Sunday, 18 November 2012

Trickster's Queen

*****
5 Stars/5



The duchess has freed Aly from slavery and now she is spy and leader of the underground rebellion to put a Raka Queen on the throne of the Copper Isles. The Balitang family plus Aly are returning to Rajmuat, and it is Aly job to put Sarai on the throne. This is a very good book but it is a complex story and is very political, however, Tamora Pierce pulls this off. I love a lot of the characters and even the minor people are still really developed. I would recommend Trickster’s Queen to anyone who liked Trickster’s Choice or other Tamora Pierce books.

Trickster's Choice

*****
5 Stars/5



All Alianne want to do is be a spy like her father, however her parents don’t agree. So, frustrated at them she sails down the coast only to be captured by pirates. She is sold as a slave to the Balitang family as a general worker, and makes a deal with the Trickster God, Kyprioth, if she keeps the Balitang children alive until autumn, he will convince her father to allow her be a spy, however this deal may be harder than it seems. Pierce’s books can be a bit hit or miss with me, but this is defiantly a hit. Aly is an interesting character that is feisty yet likeable. This is a really fascinating story with action, humour and romance. I would recommend Trickster’s Choice to anyone who likes Tamora Pierce books or good YA fantasy.

Lady Knight

***
3 Stars/5



Kelladry conquered her fears in the Chamber, and has been made a Lady Knight.  War has been declared on the Scanarans, and Kelladry’s first assignment is as the commander of a refugee camp. She is also in charge of her friend, Neal and lots of civilians and criminals serving out their sentences as labourers and soldiers on the front lines. She gains a new servant, Tobe, a young boy she befriends. When the “Killing Devices” descend upon her camp and kill or capture most of the inhabitants, Kelladry must follow them and fulfil her destiny as Protector of the Small.

Kelladry has developed more as a character in this book, and you get to see some of the characters who in earlier books were seen as older, and therefore infallible, in a new light. Through Kelladry’s eyes she can see that those she looks up to are not omnipotent and are making the best decisions that they can.

In this book you get to see some of the rest of the Tortallean world, and get to see that not all Scanarans are evil, and many are acting out of fear.

I would recommend Tamora Pierce’s books to anyone who likes young adult fantasy which isn’t too dark and heavy.


Squire

****
4 Stars/5



Kelladry has passed all four years of being a page, and is now a squire. The only problem is that no knight has picked her for their squire. She is finally picked by Raoul Goldenlake, Commander of the Kings Own. As she accompanies Raoul on his adventures, she is accompanied by her old friends Jump, the dog, and Crown and her flock of sparrows. She also gains a Griffin rescued from a centaur raid.

Kelladry has matured even more in this book, and has even begun a romantic relationship, with Cleon. You also get to see Neal and Owen develop, and get to see how Raoul has matured since the events of Alana’s books. You also get to see in more detail the culture of the Yamani Islands, as Roald’s future bride comes from there.

I liked this novel because, I am not sure why, but I really connected with Kel, and her friends. I would recommend Squire to anyone who enjoyed Artemis Fowl, or any of Julia Golding’s books

Page

***
3 Stars/5



In Page, Kelladry has passed her first year in probation and still has to complete 3 more years of page training to become a squire. She still has her friends, Jump the dog, and Crown and her flock of sparrows, along with Neal, Cleon, Roald and the rest. She has gained a new maid, Lalassa, who is a country girl new to the city. She also has to contend with the conservative squires, who wish her to leave.

I like how Kelladry has matured in this book. She looks at the world in a less black and white way, whilst not losing her view of seeing the bright side of everything. You also get to meet a few new characters, and older characters get developed, with Neal falling in love with everyone female.

Even though this is a good novel, I found that the pacing of this book was uneven, there were places where you were feeling rushed, and then places where the pace dragged. I would recommend Page to anyone who has enjoyed Eragon or Ella Enchanted.

First Test

***
3 Stars/5



First Test is about Keladry of Mindelan, the first girl who wishes to become a knight since Lady Alanna. She has been accepted for knight training, however, unlike the boys she will study and train beside, she has been given a First Test, one year to prove to the conservative training master that she is able to withstand the rigors of page training.

