This is the West-African inspired fantasy we all deserved!
Deeply complex and rich with magic and deception, Kingdom of Souls is a deliciously dark take on African mythology. Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah is desperate to come into her powers and perform magic. But after years of failure, Arrah is willing to try one last thing to get what she wants: trade years of her life for magic. Naturally, all is not what it seems. When children start disappearing, Arrah is transported on a dangreous journey where she must discover who and what she is.
You're intrigued, right? Strangely enough, this book reminded me of Northern Lights by Philip Pullman until things took a very dark and interesting turn when who and what had the children was revealed. That was when I felt truly hooked on this book. It opened a very interesting dynamic between Arrah and another character (who I shall not name for fear of spoilers), and opened one hell of a shit storm that would be the second half of this book. At this point, I was rubbing my hands together thinking, 'at last! Some real excitement!'
My main issue with Kingdom of Souls was the pacing (and the ending). There was a lot happening in this book that dragged when it shouldn't have. There were demons, blood sacrifices and evil creeping at every corner but it lacked conviction in places - particularly the middle. And then there was the end... what a lacklustre and confusing mess that was. After all the grand reveals were made, it had felt like we'd met a natural conclusion a number of chapters before the end. Everything after that felt like an attempt to stretch this book into a series. With changes to the ending, Kingdom of Souls could easily have been a (much improved) standalone. I'm not sure how keen I am to see where the next book goes because I didn't care much for this particular villain... but it's likely that I'll read it all the same.
All in all, Kingdom of Souls was an exceptionally fleshed out and dark tale of sacrifice, magic and relationships. Although it takes time to feel invested, it's definitely worth it! The twists and turns will leave you wanting to turn the pages for more. ...more
I received this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review and forms part of the 'Spin the Tour' blog tour. A giveaway is available on my blog for anyone who would like to win a copy of Spin The Dawn (US only).
Spin the Dawn caught me by surprise. It's Mulan meets Project Runway which meant two things: excitement over what essentially is a Mulan retelling and a loss of that excitement when I realised the central theme would be clothing. If there is ever a 'type' of Young Adult book I avoid like the plague, it's the ones where clothing becomes a core part of the storyline. But like I said, Spin the Dawn caught me by surprise. This book was so much more than clothes. It was a book about magic, love, family, quests, freedom, compassion.
In this sweeping fantasy, Maia Tamarin has a dream of becoming the Imperial Taylor of A’landi but her gender works against her. The Imperial Taylor must be a man. In the aftermath of war, Maia's father, a renowned tailor in his own right, is summoned by the royal court to compete for the title of Imperial Taylor and clothe the Emporer's new bride. Sick and decrepit, Maia's father is unable to make the journey leaving one solution: Maia decides to pose as her brother to protect her father, save the Tamarin name and save her family from poverty.
What starts as a Mulan retelling quickly becomes something more, something other. Mulan's world is reimagined into something completely new in this brilliantly vibrant and well executed world woven expertly throughout the narrative. You can feel the magic being brought to life on the page.
Readers will fall in love with a certain enchanter, and his mysterious and sassy ways. He was definitely the highlight of this book and made things a lot more interesting. I'm intrigued to see how his story-arc pans out in the next book... (just please don't kill him).
All-in-all, it was a fun and fast-paced read and the romance will leave you a puddle of emotion. If you love Renée Ahdieh, then you'll love this! ...more
I received the book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.
As a huge fan of Fortnite, these types of books are always a bit of letdown because it's hard to find one that's actually useful. Especially when they tend to have a very short shelf life. With the game changing every week with new updates, and changing drastically every 2 to 3 months as each new season launches, these guides get out-of-date fast. This latest fortnite guide straddles that line between being outdated and being useful.
Some aspects of this guide I greatly appreciated - mainly the strategic aspects that showed different ways to build as these will always have lasting value. Everything else? Not so much. The map is already out-of-date. Many of the weapons included have already been vaulted and are no longer featured in the game. A very odd inclusion of information about skins and emotes when these are not the things you worry about when you want to improve your game.
If the publishing industry is going to keep churning out these cash cows, at least make some of them useful! We want strategic gameplay not outdated information....more
I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
A delicate mix of the locked room 'whoddunnit' and a nuclear induced apocalypse, The Last, explores the lives of 20 survivors trapped at L’Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland. The problem (beside the obvious)? One of them is a killer.
Haunting and terrifyingly realistic in its plausibility, the story is told through a series of diary entries from our unreliable (and often very douchy) narrator, Jon Keller. Saddled with tension, the entries flit between frantic (even manic) episodes to periods of calm detachment as survivors settle into their post-nuclear routines. Jameson raises interesting moral questions... what kind of person will you become in the face of an apocalyptic situation? What lengths would you go to survive? ...more
I received this ARC from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review
After reading the premise of this story and the coverage in The Bookseller last year, I thought I was in for a treat. A classic 'whodunnit' about a group of friends celebrating New Year’s Eve in the wilderness of the Loch Corrin Estate in Scotland. Only things don't quite go to plan when a heavy snowstorm hits, trapping them on the estate when a member of their group is found dead. You get the drift.
I feel like what didn't quite go to plan was my experience reading this book. I was expecting a lot more intrigue, a lot more drama, higher stakes. What I got stuck with was a very dry, slow-paced book about a bunch of people that live to hate each other and talk about themselves.
Have I ever met a more insufferable bunch of fictional characters in my life? My god.
I am such a fan of unlikeable characters! We can all sit here and say that Dolores Umbridge is an absolutely awful and unlikeable character but you can't ever deny that she wasn't an excellent creation. But these characters... you'd want to stab yourself in the eye so you don't have to read about them any longer.
If anyone can spoil the ending for me and let me know who the killer is so I don't have to go back and read this... I'd appreciate it 1403603638%....more
I am just not a fan of the way this is written and it's making it incredibly difficult to read and get into/invested. I feel bad for not evenDNF @ 5%
I am just not a fan of the way this is written and it's making it incredibly difficult to read and get into/invested. I feel bad for not even getting 25% through as this was an ARC but I just can't bring myself to carry on....more