Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Wishing For Wednesday #59

Gotta love Wednesdays! 
First up this WFW, an intriguing children's book co-written by Lauren Oliver! Something about the synopsis just makes me want to read it, kinda helps it's probably going to get you in the mood for Halloween! 
Second is a book by one of my favourite authors and it sounds so exciting! Magical Emerald, theft, disguises and much need!
As per, GoodReads and buy links so you guys can easily add them! 

The Shrunken Head

What you will find in this book:
–A rather attractive bearded lady
–Several scandalous murders
–A deliciously disgusting Amazonian shrunken head
–Four extraordinary children with equally extraordinary abilities
–A quite loquacious talking bird

Blessed with extraordinary abilities, orphans Philippa, Sam, and Thomas have grown up happily in
Dumfrey’s Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders. But when a fourth child, Max, a knife-
thrower, joins the group, it sets off an unforgettable chain of events. When the museum’s Amazonian shrunken head is stolen, the four are determined to get it back. But
their search leads them to a series of murders and an explosive secret about their pasts.

This sensational new series combines the unparalleled storytelling gifts of Lauren Oliver with the rich
knowledge of the notorious relics collector H.C. Chester.

What you will NOT find in this book:
–An accountant named Seymour
–A never-ending line at the post office
–Brussel sprouts (shudder)
–A lecture on finishing all your homework on time
–A sweet, gooey story for nice little girls and boys.

The Shrunken Head is out October 8th, pre-order your!
Add it to your

Newt's Emerald

Lady Truthful will inherit her family’s most valued heirloom on her eighteenth birthday. Until the Newington Emerald is stolen.

Lady Truthful, nicknamed “Newt” by her boy cousins, discovers that to her horror, the people closest to her have been framed for the theft. But Newt won’t let their reputations be damaged by rumors from a false accusation. Her plan is simple: go to London to recover the missing jewel. Despite her best intentions, a young lady travelling alone is frankly unacceptable behavior. So Newt and her aunt devise another plan…one that entails men’s clothing and a mustache.

While in disguise, Truthful encounters the handsome but shrewd major Harnett, who to her amazement volunteers to help find the missing emerald under the assumption that she is a man, Henri de Vienne. But once she and her unsuspecting ally are caught up in a dangerous adventure, Truthful realizes something else is afoot: the beating of her heart.

Truthful has far more than romantic complications to worry about. The stolen emerald is no ordinary heirloom-it is the source of the family’s luck and has the power to yield vast magic. It would be completely disastrous if it fell into the wrong hands. The fate of England depends on Truthful securing the emerald.

Newt's Emerald is out October 13th, pre-order your!
Add it to your!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Six of Crows

Six Of Crows
Rating: 5/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy. Just do it. 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. 

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. 

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

I just....I can't even right now. I had to have a day before I wrote this, after I read the book, to process the pure awesomeness that I have read. I have been so so SO excited for this book. I am a huge fan of the Grisha trilogy, and I wish I had the time to re-read them before I read this but it was no matter because it was so easy to slip back in to the world of the book as if you hadn't left it at all. I had so much excitement for the book and I wasn't the least bit disappointed. It was everything I was hoping for and more and now I'm desperate for the next book! It's going to be a long wait and I'm impatient as it is, but with the ending of the book it's going to be even worse! 

Everything you loved about the Grisha trilogy is present in the book, but with a different setting and a different set of characters brought to colourful life off the page. The writing was evocative and beautifully descriptive right from the start, drawing you in to the world of the story as the atmosphere settles over you like a blanket and the real world ceases to exist. 

The opening, quite frankly, was quite chilling. It didn't half send shivers down my spine as I was reading as well as setting up the book perfectly and capturing your attention. You where intrigued from the start, compelled to keep reading even when you should be sleeping, or you know....eating. The intrigue didn't stop, there where little tidbits that kept you intrigued as you tried to work out backstories and what was going on with the mission and so on. You wanted to know more and more as you started to put the pieces together. 

The book has different POV's, Inej (who is the first one we meet), Kaz, Nina, Matthias and Jesper. Each has a different and distinctive narrative, each is engaging and adds a different view to the other characters and the city itself. Each has a unique viewpoint based on where they're from, who they are and what they've experienced which makes it particularly fascinating to read each POV. In some cases you see both sides of a story, there's never a repeated scene but from different POV's. You learn more about the characters and their pasts. Each POV adds something to the story or the characters or the world. 

