Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff – Spoiler Free Review

23395680Rating:  5/5

Genre:  Sci-fi, YA

First published:  2015

Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Synopsis: This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

Book Depository | Goodreads


Holy crap, this book! It’s been almost two months since I’ve read this book (yes, I know… I’m REALLY behind on my reviews) and I still can’t come to grips with how freaking awesome it is! Everything about it is awesome. How it looks, how it feels in your hand, how it’s written, the plot, the characters. Everything.

This is probably the coolest book I own. You can’t really tell from the picture, but it’s so cool. Especially the hardcover. It’s written as a dossier of hacked files and transcripts and emails and stuff like that and it’s art. It’s just beautiful and if you’re only ever going to splurge on one book, I recommend getting a hardcover of this one.

As you can tell from the synopsis, this is a space thriller and it’s epic. It’s just one thing after another, I was on the edge throughout the entire thing. Seriously, this book is a ride, I never quite knew what to expect and it got my heart racing and there was the feeling of feelings involved.

I absolutely adored the two main characters. They’re so freaking cute, I just can’t even! And I really loved the supporting characters as well. It has really cool characters, well written and interesting. They’re put in some really tough situations, which I thought was handled really well in terms of how humans would react in those kinds of situations.

The plot is so engaging and fast paced, there’s always something going on, always some plot twist. It’s so gripping and it just sucks you in and does not let go. Opening this book is like opening an airlock, but instead of being sucked into space to your death, you get sucked into the middle of a space war it’s so cool, I am fangirling!

What else to tell you with no spoilers… there’s space shooting and hacking and mysteries to be solved and terrifying things happening and just read this book because you will not regret it, it’s so cool! I will most likely have a rave review as well soon where I’ll be able to talk more about this awesome piece of literature, so stay tuned for that.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – Spoiler Free Boor Review

the wrath and the dawnRating: 3.5/5 stars

Genre: YA, fantasy

First published: 2015

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Synopsis: 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.

Book Depository | Goodreads


This was a very anticipated book for me. I wanted to read it ever since I first heard about it back in 2015, but for some reason, I didn’t actually pick it up until now. I really love stories and Arabian Nights was one of my favourite collection of stories. So I was eager to read a retelling of it. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed by the lack of stories. I was expecting more than one story. I did enjoy the book overall though, but it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be.

Besides the lack of stories, another thing that disappointed me was the love triangle. Just… ugh. I hate love triangles. Also, the relationship between Sharzad and Khalid went from 0 to 100 way too quickly for my liking and I don’t really get why Shazi fell in love with him, because he’s very reserved and unreadable and impenetrable.

I did really love the setting. It was a good change from European settings and Oriental settings are among my favourites. The writing was very atmospheric and evocative, very visual and I really enjoyed that.

I liked Shahrzad as a character. She’s very volatile and impulsive and most of the time I find that annoying in characters, but with her it works. And she’s a badass archer <3. I actually liked the characters in general. They were by far the best aspect of the book, because plot-wise… there wasn’t much.

Which is why I’m not the biggest fan of the cliffhanger. It was very abrupt and there hadn’t been enough going on in the book before that to warrant such a cliffhanger. But it does promise a lot more going on in the sequel, so I’m hopeful for that. I’m curious especially about the magic that was mostly just hinted at in this one.

So overall, I enjoyed this book, but it wasn’t anywhere near as good as all they hype is. I will be reading the second one though, despite being a bit disappointed by this one.

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas – DISCUSSION

***SPOILER ALERT: THIS DISCUSSION CONTAINS SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK AND DO NOT WISH TO BE SPOILED, READ MY SPOILER FREE REVIEW HERE.

As I mentioned in my review, this book was a bit of a disappointment for me. Not that it was bad. It was by no means bad. I loved it, of course. However, it did not live up to the awesomeness that was ACOMAF. And there were actually a few things that I didn’t like about it at all, that I felt were not executed very well. This is going to be both a rave and a rant in one. I have a feeling it will be very long. So prepare for gifs.

