Book Review: Secrets of the Starcrossed – Clara O’Connor

Book Review: Secrets of the Starcrossed – Clara O’Connor


Series:
The Once and Future Queen #1
Release Date: January 21st 2021
Publisher: One More Chapter
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 2.25/5 stars

Synopsis

In a world where the Roman Empire never fell, two starcrossed lovers fight to ignite the spark of rebellion…

Londinium, the last stronghold of the Romans left in Britannia, remains in a delicate state of peace with the ancient kingdoms that surround it. As the only daughter of a powerful merchant, Cassandra is betrothed to Marcus, the most eligible bachelor in the city.

But then she meets Devyn, the boy with the strange midnight eyes searching for a girl with magic in her blood.

A boy who will make her believe in soulmates…

When a mysterious sickness starts to leech the life from citizens with Celtic power lying dormant in their veins, the imperial council sets their schemes in motion. And so Cassandra must make a choice: the Code or Chaos, science or sorcery, Marcus or Devyn?

Review

An all new fantasy YA trilogy, Secrets of the Starcrossed is a story set in a world in which the Roman Empire has managed to retain a stronghold in Britain, creating the walled city of Londinium and an uneasy peace with the British kingdoms around it. The city has made great advances in technology and science and citizens live strongly by the code and rules in place. Cassandra is the daughter of a wealthy merchant and she is due to marry Marcus Courtenay, but when she helps her classmate avoid trouble for carrying a piece of illegal tech, she discovers there might be more to her past than she originally knew and she might be the lost girl he is searching for.

I really wanted to love this book, I thought the premise was a really intriguing one – what if the Romans had stayed in Britain? I loved the idea of a girl with magic in her blood that had to fight to survive in a city where magic is forbidden but unfortunately this book just didn’t click with me. I wanted to know more about the magic in the world and how it worked and less about the history of the Roman Empire. The story was quite quick paced but I felt at times things were glossed over when they shouldn’t have been and then too much focus was placed on things I was less interested in.

Our main character Cassandra is the spoiled daughter of a wealthy merchant and I found her really difficult to like. She spends most her time shopping and complaining about the love interest in the story. For this reason I really struggled to root for her as a character. The story is also much more romance focused than I would have like and I found the on again off again relationship a bit grating.

I think the premise of this one is a really clever idea and I would be interested to see where O’Connor takes the story but ultimately this book just wasn’t for me. If you love YA fantasy romance stories this could be just the book for you and I’m sure fans of fast paced romance will absolutely devour this one.

Book Review: Star Daughter – Shveta Thakrar

Book Review: Star Daughter – Shveta Thakrar


Release Date:
August 11th 2020
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 435
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

If the night sky holds many secrets, it holds Sheetal Mistry’s secret the closest. A secret that explains why her hair is the silver of starlight, or why some nights the stars call Sheetal by name.

Stars like her mother, who returned to her place in the constellation Pushya years ago. Since that day, Sheetal has been forced to hide.

But as her seventeenth birthday draws near, the pull from the sky is growing stronger. So strong that Sheetal loses control, and a flare of starfire burns her human father—an injury only a full star’s blood can heal.

Sheetal has no choice but to answer the starsong and ascend to the sky. But her celestial family has summoned her for a reason: to act as their human champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of heavens.

Desperate to save her father, Sheetal agrees. But nothing could have prepared Sheetal to face the stars’ dark history—or the forces that are working to shut the gate between the realms for good.

Review

Star Daughter is a beautifully written story inspired by Hindu mythology that follows Sheetal a young girl who is part star. When she is summoned to the celestial court Sheetal is forced to participate in a competition that decides who will be the next ruler of the heavens. With no choice but to agree, Sheetal participates in the competition, but as she learns more about the history of the celestial court she soon sees that all is not what it seems.

This was such a gorgeous, lyrical tale and honestly I didn’t want it to end. I really loved the writing style in this one and I actually had hoped there would be a sequel because the world Thakrar has created was absolutely fascinating. I loved learning about the celestial court and the families that ruled the heavens. Seeing Sheetal come into her star powers was all a really interesting part of the story.

A competition is one of my favourite YA tropes and it is executed incredibly well in this story. I loved seeing the different performances and competitors. I really liked the characters and in particular the strong focus on family and friendship. There is a romance element to the story, but I found myself less interested in this and more about Sheetal overcoming her feelings of guilt, making it through the competition and saving her father.

The story is really quick paced and it’s a really enjoyable read. It also has one of the most stunning covers I’ve ever seen. If you’re a fan of YA fantasy that’s full to the brim with mythology and really lovely writing, this one will be a must read.

Book Review: Crown of Midnight – Sarah J Maas

Book Review: Crown of Midnight – Sarah J Maas


Series:
Throne of Glass #2
Release Date: August 15th 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 432
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this in my local Waterstones

Synopsis

She is the greatest assassin her world has ever known. But does she have the heart of a killer?

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king’s contest to become the new royal assassin. But Calaena is far from loyal to the crown. Keeping up the charade – while pretending to do the king’s bidding – will test her skills in an entirely new way. And it certainly isn’t the only point of confusion for the young girl. Because though she’s made her choice between Dorian and Chaol, the ways of the heart are never simple…

Review

Crown of Midnight is the second instalment in the incredibly popular Throne of Glass series. Picking up right where the events of Throne of Glass ended, the story follows Calaena as she becomes the new Royal Assassin. Sent to investigate someone from her old life, Calaena discovers that things in the capital are not all that they seem. She also has to deal with her conflicting emotions for Dorian and Chaol of which there never seems to be a right answer.

This is my second time reading this book. I read it a number of years ago and then never continued on with the series so I thought a reread was in order because I remembered very little of the story. It was such a fun read, full of action and adventure and I loved every second of it. I ended up racing through this and I cannot wait to continue on with the next book in the series.

I enjoyed seeing the characters continue to grow as well as watching the relationships change between Dorian, Chaol and Calaena – especially now that Calaena is a deadly assassin. The plot is incredibly compelling and Sarah J Maas creates a world that you do not want to leave for a second. I find the magic and the world building really fascinating, and I’m excited to see what else will be revealed in Heir of Fire.

I’d definitely say I preferred the second instalment to the first and I’m hoping the series will continue to go from strength to strength. There is a lot of buzz around this series so I’m so glad that it is living up to the hype. If you love YA fantasy that’s a roller coaster ride, you’ll be in for a treat with this series.