Book Review: The Iron Raven – Julie Kagawa

Book Review: The Iron Raven – Julie Kagawa


Series:
The Iron Fey: Evenfall #1
Release Date: April 1st 2021
Publisher: HQ Stories
Pages: 318
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me an E-ARC to review
Rating: 3/5 stars

Synopsis

You may have heard of me…

Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Prankster, joker, raven, fool… King Oberon’s right-hand jester from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The legends are many, but the truth will now be known as never before, as Puck finally tells his own story and faces a threat to the lands of Faery and the human world unlike any before.

With the Iron Queen Meghan Chase and her prince consort, Puck’s longtime rival Ash, and allies old and new by his side, Puck begins a fantastical and dangerous adventure not to be missed or forgotten.

Review

The Iron Raven is the first in an all new series from Julie Kagawa, following the infamous trickster Puck as he embarks on an adventure. When he learns of a threat that will destroy all of the Nevernever he must embark on a epic quest with the Iron Queen and Ice Prince Ash, as well as a mysterious assassin. Will the group succeed in fighting off the terrible threat, or will they uncover something even more deadly?

This book was a bit of a let down for me, but I think it’s completely down to me and not the book. When I read the synopsis for this I thought it was an all new series with all new characters. As I dove further into the book I quickly learned this is a spin off from Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series. I did read the first book in that series a long time ago, and while I enjoyed it it didn’t peak my interest enough to continue the series. As a result I didn’t really have any connection to the characters or their history. I think if you’ve read the previous series you’ll really enjoy seeing these characters back together again and embarking on a new journey.

The plot was enjoyable, if a bit formulaic. It was a pretty quick paced story and once the action started I ended up reading most of the story in a day. Kagawa has a nice writing style and if you love her books I think this would be a really fun read. Puck is a fun character and it was interesting learning about all the mayhem and mischief he’s gotten up to. I did think the ending was a little disappointing, with this big baddie that seems undefeatable being bested in such a simple way.

I did really like seeing Puck return to his darker nature and the way the insidious thoughts kept breaking through, this was the part of the story that interested me most and I also liked the flashbacks that gave you a bit more history into Puck’s story. I think this is probably a case of it’s not you it’s me, and fans of The Iron Fey series will absolutely adore this one. If you’re looking for action packed fae stories with plenty of banter, this could be just the series for you.

Mini Review: A Dead Djinn in Cairo – P. Djèlí Clark

Mini Review: A Dead Djinn in Cairo – P. Djèlí Clark


Series:
Fatma el-Sha’arawi #0.5
Release Date: May 18th 2016
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 43
Find it on: Goodreads. Tor Books. 
Source: I read this online on the Tor Books website
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Egypt, 1912. In an alternate Cairo infused with the otherworldly, the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities investigate disturbances between the mortal and the (possibly) divine. What starts off as an odd suicide case for Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi leads her through the city’s underbelly as she encounters rampaging ghouls, saucy assassins, clockwork angels, and plot that could unravel time itself.

Review

The Fatma el-Sha’arawi is a series I have seen doing the rounds online recently, so when I heard that the best place to start is with the short novelette A Dead Djinn in Cairo, I decided to give it a go. This story might only be forty three pages, but it absolutely packs a punch. Set in Cairo in the 1900s, the story follows Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi as she works to uncover the truth behind an odd suicide case. As she digs deeper into the supernatural underworld of the city, she finds a much more sinister plot going on.

I honestly loved this. Fatma was a fantastic main character and even though this is short I completely fell in love with her. There’s quite a bit of character development in that short space of time and I can’t wait to see what Clark does with a full length novel. The world in this is fascinating and there is still a substantial bit of world building in this novelette. As expected the story is a quick one, but it comes to a very satisfying conclusion.

A Dead Djinn in Cairo is a fascinating tale and full of beautiful writing. It absolutely left me wanting more and I can say without a doubt this will not be my last book from P. Djèlí Clark.

Blog Tour: The Shadow in the Glass – J. J. A. Harwood

Blog Tour: The Shadow in the Glass – J. J. A. Harwood


Release Date:
March 18th 2021
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Pages: 416
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

Once upon a time Ella had wished for more than her life as a lowly maid.

