Reviews · Uncategorized

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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Discussion Post · Discussion Posts · Uncategorized

Characters vs Plot… DISCUSS!

What’s more important in a book: character development or a gripping plot?

The answer seems obvious: both are equally important. However, I’ve noticed that some books tend to lean towards either characters or plot to drive the story forward. There are some books that strike a good balance between the two but this discussion post is about the books that don’t.

I know that they are linked because the characters make the plot and the plot makes the characters but sometimes you can tell when one is being prioritised over the other.

Character based books tend to be more slowly paced and focus on the characters’ personality arcs. The plot behind the story might not be fully fleshed out or have some holes in it but the characters’ journeys take centre stage so it’s alright if elements of the plot aren’t fully explained or the world building is lacking.

For example, the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas is very popular and has a rather large and obsessed fandom even though the books have more plot holes than a moth eaten tablecloth. So why is it so popular? I think it’s because a lot of time is spent on the characters and endearing them to the readers through humerous exchanges and emotional scenes. The story is so focused on the characters that it doesn’t give enough space to the plot.

Whereas plot based books are more quickly paced and lots of exciting events are squeezed into a few hundred pages. However, the characters are flatter, fall back more on stereotypes and have less development. The plot is really well explained and clever but the characters end up lacking slightly.

Another scenario in which the plot overshadows character development is when there are so many characters and points of view in a book that each individual character doesn’t get time to flourish.

For example, I would say that The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer are quite plot based. Lots and lots of things happen in the books and the plot is so intricate and gripping but in my opinion the characters get less development time than in other books I’ve read and can be quite clichéd.

So, if you had to choose between a plot based or a character based book, which would you choose?

What do you think about this topic?

Which books do you think prioritise plot or characters?

Let me know in the comments!

Reviews · Uncategorized

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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Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: Scythe

Book: Scythe

Author: Neal Shusterman

Year published: 2016

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

Scythe was a rather unsettling book set in a dystopian world where all forms of death had almost been eradicated due to advancements in technology and society was controlled by a complex computer systen called, ‘Thunderhead’. To control population growth, there were Scythes tasked with ‘gleaning’ (which means killing) people as they saw fit to meet a certain quota. If someone died by, for example, jumping off of a high place, they could easily be revived again and carry on living. However, if a Scythe killed someone, they weren’t allowed to be revived.

I found the premise of the book original but very disturbing. You would think that a post-mortality society would be wonderful but whilst I was reading Scythe I was thinking about how glad I am that our world is not like that. The way the dynamics of the society were described and built was fascinating and it was amazing to see all of the different ways that people reacted to the Scythes.

The two main characters were Citra and Rowan. I liked them both but in different ways. Citra was really smart and determined. I liked her inquisitiveness and her knack of finding a way out of every tough situation. Rowan was quite kind and he really tried to cling onto his empathy and compassion for others no matter what was thrown at him. I kind of liked their relationship but I really wanted it to be firmly platonic as I do think they make a good team but I wouldn’t want them to be together romantically.

The plot was very slow and took a long time to develop and was a bit boring at times but the plot twists at the end were mind-boggling and really thrilling. In conclusion, Scythe was a really intriguing book that I would recommend due to its innovative ideas and themes.


Have you read Scythe? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Uncategorized

BOOK HAUL!

Hello everyone! Today, I went to my local Waterstones and bought some books that I’ve been wanting to read for quite a while. I’m so excited to show them to you and to finally get to read them.

The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Wicked King is so pretty and it looks gorgeous next to my copy of The Cruel Prince. I can’t wait to read it and find out what happens to Jude, Cardan and everyone else.

The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton

I really enjoyed The Belles and I hope I’ll enjoy the sequel even more. The cover is quite dramatic, especially with all of the dark purples and blues- it’s almost ominous after the cheerful pinks and reds of the first book cover.

Song of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury

I liked State of Sorrow much more than I thought I would and I’m intrigued to see what will happen next! Also, I got the Waterstones special edition with printed edges and it looks stunning.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I’ve been meaning to read Illuminae for SO LONG. Jay Kristoff is one of my favourite authors and I would read anything that he has worked on. The format of the book looks fascinating and I can’t wait to get stuck into it!

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

This book seems as if it will be amazing! It’s based on Vikings- how cool is that? I’ve heard lots of great things about it and a few bad things so when I read it I’ll get to make up my own mind.


Which books have you bought recently? Let me know in the comments!

Moments of Sereadipity · Uncategorized

Moments of Sereadipity #3

Sereadipity (noun): when you read a book without knowing much about it beforehand, or with very low expectations, and you end up enjoying it much more than you thought you would.

Disreadipity (noun): when you have very high expectations of a book and it ends up dissapointing you.

Hello and welcome to my third ‘Moments of Sereadipity’ which is a feature I have created where I write about a book that has surprised me or a book that has dissapointed me. Today, I will be explaining why I didn’t have a moment of sereadipity with Vox.

  • Book: Vox
  • Author: Christina Dalcher
  • Year Published: 2018

I really thought I would enjoy Vox when I started reading it because the idea of women being limited to 100 words per day is terrifying and I was interested to see how the story would unfold. The first bit of the book was pretty good and intriguing but the ending was so abrupt and rushed. It was basically: ‘they defeated the bad guys and lived happily ever after, the end’ but using a few more words. Therefore, I was really dissapointed and I had a moment of disreadipity with Vox as I thought I would love it and I didn’t.