A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (Shades of Magic #3)

img_0895

Original Title: A Conjuring of Light

Year Published: 2017

Published by:  Titan Books Ltd

Number of Pages: 666

First Sentence: Delilah Bard – always a thief, recently a magician, and one day, hopefully, a pirate – was running as fast as she could.

Goodreads Rating: 5/5

Plot:

Witness the fate of beloved heroes – and enemies.

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.

My thoughts:

I could hardly wait for this book to come out! (Yeah, this review is mega late, I did read the book as soon as it was released). It was absolutely worth the wait though! It was so absolutely good and this trilogy is my favorite trilogy ever. Schwab is an amazing writer and I absolutely adore this world and these characters. It was bittersweet to finish this trilogy but it was so amazing at the same time.

To be fair, it is kind of difficult to review it. Not because it was bad, but because I don’t know what to say without completely spoiling it for you. There are so many amazing moments for many of the characters and all the ones I loved before I now love even more. The character developments are awesome and feel really natural. I loved what Schwab did with the characters and how she had their stories unfolding and then finally ending.

The plot was just absolutely fantastic. This time we get to travel away from Red London, not just to different Londons, but out to sea. It is an almighty adventure and I loved every single moment of it. Sometimes when so many plots are taking place and so many characters are involved there is usually one or more that I can’t be arsed with. With this book that didn’t happen. All characters that had their own plotlines were fascinating and I found the whole book utterly entertaining and captivating.

Oh and Holland… Sigh. I just… He is my favourite is all I will say.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do!!!!!

World Mythology in bite-sized chunks by Mark Daniels

img_0684

Original Title: World Mythology in Bite-Sized Chunks

Year Published: 2016

Published by:  Michael O’Mara

Number of Pages: 224

First Sentence: N/A

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

From the signs of the zodiac to literature and art, the influence of world mythology can still be seen in everyday life. With a stunning array of fascinating tales, World Mythology in Bite-Sized Chunks gets to grips with the ancient stories of Aboriginal, Sumerian, Egyptian, Mesoamerican, Maori, Greek, Roman, Indian, Norse, and Japanese cultures, encompassing legends from the most diverse societies and the most ancient cultures from across the globe. Learn about why Odin, the Father of the Gods in Norse mythology, was so keen to lose an eye, the importance of the Osiris myth of Ancient Egypt, and much more besides. Entertaining, authoritative, and incisive, this is an enlightening journey into the fascinating world of mythology.

My thoughts:

As a complete history and mythology nerd, I really enjoyed this little book. It was very interesting to read and since it literally is compressed into bite-sized chunks, it is easy to grasp and doesn’t get long winded or boring like textbooks can become. It was humoristic yet informative.

Just like with anything that deals with facts, some were more interesting than others and some were downright boring. Having studied a lot of history and mythology some of these just got a little too repetitive for me. However, it is still a good little book to have around when you need to brush up on your mythology.

Do I recommend it? 

If you like myths and would like to expand your knowledge of the different myths of the world, or just learn something new, then you should definitely pick up this book.

A Whole New World by Liz Braswell (A Twisted Tale #1)

img_1285

Original Title: A Whole New World

Year Published: 2015

Published by:  Disney Press

Number of Pages: 384

First Sentence: A high white moon cast its light on the city below as brightly as the sun was said to shine in northern countries.

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

Welcome to a new YA series that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways. Each book asks the question: What if one key moment from a familiar Disney film was changed? This dark and daring version of Aladdin twists the original story with the question: What if Jafar was the first one to summon the Genie?

When Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed Princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war.

What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.

My thoughts:

This was such a clever idea. Take an old very loved story and change one aspect of it. It created a new amazing story. Braswell has definitely managed to create something that feels new and exciting and I look forward to reading the other books in this series (I already own them). It could have ended in disaster but thankfully it didn’t.

If you have watched Aladdin, then you know these characters, and if you haven’t you should go watch it immediately. What is different here is how the characters develop. Yes, Aladdin and Jasmine meet just like they did in the movie. However, everything after that is different. This means that the characters evolve in different ways and also become more interesting than they did in the film.

