Category Archives: Fantasy

Book Review: The Walled City

The Walled City

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

Genre: Young-Adult, Crime, Fantasy, Gangsters

The Review

“There are three rules in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run.”

These are the words that drew me in from the blurb of this book. In all honesty, I was unsure about a book that talked of rape, drug culture, gangsters, crime, death and prostitution, never mind the fact that it is a young-adult book. However, that does not mean to say I feel it is wrong for such a book to be published under the young-adult genre. After all, the term includes ‘adult’, the term only refers to somebody slightly below adult years and we have to enable our youth to learn and be educated through some means, and we cannot continue to hide the world from them. So I think whilst this book is gritty, harsh and at times dark and discomforting, it is a book that holds meaning, honesty and a brutal reflection of what human nature can lead to, and I think it is a fabulous addition to the young-adult genre as not the typical read.

The Walled City was unexpected in so many ways. It focused on three youths, Jin, Mei Yee and Dai. They all had secrets, all had a past and the alternate POVS throughout the novel slowly began to unravel their lives, their pasts, their hopes, dreams and needs and I really connected with all three of them. Personally I felt the strongest connection with Jin who is out in the Walled City to find her sister. She is young, but she is determined, feisty and frankly I would not want to mess with this young fireball. She is an absolutely brilliant character and my heart throughout the novel was firmly rooting for her. That is exactly what I want books I read to do too, have me rooting for the main character and living the story with them.

Dai is a mystery, and not exactly the one I expected. He is a likeable, rather tortured character, but underneath the first impression of a prickly, mysterious and rather untrustworthy exterior, he also found a place in my heart.

Mei Yee is the character I connected least with, however I feel that is because we got to know her least. By the end I could see her as an equally strong individual as Jin and Dai, but she faced her own struggles, being sold into prostitution at an early age by her father and being locked in one building for her future, it does appear that she lives a dismal life. There are no real explicit descriptions of the prostitution or lewd events in the brothel, however there are a couple of rather sadistic moments of brutality from a customer and the master to be aware of.

Throughout the novel Graudin is challenging how human nature has allowed this ‘Walled City’ to be created which is a place untouched by the laws of society and police force so that drugs, crime and death can continue. It challenges how human nature can become so depraved. Despite all of this, underneath it are shining moments of friendship, determination, a genuine care for others, doing the right thing and family.

There is a small amount of romance in the novel, but honestly it is not the dominant aspect, in fact it is entirely limited in terms of the plot. This is one of the other reasons why I really enjoyed this novel, because it was a somewhat refreshing look at the young-adult genre without the dominant aspect being romance. It was about friendship, family and trusting others with not just emotions, but your life. Having said that, the romance was entrancing, well-written and it was genuinely built up to. I thought it fit into the narrative with a fluid ease and was not forced in the slightest.

When I finished this novel and found out Graudin had based her novel in part upon a place called Kowloon’s Walled City in Hong Kong which in some ways made her question the type of people that would be there and the happenings, it made it all seem more realistic and heart-wrenching. Obviously the novel is fictitious which leads to the kind of fantasy element, because I would struggle to label this city as ‘contemporary’. Although the genre labelling is one topic that I struggled with when it came to this novel. Despite all this, Graudin is making a clear statement against human trafficking and I appreciated the message of the novel.

Overall, The Walled City was a novel that sent my emotions into turmoil, tugged on my heartstrings and had me racing through the last part of the novel. I almost certainly applaud Graudin on tackling such a sensitive topic, not being afraid to delve into the grit and darkness of humanity and coming out the other side successfully with 5 shining stars that shows human nature is not all bad. An absolutely phenomenal addition to the young-adult genre, and so splendidly written that every word despite being full of grit and tension, was quite beautiful to read; I recommend it to you all!

Survival Chances: 87%

Expiration Date: 2095

Favourite Quotes *quotes taken from an earc subject to change on publication

But there are still more wishes in my soul than there are stars. I wish I could hold Jin Ling’s hand in mine, I wish Sing never tried to run. I wish the boy didn’t make my chest burn, make my thoughts soar like a phoenix. I wish every girl in this brothel could be one of the lucky ones. I wish, like the boy, I was somewhere else. Someone else. And on and on and on.

“I work alone,” I say quickly. I do everything alone: eat, sleep, run, steal, talk, cry. It’s the curse of the second rule: Trust no one. The cost of staying alive.”

We stay like this for a long time. Skin to skin under false stars. The ones that never fall.

Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Goodreads ~ Amazon UK / US ~ Author’s Website

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Filed under 2014 Publication, 5 Books, Crime, E-book, Fantasy, Little, Brown and Company, Ryan Graudin, Young Adult

The Blue Blazes

TheBlueBlazes-144dpiThe Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig

Series: Mookie Pearl #1

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Adult

The Plot
The Blue Blazes draws together the criminal, gangster underworld and supernatural happenings to give a rather unique take on an urban-fantasy novel. There may be creatures of the dark that haunt your nightmares, but the key feature of the novel surrounds drugs. The ‘blue blazes’ that provide supernatural strength, endurance and enhanced senses is the drug everyone wants to have on their side in battle. However it isn’t that only drug that everyone is searching for, as the main character Mookie uncovers.

Mookie Pearl is a man involved in both the supernatural and gangster underworld, but his family life also crosses over between the two and the novel follows him, and his spats with his daughter that adds yet another dynamic to this urban-fantasy novel.

The Review

 

Chuck Wendig is an author that not everyone will appreciate, but I read the first two books in his Miriam Black series and enjoyed them, I was curious to test out another series by him. However, like with the Miriam Black series he does not shy away from the violence and brutality, harsh language and rather grumpy, sometimes dislikeable characters that characterised the Miriam Black series. Nevertheless, he has a fantastic imagination, and if you don’t mind those sorts of things, delving into The Blue Blazes is an exciting, unique journey that served to keep my interest!

The Blue Blazes is not to me the typical urban-fantasy novel, which I think sets it head and shoulders apart from its genre. Wendig takes on something a little more adventurous and more applicable to modern day and succeeds with flying colours to craft it into a believable, exciting and scary fantasy world. After all, we have drugs in our world, why can’t there be ones that bring about supernatural changes?

Mookie Pearl admittedly is not an easy man to like, he doesn’t make the best life choices and his conflict with his daughter and seeming ignorance of her life makes him seem like a poor father figure. Throughout the novel he doesn’t really seem to make real attempts to mend the broken relationship and whilst his daughter and her wild attempts on her father’s life when she opposes his gang seem to make such things difficult, he still seems to be a rather harsh character. However, he does undergo some character development in terms of sorting out his family relations that redeems him in my eyes. He’s also not the typical main character that usually stares in the books I read and I enjoyed exiting from my comfort zone. Especially since he has a strong sense of identity developed and he is a hard-man with a lot of gruff, ready-to-roll style.

