Book Review: Heart of Thorns – Bree Barton

Book Review: Heart of Thorns – Bree Barton

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Series:
Heart of Thorns #1
Release Date: July 31st 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 480
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this at YALC
Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Synopsis

In the ancient river kingdom, touch is a battlefield, bodies the instruments of war. Seventeen-year-old Mia Rose has pledged her life to hunting Gwyrach: women who can manipulate flesh, bones, breath, and blood.

Not women. Demons. The same demons who killed her mother without a single scratch.

But when Mia’s father suddenly announces her marriage to the prince, she is forced to trade in her knives and trousers for a sumptuous silk gown. Only after the wedding goes disastrously wrong does she discover she has dark, forbidden magic—the very magic she has sworn to destroy.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-30T172615.434Heart of Thorns is the first in an all new fantasy series following a young girl named Mia who dreams of a life hunting the Gwyrach – demons who were responsible for the death of her mother. However when Mia’s father announces her betrothal to the prince, she has no choice but to lay that dream to rest. Her wedding day is ruined by an attack on the wedding party, starting Mia off on a dangerous path of mystery and magic.

Heart of Thorns is a fun and fast paced fantasy tale, full to the brim with magic and adventure. Despite it being nearly 500 pages it’s a pretty quick read and is one I’m sure YA fantasy fans will love but I felt it was just a little too predictable for me to really fall in love with the story.

I liked the world building in this book, and Barton has a really lovely writing style. The plot follows quite a number of typical YA tropes and I guessed the surprise twists pretty early on, however the plot is still an engaging one and easy to enjoy. The story is a bit on the darker than some YA stories, and I liked the strong sense of atmosphere in the book.  I did struggle a bit with the medical terminology in the story, I found this a bit on the jarring side and it often took me out of the story.

I liked our main protagonist Mia well enough, she was an interesting character and I was curious to see how her tale would progress. She was a little forgettable, and I felt similar about the romance in the story too. Heart of Thorns was a quick and interesting read, but fell short of my expectations a little. I’m curious to see where the story goes in book two, and am sure fans YA fantasy fans will absolutely love this one.
3 Stars (1)

Book Review: A Conjuring of Assassins – Cate Glass

Book Review: A Conjuring of Assassins – Cate Glass

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Series:
Chimera #2 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: February 7th 2020
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 455
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository.
Source: I bought a copy of this from BookDepository.
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

A Conjuring of Assassins is Cate Glass’s second adventure with the Chimera team, a ragtag crew who use their forbidden magic for the good of the kingdom.

Romy and her three partners in crime—a sword master, a silversmith, and her thieving brother—have embraced their roles as the Shadow Lord’s agents, using their forbidden magic to accomplish tasks his other spies cannot.

Now, the Shadow Lord needs them to infiltrate the home of the Mercediaran Ambassador and prevent him from obtaining information that would lead to all-out war with Cantagna’s most dangerous enemy.

To succeed, they will have to resurrect long-buried secrets, partner with old enemies, and once again rely on the very magics that could get them sentenced to death.

Review

Copy of book cover (2)A Conjuring of Assassins is the second instalment in Cate Glass’s Chimera Series, featuring Romy and her rag tag band of magic users. Magic is forbidden in Cantagna, so when Romy and the gang become entangled in a secret plot to incite revolution, they must use all their whits and schemes to foil the plot and stop their magic being discovered.

An Illusion of Thieves was one of my favourite books of 2019. I loved the world building and the heist aspects of the story, so I was incredibly eager to pick up this second instalment. The story dives in pretty much straight where An Illusion of Thieves leaves off, dropping the reader straight into the action. The story is a fast paced one, full of magic, action and scheming, it’s the perfect read if you’re a fan of heist novels.

One of things I love most about this series are the magnificent characters – Romy, the Shadow Lord’s dismissed mistress turned scribe, Neri her rebellious younger brother, Dumond the blacksmith who does whatever he can to protect his family and Placidio the wise and mysterious duellist. They’re all fascinating each with a complex back story and I loved seeing the characters continue to grow through this second instalment. We are also introduced to a new character – the mysterious Teo who I have so many questions about – making me all the most desperate to get my hands on book three.

A Conjuring of Assassin’s is a clever tale, full of mystery and intrigue. It will have you hooked from the very beginning and this is definitely a book I found hard to put down. As a sequel it definitely did not disappoint and I am so looking forward to finding out what the gang get up to next. If you haven’t had the chance to pick up An Illusion of Thieves yet, now is definitely the time – the beautiful writing, fascinating world building and brilliant characters will make you completely fall in love with this series.
4 Stars

Waiting on Wednesday: A Deadly Education – Naomi Novik

Waiting on Wednesday: A Deadly Education – Naomi Novik

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Synopsis

Lesson One of the Scholomance

Learning has never been this deadly

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.

