Blog Tour: Angel Mage – Garth Nix

Blog Tour: Angel Mage – Garth Nix

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Release Date:
October 17th 2019
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 560
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

More than a century has passed since Liliath crept into the empty sarcophagus of Saint Marguerite, fleeing the Fall of Ystara. But she emerges from her magical sleep still beautiful, looking no more than nineteen, and once again renews her single-minded quest to be united with her lover, Palleniel, the archangel of Ystara.

A seemingly impossible quest, but Liliath is one of the greatest practitioners of angelic magic to have ever lived, summoning angels and forcing them to do her bidding.

Liliath knew that most of the inhabitants of Ystara died from the Ash Blood plague or were transformed into beastlings, and she herself led the survivors who fled into neighboring Sarance. Now she learns that angels shun the Ystaran’s descendants. If they are touched by angelic magic, their blood will turn to ash. They are known as Refusers, and can only live the most lowly lives.

But Liliath cares nothing for the descendants of her people, save how they can serve her. It is four young Sarancians who hold her interest: Simeon, a studious doctor-in-training; Henri, a dedicated fortune hunter; Agnez, an adventurous musketeer cadet; and Dorotea, an icon-maker and scholar of angelic magic. They are the key to her quest.

The four feel a strange kinship from the moment they meet, but do not know why, or suspect their importance. All become pawns in Liliath’s grand scheme to fulfill her destiny and be united with the love of her life. No matter the cost to everyone else. . .

Review

Copy of book cover (63)To say that Angel Mage was one of my most anticipated books of the year is probably an understatement. Garth Nix has been one of my favourite authors since I was a child, and I absolutely credit him with being the reason I love fantasy books so much. So many of his books – Shade’s Children, Sabriel, A Confusion of Princes –  are some of my all time favourites so going into Angel Mage I had the highest of expectations. The story captivated me from the very first page, and I am already considering when I can make time to reread this stunning book.

Like all of Garth Nix’s books, the world building is excellently plotted, allowing you to completely fall into this story of angels and magic.  The magic system felt really unique, I don’t think I’ve ever come across it before and it was a breath of fresh air. The story is quite a slow burn, it’s a big tome and it really gives you the chance to get to know the world and the brilliantly fleshed out characters. Nix has stated that this is a standalone at this stage, but I would honestly love to read more from this world and the characters.

Angel Mage has plenty of action scenes to keep you hooked in and gorgeous writing that I honestly just could not get enough of. Each sentence seems to leap off the page with vivid descriptions of characters and their setting. It features a brilliant cast of characters, each who brings a really interesting perspective to the table. I really liked Simeon and Henri the most, but honestly I thought all the characters were brilliant.

If you love epic fantasy stories with Three Musketeers vibes, you definitely need to pick up Angel Mage now. I for one am now going to start rereading Garth Nix’s back catalogue while I wait for his next book!
5 stars
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Book Review: The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien

Book Review: The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien

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Series:
Middle Earth Universe
Release Date: 21st September 1937
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I have a battered old copy from my childhood
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when it was first published in 1937. Now recognized as a timeless classic, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts of the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent.

Review

Copy of book cover (28)No matter how many times I read this book I always completely fall in love with it.

The Hobbit tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, a reluctant hobbit forced to go on a nasty adventure and help a band of dwarves retake their homeland that was invaded by a dragon. The Hobbit is quite a short book that captured my imagination at a young age, and it continues to do the same as an adult. Whenever I get the urge to reread it I always get that feeling of nostalgia and fall straight back in love with it. The story is told in a beautiful whimsical manner and it’s easy to fall into the story and Tolkien’s writing.

If you’ve never read any of Tolkien’s work The Hobbit is definitely the perfect place to start. It’s fun and exciting and is full to the brim with adventure and monsters. It’s a great introduction to Middle Earth and those characters that so many people know and love.

This time around I listened to the audiobook, something I had never done before. The audiobook was such a great way to read the story and the narrator did a brilliant job bringing to life the wide cast of characters.

