Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: We Hunt the Flame

Book: We Hunt the Flame

Author: Hafsah Faizal

Year Published: 2019

  • Plot: 3/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 3/5

“We hunt the flame, the light in the darkness, the good this world deserves.”

We Hunt the Flame was a book about discovering and owning your own identity against the backdrop of a world inspired by Ancient Arabia. I liked it but I still felt underwhelmed by its…. ‘averageness‘ especially because it was one of my most anticipated releases of the year.

It was set in a fictional country called Arawiya that was divided up into caliphates. It used to have magic but had it no longer. Overall, the world building was good and we were gradually fed bits of information about Arawiya and its history. As someone with a fair bit of knowledge surrounding Arabic and Arab culture, it was lovely to see it incorporated into the book. However, some of the Arabic words in the book were used in a clunky and disconcerting manner.

There were two POV characters: Zafira and Nasir.

“You are the compass in the storm, the guide in the dark. You will always find your way, Zafira bint Iskandar.”

Zafira hunted for the people of her village in the magical yet perilous forest called the Arz, which crept closer and closer to her village- threatening to engulf it- every day. She was the only one who could go into it and come back out alive, with her sanity intact. However, she shrouded her identity in secrecy under the mysterious name The Hunter’ and made sure that no one- except her close family and friends- knew that she was a woman as she feared that no one would value her achievements if they knew her gender. During the novel, she embarks on the quest of a lifetime to restore magic to the world by retrieving an ancient book called the Jawarat on the dangerous island called Sharr. Zafira was an alright character. She wasn’t particularly interesting but she wasn’t annoying either. She had a strong sense of duty towards her people and wanted to use her skills to better the world.

Nasir was the crown prince of Arawiya and a notorious hashashin often called, ‘The Prince of Death‘. His father was horrible to him and in general Nasir was a miserable, mirthless person. He was tasked by his father, the sultan, to go on the quest to find the Jawarat, retrieve it, and kill all the others involved. Torn between the desire to please his father and the need to listen to his conscience he goes to Sharr along with Zafira and a few others but ends up going on a journey of self discovery more than anything else. Honestly, I didn’t like Nasir that much. I just found him to be really bland and monotonous. He did show some growth in character by the end and he stopped allowing other people to define him and his actions and tried to do what was right instead of what he’d been told to do.

In conclusion, I found this book to be alright but still a bit dull. I still want to read the sequel in the hope that the author will introduce some more engaging ideas and themes. Don’t let my review put you off because I know that lots of other people loved it, however, if you’re tired of reading the same tropes again and again I don’t think We Hunt the Flame is for you.

Thank you to Macmillan and Hafsah Faizal for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: A Shifting Of Stars

Book: A Shifting Of Stars

Author: Kathy Kimbray

Year Published: 2019

  • Plot: 4.5/5
  • Characters: 5/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

I had no idea what to expect going into A Shifting of Stars but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did! Honestly, it’s the best book I’ve read in quite a while.

The protagonist was called Meadow. She was a poor, young woman still battling with grief after her mother died of a harrowing sickness. A sickness she believed could have been cured had the emperor imported the right medicine instead of squandering coin. One day, she is arrested for treason after speaking out about her experience and urging people to boycott the emperor’s prized gladiator tournament and this event is the catalyst for the entire novel. It’s sad really, that Meadow had to go through so much just because she spoke out about an injustice. Sadly, so many people today in our world pay even heavier prices for the same reason.

A Shifting of Stars has been compared to Red Queen and An Ember in the Ashes but it’s less about a rebel uprising to take down a tyrant or evil figure and more about the effects of the tyranny on a girl and the people around her, and what she tries to do about it.

Meadow was brave, headstrong and quick-witted in dangerous situations. However, she was also a bit too trusting– to her detriment. Also, she was incredibly inquisitive and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a character who asks so many questions about everything. I liked Meadow because I felt like I could connect with her and she was very down-to-earth which was good because the whole book was from her perspective. In general, I liked the characters and they were interesting and realistic– I really cared about them and their fates.

There are two reasons I’ve deducted half a star. Firstly, although the world building was effective, I wished we learnt more about the magic and its origins. Secondly, some of the plot details were slightly unrealistic at times. Nevertheless, these were only minor issues and didn’t affect my overall experience very much.

It’s not your average YA fantasy but in the best way. It’s original and very different to anything I’ve read before. There is a only a dash of romance but it isn’t insta love and it doesn’t dominate the storyline. Generally, it was a refreshingly good read that I would recommend to fans of the fantasy genre.

So, condensing this entire review into three words: READ THIS BOOK!!!

Thank you to the author for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: Dark Shores

Book: Dark Shores

Author: Danielle L. Jensen

Year Published: 2019

  • Plot: 2/5
  • Characters: 2/5
  • Writing: 3/5
  • Overall: 2/5

Dark Shores is a tale of political intrigue that questions whether everything can be easily classified as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. I really thought I’d enjoy this book because the premise sounded amazing and so many other people adored it. Sadly, it left me feeling disappointed.