Thoughts

Copy of book cover (1)A Deadly Education is the first in a new series from fantasy author Naomi Novik and it sounds INCREDIBLE. I love a magic school setting and everything about this book just sounds like my perfect kind of read. I’ve actually never read a Naomi Novik book, but I have Spinning Silver and Uprooted on my TBR. I’ve heard amazing things about her books so I’m really interested in trying A Deadly Education. It’s been pitched as ‘a dark feminist Harry Potter’ and I was pretty much sold from that alone. I’ve seen a few early reviews and they’ve all been extremely positive so that gives me really high hopes for this one. I also completely adore that cover! A Deadly Education is definitely one of my most anticipated releases and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. There’s not too much longer to wait, A Deadly Education is publishing September 29th from Del Rey Books.

Book Review: Come Tumbling Down – Seanan McGuire

Book Review: Come Tumbling Down – Seanan McGuire

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Series:
Wayward Children #5 (Read my review of book one here!)
Release Date: January 7th 2020
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 208
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I listened to this via Scribd.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

When Jack left Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children she was carrying the body of her deliciously deranged sister—whom she had recently murdered in a fit of righteous justice—back to their home on the Moors.

But death in their adopted world isn’t always as permanent as it is here, and when Jack is herself carried back into the school, it becomes clear that something has happened to her. Something terrible. Something of which only the maddest of scientists could conceive. Something only her friends are equipped to help her overcome.

Eleanor West’s “No Quests” rule is about to be broken.

Again.

Review

Copy of book coverCome Tumbling Down is the fifth instalment in Seanan McGuire’s incredible Wayward Children series. I was so excited to learn that this next instalment would be following Jack and Jill again, the characters we followed in my favourite book of the series – Down Among the Sticks and Bones. Come Tumbling Down follows Jack as she returns to Eleanor West’s Home after the events of book one, and has to enlist the help of her fellow wayward children in a quest to save the moors.

I must admit I had pretty high expectations for this book. I hadn’t been so keen on Beneath the Sugar Sky, but this instalment was following my favourite characters from the series. After just a single chapter I was completely hooked on this story and I think Come Tumbling Down is probably my favourite book of the series so far. This instalment is fast paced, full of action and features a whole host of characters travelling to the moors in an attempt to help Jack. It’s a clever, twisty story and I definitely didn’t want it to end. Like the other instalments McGuire manages to pack so much into just a short novella. The story concludes well, but I would absolutely love a full length novel about these magnificent characters.

Come Tumbling Down gives the reader an opportunity to get to know some of the other characters a bit more and it has definitely made me want a book based on Christopher and his world. Come Tumbling Down is a fantastic addition to the series and I can’t wait to see what Seanan McGuire comes up with for the next book. If you haven’t yet picked up this newest instalment, it’s definitely worth giving a go.
5 Stars

Book Review: Bloodchild – Anna Stephens

Book Review: Bloodchild – Anna Stephens

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Series:
Godblind #3 (See my review for Darksoul here!)
Release Date: September 5th 2019
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Pages: 508
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this in my local bookshop
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Rilporin has fallen and Corvus, King of the Mireces, reigns over an occupied land. The raiders and their dark religion have conquered, but victory came at a terrible price – the death of a god – and sparks of resistance glimmer on all sides.

In the south, Mace gathers the survivors of Rilpor’s armies. Among the fierce tribes of Krike, Crys and Dom search for allies and for the truth of what binds them to the Gods of Light. And in the royal palace itself, Tara – once a soldier, now a slave – hopes to ignite a rebellion.

But time is against them. A child will soon be born with the power to return the Dark Lady from death, and the long-prophesied final battle for the future of Rilpor and Mireces, of humans and gods, is near.

Review

Copy of book cover (22)Bloodchild is the third and final instalment in Anna Stephens’ dark and brutal Godblind trilogy. Picking up straight after the events of Darksoul, the story follows our group of protagonists as they fight for supremacy. But Rilpor’s army is severely depleted, the Dark Lady is gone and Rilirin is soon to have her child that is integral to the Mireces plans – who will survive?