I’m going to fist start with things that bothered or annoyed me. Some are more significant than others, mostly it’s just me being an irascible old lady, but anyway. One thing that really annoyed me were the sex scenes. There were just so many of them particularly in the first half and I found them to be boring and unnecessary. Like, we get it. You two like doing the hanky panky. Can’t blame you. However, I do not need to know every single instance when the deed is done, or when you think about doing the deed. Especially that it’s so repetitive. Feyre’s toes always curl in her boots, her “core goes molten” all the time, Rhys’ ding dong is always proud and velvety and just ugh. WE GET IT. Now let’s talk about something more interesting please.

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The word “mate” was abused so much, it probably needs counselling. Can’t you just refer to people by name. “My mate” here, “my mate” there just… get a goddamn dictionary and find some other words.

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That’s about it in terms of writing. In terms of plot… I thought the book wasn’t very well paced. I feel like it would have done better as two 500 page books instead of one 700 page one. Some things were very rushed, particularly in the second half. Like… the whole ending with her dad and Drakon and the Phoenix queen was just dropped pretty much out of nowhere and just seemed like a convenient way out of the shit they were in. There wasn’t that build-up to it that Sarah can do so well. And I feel like that’s because there just wasn’t time. There was so much going on with Feyre and the squad, that there wasn’t time to focus on Lucien and what went on beyond Prythian. I would have really liked a few chapters from Lucien’s POV throughout to sort of learn what went on there properly, instead of having it explained in two pages at the end. The whole ending seemed very rushed and not that well executed, particularly knowing what Sarah is capable of.

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Her dad suddenly becoming useful and with enough foresight to go out and seek reinforcements before he even knew what had happened with Feyre… I didn’t really buy it. It didn’t seem very plausible to me and just… meh.

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I didn’t like Feyre as much in this one. I felt like she was becoming Aelin. And I like Aelin. But Feyre is not Aelin, you know. It felt like the two characters were sort of merging with each other and I didn’t like that. It’s like writing both series at the same time kinda took its toll and they’re bleeding into each other.

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I did like the scene with Feyre looking into the Ourobouros and accepting herself at last. That felt very empowering.

This is probably the thing that bothered me most in this book. Mor’s “secret”. Just no. It felt so wrong to me, so completely out of character. It made no sense. I hated it. I absolutely hated it. I was so angry reading that part. I mean… you’re telling me that Mor, who is so completely unapologetic, was afraid to tell the people who love her beyond everything for 500 fucking years that she was into girls more than guys? And why? So her family wouldn’t find out and make fun of her? What? What? Just… What?

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How the hell does that make any sense? First of all, she has free reign from Rhys to slaughter her entire family if she so chooses, so why the hell would she care if they don’t approve of her proclivities? Secondly, she lived in a city that had been hidden from the world for a thousand years. Her family would never have found out. Rhys and the others would sure as hell not have told anyone if she had asked. It just makes no sense and it’s so unlike Mor.

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What’s more… she strung poor Az along for 500 years because she didn’t want to tell people she was gay? What the fuck? I mean… okay… keep your secret, but don’t be an asshole and string along the poor guy. At least have the balls to tell him no. Instead of dangling shreds of hope in front of him for centuries, and then whenever he inches a bit towards you, sleep with another guy to remind him that you don’t want him? What. The. Fuck. That’s such a cruel, douchebag thing to do and I was so angry. That took down Mor in my eyes so much and I’m so pissed, because I really loved Mor.

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Also… I’m kind of confused about the whole Elain-Lucien-Az thing… is it even a thing? I can’t tell.

Okay, I think I’ve exhausted the things that I didn’t like about the book. Now let’s move on to some of the awesome things that happened.

