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Monstrous Glamour: Review of The Beautiful

Book: The Beautiful

Author: Renée Ahdieh

Year Published: 2019

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

Usually, I can’t stand vampire books but I trusted Renée Ahdieh to write one that I’d enjoy and I’m glad that I did. The Beautiful was a glamorous, mysterious read- set in 1872, New Orleans– that had me spellbound throughout and I’m so excited for its sequel.

Celine Rousseau was a dressmaker in Paris until a terrible event forced her to flee her life there and start a new one in the dazzling city of New Orleans. Soon, she became caught up in a gruesome murder mystery along with a group of people known as La Cour de Lions and she made discoveries that meant her life would never be the same again.

Celine was incredibly reckless, she wanted to live life on the edge and experience everything it had to offer. She was also very headstrong and admirably confident– she knew who she wanted to be and didn’t care what anyone else thought about it. However the main reason I loved her was because we both share a deep appreciation for delicious food and she loved eating mille-feuille almost as much as I do! I adored the other characters too. Odette Valmont was the kind of person I wish I was friends with and was always full of enthusiasm and humour. Sébastien Saint Germain was like a more refined and fancy version of Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows and his relationship with Celine was perfect.

The writing and world building were stunning. Ahdieh’svibrant descriptions of New Orleans conveyed a genuine love for the city and I loved the way she managed to weave in themes of feminism and racism into the story too. Furthermore, I liked how many different languages were incorporated like lots of French and a bit of Spanish, Italian and more as well as multiple references to famous works of literature. It made for an extremely multi-faceted and engrossing experience- I felt like I could get lost in the world she created and never find my way out again. Also, the vampires were more subtle and elegant than I thought they’d be and didn’t come across as tacky and annoying like they usually do for me (thank goodness they didn’t sparkle). The reader is slowly fed information about them and there’s so much that still hasn’t been revealed that I’m assuming will be in the next book.

My only issues were that it was too slow paced and too much time was spent establishing a foundation when I wanted to get into the story. Also the writing was quite repetitive– we didn’t need Sebastian to be likened to ‘the devil’ a million times. However overall these things didn’t alter my enjoyment terribly and it was still a really fun read for me.

A sparkling world, an endearing cast of characters and so much more. I loved The Beautiful and it most certainly didn’t disappoint!

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

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Magic, Betrayal, Demons: Review of Shadow Frost

Book: Shadow Frost

Author: Coco Ma

Year Published: 2019

  • Plot: 4.5/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 4/5

Shadow Frost was a fun, sizzling fantasy full of intrigue and betrayal and although it wasn’t perfect I still thoroughly enjoyed it!

Asterin Faelenhart, Princess of Axaria, was tasked along with her companions to vanquish a demon that was terrorizing the lands. However, there was much more to the situation than met the eye and the group of friends had to gradually uncover a web of secrets and lies.

Asterin was a headstrong, tenacious character who desperately wanted to prove she was worthy to one day be queen and make her mother proud. She was likeable at the start but some of the choices (especially one in particular) she made later on in the book really disappointed me and I honestly thought better of her! My favourite character was probably Rose because she seemed to be the most down-to-earth and was one of the kindest, smartest characters in the book. Quinlan fell into the classic, ‘love interest with a haunted past’ trope and I really felt bad for him because the poor thing was smitten with Asterin and she was the last to realise!

The main appeal Shadow Frost had was the fact paced, constantly changing plot. There were some shocking twists which I did not see coming and they kept me hooked right until the very end. I’m very excited to see how the story and characters will develop into the next book. Furthermore, I loved the elemental magic system!

Nevertheless, I had one giant, gaping problem with this novel. It kept emphasising how all of the characters were stereotypically attractive and it really annoys me when books do this because we are not all perfect as there is no such thing as perfection. Our diversity makes us beautiful. I don’t think it’s alright for books to promote the idea that everyone has to look gorgeous with big muscles or flowing hair or impeccable bone structure because it’s a ridiculous notion to live up to and is an unhealthy way of thinking. We need books about people of all shapes, colours and sizes.

Overall, Shadow Frost was an entertaining read and very impressive considering the author wrote the first draft at fifteen. It had a very similar vibe to Throne of Glass so if you liked that book, you’ll like this one too!

