The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge – Book Review

the lie treeRating: 4/5 stars

Genre: Historical, mystery, fantasy, YA

First published: 2015

Author: Frances Hardinge

Synopsis: Faith Sunderly leads a double life. To most people, she is reliable, dull, trustworthy – a proper young lady who knows her place as inferior to men. But inside, Faith is full of questions and curiosity, and she cannot resist mysteries: an unattended envelope, an unlocked door. She knows secrets no one suspects her of knowing. She knows that her family moved to the close-knit island of Vane because her famous scientist father was fleeing a reputation-destroying scandal. And she knows, when her father is discovered dead shortly thereafter, that he was murdered.

In pursuit of justice and revenge, Faith hunts through her father’s possessions and discovers a strange tree. The tree bears fruit only when she whispers a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, delivers a hidden truth. The tree might hold the key to her father’s murder – or it may lure the murderer directly to Faith herself.

Book Depository | Goodreads


This was a strange and interesting book. It had a very Agatha Christie-y vibe to it, but at the same time, it had this very dark element of fantasy to it. I did enjoy  it quite a bit though.

My main complaint about it is that it was quite slow to start. It took a good 100 pages for things to really start happening. I feel like if the setting isn’t a complex fantasy world, there is no justification for such a long exposition. Even with a fantasy world 100 pages of exposition might be pushing it, especially if your book isn’t very long. Like, I get that we needed a sort of background of how the characters got to where they were at, but it could have been done better. It could have started off with the death of Faith’s father, which is in the synopsis, and then give some background info in flashbacks or something.

Another objection, a much more minor one though, is that the whole thing with the tree was very confusing. Even after reading the whole book, I’m not sure I quite understand what the tree was and how it worked. But on the other hand, that could have just been done intentionally to increase the air of mystery, especially since I don’t think that Faith really understood the tree either, so I guess it could get away with it. Though personally, because the tree was such a pivotal element of Faith’s investigation, and therefore of the entire plot, I think it should have been explained better.

Something that I think was done very well was the setting and the atmosphere. The book takes place in Victorian England. Though technically, it mostly takes place on one of the small British isles. I forget which one. Anyway, it felt really authentic and the author managed to create a very dark and mysterious atmosphere that really made me want to keep reading.

I also enjoyed Faith as a character. She reminded me of myself a little, with her curiosity and love for science. And while the general attitude of everyone else that women (let alone girls) shouldn’t and don’t have the ability to be clever, was really, really frustrating, it did reflect the general thinking of the time and it gave Faith a subversive air that worked really well.

It’s very hard to find things to say about it without giving anything away, so I’ll finish off by saying that I did enjoy the book and I’m curious to try some of Hardinge’s other novels.

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Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare – Spoiler Free Book Review

lord of shadowsRating: 5/5

Genre: Urban fantasy, YA

First published: 2017

Author: Cassandra Clare

***SPOILER ALERT*** This is the second book in the series and therefore the following synopsis and review may contain spoilers for the first book. 

Synopsis: Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?

A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Book Depository | Goodreads


I keep forgetting how much I enjoy Cassie’s books. Every time a new one comes out, I always wait months before reading it, because I just feel like I won’t really enjoy it for some reason, despite having to date, read like… 15 Shadowhunter books and having loved each and every one of them. I don’t know why I have this mental barrier. But I’m always surprised, as a result, by how much I absolutely love her books and how she just keeps getting better and better with each one.

Like the first book, this one has a noir mystery vibe to it, which is really cool and I really enjoyed. Lady Midnight had Anabelle by Edgar Allan Poe as a sort of… starting point or… I don’t quite know what to call it. But basically, the poem was very relevant to the story and even somewhat part of the story. This one’s based on another Poe poem, Dreamland. And I think the poem parallels very nicely to the Unseelie Court which is quite prominent in this book. I find that aspect to be really cool, I think it adds so much to the story, to the vibe and atmosphere of the story.

As always, there is a mad, complicated and heart-wrenching love story that just seems impossible. I can’t envision any happy ending for these poor souls. But ore than that, it features, as always, such beautiful and powerful friendships and family relationships and it just made my heart ache to read about them. It’s just so lovely how much they love each other and Cassie does such a wonderful job of highlighting the importance of friendship and family relationships which are so often overlooked in YA in favour of romantic relationships.

The ending of this book left me in shock. Honestly. I did not see it coming and my blood quite literally drained from my face as I was reading it. I’m still in denial. I’m halfway convinced that we’ll get to the third book and we’ll find out that the last like… 3 chapters were actually just someone’s nightmare and didn’t actually happen. And that’s all I’m going to say because spoilers. I might do a discussion post as well, where I’ll talk more about it.

I don’t think there’s any point in me talking about the writing, because if you’re reading this, then you’ve probably read some Shadowhunter book at some point and you know the writing style. All I will say is that Cassie’s skill for words and storytelling just grown and grows with each book. It just gets better.

