Review – Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

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Nevernight (Book 1 in Nevernight Chronicle)
Jay Kristoff
Publish date: August 9th


The first in a new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

My Review


Goodness, where to even begin with this book? I guess I’ll start by saying…


Wow, this book was amazing. Really, really amazing. As a fan of Kristoff’s other work, Illuminae, I was fairly sure I’d like Nevernight. But since Illuminae was co-authored with a female author (Amie Kaufman), and since I rarely read books written by men (other than Jim Butcher), I did still have my doubts. But Jay Kristoff has once again proven himself to be a master at storytelling and world building. He is undoubtedly a fantasy and sci-fi powerhouse, and this rising author is one to keep our eyes on. On an unrelated note, he’s also quite pretty, so that isn’t exactly a burden, now is it?

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Now, this book is marketed as “young adult,” but other than the fact that many characters are young adults, I truly did not get much of a “young adult” feel from this story. It is dark. Seriously, seriously dark.  I’m talking, brutal, violent, and very explicit language and sexual content. Very, very explicit. And I finished this book in one sitting because it.was.amazing!

The first couple chapters are strange, so it takes a couple minutes to get into the story. The introduction is really cool though, I don’t know how to explain it, but its really cool. This is definitely not a light and easy read. The story telling is very complex, with multiple flashbacks (which are not labeled, so you have to stay on your feet to keep track of when in the story you are). It all connects to creating this really rich, really well developed and complex world and plot. I do have to say that it took a bit for me to get hooked, because the world is so complicated and detailed, but once I did, I could not put it down. The main character is determined to become an assassin so as to reap revenge on those who wronged her and her family, but first she has to find the den of the Assassins. And that is a challenge in and of itself. Once she finds it, she starts training. At that point its sort of like Hogwarts or Dauntless, except way more brutal and violent. Throw in friends, enemies, frenemies, mysterious instructors, dangerous challenges, and 30 people fighting for just 4 coveted “assassin spots,” and you are in for a wild, dark, and dangerous ride.

Fans of Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass, Veronica Roth’s Divergent, and Tamora Pierce’s work are going to go crazy for this new series by Jay Kristoff. Anyone who has enjoyed Kristoff’s other works are sure to love this as well. And fans of dark fantasy with incredibly vivid world building will snap this right up. Plus, its about a kick-butt female assassin in training. So who isn’t going to like it?

Run, don’t walk, to pick up your copy of Nevernight on August 9th. You seriously have got to read this book.

(ARC Review) Awakening by Catrina Burgess

The Awakening

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Release date: Oct. 7, 2015  – Book 1 of the Dark Rituals World
Author: Catrina Burgess
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Themes: Revenge, Magic, Romance
Rating: Starts out as 3 stars, ends at 4 stars
Why’d I read it?: I was attracted at first to the cover!

Notes: Please note that this series was apparently originally posted on Wattpad and was very popular there.

** I received a free egalley of this book from netgalley in return for an honest review!**

After a terrible loss, Colina sets out to find the Death Dealers, determined to have them teach her their dark magics so that she might get revenge on those who wronged her and her family. She finds Luke and Darla, a brother and sister who are Death Dealers. Luke is reluctant to teach Colina, but when trouble comes to his and Darla’s doorstep he reluctantly agrees so that Colina can help him recover something that is taken from him. As they struggle to finish the necessary rituals, and enemies dog their every step, Colina and Luke also find themselves facing a growing passion. Colina will find that she has more to lose than she thought, and that revenge doesn’t come without consequences.

My Thoughts:

I would rate this as a 3.5 for the majority of the book, with the ending having perhaps 4 stars because I did not see that coming. This book reminded me a little bit of Marie Lu’s The Elites books in that the main character is a young girl forced to learn dangerous powers or magics and who is motivated by a burning need for revenge.

I found the beginning of this book to be much weaker than the end, and found myself enjoying it more as it progressed. The only thing I really disliked was the “instanta-like” the heroine felt for Luke, mostly because it felt inappropriate that she would be thinking such things so quickly because she truly should have had other things on her mind. I also felt that the characters were not as well developed as I like to see, however since this is the introductory book of a planned series (the second one comes out Oct. 14, 2015) I am willing to concede that the character development may be planned to be spread out over several books. The main character is not unlikeable, but I never really felt I connected with her. I also prefer when a book hows more than one perspective, but in this book we only get Colina’s perspective. I always feel this limits the scope of the worldbuilding and limits my ability to connect, but that is merely a personal feeling! The quest they were on was original, and the world seems to be a good urban fantasy type where magic users live among non-magic users. We didn’t get to see a lot of the politics involved in this segregated society yet, so I’m hoping to see more of that in book two. When the book started I was not feeling it, but by the end I was committed and I will be giving the second book in the series a try, especially since it comes out in just a couple of weeks!

There is action, suspense, and romance. I like romance in my books but I did feel Colina was a bit too focused on the romantic angst, considering her situation and how the two didn’t know each other very well. Despite the “insta-like” that started their relationship, however, they did face several obstacles throughout that kept it interesting, and the ending included a major obstacle I am interested in seeing how it is resolved.

Major cliffhanger ending warning!

Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it? 

The next book is called Possession and comes out Oct. 14, 2015

You might like Marie Lu’s The Young Elites

Goodreads has other recommendations for you!


About the Author:

Find out more about Catrina Burgess on:

(ARC Review) Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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Kaufman, Amie, and Jay Kristoff. Illuminae. , 2015. Print. ISBN-13: 978-0553499117.
Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $10.44. Kindle $9.92.

A dossier of classified documents is compiled after an Intergalactic disaster occurs, where one small and distant planet is attacked. The story of the attack, the survivors, an evolving artificial intelligence “being,” and especially young adults Kady and Ezra is told through this compilation of instant messages, emails, online journals, interview and surveillance transcripts, memos, medical and military logs, and so much more.

When Kady broke up with Ezra this morning, they thought the day couldn’t get any worse. But that was before their planet was viciously invaded and attacked by BeiTech Industries. Kady and Ezra are rescued, but by separate ships, with Kady on the science vessel Hypatia, and Ezra on the United Terran Authority’s battlecarrier Alexander. The Alexander escorts Hypatia and freighter Copernicus towards safety, and as their “jump” capabilities are not working, this journey takes months while the invading company’s Lincoln pursues them. Meanwhile the ships’ AI is malfunctioning in interesting but terrifying ways. As Ezra and many other civilians are conscripted into the Alexander’s military ranks, Kady escapes conscription by purposely failing the aptitude tests, hiding her ace hacking skills. As Ezra trains to learn to become a fighter pilot, Kady focuses on hacking through the ships’ information in pursuit of the truth of the situation, which the captains are keeping secret. As she discovers more and more alarming and shocking information, and as a a mutating virus sweeps through the ships, Kady and Ezra need to overcome their differences, and their distance from one another (emotional and physical) to work together to solve the problems plaguing the ships, all before the Lincoln catches up with them.

My Thoughts:

First let me just say “WOW!” That is the first reaction I had to this book, about 2 pages into it. This sentiment continued to bounce around my head throughout the entire reading of this behemoth, creatively told story. Also let me say for the record that I do NOT recommend reading this in e-book format, as its visual story-telling medium is not best suited for digital reading. I will be purchasing the hardcover version so I can re-read it and experience it the way its meant to be experienced.

So, now that I’ve expressed the WOW-ness of this book, let me get more specific. This is not an easy, light, “just to help me fall asleep” kind of book. Rather it is more like a devastating, cataclysmic, life-altering, “call into work sick tomorrow because you stayed up all night reading” kind of book. My favorite kind.

