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Friday, 18 April 2014

Of Beast and Beauty

****
4 Stars/5


Hundreds of years ago, humans arrived on the planet, but their bodies was not able to cope with its atmosphere, so the planet changed some of them but before it could help them all, those unaffected where frightened calling the ones changed monstrous and hid in their domes. Now in the domed city of Yuan, the blind princess Isra has always known she will be sacrificed to help her people, but she wants to be known for more than just that. Gem has always hated the people living in Yuan, as his people are starving to death but when a mission to go into the domed city goes wrong he is taken prisoner. With Gem and Isra growing closer, they begin to question everything they have been brought up to believe, and have to choose between their duty to their people and the person they have been brought up thinking of as a beast.

Of Beast and Beauty is a good book which is hard to fit into one category as it has both fantasy and sci-fi elements. It is fast paced and I was hooked right away by the story, however, while there were some elements of Beauty and The Beast, if felt more inspired by it than an interpretation of it.

Isra has lived a very sheltered and protected life, and while she does stand up for herself at the end, during most of the book she is a doormat and is too passive. That being said she is kind and is open to new ideas while still being stubborn. Gem is a strong character who thinks he is weak, he will do anything to help his people while still doing what is right and is honest with his feelings. The secondary characters had a lot of depth such as Needle and I liked how we got to see what Bo was thinking as it made it easier to understand him.


One problem with this book is that the ending felt rushed and I would have liked to have more time spend on it. I would recommend Of Beast and Beauty to fans of Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi and Fireblood by Trisha Wolfe.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Thief's Magic

*****
5 Stars/5


Thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for giving me this book to review.

Tyen is a student of archaeology and magic, living in a world where all machines are powered by magic, he finds a book which used to be a person called Vella. Since Vella can read the minds of anyone she touches and has to tell the truth, she has been collecting information which some people would do anything to get their hands on her, Tyen must find a way to protect her. In another world where only priests are allowed to use magic, and everyone else who uses it is stealing from the Angels, Rielle has always been able to see the stain left behind when someone has used magic. But when she is attracted to a man her family does not approve of, she is worried that the corrupter’s interest in her will lead her astray and she will face the angel’s fury.

Thief’s Magic is Trudi Canavan new fantasy trilogy and I loved it as it has action, fascinating and different worlds, romance and magic. The pacing is a bit slow to start but it really picks up and I struggled to put it down. It is told from the POV of both Tyen and Rielle, and I love how different the use of magic and the worlds are, as in Rielle’s world magic is seen as something holy which only angels and priests can use, however, in Tyen’s, magic is seen as a commodity.

I liked Rielle as she was kind and always wanted to do what was right and good, however, I got annoyed that she never asked questions and always believed what she was told instead of thinking for herself. I really liked Tyen as he comes across as proper but will always do what he thinks of as right even when others are against him, and will try to help those in need. I liked Vella but I hope we get to know her better in the next book.


I can’t wait to see what happens next to Tyen and to Rielle, and see what other worlds there are out there. I would recommend Thief’s Magic to anyone who enjoys fantasy books, especially those by Trudi Canavan.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Transformed

***
3 Stars/5


Thanks to E V Fairfall for giving me this book to review.

Thea has always been connected to 2 entities, Mother Earth and her brother God, who has always been with her, that is until Earth traps her in one location and the only way for her to be free to wander the world is to find a way of stopping the Willipord from hunting. To do this she must disobey God and change from her animal form into a human. Thea is not expecting the emotions that humans have and now she starts losing who she is, her mission and maybe her heart.

Transformed is a likeable book because it was not what I was expecting and it was an original and unusual concept of creation. However, I found this book confusing especially in first part of the book as I had no idea what was happening.

I liked Thea as she is very compassionate and cares a lot about her creatures, but I found it hard to connect to her, maybe because she was all over the place while she was dealing with her emotions. I liked Chamber as he is caring and the total opposite to Brice.


It had an enjoyable ending as it wrapped up everything very nicely, I would recommend Transformed to fans of unique paranormal books. 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

First Light

***
3 Stars/5


Thanks to Alexander Frost for giving me this book to review.

In the world of Sindorus colours are considered sinful and if you own or make anything colourful and are found, you would be executed. Idrith is stuck in a life he did not want, being a monk, but when he finds a secret room with a colourful window, it becomes a place he can be himself free from the life he is trapped in. Daen is unlike most women as she is more educated and has more freedom, but with her father’s health failing and her being responsible for the people on the estate, she must take a step with her art that will change her life. Aztar’s military promotion is not as stress free as he thought as he has to find a solution to a problem which could threaten the whole of Sindorus. With these 3 people struggle with their own problems, they find the missing pieces to a puzzle which will unlock their destiny.

