Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Review: The Orphanage of Gods

The Orphanage of Gods 
Rating: 2/5
Buy or Borrow: Borrow
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

In the bloody revolution, gods were all but wiped out. Ever since, the children they left behind have been imprisoned in an orphanage, watched day and night by the ruthless Guard. Any who show signs of divine power vanish from their beds in the night, all knowledge of their existence denied.

No one has ever escaped the orphanage.

Until now.

Seventeen-year-old Hero is finally free - but at a terrible price. Her sister has been captured by the Guard and is being held in a prison in the northern sea. Hero desperately wants to get her back, and to escape the murderous Guardsmen hunting her down. But not all the gods are dead, and the ones waiting for Hero in the north have their own plans for her - ones that will change the world forever . . .

As she advances further and further into the unknown, Hero will need to decide: how far is she willing to go to do what needs to be done? 

I was so excited for this book, it was an anticipated read of mine and the premise sounded fantastic. Unfortunately it didn't quite deliver for me. I started out really loving it, the opening was tense, yet vivid. We quickly got to the gist of the world and its history with a few sentences from Hero and I had plenty of questions and was certainly intrigued. 

But I only got through this book by resorting to skim reading it, after I couldn't force myself to keep reading it properly anymore. I didn't particularly like or connect with any of the characters. Hero seemed to be quite practical and pragmatic, realistic about things too. She's the leader, although she isn't used to it, and you can kind of tell. She only really snaps at Joshua the once, and I kind of felt like she needed to grow a spine when it comes to him and tell him to sod off. 

Joshua himself doesn't seem to be all that stable. He's cold and there's something broken within him...he's a God and has some amazing powers but I really didn't find him likeable to be honest. He annoyed me a hell of a lot throughout the book, and it got worse the longer the book went on. He talks to Hero, and treats her like crap and demands she heal Kestrel all the time and...no. Not loving him. 

Kestel meanwhile, is human and none of them are actually related by blood, but they do have a close bond and trusted each other. I'd tell you more about her but I honestly don't really have that many thoughts on her to be honest? 

We have Hero's POV for part one, Raven's for part two which gives us a chance to get to know the Resistance without the prejudice that Hero may have. I actually quite liked Raven, she as grateful to Hero and didn't like Joshua and fully supported Hero growing a spine and getting mad at him! Unfortunately even that couldn't grab my interest, and we then switched to Kestrels POV for the final part of the book. 

It's quite chilling to read about the Orphanage and the Guards and what happens to the kids when they're taken, I'll give it that. We switch from what's going on with Hero and Joshua to what happened in the past and how the Orphanage is run etc, slowly building up the world alongside the plot. It took me a while to get in to the book to be honest, Joshua was irritating me and it was quite slow to start but things sped up when it came to the rescue and the first part ended pretty explosively...and then I found my attention and interest wandering again and just couldn't get back in to it properly, or really get invested in it. I was so indifferent to it for the most part. 

The premise was interesting but I just didn't gel with this book. I only really got in to it very briefly, and then I lost interest again and I wasn't compelled to keep reading. I finished it because I felt I had to, and like I said I resorted to skim reading it to make it through. There are so many unlikeable characters, one of whom gets away with everything and is never held accountable. We have 3 POV's and once you get one that's it. Done. I feel like it would have been better to switch between the three of them. 

A romance suddenly sprung up, and the whole "overthrow the Guardsmen" thing was a bit...anti-climatic, a bit too easily solved, and then we went off for the final part of the book to deal with Anthony. A member of the Resistance who apparently thinks having power is more important than saving Gods and half breeds and bringing about a revolution. I thought the whole point of the book was going to be overthrowing the Guards and everything, but it ended up getting swept under the rug with the main focus being Anthony and quite frankly, yeah he's bad but...we didn't actually see him enough for me to give a damn. 

I actually think Kestrels rescue was a bit too easy too considering that place was supposed to be a stronghold no-one has ever escaped from and the fuss that everyone was making about it. 

Overall, I just didn't like the characters, never connected with them, the book never really grabbed me for long despite the action it had and I don't think things were fleshed out or handled well at all. 

Manga: Quintessential Quintuplets 2

The Quintessential Quintuplets Vol 2 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

Thrown into the midst of five beautiful sisters who hate studying, Futaro must figure out how to keep them from flunking out of school. But he has to start from the beginning and earn each girl's trust first! His effort to befriend the sisters starts off rocky, but he bonds with Miku over her love of Sengoku Period warlords. It all seems for naught, though, when a bath-related mishap with Nino threatens everything Futaro's worked to accomplish! Will he be able to prove his innocence and gain their trust? Maybe a fireworks festival will brighten their moods! 

We open the volume on to an impromptu trial for poor old Futaro, but hey, at least Miku is on his side. Although it did briefly seem like Nino was going to bond with him, and we do get some insight in to her but nope. She's more determined than ever to get rid of him. 

