Book Review: Batman The Dark Knight Returns – Frank Miller

Book Review: Batman The Dark Knight Returns – Frank Miller

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Release Date:
May 28th 1997
Publisher: DC Comics
Pages: 224
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this for a University class
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

This masterpiece of modern comics storytelling brings to vivid life a dark world and an even darker man. Together with inker Klaus Janson and colorist Lynn Varley, writer/artist Frank Miller completely reinvents the legend of Batman in his saga of a near-future Gotham City gone to rot, ten years after the Dark Knight’s retirement.

Crime runs rampant in the streets, and the man who was Batman is still tortured by the memories of his parents’ murders. As civil society crumbles around him, Bruce Wayne’s long-suppressed vigilante side finally breaks free of its self-imposed shackles.

The Dark Knight returns in a blaze of fury, taking on a whole new generation of criminals and matching their level of violence. He is soon joined by this generation’s Robin—a girl named Carrie Kelley, who proves to be just as invaluable as her predecessors.

But can Batman and Robin deal with the threat posed by their deadliest enemies, after years of incarceration have made them into perfect psychopaths? And more important, can anyone survive the coming fallout of an undeclared war between the superpowers—or a clash of what were once the world’s greatest superheroes?

Over fifteen years after its debut, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns remains an undisputed classic and one of the most influential stories ever told in the comics medium.

Review

Copy of book coverWhen I was at University I took a literature class on popular culture and this was one of the required texts. I really enjoyed reading it at the time but haven’t picked it up for a number of years. I thought it would be a fun reread and I’m so glad I decided to give it another read, this classic Batman tale is dark and gritty and a must read for superhero fans.

This story is quite a slow burn, following Bruce Wayne as he returns to his life as Batman many years later. Gotham City has become plagued with crime and the criminal underworld is bigger than ever. Donning his Batman costume one more, Batman returns to Gotham. But Bruce Wayne is older, he’s not able to move as fast things aren’t as they were ten years ago. When Superman tries to put a stop to Batman’s vigilante behaviour, their frosty relationship gets a whole lot worse.

I really liked the art style in this. It was pretty different to the other Batman graphic novels I’ve read before and it was enjoyable to read this classic of the Batman universe. Having read it before I was surprised by how little I remembered of the story, but it was dark and intrigued and easily kept me engrossed in the story.

This was a fun and quick read, and if you’re looking to read more Batman graphic novels I’d recommend giving this one a go. It’s definitely made me want to pick up a few more Batman graphic novels over the next few months!
4 Stars

Blog Tour: The Curator – M W Craven

Blog Tour: The Curator – M W Craven

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Series:
Washington Poe #3 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: June 4th 2020
Publisher: Constable
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

It’s Christmas and a serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria. A strange message is left at each scene: #BSC6. Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency’s Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with a case that makes no sense. Why were some victims anaesthetized, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren’t even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier?

And when a disgraced FBI agent gets in touch things take an even darker turn. Because she doesn’t think Poe is dealing with a serial killer at all; she thinks he’s dealing with someone far, far worse – a man who calls himself the Curator.

And nothing will ever be the same again…

Review

Copy of book coverThe Curator is the third instalment in the Washington Poe series, following Detective Sergeant Washington Poe and the team at the National Crime Agency as they attempt to uncover the truth behind murders happening in the Cumbria area. In this instalment Poe and Tilly are called in to investigate a seemingly random set of murders, with the mysterious message #BSC6 left at the scene. As Poe and Tilly attempt to uncover the truth things take a darker turn and Poe will need everything he’s got to stop the man known as The Curator.

The Washington Poe series is without a doubt one of my favourite crime series. Dark, engrossing and full of surprise twists – each new instalment is high on my anticipated releases list. I think I say this every time a new one is released but this one is even more incredible than the previous two. The story hooks you in right from the very first chapter and sets a quick pace the whole way through. It’s an addictive read and I ended up staying up way past my bedtime because I absolutely could not put this one down. Craven weaves a clever and complex tale, one that contains plenty of twisty turny moments I definitely didn’t see coming.