The characters are mostly the same as the ones in Lady Midnight, so you’ll already be acquainted with them. But we do get to see a lot of Kit Herondale (and I just can’t resist a Herondale). He’s quickly become one of my favourites. We also get to see a lot more of the twins, which I really loved as well. Especially learning more about Ty and his autism and how he thinks and interacts with the world. I think Cassie did a very good job of portraying that.

I can’t believe I have to wait two years for the final one. It’s going to drive me crazy. Although I am really looking forward to The Last Hours and seeing some more of Will and Tessa and their children. I’m also really curious how it will weave together with The Dark Artifices, because we all know that she’s going to somehow weave them together. So, exciting times ahead!

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb – Book Review

assassin's apprenticeRating: 3.5/5

Genre: Adult, fantasy

First published: 1995

Author: Robin Hobb

Synopsis: Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father’s gruff stableman. He is treated like an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz’s blood runs the magic Skill–and the darker knowledge of a child raised with the stable hounds and rejected by his family. As barbarous raiders ravage the coasts, Fitz is growing to manhood. Soon he will face his first dangerous, soul-shattering mission. And though some regard him as a threat to the throne, he may just be the key to the survival of the kingdom.

Book Depository | Goodreads


It’s been a couple months since I’ve read this book (I’m very behind with my reviews), so I’m having a bit of a hard time gathering my thoughts about it. I did enjoy the book, particularly the second half of it. My main issue was that it was quite slow to begin with. The first half or so was just exposition. Not much happened. And it did give an indea of the characters and the world and so on, but I felt that information could have been more spread out and mixed with some action.

Because it was so slow to begin with, it felt a bit like reading half a book. Even though there were things going on, they weren’t very exciting things.  They were somewhat mundane. And in a way, it makes it feel somehow more authentic because life is not a constant whirlwind, and it sets things up, but I just got a bit bored in the beginning.

However, the story was very interesting and I’m intrigued by it. I’m really curious to see what happens next and I look forward to learning more about our main character and about the magic and about what exactly is going on. The book is written by the main character as a sort of autobiography and the little we glimpse of his current condition has me really curious to know more about his life.

While I did like the characters, I didn’t feel any particular connection to any of them and I think that also contributed to me being a bit bored. I was also a bit disappointed in the limited assassin page time. I love assassins, but it took a good quarter of the book, maybe even more, before anything about any assassin was even mentioned. And I was expecting more assassin training.

I did find the magic (or at least the little we know of it) to be really cool. Fitz’s ability with animals in particular. It’s so cool, I wish I could do that! But I have a lot of questions about the magic. There were some strange things that happened that I’m really curious about.

The plot is very political and if you enjoy that sort of thing, you’ll probably like the book because I thought it was well done. I personally found it a bit heavy on the political side. I do enjoy political plots, but it gets to a point where they’re too much for me. Especially if the main character isn’t actually trying to subvert the system. What can I say, I’m a rebel at heart.

Finally, the writing… I think the writing also contributed a bit to my boredom. It’s a bit dawdling. Sometimes uses too many words to say very little. Hobb’s style is not my favourite. It’s not bad writing though, it’s just a matter of personal taste. I can recognise the merit of her writing and i don’t hate it, but I don’t particularly like it either.

All in all, it was a good book and I do intend to continue with the series and perhaps even read some of her other series.

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani – Book Review

good and evilRating: 4/5

Genre: middle grade, fantasy

First published: 2013

Author: Soman Chainani

Synopsis: The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains.

Book Depository | Goodreads


Finally getting to review this, 100 years after I read it. I am so behind with reviews. I’m behind with life, really. I need a nap.

Anyway, this was a really cute book. But I don’t feel like I have a lot to say about it other than that. I mean, I enjoyed it. Just not as much as I thought I would. And I’m not sure why. I liked the characters. The story was fun. I didn’t have a problem with the writing… I don’t know why I didn’t like it as much. It may have something to do with the fact that i read it while travelling, so I wasn’t as immersed in the story. Or maybe just the state of mind that I was in at the time was incongruous with the book. I don’t know.

What I can tell you is that it has a fun plot and fun characters. Although both the story and the characters are very cliche, it’s an exaggerated cliche, which gave me the impression that it was done purposely to make a point about cliches. Like, Sophie was the cliche of a princes: beautiful, golden haired blah blah blah, and yet she turned out to be the ‘evil’ one. Which in itself is a cliche. So yeah, that was fun. Playing with cliches like that.

I couldn’t really connect to the story or the characters though, and again I’m not sure whether that’s because I was travelling, or just read the book at the wrong moment. But I am interested in seeing where the story goes, though I think I will have to wait for a time when I’m in a different mood, because my current mood just doesn’t seem to fit with this story.

I liked the theme of friendship that was at the heart of this story and that’s one of the things I love about middle grade. YA is often so focused on romantic relationships, it overlooks the even more powerful and important bonds of friendship, and that was well explored in this book. I felt like it was even a little tongue in cheek towards that particular trend in YA.

All in all, I liked this book, I thought it was cute and I am interested in continuing with it at some point in the future.

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.