Blog Tour: A Master of Djinn – P. Djèlí Clark

Blog Tour: A Master of Djinn – P. Djèlí Clark


Release Date:
August 19th 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 416
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

Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.

So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world 50 years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.

Alongside her Ministry colleagues and her clever girlfriend Siti, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city – or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems…

Review

A Master of Djinn is the first book in P. Djèlí Clark’s Dead Djinn Universe. I’ve been making my way through the novellas and short stories in this world and I was incredibly excited to pick up this full-length novel. The story follows  Fatma el-Sha’arawi, an agent in Egypt’s Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities. When a secret brotherhood ends up murdered in mysterious circumstances, Agent Fatma is on the case. When the murderer claims to be al-Jahiz returned, Fatma must work with her colleagues and girlfriend Siti to uncover who the imposter is or risk the civil unrest in Cairo spreading over the globe.

A Master of Djinn is a brilliant, addictive tale. After thoroughly enjoying the other stories set in this world, I got completely wrapped up in this fantastic story. I would note while this can be read without reading the other stories, I would highly recommend picking up A Dead Djinn in Cairo first. They are of course all brilliant stories and worth picking up. Clark has incredible worldbuilding and I loved learning about the magic and creatures. Steampunk Cairo practically leapt off the page and Clark’s vivid writing really brought it to life. A Master of Djinn is quite a quick-paced story, full of magic, murder and mystery. The book has had quite a bit of buzz around it already, and it’s absolutely easy to see why. This is a compelling book and one fantasy fans will just adore.

One of the stand out things for this book is the fascinating characters. Fatma is a brilliantly, clever detective. She’s a really quick, sarcastic character that you absolutely cannot help falling in love with. I enjoyed learning more about her backstory as well as seeing her cope with getting a new partner. I also really liked the dynamics between Fatma and Siti and enjoyed seeing how their relationship developed as the story progressed.

A Master of Djinn is a fascinating, unputdownable read. If you’re looking for a fantasy story to completely sweep you away, this is an absolute must-read.

Blog Tour: Notes From the Burning Age – Claire North

Blog Tour: Notes From the Burning Age – Claire North


Release Date:
July 20th 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 401
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

Ven was once a holy man, a keeper of ancient archives. It was his duty to interpret archaic texts, sorting useful knowledge from the heretical ideas of the Burning Age—a time of excess and climate disaster. For in Ven’s world, such material must be closely guarded so that the ills that led to that cataclysmic era can never be repeated.

But when the revolutionary Brotherhood approaches Ven, pressuring him to translate stolen writings that threaten everything he once held dear, his life will be turned upside down. Torn between friendship and faith, Ven must decide how far he’s willing to go to save this new world—and how much he is willing to lose.

Review

Notes From the Burning Age is the newest release from Claire North, author of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. The story follows Ven who is tasked with interpreting ancient texts and sorting through the information inside. The information inside is closely guarded to stop a repeat of the burning age. When the Brotherhood persuade Ven to translate stolen texts, Ven has everything he knows turned upside down and Ven will have to use everything he knows to save the world.

This was such a fascinating and engrossing read and is one of those stories you end up getting completely wrapped up in. I usually read a couple of books at the one time and I ended up abandoning all the others because I just could not look away from this one. This is my first book by Claire North (though I have quite a few of her books on my shelf) and it will definitely not be my last. I really enjoyed her writing style and the story was well-paced throughout. I thought this was such a fascinating premise – a future where Earth has been ravaged by pollution and the new world where information is closely guarded to protect it.

Ven was a really interesting main protagonist and I felt the world was really well explained. All the characters in this story felt really well developed and I really enjoyed seeing Ven grow as a character as the story progressed. Notes From the Burning Age also has elements of a spy thriller and there is tons of suspense in the story. North weaves elements of science fiction and spy thriller in a really clever way and this story will definitely appeal to a wide range of readers. Notes From the Burning Age is an unforgettable story and completely unlike anything I’ve read before. If you’ve read books from Claire North before you’re bound to love this one. If you’re in the mood for some speculative fiction that will keep you on the edge of your seat, Notes From the Burning Age is a must read.

Blog Tour: The Unbroken – C L Clark

Blog Tour: The Unbroken – C L Clark


Series:
Magic of the Lost #1
Release Date: March 23rd 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.

Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne.

Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.

