Review: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

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Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
Or: Yo this is a brilliant idea. 

Goodreads     ||     The Book Depository 

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Synopsis: In a world where the ancient Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed, knowledge now rules the world: freely available, but strictly controlled. Owning private books is a crime. Jess Brightwell is the son of a black market book smuggler, sent to the Library to compete for a position as a scholar . . . but even as he forms friendships and finds his true gifts, he begins to unearth the dark secrets of the greatest, most revered institution in the world. Those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn. . . .

My friend works in a discount book store, and about 6 months ago she gave me this book; aparently she’d heard good things about it from a customer and they were having a huge sale so she brought a copy for me and one for herself.

I put in my to read pile and promptly forgot all about it. It wasn’t until I was physically trying to jam my recently read books into my precariously full bookshelf that I noticed it again. I’d just finished another book and needed a book to begin for the week ahead. It was relatively thin and the synopsis seemed interesting, so I decided to give it ago.

I’d happily give this book a solid 3 and a half stars out of 5

It was ok. Could have been better, but not bad.

The idea and concept though? OMG. Caine is onto something here.

I love history and if a book provides alternate history, i’m instantly down. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you can really muck up alternate history, but Caine didn’t. It’s very obvious Caine spent a lot of time trying to get this book right, and it definitely came through with a strong plot and world.

The only quip I had was with two of the main characters and the really really forced love story , but otherwise, I really enjoyed this book. The bunch of different characters all competing for the jobs at the Archive were really enjoyable and complex; they were all very diverse and felt authentic. They weren’t made to be others, but Caine just embraced an uncomplicated multiculturalism that didn’t feel try-hard.

This book is a struggle to review without giving too much away; the less you know about this book the better.

I’ve recently got my hands on the sequel and I’m very keen to see where Caine goes from the ending she gave us; while this book could have been a stand alone, I’m insanely curious to know what Jes ends up doing and what the go with his family is.

This book definitely needs more hype; it’s truly a hidden gem.

Review: Queen Heir by Jaymin Eve and Leia Stone

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Queen Heir by Jaymin Eve and Leia Stone

or:…. girls why?

Goodreads  ||   Kindle    ||  The Book Depository

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Summary: Arianna is a queen heir and at 20 years old she’s now eligible for the crown of wolf shifters. Heirs are trained and groomed so that they’re ready, should the queen perish during their time of eligibility. Of course, there’s little chance of that happening. The Red Queen has stood for a century, and her power is beyond reckoning. Or so Arianna believes, right up until the final tolling of the bells. The queen has fallen. Four heirs will now fight it out for the crown. Let the summit begin.

This book so wasn’t what I thought it was.

I don’t really know what I expected. I don’t even remember where I heard of this book. It must have been in a book haul on youtube.

This was a total, unequivable dud

Which is a big disappointment, because the premise and the world that the two ladies built was interesting. They spent little- to- no time fleshing anything out; characters, plot lines, abilities, the world as a whole and it’s history, NOTHING WAS COOKED!

It was what I imagined a cake made by a 3 year old with no supervision and infinite resources, tastes like.

Someone desperately needs to send these ladies writing help.

The main character was one of the most annoying characters I’ve ever read, and the supporting characters were appallingly 2-D. The limited characters of merit and promise had one line to say before they faded into oblivion. Everyone was there to serve as a bad plot devise.

Eve and Stone mashed this together with little regard for any introspection or genuine story telling. This reeks of a money deal gone wrong. They’ve tried to cash in on the “strong female” character, and failed so miserably that reading this character’s point of view is like getting a bad wax from some shady back alley ‘salon’.

What makes me mad is how much potential was wasted. This could have been a fantastic story; the world was interesting and fresh (rare in YA), and they had an interesting complication developing. BUT MY GOD. This was a second-hand Audi in a car wreck.

I nearly stopped reading so many times. But as is often the case with these sort of hot mess books, you cant look away, because you want to see how much worse this tom muckery gets. I wanted to see how far it could slide down into awfulness, and I was curious to see how desperate they would get to make it all tie in and make sense.

They got pretty damn desperate.

This whole story was likely written in half an hour, while these two ladies were under the influence. Or one gave it to a 12 year old girl during a creative writing exam.

They could have fleshed this out and spent so much time and effort, but they rushed and hacked at so many scenes which could have been fantastic.

AUGH! WHERE IS THE JUSTICE IN THE FICTION WORLD?!

