Monday, 31 July 2017

Review: Dividing Eden

Dividing Eden
Rating: 3.5/5
Buy or Borrow: Borrow
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option: to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?

I have to say, I've changed my ratings for this multiple times, putting it up and putting it down before finally settling on 3.5. It took me a while to get in to this, and I really wasn't sure about it at first. I actually was close to abandoning it, I was a few chapters in, I hadn't been grabbed and I was a bit iffy about it...but then I re-read the synopsis and decided to push on with it because I remembered how excited I was for it when I stumbled across it back in I gave it another chance. 

The world is interesting, and I was intrigued by it and it's history and I really want to see more of it. I feel like there could have been some more information about it to make it more vivid. This is quite short for a fantasy book, and I think it could have had a couple hundred more pages to flesh some things out, the world, the characters and so on. 

I really felt for Carys, her brother wasn't there for her when she needed him and she always covers for him and protects him and sticks up for him, and deals with the consequences of that and he just seems like kind of a crappy brother right from the start. Carys for me, was the strongest character of the book. She's got her flaws and her vices, but she's relatable, you can empathise with her and root for her. I really felt for her more than once because of how she feels. I really loved watching her grow and change over the course of the book and realise she could do this, people do like her, she can fit in and so on. My love for Carys could be why I didn't like Andreus or Imogen much at all. Even before they where shady. 

Andreus I was curious about for a couple of pages before I lost my patience with him and then had no time for him. I was curious about his problem, and I still am as it was vaguely hinted at but we still don't know what the deal is with it. I feel like towards the end of the book his problem was forgotten about and it was like it didn't exist anymore. I really didn't like Andreus. Carys protects him at her own expense and takes care of him but he really doesn't care, he's quick to think the worst of her, he doesn't return it all, he's childish and quite honestly, more than a little bit pathetic. I didn't care for his relationship with Imogen either. 

When I went in to this, I was expecting to have these two strong characters, both characters I loved and that it was so, so hard to choose between. I was expecting to watch the Trial slowly throw up obstacles for them, and between them, and to see them slowly pull apart until they ended up clashing or something and all the time really struggle to pick who's side I was on. But right from the start I knew who's side I was on and I hated Andreus. I was quite disappointed to be honest. I feel like the pacing was off. For me, I found the beginning to be slow and then it went too fast. I genuinely feel like more could have been fleshed out and the trial could have gone a bit slower, and when I thought of the Trials from the synopsis I was expecting harder Trials to be honest. I don't know. 

Another of my big problems? I found Imogen to be completely transparent. Imogen was snakey. So snakey. And I could tell as soon as she made her first appearance. I knew something wasn't right with her and I knew she was dodgy. I wasn't at all torn by Andreus, like I said, I immediately didn't like him and I had no sympathy for him whatsoever. He just kept going further and further down in my estimations. Whereas I loved watching Carys becoming stronger and stronger, and battling her problems and picking herself up again every single time and winning over the people....Andreus just kept being a crappier and crappier character. So I was disappointed it wasn't a closer call between the two, to have Andreus so unlikeable from the outset was disappointing. 

There's a couple of other interesting characters, Lord Errik and Garret. I'm curious about them, I'm hoping they're not bad guys but to be honest, it's been so obvious who's dodgy and who isn't that I'm feeling quite good about the two of them. I have a little niggle with Errik like he's a bit too good to be true but we'll see. 

Towards the end, things really picked up and I got way more invested in it. After the ending I'm intrigued for the next book, to see who's plotting what and what's up with Errik and Garret and how Carys is going to turn things around and so on. I'm also really hoping Andreus gets what's coming to him too. 


Friday, 28 July 2017

Manga: Akame Ga Kill Vol 11

Akame Ga Kill Vol 11
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

During a covert mission, Tatsumi and Lubbock are captured by Syura, who intends to make amends for his team's failures with it but the Wild Hunt is disbanded after Esdeath exposes his past crimes, and while interrogating Lubbock, he is killed by him. While attempting to escape, Lubbock is killed and after refusing to join her side, Tatsumi is sentenced to death, but when the time for his execution comes, his companions from Night Raid appear to rescue him.

Things are really starting to pick up in Akame Ga Kill, even more so than before as we start to head towards the end of the series. Everything's ramping up, there's more blood, more action and more character deaths and this volume completely broke my heart by killing one of my favourite characters. 

More and more of the volumes feature content not from the anime, so we're starting to get surprised by the twists and turns again, and in this volume there's some familiar content...but it's been changed and switched up and only really bears a passing resemblance. A certain character dies in a completely different way to the anime, and we get some romance in this volume too which wasn't present in the anime that I can remember. 

I ship Mine and Tatsumi so bad and they're genuinely so cute together, they provide some romance and lightness to a story that's getting heavier and heavier. Although that could all be about to come crashing down providing the manga follows the anime in regards to what happens to Mine. I'm also shipping Wave and Kurome even though I don't really like Kurome all that much as a character. 

I will forever be gutted about Run, I'm not going to lie! And my poor little Lubbock, I actually got choked up! I've been so excited for Syura to die, I actually wrote on my review notes "can we just kill Syura already?" when I was at the beginning of the volume and well....job done. He and his merry band of psychopaths have been terrorising everyone and honestly...they so deserve what's coming to them. Dorthea is up to nothing good, although I'm kind of intrigued by what she's doing. 

