Winter book reviews

Amber Hayden, Arts and Entertainment Editor

“A Ruinous Fate” by Kaylie Smith

Whether readers are on the lookout for powerful heroines, enticing romance stories, or unique abilities, “A Ruinous Fate,” by Kaylie Smith, has them covered. Though many stories focus on the Fae or witches specifically, this story follows a crew of siphons, witches, sirens, and characters with unspecified abilities. With too many fantasy novels following comparable stories in similar worlds, “A Ruinous Fate” lets readers experience a truly new story with a hint of the familiar aspects. The story takes a magical turn by including the infamous, normally dull quest trope, but with an adventurous twist. On their journey, the diverse cast finds themselves in many tricky situations whether its challenges in the forest or the many romantic storylines along the way. The characters seem simple at first, but as the story goes on, their secrets come undone and readers will not believe their eyes when they see just how messed up the characters’ lives are. Through this all, readers will grow a deep connection with the characters and relate to their hidden depths. With every chapter, the high stakes get revealed more, leaving readers satisfied, yet nervous for their new favorite characters. With these amicable, deep characters, a messy, actionpacked adventure, and breathtaking magical abilities, “A Ruinous Fate” is the world’s next big fantasy novel that beautifully explains the gut wrenching feeling why you should never dare to mess with fate.

“The Love Match” by Priyanka Taslim

When it comes to matters of unexpected love in epic proportions, “The Love Match,” by Priyanka Taslim, does this best. Though love triangles are an unpopular affair, this book makes it more realistic and seem not only feasible, but believable. Both love interests are interesting people with tons of hidden layers, making each new bit of information revealed about them shocking. With every twist in Zahra’s love life, readers will be left angry, devastated, or elated at the messiness in front of them. The chemistry between the characters will leave readers rooting for the different ships and with the complexity of Zahra’s relationships, will leave them unable to think of anything else. Not only this, but with the expert characterization, readers will not be able to help getting attached and feeling every emotion twice as strong as Zahra. Every character in the story feels like a real person, making the reader feel grounded in the scene whether it is about difficulties with her family or her friendships that will stand the test of time. Outside of the romance, the characters are deeply relatable and touch on topics that are rarely discussed or talked about in romance novels. The Love Match perfectly describes being a teen whether it is addressing the stress of figuring out what to do after high school or choosing who has your heart. All throughout the heartbreak, love, and eventual happiness, readers will not be able to help falling in love with Zahra and her true match.

“The Rom-Com Agenda” by Jayne Denker

“The Rom-Com Agenda,” by Jayne Denker, is a fun filled tale with drama and magnificent characters that find themselves stuck in a real life romantic comedy that is just too good to look away. Most people don’t go into beloved films tasked with studying the characters to win back an ex-girlfriend in some weird comedy makeover, but somehow Eli finds himself doing just that. His dialogue, as he attempted to adjust, was hilarious as his family dragged him around his small town fixing him up just so he could impress his undeserving ex. Inevitably he meets a new friend along the way who does not see why he should have to change for someone else, but somehow falls into the trap of helping him. They start to bond between Eli pointing out the flaws of society’s favorite rom-coms of all time and Leah pointing out what he was meant to be learning from them so he can win back Victoria. The characters are complex people and do not hesitate to hint at the clear chemistry between them eventually leaving readers hoping they will end up together. The surrounding cast also seem like real people and do not fall into the cliches that no one wants to see. Instead they play actual roles in the plot and they help make the plot happen in the first place because without them there would be no rom-com agenda. Everyone is exactly what they need to be and the characters are a rom-com dream that will leave any romance lover falling in love from page one.

“Unseelie” by Ivelisse Housman

By now literature is filled with classic faerie stories, of the honest yet beautiful immortals, but “Unseelie,” by Ivelisse Housman, brings in a twist by presenting a changeling story. Unseelie is based on the mythology of changelings and gives the magic of faerie stories without all the cliches. The faeries are not always present, but when they do show up, it is meaningful. As for characters they
can root for, readers are sure to fall in love with Seelie and her twin sister along for a wild ride that neither of them expected. The characters soon find themselves in trouble and are constantly being hunted down leaving them no choice but to rely on their reluctant allies. Some characters eventually fell into an easy cadence while others maintained witty banter that walked the line between hatred and romance. The only thing more interesting than these dynamics was was learning the magic system. It is easy to understand, but will keep readers needing to know how it all works. As the story goes on, relationships become strained, making their quest more difficult and all the more entertaining to watch. Inevitably the fae grows to play a larger role in the story as
Seelie is a changeling, but in the most unexpected ways that readers won’t see coming. Unseelie is sure to leave anyone wondering if Seelie wins the battle or if she and her comrades fall to the clutches of death. After all, if you are dealing with the fae, you better watch your back