The Blue Blazes has a lot to offer in terms of fantasy and criminal underground dynamics that makes it unusual. It’s exciting, tense and it has tonnes of potential for the future series. I am definitely intrigued to know more about the origins of the drugs, what will happen with them all and especially the gang dynamics after things collapse a little at the end of The Blue Blazes. One thing this novel was not, was predictable and I will definitely be looking out to get my hands on the second instalment of the Mookie Pearl series. This might not be your usual type of book, but definitely take a leap of faith and try The Blue Blazes, as I think any fantasy fan can appreciate Wendig’s innovative slant on the criminal underground!

Historical Survival Chances

I have been contemplating for a short time now, how I rate books, and whilst I might give this book a solid 4.5 stars, will it last into the future? Will people in 20-30 maybe even 100 years time be reading Chuck Wendig like we read Mary Shelley or Dickens?

Wendig is innovative and creative enough that I think in the genre of urban-fantasy, he might stand a strong chance of being read well into the future. So I will be applying a survival chance percentage and an expiration date to the novel when I think people might no longer hold interest in these types of things.

Survival Chance: 65%    

Expiration Date: 2064

Favourite Quotes

“The Blazes are like that: the blue stuff doesn’t merely tear aside the facade to reveal the monsters, but when on it, the whole of the Underworld pulses with a different kind of energy.”

“The saying goes that there is more below the streets of New York City than there is above them. An exaggeration by those who say it, perhaps, but they don’t known just how accurate that statement truly is. Hell’s heart, as it turns out, has many chambers.”

 

Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

Goodreads ~ Amazon UK / US ~ Author’s Website

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Filed under 2013 Publication, 4.5 Books, Adult, Adventure, Angry-Robot, Chuck Wendig, E-book, Fantasy, Uncategorized

The Holders

The Holders

The Holders by Julianna Scott

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Magic, Young-Adult

Series: Holders #1

Publication: March 5th 2013 by Strange Chemistry

The Plot

Becca is a girl who is the female lioness. She is fiercely protective of her cub, a.k.a her brother. He has these voices in his head and she’s positive that he’s not deluded. She had defended him against all the men in white coats. In addition to this, she has to deal with the fact that her father abandoned her as a child and her brother and mother still idolise this man.

When two people come from a school, St. Brigid’s to promise a happily-ever-after and safe place, Becca is still the paranoid sceptical.

However this leads to moving all the way over to Ireland, but in the process a whole host of history is unveiled and there is Alex. The swoony, heart-throb who is utterly endearing, slightly frustrating, but a very loveable guy.

We get some shocks, some action and lots of quick page turning throughout this book that makes up a fabulous exciting fantasy novel that starts a series that promises to be thrilling!

The Review

The Holders is a book that has come about with plenty of praise for a debut novel, so I had fairly high expectations going into reading, and trust me, it did not disappoint. I was riveted from the very first moment of picking it up and turning the page. I just couldn’t stop reading this book and there was plenty of action delivered. It was exactly the book I needed to drag me into reading again and I think I’ve missed out on some of the intense action that comes with a short book. The Holders is not perfect, and the arc was surprisingly riddled with spelling errors, but it does make a very enjoyable book that made me smile and skipped it’s way into my heart.

Firstly I’m going to start with my favourite element of the whole novel, Alex. Now, I am not usually one for guys who’d I’d necessarily term “cute” like Zeke from ‘The Immortal Rules’, but Alex swept in and easily stole my heart. He was thoughtful, caring and an utterly faulty character which made him realistic. He blushed and was easily hurt, but I feel that literature is full of the “look at me” male heroes and in being so unlike these he captured my heart. I didn’t feel like he was trying to dominate the novel or control Becca like so many guys appear to go, he allowed her independence and actively encouraged it. Alex has undoubtedly made it onto my favourite love interests and the good  news there is only him to see and explore so I thought that Scott really embellished and rounded his character to show the good sides to him.

Then, without seeming conscious of the action, his hand came up and slowly brushed the stray hairs away from my face, softly grazing my cheek. My heart lurched and sputtered, and I prayed he couldn’t feel my hands shake against his shoulders. Holding my eyes with a look that made my stomach tight, he continued, “Don’t ever apologize for saying how you feel.”

Becca on the other hand, I didn’t love as much. She was a great strong, kick-ass protagonist, but her slight tendency to overreact annoyed me ever so slightly. Other than that, I really liked her. She was smart, caring and she clearly had a good relation with her brother and mother. However, I do feel there is more of her to uncover and that we didn’t get to know her character as much as we could have done and that more development is needed to really strengthen her.

The focus on the school and the world building was really good and whilst the school element may not be wholly original, I thought Scott built up a fantastic world of ‘The Holders’ and all the history that surrounded them. I felt that the magic of the really novel really captured the reader and drew me in so I had all my sense bombarded with the powers and talents of the characters. Scott handled the transition from America to Ireland exceptionally well and the rural landscape and greenery of Ireland was captured in the setting of the school with the woods and wildness. I really felt the greenness of the land creeping into the text and a love for the wild.

The main issue of this novel is, it’s pretty predictable on most levels this novel. The events that follow don’t come of much as a surprise, but honestly that didn’t detract all that much from my enjoyment and I happily turned the pages to unveil the next round of action.

Overall, I think The Holders is a really strong debut novel from Scott and I’m looking to future instalments for this series to see where Scott will take us. I definitely think everybody should take a chance with this one as it is lots of fun, an easy read and a whirlwind of action, cute romance and enjoyment.

~ 3.5 Books / 5 Books ~

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Filed under 2013 Publication, 3.5 Books, Fantasy, Julianna Scott, Magic, Romance, Strange Chemistry, Young Adult

The Exemeus

The Exemeus

The Exemeus by Folami and Abeni Morris

Genre: Fantasy, Young-Adult, Romance

Publication: January 3rd 2013 by Royal Colours Ink

The Plot

Hyalee Smith is dead, she just doesn’t know it yet.

Her short life was devoted to love and to hate. Love of the man who stole her heart, hate for the man who stole the world. Murdered by the government she swore to destroy, she has been given another chance to make it right. But to save the planet, she needs the help of the most powerful mystic the world has ever seen—unfortunately he hasn’t been born yet.
In a world where fear is the only currency, Dephon has committed the ultimate crime:inspiring hope.

His only goal is to make it safely through ninth grade, but on a post-apocalyptic Earth run by the Treptonian government, it isn’t that simple. Heir to a legendary power, Dephon Johnson is the only threat to the government’s rule. And on Trepton, all threats must be eliminated. When hundreds of assassins are dispatched to neutralize him, Dephon is forced to fight back. His only chance of survival is to enlist the aid of the greatest warrior the world has ever known. The only problem is, she’s been dead for 13 years.