From the first chapter we're thrown in to the shadowy streets and action as we meet Inej, Kaz and Jesper for the first time. I've got to say....I loved them all instantly, as well as Nina and Wylan when we met them. I was a bit torn on Matthias however, as I liked Nina so much! There's more than meets the eye to all of them and I immediately wanted to know more about them, they had such rich histories and backgrounds to them. You learn loads about the characters, yet I still found myself wanting to know more about them as the book was coming to a close. Or maybe I just wanted to hang on to them a bit longer. I'm not entirely convinced that there isn't anything more to be learned about the characters! 

Inej is a complete badass, and the quiz said I was most like her....I WISH! She had an interesting past, and one that wasn't the happiest either, and I loved watching her overcome what happened to her. Kaz is kind of scary. He's super intelligent and very cunning shall we say. The thing with Kaz is that you like him and understand him and why he acts the way he does, but sometimes, usually during another characters POV, you can't help but kind of want to smack him one. Or you kind of dislike him a little bit in a moment or two. Nina is probably my favourite, it's kind of hard to have a favourite with this lot! She was a badass as well, they all are in their own way. I loved her attitude in general to be honest, she was snarky and sassy and made me chuckle. Matthias had an incredibly interesting background and it was particularly interesting because of how it relates to the story and Nina. I kind of wanted to like him but sometimes I just wanted to smack him one because I loved Nina so much, but then I understood his behaviour and I loved watching his character try to come to terms with what he was doing and his feelings for Nina.  Jesper made me chuckle from the go and I'd really like to know more about him. Wylan is kind of the odd one out when you consider his lineage, shall we say. He's not a criminal and he's not from the gan per se. I mean he is, but he's kind of the fringes I think. I loved watching him change over the course of the book and get to the place he was at the end. 

If you couldn't tell from that, the characters are a colourful, lively and well written bunch. There's more to them than meets the eye, they each have different motivations, beliefs and backgrounds. They're full of depth and while you learn a fair bit about the characters, there's still more to know I'm sure! There's supporting cast, other gang members, the bad guys and so on, and all of them are as well created as the main characters. Some of them you just love to hate. Others you just hate. Some you might even like a little bit! 

Coming back to the world of the Grisha is a lot like coming home. But this time you're exploring a different part and it's equally as rich and enchanting as Ravka. You cheer and grin at all the mentions of places, events and people from the Grisha trilogy. The settings are all vividly painted, and they spring up around you as you read, while the atmosphere seeps off the page and draws you further in to the world and the events of the book. 
The atmosphere of the book is a very real thing. You can feel the tension, the suspense radiating off the page as a tangible thing, feel the high stakes hovering over you as the story speeds towards the end. 

I love the different influences to the book in the language and the settings and the people and everything. There was a scene in particular that reminded me of the Roman gladiators but with a twist. I love the rich customs and cultures of the different parts of the world, I loved them in the Grisha trilogy and I love them in this one! I basically really need a book that's just all the mythology and legends and history for each of the different peoples of the world of the book. I would so read that avidly. Everything about this book just feels so authentic and real and that's largely due to the detail in the book, the things like all the different customs and cultures. 

Six Of Crows is definitely like Oceans 11 but better. I really tried to think of another comparison but I really couldn't, but it's not really a comparison. I mean it's like Ocean's 11, but it's completely different at the same time because of all the originality of the world of the book. The plot is intricate. The plan the crew have is intricate. There's intricate relationships and histories, and the book is all one web of intricacy that you're determined to untangle but fail epically as each new twist and turn surprises you. The plot is just so perfectly woven with all these different threads and keeping you surprised. 

The relationships in the book, like I said, where intricate. I loved the dynamics between the gang, each is linked. Some more closely than the others. I loved the friendships and I loved the other relationships even more. I basically loved all the relationships no matter if it was romantic or friendship or what. There's some romance in the book you see. But it's very subtle romance and not the main point of the book at all. Take the romance/relationship between Matthias and Nina for example, it's fascinating because of all the history between them. It's not an easy one, there's struggle because of who the both of them are and where they're from and what they are, and so it's interesting to watch them interact. The feelings are already there and it's just....brilliant watch them fight it and then you know.....waiting to see where it goes. As subtle as the romance as, you still cheer when it comes to fruition. I'm no sure if the others are all the way to romance yet, but we'll see. Either's going to be very interesting and not at all easy. 

Six Of Crows is a fantastic addition to the world of the Grisha. It was everything I wanted and more, I was grinning as I was reading even when it was bits I shouldn't have been grinning at because I was so happy to be reading another Grisha novel and back in the world. Slipping back in to the world was easy, and it was like you never left. The characters where so ridiculously full of depth, with personal histories as rich as the world of the book. They came to life, they brought the world of the book to life as much as the vivid world building did, they where lively and colourful and funny and complex. The settings where vivid and sucked you in, the atmosphere was a tangible thing and you found yourself completely lost in the world of the book with no idea of time or reality. It's one of those books you're compelled to keep reading and really don't want to put down. 

