Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Manga: Otome Mania Vol 1

Otome Mania!! Vol 1
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

The story of a young woman living her gamer dream! Yuzumi is a master gamer and game creator, and has finally landed her dream job in an otome game company. Now, she will do whatever it takes to conquer the industry. But is success worth it? Will it truly bring Yuzumi happiness? Or will she spend her days wallowing in anger and anxiety? What must Yuzumi do to release a successful game?!

This isn't normally the kind of manga that I'd go for, but I was curious so when I was sent it to review I decided to give it a read. I actually found this quite fascinating, it's an intriguing look at the industry of Otome Games which I knew nothing about, I didn't even know what an Otome game was before I started reading this! There's so much information about the process of game making and the various different jobs it involves and so on, and I was like ooohhh that's how it works! It was genuinely fascinating. 

I feel like we can all relate to the main character, Yuzumi and her fangirling as she lives the dream. She was a very relatable character, with very believable reactions to the situation she finds herself in. I was rooting for her throughout the volume. Tachibana's a bit mean, but he cares deep down. Waaaaayyy deep down and I kinda low key ship him with Yuzumi. There's a brilliant cast of characters, and I love all of them, Alex in particular, we're still getting to know the rest of the team. There's also a hilarious group of rivals that I think we'll get to see in volume 2, and I'm excited to meet them! 

It looks like Otome Mania is going to be a fun series, and there are plenty of ships to choose from, I'm not going to lie! I'm intrigued to see more of how the industry works via this manga, and to see what's going to happen next! 

Review: Stranger Than Fanfiction

Stranger Than Fanfiction
Rating: 2/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Cash Carter is the young, world famous lead actor of the hit television Wiz Kids. When four fans jokingly invite him on a cross-country road trip, they are shocked that he actually takes them up on it. Chased by paparazzi and hounded by reporters, this unlikely crew takes off on a journey of a lifetime--but along the way they discover that the star they love has deep secrets he's been keeping. What they come to learn about the life of the mysterious person they thought they knew will teach them about the power of empathy and the unbreakable bond of true friendship. 

I'm still not really sure what to make of this book. I read Colfer's other YA book, Struck by Lightening and I loved it and the synopsis to this intrigued me. Sure it's super unrealistic but it seemed like it was going to be fun. Plus Colfer's sarcasm is always on point. 

I feel like cons where portrayed in a good light and a bad light. Some parts where realistic. Other parts I guess are realistic for actors and stuff, but I feel like it was a bit of a tarring everyone with the same brush kind of move. Not all fans are shrieky, not all fans are 'crazy' and I find the statement that a con isn't successful unless there's violence a bit suspect. Stranger Than Fanfiction is a little bit ridiculous at points, but also funny at others as well as emotional. 

I immediately understood and empathised with Cash and his anxiety. But that was kind of present at the beginning and then faded away. There's a diverse cast, we have two POC characters, one transgender character and one gay character which is fantastic, it's always fantastic to see so much representation. But at points it felt like the characters had been written that way to make it diverse, so kind of shoved in there. Don't get me wrong, there was some good dialogue about acceptance and all of the issues the various characters where dealing with. As far as I can tell, it seemed like each issue was handled in a sensitive and empathetic way, it just seemed tossed in at points. 

I read this fairly quickly and in one sitting, Colfer's usual sarcastic and witty narrative was absent and I ended up resorting to skim reading to get to the end. Cash's problem was easily predictable, I called it pretty early on. I know this is supposed to be kind of a strange fanfictiony vibe, but towards the end I did feel like it was getting a bit over the top ridiculous. Like the end was predictable and kind of unbelievable. It was supposed to be unbelievable but still. 

I enjoyed the road trip and all the random sights they wanted to see, but I was ultimately disappointed by this. 

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Manga: Re:Zero Chapter 2 A Week At The Mansion Vol 1

Re:ZERO Chapter 2: A Week at the Mansion Vol 1
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

After being suddenly summoned to another world, Subaru Natsuki realized he didn't have superhuman strength, no magic, and no special abilities--except for the ability "Return by Death", which brings him to a set point in the past if he dies. He used his ability to help the bewitching Emilia but was injured and brought to her home to recover. Right when Subaru should be receiving his reward for a job well done, he realizes he's never been more threatened before and this time, he has no idea what the danger is. 

