I got a free copy of this book for review a little while back, and have literally just gotten around to reading it. I’m kind of sad about that,...moreReview:
I got a free copy of this book for review a little while back, and have literally just gotten around to reading it. I’m kind of sad about that, because actually, this book is kind of awesome.
It seems a bit typical at the start, Sam’s family have just moved to a new small town, making Sam the awkward new girl at school. However, Sam’s got a few more problems than just that. One is that her father is sick and her mother is abusive, and another is that she seems to have prophetic dreams, and that her little sister only has to wish for something and it becomes true.
Of course, add into the mix that her mother has some sort of plan, and you’ve got yourself an intriguing storyline. It was definitely different to other things I’ve been reading recently, and I very much enjoyed the book. I liked the characters, even if sometimes they felt very familiar, and I liked the idea of the Valley as a place.
Having finished the book I do still have a lot of questions – the answers to which I hope will become clear when the rest of the series is released. One is what exactly Sam’s power entails, another is what her mother is actually planning, and on top of all of that, what really are the Seasonals?
Basically, having read this, I’m still intrigued, and am looking forward to the rest of the series.
I didn’t realize when requesting this that this was the third book in a series. Probably a bit of bad planning on my part, but the synopsis sou...moreReview:
I didn’t realize when requesting this that this was the third book in a series. Probably a bit of bad planning on my part, but the synopsis sounded good, so I thought I’d go for it. I wasn’t actually all that lost, given that I hadn’t read the first two books, and I was glad for that, because this one was actually a fairly enjoyable, if a little surreal, read.
Kiri Palger is the main character of this book – a budding game designer/developer who has just moved to a new home in Mystic Circle. She’s looking to get a job at the HQ of Fairies and Dragons, which is what I imagined to be a World-of-Warcraft-eque MMO style game. To be fair, this was what attracted my inner video game nerd to this book in the first place.
Kiri doesn’t get the job, but does get a job on another project… a much more realistic one.
I very much enjoyed the storyline of this book, but I sometimes felt a little lost when the story ran away from me. That said, I very much enjoyed the characters – they were easily imaginable, especially Kiri herself. I also liked the romance between Kiri and Lathyr, I felt like it worked.
Overall, I enjoyed this, and it’s made me want to go and get the previous two books in the series – I enjoyed the writing mostly, and I definitely enjoyed the storyline – it was original and it generally made my inner MMO nerd pretty happy in the process! Definitely one for anyone interested in gaming or a different take on fantasy novels!
The first thing I have to comment on with this book is the cover – I really like the choice of colours, and now I’ve read the book, I think it...moreReview:
The first thing I have to comment on with this book is the cover – I really like the choice of colours, and now I’ve read the book, I think it actually fits the story pretty well. I’ve never actually read a Catherine Fisher before now, but I definitely don’t think this one will be my last!
The story follows wild-child Jake in his search for his missing father, his godfather Oberon Venn in his mission to get his wife back and various other colourful characters with their own individual goals. I loved the way that Fisher managed to balance such a cast and make all the characters three-dimensional and easy to remember.
The storyline contains elements of fairylore and a more sci-fi theme, namely, time travel. I’m going to admit, I’m normally a little worried about books with time travel – I’ve found very few where it’s been used particularly effectively. However, in this book I wasn’t left feeling lost, and I think I actually understood what was going on throughout!
I’ve been left with a lot of questions after reading this novel – mainly about Gideon and the Shee (fairies) and where they fit into the grander scale of things, so I’ll definitely be picking up further books in the series to find out!
I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy, and doesn’t mind if it’s aimed at a slightly younger audience! Definitely worth picking up.
This book was something completely different to what I was expecting. The story follows Blue, the non-psychic daughter in a family of psychics...moreReview:
This book was something completely different to what I was expecting. The story follows Blue, the non-psychic daughter in a family of psychics who has also been told she will kill her true love if she kisses him. That’s fine – Blue’s accepted both of those things – until she meets The Raven Boys. This happens by change in the restaurant Blue works in, then again when they come to ask advice on psychic energies from Blue’s family.
The reason they need advice? The boys are wrapped up in a pretty sinister world of magic energy and ley lines – and the even more sinister plot that goes with it.
This definitely offers something completely new – I’ve never read anything in the young adult genre which involves psychic energies and ley lines. I liked what Maggie has done – wrapping existing myths and phenomena together with tangible places, likeable characters and adding in her own special touch which just seems to make the magic real.
The storyline was as engaging as the characters, and I felt it was well paced and enjoyable. I’m so glad this is only the first of a series, because I really can’t wait to see what happens next! It’s also just about creepy enough, with murders and magic, to be a perfect Hallowe’en read!
If you haven’t read this, I really, truly recommend it – it’s every bit as good as we’ve come to expect from Maggie Stiefvater’s writing – definitely impressed!
Every time I read a book by Brent Weeks, I somehow become even more of a fan. I loved the first book in this series, The Black Prism, and this...moreReview:
Every time I read a book by Brent Weeks, I somehow become even more of a fan. I loved the first book in this series, The Black Prism, and this was a brilliant second book to the series. Having finished it, I can’t wait for the next one!
This story follows right on from the first book with the problems of the Chromeria, the emergence of The Colour Prince and the fact that the Prism is dying. Honestly, if you haven’t read the first book and that doesn’t make sense to you, I seriously advise you go and pick it up right now, because it’s completely worth it.
Both books are packed full of clever twists, character building and a great overview of an extensive world that Weeks has created, as well as a magic system that’s completely different to others I’ve come across. I loved seeing more of Gavin, as well as Kip. Kip’s definitely grown up in this book, and whilst he still has a pretty big chip on his shoulder (and frankly, given what he’s had to deal with in his life, who wouldn’t?) he really isn’t the quitter he quite easily could have been in the first book. I also got a lot more respect for Karris, and even Liv, though I didn’t understand all of her decisions.
I also liked the further insight to the Colour Prince and his army, and in some ways I can see why they’d think like they do – though it’s clear to see how they can easily manipulate people’s view of the Chromeria by using the Chromeria’s own flaws and mistruths against itself.
The ending to this book was a little weaker than the previous book, I felt, but there were some pretty big cliffhangers thrown in there, and I really can’t wait to get my hands on the next book to see how those play out!
Overall a really exciting, enjoyable fantasy read that you simply must pick up if you haven’t already!
I’m going to admit, I probably should have read the synopsis of this one more thoroughly than I did – I want into this expecting Tamora-Pierce-...moreReview:
I’m going to admit, I probably should have read the synopsis of this one more thoroughly than I did – I want into this expecting Tamora-Pierce-esque lady knights, or perhaps even a Paksenarrion wannabe. Erm, not what I got. This one’s definitely more for fans of Bored of the Rings and other similar fantasy parodies – but that’s not to say it didn’t give me a good laugh along the way!
I very much enjoyed the snarky sense of humour and the little digs at existing fairytales and well-known characters. The characters were fairly enjoyable, with Jake being my undisputed favourite – again, probably because he was the most long-suffering/sarcastic. Selda was… well, she was okay, and I liked the idea of the Wandering Wizard and the various dragons etc. It kind of felt like a Dungeons and Dragons campaign gone made, and I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of it.