Welcome to my stop on The Exemeus blog tour by Folami Morris and Abeni Morris hosted by YA Bound.  Click HERE to see the rest of the blog tour schedule!

The Exemeus banner2

The Review

The Exemeus is a book I have very mixed feelings upon, whilst there were moments I was thoroughly immersed in and engaged with, there were others that left me confused, disassociated and rather disappointed. However, The Exemeus is far from being a bad book and it has a lot to offer. Honestly, Hylee is a strong independent character that was savvy and likeable, and Singleton was more confusing and befuddled, but he certainly made an impression on me as being a rather fiery male love interest. Then we come to Dephon, I don’t really know much about this boy and I feel like he was overshadowed once again by the parents in this novel as youngster when we take a trip back in time.

The strongest point of this story was the world-building of the novel and the different worlds and magical elements that really came alive and touched every part of the story. I was absorbed from start to finish with these elements and engaged in all the political touches which were particularly strong throughout the novel. They were engaging and interesting and I really felt that the authors had spent lots of time and effort on working this out.

“Oh, a variety of different places… magical bookstores, interplanetary webula, but most of them actually came from Horace.”

“What’s a Horace?”

“A man.”

The characters were interesting. I never truly got a hold on any of them but Hylee, who I assume is not meant to be the main protagonist despite her consuming most of the narrative. Hylee was m0st certainly a kick-ass heroine  who brought life and character to the novel. However she was always on the edge of discovering something big and this frustrated me because I wanted her to open her eyes and see what was happening. She was quite oblivious in terms of things and a little bit stupid.

Singleton. Well honestly I never understood him, but I found him at times to be the swoony love interest you expected. However he seemed to move in riddles and his actions were never expected. The one really good thing about Singleton was he never gave up on Hylee and he acted the hero. He was strong and determined and I most definitely appreciated him for it because Hylee became weak at times where their relationship was concerned.

Dephon. Well there seemed to be something brewing in terms of romantic interests and his life, but I never fully grasped his character. We were always on the border of finding out more and I most definitely think that a second novel is needed to explore him more. He clearly verged on moments of great humour and wit, and my favourite word has now come from him. Troglodyte meaning caveman.

“The troglodytes on the football team had clearly decided to make up for their niceness yesterday by putting rotten eggs in his locker. His mom was right; football players sucked.”

In terms of plot, it was very disjointed and back and forth and I think making it shorter would have kept the interest with this to really define every element and keep my interest. I did find that by the end of the novel my interest had waned quite a lot since the start which had drawn me in and engaged me immensely. I think a little more editing to make it tightly knitted would have done wonders for this plot. However hopefully the sequel which definitely has to be in the works will work on these.

The cover is absolutely stunning and drew me in from the very first moment with the look and effects on the front that screams magical and kick-ass, but the actual synopsis misguides you a little in my opinion and I felt that  it doesn’t quite capture the essence of the story that really drives things forward. However it is a brilliant story all the same, so I suggest you take a dive into this one when you have a spare few hours.

In conclusion, I enjoyed The Exemeus in most parts, but felt it could have been a little shorter and tighter to fully reach the potential it promised. I think the sequel will definitely promise more and I’m not quite sure I’ll be reading that one yet. However I do recommend this one for when you have a spare moment of time as the magical elements, world building and politics are just beyond a doubt, awe-inspiring.

~ 3 Stars / 5 Stars ~

You can enter the giveaway to win a chance at an e-copy of this book HERE or a $50 Amazon voucher for first place. The book is also currently discounted at Amazon and Kobo for the duration of the blog tour.

Social Network following is also available for Facebook and Twitter.

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Filed under 2013 Publication, 3 Books, Fantasy, Folami and Abeni Morris, Romance, Royal Colours Ink, Young Adult

Reviews from the Realm of Magic

Magic StudyFire Study

Magic Study and Fire Study  by Maria V. Snyder

Series: Study #2 & #3

Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Romance, Young-Adult

Published: October 1st 2006 and January 16th 2009 by Mira Books

*mild spoilers for book one, Poison Study.

A Brief Summary of the Magic Stories

Once upon a time, lived a girl named Yelena Zaltana. Well… actually you might just know her as Yelena and she found out that she had magic, so she must flee her home and the one she loved.

She went on a journey of self-discovery battling the villains and other magicians that tried to stop her whilst she developed her magic and grew as a person. She made some new friends, kept some old friends, made some enemies. She also met her family and began to develop her past identity whilst trying to balance the old and the new in her life of magic and non-magic worlds.

During all this, her fabulous man-candy appeared in her life at frequent intervals to seduce her and spice up the story with some swoony romance. Through all of this she found a trusty steed that called her Lavender Lady and made the story oodles of fun.

There were lots of twists and turns, fun and emotional moments that brought a little tear to the eye. The stories kept you turning the pages with the multiple plots and tonnes of action.

Finally, Yelena realizes she is super-awesome all on her own, but she does need the help, support and guidance of others and she becomes less frustrating so you don’t want to bash her head against the wall and we get an interesting happily ever after.

The Review

Magic Study and Fire Study retained lots of the fun and enjoyable elements that made me fall head over heels in love with Poison Study and I think they make a good series together. I’m breaking it down into some elements to summarise the progression of specific elements.

Yelena

Yelena was a character that wormed her way easily into my heart in Poison Study and she still retained the fire and tenacity that she held when we first met her. However I feel that at times she was a little head-strong and that she just threw herself into things which annoyed me, but that was her character and you had to appreciate her stubbornness and loyalty. She was still the smart and defiant Yelena who fought for what she believed in.

Although I did feel that at a couple of moments she wasn’t quite as witty as she had been previously and smart. She seemed like she’d lost a few brain cells when she didn’t get everything that was going off, but in her defence she was being dragged all over the place to make things exciting so she couldn’t do everything.

Valek

Is it quite manageable to fall in love with this man even more? Something about him with his secret allure and charm that slipped and slide through these two stories as more elusive got me all excited about Valek’s character. My only problem was we didn’t see nearly enough of him and I don’t think as an individual character we saw enough of his personality. He seemed to become Yelena’s love interest rather than an individual that we had gotten to know in the previous novel.

Although Snyder did give me a scare when I briefly thought Valek would be replaced as love interest for another. However fear nor, no love triangle develops nor does Valek disappear. He is very much around for the cute, swoony moments that maintains the magic for their relationship throughout both books!

Two steps and I was wrapped in his arms.

“That’s the best welcome I’ve had all day.”

World Building

I think it’s safe to say that Snyder immerses you in the world of magic and magicians along with the clans whether they were Zaltana or Sandseed or one of the many others. She delves into the politics of Ixia and Sitia and the tensions between the two.

