Review: The InvocationsTitle: The Invocations
Author: Krystal Sutherland
Genre(s): Horror, YA
Pages: 400
Source: Library
For: Recommended
Sexual Content: 0.5 Flames

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There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

Zara Jones believes in magic because the alternative is too painful to bear--that her sister was murdered by a serial killer and there is precisely nothing she can do to change it. Jude Wolf might be the daughter of a billionaire, but she is also undeniably cursed. After a deal with a demon went horribly wrong, her soul is now slowly turning necrotic. Enter Emer Bryne: the solution to both Zara's and Jude's predicaments. The daughter of a witch, Emer sells spells to women in desperate situations willing to sacrifice a part of their soul in exchange for a bit of power, a bit of magic to change their lives. As Zara and Jude enter Emer's orbit, they'll have to team up to stop the killer--before they each end up next on his list.

My Thoughts

I really enjoy reading horror, but I don’t read it very often because fantasy and romance have my heart. When I read Ellie’s ARC review of THE INVOCATIONS, I knew I had to read it right away. I immediately put it on hold at the library and waited for its release and my turn.

I finished reading THE INVOCATIONS last night and I’m so glad I decided to read it right away. I was not disappointed in the least. I loved the idea of witches and witch hunters, and the use of invocations to grant women borrowed power from demons for a small piece of their soul. The story was dark, tense, mysterious, and full of paranormal goodness. It reminded me of an episode of Netflix’s THE CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA, which is what I think Krystal Sutherland was going for since she mentioned the show a couple of times in the story.

I did not come this far to only come this far.

I loved the three main characters in THE INVOCATIONS. Zara Jones is smart, determined, and grieving the loss of her sister. Jude Wolf is trying to find a way, any way, back into the good graces of her billionaire father’s heart, if he has one, and the life of luxury that represents. Emer Byrne is simply trying to exist without being tracked by those who want witches dead. Together they make an unstoppable team.

I really enjoyed THE INVOCATIONS. It gave me exactly what I was looking for. It ends in a way that doesn’t demand a sequel, but open enough if Sutherland wants to return to this world.

Have you read THE INVOCATIONS? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for loss of a parent, corpse mutilation, and blood drinking.

Review: Dread NationTitle: Dread Nation
Author: Justina Ireland
Series: Dread Nation #1
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Horror, YA
Pages: 455
Source: Library
For: Book Club
Sexual Content: 0 Flames

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Goodreads Synopsis

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville--derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities--and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

My Thoughts

DREAD NATION was my IRL book club’s pick for April. I was really excited to read it as I’ve wanted to ever since I first heard about it. A zombie apocalypse during the Civil War? Yes, please. A strong black female character fighting to not only survive the dead, but also for freedom from the oppression during Reconstruction Era America? I say again, yes, please!

DREAD NATION is the first zombie novel I’ve ever read and I loved it. I loved how the “Shamblers” worked and how they changed the outcome of the Civil War and society in general. The Shamblers were so much fun to read about. I especially loved reading the fight scenes with all the different weaponry used against the dead.

There’s nothing white folks hate more than realizing they accidentally treated a Negro like a person.

The thing I liked the most about DREAD NATION, however, was the time period and how Ireland used the setting to discuss the oppression of black people not only during Civil War era United States, but in general. Even though the themes are blunt, DREAD NATION isn’t preachy. Ireland skillfully addresses issues of racism and inequality while delivering a complex, enthralling story.

Reading DREAD NATION was very eye-opening. I know I’ve lived a very sheltered and safe life (and I’m not talking about a life free of Shamblers). I felt like DREAD NATION wonderfully illustrates the perseverance and strength black people have while enduring horrific abuse at the hands of those who see them as lesser.

I’m glad I finally got a chance to read DREAD NATION. It was a powerful, entertaining story. I look forward to reading the sequel DEATHLESS DIVIDE.

Have you read DREAD NATION? If so, what did you think?