However, I did have issues with some things. One was the pacing – some parts dragged unnecessarily, whilst some bits felt ridiculously rushed. There were also spelling and grammar issues throughout, and at times I found myself focusing on those rather than the story. Then again, that might just be me.
Either way, this was a nice fast read, and it did kill some time on a long train journey. For a Kindle freebie, it was enjoyable, and I very much felt that the story had potential, but was just a little bit underdeveloped.
After reading the second book, I’d decided that this series had potential, so long as the last book was pretty damn good. Thankfully, this comp...moreReview:
After reading the second book, I’d decided that this series had potential, so long as the last book was pretty damn good. Thankfully, this completely delivered.
This book sees Wendy, unlikely Trylle (or troll) princess become unlikely Trylle Queen, and unlikely Wife, to an equally unlikely husband. She has to deal with her Wedding, her Coronation, and getting her nation to trust her, all whilst a hostile troll faction led by Wendy’s own father, the Vittra, threaten (and carry out) attacks.
Yes, this was exactly as dramatic as it sounds. In this book, I actually liked Wendy. She finally realizes what an ass Finn’s been, she grows up a heck of a lot, and does what any Princess/Queen would do, and finds herself putting her own needs second to those of her Kingdom and her people.
I have to admit, I loved the love story aspect of this, and I’d been kind of secretly hoping it would go this way – for me, the guy Wendy ends up with is the only one I could properly see her with having read the second book. The book also ended on a very unexpected note, and I loved that about it. There was also a good wrap-up, with all loose ends tied, and I was glad for it.
I’m going to admit, I became more immersed in the world Amanda Hocking has created than I originally thought I would, and given the movie rights have already been sold, I can (hopefully) look forward to seeing this one on the big screen!
Definitely enjoyable, and even for those who didn’t enjoy the second book so much, I felt this one was a lot better and a good ending to the trilogy.
I enjoyed the first of these books, and decided to immediately move to the second, as it was such a bargain price. I’m going to admit, I didn’t...moreReview:
I enjoyed the first of these books, and decided to immediately move to the second, as it was such a bargain price. I’m going to admit, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I did Switched, but it was still a pretty good read, especially for the price.
The book more or less jumps straight in where Switched finishes, and I enjoyed that. Admittedly, it does explain things, so if you hadn’t read Switched first, I don’t think you’d be too lost.
Admittedly, Wendy was, for the most part, better than she was in the previous. She was less selfish, and finally more aware of what it meant to be a Princess, and what the Trylle expected of her. She actually starts performing her duties properly in this one, and taking things seriously, even if she’s still fighting her own strong feelings for Finn, the tracker who brought her home, but whom she can never be with because of their vastly different social classes. I have to admit here, I’m a sucker for forbidden love.
However, I didn’t really understand the Finn thing so much in this, given he spends most of the book being a complete arse so far as Wendy is concerned. I mean, I get that he does it to save both of their feelings – but surely she’d get the message? Or am I just being unromantic?
Beware of Spoilers here on in!
Also, there’s the developing love… quadrilateral. It bothered me. I get why Wendy likes Finn – they have history, and he’s hot. However, she becomes somewhat involves with Loki – the Vittra (warring faction trolls) Markis (Like Lord) even though that’s equally forbidden. Then of course there’s Tove, who she ends up getting engaged to. This all bothered me ridiculously, possibly more than it should.
That, and the fact that actually, there’s very little action throughout the book. Honestly, not a lot seemed to happen, and that bothered me as well.
That said, I did enjoy this, and will be jumping straight into the third and final book, because really, this series has potential.
Title: Throne of Glass Author:Sarah J Maas Publisher/format: Bloomsbury, Kindle Edition How I got this: eARC received from Netgalley for fair review. Ch...more Title: Throne of Glass Author:Sarah J Maas Publisher/format: Bloomsbury, Kindle Edition How I got this: eARC received from Netgalley for fair review. Challenges: DAC 2012, 2012 ebook challenge, 2012 YA challenge
Synopsis (From Goodreads.com):
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is how to write a debut fantasy. When I first heard about this book, I knew that somehow, I had to read it. It combined two of my major reading loves – fantasy and YA, and the main character was awesome. I was so excited when I got the email telling me that I could get a copy via netgalley.
Thankfully, this book lived up to my hopes and expectations in every way. I completely loved it, the characters in it, and the complex world that the author has managed to create.
The main character, Celaena Sardothian was awesome. She was an assassin and a wanted criminal, and acted as such. However, she also had a slightly vulnerable side, and somehow, it made her every bit more human. I also loved the supporting cast, especially Prince Dorian and Chaol Westfall, both of whom I loved. I admit, the love triangle that half-develops in this was one of the only points of the story that left me rolling my eyes a little, but it was one of those things that I could easily overlook due to the rest of the story. And of course, love triangles don’t bother everyone, so it’s no major issue.
I loved the fact that the story was complex, yet believable (well, believable in a fantasy context!) and the fact that I was dragged in so completely, I had serious issues putting the book down. I finished the entire thing within two days, even though I had work on both of the days!
There was enough romance to keep my girlish side happy without it overwhelming the rest of the plot, and there was no instalove! I really did like Dorian, and kind of hope it’ll end up working out, though Captain Westfall definitely doesn’t sound like a bad option either! It’s not often I’m on the fence because I like two male love interests, so this is quite novel for me!
I also loved the ending of the book, mainly because it ties things up, but leaves enough open for the rest of the series. I think you could probably read this as a single book, though I honestly don’t see why you’d want to when this is so awesome!
Actually can’t wait for the next one! Definitely worth a look – one of my favourites of the year so far!
Thank you very much to netgalley and Bloomsbury for the chance to review this book.
This book really didn’t turn out as I’d expected. I read the synopsis, and expected one story, and ended up getting a totally different one whi...moreReview:
This book really didn’t turn out as I’d expected. I read the synopsis, and expected one story, and ended up getting a totally different one whilst reading. And you know what? The story I got was awesome.
I have to admit, I thought that Kay’s cancer was going to be one of the main points in the story – and don’t get me wrong, it plays a pretty big role. However, that’s definitely not all there is to the book. Even if she’s really sick, Kay wants to be normal. The problem with that is that Kay definitely isn’t normal – and it’s not just about her being ill.
She wants to attend high school, go to dances and meet boys. Well, she meets boys, but it’s definitely complicated, as she finds some serious family secrets. I’m not going to explain any further so as not to give anything away – but I loved watching Kay’s story and background unfold.
I ended up loving Kay as a character, and I have to admit, I liked Ryan, too. I wasn’t so keen on Nick, but he was pretty cool. Admittedly, the love triangle in this didn’t work for me (then again; do they ever work for me?) though that might have been because I was fully behind a Kay/Ryan relationship from the get-go.
The world building was pretty good in this, and I loved the author’s version of the Faery realm – and whilst this is another book set in Faery that makes use of Shakespeare characters, it was done well, and differently from other famous series’ that have done the same, for example Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey.
