literaryweaponry's reviews
238 reviews

Muse of Nightmares, by Laini Taylor

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(Review taken from Literary Weaponry)



When I read Strange the Dreamer in December of 2017, I fell head over heels in love. It was one of the most magnificent books I have ever read. Of course, I have since spent the last year yearning to get my hands on Muse of Nightmares which was easily my most anticipated read of 2018. Early reviews of Muse were absolutely glowing and I already had a torch burning for it in a pocket of my heart. I was ready for it. So, when release day came and I got the lovely notification that my Audible download had completed, I immediately slipped on my earphones, ready to once more be lost in this magical world with Lazlo Strange.

But expectations are not always reality.

I am going to start with what I disliked about this book so that I can end this review on a high note of positives. Unfortunately, and nearly heartbreakingly, I did have several issues.

First of note is something of a personal preference that most likely would not bother most readers and that is the romantic plot between Lazlo and Sarai. Even my black, tangled heart enjoys a good love story from time to time but this one seemed to eat up the majority of the story. Was there something interesting going on, something that made me want to gobble up the story? Oops, better make Lazlo give Sarai a marshmallowy look or touch. Was focus on another set of characters, or on Lazlo exploring his newly found powers? Yes? Alright, well then better make sure to mention he loves Sarai again, just in case any readers forgot. Their love story quickly began to over shadow everything else going on and it was frustrating. We have Lazlo, the young man we all grew attached to in Strange the Dreamer for his uniqueness and unquenchable thirst for knowledge, and he has turned into a mostly useless puddle of hearts and rainbows any time his dead girlfriend’s ghost was mentioned. It became very annoying, very fast.

Another point that took away from the story more than added to it was more or less ANYTHING going on on the ground instead of in the citadel. I, for one, was very interested in seeing what what going on in Weep during what was going to obviously be a time of upheaval and panic. Instead, any sections in Weep felt like mere filler instead of anything consequential to the story. Legitimately, any scenes in Weep could have been left out until the final section of the book and it would not have changed or affected the plot what so ever.

This was incredibly frustrating because there were hints at what could have been a great sub plot with Thyon Nero. He gets some much needed character growth and a bit of a redemption plot but none of it tied into the main story. In the first book, he and his experiments occupied a large chunk of time and he felt vital to the overall direction of the story. In Muse, he was little more than an afterthought. It was more of, “Oh, this character was in the story before, I had better find away to work him into the background in this book,” more than he was anything else. Thyon and the relationships he was building and the growth he was experiencing should have been so much more vital than a damn afterthought.

That is enough with me complaining, lets get to some positives, shall we?

Holy ever loving crap, Minya gets the story she so deserved. That girl is miraculous and so, so very damaged. I apologize for every time I ever said a bad word about her because once Muse digs into her backstory, your heart will break for that little blue girl and suddenly all of her anger, hate, and need for vengeance will make complete sense. Despite that continuously blathering romantic story in this book, Minya is the true star. She saved all she could. Pardon me while I go cry as I think about that repeated line again.

Taylor’s writing itself is some of the most magical work I have ever read. I’m not meaning the plot, the story, or the setting. No, the writing. How the sentences flow together seamlessly, how the world comes to life with only a few words, and how the characters jump off the page to join you, fully fleshed out. Taylor doesn’t just write a book, write a plot line, she creates and nurtures the entire world until it is flourishing. There are no jarring topic jumps and unwieldy sentence structures. Instead it all flows together to be easily read and imagined without being overly weighty. That truly is magical.

I could keep on going for several more paragraphs with various positives and negatives but I think you get my drift. The book was beautifully written and delightfully intricate. At the same time, there are some sub plots that feel like filler and some characters that should have had more time in the limelight. Overall, it was still a good book but fell well short of expectations for me.

As a side note, I would also like to point out that the narrator for the audiobook, Steve West, did a stupendous job. He is a wonderful narrator and one of my favorites. His style and voice bring fantastical worlds to life while I am stuck doing mundane things like dishes, laundry, or running errands. If you enjoy audiobooks I highly recommend looking up ones that he has narrated.

Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard

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(Review taken from Literary Weaponry)

~*~I am going to tell you all right now that I am not going to withhold spoilers in this review. It is also garbage so run while you can. You have been warned.~*~

I have fallen in love with this utter piece of magnificent trash fire. It is everything I theoretically say I hate in a book but I just loved it. I can’t help it. I just followed my heart. And, let me tell you, my heart was just as wandering as Mare’s.