Futaro does spend some time with Itsuki this volume, which makes for some funny moments as they're hanging out with his little sister before they all head out to the fireworks festival with the other Quints. You'd think it'd be cute and chill, but there's a sense of tension that has you on edge as the Quints race to find each other to watch the fireworks together. 

Like I said, the volume gives us some serious insight in to Nino a couple of times throughout, as well as displaying the sisterly bond between all of them. We also seem him hanging out with Itsuki again, but he does spend some time with Nino as well as Miku and it's obvious one of them has a crush on him. There's also a sense of something not quite right thanks to Ichika and what was going on with her, and what she was hiding but we do see her get a little closer to Futaro although there wasn't quite the focus on any particular Quint that there was in the first volume, I felt. 

We get a lot of understanding of certain characters, a longer look at two of the Quints, there's some cute moments, some funny moments and some heartwarming moments all packed in to this volume. It's rounded out with an ending that brings a source of intrigue involving all of the character's pasts, and that should be a mystery thread that'll be present in coming volumes! 

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Manga: Hitorijime My Hero 2

Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

A few months have passed since Masahiro Setagawa revealed his true feelings for his teacher Kousuke Ohshiba (a.k.a. the Bear Killer, infamous destroyer of punks). But there's no way things will stay nice and peaceful for this pair! And when Kousuke suddenly says they should break up, Masahiro's world is turned upside-down! 

As you can tell from the synopsis we have a nicely handled time skip of a couple of months, it was very smoothly handled off the page. Poor old Masahiro is struggling a bit adjusting to being in a relationship and to my great amusement he's gossiping and looking for advice from Hasekura. 

Alongside Masahiro adjusting to being in a relationship and everything it comes with, there are some cute moments between the two of them, but we also get a glimpse of how Masahiro became Kousuke's underling. Along with more insight in to Masahiro as a character and his past and how he grew up. 

We also get to meet some new characters this volume. Kousuke's friends and they're definitely an...interesting bunch. One of them is Hasekura's older sister who's married to a cop who seems a bit...shady. Like he's good intentioned but he doesn't seem serious enough to be a cop. Thanks to them Kousuke gets to thinking a little bit, and we learn that he wants Masahiro to make friends and know that there's more than one place to belong. 

This volume gives us cute moments, but it also gives us a few ups and downs, as well as some dramatic moments. Hasekura has become Masahiro's agony aunt against his will, he goes to him for advice and to talk things out and while Hasekura is grouchy about it which had me laughing, I do think he does actually care. Deep, deep down. After the introduction of Kousuke's friends I'm intrigued to see more of them, although I suspect they're going to cause some trouble in the future. While this volume does end happily and there's no major incidents we already had some slightly angsty moments as our couple figures out their relationship......and I'm sure there's going to be plenty more. 

Monday, 22 April 2019

Review: The Red Scrolls of Magic

The Red Scrolls of Magic 
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation—a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke.

Now Magnus and Alec must race across Europe to track down the Crimson Hand and its elusive new leader before the cult can cause any more damage. As if it wasn’t bad enough that their romantic getaway has been sidetracked, demons are now dogging their every step, and it is becoming harder to tell friend from foe. As their quest for answers becomes increasingly dire, Magnus and Alec will have to trust each other more than ever—even if it means revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping. 

It's here, it's here! The Malec book of my dreams! I've been so ready for this, I love Magnus and he's my complete favourite! I've been itching for Magnus to get his own book, and I know there's the novellas but it's not the same! Anyway, Cassie went one better and along with Wesley.....they've given us a Malec book. I will have a book discussion for this book coming up on my YouTube channel in the next couple of weeks that'll have a spoiler free section and then a spoiler section to squeal over, but I thought I'd type up a quick review to share earlier too! 

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but I was expecting good things…and this was just amazing. I had so much fun reading it, and I didn’t want it to end. It was way better than anything I had imagined to be honest. 
I was a little bit confused about the time setting for this initially, as I had assumed it was set after TDA and didn’t actually look to see when it was set, and I haven’t read The Mortal Instruments since the final book came out so my memory was struggling to conjure up the timeline and I thought I’d figured out but nope. I did eventually work out its set during City of Fallen Angels.

I would recommend you read the first three mortal instruments books before you read this, if you're super impatient you could read this before the other books, but you'll miss some connections with TDA and some layers to it, it's up to you.

I was pleasantly surprised by getting both Magnus and Alec's point of view, I love Magnus, I always have. His snarky narrative is my favourite, he's so extra and just excellent and this book reminded me of how much I love him! He made my heart hurt multiple times in this, pretending it's all good when it's not, worrying that he might have done something that'd make Alec look at him differently. He's keeping a secret from Alec because he doesn't want to put him in a tough spot with the Clave. But my heart hurt the most when he basically showed he was scared of getting hurt. OUCH my heart.
We learn so much about Magnus's past and his childhood in this book, it might not be news to people who've actually read Bane Chronicles (I'll get there eventually okay), but it was to me and it was heartbreaking. On a lighter note, his snark was on point, as to be expected from Magnus, he had me laughing so many times with his comments and his behaviour.

