Review: This Savage Song

May 26, 2016 in Book Reviews, Dystopian, Fantasy, Urban 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: This Savage SongThis Savage Song Series: Monsters Of Verity #1
Published by Titan on 7th June 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

 

Kate Harker and August Flynn belong from opposite sides of the ‘seam’, a partition which separates North V-City from South V-City, Verity. It’s a metropolis full of fear and monsters, actual monsters. Monsters that are created as a direct result of evil acts. Acts of violence breed the CORSAI, creatures who live in darkness and claw their victims to death. Murder creates MALCHAI who drink the blood of the victims, while the worst atrocities create the rare SUNAI, who absorb the soul of their victims.

Kate’s father rules the North of the city. He provides protection to those that can afford it, by working with the monsters.

August’s father rules the South, with his FTF army who try to keep the monsters at bay.

For six years there has been a truce between the Harkers and Flynns, but the truce is on shaky ground and the enemies could once again face each other in war.

V.E. Schwab has done it once again – she has left me gobsmacked by her creativity, attention to detail and general awesomeness.

I mean, the creation of monsters as a result of barbaric, evil deeds – brilliant. The creation of three different types of monsters, depending upon the nature of those deeds – genius!

The Corsai and Malchai are dark and terrifying, but it’s the Sunai that really interest me. By playing music they can coax out the souls of sinners, condemning the sinner to death. Moreover, they must ‘eat’ the souls of sinners regularly to avoid going ‘dark’. I find this to be such a beautiful (if creepy) concept. I love that Schwab entwines the majesty of music with the darkness of death.

As for Kate and August, I really like them both. I loved Kate’s battle to be a Harker, her determination to be as ruthless as her father. August’s own battle was a fascinating once, I truly became invested in his character.

Honestly, I want to tell you ALL about this book but I can’t. I won’t. You’ll just need to read it and admire Schwab’s writing and creativity for yourself.

five-stars

Review: Tell The Wind and Fire

April 2, 2016 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, YA 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: Tell The Wind and FireTell The Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan
on 5th April 2016
Genres: Retellings, Fantasy, YA Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
three-stars

Tell the Wind & Fire is about a young girl called Lucie who lives in a New York very different from the New York we know: the city is torn between two very different kinds of magic, and Lucie’s own family was torn apart years ago by that conflict. Lucie wears magic rings and carries a burden of guilt she can’t share with anyone.

The light in her life is her sweetheart boyfriend Ethan, but it turns out Ethan has a secret too: a soulless doppelganger created by dark magic, who has to conceal the face identical to Ethan’s with a hood fastened by a collar nobody but a Light magician with magical rings can take off… and who introduces himself to both of them by, for reasons nobody can understand, saving Ethan’s life…

A New York that is split into two cities – Light and Dark. Where those in the Dark City go hungry and crave revenge, while those in the Light City live a more privileged life. The Dark City is suppressed by the Light Council of the Light City and a revolutionary group (the sans-merci) forms with the aim to take back control.

In a world where there are two types of magic – Light and Dark. It’s a world where the magic of Dark Magicians can be used as a last resort to save a life, but which creates a dark Doppleganger of the saved. Dopplegangers are hooded, collared and feared by all.

This is a retelling of a Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Now let me first say that I haven’t read Dickens’ novel (I know, I know) but I’m familiar with the story. In fact I read up on the story before starting this book so that I could assess and identify the similarities. However you do not have to be familiar with the original to read and enjoy this book.

I could see the similarities with Dickens’ work as I read this book. From the blindingly obvious, a main character called Lucie Manette, to the decidedly more subtle. But this isn’t an analysis of their similarities, if it were I could go on for a while, so let me tell you about this book.

Lucie is a Light magician born in the Dark City. However, she is now a resident of the Light City. She is the girlfriend of Ethan Stryker, the blood of one of the most powerful men in the Light City. She had her own childhood fame and so the young couple are revered by the City and its media.

When Ethan is accused of treason, a crime which usually culminates in immediate death, Lucie tries to save him. However his rescuer ends up being a Doppleganger, Carwyn, a young man who wears the same face as Ethan under his doppleganger collar and hood. Carwyn is from the Dark City and being a doppleganger is naturally untrustworthy.

I mentioned Lucie’s childhood fame? Well she’s somewhat of a symbol used by the sans-merci resistance, who aim to topple the Light Council, free Lucie (who they see as being trapped hostage by the Strykers) and reunite New York into one city.

Gosh, as I started writing this I realised how much detail there is in this book. It’s not an easy story to summarise, at least not without spoilers, so if my summary’s a bit dodgy that’s why!

Honestly for the first third of this book I wasn’t fussed. I wasn’t particularly enjoying it but I do hate giving up on a book. I’m glad I stuck with it though because the rest of the book swept me up and I really enjoyed it.

