Monday, November 20, 2017

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. Imprint, 2017. Hardcover. 281 pages.

This collection was every bit as gorgeous as I had hoped it would be--if not more. I love how unique the stories are while also bearing strong influences and taking on familiar forms of other classic fairy tales. Bardugo truly proves her creative and accomplished writing skills in this collection, weaving together lyrical words with jaw-dropped stories and themes. These stories contain beautiful messages and dismantle on so many fairy tale tropes in order to create new ones by maintain the classic ideas but warping them into something rather different. 

The illustrations in this book are also so beautiful and add so very much to this entire story. I love how each story alternated with the blue and red color scheme, and I particularly loved how the border of each story developed as the story continued. That entire concept was a beautiful, creative idea that worked out wonderfully.

And now I'd like to include a brief word on each story: 

Ayama and the Thorn Wood - ★: I found this to be a perfect story to start the collection off with. There were some incredibly classic elements that made it feel very classic, while also ebodying an wholly new and unique story at the same time. I loved the storytelling element added to this story and felt that the entire thing was quite lovely. It became slightly repetitive towards the end, which I understand is common in these types of stories, but that took away some of my enjoyment.

The Too-Clever Fox πŸ¦Š★: I really enjoyed this story, although I found it slightly predictable at times. This one felt particularly classic and familiar, but I loved the various twists Bardugo weaved into it. I really enjoyed reading about all of the different animals and there roles, but the clever fox, of course, was my favorite. "The Too-Clever Fox" gets a little darker than the first story, but it still weaves in an interesting little fable message. 

The Witch of Duva - ★: I loved this one! The entire concept and the dark atmosphere that permeated the entire story in such a wonderful manner were amazing, and I really think Bardugo crafted this one perfectly. The witch was a fascinating character, and i loved how somewhat disturbing and odd this story became as it went on. 

Little Knife πŸŒŠ ★: "Little Knife" is brilliant. This is a story about a girl named Yuva who is so jaw-droppingly beautiful that she literally has to go around with a veil over her so that people can control themselves when she is around. This is another one that I really loved. It was such a classic and timeless tale, and one that I really enjoyed. 

The Soldier Prince - ★: This was probably my least favorite content-wise. I loved the illustrations and border decorations on this story, but the story itself fell somewhat flat for me. This is a take on the Nutcracker, and although I enjoyed that aspect, I felt a little lost and uninterested in many parts o this story. the plot idea was interesting, but the execution felt lackluster.

When Water Sang Fire★: I completely understand why this was chosen as the last story of the book, as it leaves an incredibly strong message. This is a Little Mermaid-inspired tale that is all about sacrifice, ambition, and acceptance. I don't want to go into any detail on this one because it is wonderful to discover on your own. 

Overall, I've given The Language of Thorns five stars! I can definitely see myself re-reading these tales and even reading them to others. 

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Reading Recommendations: Books Featuring Some Form of Music

Reading Recommendations:
Books Featuring Some Form of Music

I feel as if I've read so  many books in which music is a rather prominent component, whether it is because one of the main characters either sings beautifully or masterfully plays an instruement, or whether it is part of the magic system of a book. In the list below, I've compiled a short list of some of the ones that have stood out most to me. Enjoy! Let me know what books you would add to this list, as well! 😊

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)Wintersong (Wintersong, #1)The Queen of the Night

Kvothe is an exceptionally skilled lute player, which has quite a bit of importance in the story.

Liesl is a talented composer and dreams of playing the piano and composing for the rest of her life. 

The Queen of the Night is all about opera, so of course singing plays a huge role in this, which is what the main character, Lilliet, strives to do.

This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1)Songs of Insurrection (The Dragon Songs Saga #1)The Silmarillion

August's violin-playing is not only one of his prized possessions and favorite things to do, it also plays a fairly large role in the events of this story.

Songs of Insurrection uses music and singing as a core part of the ancient magic system--it's done in a really unique and interesting way that I really enjoyed.

