Six of Crows is a book so complex that I will not attempt to describe in detail the plot. You can find plenty of reviews that sing all the glory and can do it better justice that I can do it. Rather, I will concentrate in the main characters and let you put the puzzle together. Six characters, told from all of their points of view in the third person. I promise that it’s not confusing at all!
“No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for 'good luck.”
A convict with a thirst for revenge. Matthias is belongs to a “cult’ that hunts the Grisha and he wants revenge on Nina for putting him in jail. He’s strong, tough, somewhat narrow minded, tender, and loving too.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager. Jasper is a student turned gambler and gangster. He’s in Kaz’s inner circle, a sharpshooter with blind faith in his friends.
A runaway with a privileged past. Wyland is the son of an important merchant. He’s had a privileged upbringing, but he ran away from home. He seems weak at the beginning, but proves his worth when it mattered.
A spy known as the Wraith. Inej is a fascinating character. She was kidnapped when very young and “saved” by Kaz. She’s a spy and friend of heights and she’s always loyal to Kaz. Always.
“Many boys will bring you flowers. But someday you'll meet a boy who will learn your favorite flower, your favorite song, your favorite sweet. And even if he is too poor to give you any of them, it won't matter because he will have taken the time to know you as no one else does. Only that boy earns you heart.”
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. Nina is a Grisha that has been waiting in a strange land for the chance to save Matthias from prison. She’s realistic, straightforward, loyal and appreciate friends.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. Kaz is my favorite character because he’s so complex. Make no mistake, he has no redemption. He’s… well, bad. Cunning, smart, without morals, ethics or empathy.
“When everyone knows you’re a monster, you needn’t waste time doing every monstrous thing.”
The setting of Six of Crows is shared with that of the Grisha series. Some of the same countries belong to this world, but more that seem inspired by Holland (Ketterdam) and its many canals and by Russia and its ice glory (Ice Court). It’s all described in detail and it paints an accurate picture in the reader’s mind. Exquisite. The writing is sweeping , breathtaking and raw.
“Stay,” she panted. Tears leaked from her eyes. “Stay till the end.”
“And after,” he said. “And always.”
“I want to feel safe again. I want to go home to Ravka.”
“Then I’ll take you there. We’ll set fire to raisins or whatever you heathens do for fun.”
“Zealot,” she said weakly.
“Nina,” he whispered, “little red bird. Don’t go.”
Just like Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses, I felt like Six of Crows should have been labeled New Adult. It’s definitely more appropriate for older readers because there is plenty of violence as well as some of the cruel realities of life. Let me also warn you that the story is slow to get into, please stick with it because it’s certainly worth it.
This book is an absolute gem. This is a story of two “spare” members of different royal families that are betrothed for political reasons. If you read this description, you can tell that the beginning of the story is not unique. What is unique is that Brishen is not even human. He’s the prince of the Kai, a lithe, strong, fanged, tall, gray skinned, pupil-less eyes ancient race. He’s ugly to Ildiko and Ildiko is ugly to him, so no attraction there at all.
“You find me ugly, don’t you? …
“Hideous,” he said. “A hag of a woman.”
Another peal of laughter met his words. Brishen wilted, relieved she took no insult in him so bluntly validating her assumption….
“And you,” he said. “You don’t think me a handsome man”…
“She exhaled slowly. The space between her eyebrows stitched into a single vertical frown line. “Had you crawled out from under my bed when I was a child, I would have bludgeoned you to death with my father’s mace.”
Their relationship is slow to grow. Ildiko accepts her fate and new life head-on. The Kai keep a night schedule since their eyes and skin are unable to handle the sun. She has to the used to a LOT in a very short period of time, but she’s strong, willing to learn, she has a sweet and compassionate disposition and she’s able to get past appearances.
Brishen is so patient. He’s a warrior, a prince, a good commander, friend, an overall amazing being. Like Ildiko, I also felt in love with him. His family, especially his mother, are awful, but luckily, he lived a five day ride away from the court, by the border of a neighboring kingdom.
I think what I loved more about the romance is that Brishen and Ildiko became allies and friends before they became lovers, and finally fell in love. They were able to poke fun at each other, calling each other names and acknowledging that although they had a hard time to “reading” each other’s expressions and getting past their physical attributes, that their love was stronger than all of that.
“I think we all seek companionship, wife. Sometimes it’s physical; sometimes it’s much more.” An odd flicker danced in his eyes, and like his grin before, his smile faded. “Loneliness is an empty void. We look for that friend in the light.”…
“Will you be that for me Ildiko,” he said. “That beacon in the void?”…
“The void is vast, like the sea at night and no land in sight. I’ll be the beacon, Brishen.”
