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Friday, 23 January 2015

Ever Darkening

****
4 Stars/5


Thanks to Janeal Falor for giving me this book to review.

Kaylyn has spent all of her life training to kill Malryx, the evil people in the world. However, when she finishes her mission, she has no idea what to do next as she has no other purpose and no other skills. A stranger from another village claims that the sky is growing darker and the animals are acting strangely. Kaylyn is more than happy to help and sets out on a quest to find out what is happening with her childhood friends Marsa and Jorrin along with the remaining Zophas. However, Kaylyn’s quest is harder than anything she could have imagined and will test her friendships, soul and how she views the world.

Ever Darkening is a really good fantasy novel which was fast paced and is really addictive as I could not put it down. It has lots of action, romance, suspense and it is quite dark with horror elements.

All the characters, apart from one, acted older than they are as they behaved as if they were in their early 20’s, not mid to late teens. I really liked Kaylyn as she is mature, a good person and always puts others before herself, although she is a bit blind about other’s people’s feelings. Marsa is a friendly and likeable girl, but I did not feel she fitted in as a Zophas, as her personality didn’t fit with that as a warrior. Jorrin is a serious guy but I really liked his character as he is protective.


I hope Janeal writes another book in this series as I really enjoyed it. I would recommend to fans of the Grisha series, Winter Queen by Amber Argyle or fans of Falor’s other series, Mine.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The Mime Order

****
4 Stars/5


Thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc for giving me this book to review.

Paige has just escaped from the prison camp Shoel I but she is still in danger. Scion has put a price on her head making Paige the most wanted person, forcing her to go back under the thumb of Jaxon for protection and influence. Paige wants to warn the voyant world about the Rephaim and what they have been doing. However, with the syndicate full of secrets and dangers, and the Warden still missing, massive changes are happening and are going to affect Paige in ways she could not imagine.

The Mime Order is the really good sequel to The Bone Season, as it is still original concept, with action, mystery and a bit of romance. It is really descriptive but sometimes a bit much and while the first half was a bit slow the second half really picks up the pace. Also Shannon has got the hang of describing the passing of time, but it helped that this book is set over a shorter length of time.

It was nice to see Paige in her comfort zone in London, and although she has grown in her time at Shoel I she is a really tough young woman who doesn’t know who to trust. The Warden is still a big mystery and I wish he was in this book more. I really liked that we got to learn more about the Seven Seals but I think there is more to discover about them.


This is a really good book with a twist at the end I did not see coming, and I am really looking forward to the next book. I would recommend The Mime Order to people who enjoyed the first book The Bone Season.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Sacrificed

***
3 Stars/5


Thanks to Emily Wibberley for giving me this book to review.

15 year old Clio has always disliked the Oracle of Sheehan, her mother, and the things that she has made her sister’s do, and therefore has never wanted to be a part of that life. However, when her mother and two eldest sisters are murdered by the king’s advisor, Mannix, the Oracle’s powers are passed on to her. Clio decides to leave her childhood friend, Prince Derik, and goes to the empire to rescue her sister Ali. However, she is enslaved and sentenced to be sacrificed and Clio’s only change of escape is to get close to Commander Riece, but as he hates all oracles will she be able to survive?

Sacrificed is an enjoyable YA fantasy book, it had a bit of a slow start but quickly picks up. It has action, suspense, romance, although it is a love triangle, and is quite dark and gritty.

Clio is a headstrong girl who changes a lot in this book, at the start she is a bit weak but very nice, but as the book progressed she becomes stronger but also darker. Even though we did not get to know Derik very well, I preferred him more than Riece as I don’t like cocky guys much, and Derik seemed to really care about Clio even if he could not be with her.


This is a likeable book and I looking forward to reading the next book. I would recommend Sacrificed to fans of dark YA fantasy novels. 

Monday, 12 January 2015

A Blink of the Screen

****
4 Stars/5


Thanks to Edelweiss and Doubleday for giving me this book to review.

A Blink of the Screen is a wonderfully eclectic collection of short stories from Sir Terry Pratchett.  It shows us some of his earlier writing, even one story written as young as thirteen, and includes the ideas for the Truckers series and the Long Earth series and some set in the Discworld.