Review

The Unbroken is the first book in an all new fantasy series. This is a dark and brutal story that follows Touraine, who was stolen from her home as a child and raised to be a soldier for the empire. Now she is returning to her homeland to help put a stop to the rebellion. As Touraine fights alongside her battalion she begins to question where her loyalties really lie – to the empire who trained her or the homeland she barely remembers? Luca is a princess doing everything she can to quash the rebellion, but she needs help to stop it while she attempts to remove her uncle from the throne. Touraine and Luca form an alliance, but will it be enough?

I loved every second I spent reading this book. This is such a compelling read and despite being nearly five hundred pages I raced through it – it’s one of those books you just can’t look away from. Clark has a really lovely writing style and it was so easy to get lost in this gripping tale. It’s a pretty fast paced book, with lots of action. It’s brimming with political intrigue and really focuses in on the themes of colonialism and racism. It’s an absolutely stunning book, that is at times painful to read.

The world building is excellent in this story, Clark has crafted a fascinating world and I cannot wait to see where the story will go in book two. This is a queernorm world and there are some incredibly compelling characters – Touraine is such a conflicted character and goes through so much in this story. I thought Luca was also a really fascinating character and it was so interesting to see two characters from such different worlds come together. Both characters go through quite a bit of growth in this story as they form an alliance and if anything that has just left me wanting more and more.

The Unbroken is a complex story that Clark has executed incredibly well. It’s full of tense moments that had me on the edge of my seat. It’s an incredible tale with a slow burn romance, tons of political intrigue and just a hint of magic. The Unbroken is undoubtedly one of my favourite books of 2021 and if you’re thinking about picking this one up, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Blog Tour: The Black Coast – Mike Brooks

Blog Tour: The Black Coast – Mike Brooks


Series:
The God-King Chronicles #1
Release Date: February 18th 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 672
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

Epic world-building at its finest, in an upcoming author’s fantasy debut. The Black Coast is the start of an unmissable series filled with war-dragons, armoured knights, sea-faring raiders, dangerous magic and crowd-pleasing battle scenes.

When the citizens of Black Keep see ships on the horizon, terror takes them, for they know who is coming: for generations, Black Keep has been raided by the fearsome clanspeople of Iwernia. Saddling their war dragons, the Naridans rush to defend their home only to discover that the clanspeople have not come to pillage at all. Driven from their own homeland by the rise of a daemonic despot who prophesies the end of the world, they have come in search of a new home. Meanwhile the wider continent of Narida is lurching toward war. Black Keep is about to be caught in the cross-fire of the coming war for the world – if only its new mismatched society can survive.

Review

The Black Coast is the first in an all new fantasy series by Mike Brooks. This is my first time reading a book by Mike Brooks and I was completely sucked in by that absolutely stunning cover. The story follows two different cultures in their attempts to make peace, The people of the Black Keep see ships on the horizon and immediately prepare for an invasion. But the people aren’t coming to raid as they normally would, they’re looking to stay there and flee the horrors of their homeland. As the two cultures attempt to live together war looms on the horizon and the Black Keep will become caught in the middle – but will they be able to survive?

I honestly loved every second of this book. The world building is superb, it’s well plotted and incredibly detailed. I enjoyed spending time in this world and I can’t wait to see how Brooks continues to expand the world in later instalments. This is quite a chunky book so there is plenty of time to get to know the characters and the world. The Black Coast felt like such a fresh take, with the focus being on working together rather than fighting and conquering. I really liked seeing these two different cultures interact, particularly as they had different systems and beliefs in place.

That being said there is plenty of action and tons of intrigue that keeps the reader hooked and I definitely found myself reading late into the night with this one. I really enjoyed the writing style in The Black Coast and it was easy just to get completely lost in the story. We are treated to multiple POVs in the story which I really enjoyed, although Saana and Daimon feature most. Each of the characters felt really well crafted and I can’t wait to see more of them in book two.

Brooks has weaved a really compelling story, one that’s full of dragons, magic and intrigue. If you’re looking for your next addictive fantasy read, The Black Coast will definitely be it.

Blog Tour: The Mask of Mirrors – M A Carrick

Blog Tour: The Mask of Mirrors – M A Carrick


Series:
Rook & Rose #1
Release Date: January 21st 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 672
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

Fortune favors the bold. Magic favors the liars.

Ren is a con artist who has come to the sparkling city of Nadežra with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house, securing her fortune and her sister’s future.

But as she’s drawn into the elite world of House Traementis, she realizes her masquerade is just one of many surrounding her. And as nightmare magic begins to weave its way through the City of Dreams, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled…with Ren at their heart.