I enjoyed the writing style, but my one criticism was that there were a few spelling errors that a little more editing might have gotten rid of. However, the storyline and characters in this book more than make up for it. Generally, I enjoyed this, and would recommend it. Can’t wait for the next one – so much I need to know more about – especially Lady Kira and what happens to her!
I started off thinking I wasn’t going to be too impressed with this. It jumps rght into the story, the main character knows what she is and acc...moreReview:
I started off thinking I wasn’t going to be too impressed with this. It jumps rght into the story, the main character knows what she is and accepts that she knows very little of her own culture. However, I was completely lost. I felt like I needed more background, and was worried I’d continue to feel lost throughout the book. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case.
Ondines are water elementals, and are at war with the Aquidae, who are essentially demons. Helping to protect the Ondines are the Selkies and the Demillir, who are much better than their magical elemental counterparts. The main character of this story, Kendra, is an Ondine. However, she’s not just any Ondine, she’s the Sondaleur, an Ondine who is prophesized to bring the end of the war between the Ondines and the Aquidae.
To be frank, sometimes in the book I found Kendra irritating – she was childlike and selfish. Then as the story progressed, I realized she was changing, and suddenly seeing the bigger picture, and I liked her more as things went on. Tristan was a fabulous leading man, mature, dark, brooding, athletic, sexy.. Mmm, find me a Tristan any day – he’s a true Prince Charming, with the title to seal the deal. I liked Ry, but he just wasn’t the same.
The storyline was good for this one, I enjoyed myself, and found that generally it moved at about the right pace. There were definitely some exciting parts, and I could really imagine the characters in my head, which is always important for me.
Over all, I was actually pretty impressed with this book, and am glad I have the second of the series already loaded on my Kindle and waiting to go! I’m pretty sure that once I’ve finished that, I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next installment too. Definitely a nice, different take on the popular mermaid/underwater creature theme that seemed rife over the summer!
When I requested this for review from Netgalley, I had never actually heard of it before. All I knew was that it had a pretty cover, a pretty f...moreReview:
When I requested this for review from Netgalley, I had never actually heard of it before. All I knew was that it had a pretty cover, a pretty font on the cover, and the synopsis contained several buzzwords – pirates, assassins, curses and magic. I was completely solved, and really excited when I received this.
I have to admit, when I started reading, however, I was concerned. I realized that the MC’s name was Ananna – and I couldn’t stop thinking ‘Banana’. And then I realized that having been brought up as a pirate, her narrative contained a lot of words like “ain’t”. I was quite worried it was going to become overpowering within the story, and that because of it, it would lack other detail, but it really, really doesn’t. It was actually quite endearing, and somehow added to the story.
I loved the rich world that the author has managed to create, and that it isn’t set within typical fantasy bounds. Half of the book is set in a desert setting, and the other half is set on the open sea. I also ended up loving both Ananna and Naji as characters, and I loved the way that they quite clearly care more for each other than they’re willing to admit. I haven’t seen this sort of romantic build up in a fantasy novel since Tamora Pierce’s Lioness series, and we all know how much I loved that one. That all said, I’d like to know more about the world, and that was one of my few issues with the book. It seemed rich, and I want to know more about the Mists and how all the magic in the world works. Hopefully in the rest of the series, there will be more of this!
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy!
The first thing I want to comment on for this book, is the ending. Of course, being the third and final part of the Night Angel Trilogy, the ending to...moreThe first thing I want to comment on for this book, is the ending. Of course, being the third and final part of the Night Angel Trilogy, the ending to this book was always going to be important – and I really felt this one delivered, and did what many fantasy books somehow fail at – it managed to get all the loose ends tied up in a satisfying way.
This story literally picks right up where Shadow’s Edge, the previous book in the trilogy, left off. And even though it’s been a little while since I read Shadow’s Edge, I didn’t feel like I’d forgotten the story. To be fair, the credit for that has to go to Brent Weeks’ characterization. I don’t think there were any ‘filler’ characters in this series. It’s one of those series where you hear from various characters’ points of view, but I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a character whose side of the story I wasn’t interested in throughout.
I also liked in this that I couldn’t predict what was going to happen, but that the twists in the plot weren’t ridiculous. An explanation could be given for everything that happened, and for me, that’s important in a story.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this series, and I’m pretty sure this book was my favourite of the three. I’d really recommend these books to anyone who feels they can enjoy a fairly hefty epic fantasy trilogy – the world building and characters are impressive, enjoyable, and I really enjoyed myself reading this. (less)
I admit that lately, I’ve been super-picky with which review requests I actually end up agreeing to, because at the moment I’m right at the end of my...moreI admit that lately, I’ve been super-picky with which review requests I actually end up agreeing to, because at the moment I’m right at the end of my Uni course, and I don’t have as much time for reading/reviewing as I normally would. However, when a request for this book came into my inbox, I found myself intrigued – the synopsis really appealed to me, as did the pretty purple cover. Obviously I agreed, and I’m really, really glad I did.
This book, I felt, gave a lot more than the synopsis originally suggested. I thought it was literally going to be about a seer and a healer trying to keep their own secrets. However, this book offers much, much more, with an underground world of vampires, fey and other magical creatures all seamlessly being wound together, complete with their own group politics, and a war waiting to happen.
I ended up really liking the characters in this one. Normally I stay well away from books with twins, but the relationship was tackled really well in this one. Sera and Luke have the stereotypical twin closeness without it seeming cheesey or overdone, and I like the way that Fey is subtly different to ‘normal’ people within the book, though it’s not screamingly obvious from the beginning what role she plays, or what she truly is. The other characters were also done well – I liked Jonas throughout, and Marc was just what the story really needed, I think.
The writing style also worked really well for me in this book – the changes in points of view between characters didn’t feel jerky, and it wasn’t done all too often.
Basically, there was very little to complain about, and I genuinely would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys their paranormal or fantasy books. I’d also like to thank J Meyer for giving me a copy of this to review – I’d have missed out on a fantastic book had I never found it. (less)
One thing I can say about Zoe Marriott is that she knows how to write a Prince-Charming-type character! I enjoyed her writing style whilst reading Dau...moreOne thing I can say about Zoe Marriott is that she knows how to write a Prince-Charming-type character! I enjoyed her writing style whilst reading Daughter of the Flames, and the love interest she created, and since then I’ve been waiting to read more of her stuff.
The Swan Kingdom is loosely based around The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Anderson, but the key word here is loosely. I admit, I’m not over familiar with that particular story, but from what I remember, whilst parallels between this book and the fairy tale can be drawn, there was enough original content to still keep it interesting.
I’ll start with the things that worked for me in this story. As I’ve said, Marriott has a way of building these fantastic, magical worlds with seeming ease, and they’re really easy to slip into as a reader. Secondly, the book is fast-paced. Of course, it’s another fairly short novel, but it means that as a reader there’s not much time spent sitting and waiting for things to happen. The love interest was well done and builds up gradually, especially given the brief time in the book allocated to building the relationship between Gabriel and Alexandra – no instalove here, folks. Also, I do enjoy a good fairy tale retelling, and I’d say this one was pretty good overall.
