation is the price of true love?

Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the disease that is destroying the race of warlocks. Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined. Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the deadly power of the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love.

2 thoughts on “Mini Reviews #31: November – December 2022 Reads

  1. Great mini-reviews, Tasya! I also have the last book in that CC series to read but after the things that happened in the second book, I don’t think I was too keen to continue. As it is, I can’t remember details of what happened anymore, which means I’d probably have to re-read the books before finishing the series, and I don’t think that’s gonna happen 😂 Glad to see you really enjoyed Last of the Talons! I had that to read last year and didn’t get around to it—will definitely be picking it up in 2023!


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