The 2021 Book Tag: an Original Tag

Hey everyone! I’m back, with a SUPER exciting post! I introduce to you, my 2021 book tag!!!

To be honest, when I made my 2020 book tag last year, I did not expect to make one again this year. The 2020 book tag was to reflect a crazy year that none of us expected and none of us ever hoped to relive. But, while 2021 has been better in a lot of ways, we are still definitely not out of this mess. A lot of things still happened this year, and so I did end up choosing to make another book tag.

Disclaimer: As I, Phoenix, live in the United States of America, the events that these tags reflect are mainly based off of my own experience of things happening directly around me. Therefore, I won’t be including significant events that have happened elsewhere in the world in this tag. HOWEVER, if you are from another country and think of an event that was impactful around you, feel free to add another question to this tag that you think goes with that event!

Here are the rules and announcements for this tag! (Please copy and paste at the beginning of the tag!)

  • Link back to the original creator, Phoenix @Books With Wings
  • Thank the person who tagged you
  • Answer all the questions
  • Tag at least 3 people
  • While the events covered in this tag are mainly centered around the going-ons in the United States of America, if you live in another country feel free to add another question or two to this tag that you think goes with an important event that happened elsewhere!
  • PLEASE NOTE: While this tag discusses events that happened in 2021, it does not at all need to be completed in 2021. This is NOT a time-restricted tag and you may do it whenever you want. (you also do not need to talk about books that you read in 2021! It can be books you read whenever!)
  • Some of these questions are rather vague; these are totally up for interpretation!

Below is a list of the questions and their corresponding events in 2021:
Please note: while I tried my best, not all of these may be in chronological order.

  1. A sequel that did not live up to expectations (general 2021)
  2. A book where everything immediately went badly (Attack on the USA capital)
  3. A book where things seemed to change for the better (President Joe Biden’s inauguration)
  4. A book where science/some kind of sci fi thing plays a major role (Vaccines)
  5. A book where the characters get a reprieve (general, middle of the year)
  6. A book about sports/centered around competition (Summer Olympics 2021 2020)
  7. A book with a terrifying plot twist (Delta Variant)
  8. A book with awesome behind-the-scenes characters (eg side characters) (THANK YOU ESSENTIAL WORKERS)
  9. A book where there are HUGE consequences to an event/action/etc. (supply chain backups due to covid)

My answers:

A sequel that did not live up to expectations

After spending a bit of a ridiculous amount of time looking through my goodreads ‘read’ shelf, and determining that I no longer read many book serieses (that’s a word, definitely), I’ve decided on Children of Virtue and Vengeance. I really enjoyed book one, Children of Blood and Bone; in fact, it was one of my favorite books of whatever year I read it. And sure, the second book was good…it just wasn’t as good as I expected, compared to the first book.

A book where everything immediately went badly

I mean, honestly the whole beginning of She Who Became the Sun is pretty harsh. I mean, Zhu is left with…nothing and kinda has to remake her whole life (which of course she then does quite successfully).

A book where things seemed to change for the better

There were definitely some light parts in Act Cool, but there were also several times when it dealt with some much harsher topics, especially as it got closer to the end of the book (please check trigger warnings before reading!!!). While in the end, things weren’t totally resolved and happily-ever-after etc, it did seem to be a more hopeful ending.

A book where some kind of science/sci fi plays a major role

Not gonna lie, I was absolutely thinking about this book when I wrote this prompt. I mean, it kind of fits…perfectly. In The Ones We’re Meant to Find, it’s a futuristic world where a bunch of cities are literally in the sky because of flooding stuff and climate change, and tech plays a HUGE role overall in the story.

A book where characters get a reprieve

The fact that it actually took me quite a bit to think of a good response to this really says something about authors…when I think ‘get a reprieve’ I more imagine a pause in the actions near the middle of the book, but that just doesn’t happen much!!! In the end, I’m going with Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune, because there’s one point when the two main characters just kinda go off on their own and chat which is always nice when characters get away from everything like that.