Don't get me wrong, I've always liked Alec but this book made me love Alec even more because we get to know him so much better. Bless him, he's such an awkward little bean with new people but such a MOOD. Alec is worrying about a lot of things, the only thing he's sure of is his feelings for Magnus. He'll protect Magnus no matter what and ugh, I love them. I feel like we get to know Alec even better than we have before, and I actually found him pretty relatable at times. Hit me in the feels though when talking about how his friendship with Jace started and showed just how strong the sibling bond between he and Izzy is. Alec did his fair share when it came to choking me up, I can't lie.

The thing I found most interesting about Alec’s POV in this book is that if you’ve read TDA you know how Alec is now and how far he’s come as a character and the monumental character growth, and in this book I feel like we’re starting to build up to that Alec. When we first meet him he’s big on following the rules and the whole “The law is hard but it is the law” thing but in this he’s not quite following that, helping to keep something from the Clave. He's also stepping in to Downworlder shoes somewhat and what they must feel like to be questioned by a Shadowhunter, and coming to understand and empathise with them. We really see a shift in Alec’s feelings and understanding towards Downworlder’s throughout the course of this book, and I feel like we’re seeing the first glimmers of TDA Alec.

We’re used to a bit of build up when it comes to Cassie’s books and I love it, don’t get me wrong, but this one jumps straight in, we have romance, action, and then Malec are sent off on their quest all within the first 30 pages or so. The plot thickens even more from there and from what we know from the synopsis. Plus there’s the fact Tessa, Magnus and Alec are hiding this from the Shadowhunters and the tension that creates. As is usual, there’s different plot threads woven in, we’ve got the romance, and the mystery, we’ve got some great themes like forgiveness and forgiving yourself, we’ve got characters struggles, characters pasts, and we get to see a lot of the Warlocks and downworlders too!

I did love the vibes to this book, like the stuff in Paris felt very usual Shadowhunter vibes, but from the Orient Express it took on a different vibe for me. I did wonder if we were going to Murder on the Orient Express, kind of thing, but not quite.

The entire book just has a different vibe to it than the other Shadowhunter books, or at least I thought so. I think maybe because there’s no huge, looming doom and gloom war brewing, and there’s not a huge group it was just Magnus and Alec for the most part in a little two person mission team up. But to me it had a real adventure, quest vibe with a lot of snarky humour. Maybe it’s a little bit lighter as well? Certain lighter than TDA.

There’s plenty of action and humour and a nice pace that keeps you riveted to the book, of course we build up more and more to the finale when the action ramps up and intensifies. There’s also the usual mind blowing plot twists one in particular really caught me off guard and made me screech. Thanks guys. You know what you did.

The ending was beautiful though, the final glimpse of Magnus and Alec before heading in to the epilogue of ruin. It started out all cute, and chilled, a cute Malec moment and then holy shit the ending. I screeched. I should be used to these kinds of endings from Cassie by now but I was hoping Wesley might be kinder. No.

Speaking of Wesley, I haven’t read any of his books, BUT as far as I could tell his writing blended well with Cassie’s, or with the Shadowhunters in general. I never read a passage of the book and thought “wow Cassie didn’t write this”. I don’t know how they wrote this, I don’t know if one wrote Alec and one wrote Magnus, or what the plan was, but nothing in the writing or characters felt out of place.

I loved getting to see regular Paris and then the more magical side of Paris. The Paris shadowmarket was fun to see too and then because Paris isn’t a luxurious enough location, we get taken on the Orient Express to Venice before heading off to Rome.

I loved reading about Venice and the party sounded completely magical. But I loved how each different place was brought to life, and transported you there, letting you get a little bit of a feel for the place, and wow the Rome Institute. I wish it was real. Nothing is out of place, this slots smoothly in to the TMI series, in a gap Cassie created, and expands upon the world showing us more of the world of the Downworlders in their parties and the shadowmarkets of other places, and more of the world of the Shadowhunters in more of the institutes.

As for the romance...I love them. I love how Alec anticipates him, sometimes before he’s even opened his mouth but Magnus can surprise him with the smallest thing. Magnus was all romantic one minute and then he’d make a comment about a future without Alec cause immortal and I’d get punched in the feels. They’re kind of in the awkward phase where Magnus is being careful with Alec and trying not to push him, and Alec hasn’t been able to actually voice what he wants because he hates conversations about feelings. So Alec’s all in with Magnus and ready for anything but Magnus is cautious and Alec doesn’t want him to be and neither of them want to mess anything up but the trip will let them get to know each other better and the other sides they have to them. They’re basically struggling with boundaries and Magnus is scared for Alec to see some of his past if it’s bad but Alec wants to be included because he's confident in his feelings for Magnus.

I just loved seeing them near to the beginning of their relationship, figuring everything out, what they want and how to be together so both of them are happy. Having read all the books and seeing how far they’ve come, it hit me in the feels even more. It’s a deeper insight in to where they were before the second half of TMI and there’s some foreboding because of what we know is coming in the second part of TMI and we see the glimmers of a couple of issues they’re going to face.