Esdeath continues to have me completely torn, I kinda like her. She protects her team, she's good to them and there for them and everything, she saved Tatsumi....sort of. And I get her, I get where she's coming from with her feelings for Tatsumi it's hard not to empathise with her on that front, even though she really doesn't get the message, but she's also one of the bad guys. I kinda want her to come over to Night Raid already. But I really don't think she will. 

Akame Ga Kill Vol 11 proves that no character is safe, if we hadn't figured that out already as yet another favourite dies. There's more blood, dismemberment and general ick and everythings ramping up as we start to get ready for the finale. I am so not ready. Everytime I read Akame, I'm on edge and so tense waiting to see who's going to die next, and how it's all going to end. The thing is, I genuinely can't predict what's going to happen in this manga, so I'm always surprised by the twists and turns that pop up, except for the few familiarities from the anime...but even then I can't be sure that things are going to end the same way as the anime, or things will go the same way for the characters because things are getting more and more different! 

My one gripe? This volume completely broke my heart, but then there was the cuteness that was Mine and Tatsumi and then we where settling in for some seriously badass action courtesy of the ladies of Night Raid and then....boom. End of the volume. starts to get really good and tense and then it's like "bye. See you in OCTOBER." can't just leave me hanging like that! 


Thursday, 27 July 2017

Manga: Land of the Lustrous

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

An elegant new action manga for fans of Sailor Moon and the litany of comics and animation that it inspired, Land of the Lustrous is set in a far future Earth, where humanity's distant descendants live on in a small group of sexless crystalline beings who must fight off an invasion from the Moon. 
The young gem Phosphorite can't seem to do anything right. "Phos" has nothing but a big mouth and guts. Cinnabar, a classmate, is a loner, shunned by the other gems because of the toxins emitted from their body. But when they get together, they will learn that they both have an essential role to play in the fight against the Moonfolk, who are intent on coming to Earth to abduct the gem folk and destroy their world. 

So I was a bit worried that I was the only one who didn't really get this, but after having a nose on GoodReads it appears I'm not, which makes me feel better. I feel like this is one of those series where you need to give it a volume or two to really get in to it. 

LotL is straight in there with the interesting history about the Lustrous and what they are and how they came to exist. There's a mysterious leader that you're curious to know more about and then we have Phos our main character. Phos's great, although Phos seem's to annoy every single character! Phos just wants to be a soldier but is assigned a different task instead. I felt for Cinnabar and I'm intrigued by Cinnabar and the solution that there might be for Cinnabar. Cinnabar has a body full of toxins that are given off and so Cinnabar is kind of shunned a little bit. Diamond was great and such a sweetheart. Most of the others I don't really have an opinion on at this stage. 

Things started to get really interesting by the end of the volume and I'm intrigued by Phos's new talent and I'd definitely give volume 2 a go to see where this is going....but. Yes, there's a but. The beginning was a bit slow and although it was intriguing and has left me intrigued about their enemy and the other Lustrous etc...for the most part I had no idea what was going on, and I got confused multiple times. The gems aren't all that distinctive from each other so sometimes it was hard to tell them apart, and you was confusing. I'm still not entirely sure how everything works, and some of it didn't make sense...yet. I'm sure things will become clearer as the story goes on but for the first volume it left me feeling confused and not entirely sure what had gone on in the first volume. I'm hoping the second volume will pick up and straighten things out. 

Review: Noteworthy

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

Jordan Sun is embarking on her junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts, hopeful that this will be her time: the year she finally gets cast in the school musical. But when her low Alto 2 voice gets her shut out for the third straight year—threatening her future at Kensington-Blaine and jeopardizing her college applications—she’s forced to consider nontraditional options.

In Jordan’s case, really nontraditional. A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshipped…revered…all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Jordan finds herself enmeshed in a precarious juggling act: making friends, alienating friends, crushing on a guy, crushing on a girl, and navigating decades-old rivalries. With her secret growing heavier every day, Jordan pushes beyond gender norms to confront what it means to be a girl (and a guy) in a male-dominated society, and—most importantly—what it means to be herself.

Well, I can't recommend this book to you guys enough! I've been looking forward to starting this book and I completely loved it. I got more and more drawn in and riveted to the page as I went! I was completely hooked, the characters where memorable and where really brought to life for you. I loved Jordan as a main character, she was relatable and you could empathise with her and feel for her and you where rooting for her the entire time. 

I freaking love Isaac, Trav and the other Sharps. I wanted to know more and more about them, and their backgrounds! They worked so well together as a group, and their banter cracked me up! This book is one of those that has you laughing out loud and smiling as you read! I have to admit, it's made me so intrigued in a-cappella now too! 

Noteworthy is a brilliant read that pulls you in with it's mix of humour, intrigue and great characters. The cast is diverse, their friendships are so brilliantly written and portrayed, each character has their own personality and really leap off the page, and I've never read anything quite like it. I had so much fun reading this book, it took me on quite the rollercoaster! There's romance too, and I loved how it was slotted in without being the main focus of the book! Jordan has some great inner monologues and conversations with herself and aaahhh it was such a fantastic read! 