Maybe it's just me being dumb, but I honestly expected this volume to completely reset, as it where, the story, and bring in brand new characters except for Subaru to go with the new setting. So I was pleasantly surprised to find Emilia in there, and to discover that while the setting is's a continuation from the first volumes! 

We get so much interesting information in this volume about Emilia and who she is, and what the deal is with her that meant some of her behaviour from the first volume made so much sense! Plus it's got me really excited for the next volumes, to see how everythings going to play out, Emilia's whole storyline but everything else too! 

I loved the chapter long recap of the first couple of volumes, it refreshed my memory and threw me straight back in to the world of the manga and got me back up to date! There are new and interesting characters in this volume. Betty, who I'm totally curious about but she's a librarian and therefore my favourite kind of character! There are the sisters Ram and Rem who are on the front cover, and I'm so curious about them. They're the maids of the mansion and we don't have all that much information on them, so I'm intrigued to find out how they came to be there and what the deal is with one of them and the master of the house. 

Speaking of the master of the house....Roswaal. Loved him. He's hilariously eccentric. But also kind of creepy and clearly not as ridiculous as his appearance would suggest. He really reminds me of Mephisto from Blue Exorcist or Gilles from Devils and Realist. To make him even more intriguing he's the court Magician....I'm expecting great things from him, I'm not going to lie! 

Along with all these new and interesting characters that I need to know more about, we get Emilia back and her friendship with Subaru grows a little in this volume. I totally ship them. They're adorable. But I want to smack Subaru sometimes! His reactions to everything are so authentic though. My one gripe with him is that the little favours he asks for got a little repetitive and seemed a little silly the more it went on. Like working at the mansion. I can't picture anyone asking for that as a reward quite frankly! His reactions to working and the dynamic between he and the sisters where pretty funny though. 

I've got to say, the first arc was fun, but I feel like this arc is going to be even better. It's all going great for Subaru and then the end happens and you're like woaaaahh okay. I have a feeling this is going to be like an old school murder mystery. Ram in the bedroom with the candlestick kind of thing. We've got a small pool of suspects, so it's going to be fun working out which one is the killer. Or you know...killers. 

Re:ZERO Chapter 2 really steps up the plot and takes us in a fun new direction. The new revelations promise to provide some future intrigues and action, and I feel like this volume really builds on the foundations set in the first volumes. I'm excited by the way this manga is going, and I'm looking forward to the next volume! 

Monday, 29 May 2017

Manga: The Case Study of Vanitas Vol 2

The Case Study of Vanitas Volume 2 
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Now installed at a hotel in Paris with the help of Count Orlok, Noé and Vanitas take their awkward partnership on the a vampire masquerade ball! The order of the evening may be small talk and hobnobbing with fellow guests, but the mystery of the curse-bearers is never too far behind. The intrigue swirls as quickly as the dancers twirl, a blue moon ascends upon the guests...and all hell breaks loose! 

I looooveeeeeeeee this series. I swear I say it every single time but I really freaking love this series! It's definitely my favourite ongoing one right now, and considering how much I love Fairy Tail...that's saying a lot! I just fell in love with this when I read the first volume. I've recently started to read Pandora Hearts too but to be far it isn't a patch on this one. Sorry Pandora fans! With this volume....Vanitas continues to be my favourite manga ever right now! 

I love steampunk, and in this manga we get a steampunk Paris, and I completely love the world that has been created for this manga. Not to mention the fresh take on vampires. Let's be honest they've all been overdone in every genre ever, but I'm really enjoying this take on them and I'm so curious about them and the curse-bearers. 

The story is engaging and entertaining, and each chapter leaves me wanting more and eagerly turning the page. Which is great until you get to the final chapter and then it's like nooooo I have to wait so long for the next volume! WHYYYYY. I'm so intrigued by this story, and where it's going to go and what's going to happen next. There's some many little intricacies and mysteries and intrigues to keep you hooked and guessing. 

