Favourite Fantasy Books – Top 10 Tuesday

I haven’t done a Top 10 Tuesday in AGES. But this week’s topic is top 10 books in your favourite genre and I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to talk about my fantasy babies. If you don’t know, Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, though originally it was created by The Broke and the Bookish. So here, we go, ten of my favourite fantasy books! Well… series, for the most part. Because I can’t just recommend one book in the series.


The Book of the Ancestor by Mark Lawrence

This should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been here for any length of time. I talk about this all the time. You can read my review of it for more details, but it’s basically a series about magical assassin nuns.

The Broken Earth by N. K. Jemisin

Again, I never shut up about this. It’s amazing, you should read it. It’s about the end of the world and people who can control earthquakes.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

I don’t talk about this one quite as much as the other two, but it probably still doesn’t come as much of a surprise. I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Brandon Sanderson. I’m so thankful to whoever it was who introduced me to him (I can’t remember who it was). I’m currently reading The Way of Kings and it might dethrone Mistborn as my favourite Sanderson series, but we’ll see. In case you didn’t know, Mistborn is about a bunch of people trying to steal something and they live in a world where certain metals give people certain abilities.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

One of my all time favourites. Please, please, PLEASE give us book 3 before I die. Please. This is one of the most difficult series to summarise in my opinion, because it sounds so boring when you try to summarise it. This is a frame story following a guy who’s basically a legend and it’s just the story of his life as told by himself after his kind of… fall from grace and presumed death. If that sounds boring… well it isn’t. give it a try. I have reviews of the first two books (Book 1 | Book 2), so check those out if you want to get more of an idea about the series.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

I’ve only read the first two books in the series, but there is talk of the fourth one being released soon-ish. So I’m hoping to read the third one soon. This is a series about a band of con-artists. And it’s basically them planning and executing heists and getting themselves into trouble. I love heist stories. They’re so much fun and this is one of the best heist stories I’ve ever encountered. I have reviewed both of the books I’ve read, if you’d like to know more (Book 1 | Book 2).

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I talk about this one a lot less, but I love this duology so much. It’s another heist story. This time it’s YA, but it does remind me a lot of The Lies of Locke Lamora. In vibe, more than anything else. The world, story and characters are very different, but they both have a vibe that I adore. I’ve also reviewed both the books in this series so check those out for more details (Book 1 | Book 2).

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Another one I don’t talk about as much, mainly because it’s not as recent in my mind since it’s been 2 years since the last book came out. But I absolutely love it and I’m so excited to read the conclusion this autumn! This is also about assassins and very much reminds me of The Book of the Ancestor. Again, in vibe, rather than anything else. Reviews of the first two books: Book 1 | Book 2.

The Knots Duology by Amy McCulloch

This is a series that is so tragically underrated and I wish people talked about it more. I read it quite a while ago and I’ve been meaning to re-read it, but it’s such a cool desert fantasy. It has an interesting magic system and as far as I remember, doesn’t actually have a romance. Which in YA is a rarity and I love it. More people just need to read this series cause it’s great. It follows a guy who gets banished into the desert because he breaks a promise he doesn’t even remember making. In this world, each promise is tied with a magical knot and if broken, the knot burns and scars the oathbreaker and they become haunted by a shadow and become outcasts. Sadly, I read this series before I started my blog, so I don’t have a review, but if I re-read them, I will review them.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

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A stand alone fantasy fairy-tale retelling influenced by Russian folklore. I think at least. I’ve read this twice, it’s one of those books that I think I will never tire of re-reading. It’s magical and beautiful. I love the atmosphere, I love the characters, I even love the romance which almost never happens. It’s amazing. It’s about a girl who lives on the edge of a magical forest which kills people and she gets taken away by the wizard who protects their area from the forest for unknown purposes. The wizard takes a girl every 10 years and then lets her go, but the girls are never the same afterwards and nobody really knows why he takes them.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Inter-dimensional travel between different versions of London. Need I say more?