I adore the secondary characters too, especially Anhuset, Brishe’s cousin/sister and Serovek, their handsome and honorable human neighbor. The writing is very good, enthralling and insightful. The world that Draven built is detailed, easy to understand, even if there is a bit of magic, political machinations and power struggles. The ending is almost a cliffhanger and I want more!!
Overall, Radiance is a story about impossible love, political machinations, incredible evil, and the ability to see beyond appearances. I cannot wait for Eidolon, the next book (and conclusion) of the series due to be published early next year. This review was originally posted on Reading With ABC...more
I think that the book itself is fantasy perfection. It has all the elements needed to make it a must read for fantasy lovers out there, but for my review - one of many glowing ones, I hope - I will concentrate on two aspects. I fear that if I don't do that I will be gushing over it forever!
Characterization Amani is perfect in her imperfection. She's a young girl that's hungry for more than what her tiny town has to offer. Her only prospect is an undesirable marriage and so she grasps the opportunity to leave when it presents itself. Amani is 16, an orphan living with her aunt that already has too many mouths to feed in a dying town that makes weapons. There was little else to do, but learn to shoot and she's really good at it. Amani is not perfect, she's clueless about many things, she doesn't trust easily, she's has great survival instincts, she's sincere, but not really honest.
"I'm a girl who could've done just about anything if I'd been born a boy."
Jin is a thief, a scoundrel, with a good heart and many secrets. He's handsome, smart, fast on his feet, he looks out for himself and tries his best to do what's right, even if he has to bend a few rules. I really like him as a character and I think he will grow to be more important as the story progresses.
I hope that a great romance develops between Amani and Jin, but Rebel of the Sands is more about learning about a new world and the characters getting to know each other. We know, as readers that they are in love, but not much romance goes one during this first book. Other characters make an appearance on the second part of the book and are likable and well fleshed out. Writing The plot, the writing style, the way secrets are revealed, the world building... it all combines to form a perfect harmony. There are quite a few plot twists that I didn't see coming at all even though I suspected others. The writing style itself if is enthralling, engrossing, so beautiful. I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series and where Ms. Hamilton will take the story next. There's a lot I cannot write in my review because it will be very spoilery indeed! I hope you read Rebel of the Sands and discover its perfection for yourself :)
“You are this country, Amani.” He spoke more quietly now. “More alive than anything ought to be in this place. All fire and gunpowder, with one finger always on the trigger.”
I sent my ARC to Bee and I can't wait to read her review!
The previous book ended in a cliffhanger so I was eager to get my hands on Forest of Ruin (and thus my lack of restraint). This book picks up right where Empire of Night ended and finds both of our heroines in a bind. Moira being ordered to return to captivity and Ashyn lost in the forest with newly found ‘friends’. And dragons.
Can I tell you that I adore these sisters? Moira and Ashyn are strong female characters that took care of themselves, made their own mistakes, and figure things out, but also know when to ask for help. I think they have grown into their roles and their powers and are more comfortable making decisions.
Now, on to the boys! Gavril appears in this book much more and he finally realized where his alliances truly lie (and that his dad is bat s*#! crazy!) Talk about character development! I was ambivalent about Gavril for the longest time, but this time around he won me over. Prince Tyrus is a gem, he grows up to be more confident, both in politics and with Moira and his feelings of her. He's sweet, selfless, loyal and has a very strict view of what's wrong and right. Moira and Tyrus finally get together, and I mean in all the sense of the word. Ronan fights so hard. He fights for Ashyn, for his family, to win back his honor (caste) and his right to finally tell Ashy how he feels for her. It's sometimes infuriating how these two dance around each other when the reader can clearly tell they are so in love.
The plot of the whole series is just engrossing. It kept me on my toes since you never know what new monster, or spirit or calamity was going to befall our heroes.
All the loose ends were wrapped up (maybe too neatly), but I love happy endings, even if it has a few compromises here and there. It might come to no surprise to you that I cried. Yep, I did. Not my fault though, it’s dear Ms. Armstrong’s fault because she did something towards the end that had me gasping (not funny, by the way!)
Overall, this was the perfect ending to a beloved series. I really liked the world building, the characters, the fantastic creatures and creepy monsters and the plot of the series. A must read for fantasy lovers.
Wow! Morning Star is the long awaited last book of the Red Rising trilogy and I couldn't be more happy with it. This book deserves ALL the stars, the moons and planets in the universe! Bravo! Standing Ovation! (you get the idea right?) Please read my reviews for Red Rising and Golden Son to get up to speed.
