Book Review: Beneath the Sugar Sky – Seanan McGuire

Book Review: Beneath the Sugar Sky – Seanan McGuire

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Series:
Wayward Children #3 (Reviews of book one and book two)
Release Date: January 9th 2018
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 174
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I listened to this on Scribd.
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

When Rini lands with a literal splash in the pond behind Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, the last thing she expects to find is that her mother, Sumi, died years before Rini was even conceived. But Rini can’t let Reality get in the way of her quest – not when she has an entire world to save! (Much more common than one would suppose.)

If she can’t find a way to restore her mother, Rini will have more than a world to save: she will never have been born in the first place. And in a world without magic, she doesn’t have long before Reality notices her existence and washes her away. Good thing the student body is well-acquainted with quests…

A tale of friendship, baking, and derring-do.

Warning: May contain nuts.

Review

Copy of book cover (10)Beneath the Sugar Sky is the third instalment of Seanan McGuire’s Eleanor West series and this time we’re following Rini who visits the Home for Wayward Children in search of her mother Sumi. When she arrives she discovers her mother died before she was even conceived, sending Rini and the other residents on an adventure to restore Sumi before Rini is wiped completely from existence.

I have pretty much fallen completely in love with this series. Each instalment has been a magical tale, full of whimsy and adventure and Beneath the Sugar Sky is no different. This time around we get to visit a few different worlds, and I loved getting to see the Confection in all its nonsense glory.

We revisit some characters we met in the previous books as well as being introduced to a few new residents of the home. I thought Cora was quite an interesting new character and I loved the idea of her being from a world with mermaids. McGuire does a brilliant job of the world building with all these different worlds and each one feels well fleshed out.

Although I really enjoyed Beneath the Sugar Sky, it’s probably my least favourite out of the three so far. In the audio book version I found Rini quite irritating and I think this lessened my enjoyment of the story. Despite that it’s still a fascinating tale with plenty of action packed into just a small number of pages. This series is shaping up to be one of my favourites, and I’m so excited to explore the Goblin Market in In An Absent Dream.
4 Stars

Book Review: King of Fools – Amanda Foody

Book Review: King of Fools – Amanda Foody

July 23, 2019 (12)
Series:
The Shadow Game #2 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: April 30th 2019
Publisher: HQ Young Adult
Pages: 602
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Indulge your vices in the City of Sin, where a sinister street war is brewing and fame is the deadliest killer of them all…

On the quest to find her missing mother, prim and proper Enne Salta became reluctant allies with Levi Glaisyer, the city’s most famous con man. Saving his life in the Shadow Game forced Enne to assume the identity of Seance, a mysterious underworld figure. Now, with the Chancellor of the Republic dead and bounties on both their heads, she and Levi must play a dangerous game of crime and politics…with the very fate of New Reynes at stake.

Thirsting for his freedom and the chance to build an empire, Levi enters an unlikely partnership with Vianca Augustine’s estranged son. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by the mafia donna’s binding oath, playing the roles of both darling lady and cunning street lord, unsure which side of herself reflects the truth.

As Enne and Levi walk a path of unimaginable wealth and opportunity, new relationships and deadly secrets could quickly lead them into ruin. And when unforeseen players enter the game, they must each make an impossible choice: To sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive…

Or die as legends.

Review

Copy of book cover (13)King of Fools is the second instalment in Amanda Foody’s incredible Shadow Game series. The story follows a group of characters living in the City of Sins, attempting to navigate the world of crime, magic and excess. After surviving the Shadow Game in book one, Enne and Levi now have bounties on their heads and must do everything they can to survive in this cut-throat city.

Ace of Shades was one of my favourite books of 2018. I loved every second of it and I’m absolutely kicking myself that it took me so long to pick up King of Fools. This time the stakes are even higher, the story more intense, and I honestly did not want this book to end. Despite it being over six hundred pages, I raced through it at a ridiculous pace. King of Fools is a roller coaster ride of a read and it doesn’t let you go till the very last page.

Foody has created a vibrant and exciting world in this series. I loved getting the chance to learn more of the history of the city in this instalment and explore more of the talents that people possess. Foody has done an excellent job with the world building, it feels so detailed and full of life. The story is told in alternating chapters between Levi, Enne and Jac and I loved seeing each of the characters grow as they ventured out on their own.

