Cover Image: League of Liars

League of Liars

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I was super excited for this one as I've enjoyed the authors previous works but this one was...not good. There is no word on if this is going to be a series or if it is a standalone and that ending was not it for me. I also didn't enjoy the heist that was talked up so much about. It felt pretty bland  I just wanted more from this book; more from the characters, the magic system, the ending.
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I really loved the concept of this, and thought the whole How to Get Away with Murder vibe but with fantasy was so cool. My best friend is a prosecutor, and I've never seen any characters represented this way, so I felt like this was a really fun ride with its magical lawyers and prison breaks! This was a really unique book, and definitely one of my favorites of the year already. I don't want to say too much because the characters need to speak for their morally grey selves, but put this on your list!
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I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was very good! I thought the premise was very interesting and caught my attention immediately. There were many twists and turns in the storyline that were fun to read. I found most of the characters to be pretty likeable as well, and if they weren’t it still added something to the story. I would definitely recommend this book
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Fantasy crime procedural? Don't mind if I do! As a fan of both genres, I found that this book was a nice mix. We get aspects of law and investigation paralleled by a fun magic system. I also really enjoyed that the vast majority of the book takes place in a prison. The pacing of this book is brutal and every little detail matters, but it suffers by being compared to Six of Crows and How To Get Away With Murder. I found the ending a bit abrupt and wish that we got to spend more time in each character's head. That being said, it's a world that I want to continue reading so sign me up for the sequel.

*Thank you to G.P. Putnam's Sons for Young Readers and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest review*
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I think this is def my favorite read of this author this half mystery half fantsay story. I also really enjoyed all the various characters POV and was super invested in them all. I also really liked how this magic system remiended me of some elements of shadow and bone but was also super unique. i also really liked the focus on law and courts as elment in this story!! I also liked the focus on the siblings realitonship at the heart of this read. I liked how this book ended and am curious to see where book 2 goes.. oR we better be getting a book 2, cause that clifhanger was a killer!
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Thank you @penguinteen and @netgalley for the ARC of League of Liars. 

The premise of this book sounded so great. I definitely got the Six of Crows and How to Get Away with Murder vibes. 

The world building was really cool and the mystery kept me curious. 

I didn’t like all the characters. There were four point of views and lots of side characters. It was a lot to keep up with and I was confused more than once. 

Also, two of the point of views were written in first person and two in third. That really threw me off. 

So overall, a really cool premise but the writing, the characters lost me a bit and the ending was very abrupt. 

★ ★ ★/5

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At this point I have nobody to blame but myself, but I saw “Six of Crows” and just couldn’t resist. So now after attempting three of Astrid Scholte’s YA Fantasy novels, I have to acknowledge that they just don’t work for me. 

Each of her book ideas have showed such promise, with a unique and intriguing premise that sets itself apart from others currently on the market. And I get sucked in by that allure. But what I’ve realized over time is that these ideas don’t ever reach the expectations I have for them, and I end up disappointed.

League of Liars starts as a courtroom drama that eventually becomes heist-adjacent, but with neither really being believable nor compelling. The “criminal justice system” that we’re painstakingly walked through has rules that don’t behave like actual rules, with an air of making-it-up-as-we-go-along. It’s just so goofy. Every step feels like a prank. There’s no way to take any of the proceedings seriously despite the consequences intending to be dire. The heist is also probably one of the most anti-climactic things I’ve ever read. 

I wish I could balance out this review with some things I enjoyed, but I can’t come up with anything. The characters were poorly developed, the dialogue was so cringey. And almost every main and supporting character is a moron. I could not tell if Scholte was going for a broader social commentary, but nothing like that landed for me. None of the larger world was elaborated on, the magic system was breezed over and completely unexplained—we were given nothing to think about, let alone get invested in.

The intention behind Scholte’s books, that initial idea, is always so much more than what the story ends up being. And whether it’s due to limitations she feels within the audience/genre, the page constraints in a single novel or just her own capacity as a writer, the concept is delivered half-baked. I wouldn’t be surprised if the actual writing process for her was a lot less fulfilling or interesting than brainstorming and plotting sessions. Her lack of interest, or of finesse, shows in her work, and it leaves the reader with a similarly lackluster and dull experience.

For anyone wondering, this is clearly a setup for some kind of series, I believe the first one the author has attempted. I can’t imagine someone wanting to read more of this world, but to each their own. I guess if you’re looking for a magic system constructed around shadows, try Book of Night by Holly Black. If you want a band of misfits planning and executing a prison break, definitely pick up Six of Crows. But between both the borrowed and unformed concepts, I can’t think of anyone I would recommend League of Liars to.



