The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Vol. 1: At the Edge of Empire by Daniel Kraus
Series: The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on October 27th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical
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May 7, 1896. Dusk. A swaggering seventeen-year-old gangster named Zebulon Finch is gunned down on the shores of Lake Michigan. But after mere minutes in the void, he is mysteriously resurrected.
His second life will be nothing like his first.
Zebulon’s new existence begins as a sideshow attraction in a traveling medicine show. From there, he will be poked and prodded by a scientist obsessed with mastering the secrets of death. He will fight in the trenches of World War I. He will run from his nightmares—and from poverty—in Depression-era New York City. And he will become the companion of the most beautiful woman in Hollywood.
Love, hate, hope, and horror—Zebulon finds them. But will he ever find redemption?
Ambitious and heartbreaking, The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume One: At the Edge of Empire is the epic saga of what it means to be human in a world so often lacking in humanity.
You guys this book hit me in the feels so hard I am actually having a hard time making a joke about it right now. I’m not even sure where to begin talking about it! I guess I will go with the basics. As per usual, books I love get a review that’s short and sweet. So:
Zebulon is a HILARIOUS narrator. Kraus is a phenomenal author, his wit and charm seriously jump off the page. I exclusively bounced between smiling and crying while reading, no in between. Zebulon is also incredibly complex, he’s funny and smart, stupid and crass, hopeless romantic and so freaking deep it hurts. I am adding him to the top of my favorite characters of all times list, because seriously wow. How are more people not talking about this?!
This is not a short book by any means. ~600 pages of some serious time hopping. Kraus takes you on quite the historical ride, it makes the whole book feel more like a collection of related novellas than one big story, and I kind of loved it. This way you got to see a true evolution of Zebulon. All the people he meets and all the trouble he seems to keep finding himself in are so well laid out, it’s impossible for them not to feel like watching a movie of someone’s life.
Have I said it enough? This book was amazing. I’m giving my heart a break and waiting a little before I read the conclusion sequel to this series, but I am so looking forward to it. If you’re looking for something a little different, some good laughs and a serious cry – something with heart: go pick this up.
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Series: The Queen of the Tearling #1
Published by Harper on July 8th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut—the first novel in a trilogy.
Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom's haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.
Long ago, Kelsea's forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea's nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen's Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.
Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen's vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen's Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as "the Fetch."
Kelsea's quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea's journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her.
Holy crap: the political intrigue of this book! I must admit, I tried to read it years ago when it first came out and just couldn’t seem to get into it. Then, this month (after binge watching House of Cards on Netflix) I just really wanted moremoremore politics. Looking around my shelves, I found this guy and read it in one sitting. Sunday well spent folks. Kelsea is a phenomenal MC, her POV is so intricate and unique – I can’t figure out how to explain it. She’s smart and witty, stubborn and calculating – everything you want in a Queen. The story line is perfectly complex and wonderful in every way. There is no clear villain, fighting and war are waged very tongue and cheek and Kelsea is such a bad ass. Her interactions with her people and the shenanigans that she gets into to make a statement literally gave me chills. There wasn’t very much romance in this one, and I can’t really decide if I liked that or not. Either way, for young adult this was one hefty read. Magic, war tactics, suspense, tension – ITS JUST SO GOOD! So many layers and unique themes that I feel like not a lot of YA books reach to explore. I’m so so so curious to see where this series will go, after my current read I’m hopping back into this world feet first! If you like political drama and fantasy, this book will blow your mind. Plus, the third and final book just came out, go read this one so you can join in on the hype!