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’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 sinceWOW! 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.
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 reviFirst 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 ta4.5 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 knoThis 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!
I love fairy tales and one of my favorites is Beauty and the Beast. I’ve read different versions and loved them all, some more than others, thus whenI love fairy tales and one of my favorites is Beauty and the Beast. I’ve read different versions and loved them all, some more than others, thus when I was offered the opportunity to review Roses I grateful accepted it. Roses is more a high fantasy than fairy tale and it was a phenomenal read.
As I said, Roses is a fantasy, as such the world building takes some time and I have to confess of a bit of confusion at times (like they measure time in moon cycles?). The world of the Western Realm is very diverse and a country at war. There is a chiasmic and unfair division of classes in the city of Sago and also a war between “normal” people and Magic Beings and Magic Bloods. People, as it always happen, are afraid of what they don’t understand and revel against it. The world built by Mannering is exquisite in its detail and uniqueness.
The story of Beauty is heartbreaking. She looks very different, with silver skin, white hair, and amethyst eyes and most people are terrified of her. The first years of her life are awful, she is either neglected, ignored, abused or shown like a circus animal. She is mockingly named Beauty after years without even a name. Her only solace are the horses and Owaine Ma Dane’s horse trainer. When the Magic Cleansing starts, Owaine and Beauty flee the city to the Hillands to Owaine’s place of origin.
Here Beauty is also feared, but is more accepted. She finds peace and the love of his new father Owaine. The story intertwines the magical persecution with the story of B&B. The Beast is truly terrifying and more ‘beastly’ and ugly that any I’ve read before. Also, the enchantment was done by a Magic Blood to a general (not a prince) and his soldiers. I really liked Beast and how patience he was with Beauty. I’m also happy that Beauty learned at least some answers about her past, even if everything was snatched quite fast.
The story is slow, it spans from the beginning of Beauty’s life until the ‘end’ of the story of Beauty and the Beast. It is obvious that this is the first book of a series, as the ending was a non-ending, or rather the beginning of Beauty’s involvement in the war. The plot is complicated and the story of B&B is just one of the layers of the intricate fantasy with magical and political undertones. The writing is descriptive and eloquent with minimal dialogue. The part that I enjoyed the most was (as expected) when Beast came into the story (until almost 200 pages!); it felt like an intermission of the real story (like one story within another).
Overall, Roses is a great read. It is not exactly a retelling of B&B, but it seems like a high fantasy built around it. I’m very curious to know where the story line will go next.
About the cover: The cover is much prettier in person. The vine or roses are black and shiny and very appropriate (as is the title) to the story. ...more
One of my favorite fairy tales is Beauty and the Beast. I feel myself drawn to the story over and over. To the possibility of falling in love with the person inside the beast, with the girl that goes off to the unknown because of her family, with the idea that love does conquered all. ACOTAR is one of the best retellings of B&B because it combines this and much more.
Feyre’s had a hard life. She lives in a small cottage, in a life of poverty and struggle, with her father and two older sisters. In order to survive, she learned to hunt. One day she kills a wolf in the woods that happenes to be Fae and she’s is taken away by a huge beast into Fairy Lands. The beast turns out to be Tamlin, the High Lord of the Spring Court. Together with Lucien, Tamlin’s emissary and best friend, they keep an eye on Fayre.
Fayre is very smart, although she’s illiterate (I hope this is remedied on the next book because it’s just sad!). She thinks like a hunter and her instincts are spot-on. She’s always looking for a way to escape, to survive, to protect herself. She’s introduced to the life at court slowly. She’s given freedom to roam as long as she keeps within the Spring Court, she’s given paints and more importantly, respect, appreciating and eventually, love.
“Don't feel bad for one moment about doing what brings you joy.”
Tamlin is quite, thoughtful, sad, constant, and often in a bad mood. He’s fighting a “blight” that has stricken all the courts and he has a fraction of the power that he once had. I love Tamlin and the patience that he had with Fayre. Their relationship was slow to develop and full of secrets and even some guilt on both parts. There are a few steamy scenes in the book, so younger readers should tread carefully.
“His throat bobbled. His kiss that time was deep and thorough, unhurried and intent.
I let the dawn creep inside me, let it grow with each movement of his lips and brush of his tongue against mine. Tears pricked beneath my closed eyes.
