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

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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Plot 🐼🐼🐼🐼

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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.

All of my reviews are available on my Goodreads profile.

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