Book Review: Loki: Where Mischief Lies – Mackenzi Lee

Book Review: Loki: Where Mischief Lies – Mackenzi Lee

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Release Date:
December 21st 2019
Publisher: Igloo Books
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I picked up a copy of this in my local supermarket
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

An epic tale across the realms. A deadly power that spans millennia. A story of struggle and betrayal, this adventure is told through the patchwork past of Marvel’s most misunderstood mischief-maker of all time: Loki: Trickster. God of Asgard. Brother.

This is the first of three young adult novels from New York Times best-selling author Mackenzi Lee that explores the untapped potential of popular characters in the Marvel Universe. The novels focus on exploring the duality of heroism in specific character stories from the Marvel Universe.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-01-05T203255.309Loki is definitely one of my favourite characters in the Marvel universe so when I heard there was going to be a series of books featuring characters from the Marvel universe I was really interested in reading it. Loki: Where Mischief Lies is a really interesting take on the character, focusing in on the duality of his nature and giving readers a chance to glimpse him in more depth.

The story follows Loki as a young teenager in Asgard as he fights for his father’s approval and a shot at sitting on the throne. It patricularly enjoyed this part of the book, his antics in the palace, bickering with Thor and being sent on diplomatic missions. Odin then sends him to Earth in order to assist a secret society who believe a string of murders in London are a result of magic. Here Loki must navigate Victorian London as well as solve the crime and get back in his father’s good graces.

This novel is really fun and fast paced. If you’re a fan of Loki or the marvel universe you’re really going to love the chance to get to see new sides of the character and have his back story fleshed out more. While it’s an enjoyable read I did find the story a bit on the predictable side and I guessed some of the major plot points pretty early on. Loki is a brilliant character but I felt some of the others could have been fleshed out a bit more. I really liked Theo and the relationship between Loki and Theo was definitely one of my favourite parts of the story.

This is the first in a three part series exploring the Marvel Universe so I’m really intrigued to see which characters Mackenzi Lee chooses to folk on next. If you’re looking for a quick fun read with plenty of action and banter to keep you entertained, this could be just what you’re looking for.
4 stars

Book Review: Spellhacker – M. K. England

Book Review: Spellhacker – M. K. England

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Release Date:
January 21st 2020
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

From the author of The Disasters, this genre-bending YA fantasy heist story is perfect for fans of Marie Lu and Amie Kaufman.

In Kyrkarta, magic—known as maz—was once a freely available natural resource. Then an earthquake released a magical plague, killing thousands and opening the door for a greedy corporation to make maz a commodity that’s tightly controlled—and, of course, outrageously expensive.

Which is why Diz and her three best friends run a highly lucrative, highly illegal maz siphoning gig on the side. Their next job is supposed to be their last heist ever.

But when their plan turns up a powerful new strain of maz that (literally) blows up in their faces, they’re driven to unravel a conspiracy at the very center of the spellplague—and possibly save the world.

Review

Copy of book cover (95)When I read the synopsis for Spellhacker I thought it sounded like a wonderful blend of science fiction and fantasy and I’d been keen to read M. K. England’s other novel The Disasters so I was excited to give this a whirl. I ended up being completely obsessed with this crazy adventure of a heist gone wrong and a group of friends trying to save the day.

The story follows Diz, a teenager orphaned as a result of the infamous spellplague that killed thousands of people. Years later Diz lives in an apartment with best friends Jaesin and Remi and along with techwitch Ania they run a business siphoning maz from the corporation that controls all magic in the city. When their last job ever goes wrong they find themselves on the run for their lives, but is there something more going on than they know?

Spellhacker is a fast paced tale that hooks you in from the very first page and does not let you go till the very end. There’s constant action and adventure as the friends battle to uncover the truth and save their lives. The world building is fantastic and I loved the fresh concept of magic being controlled by a corporation, and citizens have to buy maz in order to make magic. The story is a really fascinating blend of science fiction and fantasy, and honestly I loved every second of it.

One of the things I loved most about this story are the characters. Diz is a wonderful protagonist. She’s brave and stubborn, but she’s also deeply flawed and struggling to cope with the horrors of her past. Mixing her in with Remi, the crazy talented spellcaster who has also contracted the spell plague, and ‘parents’ of the group Jaesin and Ania. They make for a really interesting group and I found it really interesting seeing the group dynamics change as they travel to Jattapore and Diz begins to feel like the outsider. It really added another layer to the story and made the characters feel more realistic.