I’m calling it, this is definitely making onto my worst list of this year (its only March but it’s safe to put this one on there!)

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January 2017 Wrap Up

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So January kicked off a bit sluggishly for me this year and I made a very impressive dent in my 2017 Goodreads Challenge (Which is 50 again this year. I couldn’t quite get there last year but I’m determined to this time). I read 7 books in January. And boy did I read some crackers.

I’ve not done a monthly wrap up before but I think it might be a nice change this year.

  1. Drums of Autumn – Diana Gabaldon 

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… Ok, so I technically read 70% of this book in December 2016, but I finished it in the new year so i’m counting it. Man oh man was this book good. Without giving too much away of the previous three books, the fourth book shifts location and offers Gabaldon’s unique view of history for a totally different country. Gabaldon has such a fantastic way with words and her characters are so real and human, its hard to reconcile that they’re fictional. While two of the rising stars- Briana and Roger have been known to us previously, Gabaldon ensures we’ve fallen totally in love with both of them. A stellar fourth book; so good in fact, that I actually would have been satisfied if the series had ended here…. BUT I’M SO DESPERATE FOR BOOK 5 IT’S INSANE.

2. An Ember in the Ashes-  Sabaa Tahir

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So I waited to read this book for a very long time. I found out about it when the advanced readers were singing it’s praises and eagerly awaited it’s release. I was unable though to get my hands on it after it came out so I was left waiting listlessly for it. OMG this book is SO worth the hype. This book was not what I expected at all but I bloody love it. The summary is so misleading but in a good way; the characters are strong, determined and each powerful in their own rights. A corrupt government, a filthy, irredeemable villain and notorious rebels, make for a complex and rich plot. It’s a diverse novel that just works. I was on the edge of my seat the entire book.

3. A Thousand Nights – E. K. Johnston

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I was really worried this book would be too much like ‘The Wrath and the Dawn’ which I read last year and adored. I need not have feared though, this book was SO different. Worlds apart. With a fresh style that’s unlike any I’ve read, Johnston weaves a lush story. Johnston’s story is pretty faithful to the original folk tale, but diverges about half way through. Lo-Melkhiin is hideous and i’m glad Johnston didn’t try to romantasize him. I loved that the main character was left really ambiguous; with a nice trick at the end I didn’t see coming. You can tell Johnston knows her stuff; the way she described the land was so authentic and genuine- it was obvious she drew inspiration from real life. A fantastic interpretation of a classic.

4. Divergent- Veronica Roth

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I’m sure you’ve noticed a trend;- I tend to be super late to the party for most over-hyped teen franchises. When Divergent came out, I religiously avoided it; some part of me shied away from what I thought would be a dull and under-cooked book. I’d seen the movie but hadn’t felt a great tug towards it. I listened to this as an audiobook; summer radio in Australia is impossibly dull, and a 30 minute commute each way needed some filling. I got so into it, I used to listen to it in the afternoons when I got home from work. I was so pleasantly surprised by this book. I got so sucked up in the story, I forgot I was listening to a story. Is it worth all the hype, nah probably not. But I still quite enjoyed it. It’s an awfully dark tale for a teen audience, but I think it holds an extremely relevant commentary for current world affairs.

5. Passenger- Alexandra Bracken

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This was another one of those books that I’d meant to read for a very long time. I loved Alexandra Bracken’s work on the Darkest Minds series and I’ll honestly go for anything she publishes, she’s got that much skill and command. But time travel? Sign me the heck up! This book delivers. It’s certainly not what I thought it was- I was definitely lead down the wrong tunnel when listening to people’s book reviews. While the romance in there was cheesy at times and a little bit cringy, the time travel aspects were very well done. The sense of urgency is really well conveyed without rushing the plot. The side characters were well thought out, and Bracken spends the time to remind the reader how dangerous time travel is. Definitely for the Doctor Who fans- this book is original and fresh.