Spring Cleaning Tag

I stole this from here.

Rules:

  • Please link back to Daniel @ Page to Page
  • Respond to the scenarios
  • Tag 5 people (or however many you like)

It’s time to make your bed, but you’re going to have some friends over later and want to pick the perfect book to place on your nightstand for them all to see that you’re “reading”. Which book do you choose?

I don’t know honestly. I don’t really care about whether my friends know what I’m reading. But I guess, when at its most tidy, my nightstand usually holds my Bible and whatever book I’m reading at the time.

Oh no! The house needs dusting, but you just can’t put that book you’re reading down! What book would you buy on audio just so you could continue the story while cleaning?

I don’t even need to think about this because I’ve already actually done it with either The Fifth Season or The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin. Don’t remember which one exactly. But basically I would have done it with any of the books in the series. Are you surprised? Is there any post I don’t mention this series?

Darn it! The ceiling is leaking! Turns out Mass-Market Paperbacks are the best things to soak water up! Which popular book do you use to soak up the water?

I’m not sure if this question is asking me for a book I own in mass market paperback format or one I wouldn’t mind using to soak up water with. :/ If the former, then I’d just used a rag because the only books I own in mass market paperback format are my old Lord of the Rings and Hobbit books and there’s no way in hell I’m using those as mops. If the former, then I have a nice collection. Maybe my Red Queen books. Or Caraval. The Sin Eater’s Daughter.

Bathrooms need a good scrubbing, and your 2007 Cosmos are a little outdated and need replacing. What book do you place in the bathroom for some light reading for when people need to take care of business?

Either a poetry book, such as Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. Or What If: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe. Because both can be read in short bursts and I don’t want to encourage anyone to spend too much time in the bathroom.

Family is coming over, but you have no idea what to make for dinner! You read somewhere that tearing up the last chapter of a book whose ending you hated and sprinkling it in a casserole dish makes for the perfect meal! Which book do you choose?

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Gotta love some hate casserole. I can’t think of any book where I specifically hated the ending. The only book I can think of where I hated a specific part of it but generally enjoyed the book, is A Court of Wings and RuinAlthough that part was not the ending. If you want to know which part and why, you can read my discussion on it, but beware of spoilers.

Organization is key, right? When it comes time to organize your bookshelf, you realize you have enough room (and money) to get three new books! Which books do you buy?

Hmm… hard to choose. But since I have to, the books on my wishlist I currently want the most are

  • Every Heart a Doorway by Seannen McGuire
  • The Shadowed Sun by N. K. Jemisin
  • Alloy of Lay by Brandon Sanderson
  •  Saga Vol. 4 (I get 4 because both Saga and Every Heart a Doorway are very short, so they’ll fit on my shelves 😀 )

Finally, some peace and quiet! But, before you can relax, you realize you forgot to send your Aunt a thank you gift for the lovely “ADULT LIFE FOR DUMMIES” book she gave you for Christmas (maybe she’s trying to tell you something?). What book do you send to her to show her how much (this is sarcasm) you appreciate her gift?

Well obviously I’d choose my book for the title. I’m not sure if I’d go for something sweet and to the point such as:

Or go for something more subtle like:

I guess it would depend if she sent me anything else beside the offending book.

 

The Mass Effect Book Tag

I recently started playing Mass Effect, so when I saw this, I decided to do it. I found it on here.


1. Commander Shepard 
Paragon: A main character that puts the needs of everyone else before their own

Nona Grey from The Book of the Ancestor by Mark Lawrence. She always puts her friends first and I love her for it.

Renegade: A main character that chooses to do bad things for “the greater good”

Rhys form ACOTAR. He’s done some pretty bad things to protect those he loves. I feel like there is actually a better character for this that’s nagging at the back of my mind, but I can’t think who right now.

