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Coming Soon: Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson

into-the-bright-unknownTitle: Into the Bright Unknown

Author: Rae Carson

Series: Gold Seer Trilogy #3

Genre: Teen Fantasy / Historical Fiction

Release Date: October 10, 2017

The Overview: Leah Westfall, her fiancé Jefferson, and her friends have become rich in the California Territory, thanks to Lee’s magical ability to sense precious gold. But their fortune has made them a target, and when a dangerous billionaire sets out to destroy them, Lee and her friends decide they’ve had enough—they will fight back with all their power and talents. Lee’s magic is continuing to strengthen and grow, but someone is on to her—someone who might have a bit of magic herself. The stakes are higher than ever as Lee and her friends hatch a daring scheme that could alter the California landscape forever. With a distinctive young heroine and a unique interpretation of American history, Into the Bright Unknown strikes a rich vein of romance, magic, and adventure, bringing the Gold Seer Trilogy to its epic conclusion. -Goodreads

Nik’s Notes:

Carson’s Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy is my all time favorite teen fantasy series, and I have to say, even though the Walk on Earth a Stranger and Like a River Glorious leaned more towards historical fiction than fantasy, I enjoyed them immensely. This author writes amazing characters, compelling plot lines, and completely immerses her readers into her stories. I have no doubt Into the Bright Unknown will be a stellar conclusion to this great series.

What book are you waiting on?

 by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson

September 27, 2016

Title: Like a River Glorious

Author: Rae Carson

Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy #2

Genre: Teen Fantasy [ish]

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Overview: After a harrowing journey across the country, Leah Westfall and her friends have finally arrived in California and are ready to make their fortunes in the Gold Rush. Lee has a special advantage over the other new arrivals in California—she has the ability to sense gold, a secret known only by her handsome best friend Jefferson and her murdering uncle Hiram. Lee and her friends have the chance to be the most prosperous settlers in California, but Hiram hasn’t given up trying to control Lee and her power. Sabotage and kidnapping are the least of what he’ll do to make sure Lee is his own. His mine is the deepest and darkest in the territory, and there Lee learns the full extent of her magical gift, the worst of her uncle, and the true strength of her friendships. To save everyone, she vows to destroy her uncle and the empire he is building—even at the cost of her own freedom. -Goodreads

The Review:

 Rae Carson is one of my favorite authors for the amazingness that is Girl of Fire and Thorns, which still holds the spot as the best YA Fantasy I’ve ever read. The Goldseer series, so far, has many of the same attributes that set GOFT above the rest:

  • Strong heroines who are endearingly atypical and always feel like real people.
  • Beautiful, immersive writing that will totally transport you.
  • Enough magic to drive the plot without being the sole focus.
  • Gut-wrenching moments that will Tear. Out. Your. Heart.

In fact, even more so than GOFT, the Goldseer Trilogy will hit you left and right with horrible injustices (some which make me so mad I could spit). Carson really understands conflicts and how to put her characters through hell. To be honest, it was so well done that I wondered on several occasions how I was able to enjoy the story while hating it at the same time. It never ceased to evoke emotion and make me feel engaged.

As far as the magic goes, Like a River Glorious had more magic than the first book, but not enough for me to feel confident recommending it as a fantasy verses a historical fiction. I’ve always been of the mindset that the more magic, the better, but I still enjoyed the book for all the other elements. It’s one of those stories written so well that it’ll appeal to readers of multiple genres. I’ve read a little criticism of the supposed historical inaccuracies in this book, but as someone who remembers only what I was taught in grade school about the gold rush, it was realistic enough for me. I thought she did a great job transporting me to this era and, let’s face it, I didn’t pick it up for a history lesson… Even so, the criticisms surprises me because Carson acknowledges at the back of the book that she had to take some creative liberties to streamline her story.

Anyway, Like a River Glorious was a strong sequel that could have satisfied me as a series-ender, but there’s still one book yet to come. I can’t figure out what it will entail, and find the prospect (no pun intended) of discovery really enticing. It’s a damn shame it’s going to be a year before it comes out!

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson

like a river glorious by rae carsonTitle: Like a River Glorious

Author: Rae Carson

Series: Gold Seer Trilogy #2

Genre: Teen Fantasy / Historical Fiction

Release Date: September 27, 2016

The Overview: After a harrowing journey across the country, Leah Westfall and her friends have finally arrived in California and are ready to make their fortunes in the Gold Rush. Lee has a special advantage over the other new arrivals in California—she has the ability to sense gold, a secret known only by her handsome best friend Jefferson and her murdering uncle Hiram. Lee and her friends have the chance to be the most prosperous settlers in California, but Hiram hasn’t given up trying to control Lee and her power. Sabotage and kidnapping are the least of what he’ll do to make sure Lee is his own. His mine is the deepest and darkest in the territory, and there Lee learns the full extent of her magical gift, the worst of her uncle, and the true strength of her friendships. To save everyone, she vows to destroy her uncle and the empire he is building—even at the cost of her own freedom. – Goodreads

Waiting on Wednesday
Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Carson’s Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy is my all time favorite teen fantasy series, and I have to say, even though the Walk on Earth a Stranger leaned more towards historical fiction than fantasy, I enjoyed it immensely. This author writes amazing characters, compelling plot lines, and completely immerses her readers into the stories. I have no doubt Like a River Glorious will be just as good – September 27th can’t come too soon!