Music plays an incredibly important part in the creation story of this work by Tolkien, along with various other moments throughout.

Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy, #1)Seraphina (Seraphina, #1)The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (Grisha Verse, #0.5, #2.5, #2.6)

CΓ©cile, the protagonist, has a lovely singing voice, which is something she--and her mother-- are both very passionate about.

Seraphina herself is an incredibly talented and gifted musician that joins the royal court. Her musical talents are extremely important in her own character development and the story itself.

This is a beautiful short story that features the sildroher Ulla, whose singing voice is one of the best of those among her. The sildroher in general use music as one of their strongest forms of magic. 

What books would you add to this list? Have you read any of these? Let me know!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Mageborn (Age of Dread, #1) by Stephen Aryan

Mageborn by Stephen Aryan. Orbit, 2017. Paperback. 432 pages. 

Mageborn is the first book in Stephen Aryan new epic fantasy series, Age of Dread. The plot was interesting and the entire premise had me hooked: one man, Habreel, believe that all magic should be eradicated after a war that occurred ten years ago caused extreme loss and mayhem by magic users.. In general, it's not the most unique or inventive idea I've ever heard, but the execution was done in a fascinating manner that allowed the reader to follow multiple POVs from every side, thus giving a better overall picture of the events of the book. Aryan also introduced his own inventive ideas that help this book stand out. (Note: Since finishing the book, I have discovered that Aryan's first series, written prior to this one, includes the war and backstory to much of the events in this book, though it is not necessary to read that one first--I hadn't.)

Speaking of multiple POVs: there are a quite a few. If I'm counting correctly, there are six main POVs: Habreel, Akosh, Tammy, Munroe, Wren, Tianne. Along with these are a few minor POVs that pop up, but aren't repeated much. I liked getting in the head of each of these characters and for the most part I felt that Aryan developed each of them very well. Habreel is one of the more interesting characters because, although he isn't necessarily doing 'right' things, as a reader we can understand where his thought process comes from in relation to his now seemingly drastic actions, which makes him difficult to place into a 'good' or 'bad' box. Akosh, however, is brilliantly written as a rather ruthless, uncaring woman--one which I would not want to run into, but also one which I am immensely intrigued by. Tammy and Munroe are also really well-written female characters, though I will be honest and say that I mixed them up a few times, simply because they are both strong woman who know how to kick ass and therefore sort of seem similar at times. Wren and Tianne are two students at the Red Tower, and I really enjoyed seeing each one's insight into the happenings that occurred at the Red Tower, the other students, and the instructors.

My only small niggle in regards to that characters is that wish that Aryan had maybe spent a little bit more time on individual characters and not had quite so many POVs to jump right into, but I do see how the multiple viewpoints really added to the story as well.

Where this book lost me was its lack of depth and passion. It's hard for me convey this because I can't really complain about any specific aspects of the book--the characters were well-developed, the plot had plenty of intrigue--but there was just something missing. Some of the dialogue felt a bit too 'perfect' or clunky, for one. I also felt that many actions were too predictable--such as what a character would say or do in reaction to something. There are plenty of unexpected twists and surprises, but there also many predictable surprises to go with that. Things felt very forced, neat, and far too tidy for it to feel realistic enough to become fully immersed in the story.

IN addition to what I've just said, the worldbuilding itself was lacking too much for my liking. I had a general idea of what things were like, but there was really no development or explanation for what type of world this was. As mentioned, I have since discovered that Aryan has a previous series that features many of the characters from this new series that provides much more background about the characters, the world itself, and the magic system, so that does help me understand a bit more why this book didn't go into as much depth. That being said, if this is considered a series that you can read without reading previous does (which I'm fairly certain that is how it's being marketed, but I could be wrong), then you might find yourself wanting more from this world.

Also, this is a minor detail, but an important one--I wanted a map so badly! Growing up, I never understood or used maps when reading fantasy, but over the past few years they have become indispensable to me and I feel that Mageborn could have majorly benefited from having one. I'm not counting this against the book or in my rating, but it's just a minor quibble of mine.