If you’re looking for a wild ride of a story, with plenty of adventure as well as wonderful characters and diverse representation, this is absolutely a must read. I can’t recommend this highly enough and I’m definitely going to be picking up The Disasters in the near future! 
5 stars

Book Review: The Last Wish – Andzej Sapkowski

Book Review: The Last Wish – Andzej Sapkowski

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Series:
The Witcher 0.5
Release Date: January 31st 1993
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 360
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I was gifted a copy of this for my birthday a few years ago
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Geralt of Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin. And a cold-blooded killer. His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world. But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good… and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

A collection of short stories introducing Geralt of Rivia, to be followed by the first novel in the actual series, The Blood of Elves. Note that, while The Last Wish was published after The Sword of Destiny, the stories contained in The Last Wish take place first chronologically, and many of the individual stories were published before The Sword of Destiny.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-01-20T172205.612I must admit I was really intrigued about reading The Witcher series, I had played a little bit of the game and the books sounded like something I would totally love so when I got a copy of The Last Wish for my birthday I was super excited to read it. And then of course it lay on my bookshelf for ages, I got distracted and never picked it up. Fast forward to now with all the buzz around the television show and I figured before I dive into the Netflix adaptation, I might just give the first book a go. I’m so completely annoyed at myself for having waited so long to pick these books up, I absolutely loved The Last Wish and I’ve already ordered a copy of Blood of Elves, this is everything you could want from an epic fantasy series.

The Last Wish is actually book 0.5 in The Witcher series and is a collection of short stories introducing the infamous Geralt of Rivia. Each story heralds one of Geralt’s adventures, and gives you a glimpse at his powers and skill as a witcher. He’s a fascinating character and I loved getting to know him and the world that Sapkowski has built. Full to the brim with evil monsters and fascinating creatures, I got completely swept up in these stories. If I can find myself completely hooked after reading a few short chapters of a short story, I can’t wait to read the full length novels.

Geralt is supported by a whole host of brilliant secondary characters – my favourites were Dandelion and Yennifer. Yennifer is definitely someone I want to learn more about and I’m hoping to see more from her in future books. All of the characters felt well fleshed out and the world building was executed incredibly well. I loved the unique and exciting world that Sapkowski and the stories are definitely fast paced and full of action. I’m so pleased I finally decided to pick this one up, because I’m desperate to read the next one. If you’ve played the game or watched the Neflix adaptation I’d definitely recommend picking up the source material – you absolutely won’t regret it. These short stories will leave you hungry for more but at least there’s plenty of books in the series to keep you going.
5 stars

Book Review: The Deathless Girls – Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Book Review: The Deathless Girls – Kiran Millwood Hargrave

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Release Date:
September 19th 2019
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Pages: 304
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I picked up a copy of this book in Waterstones
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

They say the thirst of blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin.

On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.

Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.

They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate…

Review

book cover - 2019-05-01T094307.932When I first heard that Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s YA debut would be based on the Brides of Dracula I was desperate to get my hands on a copy of this book. I love Dracula and all things related, and his brides are characters are definitely characters I would love to see more of. The story follows twin sisters Lil and Kizzy as their lives are ripped away from them and they become slaves of the vicious Boyar Valcar. As the harsh reality of their new life sets in they hear about the infamous Dragon, a bloodthirsty ruler who takes girls as gifts. When Kizzy is taken to the Dragon, Lil along with the help of her new friend Mira, must fight to save her sister.

The Deathless Girls is a really beautiful and engaging take on the Brides of Dracula. It’s a compelling tale and I found it so easy to fall into this story of evil rulers and bloodthirsty monsters. I had sort of expected this story to be about the lives of the vampires, but instead it is focused on the story that leads to them becoming the deathless girls. It wasn’t quite what I had thought it was going to be, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Hargrave’s writing is incredibly beautiful and I’ve really enjoyed every book of hers I’ve read previously – The Deathless Girls is no exception. It’s a cleverly plotted tale and I really liked going on this adventure with the characters. I similarly thought the characters were really interesting and complex – Kizzy is the beautiful one is often in the limelight, with Lil being in her shadow. I liked seeing the dynamics between the two sisters and watching them grow as characters as they race to the Dragon’s castle.