What book are you waiting on?

 by Niki Hawkes

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Mini Book Review: Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

Title: Bitter Kingdom

Author: Rae Carson

Series: Fire and Thorns #3

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Overview: Elisa is a fugitive. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves, and they await her at the gate of darkness. Her country is on the brink of civil war, with her own soldiers ordered to kill her on sight. Her Royal Majesty, Queen Lucero-Elisa né Riqueza de Vega, bearer of the Godstone, will lead her three loyal companions deep into the enemy’s kingdom, a land of ice and snow and brutal magic, to rescue Hector and win back her throne. Her power grows with every step, and the shocking secrets she will uncover on this, her final journey, could change the course of history. But that is not all. She has a larger destiny. She must become the champion the world has been waiting for. Even of those who hate her most.

The Mini Review:

Since The Girl of Fire and Thorns solidified itself as my favorite YA Fantasy last year, I have lost a lot of fangirl points by not posting a review of this 3rd book long before now. Since Carson’s new book, Walk on Earth a Stranger (which is most excellent – review to come), is out today, I figured now is as good of time as any. While reflecting on the series, I think the 1st one was the best, but definitely appreciate Bitter Kingdom for its satisfying resolution to the story. I feel like I’ve gotten to see the many wonders this world has to offer and that exploration is easily one of my fondest takeaways from this series (and the love story, and the strong/memorable characters, and the inspiring conflicts… Okay, I’m basically fond about everything). I’m still thinking about the ending to this book over a year later (yeah, my TBReviewed log goes back that far… #fail) and that’s part of the reason why the series is among my all-time favorites – it’s the type of story that sticks with you.

Overall, the Fire and Thorns series is my #1 recommend for the teen fantasy genre, even over Throne of Glass. The main character, Elise, is amazing, the love story is epic, and the adventure is endless! Read it. Read it NOW! ;-)

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Walk on earth a strangerTitle: Walk on Earth a Stranger

Author: Rae Carson

Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy #1

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Release Date: September 22, 2015

The Overview: The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America. Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes. Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.

Waiting on Wednesday
Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Considering how much I loved The Girl of Fire and Thorns, I am eager to read anything Carson decides to write. She has a wonderful way with characters, romance, and conflict, and I have no doubt Walk on Earth a Stranger book is going to be every bit as entertaining as I’m hoping it will be. Is it September yet?! Seriously!

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

The crown of embersTitle: The Crown of Embers

Author Rae Carson

Series: Fire and Thorns #1

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The Overview: Elisa is a hero. She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country’s ruler should be secure. But it isn’t. Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from foreign realms and even from within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled. To conquer the power she bears, once and for all, Elisa must follow a trial of long-forgotten—and forbidden—clues, from the deep, hidden catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her go a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man whom—despite everything—she is falling in love with. If she’s lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.

The crown of embers

The Review:

Okay, prepare yourself for total fangirl book review that’s only semi-helpful. ;)

When I read Girl of Fire and Thorns, I was certain I’d found my new favorite book EVER! As you can imagine, I was reasonably terrified that this second book wasn’t going be nearly as good as the first. But you know what? It was phenomenal… and I read it way too fast.

Pretty much everything I geeked out about in my review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns carried over into this book. Even though I’m tempted to sing its praises all over again, I’ve decided to settle for a summary. Here are some of the reasons why I am LOVING this series:

  • The rich character development
  • The epic adventures
  • The breathtaking settings
  • The diverse and interesting cultures
  • The addicting “can’t put it down” plot
  • and The killer love-story

It has all of those things and more, and I am one book away from building a little shrine among my bookshelves for this series. That one book is book three in the trilogy (The Bitter Kingdom) and I am resisting the urge to pick it up right away – I just don’t want the story to be over yet!

I think it’s important to note that even though this book was geared towards a young adult audience, it had everything I look for in my robust high fantasy novels. This new trend of what I’m calling Teen High Fantasy is definitely my new favorite genre. All I have to say is, if there are any Throne of Glass and Graceling fans out there who haven’t tried this series yet, you are missing out!

Other books you might like:

Our YA Escape Reality Book Club has actually chosen Girl of Fire and Thorns as June’s  Selection, so if you’d like to read along or even just geek out with us, visit The Escape’s Reality Book Club Launch Post for more information on how to get involved (it’s easy).

by Niki Hawkes