We learn to understand the history of magic, not nearly enough for my own thirst for knowledge, but enough that you really start to understand the dynamics of the world.

Fantasy is a genre that really depends upon believing the world and understanding it, and I could picture every grain of strand, every jungle vine that Snyder depicted and this made the journey so much more enjoyable.

The Secondary Characters

Wow. Snyder excelled on all fronts here. This is what totally sells me her novels. Not only do we draw in everyone we met in the first novel, but in these two we meet a whole new cast of characters. She really built up a world of characters and individuals that moulded so many different elements to this story from the magicians to simple street beggar children who become friends of Yelena or the soldiers.

Snyder also managed to build up Yelena’s family and we developed some real relationships of her past that we hadn’t seen before. Things were certainly rocky and full of ups and downs, but I think that reflects a true family dynamic and how nothing is smooth and perfect. Her brother, Leif was certainly an interesting character of multi-dimensions and I had lots of changing emotions which I really liked.

Lief pretended to be shocked. “But our fearless leader. You have it all planned out. Right?”

I shrugged. “I’m going to take a long hot bath. How’s that?”

Overall, everybody in this novel had a story and a time to shine in the plot and I really liked how Snyder managed to interweave them all. If you like secondary characters, Snyder really excels here!

Ari and Janco

Ari and Janco are still present as my two favourite characters from Poison Study with their camaraderie. I’m sooo glad to see that Snyder brought this two back to be present in both books because I don’t think it would be quite the same without them. They brought humour to the books that could lighten up the more intense and action filled moments to just draw you back down to earth.

“Janco,” Ari warned. “We’re not supposed to be fraternising with the Sitians.”

“But she’s not Sitian. Right, Yelena? You haven’t gone south on us, have you?” Janco’s voice held mock horror.

Moon Man

He brought lots of cryptic wisdom, fun, adventure and emotional moments. Moon Man reminded me a lot of Finnick from The Hunger Games who weaselled his way into my heart entirely too easy as well. He had an aura about him that was hard not to like and from the moment of his first introductions, despite lots of ambiguous characters to whether they were truly good or not, the vibe from him was full of fun and mystery.

Not only that but he helped Yelena and strengthened her character growth and I liked how Snyder used him to do that as well as interlinking the clans and the plot lines that really helped the two novels to flourish.

I studied his colored skin. “Why indigo?”

A slow grin spread over his lips. “A cooling color to help soothe the fire between you and your brother.”

Then, a sheepish look. “It is my favourite.”

Kiki

Kiki is Yelena’s horse. This sounds entirely bizarre, but I think animals if used well are increasingly fantastic characters that authors can make use of. Buckbeak, Nero, Burru to name a few. She has intelligence and insight that the characters don’t and I liked her ability to rebuke Yelena when others couldn’t.

I also loved her nicknames for everybody which represented their identity of personality really by the smell and I think in most cases they fitted really well.

Yes. I’m sorry to take you out on such a horrible day, I said.

Not bad with Lavender Lady. Lavender Lady was the name the horses had given me. They named the people around them just like we would name a pet.

Villains

I’m never really sure how you can assess a villain. In terms of evilness, cruelty, ingenuity. They tend to be slippery characters that are hard to define and Magic Study and Fire Study are filled galore with them. Snyder gets a real mix of rather irrelevant villains that you can skip without much consequence and real two-faced characters and mysterious enemies that creates lots of plot twists and excitements in her novel.

I think the balance of villains done bad and villains done good makes the two novels work really well. I felt the villain in Magic Study was a lot stronger, the plot unravelled more in Fire Study to undermine it and make it a little more predictable in an element that I just knew it had to be that from the start. However, I don’t think it’s entirely obvious, but Snyder drops some fairly big hints throughout the novel looking back that makes it hard for you to ignore.

Overall, she creates some wicked villains and lots of bombshells with characters chopping and changing sides to show that human nature really isn’t set straight.

Favourite Moment

Undoubtedly Snyder packs the novels full of adventure and action which makes it so easy to like them when you can constantly turn a page and find something new happening. I find that I prefer novels with lots of action that transport me to an entire new world rather than something slow and thought-provoking. However one of my favourite moments from the two books was more humorous moments that captures Snyder’s sense of humour that appealed to much to me.

I spotted my mother’s green cloak near the top. I called to Perl, telling her I was fine. “You can come down now,” I said.

“Yelena! Thank fate! come up here where it’s safe,” she said.

Overall

Honestly, I thought these two held great strengths that made them enjoyable, but they didn’t shine as much as the original book, Poison Study. I felt that Magic Study held the edge over Fire Study too and that this series weakened a little by the end. I just felt Fire Study was a little more predictable and rushed than the other two. Still, that does not take away that I would happily label this as one of my favourite fantasy series and recommend it to everybody out there because there is something a little special about Yelena Zaltana and this series. I  cannot wait to get my hands on more Snyder books as she’s undoubtedly one of my favourite authors now!

Magic Study: ~ 4 / 5 Books ~

Fire Study: ~ 3.5 / 5 Books ~

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Filed under 2006 Publication, 2009 Publication, 3.5 Books, 4 Books, Fantasy, Magic, Maria V. Snyder, Mira Books, Paperback, Romance, Young Adult

Descension

Descension

Descension by B. C. Burgess

Series: Mystic #1

Genre: Young-Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Witches

Published: April 4th 2012

Hosted by AToMR Tours. The full tour schedule can be found HERE.

The Plot.

The Angel
After three years caring for her dying mother, Layla Callaway learns she was adopted under unusual circumstances. Following a cryptic message to seek her birth family in Oregon, Layla uproots her lonely life, quickly finding she descends from witches and wizards. Magic is in her blood, and a handsome family friend is eager to prove it. Through a ring imprinted with her birth parents’ memories, Layla’s enigmatic past comes to light, presenting possibilities and trials more chimerical than her wildest dreams.

The Guardian
Quin’s natural charisma yields plenty of witches, but he longs for the lost witch – the mysterious Layla. He’s dreamed about her his entire life, envisioning the day he would lay eyes on her face and aura. When that day arrives, not only is he breathless, he’s confronted with the challenge of a lifetime – an innate need to keep her safe and forever by his side.

The Hunter
Employing fiendish manipulation and manpower, Agro uses the arcane force of others to elevate his supremacy and wealth. Nothing pleases him more than latching on to a mystical vein, and never has there been a more enticing source. The divine witch will be his.

Descention Tour Banner

My Review.

Descension was undoubtedly a pleasant surprise for me. I signed up to this tour thinking the premise sounded really interesting and was eager to read the book, but at the back of my mind I had doubts about whether I’d like this book. Concerns aside, Burgess captured my attention with Descension and I’m certainly eager to get my hands on the next book in the series. However, I do feel like Descension was a more introductory novel to the series than one filled with action, whilst this didn’t detract from my enjoyment and Burgess maintained my attention throughout the whole of the book with the two entwined romance stories across two time spans, I feel like to keep my interest the next novel will have to kick up the action. Despite this, I was fully invested in the idea and growth of the characters and the love story that Burgess delivered.