The characters are so much fun, they're lively and entertaining and brilliantly created! When I read the first volume, I so badly wanted to know more about Vanitas and Noé and this volume delivered! We find out more about Noé and his past and his childhood and I'm even more intrigued to be honest! Noé turns out to be an Archiviste, a clan thought to have died out and he has a rather interesting power. Poor guy. We seriously get so much backstory on him but I don't want to spoil you guys so I wont' say anymore! Vanitas kinda takes a backseat in this volume, we still see him a lot, but this volume is all about Noé if you can't tell from the cover! 

We get a new character this volume too! Dominique. Domi is Noé's childhood friend and I loved her so much. She's kind of overdramatic but she really cares about Noé and looks out for him. She's kind of sweet, and kind of amusing with it at the same time. Like threatening Vanitas. There are some interesting connections between them as well as her grandfather is Noé's teacher so we find out more about that as well! OH and we're all friends with Lucius now too, seeing as he finally saw reason! 

Now, I already mentioned how much I love the world of this manga, but in this volume we take a trip to Altus Paris...the Vampires world and I'm so curious about it! I want to see more of it and get to explore it and the differences between it and the Paris of this world. We get to learn a load more about the history of the world and it's so rich, I love it. Not to mention the science of the world and how it came to be as it is and the differences after a certain event and so on. 

If you can't tell from the stunningly eye catching and colourful cover, the artwork in this manga is gorgeous. You're reading it and there's all these little decadent touches to it. But there's so much detail, the artwork is genuinely so stunning. The first volume had a stunning airship, this volume has some stunning cityscapes...and a masquerade ball scene that has such amazing detail to it. Decadent is literally the only word I can think of to describe the artwork and it fits the vibe and the world of the manga so well! I was a bit sad there weren't as many full colour pages as volume 1 because they where so stunning but this volume was thicker than the first volume so I'll forgive it for now! I just love how colourful the covers and colour pages are! 

The Case Study of Vanitas volume 2 picks up from the morning after the events of Volume 1 and it ends leaving you wanting more. Again. This series gets better and better with each volume, and I get more and more obsessed with each volume. Part of me wants to read the individual chapters but part of me wants to stick it out for the volumes so I  can read loads in one go! 

Vanitas is one of the most stunning and intricate manga's I have come across, and it's so much fun and so easy to dive in to and get lost! There's plenty of intrigue, the characters are memorable and the world is fascinating. Plus....stunning art work! I'm so excited for volume 3 already, I can't wait to see where it goes and find out even more about the world and characters, there's so much to be explored!  I'm just completely in love with this manga okay. CHECK IT OUT RIGHT NOW. 

Friday, 26 May 2017

Manga: Rokka Braves Of The Six Flowers Vol 2

Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers Vol 2
Rating: 4/5
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

Review: The Great Pursuit

The Great Pursuit
Rating: 4/5
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

Manga: The Royal Tutor

The Royal Tutor
Rating: 4/5
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....

Review: Ghost House

Ghost House
Rating: 1/5
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 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

Review: The Iron Wyrm Affair

The Iron Wyrm Affair 
Rating: 4/5
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

Review: God Save The Queen

God Save The Queen
Rating: 4/5
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! 

Friday, 19 May 2017

Review: Breath of Fire

Breath of Fire 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

"Cat" Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat's tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what's a girl to do when she knows it's her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.

Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world-for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin must embrace their fate together. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom...or not at all. 

So, I actually really enjoyed the first book in this trilogy although I freely admit it was a smidge cheesy/cringey at some points! The same can be said for this book, but it was still an enjoyable and fun read although I really do think that the first book might still be my favourite!

Breath of Fire picks up right where we left off in a Promise of Fire. The secret about Cat is totally out of the bag and Griffin has to deal with it. I so knew I was right when I was reading the first book! From there, we end up going on a Quest to find help in protecting their little Kingdom from the neighbouring one, and from there we enter in to a Hunger Games style death championship. With no hiding places. 