However, there were a couple of things that bugged me with this book. The first was that sometimes, it seemed like it was trying to hard to be a fairy tale. I know that sounds like a strange complaint, but it goes through phases of using phrases like “to steal into the bedroom” and “slumber”, and yet at other times I didn’t notice this kind of language at all. The other thing was that the character’s main flaw was that she was ugly. Given the build up given to this fact early in the book, I expected it to be more important later in the story, but it really wasn’t. For me, that ended up feeling like a missing factor, almost. Also, the villain. I know Zella is meant to be the evil stepmother type, and she ‘feels’ evil, but there’s no explanation really for the kinds of things she does in The Kingdom – I didn’t feel like that was explained enough. I mean yes, sucking life from the land is evil enough, but I wanted to know about the consequences, really wanted her built up as evil, maybe had some weird secret evil habits… Basically, I’m a stickler for my evil characters being really evil.
This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy the book, but there were a few things that bothered me throughout, and in some ways I was glad that the book was as short as it is, and in others I felt like it could have been done in so much more depth, and really worked on character development and all the kind of stuff.
If you enjoy your fairy tale retellings, this one’s a relatively quick read, and fairly enjoyable, though I felt that whilst reading, I was overlooking some flaws.
It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne...moreThis review was originally posted here on my blog.
It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her. Exquisitely romantic, this companion to the highly praised "Graceling" has an entirely new cast of characters, save for one person who plays a pivotal role in both books. You don't need to have read "Graceling" to love "Fire." But if you haven't, you'll be dying to read it next. This edition includes an article by and an interview with Kristin Cashore, as well as a sneak peek at her next book, "Bitterblue"
Hmm. I always feel bad comparing one book to another, even when they’re remarkably similar, but it’s incredibly difficult not to compare this one to Graceling, and not just because they’re part of the same series.
Fire is set in the same world as Graceling, but in a completely different region – The Dells don’t have Gracelings, instead they have monsters, most of which resemble animals we would recognize, but some of which are human – and Fire is the only one left.
I liked the fact that whilst Fire was a monster, she wasn’t a shifter, and that being a monster had it’s own set of problems. In the way that Katsa seemed to have very few weaknesses in Graceling, Fire was very vulnerable and self-depreciating. I admit, sometimes she came across as a little whiny and spoiled, but it didn’t overwhelm the story, if anything I’d describe her as sensitive. I felt that Cashore did a very good job of giving Fire a distinct voice in comparison to Katsa, because it probably would have been easy for them to sound similar given they were both young, female protagonists.
The supporting cast of characters were equally enjoyable and all equally distinct. I even enjoyed Hanna as a character, which was a surprise, because I’m not always a fan of small-child characters. One thing that was well done was that even animals in this seemed to have distinct characters, which was definitely a plus.
I have to admit though, I kind of wish I hadn’t read this straight after reading Graceling, and the pure reason is that the further I read, the more similarities I was spotting. For example, there’s the averted love-triangle. The Archer/Fire relationship could have been a massive issue later on, but it was dismissed fairly early in the book, much like the Katsa/Giddon relationship in Graceling. Secondly, there’s falling in love with a member of the royal family who isn’t the crown prince. Admittedly, there were enough differences, but I hope this isn’t going to be repeated again in Bitterblue when that comes out.
That said, I did enjoy the story, and it was interesting to see the hints of things which tie in with the events in the previous book. I’m interested to see where this goes in subsequent books in the series, though I’m fairly sure the tie for Bitterblue will be obvious. This book was good, because it’s almost like a snapshot history of one or two people who will later most likely become important (and one who definitely does).
Personally, I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as I enjoyed Graceling, but that’s definitely not to say there was anything wrong with it. I’ll definitely be picking up Bitterblue when it comes out later this year (if I ever get through my mammoth of a TBR pile) and I’d definitely recommend these books to anyone who’s into the genre. (less)
This review was originally posted here on my blog.
This book is set in a world where some people are both with Graces, which are special skills that th...moreThis review was originally posted here on my blog.
This book is set in a world where some people are both with Graces, which are special skills that they excel in. These Graces can be either ridiculously useful (for example, being able to cook almost anything into something edible) to incredible silly (e.g. being able to hold your breath for an inhumanly long time). In some of the Seven Kingdoms, these Graces are what set people apart, and in others, they are an excuse for the Kings to use people.
The story focuses around Katsa, the King’s niece, whose Grace just happens to be killing. She can kill people with anything – including her bare hands, and has therefore become somewhat of a slave to her uncle’s whims, doing his dirty work for him.
However, she soon gets swept up in something much larger, and ends up leaving her Uncle’s court after having refused to hurt a man out of principle, and begins to discover that she may be more than just the monster she’s been pidgeon-holed as being.
I’m going to start by saying that I really enjoyed this book. The idea of the Graces was fairly original, and the characters were well-written and likeable. This is generally one of those books that I’d recommend to anyone interested in the fantasy genre who didn’t want anything too heavy to get bogged down with.
Firstly, I really enjoyed Katsa, her internal conflicts were believable, and the progression from her being a general killing machine through to really caring about someone else (and by that I mean both Po and Bitterblue) was gradual and enjoyable. I admit, when she decided she wasn’t just going to hurt/kill because she was told to anymore, I was pretty much cheering.
Also, the gradual breakdown of her barriers when she’s around Po was nicely done. I’m going to say here that there was a little bit of romance. The Bookish Ex (who read this before me) wasn’t a fan, but I didn’t think it affected the story in any negative way. I think this may just be a male opinion in contrast to a female opinion. I actually thought it was pretty sweet.
One thing that did please me was that whilst I could see at least two different love triangles forming, neither of them came to anything, and given my recent sensitivity to love triangles, that was definitely a positive!
Overall, this was a really good read. I went through it pretty quickly, and that was a good sign. A nice, strong female protagonist combined with a subtle-yet-interesting love story (no triangles!) and an epic adventure. Definitely ticked all my boxes!
This review can originally be found on my blog Hey, Tara.
Given how much fantasy I read, it’s pretty surprising I haven’t touched this series until no...moreThis review can originally be found on my blog Hey, Tara.
Given how much fantasy I read, it’s pretty surprising I haven’t touched this series until now. It’s one of those series I’ve wanted to read, and haven’t got round to, and now finally managed to borrow the first book off of The Bookish Ex, who assured me of how brilliant it is. I’m inclined to agree.
I’m going to admit, the first hundred or so pages seem to jump around a lot. They’re there to introduce the reader to the characters and to the world Sanderson has created, where a tyrannical ruler is in charge, and things like flowers don’t exist, because ash consistently falls. There’s a very strict cast system, with The Lord Ruler himself at the top, then his Inquisitors/Obligators, The Noble families, and then the skaa at the bottom.
In this world, magic is taken from metals. Those with ‘allomantic’ powers can ingest various metals, and the eleven metals give off different powers. A misting is an individual who can ‘burn’ one metal and use the power, and a full Mistborn can use all of the metals.