I find that the synopsis is rather misleading because at first I believed the novel would be about angels, but in fact it’s witches. Either way it fulfilled my love of the paranormal. I haven’t read a witch novel in a while and I thought Burgess approached the dynamic in an interesting way, but I want to see how she develops the witch dynamic further because we only began to touch on the idea of witchcraft and spells in the present day. I felt more invested in witchcraft in the time jump to the past with Layla’s parents and I feel like we are still left I felt with many questions to the witches and their story as a general. However, I thought they were entirely realistic and believable in their powers that manipulated the earth elements and I liked the community feel of the covens.

“You don’t have to do that,” he said, opening his eyes.

“What did I… I didn’t mean.. Did I hurt you?”

“No,” he answered, “bur it’s an uncomfortable feeling when you’re not expecting it.”

“What did I do?” she squeaked, beyond mortified and so ashamed.

“You used magic on me.”

Burgess splits her novel into two, the present day and Layla’s story which didn’t really move anywhere in terms of actions and the story of her parents who abandoned her as a child (not through their own choices) and that was particularly where we saw more action, but nothing that got my heart racing. Burgess focuses on the relationship between Layla’s parents in the past and Layla uncovering the truth of her life in the presetn. However we don’t really explore much after her parents story is uncovered by Layla and this left me disappointed because I was expecting to see a reaction from Layla and I think the first novel would have benefitted Layla in terms of character growth to explore her response. I however did enjoy the time jump and I think Burgess worked the slip really well into the past and kept my interest, I just wish it had been a little shorter.

There is a strong focus on the relationships in this novel and romance is certainly a focal point, this helped to drive the novels. However I do feel that the characters immediately jump into their relationships rather quickly, the parents of Layla particularly. In addition to this Layla taking to Quin so quickly disturbed me a little when he was a total stranger, I felt she should have been more cautious. Despite the “insta-love” kind of romance, they built up the foundations for Layla’s parents relationship and I hope to see Layla develop further in her romance with Quin since there was very little chance for this. I liked that we also met the majority of characters through Layla’s parents and that these foundations will be useful for the many characters I feel will be coming shortly. The dynamic of the two relationships also gained to give the novel more substance, but I fear Layla’s parents relationship in the end overshadowed her story. However there were some cute moments between Layla and Quin.

“As they walked to her car, he remained remarkably close without touching her, his gaze rarely left her long enough to look where he was going. When they crossed the street, one of his palms lightly touched the small of her back, shooting tingles up her spine and vibrating her shoulders. She was sure he felt her tremble, but he didn’t mention the ridiculous reaction.”

My one disappointment with the novel is the fact of the hunter who I feel I know very little about, and whilst we have met Agro he does not appear to be the main villain. I hope Burgess explores this aspect to strengthen the novel as whilst the romance is incredibly touching and the family bonds in this novel are felt strongly, I feel there needs to be more to the series to sustain my interest. There was a touch on the hunter in the epilogue, but this only left me confused and it needs to be approached in the next novel to keep me on board.

Burgess certainly crafts the idea of a strong family unit and I liked that I really sensed family love and affection because many young-adult novel seem to discuss parents who don’t care. This is where Burgess steps away from the others and focuses on family which fits perfectly with the witch covens. This also builds up a plethora of secondary characters who I hope will be explored more in future novels as they are one of my favourite elements to a novel.

The characters in general I feel like I don’t know them well enough because I didn’t spend enough time with them so I knocked half a star off for that. By the end of I felt disconnected from Layla because her parents story had detracted from our time with her and I felt more invested in them as a couple. Therefore I hope this will be rectified in the next novel and I become more attached to Layla as I don’t feel like I could particularly talk about her character at the present.

Overall I enjoyed Descension but it didn’t blow me away so I struggled writing my review. However, I do recommend trying the book as I think it’s well written, engaging and it’s emotional that makes it an enjoyable read and it sweeps you away to a different place filled with love and family strength. I think Burgess has kicked off a great start to a series and I’m sure lots of people will indeed fall in love with it as I’m looking forward to reading more of her work too!

You can enter HERE to win a chance at a e-copy of Descension and it’s open internationally.

3.5 books

Links:

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Filed under 2012 Publication, 3.5 Books, B.C. Burgess, Blog Tour, E-book, Fantasy, Paranormal Reading Challenge, Romance, Witches, Young Adult

Sister Assassin

Sister Assassin

Sister Assassin by Kiersten White

Series: Mind Games #1

Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Young-Adult

Expected Publication: February 19th 2013 by HarperTeen

The Background.

Some of you may know Sister Assassin more commonly as Mind Games, the American version of the book with an entirely different cover.

However on with the book, I felt like none of the synopsis really captured the book for me or they have away too much. Sister Assassin is undoubtedly full of mystery (and unfortunately for me it was full of confusion). I went into reading the book without really reading the synopsis and in a way I am glad, because for me it told you everything that I didn’t expect in the novel and that would have detracted from my enjoyment.

Sister Assassin focuses on the relationship between two sisters, Sofia and Annie (Annie being the older) and how they have abilities (not the only people in the world) and how these are used to help them survived. They are trapped in a vicious circle of heart-break, betrayal, pain, hurting and this is all confined within a school that is designed to “mould” the girls and ultimately use them. There’s lots of subterfuge and excitement along the way and a little bit of romance. However the novel is driven by the two sisters and their relationship and the extent in which having these powers will mean they have to go to.

The Review.

Sister Assassin unfortunately is not a novel I enjoyed, and I am sure I will be one of the rare few and it is not often that I feel that way. For me, the problem with Sister Assassin lay not with the structure of the narrative which switches between Annie and Sofia, the two protagonists and sisters and jumping from present to past. This did discombobulate me, but I learned to deal and pay close attention to the time frame, it was the characters themselves that truly grated on me. Despite this, I think Sister Assassin has an awful lot to offer as a novel and that is its true selling point, I have not read any of Kiersten White’s other novels, but this one contains, fantasy elements, mystery, romance and lots of thrills and action. My brain was constantly ticking over to try and find out what was happening and it wasn’t so overly complicated that I couldn’t figure out things.

