Review: ‘They Both Die At The End’

The title ‘They Both Die At The End’ leaves little room for imagination and you already know how this story is going to end. I first remember hearing about this book at an event at Barnes & Noble featuring Nicola Yoon, Adam Silvera, and Kara Thomas. I believe it was to promote “The Sun Is Also A Star” by Nicola Yoon and Adam mentioned his upcoming book and once I heard the title, I was instantly sold on it. It sounded fascinating! And it did not disappoint.

Title: They Both Die At The End
Author: Adam Silvera
Series: n/a – standalone
Rating: 4/5 stars

This is actually my first Adam Silvera book (shame on me, I know), but it will not be my last. TBDATE follows two boys, Mateo and Rufus, who both get the call from Death-Cast telling them that they will die in the next 24 hours. They both use an app called “Last Friends” and end up finding each other and deciding to spend their last day together.

This is told over the course of less then 24 hours, with Mateo and Rufus fitting an entire lifetime of living into that span of time. The narrative goes back and forth between the two boys with timestamps when the narration changes. Scattered throughout are short narratives from other people’s lives who unintentionally intertwine in some small or large way with Mateo and Rufus’. At first I found these random people to be quite…well, random. But as the story progresses, you see how everything and everyone can affect someone else, in the smallest or largest way and you may never even know it. I liked this concept of fate/destiny/chance/call it whatever you want. I like the idea of the domino effect. One event causes another and so forth and so on.

The idea that one small thing you do or someone else does affecting you really made me think. The concept of death is prevalent in this book and it made me wonder, what if Death-Cast was real? What if we were given 24 hours advance notice of when we were going to die? This book really made me stop and think about life and death and about living life to the fullest.

TBDATE is a LGBT representation book. Rufus says in his “Last Friends” profile that he is bisexual and is stated as having an ex-girlfriend. Mateo’s sexuality isn’t said until the end when its revealed he never really “came out” to anyone, but he is gay. Mateo has his first (and last L L L) kiss with Rufus before they both, you know, die at the end.

I listened to this as an audiobook and I highly recommend this audio! I felt an even closer connection with both Mateo and Rufus by hearing their voices. It made me feel like I was also a “last friend” with them, going along and experiencing all they could in one day. Mateo and Rufus each have a different voice actor with a third female voice narrating the other people scattered throughout. I think hearing the emotions in the voices added an extra layer to this story and I would recommend giving the audio a try!

I’m not a very emotional person so while this book was sad, I personally found it bittersweet more then anything else. These two young boys had their whole lives ahead of them and life was cut short. Despite knowing how this book was going to end, my stomach still dropped at the very last line. It shook me up. I knew it was coming but I didn’t see it coming like that. Adam really knows how to punch you in the gut when you’re down. Well done!

~Missy

 

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Review: ‘Carry On’

I went into Carry On with my expectations set very low. I am pleasantly surprised to say, this was a 4/5 star read for me! “You were the sun, and I was crashing into you.”

Title: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Rating: 4/5 stars

I have previously read two other Rainbow Rowell books (Fangirl and Landline), neither of which I really enjoyed. I didn’t plan to read another Rainbow Rowell book – nothing against her, her writing just wasn’t for me! But on a whim (and because of the pretty new paperback cover design) I picked up Carry On. And I quickly became obsessed! I needed to know where Baz is! What would happen to Simon? Who is Lucy? So many questions!

I really enjoyed that this book was split between many different points of views – sometimes just a few sentences of each character within a chapter. It was a different way of reading then I was used to and I greatly enjoyed it!

I listened to Carry On via the audio and it was fantastic. I’m picky when it comes to British accents (and my ability to understand them, as I tend to listen to audio on 2x speed) but this audiobook was great and I highly recommend listening to it if that’s your fancy.

The spells magicians cast in this book were hilariously wonderful! Some were nursery rhymes or songs we learn as children. Some were phrases we say in every day life. And some sounded like they came straight out of a TV commercial such as my favorite: “Have a break, have a Kit-Kat.” These spells were genius – taking simple words and turning them into magic.

Incase you weren’t aware, there is LGBT representation in this book. Yes. It’s Simon and Baz. But how do they end up going from enemies to friends (?) to more then friends (!?). That is the great question. Even after hearing about this book from others, I was curious to see how it all happened! It did not disappoint.

“You were the sun, and I was crashing into you.”

This quote is both very ‘gag-too-cute’ yet also swoon worthy. I thought it was cheesy until I read it in context and then, cue the awww-ing.

