Review: Windwitch

March 31, 2017 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, YA Fantasy

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: WindwitchWindwitch by Susan Dennard
Series: The Witchlands #2
Published by Tor UK on 12th January 2017
Genres: Fantasy, YA Fantasy
Format: Hardback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
two-half-stars

Sometimes our enemies become our only allies

The Windwitch Prince Merik is presumed dead, following a lethal explosion. He's left scarred but alive and determined to expose his sister's treachery. Yet on reaching the royal capital, he's shocked to find it crowded with refugees fleeing conflict. Merik haunts the streets, fighting for the weak. This leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.

Hunted by the Cleaved, Iseult is struggling to stay free while she searches for her friend Safi. When the Bloodwitch Aeduan corners Iseult first, she offers him a deal: she'll return what was stolen from him, if he locates the Truthwitch. Yet unknown to Iseult, there's a bounty on her head - and Aeduan intends to claim it.

After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. They find themselves amongst pirates, where a misstep could mean death. And the bandits' next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.

I really enjoyed Truthwitch last year (see my thoughts here), so obviously Windwitch was high on my list of reads for 2017! Sadly, I was really disappointed with this book.

*sigh*

I guess the best way I can describe Windwitch is that I felt like it was a ‘filler’, bridging the gap between books one and three.

I kind of felt confused reading this book. In many ways, it felt like there was too much going on, and in other ways that very little actually happened.

For me, there wasn’t the same spark with the characters. It all felt somewhat disjointed, I didn’t feel compelled to read on. In fact, I hate to say this, but at times I was bored.

Dennard undoubtedly has great ideas and her world is certainly interesting. However, I just didn’t click with this book. You know when you taste food and realise there’s something missing, maybe salt, but you can’t quite put your finger on it? Well, that’s really how I felt the whole way through this novel.

I will read book three as I really hope this was just a second book issue, and I do genuinely want to know that will happen to our characters. I just wish that I’d enjoyed this book more.

two-half-stars

Review: Strange The Dreamer

March 26, 2017 in Book Reviews, Fantasy

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Strange The DreamerStrange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Series: Strange The Dreamer #1
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on 28th March 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
four-half-stars

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around— and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he's been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo's dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? and if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

I actually squealed when my NetGalley wish for Strange The Dreamer was granted (thanks, Hodder!). I accidentally read a sampler to begin with (long story) and was so gutted when I realised as this book caught me up from the very beginning. Thankfully the sampler situation was resolved as I genuinely couldn’t contemplate reading anything else! I had been swept up in Lazlo’s world and Taylor’s writing and didn’t want to leave. I tell you this so you can the see the impact that this book had on me from the outset – I needed the rest!

As ever I’m torn between gushing about this book and avoiding spoilers. So, as I went into this book with only the synopsis, I think that’s all I’m going to leave you. No further plot details, this book is a journey and I don’t want to reveal any of the stops along the way!

However, I am going to allow myself to mention a few non-spoilery details.

First of all, the writing. It is stunning! It’s lyrical, consuming and awe-inspiring. Maraia described it to me as “hauntingly beautiful” and I think that sums it up. I’ve rarely read a book with such a clear picture in my mind of the story – Laini Taylor’s descriptions are incredible!

This book is so imaginative. The world created by Taylor is fascinating. I love the intertwining of history and legend, fact and fable. It’s mysterious and Taylor slowly reveals the secrets of the world.

I loved Taylor’s characters – Lazlo, in particular, being my favourite. My one complaint is that I’d have liked more of some characters, but perhaps we will get this in book two?

While there were parts that I found predictable, this was made up for by the parts that shook me to the core.

I’m completely in awe of Laini Taylor’s writing, her storytelling and her imagination. Strange The Dreamer isn’t a fast-paced book but it’s a book that I absolutely did not want to end. In fact, I’m resisting the temptation to go back and experience it all again right now!

four-half-stars

Mini Review: A Conjuring Of Light

February 20, 2017 in Book Reviews, Fantasy

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mini Review: A Conjuring Of LightA Conjuring of Light by V.E.Schwab
Series: Shades of Magic #3
Published by Titan on 21st February 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars

London's fall and kingdoms rise while darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire—and the fraught balance of magic blossoms into dangerous territory while heroes and foes struggle alike. The direct sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, and the final book in the Shades of Magic epic fantasy series, A Conjuring of Light sees Schwab reach a thrilling culmination concerning the fate of beloved protagonists—and old enemies.

One of my most-anticipated reads of the year, I started A Conjuring of Light knowing that Schwab would deliver – and wow, did she ever!

This post is going to be short. There will be no spoilers. Just know that ACOL was everything I had hoped it would be – and more!

There’s snarkiness, action, banter, affection, fear, fearlessness and, well, knives, obviously.

