Book Review: Witchsign – Den Patrick

Book Review: Witchsign – Den Patrick

BOOK REVIEW (18)
Series: Ashen Torment #1
Release Date: 22nd May 2018
Publisher: Harper Voyager UK
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I pre-ordered this at my local Waterstones.

Synopsis

It has been seventy-five years since the dragons’ rule of fire and arcane magic over Vinkerveld was ended, and the Empire was born. Since, the tyrannical Synod has worked hard to banish all manifestations of the arcane across the lands.

However, children are still born bearing the taint of the arcane, known to all as witchsign. So each year the Emperor sends out his Vigilants across the continent to detect the arcane in these children. Those found tainted are taken, and never seen again. Steiner has always suspected his sister Kjellrunn of bearing witchsign. But when their father’s attempt to protect her from the Invigilation backfires, it is Steiner who is mistakenly taken. However it is not death which awaits Steiner, but an Academy where the children with witchsign learn to master their powers – some at the cost of their lives. Steiner is determined to escape the Academy and protect his sister from this fate.

But powerful enemies await him at every turn, and Steiner finds himself taken on a journey straight into the heart of the Empire’s deepest secrets, which will force him to reconsider everything he has known about witchsign.

Review

I really loved Den Patrick’s The Erebus Sequence so I was really excited to pick up a copy of this brilliant sounding book. The cover is just gorgeous and it sounds like a captivating story. Witchsign is the kind of book that you want to read all the time, squeezing in a chapter on the commute, on a lunch break and any other possible time.

Untitled design (61)I adored the world of Witchsign. Patrick creates a really fascinating world and the bleak and desolate landscape really comes across in his writing. The magic system and world building are told in a really elegant way, we are told plenty of information without it being a knowledge dump right at the start. It creates a really rich tapestry of magic, dragons and the cruel control of the Empire.

The story is told in alternating POVs between Steiner and his sister Kjellrunn, and I loved both of them as main characters. It’s rare in books with differing POVs that I like both perspectives equally, but in Witchsign I was dying to know what was happening to both characters.

I really enjoyed Patrick’s writing style and I loved the idea that the Steiner as ‘the one chosen’ is actually chosen by mistake. The story was quick paced, full of action and I definitely grew attached to the mix of characters. In Witchsign Patrick has created an enticing world and I can’t wait to delve back in with book two.
5 stars

Book Review: Jinxed – Amy McCulloch

Book Review: Jinxed – Amy McCulloch

BOOK REVIEW (48)
Series:
Jinxed #1
Release Date: 9th August 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 323
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

Lacey Chu has big dreams of becoming a companioneer for MONCHA, the largest tech firm in North America and the company behind the  “baku” – a customisable smart pet that functions as a phone but makes the perfect companion too. When Lacey finds out she hasn’t been accepted into Profectus – the elite academy for cutting edge tech – it seems her dreams are over. Worst of all, rather than getting to choose one of the advanced bakus, she’s stuck with a rubbish insect one.

Then, one night, Lacey comes across the remains of an advanced baku. Once it might’ve been in the shape of a cat but it’s now mangled and broken, no sign of electronic life behind its eyes. Days of work later and the baku opens its eyes. Lacey calls him Jinx – and Jinx opens up a world for her that she never even knew existed, including entry to the hallowed halls of Profecus. Slowly but surely, Jinx becomes more than just a baku to Lacey – he becomes her perfect companion. But what is Jinx, really? His abilities far surpass anything written into his code or built into his motherboard. He seems to be more than just a robotic pet. He seems … real.

Review

When I picked up Jinxed I had expected to really enjoy this book. What I didn’t expect was for this book to completely blow me away, and be one of my favourites of 2018. Amy McCulloch has written a wonderful gripping story, and I absolutely could not put it down.

book cover (23)There were so many things I loved about this book. Lacey Chu is a fantastic protagonist. She’s strong, determined, she works hard and all she wants is to succeed in reaching her dream job at Moncha. I really loved her character, seeing her develop as she ends up at Profectus, bonds with Jinx and meets new people at this prestigious school. There’s an intense amount of character development, and it really made me fall in love with Lacey.

The story is fast-paced and gripping and has definitely left me wanting more. I thought the concept was so fascinating – curing the world’s addiction to smartphones by having a companion with all your smartphone needs built right in. But as always there’s that question – how far is to far? What happens when the robotic pet starts to seem real?

It was such an addictive read and I loved so many things about it, the science and technology, the romance that was a slow burn and didn’t take over from the main story as well as the buzz of the school and its secret goings-on. This book is entertaining and fun and I guarantee you will love it. This has been my first time reading a book by Amy McCulloch (Amy Alward) and it definitely won’t be my last.
5 stars

Book Review: Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo

Book Review: Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo

BOOK REVIEW (41)
Series: The Grisha Trilogy #1
Release Date: June 5th 2012
Publisher: Indigo
Pages: 358
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones
Source: I ordered a copy of this online.

Synopsis

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Review

No matter how many times I read this book I never tire of it, it’s a beautiful book that I want to make everyone I know read.

book cover (16)Shadow and Bone is the kind of book that you finish and immediately need to rush out and buy the next book in the series (which I did). It’s a beautiful story full of action, romance and magic. The world building in this story is excellent, it’s gorgeously written, with a blend of magic and Russian folklore. Bardugo has created an immense world full of history and myth and the Kingdom of Ravka leaps off the page in full glory. It leads you to be completely immersed in the story and this beautiful land.

My favourite thing about this book was the magical elements and the way that Leigh Bardugo brought this to life. The Grisha are masters of the ‘small science’ and command a variety of different powers from summoning fire to stopping your heart. Children are tested all around the country in hope of finding new Grisha with new powers. They go to school together, and jostle and fight to be the strongest. The chapters in which Alina is training are perhaps some of my favourites, and part of the reason for that is it’s such a hard graft, she is not magically amazing overnight, she has to work and fight and push herself in order to harness her power.

This brings me to the characters, Alina is an interesting character – though she can be a bit whiny and spineless – the character development is great and she grows into a really fascinating protagonist.  There are so many characters that I love. Genya, another Grisha who lives at the palace is fantastic, she’s witty and clever and is definitely one of my favourites. Without a doubt my favourite character has to be the Darkling. He’s the ultimate mysterious character – you’re constantly trying to guess what his motives are and what he’s really up to.

Shadow and Bone really is a fabulous story – it will keep you hooked right to the very end. I definitely advise you to start this one on a weekend, because you’re not going to want to eat, sleep or move till you reach the end.

5 stars