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Tuesday, 31 October 2017
The Wicked Cometh
Buy or Borrow: Either
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
The year is 1831
Down the murky alleyways of London, acts of unspeakable wickedness are taking place and no one is willing to speak out on behalf of the city's vulnerable poor as they disappear from the streets.
Out of these shadows comes Hester White, a bright young woman who is desperate to escape the slums by any means possible.
When Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the fiercely intelligent and mysterious Rebekah Brock. But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life and both she and Rebekah are lured into the most sinister of investigations.
Hester and Rebekah find themselves crossing every boundary they've ever known in pursuit of truth, redemption and passion. But their trust in each other will be tested as a web of deceit begins to unspool, dragging them into the blackest heart of a city where something more depraved than either of them could ever imagine is lurking . . .
I eagerly dove in to this, I mean...two awesome ladies out to solve a sinister mystery? Sign me the hell up!
The Wicked Cometh is richly written, vivid and very authentic. It's dripping with historical fact and interesting little tidbits, so it's clearly been well researched. For the most part, it's a good read. I loved the way the author didn't shy away from vividly writing the seedier, darker side of London, the poor and the poorer elements where really brought to life in this book whereas most historical novels focus on the rich and middle class. The writing is incredibly authentic and really goes with the time, which helps to pull you in. While I did feel like the romance was a bit unnecessary to the plot, another side track, it was nice to see some LGBTQ rep.
My issue with this book is that it's quite slow in the beginning, and while things are alluded to vaguely here and there, there's no sign of the mystery element until a good chunk of the way through the book. It didn't really hold my attention much in the beginning and I found my mind wandering. The mystery doesn't really get going until half way-ish through the book, I think it was. From that point on the pace really picks up and the threads of the mystery twine together so brilliantly. I ended up incredibly hooked and it went in a completely different direction than I thought it would! It was like reading a legitimate novel from the time thanks to various aspects.
All in all, while it failed to immediately hook me in and grab my interest, I loved the writing and how authentic it was. The characters where interesting too! And while it wasn't entirely what I was expecting, once the story got going and the mystery started I was engrossed in trying to work out how everything fit together and who was responsible!
Monday, 30 October 2017
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
It's a few months since Kellen left the Jan'Tep people. Now aged sixteen, Kellen is an outlaw, relying on his wits to keep him alive in the land of the Seven Sands. He misses home, he misses family and more than anything, he misses Nephenia, who he once loved.
Then he meets Seneira, a blindfolded girl who isn't blind, and who carries a secret that's all too familiar to Kellen. Kellen and Ferius resolve to help - but the stakes are far higher than they realise. A Shadowblack plague is taking hold - and Kellen can't help but suspect his own people may be behind it.
Shadowblack has a freaking hilarious opening, let me tell you that for a start! It's been four months since the events of Spellslinger and our little trio have been on quite the journey. I really enjoyed the first book, it was a lot of fun and had lots of originality to it, so I was excited to dive in to the sequel and see where the story was going to take us this time!
In the first book we where getting to know the world and the characters and how things work while dealing with some scheming and so on. This time round things are a little bit different and there's a different vibe as our trio are on the run from the trackers after Kellen, and they stumble in to a mystery that they need to help solve.
Kellen goes on quite a journey in this book, trying to figure out who he wants to be and what he wants to do now that he can't be what he always thought he could be. He's never been more relatable, like he's a relatable character anyway...but his journey in this book will be incredibly similar to one readers might be going through too or have gone through. Ferius is definitely my favourite and I love her more each book and we get to see more of her in this book, and more of the Ferius under the mask she usually wears. We delve deeper in to her character and who she really is which was nice to see!
Reichis gives me Rocket Raccoon vibes, I'm not going to lie. He cracks me up frequently and you know what? He might even start to be caring a bit more for Kellen...I mean...way deep down, but it's still there. He's kinda like the Grinch. He and Kellen are really starting to work more and more like a team in this book, which was nice and has the potential to be a lot of fun!
We get two new characters this book, Seneira who was fiery and super intelligent and I was looking forward to seeing more of her but I guess that isn't in the cards. She was determined and kinda touchy at points but she was a nice addition to our group. Now Daxon...I wrote "He's going to be fun" in my notes swiftly followed by "Immediately changed my mind"! Let's just leave it at that shall we!
Despite not being with our group, we do get to see Shalla in this book and I'm still finding it hard to bring myself to like her. I actually get quite annoyed at her if anything. It provides me with endless chuckles that Shalla can't work out why Kellen wouldn't want to come back home to the parents that counter banded him and the people that would cheerfully kill him and/or treat him like crap. Ditto to the people saying he's betrayed his people and blah blah blah. Like hello? Someone needs a reality check. I think Shalla is going to be one of those characters that I don't really like no matter what little semi-kind thing she does.