The Mask of Mirrors is the unmissable start to the Rook & Rose trilogy, a dazzling and darkly magical fantasy adventure by Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms, writing together as M. A. Carrick

Review

The Mask of Mirrors is the first in an all new adult fantasy trilogy from authors Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms. The story follows Ren, a street rat and con artist who is attempting to scheme her way into one of the noble families of Nadezra. As she becomes drawn into the world of House Traementis she becomes ensnared in a web of secrets and nightmare magic.

As soon as I read the synopsis I knew this was going to be my perfect kind of book. I loved everything about this story. The Venetian style setting was beautifully described and the world building is incredibly detailed. It took me a little while to get to grips with everything in this world but I was completely captivated by it. The story is quite a slow paced one and it gives the reader plenty of time to get to know the world and the characters. I really liked the magic system in this story too and I’m so intrigued to learn more in the next instalment.

Carrick created some really fascinating characters and I loved Ren, she’s clever and stubborn – doing whatever she can to make her schemes work. I also liked her sister Tess who moonlights as her handmaid and it was so fascinating to have the emphasis on clothes and fashion as Tess attempted to make Ren look like one of the nobility. I also really liked Grey as a character and I cannot wait to see where Carrick takes the characters next. I absolutely love heist/con stories and this is an incredibly well executed one – despite it being nearly seven hundred pages it was such an easy read and I raced through the last two hundred pages in one go.

Mask of Mirrors is an impressive start to a new fantasy series. With a compelling plot and impeccable world building, this is an absolute must read for fantasy fans.

Blog Tour: The Once and Future Witches – Alix E. Harrow

Blog Tour: The Once and Future Witches – Alix E. Harrow


Release Date:
October 13th 2020
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 528
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

Review

The Once and Future Witches is the new book from acclaimed author Alix E. Harrow. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a book I’ve been really excited to read, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. When I heard she was coming out with a new book about witches and the suffragettes movement it immediately went straight to the top of my anticipated releases list.

Set in a time where witches are a thing of the past, the story follows three sisters – James, Beatrice and Agnes as they join the suffragettes movement in New Salem. As support for the movement begins to increase the sisters delve deeper into the magic of their ancestors in an attempt to escape the forces that wish to harm them.

While I haven’t read Harrow’s debut novel I know many people loved it for the beautiful writing style. That absolutely shines through in The Once and Future Witches, I adored the lyrical way that she wrote and I was completely captivated by this gorgeous story. It is a story of sisters and family, of standing against oppression and I loved every single second of it.

Harrow has created such a fascinating and unique tale in this book. I found the combination of suffragettes and witches such a brilliant and fresh take. The story is well paced and I thought this was such an engrossing read. While I was really fascinated by the plot the thing that kept me hooked most was the characters. Harrow has created three distinct and complex protagonist, each dealing with their own hardships and difficulties. It was fascinating seeing them attempt to reconcile after so many years and see how their sibling relationship changed as the stakes became higher.

The Once and Future Witches is a spellbinding and beautifully written book. It’s the perfect autumn read with brilliant characters that you become quite attached to. It’s full to the brim with magic and I can already see myself rereading this one for Halloween next year. It touches on a lot of important subjects such as equality and racism and there are many parallels with the world today. If you’ve been intrigued by this one I’d absolutely say give it a go – you won’t be disappointed.

Blog Tour: The Trials of Koli – M. R. Carey

Blog Tour: The Trials of Koli – M. R. Carey


Series:
Rampart Trilogy #2 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: September 17th 2020
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 445
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

The Trials of Koli is the second novel in M R. Carey’s breathtakingly original Rampart trilogy, set in a strange and deadly world of our own making.

Beyond the walls of Koli’s small village lies a fearsome landscape filled with choker trees, vicious beasts and shunned men. As an exile, Koli’s been forced to journey out into this mysterious, hostile world. But he heard a story, once. A story about lost London, and the mysterious tech of the Old Times that may still be there. If Koli can find it, there may still be a way for him to redeem himself – by saving what’s left of humankind.

Review

The Book of Koli was one of my favourite books of 2019 and I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of book two in the series. The first book ended on such a cliffhanger that I was desperate to find out what was going to happen to Koli next. The Trials of Koli is even more compelling and addictive and I absolutely did not want it to end.

Picking up after the events of book one, the story follows Koli as he continues on his journey across this dystopian landscape where everything is dangerous – even the trees are trying to kill you. Koli is such a brilliant protagonist and it’s fascinating seeing him as he continues to grow, to understand what happened to the world around him. He’s changed so much from the young boy we first meet in the beginning of The Book of Koli. The Trials of Koli gives the reader an opportunity to learn more about the world and what went wrong and I really enjoyed this expansion on the world building. Book two also features Spinner as a POV character which I did not expect – it was really fascinating seeing everything from another person’s perspective.

