Book Review: Drowning is Inevitable by Shalanda Stanley

This book was…a lot. If you’re looking for a book that will slowly crush your heart with lyrical writing and an incredible friendship, you have come to the right place.

4/5 stars

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synopsis for reviews 2

Olivia has spent her whole life struggling to escape her dead mother’s shadow. But when her father can’t even look at her because Olivia reminds him of her mother, and her grandmother mistakenly calls her “Lillian,”  shaking a reputation she didn’t ask for is next to impossible. Olivia is used to leaning on her best friend, Jamie; her handsome but hot-tempered boyfriend, Max; and their wild-child friend, Maggie, for the reality check that her small Louisiana town can’t provide. But when a terrible fight between Jamie and his father turns deadly, all Olivia can think to do is grab her friends and run.

In a flash, Olivia, Jamie, Max, and Maggie become fugitives on the back roads of Louisiana. They’re headed to New Orleans, where they hope to find a solution to an unfixable problem. But with their faces displayed on all the news stations, their journey becomes a harrowing game of hide-and-seek from the police—and so-called allies, who just might be the real enemy.

Shalanda Stanley’s breathtaking debut novel explores the deep ties between legacy, loyalty, and love, even as it asks the question: How far would you go to save a friend?

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my thoughts for reviews 1

This book has been sitting on my shelf for almost a year. It was a Christmas gift that I just now worked up the courage to read.

Why did I need courage? Because this is not my type of book. When I read contemporary books, I usually read fluffy romances. I turn to fantasy or historical fiction for my “impossible situation” plots—and even then, I rarely read books whose plots are like this. I know I don’t like framed-for-murder plots, and though this book is not one of those, it had a lot of the same qualities.

Anyway, going into DII, I knew that it would be a challenge.

Nevertheless, I’m incredibly glad I read it. This book was intense. I do not think there was a moment when I was not a few words away from tears. But more than making me cry, this book made me panic. 

I have to separate this review from myself a bit, because I do not really like books that make me panic over things that could actually happen. I especially do not like books filling me with panic when I am already a college-app-fueled ball of stress. I had to read DII in small chunks, honestly afraid that if I read too much at once I’d lose it.

But I have to admire DII for how much it moved me. I was unable to control my emotions; I cared too much about the characters. DII felt real, and the fact that I could imagine being shoved into the same situation with my closest friends made my heart hurt.

Olivia was our main character. She’s already somewhat lost on the first page, not sure where her identity starts and where her dead mother’s identity ends. Sure that something in her will make her commit suicide when she turns eighteen the same way her mother did, Olivia has no plans for the future. The only things she knows for certain is that she will do anything for Jamie, her childhood friend, and that she loves her boyfriend Max, and her friend, Maggie.

Most of all, this is a book about friendship. Yes, Max and Olivia are a couple, but even their romance is more about friendship than romantic love. The four characters will do anything for each other—and they end up proving it when Jamie’s abusive father takes things too far and everything falls apart.

I really, really loved DII for its dedication to friendship. If you are searching for a book that takes the feeling of friendship and puts it so perfectly into words that it is palpable, you need to read this book.

Jamie and Olivia are tied closer together than any other characters I’ve read about, but there is never romantic tension between them. They’re “just” friends, but they still go to the ends of the earth for each other. While they may not make the best choices, I love that this book shows that a girl and a guy can love each other without it being romantic.

DII is not perfect. The pacing is off, mainly because the plot does not have a clear arc. The characters are running away, but we all know that their luck will run out eventually. While that created an emotionally charged plot, it meant that not a lot actually happens, so sometimes the pacing lagged. The book never lost its emotional hold over me, but occasionally, the pacing issues got in the way of my enjoying the book fully.

Additionally, I wanted a little more from Max and Maggie’s characters. I loved both of them, and it is remarkable how much characterization the author gave them in such a small amount of time, but I still wanted more. This book could have benefited from multiple POVs, I think.

