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Ratings and Reviews (3 3 star ratings
3 reviews
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4.7 out of 5
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    It was AWESOME

    Ever since I read Coiled, I think I've been a little bit of a Burke fan. So I was quite excited for Spice Bringer! The story is set in a lush, beautiful, fantasy world--full of colour and spice--with slightly Indian undertones. I was initially slightly wary of this--after all the publishing kerfuffle and fuss, you tend to look askance at stuff like this... but whilst Burke uses the real world for inspiration, this fantasy world is all her own. Alk, the ornery fire salamander, is one of my favourite characters in this book. He's sarcastic and prickly, hiding a caring heart that has a soft spot for the girl he watched grow up. The interplay between Niya and Alk made me chuckle with amusement many times. And the ending! <3 It made me cry. Spice Bringer is all about Sacrifice for the Greater Good and Putting Others Above Yourself, which are good things to read about in this increasingly selfish society. It's also very much a story about Personal Responsibility and Keeping Your Promises. (And I don't really know why I'm capitalising those things.) I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's a story that believes in the good of people. Spice Bringer is also a love story, of course. What YA fantasy isn't? But Niya knows she will never live a long life, so she vows not to fall in love... and Jayesh is supposed to be a monk, so he's not supposed to fall in love... Can you see that perfectly mushily stupid setup there? There it is... all that diabetes-inducing sweetly forbidden love. It made me cry. You'll notice I mentioned crying twice already. Which is strange because I rarely ever cry while reading. The one short story that made me cry (a lot) was Orson Scott Card's Gert Fram. Another book I cried (a little) at was J.M. Frey's The Silenced Tale BUT I CRIED THREE TIMES IN THIS BOOK. It's either it's really good or I'm really PMS-ing, or both. Note: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher. I was given the book with no expectation of a positive review and the review is my own.
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    Best YA Fantasy Since Harry Potter

    You want to read this book. Definitely the best YA fantasy title I've read in some time. Five plus stars! These three characters are realistic and relatable. You want to despise the princess because of the heartache she causes for Niya, but since Burke gives you scenes from the princess’s point of view, you know what’s motivating her. And it’s a reasonable and justifiable motivation. Niya’s death sentence makes her live every moment to the full. But it also makes her leery of emotional attachments. After all, she’s going to die, and whoever loves her will be brokenhearted. Jayesh has his own baggage. His tendency to over-think every decision and wait to act puts him in conflict with Niya’s immediacy. Since he rescues her at their first meeting, we cheer him on to the end. He’s a good guy, and he deserves to find the redemption he seeks. The magical elements are neatly interwoven into the setting and characters. It was easy to believe each one. Burke does a great job of explaining what could be unbelievable in a way that doesn’t rob it of it’s mysticism (The Force was way more interesting before it was explained). I laughed at the character dialog and interaction. I cried at the heartaches and losses. Even though I predicted who would make the first and greatest sacrifice, I still couldn't stop the tears. A book that makes me laugh and cry deserves the highest form of praise. I received an ARC from the publisher. This review is my own independent and fair evaluation.
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    Quite the Adventure

    4.5 stars *stares at keyboard trying to decide what to say* This book was unexpected. I admit that I didn't love the beginning and wasn't engaged as much as I thought I would be. (That might have something to do with a certain "lizard." Haha!) However as things progress and Niya experiences life in a whole new way, the story wouldn't let go. There aren't really words to explain the things she learns and experiences. It's just something that sticks in your mind and leaves you on edge as well as sometimes wishing things were different. Yet, it was in those moments she learned so much! Quite a few moments I was surprised by turn of events and will totally admit that I cried (like to almost the point of sobbing). The last turn of events was deeply moving and just felt a whole range of emotions. I want to mention that this is probably my third or fourth book by this author and I totally admire how she can write such a strong clean romance that is realistic. I was especially touched by this one and the struggles both of these young people have to handle and go through. Was extremely well done! This story takes readers on quite the adventure, and one that requires patience and a box of tissues. Highly recommend to fantasy readers! *(Many thanks to the publisher and author for providing me an ARC. I was not required to write a review or positive one. All thoughts expressed are my own.)*
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