Reviews · Uncategorized

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!

Twitter Goodreads
#SixforSunday · Uncategorized

#SixforSunday: STRANDED!

Hello my booksicles!

#SixforSunday is a weekly meme hosted by A Little But A Lot. This week’s theme is, ‘characters I’d like to be stranded with’– I’m going to assume it means stranded on a desert island!

If I had to be stranded with a character of my choice, I’d choose a character who firstly, has the right skills for survival/ escape and secondly, would be interesting to talk to so the whole experience isn’t too boring. So here are the characters I’d choose:

1) Silas from Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

I think Silas is awesome- he definitely ticks the ‘interesting to talk to’ box and I’m sure he’d have lots of exciting tales to tell. Also, as a demon he has many supernatural abilities that would aid our survival and he wouldn’t even have to eat so there’d be less strain on resources!

2) Nina Zenik from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Nina is amazing and I wouldn’t mind being stranded if it was with her. And we’d definitely survive- I have no doubt about that!

3) Lazlo Strange from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I’d want to be stranded with Lazlo because he’d be able to tell a lot of interesting, whimsical stories but he also seems practical enough for survival.

4) Csorwe from The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood

Csorwe would probably come up with a reckless, seemingly impossible plan to get off the island and we’d probably come near to death many times but ultimately survive.

5) Lia Mara from A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

Lia Mara is smart and she doesn’t mind doing what needs to be done so together we’d make a detailed survival plan and once that’s in place we’d just chat about books.

6) Kell Maresh from A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Kell is an Antari and all his blood commands would be very useful for survival. And he could even teleport us to that same island in a parallel universe and it might not be a desert island there and we could escape!

Which characters would you want to be stranded with on a desert island? Which characters would you hate being stranded with? Let me know in the comments!

Twitter | Goodreads
Interviews · Uncategorized

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!

Twitter Goodreads
Reviews · Uncategorized

Beware Golden Boys: Review of Foul is Fair

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

Trigger warnings: sexual assault (off-page), rape culture, abusive relationship, bullying, transphobia, suicide attempt. A detailed page of trigger warnings can be found here on the author’s website.

Book: Foul is Fair

Author: Hannah Capin

Year Published: 2020

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

Foul is Fair was a dark tale inspired by Macbeth about revenge after sexual assault and about survivors taking power into their own hands. It a was a raw, raging and visceral read.

On the night of Elizabeth Jade Khanjara’s sweet sixteen, she crashed a St. Andrew’s Prep party with her closest friends- Mads, Jenny and Summer. She became the target of a group of rich, privileged ‘golden boys’ who drugged then sexually assaulted/ raped her, thinking she wouldn’t remember, that they’d get away with it like they always did. But not this time. Because, although Jade’s memory of what happened was fragmented she remembered enough and she and her coven of friends swore to take every single person involved down.

Jade (our Lady Macbeth) didn’t want to be a victim or a survivor, she wanted to be an avenger. She was fierce and there would be consequences for anyone who crossed her or her friends. Her way of dealing with what happened to her was completely detaching herself from who she was before. She changed her name, dyed her hair ‘revenge black’ and became a new person, filled with rage. She targeted everyone involved- including the people who gave her the drink, who guarded the door, who stood by and did nothing- and transferred to St. Andrews Prep. Mack (our Macbeth) seemed to be the only member of their group who wasn’t involved and she exploited and amplified his hesitant ambition to pit them all against each other, manipulate their fears and make them meet their ends.

As a character, Jade was brutal. She revelled in exacting her revenge and wielding her power and she didn’t hold back. Her coven of friends were equally brutal and extremely loyal to one another. I liked their tight-knit friendship, how they could trust each other completely. In terms of Macbeth, they were like the witches, spreading toil and trouble and lurking in the background to ensure everything went to plan. The ‘golden boys’ were all on the lacrosse team and observed a strict ranking. Duncan was their ‘king’ and they were all abhorrent human beings, raping and assaulting girls at parties because they knew there would be no consequences for them- until Jade came along.

The writing style in the novel was unlike anything else I’ve ever encountered. It was disjointed, uncompromising and razor-sharp– at times extremely dramatic. I loved it and I think it worked really well with the story but I do think there will be some people who find it an odd and confusing style to follow, it’s just a matter of taste.