6. Illuminae – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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Sci-fi -especially Sci-fi aimed at Young adults- always tends to be under-baked and totally unrealistic. This was one of the most god-damn interesting books I’ve read in a really long time. Holy Shmooze balls is this book GOOD. This has to be one of the most original ways to tell a story that I’ve come across; told via case-files, audio transcripts and instant message logs, this is fantastic. Kaufman and Kristoff have poured so much hard work to create texture and life into each and every page. Each page is an image- scribbles, black sections from sensors, memo style backgrounds, logos the works. No expense has been spared. The story is fantastic- it’s gritty, it’s complex, thought provoking and dynamic. The scary thing is, it’s really not that hard to put aside your disbelief; this honestly feels like it could happen. The book cleverly taps into everyone’s deep dark fears; Multi-national corporations, Artificial Intelligence, the deep- unexplored dark nothingness of space and war. It’s bloody brilliant and everyone needs to read it. Also can we please just appreciate some Aussie excellence (YEAH KAUFMAN AND KRISTOFF!!! REPRESENT!!)

7. Adulthood is a Myth- Sarah Anderson

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Funny story; I pre-ordered this book on the Book Depository 3 months before it came out last year and they cancelled my pre-order without notice or warning a few weeks out from publication… yeah it’s not actually that funny… I was pretty devastated to be honest. This book was so worth the wait though. I found Sarah and her work in 2015 and absolutely fell in love with her. Like literally, her comics are so real and so cute I just cant even. Anyway, I eventually got my hands on this book (it was a case of post-Christmas “treat yo self”) and I savoured every last page. Its only a relatively small book of comics, but I treated every last page like royalty. Anderson is a genius- her work is funny, well executed and so god-damn relatable. This is literally the perfect pick me up; after a long day of pretending to be an adult, the comics go down as nice as a cold glass of Chardonnay on a Friday arvo. 10/10 would recommend.

 

 

So there you have it… what a month. Can honestly say I didn’t read a bad/meh book in January. This is surely a good sign for the reading year ahead. Leave a comment below with any recommendations for me this year and if you have a reading challenge. I’d love to see what everyone’s goals are for the year.

 

Stay golden!

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Review: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

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City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

or: Third time lucky

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Synopsis: To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters – never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight. As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City – whatever the cost?

If you remember last year, I became a late fan of the Mortal Instruments series. I was strongly of the opinion when I read the second book- The City of Ashes– that Clare’s writing had, and would, get better over the course of the series. But I wasn’t expecting the dramatic leap of skill that occurred between The City of Ashes and this book; the City of Glass. Clare brought her best work to the table, and really stunned me with her clever one liners, and her greatly improved character development and plot twists.

So much happened in this book that I really don’t know where to begin talking about it. This book is immensely dense, with important character development or plot devices occurring every few pages. Clare managed to jam three books of content into this one book alone. At times it was slightly overwhelming, but someone has taken the time- either Clare or a SWAT team of copy editors (I’m inclined to believe the latter)- to really put in some elbow grease and polish this book up. It didn’t feel like the frenetic froth of the similar situation in Fire Study by Maria V Snyder, rather it felt a lot more restrained and mindful, as if Clare deliberately and sat down with a thick compendium of a plan and placed everything carefully.

That being said, the one character who should have developed the most, didn’t. At all. Clary- ever infuriating Clary- seemed to be left behind by Clare’s intense character development work. Jace was lovingly fleshed out, as was Simon and Isabelle. Alec shocked me with the almost 360 flip around his character did. We met and saw the development of several key, important, new characters, and we bloody finally got to meet Jocelyn Fray. Thank Christ, I thought she’d never wake up.

Oh whoops I’ve just divulged a mammoth spoiler. SORRY

And while yes, some of the plot twists did feel kind of like they were pushing the realms of believable story telling, they were all so gripping I really struggled to care much. This book had me ensnared from about 2 quarter, and I furiously read the last half of the book over a few days. The end half of the book takes place within 4 Alacante (That’s totally not a spoiler it’s in the title of the book and in the blurb) days and nights and feels like a bit of a pipe dream. Clare successfully executes enough character development in the first 5 chapters for all major characters that you are truly desperate to find out what happens to them through the rest of the book.

Thankfully, Clare finally drops the noxious and utterly shudder inducing ‘incest’ troupe by the end of the book. But you still need to grimace through 80% of this book before your theories from the last two books are proven correct. It’s a slug but the breath of fresh air at the end is a welcome relief from something that may have made me abandon the series. That being said, I’m very interested to see what troupes Clare will apply to Jace and Clary in the next books of the series.

Clare manages to slip in an incredible amount of world building around the main plot line and takes the time in this book to explain the world as she goes- something she tended to forget to do for her readers in the first two books. This third book makes a lot of earlier pieces of information and plot points in the first two books make sense, something which is somewhat of a disappointment as Clare shouldn’t make her audience wait that long for explanation. As I did touch on earlier, it seems as if she has learned from this mistake in this book however, which makes me hope future books may be as forthcoming as this one.