King of Fools is a heart pounding read and one you definitely don’t want to miss. There are a few heart breaking moments and if this is how Foody ends book two, I’m equal parts excited and terrified to see what’s coming in Queen of Volts.
5 Stars

Book Review: Viper – Bex Hogan

Book Review: Viper – Bex Hogan

July 23, 2019 (10)
Series:
Isles of Storm and Sorrow #1
Release Date: April 18th 2019
Publisher: Orion
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this from Waterstones
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

He will make me a killer. Or he will have me killed. That is my destiny.

Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles.

But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake.

He’s the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne’s father.

She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves – and perhaps even her life?

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-20T141424.761Viper is an epic pirate adventure that follows Marianne, the daughter of the infamous Viper – the most dangerous pirate in the ocean. He’s supposed to be the defender of the people and protector of the realm, but he has become corrupted and cares only about gaining power. He’ll stop at nothing, and remove everyone who gets in his way. But when his own daughter stands up to him, will she be able to stop him and protect the kingdom?

Honestly I loved this book. I really love pirate stories and this was just the perfect swashbuckling adventure. High stakes, fast paced action and a brilliant cast of characters. It was everything I could have hoped for and more. Bex Hogan has created a vivid and fascinating world in Viper, the islands were such interesting places and I loved the dash of magic added to the story too (the Sea Serpents were so cool). It was so easy just to get completely swept up in the story and I ended up racing though this book.

This is quite a dark tale and there was a bit more gore and violence that I would typically expect from a YA book. It fit well with the story though and made the atmosphere even more tense as Marianne fought to survive. The story does feature some romance and while I don’t particularly enjoy romances I thought it was a really nice addition to the story. It added another layer without detracting from the main plot.

Viper is the swashbuckling adventure you didn’t know you needed. It’s a heart pounding read and if you’re anything like me it’s going to have you running to pick up the sequel.
5 Stars

Book Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones – Seanan McGuire

Book Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones – Seanan McGuire

July 23, 2019 (9)
Series:
Wayward Children #2 (Read my review of book one here)
Release Date: June 13th 2017
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 190
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I listened to this on Scribd.
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

Review

Copy of book cover (11)Down Among the Sticks and Bones is the second instalment in the incredibly popular Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire. This instalment follows two characters we met in book one – Jack and Jill – and gives the reader a chance to find out the story of the twin sisters and how they ended up at Eleanor West’s school. Travelling to the moors we see the sisters take extremely different paths, but the moors is a dangerous place and will they both survive?

Jack and Jill were the characters I was most intrigued by in Every Heart A Doorway so when I heard that book two was a prequel featuring them I immediately picked up book two. If possible I loved this book even more than the previous one, the moors is such a fascinating world and I didn’t want this stunning tale to end. Like the previous book the world building is excellent, giving the reader a chance to learn about the world as we delve further into the story.

I am in awe of how much McGuire manages to pack into such a small number of pages, and I found it difficult to put this one down. Jack and Jill are fascinating characters – twin sisters but different in so many ways. I also loved Doctor Bleak and the Master. McGuire is brilliant at creating complex characters you can’t help but adore.

Fast-paced and exciting, Down Among the Sticks and Bones was everything I wanted and more. It gives the reader a chance to get to see Jack and Jill before they go through their door, which I also really loved. I’m hopeful the sisters will return in later books. The Wayward Children series if fast becoming one of my favourites and I cannot wait to visit a nonsense world in Beneath the Sugar Sky!
5 Stars

Book Review: Firewalkers – Adrian Tchaikovsky

Book Review: Firewalkers – Adrian Tchaikovsky

July 23, 2019 (7)
Release Date:
May 12th 2020
Publisher: Solaris
Pages: 208
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

A thrilling new limited-edition hardcover concerning class and climate change from Arthur C. Clarke award-winning author Adrian Tchaikovsky.

Firewalkers are brave. Firewalkers are resourceful. Firewalkers are expendable.

The Earth is burning. Nothing can survive at the Anchor; not without water and power. But the ultra-rich, waiting for their ride off the dying Earth? They can buy water. And as for power?

Well, someone has to repair the solar panels, down in the deserts below.

Kids like Mao, and Lupé, and Hotep; kids with brains and guts but no hope.

The Firewalkers.

Review

Copy of book cover (8)Firewalkers is the bleak and harrowing tale of a world in which Earth is burning, with very little water left. Very little is able to survive, but the rich are able to ascend to ships that have everything they could ever need. While they wait they remain at the luxurious hotel, able to buy water and live and peace. Mao and his team of Firewalkers are tasked with ensuring the solar panels continue to function, to keep the rich people happy. But as the venture into the burning deserts, they find that there’s much more out there than broken solar panels.