A book about sports/centered around competition

As a sports fan and someone who plays sports and someone who reads as well, I’ve read several books about sports (though books are rather lacking in the sports department honestly). But I’ve chosen Mo’ne Davis: Remember My Name for this prompt, because I actually got this book when I was much younger but just wasn’t very interested! I finally read it in August and sped through it, absolutely loving it!

A book with a terrifying plot twist

This book had the kind of plot twist to make me go, ‘wait, no!’ out loud. What the heck??? The River Has Teeth is one that I took an entire Sunday and just read it straight through, barely putting it down. It was spooky and enticing and, of course, shocking.

A book with awesome behind-the-scene characters (if you can’t think of anything, then side characters)

Honestly, I’m going with good old Hunger Games here. When I say ‘behind the scenes’ I kind of mean characters who don’t get a lot of page time but are always still helping, and in Hunger Games the people who stand out to me are Portia and Flavius. They were just kind of background supports that were pretty great. There was also a lot of things in the Hunger Games with behind the scenes characters, with the whole games; though of course not all of the other people were ‘awesome’.

A book where there were HUGE consequences to an event/decision/etc

It most certainly did not take me long to find a book for this prompt. I’m going with The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl, which I read just last month. The huge consequence is kind of the main plot; Holly chooses to get turned into a vampire by her boyfriend. But then he dumps her, and she’s left as a 16 year old forever. She’s also connected to him, as he’s her maker, so she’s required to follow him wherever he goes. Also, she’ll have crimped hair forever.

Well, there are my answers to my 2021 book tag!!! I’m so excited to be doing this again, and I cannot wait to see everyone’s answers! This tag is open to anyone who wants to do it, as it’s an original tag, but I will tag a few people just to get things going:

Madeline @The Bookish Mutant
Alex @The Scribe Owl
Maria @The Character Study
Ashmita @The Fictional Journal
April @Booked Till Midnight

What did you think of my 2021 book tag? Have you checked out my 2020 book tag? What are some of your favorite books from 2021?

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

We’re almost finished with my challenge, “Beyond the Story,” at this point! After this post, we only have one more week to go. I know that, in general, the challenge was not the biggest success but I loved that I was able to read a lot of books I probably wouldn’t have gotten to on my tbr otherwise. If you’ve stumbled upon this blog in the time since I posted about this challenge and think it sounds interesting, I’d love to hear about it! I’ll consider doing another one after a bit of a break because writing these book reviews on such short notice is, I’ll admit, exhausting.

Summary:
Elisabeth has lived in one of the Great Libraries of Austermeer her whole life. Training as an apprentice, she hopes to one day become a warden, protecting the magical books–grimoires–and the kingdom from their powers.
When an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire, Elisabeth is determined to stop it from destroying the nearby village. However, her intervention has labeled her as the saboteur and she must be transported to the capital to face justice. She realizes that only a sorcerer, Nathaniel Thorn, can help her as she becomes entangled in a conspiracy from centuries ago that threatens to kill hundreds of people. As she gets deeper into the conspiracy, she must question everything she’s been taught–about sorcerers, whom she’s told are evil, about libraries and about even herself. She, with the help of a few allies, is the only one who can stop all six of the great libraries from going up in flames with countless people among them.

The characters:
Elisabeth: Elisabeth has lived in a library her entire life. And not just any library, a library where books talk to her and secret passages are her main way of getting around. Just…stop and imagine that for a second. Living in a magic library. Surrounded by books your entire life. How I wish. However, it seems that living in this library has made her very naive to the outside world. She believes that sorcerers are evil. And she knows next to nothing about the demons that are bound to them. Elisabeth was a very interesting character. She was determined and she was extremely good with a sword. She was a very strong female character. Other than that….I don’t have much to say. I feel like, despite the fact that she had a sword, was basically friends with books and, well, was the main character of this book, she wasn’t very memorable (I know, I’m going against what I said before, but I really cannot think of something right now. I may think of something later…)
Nathaniel: Shockingly enough, Nathaniel, the male character, was my favorite character in the book. I think, mostly, it was his sense of humor. He also…reminded me of someone, but I’m not sure who. He’s had a traumatizing few years before Eliza came into his life and he relies on his demon for most everything. But despite the complicated relationship between Silas, the demon, and Nathaniel, you can see how much they care and trust each other.
Silas: The demon. But Silas is the most obedient, amazing, trustworthy, loving demon there is. Yes, he’s under a contract sort of thing with Nathaniel but you can tell that he really, truly cares. He’s gone through so much with Nathaniel. I don’t care what anyone else says about Silas but he is my favorite (well okay, maybe second favorite but like…I’m not sure. He may be up there as my favorite) and you cannot convince me otherwise.

