book review

Four Fantasy Series I’ve Recently Tackled

Hello friends! A few years ago I’ve gotten really, and I mean really, tired of cliffhangers, and ever since then the amount of on-going series I’m following has dwindled to a small number. Instead I’ve been overwhelmingly turning to “older” series that are fully published, and I’ve gotten somewhat addicted to reading them all at once. There’s something so satisfying in knowing that if a book ends with a cliffhanger I can immediately jump into its sequel without having to wait months, or even years for the next installment.

Also, being the forgetful potato I am, I frequently struggle with remembering details from the previous book(s) of a series. How much I can recall from a book depends on what kind of an impact it had on me, but even my most beloved series, The Diviners for one, aren’t exempt from containing scenes and details I’ve effectively forgotten. Because of these reasons – and also to give backlist titles some love – I definitely recommend reading older series.

In today’s post I’ve brought you four series that I’ve read recently (well, more or less recently) – some I loved, some I gave up on, but all of them are available for you right now if they float your boat. Hope you’ll enjoy getting to know these book series.

Before you get started, beware that I’m kind of.. mean in this post!? I don’t know what the heck was up with me when I originally penned it, but I’ve just finished editing it, and even though I tried to make it better, friends, I was bitter about some of these titles. *hides*

Please be aware: this post includes discussion of self-harm in The Queen of the Tearling section!

The Elemental Trilogy by Sherry Thomas

๐ŸŒธ I read it mostly because I heard to ship was swoon-worthy, and I’m sorry mates, but y’all failed me- this was not what I was promised. ๐Ÿ˜ญ Don’t get me wrong, the ship wasn’t awful at all – Iolanthe and Titus (those names, I cannot) had multiple great scenes, but even after three books I felt like they, as well as their relationship, weren’t well developed.

๐ŸŒธ I could not for the life of me decide if the problem was me, or if the novel did, indeed, have some plot-holes. I don’t even think I’m that perceptive or critical when it comes to inconsistencies, but oh boy, some of the things here were impossible to ignore.

๐ŸŒธ I really liked what Sherry Thomas did with the ‘chosen one’ trope – it happens to be one of my least favorite tropes (unless there’s a valid reason why someone becomes the chosen one) but it was used in an enjoyable and new way in The Elemental Trilogy.

๐ŸŒธ Recommended? Not particularly. While it had some good parts , The Elemental Trilogy was pretty mediocre – I don’t believe I’d have missed out on anything had I not read it. That said, I did finish the whole trilogy, and would rate it between a 3 and a 4, so if it strikes you as something you’d love? Go for it!

Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

๐ŸŒธ I wasn’t going to read Shadow and Bone – I was spoiled about the romance, and multiple other things, and I heard pretty mediocre things about it. But because everyone was hyping up King of Scars and saying it’s necessary to read the Shadow and Bone trilogy to fully enjoy that, I caved in and borrowed my friends’ copies. Man, do I regret that decision!

๐ŸŒธ Similarly to The Elemental Trilogy, Shadow and Bone is not terrible; but it starts on a much lower note than the aforementioned trilogy.

๐ŸŒธ It feels very mediocre and unoriginal; although the magic systems is interesting and cool, the plot, the characters, and even their relationships all feel like things that have been done before. Bardugo obviously developed a lot as an author between this and Six of Crows, as the latter is (imo) far superior in all the aspects I’ve mentioned.

๐ŸŒธ I felt like Bardugo was unsure where to take these characters and any development (both positive and negative) we’ve seen from them came seemingly out of nowhere. And don’t even get me started on the supporting cast – lots of filler characters, lots of people who seemed VERY interesting, but were never properly developed.

๐ŸŒธ Recommended? Nope. I haven’t yet read King of Scars, so I can’t tell you if this clusterfuck is worth reading for that, but I can say it wasn’t worth reading for me. At this point I don’t even want to read KoS, because Nikolai just did not impress me all that much. Sorry?