Kelsier is one f these Mistborn, and has an elaborate plan to free the skaa from their own oppression beneath this Lord Ruler, and start a rebellion. In the process, he recruits a crew of a criminals, all of whom are in on a very elaborate (and seemingly insane) plot. Vin is one of these criminals. She believes she is a common street skaa, however, she has been using her own allomantic powers for years without realizing what they truly are. This is explained by the fact that skaa don’t have alomancy – it’s something that the Nobility have, and the only way for skaa to have it is if half-noble-half-skaa children are born.
Basically, the story reads a bit like a coming of age for Vin, and a show of true heroics from Kelsier. However, the supporting cast of characters are interesting, and well written, and whilst the aforementioned first hundred pages begins to drag, the story quickly picks up and continues moving at a swift pace. I have to admit, I was quickly sucked into the world, and dinner has been made late on more than one occasion because I “just needed to finished this chapter”.
I liked the fact that this story takes the fantasy stereotype of the Ruler always being benign and good and turns it on its head – this is what happens when the wrong person is put in charge. Admittedly, everything else followed standard fantasy procedure, but to me, that doesn’t matter. There were enough twists and individual things to make this it’s own story – not least the fact that in this magic is derived from metal burning, which is a concept I haven’t seen elsewhere.
The plot is sufficiently convoluted and enjoyable, with twists and turns, and unlikely allegiances and survivals. There’s enough romance for my inner romantic, but it doesn’t overbear the story, and it’s not one of those “love conquers all” kinds of books, which was nice.
I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy read, and will definitely be reading the rest of the series soon. The only reason this isn’t getting the full five stars is because of the slight drag in the lead up to the story actually starting. However, it’s definitely worth pushing through that, because the story is just that good. (less)
This review can originally be found here on my blog, Hey, Tara.
Well, let’s just say that whilst I enjoyed the first book, I think I enjoyed this one...moreThis review can originally be found here on my blog, Hey, Tara.
Well, let’s just say that whilst I enjoyed the first book, I think I enjoyed this one a whole lot more. I thin that’s because the first book really is the beginning of the story, telling of how Azoth/Kylar’s upbringing brought him to do the things he did, and end up being the apprentice of Durzo Blint, the most famous “wetboy” (read as high caliber assassin) in all of Cenaria.
However, this book jumps straight in where the last book left off – Cenaria is in disarray, having been invaded by the Khalidoran’s, who seem to be a war-hungry, mainly unpleasant bunch. Kylar, however, is leaving Cenaria behind, and heading to Caernarvon, a city a fair distance away, with Elene and Uly, intending to start a new life, and live as a herb specialist. He’s agreed to give up being a wetboy, despite having bonded with the ka’kari, an artifact which makes him more dangerous/indestructible than ever. The reason? Elene. She’s fundamentally a good person, and she wants the three of them to live a good life. Kylar agrees that he wouldn’t want Uly living under the shadow of his profession, and he loves Elene, so he tries.
Only, that sort of thing can only last so long, especially when he hears that his best friend growing up, and the rightful King of Cenaria, Logan Gyre, is still alive. Kylar ends up returning to his old profession and his old home city, and doing what he does best under the shadow of the war.
As with the last book (and a lot of books within the fantasy genre) this is simultaneously told through the point of view of several characters, which leads to the reader knowing what everybody is doing at any given time. I know I enjoy that, but sometimes I did feel a bit lost, especially when new characters, or seldom mentioned characters were brought up. However, generally, I was fairly invested in the various characters, so this wasn’t an issue. I also liked how the characters had different voices throughout, and I have to say, I really enjoyed reading the sections on Vi – a character I’d never really considered before.
I also enjoyed the pacing of this book – it moved fast. There was always something happening to someone, and at no point did I really feel things were particularly dragging. Even the sections written about Kylar experimenting with his newfound powers were interesting, because the idea of the ka’kari were only really brought up at the end of the last book, so the reader knew as little about them as the characters themselves.
As for the ending of this book – without spoiling anything – there are cliffhangers, so many cliffhangers. I really want to know what happens next, but I need to wait until I can borrow the next book from The Bookish Ex, so I[‘m thinking something short and easy to read in the meantime! (less)
This review was originally posted on my blog Hey, Tara.
This book really and honestly wasn’t what I thought it would be – it was actually a lot better...moreThis review was originally posted on my blog Hey, Tara.
This book really and honestly wasn’t what I thought it would be – it was actually a lot better. What I was expecting was basically a book that centered around horses, maybe even written for equestrian-inclined people, with a slight paranormal element being that these horses happen to be water horses.
What the book is actually about can almost be summed up in three words: Man Eating Horses.
The Scorpio Races are an annual event in Skarmouth, a town perched on the island of Thisby. Every year in November, the water horses make their way out of the sea onto the island, and that’s the only place in the world where that happens. Local people have made a tradition out of catching these horses, and training them to ride – however, the horses are dangerous, and the ocean always calls to them.
Traditionally, only men ride in the races – until circumstance leads Kate ‘Puck’ Connelly to enter.
In all honesty, I enjoyed this book so much more than I thought I would. The further I got into the story, the more I realized it was less about the Capaill Uisce (water horses) and more about Puck and Sean (the main characters) finding themselves, and their place on the island. It read for me almost like a coming of age story – full of discoveries for both parties about themselves, each other, and life in general.
This book was incredibly well written – there’s not anything negative I can say about that. The descriptions of the people and places of Thisby reminded me somewhat of rural Cornwall, or perhaps moreso of a Scottish island or something. The descriptions used are tangible – you can more or less see and hear everything the characters do, and that somehow makes it all the more enjoyable.
In all honesty, the way the book was written was enough to suck me in at the beginning. The world building is really very good – the closed community on the island was well-portrayed, as was the sense of community. The deadliness of the race is impossible to miss, and the descriptions of the accidents and damage caused by the capaill uisce were really quite brilliant – horrific and brutal, but beautiful at the same time.
Also, the characters were brilliant. Sean and Puck were everything main characters needed to be, and the supporting cast were good – each distinguishable and by the end, I very much felt like I belonged on Thisby.
It was really nice to read a standalone for a change, though if this ever did become part of a series, I’d definitely read more.
Recommended for older teens plus due to violence, and also recommended to people who (like me) don’t think they like books about horses. This book will change your mind.
For me, this book was average. It was typical epic fantasy, which I normally love, the magic system was fairly unique, which I enjoyed. However...moreReview:
For me, this book was average. It was typical epic fantasy, which I normally love, the magic system was fairly unique, which I enjoyed. However, the story was a little too slowly paced for me, and I really only felt like I connected with what was going on at the very end.
The idea of the magic system in this is that those who are gifted can hear music – the songs of the earth – and can control them and use their power at will. These songs originate from other worlds, separated from the human world by a veil. I liked the idea behind this – I’ve read about a lot of different magic systems, and the idea intrigued me. This was one of the things about the book I enjoyed.
