December 28, 2020

Abbreviations #115: Skyhunter, Cold Snap + The Bone Shard Daughter

is a series starter is set in the nation of Mara, the last independent nation whose freedom is as fiercely guarded as the borders patrolled by the elite military force known as the Strikers. Our heroine is Talin, a young female Striker who does not speak and communicates primarily in sign language. After her losing her partner to an enemy attack, she finds herself unwillingly paired up with a young man from the enemy nation who surrendered. As they slowly learn to work together, the pair discovers that there might just be a bigger conspiracy afoot amidst the brewing war between their nations. Having read most of Marie Lu’s work now, Skyhunter is 100% her style and will feel familiar to her fans (especially if you’ve read the Legend series). Lu has a gift for writing well-paced tales that have a solid serving of fun, intense action-packed scenes, and this one is no exception! While the plot does take a few familiar turns, it still felt incredibly engaging. Her character work was solid, as was the world (which was complicated, imperfect and downright terrifying at times). I also appreciated the themes woven into the story, which included an examination of individual power versus societal power, as well as justifications for actions on both an individual and societal level. I had a great time reading Skyhunter, and I’m very much looking forward to how it all wraps up in the sequel! (Additional Note: I actually listened to this one via audiobook, thanks to the folks at The audiobook is narrated by Natalie Naudus, who did an incredible job conveying the narrative and the character voices.)

Skyhunter (Skyhunter #1) was published on September 29, 2020.

Cold Snap
is the first in the sci-fi novella series Yuki Shirogane and the Winter Diamond Chronicles and, in the interest of full disclosure, it was written by my husband Macky (who you might have spotted on this blog every so often). The novella centers around Yuki, an extremely talented individual who has the special ability to interface with her family of seven bots. She and her team are part of the rebellion, and they are given the task to rescue two princesses from a particular space station. If you’ve been following my book reviews for a while, you’ll notice that I’m not a big sci-fi reader. When I do pick up a sci-fi story, it tends to fall in the realm of lighter sci-fi. And when it’s a space sci-fi story, it tends to fall in the realm of stories with space shenanigans. Cold Snap falls perfectly into this category! I really enjoyed following Yuki and her team as they go on assignment; the plot for this tale was well-paced, fun and very entertaining. However, the ensemble cast was very much the highlight of this novel for me as a character-driven reader. There are so many different personalities we get to meet on the page, and I had a blast with that aspect in particular! I definitely think many readers would get a kick out of this tale, and enjoy these characters as much as I do, so definitely add it to your TBR.

Cold Snap (Yuki Shirogane and the Winter Diamond Chronicles #1) was published on July 18, 2020.

While it certainly seems like a well-received debut adult fantasy for 2020 (even earning two nominations for the Goodreads Choice Awards), it feels like I haven’t seen too many people talk about The Bone Shard Daughter. It’s a mighty shame considering that this is definitely a really well-written fantasy series starter! The series is set in the Phoenix Empire, ruled over by the Sukai Dynasty who possesses the sole mastery of the bone shard magic that powers the constructs that maintain law, order and economy. But the emperor’s rule is beginning to fail, a rebellion is brewing and four individuals – the Emperor’s daughter with lost memories who is determined to reclaim her birthright as heir, a young man in search of his missing wife who ends up becoming a reluctant hero, a woman on a remote island who is slowly regaining her memories, and a governor’s daughter who might just begin challenging the status quo – could change the ways of their world with their choices. I was really impressed with this novel! I appreciated the island setting and the details that evoke Asian dynasties of the past, especially when combined with the haunting magical details that make this a unique fantasy world. I enjoyed getting to know all the characters; while I favored two of the four narrators, I did find them all to be necessary additions to the novel. I also enjoyed the way that political power, individual agency and personal identity were woven in thematically, as all our characters explore these notions from different perspectives while they make sense of the world around them and their personal circumstances. And, despite the difficult and traumatic parts of this story, I just enjoyed being along for the ride with all its highs and lows and in-betweens. It did take me a couple of chapters to feel grounded in this tale, but it definitely ended up reeling me in and holding me captive until I hit the end. The Bone Shard Daughter was a beautifully crafted tale, and I’m very much looking forward to discovering what happens next!

The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire #1) was published on September 8, 2020.


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