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: 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

Review: The Edge Of Everything

January 25, 2017 in Book Reviews, 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: The Edge Of EverythingThe Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
Published by Bloomsbury on 9th February 2017 (UK)
Genres: YA Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
three-stars

It's been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who's still reeling from her father's shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors' mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods--only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.

X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe's evil attacker and others like him. Forbidden to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, X casts aside the Lowlands' rules for Zoe. As X and Zoe learn more about their different worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for both of them.

I drafted a summary but honestly the synopsis above probably covers it best so go read that!

Done? Ok, so Zoe, her Mum and her 8 year old brother Jonah are struggling to cope with Zoe’s father’s sudden death. It’s them against the world!

I actually really liked the relationship between Zoe and Jonah. We get an insight into the grief of not just a 17 year old, but also an 8 year old boy with ADHD. This part of the book, I liked.

I also really liked the concepts in this book. Without saying too much, I enjoyed the detail of the Lowlands, the idea of bounty hunters and this darker side of the book.

However, I really struggled with the romance element. I’ll try to explain why!

The opening of this book is dark, action-packed and I fully expected to enjoy a thrilling read. Then comes the relationship between X and Zoe. Wow, I struggled with this. It was all so ‘instant’. I felt that not only this relationship, but X’s one with Jonah, just lacked detail. I found it unbelievable and unsubstantive. It bothered me the entire way through the book.

I also took issue with the fact that this thrilling, dark opening suddenly changed and lost pace. There was a lull in the middle of the book where I had to force myself to keep reading. That said, the pace picked up again towards the end and it became more of the thrilling read the opening pages promised.

There were parts I really enjoyed: the concepts, the darkness, the explorations of grief, the twist! But I just couldn’t get beyond the romance that we were just supposed to accept, with little foundation. It grated on me the whole way through and ultimately affected my enjoyment of this novel.

three-stars

Mini Review: Crooked Kingdom

October 17, 2016 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, YA Fantasy

Mini Review: Crooked KingdomCrooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #2
Published by Orion on 27th September 2016
Genres: Fantasy, YA Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
five-stars

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off the most daring heist imaginable.
But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're fighting for their lives.
Double-crossed and badly weakened, they're low on resources, allies and hope.
While a war rages on the city's streets, the team's fragile loyalties are stretched to breaking point.
Kaz and his crew will have to make sure they're on the winning side... no matter what the cost.

Crooked Kingdom was one of my most-anticipated releases of the year. I adored Six of Crows and couldn’t wait for the second book in this duology. I’ve long been a fan of Bardugo; her Grisha trilogy was outstanding and I find myself frequently recommending it to readers young and old alike. So would Crooked Kingdom live up to my high expectations?

The simple answer is YES. A slightly longer answer is that it’s absolute perfection! No, seriously, it’s bloody brilliant.

If you haven’t read Six of Crows then you should really stop reading here and go pick up a copy (or check out my review from last year). Although I won’t be posting any Crooked Kingdom spoilers, there will be Six of Crows spoilers, so, fair warning!

At the end of Six of Crows, we left our favourite gang missing one key, kidnapped member of the troop. Having been played by Van Eck, they were a team member down and 30 million kruge light. In Crooked Kingdom, we see the crew fighting for their lives, seeking revenge and scheming like there’s no tomorrow!

So what can I say about this book?

The writing? Beautiful.

The characters? Better than ever.

The plot? Fast paced, twisty and action packed.

The conclusion to this duology? EPIC!

Need I say more?

I’ve genuinely no idea what I’m going to read next. How on earth am I going to find a book to follow this? If you have Crooked Kingdom sitting in your TBR pile, drop whatever you’re reading and pick it up. You won’t be disappointed!

What’s next Leigh Bardugo? I can’t wait to find out!

five-stars