It was the happiest moment of my life.”
On the eve of a sure attack to the court, Tamlin send Fayre back home to her family in order to keep her safe. Thanks to Tamlin her family is now very rich, but Fayre realizes that she has to go back to make sure that Tamlin is okay, she no longer fits within her family. This is where the second part of the story starts.
“I love you," he whispered, and kissed my brow. "Thorns and all.”
Fayre sacrifices SO much for Tamlin. She’s suffers a lot, both mentally and physically in order to save him and return his powers to him. Rhysand is sort of our villain. He’s the lover of the bad queen and a High Lord too. He only plays to win and he always bets on himself. For some reason, he’s interested in Fayre and he helps her, but on his awful terms. The convoluted logic of his makes no sense to me, or anyone with an iota of decency. I don’t hate him (he did help Fayre), but I don’t like him either.
“Rhysand stared at me for long enough that I faced him.
"Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don't feel anything at all.”
I loved the story. The world building, the plot, the dialogue, the descriptions, are all perfect. If you’ve read any of Maas’ books, you know that she’s an amazing writer (if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?!) I cannot wait for the next book. I cannot wait to continue Fayre and Tamlin’s story.
Sarah J. Maas can do no wrong in my eyes. In the mist of her Throne of Glass series, she started another trilogy that manages to be as good, just in a different way. I adored ACOTAR, it is one of the best books I’ve read, not only this year, but possible ever. I cannot recommend it enough and I hope you read it, and love it as I did.
I LOVE Kelley Armstrong. I’ve read both of her YA series – The Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising – they are paranormal gems to me and of course I wasI LOVE Kelley Armstrong. I’ve read both of her YA series – The Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising – they are paranormal gems to me and of course I was dying to read Sea of Shadows. I can confidently say that I also loved it (I mean, it seems like Armstrong can do no wrong!)
Sea of Shadows is different than her other series because instead of paranormal/contemporary, this new series is fantasy. I adore fantasy, so this is right up my alley. Scary shadow stalkers (zombies)? Check. Death works (Tremmors anyone)? Check. Thunder hawks? Check. Plus amazing animals, mercenaries, slaves, magic, and more!
Moria and Ashyn are identical twins and very different in character. They are our protagonists and the story is told in the first person POV, with a group of chapter to narrate their adventures. Moria is the Keeper, she has trained as a warrior to protect her sister and the Forest of the Dead. She is quick to react and quick to anger too. In contrast, Ashyn is the Seeker, she is supposed to help the spirits reach peace. She is methodical, caring, sweet, very smart and a great strategist, and she has the same steel inside her that Moria has.
Ronan has been punished to the Forest of the Death with his uncle and his father. He was helped to survive by Moria (under instructions of the spirits) and later found by Ashyn during the Seeking. Ronan is very resourceful, savvy of the world, smart and loyal to his family and, for some reason, to the twins. He is Ashyn’s champion and I do hope something serious develops between them.
Gavril Kitsune is a young warrior that has be punished to be stationed at Edgewood because his father was accused of sorcery and running from a battle. He is the perfect match for Moria because he is as stubborn as a mule, loyal, and does what needs to be done. Even though he pretends to be aloof, I think he really cares for Moria. I
I adore animal companions in stories and Sea of Shadows has two. Daigo is a wildcat that belongs to Moria and Ashyn has Tova, a Hound of the Immortals (a big dog). These animals have a special connection to their charges and they protect each other fiercely.
The world building is really good, I was easily able to understand everything that was going on. What was that at the end? A plot twist that I did not see coming at all. Oh, and of course the ending was a sort of cliff hanger. Have a mentioned that I’m not too fond of cliffhangers? The pace was a bit slow at the beginning, but by the middle of the book and was truly hooked. The plot is unique, interesting, and I can’t wait to see where it’s going. The writing is, well, awesome since is Armstrong’s.
I did find very interesting the different castes and the way society and politics work. Unjust, superstitious, and discriminatory, but interesting nonetheless. It seems wrong that children are bound and punished by the mistakes of the generations that came before them.
