Book reviews, Uncategorized

Sorcery of Thorns – Margaret Rogerson (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Four ‘Malefict’ stars 🐼🐼🐼🐼

‘Sorcery of Thorns’ is the first Margaret Rogerson book I read – and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It features a fantastical world of books that have feelings, fearsome magic and easy to like characters.

I loved the setting. The idea of books that are alive and libraries as dangerous places because a book could bite you was original and I’m all for it. Beautiful details of this world are mixed with a plot constantly pushed forward by action. The novel is paced well and grips the reader from the first few pages. There is tension, romance and mystery sprinkled throughout. It’s a perfect YA fantasy to get lost in.

The only reason I did not give this book five stars are the characters. Protagonist Elisabeth was active, smart and strong in many ways. She was written well – but it was when I was introduced to Nathaniel and his personal demon Silas that I started to disconnect from this book.

Everything was strangely reminiscent of Black Butler. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you should check it out right now. It’s a manga with incredible art and writing. And it also happens to feature a young boy with a personal demon. There were a lot of parallels I could draw from the two, the most strange I found was the name connection between Elisabeth and the secondary female character Lizzie from the manga. Thankfully, they were nothing alike in character because Lizzie is insufferable. Nevertheless, the whole thing made me wonder if Ms Rogerson had drawn strong inspiration from the work of Toboso Yano.

The writing style is good. It’s simple and easy to read. The only thing that bothered me was the overuse of adverbs and dialogue tags. But that is a personal preference and might work well for other readers.

I would be interested to check out the author’s previous book ‘An Enchantment of Ravens’, following ‘Sorcery of Thorns’s bittersweet ending. I need more magic in my life!

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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.

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Book reviews, Uncategorized

Legendary – Stephanie Garber (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Four ‘Fate’ stars 🐼🐼🐼🐼

‘Legendary’ is Stephanie Garber’s second novel of the ‘Caraval’ series. It features a fantastical world of roses, top hats, tears and that one shifting dress which is dangerous as much as it is beautiful.

I loved the setting. It’s a dark romantic world full of uncertainty for both the main characters and the reader. I loved how the story picked up right after Caraval and once it gripped me, it didn’t let go.

The world itself expanded significantly, focusing on where magic came from and how the main characters are connected to it. I love tarot cards so the idea of the Fates is very appealing to me.

The plot was well-structured and I enjoyed the nice bite-sized chunks the novel was split into, similar to book 1. Action was sprinkled throughout, providing a very fast read. The second Caraval is as captivating and nerve-wracking as the first one and I was not disappointed.

I absolutely loved Tella as a POV character. She is smart, brave and a perfect example of a female character with agency. She can look after herself but is not without her weak moments which makes her both admirable and likeable.

Characters with dubious morals like the Prince of Hearts are a guilty pleasure of mine and I revelled at how well he was written. Dante was easy to like too, providing a nice contrast from the Prince. Both love interests moved the plot and interacted with Tella in an entertaining way. It was all connected beautifully.  

The writing style is good. It’s simple and easy to read. Names are repeated quite often instead of using he/she which was a bit jarring for me. At times there is purple prose which in some cases annoyed me, in other made me re-read a sentence to appreciate its beautiful curls. You can’t make readers happy!

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Book reviews, Uncategorized

Caraval – Stephanie Garber (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Four ‘Top hat’ stars 🐼🐼🐼🐼

‘Caraval’ is Stephanie Garber’s debut novel series about a fantastical world of roses, top hats, tears and that one shifting dress which is dangerous as much as it is beautiful.

I loved the setting. It’s a dark romantic world full of uncertainty for both the main character and the reader. I loved how the character Legend was weaved as an active part of the world, his mysterious nature an echo of religious figures in our world.

The plot was well-structured and I enjoyed the nice bite-sized chunks the novel was split into. All the nights of Caraval had their separate moments, where I believe micro-plotting had occurred, leading to great pacing with action sprinkled throughout. The whole idea of game with dubious reality of consequences is a guilty pleasure of mine – Ms Garber did not disappoint. 

