Icon Tag: fantasy

Sophia Rose Review: Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence

Posted April 4, 2019 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 14 Comments

Sophia Rose Review: Holy Sister by Mark LawrenceHoly Sister by Mark Lawrence
Series: Book of the Ancestor, #3
Published by Ace on April 9, 2019
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 368
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The third installment in a brilliant fantasy series from the international bestselling author of Prince of Thorns.
As a young girl, Nona Grey was saved from the noose by the Abbess of Sweet Mercy. But behind the convent’s walls she learned not a life of prayer and isolation, but one of the blade and the fist. Now she will serve as the convent’s fiercest protector as the emperor moves to destroy the last bastion that stands against him.

I wouldn’t have missed this one for the world. The thrilling conclusion to Nona Grey’s story and the grand finale for the story of all the people living on a planet facing a dying sun.

In the face of the end, people learn what truly matters to them. Holy Sister paints a beyond desperate situation for everyone living. Some seek to grab up power and will slaughter as many as it takes to have this. Some will do anything to survive on the winner’s side even if it means betrayal. And, for the strongest, it means doing whatever it takes to benefit the all.

The trilogy is all one story broken into three parts and must be taken in order. It starts with the focus on one girl with Red Sister. Then, the reader starts to realize that a whole chess board is in play by deft hands in Grey Sister. But, Holy Sister? It takes the machinations of a great mind orchestrating the events that occur to a new level. I found it an interesting blend of guided future with free choice playing a role, too.

I’m not trying to be mysterious, but that was how I felt as I was reading this one. Plus, there is only so much that I can say without running into spoiler territory. I’ll say what I feel that I can.

The setup is simple. The Durn are pushing in and raiding from one side and the Scithrowl are mowing down all in their path from the east. As the sun continues to die, the narrow corridor of land not covered by ice grows smaller and makes people fight to hold or take. Between the two others is the weakening empire where Nona and her fellow Sisters of Mercy live and do their work. The Emperor’s sister planned to betray him and her people to take up with the Scithrowl Queen. People are being forced to take sides and watch their backs even within the walls of the abbey.

Holy Sister tells its story in split time line of present day and three years before. The three years before follows the direct events of book two, Grey Sister, while the present drops one into the desperate times of a kingdom on the verge of annihilation from all sides. Nona and the efforts of her small band are the key. The reader is led through a complex series of missions and close, intense situations. It is twisting and turning and keeps the reader wondering constantly. The promised buildup to confrontations do come and it was breathtaking. War is costly so there is that, too. It was an interesting finish that left me pondering several things after the last page. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I can’t deny that it doesn’t fit.

So, all in all, I am sorry to be looking back on the end. It was one exciting and engaging ride from page one and I can highly recommend this book and the whole trilogy to those who enjoy intrigue, character growth, a good feel for setting, and gritty action in their fantasy reading.

I rec’d this book through Net Galley to read in exchange for an honest review.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella’s Stepmother by Danielle Teller

Posted June 20, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 7 Comments

Review: All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella’s Stepmother by Danielle TellerAll the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella’s Stepmother by Danielle Teller
Series: standalone
Published by William Morrow on May 22, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Retellings, Fairy Tales
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In the vein of Wicked, The Woodcutter, and Boy, Snow, Bird, a luminous reimagining of a classic tale, told from the perspective of Agnes, Cinderella’s “evil” stepmother.
We all know the story of Cinderella. Or do we?
As rumors about the cruel upbringing of beautiful newlywed Princess Cinderella roil the kingdom, her stepmother, Agnes, who knows all too well about hardship, privately records the true story. . . .
A peasant born into serfdom, Agnes is separated from her family and forced into servitude as a laundress’s apprentice when she is only ten years old. Using her wits and ingenuity, she escapes her tyrannical matron and makes her way toward a hopeful future. When teenaged Agnes is seduced by an older man and becomes pregnant, she is transformed by love for her child. Once again left penniless, Agnes has no choice but to return to servitude at the manor she thought she had left behind. Her new position is nursemaid to Ella, an otherworldly infant. She struggles to love the child who in time becomes her stepdaughter and, eventually, the celebrated princess who embodies everyone’s unattainable fantasies. The story of their relationship reveals that nothing is what it seems, that beauty is not always desirable, and that love can take on many guises.
Lyrically told, emotionally evocative, and brilliantly perceptive, All the Ever Afters explores the hidden complexities that lie beneath classic tales of good and evil, all the while showing us that how we confront adversity reveals a more profound, and ultimately more important, truth than the ideal of “happily ever after.”