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

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Review: The Resurrectionist of Caligo

Book: The Resurrectionist of Caligo

Authors: Wendy Trimboli, Alicia Zaloga

Year Published: 2019

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

The Resurrectionist of Caligo was a Victorian fantasy and murder mystery with strong themes of medicine, grief and illness. It had a promising premise and although I liked the ideas in it, I felt slightly let down by it at the same time.

Roger Weathersby was a resurrectionist– a person who unlawfully unearthed corpses to sell on to medical schools. However, when he one day discovered a strange and horrifying corpse he began to follow the clues surrounding a string of terrible yet similar murders along with the help of his former friend, princess Sibylla, and together they went down a dark and dangerous path from which there was no return.

I liked the way Roger’s character was developed because although at first glance he seemed like a careless rogue he was actually a really kind person who just wasn’t very good at dealing with authority and had a knack for getting himself into messy situations. I liked the way he looked out for Ada and her mother.

Sibylla was interesting because she could seem petty at times but she did care deeply for her people. My only problem with her was that she wasn’t particularly memorable in any way. Now, when I think about the book I can’t think of one thing she did that really stood out to me or was very admirable. The dynamic between Roger and Sibylla was… weird. They did like (maybe love?) each other and though their relationship did grow stronger once more I felt like it didn’t really go anywhere.

Also, this novel had major pacing issues. I’m pretty sure around 68% of the way through it I found myself wondering whether the main story was going to get started yet, then realising to my horror that I’d already surpassed over half the book. It was extremely slow at the start and then at the end there was a few plot twists and reveals and that was it. The ending was ambiguous and while I sometimes appreciate books that are open-ended I didn’t like this one because it didn’t give me any sense of conclusion or leave me with any implications or thoughts to ponder over.

The Resurrectionist of Caligo is a creative yet flawed read. I think it’s worthwhile giving it a go- just don’t go in with very high expectations.

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

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The Last Witchdoctor: Review of Kingdom of Souls

Book: Kingdom of Souls

Author: Rena Barron

Year Published: 2019

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

Kingdom of Souls was a tale of epic proportions set in a West African fantasy world full of magic and mystery. It was a captivating but also a very dark and heavy read that made me feel all of the emotions possible and it was so intense that at one point I just had to put the book down and process my turbulent feelings.

Arrah was born from two powerful witchdoctors but had no magic to call her own no matter how hard she tried or how much she wanted it. But when children started to go missing and an ancient evil began to resurface Arrah was prepared to make a great sacrifice to gain magical powers and protect the people she loved.

I liked Arrah’s determination and courage– even though she didn’t always make the right choices she had the best intentions at heart. It was also great to read a book about a character who wasn’t ‘the chosen one‘, who didn’t have power and glory handed to them on a plate and who had to pay a steep price for the power they desired.

Arrah didn’t quite know where she belonged and she was trapped between two worlds and cultures that both made her feel like a disappointment and I felt really bad for her as she tried so hard to live up to what she thought was expected of her. She was consumed by a need to possess magic and prove her worth, but it was ironic that when she finally achieved her goal she wished she could go back to her life without magic and appreciated all the things she didn’t before.

The other characters were all well-developed and endearing too. Rudjek was really cute and I loved his relationship with Arrah, and the whole ‘ill-fated lovers who the world has conspired against’ trope was done very well. Sukar and Essnai were also very kind, supportive friends.

I also liked how the more villainous characters like Arti or The Demon King were presented as multi-faceted characters with complex motivations. I even felt bad for Efiya, who was simply awful, because I think she was just a product of the environment and circumstances she grew up in.

Overall, Kingdom of Souls was a superb book full of rich, sprawling word building and a story that will sweep you away. It’s a book that I highly recommend and I am so excited to read it’s sequel!

Thank you to HarperVoyager UK for providing me with this gorgeous proof copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Beware the Jabberwock! Review of Wonderland

Book: Wonderland

Editors: Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane

Year Published: 2019

Overall Rating: 3.75 stars

Wonderland was a magical anthology full of short stories inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. All the stories managed to capture the wondrous yet morbid whimsy of Wonderland as they were full of imagination and followed no rules. It was a mixed bag– some were amazing and some not so much. Here’s a brief summary of the stories and my thoughts on them:

Alice in Armour by Jane Yolen- 3 stars:

This was an amusing poem which I liked but it didn’t greatly impress me.

