So I read and loved the first book in the trilogy ‘Shadow and Bone’ – iThis review was written for The Review Diaries You can read the full review here
So I read and loved the first book in the trilogy ‘Shadow and Bone’ – it was the perfect bit of escapism at a moment when I needed it the most. So as soon as I finished the first book I immediately picked up the second book and carried straight on with Alina’s story, which at the end of the first book was tinged with a little bit of hope in amongst all the darkness. It doesn’t last long. We’re barely thirty pages in when everything goes to hell in a handbasket and Alina and Mal are plunged straight back into terror and torture and bad things all round.But in amongst all the very bad things is one extraordinarily thing, or rather, person. Sturmhond. Be still my beating heart.
This book is a lot funnier than the first, the banter is on point, and it is pretty much all thanks to this wonderful guy. Seriously, virtually every word out of his mouth is a quote I highlighted, and I was frequently laughing out loud. There are also AWESOME TWISTS involving him which made me giggle with glee.
Basically laughter, banter and a little bit of swooning. Whilst I would have enjoyed this book without him, the presence of Sturmhond truly lifted the book from one I enjoyed into one I adored. Which is a good thing because Mal was truly getting on my nerves in this book. I wanted to love him, so much love just waiting to give to Mal (except Sturmhond stole it all) but he was being a whiney child throughout the novel. I wanted to shake him. I couldn’t see the relationship between him and Alina, and almost every interaction with them left me frustrated. I feel like I’m being pointed at this ship and told to love it, yet not really getting any reason why I should.
The pacing is very different to the first. We’re chucked straight into the action for the first half and then there is a lot of politics and strategizing which was interesting, but definitely a change of pace. It’s a time to slow down, take stock, develop characters and relationships, and, you know, for Alina to think she’s going full on crazy. Despite the change of pace, or perhaps because of it, I really enjoyed this book, and I really settled down into loving this series. I loved getting lost in the magic, the world, the characters. Basically it was the perfect read for me in this frame of mind. If you’re after escapism, this is one to pick up.
Then it all kicks off and we have big battles and much death and it all feels rather bleak and desperate and I LOVED IT. Seriously, whilst I really enjoyed the first book, this book took everything to a whole new level, which was intriguing because often the second book in a series is the point where everything falters as pieces are moved into place for the grand finale in book three.
So if you’re worried that the second book won’t live up to you love of the first, HAVE NO FEAR, because it’s excellent. And you’ll meet Sturmhond, who is basically my latest fictional baby. Because, reasons. And if you like me have put off reading this series (foolishly) then you need to get on it stat, because this is brilliant. Imaginative, brilliantly written, and thoroughly addictive, I love it....more
This review was written for the 'A Wicked Old Woman' blog tour
That blurb had me thoroughly intrigued from the outset, and whilst this is an intriguing novel it is a very different beast to the one I was expecting when I started reading.
The novel is a jumbled collection of characters and situations, story threads and backstory that takes a while to untangle so you can see the pattern clearly, and whilst I think this may put some people off, once you get through to that point it is well worth the effort.
The writing is lyrical, in places overly verbose, an exercise in linguistic gymnastics as Ravinder plays with language, thoughts and feelings to create an almost poetical writing style that paints Kulwant’s life in vivid colours.
This can become confusing and frustrating as you try to unravel the meanings and thoughts hidden in sometimes overly complex language. However in places it can be brilliant in its execution. It can also provide some confusion as the characters are predominantly female and the author has a tendency to refer to characters by pronoun rather than name. That can lead to confusion and frustration as you have to then not only untangle the writing, but also try to work out who is speaking and to whom.
However despite these drawbacks and frustrations I thoroughly enjoyed working my way through this novel. It’s unique, fascinating and complex. I loved watching the characters grow, come into their own and embrace the world around them. I loved the culture, Kulwant’s experiences being Asian in England, the community and the vibrant characters that populate the novel.
It’s beautiful in places, filled with clever turns of phrase and lyrical prose, an interesting novel that is unlike anything else you will read this year....more
Thanks to Netgalley and Hot Key Books for sending me a copy in exchangeThis review was written for The Review Diaries You can read the full review here
Thanks to Netgalley and Hot Key Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review
This one was a quick and enjoyable read that thoroughly sucked me in, but never really developed into anything more than surface enjoyment. Sometimes that’s a good thing to have a story that you can just whip through in one sitting and be taken away for a little while. Sometimes that can be incredibly frustrating and leave you feeling cheated. Luckily I was in the former camp when I sat down to read this one.
