Book Tour & Review: Demigods and Monsters by @RayeWagner + #GIVEAWAY


Curse of the Sphinx


Series: Sphinx #2
Author: Raye Wagner
Published: April 25th, 2016
Pages: 273
Audience: YA
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology 


Source: YA Bound Book Tours - I received this book for free from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.


Blurb:

Can Apollo’s curse be broken?

Seventeen-year-old Hope Nicholas is done running. Apollo’s curse has ruled her entire life, limiting her choices and robbing her of the things that matter most. But she refuses to live in fear any longer. In fact, she’s ready to do whatever it takes to break the god’s power over her existence. 

When the goddess Artemis instructs Hope to impersonate a demigod and infiltrate a conservatory to get access to the Olympian library, she doesn’t hesitate. As she sees it, there’s nothing left to lose. 

But once inside, Hope discovers the only way to get what she needs is to work with her sworn enemies. As the lines between demigod and monster are crossed again and again, Hope has to dig deep for the courage to accept her fate or fight for the freedom to save herself.

Demigods and Monsters is the second book in the Sphinx series.


My Review:

You may remember me reviewing a book called Curse of the Sphinx a while ago where I exclaimed: Myths. Gods. Monsters. EMOTIONS!

I had the honor of being able to review the second book in the Sphinx series – Demigods and Monsters and boy, it did not disappoint.

“Hope wasn’t going to be a pawn for the gods. But she wasn’t above asking for a little help either.” – Raye Wagner, Demigods and Monsters

Again, we enter Hope’s world – where the stories of Greeks gods are more than just myth. They’re fact. And hope is living in this world as a human who changes into a monster two days a month. This curse – brought upon Hopes ancestors by Apollo – has taken everything from her. Her mother. Her sense of safety. Her ability to choose who she wants to love.

Hope is a wonderful protag. Her though processes and emotional responses to others and the various situations she finds herself in is refreshingly mature, but also appropriate for a 17-year-old.

“If patience was a virtue, Hope was a serious detriment to the moral fiber of society.” – Raye Wagner, Demigods and Monsters

Wagner again blew me away with her story-telling and vibrancy in description:

“Desperation made a foolish companion, and he wore his recklessness like a heavy cord, tangling his intuition and instinct into a messy knot.” – Raye Wagner, Demigods and Monsters

Her knack for describing emotional conflict is spot on:

“The words fell to the floor, the insincerity bouncing off the ground and pelting Hope from every direction.” – Raye Wagner, Demigods and Monsters

Demigod’s and Monsters picks up exactly where Curse left off. Hope has fled back to Seattle with Priska without letting any of her friends know. She’s on a mission this time to break the curse of Apollo and live her life in relative safety – as safe as she can be for a monster.

There were new characters introduced and a good chunk of backstory for them and Athan. These new characters were all amazingly written. As the title suggests, most of the characters were Demigods and Monsters – giving Hope a deeper insight to their world. Through her interactions with these characters she learns that not all Demigods are eager to murder monsters and not all monsters are good or safe.

“Hope looked down his longs legs to his bare feet, and the fire licked at her heart.” – Raye Wagner, Demigods and Monsters

There is a love triangle in this book. I’m usually not a fan because usually the other guy is only thrown in for conflict. I didn’t see Xan as an interloper. Xan’s purpose is to guide Hope through the nuances of conservatory life – taking her under his wing. Even though his feels grew for Hope and her attraction to him changed as well, she never could fully commit. 

Honestly though, the only conflict in love in this story is the fact that Hope is attracted to men who could be/ have been dangerous for her.

If you love mythology brought into the modern world, curses, stalker gods with a nasty temper, FEELINGS, and a girl discovering the world isn’t just black and white – then Demigod’s and Monsters is for you.



About Raye Wagner:

Raye Wagner grew up just outside of Seattle, Washington. As the second of eight children, she was surrounded by chaos, and escaped the mayhem by reading. 
Raye studied the art of medicine long before she had an interest in the Gods on Mount Olympus. 
One sunny afternoon, the history of Apollo’s ancient curse and the myth of the Sphinx dropped into Raye’s consciousness. She started scribbling notes down after her sister convinced her the story was worth writing. 
She writes young adult fiction for teens and adults.
Curse of the Sphinx, a YA urban mythology, is her first novel. Demigods and Monsters, the second book in the Sphinx series, will be released April 2016.


Book Tour & Review: Curse of the Sphinx by @RayeWagner + #GIVEAWAY


Curse of the Sphinx


Series: Sphinx #1
Author: Raye Wagner
Published: August 11th, 2015
Pages: 344
Audience: YA
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology 


Source: YA Bound Book Tours - I received this book for free from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.