Without spoiling this book, i’m reluctant to go into any further detail as this book needs to be read as spoiler free as possible.

When the opportunity next arises, I’m looking forward into diving into book number four but Clare wrapped up the end of this book so nicely i’m not in much of a hurry to pick up the illusive book 4 (I honestly haven’t seen it anywhere online or in bookstores! Where the devil is it?). Books have and will have preference over this series, because, as good as this book was, it didn’t knock my socks off.  Or should I say, It didn’t knock my punk rock stilettos off (sorry Isabelle but heals and long dresses are not practical for fighting no matter how bad ass you are. Own up to it girl. We can see through this smoke screen)

Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas (Throne of Glass #3)

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Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas

or: OMG THIS IS PERFECT AND I CANT EVEN

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Synopsis: She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no oneCelaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed. The king’s assassin takes on an even greater destiny and burns brighter than ever before in this follow-up to the New York Timesbestselling Crown of Midnight.

I don’t know what’s better, the fact that Celaena starts this book off being as drunk as a skunk, or the fact that this book was utterly perfect.

This story takes the other two and absolutely SLAYS them. Maas brought the game to a whole new level. I liked the other two a lot, but this one was just Nirvana. Sometimes, series tend to slow down or falter on the third book of a series, as the author tries to bring in the major story line and add in new characters, new problems and question things. Maas doesn’t. Maas is the text book perfect example that all authors should follow.

As if Celaena could get any more badass. She does. What I loved most was the training sequences; watching her grow and her set back. Watching Maas prove, time and time again why  Celaena earned her spot as one of the most popular literary YA heroines in current circulation. There is no wisp of a hint of Mary Sue-ness; Celaena is a god damn miracle princess.

Literally.

This book introduced a swath of new characters, both friend and foe. Perhaps my two favourite new additions were Rowan and Manon. Rowan is perfect for Celaena’s character development, acting as the testy zen warrior master, impatiently pushing her- kicking and screaming- towards her end goal. Rowan is just bloody amazing, lets be real. I’ve got a thing for sullen older male characters, and Rowan is masterfully created and just ticks all the boxes. I’m so glad Maas didn’t force a romance in this book; their relationship developed naturally and painfully. They brought out the worst in each other before they brought out the best.

I loved Maas switching to Manon’s point of view; I loved the jumps to Manon’s story as it added another increasingly complex layer to an already thick, swelling plot. This other dimension just works, and it almost broke my mind trying to figure out what the clans were up to and what the king needed them for. I loved Manon. I loved how I wasn’t supposed to like Manon. I loved how bloody nasty she was. I loved her cheek and I loved her spirit. I truly think we need more characters like Manon. I loved how Maas explored the dynamics of the thirteen and the complexities of the clan ranking system. I loved the Wyrverns.

A lot of people grumble that this book relies to heavily on character building . A lot of people have a lot of problems with this book. Was there immense levels of character building? Yes, a heck tonne. Was it necessary for the series. YES. It explained so much, and I would argue, moved what could have been a series that eventually ran flat, into something much more complex and special.

I was willing to slog through the sometimes excessively slow parts because it was obvious the whole time that something BIG was coming. Maas rewards those who wait, and Maas dropped a stunning finale right in our laps. The end of this book certainly out-weighed the means to get there.

I always struggle reviewing books in a series, as it’s literally impossible to review them without seriously spoiling the first couple of books for people looking to read them. And I struggled with this book in particular because I wasn’t entirely sure what to say, and how to put my thoughts into words. This isn’t an easy book by any means; it’s not a book or series where you can simply switch your mind off and easily read. Each book, and line, and word requires concentration. Maas has given the readers a gift in this respect.

And I think, no matter how long I took to review this book, I’d never be able to do it true justice. This series is utterly fantastic and it’s mind boggling that I’ve only been reading it for a few months.

I cannot wait until book five which,- slated at the time of this review- to be released in September this year (2016). I read book 4 not long after this one, but you’ll have to stay tuned for that review.

I’ll end this review, with perhaps one of my favourite quotes from this book;

“And then I am going to rattle the stars.”
Sarah J. Maas, Heir of Fire

 

Read: English Paperback Edition

Review: The Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead

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Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead

or: Richelle, step away from the ‘epic quests’! I mean it!!