Godblind and Darksoul both made it to my favourite books of the year lists so going into this I was pretty prepared for it to be epic and unputdownable. The stakes in Bloodchild are even higher – the story is dark, brutal and addictive. Stephens has such an incredible writing style that I didn’t want to look away from this book for a second. Bloodchild follows the same characters as the previous books and we are treated to multiple POVs as we see each character attempt to survive and win the war. There are so many characters I’ve grown to love over the three books – Crys, Tara and Rilirin to name but a few and I loved seeing them in the last part of this epic tale.

Rounding up such a massive story is pretty difficult but Stephens does an incredible job. The ending was spectacular, not only was it fast paced and gripping but it was heart breaking too. One of the things I love most about this series is the way you get to know and love characters from both sides of the war – those fighting for the Red Gods and those for the Light. It’s a fascinating and compelling tale and if you love Grimdark fantasy this is a series to get reading immediately – you won’t be disappointed.
5 Stars

Six For Sunday: Favourite Characters

Six For Sunday: Favourite Characters

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This week on Six For Sunday we’re talking about favourite characters – so lets dive in!

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-26T175147.2731. The Darkling (Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo)
One of my favourite characters has to be the darkling from Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse. I think he’s such a brilliant villain and such an interesting character, I would love to have a prequel book about his life before the events of Shadow and Bone – I’m also super excited to see how Ben Barnes plays him in the new Netflix adaptation!

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-26T175236.1092. Jude Duarte (The Cruel Prince – Holly Black)
Jude is such a kick-ass character in Holly Black’s Folk of the Air. She’s scheming and determined and she doesn’t shy away from difficult choices. I loved seeing her character grow through the three books and she has definitely become one of my favourite characters. I must admit though it was tough to decide between her and Cardan, they’re both brilliant.

Copy of book cover (23)3. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter – J K Rowling)
Growing up I pretty much wanted to be Hermione Granger. I’m pretty sure I might have went as her for Halloween on more than one occasion. Clever and brave, she’s one of the best characters in the Harry Potter books and I think she deserves a lot more credit for all the times she stopped Harry and Ron from getting into even bigger disasters.

Copy of book cover (24)4. Mia Corvere (Nevernight – Jay Kristoff)
Going into Nevernight I wasn’t really sure what to expect, I really didn’t expect to discover a new favourite series. A bit like Jude, Mia Corvere is another kick-ass character that I just absolutely love. She’s such a strong character, completely set on her vengeance against those who hurt her family. I loved her in the Nevernight books, even if they completely broke my heart in the end.

Copy of book cover (13)5. Levi Glasayer (Ace of Shades – Amanda Foody)
I finished reading King of Fools last month and I’m still thinking about it, so obviously Levi had to go on this list. I love the way he schemes and charms his way out of every situation. I love the world Foody has created in The Shadow Game series and seeing Levi carry out his plots and schemes has led to these books becoming some of my favourites.

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-26T175247.2616. Cersei Lannister (A Game of Thrones – George R R Martin)
Cersei Lannister is one of my favourite characters in both the books and the television adaptation. She’s fierce, unapologetic and just the best character. She protects her family at any costs and I think she’s just one of the most fascinating characters. To be honest it was hard to pick just one from the ASOIAF series, but Cersei has to be my favourite.

Book Review: In An Absent Dream – Seanan McGuire

Book Review: In An Absent Dream – Seanan McGuire

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Series:
Wayward Children #4 (Review of book one is here!)
Release Date: January 8th 2019
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 204
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I listened to this book via Scribd.
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

This fourth entry and prequel tells the story of Lundy, a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should.

When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she’s found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well.

Review

Copy of book cover (9)Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series is one that I have grown to absolutely love. It was something I had had on my TBR for a while and I ended up reading the whole series in one month. Fast paced and magical, I never want this series to end. This fourth instalment follows Lundy, a character we met in book one as she travels through her door to the Goblin Market.

I must admit to being particularly intrigued about this instalment as Lundy was a character I found pretty interesting in Every Heart A Doorway. I was really excited going in, I knew her story would be a fascinating one. Like the previous instalments McGuire does a brilliant job explaining the world to us, giving the reader the chance to get to know the rules and magic of this new world.

The Goblin Market is such an interesting setting and McGuire’s writing really brings the world to life. The story very much has a dreamlike quality to it, something I think really shines through in McGuire’s writing style. Like the previous instalments it is quite a short book and so sets a pretty quick pace from the outset. This story felt much sadder than the others, and I must admit that Lundy’s tale is an emotional and heartbreaking one.

In an Absent Dream is an incredible instalment to what really is one of my favourite new fantasy series. If you’ve read the first few I would definitely recommend the fourth book, and if you haven’t had the chance this is absolutely the perfect series to binge.