๐ŸŒธ Related post: My Problems with the Romance in Shadow and Bone

Darkest Powers Trilogy by Kelley Armstrong

๐ŸŒธ Well hell, I did not expect to love this as much as I did, but here we go, friends, this is an honest to god positive review in all this negativity. I know, wow. Also! This was a reread for me – I’m working on a post, and needed this for it – but I went into it thinking I’d not enjoy it, as I was a teen when I first read it. Surprise, surprise, I found this spectacular.

๐ŸŒธ I have a soft spot for the found family trope, and I bloody love when characters are forced to work together and, despite their dislike for each other, end up becoming a family. Melts my heard every. time.

๐ŸŒธ I surprisingly really liked the romance! There’s a love triangle in the making, but it never quite gets the chance to become one, and it’s handled very realistically, in my opinion. I remembered this from when I first read the trilogy, but I was worried – mostly because I recalled one of the male leads being very bossy, and was afraid the relationship would feel toxic. Thankfully, that’s not the case – at least in my opinion – he tries to control everyone in an attempt to protect them, but Chloe and the rest of the gang call him out, and there’s a lot of listening and learning during the series.

๐ŸŒธ Recommended? Absolutely, although beware: it definitely has an ‘early-YA’ feel to the series, and it’s not exactly the most twist-y and shocking thing you’ll read.

The Queen of the Tearling Trilogy by Erika Johansen

๐ŸŒธ Buckle up, kids, we’re heading into rant territory. I got The Queen of the Tearling trilogy from the library expecting to be mesmerized, and I was! At least up to a point. The first book was a solid four star read, and I was excited for the rest of the series; however, it all went downhill in the second book.

๐ŸŒธ But first, the good things! I loved how the heroine didn’t just plan to do things, and talked about making changes, but actually fought for change. She was very dedicated to serving her people, to becoming a worthy queen, and I enjoyed the hell out of how she developed during the first book.

๐ŸŒธ I hated the self-harm plot of the second book – I’ve never self-harmed, and yet it was incredibly hard to read those scenes. And not just those scenes, there were a few other scenes where I felt like the heroine was intentionally working against herself, and doing things that will damage her mental health in the long run. It was tiring and frustrating to read this, so I abandoned the trilogy during the second book. That said, I’m not qualified to call the self-harm problematic or bad rep, it was simply hard to read for me.

๐ŸŒธ Recommended? Not really. When I was trying to decide if I should DNF I checked the reviews for the final book, and saw that many (maybe most?) readers were dissatisfied with how things end. I decided to spoil the ending for myself, and I didn’t like it at all, so my decision was made.

Let’s chat!

Do you like to wait between the novels of a series, or do you prefer to read them all at once? Have you read any of these series? Do you plan to? What are your favorite and least favorite series so far this year?

24 thoughts on “Four Fantasy Series I’ve Recently Tackled

  1. If sequels are available to me I too like to marathon a book series! Thatโ€™s how I read Harry Potter for the first time this year haha. Good post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can relate to how you feel about Tearling. I read the first book and thought damn, this is a girl I can get behind, this is a story that I’m eager to continue reading and I’m so curious to see how she handles things next. But I was disappointed with book two and then ended up not finishing the series either. Such a shame ๐Ÿ˜ฃ

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this post! I struggle with finishing trilogies for some reason. I love beginning them and flying through the 1st and sometimes even the 2nd books very quickly, but then it usually takes me months or YEARS to pick up the final third book… It’s a real struggle. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been gravitating towards older YA series too! This year’s releases have been really disappointing for me so I read more older YA to finish all my unfinished series or just finally reduce my tbr number. And I’m also surprised at how much I enjoyed reading them! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I definitely agree about this year’s releases – some of the series that started out SO WELL really let me down this year. There’s definitely a couple of older series I should go back to and finish – maybe I’ll make it my goal in 2020. ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you enjoyed older titles!!


