Sunflowers in February is at its core a morbid book. Lily was in a car accident and woke up dead. Death is never an easy topic to face. What comes after death though, is a question I’m sure many of us do wonder about. Sunflowers in February grappled with exactly that, as Lily was in limbo, unable to move on.
The first 200 pages were not written well. I was bored and felt growing discomfort with the mangled Middle Eastern culture this fantasy book was premised on. At least the next 150 odd pages picked up a little in terms of plot and also storytelling, so I didn’t end up thoroughly hating Rebel of the Sands. Still, this book has so many problems, I’m relieved I didn’t order the sequels before finishing this one first.
A Gathering of Shadows is much more intense than A Darker Shade of Magic. Schwab has a way of putting words to a page that is incomparable to other authors. The wit that underpins her snarky characters is first class, and Lila is a prime example. What makes it so great is that Lila doesn’t try hard — it’s who she is. A Gathering of Shadows increased my love for her, Kell, and Rhy manifolds, and also sucked me right into the spheres of Alucard and Tieren.
I liked reading The State of Grace. Usually I find books under 300 pages sacrifice depth of characters. For this book, the lower page count wasn’t an issue at all. Rachael Lucas knew exactly what her story was and knew exactly where she was going with it. I found The State of Grace to be focussed and intentional in telling Grace’s story. It’s a book that embraces neurodiversity — something that I’ve not come across all that much in YA fiction.