Fight Light is a good fantasy book with an interesting and unique idea about how colours are seen as bad which is unusual as it is everywhere in our world. It was a bit slow to start but when you get to know the characters you want to find out what happens next. However, I did not like how the characters never felt like they were in any danger and no matter what, everything would be ok.

I liked Daen as she was kind, would do anything to look after her father and treated equally and never looked down on those that worked for her. I felt really sorry for Idrith as he seemed lonely and has nothing to look forward to in life and would do much to find out the truth and bring colour to his life. I found it hard to connect to Aztar as he would not stand up for himself against his father and did not question the Zah-Riel. There was a romance at the end of the book but it did not seem that them two had any chemistry and there was no build up to it.


I am interested to see what happens next and I would recommend First Light to fans of unique fantasy books. 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Poison Dance

****
4 Stars/5


Thanks to Livia Blackburne for giving me this book to review.

James is one of the best in the assassin’s guild but with the new leader feeling threatened and out to get him, he just wants to find a way out. He finds an opportunity in a troubled dancing girl Thalia who will aid him in exchange for him helping her kill a noble man. With the guild falling apart, will James be able to help Thalia and escape before it is too late.

Poison Dance is a very good prequel novella to Midnight Thief as it gives a great introduction to the people and the fantasy world. This novella has a fast-paced which has an interesting and strong plot which drags you into the story, which is surprising for a short story.

I really liked James as he has learned how to survive and is strong but does not show-off and he keeps his feelings close to his chest. I also liked Thalia as she does not back down and will do anything to kill anyone who hurts her loved ones, but is still vulnerable and wants to be protected.


I did not see the ending coming and this novella makes it hard to wait to read Midnight Thief to see what part James will play in it. I would recommend Poison Dance to fans of the Throne of Glass novellas or those interested in reading Midnight Thief.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Almost a Goddess

***
3 Stars/5


Thanks to Sandra Martinez for giving me this book to review.

About a year after becoming king, Xiao sets into motion a quest to find a young child called Ming, who is the bearer of The Torch, along with Xiao’s friends Mika and Jin-Long. They must find the boy as he would be a valuable ally and must not fall into the hands of the Followers of the Snake. They are being followed by Adi and her black dragon, so Mika leads them away from where Ming has hidden, but finds his past has caught up with him. Balian also receives an urgent call from someone close to his heart, and the followers of the Goddess must work together to stop the network of abuse being committed across the world.

Almost a Goddess is the second book in the Elearah chronicles and I found it much more engaging and harder to put down, even though the beginning of the book did not seem to have much focus to me, as the story did not seem to know which way it was going. However, one thing I did not like in this book was the chauvinistic way the men treated their wife’s, as it seemed OK for them to very seriously consider cheating, if their wife does not want to sleep with them because they have just had a baby.

Most of the characters that we have grown to know and like are back in this book along with some new ones such as Adi. I liked how we got to know more about Balian’s past as he is an important person in this series. However, I did miss Elearah, and to some extent Pearl, as they were not as much in this book compared to the last and I missed them.


Almost a Goddess is an enjoyable book and would recommend to people who enjoyed reading the first book The Pearl. 

Monday, 31 March 2014

Death Sworn

****
4 Stars/5


17 year old Ileni is losing her magic and with that everything she has ever wanted, her place as the most powerful sorceress in the Renegai, the man she loves and her purpose in life. The elders send her to be the magic teacher to the group of assassins who they have an alliance with, but her real mission is to discover what happened to the previous 2 magic tutors who died under unusual circumstances. The assassin’s caves are not how she imagined and neither are the young assassins, some of whom are hostile towards her but all of them will to anything to stop the Rathian Empire and obey their master, even if they will die. With some of the assassin’s out to get her, more twists to how the two teachers died and her growing feelings towards her protector, Sorin, Ileni has to find out what is happening in the caves before it is too late.

Death Sworn is a really good fantasy book which is fast paced and an interesting read. I liked this book partly because, unlike most other YA books about assassins, they were actually deadly and would actually kill people. However, there is not much world building in this book as all we really know about the world was the assassin’s caves and not much about anywhere else.

I liked Ileni as she was fatalist and depressed about her situation but instead of mopping around and waiting to be killed, she was determined to go out fighting and is willing to stand up for herself against a cave full of deadly assassin’s. Sorin is reserved, does not show much emotion and comes across as cold, but he is willing to bend the rules and is caught between his feelings for Ileni and his loyalty to the cause. I would have liked to have known more about Tellis as he was an important part of Ileni’s past but I knew nothing about him.


I really enjoyed this book but I hope we get to see more of the world and learn more about Ileni’s past in the next book. I would recommend Death Sworn to fans of Stolen Songbird by Danielle L Jensen or Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas.