Blog Tour: Unconquerable Sun – Kate Elliot

Blog Tour: Unconquerable Sun – Kate Elliot


Series:
The Sun Chronicles #1
Release Date: October 1st 2020
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 528
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

It has been eight centuries since the beacon system failed, sundering the heavens. Rising from the ashes of the collapse, cultures have fought, system-by-system, for control of the few remaining beacons. The Republic of Chaonia is one such polity. Surrounded by the Yele League and the vast Phene Empire, they have had to fight for their existence. After decades of conflict, Queen-Marshal Eirene has brought the Yele to heel.

Now it is time to deal with the Empire. Princess Sun, daughter and heir, has come of age.

In her first command, she drove a Phene garrison from the beacons of Na Iri – an impressive feat. But growing up in the shadow of her mother – a ruler both revered and feared – has been no easy task. While Sun may imagine that her victorious command will bring further opportunity to prove herself, it will in fact place her on the wrong side of court politics. There are those who would like to see Sun removed as heir, or better yet, dead. To survive, the princess must rely on her wits and companions: her biggest rival, her secret lover, and a dangerous prisoner of war.

Review

This is my first time reading a Kate Elliot book but when I heard this book described as ‘gender swapped Alexander the Great in space’ I knew I had to read it. The story follows Princess Sun, heir to the throne of The Republic of Chaonia. Fresh from her first victory in battle, she believes this victory will prove her strength as heir to the throne, but there are those who do not wish to see Sun succeed her mother and would like to see her disappear altogether. Sun is going to have to use all of her wits and strength to survive this dangerous world.

Unconquerable Sun is an epic tale and one that really gripped me from the get go. It’s a fascinating story that’s quick paced and full to the brim with action and political intrigue. The world building is excellent – although it took me a few chapters to understand how the world worked and what the terms meant. I soon became completely engrossed in the story and didn’t want to put it down. I must admit I don’t really know much about Alexander the Great but I don’t think that lessened my enjoyment of the story. The story is full to the brim with epic battle scenes and I loved the vivid descriptions of the galactic fighting. I really liked Elliot’s writing style, and she easily brought each battle to life.

Unconquerable Sun has some really interesting characters. We are treated to multiple POVs in this one, but our main protagonist is Princess Sun herself. I found her really fascinating, particularly as she attempted to move out from under her mothers shadow and prove herself as a leader. Although I really liked Sun I think Persephone’s POV ended up being the one I enjoyed the most.

Unconquerable Sun is an incredible start to an all new space opera series, it’s an action packed addictive read and one I’m sure fans of Kate Elliot will love. If you’re looking for a read with vivid world building and tons of action, this should definitely be your next read.

Book Review: A Deadly Education – Naomi Novik

Book Review: A Deadly Education – Naomi Novik


Series:
The Scholomance #1
Release Date: September 29th 2020
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

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.

Review

A Deadly Education is the first in an all new series from acclaimed author Naomi Novik, and follows a young girl called El as she attempts to survive her years in the Scholomance – a school for children with magicial abilities. The only trouble is the school is not a typical boarding school – monsters hide in every corner and the only way to escape is to graduate at the end of your time there, or to die.

This book ended up being on my most anticipated releases of 2020, I was so intrigued by the school setting with a deadly twist. A Deadly Education is an action packed read, full of fighting and dangerous beasties. It was a quick paced story that I devoured in a few days and one I’d highly recommend. The world building is pretty fascinating in this story and while it took me a little while to get my head around the different terms I soon settled into this gripping and compelling story. There are a few moments that felt a bit like info-dumps, but generally the magic system were well explained in the story.

The main protagonist El is a fascinating character, she’s stubborn and sarcastic and at times she’s quite unlikeable. Despite all that I really found myself rooting for her as she attempts to survive another year in the school. I liked watching her develop friendships with her classmates and the way she stuck to her beliefs even when letting go would get her everything she wanted. I did feel some of the side characters could have been a little more fleshed out – I wanted to know more about boy wonder Orion Lake and why he’s so desperate to save everyone.

