Mini Reviews: The Gilded Wolves, The Antidote and Evermore

Welcome to my very first mini-reviews post! 
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The Gilded Wolves
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Gilded Wolves #1

My rating: {★★★☆☆}

YA Fantasy Fiction
Published January 15th 2019 by Wednesday Books

Source: Review copy sent VIA NetGalley by St Martin's Press
Set in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure.
Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can't yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.
Together, they'll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.
This is my very first Roshani Chokshi and I have to admit that after so many of my favourites had raved about The Star Touched stories I was so very excited to read this one. Unfortunately I was left feeling very underwhelmed and confused.

In fact, confused was how I felt a lot of the time while reading this one and although I kept hoping that all the snarls would unravel slowly and I would start to feel like the world made sense I'm afraid it never panned out that way.

To start there are a lot of characters and for me they just didn't translate well onto the page. I found myself straining to like them because there was a feature that I liked or because they had a characteristic that I normally find endearing/easy to connect to. But I just didn't feel like everyone was fleshed out nearly enough and I really struggled to get into the many, many plots because I wasn't connected to any of the characters or invested in their various stories.

I did adore the autism rep and I felt that Zofia's character was one of the ones I connected with the most and I really felt as though Chokshi did this justice.

There was a LOT of dialogue and I felt like while the dialogue was good and realistic, the narrative suffered because there seemed to be more talking than world and character building.

The world building that I did take away from it though I adored - a glittering steam punk version of Paris where Forging (creating something and giving it life) is normal.

I think when all is said and done I really loved the IDEA of this one but something about the writing and total confusion when it came to the plot and magic system just really didn't gel for me and I couldn't love it. I am determined to try Star Touched though as I think that it's two completely different vibes and that series could definitely be for me.

The Antidote
The Antidote by Shelley Sackier

My rating: {★★★☆☆}

YA Fantasy Fiction
Expected publication: February 5th 2019 by HarperTeen

Source: Review copy received via Edelweiss from HarperTeen
Magic is not allowed, under any circumstances — even if it could save someone’s life. Instead, there are herbal remedies and traditional techniques that have been painstakingly recorded in lieu of using the mystical arts. Fee knows this, so she keeps her magic a secret.

Except her best friend, Xavi, is deathly ill. He’s also the crown prince. Saving him is important, not only for her, but for the entire kingdom.

Fee’s desperation to save her friend means she can barely contain the magic inside her. And after the tiniest of slips, Fee is thrust into a dark and secretive world that is as alluring as it is dangerous.

If she gives in, it could mean she can save Xavi. But it also means that those who wish to snuff out magic might just snuff her out in the process.

Unfortunately The Antidote fell securely into the 'It was Okay but nothing great' category which I truly hate when reviewing ARCs.

There wasn't anything specific that really put me off this one, however there's a lot that could have been better, particularly the pacing. The writing lacked the flow that keeps me reading late into the night and I found it all too easy to put this one down.

The world building lacked strength and conviction and I wanted more suspense and spiralling tension in a plot that could have been great.

In the land of YA fantasies I wouldn't go out of my way to read this one when it's not adding anything particularly new or fresh to the genre.

Evermore by Sara Holland
Series: Everless #1

My rating: {★★★☆☆}

YA Fantasy Fiction
Published December 31st 2018 by HarperTeen

Source: Review copy received via Edelweiss from HarperTeen
The highly anticipated sequel to New York Times bestseller, Everless!

Jules Ember was raised hearing legends of the ancient magic of the wicked Alchemist and the good Sorceress. But she has just learned the truth: not only are the stories true, but she herself is the Alchemist, and Caro—a woman who single-handedly murdered the Queen and Jules’s first love, Roan, in cold blood—is the Sorceress.

The whole kingdom believes that Jules is responsible for the murders, and a hefty bounty has been placed on her head. And Caro is intent on destroying Jules, who stole her heart twelve lifetimes ago. Jules must delve into the stories that she now recognizes are accounts of her own past. For it is only by piecing together the mysteries of her lives that Jules will be able to save the person who has captured her own heart in this one.

After enjoying Everless and looking forward to finishing this duology with Evermore I was thrilled to receive this one as an ARC from HarperTeen.

The first few chapters were completely engrossing and I was really looking forward to an explosive finale and yet..... Everything kind of petered out for me. I needed so much MORE from this second book - I needed tighter plotting, faster pacing and I wanted a lot more out of the characters that we had first come to love.

Liam especially was a disappointment for me - in the first book he was mysterious and really propelled the plot with his decisions and intent however in Everless he had become little more than a love interest and a convenient form of information transmission after the first few chapters.

We saw very little of Ina and I thought that the conflict that was thrust between her and Jules was too contrived and lacked so much that their friendship lost vibrancy because of it.

Unfortunately Jules' impulsiveness and recklessness was still annoying for me and without the counterbalance of wonderful friendships there wasn't much to bring this back to life for me. In short, THIS COULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH BETTER.

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