Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Me on Dreadnought

Title: Dreadnought
Author: April Daniels
Release Date: January 24, 2017
Publisher: Diversion Books

Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of the world's greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, she was trying to keep people from finding out she's transgender. But then her second-hand superpowers transformed her body into what she's always thought it should be. Now there's no hiding that she's a girl. It should be the happiest time of her life, but between her father's dangerous obsession with curing her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he's entitled to date her, and the classmate who is secretly a masked vigilante, Danny's first weeks living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined. She doesn't have much time to adjust. Dreadnought's murderer, a cyborg named Utopia, still haunts the streets of New Port City. If Danny can't sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.

Dreadnought is powerful and explosive. It's about identity and power, about good and evil, about safety and danger. It's about hope and fear, about sacrifice and strength, about making the difficult decisions that we think come easily and naturally for those we call heroes.

Danny is kind and caring, but afraid of what should be the safest place in her life: her home. Her father constantly berates her and criticizes her, refusing to listen to Danny's point of view. Refusing to understand that Danny is a girl, that Danny is transgender. After Danny's transition, after Dreadnought gave her his powers and her body changed, the excitement and the joy in her voice is unmistakable. She's finally in a body that she wants to be in. She looks and sounds the way she wants to. Danny is finally happy, but it doesn't last. Her father is still furious, derisive and emotionally abusive towards her. And while the local superheroes are happy that Dreadnought's powers are still available, some aren't so interested in a lesbian transgender superhero.

I found the superhero aspect to be interesting. There's this new trend of superhero stories where authors look at the grey areas of being a protector and saving cities. The moral aspects, the financial aspects. The human aspects. For all their powers, they're still people. They still have loved ones, hopes and dreams, personal lives. Seeing the other side of superheroes lives, the 'home from work' side, is great. But I also appreciated the awesome fight scenes.

The start of Danny's story as a superhero certainly has some highs and some lows. There were times when I was so happy for Danny, going shopping for girls' clothes, flying around New Port City. Hanging out with an actual girl friend. And the times when Danny was beaten down and depressed, all the times her father would hurl insult after insult at her, I was so upset during those moments. I would definitely recommend this to those who enjoyed Heroine Complex or Superior, to those looking for some powerful diverse YA.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Diversion Books through NetGalley.)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (241)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hi! It's still cold here. No new snow or anything, but because it's been so cold it hasn't melted away. What does melt turns into ice overnight, making things slightly dangerous in the mornings.

This week's ramble includes a vague book review! I've been trying to catch up on books I didn't get to last year, I always try to do this over the Christmas/New Year's period, and this week I read The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi. I rather enjoyed it, it gave me some big Laini Taylor fantasy/world-building vibes, so if you've been looking for something similar, I highly suggest you check this out. The follow-up book looks to be a companion, so don't worry about starting the first in a series. This is a complete story.

Reviews going up this week will feature Dreadnought by April Daniels (Tuesday) and Spindle by E.K. Johnston (Friday). :)
Bought/borrowed/received:
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (e-galley from Hachette Book Group Canada through NetGalley)

Friday, January 13, 2017

Me on Windwitch

Title: Windwitch
Author: Susan Dennard
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: TorTeen (Macmillan imprint)

After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister's treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed. When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first? After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife's edge—especially when the pirates' next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.

Windwitch is danger and deception, a search for answers and a determination to survive. Battered, sore, slightly broken, they must continue if they want to save the Witchlands from what's building in the north.

Merik is hiding in Nubrevna, depressed and furious. Focused on revealing the secrets of his sister, Vivia. They must learn what he knows. That she tried to have him killed. That he can save them. Iseult is on the run, on her way to Marstok. For that's where Safi is heading with her empress kidnapper. But the Bloodwitch Aeduan is on her trail, sent there by both his own desire to hunt her down and a sudden bounty on her head. With all the unspoken things between them, can they trust each other enough to make a deal? Or will one betray the other? Safi is stuck near the pirate lands of Saldonica with Vaness, Empress of Marstok. They have no ship, no crew, no supplies, and soon no water. But they are not alone. And a good pirate is always on the lookout for a good bargain.

Some of the plots and plans that drive certain characters were revealed in the first book, and some more were revealed here, but this seemed like more of a journey kind of book. Travelling towards a goal, towards answers, towards the hidden and the buried away. Everyone is searching, for a place or a person or an idea. For the truth. But the truths they find aren't the ones they expected.

There were some things that surprised me, some characters I was surprised to see. Like the ones who are hunting down Safi and Vaness. Like Vivia's new point of view. After only seeing her through Merik's eyes, it was intriguing to see Nubrevna from her point of view. To see her reasons for her actions. The romance aspect of the series takes a big hit to the point where there's only hints of it, and I can see why. I do think some fans will be upset at the lack of clever banter between Safi and Merik. But considering the events of this book, particularly the reveals and the explosions of the ending, I think they'll be desperate to read the next book.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (313)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Masquerade
Author: Laura Lam
Release Date: March 9, 2017
Publisher: Pan Macmillan

From Goodreads:

The gifted hide their talents, but dare they step into the light?

Micah's Chimaera powers are growing, until his dark visions overwhelm him. Drystan is forced to take him to Dr Pozzi, to save his life. But can they really trust the doctor, especially when a close friend is revealed to be his spy?

Meanwhile, violent unrest is sweeping the country, as anti-royalist factions fight to be heard. Then three chimaera are attacked, after revealing their existence with the monarchy's blessing - and the struggle becomes personal. A small sect decimated the chimaera in ancient times and nearly destroyed the world. Now they've re-emerged to spread terror once more. Micah will discover a royal secret, which draws him into the heart of the conflict. And he and his friends must risk everything to finally bring peace to their land.

I've been waiting for this for a while, reading Pantomime and Shadowplay wrecked me. They were sweet and melancholy and magical and secretive and heart-breaking. I think this is only coming out in the UK though, which is too bad, but I don't think it would be too hard to order it. I wonder how sad this is going to be, how much Micah is going to be put through when all he wants to do is survive and live his life.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Me on Frostblood

Title: Frostblood
Author: Elly Blake
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Book Group imprint)

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby's powers are unpredictable, and she's not sure she's willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon. All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king's tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

Frostblood is full of danger and magic, set in a land icy and hostile towards a fireblood like Ruby. This is all about her finding her place, finding her power, and learning to use it before time runs out. Before she's hunted down.

Ruby is reckless and spirited, full of fire. All she wants is the chance to live, but when her mother is killed in front of her, all she wants is revenge. But her powers are erratic, wild. She has no control after a childhood of hiding her fire. If she wants to survive, if she wants her revenge, if she wants to help her saviours and new friends, she'll have to find her control. Or else she'll fulfill the dark side of a looming prophecy.

I like the idea of this, of the heroine who is angry and reckless, who's full of frustration and weaknesses. She's never perfect, never hints at it even as she slowly learns some measure of control. And she's rather susceptible to the darkness that lurks as she's pitted against the gladiatorial champions of the ruthless king. As much as I liked Ruby and her battles, this felt so familiar. Like so many other fantasy novels I've read over the past few years. The setting, the heroine's past and her journey, the evil king. I feel like I read this for Ruby herself as opposed to Ruby and the fantasy setting, the plot and the world-building. I am curious as to what will happen next, if Ruby will succumb to the darkness, but I don't know how curious.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Hachette Book Group Canada through NetGalley.)