Feyre learning how to fly! Loved that. Particularly that we got to see more of Az, and I love him to bits. Something that I really liked about this, and it seems insignificant, but I really liked that it was so hard for Feyre to learn how to fly. So many times in books, heroes learn of a new ability and then instantly master it and that just seems so unrealistic. But Feyre absolutely sucked. And Az volunteering to teach her because he knows what it’s like to learn how to fly later in life… just… GAH. My feels!

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Feyre stealing Ianthe’s moment at the Summer festival thing. Feyre undermining Ianthe and making her look like a fool. Feyre rescuing Lucien from Ianthe. Feyre making Ianthe smash her own hand. Feyre feeding Ianthe to The Weaver. SO MUCH YES!

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Lucien. Just Lucien. I would have been so pissed if he had not come with Feyre. Also, surprisingly… Tamlin. I actually thought he had a very good arc. Probably the best character development in this book. It just made sense and it felt right. I was pleasantly surprised.

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Cassian and Nesta. They were so fjhsgwepruijeknvdswfenvk PRECIOUS LITTLE UNICORNS I CAN’T JUST KISS ALREADY!!! Me every time they were in the same room vvv

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Cassian going all primal warrior and becoming a vortex of hotness and death. Rhys fully giving in to his beast form and becoming a vortex of hotness and death (I wish we had gotten a better description of his beast form. I imagine a sort of black griffon type creature with bat wings). Helion giving in to his beast form and becoming a vortex of hotness and death (I imagine him like a golden white griffon).

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Seeing all the other High Lords and learning more about them. Also learning more about Amren and the Weaver and Bone Carver. Just learning more about the world and characters in general. Amren and Varian. The Weaver, the Bone Carver and Bryaxix being released upon Hybern’s army and Feyre and Rhys watching them like

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Rhys dying and being brought back to life like Feyre was. I thought it was a nice circle. Very satisfying. I wonder if now he has all the different powers as well.

The Suriel. So many feels!

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Elain and Nesta killing the King of Hybern! The viciousness in Nesta decapitating him. So much win. Just Nesta in general, actually.

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Alright, well I think this is more or less what I have to say about it. This post is already gigantic, so I’ll leave it at that. Let me know what your thoughts were.

 

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – Spoiler Free Review

22819449Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Genre: YA, fantasy

First published: 2014

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Synopsis: The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite – the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Book Depository | Goodreads


I can see why people love this series. It is really good, has a really cool world and magic system. It’s very Russian, which stands out among the plethora of Western European Middle Ages setting that a lot of fantasies have. I read this after reading Six of Crows and I have to say that it can’t compare. Which is reasonable, since SoC was written further along in the author’s career and she’s had time to grow as an author. However, I tend to rate books on a curve if I’ve read other books by an author, I have certain expectations. Which is why this book in all honesty was probably a 3 star book for me. I decided to give it 3.5 because had I read it before SoC, I probably would have been more impressed with it.

Still, this was by all means a very enjoyable read. I had some problems with it, namely the love triangle. I really do not like that trope and it’s very rare that I actually like a love triangle. So I didn’t really like that. I didn’t think that Alina and The Darkling had much chemistry and I thought Alina and Mal had even less chemistry. So yeah… wasn’t a fan of the romance. But I do think Alina and Mal makes more sense at least at this point in the story.

While I didn’t think The Darkling was very compelling as a love interest, I did really enjoy him as a character. He’s one of those amoral/morally ambiguous characters that are right up my alley and I really look forward to learning more about him. I think it’s safe to say he was one of my favourite things about the book.

My other favourite thing about the book was that it was so Russian. I really enjoyed that aspect of it, it felt authentic and refreshing. The magic system is also a very interesting one, and while I was somewhat acquainted to it from SoC, it was not the main focus in that series and I loved learning more about it.

