Book reviews, Uncategorized

Frost – Isabelle Adler (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Three ‘Frosty’ stars 🐼🐼🐼

‘Frost’ is a novella by Isabelle Adler which follows Finn and Spencer, two boys who meet in the middle of a post-apocalyptic cold world.

The concept of the setting is interesting but under-developed. There is not much information provided about the surroundings of the characters, except the fact that it’s bad, cold and lonely. It’s also dangerous and for the purpose of the story, said danger finds our characters so the rest can save them.

The plot is linear and simply follows the two main characters as events happen to reinforce their budding romance. There are no subplots which means a lot of side questions I had remained unanswered. The pacing is good – the lack of side characters and issues helps with keeping the action tight.

The characters follow a similar linear pattern – their problems are predictable and while quite grave, did not manage to make me feel for them. They are likeable, especially Siobhan, but not engaging. They are forced to react to the world and what’s happening to them which makes them seem lacking initiative. It is clear from page one there will be a happily ever after for the two boys.

I was also quite sad to read that Siobhan will be the unfortunate third wheel forever. Give the girl a purpose! The instant love between Finn and Spencer at least did not feel too unnatural provided social constructs seem to not exist and there are hardly any other people to love around. You take what you get, and I liked that.

The writing style is quite basic but easy to read. The book feels like fan fiction, however, and I would have loved to read more about the world and its inhabitants, even more about the main characters. The story was heart-warming but lacked substance. It would have benefited from being a novel.

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An ARC of this book was kindly given to me by the publisher via NetGalley for a fair review. All views are my own. The book comes out on 19 September 2019.

All of my reviews are available on my Goodreads profile.

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Book reviews, Uncategorized

Dark Intent – A B Endacott (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Three ‘Healing’ stars 🐼🐼🐼

‘Dark Intent’ is a novel which features a piece of the fantasy world Godkissed Continent the author has set a few other books in.  It’s a story about a conflicted healer and her fate in a hostile environment which is not only scary but also surprisingly appreciative of her gifts.

I liked the setting. The idea with the takeover is very well done, and as someone of Bulgarian descent, it really hit home (Bulgaria was under Ottoman rule for over 5 centuries and many people were forced to abandon Christianity and become Muslim).

It is obvious Ms Endacott was very aware of the world and navigated the characters effortlessly in it. The world-building is well-scattered along the pages and I didn’t feel lost having not read the companion novels. The pacing however, is a bit off making the book easy to put down and difficult to pick up again.

The plot is overall okay, with the ending coming quite abruptly but realistically. ‘Dark Intent’ is primarily a character story, the action happening around the protagonist in order to prompt them to think or do something. I don’t usually mind this, as long as the characters are well-developed.

This is where I feel the book failed. The characters, despite Ms Endacott’s best efforts to provide them ample opportunities for growth, remained quite simple and one-dimensional. I wanted to know more about Symon for example – he had an interesting start then was completely overshadowed by the generic beefcake that was Ashtyn. I couldn’t engage with Freya as a lot of her actions had me internally screaming. Her character was inconsistent. I hope she grows more in future books.

The writing style is good. It’s easy to read. The ARC copy I got from NetGalley, however, was poorly formatted, making it very hard to read. There were some typos and repetitions which could have been cleaned in the proofreading stage.

Overall, it’s a good story which raises important questions about humanity and faith. I do not regret reading it as it made me think about my own history and experiences.

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An ARC of this book was kindly given to me by the publisher via NetGalley for a fair review. All views are my own. The book comes out on 19 September 2019.

All of my reviews are available on my Goodreads profile.

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Book reviews, Uncategorized

The Wicked King – Holly Black (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Four ‘Wicked’ stars 🐼🐼🐼 🐼

‘The Wicked King’ is the second novel of Holly’s Black’s ‘The Folk in the Air’ series about a world hidden from humans – a world of fairies and magic which is dangerous as much as it is beautiful.

I was interested to read more about the fairy world and liked the additional guest appearance of the underwater world – but my concern is still that nothing is explained in too much detail, making how the kingdoms work a mystery to me. Which is annoying at times when the main plot revolves around political intrigue.

The plot of this book is better than the first but I was still reading primarily because of the Jude/Cardan interactions. I couldn’t bring myself to care at all about Balekin or Madoc’s concerns over who and how would rule and Jude’s grasp on it made me feel like I was reliving every Monday morning at work (I know I have to do something but not sure what, because Friday was ages ago and I feel like an impostor because of it but I fake it till I make it as I have to).