The story focuses on a lot of topics, particularly wealth and class inequalities which was something I did not expect. A Deadly Education is a gripping tale and ends on a pretty big cliffhanger. If you’ve been curious about this one I’d recommend giving it a try and hopefully the wait for book two won’t be too long!

Book Review: The Doors of Eden – Adrian Tchaikovsky

Book Review: The Doors of Eden – Adrian Tchaikovsky


Release Date
: August 20th 2020
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 608
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

They thought we were safe. They were wrong.

Four years ago, two girls went looking for monsters on Bodmin Moor. Only one came back.

Lee thought she’d lost Mal, but now she’s miraculously returned. But what happened that day on the moors? And where has she been all this time? Mal’s reappearance hasn’t gone unnoticed by MI5 officers either, and Lee isn’t the only one with questions.

Julian Sabreur is investigating an attack on top physicist Kay Amal Khan. This leads Julian to clash with agents of an unknown power – and they may or may not be human. His only clue is grainy footage, showing a woman who supposedly died on Bodmin Moor.

Dr Khan’s research was theoretical; then she found cracks between our world and parallel Earths. Now these cracks are widening, revealing extraordinary creatures. And as the doors crash open, anything could come through.

Review

The Doors of Eden is the clever and compelling tale of two girls who looking for monsters on a remote moor. While there something strange happens and only one comes back. Reeling from the loss of her friend, Lee is shocked when she discovers that Mal has returned from where she disappeared too. Whilst Lee is attempting to understand what’s really going on, MI5 agent Julian Sabreur is working on discovering who is behind an attack on physicist Kay Amal Khan. He has very little clues except that whoever is behind it might not be human. As Julian begins to learn more about Khan’s research into parallel Earths, they soon learn that their Earth might not survive much longer.

This is my first time reading a full length novel from Adrian Tchaikovsky – I’ve read his novella Firewalkers and some of his short stories – and it was such a wild ride of a tale. This is a fast paced and complex tale, full of incredibly creatures and mind bending science. Tchaikovsky has such a brilliant writing style and the story is packed to the brim with action, adventure and humour – the story grips you from the very first chapter and doesn’t let you go till the very last page.

The story is told from the points of view of several different characters and each one was well developed. I really liked Lee and Mal, it was really interesting seeing them attempt to reconnect after all these years as well as deal with everything going on around them. My favourite character was definitely Kay Amal Khan though – she’s a brilliant scientist but she’s also an incredibly sarcastic and kick ass character.

The world building is well executed in this story and despite there being multiple threads to the story Tchaikovsky weaves them together seamlessly. There is quite a lot of science involved but it’s also really accessible for those that don’t read too much science fiction. The Doors of Eden is a gripping read and one that takes the reader on an adventure though many worlds, encountering many brilliant creatures. If you’ve been curious about this one I’d definitely recommend picking it up.

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

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


Series:
Rampart Trilogy #2 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: September 17th 2020
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 445
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

The Trials of Koli is the second novel in M R. Carey’s breathtakingly original Rampart trilogy, set in a strange and deadly world of our own making.

Beyond the walls of Koli’s small village lies a fearsome landscape filled with choker trees, vicious beasts and shunned men. As an exile, Koli’s been forced to journey out into this mysterious, hostile world. But he heard a story, once. A story about lost London, and the mysterious tech of the Old Times that may still be there. If Koli can find it, there may still be a way for him to redeem himself – by saving what’s left of humankind.

Review

The Book of Koli was one of my favourite books of 2019 and I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of book two in the series. The first book ended on such a cliffhanger that I was desperate to find out what was going to happen to Koli next. The Trials of Koli is even more compelling and addictive and I absolutely did not want it to end.

Picking up after the events of book one, the story follows Koli as he continues on his journey across this dystopian landscape where everything is dangerous – even the trees are trying to kill you. Koli is such a brilliant protagonist and it’s fascinating seeing him as he continues to grow, to understand what happened to the world around him. He’s changed so much from the young boy we first meet in the beginning of The Book of Koli. The Trials of Koli gives the reader an opportunity to learn more about the world and what went wrong and I really enjoyed this expansion on the world building. Book two also features Spinner as a POV character which I did not expect – it was really fascinating seeing everything from another person’s perspective.