The reason I dropped a star was that many parts of the book were very unrealistic. In real life, I don’t think Jade’s plan would have worked out how it did in the novel. For example, the way Mack fell in love with her after a day or so and soon enough was willing to kill for her was very unconvincing.

I think the novel aimed to be as dramatic and vicious as possible to make a statement. Because while murder is never the answer, perpetrators of assault/ rape shouldn’t be allowed to escape justice, survivors and victims need to feel empowered not let down by the authorities. Another thing I liked was the message that there’s no right way of being a survivor and the people around Jade like her friends and parents were very supportive.

In conclusion, Foul is Fair was a ruthless tale about revenge, with social commentary on rape culture that made for a gripping read.

Twitter Goodreads

 

 

 

Book Tags · Uncategorized

The Throne of Glass Tag!

Hello my bookish wyverns!

Today I’m doing the Throne of Glass tag which I found on Papertea & Bookflowers. When I discovered this tag I knew I had to do it because Throne of Glass is a series very close to my heart. I’m not too keen on the first two books in the series but I love almost everything from Heir of Fire onwards.

~LYSANDRA~

A book with a cover change you loved

I love both the new UK and US covers for the An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir. I like how the US ones actually show the characters’ faces and they look similar to how I imagine them and I like the rich colours on the new UK covers- especially because I thought the old covers were quite boring.

Image result for us ember in the ashesImage result for us ember in the ashesImage result for ember in the ashesImage result for ember in the ashes

~ABRAXOS~

A book that’s better on the inside than it looks on the outside

I didn’t like the cover of the edition of Deathless by Catherynne Valente that I read but that didn’t matter because the insides of the book were incredible! It’s such a magical read!

~ERILIA~

A series with great word building

The world building in Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron was phenomenal. It’s so rich, sprawling and multi-faceted it almost felt real. I loved learning about the different types of people, magic and beliefs. You can read my review here.

~RIFTHOLD~

A book that combines genres

The Resurrectionist of Caligo by Alicia Zaloga and Wendy Trimboli combines fantasy with murder mystery and I have to say it worked out fairly well!

~DAMARIS ~

A book based on/inspired by a myth/legend

I will never stop conveying my love for Circe by Madeline Miller, it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s a feminist retelling of the Odyssey by Homer and it’s just one of the most beautiful books in existence.

~KALTAIN ROMPIER~

A book with an unexpected twist

The twists at the end of Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff are mind-shattering. They were completely unexpected and I was completely shocked. I thought the author was playing some kind of Tric on me (if you’ve read the series, you’ll get the pun).

~ASSASSIN’S KEEP~

A book with an unreliable narrator

I guess The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson has a sort of unreliable narrator, more so in the second book where she’s a mess. But apart from that no other books come to mind.

~ASTERIN BLACKBEAK~

A book that’s got squad goals

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo was the first book I thought of when I read this prompt. It’s undeniably the number one book for squad goals. Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Wylan, Nina and Matthias are legendary together (I can’t wait to see them in action in the Netflix show)!

Also Throne of Glass itself has a pretty awesome squads. How could you not love the court of Terrasen, the Thirteen or the cadre?

~TERRASEN~

A book that feels like home

The Throne of Glass books definitely feel like home to me because I’ve read them so many times it’s all familiar. Also, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien always gives me fuzzy, homely feeling because again, it’s a book that I’ve read too many times to count and a story I’ve adored since a young age.

~AELIN ASHRYVER GALATHYNIUS~

A book with the power to destroy you

Apart from Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas…. The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang doesn’t just have the power to destroy me- it did. It’s the most brilliant but brutal book I’ve ever read.

~MANON BLACKBEAK~ 

A book that intimidated you

Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin definitely intimidated me. It’s so thick it’s like a brick! It took a large effort to read it all, but maybe that was just because I pretty much already knew what would happen from watching the TV series. The show is quite similar to the first book and deviates from the novels more later on in the series apparently. But I wouldn’t know because the rest of the book series intimidates me too so I haven’t read them.

~ROWAN WHITETHORN~

A book that makes you swoon

The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh is a swoon worthy book. All the glamour and glitz and Celine Rousseau and Sébastien Saint Germain…. *faints*.

~CHAOL WESTFALL~ 

A book that challenged you to see things differently

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker challenged me to see the mythology I love from a different perspective. We always talk about the great heroes who slew beasts and fought wars and forget the immense courage of the women in their shadows.