Now forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella’s only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn’t permitted to enter.

One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella’s wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price and Ella must to decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay it.

A smouldering, terrifying new spin on Cinderella – perfect for fans of Laura Purcell and Erin Morgenstern

Review

The Shadow in the Glass is the beautifully told story of Ella, once a ward of the house and now forced to be one of the maids. Ella dreamed of a life travelling the world and wearing beautiful gowns, but with trouble brewing in the household that dream seems to get further and further away. When she stumbles upon a book in the library and a fairy godmother appears, she is offered seven wishes in exchange for her soul. But is Ella willing to pay such a high price?

The Shadow in the Glass is such a dark and compelling spin on the Cinderella tale. I loved the way that Harwood took elements from the original story and put a completely different spin on it. It is quite a subtle retelling with only some aspects of the fairy tale, but I loved the way Harwood brought the story to life. This is a really addictive read, I sat down one night to read the first chapter and was still there at three in the morning. Thoughout the story there is a tense, uneasy atmosphere – particularly towards the end of the story as the stakes are getting even higher. I loved the concept of this story and it was well paced. Harwood has a really gorgeous writing style so it was easy to get completely lost in the sights and sounds of Victorian London.

The story is quite a bleak one, showcasing the hard lives of the maids and their attempts to avoid catching the eye of Mr Pembroke. The story also touches on the subject of grief, as Ella mourns the death of Mrs Pembroke. I really liked Ella as a main character. She was a bit naive to start off, but she shows lots of depth as the story goes on and she attempts to save Aoife from Mr Pembroke.

This is a really gripping story with really beautiful writing. if you love fairy tales, this dark and sinister retelling will absolutely be the book for you.

Book Review: The Wolf and the Water – Josie Jaffrey

Book Review: The Wolf and the Water – Josie Jaffrey


Series:
Deluge #1
Release Date: October 6th 2020
Publisher: Silver Sun Books
Pages: 268
Find it on: Goodreads. Amazon.
Source: The author kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Some secrets are worth killing for.

The ancient city of Kepos sits in an isolated valley, cut off from the outside world by a towering wall. Behind it, the souls of the dead clamour for release. Or so the priesthood says.

Kala has never had any reason to doubt their word – until her father dies in suspicious circumstances that implicate the city’s high priest. She’s determined to investigate, but she has a more immediate problem: the laws of the city require her mother to remarry straight away.

Kala’s new stepfather is a monster, but his son Leon is something altogether more dangerous: kind.

With her family fractured and the investigation putting her life in danger, the last thing Kala needs is romance. She would rather ignore Leon entirely, however difficult he makes it. But when she learns the truth of what really clamours behind the wall at the end of the valley, she faces a choice: share what she knows and jeopardise her escape, or abandon him to his fate along with the rest of the city.

If she doesn’t move fast, then no one will make it out of the valley alive.

Review

The Wolf and the Water is the first in an all new series from Josie Jaffrey, set in the ancient city of Kepos. The story follows Kala, a young girl who loses her father in mysterious circumstances. Her mother is remarried to a cruel man looking to gain more power in his position as head of the household. As Kala attempts to investigate the death of her father she uncovers a secret long hidden in the city of Kepos and must do everything she can to keep herself and her loved ones alive.

I’ve previously read Josie Jaffrey’s Sovereign series so when I heard she had a new release coming out I was really intrigued. The Wolf and the Water is a fascinating tale and one I absolutely raced through. The story if full to the brim with mythology and the world building is well executed in the story. I was completely hooked on the story and the world that Jaffrey created. The story is a fast paced one and ends on a bit of a cliffhanger making me desperate to find out what’s in store in book two.

The thing that intrigued me most about The Wolf and the Water is the complex characters and their relationships in this story. I really liked our main protagonist Kala – she’s strong willed and determined to survive even if she is cast out from her family. I really liked seeing her relationship develop with Leon, and I really liked Lissa too. Nikos is a brilliant villain and is well depicted as the power hungry stepfather.

The story is full of mystery and it kept me hooked right till the very last page. If you’re looking for a fresh new fantasy with a unique setting and complex characters, this is definitely one to add to your wishlist.

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!