The Point of View: The story is told from an interesting and unconventional (i.e. AMAZING) point of view. Rather than the traditional 1st, or 3rd person point of view, we experience this story as if someone plopped a large brown folder full of confidential documents on your desk. We are essentially reading a report on the initial attack, and the events that followed, through a set of compiled documents including: instant messages, emails, online journals, interview and surveillance transcripts, memos, medical and military logs, photographs, and so much more. This is a completely unique method of story telling which I have never experienced before. Authors Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff have just torn open a whole new vista of opportunity for sci-fi/speculative fiction story-telling. They have turned this genre on its head.

The Characters: The story has a huge cast of characters who we are introduced to through their personal and professional correspondences, but focuses mostly on three main characters. Kady is a young woman who excels at hacking, sarcasm, and is not in touch with her romantic side. Ezra is a sweet, funny, sentimental romantic. And the third character is AIDEN, an evolving artificial intelligence “being.” AIDEN reads quite a bit like Spock, which is very enjoyable to me. The incredible thing about this book is that even with such a huge cast of characters, Kaufman and Kristoff manage to give each one a distinct personality and voice, most impressively of which is AIDEN. Additionally they shy away from traditional gender roles, which means some female characters are often tough as nails leaders, and some male characters can be more intuitive or sensitive. This is something I’ve noticed in Kaufman’s other series with co-author Meagan Spooner (These Broken Stars) and which is an excellent addition to the sci-fi genre. So don’t expect all of the captains to be big, domineering men!

Illuminae is science fiction (or speculative fiction) at its very best. There is plenty of technology drama, intrigue, mystery, suspense, action, plot twists, and even romance (impressive given the main characters are not physically on the same ship). It has computer hacking and biological warfare. It has goose-bump inducing creepiness, gasp-out-loud twists, “edge of your seat” suspense and quite a lot of humor. This is by far the most artistically and unconventionally written story I’ve personally ever read, and I couldn’t have loved it more. This is a great choice for anyone who is a fan of science fiction and space opera, as well as those who simply enjoy a spectacular story. Though marketed as Young Adult, this novel easily crosses the genre and will be enjoyed by those of all genders and ages. Don’t miss this one, because it’s almost certainly going to be “the next big thing.”

Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it? 

Unfortunately this book is so unlike anything else I’ve ever read that I don’t currently have recommendations for you. If you have any, I’d love to hear them!


  • is the website dedicated to this series, it has a lot of fun extras, including an intro video that is an interview of Ezra, one of the main characters, character bios, and descriptions of the ships.
  • Entertainment Weekly has a sneak peak for Illuminae, including excerpts and a brief interview with the authors.
  • Kirkus wrote an excellent review for Illuminae.
  • See my review of Amie Kaufman’s other sci-fi novel, These Broken Stars

About the Authors:

Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of
Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.

(ARC Review) Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius

Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius

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Ius, Dawn. Anne & Henry. , 2015. Print. ISBN-13: 978-1481439411.
Formats available: hardcover, ebook. Hardcover $9.89. Kindle $10.00.

Releases September 1, 2015

Fairy Tale retellings are all the rage today, but what happens when the love story being re-told isn’t a fairy tale, but rather a tragedy? In Anne & Henry we get to see how the initially enchanting, but ultimately tragic love story between Anne Boleyn and Henry Tudor would play out in modern day, between high school students. Henry is wealthy, popular, and powerful. He’s dating the equally wealthy, popular, and powerful Catherine, who is a socially and mother-approved match for Henry in every way. Then mysterious, hard-eyed, dramatic and passionate Anne Boleyn sweeps into his life. Henry and Anne are instantly smitten with each other, and Henry is compelled by her passion and her different-ness. But Henry is the only one who thinks Anne makes a better match for him than Catherine, and eventually even Henry isn’t so sure the love he and Anne have is enough for him.