In general, I enjoy Fairy Tale retellings, so when I saw that this book is a take on the Stepmother from Cinderella, I was even more curious.
Let’s get this out of the way, people say this book is pretty bogged down and dense. It is, it is very character driven and very much focuses on building Agnes’ character. It is a fantasy book, that can also read almost like a historical fiction with its setting, but it does take you from watching Agnes grow as a child, to present day Agnes.
I felt like a lot of the things Agnes went through was very character shaping and as we see Agnes struggle through the life she was given, we can see where her attitude forms from. I really enjoyed how the author wrote relationships in this book and that not everything is black and white and not everything is what it seems.
Could this have been cut short? Maybe, but I personally really enjoyed following Agnes and her struggles and why she did the things she did. Her story was difficult, at times heartbreaking. At times I found myself rooting for her, at times against her.
I also enjoyed the take on Cinderella’s character and why she is the way she is in the book and her relationship with Agnes and how it unfolds.
Overall, I powered through it and ended up really enjoying the character development and the story. Also, the writing in this book I thought was really well done. But, I can acknowledge why this might not be for everyone, it is pretty slow paced but I enjoyed every moment of it.

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Review: Hounded by Kevin Hearne, Luke Daniels

Posted April 12, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 17 Comments

Review: Hounded by Kevin Hearne, Luke DanielsHounded by Kevin Hearne
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Length: 8 hrs and 11 mins
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles, #1
Published by Brilliance Audio on April 19, 2011
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: Audiobook
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:one-half-flames

8 hrs and 11 mins
Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old - when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.
Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power - plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish - to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil

Atticus O’Sullivan is the last of the Druids. He seems to live mostly a peaceful life in Tempe, Arizona. He owns an occult bookshop that he also sells herbs and tea’s out of. On his spare time, he likes to shape-shift and go hunting with his Irish wolfhound. Life almost seems good, but an angry Celtic god wants his sword and he has been looking for Atticus for a while. Suddenly, people are showing up to try and kill him to get the sword back and Atticus needs to put this fight behind him ones and for all.

I listened to this on audio and oh wow, wow. I wish I did that sooner. I did have a physical copy of this book for a long time, I picked it up, but my attention strayed and I had to put it down. On audiobook, this series is a gem, Luke Daniels is a fantastic narrator. He just really brings Atticus and Oberon to life and makes you fall in love with them and the story. I found myself invested and it became such an addictive read. I have not had a lot of books where the audiobook enhances the series, so if you thought about trying this one out, I strongly suggest you give a shot. It was such a great experience.

I loved Atticus, and I loved Oberon his dog. The relationship is just so much fun, and the humor in this book is fantastic. I had the hardest time walking away from this book and I wanted to know what happened next.

There is a lot going on in this book with a wide array of characters but Luke Daniels does a wonderful job keeping them apart. I absolutely adored the fact that he used Celtic mythology in this, it’s just so refreshing and different for me.

Overall, I am not completely in love with this series. I highly recommend it on audio, because the narrator does a fantastic job and the story is just so much fun with a brilliant cast of characters. Already on to book two myself.

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Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Posted March 20, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 15 Comments

Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra ChristoTo Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Series: standalone
Published by Feiwel & Friends on March 6th 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 342
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.
The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

To Kill a Kingdom is a loosely based Little Mermaid retelling. It follows Princess Lira one of the most dangerous sirens who one time a year, rips a prince’s heart out. Her collection keeps growing with now seventeen Prince’s that she has murdered. But when the Queen decided to punish Lira for taking a heart too soon before her Birthday, she turns her into the thing that Lira hates the most – a human.

Prince Elian loves the ocean and is the only place he calls home despite being an heir to one of the most powerful Kingdoms. He is a pirate that travels on his ship with his crew while hunting Sirens, and has given himself a name as a notorious Siren killer. When he discovers a naked woman in the middle of the ocean, he knows she is far more than what she appears – but she promises him help finding the Eye of Kato – a powerful weapon that can take down the Sea Queen.

As far as as sirens, mermaid books go, I think this is the best one I have read in a long time. The author does a good job with how she handled mermaids and sirens a like and I found it interesting and original. The writing was really good too and for the most part kept me engaged, despite some pacing issues.

