Valhalla is, at the very least, something different

Valhalla is, at the very least, something different

★★★★☆

(3.5 stars)

Valhalla is not for everyone. It’s action, for one, an overlong action film put onto the page. It’s a hyper violent romp through a complex future world with a murderous lesbian as the guide. Do I like it? The first book holds up well when reflecting on the rest of the series. What I ultimately have to conclude, however, is that it’s at least something very different. New.

It harkens back to the old days of action/sci-fi while still being a very modern book. And even though I say this, I can’t name any one thing I could compare it to.

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Welcome to Night Vale (novel) proves you can be too weird

Welcome to Night Vale (novel) proves you can be too weird

★★★☆☆

(3 stars)

Night vale is a podcast whose primary purpose is, as far as I can tell, being as weird as possible. There’s a certain quality to their writing, one that with a sort of “modern gothic” vibe- in the world of Night vale, the ordinary is strange, and anything can be bizarre. I’ve never listened to Nightvale’s podcast (the main characters voice, inexplicably, grates my ears), but for a while it swept the Internet, so I consider myself fairly informed as to the basics. In 2015, Night Vale put out a novel that shared the name of the podcast: Welcome to Night Vale. Auditory distress aside, I had enough interest to pick the book up.

In hardcover, nonetheless! It’s a lovely cover, a beautiful looking book, and doesn’t require prior knowledge of the podcast to read, though some characters from the radio show do appear. The plot is promising: A Man in a Tan Jacket is appearing throughout the small desert town of Night Vale, distributing papers which only say ‘King City’, and which you are unable to get rid of. Local pawnshop owner/eternally 19-year-old Jackie is determined to figure out who he is, while PTA member Diane has to deal with her shape shifting teenage son and the sudden, many reappearances of his father.

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Relic: The next big YA dystopia you’ve never heard of (because it flopped, hard)

Relic: The next big YA dystopia you’ve never heard of (because it flopped, hard)

☆☆☆☆☆

(0 stars)

The dystopia craze of the early 2010s brought forth an incredible wave of roughly the same plot line: an average white girl (often with brown hair, which she tends to tie back) finds she’s not so average after all, and then must contend with two love interests in a paper-thin world that just doesn’t understand her problems. Hunger Games was a good book series, but the vast majority that followed were not. Many felt like cash grabs towards the current hot genre.

Relic, by Heather Terrell, feels entirely constructed. Somehow I refuse to believe she put any soul into it, ever labored on the manuscript in dreams of one day publishing this dear pet project. To be frank, it is a disaster of a YA novel, so cliché it feels like clever satire. Described as Game of Thrones meets The Hunger Games, this book is neither of them.

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A Hero at the End of the World is tragically mediocre

A Hero at the End of the World is tragically mediocre

★★☆☆☆

(2 stars)

It’s not impossible to be seduced by artwork. This was my experience with A Hero at the End of the World by Erin Claiborne. The cover appealed to me immensely, as did the small little illustrations throughout. Unfortunately, these remain the only lasting good thing I received from the novel. Was it bad? Not really. There was a lot I would’ve liked done differently.

The idea is good. Ewan Mao is the chosen one in a contemporary magical London, except that when the time came to defeat the great evil as prophesied, his best friend did it instead. Years down the line he’s a barista and half forgotten, until a charming yet plainly evil customer promises a way to bring him back into the spotlight.

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The Raven Boys Boggles and Bores

The Raven Boys Boggles and Bores

★☆☆☆☆

(1 star)

I’m afraid I may be knifed for this opinion: I am confused by The Raven Boys’ success, and utterly bored by its content.

When something’s bad, there’s a sense of superiority to be gained, a few moments to laugh. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater was flat, slowly paced, and simply monotonous. This is a book I have heard so much about- Everyone appears dazzled by it.

Problem, though: There was nothing I could find to love in this slag of a novel. Everything felt like set up, like part one of a two part movie: perhaps it would all have come together in book two, or perhaps book four, but on its own merit it simply didn’t work.

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