Sea of Shadows is a perfect first book in a wonderful new fantasy series by author extraordinaire Kelly Armstrong. I can’t wait for Empire of the Night, the second book in the series; it has an expected publication date of April 1st of next year. (*let the waiting start*)
About the cover: I really love the cover. The dark forest in the background and dragon? thunder hawk? in read in the middle make a nice contrast....more
I was dying to read the conclusion of the Wintercraft series, sadly, my local library took forever to bring the book. If you recall, the ending of BlaI was dying to read the conclusion of the Wintercraft series, sadly, my local library took forever to bring the book. If you recall, the ending of Blackwatch was quite dire and all seemed hopeless (like the drama?). I should have trusted Burtenshaw to be able to get Kate, Silas and Edgar out of that bind.
The story of Wintercraft is so unique. The idea of a city where the dead was buried and was tended by a specially trained group of people and then abandoned it’s hard to imagine. Even harder is that the dead couldn’t find peace when they built the new capital city on top of it. The world building is impeccable, as it’s strange.
The story is told in the third person, which is very appropriate for this complicated story as it allowed the reader to be everywhere and know everything that was going one. Even then, the plot is unexpected, complex and full of surprises. The writing is straightforward and easy to read and understand and that is always a bonus when reading fantasy.
What to say about Kate? She is somewhat different in Winterveil. She’s more powerful, braver, more mature, and accepting. It must be incredible scary and empowering at the same time to have a deeper understanding of things that most of the people cannot see. To see and hear ghosts and a different world that is beyond most people’s comprehension.
Silas – would you get offended if I were to say that I fell in love with you as a character - *I’m sure he’s probably just shuddered*. Silas is so, so, so …(hold on, I’m thinking of the right words) exceptionally difficult and loyal. He has suffered so much, and keeps enduring everything the world throws at him, just to save Albion, the city he feels honor bound to protect. Silas, I understand your sacrifice and I hope you find peace. The relationship between Silas and Kate is also unique. Even though there is a vast different in their age and experience, I kept hoping that the bond they shared would develop into something deeper. One can only hope, right?
Edgar is sweet, protective, resourceful, but always timid and fearful. In this installment we see the reasons why and I think he developed a bit of a backbone, for which I’m glad. Even then, I just don’t see anything romantic developing between him and Kate. –Just saying.
Dalliah is our evil character here, and evil she is indeed! She has the same problem as Silas, leaving without a soul in a torturous state, and she has been like that for years. She has done so many atrocities to bring down the veil and she sees a golden opportunity in Kate, which is a true Winter and much more powerful than she could ever be.
What a wonderful ending to the series, although it was very open. I still hope for a ‘cure’ for poor Silas and some sort of reconciliation for Kate and the rest of the skilled. I think there is so much more of the story to tell *hint, hint, cough, cough*
About the cover: I always like the covers for these books. This one is mysterious, I imagine it’s Silas running up the castle’s stairs in Albion about to confront the council. I like the contrast of dark and light and the birds in the background. ...more
Besides Elisa, Hector is my favorite character of the series. In The King’s Guard we get to meet a young Hector, but also young Alejandro and his formBesides Elisa, Hector is my favorite character of the series. In The King’s Guard we get to meet a young Hector, but also young Alejandro and his former wife. It was a great adventure that displayed Hector’s growth, strength of character, loyalty and leadership. I really enjoyed this one, being in Hector’s mind is fascinating!
The complicated politics of the Joya d’Arena take precedent here, as well as Alejandro’s lack of direction and decisiveness. We also learn a big and surprising secret. Another must read for fans of the series (like me!)....more
Let’s try this again. I’m in love with The Burning Sky, so let me start by giving Andye from Reading Teen a big THANK YOU for pointing out that IWow.
Let’s try this again. I’m in love with The Burning Sky, so let me start by giving Andye from Reading Teen a big THANK YOU for pointing out that I would indeed love this book.
I’m a big fan of the Harry Potter series (who isn’t? *I’m looking at you Hannah*), and there is no way to read The Burning Sky without comparing it to that beloved series. Even though they have things in common, for example the mix of fantasy and ‘real world’ and the use of magic, spells, potions, wands, etc. they are unique enough for me to love them both equally. Now that the big elephant in the room has been addressed, let start this review. Shall we?
