Banished by Liz De Jager

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Original Title: Banished

Year Published: 2014

Published by:  Tor UK

Number of Pages: 400

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

Sworn to protect, honour and slay. Because chaos won’t banish itself…

Kit is proud to be a Blackhart, now she’s encountered her unorthodox cousins and their strange lives. And her home-schooling now includes spells, fighting enemy fae and using ancient weapons. But it’s not until she rescues a rather handsome fae prince, fighting for his life on the edge of Blackhart Manor, that her training really kicks in. With her family away on various missions, Kit must protect Prince Thorn, rely on new friends and use her own unfamiliar magic to stay ahead of Thorn’s enemies. As things go from bad to apocalyptic, fae battle fae in a war that threatens to spill into the human world. Then Kit pits herself against the Elder Gods themselves – it’s that or lose everyone she’s learnt to love.

My thoughts:

This book started off slow for me. It took me a chapter or two before I really got into it. It did also have some bits that weren’t keeping the same quality as the rest of the book which lowered the overall reading experience a bit. It is still a great book to read and I definitely enjoyed it.

Kit is a pretty cool character. She has some typical whiny teenage moments but overall she is an interesting and fun character to read about.

I would have loved to learn more about the Blackhart family and their history. It felt like there was so much left hanging, things that could have easily been fixed or addressed within the book.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do.

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Fantastic Beasts and where to find them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

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Original Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

Year Published: 2016

Published by:  Arthur A. Levine Books

Number of Pages: 293

Goodreads Rating: 5/5

Plot:

When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt’s fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone…

My thoughts:

I cannot believe that I haven’t gotten round to review this book yet. I read it over a year ago and of course, also watched the actual film. And the next one is soon to be released (the movie that is).

It is safe to say that I absolutely loved it! The book itself is gorgeous and a beautiful addition to my shelves. The story is fun and exciting. I was a bit worried that a story not centered around Harry, Hermione and Ron would not be able to catch the magic of the world. I was wrong. It was a magical adventure and I loved every single page of it.

Newt is quirky and fun, and just such an adorable character. How can you not love him? Tina is fantastic and I love that we have a strong witch doing what she believes in and being good at it. Jacob was another adorable character and he is definitely my favourite!

Do I recommend it? 

Of course I do!

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

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Original Title: The Queen of the Tearling

Year Published: 2014

Published by:  Harper

Number of Pages: 448

First Sentence: Kelsey Glynn sat very still, watching the troop approach her homestead. 

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

Magic, adventure, mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother’s throne, learn to be a ruler—and defeat the Red Queen, a powerful and malevolent sorceress determined to destroy her.

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend . . . if she can survive.

My thoughts:

This was a  good book and enjoyed it very much. It felt pretty original and it was easy to read. It had plotlines that were absolutely unexpected and that had you on the edge of your seat. It was gritty at times though and went pretty dark in places. However, it was never too much and nothing too worrying.

I loved how Kelsey wasn’t immediately put on a pedestal by the people around her. Instead, the opposite happened and she had to fight tooth and nail to get people to listen to her. I did want to hit some of the people she was surrounded by though because they had just decided that she was worthless and didn’t even want to give her a chance to prove them wrong.

I did ruin the trilogy for myself though as I scrolled through the reviews of the other two books. I did not like what I read (especially about the ending of the third and final book) and will therefore not bother reading the rest of the books.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do.

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (Ember Quartet #2)

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Original Title: A Torch Against the Night

Year Published: 2016

Published by:  Razorbill

Number of Pages: 452

Goodreads Rating: 5/5

Plot: 

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

My thoughts:

This was a fantastic sequel to An Ember in the Ashes. I absolutely adored the first book and this was just as good, if not better. Sequels can be pretty bad but this definitely lived up to the hype.

Laia is amazing and I love the fact that she doesn´t magically become a superhero like some other heroines have a tendency to do. Instead, she tries her best and she is scared at times but the wish to help the people around her and her family give her the motivation to keep on fighting when the going gets though.

I never thought that I would care for Helene, but I was totally wrong. She is much more complex than you might think and she absolutely won me over in this book. I can´t wait to read more about her in the third book (which arrived just yesterday!).

Elias is one of my favourite male characters of all time and he did not disappoint in this one. Just like both Laia and Helene, he is a complex character with both good and bad sides. Seeing him interact with both these ladies was fun and it was nice to get to know him better as well.

The plot you might ask? Well, it was pretty awesome. Road trip medieval style, Prison Break, magic, a tournament, side-characters that will break your heart and a cliffhanger that has you tearing your hair out in desperation. Yeah, it´s pretty awesome.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I really do.

Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett (Discworld #10)

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Original Title: Moving Pictures

Year Published: 1991

Published by:  Corgi

Number of Pages: 332

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

‘Holy wood is a different sort of place. People act differently here. Everywhere else the most important things are gods or money or cattle. Here, the most important thing is to be important.’

People might say that reality is a quality that things possess in the same way that they possess weight. Sadly alchemists never really held with such a quaint notion. They think that they can change reality, shape it to their own purpose. Imagine then the damage that could be wrought if they get their hands on the ultimate alchemy: the invention of motion pictures, the greatest making of illusions. It may be a triumph of universe-shaking proportions. It’s either that or they’re about to unlock the dark terrible secret of the Holy Wood hills – by mistake…

My thoughts:

If you have followed my blog for awhile then you will be aware of the fact that Terry Pratchett is my favourite author. I absolutely love his books and I doubt I will dislike any of the books in the Discworld universe. This was such a fun read and enjoyed every single page of it!

