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

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: 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.

                             

 

Book Review: One Of Us Is Next – Karen M. McManus

Book Review: One Of Us Is Next – Karen M. McManus

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Series:
One Of Us Is Lying #2
Release Date: January 7th 2020
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 375
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I picked up a copy of this in my local bookshop
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

It is a year after the action of One of Us Is Lying, and someone has started playing a game of Truth or Dare.

But this is no ordinary Truth or Dare. This game is lethal. Choosing the truth may reveal your darkest secrets, accepting the dare could be dangerous, even deadly.

The teenagers of Bayview must work together once again to find the culprit, before it’s too late . . .

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-30T172732.088One Of Us Is Next is the sequel to YA thriller smash hit One Of Us Is Lying and returns to Bayview High a year after the events of the first book. A game of Truth or Dare has started among the high school students, but with a lethal twist. The students must work out who the mysterious person behind the game is and why they’re so determined to get vengeance on Bayview students.

I really enjoyed One Of Us Is Lying when I read it last year so I was really interested in the sequel. The story follows some new characters as well as Bronwyn’s younger sister Maeve who we meet in book one. The characters were well fleshed out and I really liked Maeve as a main character. She was one of the characters I was intrigued by in book one so it was nice to read a story from her perspective. We also get to see snippets of the characters from book one and what has happened to them since the story finished. I really enjoyed seeing where they had ended up.

Like McManus’ other books, the story is action packed and full of twists and turns. It’s a fast paced story and perfect for binge reading on a quiet afternoon. The story is a little predictable – I’m not really one for guessing plot twists and I figured it out quite early on – but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story. If you’ve read the first one it’s definitely worth checking out the sequel and If you haven’t yet tried them out these books are perfect for YA thriller fans.
4 Stars

Book Review: Burn – Patrick Ness

Book Review: Burn – Patrick Ness

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Release Date:
May 7th 2020
Publisher: Walker Books
Pages: 480
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received an ARC of this through Tandem Collective
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

In 1956 Sarah Dewhurst’s father shocks her by hiring a dragon to work the farm. The dragon is a smaller blue rather than the traditional larger reds, though even the reds are now scarce. When the blue dragon, Kazimir, unexpectedly saves Sarah and her friend Jason Inagawa from the attentions of the racist police deputy, Kelby, everything changes. Sarah is part of a prophecy and she must escape the clutches of Malcolm, an assassin from a Believer Cell, the dragon-worshiping cult. When Sarah, Malcolm, and Kazimir eventually converge, they are thrown into another universe, where dragons seem never to have existed. Can they save this world and the one they left?

Review

Copy of book cover (20)Burn is the latest release from acclaimed YA author Patrick Ness. The story is set in world where humans and dragons co-exist and the story follows Sarah Dewhurst, a young girl whose father has hired a dragon to help on their farm. Sarah soon learns the dragon has other reasons for coming to the farm and she finds herself entangled in a prophecy to stop a war that could threaten the whole planet. But Sarah and Kazimir aren’t the only ones who know about this prophecy, when an assassin arrives at the farm Sarah must fight for her life and those she loves.

Burn is my third Patrick Ness book and definitely my favourite. I loved this unique and engaging idea – 1950s America where dragons and humans have to tolerate each other. It’s a fascinating tale and tackles a whole range of themes from racism, homophobia, grief and family. The world building in this book is truly superb. The dragons and humans idea worked so well and felt very natural. I loved that Ness gives the reader a chance to learn a bit about dragon history too. I found this really intriguing and added another layer to this complex tale.

The story is quite a fast-paced one, with plenty of action to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I ended up reading the book pretty quickly, especially the latter half of the book as the tension began to climb. Ness has created a gripping tale with quite a few surprise twists that I definitely didn’t see coming.

Burn features a really fascinating cast of characters. I really liked our main protagonist Sarah, as well as scholarly dragon Kazimir. Assassin Malcolm is probably the character I liked most. His story arc is really engrossing, as he goes from a member of the cult like Believers to an assassin. There is an immense amount of character growth in this book and it really kept me hooked.

Burn is an addictive read than fans of Patrick Ness are absolutely going to love. I definitely didn’t want it to end and if you’re curious about this one I’d definitely recommend picking it up!
4 Stars

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: 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