Monday, 30 September 2013

Unknown

****
4 Stars/5


Thanks to Netgalley and Indie Inked for giving me this book to review.

With darkness spreading over the world, as King Ashan’s growing greed for power; it seems that the light will never return. However, there is a prophecy that when a diamond falls in the north, the god Oron will return and bring the light with him. In Tamamon, princess Kyla and Jethro were best friends and were even born on the same day, but time and Kyla getting engaged to Jethro’s cousin Ashra have created distance between them. But when a star falls next to the city and Kyla and Jethro have unusual reactions to touching it, they discover that they have to set out on a journey into the unknown to find the elements earth, water, air and fire to bring back light to the world.

I really liked Unknown as even though it is a bit predictable, it is a light, addictive YA fantasy book, and I could not put it down until I found out what happened next. Unknown is good as it has adventure, betrayal love and good fantasy world building.

I like Kyla as she is a feisty person who does not want to be a princess instead she wants to escape and have an adventure, I also can sympathise with her struggle to believe in the prophecy and Oron, because of the death of her father and brothers. I also really like Jethro as he acts realistically in his struggles with his feelings for Kyla, while at the same time respecting and not wanting to hurt his cousin. Pearl is really good at writing complex characters such as Ashra and Nikara, but my favourite secondary character is the queen as, while she is weak, she does care about her people and will do anything to protect them, but is still conflicted about how to deal with her daughter.


I will be reading the next book Unseen to find out what happens next to Kyla, Jethro and Ashra, and would recommend Unknown to fans of Slumber by Samantha Young or Broken Aro by Jen Wylie.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Scarlet

***
3 Stars/5


Will Scarlet, one of Robin Hood’s band of outlaws, is not all he seems to be, as he is actually a young woman called Scarlet, and only a few know her secret as she is hiding from a dangerous past. Scarlet is loyal to Robin and is willing to do anything to help the people of Nottingham. That is until the Sheriff of Nottingham hires the thief taker, Gisbourne, someone who Scarlet knows from her old life and could cost Scarlet her life and more. Will Scarlet, Robin and the other outlaws, Little John and Much be able to avoid Gisbourne and raise enough money to cover the high taxes the sheriff is asking of the people of Nottingham?

Scarlet is a twist on the Robin Hood tale and is really enjoyable as there is lots of action and romance. However, even though I am rubbish at geography I am fairly sure Gaughen has underestimated the distances between different places as they seemed to travel dozens of miles in only an evening.

I like Scarlet as she is willing to do anything the boys can, and is loyal and self-sacrificing but is very na├»ve about boys and romance. However, I felt  she is a bit too self-sacrificing such as her refusing to eat just because others were going hungry, and I felt like it could have been explored and dealt with but near the end it was ignored.  I liked all of the “merry men” (I’m not sure I can call them that) but my favourite is Much as he is the only one who did not want anything out of Scarlet. Out of the other two I preferred Robin as John only felt like an obstacle for the romance between Scarlet and Robin. That being said I did not like Robin much as he either thought he was better than everyone else or was just rude to Scarlet.


While the romance in this book was disappointing, I will be reading the next book Lady Thief to find out what happens next to Scarlet and the gang. I would recommend Scarlet to fans of historical fantasy retellings. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Bitter Kingdom

*****
5 Stars/5


17 year old sorcerer queen Elisa is in a desperate situation, with her country on the brink of civil war and the man she loves having been captured by Inviernos, in order to get her to willingly go to the gate of her enemy. With her friends Storm, Mara and Belen they chase after Hector, hoping to rescue him before they enter Invierne. At the same time Hector is struggling to stay alive in the freezing temperatures while trying to slow down his captors. With both her own people and Inviernos out to kill or use her, will Elisa be able to survive her destiny as the bearer of the Godstone and marry the man she loves, but with Hector not even knowing they are engaged, does Hector want to be with her after she deceived him at the Zafira?

The Bitter Kingdom is the incredible final book in the Fire and Thorns trilogy as it is non-stop action, a romance to die for; incredible characters and world building so realistic you feel like you are actually there. I did feel The Bitter Kingdom could have even been turned into two books with the amount of things that happen in this book. This led to some things being rushed especially the ending as it happened to quickly; also I felt Carson focused too much on the group travelling and too little on when they actually got to their destinations. This book could have been a bit less predictable as I felt there were no real shocks like there was in Fire and Thorns when Humberto died, I thought Carson was brave to do something that unexpected in her first book and I was hoping for something more astonishing in this book.

