The Book Barrio

A Blog for Fantasy and Romance Readers


Young Adult

Book Review: The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons


Genre: Young Adult Dystopian


In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.


The Glass Arrow is a YA dystopian story. As is usually the case with these kinds of books, the world is somewhat depressing. The society is exaggeratedly patriarchal to the point wherein women are treated as property. They are broodmares to be sold to the highest bidders.

I wouldn’t exactly describe this as an entertaining read. Given the nature of the society, the heroine is in danger for most of the novel, from the moment she gets captured and is being prepared for auction. Her main goal throughout the book is to escape from the city so that she reunite with her family and hide out in the wilderness. And even then there is always the chance that trackers may find her and enslave her again.

With that kind of society, one can only get certain level of freedom. I admire heroine’s fighting spirit. She never gives up. The romance is light, nothing swoon-worthy.

There is some violence here but it wasn’t too disturbing. Instead, I suggest bracing yourself for the harsh and depressing world. One usually has to be in a certain mood for these kinds of stories.

Rating: 3 stars



Review: The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner


Genre: Young Adult Fantasy


“I can steal anything.” So declares Gen, the hero of the Newbery Honor Book The Thief—an exciting adventure fantasy set in a mythical land rich with intrigue. Gen’s bragging lands him in prison . . . but then the king’s magus needs the thief’s skill for a near-impossible task: to steal a priceless magical jewel from a faraway land. 


I’ve been hearing good things about this YA book series for ages now. For some reason, I put off reading these until one day, I just wasn’t in the mood for anything and nothing could cure me. And so I saw this while I was browsing through my kindle and decided to try it. And boy was it so good. It was like finding an unexpected hidden treasure.

This is the kind of book that you read, and you read and read, and do not stop reading until you reach the very end. It was that good for me. I had to stay up late just so I could finish the first book, and when I was done with the first, I wanted the second book immediately. And when I was done with the second, I read the third. And then third book was so good that I had to read it again one more time, before going to the fourth book. All this happened in a span of 2.5 days. I kid you not.

The story centers around Gen, a thief who can steal almost anything. He is smart, witty, and with a sense of humor. The story is rich with intrigue. I love how Gen becomes a big part of what happens between the different kingdoms of the fantasy world. I also loved all the politics and strategic maneuvering that went on. I also really liked the little mythical stories within the story.

I would recommend this series to anyone who likes fantasy and character driven stories.

Rating: 5 Stars

Amazon | Goodreads

Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy 


Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.

Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.

She also has a secret.

Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.

When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.


Walk on earth a stranger is a western young adult fantasy novel. It is set during the gold rush period in America. The heroine, Lee has the ability to sense gold, wherever it is. This proves to be a useful ability and it allows her family to get by. One day her parents are murdered, and their secret stash of gold is stolen. Lee is left alone and under the control of her uncle, who she suspects was behind the murder.

Luckily, gold has been discovered in California, and people from all over are travelling to California in the hopes of getting rich. Lee decides to take the dangerous journey and make her own fortune as well. She hurries to catch up with her childhood friend, Jefferson, who left earlier for California.

I normally do not read western novels. But this one I really liked. Lee is fifteen years old when the story starts. She is resourceful, sensible, and a good shot with a gun. She is smart about hiding her abilities, and also hardworking. Jefferson, her childhood friend, left his abusive father to make his own fortune as well. He is half-cherokee, and faces racial judgement from the people around him. Despite all this, there is a sense of goodness and honor in him. There is a possibility of a romance, but it’s too early to tell. If ever there will be one, it will probably be a slow burn. Their relationship is built on friendship and trust.

Lee and Jefferson join a company of travelers and we also get to meet characters from the company, who grow and change in the course of the journey. The interaction between these characters during the journey was the part I liked best. And yes, people die.

The story felt very real to me. And for someone who hasn’t read much westerns, this is excitingly different and new. I look forward to the future books in the series, which will probably be even more focused on Lee’s gold-finding abilities.

Rating: 4 stars


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