I found this collection of stories very easy to read, his earlier work was still very recognisable as coming from the pen of Sir Terry, with all his little quirks and eccentricities, and one of the main Discworld short stories was a very good example of “headology” in all its glory.  It’s not just short stories, its little anecdotes and details often included in appendices, such as common Discworld medical conditions, and the Ankh Morpork  National Anthem (whose second verse actually includes “ner, ner, ner” lyrics – Brilliant!).

My favourite was “The Sea and Little Fishes”, which I love because it is about Granny Weatherwax, one of my favourite characters in the Discworld series, and is a superb example of how she can get under everyone’s skin without even breaking a sweat.

I would recommend A Blink of the Screen to anyone who enjoys Terry Pratchett books, as some of the short stories might confuse people unfamiliar with his other works.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

First Year

****
4 Stars/5


Thanks to Rachel E Carter for giving me this book to review.

Before the age of 17, young men and women are able to go to one of the 3 schools study as either a solider, a knight or a mage.  Ryiah has always wanted to leave her lowborn life behind so she decides to attend one of the schools. When her twin brother, Alex, develops magic, they both travel to the Academy hoping her magic will emerge soon. But the Academy is much harder than either of them imagined, especially with the people from higher in society having a massive head start, and everyone is fighting for a small amounts of spots to become an apprentice. The person who seems the most against her in Prince Darren, but after an encounter they develop an unusual friendship. With Ry having to work very hard as her faction of combat the toughest to get into, she must place her trust in herself, but will it be enough?

First Year is a really enjoyable YA fantasy novel and while set in a magic school, it is different from the others I have read. This book has action, twists and the beginning of a romance, although it does lack world building.

I really liked Ry as she never gives up and although she is not super smart she works really hard for what she wants and makes friends really easily. Darren is an interesting character as I was never sure what to make of him, as he was a bit two faced, although some people can be at that age, but I feel there is much more to him. I liked Alex as he was protective of his sister and obviously loves her, and I also liked how Ry had a group of friends that did not have conflict, which is unusual in YA books.


I really enjoyed this book and cannot wait to read the next book in The Black Mage series Apprentice. I would recommend First Year to fans of Tamora Peirce and The Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan.  

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Of Fire and Ash

****
4 Stars/5


Thanks to Amber Argyle for giving me this book to review.

For all of Nelay life she has seen fairies but her mother has told her that she must not let the fairies know she can see them or Nelay will pay a high price. However, when her father is bitten by a snake, Nelay’s only choice to save him is to turn to the fairies, but they require in that one day she must repay the favour. As all deals with the fairies come with a price, will this change Nelay’s life forever?

Of Fire and Ash is a very good YA fantasy novella, with an interesting look at the back story for Summer Queen. Although it is not a long book, it is enjoyable and a well-rounded story.

I liked Nelay as she was a nice and resistant little girl who was really caring. I did not like her brother, Panar as he was horrible and really jealous, and I think he is going to play a key role in Summer Queen. While I liked Nelay’s parents as they really cared about their children, I don’t believe that they didn’t see how Panar treated Nelay.


I am really looking forward to reading Summer Queen after this, and I would recommend Of Fire and Ash to fans of Amber Argyle, especially those who enjoyed the Fairy Queens series.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Under My Skin

***
3 Stars/5


Thanks to Netgalley and CrushStar Multimedia LLC for giving me this book to review.

Tate was happy in her small town, with dreams of her own, but all 16 year olds must take the test to see if they are suitable to be a Water Bearer, a servant for a Guild member. Unfortunately Tate is accepted to be a Water Bearer and her life is thrust into the Guild world, but it hides a horrible secret. She is the new body of General Dagon, a man who is centuries old, and is fighting to control her mind, body and soul. Tate’s only hope to be free of Dagon is Quinn, a bodyguard for Dagon, who desires to kill the man inside of Tate’s mind. While Tate and Quinn grow closer, she is struggling to stay in control and fears that Dagon will destroy her and take over her body.

Under My Skin is an enjoyable YA dystopia which is a bit disturbing and dark. It has action and romance but it really lacks world building and I never felt any real tension or danger.

I really like Tate as she was a normal girl who acts like everyone else and has no special talent but is just unlucky. I liked Quinn but he was very similar to a lot of YA heroes as he has a purpose and a tragic past. General Dagon is a really interesting bad guy as he is really evil and he could not be fought in the conventional way.


This is an interesting book and I hope there is another book in this series. I would recommend Under My Skin to fans of The City Center by Simone Pond and Pawn by Aimee Carter.