Sabriel Read-a-long – Week Three

It is already the final week of the Sabriel read-a-long. I actually finished reading this week’s chapters early instead of waiting until the night before. lol. So, this post is going up much earlier than previous weeks. The read-a-long was hosted by Jordyn @ Birdie’s Book Nook. You can find out all about it on her blog! So, be sure to stop by her page and see her thoughts on this book (and many others), as well.

Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him.

With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen series, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn’t always clear—and sometimes disappears altogether.

NOTE: THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THIS WEEK’S DISCUSSION!! Here are my thoughts on this week’s questions:

1. Pick a character — were you satisfied with their journey in Sabriel?

I’ve really enjoyed Sabriel’s journey in this book. She started out super green with a single-minded mission of saving her father and ended up becoming a hero that helped save an entire kingdom despite all the odds being stacked against her. She had to learn how to translate her skills into action so that she could navigate the new, unfamiliar life she found herself inhabiting. I thought it was a compelling coming-of-age story. She still has plenty of room for continued growth as the series progresses since she’s barely scratched the surface of learning about the Old Kingdom and her role as Abhorsen, but she’s definitely grown into the role during the trials she faced in this story.

2. What did you think of the reveal for who Touchstone and what Mogget is?

I wasn’t really surprised by either reveal. I thought the context clues made Touchstone’s identity fairly obvious pretty early. It made sense for one of the main characters to be a royal with the importance of the royal blood in relation to the charter magic. So, I was fine with that reveal. I didn’t guess the specifics of Mogget’s reveal, but I got the general gist of him right. I thought the way his nature was used to defeat Kerrigor was particularly ingenious and liked it a lot.

3. Was Kerrigor scary enough for you, or do you wish he had been more menacing?

I thought he was scary enough. I just wish the story had spent a bit more time with him. The characters we followed were constantly running from him. So, we didn’t really get to see him being all that menacing until the very end. Even then, most of the gruesome stuff took place before he got to the main characters and wasn’t described in a ton of detail. I actually think we saw Mogget do more damage to the main characters when he blew up the wall than Kerrigor did in the final battle. As a side note, I’m really curious to see the personality that emerges from Kerrigor’s new form. So, I hope they keep him around in future books.

4. Where do you think the rest of the series is headed?

I’m sure the characters will probably return to the Old Kingdom and attempt to re-establish the monarchy or some other form of functioning government. Sabriel has her work cut out for her in rounding up all the dead/undead things wandering the kingdom, and Touchstone will have a big job of trying to rein in the anarchy. I’m sure the two of them will probably engage in some sort of romance, as well. That was probably my least favorite part of this book because it just felt a bit rushed and forced, but maybe I’ll like it a little better once their relationship gets fleshed out a bit in subsequent books.

Well. That’s it for this week’s questions! Have you read Sabriel? If so, what did you think of it?

Last, Now, Next Book Tag

Thank you to Jordyn for the tag! It has been a while since I’ve felt motivated enough to do a tag. This one is pretty short. So, I think I can handle it. lol.

Rules

  • Link back to the ORIGINAL CREATOR-@Shivakshiiifyblogs.
  • Show gratitude to the person who tagged you.
  • Mention these points in your post.
  • Tag as many bloggers as you want.
  • Have fun!

What was the last book you read?

Ruination by Anthony Reynolds

Did this book meet your expectations?

It did! I requested it mostly because of the cover and didn’t really know what to expect from the story. I’ve never played League of Legends. So, I was somewhat concerned I wouldn’t understand the book. It ended up being a great introduction to the lore and world.

Will you recommend this book to others?

Absolutely! If you enjoy epic fantasy with cool magic, political conspiracies, and world-breaking consequences, I definitely recommend this book.

What is your current read?

Notorious Sorcerer by Davinia Evans

Why did you pick this book?

This tag is going to make me sound super shallow, but I picked this one based on its cover too. The blurb also made it sound intriguing, and I think I saw somewhere that the main character is bisexual. Those three things combined made this one unmissable for me.

How much time do you think you’ll take to finish your current read?