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Synopsis: Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham strives to keep the mortal realm safe from trespassing entities. But as the Thorn Land’s prophecy-haunted queen, there’s no refuge for her and her soon-to-be-born-children when a mysterious blight begins to devastate the Otherworld…The spell-driven source of the blight isn’t the only challenge to Eugenie’s instincts. Fairy king Dorian is sacrificing everything to help, but Eugenie can’t trust the synergy drawing them back together. The uneasy truce between her and her shape shifter ex-lover Kiyo is endangered by secrets he can’t–or won’t–reveal. And as a formidable force rises to also threaten the human world, Eugenie must use her own cursed fate as a weapon–and risk the ultimate sacrifice…  

Someone needs to have a word with dear Richelle about throwing in ‘Epic Quests’ willy nilly into her stories. I though after the -dare I say it- dismal ‘quest’ to find the Iron Crown in Book 3 of this series, that we may well be saved… apparently not. At least this quest was vastly more interesting and not drawn out than the last.

I’ve had rather mixed views regarding this series. I was uhming and ahing about the first book, I liked the second book much better, and I was in pain during the third book. After the third book, I was going to give up on the series honestly, but a sheer determination to just finish the series overcame me, and I decided to just bite the bullet and rip it off like a band-aid.

To my pleasant surprise, this wasn’t that bad. I was worried for no reason. This book wasn’t fantastic or a ‘redeemer’. This book was a solid ok. There were parts I liked, and there were parts that I didn’t like. On the whole this book was a solid, ‘meh’ season finale.

First, lets talk about the pregnancy. Richelle- a mother of two- spent the right amount of time describing the pregnancy without going on and on. It felt genuine and she clearly used some real world inspiration. It wasn’t that glowy bull poo that authors usually try to shove down our throats, and that’s one of the reasons I like Mead’s work so much; it’s all genuine, gritty and real.

Mead creates a strong tie between the readers and the twins, and while the twins are only physically present for all of 5 pages through the whole book, Mead gets the readers hook line and sinker. I really wanted these kids to be safe, and I worried about them for most of the book which – I’ll take a wild stab- is exactly what Mead wanted us to do.

The twins almost distracted me from the clusterfudge that was the ‘cold war’. Richelle. NO. Just no. Obviously, in an attempt to make a worthy and gritty drama to go along with the last book, Richelle whipped out the whole cold-war-vigilante’s-at-work-but-shock-horror-its-X-the-whole-time cliche. Didn’t work. Saw it coming the whole time. Which is frustrating, because Richelle is usually really good at creating drama and dropping big plot twists on her audience. It almost feels like she didn’t try.

Perhaps she wanted to wrap this up as much as I wanted her too.

I’d predicted the final plot twist (honestly in the last 20 pages- Richelle likes to do that) about a book ago when we first learned that Eugenie was preggers. Obvious. Overcooked and used. Typical romance trope coming out and giving us the bird. Honestly, I’d be surprised if you didn’t work it out.

There were other good bits- a nice bit of sexual tension between Eugenie and Dorian, some nice time dedicated between the sisters. The wedding was lovely. Some nice snappy dialogue. These good bits tended to balance the bad.

So, now that I’ve finished this series, I’m happy to report that you probably shouldn’t read it. I mean, you can, if you want to… but Mead has much better books to spend your time and dollars on. As you can tell from the sheer amount of salty-ness in this review, this series definitely doesn’t make it on my favored books/list. But, as I’ve said, I’m just happy I got through it.

Does this make me a true Richelle Mead fan now that I’ve read this series? I could get a shirt- ‘I survived reading the Dark Swan Series’

Read: International Cover-change Paperback. 

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh 

or: THIS IS FANTASTIC AND SO WORTH THE WAIT

Goodreads   ||     The Book Depository

Synopsis: One Life to One Dawn. In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all. Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

It feels like I waited a 1000 years to get my hands on this book (Ha see what I did there?). Needless to say, when I opened this book as a present on Christmas Day, I was more than a little excited. I knew this book was going to be good; I could feel it in my bones. This book did not disappoint me.

Sumptuous writing, tantalizing character development, and a spellbinding plot, this book just simply has it all. A retelling of ‘A Thousand and One Nights‘, this book swirls in the old tale like cream in a luxe coffee. The characters are vivid and fascinating and I was honestly hard pressed to hate any character in the book; even the villains and the characters with questionable motives were excellent.

