Fantasy Book Review: Shadow Grail #4: Victories

Shadow Grail #4: Victories by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill

Spirit White and her friends Burke, Loch, and Addie have escaped from Oakhurst Academy. But their freedom has come at a terrible cost—a dear friend sacrificed her own life to save theirs. In the wake of Muirin’s death, they are also forced to deal with the terrifying truth behind the facade of Oakhurst Academy: all of the legends are true.

Queen Guinevere, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table really had existed. With the magic of Merlin, they were able to imprison their greatest foe, Mordred, before he could plunge the world back into the Dark Ages. But Mordred is now free, in charge of Oakhurst Academy, and determined to finish what he started so long ago.

Pursued by Shadow Knights, the reincarnated remnants of Mordred’s original army, Spirit’s small band undertakes a quest to recover the Four Hallows, objects of immeasurable power. Memories of a past life have begun to surface, one in which Spirit wields a legendary sword. She comes to realize that these memories are the true key to Mordred’s defeat. Can Spirit and her friends manage to recapture the magic of Camelot in time to save their fellow students and prevent the end of the world?

Now that Spirit and her friends know the truth behind Oakhurst Academy, they still need to learn who they were the last time they fought Mordred, find their artifacts, and figure out how to stop him. The characters are already well-developed and have little time for socializing. Time has run out, and this final installment focuses solely on them trying to defeat this incredibly powerful evil.

Victories is the fourth novel in the Shadow Grail series and concludes in a fast-paced, action-paced adventure. A lot is crammed in this quick read, though it surprisingly doesn’t feel rushed. The suspense builds to an exciting, big finale that doesn’t disappoint. This talented team of Lackey and Edghill have created a fun and fascinating series for young adults that I thoroughly enjoyed.

SciFi Book Review: Storm

Storm by DJ MacHale

After a harrowing escape from Pemberwick Island, Tucker Pierce and his surviving friends—Tori, Kent, and Olivia—have finally reached the mainland, only to find that no one is left.

That’s not their only sickening discovery. Moments before they are attacked by another of the mysterious black planes, they investigate one’s wreck and are horrified to find that it bears the logo of the U.S. Air Force. This can only mean one thing: the United States is at war with itself—the deadly technology of the Air Force against the brute force of the Navy’s SYLO unit, which still holds Pemberwick Island and its residents captive.

Tucker must lead his friends to safety, but his head is spinning. How can the Air Force be perpetuating such genocide against not only its own citizens, but the world? What is SYLO’s role in this, and why did Tucker’s parents betray him by allying with SYLO, whose commander, Captain Granger, killed Tori’s father at point-blank range? And what did his mother mean when she told him to trust no one?

Tucker, Tori, and friends set off cross-country on a quest for answers and, for Tucker, vengeance. But as one highway gives way to the next—and one death-defying escape precedes another—Tucker soon realizes that “trust no one” doesn’t just mean the U.S. military.

Tucker and his companions are just scared young teens, with all the crazy hormones that come with it. But they’re forced to grow up quickly and make hard decisions. Tucker is smart and doesn’t trust easily.

Storm is the second installment in a YA science fiction trilogy. This fast-paced thriller is full of danger, suspense, and intrigue. Tucker’s journey takes him across the US in search for survivors and answers. This latest novel was even more exciting than the previous. Readers finally learn more about SYLO, the attackers, and the war that has begun. But there’s still plenty left unanswered for the final installment.

SciFi Book Review: The Taking

The Taking by Kimberly Derting

The last thing Kyra Agnew remembers is a flash of bright light. She awakes to discover that five whole years have passed. Everyone in her life has moved on—her parents divorced, her boyfriend is in college and dating her best friend—but Kyra’s still the sixteen-year-old she was when she vanished. She finds herself drawn to Tyler, her boyfriend’s kid brother, despite her best efforts to ignore her growing attraction. In order to find out the truth, the two of them decide to retrace her steps from that fateful night. They discover there are others who have been “taken,” just like Kyra. Only, Kyra is the first person to have been returned past the forty-eight-hour taken mark. With a determined, secret government agency after her, Kyra desperately tries to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had . . . but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

Kyra has her future planned out at sixteen. But when she suddenly wakes up and five years have passed, life has moved on without her and nothing is the same. Except for Kyra herself. Her boyfriend and best friend are now at college and 21 years old. Her parents have their own separate lives. And young Tyler is now her age and sparks begin to fly. He also, eventually, becomes her sole confidante.

