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Fairytales and Firebirds: Review of Wicked As You Wish

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

Book: Wicked As You Wish

Author: Rin Chupeco

Year Published: 2020

  • Plot: 3.5/5
  • Characters: 3.5/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 4/5

Wicked As You Wish was a tale of family, friendship and a fight for freedom that was fun and full of creativity. The start of the book was very full on with a lot of information to process but it really is worth sticking with until the end.

It was set in a world similar to ours only there was the Royal States of America and a few extra countries: Wonderland, Avalon and Neverland, not to mention an entirely different history inspired by fairy tales such as Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood and much more, all cleverly incorporated into a magical world. I also loved the representation as there were characters of many different races, genders and sexualities and I especially loved how Filipino culture was so intricately woven throughout the book. All the detailed descriptions of Filipino food made me hungry!

The magic followed a give-and-take system which I thought was really interesting. For example, if you wanted fire power you’d have to endure a tolerance to cold so low that standing in front of a freezer would be too much. However, that could be overcome through spelltech: objects already imbued with magic by someone else.  

Tala Warnock was a Makiling, which meant she negated magic of all forms. Her family were charged with protecting Prince Alexei of Avalon, the sole survivor of his royal family, but they ended up going on an eccentric quest to reclaim their homeland and Alexei’s rightful throne. Tala’s journey was one of understanding herself and her goals. She had to deal with some truths that upended her world, but she always had people around her to support her. That was probably one of the best parts of this book: the tight bonds of family and friendship that held everyone together unconditionally

I found Alex very annoying. I could understand why he was frustrated but I couldn’t understand why he continually took it out on the people who were trying to help him. That being said, I did like how his friendship with Tala was portrayed. It was rocky at times but they were always there for each other when it mattered. I loved Tala’s family especially her titos and titas and Lola Urduja. In terms of the rest of the characters… there were too many for them all to be well developed and likeable. However, I did like Zoe (how could I not like someone who appreciates skirts with pockets?!) and also Loki but quite a few of the characters were easily forgettable.

I generally quite liked the plot although there were some plot twists near the end that needed more explanation. There were lots of ominous prophecies dotted throughout the book foreshadowing a lot more strife to come in the sequel which I am excited to read as I think it has the potential to be better than the first.

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Soulmates and Revenge: Review of Bone Crier’s Moon

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

Book: Bone Crier’s Moon

Author: Kathryn Purdie

Year Published: 2020

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

Bone Crier’s Moon was a riveting read set in a French-inspired world about the lengths people go to for love and loyalty. The moon waxed and waned, the stakes were high and the relationships were compelling– I definitely thought it was a story with a lot of potential.

Bone Criers or Ferriers were women who ferried the souls of the dead to either the Heavens or the Underworld every new moon. But to do this they had to complete a rite of passage that involved luring and killing their soulmate on a bridge. I did think that was a contradictory idea- murdering in order to ferry the dead. The idea was supposed to be that the Ferrier’s had to give up something important to prove their dedication but surely the person dying is making more of a sacrifice than the Ferriers?

The magic system was very novel where the Ferriers gained magical powers called graces from the bones of animals that they had killed depending on the strengths and skills of those particular animals. For example, if someone had the grace bone of a peregrine falcon they would get extra speed and the bone of a fire salamander would give a healing grace.

Ailesse didn’t just want to be a Ferrier, she wanted to be the best no matter what it took. Her drive to prove her worth and skill to her mother, the Matrone, and the rest of her famille meant that she never questioned their practices or the reasons behind them. But then Bastien took her hostage, getting in the way of the fate she had been preparing for as long as she could remember. As time passed and truths were uncovered, she realised that there could always be another way. Ailesse had the most subtle development, over the course of the book the pillars of her life crumbled and she had to trust in her own strength to get her through.

Sabine was probably the most interesting character. I loved her strong friendship with Ailesse and how they loved each other unconditionally despite their differences. However, it was that strong love that led her to break through many of her moral boundaries to help her friend, almost becoming an entirely different person by the end. As she discovered more and more unsettling secrets her limits were tested more than ever before.

For me, Bastien was probably the least developed character. He witnessed his father being killed by a Bone Crier at a young age and ever since he had been driven by a deep-seated desire for revenge. Therefore, he made it his mission to kill a Bone Crier. My problem with him was that I thought he discarded the anger that had been fuelling him for so long rather quickly, I think he should have experienced a greater conflict of emotions.

I did like how he put his revenge behind him as he knew it was not going to make anything better. And I also thought him and Ailesse suited each other very much and the way they unwittingly chose each other and defied fate in doing so was cute. However, I think it all needed more development and needed to take more time. On another note, I really liked Bastien’s friends, Jules and Marcel, and I hope they get even more of a role in the next book.