2. Eden Primethe book/book series that got you into reading

This question pops up often in tags and I don’t really have an answer for it. I’ve been into reading for as long as I can remember.

3. Liara T’Sonia book that taught you something new 

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The Martian by Andy Weir. It taught me how to survive on Mars.

4. Garrus Vakariana character that brought joy/life to an otherwise sad/too serious book

Sand dan Glokta from The First law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. This isn’t so much sad or serious, as it’s just grim. But I always enjoyed Glokta so much. His narrative is so dry and witty, I couldn’t help but laugh.

5. Virmire 
Kaidan Alenkoa book that was boring in the beginning but ended up becoming good

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Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. I honestly don’t remember a whole lot about this book besides that I really enjoyed it and that it started up slow. i might have to re-read it.

Ashley Williams: a book/book series that no matter how many times you’ve tried you just can’t get into it

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It pains me to say this, but The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien. It’s just so dense and not really a cohesive book. I really want to know all of the things it talks about, but so far, I have tried reading it at least 6 times. And I never get very far into it. It’s just so hard to keep track of all the characters and places and timelines. I invariably end up confused and give up like 200 pages in. I have read the first part of the book so many times and I still don’t remember who all the characters are.

6. Jokera book that made you laugh

Any Jonas Jonasson book.

7. Tali’Zorah vas Normandya character that grew throughout the book and ended up becoming an amazing character

I don’t want to use the same character again, but I have to mention Nona again. She was always an awesome character, but she grew so much throughout the series.

Also, Nassun from The Broken Earth

8. Mordin Solus and Thane Kriosa character that had a tragic death that you wish you could bring back to life

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Lady from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. Stop killing animals, please. Thank you.

9. Reapersa villain that you love

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Sebastian Morgenstern from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare (art by Cassandra Jean).

10. The Ending 
Destroy: a book/book series you wish you could make disappear

I don’t know. There are some books that I’d want to make disappear from my brain, but I don’t necessarily think they’re harmful and should stop existing. Maybe Fifty Shades of Grey. Although I haven’t read that. But if it’s even half as toxic and awful as I’ve heard it made out to be, then I’d want it to stop existing.

Control: an author you wish you could control in order to change something about their book/book series

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Patrick Rothfuss. I would make him WRITE BOOK 3 FASTER!!!

Synthesize: two authors you wish would co-write a book

I don’t really know for this one. :/

 

Mother Figures – Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme. Check out the Goodreads group for more details. This week’s topic is favourite mother figures.

Trying to think of what to pick for this topic, I realised how under-represented good mother figures are. We get so many examples of father figures, but I struggled with thinking of strong mother figures.


5. Charlotte from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

This is a very popular and well loved series, but I feel like Charlotte is one of the characters that gets somewhat overlooked. She is so integral to the found family atmosphere that is such a huge part of why the series is so amazing. She’s the glue that holds all of them together and she is determined to look after them, she takes all this responsibility on herself even though she’s not much older than the rest of them. But she loves and protects them fiercely, like only a mother could. And I think she’s very underrated and she deserves some recognition.

4. Kara Resnik from The Themis Files

We don’t see a lot of her as a mother in the series, but what we do see in my opinion definitely qualifies her for this list. She’s so fierce, will do anything to protect her child and I just got so many feels reading this series, particularly the stuff that related to Kara’s story arc as a mother. I found it very compelling, I felt how visceral her need to look after he child was. And I did enjoy her as a character in general, but I think it was not until I saw her as a mother that I really loved her. I do have a review of the series if you want to hear more of my thoughts.

3. Alana from Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

This graphic novel series is sooooo good. I love their little family. I’ve only read 3 volumes so far, but they’re such a cute family and I love Alana so much. She’s badass and vulnerable at the same time and she will DESTROY anyone who threatens her family.