Six Of Crows, I should warn you, brings the feels. It's funny, there's loads of quotes I noted because they made me laugh as well as quotes that I just liked because of the meaning behind them. I found myself chuckling along to the book and glad I wasn't on public transport. But despite the humour of the book, the book is full of other emotions. There's sad parts, angry parts, bits that break your heart, bits that make you all angry and want to murder on behalf of the characters. So many feels. There's action, and it's completely epic. I loved reading the fight scenes and the general badass-ness of the characters. I should also warn you to prepare for suspense, tension and heart-stopping moments. 

Don't even get me started on the ending. I can't just leave people hanging like that!?! I'm so incredibly excited for the next book and the new mission, and learning more about the characters and seeing where relationships and friendships and just everything goes. The direction it's going to take, or at least that I think it's going to take after things mentioned in the final going to be so freaking exciting. I can't wait to be back in the world, with the characters that I love a ridiculous amount, and being surprised by the truly shocking plot twists that just come faster and faster as the book builds up to the end after following a perfect pace. Also, I want to be in the crew....okay I'm done gushing! 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

The Traitor

The Traitor
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Tomorrow, on the beach, Baru Cormorant will look up from the sand of her home and see red sails on the horizon.

The Empire of Masks is coming, armed with coin and ink, doctrine and compass, soap and lies. They'll conquer Baru’s island, rewrite her culture, criminalize her customs, and dispose of one of her fathers. But Baru is patient. She'll swallow her hate, prove her talent, and join the Masquerade. She will learn the secrets of empire. She’ll be exactly what they need. And she'll claw her way high enough up the rungs of power to set her people free.

In a final test of her loyalty, the Masquerade will send Baru to bring order to distant Aurdwynn, a snakepit of rebels, informants, and seditious dukes. Aurdwynn kills everyone who tries to rule it. To survive, Baru will need to untangle this land’s intricate web of treachery - and conceal her attraction to the dangerously fascinating Duchess Tain Hu.

But Baru is a savant in games of power, as ruthless in her tactics as she is fixated on her goals. In the calculus of her schemes, all ledgers must be balanced, and the price of liberation paid in full.

When you open the book and start reading, the first thing you'll see are the words "This is the truth. You will know because it hurts" and truer words where never spoken. Or rather typed. This book destroyed me utterly. There's a quote from one of my favourite shows, "evil isn't born, it's made" and it's relevant in this case as you become attached to Baru, utterly support her....and then read helplessly on as she destroys you. You witness the creation of a monster, but it's a monster you've come to care for so you're left not really knowing how to feel. 

There's no magic or mythological creatures and so on, you read a fantasy that's all about humans and betrayal and treachery and power. Essentially you end up horrified by humans and what they're capable of. We first meet Baru as a young girl and watch her start on her path to becoming kind of a monster. I really liked her. I liked her intelligence, I liked her wit, I liked how strong she was, how well written and brought to life she was. You come to love her and support her, and cheer her on, but as much as she's a hero she's also a villain and you end up recoiling or, if Game of Thrones has hardened you, at the least flinching at her crimes. There is so much to her and I can't wait to see what happens to her next. 

It has to be said, this book is a complete ride. Looking back, there where clues that should have prepared me for the ending or tipped me off. As it was, I missed every single one of them and unwittingly merrily came upon the end of the book and ended up being utterly shocked and surprised. I actually dropped the book. There are so many twists and turns to the book that you don't see coming that you're on edge as you read. 

The Traitor really got under my skin and I felt some pretty strong emotions while I was reading, which all pale in comparison to the utter.....devastation that the ending of the book brought. Because it gets under your skin, it really hits you hard. In short, this book is so well done that it has one hell of an impact on the reader and anyone saying they dislike it is only doing so because they loved it so much and then ended up pretty much heartbroken over the ending. 

There is so much backstabbing in this book you could make a drinking game of it, and you probably should to help you get through the ending. Seriously I keep mentioning it because you all need to prepare yourselves! The politics of the world are intricate and you come to understand them intimately as you read, but everything to do with the politics and history is written so compellingly that you don't end up bored from reading page after page about it like in some other fantasy books, no, you end up fascinated. 