That being said, I felt like this book could have made an interesting adult book. Sometimes the character roles make you forget just how old everyone is and when you finally remember, it sometimes felt hard to believe. Like Elian is about 17 to 18 years old and yet he is one of the most feared Pirates and spends his life killing sirens and building his name around it, at times his age felt off. Until, you remember that he was also completely naive when it came to Lira. He found a naked woman in the middle of the ocean, with no ships in sight, and she seems to know a lot about sirens as well as their action – and he couldn’t put that all together?

The pacing was good for the most part, I did love the world and the world building. I did wish there was a bit more, but I get how the story was supposed to flow and be fast paced. Of course, most of the story ends up being about the crew travel to a Kingdom that holds the Eye and the rest 10% or so dedicated to a battle. At that point I found that I was reading the story just to finish it.

In my honest opinion, for me the book sits at between 3.5 and 3.75 stars but because this was one of the better siren, mermaid books out there I did round it up to 4 stars it is definitely worth the read if you enjoy those type of books because thus far it is one of the better ones out there. I did enjoy it and I did find the writing really good and loved the world the author created.

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Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Posted March 20, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 7 Comments

Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret RogersonAn Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
Series: standalone
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on September 26th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fae
Pages: 300
Format: Kindle Edition, Audiobook
Source: Publisher, Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher, Library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.
Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.
Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

A few points about An Enchantment of Raven

  • The writing was gorgeous. The world was beautiful, Margaret Rogerson really has her way with words and she weaves together a stunning, vivid, dynamic world that really makes your imagination come alive.
  • Thought, the world and the writing are beautiful, where the book really hurt was the characters and the weak plot line. The story follows a 17 year old girl named Isobel, a human with painting as her Craft. They live in the world where summer does not seem to go away. The Fair ones hunger for human craft, and Isobel’s paintings are highly coveted. When Isobel gets her first prince – Rook of the Autumn lands – she paints sorrow in his eyes and puts Rook in danger. For Isobel did not know that showing emotion is dangerous and can get him killed.
  • Isobel is 17 years old, Rook is hundreds, if not thousands of years old. There is a bit of instalove between Isobel and Rook. I did not get the romance between the two and was quite frankly a bit confused about it. If Fair Folk are not meant to feel, how does Rook fall in love not once but twice? Also, if Rook is as old as he is and in love with a 17 year old, felt a bit off Isobel had moments of maturity but she also had bouts of juvenile tendencies as well. They have this heated kiss scene at which she comments afterwards that sex really turns people into imbeciles. Which I guess just reminds you that she is a 17 year old girl who just got grabbed by a Fair Folk that is hundreds of years old. I couldn’t get past that, mainly because he was so much more mature and experienced as her that the duo was making my head hurt.
  • There were a few other parts that confused me. The Hemlock plot line just felt kind of underdeveloped. At one point it is said Rook is losing his magic, I did not understand if he was going to recover and get it back and the whole conflict just felt a bit confused and one I found I really did not care for. The Ardan King is somehow poisoning the lands, but I did not understand how or why.
  • Isobel is a special snowflake, only she can save Fair Folk lands with her craft.
  • Overall, the writing was magic, stunning in it. But it faltered in characters, romance and a plot line that just didn’t completely work.

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Review: The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine

Posted March 7, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 10 Comments

Review: The Cursed Queen by Sarah FineThe Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine
Series: The Impostor Queen, #2
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on January 3rd 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Glbt
Pages: 432
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 2.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Ansa has always been a fighter.
As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her place next to Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. She fought for her status as a warrior in her tribe: blood and victory are her way of life. But the day her Krigere cross the great lake and threaten the witch queen of the Kupari, everything changes.
Cursed by the queen with fire and ice, Ansa is forced to fight against an invisible enemy—the dark magic that has embedded itself deep in her bones. The more she seeks to hide it, the more dangerous it becomes. And with the Krigere numbers decimated and the tribe under threat from the traitorous brother of the dead Chieftain, Ansa is torn between her loyalty to the Krigere, her love for Thyra, and her own survival instincts.
With her world in chaos and each side wanting to claim her for their own, only one thing is certain: unless Ansa can control the terrible magic inside her, everything she’s fought for will be destroyed.

My Struggle with The Cursed Queen was real…

The Cursed Queen is a companion novel of The Imposter Queen. Although the two are set in the same world, they follow two different sets of character. In this specific book, we follow Ansa, who as a child lost her parents to Krigere invaders and was taken and raised by that tribe of people. All Ansa knows is blood and the thrill of being a fighter, nothing else seems to matter outside of her love for Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain.

