Free Textbooks NocturnaAuthor Maya Motayne –

Welcome to San Cristobal, a Latinx kingdom laced with magic and grappling with homegrown treachery and a colonial past When the true heir to the throne is assassinated, reluctant Prince Alfehr joins forces with a chameleon of a street thief to save the kingdom from an ancient evil In the process, they may find a way to save each other Fantasy fans will embrace the creative worldbuilding and welcome these flawed and multilayered characters into their hearts. I really wanted to like this book because I love the ideas behind it: a Latinxinspired fantasy, the propio magic system, an adventure between two unlikely allies, a match between a soft boi prince and a tough female thief, etc Unfortunately, I found the writing to be trite and generic, and the characters (especially Alfie) acted stupidly juvenile for the sake of conflict It was clear that this is Motayne's first novel because I could tell what she was trying to execute; it just couldn't quite reach me. To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaksAs a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic foreverAfter the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magicBut when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts I had hoped to love this book And yet, somewhere deep in my little heart I knew, knew almost for certain, that I wouldn’t That it was almost too good to be true.Now I’ve read it and lo and behold, I did not, in fact, love this book.Some of you may or may not know this about me, but I am Dominican I was born and partially raised in The Dominican Republic, a small, Spanish speaking island in the Carribean, where the sun always shines and the beaches are always blue So, to hear that an author was going to write a fantasy novel based on her Dominican heritage I was nothing if not completely on board.So, you can only imagine how disappointed I was when this book was only superficially Latinx and could have otherwise been set in any generic Europeanesque kingdom.The book talked about some Hispanic foods: sweet plantains, which I love, the adobo seasoned chicken, and some other things It used Spanish words for magic, which I gotta say, doesn’t sound as magical when you actually speak the language Alfie would say magic words like, “Alargar” and “Parar” and magic would happen, except that these are the Spanish verbs ‘to elongate’ and ‘to stop’ and those don’t sound all that magical when you think about it But it can’t be helped, I suppose It’s not the book’s fault that I’m not impressed by Spanish words Overall culturally, there wasn’t much to distinguish it from every other fantasy out there.The bible says that there is “no new thing under the sun” So, I don’t so much look for originality in plot lines but rather for the execution of said plots because let’s be real, most books fall under the same plotlines and the same tropes, and character outlines, and still, we read them.That said, there has been an overwhelming amount of people comparing this book to A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab, to the point that they claim that Nocturna is nothingthan a blatant ripoff.I read ADSOM a few years ago and didn’t love it It was an ok book for me and I really didn’t like Laila Bard I had barely remembered that book while reading this one if I’m honest It wasn’t until I started reading some people’s reviews that I began to think back on the other story and point out some similarities And trust me, there are many similarities in plot, characterization, magic, and even the ending.But, as I mentioned, there is no new thing under the sun Had this book executed that plot in aenjoyable way, I wouldn’t have minded as much But alas, it did not.The writing in this book is pretty decent It’s not amazing, but it was easy to read There were some moments that felt a little infodumpish but that’s the way it is with fantasy sometimes The characters are alright I found that their motivations shifted rather quickly though They also made a lot of questionable choices, but what YA character doesn’t.There is a shift in the plot that I didn’t expect It started out as being about one thing, mostly Alfie finding his brother, but then that takes a back seat and the plot became about something else This is also a thing that happens a lot in books and doesn’t really bother me so long as the change in the plot is engaging and it all connects in the end I’m not sure how well this book pulled that off.Overall, I liked that this was a Latinx fantasy, or that it tried to be Latin American culture is extremely diverse The Carribean Islands have a culture unlike Central America, which is different in culture from South America and all the individual countries are so rich with history and culture and traditions and it’s beautiful We’ve seen a lot of Asian fantasy lately, and African fantasy is on the rise and I’m so happy about it Now I want to see some Latin American fantasy take the stage I want a book that fully throws you into the culture it’s depicting, not just brushes the surface as I feel this book did.So yeah, there you have it I don’t think this book lived up to what it could have been But maybe I’m just a hater? Oh, well.Also, y’all gotta check out this book trailer No offense, but it’s actually kind of ridiculous how cringy it is It’s like a bad video game upload, but with overly dramatic yet anticlimactic narration.To see the trailer click HERE **I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review All opinions are my own.**Follow Me Here Too: My Blog || Twitter || Bloglovin' || Instagram || Tumblr || Pinterest This is our September 2020 pick for the Dragons and Tea Book Club! 🐉☕ (Also, we are so close to 5k members and it would mean the world to me if you joined us!) ✨ Dates Breakdowns:September 16th chap 1 – 7September 17th chap 8 – 16September 18th chap 17 – 24September 19th chap 25 – 31September 20th chap 32 – end✨ Content and Trigger Warnings: murder, blood, manipulation, abuse, suicide, slavery, loss of a loved one (thank you so much Johely!)