I love how much Elisa has grown as a person over this series from the timid, shy person who comfort ate and was kept hidden from her destiny, to a strong and confident leader, who makes mistakes but learns from them. Hector is the perfect leading male and I love that we get his point of view in this book as we get to see how loyal, brave and honourable he is, and how much of a perfect match he is for Elisa as, while she is queen, it is a truly equal relationship with them both relying on each other. What I love about their romance in this book is that while there is sexual tension between them there are also simple things like what they say and do, that show that they truly are meant for each other. I really like all the people in this book, good, bad and neutral as the characters are well written and you can understand their motives, but my favourite character is Mara as she is one of the few people who does not want anything from Elisa which makes her a perfect best friend.


I love this series and I am not sure I am willing to say good bye to this world as, while Elisa’s story is over, I feel like there is more to discover. I would recommend The Bitter Kingdom to people who have enjoyed the rest of the series and I would recommend the Fire and Thorns trilogy to everyone who likes fantasy novels. 

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Last Sacrifice

*****
5 Stars/5


The queen is dead and Rose has been framed for her murder and is facing execution. However, she is rescued by her friends and now she and Demitri are on the run along with the Alchemist Sydney. But instead of lying low as everyone wants her to, Rose is determined to find who actually killed Tatiana and discover if Tatiana’s note to Rose is true about Lissa’s secret half-sibling. At court Lissa wants to find out who framed her best friend but is caught in the struggle for the throne. Are both girls able to achieve their goals or will they be able to survive with a killer still out there and the guardians out to kill Rose?

Last Sacrifice is the final book in the Vampire Academy series and is just as amazing as the others in this series. This is because they have everything; there is humour, politics, romance, action and friendships. I did not predict who the killer was and it was such a shock and a real twist.

While Rose and I have had a rocky relationship over the series I love her character as she is so loyal and passionate and it was nice to see how much she has matured since the first book. I also like Lissa and how selfless, good and a smart leader she is.

SPOILER
I am so happy that Rose and Dimitri have their happy ending as they deserve it after everything they have both been through. However, I did not like how they got together as it felt like it cheapened their love by having Rose cheating on Adrian, even though I don’t think Rose and Adrian belong together, it made me think less of both Rose and Demitri.
SPOILER END


While it is bittersweet that it is the end of the Vampire Academy series I am glad Rose and Lissa got their happy endings and that we get to see them in the spin-off series Bloodlines. I would recommend Last Sacrifice and this series to fans of YA and/or paranormal books. 

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Spirit Bound

*****
5 Stars/5


Rose has finally returned home to St Vladimir and her best friend Lissa after trying to kill her former love turned Strigoi, Dimitri, she failed and now he is after her. All Rose has to do is graduate and they can start their lives after school and she can be with her new boyfriend Adrian. But Rose cannot move on from Demitri so Rose, Lissa and Eddie stage a prison break to free to break the man they most hate in the world in search of a way to cure people of being Strigoi. With everyone but Lissa turning against her, is Rose able to accomplish the impossible?

Spirit Bound is the penultimate book in the Vampire Academy series and I felt the weakest. This is because it felt like a middle book with plots being rushed when they could have gone into much more detail, especially one part of this book which should have been massive yet was only covered in a chapter or 2. This book is very political as all the different political arguments from the previous books came to a head in this book.

Rose irritated me in this book as she was selfish as was leading Adrian on even though she had not moved on from Demitri, and while I believe Rose belongs with Demitri I felt really sorry for Adrian. I liked how close Lissa and Rose were in the first half of the book as it felt like how it was in Vampire Academy, but I did not really like Lissa in the second half as she ignores how Rose is feeling and puts someone else’s feelings first.


While this is my least favourite Vampire Academy book, there are still loads of unanswered questions for the final book Last Sacrifice. I would recommend this series to fans of the Drake Chronicles and the Morganville Vampires series. 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Blood Promise

*****
5 Stars/5


Rose has made the hardest choice of her life and has left her best friend and person she has sworn to protect, to fulfil her promise to hunt down and kill her former lover and teacher, Dimitri, who has been turned into a Strigoi. She has travelled to Russia to find him, and decides the best way to locate him, is to see Dimitri’s family. At St Vladimir’s, Lissa is missing Rose but at the same time is angry at her for choosing Dimitri over her, however is Lissa’s new friend Avery really helping her. With Rose willing to do anything to destroy Dimitri, will she be able to kill the man she loves or will it end up killing her?

