July 2021 Book Reviews

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Book Review: THE GLASS SPARE by Lauren DeStefano (OwlCrate Book November 2017)

“The Glass Spare”

The Glass Spare #1

by Lauren DeStefano

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: Wanting nothing more to explore the world and wander, like the life her mother once led, Wil dreams of freedom but as a spare heir, she doubts the king will ever give her a mission beyond their kingdom. Then tragedy strikes as she develops a power to turn whatever living thing she touches into gems. Forced to flee her kingdom, Wil must now navigate the world while trying to find a way to break her curse.

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7 Great Things about THE GLASS SPARE by Lauren DeStefano

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Midas Touch

Lauren DeStefano’s “The Glass Spare” appears to be inspired by the Greek myth of King Midas who turned everything he touched into gold. In “The Glass Spare,” the main character Wil is cursed, turning anything living into a gem upon touching it. Obviously this kills whatever she touches and sadly only takes a few seconds to be devastating. While a curse to her, many others see her as a viable asset for unlimited riches.

2. Curse

The main differences between King Midas in the Greek myth and Wil’s character in “The Glass Spare” is that King Midas wishes for his powers while Wil is cursed with it. Loom is another character who is also cursed in “The Glass Spare” but we learn that he committed a crime and was therefore cursed. Wil was born with her curse and the great mystery is why.

3. Siblings

Wil and her two brothers, Owen and Gerdie, are absolutely heartwarming together. All three of them confide in one another and look out for each other in a way that I wish all siblings could. Sadly though, their other brother does not share their bond and actually appears to have a deep hatred for all of them, especially Wil. Regardless, DeStefano portrays loving sibling relationships in “The Glass Spare” that are based on trust, respect, love, gratitude, and healthy boundaries. Serious sibling goals.

4. Tragedy

Sadly, Wil’s curse causes the death of a beloved brother and it was heartbreaking. Wil struggled with blame and survivor’s guilt, both being understandable for how things went down. Interesting though is that through that event, she comes to realize that her father loves her more than she believed. He does not even attempt to kill her but rather banishes her because he does not have it in him to kill his daughter. Of course, the whole situation could have been avoided if he hadn’t ordered Wil on a dangerous mission to begin with.

5. Characters

“The Glass Spare” is rich with different characters, each with unique backgrounds, goals, and personalities. You have an exiled prince who is cursed and willing to sacrifice his life for those he loves. Then there is Zay, his wife, who is a powerful warrior, fierce mother, and loyal friend. Gerdie, Wil’s brother, who doesn’t allow his physical limitations to define him and is a genius, especially with alchemy. Even the bad characters are interesting as we try to figure out their end game for Wil.

6. Ruling

Both Loom and Wil show incredible responsibility and understanding of what it actually means to rule a kingdom. They both realize that when kingdoms go to war, it is the people that suffer the most. It’s not about the money spent from the treasury or the land or goods that may be obtained from winning, it is the people who pay the price on both sides and nothing materialistic is equivalent to a life. Loom and Wil love their kingdoms and only want what is best for the greater good. They both learned empathy through suffering and would make better rulers than their parents.

7. The Cursed Sea

The story of Wil and Loom continues and concludes in The Glass Spare book 2: “The Cursed Sea.”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

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Book Review: 9 Rewarding Things about RUIN AND RISING by Leigh Bardugo

“Ruin and Rising”

Grishaverse #3; The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #3

by Leigh Bardugo

Nikki’s Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary: Unable to use her powers, Alina Starkov is a prisoner once again but this time to the cunning Apparat, the spiritual leader of Ravka who tends to change sides whenever it suits him. While Nikolai attempts to keep the Darkling busy focusing on him, Alina’s allies come together to help her escape. As they travel across Ravka searching for the last amplifier, Alina comes to discover that the cost may be too high. In order to stop the Darkling, Alina will have to destroy herself and kill the man she’s loved since childhood.

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9 Rewarding Things about RUIN AND RISING by Leigh Bardugo

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Genya

Genya’s storyline is tragic and yet beautiful. While her looks get ruined she not only remains true to Alina and what she believes in, she eventually shows the same confidence and sassiness she had prior to her punishment, looks be damned. Genya gets all she deserves in the end, her man David, a pardon, and a leadership role.

2. LGBTQ

The Shadow and Bone Trilogy included the LGBTQ community through the characters Nadia and Tamar who were an openly lesbian couple. And I loved that in the Grishaverse this was not seen as abnormal, no one commented on it, made a fuss, and the characters weren’t trying to hide their feelings. Hopefully our world can become that accepting one day.

3. Writing

“Ruin and Rising” was written well with great pacing and was absolutely emotional. It was a hard book to put down and it was difficult to say goodbye to the characters in the end.