I don't even know were to start with this review. The plot of these books is SO intricate and complicated that it's difficult to really explain everything that happened. However, I will tell you as much as I can without spoiling it for you.
Morning Star starts about a year after the excruciating ending of Golden Son. It finds Darrow being held captive by the Jackal, but circumstances change pretty soon. We learned what the Sons of Ares have been up to while he was absent. It takes Darrow some time to get back to normal and it takes him and Servo a few tries to share the responsibility of what the Sons started.
"Man is no island. We need those who love us. We need those who hate us. We need others to tether us to life, to give us a reason to live, to feel."
Pierce Brown is a genius. I have no idea how he could come up with a story this complex and keep track of it all. It makes perfect sense to the reader, but we only know what he wants us to know and when he wants us to know it. It's so enthralling, thought provoking, and full of twists and turns. The writing is not the easy banter of a contemporary romance, but rather the talk of the magnificent sci-fi, roman inspired universe that he created. This story has one of the best worlds ever build. From the setting, to the technology, to the weapons, it such an amazing read.
Darrow has been trough so much. When the series started he was 16, about eight years passed until the end of this book and so much has happened to him and because of him. He's trying to change a world that is used to being oppressed, of injustice, of inequality and it's no easy task. He finds help, he's betrayed, he finds redemption, forgiveness, condemnation, he's an inspiration to many and a threat to just as many. I adore his story and being in his mind, which is not always easy.
All the characters, Mustang, Servo, the Jackal, Ragnar, Darrow's family, Holiday, Victra... I can feel a page with character's name and how amazing they all are. Brown is a master in characterization, in giving each one of them a distinct personality and traits. Besides Darrow, Servo is my absolute favorite :)
"To build we must break."
Overall, Morning Star is the perfect ending to an Epic series. Red Rising is one of THE BEST series I have ever read. It's a story of doing what's right even if it there are insurmountable mountains to cross to get there. It's a story of sacrifice, of bringing change to the world, of friendship and family. And underlying it all is a love so big, so deep, so right, that it changed the worlds. I cannot wait for his new trilogy, Iron Gold, to be published sometime next year. I honestly will read anything that Pierce Brown writes. Anything.This review was originally posted on Quite the Novel Idea...more
I’m not sure I can express my love for this series (and Titus) in any coherent way that might do it justice. The previous two books in Thomas’ ElementI’m not sure I can express my love for this series (and Titus) in any coherent way that might do it justice. The previous two books in Thomas’ Elemental series – The Burning Sky and The Perilous Sea – are absolutely brilliant. You know how in a series there is a book that you love more than the others? No such thing for this series, they are all equally amazing and my love for it just grows and grows.
I read devoured Immortal Heights as soon as it became available in EW back in May and since then my mind keeps wondering to the plot, to the characters, the perfect conclusion. I have recommended the series to everyone that cares to listen. So go on and start reading it now!
“His eyes met hers. He was afraid – she knew this because he did not hide his fear from her – but beyond the fear was an unbreakable will. All his life he had prepared for toil, peril, and the ultimate sacrifice.” The Immortal Heights is utter perfection. I will not ruin the story for you, especially if you haven’t read it yet, but let me just tell you what I loved it about it the most:
The characters are incredible. Not only the main characters – Titus and Iolanthe are truly outstanding, but also all the cast. Titus is a true prince among young men, he has prepared for years for what is to come. He’s brilliant, brave, protective, tender, and not afraid to love and be loved, even if he has no faith that he will be alive after bringing Atlantis down. Can you tell I love him? (Don’t tell Iolanthe or she might electrocute me!) Iolanthe has grown a lot since she first met Titus at the begging of the series, not only on power and knowledge, but in character and her belief in doing what’s right as well.
The Romance – Yep. I know I just wrote about Titus and Iolanthe, but the romance deserves its own separate entry. Their relationship is so sweet. They aren’t afraid to express their feelings, to acknowledge the great danger they’re in, to show their fears, to strive to make each other happy. *be still my heart*
“You should have been putting up shield for yourself,” he admonished her as they flew higher. “How many times have I told you not to bother with me?”…
“Have you forgotten that there is no Chosen One? You are no less important than me in this – or anything else.”
“I have not forgotten that.” He took her wrist and kissed the back of her hand. “I speak not for the mission, but for myself.”
She sighed. “And what am I going to do without you?” The world building – Of course, by the third book we know a lot about the magic, the elements, the setting, but in The Immortal Heights we get to see other places, especially Atlantis. Titus and Iolanthe live in a magical domain that sits in the real world of the 1800s. A bit historical, a lot of magic!