The Taking is the first in a science fiction trilogy for young adults. Full of mystery, intrigue and a bit of romance – this thrilling story was impossible to put down. The characters are engaging, especially that of Kyra and Tyler. And the suspense of the story is captivating. And because this is just the first in the trilogy, we’re given hints as to what happened to Kyra – but there are still a lot of unanswered questions. And we’re left with a big cliffhanger that makes me impatient for the next in the series.

Received in April

The following are the books, DVDs, and Blu-Rays I received in April for review and/or giveaways:

Blu-Ray / DVD:
Star Trek: Enterprise Season 4 Blu Ray
The Legend of Hercules 3D Blu Ray
Survival Code

Silver Mirrors by A. A. Aguirre
Vicky Peterwald: Target by Mike Shepherd

Amazon Publishing / Two Lions:
Steampunk ABC by Lisa Falkenstern

Dangerous by Shannon Hale
Cured by Bethany Wiggins
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Chickadee Prince Books:
The Ghosts of Watt O’Hugh by Steven S. Drachman
Watt O’Hugh Underground by Steven S. Drachman

Mirror Sight by Kristen Britain

DC Comics:
Futures End #0

Harlequin Teen:
Pawn by Aimée Carter
The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa

Harper Teen / Greenwillow / Katherine Tegen:
The Taking by Kimberly Derting
How to Meet Boys by Catherine Clark
Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff
Royally Lost by Angie Stanton
Talker 25 by Joshua McCune
Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike
After the End by Amy Plum
MILA 2.0: Renegade by Debra Driza
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Jolly Fish Press:
Fires of Man by Dan Levinson

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers:
While We Run by Karen Healey

Macmillan Teen / Feiwel and Friends:
Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre

Night Shade Books:
Deadroads by Robin Riopelle

The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Gods by Sean K Reynolds

Penguin Teen / Philomel / Razor Bill / Putnam / Kathy Dawson Books:
The Inventor’s Secret by Andrea Cremer
The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler
Storm by D.J. MacHale
Conversion by Katherine Howe
End Times by Anna Schumacher

Pocket Books:
Star Trek: The Original Series: Serpents in the Garden by Jeff Mariotte
Star Trek: Enterprise: Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel by Christopher L. Bennett
Star Trek: The Original Series: No Time Like the Past by Greg Cox
Star Trek: Voyager: Protectors by Kirsten Beyer

Quercus / Jo Fletcher Books:
Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter

Witches in Red by Barb Hendee
Skin Game by Jim Butcher

Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick
In the Shadows by Kiersten White
Troubletwisters: The Missing by Garth Nix
UFiles #1: A Dark Inheritance by Chris d’Lacey
Cleopatra in Space #1: Target Practice by Mike Maihack

St Martin’s Griffin:
The Haven by Carol Lynch Williams

Titan Books:
Dead Man’s Hand edited by John Joseph Adams
A Dance in Blood Velvet by Freda Warrington

Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear
The Little Green Book of Chairman Rahma by Brian Herbert
Thornlost by Melanie Rawn
American Craftsmen by Tom Doyle

Tor Teen:
The Nightmare Dilemma by Mindee Arnett
Shadow Grail #4: Victories by Mercedes Lackey

Untold Press:
Magic and Murder Among the Dwarves by Erik Bundy

WMG Publishing:
Fantastic Detectives edited by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Book Giveaway: Vicky Peterwald: Target

Courtesy of Ace Books, I have a copy of Vicky Peterwald: Target by Mike Shepherd for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends May 30. I’ll draw a name on May 31, and notify winner via email.


Good luck!

Read moreBook Giveaway: Vicky Peterwald: Target

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