Cover Image: Renna's Crossing

Renna's Crossing

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Member Reviews

I was really invested in this book. The blurb sounded so promising and I love reading anything to do with witches. I had to DNF as this story just wasn’t for me.
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Thank you so much for allowing me to read and review your titles.
I do appreciate it and continue to review books that I get the chance to read.
Thanks again!
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I received a digital review copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, I am leaving this review voluntarily. 

At sixteen, Renna has managed to put her dark memories behind her and is enjoying her life with her dads and dozens of surrogate siblings. But a visit from a dapper witch named Job reveals the birthright of her heritage. The witch Mab, Renna's grandmother and Job's tutor perished fighting a demon 12 years ago. Now it has returned for Renna, the last remaining member of her family. Job tutors Renna in witchcraft while they race back to a safe haven, the Rectory, deep in a forest. Bonds between teacher and student wears thin, and a forgotten family emerges offering Renna a dark power. She must decide if blood is thicker than water, and who will help her survive against the approaching demon. 

I loved the cast of characters. I loved the diversity of them. There were so many different personalities, and I felt that the book had a focus on its characters. The diversity certainly didn't feel like tokenism, and it was nicely integrated into the book. One of the main characters, Job, uses they/them pronouns, and they were one of my favourite characters. I loved them, I just wanna wrap them up and keep them safe! Although there were a few characters that I felt were intriguing but didn't get much page time. Ragana was such an interesting character, albeit a little creepy, and I think she could have been a lot more developed. The same with Sera's character, who I loved, but felt she had a potential that was missed. 

I liked the story of the book a lot, but I think there were a few pacing issues. The first half of the book felt quite disjointed in its pace to the second half of the book. I felt like I had to drag myself through the last 50 or so pages to get to the end. There were also a couple of moments in the book where Rena’s decisions didn’t seem to make sense to me, and there wasn’t much reasoning explained behind them, so that confused me a little but it wasn’t hard to get over it.  

I genuinely liked this book a lot, but I was disappointed with the ending, and there were a lot of questions that I felt were left unanswered. It feels like it should be the first in a series, but I can't find any information that suggests it is. 

Thanks again to Netgalley and Black Rose Writing, the publisher, for my review copy.
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I read the entirety of RENNA'S CROSSING in a day, and that is always a good sign! It was whimsy and odd and unexpected, and even though I had a different idea of what it would be like, I’m not at all disappointed by what it turned out to be in actuality.

As time goes on, the book starts going through a transformation, becoming whimsier and stranger until at the end, readers are faced full on with the magical fairy tale-like elements of the story. Ironically, I actually found myself less enamored of Renna's Crossing at this point, because the plot loses a lot of its uniqueness and instead plunges into territory that has been covered before in a plethora of other YA novels and re-imaginings with fairy tale themes or settings. Without doing into spoilers, I also did not like how the book ended. One could say this was a fitting way to wrap things up given the overall tone of the story, and, if I’m being completely honest, on some level I can even understand why the author decided to do it this way. Still, I was left pretty feeling pretty cheated and unsatisfied. It seemed a shame that we started things roaring but ended them on a whimper.
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3/5 stars.

While an interesting premise, the pacing of this book felt off so it was hard to concentrate on the plot. I enjoyed the characters, they were interesting and was the main reason I kept engaged in the story. Despite the slow pacing, it was an enjoyable book.
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I did really enjoy this, it was just a really fun read, it’s got a great diverse and inclusive cast of characters, I haven’t read many books that have had this much inclusion as this one, it’s wonderful. At some points the plot seemed to wander a bit and the pacing could be a bit chaotic, but I would definitely say give it a chance as it’s a really good read.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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Strong beginning with great writing, world building and characters!

Pacing went a little off later in the book but still fun to read and I was really surprised by the twist ending. 

I feel that the story itself is left quite unresolved so I really do hope there will be more in this series
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Sadly, I DNF’d this book around the halfway point. I really wanted to love this book, the concept sounded like something that I would enjoy, but it just didn’t work for me. I loved the characters, but the overall plot and story was where this didn’t work for me. 