My Thoughts:
This book was a quick, enjoyable, and quite different contemporary YA romance. Those who are unfamiliar with the original and true story of Anne Boleyn and Henry Tudor may miss out on much of the enjoyment the reader gains in reading this modern YA re-telling, but fans of contemporary high-school complication romances might still enjoy it. Readers familiar with history know not to expect a happy ending but the suspense of seeing just HOW exactly Henry will make Anne lose her head in this modern rendition keeps readers happily tuned in for the grand finale. Subjects of drug use, sexual content, and underage drinking are addressed, as well as reckless behavior, bullying, and familial and peer pressure. This is a somewhat shallow read that doesn’t dig quite as deeply into the characters or world as some might like, but does prove to be ultimately a quick and enjoyable read.

Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
You can find recommendations from others who liked Anne & Henry on

About the Author:
Learn more about Dawn Ius and her books on her website.

Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of
Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.

(Arc Review-YA) A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

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Braswell, Liz. A Whole New World. 2015. Print. ISBN-13: 978-1484707296.
Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $9.99. Kindle $9.59.

Releases September 1, 2015


A Disney’s Aladdin Twisted Tale.

What would happen if one key element to your favorite Disney story went wrong, irreparably changing the tale? A Whole New World starts out basically just as Disney’s Aladdin film does, up until the point where Aladdin hands Jafar the lamp. In the film, Abu takes the lamp back off Jafar. But in this story, Jafar gets the lamp, and uses it to take over Agrabah, while Aladdin gets stuck in the cave of wonders. So what would happen if Jafar actually got the lamp and became Sultan? Jasmine and Aladdin, along with his gang of Street Rats, must band together to build a resistance to Jafar’s insane tyranny.

My Thoughts:

This story had great promise. A re-telling of Aladdin where Jafar initially wins, and Jasmine becomes a Freedom Fighter to take back her Crown? Such a great idea. This re-telling, however, never seems to go quite far enough and lacks some commitment. It’s marketed as a dark re-telling, and there certainly are darker aspects (some characters die who you might not expect to, and in interesting ways), but other than that, and Jafar’s creepy insanity, the story just lacks depth. This story is ultimately plot driven, with the focus on the action of the moment, rather than the thoughts and feelings of the characters. Additionally, we mostly only get the story from Aladdin’s point of view. Because of this the characters feel somewhat under-developed, and we don’t get a true sense of who they are. The story careens along, giving plenty of attention to what the characters are doing, but we don’t often get to see what they are really thinking or feeling. One big disappointment for me was the almost complete lack of romance in between Aladdin and Jasmine. The beginning of the story shows great promise, when they first meet we see them nervous and silly with each other, very believable for two teenagers who find themselves attracted to the other, but after that almost no attention is given to the budding romance. Since the romance in the film version is so beautiful and important to the story, I was a bit surprised by this. It felt like the author was told to keep the story appropriate for younger readers, while also trying to capitalize on the huge market for dystopian and fairy-tale re-tellings in YA fiction right now. So we get some fighting and death, but not a lot of emotions or romance. Die-hard Disney fans, and lovers of re-tellings, however, may enjoy this sometimes funny, sometimes creepy, Aladdin re-telling. It showed great promise, but missed something on the follow through, for me.

Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
This is the first entry into Disney’s projected Twisted Tales series, so there should be more to come.

For recommendations from others who like this book, check

For other reviews of this title check:

The Fictional Reader
Women Write about Comics

Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of
Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.

(ARC Review-YA) Shattered Blue by Lauren Bird Horowitz

Shattered Blue by Lauren Bird Horowitz (ARC Review – YA)

Horowitz, Lauren Bird. Shattered Blue. 2015. Print. ISBN-13: 978-1503949973. Formats available: Paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $9.99. Kindle $3.99. 

Info 684 Genre: Genre Pick #5 – Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Will be released: September 15, 2015.