Although I'll forever be irked that Connor and his group got away with all the crap they pulled. *frowny face*

Review: Star Wars Junior Novelisations

Star Wars A New Hope
Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars Return of the Jedi
Star Wars The Force Awakens

Ratings: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy!
Source: Copies courtesy of the publisher! 

2017 sees the 40th anniversary of the release of Star Wars: A New Hope, the film that launched the greatest space fantasy epic in history. To celebrate this, Egmont are publishing a set of junior novel adaptations of the original trilogy.
Follow the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca and the Rebel Alliance as they fight against the evil Emperor Palpatine, and his sinister agent Darth Vader!
As I'm sure you guys are aware, I'm a huge fan of Star Wars! Except for the prequel films. I like to pretend those don't exist. Thanks to the publisher, I got to read these gorgeous junior editions of the books and I loved them! They're going to be so brilliant for getting books interested in Star Wars! 
You get some great insight in to the characters and events while keeping it short and sweet! There's not as much detail as I imagine there is in the adult novels, but it's enough for kids and to pique their interest without giving anything away! 
I really feel like these capture the essence of the movies, there's some elaboration on certain character actions and feelings, but not enough to bog down the book and keep it from being short and snappy. The characters personalities are perfectly captured as is the action and adventure and the pace is perfect. 
For Star Wars fans wanting to get the kids they know interested in the movies...these are perfect! They've given me such an urge to watch the movies again's been a while! 

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Manga: The Seven Deadly Sins Vol 21

The Seven Deadly Sins Vol 21
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

The Fighting Festival between The Seven Deadly Sins and The Ten Commandments has finally begun! With The Sins and company divided into groups of two, they have no choice but to work separately as pairs in order to prove victorious in their duels against the other contestants. But when Gowther and Escanor are pit against each other, will they fall into The Ten Commandments’s trap and fight, or will their friendship be strong enough to get them through unscathed? 

I remember watching this show on Netflix, I'd been intrigued by the trailer that they'd been constantly showing and decided to give it a try, and while I was a bit iffy at first, I ended up getting completely hooked. Then of course, once the anime ended I had to know what happened next so I started to read the manga...and here we are at Volume 21 already! 

I've been so excited for this volume because of the end of last volume, with everyone getting paired up for the fighting festival. Like I've been so ready to see everyone throw down, I knew it was going to be awesome! I wasn't wrong. And it was nice to see Elaine and Elizabeth hold their own when they got dragged in to it! 

I'm not going to lie to you guys, Ban and Meliodas are my BROTP. I love the two of them, they crack me up. They had me absolutely cackling in this volume, when they had a little spat during their fight, and they're like, *argues about who's girlfriend is better* and then five minutes later Ban's like "Why's this guy dead? Guess we won. Oh well". I was full on cackling. Only those two would accidentally kill an opponent while arguing between themselves. 

We get to catch up with Denzel and co, and Guila who's in a crew with Gustaf (Jericho's brother) and a surprise relative of Elizabeth's which should be...interesting to see play out. I'm looking forward to seeing more of said relative, I was hoping we might get to see more of her after she showed up earlier on, I actually quite liked her and I'm intrigued to see what role she's going to play in the coming events and so on, and get to delve in to her character more! 

Camelot has unfortunately fallen to Melioda's brother. Damnit Arthur. You had one job. Just one. I'm looking forward to seeing the gang inevitably take it back, but more importantly...I'm looking forward to seeing more of Arthur. Ever since he popped up I've been exited to see him and what he can do and so on, but I feel like he hasn't really had a chance to shine yet, so I'm hoping that next volume we'll finally get to see him in action, and see how he can contribute. 

I have to say, Gowther gets more creepy with each volume. I actually quite liked him when he was first introduced but now he just plain creeps me out. Seriously. Then we get confronted with a new mystery involving him, and I'm like...part of me feels sorry for him..but most of me is just hugely creeped out and kinda wants to hand him over, mystery be damned. 

One of the greatest parts of this volume, for me anyway, was finally getting to see some more of Escanor's background! I've been so curious about him, and then we finally get to meet him and he wasn't at all what I was expecting and I've been itching to know more about him and this volume really delivered for that. I'm also warming to Jericho more and more as the volumes go on, I wasn't sure I'd ever actually like her all that much but I'm slowly getting there and it's nice to see how her relationship with Ban has changed, and how they've finally bonded and become a team. 

My main problem with this volume? When Escanor goes full badass and you're left hanging until next volume! can't just bust that out and then leave it there!? It's just cruel! Although it's safe to say things are stepping up again, there's more going on, there's plenty of action again, we've got sub plots and little mysteries springing up. We're learning more about characters both new and old, and I'm excited to see what's going to happen next. There's certain events I'm looking forward to in particular, as well as seeing how the Commandments get taken down. Because we all know they will get taken down! 

The Seven Deadly Sins is continuing to draw me in with the world and the characters, not to mention the action and the plots proceeding at a nice pace with plenty of things thrown in to keep you hooked! 

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Manga: The Royal Tutor Vol 2

The Royal Tutor Vol 2
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

When the king returns to court, it's time for the princes to prove their mettle. But not everyone's been exactly keeping up with Heine's lessons... (Hint: It's the prince who only scored a one on his assessment test...and that was for signing his name!) Can Heine really whip these boys into shape well enough to rule a country?