In the beginning, I couldn’t connect with the characters. Scarlett was too passive, Tella too out there. But with time Scarlett grew in confidence and I warmed up to her. The ending elevated Tella in my eyes as well, making me crave a book with her as the POV character. 

Julian was easy to love. He was the right kind of sleazy and bad to be loveable. I was shipping the main pair since they ended up on that sinking ship. After that it was all hot smooth sailing ahead! 

The writing style is good. It’s simple and easy to read. However, it is too flowery at times, making me forget what even is being described. Names are repeated quite often instead of using he/she which was a bit jarring for me. 

Last thing I want to mention is not technically part of the book but I’m so happy Ms Garber managed to get this book published. I read about her difficult journey in the acknowledgements and I want to congratulate her on her patience and perseverance. I don’t know how my depraved mind would do without this book. You’re an inspiration! 

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Immortal City – Amy Kuivalainen (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Five ‘Living Language’ stars 🐼🐼🐼🐼🐼

My first five star review ever, brace yourselves for the glory that is this book. 

‘Immortal City’ is an adult contemporary fantasy novel by Amy Kuivalainen. It’s set in Venice and tells us about Atlantis – what a delightful combination. Never having been a fan of contemporary fantasy or Atlantis, I was so pleasantly surprised! 

The world is beautiful. It’s Venice but turned up to eleven. I have never been but I could vividly imagine the canals and the buildings described. The bits about Atlantis are also wonderful – full of colour and promise for next books. 

The plot and the pacing is well-done. The book follows the protagonist while she solves the ritualistic serial murders happening around Venice while discovering Atlantis and engaging in a steamy romance along the way. Once this books grips you, it doesn’t let go. The twists are predictable but still satisfying, and the whole books comes with a subtle global warming warning.

I loved the strong female protagonist. Exactly what an empowered woman should be, Penelope is brave but vulnerable, smart but capable of trust and care. She is easy to like without being on the nose and her genuine interest in her job was refreshing – so many protagonists forget about what drives them as the plot swipes them away to bigger and better things. 

The side characters are entertaining and there is a good mixture of banter and romance mixed with the action. Alexis is wonderful – protective but not overbearing, strong and suave but not an asshole. The book is a sterling example of finding the balance in all things to create likable characters in a colourful, realistic world.

The writing style is easy to read and polished. Ms Kuivalainen weaves Italian words well in the text to create a more authentic reading experience but I found myself reaching for Google a few times. I can’t speak Italian but I can now read it! (-ish)

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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.

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Book reviews, Uncategorized

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

Three and a half ‘Lifesong’ stars 🐼🐼🐼🐼

‘Dark Purpose’ is the sequel to ‘Dark Intent’, 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. It explores the struggles one can face when there are no white and black choices, just shades of grey.

The world setting is the same city as in the previous novel but explored further, providing a suitable backdrop to the difficult movements of the Resistance cast who sneak about, navigating the streets full of non-friendly Guardians.

I liked the plot of this book better than the first one, it is well organised and has all the good points of a thought-out novel. Plotting an uprising is really hard in my opinion and this is where this book shines.

The pacing is great – Ms Endacott nailed the stakes and the beats. I read this book a lot faster than the first one, curious to find out how things were going to go wrong next and how the characters were going to react.

On this topic, main character Freya in this book has finally turned into an active protagonist. She thinks, feels and makes decisions. The start was a bit jarring as I hadn’t realised she had already made the big decision to join the Resistance but after that was cleared out it was way easier to follow her intentions. She also has one awesome power!!

Other than that, I didn’t like how Makkyd and Symon were developed – I had hoped for different characters. But life is not always how we want it! Both were really consistent and well-place though. I get it with my mind why they are what they are but my heart was fighting it!

The writing style is similar to the first book. There is a lot of show as opposed to tell but I didn’t mind that much because the pacing was good, pulling the rather lengthy sentences at times into a good, coherent story.

I look forward to the next book.  

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An ARC of this book was kindly given to me by the author for a fair review. All views are my own. The book came out yesterday so please go check it out!

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