As per usual, Pratchett’s books have a multitude of characters with different storylines that are cleverly brought together throughout the book. Despite the multitude of characters and plots, they are easy to separate and keep track of. It is fun to read and the variety keeps it fresh and interesting throughout.

I absolutely love how Pratchett can use such a modern concept, the cinema, and turn it into something that feels natural for a fantasy book. It’s amazing to see how he can mix the modern with the old (and the magical) and create a picture that feels natural and almost real. Apart from making the book fun to read it also provides a realistic commentary on the world of Hollywood, the birth of the cinema and all it brought with it.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do!

You’re a Vampire – That Sucks!: A Survival Guide by “Count” Domenick Dicce

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Original Title: You’re a Vampire – That Sucks!: A Survival Guide

Year Published: 2015

Published by:  TarcherPerigee

Number of Pages: 160

First Sentence: So, you are a vampire. 

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

Being bitten by and turned into a vampire isn’t the glitz and glamor that Hollywood makes it out to be. In fact, one out of five newly turned vampires will succumb to a slew of easily avoidable and common pitfalls within their first few months as a nightwalker—tempting garlic-laced Italian food, silver jewelry, and anything with an SPF below 1,000 will have to go.

As an answer to this tragic loss of undead life, “Count” Domenick Dicce has written the definitive how-to guide that just might save your pale, ice-cold skin. This helpful tome will cover everything from Vampire 101—such as hunting, feeding, and getting used to your new powers—to Vampire Graduate Studies—such as coffin selection, the ghoulish world of vampiric social hierarchy, and the universal Laws of the Vampire.

My thoughts:

This was a really funny book, as well as being educational (har har). If I ever turn into a vampire, I now know how to deal with life then (or unlife). This is cleverly written and both make fun of some of the old myths and also moves the vampire legend into our day, therefore adapting what you might need to do as a vampire in order to survive. I did laugh out loud at times and thoroughly enjoyed this little book.

The book is travel-sized so you can bring it with you as you navigate the streets as a newly fanged creature of the night and ensure that you are never caught short in a situation where you aren’t sure how to proceed (and survive). Fun fun fun!

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, it was a fun read.

 

Want to buy it? Consider buying it using my affiliate page. All profits, if any, go to improving this blog!

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes #1)

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Original Title: An Ember in the Ashes

Year Published: 2015

Published by:  Harper Voyager

Number of Pages: 450

First Sentence: My big brother reaches home in the dark hours before dawn, when even ghosts take their rest.

Goodreads Rating: 5/5

Plot:

What if you were the spark that could ignite a revolution?

For years Laia has lived in fear. Fear of the Empire, fear of the Martials, fear of truly living at all. Born as a Scholar, she’s never had much of a choice.

For Elias it’s the opposite. He has seen too much on his path to becoming a Mask, one of the Empire’s elite soldiers. With the Masks’ help the Empire has conquered a continent and enslaved thousands, all in the name of power.

When Laia’s brother is taken she must force herself to help the Resistance, the only people who have a chance of saving him. She must spy on the Commandant, ruthless overseer of Blackcliff Academy. Blackcliff is the training ground for Masks and the very place that Elias is planning to escape. If he succeeds, he will be named deserter. If found, the punishment will be death.

But once Laia and Elias meet, they will find that their destinies are intertwined and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

In the ashes of a broken world, one person can make a difference. One voice in the dark can be heard. The price of freedom is always high and this time that price might demand everything, even life itself.

My thoughts:

This was such a brilliant book. When books are hyped up by the bookish world I get a little apprehensive, because just because a book is hyped doesn’t mean it’s actually any good. And I’m almost terrified of disliking books that pretty much everybody else seems to love. So I was really glad when I read this and loved it from the first page. The story was absolutely riveting and I loved every second of it.

Laia was a spectacular character and I absolutely adored her. She is scared and lost at the beginning of the book and still scared and lost at the end of the book. She doesn’t randomly turn into a badass soldier halfway through, instead she is the same girl we meet during the first chapter. But she shows that you can be frightened and still get things done. Don’t let fear come in your way.

Elias was awesome. I love how Tahir didn’t make him into a ruthless killer, and instead turned him into a soldier with morales. Everyone wanted him to be ruthless but he still had a good heart and questioned what he was asked to do. If he had been a ruthless killer who never thought of the people he hurt until he met Laia, he would have been a horrible person (something that a lot of male characters in ya-books are if you think about it). He has a heart and cares about the people around him despite having been trained since a kid not to. Absolutely adored him.

Thinking about it in hindsight there aren’t much happening in the book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a brilliant read and I absolutely loved it, but it is more of a setup for what is to come. That doesn’t mean that nothing happens, it’s just that there’s more character and world building in this book than in the second one (which I, of course, read immediately after this book). It sounds like I’ve lost my mind, but it is honestly a brilliant book.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do.

 

Want to buy it? Consider buying it using my affiliate page. All profits, if any, go to improving this blog!