The characters in this novel are becoming more and more and there are still just a few of them which appear to hold any real personality. Cardan is love. I could easily tell he was Ms Black’s favourite – and probably the one who first appeared in her head before she started writing. His character development is miles away from everyone else’s.

Main Jude pales in comparison. Vivi, Taryn, Locke and basically everyone else are still there, still boring. I guess it’s really realistic in a way. Not everyone has interesting roles in this life.

The writing style is consistently good as in the first book. It’s clean and easy to read. The dialogue is getting better, particularly where Jude and Cardan are concerned. The chemistry between them is written really well and I commend Ms Black on that – especially after what I consider to be a shakier start in the first book.

I can’t wait for November and ‘Queen of Nothing’ because this ending was both heart-breaking and so awesome!

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Book reviews, Uncategorized

The Cruel Prince – Holly Black (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Three ‘Cruel’ stars 🐼🐼🐼

‘The Cruel Prince’ is the first novel of Holly’s Black’s ‘The Folk in the Air’ series about a world hidden from humans – a world of fairies and magic which is dangerous as much as it is beautiful.

I liked the setting. There is something very macabre about how these majestic creatures who can’t lie hold so many secrets and are so frightening in their own way. It’s an intriguing, tantalizing concept which is right up my alley! Nothing is fully explained, however, so it left me wondering at times if Ms Black is pulling convenient things out of her sleeve depending on the scene.

The plot is okay. It follows a rather repetitive pattern of the main character going somewhere, being humiliated and then dealing with the consequences on her own. Would have liked a bit more genuine action to drive the story forward. The pace is, because of this, quite slow. It picks up at the end but there were definitely parts in the middle I was happy to skip ahead.

The characters in this novel are many but not all of them seem to be fleshed-out. While I found Madoc and Cardan very interesting and well developed, the main protagonist Jude and her equally boring sisters Taryn and Vivi didn’t quite cut it for me. I wasn’t sure what their role was at all. They felt like plot devices, put there to drive Jude forward. Same for the faceless Shadow Court.

The writing style is good. It’s clean and easy to read. There are some phrases which Ms Black obviously likes to use but they didn’t break the experience for me. I think I only noticed them because I write a lot too. But can we talk about THAT kiss? Easily the best scene in the book, so well written and so amazingly paced.

This book shines in its description of the fantastical world it’s set in while doesn’t much provide for invigorating conversation between characters. Nevertheless, it’s definitely one I would recommend. For a first book in a series, it set up the action well enough to make me pick up the sequel right away.

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Book reviews, Uncategorized

Bursts of Fire – Susan Forest (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Three and half ‘Magiel’ stars 🐼🐼🐼🐼

‘Bursts of Fire’ is the first novel of Susan Forest’s series ‘Addicted to Heaven’ where she sets out to explore the complex world of addictions. Using a vast fantasy world as the backdrop, it makes for an interesting read with a unique premise.

The world is built beautifully, with descriptions scattered about the chapters, allowing the reader to put the jigsaw of that massive land of many kingdoms. The world was well-formed in the author’s head before she put it down on the page but I felt like some of the information is a bit too much for a first book – at times it was hard to keep up.

The plot is built well and fits with the overarching theme of addiction marvellously (retrospectively, as I didn’t realise it did until the very last page – in the author blurb). The unique take on the Heavens as a normal destination was refreshing and the whole idea with death tokens and magic being time, and the payment being jumping in your own timeline was simply delicious. So creative! Kudos, Ms Forest.

The pacing was strange – the jumps in time connected to the narrative, were executed poorly, leaving me thinking ‘Wait, what? When did this happen? Oh, it’s been three months.’ It was at times a very confusing read.

The characters are not this novel’s strongest point. There is good selection of different narrators, presenting plenty of different points of view but I couldn’t connect emotionally to any of them but Eamon – and the poor lad wasn’t even a POV character! I struggled with hearing their unique voices and had to frequently figure out who was speaking.

Despite that, it is a good tale of sisterhood. It was beautiful to see the three sisters survive together, grow apart and then find each other in a world that had robbed them of adulthood at their own pace.

Rennika is slightly unrealistic to me because she was such a mature, reasonable character – do 11-13-year-olds behave so well? Maybe. I am not convinced.

The writing style is good. But good means things could be better. There were spelling and punctuation mistakes and dubious grammar. Not too many but enough to make me want to mention them. I liked the extensive vocabulary of the author and her ability to tie it to complement a character’s inner world. Overall, well done.

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An ARC of this book was kindly given to me by the publisher via NetGalley for a fair review. All views are my own. The book comes out on 19 September 2019.

All of my reviews are available on my Goodreads profile.

Subscribe to this website by clicking the +Follow button for more.