Mini Reviews: Recent Fantasy Reads

I “recently” read 3 YA fantasies! Here’s what I thought of them.

Capturing the Devil (Stalking Jack the Ripper #4) by Kerri Maniscalco

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I have pretty polarizing feelings about this conclusion. The first half of this book, in my opinion, was utterly pointless. Like why did it take well over 200 pages to even get to what is in the synopsis? I was bored outta my mind and was ready to give this book 2 stars.

But once the actual plot got going, this book was just as wonderful as the rest of the series. I absolutely loved the setting and mystery elements. And that final showdown had me on the edge of my seat!

The second half of this definitely saved the book for me. It was a satisfying conclusion and the epilogue was sweet. I just wish those first 200 pages had been left out….

Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1) by Kerri Maniscalco

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I received and ARC copy of this from Jimmy Paterson via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

This book left me feeling a lot of conflicting emotions….

The Good

1. The world and overall plot had me completely hooked! I’m obsessed with this premise and found the world to be really intriguing. I think this books strongest aspect was the plot and premise, it’s extremely unique and lends itself to so much intrigue and drama. 

2. Wrath can drag me to hell any day (no shame)

The Not So Good

3. But I found Emilia to be quite obnoxious… She makes terrible decision after terrible decision to the point where it got repetitive and I wanted to shake her. I get that she’s in a difficult and emotional situation but everyone kept trying to reason with her and explain why her actions were irrational and she would purposefully go against them. 

4. I feel like the grandmother was meant to be a wise, likeable character, but she was the literal worst. I was so frustrated with her from start to finish. 

5. The magic system, while interesting, didn’t seem to have any clear boundaries or rules. Sometimes it seems like characters could just wish for things and they’d happen while other times there needed to be elaborate castings. I’m hoping the magic is further explored and explained in future books. 

6. And pigging backing off of that, sometimes things were a little too convenient. With this loose magic system, things would work out a little easy because they could be magic’d away. I personally just don’t like learning about magic as it becomes relevant to the characters predicaments. It makes the magic feel like an easy solution rather than a fleshed out element.

7. Also I hated the random French words thrown in to remind the reader than this is set in France. If this were set in historical France, everything they’re saying would be in French. So there is no reason to randomly through in French words or phrases… I personally think it’s just a cheap way of creating a setting or atmosphere. 

Overall this was a solid but slightly underwhelming series introduction. But the premise and ending definitely have me intrigued for upcoming books! And I’m hoping some of my criticisms are fleshed out in upcoming books. Definitely plan to check out book 2 in this series.

Magic Dark and Strange by Kelly Powell

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I received and ARC copy of this from Margaret K. McElderry Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

This was a really atmospheric historical mystery series with fun magical elements! It was a super quick and easy read that I absolutely flew through. It’s just not a story I see sticking with me long after putting it down. 

This had a really fun magical twist on a classic feeling historical mystery. I love mysteries set during the Victorian era and this definitely fit that bill. The characters were likable but they didn’t feel particularly robust or developed. 

Overall I had a really good time reading this and think it’s a perfect quick read for fall or the spooky season. It’s definitely something a wide range of readers will enjoy! It’s just not something I will come back to again and again.


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