However, this a hard book to review. One of the reasons I put this review off for so long, is because it’s hard to work out what to say without spoiling some part of the complex plot. This book needs to be read with no expectations or knowledge of the plot. Trust me, I think the book summary is spoilery enough.

That being said, I’d like to talk in this review about the legitimacy and the strength of the POC narrator/main character. While no real heritage is given to the characters, it is assumed that the reader will equate them with an Arab or Turkish Lineage. And that’s certainly how I cast the characters. Not once does this proposed heritage feel forced or white washed; this was an authentic and true rendition and the biggest kudos needs to go  to Ahdieh for her work here.

It’s not the first time I’ve talked about the need for more diverse fiction, or my desire to read more of it. But as has been the case recently in the Young Adult fiction world, there becomes times where the readers will turn against a writer if the POC characters or story feels disingenuous. All it takes is a brief look at the reviews on good reads to see that this is not the case for this story.

This story hits home on more that one aspect, and it’s definitely a book that captures your whole mind. This shows a flawless level of audience/author understanding and an admirable amount of skill on Ahdieh’s part.

The next book in this series is coming out later this month, and I am like an enegizer bunny desperately waiting to find out what happens next. Regardless of if you choose to read this book or not (you totally should- 100 billion out of 10 recommend), Ahdieh is definitely one too watch. If her debut is this good, heaven help us all when she reaches her peak.

I am not worthy. I am not ready.

Read: International Paperback Edition 

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

or: !!!!!!!!!!!!

Goodreads   ||    The Book Depository

Summary: Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee. Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

I loved this book. I didn’t think I would. But the story had me from the moment I opened the first page. I finished it in a matter of hours. But I did still have problems with this book, as much as I liked it.

Annoyingly, Bardugo tends to rely on cliche’s probably more than she should. She doesn’t need to, she’s a brilliant writer with a lot to offer and a lot of skill. Yet, like many writers in the young adult scene, she’s caught by many cliches. Whether it’s to make her writing well loved by her audience or simply bowing to peer pressure, i’m not sure.

Perhaps the most annoying cliche she uses in this book, is the age old love-triangle trope. I’m so sick of love triangles. They stopped being entertaining after the age of 17. Unfortunately, a lot of Bardugo’s audience obviously still fall within that age bracket, or haven’t yet come to hate it, because she panders to them beyond belief. The story didn’t need a love triangle. It would have been much better if certain characters stayed a platonic relationship; the love of a friend is just as motivating as romantic love.

Other than my few issues, I really enjoyed this book. Loosely inspired by Russian Folklore, it was refreshing to have a different flavour than usual to a book that falls under the fantasy/Young Adult bracket. The story also follows the traditional Cinderella story line. I don’t mind this if it’s used well- it is by Bardugo- and a lot of current Young Adults feel like they are falling back on this narrative style (Red Queen, the Selection, and countless more. You only need to read the blurbs of most Young Adult new releases or Popular books).

It’s an easy book to read and loose yourself in; I was so caught up in Ravka that the book flew by before my eyes. The world is rich and quite complex and one that feels like it could have existed- if magic and monsters did. As far as most books go, Ravka had an intriguing government system with interesting social dynamics.

Alina, however, was a fairly bland character, but benefited from some excellent character building scenes. I’m very interested to see where Bardugo takes Alina and how she develops her in the rest of the series.

This book has a heck tonne of hype surrounding it, and rightly so. This book works hard to earn your attention in a flooded market. Most times, I have problems with hyped up books, but this one feels like that it is worth all the attention it has gotten over the last year or so. From what I’ve heard, the best book in this series is the spin off set in the same world; Six of Crows. I’m definitely keen to read that one.

It’s one of those books that is hard to talk about without spoiling key plot points and it’s probably the reason I’ve taken so long to review it.

Read: International Paperback

Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

or: YESSSSSSSSSSSS

Goodreads  ||   The Book Depository

Synopsis: Simon Snow just wants to relax and savour his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his room-mate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savour anything. Based on the characters Simon and Baz who featured in Rainbow Rowell’s bestselling novel Fangirl, Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story – but far, far more monsters.

This book was perfect.

No for real though, this book was EXACTLY what I needed it to be.

I waited on tenterhooks for this book for all of 2015. And it finally, blessedly came to us unworthy mortals and it was GLORIOUS.

Rowell was my goddess last year. I professed all fealty and honor to her mighty skills. This book sealed the deal. This is the end flourish on my utter dedication.