SPEAKING OF MARE. Oh, my precious flower, I both adore you and want to beat you to a bloody pulp. How DARE you have such a wandering a fickle heart when we both know that Cal is the shit? You knew better! Maven had ALL OF THE BAD VIBES. All of them. And you just walked into that when it was obvious he was using you? I know, I know. She is supposed to be a teenaged girl. Mistakes are made, but DAMN!

Oh, yeah, there was a plot outside of that wacky love triangle/rhombus mojo that was going on. And, you know, it was one I could get on board with. Overthrow the monarchy, stop the war, save the world. Yup, lets do that. Oh, and most of the major players have really awesome magical powers? Sold! Our dear, sweet, simple little Mare could control lightening. You know, if I could control lightening I would not have been nearly as restrained as she was. I would have been lighting up everything. Someone irritate me? Lightening to the bum. Someone take the last slice of cheesecake? Lightening to the skull. Someone give me that no good side eye? Yup, you guessed it. Light. Them. Up.

Probably a good thing I can’t control lightening.

Lets face it, the middle of this book was a little tough to get through, as much as I loved this ridiculous romantic rhombus. It crept along at a snails pace when all I was waiting for was for Mare to come to her senses and start using her cracklecracklepow powers for good. Instead, we suffered through chapter after chapter of some girl on girl hate and the essential, if predictable, wizened old mentor.

Now, I’m all in for murder stabby stabs in books. In fact, I love it. But don’t hurt kids. Come on. It is not that hard. Kids and animals are off limits. Yeah, yeah, the deaths served a purpose in plot progression but man did they upset me. I was not there for that. Actually closed the book and walked away for a while.

All in all, I loved this book even if the middle did get a little draggy. I’m rooting for Cal as I open Glass Sword and hope that Mare grows as a character and learns from her past mistakes.

In the meantime, I leave you with this trashfire review as I am already reaching for the next book so that I can once more get devoured by all of this utter nonsense. The thing is, I can acknowledge it is nonsense and still love it. I’m good with that. Cliches are cliches because they work and they sure dug their nails into me good and proper with this book.
The Crown of Gilded Bones, by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


“You will bow before your Queen.” Casteel eyed the Atlantian coolly. “Or you will bleed before her. It is your choice.”

Minor spoilers 

Prior to the release of The Crown of Gilded Bones I made it no secret that it was my most anticipated book of 2021. The first two books in the series, From Blood and Ashand A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire, were my favorite reads of 2020 and as of this writing (April 2021) I have now read them both four times. Yes, I love them that much. So, it was logical to assume that I would continue with that feeling, or at least come close to it, in The Crown of Gilded Bones. 

Instead I found myself annoyed with this story more often then not. 

First off, let’s start with something I did enjoy. Poppy has had quite the journey in her life and much of it has been full of hardships and sacrifices. With her newfound freedom, which was annoyingly provided to her by a man, she has become a strong willed and intelligent woman. Discovering that she has amazing powers and learning how to wield them, help them grow is absolutely the best part of this book. Watching Poppy become more confident in herself even as she learns some hard truths is fantastic and I feel like Armentrout is doing a wonderful job with Poppy’s character. 

Everyone else on the other hand? Well, that is another story. 

Casteel/Hawke was a brilliant character in both Blood and Ash and Flesh and Fire. As a physically skilled warrior willing to go to great lengths to help his kingdom and those he loves it was impossible not to adore him. Add in his tortured soul back story and I was sunk. However, and there is always a however, it seemed as if all of the hard edges that made him an interesting character had flown the coup in Crown of Gilded Bones. He talks a big game but does little more than be a big softy which made him disgustingly dull. Where was the warrior we had come to know? I’m hoping he shows back up in the fourth book because this version of Casteel left much to be desired. 

While we are at it, we can’t forget Kieran. Kieran, the sharp tongued Wolven and bonded to Casteel, seemed to have dropped his personality entirely somewhere along the way. Gone were the snarky comments and robust attitude that drew readers to him. What we were left with was a sack of docile flesh and bones that just simply trotted around obeying anything Poppy had to say and being a good boy. His personality downfall probably hurt the most. 

Overall, I just wasn’t impressed with this book. I found the plot points too jumpy, the characters washed out, and even the sex scenes had become ho-hum. Will I read the next book in the series? Yes, absolutely. I enjoyed the first two books in the series too much to not give it another go but I do hope the male characters find a little of the feisty, fiery attitudes they had before.