Part of the reason I love this series so much is the fantastic characters. Clever and stubborn Poe, combined with his best friend genius Tilly Bradshaw make for an incredible partnership and I love seeing their friendship continue to grow over this latest instalment. I love the dialogue between the two of them, there’s a fair few funny moments as well as them looking out for each other.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot as this is definitely the kind of book you go into knowing as little as possible. It’s eerie, full to the brim with mystery and intrigue. If you love crime series that will have you guessing right to the very end, the Washington Poe series is a must read. If you’ve read the first two I definitely recommend picking up The Curator – just make sure you give yourself lots of free time to read it, you won’t want to put it down.
5 Stars

Book Review: Hold Back the Tide – Melinda Salisbury

Book Review: Hold Back the Tide – Melinda Salisbury

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Release Date:
March 5th 2020
Publisher: Scholastic Books
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this in my local Waterstones
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Everyone knows what happened to Alva’s mother, all those years ago. But when dark forces begin to stir in Ormscaula, Alva has to face a very different future – and question everything she thought she knew about her past…

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-20T140949.950Hold Back the Tide follows the story of Alva, a young girl living in the remote Scottish highlands with her father. Her mother mysteriously disappeared and Alva knows her father is responsible. Whilst living day in and day out with the person she believes murdered her mother, she dreams of escaping to a new life. When dark forces begin preying on Ormscaula Alva has to do everything she can to help the town survive, and uncover some difficult truths about her family.

Melinda Salisbury is one of my favourite writers, I’ve loved everything she’s written so far so I was extremely eager to read this one and I had really high expectations. From the get go this story hooked me in, I loved the dark and eerie atmosphere and the bleak remote setting Salisbury created. Salisbury created an incredibly vivid world and from the very first chapter I didn’t want to put this down. I absolutely adored The Sin Eater’s Daughter, but this might be my favourite book from her ever.

Alva is a brilliant protagonist, Salisbury manages to fit in tons of character development as she learns the dark truth of Ormscaula, what happened to her mother and fights for the survival of the town. She’s a strong protagonist and one I was absolutely rooting for from the get go. The secondary characters in the story are likewise well developed and fleshed out. There is a little bit of romance but it is very subtle and doesn’t take away from the main story.

Hold Back the Tide is one of those books that you don’t stop thinking about long after you’ve finished reading. It was creepy, genuinely made me uneasy at some moments and has an absolutely unbelievable ending. I can’t recommend this one highly enough and this book will be without a doubt on my favourite books of 2020 list.
5 Stars

Book Review: Girls of Paper and Fire – Natasha Ngan

Book Review: Girls of Paper and Fire – Natasha Ngan

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Series:
Girls of Paper and Fire #1
Release Date: November 6th 2018
Publisher: Hodder Books
Pages: 385
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this in my local bookshop
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most demeaning. This year, there’s a ninth. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learns the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-28T161834.015Girls of Paper and Fire is a book that has been on my TBR for absolutely ages. I’ve heard incredible things about it so going in I had some pretty high expectations. The story follows Lei, a young girl forced to become a courtesan for the Demon King. Being a Paper Girl is the worst fate imaginable for Lei, who wants nothing more than to remain at home with her family. While forced to learn skills befitting a woman at court, Lei falls in love – a forbidden romance that if discovered, could be her death.

Girls of Paper and Fire has a really fascinating premise and while I really enjoyed it, I had expected to love it a lot more than I did. I really enjoyed Ngan’s writing style, but felt the world building could have been a little stronger in this book. There is quite a bit of info dump at the beginning and it took me a little while to wrap my head round the castes and rules of the world.

The story is well paced, and the last hundred pages are incredibly gripping as the action heats up. Girls of Paper and Fire ends with the promise of even higher stakes and more drama in book two, so I’m looking forward to seeing what Girls of Storm and Shadow will bring. The characters Ngan has created in this book are probably what I enjoyed most about this story. I really liked Lei and the other paper girls, it was fascinating seeing them come from different backgrounds and cope with the horrors of being a paper girl. The romance is well done too, it doesn’t overtake the main plot and Ngan gives it plenty of time to develop. I would have liked to learn a bit more about the Demon King. He felt like a bit cookie cutter for me.

Natasha Ngan has weaved a clever tale full of action, political intrigue and romance. A word of warning that the story is quite a dark one, and will have trigger warnings for rape and abuse. It’s an impressive start to this exciting YA fantasy series, and I’m looking forward to reading more from Natasha Ngan. Though it didn’t completely live up to my expectations I still really enjoyed this one, and if you’re curious about picking it up I’d recommend trying it out!
4 Stars

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

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