It made me snort with laughter, threaten to put the book in the freezer, read furiously, grip the pages, and generally unable to put it down!

Schwab’s writing and storytelling is, once more, outstanding. I want to go back and read it again, just to savour the beauty.

If you haven’t read this series yet, stop whatever you are doing and start it – it’s SPECTACULAR!

five-stars

Review: Heartless

February 8, 2017 in Book Reviews, YA Fantasy

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: HeartlessHeartless by Marissa Meyer
Published by Macmillan Children's Books on 9th February 2017 (UK)
Genres: YA Fantasy, Retellings
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

I was rather late to The Lunar Chronicles series, but once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop. Thankfully I didn’t have too long to wait for its final book, Winter. When I finished the series I was gutted, I craved more of Marissa Meyer’s writing. So when it was announced that Meyer was writing a new book, Heartless, well, I’ve been counting down the months to publication!

Heartless is the reimagined story of The Queen of Hearts of Alice In Wonderland fame. We all know the terror of The Queen of Hearts – but how did she become that person? Heartless tells the story of a cake loving, warm hearted, love-seeking young lady, Cath, who will one day become the terrifying  Queen of Hearts.

I must admit that I’m not the biggest Wonderland fan. I mean I know the stories but it has been a long time since I last entered that world. Nevertheless, from the outset, I could appreciate Meyer’s retelling of this story – the small details that ‘nod’ to the original and make you smile!

I actually think this story was handled beautifully: from the stunning descriptions, to the plot itself. I found Cath to be a very likeable character – which obviously surprised me as the Queen of Hearts is terrifying! She’s the daughter of a Marque & Marquess, whose mother is driven by her desire for Cath to marry the King. Cath, however, wants no such thing. She is a fantastic baker, the best in Hearts, and she and her friend Mary Ann (also her maid) want nothing more than to open their own bakery.

But the King has taken a shine to Cath and her sweet treats, and seems determined to win her hand. There’s no way she could be Queen and a baker. There’s also no chance her parents will let their only daughter disgrace them. And then there’s the Court Joker, Jest. He adds a whole other level to Cath’s complicated life.

Meyer incorporates the characters you’d expect in this tale, obviously with her own twist. It’s clever, it’s creative and, as ever from Meyer, it is beautifully written.

I loved her building of the Kingdom of Hearts, the talking animals and strange sights that we associate with Wonderland.

I did have a few issues with this book, but on the whole, I very much enjoyed it. Naturally, I kept comparing this in my mind to The Lunar Chronicles but that isn’t fair. This is a totally different story and one that Meyer tells beautifully.

Fair warning though – this book will make you crave cake!

four-stars

Review: Wintersong

February 7, 2017 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, YA Fantasy

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: WintersongWintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Published by Titan on 7th February 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
three-half-stars

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They've enraptured her mind, her spirit, and inspired her musical compositions. Now aged eighteen and helping to run her family's inn, Liesl can't help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

In the stories her grandmother told her as a child, on the last night of the year the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride. Now as the days of winter begin to draw close Liesl's sister disappears...

With little choice Liesl finds herself drawn into the strange, captivating world of the Underground and the mysterious man who rules it. When she was young Liesl always wanted to dance with the Goblin King, now as she finds herself at the heart of his court she must face up to an impossible decision to save herself or her sister. With time and the old laws working against her she must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

In writing Wintersong, Jae-Jones has taken inspiration from 19th-century German fairytales to create a dark, captivating tale that will remain with you long after you close the back page.

I tried to write a summary of this book, but nothing I could write felt like it captured the story. So instead, here are a few key words…

wintersong

Going into this, I didn’t know any more than the synopsis and a comparison with the 80s’ film Labyrinth. If anything, this just added to the mysterious, magical feel of the book.

The writing in this novel is beautiful. It reinforces the unique, enchanted setting and encaptures the fairytale-like nature of this book.

I enjoyed the role that music has to play in this novel. It’s right at its core, the continuous thread that traverses two worlds. The beauty of the music is echoed through the poetic writing.

As for the characters, while I liked Liesl well enough, it was the Goblin King who kept me reading – a complex character who slowly begins to reveal his true self.

It’s a dark, enchanted journey, but I must admit that there were a few points where I found myself a little bored – perhaps I just wasn’t quite in the right mindset for a slow tale?

Regardless, this is a tale steeped in folklore, with mystery, magic and romance aplenty, all packed up within a memorable setting and carefully crafted prose.

Titan are giving away TWENTY copies of Wintersong over on Goodreads right now, so if you are in the UK be sure to enter.

Finally, pop back on Friday (10th) for our stop on the Wintersong blog tour and an exclusive post from S. Jae-Jones herself! In the meantime, don’t miss the other stops on the tour!

WINTERSONG blog tour

 

three-half-stars