Hmmm. I’m really not sure. I’m struggling to balance this book with my participation in the Sabriel readalong, the audiobook of Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare, and finishing up my BBNYA excerpts. I hoped to have it finished today, but that doesn’t really seem feasible at the moment. I’m going to try really hard to finish it by tomorrow so my review can be done by the publication date on Tuesday… All in all, it will probably be approximately 4 days or so to finish it from when I first started the book.

What genre would you like to read next?

I’m thinking about reading either romance or fantasy. I’ll actually probably pick a romance audiobook to listen to while reading a fantasy ebook. I typically have one audiobook and one ebook/physical book going at a time, and I prefer to listen to romance more than any other genre.

What would you like to pick: a long read or a short read?

Hopefully short. I’ve been reading a lot of chonkers lately, and I’ve struggled some with maintaining the attention necessary to do so. Knowing me, though, it’ll likely end up being a tome that I could use to murder somebody. That seems to be what I go for the most, especially when it comes to fantasy.

Mention some books you’re eyeing!

Tags

This has been a ton of fun to do! I’m going to invite the following people to join in (feel free to ignore if you don’t want to participate):

Sabriel Read-a-long – Week Two

I’ve managed to keep up with my reading for the read-a-long of Sabriel by Garth Nix! It has been a lot of fun so far, and this week’s chapters really took things up a notch with action, introduction of a mysterious new character, and exciting revelations about the past of the kingdom and characters. The read-a-long is being hosted by Jordyn @ Birdie’s Book Nook. You can find out all about it on her blog! So, be sure to stop by her page and see her thoughts on this book (and many others), as well.

Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him.

With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen series, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn’t always clear—and sometimes disappears altogether.

Here are my thoughts on this week’s discussion questions:

1. Would you fly in a paperwing, given the chance?

Nope. Not a chance. lol. It sounds way too rickety for me despite its magic, as evidenced by it crash landing not too long into their journey. So, I’m going to have to pass.

2. What are your thoughts on talking animal companions, as a whole?

I LOVE talking animal companions, or really animal companions of any sort. They are often super adorable and great company to the other characters in the story. Mogget from this story is one of my favorite types of animal companion, one that isn’t quite what he seems. I like the mystery of not knowing what he’s capable of or how he might act. I also love that he’s so snarky, and that is a quality that my favorite animal companions often have.

3. Pick a character and discuss what you suspect about their journey going forward.

I’m curious to see what will happen to Abhorsen, Sabriel’s father. She has spent the entire book searching for him and thinking that she needs to save him in order to succeed in saving the kingdom. My theory is that she will try to save him and fail. I think his loss will spur her to do what is necessary to become the hero through a mix of guilt for failing him and a desire for justice. I just don’t really see her story being that interesting moving forward if she manages to save him, but maybe I’m wrong. I’ll find out next week!

4. Who or what do you think Touchstone is?

The introduction of Touchstone was a bit weird. I found the in depth description of his body, right down to his circumcised penis, to be a bit of an odd way to meet the character. As for who or what he is, I’m not really sure. In this part of the text, he provided two opposing accounts of his identity, and I don’t think either one of them was the whole truth. He’s clearly connected to the royals in some way, and I wonder if maybe he is the last of the royal bloodline. I feel it would be fitting since Sabriel is the last Abhorsen, as well. I’m not sure, though, because he fell into servant mode really easily for a royal. So, maybe he really was their servant or guard, and I’m just being too skeptical of him…

Well. That’s it for this week’s questions! Have you read Sabriel? If so, what did you think of it? No spoilers please since I’m only on chapter 22. 🙂

ALC Audiobook Review – The Sunbearer Trials

Today I’m so excited to be reviewing one of my most anticipated releases of the year, The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas.

Welcome to The Sunbearer Trials, where teen semidioses compete in a series of challenges with the highest of stakes, in this electric new Mexican-inspired fantasy from Aiden Thomas, the New York Times bestselling author of Cemetery Boys.

“Only the most powerful and honorable semidioses get chosen. I’m just a Jade. I’m not a real hero.”

As each new decade begins, the Sun’s power must be replenished so that Sol can keep traveling along the sky and keep the evil Obsidian gods at bay. Ten semidioses between the ages of thirteen and eighteen are selected by Sol himself as the most worthy to compete in The Sunbearer Trials. The winner carries light and life to all the temples of Reino del Sol, but the loser has the greatest honor of all―they will be sacrificed to Sol, their body used to fuel the Sun Stones that will protect the people of Reino del Sol for the next ten years.