The Hobbit is obviously a classic of the genre and its fascinating reading it knowing it had such a big influence on many of the most popular fantasy works today. It’s a beautifully told story, and I love how full of mischief and wonder this tale is. If you haven’t had the chance to read The Hobbit yet, it’s definitely worth reading – the film adaptation has decidedly mixed reviews but it’s also worth a watch once you’re finished!

5 stars

Favourite Books of 2019 (so far!)

Favourite Books of 2019 (so far!)

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Now that we’re over the half way point for 2019 (how is that even possible?!) I thought it would be fun to make a post about my favourite books of the year so far. I’ve seen quite a few people doing this and have loved reading about the books everyone has loved! So far in 2019 I’ve read 67 books, and quite a few of them have been five star reads. So in no particular order here are my favourites!

Copy of book cover (27)1. An Illusion of Thieves – Cate Glass

This is one of my most recent reads and I completely fell in love with this world and the brilliant characters. I read the book in a single day, stealing every possible second to read this book. I  also nearly missed my bus stop because I was so engrossed in the story, but it was totally worth it. I’m so desperate to read the next book in the series.

Copy of book cover (12)2. Impossible Times – Mark Lawrence
This is cheating because it’s technically two books in one. I read both One Word Kill and Limited Wish this year and I adored them both. The characters leap off the page in this action packed, time bending story. It’s fun and you’ll become so attached to the characters, can’t wait to see how it all ends in Dispel Illusion.

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3. Aurora Rising – Ami Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

This was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it definitely delivered. A bunch of misfits attempting to save the world? What could possibly go wrong. It was full to the brim of action, adventure and witty banter and I honestly couldn’t get enough.

book cover (13)4. The Wicked King – Holly Black
I imagine The Wicked King has made quite a few peoples lists. The ended of this book was just so shocking that I’m still reeling six months later. I love the beautiful writing style and vivid descriptions of the fae world, and not to mention the best enemies to lovers but still enemies depiction I’ve ever seen. Pretty much counting down the days to Queen of Nothing.

book cover - 2019-03-11T211035.2505. The Furies – Katie Lowe
This fierce, dark tale of murder and witchcraft gripped me from the very first page and absolutely did not let go. I got completely swept up in the tale of four young girls and their tale of friendship, sisterhood, lies and vengeance. I don’t think I’ve stopped talking about it since I finished and it’s definitely an all time favourite.

book cover (39)6. Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom – P. M. Freestone
I thought Shadowscent was one of the most unique YA fantasy books I’ve ever read. I loved the idea of a magic system built on scent and I loved the relationship between the two main characters. I flew through the book and I can’t wait to read more from P. M. Freestone.

Copy of book cover (26)7. The Boy With the Porcelain Blade – Den Patrick
This is technically a reread but it has been such a long time since I read it last that it almost felt like a new book. I got completely caught up in this dark fantasy story full of monsters and political intrigue. It’s a quick paced story full of complex characters and I’m so excited to continue my reread because this is definitely one my favourite series.

wicked saints8. Wicked Saints – Emily A. Duncan
I know this book received quite a lot of mixed reviews but I really enjoyed it. I loved the magic system and the opposing religions fighting for power. I really liked Emily A. Duncan’s writing style and I found it a really quite and enticing read. It was a fascinating tale and I’m hoping that the few kinks will be worked out in the next instalment.

So those are my eight favourite books of 2019 so far! What are your favourite 2019 reads?

Book Review: Blackwing – Ed Mcdonald

Book Review: Blackwing – Ed Mcdonald

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-06-26T130909.277.pngSeries: Raven’s Mark #1
Release Date: October 3rd 2017
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 360
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

The republic faces annihilation, despite the vigilance of Galharrow’s Blackwings. When a raven tattoo rips itself from his arm to deliver a desperate message, Galharrow and a mysterious noblewoman must investigate a long dead sorcerer’s legacy. But there is a conspiracy within the citadel: traitors, flesh-eaters and the ghosts of the wastelands seek to destroy them, but if they cannot solve the ancient wizard’s paradox, the Deep Kings will walk the earth again, and all will be lost.