I was immediately sucked back in to the world of the book and happy to be reunited with the characters, there's angst and drama right from the start and I am a sucker for that, it has to be said. Although Griffin's behaviour at one point was a little bit questionable. I find him adorable and kind of sweet, but at the same time I want to smack him and I end up rolling my eyes more than once. Like I said, these books are a little bit cheesy/cringey at points but they're a great mood lifter! Plus there's all the Greek Mythology and I freaking love Greek Mythology. 

The author has clearly done her research on the mythology front and I enjoyed seeing more of it in this book! Plus spotting which other Gods made an appearance, even if in name only as assisting Cat. I'm hoping some of them will make an appearance in the final battle! I find Cat's odd little family of Gods and Goddesses who are always willing to help her out, oddly charming. You know who else I found charming? Titos the snake. He was kinda of adorable, especially his 'hug'. 

Cat has developed a lot in this book, she's more mature and she's taking on more responsibility, especially towards the end and I loved seeing that. I feel like Griffin kind of took a back seat a little bit and let Cat run the show and it was nice to see his trust and faith in her. I continue to really love Cat and Griffin, they're adorable together and I get serious warm and fuzzies which is just what I need lately! Although there's a plot twist and I was so hoping the author wouldn't go there because I'm not really here for that kind of thing, and I'm hoping it's not going to change Cat and her role too much. So yeah..not sure I really liked that twist. I was hoping we could do this story without that. I feel like all books like this, romance etc, have to have that. 

I loved seeing all of my favourite characters again, I'm so curious about Carver and his past and the tidbits we saw weren't enough but I'm not sure if we'll ever get the full story as it's not really relevant to the plot that I'm aware of. I totally ship Flynn and Jacosta and I'm hoping book three brings that to fruition, especially after Flynn's behaviour in this book! I did crack up at poor old Flynn's expense at one point, because Cat was like, "I'm starting to think emotion terrifies him. I can utterly relate". Poor Flynn. 

And speaking of Jacosta...I was so pleased to see her coming in to her own and stepping up to help out. She's on her way to being a total badass like Cat, she's already not doing bad as it is! I'm excited to see where her character goes. Piers...I'm struggling to remember if I liked him in the first book, I wanted to like him because he's Griffin's brother, but I didn't warm to him this book and from the looks of the sneak peek at the final book...I'm going to hate him. We get a couple of new characters, Appoline's sisters are going to be interesting and I hope we do get to see more of them! Ianthe is the other new character and I really liked her and I really hope she's actually genuine! 

One of the things I loved about the first book was still present in this one, albeit not as much unfortunately. That being Cat's banter and friendship with the rest of her team. I'd loved to have seen more of it although I loved seeing her and Kato in the labyrinth. 

That being said, some of the scenes at the beginning with Griffin...I was like HELL NO. He was behaviour was way out of order. But he did redeem himself. While the book is fast paced, I felt like this time around it was a little too fast paced. I'd have loved to have seen more of the epically huge Arena battle and the time spent there. We zipped through the labyrinth fast and after setting up the challenges with a certain individual to be a big thing....they where over pretty fast and then we never saw the dude again. I feel like there where a lot of points in the book that could have been fleshed out more, or pulled out for a bit longer because I feel like we did rush a bit too much through some events and jump a lot of time. After the ominous comment made to Cat...I was expecting a character death. But the only character to die was one we met for two seconds and had no real attachment to, so we where kind of made to think the stakes where really high...when they really weren't. I never really felt like Cat or any of the others where in serious danger. 

While I did enjoy the first book a little bit more, Breath of Fire has plenty of magic, action, mythical creatures, Gods, Goddesses and humour to keep you interested and reading. I love the mix of fantasy, mythology and romance, and it's exactly the kind of book I look for but rarely find! I'd love to read more of this particular blend of genre/theme! After the ending of this book, I'm intrigued to see how it's all going to end, although I will admit to my anticipation being slightly dimmed due to the revelation about Cat at the end. Sorry but I'm just really not here for that kind of thing! 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Review: Sharp Ends

Sharp Ends
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy! 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

A Beautiful Bastard: The Union army may be full of bastards, but there’s only one big enough to think he can save the day single-handed when the Gurkish come calling: the incomparable Colonel Sand dan Glokta.