The Plot – This last book starts slower, but then it’s a tornado of action, direction and misdirection. A lot of unexpected things happen in this one and it kept me on my toes the whole time! Some might find the ending too perfect, but after all the turmoil, suffering, and sacrifice, I say they deserve every bit of happiness!
“All he wanted was for her to come through unscathed – to have a wonderful life, surrounded by love and laughter. All he wanted was a single hope to light his way, when all ambition and courage had failed.”
Overall? Go start this series as soon as you can. ...more
WOW! As a lover of fantasy, I pay attention to the recommendations of other trusted bloggers. Among these is Alyssa from The Eater of Books and sincWOW! As a lover of fantasy, I pay attention to the recommendations of other trusted bloggers. Among these is Alyssa from The Eater of Books and since she loved Lark Rising, I had it in my TBR list for a long while. What an amazing trip this was, I which I could share this book with everyone.
Lark and her cousin Evie have been raised by their grandmother since their parents died in an attack when they were three. Lark has the gift of sight which to her it feels like a curse since it makes it difficult for her to interact with other people. Any close contact is overwhelming to her since she can 'see' that person's past. She also has prophetic dreams that are sometimes disturbing. But she also dreams about a breathtakingly handsome man that will be her undoing. I know that some readers might find Lark’s character development kind of a cliché, but I found it endearing. I liked to see how she went from a shy, insecure, naïve girl to a brave, accomplished and secure young lady.
Gharain is one of the Raiders of Tarnec, one of a dozen elected Riders that defend the weak and guard the balance of the world. He seems to take an instant dislike to Lark, but it is more of a defense mechanism. They have to work together to recover the amulets that were taken and restore balance to their world. At the end, he loves, understand, trusts and protects Lark. Their relationship was so sweet and genuine. I really liked them individually and as a couple.
The world building was very well done. From the map included in the book to the description of the landscape, the kingdom of Tarnec, the forest, the mountains, everything came to life within the pages of the book. This is one of the most important elements for me when reading fantasy because at a certain level I need to believe in it. The writing is beautiful, poetic, lyrical, enthralling… I’m sure you get the idea why I loved it SO hard. I cannot wait for book two - Silver Eve - due to be published in September.
I shan’t compare all the points, but let The Girl at Midnight stand on its own. The world building was impeccable from the beginning. The Avicien are an ancient race that are shaped like humans but have colorful feathers for hair. The Drakharin are descendants of dragons and both races have been at war for hundreds of years. Awesome, right?
Echo is our protagonist, she’s human, but ran from home when she was very little and was “adopted” by the Ala, a member of the Avicien council. Echo is brave, seems fearless, she’s a thief, she’s insightful, snarky, smart, cunning, and beautiful. She’s a book lover and lives in a library, how cool is that? She is fighting to make a life for herself in a world that doesn’t accepts her and sees her as an outsider. The Ala, her best friend, Ivy and new boyfriend Rowan are her family. When Ivy is taken by the Drakharin, Echo is desperate to find her.
“...I like to be around all these books. They’re very good at making you forget your troubles. It’s like having a million friends, wrapped in paper and scrawled in ink”
Caius is the prince of the Drakharin. His twin sister Tanith is b***, cruel and full of hunger for vengeance and deposes Caius. Caius escapes with his best friend, Dorian, and they take Ivy and Echo with them. They embark in a quest to find the firebird in order to save the world. Caius is selfless, patient, troubled, smart. He’s had such a hard life, I feel so sad for him :(
“So why? He didn’t ask what he really wanted to. Why are you being this kind? How can you be this kind?
“Because”, she said, reading for the tape on the bedside table, “there’s enough cruelty in this worked without me adding to it.”
All the characters are amazingly well developed. The writing is really good, I liked the dialogue and the banter between the characters. The story, the plot is compelling. I’m always a sucker for a love than endures lives and adversity. There is a budding romance, but I don’t want to spoil the story for you :)
“Letting out a small laugh, he said, “You know, we’re going to have to start trusting each other sooner or later.”
Echo smiled, just a little. “Baby steps.”
Overall, The Girl at Midnight is a fantasy story that takes place in the modern world. A story of two ancient races with a war that’s lasted ages with no end in sight. A story of redemption, of looking for one’s place, of following destiny and fighting for what’s right, of seeing beyond. Loved this one!This review was originally posted on Reading With ABC...more
First let me say that I read Red Queen back in September. Being the knucklehead that I am, I didn’t review it before now, which makes wiring this revFirst let me say that I read Red Queen back in September. Being the knucklehead that I am, I didn’t review it before now, which makes wiring this review much harder than it ought to be, but has not, in any way, diminished its awesomeness. Also, let me tell you that I read Red Queen before I read Red Rising. I love both books for different reasons and although they have very few things in common, they are amazing in their own right and I don’t aim to compare both.