However, I was scared the book was going to focus too much on religion. The church in this holds witch trials over anyone displaying the gift, and only a forgotten order miles away actually teaches magic. Unfortunately for Gair, the main character, he was brought up by the church, and when he begins to use his gifts, he’s quickly tried and exiled.
Luckily he finds a friend in seemingly worldly traveler Alderan, and gets taken to train his gifts, and learn their extent. Unfortunately, this aspect of the book was predictable for me, as was the fact that all with Gair was not as it seemed.
I liked the love interest in the book – especially because Aysha isn’t typical of “leading ladies”. The love was endearing, but not overplayed, and I appreciated that.
Overall, there were good aspects of this book, but certain things, such as the pacing, let it down for me. There were also some things that were mentioned a lot that actually didn’t seem that important to the end of the story, however, this is probably due to the fact that this is the first in the series, and the details will be important later. I think this is definitely one for people who really do enjoy their fantasy – and whilst it’s a good read, I didn’t enjoy it as much as some others I’ve read.
Oh wow. Okay. This book was one of the best I’ve read in a while. It’s got rave reviews, and there’s definitely a reason for that. I loved this book!
I...moreOh wow. Okay. This book was one of the best I’ve read in a while. It’s got rave reviews, and there’s definitely a reason for that. I loved this book!
I was fully expecting a rendition of Cinderella just with added cyborgs. But it wasn’t that at all. The story stuck to the basic Cinderella storyline, but deviates enough that as a reader, you never know quite what’s going to happen! Pretty much as soon as I started reading this book, I was completely sucked in and was loathe to put my Kindle down – definitely not a book I should have started when I have a lot of uni work on!
I’m going to be honest, I didn’t know how well I was going to handle a book which is primarily about cyborgs. I haven’t read a lot of Steampunk novels, and I’ve never really read much that centers around a protagonist who is partly or fully robotic. However, Cinder manages this well, and the mechanical aspects of Cinder herself aren’t completely overruling.
The definition of a cyborg is a being with some alteration which overrides their human limitations. This was taken into account well in this book – the additions to Cinder had both saved her life, and enhanced her normal human capabilities, giving her skills that would otherwise not be possible. The thing was, it was done well, because despite all that, she wasn’t completely perfect – she still had flaws, and somehow she was all the more human for it.
I loved Cinder as a character. I liked that she had sarcasm, a sense of humour, she had friends, but she was still this outcast type character, no matter how lovable she became. She’s not dependant on a fairy godmother, and she doesn’t just fall into the arms of the charming Prince Kai, no matter how much others around her would. (And I would too, of course).
As for the ‘romance’ between Cinder and Kai, I felt it was nicely done. It was predictable, yes, but it’s a fairytale retelling – of course we know all the major plot points and such. But it was sweet, and the way Kai treats her was really nice, and the fact that she rejects him even if she really struggles to do so. And I liked that he accepted her even when he knew she was a cyborg! Yes, swooning a little here!
I want to see what happens in subsequent novels, as this is part of a 4-part series – it seems like the story is set to deviate further from the traditional Cinderella storyline, and I want to see how that is handled, what happens (if anything) between Cinder and Kai, and what happens to Iko.
I totally loved this book, and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys their sci-fi, fantasy or fairytale retellings. I’ve seen it marked as dystopian, and I guess it could be considered so, because the world in this does seem to be going to Hades-in-a-handbasket, but at the same time, it didn’t feel like a typical dystopian. Either way, I’d really recommend this one – a really, really enjoyable read! (less)
This review appears in its original format on my blog Hey, Tara.
I picked up this one because for some reason, the third book of the series is on my s...moreThis review appears in its original format on my blog Hey, Tara.
I picked up this one because for some reason, the third book of the series is on my shelf (and has probably been there a fair while) but I’ve never actually read the rest of the series.
Basically, the story follows Aislinn, who is the chosen Queen of Keenan, the Summer King of the fairies. Of course, this leads to all sorts of situations wherein Keenan is pursuing Aislinn, though of course, it’s not as simple as it seems. Throw in the fact that Aislinn already has a love interest (Seth) and Beira, the evil Winter Queen, and you have this story.
Even before Keenan showed up, Aislinn has been able to see fairies. It’s an ability her Grandmother has, and her Mother clearly had before her. When you’re introduced to Aislinn, she has already accepted this, seeing as she’s had it all her life, and therefore isn’t freaked out by it.
However, due to the fact that these fairy sightings appear to be more frequent and malicious than usual, she shares her power with her would-be boyfriend, Seth. Who doesn’t freak out, or even really question it. Yeah, okay, this aspect of things bothered me a bit, I’m not going to lie – I mean, surely you’d be a bit bothered if the girl you like tells you she can see what are meant to be mythical creatures? But either way, Seth takes it in his stride, and helps Aislinn deal with them.
Now Seth himself… he’s definitely everything the 16-year-old Tara would have wanted in a boyfriend. He likes 90’s metal music, he has his own place, and he has piercings. Oh, and he’s intelligent and he sounds like a genuinely nice guy. Who can cook. Yeah, it’s a shame they don’t make Seth’s in the real world. Seth was definitely one of my favourite parts.
As for Keenan, aka Aislinn’s other love interest, well. Let’s just say that I kind of spent a lot of the time thinking that he should have a friend who loves Orange Soda. Anyone who grew up in the 90’s will probably get the reference, and it’s not that the name bothered me or anything, but that kept springing into my head at inopportune moments!
Aislinn, however, was fairly kick-ass throughout. She wasn’t a whiny teenage protagonist. I liked her. She took things in her stride (I’d have had massive freakouts given what she had to deal with) and grew into someone who could deal with the Summer King, having previously been scared of him, and could accept him, and her duty. Serious respect to the girl for the lack of tantrums and/or sulking. I definitely liked her.
I did enjoy the book, not exactly a favourite, but it was alright. I had fun reading it, and there were only a few things that bothered me, but not enough to ruin the story.
One thing I would say is that despite the language which would appeal to the younger teen, there’s a few sexual references and sexual themes throughout the book, and some of them surprised me because of it – however, it definitely kept me reading!
This is definitely one for fans of all-things-fairy, but for me, Kagawa’s The Iron King was much better. (less)
Okay, so it’s been a long time since I initially got this one, which was back at Christm...moreThis review can originally be found, in full here on my blog.
Okay, so it’s been a long time since I initially got this one, which was back at Christmas during the Kindle Sale. I basically got it because it was cheap, the cover was kind of cool, and the synopsis sounded pretty good, but there was always something else I wanted to read more. However, now I’ve read it, I wish I’d got to it sooner – this story was a lot better than I thought it would be.
The story is set in an Asian or maybe Indian kind of culture called Ruan, which has been invaded by another culture – the Sedorne - and is now ruled by a tyrannical leader. As a result, the Rua people are angry, repressed and looking for some sort of saviour, probably in the form of the various resistance groups there are in the country.