The world created is vivid, and rich. I read an ARC and as such had no map to refer to. No matter. The world was so well created and described I could picture where everything was clearly, as well as what each place was like. The characters, both main and secondary, are written so well they are given a spark life and are dramatic and lively players in the world. 

The Traitor is an utterly emotionally devastating, yet completely brilliant read. Dickinson is subtle with his cruelties and his emotional manipulation of the reader, and it serves to create an emotional punch when everything comes to it's climax and conclusion. This book is diverse, it's emotional, it's rich in it's world building and politics, giving you the information you need to understand why everything is happening in the world. Baru is a compelling hero with villain tendencies. Or is it villain with hero tendencies? I'm not entirely sure. But she was one hell of a fantastic, strong lead. All in all it's an incredible fantasy book but you need to prepare yourselves for the emotional slaughter! 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Wishing For Wednesday #58

This Wednesday I have more exciting reads to add to your TBR! 
First up is a book that needs to not be judged by its cover or title, trust me, read the synopsis and I'm sure you'll all be as intrigued as I am! Siblings...highwaymen, magicians, kings and more! 
Next up is a book that I literally had no idea was happening until not long ago, I thought this series has ended as a trilogy but this is the fourth book! It's from a different characters POV but hopefully we'll see some of the old characters! Just in time for halloween too! 

Swords and Scoundrels

Vocho and Kacha are champion duelists: a brother and sister known for the finest swordplay in the city of Reyes. Or at least they used to be-until they were thrown out of the Duelist's Guild.

As a last resort, they turn reluctant highwaymen. But when they pick the wrong carriage to rob, their simple plans to win back fame and fortune go south fast.

After barely besting three armed men and a powerful magician, Vocho and Kacha make off with an immense locked chest. But the contents will bring them much more than they've bargained for when they find themselves embroiled in a dangerous plot to return an angry king to power....

Swords and Scoundrels is out October 8th, pre-order your
Add it to your!

A Mad Zombie Party

Ali Bell and Cole Holland's crew of zombie slayers thought they'd won the war against Anima Industries, the evil company responsible for capturing and experimenting on zombies in an effort to discover the secret to immortality. In the last epic clash, the slayers lost many of their crew and closest friends. But Frosty, the ice man himself, has not recovered from one casualty in particular—the love of his life, Kat Parker. 

On the path to self-annihilation, Frosty receives a message from beyond—Kat's spirit returns, insisting he partner with rogue slayer Camilla Marks. Frosty will do anything for Kat. Except that. Camilla is the one who betrayed them all, leading to Kat's death. 

But when Anima rises from the grave to become a force the slayers may not have the strength to overcome, Frosty, Camilla and all the slayers will have to work together to survive. And one broken slayer will learn that sometimes, the line between hate and attraction is blurred…and the road to redemption isn't through revenge, but in letting go of the past and grabbing hold of the future.

A Mad Zombie Party is out October 8th, pre-order your
Add it to your!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR

I'm back with TT Tuesday, I know I said I'd do it more regularly and then I failed pretty spectacularly...but here we go! Don't forget to comment telling me your Fall TBR books! I don't know why I'm saying Fall....I'm British, we say Autumn! 

So, my Fall TBR, there's a fair few books on it and picking just 10 is haaaaarrrrrdddd, but I've managed. A couple of them are ones I've been sent to review but most are not! 

1. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
So basically, I have my TBR arranged in to "Next In Series" "First In Series" and "Stand Alone", because I'm fancy like that. This is in the "First In Series" TBR and I kinda wanna read all the next in series books first....but there's a read along for this going on over on Tumblr and I'm so intrigued I don't think I can wait. 

2. Night School: Endgame by C.J. Daugherty
So, this has been sitting on my shelves for ages and it's the last in one of my favourite series so I'll definitely be getting around to this in the near future. 

3. Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch
I've been lucky enough to receive an ARC of this therefore I'm gonna be reading it super early because I can. But first I'll be re-reading the first book because I have the time for once! 

4. The Sword Of Summer by Rick Riordan
Again, super lucky and received an ARC....definitely have no self control and will end up reading this really early! I'm so excited for this! I'm such a Percy Jackson fangirl and I've been waiting for this entirely new series for ages I mean...this one is all Norse mythology and Gods and I can't even with the excitement! 

5. The Fiery Heart/Silver Shadows/The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead
I should probably have done this separately, but I didn't so whatever. I've probably mentioned before how these are the last three in a series, and like literally the last half of that series, and I never got round to them and then everyone was freaking about the end of the fifth book so I thought I'd wait until the last one was out then read them all together....