You guys, I really feel like this is one of my favourite series both in manga and anime! I look forward to each new volume and kind of put it to the side to read last! I love the art for it, it's got these really fancy touches to it like on the first page...flourishes one might say. I'm getting so in to this series it's not even funny! 

I have to say, Licht is probably my favourite Prince at this point, I'm not going to lie. Although Leonhard is coming in a close second but he's tied with Kai. I'm really loving how the brothers interact with each other, the way they back each other up and tease and mock each other. It provides both humorous and heart warming moments throughout the manga. It's such a great portrayal of sibling relationships. I was a bit worried in the beginning they might all be backstabbing each other so this was a pleasant surprise! 

I'm so ready to learn more about the rest of the Princes, as in this volume the focus is very much on Leonhard! We get some fun scenes with the Princes going out in to the city to interact with the people and see what it's like, something Licht's already aware of. Heine handling Leonhard with the whole guillotine thing cracked me up. Poor old Leonhard is now 'commoner phobic' and spends the rest of the chapter muttering about the dreaded guillotine. Bless him. 

I'm envisioning us getting to know each Prince better and better with each volume, this volume has a particular focus on Leonhard, like I said, and I'm willing to bet the next volume will be Licht to match the cover...the anime went with Licht next, but I'm not sure yet how much the anime is going to have diverged from the manga. Aside from the fact the manga is giving us more insight in to the Princes and motivations behind their actions and so on than in the anime. There's just a bit more information, the manga goes a bit deeper. 

The King, Viktor makes his first appearance in this volume and he is one of my favourites! He completely cracks me up! He's scary and in King mode one moment and then crying and fawning over his sons the next...and they're embarrassed of him. Which I find hilarious. I'm intrigued to see if Heine and Viktors relationship will be the same as the anime or if it'll be changed and tweaked a bit. 

During this volume we get to see how far the Princes bond with each other goes, how they work together and help each other. We see just how much like brothers they are at one point, and we see the differences between each Prince as they venture in to town. We finally get to see them interact with their father, and see the relationship between them and him. In Volume 2 we can see how far their bond with Heine has come in such a short time, particularly in Leonhards case as he trusts Heine. It becomes clear that the Princes trust Heine, and they're opening up to him. It's going to be nice to see their relationship with him grow and change as they open up more, and as we delve deeper in to each character and what makes them tick and so on. 

Things are picking up from our introduction to the Princes in volume one as we get to see more of the characters and the unexpected starts to pop up. Towards the end of this volume, we really start to diverge from the anime. When it comes to Kai and his dilemma from the beginning of episode 8...that's the penultimate chapter of this second volume and appears to be dealt with in just the one chapter without the outing with Princess Adele. Whereas in the anime after Leonhard's problem, we move on to Licht and Kai is the last of the Princes we get to see more of. So I'm not sure whether we'll get more of Kai later, or if that's it. After Kai's chapter we then have completely new material which was a nice surprise! It was nice to see the relationship between two of the Princes and get a little bit of insight in to both and how they act and so on. 

As well as all of that we get some cool background information on the world of the manga too! We get to learn the inspiration behind it and some interesting facts about it and how it works and so on which I found fascinating and really adds to the world! 

The Royal Tutor Volume 2 allows us to delve more in to Prince Leonhard's character as well as the bond between the Princes and well as each other. We cover Episodes 4 and 5 of the anime and the beginning of episode 8, and considering Kai and his problem where wrapped up I don't think we'll be getting the rest of episode 8. Volume 2 starts to diverge from the things we've already seen in the anime, to brand new material that we haven't seen yet and it's made me more curious to see how things are going to play out. My money is on vol 3 being Licht centric but I guess we'll see! Either way this manga is fun, humorous and heart warming too at times, with its fair share of mysteries to be solved, even more so with the introduction of King Viktor! 

Monday, 24 July 2017

Review: The Battlemage

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

After the thrilling cliffhanger at the end of book two, we rejoin Fletcher and his friends in the ether, where they must undertake a mortally dangerous quest, all the while avoiding capture by enemies and facing foes more terrifying than anything they have yet encountered.

But this is nothing compared to what truly lies ahead for Fletcher, as his nemesis, albino orc Khan, is on a mission to destroy Hominum and everything and everyone that Fletcher loves.

Epic battles, dramatic revelations and breathtaking drama await in the third and final book in the New York Times bestselling Summoner series.

I love how it's like "the thrilling cliffhanger at the end of book two" which is completely inaccurate, it was more like "the completely horror and feels inducing cliffhanger" or something. I mean that cliffhanger completely ruined me and has had me so tense waiting for this book like...I wouldn't describe it as thrilling! It was....mean. Yeah. Mean. 

Anyway, I've been anticipating this book for so long, because I'm excited to see what happens next and I need to know what happens next and because I love this series but I've also been a bit sad that it'll be coming to an end! 

The Battlemage picks up right where the previous book left off, and I was immediately pulled straight back in to the world of the book like I hadn't left. That's some writing skill right there. Everything came flooding back the more I read, like little tidbits and so on. We where thrown straight back in to the action and I was hooked right from the first page. I mostly read this in one sitting with one small break that had me desperate to get back to my book! 

As always, the world of the book is imaginative, as are the demons and creatures that inhabit it. The world is brought to vivid life and I love falling so easily in to these books and being able to so vividly picture the world and the characters, the world really does rise up around you. And once again, the book is incredibly atmospheric. I love it. All of these things combine to really pull you in, along with the plot, and keep you hooked. It's brilliant. 