Zira is a young girl of fifteen who has been brought up in the House of God, and is training to be a namoa, or priestess. Until this point, she’s only really worried about what kind of namoa she will be designated to be, and her ambition is to be a fighting namoa. However, Zira isn’t as normal as she seems, she’s actually Princess Zahira (and really, that’s made fairly obvious from the beginning) the last of the Royal Elfenesh line of Ruan. Luckily for her, the current King thinks she died in the fire that killed the rest of her family. However, that doesn’t last long, and she’s suddenly swept on a dangerous quest to reinstate her family on the throne of Ruan.
Basically, this story has a little bit of everything. It’s got the typical fantasy elements, a good hero (heroine in this case), a well-written villain, an amount of mystery, good world building as well as some sort of quest to solve. There’s also some fairly nice romance in this, though I do understand why some people had an issue with a sixteen year old girl being married to an older man (although he was only early twenties).
I have to admit though, I thought I’d like Zira/Zahira a lot more than I did. I somehow thought she’d be a lot more kick-butt than she was, and I never really felt that I connected with her. Also, some of her decisions seemed to be a little out of character, and I never really knew what to expect. I was also expecting a lot more martial arts than there actually were in the book, but I think that might have just been me. Basically, I didn’t feel like I knew her enough to really get behind her at the end of the book, which was a shame. That said, there wasn’t anything wrong with her as a character, for me, she just felt a tad underdeveloped.
I have to admit, I liked Sorin. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy, though it was a little odd for him to feel so indebted to Zira for one act of heroism, and their marriage seemed a bit strange to me at first. I mean, I see it was borne out of necessity, but still – Zahira was only sixteen at the time. Would the average guy ask a sixteen year old girl to marry him? That said, I’m guessing you could argue it was part of the culture/time that the book was set in, and in that context it may make a lot more sense. He definitely grew on me, though, and by the end I think he might have been my favourite character.
As for the King, he was definitely a good villain. Whilst I didn’t understand all of his motives, I suppose this could be because he want meant to be a little off-centre. I admit, I’d like to have understood them more, but the fact that I didn’t did make him pretty unpredictable, and actually, that worked out fairly well for the way the character was portrayed. I do wish there had been more of him, maybe more background and such, in the book, but in general, he was well-written and easy to dislike. I also liked the fact that at some points I ended up feeling pity for him – for me that was a sign of how well-written the whole thing was.
I’m really curious as to where the next book in this series will go, though I only have to wait until June to find out. This book could definitely be read as a standalone – and I think the subsequent book is actually going to be just set in Zira and Sorin’s world. I have to admit, I’m almost a little sad about that, because I kind of wanted to know more about Zira/Zahira and Sorin.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, but there were just a couple of things that would have made it even better for me. Recommending this for those who love fantasy, or just a good love story. (less)
I read this directly after reading Poison Study by the same author because the two came in a double pack in the Kindle sale. I feel I should say that, because it means I’ve not read the rest of the study series, and some points in my review will mention that.
The story is set in the same world as the Study series, but focuses more on Sitia than Ixia. Opal is a magician-in-training in Sitia, and feels somewhat let down by her own abilities, mainly because they are different from her peers, and she doesn’t feel as strong. However, because her talents are different, there are things that only she can really do – such as help the Stormdance clan when they need a glass specialist. The Stormdance clan use glass orbs to capture the essence or energy of storms during stormy weather, and use the power in industry, meaning it’s essential to their economy. However, lately their glass orbs have been breaking, and when that happens, it kills the Stormdancer.
During this, Opal meets Kade, the leader of the Stormdance clan, and becomes more fascinated with glass magic – especially as it seems another group is also interested. This leads to a whole new adventure, and obviously, Opal getting herself into a whole lot of trouble.
My initial worry with this book was that I knew it was a spin off. That worried me in two ways – the first was that sometimes, it’s difficult for an author to disentangle their original story from the new one because of the shared location. Thankfully, Snyder accomplished this with ease, and at no point did the story overlap too much with what I’ve read of the Study series, nor did it feel like it was trying to be the Study series. Secondly, I was worried that it would give too much away of the previous series to a reader like myself who hadn’t yet finished it. I’ll admit, there were a few almost-spoilers, but there’s enough that I still need to read the Study series to really know what happened.
As for the characters in this book, I felt that they were fairly well developed, but I never really got into Opal’s head. She seemed to dance between being a compliant, scared girl to being a flirt to being gutsy in leaps and bounds and it confused me. That said, Snyder doesn’t do a bad job of going from writing an older character like Yelena to a younger one badly at all, and in some ways, it felt like Opal was finding herself as you read along.
I liked Kade’s character, and whilst I don’t normally like angsty guys, I could at least understand why. And he was consistent and really felt like someone I want to read more about. As for Ulrick, he felt too overprotective, and I know I personally would have found this a lot more annoying than Opal seemed to.
I like Opal’s confusion over the men in her life – for me it mirrored something every teenager can relate to – I certainly felt like that as a teen at times, and it played out nicely even at the end, though I want to see what happened later!
In terms of the storyline, it was okay, and the idea of different kinds of magics, and individual differences was good. I liked the addition of different clans having different skills and ways of doing things.
This is definitely one for Snyder/Study fans, though I think it’s one to read after you’ve finished the Study series. (less)
Reading a really good fantasy book was, for me, like slipping on my dressing gown and getting really, really comfy. I’m pretty stingy with giving out 5* reviews, but this one was definitely almost there.
The story is about Yelena, a convicted murderer who becomes a food taster for the Commander. Basically, the job itself is a death sentence, and only really delays the inevitable, and so long as she’s good at it. Of course, things aren’t as simple as they seem, and I found myself quickly wrapped in the complex politics of Ixia and Yelena’s basic existence and relationships with those around her. The world that Snyder has created is beautifully rich and diverse, and whilst it’s difficult to come up with a governing/ruling system that hasn’t been used in previous fantasy novels, this one didn’t feel like “urgh, I’ve read this before.”
I liked the idea of using a poison to keep the food taster from running away, as well as using a convicted criminal as a food taster. I also liked the way that Snyder seems to have a really good handle on human nature, and this is used well in the book to make the characters seem all the more real.
I admit, when I first started the book, I wondered if it was going to drag for me. The trouble is that I’ve read so much fantasy that if I’m not immediately ‘grabbed’ and dragged in, I probably won’t carry on, or I’ll get to a point and give up. But this was one of those books where the more I read, the more invested in characters I became.
This is definitely a book I’d recommend to people who like their fantasies, because it seems to offer something a little different whilst sticking to the tried-and-tested fantasy parameters which definitely work. As I said, it was kind of like comfort food for my mind, and I found myself lapping it up. I actually have no idea why I hadn’t picked up this book before! (less)
What drew me to this book was that it was based around Chinese mythology – a subject tha...moreThis review was originally posted here on my blog, Hey, Tara.
What drew me to this book was that it was based around Chinese mythology – a subject that I’ve always found somewhat interesting. I’d been looking at it for a while, and when it went into the Kindle sale, I downloaded it immediately!
The story centers around Emma Donahoe, an Australian living in Hong Kong who ends up becoming a full-time live-in nanny working for Mr. Chen and his delightful young daughter, Simone. However, things in the Chen household are not as normal as they first appear, and Emma ends up discovering that her new employer is the Chinese god of the Northern Heavens. Oh, and then there’s the minor fact that all the demons in hell are after him and Simone.