Wonders Never Cease by Robert Shearman- 2.5 stars:

“Just because love dies, it doesn’t mean you can’t go on.”

This story was about life, love and death and even though I understood it was trying to convey a deep message I thought the writing was confused and just generally muddled and I didn’t enjoy it.

There Were No Birds to Fly by M.R. Carey- 5 stars:

“If you follow the rules… you’ll live a whole lot longer”

This was so wonderfully creepy and mysterious and I did not see the ending coming. I liked how the narrator of the story was clearly hiding something and their intentions were gradually revealed. Also, it gave me very strong Birdbox vibes so if you liked that book/ movie you will probably like this.

The White Queen’s Pawn by Genevieve Cogman- 4 stars:

The White Queen’s Pawn was quite short and not much happened but it still had an impact. I loved how it slowly went from a seemingly normal situation to something scary and macabre!

Dream Girl by Cavan Scott- 5 stars:

This one started off in Wonderland, from the perspective of the Hatter, and ended on a very unexpected and refreshing plot twist. I loved it! Furthermore, I appreciated how the ‘Alice character’ didn’t fit the visual stereotypes surrounding her.

Good Dog, Alice! by Juliet Marillier- 4.5 stars:

When a girl called Dorothea calls her dog ‘Alice’, she doesn’t realise how useful her pet will become. This was another short story with an ending that came out of the blue but it was also quite satisfying.

The Hunting of the Jabberwock by Jonathan Green- 4 stars:

As the title suggests, this story was inspired by the ‘Jabberwocky’ poem and was about a young man trying to slay the Jabberwocky to earn his glory but comes to some unsettling realisations. I liked how the story included the whimsical nonsense language from the ‘Jabberwocky’ poem.

About Time by George Mann- 3.5 stars:

This story was about how our fears can affect our realities and the power of believing that something is real. It also had quite a sweet ending.

Smoke ’em if You Got ’em by Angela Slatter- 3 stars:

This one took Alice to the Wild West and while I liked the ideas behind it and the direct writing style it just didn’t create much of an impact on me.

Vanished Summer Glory by Rio Youers- 4 stars:

Vanished Summer Glory was a poignant story about grief, loss and love and it was really touching and quite saddening to read.

Black Kitty by Catriona Ward- 3 stars:

It was quite weird and I still don’t quite understand what on Earth went on in this one but I guess it gets credit for creativity!

The Night Parade by Laura Mauro- 4.5 stars:

This one was inspired by Japanese mythology which was intriguing and original. I also liked how the ending left me with so many theories and thoughts about all the implied things that could have caused the things that happened.

What Makes a Monster by L.L. McKinney- 3 stars:

What Makes a Monster was set in the author’s A Blade so Black universe and it was about some rather cool monster hunters. At the start I thought I was going to enjoy this story very much but it didn’t impress me as much as I thought it would although it was still good.

The White Queen’s Dictum by James Lovegrove- 4.5 stars:

This one had a lovely hint of supernatural and while I saw the plot twist coming I enjoyed the dramatic irony of it. It was based on the idea that ‘impossible things’ can sometimes be more real than you first think.

Temp Work by Lilith Saintcrow- 2.5 stars:

Temp Work was heavily based on sci-fi but I didn’t enjoy it because the plot didn’t interest me.

Eat Me, Drink Me by Alison Littlewood- 2 stars:

An utterly weird and confusing story and my least favourite in the anthology.

How I Comes to be the Treacle Queen by Cat Rambo- 3.5 stars:

This story was extremely imaginative with a strong narrative voice and I was satisfied with the way it ended. I also liked how it explored previously uncharted territory in Wonderland.

Six Impossible Things by Mark Chadbourn- 3 stars:

It was quite touching and nostalgic tale and I liked how it included the history behind the original ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ book.

Revolution in Wonder by Jane Yolen- 3.5 stars:

Another humorous, clever poem which concluded the anthology nicely!

Overall, this was a really interesting read and I liked reading all of the different takes on Wonderland. I’m not going to lie- I hate Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the animated Disney adaptation gave me nightmares as a child. However, this anthology makes me feel like giving the books (and the movies) another chance!

Thank you to Titan Books for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Tiger Queen Blog Tour: Review and Favourite Quotes

Hello and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan!