~FLEETFOOT~

A book you received as a gift

I received the The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins as a birthday present once and it was definitely one of the best gifts I’ve ever received because I love the series, especially Catching Fire. And they were the foil editions which are so shiny and beautiful. 

~ELENA~

A book you found right when you needed it

I found A Shifting of Stars by Kathy Kimbray when I needed it because I was hopelessly floundering between disappointing and average books and it was the first good book I had read in a while- it was like a beacon of hope.

So that’s the tag! What do you think of my answers? Do you like the Throne of Glass series? Let me know in the comments!

I tag: Noura, Star, Celaena Renee, Gabriela, Hâf … and anyone else who wants to do this tag!

Twitter Goodreads
Reviews · Uncategorized

Not the Chosen One: Review of Fate of the Fallen

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

Book: Fate of the Fallen

Year Published: 2019

Author: Kel Kade

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

Fate of the Fallen was a fantasy book that subverted the ‘chosen one’ trope and managed to strike a balance between end-of-the-world bleakness and light-heartedness. At the start, the writing and plot felt a bit immature but the story strengthened as it progressed and more characters were introduced.

Aaslo was a forester (a person tasked with caring for the forests) and all he wanted was to save the trees– but he ended up trying to save the world. One fateful day, his friend and brother in all things, Mathias, discovered he was chosen. According to prophecy, he was the only one capable of saving the world from evil. It wasn’t that much of a surprise, he was skilled and much loved by all, so of course he was destined for greatness… right? Wrong. When he met his untimely end, the very distraught Aaslo decided to take up Mathias’ mantle and give their world a fighting chance.

When there wasn’t a ‘chosen one’ anymore, everyone gave up and prepared for doom. Aaslo, however, thought if he was fated to die he might as well do so fighting for the greater good– not hiding away. Generally, I thought that was a good message because in real life so many things don’t go to plan but it’s not an excuse to give up but more of a reason to move forward with resilience, tenacity and hope for the future- like Aaslo.

As a character, Aaslo was solemn and serious but also extremely genuine in a likeable way- there was not an ounce of deception in him. Some of the other characters were quite endearing too, most notably the two thieves Peck and Mory and an ex-mage called Teza. However, there were a few different points of view, some of which I didn’t care about at all (like that of the reaper called Myropa) which made my progression through the book quite forced at times.

The plot was just… a lot. I think if it just focused on Aaslo it would have been fine but the meddling gods kept making appearances and they made the plot more confusing. There was magic, mages, prophecies, fae, zombies and a dragon arm (yes, just an arm) and while it sounds fun, it would have been more fun if the plot was better developed and there was less of what felt like seemingly unnecessary filler.

In conclusion, Fate of the Fallen was a rather humorous read that had a nice twist on a well-known trope. It wasn’t spectacular but would make a refreshing read for someone tired of the same old, same old.

Twitter Goodreads
Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: Steel Crow Saga

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

Book: Steel Crow Saga

Author: Paul Krueger

Year Published: 2019

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

Steel Crow Saga was an Asian-inspired standalone fantasy (also influenced by anime) with intricate world building and a well developed cast of characters that captured my heart. It was truly an unforgettable and worthwhile read.

Many fantasy novels focus on the events leading up to and during a great war but this book was all about the aftermath of a war. The countries Sanbuna, Shang and Dahal had revolted against the colonising power of Tomoda but there was still a long way to go to establish peace.

That’s where our characters came in. Tala, a Sanbuna soldier, was tasked with escorting Prince Jimuro to Tomoda so that he could claim his throne. But a Shang princess and detective called Xiulan and a thief from Jeongson called Lee were trying to find and capture Jimuro so that Xiulan could prove to her father her worthiness to rule. However, all four characters ended up uniting under the same goal to defeat a terrible threat to them all.

I loved this novel’s original approach to magic. The people of Shang and Sanbuna had the ability to Shadepact, creating a soul bond with an animal which can then be called by their name to do a person’s bidding. However, the people of Tomoda could Metalpact which as the name suggests involves manipulating metal. Finally, in Dahal they were able to use Hexbolts which involved firing powerful bolts of energy. These various forms of magic were used creatively, for good and to gain control. For example, the Jeongsanese were not allowed to Shadepact as a means of subjugation.

