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Friday, 26 May 2017
Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers Vol 2
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
After barging into the Piena Kingdom's holy tournament and causing a scene, Adlet was curtly jailed and, soon after, met the princess Nashetania. Though Adlet was viewed as unfit and unworthy by his fellow man, the Spirit of Fate bestowed upon Adlet the proof that he was one of the chosen Braves of the Six Flowers. But cornered by his fellow Braves who believe he is a traitor, Adlet must prove his innocence and find the true imposter before his companions play right into the enemy's hands.
I have to say, I am loving this series! I recently read and reviewed the light novel version which finished up this arc so I was curious to see how the manga would handle it. When I reviewed the light novel, I noticed some differences straight off the bat, and some of the differences are made up for in this volume of the manga!
We start the volume off with a flashback that's actually the opening of the light novel and I really liked how it was incorporated in to the narrative! The same can be said for the flashbacks to baby Adlet and his past. I was really impressed with how they merged with the main narrative and how they where drawn. They all worked really nicely, and where slotted in at the perfect moments.
The suspicion and tension isn't as strong as it is in the light novel, but it's still present, and certain characters start to look miiiighty suspicious in this volume! Chamo still bugs me, I jus really don't like her character, but I LOVE the broship between Adlet and Hans. They genuinely crack me up and I love it when they team up! They're kinda tied for favourite character, I'm not going to lie!
The plot is starting to thicken in this volume, and more characters are thrown in to suspicion as Adlet and Hans work together to try to figure out who the fake Brave is...but there's some interference. I really enjoy the art to the manga, and I think this volume steps it up a lot! There was a lot happening in the first volume and a couple moments of confusion, but in this volume the manga really starts to come in to it's own! I like the differences between the light novel and how the manga is using them to create more intrigue, and to help you get to know the characters. Like with Adlet....I was mildly suspicious of him in the first volume of the manga, but after seeing the flashbacks I'm like "Naaaahhh Adlet's the real deal!". I feel like the flashbacks here in the manga, bring Adlet more to to life as well.
I'm really loving this adaption of the light novel, it really brings the characters to life, and adds another dimension to the story. I'm so intrigued to see how the rest of the light novel is going to play out in manga form! Rokka is a brilliant blend of action, adventure and mystery....and we're talking old school mystery with plenty of suspects and a nefarious plot!
Thursday, 25 May 2017
The Great Pursuit
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
Lochlanach has traded the great beast for something far more terrible, a Lashed enemy veiled in beauty, deception, and a vengeance passed down through generations: Rozaria Rocato. And she’s offering the hunter Paxton Seabolt power and acceptance he could never receive in his homeland. Pax must decide how far he’s willing to go under her tutelage, knowing she is the opponent of Princess Aerity Lochson.
In a land where traditionalists dread change, the Lochlan throne must contend with mysterious foes and traitors, while attempting to keep revolt at bay. As dire circumstances strike the royal family, matters of the castle are left in Aerity’s hands. It's time to put aside her fears and grasp the reign, taking actions that have the potential to save or destroy her people.
This is such a brilliant finish to the story! I ended up really loving the first book, The Great Hunt, and I was so excited to see how it was all going to end. My hopes where fulfilled and this book fixed the ending to the first book which I really wasn't pleased with! This was still a little too fast paced at points, but overall I've had a lot of fun reading this duology and I don't usually like duologys because I always want more but I feel like this perfectly wraps everything up!
The Great Pursuit picks up right where we left off in the Great Hunt. There's plenty of action and intrigue, and I enjoyed all the different view points that helped to create a rounded and full story so you don't miss out on any of the action! There's political intrigue and I was curious to see who would come to Aerity's Kingdoms aid in this book. Like I knew Zandora and her sisters would come and help, and I love them so much so I was disappointed we didn't get more of them this book! I do love how loyal she and her sisters are to their new friends though. Zandora also brought a load of aid from Zorfina!
But what I really loved was the surprise aid from Toresta! In the first book hunters came from all over the Kingdoms to help but the Kingdoms seemed very separate still and I felt like most of them probably didn't get on well, but this proved me wrong. It was nice to see all the Kingdoms banding together to lend help instead of jumping on a weak kingdom and trying to take it over like you'd expect from any other book. Or maybe I watch too much Game of Thrones. It was a really heart swelling scene, not to mention the Ascomanians coming to help too, which I really wasn't expecting as they seemed poised to be a bit backstabby and kind of jerky. I never thought I'd be pleased to see Volgan again!