Set in a dynamic world that went between the forest, the catacombs, the city and many different bridges, Bone Crier’s Moon was a promising start to a duology about choosing one’s own destiny and rethinking the ways of the past. I’m really excited to read the sequel and seeing where the story goes next!

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Sereadipity Interviews… A. K. Larkwood!

Hello my booksicles!

The Unspoken Name is one of my favourite books of this year with its sprawling, imaginative world and loveable characters. Therefore, I am honoured to bring you an interview I did with the author, A. K. Larkwood, where I asked her some questions about her debut novel.

Here’s a bit about the book which came out on the 20th February in the UK and the 11th February in the US:

Unspoken UK small.jpg
A. K. Larkwood’s The Unspoken Name is a stunning debut fantasy about an orc priestess turned wizard’s assassin.

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does–she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin–the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn–gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

Interview:

Hello and thank you doing this interview with me!

Thank you for reading!

What would you say the initial inspiration for The Unspoken Name was? And why did you think Csorwe’s story needed to be told?

In some ways The Unspoken Name is quite a conventional fantasy story – there are wizards, gods, mysterious missing artefacts, and lots of swordfights. But I’m interested in coming at this kind of material from unexpected perspectives. Given that she works for this highly ambitious larger-than-life wizard, Csorwe could have been the sidekick character. She doesn’t have world-shaking ambitions and she’s largely motivated by saving herself and her friends, rather than by saving the world. I wanted to write a fantasy book in which we get to learn what characters on the periphery are up to.

The book was filled with lots of exciting places, people, cultures, deities and worlds- all connected by the Maze of Echoes. Which world building aspects were the most fun to create?

Early in the book Csorwe spends some time infiltrating a fortress ruled over by an infamous mercenary general. Creating that little world with all its layers and factions and secret ways was a lot of fun, and I got to introduce my favourite character, the giant snake.

Which character in the novel would you say you relate to the most?

All of them to an extent – I expect you get this answer from a lot of writers, but it’s hard to write a character without trying to relate to them. Even High Inquisitor Qanwa, who is pretty diabolical, only came into focus for me as a character when I had to write scenes from her point of view and had to figure out what she thought about what she was doing.

Did you always know how you wanted The Unspoken Name to end? Or did it take a few tries to figure out the best conclusion?

Without risking too many spoilers, I always knew where Csorwe was going to end up by the end of the book, but it took a lot of rewriting to realise how she was going to get there. In the first draft of the novel Csorwe was much older and more embittered, there was no romance subplot, and Tal and Shuthmili were fairly minor characters who bore no resemblance to their current incarnations. Revising is a process of discovery as much as writing the first draft!

Csorwe, Sethennai and Tal are tasked with destroying the One Ring in Mordor… what happens?
Such a bad idea to let Sethennai anywhere near that thing! He would instantly just put it on and that would be the end of the book.

Which books would you recommend to fans of The Unspoken Name?

I recently really loved Shelley Parker-Chan’s She Who Became The Sun. It’s a queer fantasy reimagining of the life of the first Emperor of the Ming dynasty – it’s beautifully written, full of twists and turns, funny and heart-wrenching. And as in The Unspoken Name, the main character’s early life is spent in a strict religious community, haunted by the dead. Sadly, it’s not out until next year – but keep your eyes out!

Can you give us any hints as to what to expect from the sequel?

It’s hard to give a lot of detail without spoiling the first book, but it’s like Sethennai says towards the end of The Unspoken Name: “Things cannot be put back the way they were.”

About the author:

Photo: Vicki Bailey /  VHB Photography
A. K. Larkwood studied English at St John’s College, Cambridge. Since then, she has worked in higher education & media relations, and is now studying law. She lives in Oxford, England, with her wife and a cat. Her debut novel, The Unspoken Name, will be published by Tor in 2020.

Thank you again to A. K. Larkwood for taking the time to answer my questions!

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Review: Children of Virtue and Vengeance

Book: Children of Virtue and Vengeance

Author: Tomi Adeyemi

Year Published: 2019

  • Plot: 3/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 3.5/5

Children of Virtue and Vengeance was the gripping sequel to Children of Blood and Bone. I enjoyed it overall, although it suffered a bit of ‘second book syndrome’. It took the story to new heights and the consequences of their actions were graver than ever before.

