I haven’t posted anything really about me on this blog. I will rectify that now.
Hi, I’m Natalie. I am a public librarian in NY. I have five fur babies, read mostly YA fiction (though my go-to for “big people” fiction books are fantasy and romance), I watch a lot of TV and have many many fandoms, and am plagued with some annoying, but not life threatening chronic illnesses (osteoarthritis, IBS, interstitial cystitis). I also have dysthymia (the nicer way of saying chronic depression) and anxiety disorder.
My brain likes to pick at things. It could be work related, life related, health related, it doesn’t matter. Today it’s picking at the IBS bloating and how it’s making me feel about my body. It’s ridiculous. I have no right to complain about how I look. I’m fine. If I mention it to my friends who are struggling with their weight, they rightfully roll their eyes at me. There are times when I let my brain be and times when I worry about why I’m thinking about. It’s never dull in my head, that’s for sure.
I’m also an open book and and over-sharer. If you read my tweets, you probably figured that out. I know I should be more private and I am working on keeping more things to myself, but most of the time, I honestly don’t care who knows what’s going on with me. It’s not like any of it is a federal secret or anything, but I should learn to keep some stuff to myself.
I will write more posts like this in between book reviews, I promise!
In a world divided by blood–those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities–seventeen-year-old Mare, a Red, discovers she has an ability of her own. To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. But Mare risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard –a growing Red rebellion–even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction.
This book sounded right up my alley. Fantasy? Check. Royalty? Double Check. Girl with secret powers? Triple check. I kept wanting to love the book, but I couldn’t do it. The world building is good, but the characters fit too easily into tropes: the best friend who could be more, the sainted sister, the evil Queen, the two Princes. Mare should have been an amazing character, a girl who kicked ass and took names, but she wasn’t. She was way too passive. She let the action happen around her, let the resistance recruit her. She never took charge, never took ownership of her powers and used them. She only really gets some spine at the end of the story, but it wasn’t enough for me.
I don’t mind romance in my fantasy novels, but the love triangle made me cringe. Mare liked one brother and wanted another, neither of which I felt fully attached to. Both boys were not well developed and rather cringe-worthy. Even the female rival really isn’t one. She’s nasty, borderline evil, basically a stock character of the female rival. Even the evil queen seems a shade too evil. The characters are all ones we’ve seen before. Reading about the same type of character doesn’t bother me if there is some depth to them or some twist to their story that makes the book worth reading. Most of the characters in this book had neither.
I had to skim big chunks of the book to see if it got interesting. It didn’t, at least not for me. I know there is a huge fan base around this whole series and I had really high hopes of falling in love with a new series.
Ghost has a crazy natural talent, but no formal training. If he can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems—and running away from them—until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who is determined to keep other kids from blowing their shots at life.
Castle “Ghost” Crenshaw is not a typical athlete. In fact, he has no athletic training at all. He stumbles upon a track team’s training session, and on a whim, decides to join a race. Wearing beat up sneaker and jeans, he manages to amaze everyone, especially the coach. Ghost hasn’t had the easiest of lives. His Dad is not in the picture and his Mom works long hours. Joining the track team is his chance to make friends and stay out of trouble. He has some problems becoming part of the team and staying out of trouble, but he eventually finds himself on the right path.
I am a huge Jason Reynolds fan and have not been disappointed by any of his books and this is no exception. This is a short novel, but it still has lots of depths to it. Ghost’s story tugs at your heartstrings. He makes a bad decision during the novel, but instead of being angry with him about it, all I felt was empathy and sympathy. The secondary characters are wonderful, especially the store owner Mr. Charles. Mr. Charles shows Ghost the much needed kindness he needs. Someone I follow on Twitter captured their relationship perfectly by stating she will never see sunflower seeds in the same way again.
There are glimpses of Ghost’s teammates, who also have their own stories. Even Coach has his own story, which he shares with Ghost to help him get on the right path. He’s a wonderful mentor and every troubled youth should have a person like Coach in their corner to support them. You get some glimpses at Ghost’s Mom, which is refreshing. Parents in YA novels tend to be absent.
This is the first in a series and I cannot wait to read the others.