Lief took me on quite the journey this book, I really started to dislike him at the beginning of this book because of his behaviour towards both Wyn and Aerity, he seemed like such a d***, I'm not going to lie. I wanted to smack him one for most of the book but he really surprised me right there at the end. Like I was hoping it would happen...but I didn't expect it from him. Bless him. I also ended up kinda liking Dagur too, Leif's Uncle, he and Leif both kinda had dickish tendencies..but Dagur like Leif wasn't all bad.
I still love Aerity, I can't blame her for how she feels and her actions at the beginning of this book, she's being treated like a child by the very people that made her sacrifice her right to marry who she wanted. She really comes in to her own in this book and steps up and I actually felt really proud of her. Poor old Paxton was trying to play super spy, and did pretty well for the most part. I loved seeing a softer side to Pax in this book! I still love and ship he and Aerity so much, they're so warm and fuzzy inducing and I love the respect and trust they have for each other!
I really liked getting to see more of Wyn and Vixie in this book, although it wasn't as much of Vixie as I'd like. I totally ship Wyn and Harrison, although unless I missed something in the first book, I wasn't really seeing Harrison's feelings for Wyn so much. Like there where little signs but it seemed a bit abrupt and random at the start. I quickly warmed up to it though, and I loved the two of them together. So cute. I would have loved to see more of them though, another pacing issue I think!
I have to say, I also ship Tiern and Vixie, and I saw it coming from the first book...but I felt like we didn't get to see enough of them and their relationship developing, especially as there's a random character thrown in to create some feels among the two of them. Again...down to pacing I think. While I enjoyed this duology and had fun with it, part of me feels like maybe this should have been a trilogy to flesh things out...but at the same time I'm not sure this would have worked as a trilogy.
I was a bit bothered by the Prince from Toresta, said previously mentioned random character, like I said, he seemed to be there purely to antagonise Tiern a little bit, we rarely saw him. He very much seemed like a shoved in character. Like I already said there where moments when the book seemed a bit too fast paced, and some things where missed out. I feel like 2 character deaths where a bit abrupt and rushed and didn't have any of the impact on me as a reader as it should have, possibly because of this. The fall of the bad guys also seemed super easy after how much they'd been built up.
The Great Pursuit wraps everything up well, and was a thoroughly satisfying ending overall. The epilogue brought the warm and fuzzies, and I loved Furball to another level! Although there are parts of the book I was bugged by, and I feel like there was some pacing issues....I still really enjoyed this and had a lot of fun reading it! I managed to read it in one sitting, and I couldn't put it down! I was completely immersed in the world of the book, I wish we could see more of it!
Wednesday, 24 May 2017
The Royal Tutor
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
Accepting the post of royal tutor at the court of the king of Granzreich, Heine Wittgenstein is a little professor with a big job ahead of him! Each of the kingdom's four princes has a rather distinct personality. Does their diminutive new instructor have what it takes to lay down some learning? It's a comedy of educational proportions!
Okay so, I literally just started watching the anime, but I really need to catch up because I'm behind. I was super excited to read this manga, and I wasn't at all disappointed! I really, really like the artwork for this manga, it's cute and a little bit decadent at points.
This first volume covers the first 3 episodes of the anime in this volume! The manga actually fills in more than the anime, there's a clearer understanding of scenes and motivations. Some of the anime scenes are missing, like Heine doesn't meet the Princess until later in the manga.
I have to say, Licht is totally my favourite, he's such a cutie but I think he's a lot more intelligent/sly than he lets on. His comments have made me curious about who/what Heine is, even more so than before! Licht is definitely the pretty/playboy Prince.
Kai is my second favourite, he's the Quiet one and bless him, he's so sweet. I totally relate to him as well, I too have resting bitch face problems. Not quite as severe as poor old Kai, but still.
Bruno is the Brainy Prince. He's super intelligent and completely loved Heine and it was hilarious. I wasn't sure I'd like him much at first, but I could understand his behaviour...or you know...arrogance.
Last but not least we have Leonhard. The Athletic one. He's a little bit ridiculous with his running thing, but I can understand why he does it. He hates studying and I can't say I blame him to be honest. I'm intrigued by him because he likes to make it known he doesn't care but he really kinda does.
As for Heine....I'm just so curious about him and his past. I'm intrigued to see how he'll work with the Princes and I need to know what he is!
I really enjoyed the world of the book, it's heavily German influenced or maybe Vienna judging from the translation notes! It's kind of a little bit historical, judging from how everyone dresses, and I can picture the world as if it actually exists/existed. Not hard to imagine it back in the day basically.
