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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Wicked, Wonderful Witchery: Review of Hex Life

Book: Hex Life

Editors: Christopher Golden and Rachel Autumn Deering

Year Published: 2019

Overall Rating: 4 stars

Hex Life was an anthology of wicked and wonderful witchcraft. It played around with the stereotypes surrounding witches and each story was unique and magical. I liked some stories more than others but I think that there is something for everyone as it had a broad scope of styles and takes on the theme of witches..

(1) An Invitation to a Burning by Kat Howard, 4 stars: One of the shortest stories in the anthology that took the idea of witch burning and turned it into something powerful, uniting and about moving on from the past.

(2) Widows’ Walk by Angela Slatter, 4 stars: Completely inverts the usual tropes surrounding widows and had themes of domestic abuse. It was about a group of widows who try to help young girls with family problems.

(3) Black Magic Momma: An Otherworld Story by Kelley Armstrong, 4 stars: This one was about a witch who dealt in black market trading of magical objects while trying to keep her daughter safe. I liked the way that women supported each other in this story. It was a part of the Women of the Otherworld series, which I am not familiar with.

(4) The Night Nurse by Sarah Langan, 1 star: Dark, depressing, weird. I didn’t like it at all. It felt all over the place and I think the ending was supposed to be shocking but by then I just wanted it to be over.

(5) The Memories of Trees by Mary SanGiovanni, 3 stars: This was a dystopian with themes of nature retaliating against technology.

(6) Home: A Morganville Vampires Story by Rachel Caine, 4 stars: I found this story quite funny. It had some eccentric characters and vampires not knowing what to do with a baby. There a touch of madness and magic mixed in with the mundane and it was about the long-lasting effects of heartbreak and grief. It was a part of The Morganville Vampires series which I am also not familiar with.

(7) The Deer Wife by Jennifer McMahon, 3.5 stars: This was a sort of witchy romance story and it was quite sweet.

(8) The Dancer by Kristin Dearborn, 3.5 stars: It had people with superpowers, an extremely twisted and creepy family and a very obscure yet haunting ending.

(9) Bless Your Heart by Hillary Monahan, 4.5 stars: This was about a mother whose son was getting bullied because he was gay and who decided to put an end to it. It was very gruesome but I couldn’t help cheering on her revenge. Also the mother’s narration was quite humorous with a lot of ranting.

(10) The Debt by Ania Ahlborn, 5 stars: It had Baba Yaga in it so obviously it was amazing. The ending was unexpected in its cruelty and betrayal and I felt for the protagonist, a young girl called Karolin.

(11) Toil & Trouble: A Dark-hunter Hellchaser Story by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Madaug Kenyon, 2 stars: This one also felt quite random and all over the place, I didn’t feel like it had a strong sense of story. It started off catching my interest and went downhill from there.

(12)  Last Stop On Route Nine by Tananarive Due, 4.5 stars: This one was scary, like a horror movie. It also had themes of racism, a ghost and people getting lost.

(13) Where Relics Go To Dream and Die by Rachel Autumn Deering, 2 stars: I don’t know what this story was trying to achieve but I just found it disturbing and weird. I mean it was well written but that isn’t enough.

(14) This Skin by Amber Benson, 4.5 stars: This one was also disturbing but in more of a good way. It was a very creepy story about a young girl who murders and gets away with it.

(15) Haint Me Too by Chesya Burke, 3.5 stars: It was about a girl called Shea whose family was sharecropping and who resorts to more magical means to help her family. It was a bit confusing but also interesting.

(16) The Nekrolog by Helen Marshall, 3 stars: It was too long and rambling, it definitely should have been way shorter. Parts were intriguing but I was mainly bored.

(17)  Gold Among The Black by Alma Katsu, 3 stars: It was a bit like a fairy tale but it was also quite predictable and average.

(18) How To Become A Witch-Queen by Theodora Goss, 5 stars: My favourite story of the anthology. It was a retelling of Snow White about what happened to her years after the ending of the fairy tale. It had clever use of the second person and a gripping plot with themes of female empowerment. I want to read other works by this author now!

Overall, Hex Life had a range of stories for a range of tastes and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes stories about magic and witches.

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

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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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Witches and Werewolves: Review of Mooncakes

Book: Mooncakes

Author: Suzanne Walker

Artist : Wendy Xu

Year Published: 2019

  • Story: 3/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Art: 5/5
  • Overall: 3.5/5

Mooncakes was an endearing graphic novel with an enchanting (pun intended) cast of characters and themes of hope, family and love. I’d never actually read a graphic novel before this one so I had no idea what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised with a sweet story that filled me up with all those warm, fuzzy feelings. My only grumble is that the plot was quite basic and focused more on the relationships between characters than specific details but I still had a great general experience despite this.

Nova Huang was a teen witch who worked in her grandmothers’ bookshop and helped them loan out spell books and look into any magical mishaps in the surrounding area. One day she stumbled across her childhood crush called Tam Lang– a werewolf who had been lost and wandering for far too long. They banded together to battle occult forces but ultimately they ended up rediscovering their love and discovering the extent of the potential they both held.

The foundation of this novel was the bonds between the various characters. Nova and Tam’s relationship was the pinnacle of cuteness and I loved their quiet, hopeful trust in each other. The endless love and support from Nova’s grandmothers and the rest of her family was heart-warming as well as the humorous scepticism of Nova’s scientific best friend.

I also loved the diversity! Both Nova and Tam were Chinese American. Nova was hard-of-hearing and Tam was nonbinary. It just fills my heart with so much joy to see so much representation. Furthermore, the illustrations were gorgeous and created an adorable, whimsical mood to the story.

In essence, Mooncakes was a tale of self discovery. Of growing up and ‘leaving the nest’ but also of coming home. Yes, the plot was a bit lacking for me but it was still an enchanting read that I’d recommend and that has definitely made me want to read more graphic novels in the future.

Thank you to Oni Press 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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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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