Sofia and Annie are two sisters who supposedly love each other and care very deeply. Annie is the older sister and this took me a while to figure out, since it didn’t seem to be entirely clear for me (or I likely skipped this part for some unknown reason). Still, this confused me as to the real dynamic of their relationship as sisters for the first half of the novel because the time jumping failed to lay the foundations for their relationship and I couldn’t get a connection to the two. I thought Sofia was the older sister purely because of the way she acted and then it took me by surprise since Annie appeared to be the child. Unfortunately for me, first impressions count and it’s hard to remove them after that. I didn’t like the sisters in all honesty. I felt that they were both destructive towards each other and despite all this caring and their environment  being destructive they were not healthy for each other. There seemed to be little vindictive digs between the two and a hatred that made reading sour for me. Whether this was Kiersten’s intention to rebuild something between the two of them, I felt that it was too far gone to truly be fixed and that the girls were so damaged that it twisted my stomach.

“Why? And thanks to Keane’s rules, I can’t visit her or even call her without being spied on. How could she do this to me? To us? She used me.”

When the novel is called Sister Assassin I fear that the title is slightly misleading because it creates the idea of a duo. This is not to be seen because the title Mind Games I feel is infinitely more applicable to the novel and that the characters within the novel play mind games upon the girls because Sofia and Annie are far from being equals. They are used against each other and manipulated and this is what I didn’t like because it slowly disintegrated their relationship and left a sour feeling in my gut. I hated how the siblings who had to rely solely on one and other were dragged apart and how they both got the idea they were of lesser value to the other. I liked the initiative of White to take on this dynamic, but to use the girls to abuse one another so emotionally that they became even more frayed grated on me. I don’t think I’d have minded so much if I felt that something positive came of this, but it just felt pointless.

Even without liking the destructive relationship between the girls, I neither liked their personalities. I felt that both of them were self-absorbed and choosing to blame themselves too much for every problem. Everything was me, me, me, and they didn’t look for each other.  They failed to communicate. This may all seem to be part of the dark, twisted novel that definitely gets points for being gritty and full of hardship, I just couldn’t connect with these whiny, characters that seemed to emphasise so much about not doing it that they eventually would. Not everything fails though because they do both have redeeming moments in the fact that they eventually seem to reach a point of resolution that doesn’t fully give an ending to their relationship just represents their intelligence and bond. It didn’t leave me satisfied enough to give this book a higher rating, however I believe that a lot of people will truly appreciate the novel and its ending for its subtle cleverness.

Having said that, Sister Assassin takes on a unique, brave approach in the young-adult world and it is quick read at just over 200 pages, pushes forward an action packed and thrilling novel that will tick an awful lot of boxes for people with a desire for heroines that push themselves into the thick of things and still manage to show vulnerabilities, I just couldn’t connect with the characters or appreciate them.

The romance in Sister Assassin frustrated me beyond belief because I was rooting for all the wrong things. I think this left me disappointed and I couldn’t understand the characters and their actions. I’m not for happily ever afters in every novels because this isn’t what Sister Assassin delivers and with such a title it’s not really what I expected, but neither am I for entire paths of destruction or stupidity. I just felt like wringing the characters necks. Having said that, the love interests that we gain and note the word “interests” however this is used with the utmost care and it does not really create a love triangle, it much more becomes a pinnacle of direction of choice for Sofia who is the focus of this novel much more. Despite this, I couldn’t connect to either boy that she has in her life nor truly like them. There was always undercurrents that left me unsettled from all the characters and this book.

“I wish she were my dog and I had an alcoholic father and I was the type of girl that Adam could date and rescue and fall in love with. I wish my left arm didn’t hurt so much I wanted to die…”

The one element of Sister Assassin I wish had been focused upon much more was the school and the whole dynamic surrounding this. I feel like we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface and White eluded to so much more and she left me rather disappointed if I’m honest with her eventual unveiling in Sister Assassin and this is the sole reason to my contemplation to pick up the next novel when I didn’t truly connect with this one. However I feel like there is lots of potential on a mystery and political front that can be dragged from the school and the direction White is taking her novel in. Maybe if she’d allowed herself to continue this one I may have been able to engage more with her direction. However at the moment I feel isolated from the characters and her direction.

The other point to note is the narrative. We split between both Annie and Sofia and then from past to present and you have to pay close attention to the changing time frame. It can certainly draw you away from the novel, but eventually I managed to get into the narrative after a while and looking out for the specific changes and I think the time frame added to the subplots of the novel and the complexity to slowly unveil the events and different elements that are contained in Sister Assassin to make it so dynamic.

Overall, I don’t suggest you ignore Sister Assassin, but I suggest an air of caution. I know plenty of people who have adored this novel and I feel I will be a black sheep in not liking this, but I found it hard to change my mind by the end of the novel despite its improvement. For me, White has lots of lost potential here in Sister Assassin that I don’t think she used in the right way for her characters to work in a believable, damaged way without everything seeming to be one abuse after another between every relationship that led to a breakdown. I’ve found it hard to truly put all my feelings into Sister Assassin because I really felt rather ambivalent by the end and whilst I appreciate the ending I still couldn’t find myself to like it more. However just to show you that there are people who loved it, check out  Rebekah’s review at The Reflections of a Bookworm here and Tonya’s from The Midnight Garden’s review here, both who gave the book four stars.

*Quotes taken from an uncorrected e-arc copy provided through NetGalley thanks to HarperCollinsUK

2 books

Nerd Fact

The use of a different title and cover is largely due to the HarperCollins UK buying the publishing rights for Mind Games and choosing to take a different marketing approach to the UK market, nothing exciting really. I think whilst the Mind Gamestitle is less apt, the tagline fits perfectly to the novel. This is the American cover that some of you may be more familiar with. 

This year both Mind Games and Sister Assassin will be released to America and the UK, Australia etc on the same date, because of HaperCollins UK buying the rights, so all those UK buddies will not have to wait to get their hands on this!

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Filed under 2 Books, 2013 Publication, E-book, Fantasy, HarperCollins, Kiersten White, Mystery, Romance, Young Adult

Mockingbird

Mockingbird

Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig

Series: Miriam Black #2

Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

Published: August 28th 2012 by Angry Robot

The Plot.

Miriam is trying. Really, she is.

But this whole “settling down thing” that Louis has going for her just isn’t working out. She lives on Long Beach Island all year around. Her home is a run-down double-wide trailer. She works at a grocery store as a check-out girl. And her relationship with Louis–who’s on the road half the time in his truck–is subject to the piss and vinegar Miriam brings to everything she does.
It just isn’t going well. Still, she’s keeping her psychic ability–to see when and how someone is going to die just by touching them–in check. But even that feels wrong somehow. Like she’s keeping a tornado stoppered up in a tiny bottle.

Then comes one bad day that turns it all on her ear.

My Review.

Chuck Wendig’s sequel to Blackbirds in the Miriam Black series took to a different direction than I expected in Mockingbird and I didn’t quite connect with it as much which is unfortunate to say. Blackbirds unexpectedly surprised me and I was looking forward to starting Mockingbird however it was a little more dark and twisted than I expected and maybe could stomach. Miriam seemed to kick up the violence, language and lonely solo act in this novel and I didn’t appreciate the move away from the romance that kindled in the previous novel which I think represented a light of hope in the novel. However, I felt things were really strained in this novel and they took a lot darker approach in the aspect that the characters really looked inside themselves.