I would say that the plot was fairly predictable. It didn’t really take me by surprise. It had some cool elements of folklore that I enjoyed, but other than that, it didn’t really feel new. In fact, I often got a strong sense of having read this before. And I’m not sure whether it’s because I actually have read this before or just because the plot had some very common elements. I may have read this ages ago, when I read a lot of ebooks, and not remember.

The characters, once again, were not bad or underdeveloped, they were just not incredibly unique. Other than The Darkling, I didn’t feel particularly intrigued by any of them, but I also didn’t hate them. They were solid characters, but again, after the amazing characters of Six of Crows, these just felt bland.

Over all, I would say this was a very enjoyable, quick read. I do intend to continue with the series. I really love the world and I am curious about the plot as well, as I do feel the ending left a lot of potential for a super cool plot in the next two ones.

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas – Spoiler Free Book Review

acowarRating: 4/5

Genre: Fantasy, new adult

First published: 2017

Author: Sarah J. Maas

***SPOILER ALERT*** THIS IS THE THIRD BOOK IN THE SERIES. THEREFORE, THE SYNOPSIS AND FOLLOWING REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE PREVIOUS BOOKS

Synopsis: Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

Book Depository | Goodreads


I have to say… I was a bit disappointed by this one. It wasn’t by any means bad, but it failed to live up to ACOMAF and there were some things that I didn’t really like, that I thought weren’t done well or were too rushed.

That’s one thing actually, there were a lot of things that felt rushed, despite this being a 700 page book. I’m generally against unnecessarily dragging out series just to sell more books, but I feel like this could have been two 4-500 page books instead of one 700 page one.

But, first, let’s talk about the things I loved. I still loved the Night Court, of course. They were as fun as ever and I loved learning more about them. I loved seeing more of Prythian and meeting all the High Lords. One of the most surprising things that I loved was Tamlin’s character arc. I think in terms of character development, Tamlin’s was the best and most subtly done in this book. I loved learning about some of the more mysterious creatures, such as Amren and the Bone Carver.

I didn’t quite like Feyre as much in this one as I did before. I felt like she started sounding a lot like Aelin. I love Aelin, but Feyre is not Aelin. I feel like writing the two stories at the same time got Sarah to confuse the two voices a bit and I felt at times like I was reading Throne of Glass instead. Still, I did really like the completion of Feyre’s acceptance and forgiveness of herself that started out in ACOMAF.

One thing that really annoyed me, especially in the first half of the book were the sex scenes. I feel like there was an unnecessary amount of them. Like… we already know that Rhys is a hot hunk of fae High Lord and it’s hard to resist the urge to climb him like a tree, but we don’t need to be told every time it happens, especially not in so much detail. It was repetitive and it just got boring and I found myself skimming over those scenes. Also, the word “mate” was abused beyond reason.

I thought the pacing towards the end wasn’t very good. Everything felt so rushed. It just sort of happened all at once and there was often very little explanation and it felt like those things just happened because they were convenient for the story. And that’s why I think if this were two books, there would have been time to pace it better and properly explain and explore things. There were a lot of elements that were brought in, presumably as a sort of entré for the companions, but it just made it feel very rushed and sometimes confusing. There was just too much happening too quickly. I felt that some of the main cast’s stories were left hanging. And I know there will be subsequent books, but as far as the information we have now, those will not be a continuation of this story.

There are many other things that I enjoyed or disliked, but I can’t really go into them without spoilers. I have a spoilerific discussion  where I will be discussing those in more depth. Overall, I obviously loved the book, but it just wasn’t as good as I expected it to be. It was mainly due to the execution, I feel like it could have been done better, particularly knowing the kind of writing that Sarah is capable of.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Spoiler Free Book Review

10860047Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Genre: YA, historical fiction, magical realism

First published: 2011

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Synopsis: In 1886, a mysterious travelling circus becomes an international sensation. Open only at night, constructed entirely in black and white, Le Cirque des Rêves delights all who wander its circular paths and warm themselves at its bonfire. At the heart of the circus is the tangled relationship between two young magicians, Celia, the enchanter’s daughter, and Marco, the sorcerer’s apprentice.