This is the book, my friends, that is the crowning glory to all fan girl needs. This book was written for the audience by one of our own. This book provides salvation to all those who’s ships have sunk and have endured endless ‘feels.’ This book is THE book; this is the story of the fandoms and feels like the perfect tribute to all the fic writers and readers of the internet.

This book is the symbol. This book signifies all those times reading fan fic where you sit back and think, ‘Man, that fic deserves to be published.’ This book stays with you. This book MAKES you.

I haven’t been able to write this review to now because I just couldn’t even for the longest of times. And to be honest, I still can’t even.

Once again, Rowell drapes the reader in rich dialogue, brilliant plot timing and devices and sucks you so deep into her world you begin to taste Watford air on your tongue. The characters are rich and complex and crafted with such a love that it is almost impossible not to get sucked in and fall in love with them too.

The plot twists gripped me and I couldn’t predict what direction things were going to go in. The pacing of major events was perfect, with the right amount of time allowed for character development and revelations to occur.

Even though Simon Snow Watford is heavily inspired by Harry Potter with many nods to JK Rowling placed throughout, Rowell has succeeded in making the stories so different its a struggle to compare them or judge them off each other. Rowell has put a great deal of time and effort to create a rich wholistic world that lives and breathes. Rowell’s writing style tends to be more descriptive than Rowling’s; everything about the two is different.

Honestly, now that this book has closed up the fan girl world, I’m really quite gutted. I loved both Carry On and Fan Girl and i’m sad that this is the end for them. I wanted to stay in this world just a bit longer. But alas. Maybe Rowell will end up writing a sequel? Fingers crossed.

Read: International Paperback Edition

This Book was read in 2015 and was apart of my 2015 Reading Challenge.

Review: Archived by Victoria Schwab

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The Archived by Victoria Schwab

or:  Ah damn… another series I’m devoted to

Goodreads   ||  The Book Depository

Synopsis: Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive. Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive. Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost, Da’s death was hard enough, but now that her little brother is gone too, Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself may crumble and fall.

I really didn’t need another series to follow. The list that of series that I am currently reading is rapidly growing at an ever expanding rate and I promised myself I wouldn’t jump into another series before I finished a few off.

But I was weak. I’M WEAK.

After looking at this book and uhming and ahing for ages, I bought it in late 2015 and read most of it on a train journey too and from Sydney.

This book is EXCELLENT

I read Schwab’s Vicious (written under her adult fiction pen name V.E Schwab but the same lady) in 2015 also but struggled to connect with the story/characters (See Review). This book seemed to solve the issues I found with Schwab. She seemed comfortable, the characters were fascinating and vibrant and her plot and pace felt like the perfect tempo.

The very complex and engaging world sucks the reader in very quickly and never once did I spot any holes in her world or feel like it was too contrived. I LOVED the Archive, the characters who filled it out and the sinister backdrop that it created. The whole premise is so interesting and I’ve never encountered anything similar to this.

This book feels refreshing- like a storm clearing away a humid day.

The mystery had me fooled to the very end. Usually I can pick up the hidden villain and potential plot outcomes very quickly, but I didn’t this time. I love when books prove me wrong and manage to get the drop on me. Schwab is extremely masterful in this book, weaving the mystery so subtly and doesn’t drop any tells. When her villain shows their true colours, it’s perfect and I cant help but admire her skill at creating such twisted characters.

Mac is a spitfire and I loved how Schwab portrayed her dealing with grief. It was real. I cried more than once, and it gave Mackenzie an inner spark that made her leap off the page. She didn’t annoy me; she held her own but also wasn’t too perfect. She grudgingly admitted her faults and actively strives to fix herself, even though she admitted multiple times how hard it was.

This shows how carefully and how skillfully Schwab creates her characters, the same level of thought put into each and everyone. Schwab breaks her characters, and then lets them go to see how they will cope; do they rise above? do they sink? or do they ignore it? This may be Schwab’s greatest strength; her characters.

I’m thoroughly hooked here, I’m desperate to know what happens next, despite the rather neat ending Schwab managed to tie together. The second book definitely has a spot in my cart during my next book buying hall. I’m glad I decided to pick up this book despite initial doubts. I was right in my Vicious review; this book is definitely more my style.

Read: International Paperback Edition

This Book was read in 2015 and was apart of my 2015 Reading Challenge.