The setting is very interesting as there are mage and non-mage countries or kingdoms. For instance, Titus is the prince of The Domain, but he is sent to school to Eaton in London in the 1800s (I think). Thus the book is part historical romance and part fantasy. I love the combination of both, the world building is amazing. The Domain has castles, fantastical creatures (like dragons!), a tyrant, a different mode of dress and a different culture, worlds that exist within books, places folded into another dimension, and vaulting. It was all exquisitely thought out and explained in a way that didn’t invite confusion.
“I live for you, and you alone.”
There are two types of “magic”, one that relies in spells and one that is elemental. Elemental magic has fallen out of use and there aren’t many powerful elemental mages. Until Iolanthe came along. Iolanthe has been protected by her guardian all her life, but at the blurb explains “It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning”. She is naïve and clueless, but also loyal, intelligent, talented and powerful. She learns quickly what to do in order to survive, even if she has to pretend that she is someone else.
“You can live forever for me.”
Titus is such a complex character. He is certainly one of the favorite characters of all times! He is a prince by birth and had every privilege growing up. At the same time, he’s been isolated, spied on and betrayed more times that he can count. This has made him very cautious and he’s a very good actor in front of others. He is extremely smart, a great mage and an amazing strategist. He is very slow to trust and to show his feelings. Titus’ mother was a seer and she predicted that he would find the prophesied elemental mage and it would be his duty to protect him (hmm… in this case “her”); needless to say, he spends endless hours practicing magic and plans to fulfil what he considers his sacred duty, even if he has to forfeit his own life.
“Now he could work her likeness into any story of his choosing.
Now he could fight dragons for her.
And now he could kiss her again.”
The romance that slowing develops between Iolanthe and Titus is so sweet. There is nothing that Titus won’t do for her, to keep her safe and anticipate her every need. Neither one wants the entanglement and complication of having feelings for each other, but they learn to accept and embrace the inevitable. There is no instant love, no triangle, no clichés.
The Burning Sky has everything you might want in a book, fantasy, romance, adventure, mystery. The writing is incredibly good, easy to read and understand. He world building and characterization is amazing. As you can see, there isn’t much I didn’t love about it!
Overall, The Burning Sky is a must read for fans of fantasy and magic, I already started reading The Perilous Sea and I’m loving it so far!
About the narration: This book was narrated by British actor Phillip Battley. It’s my first book narrated by him and I loved it. I think that his voice and his interpretation made me love Titus even more. I loved his performance!
About the cover: Gorgeous! It shows a fire phoenix over a castle with the mountains in the background. We can see darkness and the turmoil of clouds and lighting. I also love the font of the title.
“He removed his arm from his face and opened his eyes. She was sitting on the carpet before the low table, wearing his gray, hooded tunic, but not his trousers. Her legs were bare below mid-thigh.
The sight jolted him out of his lethargy. “Where are your trousers?”
“They had no braces and won’t stay up. Besides, it’s warm enough in here.”
He was feeling quite hot. It was not unusual to see girls in short robes come summertime in Delamer. But in England skirts always skimmed the ground and men went mad for a glimpse of feminine ankles. So much skin—boys at school would faint from overexcitement.
He might have been a bit unsteady too, if he were not already lying down.
“You never answered my question,” she said, as if the view of long, shapely legs should not scramble his thoughts at all.”...more
The Girl of Fire and Thorns series is another of my absolute favorites. This little gem brings us Mara’s story and how she became part of the revolutiThe Girl of Fire and Thorns series is another of my absolute favorites. This little gem brings us Mara’s story and how she became part of the revolution and escaped an Inverno attack. Mara had a very difficult upbringing under the thumb of a dominant and cruel father. She also was part of a great love story, which unfortunately didn’t end well. She is very strong and resilient and determined to do what’s right, regardless of the consequences. I really good addition to the world of the Fire and Thorns series. ...more
It is no secret that I love Girl of Fire and Thorns, and as an normal fan would, I proceeded to find anything I could related to it. This is a short nIt is no secret that I love Girl of Fire and Thorns, and as an normal fan would, I proceeded to find anything I could related to it. This is a short novella, but it packs a punch :)
The story is narrated by Alodia and let me tell you, she is a force to be reckon with! She is very calculating, smart, brave, and a person of action (as opposed to Elisa, who is more of a strategist). In the story, the Invernos have allied themselves to the Perditos to cause trouble and prevent an advantageous wedding. More than anything, it made me want to learn more about Alodia, and I hope we get the chance in book #3 or, even better, that Alodia gets her own story (*hint*)
The plot and the writing, as expected, are amazing. I can’t say enough good things about this series, seriously, go and read it, like now. ...more
Wow! I love The Girl of Fire and Thorns, and as soon as I finished it, I had to purchase The Crown of Embers and I have to say that it was even betterWow! I love The Girl of Fire and Thorns, and as soon as I finished it, I had to purchase The Crown of Embers and I have to say that it was even better, which I would think it was almost impossible.