*Thanks to Penguin Teen for an advance review copy! (and I’m sorry)
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League of Liars by Astrid Scholte follows Cayder, who wants to see careless users of illegal magic held accountable. Cayder has landed an apprenticeship under a premier public defender. This is perfect for Cayder, as he dreams of becoming a prosecutor. But when Cayder meets the three teenage criminals he is supposed to defend, he realizes everything is more complicated than it seems.

This novel has a very unique premise. I liked how it was told through multiple perspectives. Definitely an interesting blend of thriller and fantasy.
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I had high expectations since it was compared to six of crows, but sadly ended up DNFing this book.  Firstly, the synopsis makes it seem like this book is more fantasy but in reality it feels more sci/fi or dystopian so it didn’t match my expectations.  I didnt like the pacing, characters, or writing and finally just gave up on it about 1/4th in
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I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. No Spoilers. 

First off I really wanted to read this book. It is being marketed as Six of Crows x How to get away with murder. I personally would like to see more YA that deals with crime procedural instead of just main character either solving a cold case due to spunk or getting involved in an active case. Those aren't bad I just think this author was smart to try something different and make it a legal procedural type of case. Which leads me too...

PROS: The legal procedural parts of this book are the best parts. Interviewing and juggling each of characters and their individuals cases and circumstances for being in the magic abusers jail was interesting. Obviously we have to stretch our imagination slightly to believe that our main character Cayder has any business being as involved as he in the legal proceedings but its YA so I am cool with that. 

MEH: the World building is average I think it assumes the readers are familiar with fantasy worlds and that the reader can fill in some of the blanks. This isn't an awful assumption, but since we need to understand the severity of edem crimes I wish more was explored and also why we should fear the regency more. Its all serviceable but holds the book back from being great imo.  

BAD: My biggest issue is the number of POVs and how late one specific POV is introduced. Its hard to follow primarily Cayder with 2 other characters having POV snips that intertwine his (but mind you Cayder is the primary POV) and then 35% into the book we are introduced to a fourth POV. Additionally this fourth character interrupts the bit of development we have on the other three and is never fully realized either. Not to mention the forced romance between this character and Cayder by the end. The romance in this book is just not it for me and is the weakest component along with the POVs.

I really wanted to like this and it my first ARC as a reviewer I have been sent and this just didn't live up to the marketing.
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This is a case where the way this book is pitched and the way the synopsis is written makes you think you’re getting one thing but it’s not that at all. This is sold as six of crows meets how to get away with murder. I don’t see the how to get away with murder parallel at all. I vaguely see six of crows but not in the way of an ensemble cast doing a heist. Rather it felt like two of the characters (Jay and Leta) were off brand, watered down versions of Jesper Fahey and Nina Zenik. The similarities between this book and six of crows abruptly stop there. 

As for the prison break, I’m not sure why that’s in the synopsis as it doesn’teven begin to happen or be planned or even mentioned until exactly 68% into the book. You’ve gotta sit through a lot to get there. 

Other reviews have mentioned this but this book ends abruptly with little closure. This didnt  bother me personally because I had no investment in this half baked story anyways. This was a huge disappointment of a book for me.
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Astrid Scholte is one of my favorite authors and this book has all the twists and turns I've come to expect (and love) from her book. With a cast of characters who are all lying and all have agendas of their own, this is a must-read!

As usual, let's start with the things I loved about this world. First, the world was unique and so intriguing. Scholte introduces things early on so I had a good idea of what the world was all about, but so much of it stays a mystery for most of the book. The reason for this is that a lot of this world is a mystery to our main narrator, Cayder. We're learning the secrets of this world alongside him which is fun.

I also thought each of the characters was interesting. As I mentioned, each one is lying or is hiding some secret so figuring out which ones can be trusted is a challenge. I loved that Cayder, the lawyer in training, was the main narrator. He had a unique outlook on life, crime, and justice. Seeing his interactions with criminals and the shift of his mindset is really interesting. I was intrigued from the start by his character.

Also, I liked how things were worded in this book. If I just took the words at face value and made assumptions based on them, my assumptions were usually wrong or led me to wrong conclusions. Scholte does a great job of wording things in a very specific way or skipping over certain details or timelines to lead the reader into a false entrapment. I loved it.

I didn't hate anything about this book, but there were a few things I didn't love. The biggest thing was that there really isn't much action in this book. There's a lot happening, but not much action. We don't really even get into the main plot of the book until probably 30% in. And we don't see any action until about 80% in. I expected more in this area based on her other books so I was a bit disappointed by that.