The pacing of this book threw me off, to the point where I wasn’t sure where the story was going. This book is under 300 pages, but yet it felt triple that. Overall, the pacing was slow, but there were times where it felt like we were building to a climax that shouldn’t have happened yet and then the book would slow down again. Where I left off in the book, because of this build up, felt like the resolution to me (even though I was only halfway through this already thin book). 

I loved the diversity of characters in this story, the entire cast was great. The world that this story was in was also promising, but the story within this world sadly wasn’t. I adored the author’s writing, so I could definitely see myself reading more of their work in the future, but sadly this just wasn’t the book for me.
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I have to be honest, normally fantasy is not my first choice of genre but I was really drawn to this novel. For a novice fantasy reader I really enjoyed this read. I love the cover of this book, its beautiful. I haven't really read many books that discuss such a diverse and unique character base so this was very refreshing to read. 
The descriptive dialogue of this novel was stunning, my imagination was seeing clearly what was happening but sometimes the pace of the book was slightly clunky. 
It was a very enjoyable read and makes me want to read more fantasy genre.
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I won’t lie, after a few chapters I started skimming this book. While the concept is interesting, and the characters are inclusive (happy to see a discussion on pronouns right from the start) it felt a bit stilted for me.
I might just be in a fussy mood however, or maybe I’m just the wrong audience for this book, and I’m sure it’s a grand book- but just not for me at this point in time.
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The author does a lovely job of representing different kinds of relationships throughout the book. Friendship and family are at the forefront, and my favourite part of this book is Morse’s ability to capture the chaotic beauty of the world within his writing. However, the book did drag, it was very slow, and I did really struggle, Even though this is aimed at YA I think a lot of YA may struggle to keep up and interested.
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The pacing of this one as very weird. It was great to start but as the story went on it fell apart.  Sadly I DNFed this one about 20%.
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Renna’s Crossing is a fantasy book about a girl who finds out she is a witch.  It starts out strong with Renna at a foster home and a witch named Job comes to take her away to a place where she can learn how to use her powers and be safe from a demon that is hunting her.  The settings are all well written, but I found the characters kind of flat.  The dialogue was a problem for me, it seemed forced and wooden.  Some of the plot lines kind of fell off into nowhere, often leaving the situation open-ended which was kind of weird.  The magic was very underwhelming. However, I liked the story overall and it has great cover art.
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I DNF'd this book at around 55% in so I feel comfortable writing down my thoughts despite not having read the ending.

Even though the book is only 291 pages long according to Goodreads and Amazon, it felt at least twice that. The pacing is very slow. I was expecting a high speed race towards the Rectory with the threat of the demon ever looming. Instead, the book meanders, and there is no sense of urgency whatsoever. I didn't care about any of the characters, and this is ultimately why I decided to stop reading the book.

There's a lot of telling rather than showing, with pointless repetition of facts and convenient plot points. The characters' knowledge seems omniscient at times; Job is a non-binary character and somehow everyone knows which pronouns they prefer to go by, despite never having met them. It's a small thing, but it jarred me out of the story every time it happened.

The way some of the characters talk also makes me think the author hasn't spent much time around teenagers.

The representation is one of the highlights of the book, however. I'll also say that I thought the beginning at Inglenook was pretty charming. It's just unfortunate that the story loses that charm somewhere along the way.
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This is a hard book to rate because my feelings really depend on whether this is a standalone book or part of an intended series. 

I had to look "quirky" up in a thesaurus in preparation for reviewing this book, but in truth there are few other words that truly capture the intention behind "quirky". I don't think "odd" or "peculiar" or "unusual" are quite right, because quirky somehow means not merely a little bit odd, but enjoyably and endearingly so. So "quirky" is really the best description I have for this book. The characters are quirky, the writing is quirky, the trajectory of the story itself is quirky. 