Still, this book left me awestruck. It is rare to find a book that is so simple but so emotional throughout. Though I definitely chose to read this book at the wrong time in my life, I still appreciate the power of it. I would recommend this book to everyone who is looking for stories about friendship and who is willing to have their heart broken.

October Wrap-Up 2016

In My Life

October was…interesting, I guess. It feels like it took forever to go by, but I can’t really remember what I did. Mostly, I worked on college apps and was overwhelmed by homework.

There is some good news, though! My school paper (of which I am the EIC) published its second issue, which turned out AMAZING. In ceramics, we are starting to make bowls, which is fun and difficult at the same time. And AP Art History is a ton of work but SUPER interesting. We’re on our ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome unit right now. Loving it 🙂

On This Blog

I had 12 posts this month, exactly meeting my personal goal of three posts a week. This is the first time since school started that I’ve been so consistent in blogging, so I’m pretty proud of myself. *high fives self*

Top Ten Tuesdays

Book Tags

In Reading and Reviewing

I read five books this month. Considering how much schoolwork I had (and that one of those books was 700+ pages long), I’m pretty happy with myself.

Books Read

  • Empire of Storms (TOG #5) by Sarah J. Maas — 5/5 stars (review)
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares — 4/5 stars (review)
  • The Second Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares — 3.5/5 stars
  • Drowning is Inevitable by Shalanda Stanley — 4/5 stars (review to come)
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley — 3.5/5 stars (review)

Other Reviews

  • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys — 4/5 stars (review)
  • Nevernight by Jay Kristoff — 4/5 stars (review)
  • Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle #2) by Libba Bray — 4/5 stars (review)

In Writing

October was a great month for writing! I added 7,600 words to my novel, way more than anything I had added since school started. I wrote on six different days, and some of those days were…wait for it…school nights. OH MY GOD. I hope that I can continue this momentum going into November. It will be my version of NaNoWriMo.

On another note, I got a lot of college essay writing done. I have finally finalized my Common App essay (YES!!), as well as three colleges worth of supplements.


So that’s it for October! How was your Halloween? What books did you read last month and which ones are you planning to read next?

Book Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I enjoyed this story a lot more than I expected, though I wish the writing had been a little different.

3.5/5 stars

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synopsis for reviews 2

Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Add it on Goodreads.

my thoughts for reviews 1

Like 99% of the classics I read, I read this book because of school. I can’t say that I had low expectations for the book, because I had honestly no idea what to expect. I knew that Hollywood portrayed the Creature wrong…and that was it. I was pleasantly surprised by Frankenstein, though.

I’ll start with the positive. I genuinely enjoyed the plot of this book. Having known nothing about the plot beforehand except that the Creature comes to life and everything goes wrong, I found the actual plot original and complex. There is so much more going on in this book than “whoops, bringing the dead back to life is a mistake.”

There were surprising moments and the story built to a strong climax. I loved the approach the story took to discussing good and evil, as well as how it left some moral questions unanswered.

The Creature was a fascinating character, and his complicated relationship with Victor was unexpected and nuanced. I absolutely hated Victor, but I admire Shelley for how completely she got me to hate him. Both characters grow significantly throughout the novel and I never felt like I didn’t understand their motivations.

Looking just at the overall plot of the novel and the two main characters, Frankenstein was a really solid novel. Unfortunately, the details are where I start to like the book less.

First off, waaay to much time passes. Seriously, the book spans like six years, with most of that time just being Victor passed out from his bad decisions or loitering, trying to decide what to do next. If you cut out all the waiting around parts, the plot is paced pretty well, but I could never get fully invested in the story because so much of the story wasn’t the main plot. 

Also, the writing bothered me. I knew it was a “classic” going in, so I wasn’t expecting it to read the same way a novel written today would. I can forgive the novel for its wandering sentences and obsession with figurative language—in truth, I actually enjoyed those parts.

However, the story is told in a forcibly “tell” instead of “show” manner. For me, it felt like certain chapters were trying to suck all of the excitement out of the plot in the way they were told. For a book that is entirely in first person (though the narration changes), it feels like it’s written in third person—by which I mean that something is constantly separating me from experiencing the action up-close-and-personal. 