As well, there wasn't anything *too* shocking that happened here. There were some surprises and twists I didn't expect, but I wasn't shocked. Again, I expected more shock based on my experience reading her other books.

Overall, this was a great book! I don't know how Scholte comes up with these ideas, but I'm happy she does. Keep them coming!!
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Thank you to Penguin Teen for sending an eARC on exchange for an honest review!

Follow a set of teens in a world where shadows hold a dark power, League of Liars follows false accusations, family, and people simply looking for the truth. 

Written in 3rd person and following 4 main characters, 1 looking to be a public defender, 1 looking for their mother's truth, one supposedly having murdered her brother, the King, and one having murdered his father. This was such a unique world with really interesting magic. I loved the mystery and intrigue! I will say there were a few weird parts, and I didn't like one of the romantic relationships, but overall really enjoyed it! Curious to see where books goes!
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I didn't hate this one but it did drag in some places and I can see some comparisons to Six of Crows this wasn't as exciting.

The writing was fine, the characters were my favorite about this and I'm not sure if this is a standalone or a series but I did find a lot of the plot didnt get resolved so I'm just going to hope there's another book.

Thankyou to Negalley and Penguin Random House for letting me read this arc :) 

3⭐
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League of Liars follows a cast of several characters, the most prominent of which is Cayder. Cayder, in his apprenticeship to become a prosecutor, has to defend several clients in a court of law. The thing is: are any of them really guilty of the crimes they’re being accused of? And what exactly is going on behind the scenes of The Regency, a government type of association dedicated to regulating the use of magic?

Magic is called edem in this world, and I thought this was one of the most unique ideas I've ever read. Like, the concept of taking something from the past, using it in the present, and then returning it is really cool. I wish it had been a little bit better fleshed-out though. I feel like there's so much detail you could go into with it!

I think my biggest issue with League of Liars (besides the pacing) is that I just wanted more from it. There were hints of greatness: Jey's banter, the potential of edem, some incredible plot twists. At the same time, it was lacking the extra development that would have made all of those elements really pop. Most of the characters needed more personality behind them, and there was an insta-love moment that annoyed me quite a bit. A lot of the world felt largely unexplored. And most of all, I really do wish that the story didn't feel quite so cordoned off until the 70% mark.

I also really, really loved the courtroom drama. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a great game that I enjoy playing, and this reminded me so much of it! It's just so satisfying watching evidence being presented and dramatically turning the case around (yeah sure, that doesn't happen in real life but reality is overrated). The plot twists were also more shocking than I was expecting? There were quite a few moments that I just...didn't see coming. We get a lot of backstory in flashbacks, but sometimes one crucial flashback doesn't come until after you're like WAIT WHAT?! So obviously I had fun with that!

I would definitely recommend this book if you’re interested in trying a fantasy thriller, since this is such a unique marriage of the two genres! Thank you so much Penguin for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review! My full review will be  posted on my blog closer to the publication date :)
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ok ok ok


So I've seen a few reviews that say that this is a stand alone and I REALLY HOPE NOT BECAUSE IF SO IM PUNCHING AIR.

I haven't read Six of Crows so I can't really make any comparisons to it. what I can say is that I very much enjoyed the political intrigue, the magic and the cast of characters. There is a lot of courtroom drama, which I enjoyed, and a mystery element. If this ends up being a series (fingers crossed) this book did a great job of introducing us to a unique magic system and world. if this is NOT a series, I have a TON of questions. because this one book didn't give a good resolution to a lot of the questions the main characters had about the secret and betrayals all of them have experienced. im just going to hold out and say this is a promising and great start to a series, so im giving it 4 stars. but if its a stand-alone, im SURE my rating will change. ok enough ranting about that, now to the story.

BLURB:
"Ever since his mother was killed, seventeen-year-old Cayder Broduck has had one goal--to see illegal users of magic brought to justice. People who carelessly use extradimensional magic for their own self-interest, without a care to the damage it does to society or those around them, deserve to be punished as far as Cayder is concerned. Because magic always has a price. So when Cayder lands a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to apprentice under a premier public defender, he takes it. If he can learn all the tricks of public defense, the better he'll be able to dismantle defense arguments when he's a prosecutor. Then he'll finally be able to make sure justice is served.

But when he meets the three criminals he's supposed to defend, it no longer seems so black and white. They're teenagers, like him, and their stories are . . . complicated, like his. Vardean, the prison where Cayder's new clients are incarcerated, also happens to be at the very heart of the horrible tear in the veil between their world and another dimension--where all magic comes from."