Just like The Book of Koli, this instalment is quick paced and difficult to put down. Over the course of the two books I’ve become quite attached to Koli as a main character and you really root for him to survive and succeed in such a difficult world. All the characters are well created in this world and I think the fact that you want Koli to survive so bad is a mark of that.

The Rampart Trilogy is shaping up to be a really incredible series and I honestly can’t wait to see what happens in The Fall of Koli. I’m so pleased that the final book is due for publication in March because I am dying to know how it ends. The Book of Koli is a clever story that’s incredibly well executed. If you haven’t had the opportunity to pick up this series now is the perfect time before the release of book three in 2021.

Book Review: After the Silence – Louise O’Neill

Book Review: After the Silence – Louise O’Neill


Release Date:
September 3rd 2020
Publisher: Riverrun Books
Pages: 439
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

Nessa Crowley’s murderer has been protected by silence for ten years.
Until a team of documentary makers decide to find out the truth.

On the day of Henry and Keelin Kinsella’s wild party at their big house a violent storm engulfed the island of Inisrun, cutting it off from the mainland. When morning broke Nessa Crowley’s lifeless body lay in the garden, her last breath silenced by the music and the thunder.

The killer couldn’t have escaped Inisrun, but no one was charged with the murder. The mystery that surrounded the death of Nessa remained hidden. But the islanders knew who to blame for the crime that changed them forever.

Ten years later a documentary crew arrives, there to lift the lid off the Kinsellas’ carefully constructed lives, determined to find evidence that will prove Henry’s guilt and Keelin’s complicity in the murder of beautiful Nessa.

In this bold, brilliant, disturbing new novel Louise O’Neill shows that deadly secrets are devastating to those who hold them close.

Review

After the Silence is the dark and brilliantly told story of the small island of Inisrun which was devastated by the murder of Nessa Crowley at the Kinsella’s party ten years ago. The islanders believe they know who killed her, but it was never proven and the murderer walks free. Ten years later a film crew from Australia arrive to film a documentary about the murder that shook the islanders and perhaps also uncover the truth about what happened that night.

I’ve previously read Louise O’Neill’s The Surface Breaks and while this was a completely different kind of story it was just as compelling and unforgettable. O’Neill brings you right into the heart of Inisrun, getting to know the villagers and the events that led to the death of Nessa Crowley. I loved the way the story was written, flitting between the present day and the past with some parts told in an interview style. O’Neill has a really captivating writing style and it was so easy just to get lost in this story.

The story is a tense one and focuses particularly on domestic abuse. It was a chilling read and one that will stick with the reader long after they’ve finished reading. The story has a few twists and turns – ones I wasn’t particularly expecting. After the Silence feels like an incredibly well researched and executed tale, with really fascinating and complex characters. We mainly follow Keelin Kinsella, who on the surface has it all – she’s wealthy, has the perfect husband and two beautiful children. But there’s so much more going on behind the scenes and I think Louse O’Neill portrayed that perfectly.

After the Silence is much more than a typical psychological thriller. It’s a dark and fast paced story and one that fans of Louise O’Neill are sure to love.

Book Review: Dead Rock Stars – Guy Mankowski

Book Review: Dead Rock Stars – Guy Mankowski


Release Date:
14th September 2020
Publisher: Darkstroke
Pages: 209
Find it on: Goodreads. Amazon.
Source: The author kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

Emma Imrie was a Plath-obsessed, self-taught teenage musician dreaming of fame, from a remote village on the Isle of Wight. She found it too, briefly becoming a star of the nineties Camden music scene. But then she died in mysterious circumstances.
In the aftermath of Emma’s death, her younger brother, Jeff, is forced by their parents to stay at the opulent home of childhood friends on the island.
During a wild summer of beach parties and music, Jeff faces up to the challenges that come with young love, youthful ambition and unresolved grief. His sister’s prodigious advice from beyond the grave becomes the only weapon he has against an indifferent world. As well as the only place where the answers he craves might exist…

Review

Dead Rock Stars is a clever and compelling tale that follows a young boy named Jeff who is reeling from the death of his sister Emma – a star of the Camden music scene who dies in mysterious circumstances. While forced to spend the summer on the Isle of Wight, Jeff discovers his sisters diary that will help to guide him through the challenges of first love and growing up.