In this final instalment, we have plenty of action to keep you on the edge of your seat. There are battles all over the place and the stakes are high. There are some real heart in mouth moments as you read for sure. I could feel the tension coming off the page which made me tense and twitchy as I was reading. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough at one point and I had to force myself to slow down because I was trying to read way faster than I actually could, if that makes sense?! 

I really loved that everything came together so perfectly, this trilogy has been so well plotted and so well paced and this is the culmination of everything. Some old faces pop up which was nice to see, although not so nice in some cases and I'm not just talking about the characters I hate that have an annoying habit of continuing to live. (Seriously, we need to talk about how one poor, innocent, favourite character died rather than any of the scummy ones like Didric. You could have maimed him a little Taran!). 

I feel like all of the characters we've known and loved have come so far since we first met all of them, the demons too, in one case. *side eyes Ignatius* Whenever I think of this trilogy I think of a bright, vivid world, and memorable characters that are relatable and try their hardest. They all work so well together as a team and they're always there for each other and I'm really going to miss reading about these characters and the world. I feel like there's more to explore! I've loved reading about the realistic strifes between the different races and how they worked to overcome it and I've loved seeing Fletcher make his friends and learn about who he is, and Sylva join the group and open up more. It's been such a great journey and quite the ride. Matharu's merged so many elements from things I love! It's got some Lord of the Rings vibes, and some Pokemon vibes, among others! 

I really loved the ending, I feel like it was the perfect ending for the book, everything ended well. My ship sailed, and my ship for Fletcher is....sort of limping forward? Maybe? The conclusion to the trilogy is satisfying, everything is wrapped up BUT there's a little, tiny gap for another book. Just saying. I'm actually really excited for Taran's next book, which I believe is about Arcturus (aka my fave) and is a prequel of sorts even though Goodreads is listing it as the fourth book! I feel less sad about this ending knowing there's another book in the world with one of the characters I love, because otherwise I'd be gutted! I would miss the world and the storytelling if there where no other books! 

Upon finishing the book, I must say..I definitely needed a stiff drink. My heart actually broke more than once and I'm still mildly upset about some of the character deaths and I'm writing this like four days after I finished the book and have had time to mull it over! I actually have some mild beef with Taran for killing Sheldon and a character who I won't name. (SERIOUSLY!? AND DIDRIC STILL LIVES!?) Not to mention page 408 which you would have seen me freaking out about over on Twitter immediately after reading. I literally read that page and had to immediately put the book down to process it and then a few minutes later I finally picked it back up and read page 409 and.....I just....not funny Taran. Really not funny. That was downright cruel. Not to mention near the end when I had such a clear vision of certain characters dying and after 408/409 I was like...he would totally do it too...he would really kill them. But they lived so it's fine. Unlike Didric's continued existence. Which is not fine. I'm sure I'll not be bitter about it one day. 

The Battlemage is an epically brilliant conclusion to a trilogy that has been imaginative, original, vivid and full of action and adventure. The final battle has such a cinematic, and epic feel to it. Anyone could die. It had the same feel as the final battle for Hogwarts and Middle Earth and so on. I've loved going on this wild ride with the characters. I wasn't sure what I'd make of this at first, when I started to read the first book. I thought it sounded fun and unique, and I'm always on the look out for things different to the usual. This trilogy has not let me down and it's continued to hook me in and keep me gripped. Sure my mind mentally sang the Pokemon theme when Ignatius got an upgrade, and I occasionally picture he and Fletcher as Ash and Pikachu but their friendship and bond is truly heartwarming. I've been kept guessing until the very end, and rolling with the plot twists. I'm going to miss Fletcher and co, but I'm excited to delve back in to the world in the future! I hope Taran writes a million more books because I'm going to be sad to see the end of this world! This trilogy has always brightened my day and brought a smile to my face...even when nasty little characters don't get maimed and killed. 


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Review: The Dark Prophecy

The Dark Prophecy
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

The god Apollo, cast down to earth and trapped in the form of a gawky teenage boy as punishment, must set off on the second of his harrowing (and hilarious) trials.

He and his companions seek the ancient oracles - restoring them is the only way for Apollo to reclaim his place on Mount Olympus - but this is easier said than done.

Somewhere in the American Midwest is a haunted cave that may hold answers for Apollo in his quest to become a god again . . . if it doesn't kill him or drive him insane first. Standing in Apollo's way is the second member of the evil Triumvirate - a Roman emperor whose love of bloodshed and spectacle makes even Nero look tame.

To survive the encounter, Apollo will need the help of a now-mortal goddess, a bronze dragon, and some familiar demigod faces from Camp Half-Blood. With them by his side, can Apollo face down the greatest challenge of his four thousand years of existence?

I was SO excited to get back to Apollo and what's going on with him, I've been really looking forward to this book and it didn't let me down! Genuinely, I am loving this series! I still haven't gotten around to reading Percy Jackson yet but I'm not having any problems reading this without having read fact this series just makes me want to hurry up and get to them! I pretty much have every Rick Riordan book on my wishlist because after reading this and Magnus Chase I'm convinced I'm going to love each book and Riordan can do no wrong. I'm so here for all the mythology. 