I think my main problem came with Mockingbird in that I didn’t actually like Miriam’s character as much. Before she was bad-ass problematic woman who was a little eccentric. However, Miriam pushed everybody away in this novel, she seemed to be hating on the entire world and she took a trip into the past. I think I’ll be more intrigued to witness the resolving off the issues that Miriam has in the next instalment because we’ll finally be getting to the core of her issues. I just felt like as a character she didn’t make a lot of progress in this novel, she seemed to bounce of walls and fire insults at everybody. She did make some character connections with new people, but these were all underlying with foreboding and death which makes my stomach churn at the thought in nervous anticipation. I can appreciate that Wendig does not creep around the idea of death and destruction and he shows this through Miriam pretty brutally which is why I didn’t like her character for this novel because she became a little harder and colder. However, he has to be applauded for stepping where other authors tend to shy away from.

“Each song of an album, each page of a book, every panel of every comic, they’re all doorways, little escape hatches where Miriam can flee the sad shadows of this life.”

Louis is a character that seemed to make some development in this novel with uncovering some of his issues with Miriam. However again, we’re still not at the bottom of his problems and I hope he returns to resolve these because just like Miriam his life is full of problems. Wendig certainly doesn’t sprinkle fairy dust over people and Louis has lots of demons I feel still left to fight, so I hope we haven’t seen the back of him.

Nevertheless what I did love was the return of the crass humour and eccentric behaviour that occurred in Mockingbird that so reminded me of Blackbirds which was a new venture for me into a book I probably wouldn’t usually read. Mockingbird is not for the faint-hearted and if you are a little queasy or put off my bad language, death and lots of violence I would suggest avoiding this series all-together. However if you want something that delves into the darkness of humanity, something crazy with talking-birds, visions, death warnings and all kinds of crazed happenings then Mockingbird and Blackbirds are the perfect book for you. I think Wendig manages to develop his very own genre with these two books that isn’t alike anything I’ve read and this unique nature that he brings is a reason that I still manage to enjoy this book.

One thing I did love about Mockingbird were the chapter titles. They always manage to make me chuckle and I think Wendig has something very new and encapsulated Miriam’s character perfectly who is our protagonist and narrator and I think this engages your attention before the chapter even begins to keep reading and explore further into the mind of Miriam Black.

“Lords of Google, Hear my Plaintive Cries.”

Despite not enjoying Mockingbird as much as the first novel in the Miriam Black series, I will be continuing with it and looking out for what exciting adventure comes next because dark and gritty this series is and I think it still manages to be innovative and exploring into the dark nature that lays latent in so many books.

*quotes taken from an uncorrected arc copy so may change on the original version provided through NetGalley from Angry Robot.

3.5 books

Extra Nerdy

Chuck Wendig has a rather awesome blog that runs under the name terribleminds and there are lots of cool features over there with short stories he has free and all about his other work in the world of gaming, writing novels and short stories and screenplays. A very cool guy. He also has lots of interesting, awesome pictures on his blog too. terrible minds

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Filed under 2012 Publication, 3.5 Books, Adult, Angry-Robot, Chuck Wendig, E-book, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories

The Bloody Chamber

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter (GR)

Genre: Fantasy, Gothic, Horror

Published: January 1st 1990 by Penguin Books

From familiar fairy tales and legends – Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss-in-Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires, werewolves – Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories.

My Review:

Firstly, I don’t usually do lots of short stories or anthologies of any kind, but I had to read this one for school and surprise me it did. I enjoyed it immensely with its dark, twisted take on the fairy tales meaning Carter makes something very unique.

The collection is made up of The Bloody Chamber, The Courtship of Mr Lyon, The Tiger’s Bride, Puss-In-Boots, The Erl-King, The Snow Child, The Lady of The House of Love, The Werewolf, The Company of Wolves and Wolf-Alice.

One thing to be highly aware of throughout all the short stories is that they are highly explicit on sexual and violent terms.

Here are a selection of short reviews for a few of the short stories within.

The Bloody Chamber

‘The Bloody Chamber’ was probably my least favourite of the short stories that make up Carter’s short stories even though it’s the title and the first one. It’s a modern retelling of Bluebeard which I honestly didn’t know anything about before picking up ‘The Bloody Chamber’ is interesting to say the least.

However I found its protagonist weak and naive and very much deluded and she frustrated me. She depended upon other people to save her and whilst this is all part of the meanings behind ‘The Bloody Chamber’ I wanted to throw something at the girl.

“Then, slowly yet teasingly, as if he were giving a child a great, mysterious treat,”

The plot is engaging and I found it slightly disturbing but all the little foreshadowing moments and twists and turns kept the pace moving.

The Marquis is a despicable man and he’s truly wicked. He’s the embodiment of a villain and a cradle snatcher. There is nothing to like about the man and he’s probably the main reason I didn’t appreciate ‘The Bloody Chamber’ as a short story.

“He was older than I. He was much older than I; there were streaks of pure silver in his dark mane. But his strange, heavy, almost waxen face was not lined by experience.”

The Tiger’s Bride

Without a doubt, this was my favourite story of the selections. This is an adaption of Beauty and the Beast and the better of the two that Carter attempted. The other one, The Courtship of Mr Lyon wasn’t nearly as engaging.

Carter looks at a Beast as a Lord and whether he’s human or animal and I found this really interesting and the whole dynamic of his character was exciting. It was added to by his servant who is supposed to be an animal too that I didn’t quite pick up on in my first reading and this contrast between humans and animals is interesting.

“And then he moved; he buried his cardboard carnival head with its ribboned weight of false hair in, I would say, his arms; he withdrew his, I might say hands from his sleeves and I saw his furred pads, his excoriating claws.”

I liked Belle as a character. She wasn’t very strong to start with, but she built herself up as a character and she was pretty smart. I liked her ability to think on her feet and move with the direction of the novel rather than oppose it.

Puss-in-Boots

‘Puss-in-Boots’ probably doesn’t require a genius to figure out what it’s a retelling off. I found this one to be more humorous and entertaining than Carter’s other additions to the stories because it wasn’t quite as dark and twisted and it made a refreshing addition to the collection with something a little different.

Puss was quite the enigmatic character and I took a shinning to him immediately. He was clever and oozing charm, especially around the lady felines, but that only added to his character to make him entertaining.

“So Puss got his post at the same time as his boots and I dare say the Master and I have much in common for he’s proud as the devil, touchy as tin-tacks, lecherous as liquorice and, though I say it as loves him, as quick-witted a rascal as ever put on clean linen.”