The storyline of this book progresses in a very good yet predictable way. There are boys who try to force Keladry to leave through bullying her, and there are her staunch and stalwart friends. She also befriends the animals, which have become smart since Daine came to live at the palace in the Immortals series.

I like this book because it gives you the opportunity to see characters we have grown to love, from previous series, as they are when they have grown up.

I would recommend First Test to anyone who likes the rest of Tamora Pierce’s books, or well written fantasy books.

The Realms of the Gods

*****
5 Stars/5



Daine and Numair are transported to the realm of the gods during a dire battle, only for Daine to realise the secrets of her parentage. However, even though she is happy to find her family, Numair and Daine both realise that they have to return to their world to help their friends in their battle against Ozorne. Daine and Numair with help from friends take a dangerous journey to leave the realm. This is one of the best YA fantasy I have read and I really like the romance in this book as, even though it is a bit obvious, it is a really charming and captivating. I would recommend this to anyone who likes good fantasy whether it is YA or adult. 

The Emperor Mage

*****
5 Stars/5



Daine, Numair and Alanna journey to Carthak, in the hope that if Daine can heal the Emperor Ozorne prized birds, it will help the peace process between Carthak and Tortall. However, Daine get mixed up in both political and religious situations as the Goddess, the Graveyard Hag, gives her a power which could ruin everything. This series has everything it has magic, action, romance and a story which draws you in and you end up reading, not knowing where the hours have gone. I would recommend this to anyone who likes Sabriel or Eragon.

Wolf-Speaker

*****
5 Stars/5



When the Wolf pack, led by Brokefang, ask Daine, the only wild magician, to help them stop the humans from ruining their territory, she and Numair go to their aid. However, they find something sinister going on a Long Lake as they find that the nobles are trying to usurp the throne from King Jonathan and Queen Thayet.  In Wolf-Speaker we are introduced to both new and existing characters but my favourite is defiantly Kitten as she has so much character and is really sweet. I would recommend Wolf-Speaker to anyone who likes any of Tamora Pierce’s books.

Wild Magic

*****
5 Stars/5



After the death of her family, 13 year old Daine get a job as assistant to Onya, Horse Mistress of the Queen’s Riders, as she has a talent with animals. However, when she rescues a hawk from Stormwings, a type of immortal, she discovers she has a type of magic which could affect all of Tortall. This is one of my favourite fantasy series, as I love how absorbing the story is and how brilliant the characters are. I wish I had read it when I was a young teen as Daine is quite a role model and generally a good person. I would recommend Wild Magic to anyone who like YA fantasy. 

Black Dawn

*****
5 Stars/5



Black Dawn starts off straight after Last Breath, with Magnus and his Draug causing chaos in Morganville. Most people have fled except Claire and the gang who have to find an antidote to save Amelie or the Draug could destroy Morganville forever. This book has so much suspense and action that you cannot catch your breath but also had all the other things that make Morganville so brilliant. I cannot believe that this is book 12, it feels like book 4 with how amazing and imaginative the story and characters are, I cannot wait to read Bitter Blood!

Last Breath

*****
5 Stars/5



Things never are easy for the people in Morganville as three vampires have gone missing and the last person seen with them is a stranger in town called Magnus. As Claire digs deeper she discovers that Magnus is something different and that Vampires are not the top predator, something else preys on them. This is a very emotional book, where the reader experiences highs and lows along with the characters. This book also answers the question which has been annoying me since the first book; why do vampires live in the desert? Last Breath is a vast improvement over Bite Club and would recommend this to anyone who likes the rest of the Morganville series. 

Bite Club

***
3 Stars/5



A new gym has opened up in Morganville and Shane is eager to go to learn how to fight vampires. However after one of Claire’s class mates turns up dead, she discovers that there is bare-knuckle fighting shown online between vampires or worse between them and humans, which could threaten all of Morganville, and worse her boyfriend is a regular on these fights. This is my least favourite book yet, as the storyline seems off, and the characters did not act realistic. However, I did like the introduction of other people’s point of view as it was nice to get into their heads.

Ghost Town

*****
5 Stars/5



Claire is ordered to repair the boundary that stops people from leaving Morganville after she breaks one of Morganville’s serious rules. However, this causes more serious problems as both humans and vampires are acting strangely, and it is down Claire alone to fix the problem before it is too late. I cannot say too much without giving the storyline away but I love the relationships in Ghost Town, and how Claire has to be the strongest one in the group, which is a nice change. This is favourite Morganville book so far as it has everything I love about this series in it.

