Mini Reviews: Magical Competitions, Quest For Lost Hammers And Forgotten Cities

If any of you guys are wondering what’s going on with me because I’m posting a new review this soon after my last one. Well.

I’ve recently started to write my monthly wrap up posts as soon as I’ve read a couple of books to make sure I don’t have to talk about too many (and with how well my reading has been going lately, it would be a lot of books to talk about) at the end of the month. Doing this also allows me to realize that a wrap up might get too long which is usually when I decide to combine a few recent reads into a mini reviews post – which is what we’ll be doing today!

Apparently, I am still in whatever zone I was in last month as I’ve already read a total of 7 books – but don’t worry! I won’t be talking about all of them and instead focus on my last three reads – we don’t want this post to get too long, right? So, let’s jump into it. I’ve already rambled on too long.

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the night circusThe first book I want to talk about in today’s mini-reviews is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern! I’ve had this book on my mind for almost a year now because it was talked about so much around the release of Caraval as people kept comparing the two. Seeing how I had enjoyed Caraval when I read it I figured I should pick this book up at some point too see how and if they compare – which, let me tell you: they don’t, at all. Also: this book is much, much better!

I feel like the only way you could put these two books together is if you’re talking about a circus that appears places and then disappears again. That’s about how far the similarities go in my opinion.

The Night Circus tells the story of a wandering circus that appears in different cities around the world overnight and is home to a magical competition that spans decades and is wrapped up in so, so many mysteries. Honestly, you guys. My copy of the book is filled with tabs and notes because I kept trying to figure out what is going on – which I never really did until it was revealed to me for the most part. But I loved that! It was a true mystery beginning to end!

Throughout the book, you have these two to three-page ‘chapters’ where you as the reader are actually exploring the circus yourself and I loved them so much! It really and truly sucked you into the story and made sure you were unable to put the book down! This is also really evident to me in my own copy because starting at about the halfway point, there are barely any tabs anymore because I just couldn’t stop reading. I needed to know what happened next.

If you have read Caraval by Stephanie Garber and/or Daughter Of The Burning City by Amanda Foody and enjoyed them to some degree, I highly recommend you pick up The Night Circus too! It is my favorite out of the three by quite a bit with Daughter coming in second!

The Night Circus was a really, really easy 5-star read for me and a book I would recommend to pretty much anyone who likes a good mystery and fantastic storytelling!

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magnus chase and the gods of asgard 2Up next, we will be talking about Magnus Chase And The Gods Of Asgard – The Hammer Of Thor (god, that is a long title) which is the second book in the Magnus Chase trilogy! You guys might remember that I read the first book,ย The Sword Of Summer, last month and I just had to know how the story continues and what kind of adventure Magnus would have to go on next, so I decided to pick up the audiobook for The Hammer Of Thor this month!

And I have to say, the story isn’t really anything new if you’ve read the first book. It basically follows the exact same structure: Magnus is presented with something, Magnus and his group of friends do their best to fulfill their quest and something goes wrong that is going to set up the story for the next book. That’s basically the book summed up in just one sentence.

Don’t get me wrong though, you guys. Even though it is a pretty generic way of telling a story and very formulaic, I still enjoy this trilogy quite a lot and I am curious to read some of Rick’s other work to see if that’s just how he writes all his books or if it’s something that is specific to the Magnus Chase trilogy. I would love to hear your feedback on it though if you’ve read more of Rick’s books!

If it wasn’t for the characters, I probably wouldn’t enjoy this trilogy half as much as I do. And speaking of characters! We’re introduced to Alex Fiero in this book, who is genderfluid! And while I can’t speak to the accuracy in the betrayal of genderfluidity, I haven’t seen any negativity towards how it was done in this book so far which makes me feel like Rick made sure to do it with respect and accuracy when he decided to include Alex in his cast of characters. Especially since Rick has edited the first book after he was made aware of the fact that him using a spiritual animal was offensive to make sure the comment wouldn’t appear in any further printings.

In the end, this was a 4-star book for me and I would definitely recommend it to you guys if you like adventure filled stories and Norse mythology! As a Marvel fan, it’s also quite funny to experience Magnus interact with these people he has seen in the movies (because they are definitely part of Magnus’ universe too!) and ‘knows’ to some extent.

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strange the dreamerThe last book we’re going to talk about in today’s not-so-mini-reviews is Laini Taylor’s Strange The Dreamer! I had pretty much been eying this book ever since it came out in March of this year and I can’t believe it took me this long to finally get to it, especially since I had a copy sitting on my shelves since July. Yep. It took me another four months to finally read it after I had gotten it.

I feel like part of it was probably all the hype this book got upon release. You couldn’t escape it. No matter how hard you tried. And as always, with hype comes the possibility that you aren’t going to love a book as much as everyone else. And that’s pretty much what happened to me and I’m kind of sad about it.

While there were aspects of the story that really pulled me in and made me want to continue reading (mainly the mystery of Weep) I didn’t really feel any kind of connection to the characters? I didn’t really care if anything happened to them or not. I didn’t care what their story was going to be. And that sucks. I want characters I care about. I want to feel something when I read about what happens to them. But there was none of that for me.

The part I loved most about this book was Laini Taylor’s writing. It is beautiful. So, so beautiful. If you could steal someone’s writing talent? Laini’s would definitely be one I would want to have. Her’s and Leigh Bardugo’s. I could write all the awesome books out there and rip out readers’ hearts the way Leigh does but do it in a way that is really beautiful and poetic like both Laini and Leigh do.

And even though this didn’t end up being a ‘Wow! Oh my god!’ kind of book, I am still really curious to see how Laini is going to wrap the story up in The Muse Of Nightmares as she did set that book up rather nicely! There is still quite a bit of conflict that needs to be resolved between various characters and there’s obviously still the big problem left to deal with, so it’s definitely going to be interesting!

In the end, this was a 3 or maybe 3.5-star book for me. But I feel like if you’re a fan of Laini’s previous works you will probably enjoy this much more than me! I don’t want to discourage anyone from picking this book up just because it didn’t get me as much as I had hoped it would. It might still be exactly what you are looking for!

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How about you guys? Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think? Did you enjoy them? Or were you as disappointed with them as I ended up being with Strange The Dreamer?

What are you guys’ thoughts on the rather generic storytelling that seems to be happening in the Magnus Chase books? Do you still enjoy reading them because you know what to expect? Or are you turn off from books like that? Let me know in the comments below!

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3 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Magical Competitions, Quest For Lost Hammers And Forgotten Cities

  1. Lovely reviews! I’m really glad to hear you enjoyed The Night Circus so much. I have read Caraval but haven’t read this one, yet I keep hearing SO many praise about it. I need to get to it soon, it sounds like such an unique read ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m sorry you didn’t love Strange The Dreamer as much as anyone else – hype has this way of making people’s expectations really, really high, ahah ๐Ÿ™‚ I haven’t read anything by the author so far, but I’m really looking forward to, someday. I’m curious to read her beautiful writing ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great reviews! I really enjoyed The Night Circus too, although it’s been almost three years since I read it. I might want to give it a reread ๐Ÿ™‚ I haven’t read Caraval though, but I’m always afraid I’ll compare it and dislike one or the other because of it.

    Liked by 1 person

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