Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth

“The Drain looked the same every time, with all the people screaming as they ran away from the giant dark cloud of chaos but never running fast enough.”

First line in Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth

Author: Veronica Roth

Published: April 7th 2020

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Buzzwords: chosen one PTSD, Chicago, urban fantasy

Synopsis: A decade ago near Chicago, five teenagers defeated the otherworldly enemy known as the Dark One, whose reign of terror brought widespread destruction and death. The seemingly un-extraordinary teens—Sloane, Matt, Ines, Albie, and Esther—had been brought together by a clandestine government agency because one of them was fated to be the “Chosen One,” prophesized to save the world. With the goal achieved, humankind celebrated the victors and began to mourn their lost loved ones.

Ten years later, though the champions remain celebrities, the world has moved forward and a whole, younger generation doesn’t seem to recall the days of endless fear. But Sloane remembers. It’s impossible for her to forget when the paparazzi haunt her every step just as the Dark One still haunts her dreams. Unlike everyone else, she hasn’t moved on; she’s adrift—no direction, no goals, no purpose. On the eve of the Ten Year Celebration of Peace, a new trauma hits the Chosen: the death of one of their own. And when they gather for the funeral at the enshrined site of their triumph, they discover to their horror that the Dark One’s reign never really ended.

Goodreads

Review

I’m so confused about my own feelings towards this book by Veronica Roth that I had been highly anticipating. The premise of exploring the aftermath of saving the world is such an intriguing idea. However, a book needs more than that and I overall felt that there were several areas where I found this book lacking.

We start off by being introduced to a group of 5 chosen ones – Sloane, Matt, Ines, Esther and Albie – ten years after they defeated The Dark One. Through the entire book, however, we only follow Sloane and her POV. I have previously called for more fantasy books to only have one POV, but in this case, I actually think that was the book’s first mistake. When you clearly have a group of 5 people, I would have loved for the POV to switch between them. Maybe not all of them but still more than one.
The story gets a little repetitive and stale through Sloane’s constant POV. We only get her struggles and thoughts and those kind of went in a circle. So for a book that deals with the PTSD of being the chosen one, I would have loved to seen the differences in the way the character’s handled it. But no, this book is only about Sloane.

And speaking of Sloane… she’s not that great. Which I think is the point. That is what I thought was really well done in this book. She’s clearly meant to an unlikeable main character. She’s selfish, rude, childish and has a certain dark sense of humor. Her characterization, however, is done so that is makes sense why she’s like that. It really fits her character. Personally, I think I’m too much of a Hufflepuff to appreciate these sorts of characters, so it didn’t exactly make me love the book. Nevertheless, if that is your jam, I think you might like this book.

So now that we’ve discussed Sloane, let’s talk about everyone else because this is where I was really disappointed. Every other character is actually seriously underdeveloped and seem only to appear when they need to push Sloane’s story along. Which really is such a shame because they could have been really interesting. The other chosen ones, for example, seemed to be dealing with their PTSD in different ways but we never really got to see it. It would have been great with something to break the monotony of the story.

The plot of this book is difficult to talk about in a review because it doesn’t get revealed until quite late in the book, so it’s really a spoiler to say anything about it. Besides the fact that it took waaaay too long for us to get to it, I did find it surprising and a good twist. However, the pacing of this book sort of killed it for me. Everything was drawn out and the book could easily have been shortened. For one, I could have done without all the detailed descriptions of buildings that seemed to be the most important even in high-stakes scenes.

Another thing I wish hadn’t been in the book were the snippets of documents that preceded most chapters. We would get excerpts from interviews, news articles, top secrets reports etc., but they might as well have been titled “Info Dumps“. My main problem with them wasn’t even that but the fact that they weren’t written as proper articles, reports etc. They were clearly just written for me to tell me stuff instead of being written for the people in the world of this book. It pretended to be real but it so clearly wasn’t that it pulled me out of the story every time. They were also so confusing that I got very little out of them.

I think I’ll stop rambling now. Do I recommend this book? Yes. If you think Sloane sound like your new favorite character, then yes, I think you’ll like this book. If you’re also into slow-paced fantasy stories that focus more on psycological trauma than fighting the bad guy, this might be your book.

Posted in Fun Lists

Brilliant Debut Fantasy Books (Wyrd and Wonder)

“The circus arrives without warning.”

First line in The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Hi, guys. As you may know, it’s not the easiest thing to write a book. Several authors just has to find their footing when starting out. Others write true masterpieces in their first try like it’s no big deal, and it’s those I want to highlight today.

