The Broken Earth Series by N.K. Jemisin – DISCUSSION


This is one of my new favourite series. It’s so good. SO. GOOD! I can’t even, it left me broken in ways I didn’t think I was breakable. But I’ll get to that in a bit. First, I’m going to briefly talk about the one thing that I didn’t really enjoy.

As I said in my review, I wasn’t a fan of the polyamorous relationship between Syen, Alabaster and Innon. I just found it uncomfortable to read about and I didn’t enjoy that part of the first book. I know that it worked for the characters and they were all happy with it, but I am very much a monogamy kind of person. And I cannot, at all relate to or see the appeal of such a relationship. But even leaving that aside… it just seemed kinda… I don’t even know what word to use for it… but Innon to me just seemed like one of those outlet adaptors lol Like the only purpose he served was to make sure both Syen and Alabaster had sex with their preferred gender. But he was just the instrument rather than actually a part of the relationship. Like a living sex toy. I just really didn’t like that setup, I didn’t like that relationship. I loved the relationship between Syen and ‘Baster. And I don’t see why it had to be a sexual one in any capacity. Once they were away from the Fulcrum and no longer forced to reproduce… why couldn’t it have been a deep, loving and supportive friendship?


Now that I think about it, my other beef with this series (and I really only just realised because I guess I had other things to think about while reading the books) is that it doesn’t allow for male/female relationships that aren’t sexual/romantic. Or at least we don’t see any. Even with Alabaster who was gay, there’s still this weird sexual thing and it’s not only because they were forced to copulate. They got off seeing each other get off. It’s weird, I mean I really would not want to see any of my friends have sex. Male or female. It’s just weird. And I wanted it to just be a very close and genuine and deep friendship without the sex. And same with Lerna. I mean, I didn’t mind that they ended up together sort of. I get it. But I would have enjoyed their relationship more if it were just a friendship. And it’s weird that for example Tonkee could have genuine female friends even though she was into girls. Which I just find annoying. It’s one of my long-standing beefs with media in general. Because despite popular belief, people of opposite sex can have deep, meaningful, close and wholly platonic relationships.


Alright, now that I got that out of the way, let’s talk about all the awesomeness that is this series. This is not going to be very well structured. You have now reached the fangirl section of this discussion.

As I said before, I loved the relationship between Syen and ‘Baster. Leaving aside all the weird sexual stuff, that is. But they were just so cute and they loved each other so much and even though they were apart for years, they never stopped thinking about each other and caring about one another and it made me happy.

nmrd gif

And then when ‘Baster died… I’m still not over it. Even though he comes back sort of, but we don’t even know if he’s himself and… and Alabaster is my child and I can’t stand that he hurt so much and… and… I’m not okay.


I also loved the relationship of Syen and Hoa. So cute, I 100% ship them. Just overall, the relationships in this series… man. I ended up also loving the relationship of Nassun and Schaffa. Which just… mad props to Jemisin because if you had asked me in the first book if Schaffa could ever be redeemed, I’d have said without a shadow of a doubt NO. And I pretty much think anyone can be redeemed. Like honestly, in the history of me reading books, I think I came across maybe 5 characters that I thought were absolutely beyond redemption. But by the end, I loved Schaffa. I mean, he was still far from a good person. But I loved him as a character and I didn’t despise him as I did in the first book.

Don’t even get me started on the mum feelings. I am honestly the least maternal person I’ve ever met. I don’t really like children and my attitude towards having children and being a mother is… better you than me lol. But the mum feels that this book brought out in me… I can’t even explain. Nassun and Essun… I just can’t. I can’t. My heart cannot cope.


The story is so cool. I’ve never quite read anything like it. And so well told. I loved the format of Hoa telling Essun her own story and the way that that slowly started to make sense over the course of the books. I loved the Syl Anagist story line and how it all tied together. It was so intricate and cool and interesting. I had no guesses about what the hell was going on. It was just awesome. Masterful storytelling. I don’t even have the words to explain. I am just in awe of this story.

wow gif

Also, possibly the most chilling line in the series “Life is sacred in Syl Anagist.”. Am I the only one who got chills when it was revealed why life was sacred in Syl Anagist? The name of the city always made me think of synergy. Which may have been intentional and if so, then it’s a clever little play on words because synergy was what was needed for the tuners to work the obelisks and accomplish what was Syl Anagist’s biggest goal.