Overall, I’m glad I read this book. It is one of my favorite books I’ve read in for high school, both from a plot standpoint and a literary analysis standpoint. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy “classic” writing, or who are at least able to forgive a story for slower pacing.

Book Review: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

I read this book years ago, and after reading a series of tear-inducing fantasy novels, I decided I needed this cheerfulness in my life again.

4/5 stars

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synopsis for reviews 2

Carmen got the jeans at a thrift shop. They didn’t look all that great: they were worn, dirty, and speckled with bleach. On the night before she and her friends part for the summer, Carmen decides to toss them. But Tibby says they’re great. She’d love to have them. Lena and Bridget also think they’re fabulous. Lena decides that they should all try them on. Whoever they fit best will get them. Nobody knows why, but the pants fit everyone perfectly. Even Carmen (who never thinks she looks good in anything) thinks she looks good in the pants. Over a few bags of cheese puffs, they decide to form a sisterhood and take the vow of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants . . . the next morning, they say good-bye. And then the journey of the pants — and the most memorable summer of their lives — begins.

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my thoughts for reviews 1

I can’t tell you how happy I am that this book was as good as I remembered. After being slightly overwhelmed with my recent reading choices, this book was a perfect dose of real life.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is four stories in one, one for each of the friends as they explore their first summer apart. Each summer takes unexpected twists and forces the characters to face parts of themselves they had previously ignored. It was never hard to keep their stories straight, and I liked how the narration jumped back and forth between stories often.

Carmen’s story was incredibly relatable. She thought her summer was going to be filled with father-daughter bonding time, only to find out that her father is remarrying and that she is a guest in his new perfect life. She feels rejected, and even though she knows she’s being petty, she doesn’t want to take the high road. And you know what, I didn’t blame her, because I understood what she was feeling. Every part of her story grabbed me, until I couldn’t tell where her emotions ended and mine began.

Lena’s story was more simplistic. I loved that she is intensely introverted, and I thought that her relationship with her own beauty was a really interesting addition to her character. Like Carmen, I felt Lena’s emotions alongside her as she spends the summer with her unfamiliar relatives in Greece. Looking back on her plot line, though, I wish that a little more had happened.

Bridget’s story was the most intense. She’s the extrovert of the group, wild and determined in a wholehearted way that I associate more with fantasy protagonists than contemporary ones. While I couldn’t relate to her character as much as I could to the others, her story was written in a way that at least made me understand what was going on in her head.

I cared about Bridget, and I was genuinely worried for her as she chased down the coach she had a crush on at her soccer summer camp. Her plot line was rough and unforgiving, never romanticizing or condemning her actions, just letting the story speak for itself.

Finally, Tibby’s story was the most emotional. Stuck at a crappy job while her friends are off exploring the world, Tibby sought solace by making a documentary about her summer. She ends up befriending a preteen with cancer who pushes her to reevaluate her life. It sounds cliche, but it really wasn’t. Instead, it felt real and important, and I know that plot line will stick with me for a while.

There is something gloriously refreshing about this book. It is teenage girls being teenage girls, with no extra glamour. This isn’t a book about cute meets or perfect romances; it’s a book about real life happening to four people at once. If you’re expecting an entirely cheerful book, then I should warn you that I quietly cried through the last quarter of the book. Fundamentally, this is a book that will grab your heartstrings, for happiness and for sadness.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a story about friendship and real life. It isn’t solidly happy or sad, it is more complex than that. For me, it was exactly what I needed to read right now.

Book Review: Empire of Storms (TOG #5) by Sarah J. Maas

My heart. Is. In. Pieces.

5/5 stars

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No spoilers for EOS, but I can’t avoid spoilers for the previous books. Sorry!

synopsis for reviews 2

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

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my thoughts for reviews 1

This book was amazing. There was not a second of this book that did not completely enthrall me. And that ending—I SOBBED.

