Throne of Glass

 

Maas, S. (2012). Throne of glass. New York: Bloomsbury. ISBN: 9781619630345. Paperback: $10.99. Also available in hardcover, e-book, and audiobook format.

How can an assassin redeem themselves? Competing for the King might be a start. When Celaena is fetched from her prison camp by Prince Dorian’s Captain of the Guard, Chaol, her life begins to turn in a few very unexpected directions. Once she was the deadliest assassin in Erilea, a job that landed her in the slave camp. Now she’s in a competition to become the King’s Champion. If she can defeat 23 other competitors and serve the King, she’ll have her freedom. But prison has left her weak, so she has some work to do before she has a chance to be victorious.

Navigating castle life isn’t easy though. Living with the other competitors is difficult, and there’s something dark lurking in the shadows, killing champions before each contest. On top of that, Celaena is the object of affection for two very important men, which also makes her the object of hatred for one jealous woman. Despite all this, she makes a friend in a princess visiting from another land, one with a secret power that would have dire consequences if she is discovered. With all these secrets and dangers, can Celaena triumph and be the one to serve the King?

Here’s the book trailer from the publisher:

 

An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Tahir, S. (2015). An ember in the ashes. New York: Razorbill. ISBN: 978-1595148032. Hardcover: $19.95. Also available in paperback, e-book, and audiobook format.

How hard would you fight for the people you love the most? Laia has known loss her entire life. She is a Scholar – a race that was conquered long ago by the ruthless Martials and forced to live in a state of “freedom” that looks a lot like slavery. Although they live in the city that has been their home for centuries, the Scholars are oppressed, living in fear that their houses will be raided and their families killed or enslaved for crimes such as teaching their children to read. Laia’s parents fought with the Scholar Resistance, and paid for their rebellion with their lives. When her grandparents are also killed and her brother is taken prisoner, Laia must turn to the Resistance to save her brother – but it comes at a cost.

How much would you risk to cling to your humanity? As a member of an elite military group called the Masks, Elias should be as proud as a Martial can be. Elias is different though. His mother, who also happens to be the Commandant of the Masks, abandoned him in the wilderness as a baby. He was raised by the Tribesmen and taught more compassion than most Martials ever learn, which makes it even harder when he’s taken back into the city to be trained as a Mask at Blackcliff Military Academy. After over a decade of brutal training and watching his classmates being flogged to death, he stands on the brink of graduation – and the brink of escape. His plan won’t be completed as planned though, as an even more enticing opportunity presents itself just when he needs it.

As the lives of these two characters converge, they may have more in common than it seems. Can they be victorious against the Empire that has taken so much from them?

Take a look at the publisher’s teaser trailer:

 

Isle of Winds

 

Fahy, J. (2015). Isle of winds. London: Venture Press. ISBN: 978-1519629777. Paperback: $7.99. Also available in e-book format.

Why does it seem like everything in Robin’s life is so strange? His gran was exceptionally odd, with all kinds of superstitions and a ridiculous collection of horseshoes. Even her death was odd. The moment it happened every horseshoe in the house came crashing down. Now he’s been sent off to live with a great aunt in the north of England. On his journey he meets a mysterious girl who appears and disappears without warning, speaking about things he’s never heard of and acting as if he should know all about them. When he get off the train he’s greeted by a corpse-like man with bright hair who gives him a distinctly unsettled feeling and appears to be afraid of his horseshoe necklace. Then when he gets to the house he sees a boy with blue skin out in the gardens, but can’t seem to find the lad when he runs out to investigate. The truth is, Robin isn’t nearly as ordinary as he thinks he is.

When his tutor arrives, Robin learns that he belongs to a race called the Fae. He’s not just an ordinary Fae either – Robin is the last of the Changelings. He is from the Netherworlde, a land of magic currently torn apart by a civil war that claimed his parents. A race called the Panthea, led by Lady Eris, have risen up and taken power, driving the Fae into hiding. Now Robin must learn the mays of magic to join the fight, as he may be the only one who can repair the magic that was broken when the King and Queen of the Fae disappeared. How can Robin, who only just learned about the Netherworlde, possibly hone his skills enough to save it? Immerse yourself in this detailed fantasy to find out.

You can follow the author on Twitter for updates!

Fire

 

Cashore, K. (2009). Fire. New York: Dial Books. ISBN: 978-0803734616. Hardcover: $21.99. Also available in paperback, e-book, and audiobook format.

Winner of a Cyblis Award for young adult fantasy/sci-fi (2010). Included in the list for ALA Best Books for Young Adults (2010), Publisher’s Weekly Best Books for Children (2009), and School Library Journal’s Best Books (2009).