🐲 Blog📖 Insta☕ Twitter💕 Also, Latinxathon is being hosted from Sept 1524 and this book very perfectly lines up with their readathon! 💕 Other book clubs to check out for Latinx Heritage Month (September 15th October 15th): Latinx Book Club Latinx Book BingoBlog | Instagram | Youtube | Kofi | Spotify | Twitch Any unabashedly good reviews of this book must be from people who either have never read V.E Schwab's Shades of Magic Trilogy, or who do not care when a book's entire plot is lifted from another source.Several sources, in fact Because beyond the egregious rippingoff of Schwab's trilogy, even the tiny, different details are often easily traceable back to other sources, from which they have just as blatantly been stolen and cobbled.I've been annoyed at books before for stealing basic plot from popular series Wicked Saints, for one, reminded me too much of Bardugo's Grisha series, as did Red Queen There were dozens of teen vampire books that flooded bookshelves after Twilight, and after the Harry Potter series there were yetdozens of magic school books.But those books, while sometimes coming too obviously close to the line, for the most part were inspired by the worlds they copped from The plot as a whole tended to be new, or the characters were different, or the magic system had been very changed, or the whole thematic point of the book had been shifted.Nocturna not only steps right up to that line, it barrels across it in ways that are just unforgivable I have never read a book that stole so much from its source material It's not just that the main characters, Alfie, Finn, and Luka, are essentially copypaste Kell, Lila, and Rhy It's not just that the magic system is eerily similar, except for a few teensy tweaks It's not just that the dark magic villain comes to power in exactly the same way, moves through human hosts in exactly the same way, and is defeated in exactly the same way And it's not just that the thematic points of the book are overwhelmingly the same It is all of these and muchAnd it's absolutely deliberate I spent over half the book dreaming of having a PDF version where I could searchandfind and count all of the many, many times this novel uses the phrase shades Shades of magic Different shades Darker shades Over and over and over, as if Motayne wanted you to know that she plagiarized from another author's series But yet couldn't, apparently, be bothered to even mention that series in her acknowledgements (I checked, not that I expected her really to admit it) As for the rest of it? The stuff that's not copped from Shades of Magic?Well, you have a prison breakout scene that could be straight out of a Bardugo book.You also have a relationship between two main characters that is almost exactly Jessica Jones and Kilgrave.Other than that, there's not much different to be honest And it got to the point where those things that were, I did not trust to be unique from Motayne's mind either If I didn't recognize it immediately from another person's work, I started assuming it must just be because I hadn't read the work it was stolen from yet It's that bad.And the worst, truly the worst, part of all of this isDespite lifting things from so many sources, not perfect ones of course but ones that nevertheless got the literary job doneThis book was legitimately terrible.The character motivations constantly shifted for no reason: I want to find my brother who maybe isn't dead, but then again I guess he's dead and I never have to think about him again womp; I want my daughter to be dead for what she did to me but then I guess I want her to be alive and love me again but then I guess I want her dead but maybe also alive It was nearly impossible to keep track of anyone's arc in this thing because no one had a clear one, and the backgrounds of every character became so jumbled and lost that you started just expecting to have nothing be satisfying at the end by about a third of the way through.The plot was also an incoherent mess The main characters all had what I can only describe as a Harry Potter complex the need to do everything by themselves, because they were the only ones who could stop the evil!but, in fact, literally none of them had even the basic qualifications for fighting off the evil, and there were I assume hundreds of actual military members and powerful magicusers who would have been much better suited to helping The whole thing took place over what actually seemed to be 23 days, and felt that quick, too, as the characters mostly just jumped from plotcontrived scene to plotcontrived scene Nothing felt earned, nothing felt connected, and by the end I was literally rolling my eyes as I read it because I could not believe that the reader could be expected to actually believe anything that was happening or care.At the beginning of this book, I was fine with it It was refreshing to see a YA fantasy world from a Latinx author, based on her Dominican heritage It was quite cool to have the magic system work with Spanish words, instead of the typical Latin It was clearly similar to Shades of Magic, but wasn't a blatant ripoff.But by the middle, everything I had liked was gone The worldbuilding becomes shoddy at best, with mentions of sangria and sugarcane really the only things that separate it from any other typical fantasy world By the end of the book, the references to these actually seemed out of place and jarring, that's how directly like Shades of Magic it had become The Spanish continues throughout, which is fine, but without a rich culture to back it up, it starts to feellike a gimmick than anything else.The back of my ARC has a picture of Motayne, smiling When I turned to look at it, that's when I really knew how much this book angered me Because all I could think was, You haven't earned the right to smile This isn't your book It's other people's books And I hope you don't earn a centfor it.Kirkus Reviews has already commented that getting a second book out of this world will be difficult, because of the lack of culture and worldbuilding.But I think I can tell you exactly how Motayne is going to pull out a second book And a third.There's going to be a magic tournament And