I knew this book would break my heart, and right on schedule, it did. But that’s not to say that EOS only broke my heart. It made me laugh, grin, and curl up into a ball of happy feels just as often as it destroyed me.

I love Aelin. Her character is a force of nature. She’s brilliant and brave and strong and selfless, but most of all, I believe in her. She’s not one of those incredible characters that is too perfect for real life. Even when she is raising armies and battling the forces of evil, she still feels human. She is larger than life and intensely realistic at the same time.

Elide also became a stand-out character for me in EOS. I had liked her in QOS, but it wasn’t until this book that I truly fell in love with her. She is a great compliment to Aelin, strong and determined like the queen, but with a very different underlying personality. I loved that she is simultaneously an introvert and a hero, a combination you don’t see a lot of in YA.

Lorcan was an interesting addition to the story; I didn’t expect him to be a part of the plot, but I ended up enjoying his presence. I am fascinated to see what happens with his character in the next book after that ending.

Manon’s character grew on me a lot. I had always liked her well enough, but it was in this book that she finally won me over. I’m trying not to spoil anything, but if you’ve read it, you probably know the moment I’m talking about. (I cheered.) Aelin and Manon working plotting together is my new favorite thing, especially if Lysandra is also involved.

Lysandra remains one of my favorite characters in the series. If possible, she becomes more badass in this book. I loved her interactions with Aedion, how they showed a different side of her that helped round out her character. Aedion himself continued to grow on me; I think I have finally let go of my initial (and somewhat random) annoyance at his existence.

Dorian has been a weird character for me. I always liked him more than Chaol (#sorrynotsorry), but in recent books his plot line had felt kind of tacked-on to the rest of the action. In this book, however, we get to see him interact with Aelin and the rest of the gang and grow into his own. His story finally melded with the rest of the book, and I started to like him again. I love how broken and imperfect he is; he has come such a long way from the cheery prince that he was in the first book.

I cannot say that I love Dorian and Manon together. It was fascinating to read, adding a dark and reckless vibe to the story, but I feel like their relationship needs to do more to convince me that the relationship should last.

And then there’s Rowan. Words cannot describe how important Rowan is to the story. Yes, he’s a big ball of swooniness, but he is also exactly what Aelin needed as she grew into her own in EOS. I loved finally reading a YA story where the romance is incredibly important to the characters’ growth without being the only reason they grow. Aelin and Rowan complement each other really well, but they each have their own individual characters as well—which only strengthens the romance between them.

Wow, there are a lot of characters. I didn’t even start to touch side characters (though those were also the perfect balance of interesting without overpowering the story). The beauty of EOS, though, is that the massive cast of characters doesn’t stop the story from fully exploring each one’s personality and arc. Of course, that means that the book is ridiculously long, but it also gives it the emotional power needed to break my heart in every possible way.

I don’t know what to say about the plot of EOS, mainly because so much happens. The plot is fast-paced and addictive. All of the subplots weave together well, better than in previous books, creating a continually powerful narrative. I never wanted to put the book down, though I had to force myself to take a break from the story so I could get schoolwork done.

The incredible thing about EOS is that it feels real. I have read countless stories of wars, revolutions, and diplomatic sparring matches, but none of them made me feel like I was actually in the middle of power plays between entire nations.

EOS just has this indescribable feeling of enormity. I could feel just how important every decision was, that each move Aelin made would affect hundreds of thousands of people. I don’t know how SJM did it…but it is awe-inspiring.

I need to talk about the ending, though I’m not going to spoil anything. Basically, the ending is a series of intense reveals that change the way that you see the entire series, and then a heartbreaking cliffhanger that sets up what will surely be an amazing sixth book. I sobbed for the last hundred pages, literally unable to control myself. I almost wish that the book had had a few more chapters, just to give me some time to absorb everything that was revealed in the last pages. As it was, I was left tear-stained and ruined, with a gaping hole in my chest that won’t be filled until the next book is released.

I know, that sounds overly dramatic. Trust me when I tell you it is an understatement.