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Synopsis: (no spoilers)

Noa’s sister died, and it shattered her world. Her family is falling apart, and all she has left is her littlest sister, who is her whole world. Callum transfers to Noa’s school and she immediately senses there is something different about him. They begin to get closer but Noa is confused at Callum’s refusal to touch her in any way. She soon learns why. Callum is a Fae who has been exiled from his world, and tossed into hers. But Noa’s world doesn’t produce the “light” or energy the Fae need to survive. The only way for Callum to get this “light” is by stealing it from human beings. But stealing a human’s light is the same as stealing their future happiness. And it’s possible to take too much. Callum knows if he touches Noa, he might not be able to stop before he takes too much. As Noa and Callum struggle to find a way to be together, people from Callum’s past are showing up. Enemies hunt him, and a loved one who can’t be trusted shows up at the same time. Secrets, enemies, and love collide in the first installment in the planned Light Trilogy.

My Thoughts: (no spoilers)

The good: I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It caught my interest from the beginning, but the second half REALLY grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. The premise is good, the mythology surrounding the Fae and their world is new, unlike any other of the Fae books I’ve encountered. The author’s writing is quite beautiful, she is skilled at weaving the character’s emotion into the text. She was able to make my heart hurt for Noa’s loss, and she uses poetry quite well throughout the story to underscore the character’s thoughts and feelings. There is a lot of promise for some excellent world building to come. The first book takes place in our world, and Noa is a plain old human, so we don’t get introduced to the mythos of the Fae until well into the first book, however the cliff-hanger ending indicates that we will get a more up-close-and-personal look into the magical aspects of the world in the next installment. I quite liked the “energy” concept, rather than the traditional “magic” version we often get, and I like how the Fae are divvied up into different types. There also seems to be a lot of potential for Fae political intrigue in the coming books, and I am always a fan of some political intrigue!

The plot grips you from the beginning and the story is well paced. The best part of this book, for me, was how the idea of secrets and secrecy kept coming up, but very subtly, and that the last couple of chapters were full of shocking plot twists. I usually am not surprised by the direction a book takes, or if I am, the direction is one I don’t care for. But this book has some genuinely surprising twists, many of which made me enjoy the story more than if the twist had not happened. Also the story really starts to heat up in the second half, when the third main character is finally introduced. That character is by far the most interesting one of the three. Before that character came on the scene I was feeling so-so about the story, but afterwards the characters got more interesting, the plot heated up, and the surprises started being unveiled. By the time I finished the book I was happily committed to series. I will absolutely be picking up the second installment, whenever it is released.

The bad(ish) – There was not a lot bad with this story, it was a pretty successful introduction to the new series. There were a couple of things I did not care for, though. Noa and Callum do have the “insta-love” that many YA books feature recently. There was very little relationship development before they felt “in love” with each other. I did not feel that this was explored enough, and I couldn’t really understand why they loved each other. They did share the loss of a sibling, which they bonded over, so perhaps that had something to do with it. The book is told from alternating viewpoints of the three main characters, and I wished there was more from the third character. That character was by far the most interesting, but doesn’t appear until well into the story. Hopefully we will see more from that character in books to come, though! Additionally, the first half or so of the story does not include a lot of action, and meanders insubstantially, a bit. However, let me just say that the second half is completely different. The characters become far more interesting, the plot picks up in intensity, and secrets and twists start to emerge, making the second half of the book a far more enjoyable experience. Also, when I finished the book, and the final secrets were revealed (AND WOW! SHOCKING!), I did understand why some things had to happen the way they did. I don’t usually like when there is a shocking reveal at the end (usually its some plot twist I do not care for) but in this case, the twists spiced this story and the characters up and made me eager to read the next installment.

Fans of twilight may enjoy this, as well as fans of fantasy/fae/magic stories with a complicated romance and a potential love triangle. If you’ve ever seen the Marvel movie Thor, you’ll also notice an unusual similarity here, in the relationship between a “good” brother and “bad” brother, as well as the concept of different dimensions connected by portals.

This book was given to me as an ARC in return for an honest review, from

Goodreads @

Themes include:
death, grief, secrets, love, family, truth & lies, sacrifice.

Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
This is a planned trilogy, but no information is yet available on the next book. Ill update this as info comes available!

This series is so new, I don’t have much extras for you guys yet. But here are two other Bloggers who have reviewed it so far!

About the Author: 
Again, not much info on the author yet, but she is available on twitter @birdaileen

Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of

(ARC Review) Darken the Stars by Amy Bartol

Darken the Stars by Amy Bartol (ARC Review)

Bartol, Amy A. Under Different Stars. 2015. Print. ISBN-13: 978-1503947429. Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $10.17. Kindle $4.99. Released September 8, 2015.

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Synopsis & Review:

“I’m his enemy, I’m his possession, I’m his lifeline to the future, I’m his slave, I’m his confidante, I’m his pupil “ (location2116)

Kricket is the sacrifice everyone else is willing to make. And she’s never been so alone.

Torn away from all she knows once again, and betrayed by those who should love and protect her, Kricket is still willing to make sacrifices for other’s lives and happiness. To a point. This time she’s been sacrificed to Kyon, and Alameeda, who crave her for her powers. Forced to live in Alameeda with Kyon, Kricket learns more about her new world than she’d ever dreamed possible. As her powers in foresight grow, she is frequently able to ‘escape’ and keep tabs on what her friends and former lover are up to. She sees them pulled into the rebellion that sacrificed her, and she learns of how terribly she’s been betrayed her whole life. During her imprisonment she also grows to see that Kyon is so much more than she had thought. He’s better than she thought…. And worse. Kyon is a monster whose own secrets and pain runs deep. And even though he is a monster, she senses a kindred spirit. Because Kricket has darkness inside her too. Everywhere she turns Kricket finds those who want to kill her, or cage her, and her heart has only ever yearned for freedom to fly her own course. As the war mounts, and enemies collide, Kricket will make her final gambit to sieze the life she’s always dreamed of.

Let me first just warn you that Darken the Stars is indeed the final installment of the The Kricket Series. I did not know this before reading it and so wasn’t able to properly prepare myself for the series to conclude. As far as the writing goes, this was the strongest and most focused of the three books in the trilogy. One of this series’ greatest strengths is its intricate and in-depth detailing of the world and all of the advanced technology the world has. Amy Bartol meticulously paints Ethar and its inhabitants so that the reader feels she is walking the very streets of Alameeda, alongside Kricket. Another great strength is Kricket herself. Kricket is one of my favorite characters to read because she doesn’t quite fit the typical YA heroine mold we are seeing so often in books right now. Kricket is tough, intelligent, flawed, tenacious, and likable. She is also funny and adaptable, a real survivor. She goes through so many conflicts, betrayals, and upheavals throughout the series, while never loosing her way or her light. She is a heroine we can root for. Although her experiences change her in some ways because she is inherently adapatable, she never loses the core spirit that made us like her in Under Different Stars. The first half of Darken the Stars took off in a quite unexpected start, but by the halfway point I could see why it had to happen that way. The second half of the story was full of constant hairpin turns, unexpected choices, and great characters. Darken the Stars brings The Kricket Series to a thrilling, heartwrenching, and shocking (but ultimately satisfying and honest) conclusion. It pulls no punches, yet leaves us with beautiful hope.

This series starts out with a young adult vibe in Under Different Stars, but takes a turn into a more adult, or new adult, direction starting with Sea of Stars. Therefore I’d recommend this series for adults or mature teens.

“I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review”


Themes include: magic, family, friendship, belonging, politics, war, and love, sacrifice.

Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it? 

The first two books in the The Kricket Series are Under Different Stars (book 1), and A Sea of Stars (book 2).

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  • Locate Darken the Stars at your local library through
  • If you liked The Kricket Series, check out for other recommendations!

About the Author: Amy Bartol is the author of The Premonition Series and The Kricket Series

Citation & Credits
Book cover images: Courtesy of
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.