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Category: Celeste’s Reviews

Book Review: Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower, #6) by Stephen King

Book Review: Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower, #6) by Stephen King


Song of Susannah by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Song of Susannah is the penultimate installment in King’s magnum opus, The Dark Tower. And though I still wouldn’t consider it a bad book by any means, I do believe it’s the weakest in the series since The Gunslinger. That being said, I still very much enjoyed my time in this world and with these characters. I was absorbed the entire time, and the tension was palpable. Even when King isn’t at his best, there’s something about his writing that just sucks me in and won’t let me go, even after I’ve read the final pages.

“In the Land of Memory the time is always Now.
In the Kingdom of Ago, the clocks tick… but their hands never move.
There is an Unfound Door
and memory is the key which opens it.”

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Book Review: The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

Book Review: The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry


The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is another of those books that’s been sitting on my shelf for years, but news of an upcoming adaption made me finally pick it up. I didn’t expect to love The Essex Serpent. I bought it at a library sale because the cover is stunning, but it sounded more than a bit slow, and I’m not a huge reader of historical fiction. However, when Tom Hiddleston was cast as one of the leads in the television series, I knew I had to finally dust it off and read it. I’m so incredibly thankful that I did, because this novel was gorgeous. I was incredibly surprised by how much I ended up loving it.

“If love were an archer someone had put out its eyes, and it went stumbling about, blindly letting loose its arrows, never meeting its mark.”

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Book Review: Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower, #5) by Stephen King

Book Review: Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower, #5) by Stephen King


Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I first read The Gunslinger, I wasn’t a fan. But I was determined to get past that first book, because I know King views The Dark Tower as his magnum opus and I really wanted to at least try to read that. Then I got to The Drawing of the Three and fell in love it. I couldn’t help but think that it would be the highlight of the entire series for me, but then I read The Wastelands. And Wizard and Glass. And The Wind Through the Keyhole. And I’ve loved them all just as much. Wolves of the Calla was no exception. I would have never thought that a western-horror-fantasy would become one of my favorite series of all time, and yet here we are. If King doesn’t drop the ball in the last two books, this will have quite possibly been the most epic literary experience of my life.

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Book Review: They Mostly Come Out at Night (Yarnsworld, #1) by Benedict Patrick

Book Review: They Mostly Come Out at Night (Yarnsworld, #1) by Benedict Patrick


They Mostly Come Out at Night by Benedict Patrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

They Mostly Come Out at Night is a case of judging a book based on its cover. I bought this and the next three books in the series literal years ago, because I thought that the cover art was gorgeous. And there they have sat since I pulled them from their packaging. I very randomly decided this week that they had wasting away, unread and thus unloved, for more than long enough. I’m glad I did, because I ate up this little book in two sittings and enjoyed my time with it.

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Book Review: The Stardust Thief (The Sandsea Trilogy, #1) by Chelsea Abdullah

Book Review: The Stardust Thief (The Sandsea Trilogy, #1) by Chelsea Abdullah


The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an advance copy of this novel from the publisher, Orbit Books, in exchange for an honest review.

The Stardust Thief is the first in what is sure to be a solid, atmospheric new fantasy trilogy. This is Abdullah’s debut novel, and I found it to be a strong, well written story with compelling characters and an enchanting setting. A new riff on the classic tale of The Thousand and One Arabian Nights at its core, The Stardust Thief carves a new path into uncharted territory while still beautifully honoring its inspiration. I’ve read very little Arabic-inspired fantasy, but this book made me thirsty for more.

“Death in a free land is better than life in a gilded cage.”

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Book Review: The Shadow Glass by Josh Winning

Book Review: The Shadow Glass by Josh Winning


The Shadow Glass by Josh Winning
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Shadow Glass is a love letter to kitschy fantasy movies from the 80s. If you’re a lover of movies like Willow, The Never-Ending Story, Labyrinth, and especially The Dark Crystal, then you need to get your hands on this book. Its pages are populated with puppets come to life, a quest to save a dying fantasy realm, and a ton of pop culture references. While I loved the idea behind it, the actual execution of this story left me a bit unsatisfied, but it’s a book that I think is going to make a lot of my fellow nerdy 80s babies extremely happy.

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Book Review: The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Book Review: The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1) by Brandon Sanderson

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Ash fell from the sky.”

So opens The Final Empire, and I was hooked from that very first sentence. When I first read it, I considered Mistborn one of the best fantasy trilogies I had ever read. Upon rereading The Final Empire seven years later, I can tell that my opinion there isn’t going to change. I can’t choose favorites among Sanderson’s Cosmere; I love every world he’s introduced, and have loved every book in he’s written in the Cosmere so far. However, I do think there’s something truly special about the world of Scadrial and the magic systems it introduces. And that’s not even getting into the wonderful cast of characters, the heist planning, the philosophy, and the fight for freedom. There’s so much to love about this book.

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Book Review: Legendborn (Legendborn, #1) by Tracy Deonn

Book Review: Legendborn (Legendborn, #1) by Tracy Deonn


Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I had heard so many wonderful things about Legendborn that I was a little scared to read it. What if I didn’t love it? After all, YA tends to be very hit-or-miss for me. I needn’t have worried, because this book was absolutely fantastic. I was blown away by the world-building, the concept, and the character development. Bree was a phenomenal protagonist. She was far from perfect, but I loved watching her strengths solidify and rooting for her as she wrestled with the trauma and loss life had dealt her. And it’s a campus novel with a secret society, which is an added bonus. This is also one of the freshest, most original takes on Arthurian legend I’ve experienced, even making me want to go back and reread some of the source inspiration.

“Don’t make your life about the loss. Make it about the love.”

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Book Review: Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke

Book Review: Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke


Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo del Toro
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I’ve never watched Pan’s Labyrinth. I remember borrowing the DVD from the library about a decade ago, but Chris vetoed it about 10 minutes in because it was subtitled and our tv was small. While I always intended to go back to it one day, I just never got around to it. That’s going to have to change, because I absolutely loved this novelization of the story. I feel like “novelization” is almost an insult, actually. Because, while I’ve never seen the movie, I know that the care with which this book was written and illustrated demands more respect that such nomenclature usually provides. Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun, is gorgeous in the same way poisonous mushrooms are: lush, inviting, but deadly.

“In our choices lie our fate.”

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Book Review: House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Book Review: House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1) by Sarah J. Maas


House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The only books I’ve read from Maas are those in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, and even those were very recent reads for me. In comparison to those, Crescent City is pretty wildly different while still delivering the plucky, surly, fallible heroine archetype and sultry, multifaceted, misunderstood love interest they’ve come to expect from her work. While the world building was excessive and clunky, the addition of an intriguing murder mystery kept me interested enough to keep reading. I’m glad I did because, though this book had some issues, the back half made it very much worth reading.

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