The plot of this book made the original story grittier and darker than the original story, which I as an adult definitely appreciated. I loved and still loved the original Disney story, but reading that same type of story now as an adult would not have been as great as this darker version.

The reason as to why I did not give this book a 5 of 5 was because the pacing was somewhat off at times and therefore didn’t manage to completely keep me captivated by the story all the way through.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do!

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (The Iron Fey #1)

6644117

Original Title: The Iron King

Year Published: 2010

Published by:  Harlequin Teen

Number of Pages: 363

First Sentence: Ten years ago, on my sixth birthday, my father disappeared.

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth – that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face, and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book. Funnily enough, it was one of the first books I bought for my Kindle when I first got it more than 5 years ago and it was only at the end of last year that I actually picked it up and read it. (Yeah, my reviews are way behind schedule). But I’m glad I finally got to it because it was a very enjoyable read.

Since it was ages since I actually read this book, there are many things I have forgotten about it (like the name of the different characters). However, I do remember that I really enjoyed our m/c Meghan and thought that she took everything that happened in stride yet had the reactions you would expect from someone being dragged into the world of faeries. I loved that her home situation wasn’t super happy nor super depressing. It was relatively realistic and it was written in a good way.

I of course, loved Puck. He is one of my favorite mythical characters and I thought that he fit into this story really well and was written in a way that made his character feel original yet sticking to his true nature (as it is in the myths).

The plot was pretty clever and it was exciting to read. I will say that it did get somewhat slow and predictable when they entered the world of the fairies, which was interesting since the pacing had been really good and the plot felt really original.

However, I do have a feeling that I would have enjoyed it even more if I was still in my teens, rather than almost reaching my 30s. Now there were moments where I sighed and literally said “teenagers” out loud in a very condescending tone of voice.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do.

ARC Review: The Tide of War by Lori A. Witt

23622329

Original Title: The Tide of War

Year Published: 2015

Published by:  Riptide Publishing (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Number of Pages: 371

First Sentence: And what if you don’t make it back next time?

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

Lieutenant Commander Kyle West is one of Earth Fleet’s greatest fighter pilots. Every day, he leads his squadron into battle over Earth’s cities in a seemingly endless war against a vicious alien race, defending his home and his loved ones.

Millions of miles away, the Fleet’s Elite Squadron attacks from another angle, engaging the enemy on its home turf. Casualties are high, and the Squadron needs more of the Fleet’s very best. But joining the Elite is a death sentence—a surety Kyle isn’t willing to face. Until a devastating attack wipes out the family he refused to leave.

Commander Andrei Dezhnyov, an Elite Squadron gunner, isn’t sure what to make of the cocky new American pilot. Kyle is equally uncertain about the snarly Russian, but as they warm up to each other, their tentative alliance becomes a deep bond—one that endangers them both when a daring and disobedient rescue reveals secrets that call into question everything they’ve ever believed about their enemy. Secrets that their superiors would kill to protect.

My thoughts:

This was a really good book. I enjoyed it from start to finish, and it was pretty hard to put down. The plot did have some things that were slightly weird, mostly because they weren’t really explained, but I still enjoyed it.

Both Kyle and Andrei were interesting characters. They were different but with some similarities. They were both fiercly loyal to their partners and families, and would give anything to defend their country. Because of that fierce loyalty and love they had for their partners at the beginning of the book I was a bit worried about how they were supposed to end up together (oh yeah, this is ultimately a m/m romance). But it worked out pretty well and it was believable.

The plot was really interesting and I enjoyed how the focus was actually more on the world in the book and what was going on, not necessarily the relationship between Kyle and Andrei. Instead we got a lot of the background for why the world looked like it did, and also the relationship between the original couples, and between military officers and their subordinates. It was really good and gave the book depth.

