A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab – Book Review

A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab – Book Review

32200595Rating: 5/5

Genre: Adult, fantasy

First published:  2017

Author: V. E. Schwab

 ***SPOILER ALERT*** THIS IS THE THIRD BOOK IN THE SERIES, SO THERE WILL BE SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST TWO BOOKS FROM HERE ON! I have spoiler free reviews for the first and second books, if you are interested.

Synopsis:

THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

Amazon | Goodreads


This book is so amazing! I love Victoria’s writing. I NEED to read the rest of her books. Anyway, I should be speaking about A Conjuring of Light. I absolutely loved it. I fell in love with the world(s) and the characters in the first book and I was so happy and so satisfied by the way their story ended.

Since I was talking about the characters, let’s start there. Kell, my baby, is all growed up in this one. In fact, all of have grown so much since the beginning of the series. Really good character development. I loved to see the dynamics between all the characters as they were forced to come together and work together. I loved seeing Alucard and Kell interact because they just hate each other so much, but at the same time, they understand each other very well, I feel. We also get to learn more about Rhy and Holland. Oh, Holland! I think of all the character development that went on, Holland’s was my favourite. Just to learn more about him was fascinating.

Where the second book was like the deep breath before a storm, heavy, but still in a way. Anticipatory. Like a gathering of shadows (the title is so perfect). This one is an outpouring. It’s like that first, blinding flash of lightning (a conjuring of light, eh?), followed by that ear-splitting thunder and finally, as if the skies cracked open, it begins to pour. I love this metaphor so much. This whole series was a storm, it’s so perfect for it. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that everything changed in this one. Everything  sprang into motion. Quickly and brutally. And when it was over, the world looked different. This is the best that I can do to explain intensity of this book.

What else can I say… we got to see a little bit more of the world. We learnt a bit more about White London. Even about Black London. And we even got to learn new things about magic. We also learnt quite a bit about Maxim and Emira Maresh, which I quite enjoyed.

The one thing that I am really frustrated about is that we don’t learn more about Kell. I mean… I understand why within the narrative. It makes sense. Bot goddammit, I want to know who he is! I want to know about his childhood. I want to know what he’s forgotten. Grrrr! There should be a novella that takes place in Kell’s childhood, so we can know what happened!

This is a really rambly review. I don’t really know what else to say without giving anything away. You just need to read it. It’s amazing! Just go read it!

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff – Book Review

29845906Rating: 5/5 stars

Genre: Fantasy, YA

First published: 2016

Author: Jay Kristoff

Synopsis: Destined to destroy empires, Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.

Book Depository | Goodreads


I have been reading very little and updating this blog even less. This is the only book that I have read so far in February, but at least is was an awesome one. I had never read any of Kristoff’s works before, though I’d heard much praise for him. I can see why.

I have a weird and possibly disturbing fascination with assassins. And this book did not disappoint. Ah… so much murder. Okay, where do I begin reviewing this book? Let’s start with the world. It’s so freaking cool. It’s clearly inspired by Roman society, which I always find cool. I’m also getting a Venice vibe. Anyway, that’s not even the coolest part of it. The three suns that almost never set, I thought that was such a cool idea. And also, just the way the world was presented and built was amazing, I loved it. All the random little bits of history in the footnotes were awesome.

And speaking of the footnotes, it’s so cool how the book is written. I loved the footnotes. Let me say that again. I LOVED the footnotes! They added so much to the story and they were so funny. The writing and style is first class, I bow my hat to Jay Kristoff. Oh also, this was honestly THE most profanity-ridden book I have ever read, it’s fantastic. It makes it so much more hilarious. That’s one other thing I really love about it. There is so much humor in a book about death and a cult of murderers, but it’s not done in poor taste. It’s kind of… self deprecating? I don’t know how to describe it.

The characters! Loved them. I love all of them, honestly. I don’t think there was one character I did not enjoy in this book, which is rare. They were all so unique and so… real. And they were all snarky little bitches. Mister Kindly is by far the sassmaster of this cast though. Love Mister Kindly!