I don’t even know what more to say about this. I could fangirl about absolutely everything. The magic system that was so sciency, it appealed to me so much. The overall atmosphere which was so well done, the writing was so evocative that I half expected to look out the window and see ash falling from the sky half the time. The stone eaters. They were so cool, the idea of them and how they worked. I could pretty much fangirl about everything, like I said. But this is already a behemoth of a post, so I’ll leave it at that.


Mini Reviews: A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor; The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis & Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O’Malley

So… I can’t really stick to my previous format of writing out the titles of all the books getting a mini review cause that would just be a ridiculously long title. So… you’re getting well… you’re reading this so you’ve probably seen the title already. Let’s move on.

A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor

25876967Rating: 4/5 stars

Genre: sci-fi, humour, adult

First published: 2013

Author: Jodi Taylor

This is the second book in the Chronicles of St. Mary’s series which I love. It’s like Doctor Who in book format minus the aliens. It’s awesome, it’s hilarious. These books are so much fun to read. Highly recommend for lovers of… well Doctor Who and self deprecating humour. And history. It’s about time traveling historians… really all you need to know to be honest.


The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis

10148176Rating: 5/5 stars

Genre: Non-fiction, christian, philosophy

First published: 1940

Author: C. S. Lewis


As per usual, I loved this book. I love C.S. Lewis. I say the same thing every time I talk about one of his books, but I don’t care. Because he’s one of my favourite thinkers and people should read his books because they’ll make you think. And I realise that they’re not for everyone, but if you like being challenged to think, read C. S. Lewis’ books.

Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Rating: 4/5

Genre: Contemporary, YA, graphic novel

First published: 2003

Author: Bryan Lee O’Malley


This was a very angsty, very weird graphic novel, but it worked. It just captured adolescence and the weirdness and angst of going through that and figuring out who you are very well. I didn’t love it, it didn’t quite captivate me. Either because I’m too old or simply because a lot of the struggles of the characters were not ones that I myself had as a teenager. And while I recognise that there are people who went through similar situations, I was not one of them and it’s not really relatable for me. Also, I read it at 2 am, in a questionable state of sobriety… still, I can see what it was doing and I give it credit for it.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret & Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick – Review

967343610128428Rating: 5/5

Genre: Historical fiction, sequential art, middle grade

First published: 2007; 2011

Author: Brian Selznick


I discovered his books late last year… well I had heard of them before, but I never really knew anything about them or their format. But I read The Invention of Hugo Cabret last December and it was beautiful. I fell in love with the artwork, with the format of the stories and also with the stories themselves.

If you’re not aware, Brian Selznick tells his stories through a combination of sequential art and writing. I would not classify his books as graphic novels, because when I think of a graphic novel, I think of a comic book type format with speech bubbles at all that. Which is not at all the case here. Instead, he alternates between parts of the stories told entirely through sequential art and parts of it that are told entirely through text and it goes back and forth between the two. It’s unlike anything I’ve read before and I love it.

Reading his books is a multi-sensorial experience. The artwork is beautiful, the books themselves are beautiful and very… tactile. The paper is high quality, it’s really thick and… it’s just tactile. Because of the thick pages and also the large number of pages that is a result of half the story being told in pictures, gives the book a heft. And I feel like all these things combine with the stories to give a unique and immersing experience.

The stories themselves are very educational. They’re very enriching. I’ve read two of his books so far and I feel like I have genuinely learnt things in a very unique and fun way. They’re just lovely. I think that’s the best word I have to describe his stories. They’re just lovely stories. They’re very… culture focused. Of the two I’ve read, one was predominantly about film and early film history and the other was about museums. And I’ve learnt so much about those two things through reading these books.

I wholeheartedly recommend his work to anyone. This was a bit of an unconventional review, but I wanted to talk about his books and I didn’t really feel like I had enough to say about them as individual stories as much as I had to say about Brian Selznick’s Work in general, but I had too much to say  to put it in a mini review (which is actually what I had originally intended).

The Broken Earth by N. K. Jemisin – Series Review

I don’t often do series reviews because I don’t often marathon series these days. So I’m going to have to try and figure out a format for this. Also, check out my spoilery discussion if you’d like to hear more in depth thoughts.

Books in the series: The Fifth Season (4/5 stars); The Obelisk Gate (5/5 stars); The Stone Sky (5/5 stars)

Overall series rating: 4.75/5 stars

Genre: Adult, fantasy, sci-fi

Author: N. K. Jemisin


Three terrible things happen in a single day.

Essun, masquerading as an ordinary schoolteacher in a quiet small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze, the empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years, collapses as its greatest city is destroyed by a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heartland of the world’s sole continent, a great red rift has been been torn which spews ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

But this is the Stillness, a land long familiar with struggle, and where orogenes — those who wield the power of the earth as a weapon — are feared far more than the long cold night. Essun has remembered herself, and she will have her daughter back.