Overall, I've given Mageborn three-and-a-half stars! Despite it falling short of being on par with some of the great epic fantasies, Mageborn is still a solid, decent read that I would still recommend to any fantasy fan. I will probably check out the next book as well to see what happens and if there are any improvement, and I might also go back and check out Aryan's previous series, which is supposedly better than this one.

**I received a review copy of Mageborn courtesy of Orbit in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating or enjoyment of the book.**

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2) by Neal Shusterman

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released!

This week's upcoming book spotlight is:
Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2) by Neal Shusterman
Publication Date: January 9th, 2018
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Book Depository

From Goodreads:

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2)

"Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the second novel of the chilling New York Times bestselling series from Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?"

I absolutely loved Scythe and I have been anxiously awaiting the next book in this insane world Shusterman has created. I can't get enough of how fascinating the entire concept of this series is, and I really just can't wait to read this one. I'm also really loving the cover concepts for this series so far!

What do you think about this upcoming release? What are your anticipated upcoming releases?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I've Read This Year That I Would Love To Share With Children

Top Ten Tuesday is weekly book blog meme hosted by the lovely girls over at The Broke and the Bookish.

The Top Ten Tuesday theme this week is about books we want to read to our future children, so I decided to expand it a bit to books that I want to share with any and all children that I come across (my future ones included). The reason that I chose to only pick from books that I've read this year is because if I opened it up to free-for-all it... this list would be far, far too long, so I had to step in at some point and draw a line.

A Path Begins (The Thickety #1)Coraline

This one is honestly pretty creepy to me, and I'm an adult. But I think this is a fantastic middle grade novel with so many important themes and characters that I would love to share with younger kids to see what they think.

Again, this one is on the creepier side, but it's just so good and I already know that so many children (and adults!) love it.

Anne Bonnie Volume #1: The Journey BeginsThe Apprentice Witch

What kid doesn't love a good pirate story? Not to mention that this 'pirate' is an awesome young girl herself who wants nothing  more than adventure on the open seas. 

The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol
This book is a really fun story of a young girl who wants nothing more than to pass her exam to become a witch, but the exam doesn't go so well and she is instead sent to a small, remote town called Lull to be an apprentice. 

The Sleeper and the SpindleA Face Like GlassThe Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
This is one that I can see appealing more to older children, but I do think younger ones might still enjoy this Sleeping Beauty retelling. This book has some wonderful twists and is full of incredible artwork and storytelling.

This might be for a slightly older middle grade reader, but it has so much whimsy and adventure that I think it would be such a great hit.

This is a somewhat long-winded story about a boy who joins a band of kids to become a pick-pocket. There is a lot of detail, specifically when it comes to pick-pocketing lingo (which I didn't really know was a thing?), so kids might love or hate it, but I'm aiming for 'love.'

What kids/middle grade books are you looking forward to sharing with kids?

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Witches of New York by Ami McKay

The Witches of New York by Ami McKay. Harper Perennial, 2017. Ebook. 535 pages.

If you haven't already figured it out, I am a huge fan of witches, books set in the 19th century (or any historical setting, if we're being honest), sharp writing, and incredible detail, so combining all of that together into this one book is one big 'yes please!' from me. The Witches of New York is a novel that showcases the strength and tenacity of women and the great lengths to which some men will go to in order to shut down anything that they fear or feel threatened by.

There is a lot going on in this book, but McKay proves her brilliance by making every minuscule aspect of this story simply glow with charm and an engaging storyline. McKay's writing itself is incredibly sharp and full of wit, not to mention the sharp feminist themes that simply propel this book into being even more captivating and relatable than I thought possible.

Adelaide, Eleanor, and Beatrice are our three leading ladies, and they are a force to be reckoned with. I was so impressed at how detailed and unique each one was. Not only does McKay give each woman a voice to be themselves, she also provides intricate backstories that bring so much life to each character. I also loved the range of additional characters that McKay included, from the skeptics to the believers to everyone in between. This, of course, includes characters who vehemently abhor witches and anything to do with witchcraft, whom McKay crafts to be so repulsive that it's almost difficult to read their chapters.