But on one mission Ansa faces of the Witch Queen and something happens. Now Ansa fears that she is cursed by the same magic of the Kupari Queen and must not reveal the war waging inside her. As Ansa battles the invading magic from destroying everything around her, Thyra is now the new Chieftain and her tribe is being escorted by Jasper, of another Krigere tribe in hopes of “combining” their forces under Thyra’s uncle Nisse.

Got it?

Okay, I had a lot of issues with this book. I knew it wasn’t going to follow the same sets of characters, but I wasn’t expecting to be trusted into a world where there seems to be that the Krigere have, almost like a civil war going on. It felt like we started in the middle of the story and it quickly got confusing.

It did not help that Ansa was a really hard character to warm up to through most of the book. She comes off childish, with loose loyalties, immature, and flip flops so much it was giving me whiplash. Ansa was easily manipulated and what was going on between Thyra and her uncle felt like way over her head. She seemed a lot younger than Thyra especially with the level of competence she kept presenting. I also did not understand her way of turning her book on people she cared for most, especially Thyra. She kept saying how much she loves her and would follow her, but continually through the book demonstrated the opposite.

Ansa’s loyalties were all over the place and she just did not know how to trust anyone. It was a wonder that most of the characters tried to alienate her from their plans, she couldn’t really be trusted. I found her character super frustrating and I did not like her very much. She finally grew as a character, but it was also like 90% into the book and by then I was already set on not caring.

I loved the world and Sarah Fines writing was still good, there was a lot going on in the book, but it did take a while for you to kind of get used to everything. A lot of stabbiness, a lot of blood and death.

The other thing that did not work for me was the romance. I prefer mine to develop over time, this one is just there and we are supposed to accept it. I like that there was a female/female romance in this, which gave this book diversity – but it was hard to accept the romance because of Ansa’s character. For someone who was so in love with Thyra, she had a funny way of showing it with the lack of faith she started to have in her.

Overall, this is advertised as a companion novel. If you want to know more about Ansa before the third book, go ahead, but don’t hold it with too much expectation. I DNF’ed it a couple of months ago, but in light of the third book I decided to finish it. I struggled, but hopefully others had/will have a better experience.

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Review: The Reader by Traci Chee

Posted March 5, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 13 Comments

Review: The Reader by Traci CheeThe Reader by Traci Chee
Series: Sea of Ink and Gold, #1
Published by Putnam on September 13th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 442
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

Once there was, and one day there will be. This is the beginning of every story.
Sefia lives her life on the run. After her father is viciously murdered, she flees to the forest with her aunt Nin, the only person left she can trust. They survive in the wilderness together, hunting and stealing what they need, forever looking over their shoulders for new threats. But when Nin is kidnapped, Sefia is suddenly on her own, with no way to know who’s taken Nin or where she is. Her only clue is a strange rectangular object that once belonged to her father left behind, something she comes to realize is a book.
Though reading is unheard of in Sefia’s world, she slowly learns, unearthing the book’s closely guarded secrets, which may be the key to Nin’s disappearance and discovering what really happened the day her father was killed. With no time to lose, and the unexpected help of swashbuckling pirates and an enigmatic stranger, Sefia sets out on a dangerous journey to rescue her aunt, using the book as her guide. In the end, she discovers what the book had been trying to tell her all along: Nothing is as it seems, and the end of her story is only the beginning.

The Reader follows a girl named Sefia, who lives her life on the run. After she watched her father get murdered, she flees her home with her aunt Nin. Unfortunately, the very people who came for her father have finally caught up with them and now they have aunt Nin. What do they want? The book that Sefia and her aunt Nin are protecting. In this world, reading is unheard of, but not only can Sefia read she also knows how to write. Now she must save her aunt Nin and find out why the people who are hunting her, want the book so badly.

This was… Interesting. I am struggling with writing this review. I loved the writing, I thought the author’s writing was really beautiful and you could just picture the world so vividly with her descriptions, it was a pleasure reading this book as well as experiencing it on audio.

That being said, I found the book to be confusing and a little weird. I wasn’t sure what was going on for half of the book and we get randomly thrown around for a while trying to figure out what is going on because we don’t just follow Sefia, we also follow Reed in real life and his stories, and we also follow a librarian named Lan and how he ties into all of this.

My husband and I did have a discussion about the world in the book being advance, but not knowing how to read or write. We both wondered if such a thing was possible. He seemed to think it was, but not likely. Also, I could not think of recent civilizations in history who did not have record keeping that managed to thrive without having to research a lot of it.