  5. Oh no! I literally just borrowed Shadow and Bone from the library. After all the hype surrounding the casting for the tv series, and just the general stuff I see on book twitter daily, I felt kinda out of the loop and really decided to give it a go. Sorry you were disappointed! Now Iโ€™m not too sure if Iโ€™ll like it…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There’s nothing better than binge reading a completed series! I’m sorry some of these didn’t work for you–in particular the original Grisha trilogy! I definitely don’t recommend King of Scars if it doesn’t interest you and if none of the characters from it are ones you care for–but OOH I am stoked to see you enjoyed the Darkest Powers trilogy! I just picked up two of the books at a thrift store (they had the hardcovers of the first and the last in the trilogy and it was SUPER cheap and on half off day) so now I am even more excited to pick up on it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! It’s so satisfying to be able to immediately jump into the next book. Thanks for the advice; I don’t think I’ll ever get to King of Scars – I’ve sadly had to realize that at this point the only books I *truly loved* by Bardugo were the SoC duology and Language of Thorns. Even Ninth House was a huge disappointment. *cries* I’m really-really hoping you’ll love Darkest Powers!! I enjoyed the hell out of the trilogy – I set out only wanting to read book one for a post I’m working on – and just marathoned the whole series, haha.


  7. I also struggle so hard trying to remember details from past books in series. I finally reread Shadow and Bone this year so I could finish the series and it was SO satisfying to finally finish it. The series definitely improves as it goes on. I had never planned on finishing it, but I wanted to read King of Scars. I also read Queen of the Tearling years and years ago when it first came out but for some reason never finished the series and now I remember nothing. I will have to reread that one soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same – especially longer books with multiple main characters are a struggle to recall, haha. I have to reread the previous books in Libba Bray’s The Diviners trilogy EVERY.TIME a new book is published. I’m already preparing for my reread before the fourth and final book, haha. I hope you’ll enjoy the rest of the Queen of the Tearling series if/when you get to it! ๐Ÿ™‚


  8. i was so disappointed with Shadow and Bone trilogy as a whole. I loved the first book but then the rest two went downhill and the ending was atrocious….. I do agree that the Six of Crows duology is far superior. I haven’t read King of Scars yet but I got very mixed reviews, especially because it was marketed as a book about Nikolai, but it appears that not a lot of him is featured lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Weirdly, I liked the final book of Shadow and Bone the most in terms of the plot, although I may have simply gotten used to how ridiculously illogical the plot was, haha. THE ENDING, THOUGH, I CAN’T. Yeah, I saw that about KoS, and I was shocked – it really was marketed as Nikolai’s story, lol.


  9. I read Shadow and Bone when I was a younger, more innocent reader and I did like it. Mostly the first book, mostly because I loved the darkling and I really rooted for the villain for once because I didn’t like Mal and didn’t care much for Alina herself. I was disappointed in the ending ;.;

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I recently unhauled the Elementals series. It was just sitting on my shelves, not being read.

    The Grisha trilogy is one I think I might change my mind about if I revisited it. The first book was okay, I was more into it for the Darkling and the magic.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ahh, don’t apologize for your voice in this post! I personally loved the extra saltiness, haha. Oh my, The Burning Sky. Ugh. I bought it when I first discovered the book community—when I was still a clueless reader who added every book she heard about to her TBR. I remember I saw one person mention The Burning Sky, and I saw it in the bookstore so I immediately bought it. Big mistake. I tried to read it, and I just COULDN’T get through it. Now I have a hardcover of it that I’ve never read sitting in my cabinet at home and collecting dust.
    Haha, I’ve been going back and forth for a while on whether or not I should read the Grisha trilogy. I read SoC and KoS without having read it, and I was fine, albeit I didn’t get a lot of Easter eggs. It’s such an integral part of the Nikolai duology though, so I wonder if I should read it just so that I can get the context of the spin-off series, even though I know most of the key plot points that happen in the series. I even know how the series ends, haha :”)
    Great reviews! โค

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! ๐Ÿ˜€ That’s relatable; I’ve been known to randomly buy books I heard good things about from ONE (1) source, without doing any research at all. Also, back when I was only reading in Hungarian, I’d buy books because the Hungarian publisher compared them to a series I loved… I did learn from that mistake pretty fast, though.

      I read the trilogy mostly for the Nikolai duology… and now I don’t care about the Nikolai duology, the joke is 1000% on me. Oh wait, I also read it for the Netflix series! I still care about that, so there was a point to my suffering, haha. Maybe you could try giving a chance to the first book and see if it works for you.

      Thank you!!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.