Tuesday 28 April 2020

Mini-Review! - Legendary by Stephanie Garber

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'Legendary' in a black heart outlined in dripping red, there is a smattering of stars thrown across the whole image

Title: Legendary

Author: Stephanie Garber'Legendary' book cover with red Ace of Spades

Series: Caraval #2

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Amazon: USA

The Verdict:

I don't think I've ever enjoyed a second book so much when I found the first book so... meh.

Don't get me wrong - Caraval was ok. 

It was an enjoyable enough read. 

I did have some... issues... with it when I reviewed it a few years ago, but overall it was just ok.

Legendary? Is SO much better!

Maybe it's because the majority of the problems from the first book were not present - the Queer coding, for example, is totally gone.

Julian and Dante are still a little too ambiguous, racially, but they are less ambiguous than they were in Caraval. 

At least Garber uses the word Brown to describe their skin more often in this book, instead of relying as much on 'tan' or 'olive' ( - which I've been described as a lot, and I'm White.)

Legendary also has an epic love triangle (both M/F relationships) - I know, I know, a lot of people hear the words 'love triangle' and run for the ever-loving hills - but this one is... interesting.

...This love triangle is... juicy. I don't know how else to describe it. 

It's complex, and no-one trusts anyone else here! They are all keeping sh** from each other!

And it was genuinely great to watch them dance around each other as they developed feelings for people they really didn't want to develop feelings for.

Scarlett still provokes the urge to slap some sense into that girl, but thank the Lord, she's hardly in this book and isn't a POV character.

Instead we get Tella - who I kind of love now.

(In the first book, I wasn't sure I would have bothered saving her - so that's a definite improvement!)

Tella is so much more sympathetic here - seeing things from where she stands makes her actions in the first book make a lot more sense.

The whole thing just seemed to hang together better in this one.

Maybe because it wasn't trying so hard to be 'whimsical' all the time and also wasn't trying so hard to be extravagantly dangerous - real danger doesn't have to keep reminding you it's dangerous.

There's still whimsy here - it's just less grating now! 

(And a lot more like The Night Circus than Caraval, which ironically was marketed as being like The Night Circus, and didn't have that vibe AT ALL.)

Perhaps it's because this book has the game of Caraval as almost background noise.

It's not hinging everything on that one element, an element which varied a lot in its execution, and rarely evoked the imagery expected.

Legendary is stronger for it. 

This book isn't a plot device with some characters sprinkled in.

This book is led by characters who happen to live in, and therefore have to deal with, this world where the impossible can happen.

And that's where the magic happens 😉

Content Warnings:

A couple of things to warn you about here, dearest nerdlets -

- blood (MAJOR WARNING -- blood is a recurring theme)
- serious illness/injury
- domestic abuse in a fantasy context
- references to child abuse and neglect
- references to forced marriage
- violence
- references to murder
- references to suicide/suicide attempts
- grief
- missing people
- abandonment
- abduction

Buy Now USA - Goodreads

Have you read Caraval or Legendary? What did you think?
Have you read a series where the second book is better than the first?
Do you think love triangles are better complex or simple?
Talk to me! 💖💬

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  1. I read Caraval a few years ago. While I thought the concept was very unique, I wasn’t really invested in it. But I have to admit, the covers are so gorgeous!

    1. I've never really been too into the covers - they're ok, but I've never been as fond of them as other people are!

  2. I haven't read either of these books, but I was really looking forward to reading Caraval! I definitely want to read it more now that I know the sequel is better!!

    1. I know a lot of people *love* the first one - but yeah, I was *much* more impressed by Legendary!

  3. I'm so glad to hear this one saved the series for you!

    1. Yup! I really hope the last one is as good as this one! <3

  4. This is funny because I actually liked the first book more than the second (I was annoyed by the love triangle). Isn't it weird how two people can like or dislike the exact same element of a book? I really loved the final book, so ... maybe you're in trouble? LOL! (I do think the final book had a bit of the best of both the first two, so hopefully we'll all be happy. :-) )

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. Really?! I much preferred this one.

      And the love triangle was uber-interesting to me, because literally *none* of them wanted to be falling in love, here. They were like, 'this is a bad idea, but the feelings don't care none!' And I liked the bit about Jacks not expressing love like normal people because he's *not* normal people - I just found that there was a lot more to the love triangle than there normally is. It wasn't like 'oh no, *who* shall I *ever* pick? *dolphin noises*' :)


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