The world is ruled by Silvers. They have silver blood and different superpowers. These differences make them god-like rulers over the Reds, who have red blood and no powers. They are brutal masters and use the Reds very badly for all menial labor, as servants and as soldiers.
“All are tall and beautiful and cold, moving with a slow grace no Red can claim. We simply don’t have the time to move that way.”
Mare is such a great heroine. She’s a thief that is approaching her 17th birthday, when she needs to either have an apprenticeship or sign up for the military. That’s what Mare plans to do, until things go south with her best friend. Due to said mess, she ends up working at the palace where it is discovered that she has superpowers too. In order to control the confusion this would cause, Mare is passed as a lost princess and engaged to Maven, the second son of the king. With me so far? As I was saying, Mare is constantly afraid, but has more sense that to show it. She’s loyal to the Reds and her family, devious, a skilled liar and she has sharp survival instincts.
“You are also something else. Something I cannot fathom. You are Red and Silver both, a peculiarity with deadly consequences you cannot understand.”
There is a big host of characters here, but the princes are the ones to remember. Cal is the heir of the throne and has been raised to be a king. Maven is Cal’s half-brother and is gentler and relies more on his brain. Contrary to what you might think (or heard), there is no love triangle. We know who Mare is falling in love with, and we know that her “relationship” with Maven is forced and more friendship than anything else. Actually, the romance overall was lacking and lackluster, but I have high hopes for the next book.
“Cal and Maven are deadly creatures, soldiers. But their battle isn't just on the lines. It's here, in a palace, on the broadcasts, in the heart of every person they rule. They will rule, not just by right of a crown, but by might. Strength and power. It's all the Silvers respect, and it's all it takes to keep the rest of us slaves.”
The world building is essential when writing fantasy and I think Aveyard did an amazing job. She captured the spirit of the rebellion, the desperation of war, the desolation of slavery, the grandeur of the palace and the brutality of the Silver. I had my suspicions about the bad guy, but the way it all went down was amazing. The writing is fluid, insightful and easy to read. The ending was great and not a cliffhanger.
“In the fairy tales, the poor girl smiles when she becomes a princess. Right now, I don't know if I'll ever smile again.”
Overall, Red Queen was an amazing story of survival, growth, friendship, betrayal, the bonds of family, oppression and the will to reach for more. I cannot wait for the yet unnamed book #2.
WOW! Where have you been all my life Ms. Nielsen? I found The False Prince because a blogger friend recommended it for my son B, but I beat him to it.WOW! Where have you been all my life Ms. Nielsen? I found The False Prince because a blogger friend recommended it for my son B, but I beat him to it. It was awesome! *you can run now and buy a copy*
The False Prince is in essence a fantasy. Sadly, one of the most difficult parts of writing a fantasy is the world building and I feel that it was deficient here. We do know that our characters live in the country of Carthya and that it’s in the brink of civil war. We also get a lesson on the way the country’s government works and the royal family, but that’s it. I fell like a lot more could have been done to build this world.
There are two things that make this book so memorable to me, one is the plot and the second is Sage. The plot is a gem. I cannot tell you that I didn’t suspect the truth, but I couldn’t have predicted anything else that happened. The story is complicated, full of intrigue, politics, a bit of romance, challenges and twists and turns. I think it is supposed to be a middle grade series, but it doesn’t feel like one.
On to Sage. If you recall, he is the second reason why I adored this book. What an incredible character! Sage is one of the three orphan boys that Conner collects for is evil plan (*insert malevolent laugh here*) Together with Roden and Tobias, he go through the motions of getting trained to be a prince. They get lessons on a lot of things, such as horse riding, sword fighting, reading, history, and manners. Oh, Sage! He is a thief, irreverent, proud, unpredictable, reckless, adventurous, and a master strategist. You cannot appreciate his awesomeness until almost the end.
The characters are so well developed. Roden, and Tobias are competing with Sage (to me there wasn’t really a competition), but Sage offers them protection and friendship. They each have their reasons for wanting to be prince, and for working hard towards that goal, even if they have to sabotage each other. Conner is a despicable man. He is cruel, conceited, and he belief himself to be all-powerful.