I found the similarities with The Tale of Two Cities really interesting. Obviously this book is hugely different from the original but I really liked how Sarah Rees Brennan drew upon her love of the classic to write this.

Lucie and Ethan? I totally wasn’t bothered about their romance, at least at the start of the book. There was something about the couple that I just didn’t take to. However, as the story progressed I suppose I started to ‘get’ their relationship more.

The star for me though was Carwyn, he was definitely my favourite. This Doppleganger who is treated like filth by the world, who”s inherently evil, but who really made this book for me.

All in all, I’m glad I stuck with this book as I enjoyed it in the end. I often judge a book on whether I thrust it into my husband’s hands and insist he read it – I won’t be doing that with this one but it was enjoyable all the same.

 

three-stars

Review: Finn Fancy Necromancy

February 20, 2015 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Fiction, Urban 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: Finn Fancy NecromancyFinn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson
Published by Titan on 13th February 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
two-half-stars

Found guilty of a crime he didn’t commit in 1986, 15-year-old Finn Gramaraye was exiled to the Other Realm for 25 years. But now he’s back in the mortal world and is disappointed to discover that he’s middle-aged, DeLoreans can’t fly, and he’s been framed for dark magic, again.

All Finn wants is to pick up the pieces of his life and patch things up with his family: his mad-scientist father, the ghost of his mother, a sister who is allergic to magic, a younger brother who thinks he's a werewolf and an older brother who is most unhappy to see him. But with just three days to clear his name before he's sent back into exile forever, Finn will need all the help he can get to figure out who wants him gone, and why.

 

I really don’t know how I feel about this book. There were concepts I found interesting and I always like a mystery, but there were many things that I didn’t enjoy about it. Let me try and explain what I mean.

The protagonist Finn has just returned from exile in the Other World. His soul has spent 25 years there as punishment for a crime he didn’t commit. So when he returns he finds the world to be very different from when he left. For one thing his body is different; although it’s been looked after by its temporary resident it has changed – it’s older. Technology has moved on, he has a niece and everyone he ever knew is 25 years older. Being exiled for 25 years means that Finn has dated points of reference; old songs, films, games. I quite liked a lot of these references to begin with but I started to tire of them after a while. Then there was Finn’s reaction to things like smartphones and laptops. I liked the concept of this, if not its execution exactly.

To be honest I found Finn to be fairly irritating. He’s obviously meant to be a geek but I found it to be a bit forced at times. His sense of humour grated on me. There were times I sniggered but on the whole I just didn’t find it amusing.

Then there were all the “technical” terms related to the world, the various forms of magic, different beings and creatures.  There were too many terms I didn’t understand/wasn’t familiar with and so at times I found it rather hard to follow. Of course perhaps that’s just sheer ignorance on my part.

Ok – so the plot. I enjoyed the mystery element of this novel. There was plenty of action involved and some twists and turns along the way. There were a lot of characters though, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However I just didn’t feel they had much depth. I didn’t feel invested in any of them and wasn’t particularly bothered what happened to them.

All in all, this book was ok. It didn’t grasp me though. I wasn’t a big fan of the writing style and felt it a little forced at times. Obviously, this is just my personal opinion. I had hoped for more and just didn’t find it in this novel.

Have you read Finn Fancy Necromancy? I’d love to know what you thought.

two-half-stars

Review: The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig

August 8, 2013 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Fiction, Urban 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: The Blue Blazes by Chuck WendigThe Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig
Published by Angry Robot Genres: Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
four-stars

Meet Mookie Pearl.

Criminal underworld? He runs in it.

Supernatural underworld? He hunts in it.

Nothing stops Mookie when he’s on the job.

But when his daughter takes up arms and opposes him, something’s gotta give…

I’d never read any Chuck Wendig novels before but I read the above and thought it sounded interesting! Combining the mob and the supernatural, I had no idea what it would be like but I knew I wanted to read it.

The Blue Blazes is the first in a new urban fantasy series featuring Mookie Pearl. Mookie is a tough guy, he’s a thug  with a penchant for charcuterie. He works for The Organization, maintaining a supply of Blue to the New York, a drug that makes the invisible, visible. You see there is a supernatural underworld in New York, literally under the city. Not many people know of its existence, those that do avoid the place…except Mookie.

For all of Mookie’s toughness there’s another side to him, he’s a father. He loves his daughter….she hates him. They are estranged, but when she takes him on in battle with her own Blue supply things get interesting!

Mookie is a brilliant character. He has depth and soul, something I didn’t necessarily expect to find when I picked up this book. His loyalties are tested, his body pushed to the limit and his eyes opened. Myths turn out to have more truth to them than he’d have imagined!

This is a book that’s not for the feint hearted, with violence within its pages. However it’s a really good read. I’ve never read anything like it before and I look forward to reading more Chuck Wendig in the future.

I received an electronic version of this book from Angry Robot on NetGalley for consideration.
four-stars