As always, I’ll start with the positives. There was a very diverse cast of characters and the word building- based off of Ancient Rome– was convincing. Throughout the novel, we are told that Marcus is a legendary commander and his tactic of conquering by gaining the trust of and then manipulating the people is brilliant but in the most terrifying and unsettling way.

Teriana was a Maarin sailor, a part of a peaceful trading people. There were two main continents, with a vast swath of sea between them and the Maarin were the only ones who knew that both these continents existed. They lived by the principle, ‘East must not meet West,’ because they thought that if the East and West knew that they both existed they would destroy each other. I found this to be an interesting idea but I also found it hard to believe that they managed to keep a whole other continent a secret for so long.

The plot was very confusing and unrealistic. I wasn’t sure if Teriana was trying to save the Maarin or help Marcus conquer the west or sabotage the conquering of the west. I couldn’t tell if Marcus wanted to conquer the west or help Teriana or help the Arinoquian people or defy the evil senator. There were a lot of plot details that didn’t fit in or make any sense. Furthermore, I could not bring myself to care about the characters. Teriana was annoying and immature despite what she may think about herself and Marcus was stubborn and forever drowning in self-hatred.

Teriana and Marcus had nothing between them. Their seemingly heart-rending romance sprung from nowhere and the whole enemies-to-lovers trope was very forced. I didn’t feel any love, affection or chemistry between them but then suddenly, nearer to the end of the book, Marcus was being incredibly protective over Teriana and they were both swooning over each other.

Honestly, I think it was a case of, ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ with this book. I can understand why so many people loved it and I think it did have the potential to be amazing but it the end I couldn’t connect with the characters and I found the plot to be a bit superficial.

Note: The title and blurb heavily imply that Dark Shores is a swashbuckling adventure akin to Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s not. It’s based on Ancient Rome and is more about fighting, military strategy and politics.

Thank you to Tor Teen and the author for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.


The Book Character Awards · Uncategorized

The Book Character Awards| Final Round of Voting!

Hey bookdragons!

The final round of voting for The Book Character Awards is now open! Click on the link below to vote for your favourite bookish characters and take part! Thank you so much to all the awesome people who have nominated and voted for characters in the previous rounds.

For those of you who don’t know, The Book Character Awards is an event hosted by me where bookworms get to nominate and vote for characters in various categories. This is the final round and the winners will be announced next week!

The final round of voting closes on 31st May 2019.

>>> Click here to vote <<<

The Categories:

  1. Best Dramatic Performance (a character that’s a drama queen/king)
  2. Best Supporting Character
  3. Best Bookish Ship
  4. Worst Bookish Ship
  5. Best Friendship
  6. Kindest Character
  7. Best Villain
  8. Funniest Character
  9. Most Annoying Character
  10. Most Fashionable Character
  11. Weirdest Character
  12. Best Character Arc (someone that has undergone the best character development)
  13. Best Leading Lady
  14. Fiercest, Most Fearless Character
  15. Best Love Interest
  16. Worst Love Interest
  17. Best Bookworm Character
  18. Best Female Morally Grey Character
  19. Best Male Morally Grey Character
  20. Most Charming Character
  21. Most Brutal Backstory
  22. Best Fantasy Badass Female
  23. Worst Love Triangle
  24. Best Love Triangle
  25. Best Parental Figure
  26. Overall Best Book Character

>>> Click here to vote! <<<

Friday Reads · Uncategorized

Friday Reads | The Night Circus

Hello bookdragons!

It’s been a while but I’m finally back from my hiatus with another ‘Friday Reads’! I’m so excited to resume blogging again and I’ve got a lot to catch up on.

Friday Reads was invented by The Candid Cover and is a merge of:

  • Book Beginnings which is a book meme hosted by Rose City Reader where we share the first sentence(s) of a book.
  • The Friday 56 which is hosted by Freda’s Voice where we share a snippet from page 56 of a book (or 56% on an e-reader).

This Friday, we’ll be looking at The Night Circus by the amazing Erin Morgenstern.

Bookish Beginnings:

The first few lines of The Night Circus:

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

I think this perfectly captures the essence of the excitement and enchantment that The Night Circus is able to conjure. I love the mystery that surrounds Le Cirque des Rêves and how phantasmagorical it is made to seem. If Le Cirque des Rêves were real, I’d definitely be one of the fans who track its progress and try to guess where it will go next.

The Friday 56:

A snippet from 56% of The Night Circus:

“She [Celia] examines the carvings on the stone and the vines twining around them, but her gaze keeps returning to Marco. Any attempt at subtlety is ruined when he repeatedly catches her eyes with his own.”

Celia and Marco are extremely cute together. It’s adorable watching them fall in love and pretend not to have feelings for each other until they can’t any longer. They make the story seem even more magical.

What are you reading this Friday? Let me know in the comments!