The story is told from Sage’s point of view, except for a part towards the end where the ‘truth’ is explained to the reader in the third person. As I was listening to the book, I didn’t find this awkward at all. The writing is genius to go hand in hand with the amazing plot. I already bought The Runaway King, the next book of the series and I hope to start reading it soon. I also saw that the book was purchased for movie, well signed me up!
About the narration: It’s the first book narrated by Charlie McWade that I’ve listen to before and I really liked it. The voices were distinct from each other as were the accents too. This must have been difficult as most of the characters were male....more
That was awesome! I love Holly Black’s books and The Darkest Part of the Forrest was one of my most awaited books this year, I didn’t manage to grab aThat was awesome! I love Holly Black’s books and The Darkest Part of the Forrest was one of my most awaited books this year, I didn’t manage to grab an ARC at BEA last year, so I purchased it as soon as I could. Let me repeat myself: it was awesome!
“Down a path worn into the woods, past a stream and a hollowed-out log full of pill bugs and termites, was a glass coffin. It rested right on the ground, and in it slept a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives.”
You can get a pretty good idea of what the story is about from the synopsis, so I won’t rehash it here. How much did I love The Darkest Part of the Forrest? Let me count the ways:
Great characters – I love ALL the characters. The good, the bad and the ugly. They were exceptionally crafted, especially the formidable and diverse fey. I do believe that Black is the authority on anything fairy :)
Intricate, twisty plot – I have saw any of the twists coming! It felt like a driving while blind: unpredictable, surprising and unexpected. I loved it! There are stories of heartbreak, of betrayal, of vengeance, revenge, justice and more.
Kick-ass heroine – Oh, Hazel! *Let me pause here and tell you that you are awesome girl* Hazel is a knight and she does knightly things. She believes on right and wrong, on magic and fairies, on fate and responsibility. She’s fiercely loyal and at the same time blocks from her mind everything that hurts. She’s afraid to love and to risk her heart because of her parents irresponsibility (more about that later!) In summary, Hazel is amazing ;)
Diversity – Jack, the changeling is of “dark” skin. Ben, Hazel’s sister is gay. They both find significant others in this story. Hazel is a knight. Ben’s first boyfriend was Indian.
“We love until we do not. For us, love doesn't fade gradually. It snaps like a branch bent too far.”
Holly Black’s writing – Black’s writing is her own brand of amazing! It’s lyrical, expressive, memorable, and much more. The story is told in the third person POV, mostly from Hazel’s POV, but a few chapters are from Jack and Ben’s.
The only other thing I would add is that I can’t believe how irresponsible Ben and Hazel’s parents were. They are both artists that were not done “partying” before they had children. They basically left Ben and Hazel to raise themselves and roam free through the forest. I know this makes sense in the story and (I hope) shouldn’t happen in real life.
“There's a monster in our wood. She'll get you if you're not good. Drag you under leaves and sticks. Punish you for all your tricks. Anest of hair and gnawed bone. You are never, ever coming... home.”
This is my first book narrated by Lauren Fortgang and it was awesome! I kid you not, this was one of the best audiobooks ever!! (*note the double exclamation*) The voices were so distinct, unique and different from each other. Everything came together to create an incredible experience. I saw that Fortgang narrated the Grisha books and I’m thinking of getting them too.
What? You need to hear more? Well, okay then. Here we go.
Wilhelmina (Wil) Korte is the princess of Aecor which was t4.5 Stars
WOW! That. Was. Awesome.
What? You need to hear more? Well, okay then. Here we go.
Wilhelmina (Wil) Korte is the princess of Aecor which was taken over by the Indigo Kingdom. Together with the high born children of the defeated kingdom they plan on how to re-take it. They call themselves the Ospreys and their leader is Patrick, the son of the former general. Their initial plan entails Wil and her fiend Melanie to pass as Liadia’s nobility and seek refuge in the castle. This is when the story really starts to take shape.
“I was going to have to face the man who'd destroyed my kingdom, and the boy who was the reason.”
The characterization is amazingly good. Wil is strong, loyal, pragmatic, vulnerable, smart and so much more. She has magic, which is illegal and dangerous, thus she tries to keep it hidden. She’s a skilled fighter and so brave. I loved her since the first page. Even though the book is not that long, she grew a lot as a character as she became more aware of her options.
Tobiah is the crowned prince of the Indigo Kingdom and he is not the most personable man ever. His cousin and best friend James is really easy going and friendly and I liked him well enough. Besides Melanie – which I feel ambivalent about – the other prominent Osprey is Patrick. I didn’t like Patrick at all. He’s conceited, inhuman, a natural leader and a condescending dictator. Did I said I didn’t like Patrick?
“A memory welled up, like blood from a thin cut, of standing on a ledge and watching my city burn. My hand in Tobiah’s.