She does not care if the world falls apart around her. Essun will break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

Book Depository | Goodreads

The series’ first book was by far it’s weakest link. It was a bit confusing as you do get thrown in at the deep end. Which is something that I enjoy, but this world is so complex that it was difficult to follow at times which takes away from the story. I suspect that a second reading of the series would reveal a lot of things that I completely missed the first time around due to not understanding how things work. Beyond that, I have only one other complaint about the story overall, and that’s quite subjective. I will talk about it more in my spoilery discussion, which I will have up soon, but there is a polyamorous relationship in the first book that I just didn’t really enjoy. Which means that there was a good 100 pages of the book that I just didn’t enjoy. Which in all honesty is probably why it got 4 stars.

The writing style I absolutely loved. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with a second person narrative before. At least not with this kind of second person narrative and it’s a bit strange at first, and I did find it a bit off putting in the first book, but by the end of the series, I came to love it. I think it adds so much as you learn more about the the narrator and the person that it’s narrated to. It’s just beautiful and I loved it.

Characters. I can’t think of a character that I didn’t like. Even if I didn’t necessarily like them as people, I liked them as characters. They’re all complex and deeply flawed and so well written. Every single character that is even mildly significant has at least a little bit of development. Even if the story isn’t at all focused on them. It just makes them feel as actual people with their own stories which we may not know, but they exist. As opposed to them just being fillers. And I cared about them so much. I felt feelings when bad things were happening to them (which was all the time) and also when good things were happening to them (almost never).

The series is incredibly diverse in every and any way possible, which is something that earns books cookie points with most people. And I’m not saying that that isn’t something that I like and want to see in books and media, but I am so tired of books getting praise for no other reason than them being diverse. Just because I feel like we should be past that infancy of “omg there’s a PoC, what a statement! Let’s celebrate.” And I know that diversity in media is still young, but I feel like it’s maybe a toddler by now. And it annoys me when I read a book and I feel like the author is constantly trying to say “Look how diverse my book is! Do you see how diverse my book is? But really… diverse… this book is it…” Which is why I love seeing diversity without attention being drawn to it. Which this series does so well. Most characters here are PoC and most of them are women and of course it’s mentioned. But not in a “look at me I’m diverse” kind of way.

The story is so intricate and unlike anything I’ve read before. It’s a strange mix between fantasy and sci-fi. Actually, I think the best way to describe it would be as a sci-fi that’s set in a fantasy world. But it also has elements that are just fantasy. It’s hard to describe, but it’s great. It just draws you in and completely immerses you in this world that is ending and at times, I was so into it that i actually felt like I was breathing ash and fighting for my life. The way the plot is built is masterful. I honestly had no idea where the story was going even from page to page, let alone overall. It was awesome.

I cannot recommend this series enough for any SFF lover. It’s just beautiful and masterfully told and just read it. You’ll love it.

As an additional note, I listened to parts of the series on audiobook and the audiobook for this is also very good. I really liked the narrator and I even felt like it was easier to follow on audiobook because of the second person narration. So do check that out as well.

Vicious by V. E. Schwab – Book Review

viciousRating: 5/5 stars

Genre: Urban fantasy, adult

First published: 2013

Author: V. E. Schwab

Synopsis: Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end? 

Book Depository | Goodreads

I have read 6 Victoria Schwab books to date and have loved every single one of them. Her stories are so unique and she doesn’t really confine herself to one genre, which a lot of authors do. Still, when you read a Victoria Schwab book, you know you’re reading a Victoria Schwab book, generally by the savage pain in your heart (I just finished reading Our Dark Duet and I’m not okay, but we’ll talk about that one later). One of the great things about her is that she doesn’t hold her punches. And it hurts, but that’s what makes her books so damn good. She makes you care about her characters and her stories.

But I digress, let’s talk about Vicious. This book is exactly what you’d expect from a book about two sociopaths. It’s dark, it’s gritty, it goes to places that are kinda disturbing and it’s fantastic.

I really enjoyed the relationship between the two main characters. It’s a bad one. It’s not the kind of relationship that tugs at heartstrings (even before they hated each other), it’s the kind that’s codependent and toxic and kind of terrifying. But it’s so well written, so… exactly how you’d expected to be given the two characters.