Kiss of Death

*****
5 Stars/5



Claire and the gang have just been offered the opportunity to leave Morganville, with Oliver escorting, when Michael is asked to go to Dallas to make a CD. However things don’t run smoothly as Oliver is on a mission from Amelie which is a danger to all of them. Claire has grown up so much in these eight books as she so much more confident and assertive than the girl in Glass Houses. While I love this book I miss Morganville and the characters such as Monica and Myrnin. I would recommend this series to people who like YA supernatural books. 

Fade Out

*****
5 Stars/5



Everything seems to be getting back to normal in Morganville with Bishop gone. Claire is finally able to get back to studying, until Eve gets a part in a play, and becomes close to Kim, an ex of Shane’s. However, is she up to something more sinister than any of them realise. This book is slower than the others in the series and does not have much action until the second half however it is still a good book with characters that are great. 

Carpe Corpus

*****
5 Stars/5



Amelie is nowhere to be seen and Bishop is now in charge, with Shane and his dad in prison, and Eve angry at both Claire and Michael, who are Bishop’s slaves, it is up to Myrnin to save them and Morganville. This is the first book in the series to not start straight after the last; it starts a few months after. This book changes everything in this series especially Claire and Shane’s relationship. I love the ending because even though it is not really a cliff-hanger it leaves you eager to find out what something is. I would recommend this series to people who like Twilight or Vampire Academy. 

Lord of Misrule

5 Stars/5



Morganville is in chaos, Amelie and Bishop are gathering their forces to fight one another, some humans are seizing this opportunity for freedom from vampires, and all this stress is increasing the speed of the vampire disease. As always Claire, Shane, Eve and Michael are stuck in the middle, but will Morganville ever be the same. I really like how captivating Claire and Shane’s relationship is in this book and the entire series. This book has a tense and fascinating plot which is really interesting to read. I would recommend this series to everyone who likes paranormal YA.

Feast of Fools

*****
5 Stars/5



Claire’s parents have moved into town and want her to move in with them; however, (on top of her worrying about their safety in a place filled with vampires) she has to tell them that she wants to stay in the Glass house instead. However an ancient vampire, Mr Bishop, has arrived in town and is having a party and Morganville will soon realise that the vampires they already have are not as bad as they could be. This has everything I love in a Morganville book from the brilliant characters and how they react together to the fantastic plot.

Midnight Alley

*****
5 Stars/5



Claire has signed the contract with Amelie and is trying to keep it hidden from her friends. However this gets harder as she is ordered to work with Myrnin, a brilliant but insane scientist. Meanwhile bodies kept turning up around the Glass house and Eve’s crazy brother has just got out of prison. This is an action-packed book with excellent characters such as Myrnin, Claire and Shane. I would recommend Midnight Alley to people who like the first two books.

The Dead Girls Dance

*****
5 Stars/5



Dead Girls’ Dance starts off straight after the end of Glass Houses. Shane’s anti-vampire father is back and is planning on a killing spree, but when Shane gets accused of murdering a vampire he did not kill, it is up to Claire, Michael and Eve to save him before he is executed. This series has everything romance, suspense, action and best of all proper vampires. We are introduced to both new and existing characters in this novel and I love how involved I get into their lives and how you root for them. I would recommend Dead Girls’ Dance to people who like YA paranormal books.

Glass Houses

*****
5 Stars/5



When Claire Danvers moves into the Glass house she does not realise that everything is not as is seems in Morganville. With the help of her roommates Shane, Eve and Michael she will discover that she has more to worry about than the college’s mean girls. I love how Caine gets us to relate to her characters and how they all work together. I cannot pick a favourite as they are all brilliant especially the four roommates. I would recommend Glass Houses to anyone who likes paranormal books with well written characters and storyline. 

Saturday, 17 November 2012

The Worker Prince

**
2 Stars/5



Thanks to Netgalley and Diminished Media Group for giving me this to review

Davi has been raised as a prince, but unknown to him, he was born a worker. After Lord Xalivar decrees that all first born worker sons must be killed to stop one of them deposing him and taking over the throne, Davi is sent by his parents in an unmanned courier, and is found and adopted by Princess Miri, Lord Xalivar’s sister. He is assigned to the planet of his birth, as an adult, and is appalled by the treatment of workers. Whilst on assignment he helps a young worker and discovers she is related to him.

