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

Keeper – Kim Chance (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Two and a half ‘Holy Crapkittens’ stars 🐼🐼🐼

I want to preface this by saying I love Kim Chance’s Youtube channel and I hoped I would love her book just as much. And while her positive, strong personality shone through her writing, I was far from her target audience (youngest teen readers) and couldn’t enjoy myself reading Keeper as much as I wanted to.

‘Keeper’ is Kim Chance’s debut contemporary fantasy novel and features a world of hidden magic and magical people layered on top of ours.

The plot was simple but effectively utilising a number of Young Adult tropes. At times the stakes were not always clear but in contrast the pages were full of nice banter and heart-warming moments between the characters.

I did not enjoy Lainey too much as a protagonist but I could see where all her anxiety was coming from. Younger readers would definitely relate to her struggles and enjoy the jokes and drama sprinkled along the way. There were a few moments where the story dragged and I struggled to keep reading. Nevertheless, it got better with every page read! I liked the ending despite the obvious openness left for book two.

I liked the parallel story lines of Lainey and Josephine and enjoyed seeing someone interact with their ancestor – it’s a fresh take on the Chosen One story. Magic is also described beautifully and I loved that it was green instead of the usual purple, blue or white.

The book has the classic main character/boyfriend-to-be/comic relief best friend trio and it works. Their interactions were cute and awkward at times, mimicking the deep water of teenage communication perfectly.

The writing style is good. It’s simple and easy to read. There were some repetitions at times and overall the language felt simplified for a younger reader but it definitely served a purpose and did it well.

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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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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.

All of my reviews are available on my Goodreads profile.

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