-->Things I liked:  the characters. flawed but they each have their own stories and personalities that really shine through in this story. The multiple POVs were great, seeing the story and situations from different perspectives really brought scenarios together. The world building. definitely got some steampunk vibes. 

--->Things I would change: I wanted to know more about the magic. we get a good introduction to this world but I don't think it was explained well enough. Then ending also felt a bit rushed, im not sure if that's because it may a standalone? again i'm holding out and hoping for a sequel since I still have questions and I really didn't want to leave this world behind. 

thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Teen for this E-arc in exchange for my honest thoughts,
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Okay this was interesting! I'm not only obsessed with the cover, but the story was amazing! I really hope there's going to be a second book!!!! I truly fell in love with these characters, some of them like Cayder and JEY!!!! This book blends fantasy and thriller perfectly! I've been diving into more thriller type books but not ONLY thriller-based so this was honestly perfect! I could'nt put it down!
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4 stars

Please tell me there is going to be another book? Because I need it!

First, that cover, I am in awe. 

Second, Cayder and Jey are my newest favorite characters. I LOVED them so much.

Third, I need more people to read this amazing book.

Okay, let us get to an actual review. League of Liars is a fantastic book that blends fantasy and thriller perfectly. Right from the start, I was hooked and could not put this book down. I had to know all the details.

The magic in this book was neat you can pull magic from shadows. But there is a cost, it’s illegal to use. And it’s pretty easy to detect if you have used it as it leaves a mark on your skin. The bigger the crime, the bigger the mark. 

There wasn’t a whole lot of romance, but I wish it wasn’t just in the end. I would have liked it a bit more in the book itself.

The only issue I had with League of Liars was the ending. It wasn’t clear that this was a series. I went into it thinking it was standalone. But there should be more right? Like that cannot be the actual ending. 

So here is me hoping there is another book or two coming our way. Because I am not ready to let this one go.
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Review to be posted on Alisoninbookland.com on February 7

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I loved how twisty this story was. Obviously with a title like League of Liars, you’d expect some twists. This book is chock-full of them.

The beginning of the book was a bit heavy on the Point of View jumping. The summary hints that there’s a group of teenagers who the story is focused on. We’re just thrown in headfirst without a lot of explanation as to what’s going on & who these people are & the relationship between them. Sure, you eventually start to figure things out but it was rough going for a bit.

The book very subtly flirts with the idea of fantasy. It would be a great introduction to the genre for people who aren’t sure if they enjoy fantasy. [Really all of Scholte’s books are like that which makes her an author I turn to when recommending books to people who don’t know if they enjoy fantasy.]

I thought the use of magical ‘lawyers’ was a refreshing new take I hadn’t seen before. Illegal magic/crime & magic is nothing new so seeing the other side of topic was an interesting take.

Oh boy, was that a ride. I had no idea what to expect when I walked into this book but it certainly wasn’t this story. I mean that in the best possible way. Scholte knows how to write a captivating story that leaves you a bit book drunk.

The conclusion might not be as wrapped up as one would hope and it leaves a lot of unanswered questions. But I liked that it was ambiguous. I really hope it stays as a standalone.
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I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review

My Rating: 4 Stars

League of Liars kicks off with a bang, and really doesn’t slow down until after sixty percent though. Seriously, I was hooked on the plot and so intrigued by both the main character, Cayder, and all of the side characters. I spent so much of my time trying to guess what each character had truly done to wind up in prison (I was wrong on all counts, unsurprisingly), and was definitely intrigued by the magic.

Basically, magic can be pulled from shadows by anyone and used to manipulate time. It seems pretty wonderful and convenient, but if you aren’t careful, dangerous things can, and usually do, happen. For this reason, any use of this magic has been made illegal by the government. These crimes are easily detectable as the magic leaves a temporary stain on the skin of any user, and even leaves a permanent mark on anyone who uses it to kill someone, regardless of wether the death is intentional or accidental. I found this magic system to be incredibly unique, and while I was a bit confused by it in the beginning, it became increasingly clear as I continued to read.

There was romance in this, and although it didn’t really appear until later in the book, I found myself pretty invested in one of the couples. We got to see a couple of small flashbacks over the course of the story, but I would love to see more of this particular couple, just to learn more about the way that their relationship developed.

There was a sequence of events towards the end of the book that felt pretty drawn out, and I found myself itching to skim read. That said, the way the book wrapped up overall has me really curious about the next book! I feel like what happened will really open the world up for readers in the next installment of the series.
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