I would recommend EOS to anyone who has enjoyed the TOG series so far. If you didn’t like HOF or QOS for character reasons, then I would honestly say don’t read EOS. You probably won’t like it, and it seems kind of pointless to put yourself through so many pages for such a little reward. But if you enjoyed HOF and QOS, READ EMPIRE OF STORMS RIGHT NOW. And then we’ll cry together.


Have you read EOS? If you have, have you recovered yet?

Book Review: Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle #2) by Libba Bray

An amazing continuation of the Gemma Doyle series with creepy paranormal elements and even stronger characters.

4/5 stars

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synopsis for reviews 2

Ah, Christmas! Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy, spending time with her friends in the city, attending ritzy balls, and on a somber note, tending to her ailing father. As she prepares to ring in the New Year, 1896, a handsome young man, Lord Denby, has set his sights on Gemma, or so it seems. Yet amidst the distractions of London, Gemma’s visions intensify–visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened, something only the realms can explain…

The lure is strong, and before long, Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world of the realms that Gemma alone can bring them to. To the girls’ great joy, their beloved Pippa is there as well, eager to complete their circle of friendship.

But all is not well in the realms–or out. The mysterious Kartik has reappeared, telling Gemma she must find the Temple and bind the magic, else great disaster will befall her. Gemma’s willing to do his intrusive bidding, despite the dangers it brings, for it means she will meet up with her mother’s greatest friend–and now her foe, Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task.

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my thoughts for reviews 1

Rereading this series was honestly so much fun. I love knowing that the books that blew me away when I was younger are still impressive, even after I’ve read hundreds more books.

The defining characteristic of these books is the idea of imperfection. If you like stories where the characters make the right decisions and everything fits together nicely…this isn’t your book. But honestly, imperfection is so much more interesting.

Gemma and her friends are as imperfect as always in this book. They have the power to bring magic into the real world and they use it to make their lives better, even if it’s an illusion. It’s somewhat frustrating to read, because as the reader you know that magic won’t solve their problems, but I have to admit, I would do exactly the same thing in their place.

We get to see Gemma’s character grow more. She is trying to be a better person, taking on responsibilities in the realm and being a nicer daughter in the real world, but she cannot get over her jealousies and fears completely. She has magic, and she’s a teenage girl, and she’d rather have everything seem perfect than have to deal with life’s imperfections. I don’t blame her for her weaknesses, though, because her character is written so vividly that I could feel exactly what emotions drove her to make her choices.

Ann’s character becomes a larger part of the story in Rebel Angels. Her dreams of being accepted into rich society come true—with magic, of course—and it reveals fascinating parts of her character. As with Gemma, Ann has her pettiness and her fears, but they are portrayed so well that I understand her instead of hating her.

The realms become more sinister in this book, no longer the flowering garden that Gemma discovered. Pippa returns to the story, giving the plot creepy, uncertain undertones. Dead but alive, Pippa brings both joy and fear to the plot, and Gemma’s distrust of her threatens the group dynamic.

Gemma’s new task in the realms is to find the Temple, where she can bind the magic and restore order to the realms. New visions and a friendship with an insane girl named Nell help Gemma on her search while keeping the reader on their toes, uncertain of who they can trust. The search for the Temple is a good mystery that adds suspense and terror to the plot.

As with the first book, however, Rebel Angels is about more than the realms. Gemma’s life in the real world is just as important a part of the story as her quest in the realms. I loved that Gemma leaves Spence for the winter holiday; this changed the focus of the story from her education to her place in polite society and showed a different side of Gemma. She is simultaneously desperate to be accepted and disgusted with the society.

Her courtship of Simon Middleton was one of my favorite parts of the book. More than just a love interest, Simon represents a crossroads for Gemma, forcing her to choose between being the Good Girl and being herself. Simon’s own imperfections are an interesting commentary on rape culture—something I missed the first time I read this series but that I appreciate now.

Gemma’s father’s addiction is a major part of this book. The plot line is unforgiving and painful, showing Gemma the worst side of her family right when she wants nothing more than for everything to be perfect. These scenes were some of the most emotional ones of the whole book.