The war with the Eastern Empire ended in stalemate some eighty years ago, thanks to Nall’s ‘Engine’, a wizard-crafted weapon so powerful even the Deep Kings feared it. The strike of the Engine created the Misery – a wasteland full of ghosts and corrupted magic that now forms a No Mans Land along the frontier. But when Galharrow investigates a frontier fortress, he discovers complacency bordering on treason: then the walls are stormed, and the Engine fails to launch. Galharrow only escapes because of the preternatural magical power of the noblewoman he was supposed to be protecting. Together, they race to the capital to unmask the traitors and restore the republic’s defences. Far across the Misery a vast army is on the move, as the Empire prepares to call the republic’s bluff.

Review

Copy of book cover (14)What can I say? This is one bloody brilliant book. Blackwing is set in a sort of post apocalyptic land, The Misery is a wasteland fraught with danger, monsters and who knows what else. The story follows Captain Galharrow, a man tasked with finding and executing any criminals who have fled into The Misery.

The book is full of action and excitement. It’s also very dark and vivid. Ed McDonald certainly holds nothing back and the reader is treated to all the sights, sounds and smells of life in this world. It felt like a very unique read, and unlike any other fantasy book I’ve ever read.

Blackwing also has quite a lot of terminology and names relevant to the story such as ‘Spinners’, ‘gracked’ and ‘darlings’. This was a little confusing at first, but you quickly pick up who is who as you delve into this absorbing story. This book is really fantastically written and in between the action the reader is treated to plenty of world building and explanation about the magic and monsters of The Misery.

The story’s main protagonist – Captain Galharrow is also a truly fascinating character. He’s straight to the point and unlikeable to many, but he’s also loyal and stands by those in his team. Galharrow is supported by some other really excellent characters – Nenn who I just loved, she’s battle crazy and has no nose, as well as Tnota who can find the team a route of just about anywhere, and Ezabeth the mysterious Spinner that Galharrow has to protect. The chracters were all really excellently portrayed as flawed human beings, and the story was all the more enjoyable for that.

Blackwing is a magnificent read. I was sucked in by the first few chapters and before I knew it I’d read half the book in one sitting. It has easily jumped into my top books for 2017. If you love books by authors like Mark Lawrence and Joe Abercrombie, you should pre-order this one now. It’s dark, gory and full of action and magic. I mean honestly what more could you possibly need? This is a stunning debut, and I definitely cannot wait to see what’s in store next!
5 stars

Six For Sunday: Books I Want to Reread

Six For Sunday: Books I Want to Reread

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This week on Six for Sunday the prompt is books you want to reread! Rereading isn’t something I do very often and there are loads of books I would love to read again.

110596751. A Song of Ice and Fire Series – George R. R. Martin
George R. R. Martin is one my all time favourite authors and I love the A Song of Ice and Fire series so much. I did my dissertation on the female characters in the series and that was the last time I reread them. I’d love to dive into the series again and I’m thinking it might be interesting to listen to them as audio books this time around.

book cover - 2019-04-14T091319.2582. Abhorsen Series – Garth Nix
I have a ton of Garth Nix books that I’ve read over and over as I was growing up and my favourites are definitely the Abhorsen Series and Shade’s Children. It’s been quite a while so I’d love to get my old battered copies out and have another read of them.

30114212 (1)3. See What I Have Done – Sarah Schmidt
See What I Have Done is one of those books that I still think about even though it was a few years ago that I read it. An imagining of the story of Lizzie Borden – who was accused of murdering her Father and Stepmother with an axe – it was just such a dark and twisted story. I completely loved this book and I want to read it again to see if my feelings are still the same.

cq4. The Sin Eater’s Daughter Series – Melinda Salisbury
This series broke my heart. I loved each book in this series and it’s definitely still one of my favourites. The world building is superb and I completely adored the characters. The series finished in 2017 so I really need to dive back into the world.

nightingale5. The Winternight Trilogy – Katherine Arden
Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy is (aside from ASOIAF) probably my most beloved series of all time. From book one I knew this was going to be a favourite and I’m so sad that the series finished in December last year. It’s not been that long since the last book was released but I’m really keen to return to the story.