The Royal Tutor is an intriguing start to a new series, I found the story amusing, intriguing and kinda cute too! I loved the world and the art work, and I'm so intrigued by each of the princes and their personalities. Licht is clearly hiding something for example. Not to mention I'm curious about the oldest prince we haven't met yet and Heine.....I have so many questions! I'm also intrigued to see where this manga is going to go, and how it's going to develop! Especially after something the King said....
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
After the loss of her mother, Chloe Kennedy starts seeing the ghosts that haunted her as a young girl again. Spending time at her grandmother's country estate in the south of England is her chance to get away from her grief and the spirits that haunt her. Until she meets a mysterious stranger Alexander Reade is 157 years dead, with secrets darker than the lake surrounding Grange Hall and a lifelike presence that draws Chloe more strongly than any ghost before. But the bond between them awakens the vengeful spirit of Alexander's past love, Isobel. And she will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who threatens to take him from her.
To stop Isobel, Chloe must push her developing abilities to their most dangerous limits, even if it means losing Alex forever and giving the hungry dead a chance to claim her for their own...
I read the authors Halo trilogy a while back, and I remember not really enjoying it all that much. However, I am quite partial to ghost stories, so I was willing to ignore that and give this a try. I knew from the first chapter that I was going to be bugged by this, and bug me it did. Settle down folks, this is going to be long. I really tried to reign myself in...
Right, so, I don't know if I was just in an irritable mood or what, but right from the start I was annoyed with the authors portrayal of British people. Yes. We're British. Can't possibly show any emotion or feeling. We're like tea drinking robots. Colour me offended and irritated straight away and that was before the characters started throwing out cliche and stereotypical British phrases every five seconds, most of which where not appropriate to the time in Alexanders case, and in the other instances...well...my grandmother uses some of those phrases quite frequently. Myself and my friends? Not so much. I don't know where the author got these phrases from but I've never heard anyone my age let alone a teenager casually throw them out. But there you go. It was like the author had to make sure the setting couldn't be mistaken for anything other than England. Possibly because she had a Jacob-ish character who inexplicably dressed like a cowboy. So over done. Just so over done. There was zero chance you could forget for a second this was England.
The plot was predictable. I had Alex's 'Dark Past' (it really wasn't that dark. Like it sounds like he did really bad things but he didn't. There was just drama.) figured from a few chapters in. By the the time the big reveal happened...I already knew what had happened between Alex, Carter and Isobel. It was obvious and so very guessable. Not to mention that it was just plain over dramatic. Rather than feeing for Isobel, or feeling the sadness of the situation I felt nothing for Isobel. It was all her own fault and the author made you dislike her so much that there was no bringing her back from that so trying to make you feel sympathy for her really didn't work. As for everything else it was so over dramatic I was rolling my eyes. Plus I'd already guessed it all.
Chloe. I didn't like Chloe. She's whiny and she bugged me for pretty much all of the book. She's also a total Mary Sue. Not to mention a Special Snowflake. There was even the standard "Omg I don't want the powers, I never asked for this, why me" bit. She's supposed to be 18 but in no way talks or acts her age, she's like a twelve year old and I was cringing constantly reading her narrative. She even has a little temper tantrum once or twice, just to illustrate her point about how grown up and intelligent she is. Also...she has her two best friends...but she basically hates them and doesn't care about them and partakes in a bit of slut shaming with Alex about them. She's just so much better than them apparently, and she's apparently totally perfect and can do no wrong. It's like she's the only female character that matters, she's malicious and spiteful about her own best friends, as well as porr old Mrs. Grimes. Her grandmother? Portrayed as an icy British bitch. Of course.
Speaking of Alex...insta love. Insta love everywhere. I can only assume her power is what makes her so attractive. We have Alex the ghostie guy after her, as well as Joe your friendly English cowboy...and then at the end, and correct me if I'm wrong, but there's totally a third guy back home and I guarantee you all he makes yet another love triangle. Like there's this love triangle between Chloe and Joe and Alex, but then at the end Joe makes his little confession but oh...Chloe's back off to the US so that comes to nothing and was basically shoved in there to create some drama...and then we get to California and there's Love Triangle Guy ready and waiting to create more pointless drama because guess what? Alex is back! How? I don't know but I'm sure it's bollocks. Joe took a chandelier to the neck because he loves Chloe sooooooo much. The power of insta love my friends. But yeah....the love triangle is completely unnecessary and it's made even more aggravating by the insta love.
Within days of her and Alex knowing each other, they're so in love and Alex's, who's been attached to the house of his dead love for 150 years, just feels soooo much for her. They can't bear to be apart and dear lord I can't go on. Literally. Alex and Chloe are all insta love...and then Joe's all insta love with her after barely knowing her. Both of them. I hate insta love. I really, really hate insta love, but this is the worst case I have ever seen and it severely took the piss. She barely knows either guy and she's completely in love with Alex, and he's soooo in love with her, and then Joe's so madly in love with her after their brief acquaintance that he shoves her out the way of a falling chandelier (Phantom did it better, just saying) and gets stabbed through the neck. And from the way his parents are talking they're practically engaged. I can't even.