6. Legacy Of Kings by Eleanor Herman
Does this need an explanation? Reimagining of Alexander the'd be rude not to. 

7. The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Everyone's been raving about this so I decided to bump it up the TBR!

8. Ink And Bone by Rachel Caine
First book in a new series by one of my favourite authors....definitely merits a bump. 

9. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
This is yet another book getting a bump from me because I'm impatient and everyone raves about this one!

10. Kiss Of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
My aunt brought me the fancy hardback edition of this straight from Barnes and Noble Texas, again, this is another book everyone on Tumblr has been raving about so it gets a bump. 

All in all it's highly doubtful I'll stick to my system and read all the next in series books first because I keep bumping other books :') 
Ah well, GoodReads pages are linked. Go forth and swell your TBRs! 

Monday, 21 September 2015

Mycroft Holmes

Mycroft Holmes
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!

Fresh out of Cambridge University, the young Mycroft Holmes is already making a name​ ​for himself in government, working for the Secretary of State for War. Yet this most British of civil servants has strong ties to the faraway island of Trinidad, the birthplace of his best friend, Cyrus Douglas, a man of African descent, and where his fiancée Georgiana Sutton was raised.

Mycroft’s comfortable existence is overturned when Douglas receives troubling reports​ from home. There are rumors of mysterious disappearances, strange footprints in the sand, and spirits enticing children to their deaths, their bodies found drained of blood. Upon hearing the news, Georgiana abruptly departs for Trinidad. Near panic, Mycroft convinces Douglas that they should follow her, drawing the two men into a web of dark secrets that grows more treacherous with each step they take...

I'm a bit of a Sherlock Holmes fangirl, it has to be said. So how could I not take the opportunity to read the story of his older brother Mycroft? Mycroft has always intrigued me and this book goes some way to show you how he became the person he is when we meet him in Sherlock Holmes books. 

This story is full of adventure and danger, with a nice mystery that's fun to try and put the pieces together before the big reveal. The book also had a nice amount of humour to it, to have you chuckling once or twice. I found our two protagonists to be likeable and fun to read about, I enjoyed the relationship between the two and I came to like their characters more and more as I read, rooting for them and hoping for them to come out on top. Even though it is fairly obvious they would succeed...what with Mycroft being in the Sherlock books and so on...but still! 

I was completely fascinated by the legendary Douen and Lougarou, I really wanted to know more about the stories surrounding them and everything, and it's something I'll be looking in to myself. I'm such a sucker for myths and legends to be honest.

Much like the characters, the book itself and the plot and so on, are all very well written. I found it easy to read the book and get lost in it. I liked the pace of the book and the prose. The book has you engaged from start to finish, riveted, trying to put pieces together, but failing as something surprises you. The historic detail was spot on, and perfectly done. There are some particularly well done scenes between Mycroft and Sherlock that had me internally squealing, not to mention the very end of the book! 

All in all it was an enjoyable read and I wouldn't be opposed to it being turned in to a series, because why not? Mycroft is usually in the background and it's great to get to know him, it makes him seem less...aloof? Whether reading or watching something Sherlock, I always feel as if he's kind of aloof or separate, but this book kind of solidified him in my mind as a real person/character, which doesn't make sense but yeah. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Wishing For Wednesday #57

WFW gets more exciting each week!
First up is another of my stumbled upon on GoodReads books, I couldn't resist the synopsis! Monsters and armies....intriguing right?! 
Second is the sequel to a book I LOVED! So many sequels are out this year that I feel like I've been waiting years for, and I know some of you have been waiting for this one! 
So pre-order and/or add to your GoodReads TBR! 

An Inheritance Of Ashes

The strange war down south—with its rumors of gods and monsters—is over. And while sixteen-year-old Hallie and her sister wait to see who will return from the distant battlefield, they struggle to maintain their family farm.

When Hallie hires a veteran to help them, the war comes home in ways no one could have imagined, and soon Hallie is taking dangerous risks—and keeping desperate secrets. But even as she slowly learns more about the war and the men who fought it, ugly truths about Hallie’s own family are emerging. And while monsters and armies are converging on the small farm, the greatest threat to her home may be Hallie herself.

An Inheritance Of Ashes is out October 6th, pre-order your!
Add it to your!

Sky Key

Endgame is here. Earth Key has been found. Two keys—and nine Players—remain. The keys must be found, and only one Player can win.

Queens, New York. Aisling Kopp believes the unthinkable: that Endgame can be stopped. But before she can get home to regroup, she is approached by the CIA. They know about Endgame. And they have their own ideas about how it should be Played. Ideas that could change everything.