Tala was haunted by the desperate actions of her past that led her to shadepact with her brother to save his life, gravely defying the laws of magic. Her relationship with her brother portrayed the complex layers of loyalty, hate but most of all love between them emotively. Tala had to help the very person she felt represented the pain and suffering her people had experienced, her worst enemy- Jimuro. But as the story developed she realised a person is more than what they represent and without forgiveness to others and herself there would be no hope for future peace.

Jimuro had one of the best development arcs I’ve ever read and was definitely my favourite character. He gradually understood the damage his country had caused and put aside some of his deepest beliefs to become the ruler not just best for his people, but for all. His relationship with Tala was perfect as they went from enemies to trusted friends (to hopefully more). By learning about and accepting each other they helped bridge a rift carved by years of fighting and hatred.

Although the detective-princess Xiulan was razor-sharp smart, all she really knew about the world was what she had read in books. She was driven by a consuming desire to prove her right to power, especially to her siblings who had always put her down. Her journey was one of acknowledging her own talents as well as weaknesses and learning how to use them for the good of her people. Lee was used to leaving people behind before they left her and she had to overcome her deep-seated suspicion of people to form a connection with Xiulan. Their relationship was dynamic and endearing but they also had to deal with issues surrounding trust that remained unresolved at the end.

I loved the intricate world building that fully immersed me in the differing cultures, customs, foods, etiquettes, beliefs and lifestyles of the various places. Furthermore, the harmony it achieved between magic and technology was unparalleled. At its core, this book was about the importance of overcoming differences and not allowing past traumas to fester in order to achieve peace. It was about the importance of the coloniser accepting responsibility and the advent of change through decolonisation.

For a fantasy, every aspect of Steel Crow Saga felt so real from the many layered characters to the detailed world. I don’t re-read novels often, but I’m very sure I’ll have to re-read this one soon. It’s a book I feel like I could get lost in a thousand times and always discover something new.


At the start of the review, I briefly mentioned the influences of anime in the book. I don’t know much about anime but if that is something you want to know more about, Petrik’s review is great and talks about it in great detail.

Twitter Goodreads
Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: The Monster

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

Book: The Monster

Series: The Masquerade #2

Author: Seth Dickinson

Year Published: 2019

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

The Monster (the sequel to The Traitor) was another sprawling geopolitical fantasy full of twists and scheming. It wasn’t as mind-shatteringly brilliant for me as the first book but it was still very intriguing and well worth reading.

This book started exactly where the previous one ended. We met the main character Baru again and got more insight into her motivations. Then the story took a wildly unpredictable turn involving a quest for immortality, new characters, new points of view and general chaos (in a good way). The Traitor focused on Baru’s machinations to gain power and destroy the empire from within but The Monster was bigger than that. Baru had the power now and she using it to achieve her goal whilst trying to outmanoeuvre the manipulations of everyone else.

Baru’s cool, indifferent façade shattered away and we got to see her more vulnerable than ever before. For much of the book she was completely lost, reeling from grief and feeling horror at the destructive consequences of her actions- but only after she’d done them. She didn’t know how to handle the moral cost of taking down an empire. She knew what she wanted to achieve and told herself that she didn’t care about whoever ended up as collateral. It was hard to tell if she truly thought her actions were for the greater good or if she saw herself as a monster, just like everyone else. The Empire had nothing to hold over her and therefore found her terrifying– and rightly so. But as her control over herself and her situation slipped it became increasingly difficult to tell if she was the puppeteer or the puppet.

I think the most impressive aspect of this book was how much it expanded on its world. We are told all about the federation of Oriati Mbo which had completely different politics, beliefs and culture to the Empire of Masks. However, all the new variables added to the story made the plot go a little out of control as if it was frantically trying to arrange everything for the next book.

This series is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It’s so unashamedly brutal, daring and clever and in its own odd way, it works. Overall, The Monster was a gripping read and although some parts felt too outlandish and unnecessary I still have high hopes for the next book in the series.

Twitter  Goodreads
Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: Blood Heir

Book: Blood Heir

Author: Amélie Wen Zhao

Year published: 2019

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

Blood Heir was a dark retelling of ‘Anastasia’ full of action and determination. It contained some important themes and multi-faceted characters and although at times it felt a bit repetitive I still enjoyed it very much.