Like I said, there’s tensions between Shadowhunters and Downworlders and we see a lot of prejudice against Alec in this book whereas usually it’s the other way round. We’ve seen Alec and all his friends with Magnus there too but not as tied to them as Alec is, obviously, and now we see Magnus and all his connections with Alec kind of on the fringes, which makes for some interesting moments as Alec is adjusting to being around so many downworlders, and it’s not easy for them to get information with Alec present, and Alec isn’t as comfortable with them as he is in TDA. Considering some of them are Magnus’s friends, it’s a bit of contention at one point between them.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of sweet, and romantic moments. I wasn’t here for the cockblocking demons showing up every time Magnus and Alec started to get somewhere but that’s not the point. But there’s also a few rocky and angsty moments along with the nicer moments. That’s my point. I JUST LOVE MALEC AND I BASKED IN ALL THE MALEC MOMENTS OKAY.

I had so much fun reading this, it exceeded any expectations I had for it, and I liked the different tone and vibe to the usual Shadowhunter books. It was so much fun, it had me smiling and laughing, but also getting choked up. I loved the insight in to Magnus and his past, and Alec as well as Aline and Helen. I loved the pacing and the plot for this, and the other threads woven in, along with connections to the other books. It’s honestly just become one of my favourites which means it’s tied with I think it’s in second place right now, after TID. Sorry TDA you’ve been knocked down a place.

Manga: Seven Deadly Sins 31

The Seven Deadly Sins Vol 31 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

After striking a deal with Meliodas, Zeldris and Estarossa set off in search of The Ten Commandments in order to turn Meliodas into the Demon Lord. Meanwhile, Elizabeth reunites with Merlin and the rest of The Seven Deadly Sins, and The Sins form an alliance with Stigma in hopes of saving Meliodas. But with Meliodas and Elizabeth striving towards the same goal, whose path is the right choice--and who will prove victorious? 

We open with chaos for multiple different characters, and Elizabeth has a resolve to save Meliodas and halt his plan! 

I have to say, the archangels seem shady to me for multiple reasons and I don't really trust them so I can't say I'm jazzed about the alliance with them and the holy knights. 

For the most part the volume is quite calm and not that much happens, we have an alliance, we have set up for the coming battle, and we check in with each character. There's also a thread of intrigue thanks to Escanor and his power and where it came from. The action picks up again as we check in with Arthur, of course he's not too impressed to find out what's going on with Meliodas but it turns out Arthur's quite the badass. We interestingly do get the backstory of the holy sword Arthur has gotten his hands on. 

However, the biggest shock of the volume came thanks to a twist involving Arthur that I didn't see coming...but probably should have. Although I'm not sure if it's the real deal or not, to be honest! 

While most of the volume focuses on setting up for the coming battle, with attack plans being hammered out and characters being moved where they need to be, there's the odd drop of action and we round out the volume with the battle about to begin, giving us something to look forward to in the coming volume! 

Friday, 19 April 2019

Review:The Priory of the Orange Tree

Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep. 

Priory is an absolute beast of a book and it was also one of my most anticipated reads. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from this book other than dragons and Samantha's excellent writing, but I was blown away even more than I thought I would be. It's taken me a while to figure out how to write this review, and I have more in depth thoughts in my Discussion video below, which is split in to a non spoiler section and a clearly marked spoiler section, just so you know! 

Anyway, just so everyone's aware, while it is 800 pages, it is split in to 6 mini parts, and to me it kind of seemed like it could be 6 little books all in one, if that makes sense? If you are used to reading YA and YA fantasy then this may seem a bit slower to you, but things build up nicely and there is something compelling that keeps you reading! I happily binge read 200 pages in one go more than once! 

Anyway, for the parts here's a short overview: 

1. Stories of Old 
The introduction to everyone and everything, that eases us in and starts to get things moving while filling in history and lore. 

2. Declare I Dare Not
Things start to go to s*** for our characters and there's a lot of character movement. Some of our characters situations have changed, notably Sabran, Loth and Tane. Our characters get taken from the comfort they've known and are thrust in to new situations to move the plot steadily forward. It basically starts out all good for some of them and then swiftly goes down hill. We also get up close and personal with some new factions in this part and the F/F romance is starting to come in to being. 

3. A Witch To Live
In simple terms....s*** gets real. We have the discovery of an object to fight the Nameless One and a running mystery that's been mentioned is finally unlocked. Ead and Tane both come to a new resolve throughout this part, and Tane's part in things is revealed. Characters are reunited, someone is unmasked and there's some ramifications to that persons identity reveal. 

4. Thine is the Queendom
Shocking plot twists and mind blowing revelations, things are ramping up. 
There are a lot of truth bombs in this part, I was losing my mind a hell of a lot reading this because we get hit with so many reveals and twists. There's also some quest vibes from a couple of POVs, and things are starting to ramp up towards the climax of the book. We also get a deadline for the big showdown. 

5. Here Be Dragons
Everything and everyone is coming together. We've got rescue missions, an attempt at an epic team up and things really start going to hell in a hand basket. 