What it did not do was properly explain some of the things that are revealed later on in the book, which made events seem a little weird and unnecessary. But it does seem like this book is the first of a trilogy or possibly a series, so it might be explained later on.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Binti #1)

img_0687

Original Title: Binti

Year Published: 2015

Published by:  Tor

Number of Pages: 96

First Sentence: I powered up the transporter and said a silent prayer.

Goodreads Rating: 5/5

Plot:

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive.

My thoughts:

This was such an amazing novella! I absolutely loved it and I urge you to read it. I wished it was longer, but the way Okorafor writes, it does feel like a full-length book, that’s how much actually happens during this 96-page long novella.

Binti was a great character and I absolutely adored her. She was badass, clever and had a big heart. I loved how she faced down adversity and did things despite being terrified. The Himba people and in extention Binti, faced a lot of prejudice from the other ethnic groups, and I loved seeing how Binti handled it. She wasn’t bitter because of it, instead she met people with an open heart (like we all should).

I will be honest and say that I as a white person have a really bad grasp of African mythology, traditions and culture, but it did feel that Okorafor created a space version of this. If this isn’t true, then I apologise. However, I loved the world Okorafor built and how she depicted Binti and the Himba people as people dedicated to the land they lived on and their people/family. It first seemed like an odd thing in a sci-fi book, but it was a brilliant contrast to all the fancy technology.

This book also showcases racism in a very good and obvious way. One of the messages I took away from this novella was that we shouldn’t judge people based on their ethnicity or race. If we take the time to talk and listen to each other we might find that we have more in common than we think and that it can be possible for us to work and live together in peace and harmony.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do.

ARC Review: Paladin by Sally Slater (Paladin #1)

25507388

Original Title: Paladin

Year Published: 2015

Published by: Perfect Analogy Publishing (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Number of Pages: 386

First Sentence: Sam paced anxiously outside the Duke of Haywood’s solar. 

Goodreads Rating: 5/5

Plot:
Brash, cocky, and unbeatable with a sword (well, almost), Sam of Haywood is the most promising Paladin trainee in the kingdom of Thule… and knows it. The only problem is that Sam is really Lady Samantha, daughter of the seventeenth Duke of Haywood, and if her father has his way, she’ll be marrying a Paladin, not becoming one.

But Sam has never held much interest in playing damsel-in-distress, and so she rescues herself from a lifetime of boredom and matrimonial drudgery. Disguised as a boy, Sam leaves home behind to fight demons-—the most dangerous monsters in Thule—-alongside the kingdom’s elite warriors. Pity that Tristan Lyons, the Paladin assigned to train her, is none other than the hero of her childhood. He hasn’t recognized her–yet–but if he does, he’ll take away her sword and send her packing.

Sam is not the only trainee hiding secrets: Braeden is a half-demon with a dark past that might be unforgivable. Whether he can be trusted is anyone’s guess, including his.
As demons wreak havoc across the land, rebellion stirs in the West, led by a rival faction of warriors.

A war between men is coming, and Sam must pick a side. Will saving the kingdom cost her life–or just her heart?

My thoughts:

This was such an enjoyable book and I absolutely loved it. It did get off to a wobbly start for me, but after the first chapter it just took off and I was absolutely hooked. It was well written and super entertaining.

Sam was a really nice main character. I loved how she was badass without either being a tomboy or too cold-hearted. Instead, she was a young girl knowing what she wanted from life. And yes, she has to pretend to be a boy for a really long time, but it is something that she hates to a certain degree and it isn’t really implied that a woman has to be like a boy to be badass.

Both Tristan and Braeden were really interesting characters. It was interesting to see how they interacted with each other and with Sam. There was a camaraderie that was really enjoyable, and I loved seeing their relationship develop and grow.

The plot was really entertaining and I definitely enjoyed all of it. The world building was really good, not too complicated but not vague enough to create any questions. We get some insight into who the Paladins are and how they are trained. We also learn about the evil forces that try to attack the rest of the world. It was really interesting to see how it all fit together and the plot itself was fun and felt really well paced. It moved forward naturally but with some unexpected twists and turns.

Do I recommend it?

Yes, I really do.