This novella might only be 200 pages, but it packs a punch. It’s a fast paced tale that doesn’t let up the entire time. I read it in a day, but I thought about it for a long time afterwards. Touching on themes like class, climate change and the power of technology, Firewalkers is certainly a book that will give you food for thought. With many of the themes being incredibly relatable, it makes for a gripping read.  It’s a cleverly woven tale, and one that I think fans of Tchaikovsky will absolutely love.

The characters were really fascinating in this book and despite it being a short read you get to know them really well and are rooting for their survival. Mao, Lupe and Hotep make a brilliant team and I loved seeing them work together to survive the dangers of the desert.

The story does have quite a bleak outlook, with our main protagonists being made to risk their lives to keep the rich in comfort. The story does also have some pretty creepy moments, featuring some monstrous beasties as well as an ominous AI. Firewalkers is a brilliant read, and I can’t wait to pick up more from Adrian Tchaikovsky.
4 Stars

Book Review: Every Heart A Doorway – Seanan McGuire

Book Review: Every Heart A Doorway – Seanan McGuire

July 23, 2019 (1)
Series:
Wayward Children #1
Release Date: April 5th 2016
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 176
Find it on: Goodreads. Amazon.
Source: I listened to this book on Scribd.

Synopsis

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

Review

Copy of book cover (1)The Wayward Children series is one that’s been on my radar for a while, and when I saw the audio books on Scribd I thought I would give them a go. I completely fell in love with this magical, fairy tale like story and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the series has in store.

The story is set at Eleanor West’s home for Wayward Children – a place where children who have come back from other worlds can stay as they attempt to find the door back to the magical land they went to. Nancy is one such child, determined to find her way back as soon as possible. But not everything is as it seems at the school, and Nancy and her friends must uncover the darkness lurking in the heart of the school.

This unique and engaging tale completely captured my attention and I ended up listening to it all in one go. It’s a beautifully written tale, full of magic and whimsy. It also has plenty of darkness and gory moments too and the detail and complexity of the world building really shines through in McGuire’s writing. I’m not normally a big fan of novellas because I always feel like I want more, but this 200 page story is the perfect length, giving you a glimpse of other worlds that we will hopefully get to see more of in the subsequent books.

The characters in this book were so fascinating. Jack and Jill were definitely my favourites but for such a short book there’s an immense amount of depth in the characters we meet. There is a wonderful amount of diversity in the characters and I can’t wait to see the characters grow as the series continues.

This is an incredible start to the series and I can only hope that the rest of the books are as gripping and addictive as this one. If you haven’t started this series yet, now is definitely the time to do it.
5 Stars

Blog Tour: The Book of Koli – M. R. Carey

Blog Tour: The Book of Koli – M. R. Carey

July 23, 2019 (6)
Series:
Rampart Trilogy #1
Release Date: April 14th 2020
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book through Compulsive Readers
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable world. A world where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly vines and seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will.

Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He knows the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture beyond the walls.

What he doesn’t know is – what happens when you aren’t given a choice?

The first in a gripping new trilogy, The Book of Koli charts the journey of one unforgettable young boy struggling to find his place in a chilling post-apocalyptic world. Perfect for readers of Station Eleven and Annihilation.

Review

Copy of book cover (7)The Book of Koli is the first instalment in an all new post-apocalyptic series by M. R. Carey. The story follows Koli as he attempts to survive in his village of Mythen Rood. The rules are clear – don’t go beyond the walls and don’t let the trees get too close. When Koli doesn’t get a choice but to go beyond the walls it will take all his strength to survive this deadly landscape.

The Book of Koli is a clever and engaging read, with such a unique and fascinating premise. The idea of trees that were trying to kill people was definitely part of what intrigued me to pick this one up. Carey has created an incredible world in this book. Set in the future when there is only a small amount of old world tech left, the villagers must do everything they can to survive. The world building is excellent, with Carey laying lots of groundwork to give the reader a chance to get to know the world.

The story opens with Koli at fifteen, learning his place in the world. He’s a brilliant protagonist and I immediately found myself rooting for him and I really enjoyed seeing him mature as the story progressed. The story is told from Koli’s perspective as if he is reflecting back on his life, which was also really interesting. The writing style took me a little while to get used as but after a little while I really got engrossed in Koli’s tale.

The Book of Koli is a fast paced read with the first half giving the reader the chance to get to know the world and the second half ramping up the action. It’s an engrossing and addictive read, and I can’t wait to read the next instalment in the trilogy.
4 Stars
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