This book is completely unlike anything I’ve read before and manages to pack so much into one story – it is a coming of age novel, but also an exploration of grief and a mystery all rolled into one. Mankowski weaves the different elements to create a story that is heart wrenching and addictive. The thing I found most fascinating in this book are the brilliant characters Mankowski has created. Jeff is trying to come to terms with the death of his sister, his parents have abandoned him while they too cope with Emma’s death. We see glimpses of Emma through her diary and she too is a complex and interesting character.

I really enjoyed the diary aspect of the story and it was brilliant to see the Camden music scene come alive in Mankowski’s words. I found the diary entries particularly gripping as we see Emma’s lifestyle become more and more reckless. This is a very powerful story and one I didn’t want to put down. This is my first book by this author but it definitely won’t be my last. If you’re looking for a compelling read to keep you engrossed during the dark autumn months this should definitely be on your wish list.

Book Review: Cinderella is Dead – Kalynn Baron

Book Review: Cinderella is Dead – Kalynn Baron


Release Date:
August 6th 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to participate in the Tandem Collective readalong.
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

It’s 200 years since Cinderella found her prince, but the fairytale is over.

Sophia knows the story though, off by heart. Because every girl has to recite it daily, from when she’s tiny until the night she’s sent to the royal ball for choosing. And every girl knows that she has only one chance. For the lives of those not chosen by a man at the ball . are forfeit.

But Sophia doesn’t want to be chosen – she’s in love with her best friend, Erin, and hates the idea of being traded like cattle. And when Sophia’s night at the ball goes horribly wrong, she must run for her life. Alone and terrified, she finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s tomb. And there she meets someone who will show her that she has the power to remake her world.

Review

I absolutely love stories inspired by fairy tales so when I read the synopsis for Cinderella is Dead I was so intrigued to read it. The story follows Sophia who lives in a kingdom ruled by men. She knows the tale of Cinderella – all the women in the kingdom do. When she comes of age she’s sent to the palace to participate in the choosing – to be chosen by a man or become forfeit. Being chosen is the last thing Sophia wants, she’s in love with her best friend Erin and after a disastrous turn of events, must flee for her life. While on the run she finds out that the true nature of the Cinderella story might not be everything she thought it was.

As soon as I picked up this book I became completely sucked into the story. Kalynn Baron has taken a well known tale and completely turned it on its head. The story is a pretty fast paced one and I found myself completely racing though it, desperate to know what was going to happen next. Baron has created a fascinating world where Cinderella might be dead, but her story has lived on and shaped the lives of every woman in the kingdom. The story does have a few plot twists, a few of which I guessed quite early on. This didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story because it was such an addictive and entertaining read.

Sophia is a brilliant main character. She’s so determined and she stands up for her beliefs. I also really enjoyed the romance in the story although it did happen a little bit quickly for me. Baron has an absolutely gorgeous writing style and this ended up being one of my favourite reads of August. If you’ve been intrigued by this one I’d definitely recommend picking it up and I cannot wait to see what Baron writes next!

Blog Tour: The Cry of the Lake – Charlie Tyler

Blog Tour: The Cry of the Lake – Charlie Tyler

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Release Date:
July 21st 2020
Publisher: Darkstroke Books
Pages: 263
Find it on: Goodreads. Amazon.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review for the blog tour
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

A gruesome discovery unravels a dark trail of murder and madness.

A six-year-old girl sneaks out of bed to capture a mermaid but instead discovers a dead body. Terrified and unable to make sense of what she sees, she locks the vision deep inside her mind.