6. The Keys to the Abyss
It all kicks off. Basically. 
Everyone finally comes together, everyone is where they need to be and we have the most epic team up and an explosive battle on the high seas. 

I genuinely don't have a bad thing to say about this book, right from the start we have intrigue and plotting, and tension and danger. I was immediately pulled in. We quickly get introduced to the main characters and it's obvious from the start that our cast of characters are not only intriguing but diverse too. 

We have four main POV's throughout the book, Tane, Ead, Niclays and Loth. Tane is our first badass lady of the book, her POV is often like an action fantasy and provides us with a nice amount of tension thanks to her crime. She's also the one that lets us really get up close and personal with the dragons. She's so determined to achieve her dream no matter what, she was prickly but I did love her. She gets kicked down a bit and has to build herself back up to come out fighting. 

Niclays was my least favourite and I actually really hated him. His POV gives us the air of a treasure hunt and some huge quest vibes. I was waiting for something to make me like him and while I did feel for him and what happened in his past, he was just a character I didn't like. My dislike went to outright hatred after the dragon incident, it has to be said. 

Ead's POV is often all about the political intrigue with a splash of magic and some assassin vibes. She's got some interesting magic and is our source on all things Priory. She gives us a lot of intrigue and tension but of a different sort to Tane's, as with Ead there are assassin's to be dealt with, some not very nice dragons, court scheming and so on. Ead is such a badass, she's strong and she takes us on quite the journey with her. 

Finally, we have Loth, he's got spy and mission vibes for the most part. He has a bit of a crisis of faith throughout the book, as he's presented with various different things that shake his faith. He does hold fast to it, but I found him interesting because it was interesting to me to see someone so invested in their religion, but struggling with the fact it may not be all it seemed. He comes quite a long way by the end of the book, he's one of the few to speak up for change and becomes quite adventurous with his travels! 

I was so fascinated by the history of the world of the book, it's rich and detailed and the natural world building paired with how atmospheric and vivid it was let's the world pull you in. Samantha doesn't overwhelm you with a tonne of information all at once, it's all seamlessly woven in to the narrative along with the intrigue and plot threads. It mostly comes out via legend telling and conversations between characters. I also loved learning the intricacies between the different kinds of dragon! 

The political climate provides us with a lot of intrigue. The West hates the East because the people of the East worship dragons and work with them, whereas the West views them as evil. The West are also all about virtues and are called virtudom. Their society struck me as quite rigid and stiff, and I was in mind of the Tudors, mostly because of the ruffs. The East was a nice contrast to them and this conflict was a huge and interesting one to see the characters overcome. We also have all of the court scheming on Sabran's side to keep things interesting. 

On the writing front, Samantha draws you in and there's a lot to keep you reading, as I hope I've shown you so far! The prose is saturated with rich lore and history with bits and pieces being woven in to the narrative as we go, leaving you wanting to know more. A vivid and cinematic picture is painted, and I had clear mental images in my head for most places. I also loved how Samantha cleverly wove in little connections here and there, connecting all of our characters and their narratives together like Tane and Triam right at the start. 

Plot wise, like I keep saying there's a lot to keep you occupied and to keep the plot moving forward. We have threads weaving throughout each POV with little connections as the bigger picture starts to piece together. The long game is definitely played with this book. You hear about something or someone near to the beginning of the book and then they come in to play later on in the book as more pieces are slotted together. 

Priory of the Orange Tree is certainly built up well, with the way we get to grips with everything and characters are manoeuvred in to the place and headspace that they need to be, and then we build up even more and more things are slowly coming together and threads being woven in, with more elements being brought in and characters getting closer and closer and teaming up before leading us in to the explosive finale. Everything is so well wrapped up, and it's all brought to a satisfying conclusion even if I was left hungry for more of the world and the characters! 

In conclusion, we have lots of action, court intrigue, political intrigue and some excellent dialogue as well as rich and detailed prose. We've got powerful female characters, and characters that have multiple layers to them in general and one of the other things I loved about this book was the relationships between characters both platonic and otherwise. I particularly loved the female friendships in this book, Margaret and Ead especially. It was nice to see good relationships and it made a nice change. I also liked the bonding between Ead and Tane! 

Our badass ladies overcome a hell of a lot and come together to work together and defeat the evil....and Loth and Niclays helped. Sort of. A little bit. I just completely loved how I could actually see things coming together on the page, particularly towards the end because it had me freaking out and shrieking so many times! I also LIVED for the F/F romance. I loved how it built up and developed alongside the plot, I loved the support and I loved how one told it how it was to the other and was pretty much the only person to do so! 

I just got lost in the pages of this book every time I picked it up and never struggled to get to grips with it or to read it like I do sometimes with fantasy books. I can't believe all these plot threads were all contained to one book, and Samantha takes fantasy elements we've seen time and again but makes them better and redefine's them. 

In all honesty, The Priory of the Orange Tree is a complete masterpiece and I am in awe. 