The Worker Prince is a young adult Sci-Fi book. The storyline is very predictable and reads quite young and na├»ve. Everybody is either good or bad, and everyone is taken at face value. Davi is welcomed into the workers rebellion without anybody wondering if he is a spy. Most of the characters are two dimensional apart from Davi’s uncle, who we see both the loving side to his nephew, and the harsh unfeeling side to the workers.

One plot hole in this story is how nobody noticed that Princess Miri was not pregnant one day, and had a bouncing baby boy the next.

I would recommend this book as a light introduction to sci-fi.

Renegade

***
3 Stars/5



Thanks to Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for giving me this book to review.

Evie is the Daughter of the People, the perfect genetic specimen chosen by Mother. Mother set up the refuge for survivors of the War in Elysium, which is located underwater, and has adopted Evie as Daughter. Evie’s “life is just about perfect” until Gavin a Surface Dweller finds his way in and challenges all she thinks she knows about Elysium and Mother.

The storyline is quite fast paced and keeps you hooked. The world is quite nicely described and allows you to draw your own conclusions about what has happened. The plot development is a bit predictable, with a few twists, that you can guess at but aren’t sure of before they happen.

Evie is an interesting character, as she questions what she has been told about her whole life, and tries to do the best she can. We do not find out as much about Gavin’s personality or character just that he is different to how the People have been told Surface Dwellers are.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed Under the Never Sky or any light dystopian books


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Dearly Beloved

***
3 Stars/5


Thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for giving me this book to review.

Since “The Laz” has hit New Victoria both the living and the dead have been co-existing, however, they are not at peace with each other. Some of the living believe that the dead are abominations which should be wiped out, and a group of the dead believe they have to fight the living for their survival and rights. Caught in-between these groups are Nora Dearly a girl who is immune to “The Laz” and the dead boy she loves Bram.

While there is a lot to Dearly Beloved, I just did not find it as interesting as the first. The pace was so slow and I feel it did not have the adventure of the first book. However it was an interesting story as it looks at how both the living and the dead react to living together in the same city.

This book has six points of views and the voices all sounded similar to me. I would not know who was telling the story unless it was said at the start of the book. However, unlike the last book I felt we needed all the points of view or we would not understand the story.

Bram and Nora’s romance in this book is not as interesting as Dearly Departed as it had lost it star-crossed quality, and also it seems Habel was more interested in building the storyline for the third book.

The ending does leave you wanting to read the next book, however I do hope it is more like Dearly Departed, and this is just the slow middle book. I would recommend this to people who like Dearly Departed, or those who like Zombie books.



Dearly Departed

****
4 Stars/5



Nora Dearly is not an ordinary New Victorian young lady, she like watch the fighting between New Victoria and the Punks. However when she is kidnapped from her home she finds out that her father and the government had been keeping the secret about the existence of Zombies.

This is Lia Habel debut novel about romance, action, steampunk and zombies. I did not think I would like this book us much as I did, as I am not a big fan of zombies, however, it is a brilliant book which is action packed and romantic at the same time.

My favourite characters are Nora and Bram because they are really well developed and Nora is a character I think most people can relate to, as we all feel under pressure to act a certain way in society, and Bram is a perfect gentleman who is sweet, brave and very loyal. The romance was nicely written and progressed well over the entire novel.

This story is told from 5 points of view and would have been very confusing if it did not tell you who point of view it was at the beginning of each chapter, however I think it could have not had two of the points of view it did as I did not add much to the story.

This is a really good book which I would recommend to those who like steampunk and/or unusual but charming YA romance.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Silksinger

*****
5 Stars/5



Whisper Silksinger is the last of her clan and it is up to her to restore the powerful Djinn Azazel while being chased by devils. Meanwhile Hirik is on a quest to find Azazel to restore his clan’s honour, and also Magpie is searching for Whisper to protect her from a secret enemy. This book is just as good as the first with the introduction of new characters along with characters which I grew to love in the first book. Even though it is advertised as a children’s novel I think anyone over the age of 9 who likes a book with a bit of magic will love both Blackbringer and Silksinger, and I hope she does another book in this series. 