2. Abbess Glass from The Book of the Ancestor by Mark Lawrence

This has become one of my favourite series, I love everything about it. All the characters are great, but Abbess Glass is definitely one of my favourites. She’s this scheming… I wanna say Dumbledore-like character. She’s not really anything like Dumbledore except that she has the same kind of long sight that Dumbledore has and also the same kind of connection with Nona that Dumbledore has with Harry. She sees herself as a parental figure for all of the girls at the Convent and to some extent the whole world. She has this strong desire to protect as many people as possible, but is quite ruthless at the same time.

1. Essun from The Broken Earth Series by N. K. Jemisin

I love everything about this series. If you’ve not heard me rave about this series, check out my spoiler-free review and my spoilery rave. But specifically, the amount of mum feels I got from this book is unprecedented. I’m not really a maternal person. But this series man! And Essun and her single-minded desire to protect her children. It just gave me all the feels.

January-March 2019 Wrap Up

Ssooo… I have been severely neglecting my blog. It’s been a long few months. But I have actually read a decent amount of books. So be prepared for a massive wrap up.


Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

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I started the year with a Brandon Sanderson book because that’s always a nice start to the year. I enjoyed it, but not as much as I enjoyed Mistborn. Which is what I was expecting anyway. I am wholly satisfied with this book and if there will ever be a sequel to it, I am here for it. It’s not as well written as Mistborn, but it has a fascinating magic system and I would love to learn more about it. 4/5 stars

Saga Vol. 1-3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

I’ve read quite a lot of graphic novels this year and I have been especially loving Saga. I’m trying to pace myself with reading it because it’s currently on hiatus and I don’t want to have to wait ages. But the world and story is just so cool and creative. The art is also nice, it’s not the best I’ve seen, but it’s very creative and it’s not by any means bad.

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

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I actually finished this series, but I read the final book in April, so I’ll save it for the next wrap up. But this was actually my favourite in the series. I mean, this whole series is just so good and underrated in my opinion. It’s one of the best sci-fi series I’ve read recently. I’ve reviewed the whole series if you want to know more of my thoughts. I gave this book 5/5 stars.

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

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Second Sanderson book of the year. I am on a roll with continuing with series/reading books by authors I know I enjoy. Which is something I’ve been wanting to do more. Not that I don’t like discovering new authors. But there’s just something satisfying about reading all or most of the works of an author. It just gives me a sense of accomplishment and when I also really love all the books, it’s even better. Anyway, I wasn’t disappointed by this one. I was a bit apprehensive because it’s a different genre from any of the other Sanderson books I’d read before, but I really shouldn’t have been. It was a bit slow to begin, but otherwise was great. I have a review of it if you want to hear more of my thoughts. 4.5/5 stars.

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

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I enjoyed this more than I liked The Lost Hero, but still not as much as I enjoyed the Percy Jackson series. I know it’s generally agreed that Percy Jackson is better, so I was expecting thins. But it does mean that I’m less inclined to get through them quickly. Which annoys me, because I really want to get to the Apollo books. 3.75/5

Vengeful by V. E. Schwab

This book wasn’t what I expected. I still enjoyed it, but it didn’t feel the same as the first one a d I definitely liked Vicious better. The most disappointing part of the book was the ending. It just was so anticlimactic. I gave it 4/5 stars, but now in hindsight it’s more of a 3.5 really.

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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Finally carrying on with this series! Once again, the physical book itslef was just a masterpiece. I think I like this one even more from that aspect, than Illuminae, because it’s blue and has drawings in it and blue is better than orange any day. I didn’t like the content as much as I liked Illuminae, but it was still pretty great. I have a review of this if you want to know more of my thoughts. 4/5 stars.