Anastacya ‘Ana’ Mikhailov was the crown princess of the Cyrillan Empire– a hostile place for Affinites (people with magical abilities). As a child, Ana discovered her blood Affinity (being able to control people’s blood) when she accidentally killed a group of people and ever since she lived her life locked away, feeling like a monster. After being framed for her father’s murder, Ana was thought to be dead but she actually went on the run to prove her innocence and enlisted the aid of a crime lord named Ramson Quicktongue to track down the real murderer.

“Show them what you are, my little monster”

Affinites, were trafficked into Cyrillia on the promise of good opportunities and jobs but then indentured into forced labour with no escape. Although Ana had been on the run for months before finding Ramson, she was incredibly naïve surrounding the corruption in her lands until he made her face the truth. Being an Affinite herself, Ana’s journey of acknowledging and understanding the rife slavery and suffering was essential for her character development and also for making her a better and more just princess. Slavery wasn’t just a problem in history but a massive issue today all over the world and tackling it, even in a fantasy setting, is so important because more people need to become aware of it, just like Ana.

“It’s up to us to fight our battles in this world”

Although Ana and Ramson seemed like complete opposites at first glance, they were actually really similar. They both carried rage towards the world and pasts full of injustice that shaped their lives and actions. They both saw the bad and good in each other and accepted it and went from deep mistrust to caring for each other dearly. Ana thought there was always a chance to make the right decision despite previous actions and as Ramson was losing himself in a snarl of expectations and ambitions she helped him find a way out. And while Ana realised that nothing can truly be completely good or completely bad she also realised that her monstrous power had the potential for good too.

“All Affinities are a double-edged sword. One must simply learn to wield it.”

The descriptions of places and foods were stunningly detailed– almost real. However, I did want to know more about how Affinities work, especially Ana’s blood affinity, because the book didn’t offer much explanation. I also wanted more of Linn, she was a character who came late in the book even though she was an important character and I really liked her and I hope she is more prominent in the next book.

Overall, Blood Heir was a book that dealt with dark themes but was also fun and action-packed. It almost gave me Grishaverse vibes and is suited to fans of YA fantasy who want something a little bit deeper. I have high hopes for the next book in the series and I can’t wait to read it.

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

Twitter ~ Goodreads
#SixforSunday · Uncategorized

#SixforSunday: Bookish Habits

Hello my booksicles!

It’s been so long since I’ve done a #SixforSunday but I’ve decided to bring them back! For those who are unfamiliar, #SixforSunday is a weekly meme hosted by A Little But A Lot and this week’s theme is, ‘six bookish habits’.

I think some of my habits in relation to books have changed over time. For example, I used to always fold over the corner of my page to mark my place in a book but now I use a bookmark because I don’t like creasing the pages anymore. Today however, I’ll be listing six of my bookish habits that have never changed:

1) Reading the last page/ line of a book before I’ve finished it:

Sometimes I just need to know how a book will end or an indication that everything will be alright so I skim the last page or glance at the last line. Normally I don’t spoil too much for myself because I have no idea what’s happening on the last page anyway. Another thing I do, especially in books with multiple points of view, is skip forward a few chapters to check if a certain character is alright because I don’t have the patience to wait several chapters before finding out.

2) Taking the jackets off hardcovers whilst I’m reading them:

The jacket really irritates me when I read a hardcover because it keeps getting in the way and slipping around so normally I just take it off to save me the trouble of constantly adjusting it. Once I’m finished reading the book, I put the jacket back on.

3) Reading before going to sleep:

I like reading before I go to sleep but unlike some people it doesn’t help me to relax, it’s just one of the only times I find time to read so I take advantage of it.

4) Constantly adding books to a never-ending tbr (to be read) list:

I think most people take the idea of a tbr as a list of books they will definitely read at some point or at least try to. However I take it more as a list of books that seem interesting and that I think I will like but if I never get around to reading them, it’s alright. And I know I probably won’t get around to reading most of them because I keep adding more and more intriguing books all the time but I don’t mind and the fact that my tbr is ridiculously long doesn’t stress me out in the slightest. I enjoy finding out about different books regardless if I’ll ever read them.

5) Taking every opportunity to go to a bookshop:

No matter where I go or what I’m doing I can’t resist going into every bookshop I see. Bookshops are my happy place.

6) Reading by mood:

I can’t stick to a rigid tbr because I like to read whatever I feel like reading in that moment. If I’m not in the mood to read a book, I won’t feel motivated to pick it up and will probably spend much longer than usual reading it.


What are your bookish habits? Let me know in the comments!

TwitterGoodreads