Finally, the story. I thought it was a very well told story. Always the right amount of tension, the right pace, the right balance between action and exposition. Loved the flashbacks, I always think flashbacks are such a powerful tool for worldbuilding and character building and just showing the reader something rather than telling them, if that makes sense. But of course, they have to be done well, this book did not disappoint. There was also the right amount of stuff revealed and stuff going on that the book wasn’t boring or didn’t feel like it was stagnating, but also left plenty for the following one. It was very well balanced.

One last thing I have to mention is that gorgeous cover, I mean look at it! I walked into Waterstones and saw that glorious hardcover and spent the following 40 minutes perusing the shelves while clutching it tightly, lest anyone else should even look at it for too long because it was MINE! No regrets.

So, yeah basically… when can I get the next one?

A Toaster on Mars by Darell Pitt – Book Review

28237538Rating: 3/5

Genre: Sci-fi, humor, YA

First published: 2017

Author: Darell Pitt

Synopsis: The year is 2509 and Earth is a rather polluted blue dot that suffers from global warming, overpopulation and not enough people using deodorant.

Blake Carter, star agent with the Planetary Bureau of Investigation, isn’t having a good day. First he’s beaten up by a bunch of religious zealots, and then he’s assigned a robot—sorry, cyborg—as his new partner, right before his ex wife calls to tell him his daughter has gone missing. His car keeps criticising his driving, and finally, to top things off, the world is held to ransom by his nemesis, evil genius Bartholomew Badde.

Can things get any worse? Yes!

Book Depository | Goodreads


This was one of those books that was definitely not bad, but it wasn’t that good either? In the sense that it wasn’t memorable. It was entertaining while I read it, it was easy to read, but it didn’t leave much of a lasting impression.

It seemed to me like it really, really wanted to be like A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but it just tried too hard and it shows. Even though I haven’t actually finished reading AHGTG. I don’t really know what else to tell you, to be honest. I just really don’t remember much about it.

I remember one image that I thought was absolutely hilarious for some reason, and it just stuck with me. It was that of a plastic dog pooping silicone poop. For some reason, I read that and just burst out laughing. Some other random bits I remember are Elvis clones, cannibalism, grumpy janitor robots and a snarky alarm clock.

This has got to be the shortest and most uninformative review I have ever written, but I honestly don’t know what else to tell you. At least for me, this book just wasn’t very memorable.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas – Book Review (SPOILERS)

acomaf-cover-3Rating: 5/5

Genre: New adult, fantasy

First published: 2016

Author: Sarah J. Maas

***SPOILER ALERT*** This review contains spoilers both for this book and the first one because I do not know how to review it without spoilers.

Synopsis: Feyre is immortal.

After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people – nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.

But war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate.

Book Depository | Goodreads


Finally, finally! Nearly one year and two re-reads later, here is my review of this book.

First thing to say about it, and about the series in general, is that it is a love story. Sure, there’s all kinds of other Fae badassery going on, but this is a love story, and it has been from the beginning. It’s a really good love story.

The reason it’s such a good love story is because, unlike what we so often see in this genre, this isn’t a love story based on attraction (though there’s plenty of that, to be sure). It’s based on friendship. And I applaud Sarah for it, because I think that is the most important thing in a relationship and if people understood that, there’d be a lot fewer failed relationships. But I digress.

Having said that, let’s talk about the characters. This is a very character-centric book. There’s some action going on, but mostly it’s a storm brewing. And somehow, despite that and its considerable length, it still manages to be gripping. That is because of the characters. We meet a whole new cast of characters and they are everything.

First, there’s obviously Rhys. Whom we’ve met before, but we don’t really get to know him until ACOMAF. And he is a precious night kitten and I love him. We get to see a lot of layers to him that are hinted at in ACOTAR.

(As an aside, when I was young and bright-eyed, I used to play DragonFable. Don’t know how many of you know of or have played it, but it’s this online RPG and at some point, you have to fight this adorable little thing called Doomkitten.

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And it kicks your ass. This is Rhys. Like, if someone took his soul and made an animal out of it, it would be this.)

Then, there’s the rest of the Night Court. Amren is such a delight! I am dying to learn more about her. And about Azriel. The dynamics of the Night Court are a joy, and really that is all that needs saying.

