Mini Review Monday #6

It’s the return of ‘Mini Review Monday’, where today I’ll be fulfilling some of my promised reviews with three stunning books.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo:

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Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

My Thoughts:

Leigh Bardugo can do no wrong.

This is a masterclass in character work and world-building, seamlessly blending the Grisha trilogy and Six of Crows duology into an incredible book. She brings in subtle references to previous works, which I would recommend that you read before this, as there are major spoilers present.

The romance is subtle and slow-burning, making you root for the various couples and showing a more realistic view of relationships.

The plot is so well crafted, demanding a second reading to see the hints Bardugo has placed to build up to breath-taking reveals. Also, the character voices are engaging and developed, drawing you into this stunning world and story, while the dialogue is snappy and engaging.

Bardugo is a master at manipulating language and has a flawless writing style that is just gorgeous.

Overall, King of Scars is an incredible return to the Grishaverse that exceeds the hype.

Add King of Scars on Goodreads

Fierce Fragile Hearts by Sara Barnard:

Trigger Warning: Abuse, Depression, PTSD, mentions of suicide and suicidal thoughts

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Two years after a downward spiral took her as low as you can possibly go, Suzanne is starting again. Again. She’s back in Brighton, the only place she felt she belonged, back with her best friends Caddy and Rosie. But they’re about to leave for university. When your friends have been your light in the darkness, what happens when you’re the one left behind?

Fierce Fragile Hearts is the stunning sequel to international bestseller Beautiful Broken Things.

My Thoughts:

This is a beautiful and powerful story from a clear champion of UKYA that left me in an emotional wreck.

I’ve previously discussed how I rarely cry at books, but FFH succeeds in making me break that, not just once, but multiple times.

Suzanne has such a memorable and brilliant voice. She is allowed to be fragile and vulnerable, allowing room for growth and development. This fragility also lets Barnard have a frank and raw discussion of mental health and the rocky road of recovery. Safe to say, I utterly loved reading Suzanne’s story. That’s the beauty of Barnard’s writing, all of her charcaters are flawed and relatable.

All three of the friendship group have evolved from Beautiful Broken Things and their journey seems authentic and relatable, which adds another emotional layer to this incredible book.

This tackles some heavy issues, but with respect and clear consideration. It can be intense and dark, so please check the trigger warnings for this book before reading it.

A heart-breaking and utterly beautiful story that I will treasure for a long time.

Add Fierce Fragile Hearts on Goodreads

Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen McManus

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Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.

The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone’s declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.

Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.

My Thoughts:

I am a murder mystery/thriller fanatic, as I adore Agatha Christie and so many YA mysteries. The latest offering from Karen McManus lived up to my expectations, with a character-driven, twisty and atmospheric mystery that left me reeling.

Firstly, her writing style has developed so much from One of Us Is Lying, with more engaging character voices (though I did love OOUIL) and a slightly slower plot, allowing more character development and exploration of the setting.

Once the mystery kicks in though, the plot becomes utterly gripping and amazing, with so many twists and turns that build up to an explosive final reveal. It was so additive that I binge-read the entire book in one sitting.

A suspenseful, gripping mystery with a brilliant sting in the tale.

Add Two Can Keep A Secret on Goodreads

Have you read any of the books I’ve talked about today?

If so, what did you think of them?

14 thoughts on “Mini Review Monday #6

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