Manga: As Miss Beelzebub Likes 5

As Miss Beelzebub Likes Vol 5
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

Sargatanas must wear a skirt for an impromptu part-time job; Belphegor has an adverse reaction to the mere mention of marriage; and Beelzebub's life may be forever changed by fried chicken. 

Poor old Sargatanas has to deal with Astaroth as usual, but she's struggling a little bit with her figure and how she looks. It's cute that Astaroth thinks there's no point making a move on her because she's seen his worse side, but wow they were so close to having a cute moment! I do find myself shipping it a little bit in this romance heavy look at the two of them! The cake shop and skirt incident has made me ship them hardcore, it has to be said. 

This volume has more of a focus on Sargatanas than Beelzebub and Mullin, we do get a couple of moments between them, as humorous and silly as to be expected from this volume. I did enjoy the little moments between Sargatanas and Astaroth, but I'm intrigued by the end of the volume as there's a bit of a plotting session to see what can be done for Belphegor when it comes to Azazel, and there's the promise of more of a focus on the two of them next volume! 

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Manga: Compulsive Gambler 9

Compulsive Gambler Vol 9 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

Armed with a total of 101 votes after a one-on-one match with the vice president and a near-death gambling showdown against the Inbami sisters, Mary enters the top-three ranking for student council president. In tenth place is Yumeko, who has narrowly avoided elimination. With the president's seat still up for grabs, Yumeko joins hands with an elite Momobami member and vicious Kirari-hater hungry for the title, and that person is none other than...Terano Totobami! 

The election is well underway and after a quick look at the interim results it's not long before the various front runners for President are resorting to crazy moves to get votes...and to try to stop the current President. To no-one's surprise, it's Yumeko who's got another crazy plan with the aim of being a mass gamble to collect all their votes in one place, in an effort to take down Kirari the current President. 

Sumeragi and Manyuda take a bit of a spotlight this volume, Sumeragi appears to be trying to pick Manyuda back up after we last saw him get defeated by Yumeko. They certainly made things interesting in this volume! There's some scheming and they both partake in Yumeko's game, Yumeko herself was honestly a little bit of a bystander in this volume! 

We swiftly get in to a game that could shake up the leaderboard for President and at the same time we have Mary being shadowed by the Vice President. There's a brief, yet very interesting scene between Mary and the VP as Mary decides to put her to the test by making her play a match that will determine whether or not Mary works with her. It's obviously a set up to anticipate for the next volume! 

This volume, while having a different kind of game...a more psychological one, is just as tense as trust is destroyed left, right and centre and things have definitely been turned around and shaken up...there's also some ominous hints to do with the President and what she's up to, and a thread of anticipation to do with Mary! 

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Manga: Bungo Stray Dogs 10

Bungo Stray Dogs Vol 10 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

Their war with the Guild may be over-and the truce with the Port Mafia still stands-but the Armed Detective Agency remains as busy as ever, with both Atsushi and Kunikida forced to confront their dangerous pasts. Soon, the agency is making contact with an ex-member to investigate the mysterious group that hacked into the Moby-Dick, but no one can predict where this rabbit hole will lead...

As we join this volume we're post big battle and everything is quite calm and chill.....at least it is for 3 or so pages and then it all goes to hell. We have foreign gangs moving in and one in particular is after the Guilds assets and wants to threaten the agency in to telling them. I have to say, I honestly cackled when the arrogant leader realised just how screwed he was. That however, is just a little, easier dealt with interlude to get our detectives back on their feet and we have a couple of chapters that are like that. 

A murder involving a familiar face to Atsushi gives us the chance to get a huge insight in to Atsushi's childhood and his past. It was heartbreaking, and I felt for him and his struggle with his emotions about this person. He's confronted with the fact that what he knows and thinks about this person may be wrong, and this person might not have been as evil as he thought. There are reasons for what he did and poor Atsushi has a bit of a criss about what he should be thinking and feeling and it was believable and I empathised with him a lot. 

Kunikida gets some more of the spotlight in this volume as well as he has a situation of his own to handle, facing a foe from his past. I'd forgotten how steadfast he was with his ideals and so on. It was nice to have a bit of action in this volume and get to have a better look at another character that we don't usually get to see as much of, or at least haven't in a while. 

We do get some threads woven in this volume of bigger things to come. There's something odd about the controller for Moby Dick and the agency is made aware that there's someone else involved that they haven't seen. We do get to meet a new character called Katai, hacker and futon hider under. He's called in to find out more about the chip, but before things get too serious it turns out he's lovesick and can't do his thing so the agency has to track her down. Honestly I could so tell immediately what the truth was and could see this for the giant misunderstanding it was but it was still absolutely hilarious to me. 

As predicted we haven't seen the last of Dostoyevsky and we get to see a decent amount of him this volume...as well as his power. I don't know what it is with manga I've read recently getting in on the gambling hype but we have it in this volume too! I was tense and nervous because quite frankly Dostoyevsky was off to me from the start...he's definitely some kind of evil genius. I was blown away by the final chapter and the chilling end that promises chaos coming for our characters. 