I liked Archer, the boy that Sefia finds on her journey and who then follows her as she tries to find Nan. She saves him from people who raised him basically to be a killing machine. Of course Sefia tells Archer that he never has to fight or kill again, yet there are times that it was almost like she expected that of him without much of an argument.

I never felt like there was a real plan revolving around rescuing Nin. Sefia does not know how to fight and towards the end of the book, they don’t really have a plan when they find themselves in a dangerous situation. No plan, just walk in there and expect everything to work itself out. Maybe they planned on talking themselves out of the situation? I mean, these people killed her father, but Sefia was just like “okay no plan, let’s just waltz in there and see what happens…” umm, okay?

Overall, the writing was beautiful and this had so much potential, but I felt the execution was lost somewhere and the plot at points felt undeveloped. I will finish the series eventually because I do feel invested, but I do not feel in the hurry to do so.

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Review: The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett

Posted March 2, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 7 Comments

Review: The Warded Man by Peter V. BrettThe Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
Series: Demon Cycle, #1
Published by Del Rey on March 10th 2009
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 434
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:two-flames

As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.

Why I enjoyed The Warded Man by Peter V Brett

It’s been a long time since I read an adult fantasy. I introduced my husband to the book because I figured it was something he would like and then he pressured me into reading it. My relationship with The Warded Man started out slow. The book, like any adult fantasy is awfully dense and since it’s been a while since I read an Adult Fantasy, I almost forgot how dense the books can get. I was pleasantly surprised that it did only take me a week to finish the first book.

So let’s explore a few points of why I thought this was interesting.

The World

The world set in Peter V Bretts books is super different. It’s dark, it’s riddled with demons called Corelings that come from The Core. The corelings can come in different shapes and forms. There are wood demons, fire demons, wind demons, sand demons, etc. Mankind, fear them because they destroy towns, kill people without mercy and they seldom have a way of fighting them. They do only come out at night, and the only protections, most people have, that choose not to fight them, is warding. People ward symbols into their homes, or the walls of their town or posts in order to keep the demons out and from destroying their lives. If the wards fail, it creates a breach and the demons can come through without mercy and rain havoc on the town and its inhabitants.

There are stories of people who choose to fight the corelings, but most have succumbed to what they think is their fate and hide behind the wards. Those people choose to believe that their main job is to survive by populating humanity the world as fast as they can since their numbers are getting smaller.

The world is dark, it’s gritty, its cruel and at times it was really hard to read. Parts of the book made me cringe. I can’t say I enjoyed the parts about women thinking their only goal left in life is to make babies as soon as possible. It was both disturbing and hard to digest. I did enjoy the world as a whole and the different places that it was broken down into and how everything worked together. There was definitely a difference in people depending on where they came from.

The Characters

There are three major characters in the first book. We follow Arlen, Leesha and Rojer. Like all adult books, we start their journey from when they are very young and the events that unfold around them to make them into the type of people they become at the end of the book. All are cruel, all are not easy to read, but the world that they live in is dark and scary and molds them as people. I found them all really interesting and enjoyed how each chapter was devoted to a specific character as they grew, what was happening up until the point that their lives intertwined.

 

The Plot/Pacing/Writing

The plot was enjoyable, the stage is set and I cannot wait to see what happens next on their journey.

The pacing was slow at first, there is a lot of information, there is a lot of character growth at the beginning of the book. I started enjoying the book more the last 60% because the characters were grown and their life has taken a critical turn. There was more action and adventure, so the movement of the book was better.

The writing is good, Brett definitely knows how to weave a story that is unlike anything I have yet read. It’s interesting and I am looking forward to see how it unfolds.

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Guest AudioBook Review: Year One by Nora Roberts, Narrated by Julia Whelan

Posted February 2, 2018 by Lily B in Audio, Guest Post, Reviews / 14 Comments

Good Morning/Afternoon!! Today on the site I have Sophia Rose back with an Audiobook review of Year One by Nora Roberts, Narrated by Julia Whelan. I’m so excited for Sophia’s lovely review that it has myself eager to pick up this book this month. Hope you enjoy her review and leave your thoughts below, have you read this book yourself yet?

