Author: Crystal Chan
I first heard about Bird by one of my favorite bloggers. I can not properly put into words how much I adored the experience of reading this book, I finished it in a day. It made me sad, angry, and absolutely in love with it at the same time. It’s told from the perspective of a 12-year-old mixed race girl named Jewel. She lives with her parents and her religious (depending on who you ask, superstitious) grandfather in a small town in Iowa where it’s hard to keep much of anything quiet. She was born on the day her older brother John, known as Bird, died.
Everyone in the town treats her differently, including her family, keeping her at a distance and ignoring her. That was one of the things that was the most heartbreaking and angering for me, a 12-year-old girl being kept at a distance even by the people who are supposed to show her how much they love her. Neglect on an emotional level.
I lost everything before I even had a chance to fight for it.
When she meets a boy named John visiting his uncle things started changing for Jewel.
The friendship between Jewel and John is the beauty of this book. They find something in each other that they couldn’t find anywhere else and are able to do things they never would’ve done on their own.
When things aren’t exactly what they seem and a friendship is put at risk, they were able to do things they couldn’t do on their own, bring each of their fractured families together. It’s a great story of how loss can change a family, friendship, love, and touches on how it is to be different from what is considered normal.
Title: The Queen of the Tearling
Author: Erika Johansen
The concept of this book really intrigued me: a young, hidden queen, assassins, a world set in a future without technology, and magic. I’m actually surprised this stayed on my to-be-read shelf as long as it did.
Despite the story being set in a future with no technology I was pretty surprised how different the setting was, it was practically medieval. Only the name of the city where the Keep is, New London, pushes the fact that this is supposed to be in the future.
The book started with the nineteen year old queen Kelsea, leaving her hidden home in the woods with her queens guard. We were briefly introduced to her guardians before she left and were introduced to the main men in her guard along the road. It felt a bit dragged out until around the end of chapter three, after the outlaw Fetch was introduced, then things picked up.
We see the change in Kelsea as she steps into her role as a queen and not just queen in name. Being queen includes thinking of and protecting her people, which she starts the moment she arrives at the Keep and continues to do even when doubted and facing a superior force. Her relationship with her older guard Lazarus of the Mace aides her in this transition and in her relationship with the other members of her guard.
If I could say anything negative about this book, it would be the medieval thinking and that beauty (or lack of) seems to be something of major significance to the characters. Also that the characters weren’t easily memorable, I found myself on multiple occasions having to go back to remember their descriptions and relationships.