Monsters roam the land of the Dells. These aren’t the ordinary horrific monsters though. They look just like ordinary animals, except for their vibrant colors: sky blue rabbits, sunset orange horses, fuchsia lions, and even girls with fire-red hair. This girl is named Lady Fire. She, like all other monsters can control the minds of those around her. Between this mind control and her other monster power of entrancing people with her beauty, Fire is dangerous. But she’s also the only one left of her kind. To protect herself, she lives in an estate far out in the country with her lover, Archer.

When a poacher with a mysteriously empty mind finds Fire in the woods, she leads him back to Archer’s house, where he is put in the dungeons. In the morning though, he is found mysteriously murdered. This sets off a chain of events that brings Fire to King’s City, where she finds herself aiding the spymasters to interrogate the rebels threatening to tear the kingdom apart. She also finds herself in the company of royals and the object of their affection. While there Fire meets the source of the mysteriously empty minds: A young boy named Leck with hauntingly different colored eyes and powers that he refers to as a Grace. Political tension rises, strange powers are at work, and it is up to Lady Fire to help set things right and find her own happiness.

This book is a companion to Graceling and Bitterblue, and while you don’t need to read Graceling to enjoy Fire, I would highly recommend giving the other books a look as well!

Carry On

 

Rowell, R. (2015). Carry on. New York: St. Martin’s Press. ISBN: 978-1250049551. Hardcover: $19.99. Also available in paperback, e-book, and audiobook format.
Booklist Editor’s Choice of 2015.

How can Simon be the Chosen One when he can’t even control his magic? Yeah, he’s really powerful, but most of the time he has trouble casting proper spells. It’s just that when he gets angry and “goes off” he can level a forest. Great.

His roommate Baz is a prat, and never lets him forget what a horrible Chosen One he is. Baz is maddeningly perfect and part of one of the most powerful families in the magickal world. Also, Simon is pretty sure Baz is a vampire, which makes it even more maddening that Simon is pretty sure Baz is trying to steal his girlfriend. Still, even though he hates him, Baz is missing this year at school, and Simon is worried.

The magickal world hasn’t been safe lately. A malicious enemy call the Insidious Humdrum has been sucking the magic from Great Britain, leaving gaping holes where magic cannot be used. The Mage, headmaster of the Watford School of Magicks and head of the magickal world, thinks that Simon is destined to defeat the Humdrum, but has been frustratingly cryptic on the particulars of how. Now the old magickal families are threatening to revolt against the Mage. Can Simon find a way to save magic before war breaks out?

Here’s the author talking about her book at a conference:

Cinder

 

Meyer, M. (2013). Cinder. New York: Square Fish. ISBN: 978-1250007209. Hardcover: $19.99. Also available in paperback, e-book, and audiobook format.

What if being yourself could cost you everything? Cyborgs are freaks, and Cinder knows it. If the hateful stares in the marketplace weren’t enough to make the point, her stepmother certainly makes it clear that she’s not happy that Cinder’s father left such a shameful legacy. Cinder is the best mechanic in New Beijing though, and when the handsome Prince Kai comes to her stall in the marketplace to ask her to fix his android, she knows she needs to hide her mechanical hand and leg. Not like it matters. He’d never notice her anyway.

But Prince Kai does notice the pretty, quirky mechanic. In the midst of fighting the widespread plague that is about to claim his father and navigating politics with the strange and threatening Lunars staring down from the moon, Cinder is a welcome relief from the pressures of being the almost-Emperor. But there is plenty Cinder isn’t telling him, and some secrets she doesn’t yet know herself. When the truth is revealed, can love conquer long-held prejudices?

This story is loosely based on the Cinderella fairy tales, but still highly original and much more complex than the original tale.

Here’s a trailer for the book:

The Siren

Cass, K. (2016). The siren. New York: HarperTeen. ISBN: 978-0062391995. Hardcover: $18.99. Also available in paperback, e-book, and audiobook format.

Sirens of the ancient world were beautiful maidens, luring sailors to their doom in the depths of the ocean. Were these sirens evil, or just doing their duty? In The Siren, Kiera Cass imagines the life of sirens in the modern world.

According to records, Kahlen died in the 1940s. The truth is more complicated. As the waves overtook her that night, Kahlen cried out for another chance, and suddenly was surrounded by beautiful girls. They told her the Ocean could offer her life. 100 years of service frozen as a young girl, then she’ll be released to finish her life, but without any memories of her former years. They only catch is that the Ocean needs souls to survive, so once a year they must sing and people must die. Kahlen takes the deal and begins her life as a siren.

It’s a lonely life. The siren sisters cannot speak to humans, as their voices are a deadly trap for mortals. They are forbidden from revealing what they are, and can’t even stay in one place for long since they never age. With her sisters and the Ocean as company though, Kahlen hasn’t minded the solitude. That is, until she meets the easygoing and irresistible Akinli. The Ocean would punish Kahlen if She knew the attraction growing in her heart, but Kahlen wants this more than anything before. How can a siren and a fisherman fall in love without tragedy?