Guest AudioBook Review: Year One by Nora Roberts, Narrated by Julia WhelanYear One by Nora Roberts, Julia Whelan
Series: Chronicles of The One, #1
Published by Brilliance Audio on December 5th 2017
Genres: Post- Apocalyptic, Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A stunning new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author?an epic of hope and horror, chaos and magic, and a journey that will unite a desperate group of people to fight the battle of their lives…
It began on New Year’s Eve.
The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed?and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.
Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river?or in the ones you know and love the most.
As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.
In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.
The end has come. The beginning comes next.
Audiobook length: 12 hours and 20 minutes

My mind just reels after finishing this book. My hands twitched to grab for more even when I knew that I would have to wait to see what comes next. One can read the blurb and see the cover and title to form certain expectations and I thought I was spot on when this one got started. But then, I realized it was something so much more. Just an astounding blend of post-apocalyptic, paranormal, mystical, and suspenseful romance.

The book opens with ground zero for what is to come. The reader is introduced to a set of characters and follows them and a plague that oozes and rushes horrendously across the world. The author’s choice in how to open this sets the tone and gives the reader the great, hideous picture of it all. World-wide death, then pandemonium, and then that something more- a darkness and a light.

The book introduces a large cast of characters who slowly start making their way in the same direction. It brings them along in paths full of danger and survival, switches to others, shows the crazed and senseless brutality, but also the hope and joy. There is much to show that no matter if the world gets a reset that humans bring their very natures right along with them.

So much is happening in this book that I can’t really summarize it. And I also don’t want to summarize so that others can experience this riveting book for themselves without losing any of the wonder and surprise, shock, and more. Some things were cut and dry and not a spoiler to say that a few rag-tag groups make it through the plague only to discover that this is just the beginning- government has collapsed, the military is herding survivors into labs and pens, evil people are on the rampage, those who are deemed different are open season, and those who just want to rebuild and start over seem to be the most vulnerable from all sides and can’t seem to catch a break for long. A prophecy promises the coming of the light bringer, but most have not heard it and the few who have are confused and can’t take it seriously. But they will when hope is at it’s lowest.

I experienced Year One as an audio so I was carried along in the talented, capably hands of Julia Whelan. Remember me mentioning a huge cast? Oh, and all those emotions and conflicts? She handled it like a pro that just gave so much more to this story than I would have got reading it for myself. It still would have been good in print, but I definitely am glad for the listening experience.

So, in the end, I was both gutted and immensely eager to press on. So many of these characters became favorites and I need to know what becomes of them and the ones I loathed as well. This will appeal to a wider range of readers since its dystopian and urban fantasy, suspenseful and romantic.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Posted January 27, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 15 Comments

Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly BlackThe Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air #1
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on January 2nd 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 370
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Jude was only seven years old when she watched both of her parents get murdered and both she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. After ten years, Jude wants nothing more but to belong in Faerie, despite the fact that she is mortal, but a lot of fey despises humans, especially Judes rival Prince Cardan.

Jude knows what she has to do in hopes of earning her place and respect among the fey and that is to get a place as a knight of the court. But, when Jude is trusted into a civil war that threatens the Courts of Faerie, Jude must risk her life in order to save her family and Faerie from the bloodshed.

This was my first Holly Black book and it did not disappoint. The writing was wonderful and kept me wanting to turn those pages. The world building was rich and dynamic, I really felt like I knew the place with all its beauty as well as cruelty. The character development was gradual and satisfying.

I did like Jude as a character, she was an easy one to follow – very loyal, very smart, and does not allow the fact that she is a mortal in an immortal world to drag her down. Despite being defiant and of course a somewhat of a flawed character, she knows what she needs in order to survive even if at times the chinks in her armor really show.

I didn’t feel like there was a special snowflake alert in this book. Jude uses the help of others around her in order to stay alive and survive as well as fight a battle that seems impossible to win as a mortal. Faerie teaches her how to become cunning, quick and deceitful and it really starts to show as the character is faced head on with some ugly realities of the Courts of Faerie.

I did have an issue with the Judes relationship with Madoc, I found it a bit hard to grasp, especially with what had transpired in the past. It was a bit odd that Madoc’s eldest blood daughter remained defiant with hate for her father, but Jude and her twin sister did not show that what had happened effected them. I don’t find all that believable, even if they both were young – they were seven and it probably should have had some negative effect on them.

Judes relationship with her twin sister Taryn was absolutely frustrating at times and honestly could have killed the book for me if it wasn’t for everything else. It seemed petty, childish and just infuriating. When I found out why the feud between Cardan and Jude started, it was hard not to grit my teeth. I almost gave this 3.5 stars, but the storytelling won me over and pushed it back towards the edge.

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