Kelsea, now firmly settled into her role as the Queen of the Tear, is now preparing for war with the neighbouring kingdom of Mortmesme. The Invasion oKelsea, now firmly settled into her role as the Queen of the Tear, is now preparing for war with the neighbouring kingdom of Mortmesme. The Invasion of the Tearling begins with an incursion into the disputed territory between the two kingdoms and ends with a siege. But the invasion and the accompanying war is only one element in this complicated book, and I've loved how Johansen wove all the different threads together to create a masterpiece of a story.
My favourite aspect of The Invasion of the Tearling, unsurprisingly, is Kelsea. She's not perfect by any means, she's actually one of the most flawed characters I've ever read. She's plagued by insecurities, prone to anger, and sometimes irrational. But her strength comes from a willingness to recognise her weaknesses and work on them. She knows she gets angry too quickly and so works at reining it in. She knows she's insecure about her looks, so she's wary of people who flatter her too much. Kelsea's journey in this book is centred on identity and perception - not only how she presents to others, but also how she sees herself.
Interestingly, Kelsea's understanding of her own identity is complicated by the magic of the mysterious sapphires she wears around her neck - powerful, magical gems that seem to have lain dormant since their dramatic performance at the end of The Queen of the Tearling. Firstly, the begin to change her appearance. Kelsea, who has always been described as "plain" and "carrying too much weight", begins to transform physically into a traditionally beautiful woman, though no action of her own. I liked the reactions of The Queen's Guard to this change - they noted it but didn't question or judge Kelsea about it. I also liked Kelsea's own reaction, especially when it came to her feelings for the Fetch.
The second complication the sapphires present is rather more exciting - they drag Kelsea three hundred years into the past, into the life of a seemingly inconsequential woman named Lily Mayhew. It's through Lily that Kelsea, and we, discover the pre-Crossing world, and many questions about the Crossing are answered. The pre-Crossing world is terrifying, a plutocracy where the divide between the rich and the poor was insurmountable. The president at the time, Frewell, introduced the Emergency Powers Act, enforced by "Security", ostensibly to counter the threat of domestic terrorism, but really a way to control the populace through martial law. Pre-Crossing America is a place where books are censored, where women are second, or third, class citizens with barely any rights and no functions beyond producing children, where a fringe group called Blue Horizon fights for a better world. I loved Lily's journey. She discovered an inner strength she didn't know she had and I think her story complimented Kelsea's very well. I loved Jonathan. I did find the descriptions of domestic violence harrowing - Johansen didn't hold back there - but it wasn't done in a gratuitous way.
The Invasion of the Tearling doesn't only answer a few questions about the Crossing, it also allows readers to dig deeper into the mystery of the Tear Assassination and the enigma that is the Red Queen, the Queen of Mortmesne. The introduction of a mysterious dark spirit who offers Kelsea the secret to the Red Queen's destruction was a clever plot device, I thought, bringing Kelsea's deepest wishes to the forefront and forcing a confrontation between them and her duties as the Queen of Tear. The contrast between the spirit and the Fetch was well-done, especially since Kelsea herself recognised how dangerous her response of the spirit was. While most of my questions about the spirit have been answered, I have so many questions about the Fetch, and I look forward to the next book where, I hope, they'll be answered. Like Kelsea, I find myself unwilling to hate the Red Queen now that I know her history. No villain is ever one-dimensionally evil, and I think Johansen has done an admirable job in bringing the Queen of Mortmesne to life.
I'm happy to report that Kelsea has established more positive relationships with the women who surround her, after being disappointed with the lack of positive female relationships in The Queen of the Tearling. Kelsea has a great relationship with Andalie, the Dame of the Chamber, and Andalie's children. I loved that The Invasion of the Tearling introduced passages from the POV of Aisa, one of Andalie's children. She's a character to watch!
I love the Tearling series. I love the world, I love the characters, and I love the mystery that surrounds the Crossing and the early history of Tear. I recommend these books to fans of YA fantasy, and think fans of Sarah J. Maas will particularly like them. Bring on The Fate of the Tearling, I say!!
Night Study, the fifth instalment in the Study series, and second in the Soulfinders series, is everything we've come to expect from Snyder. Exciting,Night Study, the fifth instalment in the Study series, and second in the Soulfinders series, is everything we've come to expect from Snyder. Exciting, action packed, full of twist and turns that will keep you guessing, this book will leave you desperate for more.
