Mailbox Monday & What’s New

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I don’t buy a lot of books anymore, because my bookshelves are at capacity and I live in an apartment building.  Nonetheless, when I realized I had a coupon to Thriftbooks (I love Thriftbooks), I couldn’t resist.  The first of the books came this week!

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I listened to The Help by Kathryn Stockett last fall and fell in love with the power of the story again.  The film is an excellent testament to the tale, but the book is even stronger.  I’m proud to have this one as part of my library.  Each woman featured in this book is a pillar of strength in her own way – even the horrible women.  The story is so rich and important in its discussion of racial roles and tension in the south in the last century.

Just as I write this, I realize – today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and what an appropriate book to be looking at on today of all days.

A bit of a geeky note here – for all the simplicity of its design, I love the cover art on this one.  The three birds – presumably representing the three narrators – and even their spacing is perfectly symbolic.  The colors are cheerful, but sobering, and the gold foil in the lettering is lovely.  What’s more, my copy barely looks used.  I love it.

This was waiting for me in the mailbox when I came home last Wednesday so I am super excited to share it in my first ever Mailbox Monday!

Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R. L. LaFevers

This week I’m moving on to read Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos, that book that I picked up in a trade bin while out shopping last week.  So far it’s charming.  The writing style reminds me a bit of Lemony Snicket, and the heroine evokes the best of children’s literature.  It seems somehow unfair that this book didn’t release until I was nineteen and if I hadn’t glanced it out of the corner of my eye, I’d’ve missed out altogether.

I’m about a chapter into Serpents of Chaos, and the author has made quick work of laying out the situation.  And yet, she still had me rustle off to Wikipedia to look up Tawaret, the Egyptian Goddess of Fertility and Protector of Children, because she was familiar (I figured it out – she’s featured as Dinah’s patron goddess in The Red Tent by Anita Diamant).

Overall, January’s been great for books and I look forward to getting the rest of my books in from that order in the coming week!

Book Review: The Fate of the Tearling

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The Fate of the Tearling

Kelsea Glynn has been taken by the Mort.  Leaving her kingdom in the hands of the Mace, she is taken across the land to Mortmesne.  Meanwhile, she taps into a new consciousness – a girl named Katie in post-crossing Tearling.  Katie is the first generation of Tearling-born children, and Kelsea knows there is an important key in her story to saving Kelsea’s own kingdom.  Meanwhile, the orphan runs rampant over the land and the Arvath rises up against the Tear… something has gone terribly wrong and everything is broken.  Yet, Kelsea must save her people… but how?


Wow.

I’ve loved this series – when The Queen of the Tearling was announced, I preordered it… and every book since.  I know from time to time the story gets difficult to follow, but once you reach the end, it is clear to see why the multiple timelines are so important.  Still, it can be a little difficult to follow at times, and I had to force myself to read slowly.

I love Kelsea.  For all her flaws, I love her.  I think she’s strong, brave, and focused.  I love her willingness to do what she must for her people, despite the personal sacrifice; I also love her grieving after the choice has been made.  Kelsea is human, and in a queen, that is difficult to write.  Johansen allows Kelsea’s story and the story of the Tear be front and center; never once is that story usurped by a love triangle.  I love that she stays so focus on the rise and fall of her empire, and not personal dabbling.

I also think this trilogy is important in the ties we can see in our modern world.  Dystopias are supposed to call up the things in our own lives that are unsatisfactory and bring attention to them.  The separation of social classes, petty power struggles that harm the less fortunate, and even a draw away from literacy all feature prominently here.

Overall, the book could have been drawn out more, and the ending felt incredibly rushed (I had to go back and read it over again, because I felt like I lost something).  Still, the flaws I see here are nothing different than in Mockingjay or any other successful dystopia.  I think Johansen did an excellent job in the writing and construction of this book and series, and I’d be happy to read anything else by her.

One other thing I want to note – she does and incredible job merging a rich fantasy world with a crumbling science-fiction world.  That is no small feat.

I would recommend The Fate of the Tearling (and the entire Tearling trilogy) to anyone who enjoys epic fantasy, complicated dystopia, and especially to fans of the Hunger Games and Divergent series.


This book is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Thriftbooks, AbeBooks, and basically all over the place.  Don’t forget to check your local library! I get no affiliation brownie points for these links – I just want to give you easy access if you’re interested in reading the book!