The plot: This plot was very…twisty. It seems like at first it was one thing and then suddenly it was another. It was interesting, overall, but I feel like there were just some parts that were too convenient and some parts that just…weren’t needed. For example: Elisabeth needs to get a job at the Royal Library or whatever it’s called (I forget and that’s not good, given that I finished reading this less than an hour ago) to pull off part of her plan. Well, lucky her, turns out there’s a spot open because a maid resigned the day before. And the part with the fiends, when they arrive in the city or whatever…what was the point of that? It was just for Elisabeth to show off her awesome fighting skills and get in the paper or whatever. Why were there even fiends there and why did they target Elisabeth? She was with a sorcerer, wouldn’t they know to go for an easier-to-beat person?

The world building:
Pretty good! I was never confused as to where something was and there was never an info dump. I didn’t get to see much of the world…there was that time when Nathaniel and Elisabeth were traveling and Nathaniel talked a bit about it, but it wasn’t described as fully in detail as other books. I wasn’t sure exactly where things were, other than the fact that the Great Libraries formed a pentagon around the Royal Library (the sixth Great Library) but since they didn’t do much traveling, that wasn’t strictly necessary.

The romance:
Guys. This is…a shocker. I actually sorta shipped a straight couple. Sorta. I think I just felt like they got along well together and I liked Nathaniel a lot. But then….we get to the actual romance, that is, when they were kissing, and I didn’t like it much. I guess I only liked the idea of them together? I’m not sure. But all in all, the romance was…not awful in this book. Also; when Nathaniel finally admitted that he liked Elisabeth: ‘Silas has been rolling his eyes at me for weeks.’

The representation:
Hmm…it wasn’t great? But at least it wasn’t all straight people. Unfortunately, all three of our main characters are white, however there is a side character who is not physically there for most of the book but is mentioned quite a few times who is described as having brown skin. The same character is aro/ace and Nathaniel is bi, though each of these things are mentioned exactly once in the book. The main relationship is, however, m/f.

The ending:
This happens to me often, and it may be because I don’t read the most carefully. But I was confused. I didn’t exactly understand what was happening. (except for…for….Silasssssssssssssssssssss! *breaks down in tears*)
I also felt like the ending of this book ended rather abruptly. The last chapter we have is right when the action finishes, literally directly after. Then we have the prologue that spans over about one day but describes what happened in the past week or so. I don’t want to hear what happened, I want to read it as it happens. If you have that much explaining left to do, just add a few more chapters onto the end.
The last thing about the ending was that it was fairly open ended. One of those books that what happens next is pretty obvious but it doesn’t actually tell you. It annoys me when they do that, because does it hurt to write a few extra sentences, just to make it an actual confirmed happy ending?

Final ratings: (out of five stars)
Characters: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Plot: 🌟🌟🌟
World building: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Romance: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Diversity: 🌟🌟
Final rating: 3.6 stars

Book info:
Title: Sorcery of Thorns
Author: Margaret Rogerson
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books on June 4, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young adult, Paranormal
Pages: 453

Have you read “Sorcery of Thorns”? What did you think about it? Do you want to read it? Have you read Margaret Rogerson’s other book, “An Enchantment of Ravens”? What did you think about this review? I’d love to hear your opinion on my opinion as long as you’re respectful! I’m always open to having a bookish discussion with you! And make sure to check out some of the other posts I have to offer!
As always, thanks for reading. It means the world to me that you would take the time out of your day to read this small and insignificant blog. Stay safe and keep on reading!