Monstress Vol. 1 by Marjorie Liu

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Another graphic novel series I started this year. And it is so good. I’m struggling to pace myself, since there are only 3 volumes out at the moment and I don’t know when the next one will be out. But it’s such a cool world and story and the art is amazing! 5/5 stars

Avatar: The Last Airbender Graphic Novels

So… I re-watched the show again. I don’t have a problem, shut up. And after re-watching the show, I wanted more, so I re-read The Lost Adventures graphic novel. Then I re-read The Promise Part 1 and went on and bought The Promise Part 2 and read it as well. If graphic novels weren’t so expensive, I’d just binge read the lot of them, but alas…

The Broken Earth by N. K. Jemisin

Lots of re-reads for me so far. I listened to all of these on audio, because the audiobooks are amazing and this series is amazing and if you haven’t read it, what are you waiting for? I have both a spoiler free review and a spoilery rave if you want more of my thoughts on it.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

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My first Ursula K. Le Guin book. I audiobooked it and it was okay. I enjoyed it. But it was kind of… vague? I don’t know, I would have wanted more information about the world, about how the magic works and about what exactly was going on. It was just kind of vague. I know there are more Earthsea books, but I’m not sure they follow the same characters. I still enjoyed it, I gave it 3/5 stars, but I was just expecting more from it.

Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

Finally, I listened to the final three Harry Potter books, because they’re like comfort food and I needed some comfort in my life.

Top 5 Book Covers – Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes. This week’s topic is top 5 book covers.


The Broken Earth Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin

I love these covers, they look so… stony, which goes so well with the content of the book. And they look so pretty, but at the same time kind of neglected. Like stonework in old houses. I love the aesthetic of this series.

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

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It’s so wintry and fairy-taley, I love it. It goes perfectly with the story and you know looking at this book that it’s going to be one of those epic, fireplace fairy-tales. Ugh, love it so much!

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

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Another beautiful fairy-tale cover. Not much else to be said really.

Illuminae Series by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Specifically the hardcovers of this series are just so cool. If you’re ever going to splurge on hardcover editions, this series is worth it! (not my image, got it from here)

The Monsters of Verity Series by V. E. Schwab

Don’t you just love the aesthetic of these? Black and white, with just a splash of colour. And if you look at the spines side by side, the black splash continues from one to the other. It’s so cool.

Book Recommendations Based on the Basic Human Emotions

It’s been a long time since I’ve done any book recommendations. A long time ago, I did a couple of posts recommending books based on the seven deadly sins and the seven virtues. Today, I’m going to try to recommend some books based on the basic human emotions. Now, from a psychology point of view, there are several categorisations of basic human emotions and there’s some debate about what makes an emotion basic, but for the purpose of this post, I’ll use the four pairs of opposing human emotions that were defined by some guy called Robert Plutchik at some point. In case any of you have an interest in psychology and were going to yell at me for not being super accurate about it.

Anyway, let’s get on with it.


1. Joy/Sadness

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For this I recommend Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. I know as far as book recommendations go, this isn’t a great one cause everyone knows about it and it’s also the final book in the series, but I couldn’t think of any book that fit the bill any better. This book is a study in joy and sadness and the contrast between them and it’s just perfect for this category.

2. Anger/Fear

The Broken Earth trilogy by N. K. Jemisin. Anger and fear are two of the main driving forces in this story. This is an amazing series, I cannot recommend it enough. It’s hard to describe it and to explain what it’s about because it’s so complex, but it’s a post apocalyptic… fantasy science fiction. You can check out my spoiler free review of it for more details. 

3. Trust/Distrust

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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab. This duology, but the first book in particular, has a very strong element of “Who can be trusted?” and frail alliances of necessity with that whole “they can betray me at any time” tension. Also, it’s just a fantastic series. So, do check it out!

4. Surprise/Anticipation

The Red Rising series by Pierce Brown. I’ve only read the first two books in the series so far, but they are a constant whirlwind of action, plot-twists and surprises at every turn. Reading these books just creates a nervous anticipation of what will go wrong next. It’s one of the best dystopian series that I have read probably since The Hunger Games.

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.

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

Synopsis: THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS. AGAIN.

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.

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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.