Kingdom of Aksum, Ethiopia. Hilal ibn Isa al-Salt narrowly survived an attack that leaves him horribly disfigured. He now knows something the other Players do not. But the Aksumites have a secret that is unique to their line. A secret that can help redeem humanity—and maybe even be used to help defeat the beings behind Endgame.

London, England. Sarah Alopay has found the first key. She is with Jago—and they are winning.But getting Earth Key has come at a great cost to Sarah. The only thing that keeps the demons at bay is Playing. Playing to win.
Sky Key—wherever it is, whatever it is—is next. And the nine remaining Players will stop at nothing to get it.

Sky Key is out October 6th, pre-order your!
Add it to your!

Monday, 14 September 2015

Twelve Kings

Twelve Kings
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Sharakhai, the great city of the desert, center of commerce and culture, has been ruled from time immemorial by twelve kings—cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal. With their army of Silver Spears, their elite company of Blade Maidens, and their holy defenders, the terrifying asirim, the Kings uphold their positions as undisputed, invincible lords of the desert. There is no hope of freedom for any under their rule.

Or so it seems, until Çeda, a brave young woman from the west end slums, defies the Kings’ laws by going outside on the holy night of Beht Zha’ir. What she learns that night sets her on a path that winds through both the terrible truths of the Kings’ mysterious history and the hidden riddles of her own heritage. Together, these secrets could finally break the iron grip of the Kings’ power...if the nigh-omnipotent Kings don’t find her first.

Oh my this book was....sweeping, engrossing, absorbing...astounding. It really gave my imagination a stretch and was filled with all the things I love in a good fantasy novel, I couldn't put it down and as the book was coming to a close I was desperately hoping for it to carry on longer. The wait for the next book will be difficult, as while some questions where answered, there where many left unanswered and I'll probably spend time thinking back on those questions. Not to mention the fact that the next book, and in fact the rest of the series, was expertly set up without sacrificing any of the plot of this book. It was a rich fantasy read and the kind you end up completely obsessed with and fully invested in. 

There is nothing quite like a book that starts off with a cracking fight scene, you're straight in there and you just know you're going to love it. From that point it was all go really, there was plenty of action as you're drawn in to the world and start to learn about it. And what a world it is. But more on that in a moment. We're talking action right now, and the book has plenty of it. Fight scenes that will have your pulse racing and have you on the edge of your seat, and kind of have you wishing you where as badass as Çeda. They where perfectly written and you could practically see it happening before your eyes, and along with the fast pace, you end up pretty much glued to the book. 

As for the world, it was astounding and so fantastically crafted. It was so vivid you could smell the smells of the bazaar, see Çeda and her friends, feel the atmosphere and the vibe of the place. It pulls you in to the world of the book perfectly and has you completely engrossed. I don't think I have accurate words to describe just how completely amazing the world building was. I'm so itching to see more of the world that was created, you get the impression it's fairly extensive and there's much of it to be explored, and I hope we can in the next book! 

The book also has a very rich background history to it, as well as intricate legends and myths. I was fascinated reading about this other world and their history, politics, Gods, customs and so on. Completely riveted and loving reading every little bit about it, especially as all of it was woven in to the plot instead of one massive info dump. The sections of it in the plot that where kind of chunky, where written so compellingly that you didn't really notice if it was a long passage just on the history/mythology of it, and you always wanted to know more and more about the world. 

Çeda is my kind of character. I loved her determination and tenacity, her intelligence, her skills and learning more about her page by page and in each flashback chapter. You rooted for her from the start, and then more and more as you learned more. You where on her side, willing her to do well, to achieve what she wanted. Like if some other character was mean to her, then you kinda disliked that character and where like "boo you". I can't describe quite what it is, but I just loved her. I wanted to know more about her, she came alive off the page and helped to bring the world of the book to life. I just understood her and how she operated. 

There's a cast of incredibly interesting and colourful characters in the book, each as lively as Çeda, each so well written that they come to life off the page. Emre, who had such a depth of backstory to him, such emotion and who you kind of wanted to smack at times, but liked him nonetheless and kind of rooted for him to do the right thing. Ramahd, who you felt for but also....kinda wanted to smack because clearly Meryam was up to no freaking God and he's completely blind to it or whatever. He, like Emre, had a tragic backstory and there was more to him than met the eye. The Kings, you get one King's point of view along with Emre, Ramahd and Çeda and he was an...interesting point of view, he's clearly playing some kind of game but we still don't know what. Each King is so different from the others and we didn't get to meet all of them properly, so I'm excited to meet more of them properly. 