Book Depository | Goodreads


This is a weird book for me to review. I had a hard time deciding what rating to give it. Sometimes it felt like a 5 star book, other times like a 4 star book. I think my main problem with it was that it had a very fragmented timeline and it was difficult at times to tell where in time you were.

This is a very slow-burn book. I personally didn’t mind that much because I enjoy these type of stories, but it does require patience. You as the reader sort of have an idea of what’s going on, but the characters don’t and it takes them forever to figure it out, which can be a bit frustrating.

Now on to the things that I loved about this book and which truly make it a book worth reading. The atmosphere. That is the best thing about this book. The way that it’s written is so magical and atmospheric and it just transports you into this wonderful, magical circus. It’s beautiful. There are little interludes from time to time that are told from the perspective of someone attending the circus and it just really transports you there and you get to experience the circus.

The characters. It’s so interesting to see the dynamics between the people who know what’s going on, those who have no idea what’s going on and those who have some idea of what’s going on. I thought that was so well done and so interesting to read about. Also, the two main… antagonists, I suppose, are so morally grey. I love those types of characters who are not quite entirely aware of how warped their worldview is. I find them so interesting to read about. It explores the idea of losing one’s humanity as time goes by, which I found really interesting and I thought it was very well done.

I liked the different perspectives of the different characters on the circus. I can’t say much without spoilers, but I like the idea of how the same thing can mean such monumentally different things to different people. And also how those people interacted with each other and with the circus. Again, I thought it was so well done.

I don’t really know what else to say without giving too much away. It’s a difficult book to review. You have to experience it for yourself and I don’t think it really can be explained without ruining it. So I recommend just going into it and enjoying the experience.

Sabriel by Garth Nix – Spoiler Free Book Review

2568817Rating: 4/5 stars

First published: 1995

Genre: YA fantasy

Author: Garth Nix

Synopsis: Since childhood, Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom, away from the power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who refuse to stay dead. But now her father, the Abhorson, is missing, and Sabriel must cross into that world to find him. With Mogget, whose feline form hides a powerful, perhaps malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage, Sabriel travels deep into the Old Kingdom. There she confronts an evil that threatens much more than her life and comes face-to-face with her own hidden destiny

Book Depository | Goodreads


This was a pretty unique book. It was published quite a while ago (it’s older than I am!), when YA wasn’t quite the big thing that it is now. I really enjoyed this book, for the most part. The story was really cool, it has to do with necromancers and traveling between life and death. I got an Underworld/ Dante’s Inferno vibe from it, which was really cool and not something that’s explored that often in YA.

I really enjoyed the magic system. It’s very rigorous and strict. Usually, you see magic as a sort of free, raw power that just manifests itself. But here, it’s very strict. It’s strictly tied to music, which I thought was really cool, and also to these symbols and runes and to magical objects as well. I found that really interesting to read about and I really look forward to exploring more of it.

I did enjoy the characters. I didn’t connect to them as much as I would have liked, but they were good characters. I love Mogget. Mogget is my favourite, he’s the only one that I actually connected with.

The world was pretty interesting. There’s this wall that separates the magical Old Kingdom from a version of the real world. I don’t think it takes place in our world, per se, but one side of the wall is like our world. They have cars and electricity and the same sort of societal structure that we do. I loved Abhorsen’s house in the Old Kingdom and I really hope we get to see more of it in future books. I also loved Death, which reminds me of the Underworld in Greek Mythology, but also of hell as depicted in Dante’s Inferno, with the nine circles. It’s really cool and interesting and I really enjoyed that aspect.

The one thing I didn’t really like was the writing. It’s not bad writing, it’s just not to my taste. I had a hard time connecting to it. It didn’t involve me enough in the story, or with the characters and as a result, I cared a lot less about them than I would have otherwise. Still I will be continuing with the series.