A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (★★★★★)
I was not emotionally prepared for the conclusion of the Shades of Magic series, which features the darkest and most high-stakes story yet. In true book hangover fashion, my heart still aches over this beautifully written and perfectly plotted final book. Picking up where the cliffhanger in A Gathering of Shadows left off, A Conjuring of Light does not let down in the world- and character-building department. Read: you will not be disappointed. This book deserves all the stars, and has me even more stoked for the comic book spin-off series The Steel Prince.
Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas (★★★★☆½)
I was very cautious (and also super annoyed) going into Tower of Dawn, because honestly, who wants an entire Chaol book? Thankfully, I was proven completely wrong … but only after I powered through the slow opening. After those first 200-ish pages, it was full stream ahead for the remainder of the novel, with the penultimate book in the Throne of Glass series even — dare I say it? — redeeming Chaol. The story’s success is due in large part to healer Yrene, who makes her triumphant return to the series, as well as some pretty shocking reveals that set the stage for the series conclusion (review below).
The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee (★★★★☆)
Monty, Percy, Felicity and their pirate friends return in this cute, fluffy follow up to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. Set before the events in The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, Lee’s short story length tale follows Monty and Percy as they settle into their new relationship. There’s only one problem: despite Monty’s reputation as a rake, he and Percy have yet to be intimate with one another. With that knowledge weighing heavily on him, Monty turns to Felicity for help. What could go right?
Someday by David Levithan (★★★★☆½)
The follow up to Every Day — the first book in a series with a surprisingly good movie adaptation about a consciousness named A who wakes up each day inside a different body — continues the star-crossed love story of A, Rhiannon, and everyone their romance affected. This very good continuation seven years in the making ties up some loose ends and introduces some brand-new POVs, which I promise will pay off beautifully. Cute and hopeful, Someday will make you think about the nature of identity and consciousness as much as its predecessor. Did we need another book? No. Did I want it? Hells yes.
Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas (★★★★☆)
I was super excited to read Kingdom of Ash — especially since Tower of Dawn was such a pleasant surprise — and to say I have a lot of mixed emotions would be an understatement. Overall, it was a good conclusion to the series, but I found the pacing incredibly slow at times. And let’s get real: the book is so. Damn. Long. Regardless, there were definitely a lot of super emotional moments (we’re talking legit tears of sadness and joy from this emotionless shrew), as well as some great writing from Maas on par with Tower of Dawn. That being said, I’m still not a huge Aelin/Rowan fan, and there were a lot of cringe-worthy moments as well (read: bad decision making and not-so-great writing) that pulled me out of the story.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (★★★★☆)
While Shadow and Bone started off a little slow, and felt rushed toward the end, the middle was everything I wanted from the author of Six of Crows. From Bardugo’s lush world building to that fun and super sexy villain (see also: my favorite kind of villain), I’m looking forward to continuing The Grisha Trilogy in preparation for King of Scars. This is one book that I can add to my, “Why did I wait so long to finally pick this up?” list.
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (★★★★★)
The first book in this middle grade fantasy series is fun, original, and downright magical. I’m not usually a middle grade person — except in very rare cases — but for the Nevermoor series I will make an exception. The story follows Morrigan Crow, a girl on the cursed child registry who has been chosen by the mysterious Jupiter North to compete for a place in the Wundrous Society. In order to compete, Morrigan is brought to the fantastical city of Nevermoor, where giant talking cats and witches are the norm. I want to go to there.
The Lost Sisters by Holly Black (★★★★★)
Told from Taryn’s point of view, this short story is set during the events in The Cruel Prince, but also acts as a prequel of sorts to a time before the sisters arrived in faerie. Written in lyrical prose, Black has outdone herself with this companion story, which reads like part apology letter and part fairy tale. While not a necessary read to understand the series, I enjoyed getting Taryn’s perspective for once. Sorry, Jude!