I will say, I know that there are spoilers for the Percy Jackson series in this book, but I'm really not bothered by that, and if you're not bothered then go ahead! I genuinely think you can read this with no problems having not read PJ. I know enough about the series from various different things to recognise certain characters and I feel like there's enough in the narrative so  you won't be left scratching your head. 

As we start reading The Dark Prophecy we're straight in with the action and I for one, had everything from the first book come flooding back pretty quickly! Our little group, Apollo, Leo and Calypso are just arriving in Indianapolis and their arrival doesn't quite go to plan! We get some creepy new villains, and some fantastic new characters in the form of Emmie and Jo. I LOVE Emmie and Jo. I need a series that's just all of their adventures. Undecided on if I like Britomartis or not though! 

Speaking of Britomartis, I had never heard of her and she wasn't the only one in this book. I love mythology and Greek mythology is one of my big favourites, like that and Egyptian I've been obsessed with since I was quite young, along with Chinese, Norse is newish to me. SO I've read any book I can get my hands on that features Greek mythology, and I like to think I know a fair bit, I've even read a few non-fiction books about it. But I seriously didn't know who Britomartis and a couple of other ...beings where. So I loved being surprised with these little mythology tidbits that I had no idea about. I learned aaaalll kinds of cool things in this book and it really kept it fresh.

Right from the start there's plenty of action and intrigue and I love how easily this book carries on from the first book. It's like a rolling plot, it just keeps going..until you know...the last book but you know what I mean. I actually thought it was nicely paced, fast paced, and with enough going on to keep you hooked. And once again...this book is freaking hilarious. I love it. I was feeling really down and I actually purposely picked this up because I knew it was going to make me laugh. I just find myself sitting there chuckling as I'm reading. 

Apollo's narrative voice and his little haiku's make my life complete. So freaking funny. The book is always funny, with plenty of humour, but one of the main contributors towards that is Apollo's narrative. He speaks like a God. Of course he does, he was one. But because he's a Modern God, and he's totally with the times, Apollo has this mashup of God Speak, pop culture references and the odd modern phrase. It gives me life. I love it. I just love reading his voice. It's such a brilliant perspective. 

Apollo's character development in this book is brilliant. He's come so far since we first met him, and I've loved watching it. He's a God so of course he thinks the world revolves around him and he has a tendency to be narcissistic BUT in this book he really starts to think about others more and you can see he's starting to care about others, help others and generally not let them die, particularly those he's close to and interacts with a lot. You can see it multiple times in this book, particularly Meg. I haven't actually warmed up to Meg all that much so I haven't decided if his loyalty is misplaced or not yet. Like....she was a bit traitory and then she's so..mean? I don't know. Apollo is my little precious cinnamon roll. Anywaaaayyy it's so nice to see him growing and changing as the boos progress and I'm intrigued to see how he gets on with his sister as opposed to the rest of the Gods. I'm really excited to see where his character goes, I hope he still retains some of his narcissism though, he wouldn't be the same without it! 

The one thing bugging me is how mean everyone is to Apollo aka my precious bubba. Apollo's optimism and endless cheer is truly inspirational considering how much everyone gives him a rough time. He gets blamed for everything or at least most things, and seriously...Meg is so mean/rude to him. Leo and Calypso give him such a bad time too like some of it is just the friendship and is more jokey but there's so much that's like...okay guys. Let's stop picking on my cinnamon roll now. The thing is, I get why they would because of how he was..but he's getting to be such a better person now. He tries so hard with everything, and helps out, and I just REALLY love Apollo okay. He's such a refreshing main character.

I'm so excited for the next book, this is one of those series that I genuinely look forward to the next book with no chill whatsoever. I'm so impatient. The Dark Prophecy provides some great clues and insights and things to look forward to next book in general. I'm so ready to find out who the third emperor is and see Camp Jupiter for the first time! Unless of course I've made it to the PJ and Heroes of Olympus books by then, in which case switch out "for the first time" for "again". Things are promising to get even more interesting and even more awesome next book and you know...there's a PJ character that pops up right at the end and I knew immediately who it was and got so ridiculously excited. Like shrieked the name and jumped up and down excited. 

All in all The Dark Prophecy is another brilliant instalment in this series, more action, adventure, fun and humour. I'm loving Apollo's character development, and I loved watching him bond with Calypso and Leo more. I'm still a bit iffy about Meg, but we'll see what happens! Riordan is the King of mythology, I have to say! Especially in this one when he cracks out some lesser known mythology and educates us all! I'm 100% super stoked for the third book...if only it where out sooner waaaa! 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Review: Strange Magic

Strange Magic
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Rosie Strange doesn't believe in ghosts or witches or magic. No, not at all. It’s no surprise therefore when she inherits the ramshackle Essex Witch Museum, her first thought is to take the money and run.

Still, the museum exerts a curious pull over Rosie. There’s the eccentric academic who bustles in to demand she help in a hunt for old bones, those of the notorious Ursula Cadence, a witch long since put to death. And there’s curator Sam Stone, a man about whom Rosie can’t decide if he’s tiresomely annoying or extremely captivating. It all adds up to looking like her plans to sell the museum might need to be delayed, just for a while.

Finding herself and Sam embroiled in a most peculiar centuries-old mystery, Rosie is quickly expelled from her comfort zone, where to her horror, the secrets of the past come with their own real, and all too present, danger as a strange magic threatens to envelope them all.