228648426. The Queen of the Tearling – Erika Johansen 
The Queen of the Tearling is a book I read a really long time ago when it first came out. I really loved it and was really excited to read the other books in the series, but for some reason I never got around to it. I really want to read books two and three but I’m definitely going to have to reread The Queen of the Tearling to understand what’s going on.

So those are the six books/series that I would love to reread! What’s on your reread pile?

Book Review: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe – Lauren James

Book Review: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe – Lauren James

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Release Date:
September 7th 2017
Publisher: Walker Books
Pages: 290
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I picked up a copy of this from the Waterstones stand at YALC
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .

Review

book cover - 2019-04-23T135811.201This is easily one of my favourite books of 2017. (I know I’ve said that a lot this year, 2017 has been a fabulous year for books after all). But honestly, I can’t reccommend this book highly enough. I’d heard some of the buzz about it on social media, and so when it was announced that people attending this years Young Adult Literature Convention would be able to buy early copies, I jumped at the chance.

This was my first outing into a book by Lauren James, but I’m now eager to read all her other books too. This book is superbly written, enveloping you completely in the claustrophobic confines of space.

I just adored the premise of this book – Romy Silver has never been to Earth, she was born in space, but now she’s completely alone living in a space ship in search of a new Earth for future generations. I loved Romy, the girl who has dealt with so much in her young life, yet never actually set foot on the earth, had a sleepover or been around anyone her own age.

Romy is smart, stubborn and a fantastic protagonist. She might be the youngest Commander of a spaceship, but she also just kind of wants to obsess over her favourite TV series and write fan fiction. She’s relatable in so many ways, she’s a bit awkward and suffers from anxiety – I absolutely adored her.

The plot of this book is tense, and more than a little creepy and on several occasions I definitely felt the urge to gasp out loud. James drew me in hook line and sinker, and I loved every second of it.

I must admit I had sort of expected to read this over a few days, the short chapters being great to read over my lunch break at work. However after getting home from YALC I decided to read the first few chapters and by then I was completely sucked in and finished the book in one sitting.

If you’re looking for a tense, superbly written mystery, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is definitely the book to pick up this month.
5 stars

Waiting on Wednesday: Crowfall – Ed McDonald

Waiting on Wednesday: Crowfall – Ed McDonald

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Synopsis

Crowfall is a gritty epic fantasy for fans of Mark Lawrence, Scott Lynch and Daniel Polansky.

‘Dark, twisty and excellent . . . Grimdark with heart’ Mark Lawrence

A sorceress cataclysm has hit the Range, the final defensive line between the Republic and the immortal Deep Kings.

Tormenting red rains sweep the land, new monstrosities feed on fear in the darkness, and the power of the Nameless, the gods who protect the Republic, lies broken. The Blackwing captains who serve them are being picked off one by one, and even immortals have learned what it means to die. Meanwhile the Deep Kings have only grown stronger, and are poised to deliver a blow that will finally end the war.

Ryhalt Galharrow stands apart from it all.

He has been deeper into the wasteland known as the Misery than ever before. It has grown within him – changed him – but all power comes with a price, and now the ghosts of his past, formerly confined to the Misery, walk with him everywhere.

They will even follow him, and the few surviving Blackwing captains, on one final mission into the darkness.

Thoughts

book cover - 2019-04-16T211642.383I am honestly desperate to get my hands on this book. I read Blackwing – the first book in the Raven’s Mark series and I gave it five stars and it was on my favourite books of 2017 list. I then read Ravencry last year, it also got five stars and made my top books of 2018. It also made me cry and I really became attached to the wonderful characters in this unique and gripping fantasy series. Crowfall is the third and final book in the series and while I’m so sad that the series will be over I am just dying to know if my favourite characters are going to make it through. This series is so fast paced and intense and I just love returning to the world that Ed McDonald has created. I was lucky enough to meet Ed at YALC in 2017 and 2018 and my signed copies have pride of place on my favourites shelf. I’ve already pre-ordered Crowfall and it is without a doubt one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. If you haven’t had a chance to check out this series yet, you can take a look at my incoherent ramblings on Blackwing and Ravencry. Crowfall is publishing June 13th from Gollancz, so you have plenty of time to catch up on the first two books in the series!