I'm not really sure what else to say about this? Sure the ending intrigued me a bit, I'm mildly curious to see how it all ends. But in order to get there I'm going to have to battle through cringey writing and cringey Chloe, insta love and yet another pointless love triangle. I'm also 99% sure the reasoning behind Alex's sudden appearance is going to be ridiculous, and I'll probably have it all figured out within 100 pages. Again. Plus we all know Special Snowflake Chloe will end up with Ghosty Boy Alex.
I'd originally planned on deeming this an average read but the more I thought over it the more I thought it's less than that....the writing was just as cringey and I can't think of a single redeeming feature to the whole book. I was wholly disappointed in this book, the ghost scenes with Isobel weren't even creepy. I really should have known better after the Halo trilogy.
Tuesday, 23 May 2017
The Iron Wyrm Affair
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
Emma Bannon, forensic sorceress in the service of the Empire, has a mission: to protect Archibald Clare, a failed, unregistered mentath. His skills of deduction are legendary, and her own sorcery is not inconsiderable. It doesn't help much that they barely tolerate each other, or that Bannon's Shield, Mikal, might just be a traitor himself. Or that the conspiracy killing registered mentaths and sorcerers alike will just as likely kill them as seduce them into treachery toward their Queen.
In an alternate London where illogical magic has turned the Industrial Revolution on its head, Bannon and Clare now face hostility, treason, cannon fire, black sorcery, and the problem of reliably finding hansom cabs.
The game is afoot...
I see from GoodReads that I'm one of the few who actually really enjoyed this book?! I read a previous series by the author and it's very different from this so I was curious when I was sent this steampunk offering! I do love a bit of steampunk as you all know and I found this to be brilliantly written, and original.
I was intrigued from the start of the book, and the book clips along at a fast pace. There's plenty of action to go with the intrigue and never a dull moment. I loved the world of the book, it's so easy to slip in to and to visualise the settings. The world is rich and fascinating and has the history to match it. I'm so curious about the history to the world and I need to know more! It's such an original and unique world, with plenty of quirks on the London we all know and...kind of love. Sometimes. When it's not rush hour. Among other things.
I really enjoyed our cast of characters, I thought they had depth and where fascinating. I loved Emma, she doesn't take anyone's crap. She's strong and she's very proper and she's kinda badass. She's a Prime Sorceress as she's quite fond of pointing out over and over again. Her particular distinction is towards the...darker death side of magic. Emma's in charge and she very much knows what she's doing and what she's capable of, which made a nice change from the usual female MC's I've come across in books. I felt like we didn't get to know her quite so much as Archibald, but then I think Emma's supposed to be a bit of a mystery. I'm assuming some of her past is going to come out in a future book when they face off with the past.
As for Archibald Clare, we got to know him quite well. He's a mentath and he's veeerrryyy Sherlock Holmes. He deduces a lot, and so Clare throws his thoughts out left right and centre, something Emma doesn't do so much. So we get a better grasp on Clare and his character and what he's like and so on. He's quite the opposite of Emma so I enjoyed watching them work together. He's very much like the Sherlock from the Robert Downey Jr movies and I wasn't surprised that was the authors inspiration. I loved that Clare wasn't afraid to get stuck in and get his hands dirty. Clare's point of view and his deductions, I found, gave us some additional insight in to Emma and her past and why she acts the way she does and so on, which I thought was an interesting way to let us get to know Emma rather than through her narrative. Like we get to know her, but not to the extent we get to know Clare.
While we only switch between Emma and Archibalds POV's, there's a third main-ish character I want to mention. Mikal. He's Emma's only shield and they have a little something something going on, it became clear. They also have quite the history by the sounds of it. I am so curious about Mikal and his past, but then I'm curious about all the characters pasts, not just our main three, but some of the secondary characters too. I did like Mikal, he's protective of Emma, a little bit dangerous and very strong and silent.
I totally ship Emma and Mikal but I was really surprised by the relationship between the two of them. I kind of assumed that any romance/relationship would be between Emma and Archibald, but nope. I'm quite intrigued to see Emma and Mikal's relationship grow over the course of the next books because Emma's trying to fight any feelings she might have and Mikal may not even be aware of his. Plus there's their past. There's not any romance as such, I should point out, but rather it's pretty obvious Emma and Mikal like each other, and there's a little moment out of scene.
