Nation of the Beasts #1 eARC Review


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Goodreads Blurb: Terrifying creatures, unseen to all around him, have tormented Elisse since he was a little boy. These “night terrors” and the cruel life as a young Westerner in a refugee camp have left him isolated and alone. The only clue to his past is an old, tattered envelope with a picture of his father who mysteriously abandoned him at a monastery as a baby.

When Elisse flees India and journeys to New Orleans in search of his father and the truth of his troubled existence, he finds not only the answers to his extraordinary life, an ancestral secret with a grave responsibility, but also the one thing he most desires. A family—but of beasts.

Now, Elisse’s awakening gifts attract dark forces rooted in Louisiana magic, and he must do the unthinkable to protect everyone he loves. Will Elisse accept the burdens of his gifts and conquer darkness? Or will that same darkness consume him and destroy the love he so desperately longed for?

Mariana Palova’s debut novel, Nation of the Beasts: The Lord of the Sabbath, is an unforgettable journey of magic, heartache, and the unbreakable bonds that span this world and the other.”

Palova gives us a creepy and dark horror novel that submerges you in a world of voodoo, beasts, and deals that never seem to be what they seem. Then again nothing is what it seems in Elisse’s world. Not only that but she’s given us an androgynous character and though there is love and pain and obstacles to cross, this book is no love story and that makes me enjoy it all the more because she promises to extend this world and Elisse so that you’re left with a feeling of wanting to read straight on to book 2 once you reach the end, which is of course impossible. The characters are diverse, some are ‘gruff’ and rough around the edges but many have enough facets to satisfy character driven readers. At some point the character growth does slow but it’s necessary to move forward with the plot once certain actions are needed/put in place. The reason this didn’t get a higher rating from me was, purely, because I feel the translator and the translation itself might have lost some of the absolute magic that Mariana has written for us. I am planning on reading this in its native form next, in Spanish and hopefully, that will be soon.

[Content Warning: This is an exceedingly dark novel, there is violence/blood/gore/death and nightmarish things that go bump in the night.]

–call it loneliness or despair, sometimes the world has to treat you the worst to make you crave the best.” (quotes are subject to change as this was a review copy and not a final copy and therefore may not exist in the final version)

Pros:
– Dark and creepy
– Fusion of different culture folklore traditions which works well for New Orleans
– Androgynous protagonist
– Things that go bump in the night

Cons:
– Hmm a bit of weird pacing again, things seem to happen in just a matter of months but it feels like it should take longer
– Not enough depth for Elisse but there is more to come
– Some things mix together too much as far as like the action that’s happening and it’s hard to discern it at times
– You didn’t get enough to know much about the other characters
– Things were not always clarified…and on that note…
– I think the translation could have been better and rectified some of these small cons.

There we have it, some good, some bad, but enough good to keep me going onto the next and hopefully reread this one in Spanish.

Toodles!

 

The Bird King eARC Review

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GoodReads: 

– …Fatima, a concubine in the royal court of Granada, the last emirate of Muslim Spain, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker. Hassan has a secret—he can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls? As Fatima and Hassan traverse Spain with the help of a clever jinn to find safety, The Bird King asks us to consider what love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.

So you all just saw this yesterday, but, surprise! I’m waiting until Saturday to review Descendant of the Crane and I have another review already scheduled for tomorrow, so here we go, two days in a row of The Bird King.

I really couldn’t explain why I liked this book as much as I did, I mean other than because in my opinion it was a really good book but if I were to give out a list of reasons, I’m not sure what would go on those. Wilson has a flowery sort of prose that’s really lovely to read, so that’s one, but I think the main reason would be because her characters are so beautifully human (the ones that are human!).

They are beautiful, selfish, ugly, kind, pious and sinning, and they are wonderfully flawed each and every one.

Think about it, a protagonist who is selfish but yet selfless and it isn’t grating on your nerves or made to feel fake. That said, I think it’s great because Wilson has decided to give you a protagonist that you can choose to love or hate but that will still make the story powerful.

The antagonist is frightening because of just how real they are and I always find those always make the best ‘villains’ the ones that are too plausible.

Fatima’s best friend Hassan is gay, and in the 1400s, well, it was the sort of thing the Inquisition could ‘get you’ for. But more than that, as I don’t want to spoil anything I’ll not say more about Hassan, there is this great feeling of fluidity when it comes to the sexuality of the characters.  I would say Fatima herself is maybe even more pansexual than anything? [Think Jack Harkness, she likes what she likes, but this isn’t really a romance novel]

^ Speaking on that last []^ It was a freakin’ BLESSING for me to read a story that didn’t try to force a romance down my throat, I mean with Descendant of the Crane that book was amazing, start to finish, and did its romance right as well but I’ve had this slump with people trying to force romances [I’m looking at you Ready Player One] and this was great for me. You are getting to know a different sort of love. A love of a friendship that just made my heart swell.

Wilson writes a fanciful historical fiction set during the Inquisition, the Spaniards, Granada, a Jinn (or more possibly? No spoilers), monsters human and not, adventure, loss, and the price of freedom with the worth of freedom as well. Poignant and with such a feel of humanity for better or worse, this book was well worth the read.

I would say that you have to be ready for this book, to go on this journey because I think if you’re not ready for it, it might be the reason it’ll drag for you.

I know some complained about pacing but I think because I like this sort of pacing in novel it wasn’t an issue for me, I didn’t think it went slowly but you do go from a sort of ‘frantic’ part to I guess could be seen as a lull but to me it was still on the edge of my seat type of thing. The Bird King is beautifully written and it was another great read for me, so, it’s been a nice group of great books.

I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

**Content Warning:** Death, violence, and the chance the book will rip your heart out and stomp on it. But you know, no biggie. 

WWW Wednesday

It’s time for the WWW Wednesday meme brought to you all by Taking on a World of Words

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What are you currently reading?

GoodReads Blurb: – …Fatima, a concubine in the royal court of Granada, the last emirate of Muslim Spain, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker. Hassan has a secret—he can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls? As Fatima and Hassan traverse Spain with the help of a clever jinn to find safety, The Bird King asks us to consider what love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.

I’m really enjoying this book, this kind of mixture of historical fiction and magic/folklore really just speaks to me. I know some have complained about the pacing over 30% in, I haven’t faced that, yet, could be on the horizon though, who knows! So far it’s been really keeping me intrigued and entertained! (Actually, I just finished this an hour ago but I haven’t started anything new since then so pffft, it stays)

What did you recently finish reading?

I’d give you the blurb but I just did like two posts ago and I’m doing a review post on this, this week so I don’t want to be so redundant. Just know, this is five cups of coffee on my rating and shelved on my favorites list on GoodReads. It was amazing, I’m having a slight book hangover but knowing how much I have to get through, I have no choice but to buck up and move on!

What do you think you’ll read next?

GoodReads Blurb:

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

I’m super excited my friend’s FB Bookclub picked my suggestion for to read next, I got approved for an eARC for this after it was published, funnily enough, I had just bought it anyway, so, I suppose it was meant to be! I’m really looking forward to it, but I also need to get through six more eARCs for this month to meet some goals. Anyway, here you go, my WWW Wednesday!

Toodles!