An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason by Virginia Boecker
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: October 23, 2018
Format: arc | Source: borrowed
Genres: young adult, historical fiction
When Lady Katherine’s father is killed for being an illegally practicing Catholic, she discovers treason wasn’t the only secret he’s been hiding: he was also involved in a murder plot against the reigning Queen Elizabeth I. With nothing left to lose, Katherine disguises herself as a boy and travels to London to fulfill her father’s mission, and to take it one step further–kill the queen herself.
Katherine’s opportunity comes in the form of William Shakespeare’s newest play, which is to be performed in front of Her Majesty. But what she doesn’t know is that the play is not just a play–it’s a plot to root out insurrectionists and destroy the rebellion once and for all.
The mastermind behind this ruse is Toby Ellis, a young spy for the queen with secrets of his own. When Toby and Katherine are cast opposite each other as the play’s leads, they find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another. But the closer they grow, the more precarious their positions become. And soon they learn that star-crossed love, mistaken identity, and betrayal are far more dangerous off the stage than on.
Once I was hooked, I could not stop reading!! The story was so tense and well plotted. I felt like I was IN Elizabethan England- the worldbuilding was fantastic. I loved how Virginia Boecker wrote the character of Shakespeare (he was hysterical), I loved Kit’s character and her motivations, and I really loved Toby (who is bisexual). His life as a spy and playwright apprentice was so interesting. I especially loved Kit and Toby together! There is a lot of cat-and-mouse and mistaken identities, which made for plenty of tension. I also love when a book or movie opens with a scene that we loop back to towards the end. It’s SUCH a cool storytelling device. “Assassins” was excellent, fun, suspenseful historical fiction filled with tropes I love to read!
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Series: Legacy of Orïsha #1
Published by: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: March 6, 2018
Format: hardcover | Source: purchased
Genres: young adult, fantasy
They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.
I took my sweet time reading COBAB but now I’m begging for the sequel. That ending!!! My gods. I loved all of the characters (the four main especially), the worldbuilding, the maji, all of it. The magic system was so unique and well developed, as was Orïsha. As much as I liked Zelie, I think Amari was my very favorite character, surprise surprise. I can’t resist the timid princess growing into her own. Tzain and Inan grew on me as well (Inan’s character arc was especially intriguing) and for once I have a lot of genuine ships I’m invested in haha. There were lots of emotional family moments as well. The book felt a little long in the middle but almost all fantasy books do. I can’t wait to continue the adventure!! Children of Blood and Bone was so intense in the best way.
Have you read either of these stellar books? Do you gravitate toward historical or fantasy reads? Let me know!