I'm not going to lie...I was mostly interested in this because of the cover and the whole witches thing. I'm from Surrey, which is one of the places that did have witch hunts (something I really would love to learn more about but can't find anything) and oddly was the Essex witch hunts we learned about in school. Either way, it's something I've always wanted to know more about.  

The main thing that I loved about this book was all of the history woven in to this, I learned so much from reading this book and fact was woven very cleverly with fiction. The authors take on events and filling in the blanks fit rather well and I didn't seem at all out of the realms of possibility. I just really enjoyed the historical elements to the book and all the little tidbits both witch related and otherwise. Although, I had no idea witches and criminals couldn't be buried in actual graveyards, and I now have visions of unearthing some poor soul when we have to dig up the ground for something we're doing to the genuinely never occurred to me. Shame on me. 

I loved Rosie, although I was a bit iffy towards her at the beginning, I ended up liking her more and more, and I loved her relationship with Sam and how it developed over the course of the book. They made quite the team! It had a great pace, it was atmospheric and mildly creepy at points and it kept me intrigued and interested throughout, as well as fully entertained at some of the humour! It's actually quite a witty read! The end of the book seemingly sets up the next book which has me incredibly intrigued, as much as ghosts freak me out. I'm not a sceptic like Rosie unfortunately, I wish I was and reassure myself the paranormal doesn't exist but I've watched one too many ghost hunting shows to be fully comfortable! Seriously, I didn't sleep properly for a week after seeing Paranormal Activity. Anywaaaaaay, I'm intrigued to see where this series is going to go, it was a lot of fun! 

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Review: House of Furies

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

After escaping a harsh school where punishment was the lesson of the day, seventeen-year-old Louisa Ditton is thrilled to find employment as a maid at a boarding house. But soon after her arrival at Coldthistle House, Louisa begins to realize that the house’s mysterious owner, Mr. Morningside, is providing much more than lodging for his guests. Far from a place of rest, the house is a place of judgment, and Mr. Morningside and his unusual staff are meant to execute their own justice on those who are past being saved.

Louisa begins to fear for a young man named Lee who is not like the other guests. He is charismatic and kind, and Louisa knows that it may be up to her to save him from an untimely judgment. But in this house of distortions and lies, how can Louisa be sure whom to trust?

Featuring stunning interior illustrations from artist Iris Compiet, plus photo-collages that bring Coldthistle House to chilling life, House of Furies invites readers to a world where the line between monsters and men is ghostly thin.

So, you guys might remember I featured this on my blog back in January as one of my new releases that I was looking forward to! I don't usually do horror, but there was something about this book that intrigued me, the cover and the synopsis both piqued my interest and it sounded like something a bit different to the usual! Even still wasn't what I was expecting, and I found myself completely loving it! 

House of Furies is dark and atmospheric and it's that atmosphere along with how vivid it is that draws you in straight away and keeps you hooked to the page. I was hooked nearly immediately, and couldn't put it down, I read it in one go and the atmosphere to the book is one of the things that really makes this book memorable, and adds just something a little extra to it. I feel like a good horror book should be atmospheric but this is just perfect. I don't know how to explain it exactly, it just fit so well and I had such a good mental image as I was reading! 

You get these really cool extracts from Morningsides book that have these brilliant illustrations with them, and I felt like that was a nice extra touch that added a few hints here and there! I really enjoyed the mythology and lore surrounding the monsters/mythical beings/creatures that went in to this book, it fascinated me and definitely left me wanting to know more! Speaking of Morningside...I actually really loved him. He was smooth and intelligent and a little bit mischievous at one point, and I loved his interactions with Louisa. He cracked me up more than once as did their banter. I ship them a fair bit, I'm not going to lie! 

For me, Louisa was a great main character, she was believable and had the same kind of reaction that I imagined most of us would have when confronted with her situation. My thoughts about Lee and certain things often mirrored hers with her doubts and so on. Her situation with Lee particularly was very well done, I was pretty much with Louisa the whole time, first trusting him and not seeing how he could be bad and then the doubt seeping in. So well done. 

I found all of the characters to be a memorable bunch, they where interesting and I wanted to know more about them and what they could do and what brought them there and their pasts and just everything basically! Mary, Chijioke and Poppy in particular, I'm not going to lie! Plus you know...Morningside. 

I loved the way the author blended together the historical and the supernatural with the gothic touches. The storytelling was brilliant and like I said..atmospheric and vivid! It was just plain creepy at times, but it was always intriguing. And I'm so excited to see what happens in the next book and to get to know the characters even better! I need way more Morningside, I'm not going to lie! 

All in all House of Furies was a brilliantly written, atmospheric and vivid read that intrigues you from the start and keeps you hooked until the last page. The characters are an interesting and memorable bunch and the book leaves you wanting more! 

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Review: Dragon Teeth

Dragon Teeth
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Michael Crichton's recently discovered novel—an adventure set in the Wild West during the golden age of fossil hunting.

The year is 1876. Warring Indian tribes still populate America’s western territories even as lawless gold-rush towns begin to mark the landscape. In much of the country it is still illegal to espouse evolution. Against this backdrop two monomaniacal paleontologists pillage the Wild West, hunting for dinosaur fossils, while surveilling, deceiving and sabotaging each other in a rivalry that will come to be known as the Bone Wars.

