Nathan Barnhart lives in Colorado and writes self-indulgent reviews. He reads, gives as much time as he can to his family, and occasionally can be found chucking up bricks on the basketball court. Be warned, he will find a way to turn any conversation into one about Terry Pratchett. You may or may not remember him from his days at Fantasy Review Barn. He can be found on twitter @reviewbarn
Simple but worth reading. Binti was perhaps not everything I hoped for but as the start of a serial story it is a great start.
My expectations are NOT too high. I didn't think so, but occasionally reading Young Adult fantasy books I find myself wondering if I expect too much. After all the books are not being written for me (though I am sure no author would be upset to find their book as the next 'all ages' phenomenon). So if I read the latest YA craze and just don't get it, or complain about weak world building, or even just don't like it then I often think to myself 'maybe my expectations are just too high.'
Two unlikable characters. Stupid, completely avoidable mistakes. I would be hard pressed to think of another book where this combination would work but A Darker Shade of Magic pulls it off and is therefore a rare book that lives up to its reputation.