Blackbringer

*****
5 Stars/5



Magpie Windwitch is an adventurous fairy, who hunts, captures and imprisons devils in their ancient bottles. However, when an old evil named Blackbringer wants to unmake the world it is up to Magpie and her friends to save Dreamdark. This is a well written fantasy which is very descriptive and in-depth, Magpie is a strong and independent Fairy, and this book has lovely drawings so you can picture all the different characters. This book should be more well-known than it is and I recommend it to everyone who likes fantasy with a brilliant story.

Cinder

*****
5 Stars/5




Cinder in a cyborg mechanic living in the cramped city of New Beijing, with her Step-Mother and Step-Sisters. However her life gets more complicated when she gets to know the Handsome Prince Kai and gets involved in finding the cure for the plague. At the same time Kai has to try and talk the Queen of Lunar into peace negotiations however, is she up to something else, and is there more danger from Queen Levana and the Lunar’s than from the plague killing millions of people.

Cinder is a brilliant novel which is a very unique interpretation of the fairy-tale Cinderella. Meyer’s writing style is excellent as you can really tell and see what it is like to be there, in their world.

All the characters whether good or bad, were really believable and the reader can easily feel and understand their actions and emotions. I really like the character of Cinder as she is fairly down to earth but lacks confidence, and I also like how she has all of the elementals of Cinderella but different from how you normally them. Cinder is also different from most YA heroines as her job as a mechanic is not what you would usually expect. I also really enjoyed the mature yet sweet romance between Cinder and Kai and hope to see more in the following books.

I cannot wait to see want Meyer write next as she has to be my favourite debut author of 2012. You should read this novel if you like dystopian books or retellings of fairy tales in a distinctive way.

Magic Under Stone

****
4 Stars/5



Nimira and Erris are trying to find Ordorio Valdana so they can restore Erris to his normal body. However Erris is unhappy and distancing himself from Nimira while Valdana has mysteriously. Therefore Nimira decides to take matters into her own hands. This book introduces new characters but none of them are as interesting as Nimira and Erris even though I could not bond with them as much in the first book. This is a really good book and I cannot wait to see what else Dolamore can do.

Magic Under Glass

****
4 Stars/5



Nimira is a “trouser girl” dancing to drunks and people who mock her culture to make ends meet, until she meets Hollin Parry who hires her to sing with an automaton that plays the piano. However, she finds out that he is not a machine but a man called Erris who is stuck inside. This is a sweet and charming book which has lots of action, adventure, politics and star-crossed romance. I would recommend this to people who like Amber Argyle or Shannon Hale books. P.S. I love the cover it is sooo pretty!

Brightly Woven

*****
5 Stars/5



Sydelle has always lived in a desert village but when danger threatens it she must leave with the stranger and wizard, Wayland North. However Wayland has secrets about both himself and the reason he choose Sydelle to assist him. All the characters, but especially Wayland, have hidden depths and secrets which kept the story interesting. Also I like how the magic system works in this book and how it is unique from all other books I can think of. This is an astounding YA fantasy book and I hope someday Bracken will write a sequel so we find out more about Sydelle, Wayland and their adventures. 

Touch of Power

*****
5 Stars/5



Avry is a healer who is in hiding after the healers have been unjustly blamed for the plague which has devastated the world. Now she has been saved from death by a group led by Kerrick, but what they ask for in return may be more than she can give. Avry is a selfless but passionate person who is very easy to connect to and Kerrick whilst cold at the start grows into a brilliant hero in this novel.  While similar in some aspects to Poison Study it is still magnificent book which every fantasy fan should read. 

Graceling

****
4 Stars/5



Katsa has what is called a Grace, a unique skill, but hers is for killing. When the father of the King of Lienid is kidnapped, it is up to her and an exceptional graced fighter called Po has to track down who would abduct an old man. Katsa has a vulnerable side to her as she thinks she is a monster but she is very strong, loyal and true to those who she cares about. This is an amazing fantasy story with a distinctive romance which is a must read for fans of Maria V Snyder. 