Made a Monster: After years of bloodshed, the idealistic chieftain Bethod is desperate to bring peace to the North. There’s only one obstacle left – his own lunatic champion.

Small Kindnesses: The hopes of Shevedieh, the best thief in Westport, to turn her back on crime, come crashing down when she finds a huge drunkard sleeping in her doorway. Doing the right thing always comes at a price…

The Fool Jobs: Curnden Craw has been sent with his dozen to recover a thing from beyond the Crinna. One small problem. No one seems to know what the thing is.

Skipping Town: Shevedieh and Javre, ill-matched adventurers, find themselves forced to flee yet another self-made disaster.

Hell: ‘I have seen hell, and it is a great city under siege.’ The fall of Dagoska through the eyes of a young acolyte.

Two’s Company: Javre, Lioness of Hoskopp, runs into Cracknut Whirrun on a bridge over a remote canyon. Can Shevedieh persuade either of these proud heroes to step aside?

Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Three not entirely innocent bystanders are sucked into the chaos of Monzcarro Murcatto’s vengeance.

Some Desperado: There is no honour among thieves when the outlaw Smoke finds herself being hunted down by her own comrades.

Yesterday, Near a Village Called Barden: Royal Observer Bremer dan Gorst reports to the king on another ugly little skirmish as summer dies in the North.

Three’s a Crowd: It’s a foolish man who steals from the best thief in Styria, and when Horald the Finger steals her lover, it’s time for Shevedieh to stop running and start fighting. For those who work in the shadows, though, few things are ever quite as they seem…

Freedom: Being an absolutely true account of the liberation of the town of Averstock from the grip of the incorrigible rebel menace by the famous Nicomo Cosca.

Tough Times all Over: All Carcolf wants is to take her package from here to there, but in the city of fogs and whispers, there are always a dozen other rogues with their own ideas.

Sharp Ends combines previously published, award-winning tales with exclusive new short stories. Violence explodes, treachery abounds, and the words are as deadly as the weapons in this rogue's gallery of side-shows, back-stories, and sharp endings from the world of the First Law. 

Okaaaayy, so I've read most of Joe Abercrombies books except for the First Law Trilogy, so I went in to this fully expecting to spoil myself, and I'm not really sure how much I've been spoiled to be honest...but I'm so pumped to read the First Law Trilogy now! Not that I wasn't before, but after glimpsing the world and characters I'm ready to fully dive in!

The book cover is completely gorgeous but the pages before each story have these really pretty map guys know how much I love maps! Out of all of the stories, Small Kindnesses, Skipping Town and Three's a Crowd are my favourites from the collection, I'm not going to lie! A couple like Hell and Wrong Place, Wrong Time I didn't really get as grabbed by. 

From what I understand, a fair few of these stories are backstory to various characters and such, like A Beautiful Bastard lets you see another side to Glokta, Hell and Some Desperado. We meet the worlds most dickish character in Logen. I'm probably not going to like him in the books at all. And we meet my two favourite characters of the entire short story collection. 

Shev and Javre. There's a whole host of colourful and interesting characters but I loved Shev and Javre the most and a lot of these short stories centre on them and I'm perfectly fine with that! Three's a Crowd was my ultimate favourite, although I confess to finding myself disappointed by the final Shev and Javre story in the collection. We appeared to be going in chronological order, but I'd hoped when I saw Carcolf's name in the final Shev and Javre story, that we'd see a conclusion to what happened at the end of Three's a Crowd but Tough Times All Over didn't do that. So I was a little bit disappointed. 

As usual with Abercrombie his settings are vivid and atmospheric, his characters are brilliantly written and his writing is superb. The collection is well put together, with Shev and Javre seeming to be the two characters that are the common thread. I don't usually do short story collections, but I really enjoyed this one, and it's made me even more excited to finally read the First Law Trilogy! 