then the dark magic is going to come back from the void.Maybe after, they'll all go to Red London for drinks. BIG OLD YIKES! It's hard for me to write this review because I really wanted to love this book and I was so excited to have a Fantasy book with an all Latinx cast.Sadly, this book has one big issue that I need to talk about.This book is about a prince and a thief in a magical world The prince can travel from one place to another by making basically any wall a door The thief steals something from the prince and they meet The prince's cousin (who's like a brother to him) gets poisoned and in order to save him, the prince uses the help of black magic that's been locked away for years The black magic gets unleashed and roams through the city, leaving destruction in its wake It uses people as vessels, making their veins black and raised, but some are too weak and simply turn to dust.There's a piece of the black magic that the prince and the thief keep and it helps the prince bring the thief through one of his doorways, even though he usually can only go alone That piece also wears the prince out because it tempts him to use it.Does this sound familiar? If it doesn't, you probably haven't read the Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E Schwab.I hate to be that person but as someone who loves V.E Schwab and the trilogy and is also know for that, it would feel wrong for me to not point these similarities out It is UNCANNY.I know that there's rarely any truly unique books out there any A lot of the elements in the plot of both NOCTURNA and SHADES OF MAGIC can be found in plenty of other books But the fact that there's so many matching things in both, does seem weird.And it's not only the plot but also the characters, the way they behave and the dynamics between them.Alfie, the prince, has the ability to see magic which comes VERY close to Alucard's ability While Alfie's brother, who was supposed to be King, has died prior to this story, his cousin, who, as I said above, is like a brother to Alfie, reads a lot like Rhy And while Alfie did remind me off Kell often times the thing that really rubbed me the wrong way, is the fact that Finn, the thief, IS Lila Bard Like let's just take a look at some of these quotes “Nothing makes me feel small without paying the price That creepy thing owes me a debt for that, and I always get what I'm owed.”“But if Finn was known for anything, it was jumping headfirst into things that were very bad ideas.”“'I don't have much fear in me, Prince I'm not going to waste it on him,' she said, her mouth curling into a snarl around that word She tossed him a smirk that almost covered the turmoil churning beneath it.”“She'd always imagined the weight of someone's hand in her own to feel like an anchor, tugging her into a forced stasis when she only wanted to run, to be free Yet now, she wanted nothingthan to stay She feltfreedom in this moment than all her years combined Freedom, she was coming to understand, could be found in a person instead of a place.” I'm a hardcore Shades of Magic fan but you probably could've sold these to me as something that Lila has said and I would've believe you, that's how much this sounds like her.She is in general scared of staying too long in one place, she is scared of commitment and getting attached to other people This also shows in her dynamic with Alfie, where both clearly like each other a lot but don't wanna admit it.And the book ends with Finn leaving on a ship.It's just all a tad too close And again, I hate doing this I don't want to call this book out like this but there is absolutely no way to unsee the similarities So here I am, just putting out what I personally observed.In the beginning I still enjoyed this book regardless but when there wereandsimilarities, I started disliking this bookandas well On top of that I thought the second half was incredibly boring, funnily exactly when it started going into a different direction plot wise.So I'm sure this book will work for some people I didn't dislike it because it is bad but because I think it is absolutely too close to my favourite trilogy of all time It feels uncomfortable to read this book with all its similarities but also in comparison, it just cannot hold up at all.♦ Booktube Channel ♦ Twitter ♦ Instagram ♦I received an ARC through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review! ARC provided in exchange for honest review 🔮 April Fairyloot Box Click on the link under picture to see all of the goodies!THE GOODIESDamn it! Damn it! Damn it!! I was hoping to love this book!! It’s so pretty inside and out, the pages had their own special magic BUT I didn’t like it much!! And I hated that one of the main characters name was shortened to the nickname of Alfie! Felt like I was reading the movie A Christmas Story but with Alfie instead of Ralphie Don’t ask, I’m weird I’m sure this book will be for lots of people just not for me 😕Happy Reading! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾 ugh this is the third book in a row where i am just feeling so uninvested is is this what a reading slump feels like? im not quite sure how i feel about that, or this book, tbh from an objective standpoint, theres a bit going for this story the latinx culture is fun and exciting and something i havent read a lot of (even if the plot is one i have *cough* a darker shade of magic *cough*) the writing is impressive for a debut and the pacing is good with decent world building from a subjective view, gosh, i just couldnt fully immerse myself into the story or deeply care about the characters and their actions/motives again, im pretty sure this a problem with me, not the story itself also, im not quite sure how i feel about this being a series i mean, the story is pretty well resolved i dont see how it can be drawn out unless the following two books deal with different stories set in the same world, because theres nothing really to be continued from this particular book anyway, even if this isnt quite everything i wanted, i know this is a story that a lot of people will enjoy and have good reason to ↠ 3.5 stars