A Study in Charlotte, by Brittany Cavallaro

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This review and others can be found at Literary Weaponry

The other night I was watching the newest episode of Sherlock. You know, the one that was released in 2017. Yup, I’m behind. I kept waiting to watch it knowing that it would be along time until the next one but I finally gave in. While it was an excellent episode, it left me hungering for more Sherlockian fun. So, I thought, why not see if I could find a Sherlock/Holmes retelling? Lo and behold, Meltotheany had recommended A Study in Charlotte so I decided to give it a try.

I admit, I don’t usually read books set in a modern setting. I’m much more of a SFF or historical fiction kind of reader. But, I figured I would pick it up from the library and see how it was.

I’m glad I did.

There were certainly no characters in this story I’d say I would truly root for, but that is part of the fun. Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson are at a prep school in Connecticut which was a little odd to wrap my head around. The New England coastline is certainly not where I expected to find an iconic dynamic duo.

The story, as expected, is told from Watson’s perspective which was a nice hold over from the originals. Watson is the more relatable character, the one more mirroring the common person unlike Holmes who, no matter their iteration, is extraordinary. Watson wasn’t particular fascinating but his character served the traditional purpose. Without Watson, Holmes would diminished.

You know what? I’m not really sure what to say. I enjoyed this book, it was a fun little romp that filled my need for a Holmes/Watson retelling. There were great details, a good story buildup, and even though I guessed the big baddy I could easily have seen it being four or five other people. It tackled themes like drug addiction and rape which, for a YA novel, seems to be very rare so it was nice that those things were addressed in a more appropriate manner.

Overall, this was a good book and a fast, simple read. In fact, I enjoyed it enough I may see if the library has the next book of the series. /endofbadlywrittenreview
This Savage Song, by Victoria Schwab

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(Review taken from

Let me just start off by saying that I love Schwab. Her Darker Shade of Magic books are some of the most amazing things I have ever had the privilege of reading. So, you can imagine, that when I decided to pick up This Savage Song as an audio book that I was expecting the same pull that I had found from her before. In this case, I didn’t. I wanted to point out that while the story didn’t exactly tick my boxes, it was still very easy to recognize it as a good story.

We had a strong female lead, a diverse and vast cast of characters that were well developed, and a story that flowed easily from one point to the next. For me it just lacked something. There wasn’t that zing I was hoping for, you know? So, while it was a good book by all of the tick box points, it wasn’t as engaging as I had hoped and it won’t be making my re-read list.

“It was a cruel trick of the universe, thought August, that he only felt human after doing something monstrous.”
Legendborn, by Tracy Deonn

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Did not finish book. Stopped at 10%.
Do not enjoy stories with a contemporary setting. 
The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E. Harrow

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  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


“May she wander but always return home, may all her words be written true, may every door lie open before her.”

I find it especially difficult to find the words to review a book I only felt “meh” about. When you love a book it is easy to gush over the parts of it that brought you joy. When you particularly dislike something you read it is simple to put to words the why’s and reasons you didn’t like it. But when you find something neither particularly good or particularly bad what is there to say?

I will say that for large chunks of this book I was frightfully bored.

January is an interesting enough character. As a small child she is willful and bold, constantly getting herself into trouble that her wealthy benefactor gets herself out of. Then comes the emotional child abuse where he tells her she must behave only as he sees fit or so help him…well, you get the picture. The book gives you a very clear glimpse early on as to this man’s character and it is severely wanting.

Honestly, for the most part of this book you are just watching January grow up and cater to the whims of this man who employs her father. There are bits about her strained relationship with said father but for the most part he is a non-entity. What kind of decent father abandons their child with an eccentric old man in a mansion?

You know, the more I type the more I want to change something. I had initially given this book a 3 star. I am currently changing it to a 2 because I’m having trouble finding anything positive to say about this book. The only positive coming to mind is that it is atmospheric. The settings are clear and easy to picture and they always seem to have a bit of mystery and strangeness to them.

There, I said something nice. Aren’t we proud?

Look, this story was just boring. It dragged on and on and on for chapters that felt completely unnecessary. There is a whole bit that takes place in a mental institute that just made me want to bang my head on the wall. The plot is slow moving, the characters are all relatively cookie cutter and dull, and the over arching story objective is based on family and, I’m sure you didn’t know this about me but now you do, I hate stories that revolve wholly around family ties and found family. I find them exceedingly dull.

Was the general concept of this book good? Sure, absolutely. But then it drug on for 100 pages more than it needed. If this had been a novella I think I could have been on board but as is I can’t be bothered to care for it. Do you like slow moving, atmospheric, pseudo fantasy that centers around family? Then you might like The Ten Thousand Doors of January but I won’t be returning to this story at any point.