Eleanor and Adelaide are the owners of their tea shop (and perhaps a bit more), Tea and Sympathy and are both established witches. Beatrice is a young newcomer to the big city and is taken under their wings to build up her own abilities. Eleanor is a firm woman whose loyalty and steadfastness are incredibly admirable; Adelaide has many of the same qualities, but she is ever so slightly more outspoken and prone unpredictability than Eleanor. Beatrice, being young and unused to large cities, is a rather shy, polite young woman who is thrust into an entirely new life and world--and she seems to handle things fairly well, if I may say so. The POV remains third person limited throughout the book, but various chapters switch between Eleanor, Adelaide, Beatrice, and a variety of other characters, both big and small.

This book is fairly long, and there are so many chapters and scenes that feel like they should be removed in an abridged version of this, but as the story progresses it becomes more and more apparent how each seemingly meandering chapter or seemingly unimportant character ends up playing an extremely important role. There were times when I started to feel a bit impatient with these moments and i often wished that there weren't so many, but at the same time I liked the extra detail and how much it added to the story, so I'm afraid I have rather contradictory feelings on that front.

One of the most prominent places where this book shines is the sheer detail and authenticity of the usage of spells, herbs, and other witch-y aspect. McKay weaves this incredibly believable and fascinating usage of magic that truly brings everything to life. Every little note or comment about the usage of various herbs or the specific tasks that must be undertaken to perform a certain spell was just so much fun and completely drew me in. McKay clearly enjoys writing and taking her time to make the entire atmosphere perfect.

There is a lovely incorporation of real history in this book as well, such as the inclusion of the suffragette movement, the movement of Cleopatra's Needle, and other notable elements of the period.

Overall, I've given The Witches of New York four stars!

You might also like:
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Friday, November 10, 2017

Reading Recommendations: Veteran's Day-Inspired Picks

Reading Recommendations:

πŸŽ–️Veteran's Day-Inspired Picks

Tomorrow, November 11th, is Veteran's Day here in the U.S. In honor of that, I have chosen to feature some veteran-inspired books to share with you all. There's a bit of a mix here content-wise, but hopefully there's a least open book here that might appeal to you and share some insight on war, the military, or what it's like to be a veteran that has returned home. I also added a few kid's books at the bottom that discuss this subject, as it's never a bad time to share the importance of honoring those who volunteer and fight for us. Enjoy!
(I added a brief summary/blurb that is provided with each book on Goodreads--some are a bit long, but I wanted to make sure to give a little info for each book! You can find the full summary/read a preview over at Goodreads as well.)

The Things They CarriedA Rumor Of WarKaboom: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War

"In 1979, Tim O'Brien's Going After Cacciato - a novel about the Vietnam War - won the National Book Award. In this, his second work of fiction about Vietnam, O'Brien's unique artistic vision is again clearly demonstrated. Neither a novel nor a short story collection, it is an arc of fictional episodes, taking place in the childhoods of its characters, in the jungles of Vietnam and back home in America two decades later."

"The extraordinary bestseller that provides a close-up look unlike any other, at the American experience in Vietnam. Powerful, vivid, compassionate, and heartbreaking, here is a very personal and yet universal grunt's-eye-view of the hopeless brutality and the ultimate, and seemingly endless horror where men and governments sacrificed their morality and the souls of their nation."

"When Lieutenant Matt Gallagher began his blog with the aim of keeping his family and friends apprised of his experiences, he didn't anticipate that it would resonate far beyond his intended audience. His subjects ranged from mission details to immortality, grim stories about Bon Jovi cassettes mistaken for IEDs, and the daily experiences of the Gravediggers-the code name for members of Gallagher's platoon. When the blog was shut down in June 2008 by the U.S. Army, there were more than twentyfive congressional inquiries regarding the matter as well as reports through the military grapevine that many high-ranking officials and officers at the Pentagon were disappointed that the blog had been ordered closed. Like Anthony Swofford's Jarhead, Gallagher's Kaboom resonates with stoic detachment and timeless insight into a war that we are still trying to understand."