I’m not particularly a big romance person but I really enjoyed the romance in this story. I thought it was really well executed – the tentative, nervous beginning of the relationship to something much stronger. The Deathless Girls has some dark themes and also explores quite a wide range of topics. It’s a clever and intense story, one I think a lot of readers will really fall in love with. If you’ve read Hargrave’s other works too I think you’re definitely going to want to pick this one up.
4 stars

Favourite Books of 2019!

Favourite Books of 2019!

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Today I’m back with my favourite books of 2019. I always find it quite hard to whittle it down to only 10 books, but after some deliberation I’ve managed to pick them. I managed to read 108 books in 2019, so in no particular order here are my favourites!

Copy of book cover (90)1. The Queen of Nothing – Holly Black
The third and final instalment in The Folk of the Air trilogy, I couldn’t put this book down. I loved every second of this magic series.

book cover (41)2. The Poppy War – R. F. Kuang
I’m a bit late to the party with The Poppy War. I know the sequel The Dragon Republic is already out but I finally got around to picking up book one and I completely loved it. Book two is one of my top priority reads for 2020.

Copy of book cover (40)3. Sanctuary – V. V. James
This supernatural mystery/thriller had me hooked from the very beginning and I never wanted this story to end. I definitely had a few sleepless nights while I stayed up late reading this one.

book cover - 2019-03-11T211035.2504. The Furies – Katie Lowe
This dark and eerie tale of obsession, revenge and murder was so brilliant I still think about it even though I read it months ago. I’ve been recommending this book to pretty much everyone I know and it’s definitely going in my all time favourites.

Copy of book cover (56)5. Night Film – Marisha Pessl
I picked this up on the recommendation of someone else and it was genuinely one of the creepiest, most spine tingling books I’ve ever read. This was my first book by Marisha Peshl, but I can’t wait to read more from her.

Copy of book cover (27)6. An Illusion of Thieves – Cate Glass
An Illusion of Thieves was a book that completely took me by surprise. I expected to enjoy the story but I didn’t expect to get completely wrapped up in this vivid tale of magic and survival. Book two is definitely one my most anticipated releases for 2020.

Copy of book cover (12)7. Limited Wish – Mark Lawrence
The second instalment of Mark Lawrence’s Impossible Times series is just as action packed and exciting as book one and some of the twists completely blew me away. The third and final book Dispel Illusion is going to be one of my first reads in January.

book cover (48)8. Wicked Saints – Emily A. Duncan
I know this book received some mix reactions but I really enjoyed the unique magic system and the exciting plot. I’m really intrigued to see where the series will go next.

book cover (45)9. Aurora Rising – Ami Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
For some reason I didn’t get around to reading that many science fiction books in 2019 but Aurora Rising was one of the stand out ones. I loved this action packed space adventure with unique characters and witty banter.

Copy of book cover (80)10. Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo
Last but certainly not least, Leigh Bardugo’s newest book about secret magical societies at Yale was definitely one of my favourite reads in the last half of the year. I can’t wait for the sequel to this one and I’m sure it’s going to be just as intense and unputdownable.

So those are my favourite reads of 2019! Which books were your favourite reads this year? And if you’ve read any of these I’d love to know what you thought!

Book Review: Wild Savage Stars – Kristina Perez

Book Review: Wild Savage Stars – Kristina Perez

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Series:
Sweet Black Waves #2 (See my review of #1 here!)
Release Date: August 27th 2019
Publisher: Imprint
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Inspired by the legend of Tristan and Iseult, Wild Savage Stars is the spellbinding sequel to Sweet Black Waves.

Branwen has a secret powerful enough to destroy two kingdoms.

Her ancient magic led to a terrible betrayal by both her best friend, the princess Essy, and her first love, Tristan. Now this same magic is changing Branwen. Adrift in a rival court, Branwen must hide the truth from the enemy king by protecting the lovers who broke her heart―and finds herself considering a darker path.