There’s a lot of development going on with the Archeon family as well. First, there’s Feyre, who’s got to learn to live with herself and what she’s done and I loved seeing her healed by friendship and love and learn to love herself again. But I also really loved seeing more of her sisters. Nesta. I cannot wait to see more of her! Also, Nesta and Cassian are going to be everything.

Tamlin. I honestly did not expect him to do what he did. Even after being a complete turd and acting like Feyre was a possession and locking her up, I did not see it coming. I was so shocked. I remember when I first read it, I was sitting outside on a bench and I just yelled in disbelief. And then I stomped my feet yelling “No, no, no, no NO!”

We also get to see a little bit of the Summer Court, which is cool. I really want to see the other courts. I like Tarquin. I hope the Night Squad manage a reconciliation with him, because I like him and I’d be sad if they didn’t. Also, I am so upset that Velaris is no longer secret. After all that Rhys has done, all he’s suffered. I hate those Queens and I hope they die painfully in that stupid Cauldron.

Okay, one more thing I want to talk about before I finish this long, incoherent, rambling review. The foreshadowing! I loved it so much! The painting of the night sky, Feyre and Rhys’ first meeting, I loved it. It gave me the warm and fuzzies. It just goes to show how much thought and love was put into the story. You can tell that it’s been with Sarah for a long time.

Right, so… yeah. If you’re reading this review, you’ve probably read the book already. Unless you like spoilers. So I guess there’s no use in telling you to go read it.

Pale Highway by Nicholas Conley – Book Review

25671152Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Genre: Sci-fi

First published:  2015

Author: Nicholas Conley

Synopsis: Gabriel Schist is spending his remaining years at Bright New Day, a nursing home. He once won the Nobel Prize for inventing a vaccine for AIDS. But now, he has Alzheimer’s, and his mind is slowly slipping away.

When one of the residents comes down with a horrific virus, Gabriel realizes that he is the only one who can find a cure. As the death count mounts, Gabriel is in a race against the clock and his own mind. Can he find a cure before his brain deteriorates past the point of no return?

Book Depository | Goodreads


This book was bizarre. I received an e-copy of it from the author in exchange for a review. And it’s taken me a while to read it. When I was first approached about it and read the synopsis, I was quite intrigued by it. I had hopes for it. But it was just so weird, I don’t even know how to approach this review.

As a sci-fi novel, it was pretty bad. For one thing, it’s so implausible. I mean, it takes place in 2018. That’s like, next year. And I don’t know, I feel like if you’re going to write a sci-fi novel… don’t alter well established history. Nobody’s cured AIDS to this day, and Gabriel Schist is supposed to have done it years ago. I know this is fiction and all, but that just didn’t sit well with me at all. Not to mention that the way the narrative goes, Schist wanted to cure AIDS before it even existed, like huh? I get that he’s a genius, but that’s not genius, that’s being prophetic.

Then there were the talking slugs… I normally wouldn’t give so many details about the story, but just… talking slugs? I mean, I guess it was trying to make us question whether or not it was real, since Gabriel’s mind was going, but all it managed to do was be very weird. It was honestly uncomfortable to read. So, as a sci-fi novel… it fails.

As a sort of… allegorical, philosophical thing… it has more merit. Although it’s still really uncomfortable to read. There’s an attempt at tackling sort of religion, science vs faith, that kind of thing. Although I feel like there could have been a better analogy for God than a Giant Sky Amoeba. I couldn’t really tell if he was trying to ridicule faith or trying to be as “objective” in the depiction of both sides of the argument as possible.

The best part about the story was the glimpse it provided into the life and mindset of the patients in a nursing home. And I can tell that unlike anything else in this book, that is drawn from experience. Conley worked in such a nursing home, I believe. And it was really eye opening in that sense and it really speaks against dehumanising these people just because they can’t function normally anymore. It also dealt a little with alcoholism and the struggle that recovering from it can be and I thought that was also done pretty well.

The writing in itself was actually good. It was evocative, it wasn’t too heavy or too boring. It alternated between past and present, which was a nice way of learning more about Schist’s life without it just being endless internal monologue. And they were tied nicely together as Gabriel dreamt of events in his past. The writing was well done.