House to House: An Epic Memoir of WarMatterhornThe Sun Also Rises

"One of the great heroes of the Iraq War, Staff Sergeant David Bellavia captures the brutal action and raw intensity of leading his Third Platoon, Alpha Company, into a lethally choreographed kill zone: the booby-trapped, explosive-laden houses of Fallujah's militant insurgents. Bringing to searing life the terrifying intimacy of hand-to-hand infantry combat, this stunning war memoir features an indelibly drawn cast of characters, not all of whom would make it out of the city alive, as well as chilling accounts of Bellavia's singular courage: Entering one house alone, he used every weapon at his disposal in the fight of his life against America's most implacable enemy."

"A big, powerful saga of men in combat, written over the course of thirty-five years by a highly decorated Vietnam veteran."

"Encapsulates the angst of the post-World War I generation, known as the Lost Generation. This poignantly beautiful story of a group of American and English expatriates in Paris on an excursion to Pamplona represents a dramatic step forward for Hemingway's evolving style. Featuring Left Bank Paris in the 1920s and brutally realistic descriptions of bullfighting in Spain, the story is about the flamboyant Lady Brett Ashley and the hapless Jake Barnes. In an age of moral bankruptcy, spiritual dissolution, unrealized love, and vanishing illusions, this is the Lost Generation."

Home of the Brave: Stories in UniformCeremony

"Among these are stories by writers including Kurt Vonnegut, Tim O'Brien, Tobias Wolff, Chris Offutt, Benjamin Percy and many others. There are parades and hurricanes, people getting high and some merely getting by, as well as the human sacrifices made, the losses endured, the hardships faced because of or in spite of some connection to the military. If you've served, you might recognize a couple of these characters, or their situations. Maybe you will relate to some because you're just like them or because they served in the same place you did. If you've never served, but have had contact with someone who has, you may find similarities between a character here and a person you thought you knew."

"Thirty years since its original publication, Ceremony remains one of the most profound and moving works of Native American literature, a novel that is itself a ceremony of healing. Tayo, a World War II veteran of mixed ancestry, returns to the Laguna Pueblo Reservation. He is deeply scarred by his experience as a prisoner of the Japanese and further wounded by the rejection he encounters from his people. Only by immersing himself in the Indian past can he begin to regain the peace that was taken from him. Masterfully written, filled with the somber majesty of Pueblo myth, Ceremony is a work of enduring power."

The WallRags Hero Dog of WWI: A True StoryThe Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans

"A young boy and his father visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial."

"During World War I, while stationed overseas in France with the United States Army, Private James Donovan literally stumbles upon a small dog cowering on the streets of Paris. Named Rags for his disheveled appearance, the little stray quickly finds a home with Donovan and a place in his heart. Although the Army did not have an official canine division, Rags accompanies Donovan to the battlefield, making himself a useful companion delivering messages and providing a much-appreciated morale boost to the soldiers."

"When American soldiers entered World War I, Moina Belle Michael, a schoolteacher from Georgia, knew she had to act. Almost single-handedly, Moina worked to establish the red poppy as the symbol to honor and remember soldiers. She devoted the rest of her life to making sure the symbol would last forever. Thanks to her hard work, that symbol remains strong today. Author Barbara Elizabeth Walsh and artist Layne Johnson worked with experts, primary documents, and Moina's great-nieces to better understand Moina's determination to honor the war veterans."

Read any of these? What books would you include in this list? Let me know!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung

*These Violent Delights is now available!*

These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung. Griffith Moon, 2017. Hardcover. 243 pages.

These Violent Delights is an intricate, carefully-written story of the sexual abuses that many woman face, along with the complexities and seemingly endless complications that come with it. This book does this by telling the story of three women's struggles to come forward and have their accusations taken seriously and fairly. I have incredibly conflicting thoughts about this book, so let's start with the things I liked.