My only complaint about this book would be that it is a little long. It is paced well, but that pacing is a long walk to the climax. I love that the length of the story allows every character to develop and every subplot to be complex, but it also makes the book a little slow at times.

I would recommend Rebel Angels to anyone who read A Great and Terrible Beauty. The story gets creepier and realer, destroying the few remaining niceties that existed in Gemma’s life. The combination of paranormal and historical plot lines makes this series unique and a must-read.

Book Review: Nevernight (Nevernight Chronicle #1) by Jay Kristoff

EDIT: It has been brought to my attention that this book contains harmful racial themes and imagery. This review was written before I realized this, and my current view of the book has been severely hampered by not only the racial problems, but by the author’s unwillingness to own up to his flaws. I do not plan to continue the series.

For a comprehensive breakdown of the problems and Kristoff’s responses: http://anjuliewritesstuff.weebly.com/blog/racism-author-accountability-and-nevernight


An addictive fantasy novel that is complex and badass in equal measures.

4/5 stars

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synopsis for reviews 2

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

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my thoughts for reviews 1

From page one, I was in love with Mia’s character. She starts off the book your typical badass, hard-as-stone protagonist, which I loved. But as the story progresses, her softer side starts to show, and it made her a really unique character that I loved even more. She is ruthless, bloodthirsty, and vengeful, with a twisted set of morals and an unpredictable merciful side. I loved that though I expected her to be exactly the same protagonist I had read about a dozen times, her personality managed to break the mold.

The plot of Nevernight surrounds Mia’s training as she tries to become initiated into the Red Church, basically an assassins’ guild. I loved that Mia actually didn’t know everything already. Sure, she’s been trained for years already, but she isn’t a natural at anything in the training. I wouldn’t say that the fact humbled her—nothing can do that—but it definitely made the plot more interesting.

The one thing that sets Mia apart from the rest of the assassins is her darkin powers, which allow her to manipulate shadows. In a refreshing turn from the Chosen One mold, Mia’s powers do not earn her the respect or awe of her teachers. She does not receive special training for her powers, and though she actually is more powerful and special than the other initiates, she is never treated that way.

I loved Mia’s powers anyway. Her control over the shadows was interesting, especially because they were not a perfect weapon. Mr. Kindly, her shadow cat, was one of my favorite characters—he’s Sass Incarnate—and his ability to take away her fear added more layers to her character. Nevernight explores the ideas of courage and fear in a way I haven’t seen other books, never getting excessively preachy about the need to face your fears to be strong.

Nevernight’s world building is really complex, but also fascinating. The world has a complicated history, a nuanced government, a layered mythology, and an almost sci-fi physical organization. However, the way Kristoff wove the world building in—with footnotes and slang, mostly—made it easier to absorb. I still feel like there is more to learn, but I also trust that the footnotes will remind me of whatever I need to know for a particular scene.

I have a love-hate relationship with the footnotes. They are long and usually happen right in the middle of a scene. It would annoy me that I needed to stop in the middle of the action to read the footnote…but then every footnote is hilarious, so by the end I was not annoyed anymore.

The rest of the characters of Nevernight are also a mixed bag for me. There are some obvious pros: 1) There are a ton of interesting and strong female characters. 2) Mia has feelings for Tric without falling in love with him, a refreshing plot twist in the YA world.

Unfortunately, I feel like a lot of the side characters were missed opportunities. I could tell they were part of larger subplots, but those subplots never really emerged. I trust that some of them will be important in the second book, but I wish that they had been more influential in the first one.

Nevernight was addictive, pure and simple. I read most of it in one day, unable to put it down (which screwed me for homework, but that’s okay). There were lots of surprising moments. And yet, the pacing was missing something. As much as I could not stop reading the book, I still wanted more from it. Hopefully the second book will grab me more completely.

I would recommend Nevernight to fans of assassin stories, who are willing to read about ruthless and unforgiving characters. Though it was not perfect, I loved Nevernight and I cannot wait for the next book.