About the book:

Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan
Publisher: BLINK
Release date: September 10, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Romance

Synopsis:
From Annie Sullivan, author of A Touch of Gold, comes Tiger Queen, a sweeping YA fantasy adventure that tells the story of a fierce desert princess battling to save her kingdom. Fans of Rebel of the Sands and Meagan Spooner will devour this retelling of Frank Stockton’s famous short story, “The Lady, or the Tiger?”

In the mythical desert kingdom of Achra, an ancient law forces sixteen-year-old Princess Kateri to fight in the arena to prove her right to rule. For Kateri, winning also means fulfilling a promise to her late mother that she would protect her people, who are struggling through windstorms and drought. The situation is worsened by the gang of Desert Boys that frequently raids the city wells, forcing the king to ration what little water is left. The punishment for stealing water is a choice between two doors: behind one lies freedom, and behind the other is a tiger.

But when Kateri’s final opponent is announced, she knows she cannot win. In desperation, she turns to the desert and the one person she never thought she’d side with. What Kateri discovers twists her world—and her heart—upside down. Her future is now behind two doors—only she’s not sure which holds the key to keeping her kingdom and which releases the tiger.

Book links: Goodreads |Amazon |Barnes & Noble| Book Depository


Review:

Book: Tiger Queen

Author: Annie Sullivan

Year Published: 2019

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

Tiger Queen was a thrilling desert tale about a woman fighting to improve the lives of her people and prove her own worth. It was a clever retelling of the short story, ‘The Lady, Or The Tiger?’ and I really enjoyed it!

Kateri was the princess of Achra who was tasked with killing twelve of her suitors in arena fights to assert her right to be queen. However, when she realised that her final suitor was a man she wasn’t skilled enough to beat, she fled to the desert to join her sworn enemies, the Desert Boys, to train and gain the necessary skills to win. She not only improved her fighting abilities but learnt so much about the state of her people and the type of queen they needed her to be.

I liked Kateri’s sheer determination to succeed and how she was willing to put in the required work to achieve her goals. Throughout the book she went on a journey and realised that so many things she firmly believed in weren’t as true as she once thought. I also loved the training montage trope and the various challenges she faced to improve her skills. The way Sullivan drew up parallels between Kateri and the caged tigers was very intriguing. Furthermore, I liked how her relationship with Cion slowly grew stronger and I think they make a good couple.

The word building in the book was excellent and I loved finding out about the various intricate and unique customs and traditions. I found all of the different legends, animals and places interesting as well. Nevertheless, I don’t think the plot was gripping enough for me to give the book five stars but that wasn’t a major hindrance to my enjoyment as the characters were good enough to almost make up for it.

Overall, I thought Tiger Queen was original, clever and exciting and is a must-read for those looking for new ideas in the YA fantasy genre.

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

Favourite quotes:

“We can’t focus on what we’ve lost or the weight of it will bury us faster than the sand. We have to focus on what’s still to gain. We have to focus on finding joy where we can”

“We Desert Boys have a saying about tears… we say that crying is good, natural. It’s returning the water you’ve taken from the earth”

“‘You may not know how to stop, Kateri,’ he said, ‘but you sure know how to fly'”

“It’s not weak to bear scars. It shows you were strong enough to survive.”

“When life is as hard as it is out here, you celebrate as often as you can.”

“Decision time… Is it the lady or the tiger?”


Tour schedule:

About the author:

Annie Sullivan is a Young Adult author from Indianapolis, Indiana. Her work has been featured in Curly Red Stories and Punchnels. She loves fairytales, everything Jane Austen, and traveling and exploring new cultures. When she’s not off on her own adventures, she’s teaching classes at the Indiana Writers Center and working as the Copy Specialist at John Wiley and Sons, Inc. publishing company, having also worked there in Editorial and Publicity roles. You can follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram (@annsulliva).

Website |Twitter | Instagram

Giveaway:

Click here for the giveaway.
Prize: Tiger Queen poster and signed bookplate (USA only)
Starts: 9/4/19
Ends: 9/13/19

Thank you very much to the FFBC for choosing me to do a stop on this tour!

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Truedark is Coming: Review of Darkdawn

Book: Darkdawn

Author: Jay Kristoff

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

Darkdawn was the dramatic conclusion to the Nevernight trilogy full of humour, murderous angst and the indomitable sass of Mia Corvere.