Overall, I really enjoyed ‘Puss-in-Boots’ more for Puss as a character than his master who was a little foolish and blinded by love, but the extravagance of that made it all the more amusing.

The Company of Wolves

This makes for an interesting read as a modern adaption to Little Red Riding Hood because this Little Red Riding Hood is incredibly far from the version I remember as a child so it may very well change your opinion entirely on Little Red Riding Hood, be warned!

Carter gathers together lots of mythology about wolves and tales and uses them as a warning from the Grandmother who is an old crone. I didn’t like her one bit and I was glad we got her out of the way. That sounds really mean, but she isn’t a character you can like.

“There is no winter’s night the cottager does not fear to see a lean, grey, famished snout questing under the door, and there was a woman once bitten in her own kitchen as she was straining the macaroni.”

Little Red Riding Hood isn’t silly or naive, but she uses her brain and other parts of herself to get what she wants and to secure her safety and you can clearly see the wave of feminism that Carter was writing through coming out in ‘The Company of Wolves’ in embracing freedom and sexuality and it’s something I quite liked.

I liked the werewolf aspect to ‘The Company of Wolves’ and all the elements of wolves and magic. The film however is rather dire, they use great big Alsatians and German Shepards to play wolves so it doesn’t quite reflect the wolves as it could and things change a little, so if you’ve seen the film which is humorous for how bad it is, then do read the short story because it’s so much better!

Do be aware that Carter likes to take things overboard and it makes for an interesting read to say the least!

“She stands and moves within the invisible pentacle of her own virginity. She is an unbroken egg; she is a sealed vessel; she has inside her a magic space the entrance to which is shut tight with a plug of membrane; she is a closed system; she does not know how to shiver. She has her knife and she is afraid of nothing.”

Be warned, stepping into the world of Carter is entering a completely different realm! So beware.

4 books

*

Nerd Fact

Angela Carter is a feminist, who married twice and ran away to Japan after he first marriage. She was working on a sequel to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre at the time of of her death that focused on the life of Jane’s stepdaughter, but only a synopsis survives.

Extra Nerdy

The song that I think summarises these short stories most of all is Animal by Neon Trees. It’s actually one of my favourites.

*

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Filed under 1990 Publication, 4 Books, Adult, Angela Carter, Fantasy, Gothic, Horror, Paperback, Penguin Books

Legend Unleashed

Legend Unleashed

Legend Unleashed by M. Latimer-Ridley

Genre: Fantasy, Werewolves, Romance, Young-Adult

Published: Published October 26th 2012 by Cranmer Publishing

When an infamous criminal is unleashed from his prison, it has consequences for everyone in Carwick. Temperance Levinthal in particular…

Temperance is satisfied with her ordinary life.

Dealing with her eccentric, childlike parents is all the excitement she needs. That changes when Alastair Byron returns home.

After a failed matchmaking attempt by her father, sparks fly between her and Alastair-just not the good kind.

They are forced together though, when they are implicated in a grisly murder. Their search for the truth leads them to a secret world beneath Carwick, filled with werewolves, wizards and other magical faey.

However, uncovering the truth is far more dangerous than they’d ever imagined.
There are secrets within secrets.

Even Alastair may be more than he seems…

My Review:

I simply adored this book because from the very first moment I stumbled across Latimer and Ridley’s blog I was intrigued by the premise of this book and all the art work, youtube videos and little teasers of the book being formed excited me and when they asked me to review, I just knew I couldn’t say no. I’m so glad to say this book didn’t let me down, not one bit. I didn’t want it to end, I kept stopping just because I couldn’t bare to see the end of this book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not perfect, but it’s quirky, original and everything that I adore so for me this is the werewolf book I’ve been looking for, this is exactly what I want a book to do. It drew me in, excited me and I engaged with the characters and it’s safe to say a book of 2012 I will not forget.

This book has a little bit of everything. Romance, fantasy and mystery in abundance. It’s clearly the driving force that makes the book so engaging and whilst I will admit there were points and still points that have left me a tad confused, this book was undeniably a guilty pleasure. Oh and this book was gory too and exciting. It was thrilling on all kinds of levels as well as having this low level romance that bubbled throughout, but didn’t take over the story.

“A bloodcurdling howl echoed throughout the cavern. Claws dug into his back, slicing through the muscles. A piercing scream ripped from his throat. Fangs nicked at his neck; the warm rush of blood blurred his vision and his head was yanked back.”

On top of all the gore, mystery and adventure that happens in abundance there is the romance. Now don’t be put off by this book because first appearances are very much deceiving. When you begin to read it appears to become a point where we meet a love triangle, but what makes the book so entirely loveable is how it completely eliminates this direction and surprises you in doing so. Meanwhile, enjoy the bubbling tensions and antagonisms between the characters because it is so deeply entertaining!

“Halvard stalked over to her, invading her personal space. She gasped and bumped back up against the wall away from him. His handsome face drew level with hers. He was growling.

He brushed a fingertip over her cheek, drawing back a strand of her hair. His striking amber eyes bored into hers.

“I’m not an adolescent pup. I don’t show just any female affection. All you need to do is tell me to stop…”

Temperence isn’t the highly intelligent super-freak that seem to have become normal or entirely stupid, she’s a nice balance somewhere in-between and there was only a rare moment where I wanted to bash her head against a wall because she was so oblivious. However, I think this only makes her character more realistic and how much there was for her to unravel about the time was exciting because little pieces of information were slowly released to you to fit together a puzzle as Temperence was too. There was lots of surprising elements about Temperence that really made her a victim, but she was a strong character even though she was put into this position and I appreciated this about her. She was a very likeable character.

The plot for this story is eccentric and weird, but this makes is so engaging and creative. It drew me away from the real world and really immersed me in every element of Temperance’s story and all the little associations and mysteries of Carwick that surprise you at every turn. One of my favourite little quotes to share.

“Little Alice here is taking a trip down the rabbit-hole with you then,” Winthrop mused.”

Overall, I would recommend this book without a doubt and suggest that everybody get themselves a copy of Legend Unleashed because M. Latimer-Ridley have some real talent and I cannot wait for more from them!

5 books

Nerd Fact

There is an actual mental illness called lycanthropy or clinical lycanthropy where the patient believes they have actually transformed into or can transform into a animal such as a wolf.

 

Extra Nerdy

 

This video has to be one of the quirkiest things I’ve seen. I’m not usually a fan of book videos, but this one works really well with the shadows and giving you a brief, but intriguing overview of the novel. And it’s only 54 seconds long so it doesn’t take much time at all.

Fulfil the inner nerd and find out even more here!

14 Comments

Filed under 2012 Publication, 5 Books, Cranmer Publishing, E-book, Fantasy, M. Latimer-Ridley, Romance, Wereshifters, Young Adult