After the shattering conclusion of the previous book, Orïsha was in a great state of upheaval. Although the ritual went wrong,  Zélie achieved her goal of returning magic to the magi but she also accidentally awoke it in the nobility. She ended up creating a new type of magic wielder called tîtans who unlike the magi didn’t need incantations for their magic to flow. This added a new dimension to the story and raised the stakes even higher than they already were. The irony of it was that she gave her enemies more power to use against her people and while  the nobility hated the magi for their magic, most of them felt justified in using it themselves. Both magi and titans pushed the boundaries of their magic beyond belief accomplishing staggering feats and using it creatively. Although I don’t think the ways in which they used their magic was explained very well it was still exciting to read.

In many books that feature ‘the return of magic’ trope it seems to be a force for good however in this one magic’s return made Orïsha more divided than ever before.  Both Zélie and Amari  wanted to fix what they’d done and unite the people but ended up having very different ways of going about it.

Amari wanted to take the throne and bring about peace but her mother was determined to stand in her way (if you thought Amari’s father was bad just wait until you meet her mother). She was a powerful tîtan and she wanted to use her power for good. She ended up joining the magi with Zélie but they were determined to make her an outcast. Her desperate need to prove her worth and end the war along with her father’s words that still haunted her , ‘Strike Amari,’ made her make some very questionable decisions. Her quest for peace made her think that any sacrifice was worth the cost and I think she lost herself a bit in this book.

Zélie was destroyed by all that had happened to her in the previous book. She felt like she had done enough and she wanted to run as far away as she could from everything. Gradually though she found her light in the other magi and it was nice seeing her open up again. My main concern was the degradation of her trust in Amari. Their friendship was one of my favourite parts of Children of Blood and Bone and suddenly in this book they seemed to turn on each other at every hurdle which was extremely out of character in my opinion. Why couldn’t they just have a healthy, strong friendship?

However, I liked Zelie’s camaraderie with her students, especially her second. I also liked her relationship with Roën even though it was a bit rushed because they go well together. For most of it I wasn’t sure if I could trust Roën or not but I was shipping them by the end. I really wanted Tzain to get some more character development because he was less of a prominent character in this book and it was a shame. It would have been nice to learn more about him and see his brother-sister relationship with Zélie develop more.

I think the main themes of this book were the dangers of hate . Both sides were blinded by their hatred for one another that neither could see sense, neither could see that their actions were stoking the flames of war not bringing it to an end. Their hate brought more hate and it fuelled them to use their power to destroy not build.  Zelie’s blind hatred towards Inan and towards herself for still having feelings for him stopped her from seeking peace when he truly offered it. Although to be fair, I wasn’t sure if Inan would have stuck to any peace agreement anyway. He couldn’t stick to his own decisions and beliefs and I just wanted him to make up his mind- he was more annoying than ever.

I think the weakest point of this novel was the plot. It felt as if it was going around in circles at some points and not really progressing. The plot twist at the end  was completely out of the blue. At the time, it was thrilling and elicited a great amount of shock from me. On reflection though, it was a bit too sudden– like if it was thrown in there to create enough plot for another book.

Overall, I did like Children of Virtue and Vengeance. Some parts were stronger than the first book, some parts weren’t and it might not have fully lived up to my expectations but it was still an enjoyable and diverse fantasy adventure with rich world building and I do want to read the final book in the trilogy to see how it all will end.

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

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When Dreams Become Reality: Review of Reverie

Book: Reverie

Author: Ryan La Sala

Year Published: 2019

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

Reverie was one of the most imaginative, chaotic and unique novels I’ve ever read. It was a wild, wild roller coaster ride of a book but also one that I feel will resonate with many readers and I enjoyed it very much.

“We are all people between worlds.”

The protagonist was Kane Montgomery, a boy who woke up half-dead in a river nearby a burnt down mill with no memory of how it happened or most of his life before. However, slowly by surely he began to put the puzzle pieces together by finding his friends from before the accident and uncovering the sinister truth of what really happened.

Kane and his friends (who called themselves ‘the Others‘) all had various superpowers and they used these to control and unravel ‘reveries’ wherever they arose. Reveries were manifestations of a person’s deepest hopes, fears and dreams that leaked into reality and ensnared anyone in the vicinity of their source. They normally came with an elaborate plot that the people caught inside would unconsciously act out but the Others all possessed the ability to remain lucid in a reverie and could make sure it stayed safe and didn’t go out of control.

“Sealed off things that steep too long in the human mind are doomed to grow bitter”

The reveries were all well fleshed out and intriguing and the author integrated these magical micro worlds into the real world very skillfully. I thought it was an extremely creative magic system but I would have liked it to be more explained as there are still aspects of reveries that I don’t understand like the triggers, limits and rules of them. Also, I don’t think Kane and his friends’ purpose was well explained because most of the time, they seemed to make the reveries more dangerous than they were supposed to be.

