mini reviews

Mini Reviews: Sisterhood with a Twist

Hey everyone! I’m finally back at blogging after some much needed down time. Today, I’m sharing mini reviews of three August releases that all dealt with sisterhood. Ok, including Wonder Woman: Warbringer may be a stretch, but Diana and Alia refer to each other as “sister in battle,” so we’re just going with it. Let’s dive into the reviews!

 

A Map for Wrecked GirlsA Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A Map for Wrecked Girls tells the story of two sisters, Emma and Henri, who are stranded on a deserted island with a boy they barely know. Told in alternating timelines, the reader discovers what caused the tension that threatens to ruin Emma and Henri’s relationship and their chance of survival on the island.

This book, rather unfortunately, continues the existing trends of sister stories in terms of the unimaginative dynamics readers often see between the siblings: Sister A is vibrant and cruel, Sister B is a timid follower. B loves Boy, Boy loves A, events occur, the sisters fight. Sound familiar? Because it’s super played out and I’d like some better sister dynamics in fiction, please.

I was so much more interested in the storyline of them on the island than the flashbacks to what happened previously. Emma and Henri have a completely co-dependent, destructive relationship, the likes of which I have literally never heard of real life sisters sharing. The survival story on the island is by far the strongest part of this novel, and I really enjoyed seeing how these characters handled that experience. I also understand why there needed to be a third person on the island with them, but I hated that Alex was only there to be an unnecessary romantic interest. Personally, I would have preferred if this was only the island story without the melodramatic flashbacks.

*I received an ARC of this from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review.

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Wicked Like a Wildfire (Hibiscus Daughter, #1)Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I went into Wicked Like a Wildfire expecting an amazing tale about sisters in a matriarchal magic family – but that’s not quite what happened. I still think the premise at the heart of this book was good and had so much potential. Unfortunately, the author filled every page with purpose prose and so much description that it was hard to wade through it all and actually find the action. I usually like some flowery writing, but this was just too much. Every single outfit that every female character wears is described in such excruciating detail that it felt as though I was reading an early 2000s fanfic. The characters in this story felt pretty flat and one-dimensional. Everyone had his or her single defining characteristic, and that was it.

Wicked Like a Wildfire is set in Montenegro, and I’ve never read anything set in that country before. It was really interesting to get a glimpse into the culture and landscape of Montenegro, and I enjoyed how those aspects were woven into the story. Also, in terms of representation, one of the sisters is a lesbian and in a relationship.

This book was truly weird, especially towards the end when more secrets are unveiled. Unfortunately, Wicked Like a Wildfire simply wasn’t an enjoyable read, and I found the story to be all over the place. In fact, it was so underwhelming that I just had to pick up my ARC copy and remind myself of the ending. At this point, I don’t plan to read the sequel.

*I received an eARC of this from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review.

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wonder Woman: Warbringer begins with 17-year-old Diana rescuing a girl from a sinking ship. Breaking the rule to never bring a human to Themyscira, Diana learns that Alia is a Warbringer: a descendant of Helen of Troy destined to bring bloodshed and usher mankind into war. Diana decides to help break the Warbringer curse, forcing her to leave Themyscira and prove herself as an Amazon.

I love Wonder Woman, but I think this book suffered a bit from being published the same summer as the movie. I couldn’t help but compare the two the entire time I read this book. Leigh Bardugo is one of my favorite authors, but it did feel a bit weird to read a “contemporary” story written by her.

The best parts of this novel were undoubtedly the mythology woven into the action, and seeing what Themyscria is like for young Diana. Wonder Woman: Warbringer is wonderfully, unapologetically feminist, and there is great representation. Almost every character is a person of color, and there is one LGBTQIA character. The not-so-great aspects, for me, were definitely the pacing and the weird sort-of romance between Diana and a male character. There are some really great quotes and overall it’s an empowering story, but this just didn’t quite work as well as I expected. In terms of the DC Icons series, I’m intrigued to see Marie Lu’s take on teen Bruce Wayne, but I’m not interested in Superman or Catwoman (written by SJM…ugh).

Rating: 3.75

*I received an ARC of this from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review.

View all my reviews

 

Let me know what you think of these books if you’ve read them! Also share your favorite sister stories in the comments!

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