It takes a little while to find its feet and really get going, but once it does it trundles along at a decent pace, not offering too much of a challenge in terms of plot or having to think whilst reading, but instead offers a simple story that relies heavily on the intrigue and magic infused within to carry the readers interest. A door that leads to the past, I loved how little time AJ spends having long desperate crisis about how this could be possible and just embraces it whole heartedly. AJ is an interesting protagonist, and I loved watching his story unfurl. The most interesting aspect for me was this idea of these three boys who hadn’t amounted to much in our world making something of themselves through the door. It was such a fascinating idea and I wish we could have seen a little more of its development. However the relationships between the three boys is left a little underplayed. We’re supposed to see that their the closest of friends, but it never really comes across. In fact the relationships throughout a little under developed which was a shame.
The writing is good, and I loved the historical details that are littered throughout. They really help to bring the past to life and to make AJs journeys through the door even more realistic and interesting. However the novel never really lifts from good into fantastic, which is a huge shame, and I felt like the writing let the concept down in several places.
All in all this was an interesting read that was thoroughly enjoyable to sit down with for a couple of hours. I was frustrated that it glossed over some of the parts that interested me the most, but on the whole it was a great stand alone read....more
I know what you’re thinking – how has it taken you so long to get to thThis review was written for The Review Diaries You can read the full review here
I know what you’re thinking – how has it taken you so long to get to this series?! And I have no decent excuse. It got tangled up in my head with ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ by Laini Taylor, and by the time I realised they were two very separate books the ship had sailed and I decided to wait until the full trilogy was out to sit down to read to them. Then I promptly forgot. Until ‘Six of Crows’ started making exciting waves and I decided that enough was enough and I really ought to get caught up on the Grisha world properly before launching into ‘Six of Crows’, and well, here we are.
This book had me from the first page. It was just the type of world, mythology, and exciting plot peopled with fascinating characters that I needed to get lost in. I stormed through it virtually in one sitting and loved it thoroughly.
It was such a refreshing change to see a gorgeous take on Russia used as the backdrop in Ravka. It leant the book a wonderful freshness and set it apart from so many of the fantasy books I’ve read this year. The world building is superb and I loved being immersed in this world, familiarising myself with the history and culture which is all captured so vividly and really adds an additional layer to the story that helps lift it from the page.
The characters are all complex and fascinating and I loved Alina from the start. She’s a wonderfully relatable protagonist, filled with flaws and weaknesses as well as strength and determination. I loved watching her come to terms with her past, her present and her future and all the facets of herself that she’s kept hidden for years. The only character that I wasn’t fussed on was Mal, strangely enough. I cared about him, but I wasn’t sold on the romance in the way I was hoping and expecting to be, which was a shame.
This is a fantastic start to what I’m sure is going to be a fabulous series. It’s filled with excitement and drama and magic and I slipped into this world and Alina’s life and fell in love. I cannot wait to see what the rest of the trilogy has in store....more
Thanks to Netgalley and St Martin’s Press for sending me a copy in exchThis review was written for The Review Diaries You can read the full review here
Thanks to Netgalley and St Martin’s Press for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review
Side note:It really frustrates me when covers are designed by people who have clearly never read the book. Why is she wearing a hat and a blanket? The entire book takes place in the middle of summer when it’s stupidly hot and there are forest fires coming for them.
It’s always a bad sign when you want to shake 90% of the characters in a book. Alas, ‘Instructions for the End of the World’ has that in spades, in fact I think there was only one character that didn’t frustrate me. It also might be my book of the year for truly terrible parenting. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with such a bunch of awful, unfit to have children parents in some time. You have Wolf’s mother who is completely self-absorbed and tries to bring everyone into the drama of her life. Then Nicole and Isabel’s parents – one of whom it emerges never wanted children and willingly leaves her kids with their slightly unstable father in the middle of nowhere with no intentions to come back and rescue them. Good job parents.
Then there are the kids, who are slightly screwed up but no less frustrating. There was so much potential here with both Nicole and Isabel and the situations they find themselves in, but it didn’t feel like the book was ever fully allowed to explore them, it just glossed over the top and as a result any emotional impact was lost. It also makes both of the girls decisions really hard to understand, particularly in the end of the novel where I just wanted to introduce my head to the desk for a while and weep for the idiocy.
There are several character viewpoints: Wolf, Nicole and her sister Isabel – all reasonable. But then we have one random other view point from Laurel who gets a grand total of two chapters out of the book and feels like a secondary character arc that was meant to be expanded into something, but instead was left as a beginning and an end.
Whilst the concept was fascinating, I never really connected with the characters or the story. I wanted to get drawn into the situation, to feel for these people, but I felt like nothing was really driving the events – there was no real plot to speak of. I ended up just feeling apathetic and mildly frustrated, and wishing for the story I thought I’d be diving into when I opened this book....more
Started out strong but lost focus in the second half, and felt a little rambly in places. Also incredibly frustrating to read such modern language inStarted out strong but lost focus in the second half, and felt a little rambly in places. Also incredibly frustrating to read such modern language in the 1728 sections. Still very enjoyable read though. Full review to come....more