The subject matter of this book is so important. As mentioned, These Violent Delights focuses on the stories of three women who were sexually abused by the same man--an educator-- when they were teenagers. We are seeing scenarios strikingly similar to this everyday, and it is disheartening to see people who either don't believe victims or who feel that it is okay to further harass the victims. This aspect of the book was all too accurate.

Namkung clearly did her research on these topics and took extreme care to tell this story with the utmost sensitivity and, at times, brutal honesty that they deserve. Her writing is sharp and poignant at many times,drawing clear points to many effects that often come with sexual abuse, such as victim-shaming and other difficult obstacles. I am incredibly impressed with the content itself and how realistic the entire story and circumstances were.

What I didn't like about this book was that I didn't really care about any of the characters. I sympathized with them and everything that happened to them, and their circumstances also made me think more about other women in this same position, but the characters themselves just had no life. It was presented in a very exemplary manner to me, as if this book was solely written to send a message and forgot to include characters and writing that draws the reader in to be emotionally invested in the story, and thus make the story truly successful at sending its message. I just wanted more from this book.

Much of the content of this book is given in newspaper articles, letters, etc., which got a bit dreary at times. I felt certain areas were rushed or not fully given the time and effort that they should have, which was slightly frustrating. I really just wish that this book had been written in a more engaging and accessible manner since the topic is so incredibly important.

Overall, I've given These Violent Delights three-and-a-half stars. I loved the message of this book and I would heartily recommend it for that alone, but the story itself just lacked the depth and emotional investment that it needed, and for that reason I had to dock some stars from its rating.

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: A Time of Dread by John Gwynne

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released!

This week's upcoming book spotlight is:
A Time of Dread (Of Blood and Bone #1) by John Gwynne
Publication Date: January 11th, 2018
Pan MacMillan
Book Depository

From Goodreads:

A Time Of Dread (Of Blood and Bone, #1)

"Acclaimed epic fantasy author John Gwynne returns to the Banished Lands in the first book of a new trilogy.

The Ben-Elim, a fierce race of warrior-angels, burst into the Banished Lands over a hundred and thirty years ago. They were in pursuit of their eternal enemy, the Kadoshim demon-horde. On that day a great battle was fought, the Ben-Elim and Kadoshim joined by allies from the races of both men and giants, and a great victory was won.

Now much of the Banished Lands is ruled by the Ben-Elim, who have made this world their home, extending their influence and power as they swallow ancient kingdoms into the protective grasp of their ever-extending borders. But peace is fragile within the realm and the Kadoshim that remain are now amassing on the edges of the empire....

Threats long in the shadows are about to strike."

First off, A Time of Dread is such a fantastic title it's ridiculous; I love the entire atmosphere this title and cover produce. I am loving the sound of this synopsis. It doesn't really give a whole lot to go off of, but I am really liking the direction it's headed.  I've also been hearing some pretty great things about Gwynne's other fantasy series, The Faithful and the Fallen, which I hope to read sometime soon!

What do you think about this upcoming release? What are your anticipated upcoming releases?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters That Would Make Great Leaders

Top Ten Tuesday is weekly book blog meme hosted by the lovely girls over at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is "Characters that would make great leaders," so I've decided to take it at its word and pick out some characters that I think would be fantastic leaders. Some of these characters are already technically in positions of power, but just because one is in a position of leadership doesn't mean that one is actually good at being said leader. Thus, I've compiled those that I think are most fit. 

1. Mabel and Evie
from The Diviners by Libba Bray 

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)

I felt that both of these young women would make fantastic leaders. Mabel is a thoughtful, composed, and passionate person whom I feel could easily take her skills to a larger level. Evie is a much more outgoing person who has no fear of speaking her mind, and I think that she would be a very fair and strong leader as well. Both of these women seem like powerhouses!

After everything Kara Westfall goes through in this book, how she is even still functioning like a normal person is beyond me--but she is. Not only that, but she takes charge of taking care of her brother and attempts to do even bigger things. This girl is truly inspiring and amazing.