Kane was caring, thoughtful and funny but his accident and the consequent amnesia made him feel like an outsider from himself. Also, his uncertainty in who to trust made him push away those trying to help him and he ended up feeling alone. He was the only openly gay person in his school and he keenly felt the pressure of people’s judgement upon him, always feeling out of place

However, as Kane discovered details about his life the reader did too, making his confusion really relatable. He rediscovered his previous friends and it was lovely to see how, after a bit of miscommunication, he started to rebuild his relationships with them once more. His whole character arc was about self-discovery, about giving himself a second chance and using it to save the world.

“Dreams can be the artifacts we excavate to discover who we really are”

The other characters were all nicely layered as well. I loved Ursula‘s calm yet strong nature and Adeline’s steely no-nonsense attitude. Dean had a mysterious, aloof exterior but was actually really adorable and I’m glad that him and Kane had each other. I wish we got to see their relationship develop more. I also liked how Kane’s relationship with his younger sister was portrayed. It was turbulent at times but during hardships their unconditional love and support shone through. The villain of the story was a drag queen sorceress called Poesy who, as the book states many times, was ‘power personified’.  While her motivations and decisions were very questionable she was a sassy, trinket gathering villain who was hard to always hate.

At its core, beneath the chaos and rainbows, Reverie was a story about how people, especially those ostracized by society, create refuges in their own minds and what happens when these go out of control. With its heartfelt LGBTQ+ representation, beautiful prose and loveable characters, Reverie is most certainly a worthwhile read. I had a few issues with the magic system but it was overall an enjoyable story.

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

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Mini-view: The Never Tilting World

Book: The Never Tilting World

Author: Rin Chupeco

Year Published: 2019

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

∗ It was a climate fiction fantasy novel about a world called Aeon split between permanent day and permanent night with extreme weather and dangerous magical creatures.

∗ I absolutely loved it- it was so imaginative and action-packed!

∗ The world building was really well fleshed out. I liked learning how both the day and night sides coped with their situations.

∗ I loved the backstory. It was inspired by Assyrian mythology and was really intriguing.

∗ The plot was full of surprises and I never had a bored moment! I liked watching the two story lines converge.

Odessa was a goddess who lived on the night side of Aeon ruling a city called Aranth. She became braver and more sure of herself as the story progressed. Her character arc was all about fighting the allure of power and how it nearly corrupted her.

Lan was Odessa’s bodyguard. She was fierce, strong and disciplined and she had PTSD after a traumatic experience. I liked how she started to come to terms with what happened to her and open up her heart.

Haidee (my favourite character) was also a goddess who lived on the day side of Aeon and ruled the Golden City. Her and Odessa were twins but neither of them knew. She was really smart as a mechanic, extremely caring and definitely reminded me of myself at times.

Arjun lived in the desert on the day side of Aeon and he went with Haidee on her journey. He was an amputee and also really smart and resourceful. My favourite thing about him was how he pretended to be all gruff but his softer side gradually emerged as the novel progressed.

∗ Both the romances were adorable and flawlessly done.

∗ Even though the climate change was caused by a magical disaster the message of being responsible for the damage we cause to our world applies to us all.

∗ It’s a brilliant, creative novel- I’d definitely recommend it!

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

To find out more about the book, check out this interview I did with the author, Rin Chupeco.

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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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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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Review: King of Scars

Book: King of Scars

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Year Published: 2019

*This review contains spoilers. Proceed with caution.*

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

I missed Nina, Nikolai, Zoya and the rest as if they were real people and reading King of Scars was like meeting old friends again! This was definitely one of my most anticipated releases of the year and it has a lot of promise for what the future of the Grishaverse books will hold. Whilst I was reading it, I was overcome by an overwhelming sense of pride because I’ve been with these characters since the beginning and they’ve come so far and endured so many trials and challenges but come out of them stronger and more resilient.

“Hope was the wind that came from nowhere to fill your sails and carry you home.”

Note: King of Scars is definitely for fans of Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows. If you’re not a fan, you probably won’t enjoy it. If you haven’t read the previous Grishaverse books, you probably won’t understand what is happening as there are multiple references to them.

The characters and the relationships between them were all perfect:

  • Nikolai was just as smart, witty and generally awesome as he always has been. His inner battle with the monster inside him was very well done.
  • “He might never be a truly noble man or a truly noble king… But he knew this much: He would not rest until his country could too.”