This volume has a little bit of a lull with some more light hearted moments, while giving us sprinkles of action and the opportunity to understand a couple of characters more before building up to the big shock ending that heralds things once again getting serious for the next volume and coming story arc. 

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Blog Tour: Mera Tidebreaker

Mera: Tidebreaker 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

Mera is teenage royalty, heir to the throne of Xebel, the other not-so-lost colony under the sea. But Mera is destined to wear a different crown, that of Atlantis. When the inhabitants of Xebel plot to overthrow their homeland of Atlantis, Mera is sent to kill the heir to the throne, Arthur Curry. As the unrest between their colonies grows, Mera and Arthur unexpectedly fall in love...will Arthur Curry be the king at Mera's side in Atlantis, or will he die under her blade? 

I am so excited for DC's two new imprints, DC Ink and DC Zoom, bringing us some of our favourite authors taking on some of our favourite DC characters! DC Ink is kicking things off with Mera: Tidebreaker! 

I'm not going to lie, it took me a while to finally get around to watching Aquaman, but when I did I completely loved it and I loved Mera in particular. So of course I had to read Mera's own graphic novel! 

Mera is rebelling and being a badass right from the first page. Understandably she and her people of Xebel aren't happy to be under Atlantean rule. Mera is trying to figure out who she is quite a lot in this volume, which makes her super relatable. She wants to follow in her mother's footsteps but her father has other plans so she decides to make her own destiny, as it were. She's not about to let Larken take her throne from her, but is she really cut out to be a killer? 

The art for this is good, I liked the colour palette of blue's and greens as it fit with the fact that this is largely set under the sea or near to it. It also serves to make Mera stand out as her red hair is quite eye catching! The pace is also nicely done, introducing us to the world of Xebel and the political climate and what the situation is with Mera before bringing in Arthur and having her get to know him....and save him which I cheered for! All comes to a satisfying conclusion after a lot of tension and murder attempts! 

I enjoyed reading this and I feel like it's going to be an inspiring and relatable read for it's intended teen audience. It's a fantastic introduction to Mera, and I also feel you can read this if you aren't familiar with Aquaman or Mera previously! 

Don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour! 

Easter Readathon TBR!

Okay guys, I'm going to be honest. I am terribly bad at reading recently, like I've become so slow and it takes me ages to get through a book because I keep putting off reading to do other things on my giant list of things to do. Luckily for me Kate at Reading Through Infinity  is running an Easter Readathon, and I decided that I'm just going to have to take part in it! Four days solid from Friday 19th until Monday 22nd April! 

I haven't taken part in a readathon before, this'll be my first one, but I'm looking forward to it! Kate's going to be running reading sprints on her Twitter and there's challenges and it basically sounds like it's going to be a lot of fun! 

I'm planning to make sure all my work for my YouTube channel and reviews for this blog are done by Thursday so I can spend four days doing nothing but reading. Hopefully I'll manage to resist the temptation to watch Dramas. Anyway, I've probably been overly ambition with this TBR but I do want to get a lot of reading done and I figure it gives me a few extra options if I don't fancy reading something I've picked! 

This doesn't really fit any of the categories to be honest but I have started reading it and do actually need to finish it so....

Yeah this doesn't fit any categories either, I just really want to read it! I've been hearing really good things about it and I quite fancy something with magic! 

Pirates okay...pirates. I love pirates, and I've been itching to read this so it's happening this weekend! 

I've been anticipating this book for forever, I loved Geekerella! 
Challenge: Read an LGBTQIAP+ book 

Hello AU America with it's own monarchy! This one sounds like a lot of fun and the arc is super pretty and keeps staring at me from my shelves! I'm also kind of in the mood for some contemporary YA! 
Challenge: Read a book by a new-to-you author. 

And I'm back on my "doesn't fit the challenges" bulls***. But I've had the arc of this for a while, I got sent it by surprise and I'm loving the sound of the synopsis so I really want to crack on with it! 

This has been sitting on my TBR for a while, so I would quite like to get to it this weekend if I can! I did really enjoy the author's other series! 

I need to read one of these this weekend for a book discussion video, I just haven't decided which of the two I want to do first yet! I feel like I'll be able to read Warrior of the Wild faster so I can get more books read (Hence why there's a couple contemporary YA's on here) but I'm super intrigued by Gilded Wolves and it fits the challenge grid, I guess I'll decide what I feel like unless anyone has a strong recommendation either way! 

I'm now going to low-key cheat a little bit because I have some review manga to read this weekend as well! 

Challenge: Read a book with a yellow or green cover 

Challenge: A book about new beginnings (I think) 

I do have a couple of manga on my shelf that have been there for a while...Fairy Girls, Zelda, Water Dragon's Bride, and Tales of Zestiria, I just haven't decided which one I'm going to read yet! 

So..my TBR is a bit of a mess, and like I said it's probably pretty ambitious but a few of these won't take me that long to read and I'm really hoping I can breeze through most of these to cut down my TBR and get it a little bit more under control! 