Blood Promise is the fourth book in the Vampire Academy series but it is a bit different than the first 3 as it is not really set at the school and it starts of at a slow pace but the middle and end of the book makes up for this. I found it interesting to see the Strigoi world as they seem both very normal and yet evil at the same time and I wish this world was explored a bit more.

Rose is in a really bad place in this book as she has lost both Dimitri and Lissa, and she goes through so much which makes me feel both sorry for her and want to yell at her. However, one thing I missed in this book was the interaction between Rose and Lissa and the rest of the group as just seeing them at St Vladimir’s through Rose’s head is not the same. However, I did Like Adrian in this book as we get to see a different more caring side of him, not just towards Rose but also Jill and Lissa. Another thing I liked is the complex relationship between Strigoi Dimitri and Rose and their weird love/hate relationship.


While this is one of the weaker Vampire Academy books, Blood Promise is still an excellent book and I can’t recommend this series highly enough.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Shadow Kiss

*****
5 Stars/5


Rose Hathaway is close to graduating and becoming her best friends Lissa’s Guardian. All she has left to do is complete her field experience, where she has to protect Moroi from fake attacks. However, after the tragic events that happened over the winter Rose has been acting erratically, having dark, depressing thoughts and now she thinks she is seeing the ghost of Mason, the friend who died at the hands of a Strigoi. At the same time, she and Dimitri have to protect Lissa whilst struggling against their forbidden feelings for each other. As they are student and teacher, in the world of Moroi and Dhampir, two Dhampir’s should not be together as the Moroi “always come first”. At the same time a group of royals seem to be gathering together which seems to be leading to students getting injured but Rose cannot understand why the royal Moroi would want to harm each other.

Shadow Kiss is the third, and my favourite, book in Vampire Academy series, as the story is interesting, there is more action, tension and the romance is amazing and yet at the same time horrible (I cannot say more without giving away spoilers). I like the politics in this book and how the different races and classes look at now the Moroi should be protected and I can see this being an important plot in a later book.

Rose is much more unstable in this book, and has lost her confidence from the first 2 books since the events of Frostbite, but I felt this added more depth to her character and has shown how much she has changed. Whilst I can relate to Lissa more than Rose, I felt that she was very self-absorbed in this book and does not appreciate her friendship with Rose as much as Rose does with her. I liked how we got to know Christian better in this book as while he is still sarcastic we can also see how strong and loyal he is.


Shadow Kiss ends on a VERY big cliff-hanger and I suggest that you have a copy of Blood Promise next to you when you finish this book as you will not want to wait to see what happens next to Rose and everyone else. I would recommend Shadow Kiss to fans of the first 2 books. 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Frostbite

*****
5 Stars/5


After the largest Strigoi the vampire world has seen, St Vladimir school is on high alert with more guardians being brought in and the students and family are spending their winter holidays at a royal ski resort. However, Rose Hathaway has other problems to focus on with her romantic feelings towards her teacher Dimitri, who might be interested in someone else, with her struggling to spend time with her best friend Lissa without her new boyfriend Christian being around and her absent mother turning up out of the blue. However, when some of Rose’s friends get into trouble it is up to Rose and Christian to rescue them before it is too late.

I love the Vampire Academy series and Frostbite as it has a brilliant plot, unique characters, action suspense and romance. What I also like about this book more than the last was how the story was less about the school drama and more mature, it was also interesting to find out about the different history and social rules of the different types of vampires.

I love Mead's ability to make you care about all of the different characters, as I can really empathises and understand them but especially Rose. I also like the tense relationship between Rose and her mother as it is different from most mother/daughter relationships in YA paranormal books. I love the new charming character Adrian as he adds a new dynamic to the group.


I love Frostbite and would recommend these books to fans of paranormal books or very well written YA books. 

Lack of reviews and changes to my Blog

Hi everyone,

Sorry about the lack and inconsistency of my reviews in the last month. I have not been well enough to focus on reviews. Thankfully I am feeling better now, but whilst ill, I came to the decision that Sally-Anne reviews does not feel like the right name for my blog, therefore I am changing it to Amethyst Bookwyrm. Over the next week or so I will be making improvements to my blog.

Thanks for liking my reviews and coming to my blog.

Sally-Anne