As usual, it's exciting to be back with Yelena and Valek, who have a lot to deal with on multiple fronts. Their personal issues have to take a back set to the political intrigue, but that's always been the case. Although they've always worked well when they're apart, I liked that they were together for a large part of this novel. I've always been a fan of their romance, so I loved every moment that they spent together, just being with each other and supporting one another.
Night Study is told from a few points of view - not only Yelena and Valek, but also Janco and Lief. It allows us to follow as the characters splinter off to investigate different things, but also adds a freshness to the story. I especially loved Janco's chapters. The characters are what make this series - if the plot is a little off (rare!) or the pacing odd (even rarer!), the characters shine through and lift everything up. Even secondary characters like Fisk and Mara bring something extra to the novel.
There's not much I can say without spoiling things, so I'll just say that exciting things happen in this book. Theories are tested, plans are revealed, and we get to explore Valek's past a little more. It all adds up to an engaging read - I had a hard time putting it down!
The Study series is amazing, and if you're not reading these books, you really should change that! Night Study is a brilliant instalment in an already brilliant series. I can't wait for more!
City of Stairs is an outstanding example of fantasy literature that I have enjoyed immensely. Well-plotted and vividly imagined, Bennett takes readersCity of Stairs is an outstanding example of fantasy literature that I have enjoyed immensely. Well-plotted and vividly imagined, Bennett takes readers into a world full of magic, political strife, and (occasionally) murder.
Bulikov is called the City of Stairs because there are staircases all around it that go no where – they just end in mid-air or lead to blank walls, or delve underground and end abruptly. They are relics of a by-gone era that we know nothing about when we begin the book, and I loved how readers get to slowly uncover the magical past of The Continent. The Continent was once al-powerful by the grace of their six Divinities, and used their superiority to subjugate the lands around them, including Saypur. Saypur, bereft of the favour of the Divinities and their Miracles, and hateful of its enslavement by the Continent, rebelled against them and killed the Divinities using the power of science and technology. Now Saypur rules over the Continent, and their strongest edict is that the worship (and even acknowledgement) of the Divinities is now outlawed. But the people of the Continent still remember what it was like to live with the blessings of the Divinities and now that they are forbidden to even learn about their own history, tensions are high between the two races.
This is an incredible world, one that I enjoyed unwrapping slowly throughout the novel. But an amazing world isn't enough to make a great book – we also need incredible characters to populate it. This is where Shara Divani and Sigurd come in.
Shara comes to Bulikov to investigate the murder of renowned historian Dr Efrem Pangyui, who is a long-time friend of hers. She expects to be confronted with disgruntled Continentals who dislike the Saypuri government, but the more she digs, the more she realises that the situation is more volatile and complex than she’d imagined. There are secrets in Bulikov that never should have seen the light of day. Shara isn’t all she seems either: she’s not a lowly diplomat from Saypur: she’s a spy. It’s Shara’s navigation of this world that makes City of Stairs so interesting. She’s Saypuri, and so subscribes to the beliefs of her people, but she’s also been in exile for a great length of time and is feeling increasingly disconnected from her homeland and her people. Shara also knows more about the history of the Continents, the Divinities, and Saypur’s uprising than most: while the populous is fed a glorified, sanitised version of events, Shara knows the true history.
While Shara held my rapt attention throughout the narrative, the short glimpses I got into her companion Sigrud’s mind were also interesting. I thought his characterisation was rather weak: he’s marked as an outsider from his looks and everyone who meets him is terribly racist towards him, he’s invincible and stoic, serving as Shara’s jack-of-all-trades assistant, and has a mildly distracting story-line about being a displaced and reluctant king. However, the introduction Bennett gives him in the book is nothing short of brilliant, and I liked the way he balanced Shara’s curiosity and restlessness.
Although the book begins as a murder-mystery, City of Stairs is more a story about two cultures and how they coexist and interact. It explores happens when the Conqueror becomes the Conquered, and the place the Divinities (who facilitated the enslavement of the Saypuri nation) have in the new world.
This is a riveting book, one that grabbed me from the very first chapter. I'm a little sad that I've already made my list of Best Reads of 2014 – this book certainly deserves a mention! I'm not sure if the author plans more books in this world, but I would gladly read much more about this world if given the chance....more
When we met Ava she thought she was normal girl, but the last few weeks have taught her that her father was part of a magical group of people (calledWhen we met Ava she thought she was normal girl, but the last few weeks have taught her that her father was part of a magical group of people (called the Race) and that she is telekinetic. She's also met Caleb, who was initially sent to watch her but is now her boyfriend and biggest supporter. Ava's still learning about herself, her family, and her place within the Race.
