I've only got two mini reviews in my post today, and they are both very different books. I'd love to hear your thoughts on them in the comments below!
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
I was expecting so much from this after hearing amazing things from pretty much everyone. Reviewers that I trust have loved this book! That's why I was shocked after realising that I didn't like it. Overall, it was much too slow paced for me and I didn't love any of the characters. There was a character that I found interesting (highlight for spoilers) [- Maven was the only character I found to have more than one dimension. For obvious reasons. I kind of wish it had been Cal that betrayed Mare though. I think it would have been less obvious than the Queen's own son]. I liked the idea of the protagonist, Mare. She was independent and took matters into her own hands when no one else would, plus she was pretty smart, but I didn't feel connected to her and sometimes her lines sounded a little immature. The main issue I had with this book was that I felt like I had read it all before. I've read about most of the elements of the story plenty of times in other books. I was left constantly making comparisons to The Selection series. I did enjoy the action scenes and the concept of the Reds and Silvers. Speaking of the Silvers, I did have some confusion in relation to their abilities [Considering the extent of them, I thought they would use their powers a lot more frequently and have more control. I didn't get how the Queen could not already be in power over the King. Surely she could have taken over using her 'whisper' power ages ago?]. I also found a few things to be predictable [There was no way that Shade was going to be dead, let's be real]. Another thing that bugged me was the constant talk about this mysterious war that the reader has absolutely no idea about. It's not between the Reds and the Silvers, but between Norta and one of the other countries/regions/places I assume? There's barely any explanation given about the war, who it's against or why it's happening in the first place. I guess this will be cleared up in the rest of the series, though I don't think I'll be sticking around for that long. I've had a fairly strained relationship with dystopians recently, and I have to admit this book may have been the next victim of that. I've grown weary of storylines featuring the special member of the lower class leading a revolution against the all-powerful higher class. If you love dystopians and don't mind a little bit of a love triangle, I recommend this one to you.
The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly BlackI've had this book since Christmas and I finally decided to pick it up. I've heard many mixed things about this novel, but I am happy to say I am on the side that likes it. I can imagine plenty of young readers falling in love with this story. I almost did myself. The characters are remarkable and all have hidden depth to them, which I loved. Call's story tugged on my heartstrings, and I almost teared up a few times hearing about his struggles with his leg and how much he longed to change it. His development throughout the book really made it for me. I also delighted in the unexpected turns that take place over the course of the tale. Okay, I have to mention it: there has been a lot of talk about The Iron Trial being too close to Harry Potter. Were there similarities there? Of course - the book is about a school for young magic users! Does this make it a "rip-off"? No! Although (extra warning, this is a *really major spoiler*)[I do find the fact that Call is supposed to actually be holding the soul of The Enemy of Death a teensy bit close for comfort, and this is unfortunately reflected in my rating of the book, as it did affect my enjoyment. There was also the scene at the end where Call is in the infirmary and Master Rufus is talking to him and I couldn't help comparing it to the end of The Philosopher's Stone - and I am so mad at myself for judging the book by these things!] I enjoyed the underground cavern setting, as it gave the story a darker, more mysterious vibe. I find the magic system itself intriguing, and I can't wait to see it further explored in future books. My absolute favourite part of the novel has to be the tales of friendship and seeing bonds form between all the young apprentices at the Magisterium. I'm excited to see where this series goes.