Not everyone wants the alliance with Branwen’s kingdom to succeed―peace is balanced on a knife’s edge, and her only chance may be to embrace the darkness within…

Review

Copy of book cover (87)Wild Savage Stars is the eagerly awaited second instalment in the Sweet Black Waves trilogy, a beautiful tale of magic and romance inspired by the legend of Tristan and Eseult. I completely fell in love with the first book in the series and I was incredibly excited to find out what was in store for Branwen in book two. I absolutely devoured this book and book three is definitely one of my most anticipated releases.

The story follows Branwen, cousin to Princess Eseult as she embarks upon a journey across the sea, where Eseult will be married to the King of what was once an enemy kingdom. Tensions are fraught and the two best friends have difficult relationship following the Essy’s betrayal. As political tensions rise in their new homeland, Branwen embarks on a dark quest to understand her magic and save the ones she loves.

I honestly just adore everything about this series. In this instalment we are treated to a new land, and I loved the vivid descriptions of the castle and the land. The magic system is fascinating and I really enjoyed seeing Branwen learn more about her powers and carry out magic that was beyond her wildest imaginings. There is definitely more political intrigue in this instalment and I found myself fascinated watching Branwen and Essy attempt to manoeuvre court life.

For me the thing that really makes this book are the characters. Branwen is without a doubt one of my all time favourite characters. She’s strong willed, stubborn and not afraid to make hard decisions. She sometimes makes the wrong choice, but she sees it through. I also really like Ruan and Tristan, the cousins have a fascinating relationship and I loved that Perez gave us the chance to learn more of their backstory. Essy is probably my least favourite, I sometimes find her a bit on the childish side, but she is still a vivid and well fleshed out character.

The story has so many twists that I just didn’t see coming, moments where I just could not stop reading because I just had to know what was coming next. It’s an addictive, beautifully written tale and definitely a new favourite series of mine.
5 stars

Book Review: An Illusion of Thieves – Cate Glass

Book Review: An Illusion of Thieves – Cate Glass

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Series:
Chimera #1
Release Date: May 21st 2019
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 352
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. 
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In Cantagna, being a sorcerer is a death sentence.

Romy escapes her hardscrabble upbringing when she becomes courtesan to the Shadow Lord, a revolutionary noble who brings laws and comforts once reserved for the wealthy to all. When her brother, Neri, is caught thieving with the aid of magic, Romy’s aristocratic influence is the only thing that can spare his life—and the price is her banishment.

Now back in Beggar’s Ring, she has just her wits and her own long-hidden sorcery to help her and Neri survive. But when a plot to overthrow the Shadow Lord and incite civil war is uncovered, only Romy knows how to stop it. To do so, she’ll have to rely on newfound allies—a swordmaster, a silversmith, and her own thieving brother. And they’ll need the very thing that could condemn them all: magic.

Review

Copy of book cover (27)This is the sort of book that when I first read the synopsis sounded really intriguing and I thought it would be a fun and enjoyable read. What I didn’t expect was how much I would completely adore this book and how desperate I am to find out what’s in store next for Romy.

The story follows Romy, a young woman who has fought hard to become the favoured courtesan of the infamous Shadow Lord. Despite their closeness when her brother Neri is discovered stealing with the aid of magic, Romy is cast out and left to survive in the beggar’s ring. Using her knowledge of politics and her will to survive, Romy works to protect Neri and keep them both alive. In trying to keep her own magic hidden she discovers a plot to overthrow the Shadow Lord, but will thwarting the plan risk their lives?

I loved everything about this book. I fell completely under the spell of this Renaissance inspired world. I thought the world building was excellent and really enjoyed getting to know the magic system. Magic is of course forbidden in this world and I loved seeing the characters attempt to understand and hone their gifts in secret.

The plot was well paced and had quite a few twists – a few I saw coming but a couple were also a complete surprise. I was really gripped by the sense of adventure, the heist like nature of the story and the camaraderie between the characters. I loved Romy and her cheeky brother Neri. They’re great characters and I cannot wait to see what book two has in store for them.

One of the reasons this book really stood out for me is the romance aspect. There is a little bit of romance but the focus is very much on the sibling relationship and that was a breath of fresh air. It was nice to focus much more on Neri and Romy attempting to understand and work together, rather than a swoony romance.

An Illusion of Thieves is a brilliant beginning to what I’m sure is going to be an engrossing series. If you love stories with vivid characters, tons of action and political intrigue, then this is definitely one to pick up soon!
5 stars