Basically, the first half of the book is about Emma getting used to her new situation, and her employers eccentricities and habits. And there’s a lot of passages featuring Emma asking obvious question after obvious question (Mr Chen’s household are awful at keeping their mouths closed) and then being told she’s very perceptive, even though it was really, really obvious. As you can probably tell, I was less than impressed with this.
There’s also the issue that a lot of the story seems to focus around Emma/Simone going somewhere, getting attacked by Demons (often disguised as normal Chinese humans) and having to be rescued by Leo the driver/bodyguard. It seemed to be a but of a formula devised to add action into an otherwise slightly dull plot, just taking the reader through the first few months/years of Emma’s employment, and her finding out that her employer is a god.
To be fair, the second half of the book was definitely better. Admittedly, Emma moves from asking questions to trying to initiate a relationship with Mr. Chen, and this can get tedious, especially as the guy very much appears not to be interested, though this does turn out not to be the case. However, if you look past all of that, the plot definitely picks up. The storyline starts moving on, and I enjoyed it a lot more.
It’s easy to tell that this one is the start of a series, as it’s building up to something bigger, and that’s okay, it’s just a very long book for that. I could have done with a lot less in the first half of the book, really. Emma turned into a pretty good protagonist, though I have to admit that at first I really wasn’t keen on her.
This has a nice element of paranormal romance, and was pretty different to most things I’ve previously read. I’d recommend it for people who like their fantasy a little bit different, are interested in Chinese Mythology or those who like a bit of action in their reads. I’ll definitely be picking up the next one, and hoping that the pacing is a little faster than this one! (less)
Firstly, I really need to apologize because I’m not entirely sure that this review will come out c...moreThis review can originally be found here at my blog.
Firstly, I really need to apologize because I’m not entirely sure that this review will come out completely coherently. I should also say that my review of The Iron King is here and my review of The Iron Daughter is here.
Okay, so now that’s over, onto the rest of the review. Basically, I love this series. I really enjoyed The Iron King, and I liked The Iron Daughter, but this one totally trumped them both.
The characters in this book were brilliant. I made a comment after reading the Iron King that sometimes Meghan annoyed me – she was a whiney teenage girl, and I didn’t enjoy it. But in this book she was so much stronger, and a good leader, and everything that I need in a female lead character to make me happy. What else made me happy was that the transformation wasn’t instantaneous or anything silly like that. It happened gradually, and given the things Meghan’s had to do throughout the series, it’s really unsurprising that she’s changed.
I also like the way her relationship with Ash develops, again, it’s gradual and natural-feeling. Kagawa clearly has a gift for this kind of thing. And Ash himself, even, changes from the emotionless Ice Prince through to someone who clearly really loves Meghan, and is warm and compassionate.
The imagery in this book was also really, really good, especially the comparisons of the old fey realm with the iron kingdom, and the battles against the iron fey.
As for the actual story – the plight of the old blood faeries was clear in this, as was the sense of desperation. It was sort of heady and always there. That was one thing that drew me to this series of books – the quests are written well, and the battles are exciting and move at what feels like the right pace. Plus, there aren’t always perfect endings – it isn’t always the good side that wins.
Without giving too much away, this for me felt like the perfect ending to the books. It’s open enough, but finishes things up nicely, though I admit I’m literally going to finish writing this before going off to read Summer’s Crossing. That’s a testament to how much I enjoyed this within itself – those who know me and my reading style know I don’t generally tend to read a sequel (even a short one) straight after the previous book in the series.
Basically, I’d recommend this to more or less anyone – if you haven’t picked up this series, you really should, because I think it might be one of my all-time favourites. (less)
I was really excited when I got asked if I’d like a review copy of the second book in the series. I enjoyed The Angels are Here but I had loads and lo...moreI was really excited when I got asked if I’d like a review copy of the second book in the series. I enjoyed The Angels are Here but I had loads and loads of questions after finishing the book, which I assumed would be answered further in the story – and let’s just say that in Progeny of Innocence, a lot of my questions were answered.
Firstly, I should say that the attention to detail in this book is every bit as good as in the first – there is still good artwork within the book, and it really does add a nice touch to the story. I know looks aren’t everything, but it can certainly help!
Secondly I should say that I enjoyed Grace a lot more as a character in this book than in the previous. She’s no longer a little girl, which made her much more relatable for me, and it’s also gradually becoming more clear why exactly she’s so special, and why she needs protection. Obviously in this review I’m trying not to give too much away, but there are definitely new dimensions added to Grace’s character.
I also appreciated Angela more in this book, and I liked the continuity of her character. Roberts clearly hasn’t forgotten what made Angela so interesting to her readers, and she definitely provides some comic relief when needed, even when she’s clearly not trying to.
One of my main problems with the previous book was the lack of information regarding the Angel’s world, and how the war from there is affecting the human world. Again, this is addressed in this book, and a large chunk at the beginning of the novel is set in the Angel’s world, and really describes what’s going on there, as well as adding new threads to the story – which I will be interested in seeing where they lead. Also, without giving too much away, I think that following this book, the effects of the Ancient world on our world is going to become a whole lot more obvious.
This book really captivated my attention, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself whilst reading it. The first book was good, but this book was much better, in my opinion. Roberts really has a gift for keeping the story flowing nicely, and giving enough away to keep the reader in the loop, whilst they’re still hanging on to find exact details.
For anyone who hasn’t read the first book, both books are available in a double pack special edition now, and I’d totally recommend that to them. However, if you have read the first book, I’d totally recommend this – I really enjoyed it. (less)
When I read A Game of Thrones I thoroughly enjoyed it. For me, it’s pretty damn obvious why Martin and A Song of Fire and Ice are considered to be tit...moreWhen I read A Game of Thrones I thoroughly enjoyed it. For me, it’s pretty damn obvious why Martin and A Song of Fire and Ice are considered to be titans in the epic fantasy genre. I’m aware I’m somewhat late to this particular party, but as usual, I’ll review it anyway, especially as this (and uni work coming out of my ears) has kept me busy for the past week.
This book followed much the same pattern as the previous one in the series, with characters each having their own chapter at a time, with the story carefully moving on throughout. I really enjoy how carefully interwoven the stories are – it really does add to the continuity, which is no mean feat given how many characters there are in this (and it seems the number is growing still) and the intricacy of the world described.
From the last book, my personal favorite characters were definitely Jon Snow, (and whilst it’s not completely because of the actor in the TV show, it might be a little bit) Daenerys Targaryen and Arya Stark, though in this one I have to admit, I didn’t fin Arya to be as awesome until the ending. Also, I found myself liking Tyrion a lot more in this than in the previous. It’s really made clear in this book that really, Tyrion is just looking for his own brand of justice where possible, and it’s difficult not to like someone for that. Jon Snow remained a favourite, and yeah, so did Daenerys.
Basically, it’s not worth me giving a run down of the story, because without the previous, it really won’t make sense, but for anyone who likes this kind of thing, I’d totally recommend it. (less)