Ten years later, Lily is introduced to the charismatic Flo and they become best friends. But Lily is guilt-ridden – she is hiding a terrible secret which has the power to destroy both their lives.

When Flo’s father is accused of killing a schoolgirl, the horrors of Lily’s past come bubbling to the surface. Lily knows that, whatever the consequences, she has to make things right. She must go back to the events of her childhood and face what happened at the boat house all those years ago.

Can Lily and Flo discover what is hiding in the murky waters of the lake before the killer strikes again?

Review

Copy of book cover (85)The Cry of the Lake follows the story of Lily and her best friend Flo. When a girl from their school is murdered, Flo’s father is accused of killing her. Lily is hiding a number of secrets about her past and wracked with guilt over the murder, Lily knows she has to make things right, but can she face the truth before the real killer strikes again?

The Cry of the Lake is one of those books that sucks you in from the very first page and doesn’t let you go. I started this one on a quiet Sunday morning and ended up reading it in one sitting. Dark, addictive and with a cast of really compelling characters, The Cry of the Lake is not to be missed.

The Cry of the Lake is quite a short book, but it certainly packs a punch. The story has plenty of twists and turns but the thing that really made this one for me was the fascinating characters. I really liked Lily and Flo and I found Grace to be a really interesting protagonist. and I enjoyed the alternating POVs between the different characters, it gave you the opportunity to see things from different perspectives and it definitely helped to ramp up the tension.

The Cry of the Lake is a dark and gripping psychological thriller, full of twists and turns.  If you’re looking for an unputdownable thriller to read this summer, The Cry of the Lake should definitely be on your wishlist.
4 Stars
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Book Review: Belle Révolte – Linsey Miller

Book Review: Belle Révolte – Linsey Miller

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Release Date:
February 4th 2020
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

Emilie des Marais is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. But society dictates a noble lady cannot perform such gruesome work.

Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts.

Emilie and Annette swap lives—Annette attends finishing school as a noble lady to be trained in the ways of divination, while Emilie enrolls to be a physician’s assistant, using her natural magical talent to save lives.

But when their nation instigates a frivolous war, Emilie and Annette must work together to help the rebellion end a war that is based on lies.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-02-02T170242.071This is my first time picking up a book by Linsey Miller. I’ve always wanted to pick up a copy of Mask of Shadows but never got around to it so when I heard she was releasing a new French inspired fantasy standalone, I was absolutely intrigued.

Belle Révolte is the story of two girls – Emilie des Marais, a young upper class girl who dreams of being a physician. But due to her status as a woman and a member of the elite, she is forced to study the midnight arts which are much more sensible for a young woman. Annette Boucher dreams of studying the midnight arts, but with no money she can’t afford the school fees and does not wish to a physicians hack. When Emilie and Annette meet, they swap lives allowing each one to live the life they’ve always dreamed. However things aren’t as clear cut as they seem, with the nation heading to war a secret underground group calling for a revolution, – will Annette and Emilie survive?

This story was just such a fun read. I loved the beautiful French inspired setting and I completely fell in love with this world of magic and war. I found the magic system really unique and fascinating – the idea of there being two types of magic – noonday arts which focused on healing and fighting and midnight arts which focused on scrying and divining the future.

Belle Révolte was a really fast paced read with lots of action and adventure going on. It was so easy to get caught up in the story. The alternating chapters between the two main characters gives you a chance to get to know both protagonists as they learn new skills and fight to save Demiene.

I really love the swap identities trope and I thought it was done so well in this story. Annette and Emilie were both really interesting characters and I enjoyed seeing how they adapted to the new world they had ended up in. They’re both quite strong-willed characters but Annette is the softer kinder of the two, with Emilie being the more stubborn and outspoken of the pair. The story features a number of diverse characters and also some really sweet romances which I really liked. They were a nice addition to the story without taking over the main plot.

Linsey Miller makes a lot of interesting comments about class and gender and weaves it into a beautiful story filled to the brim with magic, politics and adventure. If you’re looking for a fast paced and fun read this February, Belle Révolte should definitely be on your wishlist.