These are just some of the main characters. There are plenty of other characters, The Blade Maidens, I'm so eager to learn more about them, particularly the ones in Çeda's Hand. We where just starting to get to know them towards the end of this book. There's Macide and, who are most certainly more than they appear, but I can't say more because spoilers. The Asirim who have an interesting background and who you want to know more about because you want to understand them. For most of the book they're these incredibly sinister figures and then towards the end your perception of them changes entirely. There's so many other characters who where so well characterised and brought to life despite the fact they where a lesser character and not seen often. 

There are different POV's, like I mentioned above, and they each add interesting threads to the main threads of the story being woven. The plot really does thicken with each POV change and new bit of information learned. Not to mention the flashback chapters that add plenty of extra threads. You end up with such a deep understanding of the world and characters, as well as knowing something big is coming and not all is as it seems. Each change is perfectly timed and smoothly changes from narrative to narrative, each as engaging as the last. 

I realize I've been mentioning all these characters and rich and intricate history to the world. Don't get me wrong though. I should mention that while the world has a complex structure to it, it's described so you can easily understand and come to grips with it fairly early on. Everything after that just adds to it rather than adding confusion, it enhances your understanding of the world and takes you deeper in to the world. 

Twelve Kings is easy to read and follow, is what I'm saying, it's not over complicated with the writing or having too many characters to keep track of without some kind of spreadsheet, like with Game of Thrones. It's complex and intricate without confusing you or making it hard to read. It's a complex fantasy you truly can't put down and enjoy because you can easily get to grips with the world and who's who and everything else. You never felt like the book was too long or like it was dragging, you actually wanted more and more and wanted it to carry on for a good couple hundred more pages. 

I loved all of the Gods and mythology behind them. Now that is one area I really want to know more about because again, there's clearly more than meets the eye and it's one of the incredibly fascinating areas. I'd love to actually see more of them in the next book too because I'm so intrigued by them. 

Twelve Kings is a blend of past and present, like I've already mentioned, there are looks in to the past that show you what happened to bring the characters to the place they are at when we meet them in the book, that show you how they became the way they are and give you an incredibly deep understanding of the character. The flashbacks answer questions about characters, and the flashbacks are always relevant to an upcoming chapter or a chapter that had recently gone by. A lot of the time I read the flashback chapters and I was like "aaaaaah". 

As well as this fantastically done blend, and a complex plot, there where so many twists and turns and these twists and turns got more shocking as you raced towards the end of the book. I was always surprised, I'd have kind of half worked out a reveal and then be either, you know, half right, or completely wrong or kind of right but with an added bit of information I hadn't worked out. The book kept me on my toes that's for sure! 

Twelve Kings is a skilfully written, complex and engrossing book, set within a rich and vividly created world with characters that, no matter how big a part they have, come to life off the page due to their characterisation and depth. The plot is thrilling, compelling, intricate and gives us one part of a large overall story that's going to be one hell of a ride. You find yourself constantly surprised, caught up in moments of suspense, and practically holding your breath during the fantastically written fight scenes. There's rich mythology and history to the world that helps bring it to life, and the book, while complex, is still easy to get to grips with concerning said rich history and politics. I loved every page and can't wait for the next book to get back to the world! 

Friday, 11 September 2015

Sorcerer To The Crown

Sorcerer To The Crown
Rating: 4/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, one of the most respected organizations throughout all of England, has long been tasked with maintaining magic within His Majesty’s lands. But lately, the once proper institute has fallen into disgrace, naming an altogether unsuitable gentleman—a freed slave who doesn’t even have a familiar—as their Sorcerer Royal, and allowing England’s once profuse stores of magic to slowly bleed dry. At least they haven’t stooped so low as to allow women to practice what is obviously a man’s profession…

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers and eminently proficient magician, ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up. But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

I was so intrigued when I read the synopsis for this and so excited to be sent a copy to review by the publisher! I'm a bit early with this review, by the time you read this on my blog, I'll have finished it over a week ago but I decided to just jump in with it! It was such a fun and rich read that had me laughing, booing, shaking my head and getting way too emotionally involved in it! 

First of all, it's got to be said, I started this right after I'd just finished reading and reviewing a kids book SO, it took me a couple of pages to get my brain in gear and get used to the writing style and way of speech of the characters. Some people may struggle or may not like the writing style, I did find it heavy in the beginning before I got used to it and then I didn't really notice. It's delightfully authentic, I think, but was occasionally a wee bit stilted in the dialogue. It is very beautiful to read though, and some beautiful descriptions, not to mention relationships. I did rather love Zacharias's relationship with Mrs. Wythe. 