Teo, a 17-year-old Jade semidiós and the trans son of Quetzal, goddess of birds, has never worried about the Trials…or rather, he’s only worried for others. His best friend Niya―daughter of Tierra, the god of earth―is one of the strongest heroes of their generation and is much too likely to be chosen this year. He also can’t help but worry (reluctantly, and under protest) for Aurelio, a powerful Gold semidiós and Teo’s friend-turned-rival who is a shoo-in for the Trials. Teo wouldn’t mind taking Aurelio down a notch or two, but a one-in-ten chance of death is a bit too close for Teo’s taste.

But then, for the first time in over a century, Sol chooses a semidiós who isn’t a Gold. In fact, he chooses two: Xio, the 13-year-old child of Mala Suerte, god of bad luck, and…Teo. Now they must compete in five mysterious trials, against opponents who are both more powerful and better trained, for fame, glory, and their own survival.

***Thank you to Macmillan Audio for providing a copy of the audiobook via NetGalley. My review contains my honest thoughts about my listening experience.***

I’m a huge fan of this author, and this book was one of my most anticipated releases of this year. I was so excited to get the advanced listening copy at the last minute and started listening to it right away. I immediately fell in love with the narrator and the way he brought the characters to life. The story was a fun mix of contemporary elements and Mexican mythology with quite a bit of humor that kept me chuckling at all the antics. I enjoyed getting to know all of the different settings, powers, and creatures that the characters encountered throughout their journey.

The characters were an absolute treat to read with vibrant personalities and compelling arcs. I particularly loved Teo and Aurelio. They both had to deal with their inferiority complexes, and the vibes of their friend to rival to friend relationship were perfection. The trans rep in the book was great, as well, and it was incorporated seamlessly with the story while also providing moving insight into what it is like being a trans person.

The pace of the story plowed forward at breakneck speed as the characters progressed from one trial to the next. It managed to keep the action flowing without sacrificing character development, and each of the five trials amped up the stakes. Despite the ever-growing risks to the characters, I never really feared for any of them. Oddly enough, I found the tone of the book to be surprisingly upbeat despite all the hardships and constant threat of death. I’m not sure if it was the writing or the narrator that set the tone, but I never believed the characters were in any real danger. I didn’t mind it, though, because I loved the characters and thought the adventure was fun regardless.

I saw most aspects of the end coming a mile away, but there were a couple things that took me by surprise. Personally, I didn’t like the ending because the proposed solution to the problem of how the trials finished came too quickly and left me wondering why the sacrifices of the trials ever needed to happen in the first place. Overall, though, this audiobook was a fun and fascinating ride with great trans rep and compelling characters I couldn’t help but love, and I’ll definitely be back for the conclusion of the duology when it releases. Therefore, I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Monthly Wrap-Up: August 2022

Where did August go?! Seriously. The month flew by, but at least I can say I got a lot done. I had tons of doctor’s appointments this month. Those aren’t really ever fun, but at least I can now confirm I’m still free of any metastatic disease (AKA no signs of cancer recurrence)! I also got quite a bit done around the house, bought a new dryer that I love and makes laundry go so much faster, and helped my in-laws haul off my wife’s old clunker of a car that has been sitting in our garage for a year. So, I’d say that’s a pretty great month. With all the activity, I haven’t been in the mood to blog as much, but I’m going to try to do better in September. Without further ado, let’s jump to what I’m sure you all came here for – my reading progress!!

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Monthly TBR – September 2022

Hello, everyone! This is going to be another busy month. I’ve got lots of ARCs to read, including some I didn’t get to last month, and I’m participating in a read-a-long for the first time. I decided to skip participating in this month’s Mythothon round because I’m a bit burnt out on readathons after the two I did last month. I will (hopefully) be posting a wrap-up for them tomorrow, and I’m excited to say I did really well in both of them. I’m hoping to keep the momentum going through September because I have a lot of great stuff to read, and this TBR barely scratches the surface…

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