Crown Duel

*****
5 Stars/5



Meliara and her brother promise their dying father to protect their people from the King’s growing greed, but they find themselves in over their heads both in the war they are waging and in peacetime at the court. Meliara is a very strong and independent person and Smith has a talent for writing interesting and well-rounded characters. This is an incredible story and would recommend it to everyone who likes enjoyable fantasy especially those who like Tamora Pierce’s books.

The Crown of Embers

*****
5 Stars / 5



Elisa is now Queen, however, no one is taking her seriously but her personal guard Hector. With her enemies stirring, she has to go on a perilous mission to discover the power of her Godstone. I did not think this was possible but this book is even better than the first with everything from romance to action. This book ends on such a cliff-hanger that I want to read the next book sooo bad. 

Fire and Thorns

*****
5 Stars/ 5



One person every century is chosen by God to do a great task and this person is Princess Elisa. On her 16th birthday she is married to a neighbour King but he is not the only one who seeks her. Some wants to kill her and some who thinks she is their saviour. Elisa is a marvellous character who changes and grows so much in this book. The story is full of so many twists and turns and a brilliantly written fantasy for very one no matter what age.

Throne of Glass

****
4 Stars/5



After spending a year in the salt mines doing hard labour, the assassin Celaena is offered an opportunity for freedom by the crown prince Dorian, if she enters the competition for the new Royal assassin and wins. However, other contestants are turning up dead and Celaena may be next. Celaena has matured since the four prequel novellas, however, she is still fiery and a risk taker and a fascinating character. The one problem with this book is that it reads like part of one bigger book rather than a series. This is a good fantasy book and can’t wait to see what next for Celaena, Chaol and Dorian 

False Covenant

****
4 Stars/5



Widdershins is trying to be law abiding tavern owner after the events of Thief’s Covenant. However, a sinister creature is terrorising the city of Davillon and the fate of the city rest on her and her friends. Widdershins just cannot catch a break as everyone is distrustful towards her and Olgun; however I did like how we got to know more about her friends in this one and their feelings towards her. This is a really good book and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next one.   

Thief's Covenant

****
4 stars/5

Widdershins is a thief in the city of Davillon, who has help from her personal God Olgun. However, she has a dangerous past which could end up with her being arrested or worse. Widdershins is an excellent character who is loyal and mischievous and Olgun is brilliant because, even though we cannot see or hear him, I can picture him so easily. Thief’s Covenant is a well written fantasy book, which has likable characters and a good story line.


Friday, 2 November 2012

The Panem Companion


**
2 Stars/5


Thanks to Netgalley and BenBella books, inc. for giving me this book to review.

The Panem Companion is an (unofficial) critical look at the world of Panem, as written in the Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins. This book looks at the social dynamics of Panem, and how Panem has evolved from the world we know today.

This book is quite interesting, and looks at how modern day America could possibly transform into Collins’s Panem and how long this would take. There is a lot of carefully planned out information, and insightful commentary, however this is eclipsed by the authors views on race. In the book, it seems as if every issue in Panem is based around ethnicity. This gets very repetitive after a time, and it would be very interesting to see how other factors affected the creation and current society of Panem.

I found The Panem Companion okay, however it would be a good study aid for students evaluating the Hunger Games. I am unlikely to read any more by this author as a leisure activity. I would recommend this book to anyone who liked The Rivan Codex by David Eddings, or the Silmarilion by J. R. R. Tolkien, or who are studying the Hunger Games.

Magick


***
3 Stars / 5

Thanks to Netgalley and BelleBooks Inc. for giving me this book to review.

Magick starts off with Jax being held captive by the Bane for killing a hunter and unleashing her dark magic. Now with her powers bound by the Bane she must gain their trust and learn to become a White Witch before the Dark Covens find her.

When I started reading this book I did not realise that it was the third book in the trilogy, so I was a bit confused at the start. However Magick is very easy to get into and while I did not understand everything I was able to connect with most of the storyline.

Jax is a likeable character, if not original, who you root for throughout the book and hope she wins her battles. She is very low in confidence in the beginning of Magick but it grows as the book carries on.

The other characters in this book are very well written and add depth as they are all three dimensional and believable. However, the pacing and the story was too fast and would have been better with a bit slower pacing or able 100 more pages.

This is a good book and I wish I had read the series from the beginning. I would recommend Magick to people who like Sophie Jordan's Firelight series