Tobiah Pierce and me: this was why the Indigo Kingdom had won the One-Night War.”
Now we come to the masked vigilante, Black Knife. I loved him! He’s supposed to be a threat to the Ospreys, but he is like “El Zorro”. People love him, they seek his help, he does a great service for the Indigo Empire. Through a series of encounters with Wil, we get to know him better. More importantly, they change each other’s view of the world. They start feeling sympathy and love for each other, even if they don’t know each other’s identity. I have high hopes here and I can’t say anymore least I spoil the book for you.
“I spun and had my daggers drawn before his question was half finished. “Black Knife.”
“Nameless girl.” … “What are you doing?”
My grip on my daggers didn’t slacken despite his apparent ease. “Taking a walk.”
“Most people use the street.”
“Standing on a roof isn’t illegal, is it?”
The world building is so good! I didn’t feel like it was an info-dump in any way. We learn about the kingdoms, the wraith, glowmen, flashers, castles and customs in an easy and understandable way. It is such a great world and I hope it can be saved. The plot is outstanding. There are spies, vigilantes, princes and princesses, classes, magic, wraith land, and enough secrets to drive one crazy. I which I could tell you more, but you know I don’t like spoilers. The writing is compelling, engrossing, easy to read. I couldn’t put it down. This is my first book by Meadows and it will not be the last.
What happened with that ending? This is one of the worse cliffhangers EVER! However am I going to manage to wait for The Mirror King for a whole year? *sigh* it’s a good thing that there are already about four novellas that will be published in between.
This is a story about magic, prejudice, discrimination pride, fate, destiny, mystery, good and evil, conFind my original review here: Reading with ABC
This is a story about magic, prejudice, discrimination pride, fate, destiny, mystery, good and evil, conquerors, conquered, and most of all, love, friendship and acceptance. Needless to say, I LOVED Illusions of Fate.
The setting and world building is always important when writing fantasy and I think White did a great job. This is not a world that is completely foreign to the reader, but more of a subtle change of a world based on Britain in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Albion is an Empire, its climate is colder and their people are very formal and somewhat repressed. As I said, the names of the countries changed, and of course, the fact that the nobility have magical powers, but it is not completely alien. Melei is a conquered island, full of color, flavors, culture, and passionate people.
I stop midway to standing. “I told you my name?” His sly smile is back, all innocence gone. “I plucked it from the air around your lips. And for the privilege of knowing it, I’ll tell you mine is Finn.”
Jessamin comes from Melei to Albien to attend school. She’s very smart, but it’s discriminated (and bullied!) by the Albians because of her origin and the color of her skin. Yes! You heard right, Jessamin has “dark skin and straight black hair”, way to go with adding diversity. By chance Jessamin meets the gorgeous Lord Finley (Finn) Ackley and her life get a lot more complicated. Jessamin is not perfect and she tries to deny her feelings and underestimates the danger that she’s in, which was a bit aggravating.
Finn is a young lord and he’s very powerful, both because he’s a noble and rich and because he’s a mage. I adore Finn! He tries to be so tough and calculating, but the way he fell so madly in love was so sweet. He would do anything for his country, but nothing and no one takes precedence over Jessamin, and that is swoon worthy. I also loved that Finn was willing to share everything with her, even a magic that she couldn’t perform, but understood quite well.
I love their relationship, but if there is something that I would improve is that I wanted more of the romance. I know that part of Illusions of Fate felt “historical” and it is a YA book, but I feel like Jessamin and Finn’s time together could have been more. Also, I think there is room for a sequel or a companion novel to this one. Can you tell I want more of this couple?
“Jessamin, I should very much like to call on you.” … “But,”, he says with a drawn-out sigh, “I’m afraid I cannot, simply because I do like you, ever so much. I should not have stolen this moment as it is…”
The two other main characters are Eleanor and Lord Downpike. Eleanor is also a noble, and l ’m happy that she hit it off with Jessamin as soon as she met her and was able to love her for who she is and not from where she came from or the color of her skin. Jessamin deserved a true friend and she found that in Eleanor (besides, she was so much fun!) The bad guy is Lord Downpike. There is a twist in the plot that I can’t spoil for you, but he’s awful, cunning, twisted, cruel and all a mortal enemy is expected to be.
“Will it hurt?” I hate that tears pool in my eyes, but I cannot help it.
He nods. “It will. Terribly. But only for a moment.”
“Couldn’t you knock me over the head with something first?”