The book starts about five months after the end of Girl of Fire, on Elisa’s birthday (as did the first book). She has now the heavy weight of huge kingdom to reign over and is being sabotaged. Elisa still doubts her ability as a queen and as a woman, she is trying to find a balance between what is right and wrong, and figure out who she can trust to help her rebuilt. I am so glad that she found her inner strength and found her power and sense of self-worth from within, without the crutch that the zafira.
Elisa comes to rely in her nurse/guardian Ximena, her lady-in-waiting Mara and in her Captain of the Guard Hector. Hector is amazing. He believes in Elisa as few do, is full of good advice for her and loves her so much, that it hurts to see. I’m still upset about the ending and I hope all ends well (*pretty please*)
The character development is astounding. These characters are so special, and fully fleshed out. We see some old friend from the previous books and it seems like the next one will bring even more. There are also a few new characters; more notable are Tristán and Storm (which despite all I still liked). I don’t want to give anything away, but well done Elisa! It was time to take her rightful place and be the queen she was groomed to be!
The plot is excellent, it’s full of twists and turns and action packed. The setting is so vivid and well crafted. The idea of the Godstone is so original and although the story is full of religious references, it is not preachy at all. The writing is nothing short of amazing. You can tell by my raving on and on that I simply adore this series. I cannot wait for the sequel, The Bitter Kingdom, to be published in September.
Here are some quotes:
“For love is more beautiful than rubies, sweeter than honey, finer than the king’s wine. And not one has greater love than he who gives his own life for a friend. My love is like perfume poured out…” – Elisa’s prayer
“If you were like this, with this kind of confidence, this clarity of thought, no one would dare challenge your rule” – Hector to Elisa
“His eyes are steady and frank when he says, “I don’t regret telling you what I did” “That’s good, because you did say it, and I can’t unknown it” “And I can’t unfeel it, he says” - Hector to Elisa
“But I’m not powerless” I continue. “ I've always had my Godstone and its minor magic… And I have me. I will be enough” – Elisa
About the cover: The only thing I don’t like is the cover, it just doesn't do anything for me....more
The Daughter of Smoke and Bones series has been one of my favorites from the first page of the first book. I adore the beautiful-blue-haired-4.5 Stars
The Daughter of Smoke and Bones series has been one of my favorites from the first page of the first book. I adore the beautiful-blue-haired-floating Karou and the handsome-loving-fierce-seraph Akiva. They are possibly one of my favorite bookish couples of all time.
This series is a mix of fantasy/contemporary/romance that is unique. Part of the plot takes place in the modern world and part in the alternate universe of Eretz. The story is driven by a love so powerful that changes the world.
“How do you just thrust “I love you” out into the air? It needs waiting arms to catch it.”
After the excruciating ending of Days of Blood and Starlight I just couldn’t wait to dive right in. Oh, Karou! I’m so glad you came to your senses, or that what’s between you and Akiva is much stronger than any misgivings and misunderstandings. Akiva is so sweet, so selfless, so ashamed of what he’s done and so willing to atone for it in any way he can. I don’t think that I can ever make justice to these characters, so I will not try. I love them. Period.
“The two of them were stoic and stone-faced and ten feet apart, currently not even looking at each other, but Zuzana had the impression of a pair of magnets pretending not to be magnets. Which, you know, only works until it doesn’t.”
Suzana, Mik, Lizar, Ziri, and so many other characters from the previous books join us in the adventure of Gods and Monsters. Suzana is probably one of my favorite characters ever! Her personality is so distinctly her. The loyalty and love that she feels for Karou and for the chimera cause is admirable. I’m so happy that she was prominently present in the last installment. We also get to know these characters a lot better and many surprises are in store for the reader.