My favourite part, yet again, is Ava. I just cannot get over how different she is from the usual protagonists I read. I think it has do to with her being slightly older than the usual YA heroine (since this is an NA novel), but also has to do with the story-telling skills of the author, who obviously doesn't need to rely on over-used tropes and archetypes to tell her story.
Now, I've said that, but I have to admit disappointment in one aspect of the story: Ava hid how unwell she was because of her burgeoning powers. She was afraid that Caleb would prevent her from taking part in rescue missions, but in my eyes it's an unforgivable act in a relationship! In my opinion, it was a completely unnecessary plot development because, right at the heart of the problem, it implies that Ava doesn't trust Caleb and that isn't the case at all. But then, if she did, she wouldn't have thought he'd try to stop her being herself ... right? (See why I hate this plot device?)
I was conflicted in meeting the rest of the Twelve because there were so many of them and many of them were reduced to names and powers. I wish we'd gotten to know them better, but that would have required a fourth book (not that I'd say no to that!) And Ava didn't really have a reaction to all these new people either - I'd have thought she'd have more to say, more to feel, about the existence of so many siblings. And we never did see Caleb try to make nice with one of Ava's brothers, which I think would have been hilarious.
The action really heated up in this instalment, and I liked seeing the as-yet unclear danger that Borré posed coalesce into a truly evil plan. Although Borré never managed to make me like him (which I think, was the point), I felt lots of love and pity for Emma. After Ava, she's definitely my favourite character (Tiernan is a close runner up). Tiernan was amazing in this book, maybe we could have a spin-off series about him :)
Twelve rounds out Ava's journey admirably, and although I am sad to let her go, I have enjoyed every moment of my time with her and Caleb. This is the kind of paranormal fantasy I love to read, and I'll be looking out for Franklin's future works with great interest. I recommend the MORE series to all readers looking for something different and wonderful in the paranormal genre. I hope you love Ava as much as I do!
This is the last episode in the 5-part serialisation of Adina West's Covens Rising, which takes up with Kat right after her grandmother has left the u
This is the last episode in the 5-part serialisation of Adina West's Covens Rising, which takes up with Kat right after her grandmother has left the unilal compounds.
I hate Kat's grandmother. I tried very hard to see things from her point of view but in the end I find it unforgivable that she robbed Kat of all her agency and actively worked against Kat to achieve her ends. And the whole time she's claiming to love and protect Kat, but all her actions say she doesn't like or even respect her granddaughter.
Since I didn't like the grandmother, I also found it difficult to enjoy where the story went. Like I mentioned earlier, Kat didn't have any agency in this episode. Things happened to her and she was always in the dark. Even after her grandmother had admitted to manipulating her, she was unable to see treachery when it danced in front of her. On one hand, I know that Kat wasn't given much time to process the things that happened to her, but I dislike these kinds of situations on a fundamental level and disliked even more that the story ended where it did because of the lack of resolution.
I also dislike Dominic. I've taken the things he did in this episode rather personally and will not be in a position to forgive him any time soon. Also, the teeny tiny glimpse of Alek we got in this book wasn't enough ;)
Covens Rising doesn't deal with everything brought up in the story, which is one of the most disappointing things about it. The Awakening tied things off well while leaving readers wanting more, but Covens Rising simply ends without a resolution!
Reading Covens Rising has been a roller coaster ride. I've enjoyed getting to know the world better and seeing it expand, meeting new characters and finally finding out about the oaths and the bracelets. I didn't like the silly decisions Kat made and then was mollified because she made them in a blood haze. The romances heated up but everyone was open and honest in the love-triangle (love-pentagon?) situation, and the characters are all able to disentangle the exchange of blood with a meaningful relationship. So there's a lot to love!
I'm looking forward to reading the next book in 2015, but have to express my disappointment in how this one ended. The Dark Child series is great to read nonetheless and I urge everyone who likes a slightly more mature take on paranormal romances to give The Awakening a go.
NOTE: Although both The Awakening (Dark Child #1) and Covens Rising (Dark Child #2) were originally released as serialised novels by Momentum Books, they are now both available in omnibus editions (i.e. not serialised)
Episode 4 is my favourite instalment of Covens Rising so far. After my extreme frustration with Kat in the sat episode, it was nice to see her actingEpisode 4 is my favourite instalment of Covens Rising so far. After my extreme frustration with Kat in the sat episode, it was nice to see her acting in ways that made sense to me.