  • Zoya was AMAZING. She was the most interesting by far and we got to learn so much more about her. She also had the most character progression thoughout the novel. The fancy dragon powers she got from Juris were pretty cool too. She is one of my favourite characters now.
  • “Stop punishing yourself for for being someone with with a heart. To live is to grieve.”

  • At first, I didn’t think Zoya and Nikolai would go together but as the book progressed I could see how much they trust and understand each other so I am now a staunch Zoyalai shipper!
  • I adored Nina. She was just as fabulous as she was in Six of Crows. I felt so sorry for her though especially when she buried Matthias (I almost cried) but I did love how Trassel (Matthias’ wolf) found Nina again! I could tell her emotional wounds were still raw and in this book I could tell she still wasn’t ready to confront those scars, heal them and learn to move on but I really hope she manages to find her peace in the next book.
  • Hanne was an awesome character but I don’t ship her with Nina. I think it’s because I still haven’t gotten over Matthias’ death yet.
  • Yuri was very weird and I can’t believe they trusted him. Why would anyone worship the Darkling? It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard especially after all the harm he caused.
  • Genya and David were perfection (as always).
  • Isaac was so sweet and he deserved better!

The whole return-of-the-Darkling plot twist was brilliant and terrifying at the same time. I always thought that the ending of Ruin and Rising didn’t feel like the end of the Darkling’s story. I am anticipating in horror what despicable deeds he will do in the next book.

I adored King of Scars yet I gave it four stars. Why? Because I felt like nothing much happened. The plot was very slow and the only interesting things happened in the last 100 pages of the book. Moreover, Nina’s story line and Nikolai’s felt very disconnected and I have no idea how Bardugo will manage to fit in so much into the next book and connect the separate plots.

Overall, I loved this book and I’m so excited for the next chapter in the Grishaverse.

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Review: Sorcery of Thorns

Book: Sorcery of Thorns

Author: Margaret Rogerson

Year published: 2019

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 10/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

Sorcery of Thorns was an utterly enchanting read and I feel miserable now that it’s over- especially because it’s a standalone. The thought that I will never read about these characters again makes me want to cry.

Elisabeth was an orphan who grew up in a Great Library. It was not an ordinary library full of ordinary books but one full of grimoires– books of sorcery with a mind and life of their own. As she grew up among the rustle of pages and the scent of magic, she developed an affinity for grimoires, a deep understanding of their being. The library was her home. However, damaged grimoires morph into grotesque beasts called Maleficts and when powerful Maleficts started to escape from all of the Great Libraries and Elisabeth was wrongfully labelled as a traitor, she was thrust out into the world and her adventure of sorcery and courage began.

Elisabeth was one of the most hilarious, genuine and kind characters I have ever read about. Her tendency to charge into dangerous situations, whilst waving around a sword, to try and help or save others often got her into terrifying predicaments but her sheer ferocity always got her out of them. She was very endearing but when times got tough she had bucket loads of valour and my favourite thing about her was that she was always herself and she was proud of it. She never tried to be someone she was not or allow other people to pressure her into doing certain things or behaving in certain ways. Basically, she’s the type of person I wish could be my best friend.

Nathaniel was a well-known sorcerer and he accompanied Elisabeth in her quest to deliver justice. On one hand, he was incredibly funny , very sarcastic and generally amazing, but on the other hand, he was afraid of the destruction his sorcery was capable of bringing about and was weighed down by many years of guilt and grief. The relationship between Elizabeth and Nathaniel was adorable and I felt like their personalities complemented each other in every way. They’re both slightly insane and that’s probably why they were so in love.

Sorcerers obtained their power by bargaining away several years of their lives to a demon and Silas was Nathaniel’s demon. Although I’ve already rambled about how much I love Elisabeth and Nathaniel, Silas most certainly stole the show for me. He was always trying to convince everyone that he was a horrifying demon that can’t be trusted when in reality he was very prim and proper and very caring. Demons were supposed to be callous and indifferent by nature but Silas broke free of that mould and learnt the meaning of love. I’m really struggling to explain this in coherent words but in a nutshell: Silas is such a legend and the best character in existence.

The only reason that I knocked off half a star is because the character’s opinions surrounding sorcery were quite contradictory. The people who worked in the libraries hated it and seemed to think it was something to be contained but at the same time sorcerers were prominent and respected in society and they were allowed to access and use the grimoires however they wanted, to an extent. I found this very confusing and I wish it was explained better.

In essence, Sorcery of Thorns was a book about books. If you like hilariously lovable characters, sorcery, sword-waving and foiling intricate plots to dominate the world, then this book is for you!

Thank you to Simon and Schuster and Margaret Rogerson for proving me with an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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