Into this treacherous territory plunges the arrogant and entitled William Johnson, a Yale student with more privilege than sense. Determined to survive a summer in the west to win a bet against his arch-rival, William has joined world-renowned paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh on his latest expedition.  But when the paranoid and secretive Marsh becomes convinced that William is spying for his nemesis, Edwin Drinker Cope, he abandons him in Cheyenne, Wyoming, a locus of crime and vice. William is forced to join forces with Cope and soon stumbles upon a discovery of historic proportions.  With this extraordinary treasure, however, comes exceptional danger, and William’s newfound resilience will be tested in his struggle to protect his cache, which pits him against some of the West’s most notorious characters.

I've loved Jurassic Park since I was a kid, I remember watching it on Sundays whenever it was on and eating apple, mostly it would be on at Easter and despite owning the video and then DVD....I'd always watch it. I pretty much know most of the lines! I was wary of Jurassic World..but actually ended up really enjoying it too. I've been meaning to buy and read the original Jurassic Park books for a while but haven't quite gotten around to it yet, so....this is my first Michael Crichton book! 

I recently read a book by another author that was based on the Bone Wars, and my curiosity has since been piqued about that period of history and those events. I was super excited to read this because I figured it was likely to be more historically accurate and full of more history than the other book I read...and I was right! I completely loved this, and I breezed through it in one sitting. 

Dragon Teeth is fast paced and absolutely packed with historical detail and fact. But all of that is woven in to the narrative and it's so well done that it's not like history is being shoved down your throat and it doesn't affect the pace of the book at all. I was absolutely fascinated, not just with the events of the book...but with the parts that where true, and the historical figures and all the tiny little historical details that you wouldn't think twice about. This book has clearly been well researched and it made it such an authentic read. Perhaps he got a hankering to write this book after doing Westworld and Jurassic Park...I don't know. I'm not familiar with the publication order of his books and films etc. 

There's plenty of intrigue to keep you reading, it's vivid and draws you in. I got completely caught up in the adventure and action of the book. I genuinely had a moment or two, especially at the beginning, when I couldn't quite work out if it was all real or not, I had to double check that Johnson didn't actually exist! I was intrigued to find out that one of the other characters, Sternberg, did though...and that he had published a book about the trip Cope takes in this book...although obviously that trip has been tweaked and changed for the purposes of this story. 

While I liked the science, seeing the process of how the bones where found, excavated, kept safe to travel, catalogued and put together and so on....I loved the characters. The characters really made this story memorable for me, along with the historical detail and so on. We had Johnson, a fictional character who goes on quite a journey in this book. I really enjoyed seeing him grow and change and mature over the course of the book as he goes from a pampered rich boy to being able to fend for himself. He has to battle to get home, facing a dangerous journey, not just because of the overly bleak and deadly landscape but because of the Indian wars going on at the time, various nefarious characters and other obstacles, natural or otherwise. Johnson becomes quite the hero, more so on the way back than on the way there, despite facing the trials and tribulations of the journey there. 

We have Cope and Marsh, who are vastly different to each other. I have to say...I'm team Cope. I wanted to punch Marsh in the face more than once, I'm not going to lie.  He's so paranoid and he kept trying to sabotage Cope over and over, even going so far as to poison water. Cope...well I could let him off having a temper because I'd be pretty pissed off at Marsh's constant sabotage and trouble making and attempts to buy or steal bones instead of doing the work himself. Cope seemed the more honest, and hard working of the two and he really helped Johnson after Marsh abandons him. I'm intrigued to read more about Cope and Marsh. I was actually annoyed to learn at the end of the book that Marsh 'discovered' more Dinosaurs than Cope...I can't help but wonder if he managed all of them honestly. I'm going to have to buy Sternberg's book and read it because the notes at the end of the book said the feud had actually been toned down and I'm curious! 

We also have Wyatt Earp, I had to google him. I had to. I wasn't sure if he was a real character or not and then when I got to the end and there was his little mini auto biography I had to google him to see it was true..even though it was pretty obvious! I had been surprised to see Sternberg was real too! I'd assumed the only real people in the book where Cope and Marsh...but anyway. Mind blown by Earp's life story. I actually really liked him, he became quite the friend to Johnson! Along with the memorable characters I liked...there where also the memorable characters I hated. Marsh. The Curry brothers. The annoying, suspicious woman who's name escapes me now I've finished the book...she had two names anyway! 

Dragon Teeth is a rollercoaster of a read that I guarantee you'll be able to devour in one sitting. Crichton really brings the West to life, with saloons, gunfights, and desolate, dangerous landscapes. There's history in every page, the book has clearly been well researched. There's a lot of information about the various Indian tribes, and how they where treated, and the wars between the Tribes and the US Military. Let's just say the US weren't painted in a flattering light in this book, and I can't say I'm sorry about that. I was pleased Crichton didn't try to gloss over or hide how badly the Native Americans where treated by the US Government and Military and so on. It was horrendous and should be portrayed as such. 

After reading this book, I definitely have the urge to read up on Marsh and Cope and the time period, and do some research of my own! Not to mention actually get around to getting copies of Jurassic Park and reading them! Crichton really brought the Bone Wars, the West and the historical figures featured in the book to life and I was riveted from the first page. 

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