He smiles, but it doesn’t touch your eyes. “Then I would have to fix your head, too, and I’m much better with fingers”
I loved both the writing and the plot of Illusions of Fate. There is magic in this book, but it’s of a different kind that relates heavily in spells, knowledge, ability and know how. The dialogue, banter and conversations are funny and witty, I truly love White’s writing.
“I’m still very cross at you.” “Making you cross with me is a full-time occupation.” Overall, Illusions of Fate is a must read for fantasy and magic lovers anywhere. Highly recommended.
About the cover: Gorgeous! It is beautiful! The girl with the delicate cup that has a depiction of a cold, foggy city. The ravens are an important part of the story, and I love the colors and the illuminated font....more
Awesome series! It's so nice to see all these characters again (Toph is missing though) and find out what happened after the end of the TV series. TheAwesome series! It's so nice to see all these characters again (Toph is missing though) and find out what happened after the end of the TV series. There are just like watching them on TV, funny, quirky,loyal, good... I'm glad that Zuko found what he was looking for!
This book. Red Rising is all kinds of amazing. This is like nothing I’ve ever read before and a combination of a lot of things I’ve read before. I kThis book. Red Rising is all kinds of amazing. This is like nothing I’ve ever read before and a combination of a lot of things I’ve read before. I know I’m not making any sense, but bear with me while I try to make sense of it myself.
Now, here’s the thing. For the most part I listened to the audio for the book (more about the audio later), but at a certain point I had to go back to the eBook for a little white (thank goodness for whispersync) because some of the words that are unique and I couldn’t understand them well just by listening to them. For instance ArchGovernor, ArchPrimus, gravLift, holoImmersion or medBot are weird words, but worry not dear reader because it all makes sense at the end.
“We grew together, and now are grown. In her eyes, I see my heart. In her breath, I hear my soul. She is my land. She is my kin. My love.”
This is a long book and I won’t attempt to retell the story for you. The story can be divided in three parts and we will discuss each in turn (mind you that this is the way I “divided” the story in my mind, the book itself has four parts.) Part one: In the beginning of the book we are introduced to the Reds. The Society is divided by “colors” which are a group of people that are genetically engineered for a specific purpose. Thus the Reds are the slaves of the Society, they dig the helium-3 that serves to make planets habitable. The trick is that they don’t know they are slaves, they believe their sacrifice will save a doomed Earth. Darrow is a Helldiver, brave, smart, young, loving, and simple. He’s married to Eo and that love is taken from him. I don’t want to spoil the book for you, but it is heartbreaking to read about the depth of his love and the depth of the oppression that the Reds live under.
“I live for the dream that my children will be born free. That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.'
'I live for you,' I say sadly.
She kisses my cheek. 'Then you must live for more.' ”
Part two: Darrow is “rescued” from death by a group of revels (as it says in the description, I promise there are no spoilers!), that open his eyes to the truth. It is a mindboggling concept and very hard to come to terms with. Darrow is asked to pass himself as a Gold to bring the structure of the Society down from within. This might sound easy, but it’s not. Each “color” behaves, talks, and looks different, so Darrow’s transformation is long, and painful. Not only does he need to look like a Gold, but he also needs to learn how to “be” and think like them and then get into their Academy.
“You have made me give up the hair Father gave me, the eyes Mother left me, the Color I was born to, so I will keep the name they granted me, and you can make it work.”
Part three:When Darrow goes into the Academy his life is turned into an extreme “Hunger Games” scenario. The caveat is that that the goal is not to kill each other, but to tease out the leaders, and eliminate the weaklings. It is violent, scary, unjust, and long (almost a year long.) BUT, during this time Darrow learns to become a different kind of leader. Others follow him because they want to, not because they have to. He learns to be a great tactician and to anticipate other’s moved. He’s helped by “Mustang” a Gold that has a new vision of the future could be.
“You do not follow me because I am the strongest. Pax is. You do not follow me because I am the brightest. Mustang is. You follow me because you do not know where you are going. I do.”
The world building is outstanding. The Society is somewhat based on Roman culture and in a world where people like Hitler, Alexander, Spartans and such are role models and democracy is mocked. Most names are Roman and so is the mythology. However, this is a Fantasy / Sci-fi and is based on the fact that other planets are habitable, were there is advanced technology, and the power to do many things (not all bad.) The writing is incredible good, so graphic, enthralling, and captivating.Oh my, this story is AMAZING! You never guess what’s coming next, it’s so interesting and I can’t wait to see where Darrow is taking us next.
“Man cannot be freed by the same injustice that enslaved it.”
Overall, Red Rising is an epic beginning to what I hope it’s an incredible series. I cannot wait to read Golden Sun!