3. Lazlo Strange 
from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

Lazlo Strange doesn't initially give off 'great leader here!' vibes, but throughout Strange the Dreamer we get more and more glimpses of his sharp mind and ability to process complex information. Even when strange or shocking events occur, he tends to keep a fairly cool head and tends to immediately err on the side of communication over violence. His overall demeanor seems to draw attention because of his calm, quiet, and rather astute, and because of this I think he'd be a strong leader.

Gather the Daughters

If you've read this book, then you already know that Janey is capable of stepping up and demanding action. I can't help but agree with this book that she would be the one to take action and somehow draw people together into maintaining a strong force. She would absolutely be a great leader with her commanding presence and ability to see past exteriors meant to throw people off and catch them off guard.

Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook

This is another one of those books where a character isn't directly a leader, but they are somewhat of a de facto leader--and a good one at that. Hook is extremely just, but he isn't blind to the evils and unfair actions that life often wreaks upon people's lives. I think Hook would be one of the best leaders out there, and I would absolutely be okay with following his leadership.

Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1)

I think Jess and Morgan would work well together and make great leaders together. They might individually make great leaders as well, but together I think they could be very strong (as long as they communicate!). Both have distinct skill sets that vary from technical to social and it is because of these that I think they could be strong leaders.

The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time, #1)

She might need to be slightly more personable at times, but Egwene seems like a strong, silent young woman who could easily take a position of leadership on her shoulders. I think after a few years on the job she'd be practically unstoppable, as well as very fair to whoever she's leading. Also, I think she's be a pretty great feminist leader.

The Former Captain by Merwild

Okay, I know that we already all know Chaol's a good leader, but I had to include him because he truly is! This series constantly refers to and exemplifies how his soldiers and those he has trained and worked with over his years have almost unflinching loyalty to him. Chaol would be an amazingly fair and badass leader.

Image: Merwild

The Women in the Castle

Marianne is one of those women that just gets shit done. She doesn't complain, doesn't make a big fuss, just knows what needs to be done and does it. If she needs someone to do something or go somewhere, she just tells them and moves on with her life. It doesn't matter if it's unpleasant or uncomfortable, it needs to be done. Marianne is absolutely the person I want in charge of leading my in almost any event in my life. 

The Secret Keepers

Reuben is a smart, resourceful, and incredibly endearing kid. I can't imagine him being anything less than a strong, charismatic leader who would be well-loved by everyone. I would love to see what Reuben can do as an adult.

11. Leah Westfall 
from The Gold Seer Trilogy by Rae Carson
Walk on Earth a Stranger  (The Gold Seer Trilogy, #1)

I think Leah has already proved what an immensely capable woman she is, but I feel it needs to be reiterated that she is one incredible woman. She realizes she has to do something and does whatever she needs to achieve that goal-- you know, such as dressing up as a boy to get to California. 

12. Arabella Ashby 
from Arabella of Mars by David Levine

Arabella of Mars (Adventures of Arabella Ashby, #1)

Arabella is yet another character that would lead any adventure that comes her way. She is strong, outgoing, and fairly fearless. She will also dress up as a boy to achieve her goals, and I admire that. I would be honored to go on any adventure led by Arabella.

13. Lady Margraine 
from The Empire's Ghost by Isabelle Steiger
The Empire's Ghost

Let's just say that if I'm ever going to war or ncountering some huge obstacle that I need to work through in my life, I want Lady Margraine to be there. She is bold, blunt, and highly intelligent. She's not exactly the most charismatic or endearingly friendly person, but.... who cares!?


14. Hermione Granger and Ginny Weasley

Whether working together or individually, I think we can all safely say that Hermione and Ginny would be incredible leaders. Hermione is highly astute, full of common sense, and always one to take charge. Ginny is outspoken, calm, and also incredibly intelligent. They were born to lead in some sort of capacity--and they do! 

What characters do you think would make great leaders?