The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner – Spoiler Free Book Review

the thiefRating: 2.5/5

Genre: Fantasy, YA

First published: 1996

Author: Megan Whalen Turner

Synopsis: The king’s scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king’s prison. The magus is interested only in the thief’s abilities.

What Gen is interested in is anyone’s guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.

Goodreads


This book is as old as I am. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked for one very simple reason: it was kind of boring. This is a tiny book, shy of 300 pages and most of it is just… people riding horses and eating olives. Which is both unnecessary to the plot and boring to read about.

I really enjoyed the characters. Well Gen, the main character at least. He is a conniving, smartass thief. I love those kinds of characters and I really enjoyed him. But unfortunately, there weren’t many other characters present, as mentioned, most of the book is just them travelling and having idle conversations at mealtimes. But I did like the other characters, such as they were.

The world was nice. It’s not a very intricate world, there is no complicated magic system. There is some magic, but it’s not very heavily involved. I would call it a light fantasy world. Still, I liked it, it’s very Mediterranean and there are interesting elements of court politics. I wouldn’t call it fascinating, but it’s a solid world.

The writing was good as well, as long as you don’t take into account that it was mostly just describing roads and meals. You can definitely tell that this is an older book by the style, it’s not your typical YA style of writing, but I don’t find that to be an issue, in fact it’s quite refreshing.

This book’s hamartia is its plot… because it seems to be mostly absent for the first two thirds of it. Everything that happens, happens at the end and while it is interesting and does set up for future books, it doesn’t make up for the 200 pages of nothing that precede it.

All in all… I wish I had more to say about this book, but it doesn’t even give me anything to talk about. It’s just pretty boring. Like I said, it does set up for more interesting sequels, and I do plan to continue with the series, but for this first book… quite disappointed.

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The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – Spoiler Free Book Review

cruel princeRating: 5/5

Genre: Fantasy, YA

First released: 2018

Author: Holly Black

Synopsis: Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself. 

Goodreads


This is the first Holly Black book I’ve read and I inhaled it. I have heard a lot of mixed reviews about this and I’ve heard some valid criticisms, but I loved it. I couldn’t put it down. I loved the world, I loved the characters, I loved the relationships, I loved the story.

I love faeries. I love Celtic folklore and anything that’s got faeries in it appeals to me. I feel like a lot of the fae fantasy that I’ve read moves away from the dark, mischevious cruelty of the fae and also from the rules that govern them, such as their inability to lie. And I get why and I enjoy that as well, but it was wonderful and refreshing to get some loyally depicted fae, with their cruelty and dishonest truth-telling. And I loved seeing the faerie realm with revels and strange, magical, surreal things. It was beautiful and it spoke to me.

I’m a fan of court politics/intrigue/espionage type stories. And this was a combination of those things. I constantly wanted to know what would happen next. It’s quite a short book, so it was very fast paced, maybe even a little too fast paced. I would have liked another 50-100 pages and spend more time on some things that went on. By far, I would say the weakest element of this book is the plot and I think a lot of that comes back to its length. But I still really enjoyed it.

I loved the characters. I’ve heard people say Jude was annoying or unrelatable, but I really liked her. She’s flawed and has some deeply seated issues, but then she did witness her parents being murdered by a faerie and was subsequently kidnapped by said faerie so…

I also really liked her sisters and they dynamic between them. I loved Cardan. Cardan is just my type of morally ambiguous character. I loved how he’s not really redeemed… but he’s not really un-redeemed either, if that makes any sense. Their dynamic was very entertaining in all its stages and I am okay with them ending up together in subsequent books, but I’m also okay with them not ending up together and continuing to hate each other. And I enjoyed the rest of the characters as well, they’re unique, they each have their own desires and their own angles and I loved exploring that. It was probably my favourite thing.

Overall, I frickin’ loved this. Can’t wait for the next one.

Everless by Sara Holland – Spoiler Free Book Review

35883046Rating: 3/5 stars

Genre: YA, fantasy

First published: 2018

Author: Sara Holland

Synopsis: In the land of Sempera, the rich control everything – even time. Ever since the age of alchemy and sorcery, hours, days and years have been extracted from blood and bound to iron coins. The rich live for centuries; the poor bleed themselves dry.