The affects of the blood-high are gone and Kat understands a lot more about her life than she did previously, so now she's spending time recovering and processing all the changes in her life. I like that she's honest with herself - she recognises there are just things she can't handle right now.
One of my favourite things about this book is that the situation with all those males promising themselves to Kat has to be dealt with: Kat (finally) realises what's going on and she struggles with the idea. Human society is to geared towards monogamous relationships that she can't really wrap her mind around all those guys being OK with her scoping out her options. I liked that she was honest with both men involved (Alek and Amarok) and that she gives them both a fair go - I prefer it when love triangles are handled with honesty, and Kat's very upfront about how she likes both of them in different ways. I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes.
Kat really can't catch a break, however, and this episode shows us that she's even more special than we'd previously thought. Her grandmother on her mother's side comes into the picture and basically drops a huge bombshell on everyone and then walks away! I want to get to know this side of Kat's heritage because it's fascinating and I think this grandmother will be an awesome character. She's quite unlikeable, but when you stand in her shoes you can see why she's like that.
Now faced with only one more episode to go, where it looks like the conflict that has been brew in since episode one will finally come to fruition, I feel a little sad. Despite all my raging about Kat, this is an interesting story-world and the characters have wormed their way into my heart. I don't really want to say goodbye!
I'm getting sick of Kat. I can't stand how thoughtless she is, I just want step inside the pages of these ebooks and slap her silly. Maybe rattle herI'm getting sick of Kat. I can't stand how thoughtless she is, I just want step inside the pages of these ebooks and slap her silly. Maybe rattle her neurones into action.
Alek comes back in this episode (yay!), because Kat sent Amarok a message and Alek was the closest pack member who could help her. Kat's aunt Akilina also makes an appearance, and recognises that maybe keeping a newly found half Taberin princess completely in the dark about her heritage and powers is a Very Bad Idea.
The two of them waste no time detailing all the stupid decisions Kat has made over the last 48 hours, which was pretty gratifying to watch, but I also thought they were being way too harsh on her considering no one had sat her down to explain anything to her. Also, it turns out she was on a blood-high: the large amounts of blood she was taking from Jonathan were literally addling he mind.
In the last episode Kat met with a representative from the Directorate (all alone, no protection) and accepted a bracelet from him, and another from his lackey, Dominic. Then she got on a train and was surrounded by the unalil pack of the man she'd saved that morning, who gave her yet another bracelet and pledged his loyalty to her. All these men have pledged themselves left, right, and centre to Kat, and they've even subtly (and not very subtly) offered themselves up as sources of blood (and other exciting night time activities).
Alek gave Kat a bracelet in The Awakening, and she's been proudly wearing it and playing with it when she thinks of him. Then, over the space of 24 hours, she receives three other bracelets from three complete strangers. Ms Cement-for-a-Brain never thinks that these bracelets signify something. EVEN I COULD TELL SOMETHING WAS GOING ON HERE KAT.
I would have had some shred of respect left for her if she'd asked Akilina about them, but her reaction to the accusation that she's been accepting promises from all those men (and she HAS been, she's told them all she's keeping their offers in mind) is "I accepted bracelets from them. They're just gifts ... aren't they?"
So I spent most of this episode being apoplectic with Kat.
I've also lost my taste for Ben and Yara's passages. They're not exciting and so predictable that it sucks all the fun out of it.
I've read Episode 4 and I'm hoping to get approved for Episode 5, but if Kat continues to be like this then I can't see myself liking them either....more
Having read The Awakening, I have a better appreciation for what's happening in this series now.
We left Kat at the end of Episode 1 hiding from the BiHaving read The Awakening, I have a better appreciation for what's happening in this series now.
We left Kat at the end of Episode 1 hiding from the Big Bad Directorate in Paris, away from her Unalil protectors, and getting along with Dominic, who works for the Directorate. In this one episode she meets with Dominic's employer, and makes a few new friends. Meanwhile, Ben is gearing up to approach Yara about the secret they both share (also, I understand why she's so important now, her father is Very Important).
I didn't understand Kat's motivations in this episode. She met with someone who represents the Big Bad and seemed more concerned about how she was under-dressed for the dinner than actually how she was in danger. She also trusted her safety to Dominic, without even letting her Unalil protectors know what was up. Then she met up with the other group of Shape-shifters.
Kat is also thinking a lot more about Alek and Amarok, so I think they're about to rear their heads soon. Actually, the way that men treat her is starting to make me uncomfortable - Unalil and Tabérin men are making all these oaths, and they are bound to cause conflicts later. And I really want to know about the bracelets.