Thanks to Kellens travelling and Seneira's brain we get lots of cool information about the Borderlands and Teleidos. It's fun to see some new locations in this book and have the world built up more and more! We spent a lot of time in just the one location last book, so I was looking forward to exploring more of the world and seeing what it was like and how it would differ from Kellen's home! I haven't been let down either, each location is vivid and has it's own particular atmosphere to it.
Shadowblack is fast paced and it's so easy to fall in to the plot! It completely hooks you. There's the plot of this book, and then there's little threads connecting back to the previous book in a way, and definitely connecting to the coming books. There's something much bigger going on and it's all related to Kellens people which should be interesting to watch play out. I'm interested to see how everything will come out and what new twist is going to happen next, this series is really keeping me on my toes so far! I have a list of prime suspects as to who's behind what's going on, thanks to this book, and some of them...might surprise you. I'm probably wrong but I'm so impatient to know who it is!
The plot of Shadowblack gets deeper and deeper the further in to the book you go, drawing you in more and more as you try and Sherlock your way through it. You're initially presented with an interesting mystery that morphs in to a nefarious plot that morphs again in to something much deeper and spoiler filled so I won't say anymore. I just love the layers to the plot and the effortless connections between the books, the little thread joining them together and evidently building up!
Shadowblack has a cinematic world, and it's got bags of originality and fun to it. The main characters are memorable, hilarious and relatable. Personally, I relate to Reichis on a deep, spiritual level. Don't know about you guys!? There's action, some Wild West vibes, and plenty of humour and snark provided by certain characters as well as a rich and deep plot to keep you guessing!
Friday, 27 October 2017
The Tethered Mage
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
In the Raverran Empire, magic is scarce and those born with power are strictly controlled -- taken as children and conscripted into the Falcon Army.
Zaira has lived her life on the streets to avoid this fate, hiding her mage-mark and thieving to survive. But hers is a rare and dangerous magic, one that threatens the entire empire.
Lady Amalia Cornaro was never meant to be a Falconer. Heiress and scholar, she was born into a treacherous world of political machinations.
But fate has bound the heir and the mage. And as war looms on the horizon, a single spark could turn their city into a pyre.
The Tethered Mage throws us straight in to the action and is intriguing with an interesting world right from the start. I loved the opening scene, starting to get acquainted with the world and then being hit with a tense situation kicking the story off right out of the gate. I mean...we have a rogue fire mage about to set the entire city on fire accidentally. Oops?
The world of Tethered Mage is very well created and built up. It was so vivid and so easy to get lost in and was kind of like an alternate Venice! I loved the world building and I loved stepping in to this world, I could picture each setting clearly, and there was a certain vibe to it too. It was fun, and I wanted to know more and more about it and get to see even more of it! I mean, we did get to see a good chunk of the world, two different locations which was fun, but I want to see mooooreee!
Character wise, they certainly where a memorable bunch. Amalia I wasn't too sure about at first, I couldn't decide if I liked her or not. She was kind of a bookworm which ordinarily would have had me like "yes. We're BFF's!" but I was firmly on Zaira's side so I spent a good while side eyeing Amalia, not least because she kind of lets her mother run all over her and doesn't really stand up to her much. Buuutt by the end of the book I was liking her more and more. She was determined to do the right thing and ended up being totally awesome!
Zaira I loved, she was fiery....literally. I loved her right from the first page and I had a lot of empathy for her. She was easy to understand, and you could feel for her and her situation. She didn't ask for it and had done her best to avoid it and you couldn't blame her for feeling and acting like she did. She was relatable and you rooted for her from the start. Marcello...well, you can bet your ass I was shipping he and Amalia right from the start. The thing with him was that at points I felt like his sole purpose was just to be Amalia's love interest. He was a bit useless and didn't really do much for the most part, but he was kind of fun and I'm hoping we'll get to see more of him and he'll have more to do in the next book!
Domenic.....I'm going to be super sad if we don't get to see more of him in the coming books! But I have a feeling we won't, which is a shame because I really loved him and I wanted to get to know his character more and more! He was equally bookish and fun, and I shipped him and Zaira so bad but it looks like he might be out of the series now! Istrella I also loved, nerdy about her magic which was a nice contrast to Zaira, and it'll be fun to get to see more of her in the coming books, hopefully! Along with the characters I loved, there where plenty that I didn't love but where kind of fun to hate on. At least one of those is likely to pop up again which should prove to be interesting. I'm really hoping someone punches him in the face.
The Tethered Mage drew me in more and more and I ended up completely hooked before I was even halfway through the book. There's a steady pace and there's plenty of action along with intrigue and betrayals and scheming. There's also lots of plot twists too, some that you do see coming but there's also some that don't so I was kept on my toes! The Tethered Mage is a brilliantly fun and rich read and I'm intrigued to see where the plot is going to go! I can't wait to dive back in to the world and the characters! I wasn't entirely sure what to expect with this one, but it ended up blowing me away!