Review of “Song of the Abyss” (Tower of Winds #2) by Makiia Lucier

Lucier, Makiia. Song of the Abyss. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019.

Hardcover | $17.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0544968585 | 357 pages | YA Fantasy

I picked up and put down Song of the Abyss a few times over the course of the last few days, before ultimately deciding to abandon the other book and continue on with this one, which was more promising. And ultimately, while this one was enjoyable, I did not feel the same magic I did with the first book, and I think my overall mood is a factor, hence my decision not to give it a star-rating.

It’s got great concepts, some of which carry over from the previous book, like the incorporation of pirates and mermaids (sirens), as implied by the title. The world building remains stunning, with even more diverse cultures spread throughout this world, somewhat reminiscent of our own.

And the characters are likable, particularly Reyna as a heroine. While this book is a stand-alone, it’s nice to see how she turned out now that she’s grown up and ready to go on her own adventures. She’s spunky and fun, with just the right amount of competence for a story like this, not catering to either of the two extremes of inept or overly competent to the point of unlikability that most popular books do. On the whole, she was the best part of the book, along with some of the threads connecting to the previous book, and it carried me through the book.

This book is a fun adventure story, and one I probably would have enjoyed a lot more if I was in a better mood. I think, if any of the following pique your interest, it’s worth giving it a go to see if it works better for you: mermaids, pirates, maps and seafaring, and fantasy adventures.

Review of “Isle of Blood and Stone” (Tower of Winds #1) by Makiia Lucier

Lucier: Makiia. Isle of Blood and Stone. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2018.

Hardcover | $17.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0544968478 | 390 pages | YA Fantasy

4.5 stars

I randomly heard about Isle of Blood and Stone mentioned on BookTube, and it’s been on my radar ever since, and once I heard it was a nominee for the YALSA Top Ten, I was even more interested. And upon finishing it, I definitely feel it’s worth the hype. I love that it’s a YA fantasy with a somewhat original concept and a rich, historically inspired setting, and while it does have subtle romance, it doesn’t overwhelm the plot or feel shoehorned in just for the sake of it.

While there were quite a few characters, and it did take a little bit to get to know them, I ended up really becoming invested in them through the adventures they went on and the revelations uncovered along the way.

The character bonds are what stand out. The aforementioned friendship/possible romance between Elias and Mercedes is beautiful, and I love how she’s often the one saving him! It’s so nice to see a healthy relationship highlighted in YA once in a while, since it seems like the most notable ones are somewhat toxic.

This is definitely a great example of a YA fantasy done right, and would love to see more in the same vein. And I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a good fantasy novel, regardless of whether they like YA or not.