Another thing that I love about Victoria’s books is that her characters are individuals. And what I mean by that is that they’re believably people. They have unique personalities that aren’t just an outline of a personality. A lot of characters feel interchangeable. Like they’ve been mass produced in a factory and there are only so many stencils. And every character made by a stencil is the same because machines are consistent. But her characters feel hand-made. Crafted one by one, so even if the inspiration for them is the same, there’s that element of “human error”. Of inconsistency. So her characters are never the same. They’re always unique. I hope that makes sense?

I’m kind of struggling with reviewing this book because I feel like it’s hard to do without giving it away. The strength of this novel is less it’s action, as it is its characters and their journey and their interactions. I feel like the plot itself is less important. It’s just there as a backdrop for the characters. So in that sense, I would say that this book is very much character driven. But it’s also very action packed. It’s like a superhero film, except with supervillains instead. There’s constant action. It never gets boring.

Like I said, I’m struggling to find more to say about it without any spoilers, so you’ll just have to read it. I really hope that the sequel comes out this year though, because I need me some more of it.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – Book Review

strange the dreamerRating: 4/5 stars

Genre: Ya, Fantasy

First published: 2017

Author: Laini Taylor

Synopsis: The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

Book Depository | Goodreads

I had high expectations of this book and it sadly disappointed me. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to.

My main issue with it was the romance. I didn’t really enjoy it. I din’t care about it much, it felt insta-lovey and I know that Daughter of Smoke and Bone is also kind of insta-lovey, but it just works in that one I guess. And there was quite a lot of focus on the romance. There was again that theme that I guess Laini Taylor loves of love bringing peace between two peoples, or at least trying. Which I really enjoyed in Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but not so much here.

Other than that, I really have nothing to complain about. The writing was beautiful as always, the world was vibrant and magical and very creative and very Laini Taylor and I loved it. I loved the initial premise of the story, of the mystery of Weep. Actually, that’s another thing I was a little bit disappointed with. Just the explanation for what happened to Weep. And more specifically, the explanation about the name of the city. That’s all I will say.

I enjoyed the characters, although I would personally have loved a bit more time spent on developing them and a little less time spent on the romance. Still, overall I liked the characters, but I didn’t actually love any of them. I didn’t really care deeply about them, but they’re good characters.

The story is so creative, I just wonder how Laini Taylor comes up with these things. Particularly the back-story of Weep, because the ‘present day’ narrative unfortunately spends way too much time focused on the romance, but I loved hearing the backstories of all the characters. So creative, so… aesthetic. Laini Taylor gives her book this dream-like, magical quality that I love, I am here for it. It’s a joy to read her books even if only for the atmosphere. There could be absolutely nothing happening and I’d still probably give the book 3 stars just for delighting me with it’s aesthetic.

I will say that even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance plot, I’m quite curious how it’ll play out after the ending. I will definitely be continuing with the series and hopefully I’ll come to love the characters more in the next ones.

Mini Reviews – Duplicity by Sibel Hodge, Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo & The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Duplicity by Sibel Hodge


Rating: 1.5/5 stars

First published: 2016

Genre: Thriller, mystery

Author: Sibel Hodge

I unfortunately really didn’t like this book. The story was bland and predictable, the characters were uni-dimensional and stereotypical. The only reason I got through it is because I was audiobooking it. Even though the narration wasn’t great, I think I wouldn’t have had the patience to read it otherwise. I’m really craving a good thriller. Any recommendations?

Book Depository | Goodreads

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

34076952Rating: 5/5 stars

First published: 2017

Genre: Fantasy, YA, fairy-tale

Author: Leigh Bardugo

I honestly love everything that Leigh Bardugo writes. Admittedly, I still have to finish The Grisha Trilogy and read Wonder Woman, but I have complete trust that I’m going to love anything she writes.

As a child, I used to read a lot of fairy-tales. I would wake up early in the morning to read a story before everyone else woke up. Reading this brought me back to childhood and I absolutely loved it. The stories were both familiar and different and it added so much to the Grishaverse. Not to mention the book itself is absolutely gorgeous. The artwork that goes with each story is as much of a delight as the stories themselves.

Book Depository  | Goodreads

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

865Rating: 4/5 stars

First published: 1988

Genre: Philosophy, fantasy

Author: Paulo Coelho

This was a very insightful little book. I don’t necessarily 100% agree with it, but for the most part, it’s just bang on. It explores human nature wonderfully and calls it out for the fickle, faithless, complacent and despairing thing that it is.

But it also shows how it is hopeful and redeemable, how perseverance and faith and a whole lot of patience bears fruit and how seemingly winding roads will get you to where you’re meant to be. I do recommend this for anyone.

Book Depository | Goodreads