Manga: SAO Girls Ops 5

SAO Girls' Ops Vol 5
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

It's just an ordinary day for the girls' ops crew until a crimson-haired newbie named Garnet storms into Liz's blacksmith shop, demanding her most powerful weapon. Amused by the rookie's spunk, the girls decide to join her on a quest, planning to teach her a thing or two about gaming. As they make headway, all seems well until a mysterious path appears...Just what could be waiting ahead?

We have a fun few chapters of this volume thanks to Garnet, a new player to the game desperately in need of some help with how to function in the game, so the girls decide to show her the ropes. I found it quite funny and endearing to have a character new to games and gaming, with no idea what she was doing, and having to be taught everything. Plus she wasn't very good at it either which was another refreshing change. 

We have a mysterious changing mission and while Lux heals somewhat from the trauma of her past in SAO but there's a ghost hanging around her trying to tell her something so there's no lack of mystery this volume. I do like that the series is consistent with how traumatising being trapped in the game is and doesn't just shrug it off. 

We also get a familiar face popping up, and of course Kirito makes an appearance albeit a very brief one to hint at something bigger in the next volume, and to add more intrigue to our mystery. 

Volume 5 gives us action to start as the quest takes a wrong turn and then mystery thanks to some ghosts and a brand new quest. I do love the dynamic between the girls a lot better when they're alone and without Kirito, I have to be honest! Volume 5 moves along nicely, with a nice mix of action and mystery to keep you entertained! 

Monday, 15 April 2019

Manga: Angels of Death Episode 0

Angels of Death: Episode 0 Volume 1
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

As a prison counselor, Daniel Dickens is no stranger to odd encounters with inmates. But when a particularly aggressive prisoner enters his office claiming that his session with a priest left him "fulfilled," Danny, who has led an unsatisfying life, has to know more. During their meeting, Danny finds there's little he can hide from this mysterious clergyman, and when an offer comes his way, he'll have to make a decision that will change his life forever...

As much as I dislike creepy Doctor Danny in the main series, I am actually intrigued to see more of him and his motivations and how he came to be in the basement. As this is a prequel, we briefly get to see Rachel's first meeting with Danny through his eyes before skipping back by a few years, and that's as close as we get to the main series. 

It's quite a chilling, creepy and kind of disgusting opening to be honest, as we get inside Danny's brain. Not a place I'd like to lurk, shall we say. Obviously this is about Danny and we all know he has an eye....thing. So there's a focus on eyes in his inner narrative, nicely keeping within his character. *shudder* 

I was curious about how this was going to go, as you can see our other serial killers are on the cover so I had started to wonder if we'd be seeing them which I hadn't initially been expecting. When we saw Danny chatting to a patient in the prison who said he was scared and mentioned judgement...I knew Cathy was about. Her buddy Lucy isn't far behind either. I have to say, they make for an interesting pairing. 

The volume swiftly shows us a typical day for Danny, chatting with his patients, before having him meet and team up with Cathy so they can carry on their nasty little practices. It was interesting to see how they became acquainted, and I had a rough idea forming of how Zack would fit in, but I'm not entirely sure it's the way it's going to go. 

Keeping with the fast pace, it's not long before the Priest makes his appearance, and there seems to be a cult before. I should have known, it's about the only thing we're missing from all the creepy things in this series! Shout out to the cult member who gave us some insight in to Danny and his creepy ways, not that Danny appreciated it very much. It's also, by no means, the first time we get some insight in to he and his psyche. 

Honestly, what's trippy about this is that at times Cathy and Danny seem relatively normal, like when they're investigating the creepy cult, and then you suddenly get thrown in to Danny's brain and his thought process, or he says something or Cathy says something and it's just....Y I K E S. But dare I say...I actually felt sorry for him briefly!? I know. I'm shocked too. 

Father Gray, our Priest, finally reveals to us why he set up the basement. I can't recall if we've reached that far in the main series, but in the anime....I finished it and still didn't get what the point was, so I was pretty psyched to find out what the deal was. For those wondering...he wants to examine what people call "faith", he wants to learn about it and experiment. Honestly it seems pretty extra to me but whatever floats his boat right? 

I did like some clever parallels and connections to the main story, like with the whole "Killing your God" thing. We get to know Father Gray as well as Danny a bit more and I'm anticipating getting to know more about the other killers in coming volumes as well as what lead them to the basement. 

A nicely paced volume, it gives us the interesting duo of Cathy and Danny as they work together. It's all a bit crime show episode, with the cult investigation, but we get some solid insight in to the architect of the basement and what it was for, as well as Danny himself  letting us in to his head. He oscillates from seeming normal and then being completely psychotic and sending a chill up the spine. There's a reason I call him Creepy Doctor Danny all the time. That's all I'm saying. 

While we briefly see Cathy and get a quick glance at a familiar grave digger this volume is mostly focused on Danny, and how he joined the basement and we see all of that occur in one well paced volume. I'm looking forward to seeing how the others are found and brought in too! 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...