Hello everyone! We are back with another Book Series Saturday and week we are going to do a couple of mini-reviews of books that we have read recently that happen to be parts of series. Series books can be difficult to review — how much is too much information, what about spoiling the first couple of books — so we figured this mini-review format would work best! Let us know what you think in the comments!
the reviewsWe Unleash the Merciless Storm (We Set the Dark on Fire, #2) by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on February 25, 2020
In this nail-biting sequel to Tehlor Kay Mejia’s critically acclaimed fantasy novel We Set the Dark on Fire, La Voz operative Carmen is forced to choose between the girl she loves and the success of the rebellion she’s devoted her life to.
Being a part of the resistance group La Voz is an act of devotion and desperation. On the other side of Medio’s border wall, the oppressed class fights for freedom and liberty, sacrificing what little they have to become defenders of the cause.
Carmen Santos is one of La Voz’s best soldiers, taken in when she was an orphaned child and trained to be a cunning spy. She spent years undercover at the Medio School for Girls, but now, with her identity exposed and the island on the brink of civil war, Carmen returns to the only real home she’s ever known: La Voz’s headquarters.
There she must reckon with her beloved leader, who is under the influence of an aggressive new recruit, and with the devastating news that her true love might be the target of an assassination plot. Will Carmen break with her community and save the girl who stole her heart—or fully embrace the ruthless rebel she was always meant to be?
First of all, can we all agree that the cover to this book is just GORGEOUS. I want both these books in physical form on my shelf ASAP just because they are so dang pretty. ANYWAY, We Unleash the Merciless Storm is the second book in the We Set the Dark on Fire duology, which follows women who have been trained all their lives to become wives to rich and powerful men — and yes, wives plural, each man gets two: the sexual one and the organized one. Of course, that power comes with a price, which is basically the oppression of literally everyone else and a rebellion is stirring.
And here’s where the spoilers start, so skip this paragraph if you don’t want to spoil the first book! This series gave me intense Handmaid’s Tale vibes, where the women are at once powerless and powerful because of it. It’s a difficult tightrope to walk and Mejia does it really well. This second book follows Carmen, the “pretty wife”, after she escapes her home in the wake of a pretty major rebellion led event. We find out she has been part of the rebellion all along. However, things aren’t as perfect as they seem with the leaders of the rebellion. Most of the book focuses on her desire to ensure the safety of the woman she fell in love with in book 1, which was the only place I thought the book fell down a bit. For so many years Carmen has been in deep cover, which means she is brilliant and crafty. I didn’t really buy that falling for someone would make all of that suddenly fall apart. She takes risk after risk in this novel that didn’t feel super believable to me.
That said, the writing was gorgeous, I loved the characters, and Mejia managed to keep the second book as powerful and intriguing as the first. I really love this series and highly recommend it.Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children, #5) by Seanan McGuire
Published by Tor.com on January 7, 2020
The fifth installment in Seanan McGuire's award-winning, bestselling Wayward Children series, Come Tumbling Down picks up the threads left dangling by Every Heart a Doorway and Down Among the Sticks and Bones
When Jack left Eleanor West's School for Wayward Children she was carrying the body of her deliciously deranged sister--whom she had recently murdered in a fit of righteous justice--back to their home on the Moors.
But death in their adopted world isn't always as permanent as it is here, and when Jack is herself carried back into the school, it becomes clear that something has happened to her. Something terrible. Something of which only the maddest of scientists could conceive. Something only her friends are equipped to help her overcome.
Eleanor West's "No Quests" rule is about to be broken.
In this house we stan Seanan McGuire and this series is a major reason why. I am completely obsessed with her October Daye urban fantasy series and her hilarious InCryptid series, but something about the Wayward Children is just pure magic.
This series is primarily set in a boarding school for kids who have fallen into magical worlds through doorways or cupboards or wardrobes or rabbit holes, and then had to unceremoniously return home where everything is “normal” but nothing is right anymore. Led by the incomparable Eleanor West, this school allows these children to be loved and protected and fully themselves, as much as they can outside of their magical adopted-homes. Each one of these books is amazing — I think I’ve rated every one in the series 5 stars so far. McGuire’s imagination is incomparable — she has seemingly limitless numbers of magical worlds that these kids have returned from. Every character is beautifully, wholly drawn and perfectly broken in their own special way.
This book is book 5 in the series, and it was absolutely no exception. We return to some favorite characters, twin girls Jack and Jill, who fell through a dress up trunk into The Moors, a horrific world of vampires and mad scientists. McGuire does a masterful job of making both girls monsters, but in different ways because of the masters they found themselves living with. This is the third story to focus on Jack and Jill — we saw them return to The Moors at the end of Every Heart a Doorway and we saw their origin story in Down Among the Sticks and Bones. This meant that revisiting their story in this third book felt a lot like returning to old friends you’d lost touch with and catching up.
But like any good horror world, things have not been calm since we last saw Jack and Jill and now Jack needs her friends’ help to defeat her sister, who has stolen her body and intends to conquer The Moors. There are so many twists and turns, but at the end of the day, these books are a tribute to found family and friendship and this one was no different. The magical worlds and the fantasy elements are all really a stage to highlight the beauty that happens when supposed outcasts find their place in the world. It’s the relationships that are the stars here and throughout this series, and it’s done beautifully in this installment. I cannot wait for number 6!
what about you?
Have you read either of these series? What did you think? We can’t wait to chat with you in the comments!