In this book, Mia continued her journey to revenge while also discovering more about darkin lore and the mysterious Crown of the Moon. Mia came a long way in this book, even more than in Nevernight and Godsgrave as she finally discovered the truth about herself and accepted the path laid out for her. She realised her life could be about more than revenge and built up her own, new family around her. And of course, she had her usual daring, sarcasm and tendency to get herself into the craziest situations and find the craziest ways of getting out of them.I loved her relationship with Jonnen and despite everything she was such a caring big sister and it was sweet to watch their in each other trust grow. I also loved Mia and Ashlinn‘s relationship and I just wanted them to be happy together! 

Other out of context things that I loved about Darkdawn:

  • Cloud Corleone
  • Tric vs Ashlinn
  • Mr Kindly
  • Chapter 35 (the most heart-rending chapter I’ve ever read)
  • All the characters mocking the footnotes
  • The library in the Quiet Mountain

As you can tell, there were many things that I loved and I’ve given the previous books in the series five stars. So why did I give Darkdawn four stars? Well, it was the ending. It was a good and fitting ending in many ways but I just didn’t connect with it. I expected to feel emotional as I finished one of my favourite series but I didn’t feel anything. My main issue was with the scene of the final battle just before the very end because it didn’t make sense to me and it didn’t feel right. It all happened too quickly and I don’t think it was powerful as it could have been. When I got to the end I just thought: ‘Is that it?’.

Although I had a slight issue with the ending and I don’t think it was as brilliant as Nevernight or Godsgrave, I did enjoy Darkdawn overall and Mia’s story will always have a place in my heart.

Thank you St. Martin’s Press to for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Loyalty, Omens and Fate: Review of The Girl the Sea Gave Back

Book: The Girl the Sea Gave Back

Author: Adrienne Young

My review of Sky in the Deep.

Year Published: 2019

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Writing: 4.5/5
  • Overall: 4/5

“Augua ór tivar. Ljá mir sýn”

“Eye of the gods. Give me sight”

The Girl the Sea Gave Back was the mystical companion novel to Sky in the Deep, set in the same vivid Viking-inspired world that told a story woven by fate, destiny and omens of the future. Unlike Sky in the Deep, this book was less focused on the theme of family and placed more emphasis on finding a place to belong and coming into one’s own. It was a poignant tale which I really liked.

The story was told from the points of view of two characters: Halvard and Tova. In Sky in the Deep, Halvard was eight-years-old and it was nice to see him as a grown man in this book. He remained just as kind, brave and genuine as he always was and I loved watching him grow and develop into a worthy leader. I also liked briefly meeting other characters from Sky in the Deep like Eelyn, Iri and Fiske and getting to see the family they made together. Mýra was also in this book and I liked getting to know her even more- I think a spin-off story based on her would be really interesting!

“The stones don’t lie”

Tova was a member of the Kyrr clan, a people who believed in the power of fate and had markings all over their skin which told their stories. When she was six-years-old Tova washed up in a boat all by herself near the Svell clan and was taken in by a man who lived there. She had no memory of her life before except from the knowledge that she was a Truthtongue and could read the future in rune stones. The Svell were always suspicious of her and her place among them was precarious. When she read their futures they blamed her for the outcomes despite the fact that she was only conveying their fates not influencing them.

Tova really wanted a place to belong and she was tired of being treated like the enemy. She slowly realised that she couldn’t be blamed for the fates of others and no matter what she told them they would always twist the signs and believe in the future they wanted. She learnt to fight for who and what she thought was right and found her happiness. However, I would have liked her to have had more character development and more explanation behind her backstory.

“War is easy. It comes again and again, like waves to a shore. But I lived most of my life driven by hate and I don’t want that for my grandchildren”

Overall, I really liked The Girl the Sea Gave Back although I think it could have been longer and included more character and plot development. The world building, the themes of fate and reading the future in rune stones were brilliantly done and it was a powerful, magical read.

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

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Vikings, Family, Unity: Review of Sky in the Deep

Book: Sky in the Deep

Author: Adrienne Young

Year Published: 2018

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 5/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

“Vegr yfir fjor”

“Honour above life”

Sky in the Deep was a moving tale based on family– the one we’re born with and the one we find along the way- set in a Viking-inspired world. It was a beautiful story. Beautiful in a messy and imperfect yet real way and I really loved it.