It tells the story of 16 yo Renna, who discovers she is magic and being chased by a demon, so has to go on a trip to a special safe building and learn to harness her magic along the way. So far, nothing ground breaking here right? We've read this story before a time or two. What really sets this one apart is the... well... quirkiness. The characters are endearing. The writing is... different, but I quite enjoyed it. You'll come across sentences like "Job was impressed, and said so." instead of actually spelling out that piece of the dialogue. This might sound a little "showing rather than telling" but it actually worked for me and was a stylistic quirk I quite enjoyed. After all, sometimes people's arguments are boring - sometimes just the fact that they argued is all you really need to know. 

The cast is diverse in race and orientation - Renna's foster parents seem to be some kind of male triad, and one of the key characters uses they/them pronouns. These things sit comfortably in the story and don't feel tokenistic or overdone. 

The thing I'm most confused about is that the story doesn't really seem finished. The threat of the demon is vague throughout the book, and the magic system ethereal and ill defined.  There are some ways that the book felt to me like a series of vignettes rather than a connected novel - what was actually the point of the whole section in the Christian town?? How did it add to or progress the story?? And what's going on with the demon now? Is it still after Renna? And what the heck was that entire epilogue about??

If this is the first in a series, I'd probably give it a 4/5. If it is meant to be a standalone novel, it feels incomplete and I'd give it 3.5/5
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I wish I could give this book more stars, but I just wasn't pulled in to the story. The beginning pulled me right in, but I had lost almost all interested by the time I got halfway through. The only reason I finished was because I was invested in the characters. Morse did an excellent job with character development, so I wanted to finish, but the plot did not meet the same bar as the characters. I also struggled with the dialogue, which seemed forced and unnatural; thereby, creating challenges for me to get invested.
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A very strong beginning, but slowly began having pacing issues as in two steps forward one step back. The chapter transitions were a bit clunky. There were scenes that contained descriptions that did not add to the value of the climax, but most (if not all books) seem to have this. The writing, world building and character development were great. There was a satisfying twist that I did not see coming but the end left me with unanswered questions. A unique story and a promising author! 

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ARC. This is an honest review.
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First of all, let's just take a moment to admire that GORGEOUS cover art. Honestly, I'm so in love with it!

There were quite a few things I really enjoyed about Renna's Crossing. The premise gave an original spin to the whole "teenage hero completely unaware they were born with great powers" trope. Despite not knowing much about the demon, its presence was really felt throughout, as it guided some of the main characters' choices. 

I also really liked the diverse cast, and definitely appreciated seeing a discussion on pronouns early on. Contrary to some other books I've read recently, the diversity here didn't feel token and we weren't repeatedly bashed over the head with how diverse this book is. Each character brought their own unique background and personality to the game, and that just made it... themselves. So refreshing! I really enjoyed how some elements from different religious traditions were included, and particularly the loa, which I knew nothing about and prompted me to do a bit of research. I really LOVE it when books help me learn something new!

The style was a bit hit-and-miss for me. I tended to really enjoy the descriptions and world-building: they felt extremely vivid, and I could picture it all clearly, which is always a good sign! The dialogues though fell really flat for me. Most of them felt too forced and unnatural, which made them hard to enjoy. It probably didn't help that as the story progressed, I found most of the characters annoying. The only ones I really cared about by the end were the dads and children in the foster home, and I wish we got to see more of them.

The pacing was also a bit off. The book started off strong and very quickly lost steam, so that for most of it it felt like the story was just dragging on and then it rushed to the ending. This was really a shame, as it had the potential to be much more gripping! The magic was also slightly underwhelming, and I would have definitely liked to see more of it throughout. 

Overall, this was a fairly pleasant read that might appeal to someone looking for a diverse fantasy. It is a slow burn, so avoid if you're looking for a fast-paced read.

(Blog review will go live on 26th December 2020)
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This book was fun, and I appreciated the point of discussing pronouns. The writing style was very lovely, easily describing the world around the characters in a charming way. Ultimately this book was a fine fantasy, perfect for someone who wants an easy read.
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