Take a look at the book trailer from the publisher:

Red Queen

 

Aveyard, V. (2015). Red queen. New York: HarperTeen. ISBN: 978-0062310637. Hardcover: $17.99. Also available in paperback, e-book, and audiobook format.

A great equalizer among humans is that we all bleed the same color, but in Mare’s world that’s not actually true. The elite Silvers are so named for their shimmering silver blood. Not only are they captivatingly beautiful (imagine how your skin would look with silver instead of red running through your veins!) but they also have special powers. These powers range from controlling substances like metal or water to other abilities like telekinesis. Their powers make then nigh invincible, and those with normal blood like you and I – the Reds – are subject to their rule, fight in their wars, and working in their cities and palaces.

Mare is one of those Reds, nearing the age when she’ll be drafted into the military. But after a chance meeting with the Prince in disguise, her whole world is turned upside down. She’s taken away to work in the palace and is caught up in a world of politics and intrigue after finding out that she herself has powers nobody expects her to have. But there is corruption hidden in the power of the Silvers, and discontentment among the Reds. Rebellion is brewing. Power is failing. She could be the one to turn the tide and unite the nation as the Red Queen…if she can survive to power games.

Take a look at the book trailer:

The 5th Wave

 

Yancey, R. (2013). The 5th wave. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons. ISBN: 9780399162411. Hardcover: $18.99. Also available in paperback, e-book, and audiobook format.

Winner of the 2014 Red House Children’s Book Award. A YASLA 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults and Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers book.

When the Others showed up, we were optimistic. Maybe they wanted to coexist. Then humans started dying by the billions. Now it’s a race to survive, never knowing when The 5th Wave will hit or how devastating it will be.

What can be done to preserve humanity when most of the humans are gone? After the mothership showed up, the 1st wave knocked out everything electric, causing plane crashes, car collisions, and other disasters. The 2nd wave was a global tsunami that took out all the coastal populations. The 3rd wave was a virus carried by birds that resulted in a bloody death for all but the few hundred thousand with lucky immunity. Now those who remain face the 4th wave: drones patrolling the sky and shooting on sight.

Cassie Sullivan got lucky. Not only did she make it through the first waves, but her brother and father survived as well. When circumstances tear them apart, 16 year old Cassie must fight for survival, try to bring her family back together, and cling to the hope that humanity will endure. Meanwhile, the Others are preparing a 5th wave to rival all others – one that might break the spirits of the survivors once and for all. Who can Cassie trust when the enemy is hiding in plain sight?

This book was also recently made into a movie. I haven’t seen it yet, so I can’t say how accurate it is, but here’s the trailer!

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

 

Alexie, S. (2007). The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian. New York: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN: 978-0316013680. Hardcover: $16.99. Also available in paperback, e-book, and audiobook format.
Winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature (2007), American Indian Library Association Best Young Adult Book (2008), and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award (2008). Also on School Library Journal’s “Best Books of 2007” list and Young Adult Library Association’s 2008 “Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults”.

Life on the rez isn’t easy. And for 14-year-old Arnold “Junior” Spirit it’s even more difficult than normal. He’s not cool or tough. In fact, he was born with too many teeth and water on his brain, causing some brain damage nobody will ever let him forget. He has glasses and a lisp, plus he’s dirt poor. But he’s also smart and can draw. Junior copes with his life by drawing cartoons. Sometimes they’re funny. Sometimes they help him get a grip what’s going on. Sometimes they provide a way to honestly describe his life. Sometimes they’re windows to his mind. And sometimes they help him cope with grief.

In his absolutely true (and sometimes unbelievable) diary, Junior deals with the harsh realities of racism, alcoholism, addiction, sexuality, eating disorders, violence, poverty, and death. But amid all those ugly things Junior begins to discover his potential. Transferring to a new school outside the reservation opens up new problems, but also new opportunities. Follow along as Junior learns the meaning of bravery and discovers how to be himself, even if he’s only a part-time Indian.


Bookventurer’s Quest Note: This book is frequently challenged, which means people have often tried to have it removed from schools and libraries because they object to its content. In fact, it was the #1 most frequently challenged book in the US in 2014. While I don’t believe it’s right to completely remove a book from the shelf or deny anyone the right to read it, I get why people have been upset. This book has some really harsh language and talks about intense topics like violent bullying, racism, and substance abuse. Some readers will find that the things discussed are part of their everyday life, while for others it may be their first exposure to those topics – and that can be difficult to process.
Because of that, I’d recommend the book for more mature readers, and suggest having a discussion about the book with friends and/or adult-type-people (like a librarian, parent, or teacher). That being said, the lessons Junior learns are even more potent because of the hardships he goes through, and there’s a lot to be gained from reading it if you’re ready. Prepare yourselves accordingly bookventurers, and proceed with caution and courage.