“I love vengeance like normal people love sunsets and long walks on the beach. I eat vengeance with a spoon like it’s honey. In fact, I may not even be a real person, but just a vow of vengeance made flesh.”
The pace is not precisely slow, but the way the book is formatted made me want to skip chapters so I could follow Karou and Akiva’s story more closely. I’m not saying that the book is not good, not at all. But chapters are alternated between other characters as well. It’s like those movies where the story follows different characters and then it all makes sense at the end. In case you cannot tell, the book is written from the third point of view, that way we know what most characters are doing (and seeing, smelling, tasting, and feeling) in different places. It works amazingly well here.
Oh, the writing! If you’ve read any of the books in the series (or my fan-crazed reviews), you know that I love Taylor’s writing. It’s so beautiful, lyrical, full emotion, and a sensory overload. A true treasure that I have learned to appreciate.
“It’s all I want, to be beside you, helping you. If it takes forever, all the better, if it’s forever with you.”
As with most things, Dreams of Gods &Monsters is not perfect. I feel that part of the plot, towards the end was unnecessary, unless Taylor intended to have a fourth book in the series (which I wouldn’t mind at all, by the way). Why unnecessary? Because it felt as if new characters and conflict was introduced with the sole purpose of separating Karou and Akiva. The ending didn’t really felt like one.
“And the stone table was between them, a barrier, but there could be no barrier to the smile that was her answer. It was another new species, and Akiva thought that he could spend a thousand years with her– please– and still be discovering new species of smiles.”
Overall, Dreams of Gods & Monsters is an amazing book and a worthy addition to an incredible series that I’m very sorry to see come to a close (*hint, hint*)...more
Pledge has all the ingredients for a great story: young, good looking people, soul mates, angels, and destiny. I did enjoy it, but not as much as I thPledge has all the ingredients for a great story: young, good looking people, soul mates, angels, and destiny. I did enjoy it, but not as much as I thought I would.
When I was approached by the author to participate in the blog tour I was really happy about it. I love the promotional materials that were sent directly from Erin and Seth’s POV, they seemed to be great characters and be so much fun. The problem for me is that their character is not reflected in the book. I think I liked Sophia and Jered more than I did Seth or Erin and other of the characters (even the villains see to be better ‘fleshed out’!)
The plot is really good and well thought out. There are a lot of details and we are not left to wander what is going on and I appreciate that. I liked the” time-travel”, but the going back and forth between characters and location was a bit confusing and as a result the story didn’t flow smoothly.
Overall, I did enjoy the premise of Pledge and I plan to follow Erin and Seth’s adventures, especially since the ending was a big cliffhanger :)
About the cover: I really like this cover, the pendant and the diamond have such significance in the story and Erin and Seth are touching it. ...more
As the synopses states, Sam and Celaena have moved out of the Assassin’s Keep and are now living on their own, but they are not getting any work and tAs the synopses states, Sam and Celaena have moved out of the Assassin’s Keep and are now living on their own, but they are not getting any work and their funds are seriously depleted. They are determined to get a new beginning together and negotiate with Arobynn to be able to leave the Assassin’s Guild in peace. The problem is that Arobynn is incapable of love and compassion, he is SO BAD! I have to say that I cried in this one, and if you read Throne of Glass or the preview, you know that it doesn’t end well; but in case you haven’t I will not tell you the ending. This novella is truly heartbreaking, not only because of what happens to Sam, but also because Celaena refuses to believe that Arobynn is the bastard that he is.
All these novellas are amazing! They seem much longer than what they really are because the writing is flawless, the characters are incredible and the plots are truly memorable. Please read these as well as the full length novel. They are awesome! ...more
This installment was bittersweet for me. The good part was that Sam and Celaena finally admitted their feelings for each other (well, sort of) and I lThis installment was bittersweet for me. The good part was that Sam and Celaena finally admitted their feelings for each other (well, sort of) and I loved that part. Sam is so sweet and I love him! Arobynn keeps proving that he is a heartless bastard and manipulates Celaena into an awful position and forces her to do something she despises. This novella is a little slower, but it has more meaning in terms of feelings and what is to happen next. I just don’t understand how Celaena can still believe in Arobynn after all he has done. ...more