Jules and her father are behind on their rent and low on hours. To stop him from draining himself to clear their debts, Jules takes a job at Everless, the grand estate of the cruel Gerling family.

There, Jules encounters danger and temptation in the guise of the Gerling heir, Roan, who is soon to be married. But the web of secrets at Everless stretches beyond her desire, and the truths Jules must uncover will change her life for ever … and possibly the future of time itself.

Book Depository | Goodreads


I’m not going to lie, I really enjoyed this book. It was predictable, it wasn’t really original, the characters were pretty 2 dimensional and tropey. But I really enjoyed it. It was easy and quick to read, and the world was just interesting enough that I didn’t mind the predictability. I still wanted to read even though I knew what would happen. I think I was just in the right mood to read this book.

My favourite thing about this was by far the world and time magic. It was a cool concept and I thought it was implemented well. I just found the description of how the time currency worked to be very visual and I really liked it. It was cool and different.

Unfortunately, that’s about as much as was cool and different. The characters were 98% trope, not very well developed at all. I knew how they would act, what they would do and say because they were just stereotypes. Having said that, I didn’t hate them. Jules didn’t annoy me, I didn’t love her, but I didn’t hate her either. I liked the love interest despite him being a total stereotype. But I guess he’s just a stereotype that I don’t find annoying and while I didn’t love him, I don’t mind him. And I liked that while it’s heavily implied that they will end up together, they don’t actually in this one. So that’s a plus.

The story was, again, predictable but enjoyable. There was no subtlety in setting it up, there was not any surprising plot twist, but it wasn’t boring. There were some cool elements that I really enjoyed reading and the rest of it was just fast paced and fun to read.

All in all, I enjoyed this book and I might continue with the series. If you go into this expecting something unique and well written and amazing, you will be disappointed. But if you go into it looking for some fun YA trash, I think you’ll enjoy it.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – Spoiler Free Review

13206760Rating: 5/5 stars

Genre: Sci-fi, YA

First published: 2013

Author: Marissa Meyer

***SPOILER ALERT*** THIS IS THE SECOND BOOK IN THE SERIES. THE FOLLOWING SYNOPSIS AND REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST BOOK.

Synopsis: Cinder is trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Book Depository | Goodreads


I enjoyed this one even more than I enjoyed Cinder. I liked Scarlet more than I liked Cinder, I definitely liked Wolf more than I liked Kai and I ship Scarlet and Wolf more than I will ever ship Cinder and Kai, mainly because I find Kai to be annoying. Also, Caswell Thorne is everything.

I’m always a bit wary when reading a series where each book has a new POV. It can be good if done well, but it can also be confusing and I end up not caring about any of the characters. Thankfully, this was not the case with Scarlet. Partly because we still got the POV of old characters and partly because I just liked the new ones so much.

I found the story to be quite harrowing, which was surprising. This book gives a better insight into just how horrible Queen Levana is. It’s not often that I find villains in YA that are genuinely scary at least to me, but she’s messed up. So I really enjoy her as a villain.

I loved seeing other parts of the world and the global repercussions the events of the first book had. It made the world feel authentic, with the media coverage and how information traveled. I could definitely see that sort of thing happening in reality. I’m curious to see more in following books.

This book answered some questions, raised a lot more and left some unanswered and I am excited to read the rest of the series. Hopefully, I won’t wait another two years before picking up the third one.

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan – Spoiler Free Book Review

11351181Rating: 3/5 stars

Genre: Fantasy, YA

First published: 2010

Author: Rick Riordan

Synopsis: When Jason, Piper and Leo crash land at Camp Half-Blood, they have no idea what to expect. Apparently this is the only safe place for children of the Greek Gods – despite the monsters roaming the woods and demigods practising archery with flaming arrows and explosives. But rumours of a terrible curse – and a missing hero – are flying around camp. It seems Jason, Piper and Leo are the chosen ones to embark on a terrifying new quest, which they must complete by the winter solstice. In just four days time. Can the trio succeed on this deadly mission – and what must they sacrifice in order to survive?

