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. ‘Bursts of Fire’ comes out on August 6th 2019.

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Book reviews, Uncategorized

Tower of Dawn – Sarah J Maas (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Four ‘Healing’ stars 🐼🐼🐼🐼

‘Tower of Dawn’ is the sixth book in the seven-piece fantasy series ‘Throne of Glass’ by Sarah J Maas. It follows the journey of Chaol and Nesryn as they set off to heal Chaol’s injury and obtain an army to follow them home.

The Southern Continent is a good addition to the world of Erilea and provides an interesting focus on diversity which was strongly lacking in the previous books.

The plot is weaved with care, placing the characters’ journey to each other in the centre. I could see the twist coming from pages away but it did not ruin my experience because as with all other books of Ms Maas’, you’re in it for the banter and the ships blossoming left, right and centre.

I liked the pacing, which is one of Ms Maas’s strong points as a writer – there is good mix of action, romance and reflection time, all of which flow nicely from one to the next, making the story coherent and incredibly easy to read.

‘Tower of Dawn’ does not follow any other of the main characters from books 1-5 which I thought would be a minus but was actually a surprisingly nice change of scenery. Having fallen out of love with Chaol, and never liking Nesryn, I actually adored them both towards the end of this book. It happens rarely with me, so well done, Ms Maas.

The whole plot line about Chaol’s healing process is magnificently written – it is a great description of dealing with trauma and the ending to that storyline is painfully realistic. I will not spoil more but as someone battling with mental health on the daily, I appreciated the care in the depiction of something which could have been easily glossed over for a hearty HEA.

The only issue I have with this book, and the others in the series, is the writing. It is repetitive and too overdramatic sometimes. There is lots of purple prose in the descriptions and while I enjoyed some of them, I found myself scanning paragraphs and skipping ahead, which is never good. The language is conversational and easy to read. YA readers would have no problem with this book. Their parents, however, might not approve of some of the graphic sex scenes inside.

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Book reviews, Uncategorized

Tarnished City – Vic James (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Three and a half ‘Skilled’ stars 🐼🐼🐼🐼

‘Tarnished city’ is the second novel of Vic James’s debut series about an alternative United Kingdom which has plenty of magic, political and sociological issues, emotionally and physically tortured people and lots and lots of intrigue.

The world expands before the reader in this book, introducing not only international aspects but also a different dimension – the world made of Skill. Some questions are answered (How is the UK allowed such atrocities, what about phones and social media?) while other are raised continuously to attract the reader’s attention (Where does Skill come from? What is it exactly?)

The plot thickens following events from the first book. The pace is improving. There is more of the characters interacting and less about them casually mentioning the history of things. The story is definitely a lot more compelling and had me turning pages like crazy. Magnificent endings to chapters made me crave just one page more and unexpected plot twists sparing no one’s fate kept me at the edge of my seat. I’m definitely hooked at this point.

The characters are still this novel’s strongest point. Silyen! Gavar! Bouda! I am exclaiming because they have grown so much and have been built so beautifully I would struggle to review this without spoilers. So I will leave it at this – read on, you won’t be disappointed. Multi-faceted characters are my drug of choice.

The romance part of the story blossoms in this book. I find myself frequently gasping as I read the well-written scenes of the characters exploring their never-simple feelings for themselves and each other. I have a few predictions for unexpected couples following events in this book – and this is the best compliment to an author – keep readers interested, keep them guessing, keep them shipping!  

The writing style is still as beautiful. Ms James writes eloquently and command language very well to provide the reader with an easy way to distinguish which character’s POV they are currently observing the story from. Only reason this section did not receive five stars is that the more obscure words are not always suitable to the books YA audience and some teenagers might find it difficult to read.

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Minus half a 🐼 for the cliffhanger ending. I’m biased because I hate them in all media. Sorry not sorry!

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