Ben and Yara have a more predictable plot-line here, and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes. Their chapters seem to dominate this Episode, and I didn't mind, but I am curious to see how it will link up with Kat's. Ben's chapters have lack the maturity of Kat's, and he is very much ah hormonal teenaged boy who has a major crush on the popular girl, who is also half Tabérin.
Again, this episode ends really well and I'm glad I have the next one ready to go!
Momentum Books is publishing Adina West's Dark Child series as serialised novels. In 2013 they published the first book, The Awakening, as a 5 part seMomentum Books is publishing Adina West's Dark Child series as serialised novels. In 2013 they published the first book, The Awakening, as a 5 part serial, and are doing the same with the sequel: Coven's Rising. I wish I'd read up on the series more carefully, because the titles on Netgalley and Goodreads are confusing. It doesn't help that the books are called Dark Child (The Awakening): Episode 1, or Dark Child (The Awakening): Omnibus Edition, or Dark Child (Coven's Rising): Episode 1. Even the covers imply that Dark Child is the name of a book and not the series.
Since this is the first part of the second book in a series, I was a little lost as soon as I started the Episode 1. Names were thrown at me from everywhere and the main character kept referring to important events that had already happened. I finally figured out I was missing a whole book's worth of information. I've since bought The Awakening and plan to read it before continuing.
However, you are probably smarter than me, and won't be picking up Coven's Rising before reading The Awakening. So let's forget about my confusion for a second.
I really like the main character, Kat. She's got heart and courage, and I think her predicament is interesting (she seems to be transitioning from human to something ... else, and it requires the ingesting of a lot of blood. A lot of blood). Coven's Rising is written in dual point of view - we have Kat, our awesome almost-vampire girl, and Ben, who's going to become a vampire one day and has to keep that a secret from everyone around him. Since Kat had all this history that I initially found confusion, but Ben didn't, I inevitably ended up enjoying Ben's chapters more. I also liked the secondary characters (or rather, the brief glimpses I got of them in this fifth of the novel), especially Jackson.
The world of Dark Child is interesting, and I can't say I fully understand it yet, but I love that Kat is a scientist and that she approaches her vampirism as an experiment. I like that there are differences in the blood of vampires, humans, and half-breeds, that vampire blood reacts differently when put under stress, and that Kat's blood is different again from these three.
As with Troll Mountain, the other serialised novel I've read this year, I was disappointed when Episode 1 ended because I finally had a handle on the world and what was going on and then this part finished! Luckily I have the second and third parts ready to go!
So: read the first novel (Dark Child (The Awakening): Omnibus), and then jump into the sequel with Dark Child (Coven's Rising): Episode 1. I've enjoyed the first part of this serialisation and will be continuing to read (and review) them :) I'm looking forward to finding out more about this world!
The Bone Whistle closes out the adventure that started six years ago with Darcy and her five friends stumbling into another world. It's a bittersweetThe Bone Whistle closes out the adventure that started six years ago with Darcy and her five friends stumbling into another world. It's a bittersweet conclusion to their story and I enjoyed it a lot.
Darcy and her friends have come a long, long way since we met them in The Six. They've grown and matured, loved and lost, been revered and betrayed, cursed and blessed. Now, approaching their last crossing into Alithea, they're beginning to realise that their quest will ask more of them than anyone anticipated.
Oh how I hated Darcy in the beginning! She was so thoughtless and selfish, but now she's grown into the leader the prophesy always said she'd be, and I've grown very fond of her. All the characters have grown into themselves, but none more so than Darcy and Louis. Sam is still the amazing best-friend who keeps everyone together, and her now-boyfriend Perry is still abrasive and silly. It's Dean who still intrigues me the most because he tends to get lost in this large cast. I feel like we never really got to know Dean at all.
The romance between Darcy and Tellius is so0o0o0 cute! They really love and respect each other and work together to get through this war. It's crazy to think they're married though, remembering how they met!
I'd never been able to hate Collin, so I really enjoyed his story-arc in this book.
This final book has answered all the questions about the prophesy and the roles that the Six are expected to play. The Bone Whistle is intricately plotted and the author does an admirable job of unfolding it very carefully so we're kept guessing until the end.
I have enjoyed every step of my journey with these six kids who were prophesied to save another world, and will miss their adventures. I think The Gateway Chronicles will appeal to readers who like fantasy fiction, but I warn that Darcy is pretty unlikeable in the first book!