I felt like the writing was authentic and rich, at points I did have to re-read because I'd lost something. Emma's point of view provides all the sorcery, and Clare as a mentath provides most of the steampunk aspects. He also talks everything out which was useful throughout the narrative. I enjoyed the switching between the two point of views because they each have a different personality and they each have different elements to their parts. The descriptions for the steampunk elements among other things where fantastic, the writing was vivid and imaginative. As I said the world is rich and the history is fascinating. The plot kept me engaged and intrigued, and it kept me guessing until the end with plenty of twists and turns.
My one little gripe with this book is that I'm still so curious about the characters and their pasts. The book is fast paced and full of action, and I love that. But at some points as I was reading, past events particularly concerning Emma and Mikal, kept being mentioned and brought up. I'm not sure if I missed something completely, but I did feel at a point or two that I felt like I was reading a second book purely on that front. Because it was so obviously a first book, I was a bit confused. There where just so many allusions to past events that weren't fully explained unless I missed something, it was a bit frustrating at one point. I have a feeling we'll eventually find out as I'm sure there'll be a book that focuses on it. I just felt like it was a tad annoying as the book went on.
All in all, I found this enjoyable and imaginative, and very original. I'm excited to see what adventure Emma and Archibald go on next, and I'm excited to see Emma and Mikal's relationship develop!
Monday, 22 May 2017
God Save The Queen
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
Queen Victoria rules with an immortal fist.
The undead matriarch of a Britain where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. A world where being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath), Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day, and leeches are considered a delicacy. And a world where technology lives side by side with magic. The year is 2012 and Pax Britannia still reigns.
Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it is her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But when her sister goes missing, Xandra will set out on a path that undermines everything she believed in and uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire. And she is the key-the prize in a very dangerous struggle.
I'm not going to lie, God Save the Queen drew me in from the beginning. I was so intrigued by the world and the plot and what was happening, and the setting and Xandra's narrative. I ended up reading this in one sitting because I couldn't put it down!
God Save the Queen has an original and unique world that's intriguing and complex enough without being too complex that it's confusing. It's like an alternate London, that's got modern aspects mixed with Victorian. Locke has built the world up fantastically, you're intrigued to know more about it and what to see more of it. You're intrigued by the history and politics and you can picture it vividly. There's slang words that are used by the characters, but they're easy to understand and you get used to them pretty quickly. It's a brilliantly fun and intriguing world!
I loved Xandra, to the extent that I got annoyed at her siblings more than once. Xandra is a badass, but she's also complex and I'm so intrigued by her. She has her vulnerable moments, but I really admired her and her drive and her loyalty to her family. She's stubborn, a trait you can see when she spends most of the book in denial about what's going on, a believable reaction for the character Locke has created. Xandra is very protective of her siblings, and does so much for them, takes care of them and looks out for them. So it irked me the way she was treated by one sister in particular for most of the book. This sister chose an organisation over the sister that had done so much for her, and while I could see said sister's point of view, I really felt for Xandra and how she was feeling. Then towards the end the other two, who where looking at her funny at the beginning of the book and one of which implied she expected Xandra to be the first one to go crazy...where all pissy at her for not telling her something it was pretty obvious they wouldn't have believed. They'd probably have had her locked up in Bedlam. It irked me so much, and I'm sure Xandra will have to bow and scrape to get back in their good graces.
Xandra's narrative was brilliant, it was funny and drew you in. It made reading the book fun, and there was always plenty of action and intrigue going on. I liked how the narrative was used to good effect to help you get to know Xandra, and her personality. I fully sympathised with her and was on her side.
On the romance front, I liked Vex. He wasn't at all how I expected him to be after we first saw him. He was actually pretty sweet and adorable, and I ended up shipping him with Xandra so badly! I would have liked it if the romance had been drawn out a bit more though as it verged on insta-love and I'm not really a fan of that. I'm intrigued to see where their relationship will go!
One character I really loved was the Goblin Prince! Bless his little heart. He was quite the kind little Goblin, and cute in his own way. I was so curious about him and his loyalty to Xandra, I'm hoping to see more of him in the next book because he's a lot of fun!
The plot kept me guessing. I was fully engrossed and along for the ride and trying to put all the clues together! But there where plenty of plot twists that I didn't see coming. I genuinely didn't get it 100% right, I guessed some things but I was surprised plenty enough.
God Save The Queen has memorable and fun characters with depth to them. There's action, intrigue and romance that all combine to create a fast paced, enjoyable plot that keeps you fully engrossed in the book and the characters. This book is genuinely a lot of fun and brilliantly original!