The world of the book is an alternate London where magic is used freely, but only by the men of course because us mere women are too "delicate" to be able to use it. The magic isn't as....flowing shall we say, as it used to be and there's all this background history and these intricate politics between England and Fairy and France and other places. It was fascinating to read about all of it and like I said, it was very rich but explained in such a way that it wasn't thrown at you all at once, and you could follow it and understand fairly quickly and early on. It all helped to suck you in to the world and make the world of the book so engrossing. 

The world building was fantastic. I can't say I've ever visited Regency era London (har har) but I got a definite feel for the place. A bit too full of sexism and bigotry for my tastes, I spent a great deal of time feeling rather outraged on our characters behalf. Not that everything is all hunky dory nowadays but still. You got a very brutally truthful and realistic look at the time period, and the world building was so imaginative and enchanting that you could completely lose yourself in the world of the book. I mean....there's magic, dragons, fairies, vampires, various other familiars and a murderous mermaid. To name a few. You get completely swept in to the world and your imagination certainly gets a workout. 

I found the world of the book and the magical system of the book to be original and imaginative and I loved reading about. I do love books with rich mythology/history/etc to them and this book, like I said, is full of it so you're completely sucked in to the book and it's such a magical place to be in this book. If not...ya know....a time you'd ACTUALLY want to be in. Or at least I wouldn't. The magical system of the book was very well done and I enjoyed the whole deal with the French bit. I'm not saying anything too specific because spoilers! 

I've got to say, the "Society"/"Nobles" or whatever you want to call them could give Gossip Girl a run for it's money. It was like a regency GG but with more murder and deviousness. It was a complete and utter snakepit, backstabbing and betrayal all over the place and even the blokes weren't above being bitchy. So much of history is romanticised and everyone's like "oh I'd love to live in that time" or whatever, but this book is realistic and truthful and accurately portrays what a, quite frankly, crappy time it was to live in. Not least for POC. I'm actually still feeling quite outraged! 

The plot is fast paced and had some laugh out loud moments, it really was a fun read. The romance took a while to come to fruition and wasn't the main point of the plot completely, it was woven in to the plot perfectly and wasn't an easy romance at all. At some points I didn't get the romance seeing as (as you'll see when I talk characters below) at points I didn't think Prunella cared about Zacharias at all, certainly she didn't care what effect her actions would have on him and his position, which was kind of horrible of her considering all he did for her! As I was reading I was guessing at things as I tried to work out what was going on from the plot threads we had so far, but there where so many twists and turns that when it all started to come together I was pleasantly surprised and when it does come together you realise just how intricate the plot is with all the threads woven together. You realise the full extent of the plot, basically. 

Zacharias I connected to first, and I became quite ridiculously protective of Zacharias. I mean, here he is, he's getting treated horrifically by his fellows, including people he actually gave a leg up in the Society, people keep trying to murder him and he's completely and utterly burdened by duty and his position and everything he has to sort out. So I really felt for him, and I was rooting for him to basically sort everything and say a giant F you to the Society. He was such an interesting character and so well written I completely loved him from the start. 

Which is why I could never quite decide if I liked Prunella. Initially and at various other parts of the book, I really liked her. She was feisty, she made me laugh, she knew what she wanted and was another very interesting character with an interesting and mysterious family past. BUT. At times, she would royally screw things up for Zacharias with her general selfishness that she dressed up a lot as ambition and she was quite cold about achieving it. At those times, I was never sure if I actually liked her or not. Perhaps if I hadn't liked Zacharias quite so much I would be able to say I 100% loved her but I can't say that because of my poor Zacharias and how she messed things up for him! 

Both characters face so much prejudice and you really see it in the book, it's brutally honest about it and doesn't try to dress it up or make it all romantic or whatever. So much bigotry. So much sexism. Colonialism at it's "finest" (read: worst). It was incredibly well done, and sensitively done. I found the relationship between Zacharias and Sir Stephen particularly interesting. 

Sorcerer To The Crown features a complex plot, made up of many threads that give you plenty of surprises when the plot twists. Each of these threads comes together to create a satisfying ending to the book, leaving things fairly nicely wrapped up. It's fast paced, has plenty of humour to create some laugh out loud moments, and is very beautifully written. Sorcerer To The Crown gives you a brutally authentic look at this particularly....I can't even find the right word, but it's bad, time period and doesn't pull it's punches when showcasing the darker sides to the time period usually glossed over or romanticised in other books. With an imaginative and vivid world, and full of magic and magical creatures, it's an enchanting read that'll have you staying up late to read just that one more chapter. 

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