Overall, this book was strange. It had it’s good aspects, but it just didn’t sit that well with me for some reason. It just made me uncomfortable, to tell you the truth. It was just bizarre and I’m not sure I can put my finger on exactly why it made me so uncomfortable (though the talking slugs probably had something to do with it). Man, this was a long review!

Year in Review 2016

I’m a bit late with this, but better late than never, right? Besides, it’s a perfect opportunity for me to abuse gifs.

2016… not my best reading year. Massive reading slump for the first half or so of the year. Didn’t manage to finish my reading challenge. However, I did read some amazing books this year, so it wasn’t all bad. First, let’s get the stats out of the way. I read 74 books in 2016 (80-ish, if you include re-reads) out of my goal of 100. I’ll just leave a link to that nifty year in books thing GR offers if you want more details. Now, let’s get on to the reading.

Let’s see… I think the crown has to go to ACOMAF. I mean, I’ve read the book three times, THREE TIMES, in less than a year. That book just adsjhfk. And still, I have not managed to write a proper review of it. I wiiiiillll, I promise. third time’s the charm. As soon as I catch up with all my other reviews. It’s just that… how do I convey my love for this book in words?

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SIX OF CROWS! Six of Crows is right on its heels. Aaahhh, that series killed me! (I have reviews for both of them.)

Six of Crows
Crooked Kingdom

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Then, I read some painfully beautiful books such as The Book Thief, The Nightingale and The Giver.

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2016 was also the year I was introduced to V. E. Schwab and found myself a new favourite author. A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows have left me wanting more, more MORE of Schwab’s writing in general and that series in particular.

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And last, but most certainly not least, 2016 is the year I took my first steps (and then marathoned through the whole damn thing) into the rich and magical world of the Kingkiller Chronicle. Ahh, yes… The Name of the Wind, my newest obsession. Despite the sheer size of if, it only took me about a week to finish The Wise Man’s Fear, and now I am left waiting… waiting… waiting…

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Unfortunately, there have also been a few books that I hated. Not as many as those that I loved, but alas, still a few. The crown for the absolute most infuriating book I have read this year goes to Glass Sword. This book pushed all my buttons and invented a few more buttons just so it could push them.

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Eldest comes right after it. I just could not wait to finish this book. Goodness, I have read many books over the years, but few have managed to annoy me quite so much.

Another vast disappointment was The Sin Eater’s Daughter. I had expectations for this, but it was just… no.

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The Game by Terri Schott was probably my only DNF of the year. I just could not be bothered to finish it.

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Okay, just one more absolutely cringe-worthy book. I am not even sure why I read it… it was just so bad it was funny. I’m talking about Touch a Dark Wolf by Jennifer St. Giles. I don’t even… this book was just ridiculous.

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So, there you have it. The best and the worst of 2016. How was your 2016?

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – Book Review

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – Book Review

25480342Rating: 5/5

Genre: Fantasy, YA

First published: 2011

Author: Patrick Ness

Synopsis: Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

Book Depository | Goodreads


This book. This damn book. This book is raw and it’s powerful and beautiful and terrifying. It’s made of pain and nightmares and dreams and hope and it demands to be read. It is a wild thing though, so treat it as such. One of my favourite quotes from the book is:

Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?

And so they are.

How do I tell you about this story? Do I tell you how it made me feel? It made me afraid. It made me hopeful. It hurt. It made me smile. It made me angry.

Do I tell you what it taught me? It taught me that we all have stories to tell. It taught me, or perhaps helped me to remember that we can’t control our stories. Not the ones that we create and especially not the one that we live. It taught me that people can be monsters and monsters can be people. It taught me that wounds can heal and that allowing yourself to heal is okay. It taught me about forgiveness. For oneself and for others.

Do I tell you what it’s about? It’s about life and love and stories. It’s about how those things are one and the same. It’s about hope and despair, about pain and healing and the ruthlessness of time. It’s about truth and how terrible it can be. And how liberating. It is about how humans are so amazingly complex and bizarre and contradictory.

Do I tell you… what do I tell you? What can I tell you that will make you understand? Except perhaps ‘read it’. This is one of those books that isn’t just a story. It’s a truth onto itself. In a way, all stories are true. But this one is especially true. And that, more than anything, is what I can tell you about this book. It is true.