 


Blurb:

How long can a monster stay hidden in plain sight?

Seventeen year-old Hope Nicholas has spent her entire life on the run. But no one is chasing her. In fact, no one even knows she exists. With her mom, she’s traveled from town to town and school to school, barely staying long enough to meet anyone, let alone make friends. And she’ll have to keep it that way. It’s safer.

When her mother is brutally ripped away from her, Hope’s life shatters. Is this the fulfillment of Apollo’s curse, murder from the shadow monsters of the Underworld, or have the demigods finally found her? Orphaned and alone, Hope flees again, but this time there’s no one to teach her who to trust—or how to love.

Set in a universe where mythology is alive and well in the modern world, Curse of the Sphinx irresistibly blends action, suspense and romance.


My Review:

Myths. Gods. Monsters. EMOTIONS!!

Curse of the Sphinx is a refreshing take on the modern Greek mythology story. The premise is so incredibly fascinating – Greek god’s still ruling in modern society and people are aware of it. In fact, many people still worship the gods, honor heroes/demigods, and fear monsters. This story, unlike the plethora of other urban mythology’s out there, is told from the point of view of a monster – the sphinx. 

Wagner is a great story teller, whose prose is vivid and poetic. I adored her depth in explaining emotions

“There were no words. Hope stared at her hands as if the answers might appear within her palms, but the only thing she saw were the lines and cracks, a map that went nowhere, that meant nothing.” – Raye, Wagner, Curse of the Sphinx

How she described interpersonal conflict.

“I’m so sorry.” The words fell all over the floor, the mess too big to step around, opening a gaping chasm between the two of them. – Raye, Wagner, Curse of the Sphinx

Her vibrant depictions of scenery.

“The store was old’ its white tile floor grayed with time, and the fluorescent lights cast unnaturally bright light, emphasizing the worn appearance of the store.” – Raye, Wagner, Curse of the Sphinx

I could go on about how much I enjoyed Wagner’s writing, but I’ll just leave this here…

My only issue with the actual story was that there were a few points where I was confused because there wasn’t any in-depth explanation of the world Hope lived in and the pacing of the story made it seem forever until I figured out what was going on. The reader jumps into this world that is similar to ours, but vastly different at the same time. It was confusing. Apparently there is a prequel that explains more, but I didn’t have the privilege of reading it before starting Curse of the Sphinx.

Hope is a great protagonist. She’s not typical in what I usually like in a female lead. She’s not some badass girl out to save the world. She’s a monster – hunted, scared, paranoid, and due to events in the story, a little broken.

“I do trust you.” But even as she said the words, she knew they were a lie. – Raye, Wagner, Curse of the Sphinx

All of her flaws doesn’t make her weak or incapable – it makes her human.

One thing I really enjoyed was exploring Hope’s struggles. Hope is a victim of a long-standing Greek curse that dictates every moment in her life. Throughout the book, she constantly wavers between wanting a life, but fearing the consequences of befriending her peers. The never ending struggle of keeping her identity secret because she is something that the world fears, rules her entire existence. It was extremely refreshing to see this struggle from the “monsters” point of view.

The romance was refreshing. It was so the opposite of insta-love that at times, I wondered if I was actually going to get a romantic subplot. That is not to say that the slow build up was bothersome. Quite the opposite actually. I loved witnessing Hope’s attraction to Athan grow at the pace it did because it made since coming from a girl who was weary of everyone.

You start the story knowing who Athan is, but that doesn’t take away any mystery in the story. Actually, it added another layer – I can’t add any more to that without being spoilery, but trust me. It’s a good thing. Also, knowing who Athan is from the very beginning gives the reader the chance to understand him better throughout the story.

The other characters were clichéd, but typical high school students. Haley – the gabby friend. Krista – the queen b*tch. Krista’s posse of mean girls.  There were others, but not much was mentioned about them in this book.

Curse of the Sphinx, is a superb YA filled with mythology, a curse, some intense emotions, and the beginnings of a sweet romance. 


About Raye Wagner:

Raye Wagner grew up in a family of dragon slayers. She never wanted to be a princess, and spent her time searching for adventure with her siblings in the suburbs of Seattle, Washington. She read heaps of books while locked away in the upstairs room of the family castle. Enchanted with the idea of magic, Raye studied to become a wizard in the arts of healing, and continues to practice her special brand of sorcery in the realm of gastroenterology. 

One sunny afternoon, the idea of a cursed mythological creature popped into her head, and her writing journey began. 
Raye enjoys creating delicious bakery sweets, practicing ninja skills (just in case), and escaping to sunny tropical destinations. She lives with her husband, who has nature wielding abilities, and their three children in the realm of Middle Tennessee.