4. Sun Summoners

The great twist of the three amplifiers, power multiplied a thousand fold but not in one person but shared amongst many otkazat’sya. This twist was so unexpected and yet, made sense with Morozova’s story and the need for balance in the end.

5. The Darkling

Aleksander, the Darkling, another tale of tragedy. While he needed to be stopped, his end is truly sad. All he wanted was to not be alone but he always would be in his power, in his greatness, he had no equal. The Darkling was evil, he did horrible things but there was a goodness to him, a human quality of wanting to be loved, accepted, and cherished.

6. Mal & Alina

OMG! Just an emotional rollercoaster with these two! I’m so relieved that Mal and Alina ended up together in the end, I was really unsure if they would both survive. After everything they had been through with each other, they deserve their happy ending.

7. The Future

While Alina is no longer in the picture, I love that Nikolai embraces her ideas for the future of the Grisha. The leadership for the Grisha will be shared amongst representatives from each order and together they will lead the Second Army, maintaining a safe haven for the Grisha in their world.

8. Bittersweet

Overall, “Ruin and Rising” had a bittersweet ending and it was fitting. Alina and Mal both lost their “gifts”, Nikolai and Genya are forever scarred, and they all have some serious PTSD. However, they all move forward and they appreciate and embrace the happiness that they are able to find. Such is life.

9. Six of Crows

While Mal and Alina’s story has ended with their happily-ever-after, the Grishaverse continues on in Leigh Bardugo’s “Six of Crows.”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

Book Review: 9 Superior Things about SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh Bardugo

“Siege and Storm”

Grishaverse #2; The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #2

by Leigh Bardugo

Nikki’s Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary: Prisoners of the Darkling, Mal and Alina are forced to hunt Morozova’s next amplifier, the legendary ice dragon Rusaly. Just when it seems that there is no hope, they are rescued by the most unlikely person and dropped into the vindictive and superficial Ravka court. As Alina tries to lead the Second Army and find a way to save them all, she is being haunted by the Darkling and comes to realize that they may not be so different after all.

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9 Superior Things about SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh Bardugo

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Grishaverse

Bardugo’s greatest accomplishment as a writer is her world-building skills. There are so many tiny details about the Grishaverse that make it wholeheartedly believable and interesting. While Ravka is influenced by Imperial Russia, Fjerda appears to be influenced by the Norse, while Shu Han appears to have Asian influence. I suspect the Wandering Isle may be inspired by Ireland but I could be wrong. Regardless, as one would expect all these nations have diverse cultures and ways in which they deal with their Grisha, looking forward to learning more about each of them.

2. Grisha Magic

Another testament to Bardugo’s wonderful imagination is the lore, especially surrounding the Grisha and their magic. The idea that it is not necessarily “magic” but manipulation of natural elements and that there is a balance that must be maintained creates a unique spin on the concept.

3. Amplifiers

The amplifiers are a neat idea; the “rule” that a Grisha may only have one and that some Grisha are actual amplifiers makes things much more interesting. And then of course, there are Morozova’s amplifiers that are legendary beings, which are totally awesome and beautiful. I just wish they didn’t have to kill them, like why would you kill a legendary, mythical being, its just wrong!

4. Sturmhond

Sturmhond aka Nikolai Lantsov is a fantastic character and quite possibly my favorite. While handsome, he is incredibly intelligent, kind, cunning, and most importantly hilarious. Regardless of all the darkness, challenges, and heartache happening, Nikolai keeps his humor and positive outlook. He is the much needed comic relief!

5. Mal

The hero of our story, Mal is another beloved character of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy. He is steadfast, loyal, good looking and all around good guy. While it is heartbreaking to watch his self-destructive behavior, it really shows how much Alina means to him and how much he will put himself through to do the right thing.

6. Alina

While not the most fascinating female protagonist, there is an element of darkness in Alina that makes her alluring. Her desire for more power makes her more relatable and human and really adds to her character development.

7. Connection

The connection between Alina and the Darkling is very intriguing and makes sense. They are connected through their unique powers, their drive for more power, and wanting to “save” Ravka from itself. Just as Alina learns that there is some goodness in the Darkling, there is some darkness in herself. There is no light without darkness and vice versa. It’s all about balance.

8. Emotional

“Siege and Storm” was an emotional rollercoaster for me. Bardugo can seriously pull on some heartstrings. Being the romantic, the only thing I want is for Mal and Alina to have a happily ever after and I’m getting a sick feeling that I may not get what I want.

9. Ruin and Rising

Thankfully this is not the end for Alina and Mal, the Grishaverse continues in Book 3 of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, “Ruin and Rising”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.