***SPOILER ALERT*** There may be minor spoilers for the Percy Jackson series ahead.

Book Depository | Goodreads


This is by far my least favourite Rick Riordan book that I have read to date. I mean… it’s still good, but by Rick Riordan standards, it’s just meh.

I know for a lot of people, this book is meh because all the beloved Percy Jackson characters they’ve grown attached to over the course of 5 books are now suddenly minor side-characters. But I knew that going into this book, so that wasn’t it for me. I liked the new characters as much as I liked the old. Maybe even more, if I’m being honest. I never had the huge love of Percy that so many of the series’ fans seem to hold. I like him, but I don’t love him. I actually liked Jason more than Percy and Piper more than Annabeth and Leo more than Grover. And I loved Coach Hedge. He was hilarious.

I’m actually not sure what the main issue for me was. Maybe the story? But no, it was pretty much like all Rick Riordan stories. Crazy, funny, full of action and mythology. The plot was nicely woven with the previous books and the rest of the series was nicely set up. The writing was as good as ever, so that can’t be it either. Looking at the individual parts of this book, I can’t really find fault with them. But put together, they just didn’t work as well as they usually do. I don’t know why. It’s kind of like a drawing of a face where if you look at each individual part of the face, it’s great, but when you look at the whole thing, something just looks askew.

Overall, I found the book to be a bit boring, though there were plenty of things going on. Maybe it was something to do with the pacing. It just felt like things were happening off beat. All the notes were there, but they were played at the wrong time. The whole book just felt a little off. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series though, and hopefully this won’t be an issue that I have with all the books.

This is a rather short review, but I don’t have much to say about it. I can’t really put my finger on what I disliked, but I disliked something about it. Still, this is a Rick Riordan book, so it’s by no means bad. Just worse than the rest of them.

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi – Spoiler Free Book Review

28002409Rating: 5/5 stars

Genre: Adult, sci-fi

First published: 2005

Author: John Scalzi

Synopsis: With his wife dead and buried, and life nearly over at 75, John Perry takes the only logical course of action left: he joins the army. Now better known as the Colonial Defense Force (CDF), Perry’s service-of-choice has extended its reach into interstellar space to pave the way for human colonization of other planets while fending off marauding aliens. The CDF has a trick up its sleeve that makes enlistment especially enticing for seniors: the promise of restoring their youth.

Book Depository | Goodreads


This book was my favourite sci-fi that I’ve read in a while. It was very fun as a sci-fi book, but that was not my favourite part of it. My favourite part was the portrayal of relationships of all kinds. It was just so heartwarming and human. This book made me cry several times.

I loved the idea of old people joining the army. It was just so much fun to read once they all got their young bodies back and were just going crazy. I loved the humour in it. It was very self aware and managed to portray things like getting old and loss and death in a way that was… funny, but not in a tasteless way.

The story itself wasn’t much. And by that I mean it didn’t have a particular story. It’s quite a short book and it just follows John throughout his first few years of being a soldier and what happens is a lot less important than the effect it has on the characters. This isn’t an epic story, this is a story about the day to day life of a soldier. The good, the bad, the ugly, the terrifying. I didn’t mind this in the least, it worked perfectly for the book, but if you prefer plot-driven stories, then this might be an issue for you.

I loved the characters and their relationships, as I said before, that was my favourite part of this book. I loved the friendships that formed, I loved the glimpses into John’s marriage that we got. It was all so beautiful and sweet and human. The humanness of those relationships was accentuated even more by the alienness of everything else and I loved it.

The writing is funny. It had this dry humour that I love. It speaks to me, it’s my kind of humour and I found myself chuckling on multiple occasions. I’m interested in continuing with this series and perhaps reading some other John Scalzi books in the future.

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

***SPOILER ALERT: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR ALL THE BOOKS IN THE SERIES. IF YOU HAVE NOT FINISHED THE SERIES AND DO NOT WISH TO BE SPOILED, CHECK OUT MY SPOILER-FREE REVIEW.

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.