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Review: Unconventional

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

Lexi Angelo has grown up helping her dad with his events business. She likes to stay behind the scenes, planning and organizing...until author Aidan Green - messy haired and annoyingly arrogant - arrives unannounced at the first event of the year. Then Lexi's life is thrown into disarray.

In a flurry of late-night conversations, mixed messages and butterflies, Lexi discovers that some things can't be planned. Things like falling in love... 

Okay....I loved this book! It was just the pick me up that I needed and I read it in one sitting, in a couple of hours. This book is funny, accurate and relatable and the romance gave me the warm and fuzzies over and over! 

I love the letters, texts, emails and fliers etc breaking up the narrative and adding a fun little bursts throughout the book. I had a lot of fun spotting the authors and books that I love and freaking out! Melinda Salisbury was mentioned and I was like AAHHH MELINDAAAA! The end of the book has some fun little extras, Bede's Pineapple facts and an extract from Aidan's book which where nice little touches too!

There are so many brilliant characters in this book. I really liked Lexi, I connected to her and I felt for her and I understood where she was coming from. I wasn't too sure about Aidan in the beginning, I was totally on Lexi's side, but I ended up completely loving him once you see the other side to him. Like Lexi he was also very relatable and you could sympathise with him. I really liked Lexi's mum although I wasn't too fond of her dad for the most part. I wasn't sure I'd like Bea either but I ended up loving her too! 

Sam was one of my favourite characters, she was hilarious and a brilliant friend and I loved her constant cosplaying! I kinda wished I was her with all the outfits! I also really loved Bede and Nadiya, the dynamic and banter between the group made me chuckle, and warmed the cockles of my heart. They where a brilliant group of characters! OH and Damien totally surprised me, I will admit! 

I loved the romance, it gave me the warm and fuzzies, it was totally cute and I loved watching it develop. I liked the dynamics to it, with Aidan kind of having two different personalities. Aidan..and then Haydn the sought after debut author. Lexi was trying to decide which she'd fallen for, and was dealing with feeling kind of inferior to Aidan and the way his life is changing. I liked the little totally uncool moments that Aidan had. But I really, really loved watching their relationship develop and their cuteee! 

I also have to talk about the setting, because I was expecting this to be set over the course of one convention so I had a couple of things that I thought where going to happen...but I was completely surprised and I loved it. The book is set at lots of different conventions, over a period of time and it completely delighted me and added to the fun! 

The final thing I want to say? I NEED Piecekeepers to be a real book. I NEED IT. Every single thing I read about Piecekeepers in this book I was like...I need this book. This is a book I would love. Please tell me this book exists. I need it. It has every single thing I love in a book and the extract at the end just made it worse because I read it and was like..moooreeee! I'm really, really hoping Maggie might write it if we all beg her enough! 

Unconventional is a fun, humorous, cute, easy and warm and fuzzy inducing read. There's a lot of emotion and heart to this book, alongside the fun. The characters are relatable and the settings are familiar and accurate. All in all, it's a brilliant book, and it lifted me out of my little slump! 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Review: Blood Upon The Sand

Blood Upon the Sand
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Çeda, now a Blade Maiden in service to the kings of Sharakhai, trains as one of their elite warriors, gleaning secrets even as they send her on covert missions to further their rule. She knows the dark history of the asirim—that hundreds of years ago they were enslaved to the kings against their will—but when she bonds with them as a Maiden, chaining them to her, she feels their pain as if her own. They hunger for release, they demand it, but with the power of the gods compelling them, they find the yokes around their necks unbreakable.

Çeda could become the champion they’ve been waiting for, but the need to tread carefully has never been greater. After the victory won by the Moonless Host in the Wandering King’s palace, the kings are hungry for blood. They scour the city, ruthless in their quest for revenge. Unrest spreads like a plague, a thing Emre and his new allies in the Moonless Host hope to exploit, but with the kings and their god-given powers, and the Maidens and their deadly ebon blades, there is little hope of doing so.