Just like The Book of Koli, this instalment is quick paced and difficult to put down. Over the course of the two books I’ve become quite attached to Koli as a main character and you really root for him to survive and succeed in such a difficult world. All the characters are well created in this world and I think the fact that you want Koli to survive so bad is a mark of that.

The Rampart Trilogy is shaping up to be a really incredible series and I honestly can’t wait to see what happens in The Fall of Koli. I’m so pleased that the final book is due for publication in March because I am dying to know how it ends. The Book of Koli is a clever story that’s incredibly well executed. If you haven’t had the opportunity to pick up this series now is the perfect time before the release of book three in 2021.

Blog Tour: The Bone Shard Daughter – Andrea Stewart

Blog Tour: The Bone Shard Daughter – Andrea Stewart


Series:
The Drowning Empire #1
Release Date: September 8th
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In an empire controlled by bone shard magic, Lin, the former heir to the emperor will fight to reclaim her magic and her place on the throne. The Bone Shard Daughter marks the debut of a major new voice in epic fantasy.

The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.

Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people.

Review

As soon as I read the synopsis for The Bone Shard Daughter I knew it was going to be a book I would love. The premise sounds fascinating and coupled with that absolutely stunning cover, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy. The Bone Shard Daughter is an absolutely incredible debut, and without a doubt one of my favourite books of the year.

The story is set in a world where the emperor uses bone magic to ensure his continued rule. He refuses to acknowledge his daughter Lin as heir to his throne and she will do anything she can to learn the forbidden bone shard magic and prove she is worthy. But rebellion is stirring in the kingdom and when it arrives at the palace Lin has to give everything to save her people.

I absolutely adored this book. It’s a fast paced tale that’s brilliantly executed and incredibly clever. There’s absolutely tons of action and I honestly never wanted this book to end. The world building is truly superb and I was completely fascinating by the magic system in this story. The idea of bone shard magic felt so unique and it was such a dark bloody magic to witness. The story is full to the brim with magic and revolution with a touch of romance.

The story features a number of different POV characters and I felt that they were all well created and developed. I really liked Lin and Jovis and I thought Stewart did an excellent job of giving each POV character a unqiue and compelling voice. Some of the characters are told in first person perspective and some in third – I thought this might have been a little jarring but actually worked incredibly well in the story.

The Bone Shard Daughter is an absolutely magnificent read and I’m so glad there’s more to come in The Drowning Empire series because I cannot wait to dive back into this incredible world. If you’ve been intrigued by this one I definitely recommend picking it up – you won’t be disappointed.

Blog Tour: The Undoing of Arlo Knott – Heather Child

Blog Tour: The Undoing of Arlo Knott – Heather Child

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-08-04T213223.280.png
Release Date:
August 1st 2019
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

What if your life had an ‘undo’ button?

Arlo Knott discovers he can rewind time – just by a minute or two – enough to undo any mistake, say the right thing or impress his friends with his uncanny predictions…

But second chances aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. As wonderful as his new life is, a mistake in Arlo’s traumatic childhood still haunts him and the temptation to undo, undo and keep undoing is too much to resist.

Review

Copy of book cover (39)I became completely hooked on the tale of Arlo Knott. The story follows Arlo as he explores the rare gift he has – he can rewind time. Not by months or hours but only by a few minutes, enough to be able to make predictions, but not much else. We see Arlo attempt to understand his gift, and use it to write the wrongs of his past.

This is just the kind of book I love. It’s a story of family and life, with that little science fiction twist thrown in. The book was beautifully written and I really fell in love with this thought-provoking tale. We follow Arlo from a young age – during a particularly traumatic period – all the way to adulthood and we see him develop his gift, flaunt it and use it for power, as well as trying to stretch it and understand why he has been given it. The story is a really deep character study, really giving the reader the opportunity to get to know our protagonist. I thought Arlo was brilliant and I loved seeing him take this journey and develop from a grieving child to this fascinating adult. He’s a flawed character, particularly in his University years, but that makes for an all the more interesting protagonist.

The Undoing of Arlo Knott is the kind of book that sucks you in early on and keeps you turning pages faster and faster as the stakes get higher. While Arlo is the star of the show there is an interesting cast of secondary characters, and the whole book felt well written and engaging. The story packs a lot in, touching on friendships, love and finding your place in the world. The story is a pretty unique one and I loved the blend of everyday life mixed with this incredible power.

The Undoing of Arlo Knott is a must read – if you love fast paced stories with characters that leap off the page, this should absolutely be your next read.
4 stars
Arlo Knott