While Carry On has similarities to the Harry Potter world, the similarities ends at it being about magic and there being a ‘Chosen One’. That’s it. Baz isn’t Draco or Ron. Baz is Baz. Penny isn’t Hermione, she is Penny. This is a fantasy book about magic so if you like that, this book is for you. And while yes, this is the story that Cath in Fangirl writes fanfiction about, this isn’t fanfiction. This is its own story. Confused? Don’t be. Just read the book and enjoy it for what it is – a great fantasy novel.

At the end of the day, this isn’t just a love story. It’s an adventure about magic and magicians and mages and dragons and funny spells.

~Missy

Review: ‘Godsgrave’

Godsgrave is the 2nd book of the The Nevernight Chronicle trilogy and picks up a few months after where Nevernight left off. This review will contain spoilers for Nevernight, but none for Godsgrave. I listened to the majority of this as an audiobook and 10/10 recommend Godsgrave as audio! (Check out my review of Nevernight here!)

Title: Godsgrave
Author: Jay Kristoff
Series: The Nevernight Chronicle
Rating: 5/5 stars

Godsgrave begins with a lovely greeting from our favorite narrator and o how I missed them so. There is an o so helpful refresher on our beloved characters and where we last left off with them, with commentary from the narrator, of course.

From page 1, it feels like I’m returning home after a long journey. We are back with the narrator, back with Mia and Mister Kindly, and oh how I missed this world and the language used in this story.

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m now used to the writing style of Nevernight or not, but I feel like the writing in Godsgrave is easier to follow and comprehend. It’s told in alternating past and present tense once again, as Nevernight was, but it just overall feels more cohesive. Either way, I love the alternating time lines and it does not interrupt the flow of the story at all – honestly, it enhances it!

This story does not suffer from a sophomore slump as some second books tend to do but instead keeps up the pace and pushes the story along, giving us the reader and Mia more questions about who and what she really is. Mia has now become a full-fledged Blade by Lord Cassius’s hand before he died (I’m genuinely sad we didn’t learn more about/from him) but none of the Red Church are pleased about Mia’s status, as she ~technically~ failed her final test. Shortly into this story, she diverges from the Church’s mission and goes on her own path, selling herself into slavery to a gladiatorial collegium to be able to get close to Scaeva and Duomo and ultimately, hopefully kill them.

We learn more about Mia’s shadow abilities and her passengers, Mister Kindly and Eclipse, but not as much as I had hoped we would learn. I WANT ANSWERS and honestly, so does Mia. She doesn’t know anymore then we the reader knows. This is one of the biggest questions I hope gets answered before the story ends. I want to know about darkin – are there more? How do passengers come into existence and how/why can they move from on darkin to another if their original host dies? Is there a limit on passengers? Are they all shaped like animals or can they be something else*? (*I’M LOOKING AT YOU, CLIFFHANGER ENDING.) So many questions I hope we learn more about, as this is one of the things I’m most interested in about this world!

As with Nevernight, Godsgrave has explicit sex scenes. And more then one. There is an explicit f/f sex scene with Mia and someone I will not name, but it becomes pretty obvious early on who she is. And it’s a ship I never knew I shipped but. I ship it. And I ship it not only because hello hot steamy sex scenes, but because these are two strong females who seek each other out because it is their choice to do so. In a world where you are told what to do, having the choice of you can love is a powerful one and I’m glad it is one Mia has. Also hello bisexuality shown in a positive and healthy way in a f/f relationship. It’s a beautiful thing.

Of course in the world of Nevernight/Godsgrave, just when things seem to be going well, something is probably going to go wrong or someone is going to die, etc. And that is exactly what happens in this book time and time again. –shakes angry fist at book-

I knew it would end on a cliffhanger, because that’s just how this world works. But that ending. THAT. ENDING. It left me screaming, “WHAT THE ACTUAL F*CK” out loud in my car as I finished this audiobok. I can’t say I saw that one coming. And if you see that ending coming, TELL ME HOW YOU KNEW BECAUSE I HAD NO IDEA. Damn. Damnnnn. –slow clap-

Needless to say, Nevernight & Godsgrave are without a doubt in the top of my favorite books I’ve read this year. As Jay mentioned on Twitter, Nevernight 3 will hopefully be released by the end of 2018. As of now, there is no solid release date. (He has said we must sacrifice small and fluffy things in his name to insure this happens.) So I’ll just be over here crying and hugging my books and petting Mister Kindly until then. RIP me.

This was a (mostly) spoiler free review but please feel free to comment below to discuss or tweet/DM me @frayedbooks!

~Missy