When Çeda and Emre are drawn into a plot of the blood mage, Hamzakiir, they sail across the desert to learn the truth, and a devastating secret is revealed, one that may very well shatter the power of the hated kings. They plot quickly to take advantage of it, but it may all be undone if Çeda cannot learn to navigate the shifting tides of power in Sharakhai and control the growing anger of the asirim that threatens to overwhelm her. 

I have been so pumped for this sequel, I cannot even, with how Twelve Kings ended...I needed the next book! I consoled myself with the novella, but it wasn't enough. And now...I've finally read it! I'm so excited by where this series is going, and this book was full of twists and turns and another ending that has you wanting to scream because you're so curious...but you're going to have to wait soooo long for the next book! 

Blood Upon The Sand has an action filled opening, and immediately draws you in to the plot. You're right there in the scene with Ceda and from that point on, I was lost in the world of the book. It was easy to get pulled back in to the world of the book and pick up where we left off last time. 

This book makes it very apparent how much Ceda has changed since we first met her way back in book one. She was always a strong character, but she's changed and developed so much over the course of the two books, and after everything that happens in this book I'm intrigued to see how that will change her...or what it'll change her in to. We get lots of flashbacks to flesh out Cedas past, and the relevant new information that's dropped in this book, which I enjoyed because they're nice breaks from the main narrative. Plus I'm totally curious about Ceda's past and this book answers some big questions from the first book! There are definitely some surprises both to do with Ceda and to do with others. I literally felt so dumb for not putting some of it together. In case it wasn't obvious...I still totally love Ceda and her parts where my favourite! 

We also got some parts from the Kings POV, as well as Ramahd and Emre. I quite liked Emre's parts as well, plus the Kings because they where intriguing. There's some....turmoil amongst the Kings shall we say and it was interesting to see the King's POV. Ramahds POV I was kind of meh about. I remembered almost everything about Ceda and Emre, and the Kings. I struggled to remember Ramahd and Meryam and I really didn't think much of Meryam this book, I'm not going to lie. There are a lot of characters, and I did find it hard to keep track of them in this book, especially as it's been a while since the first book! 

I have to say, Emre has changed a lot too since the first book and I really like Emre! I connected with both he and Ceda, and their motivations, and I may or may not ship Ceda and Emre. Like seriously Emre, sort it out because we all know Ceda's too stubborn! I also wanted to mention Davud because I vaguely remembered him from the first book and I liked him and what we saw of him, so I was intrigued to see him take on a bigger role in this book. It was nice to see more of him, and I'm incredibly intrigued to see where his story is going to go! 

Along with the familiar faces, there are some new faces too! Sumeya I'm including as a new face, because we didn't see her as much in the first book. Now...I actually really like her. And I really, really felt for her towards the end after learning more about her. I loved her relationship with Ceda and I'm kinda hoping she'll side with Ceda and everyone because I love her! I quite like the other members of Ceda's hand as well. Aside from one. But more on her in a moment. I lost my liking for a couple of characters in this book it has to be said. Looking at you Zaide. Looking at you hard. Also Ramahd, vaguely remembered him but he's totally dropped Ceda in it. As well as a couple of others. 

Now. The member of Ceda's hand that I didn't like. Yndris. How I hated her. She was a spoiled, bratty, immature little girl and she's the daughter of the Confessor King. She was a constant thorn in Ceda's side and I was hoping for her death continuously. What a little cow. Seriously. I was reading like..."We should totally just kill Yndris!" *rage face*. If she's still alive in the third book I'm going to be annoyed, anytime she was in a scene I was just....ugh. 

The plot is complex, there's plenty of threads and the book is huge, but the intrigue and Ceda keep you reading. There are starting to get to be a lot of things and characters to remember which was hard at times, especially as I didn't have time to re-read Twelve Kings before I started this! The novella was tied in quite nicely if I'm remembering correctly, and there are many epic battles. I loved the dynamic between Ceda and Emre, and Ceda and the rest of her Hand. I was on edge watching Ceda walk a tightrope between her secrets and what she was up to and her Hand and Yndris who keeps stalking her. There's plot twists, and shocking secrets and questions answered and then the ending. Ceda going off like that...I'm so curious about what's going to happen next! 

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