There were two clans, the Aska and the Riki, bound together by a blood feud as old as time. Every five years they met on the battle field and they fought for their people and their honour. The main character, an Aska woman called Eelyn, thought her brother, Iri, had died years ago but one day she sees him alive in the midst of battle but fighting for the opposing side. This triggers a series of events that causes Eelyn to question everything she ever thought she knew and she realised that the two clans would be stronger together than apart.

It was ironic how the Aska and the Riki had been fighting mindlessly for years and years when in reality, they were more similar than different. Once they put their prejudices aside they realised that they could co-exist peacefully. I thought this was a very important message because I think that if people focused more on how we are alike as opposed to how we are different we wouldn’t have so many conflicts and issues in our world today.

I really liked Eelyn’s character because although she was resilient and brave she also had an emotional, sensitive side and I think that recently lots of authors have been making their female main characters appear almost emotionless in an attempt to make them seem fierce and strong. In general, the relationships between the various characters were perfect and Eelyn’s bonds with her father, her best friend, her brother, Fiske and his family were all profoundly crafted. At first, I wasn’t feeling the connection between Eelyn and Fiske but I warmed up to them by the end and I liked how they slowly grew to trust each other.

I loved learning about the various customs and religious beliefs that formed the groundwork for the novel. Furthermore, the writing style was very intense, grounded and at times dramatic resulting in almost cinematic fight scenes and heart-rending emotional scenes.

This novel told a touching story and is a breath of fresh air in the young adult fantasy genre.

“Qnd eldr”

“Breathe fire”

 

 

 

 

 

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Review: The Demon World

Book: The Demon World

Author: Sally Green

Click here for my review of book one, The Smoke Thieves!

Year Published: 2019

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

The Demon World was the gripping sequel to The Smoke Thieves, bursting with political intrigue, love and divided loyalty. In some ways it was better then the first book, in some ways it was not, but overall I enjoyed it very much.

Just like The Smoke Thieves, this book had five main point of view characters: Catherine, Ambrose, Tash, Edyon and March. Tszayn also got one point of view chapter and it was really interesting to get into his head for once. I think that the character perspectives were better allotted and spread out between the characters than the first book but that is probably because we didn’t need to be individually introduced to them all like before. I felt like each character got sufficient time in their perspective to tell their story. Nevertheless, it did feel like not as much happened in this book as in The Smoke Thieves and I got the sense that the characters were moving into position for whatever was going to happen in the next novel in the series.

— Catherine —

I loved how Catherine‘s character grew and developed even more in this book as her power grew. She took charge and led with confidence despite all the people around her who doubted her capabilities. People labelled her as ambitious and greedy for wanting to rule and lead the army because apparently those were jobs only for a man but she didn’t let that stop her from proving them wrong.

— Ambrose —

Ambrose was still struggling with all of the events from the previous book and all he wanted to do was to keep Catherine safe. To be honest he annoyed me because I thought he treated Catherine unfairly and didn’t understand the motivations behind her actions but at the same time she could have been more sensitive to his feelings.

— Tash —

Tash‘s story was super interesting as she went from hunting demons to trying to understand them. She was as stubborn and headstrong (but also adorable) as usual but her persistence allowed her to discover an important secret. Through her we get to discover more about the demons and the demon world and I found it fascinating. However, the cliffhanger at the end was terrifying and I really hope Tash is alright!

— Edyon —

Edyon didn’t have such a great time in this book (I felt quite bad for him) and he carried on his journey with March to Calidor to find his father. He was his usual exaggerated and comic self and he spent most of the book complaining and complimenting March. Just when I thought he was going to have some happiness, it was promptly ruined.

— March —

Throughout the book I was inwardly screaming, ‘Tell Edyon the truth, March! Tell him!’. Sadly, March didn’t listen. I think he has come so far from the angry, vengeful person he was at the start of The Smoke Thieves and I wanted him to have some happiness as well but he ruined it for himself. He knew that Edyon was in love with him and he loved him back and even though he knew continuing the lie would hurt them more in the long term he still didn’t come clean. I think if he’d told Edyon much, much earlier they might have managed to get over it. After the ending of The Demon World, I have no idea what he’s going to do next!

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I’m very excited to read the final instalment of the series. It’s a novel perfect for fans of fantasies that have no magic and a lot of politics, war and treachery.

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

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