Most of the books I’ll mention here are bestsellers but what they all have in common is that they are the first book published by their author. And they are all fantasy, of course. They are all some of my favorite books so enjoy!

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Dreams and reality blend together in The Night Circus in which Morgenstern shows that there are no limitations to our imagination. Especially not to hers. Through stunning writing, she unfolds the story of a magical duel that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

A highly detailed world is the backdrop for some ingenious criminal activities that will have you rooting for the perpetrators. Not for the faint-hearted, this book gives you a dark and gritty atmosphere but will still shine some light in form of true acts of friendship.

The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith

The Library of the Unwritten provides a story with a unique concept where book characters are able to come alive, otherwise known as every reader’s dream come true. It’s an emotional story about a battle between Heaven and Hell that also gives you deep and flawed characters to love with all of your heart.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

An urban fantasy story that still gives you comprehensive world building with a creative magic system. Clare introduces the reader to the world of the Shadowhunters that has all the monsters but also the most swoon worthy romances.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind tells the first part of the character Kvothe’s life story through an immersive writing style. With the promise of an epic tale to come, Rothfuss sets several plot points in motion in this first book in a trilogy.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Step into the Trojan war through this retelling of the lives of the almighty Achilles and his friend Patroclus. Told through the eyes of Patroclus, Miller weaves a beautiful story about true love and destiny that will intrique anyone with an interest in Greek mythology.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

A high-stakes adventure inspired by ancient Rome that follows the slave, Laia, as she fights a brutal system to save her brother. Sabaa Tahir doesn’t hold back when depicting the horrors of this cruel world, and it will have the reader on the edge of their seat all the way through.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Eragon is a must-read for anyone who can’t get enough of dragons. Paolini has crafted a vast world with interesting characters (and dragons) which gives the reader a highly entertaining reading experience.

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

A highly atmospheric read that take a closer look at small town mentality when children start disappearing and the stranger in the village is the only suspect. Schwab provides at fairy tale-esque writing style when telling this gripping story about witches and magic rooted in nature.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale will transport the reader to a snow-covered forrest in Russia with its vivid depictions of nature and atmosphere. Following the girl Vasya as she grows up, Arden explores Russian folklore but gives it a fantasy twist.

These are just a few of the awesome fantasy debuts out there. I haven’t read everything so please share your favorites in the comments if you feel they’re missing from the list. Happy reading!

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – May 6th 2020

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

First line in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

Hi, guys. It’s Wyrd and Wonder month which means that every book in this week’s WWW Wednesday is fantasy. WWW Wednesday a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words, and it’s meant to give you all a little insight into my reading this week. I’ll answer the 3 questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish?
  • What do you think you’ll read next

What did you recently finish?

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and even though it’s my least favorite book in the series, I still had a great time! I mean, Harry has his first sassy moment 3 pages after appearing for the first time, and I just appreciate that so much.

My commute book is Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth which I’m 80% into. Almost done and I’m kind of looking forward to that. Not that I hate it. It’s just… fine. Other than that there are a few aspects about this book that has made me realize that it’s just not “my kind of book”. For one, we have an unlikable main character which I find very rarely works for me. I will finish the book though and I hope to have a full review up by the end of the week.

I’m also listening to The Merciful Crow by Maragret Owen which I’m almost halfway through. I love it! I gotta say that YA fantasy just works for me at the moment. The Merciful Crow is exactly what I need right now. Fast-paced, high stakes, enemies-to-lovers-romance. The social commentary in this one is also so thought-provoking already.

My next commute book will be Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson which is the short story you’re supposed to read after Words of Radiance. After taking a break from this series, I’m ready to get back into it.

If I manage to finish The Merciful Crow, I’ll also be starting Chainbreaker by Tara Sim, the sequel to Timekeeper, and hopefully continue my amazing YA fantasy streak.

Posted in Book Tags

Get to Know the Fantasy Reader Tag (Wyrd and Wonder)

“It was late winter in northern Rus’, the air sullen with wet that was neither rain nor snow.”

First line in The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Hi, guys. It’s time for a tag. I picked Get to Know the Fantasy Reader Book Tag because this is my first time participating in Wyrd and Wonder so it felt appropriate to make a sort of introduction. This tag was originally created by The Book Pusher on YouTube and is a modifiction of another tag called Get to Know the Romance Reader. There are 10 questions so let’s get to it.

1. What is your fantasy origin story? (How you came to read your first fantasy novel)

I’m not sure but I believe the first book I read outside of school was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when I was about 9 or 10. I had gotten the first two books in the series for 2 Christmases in a row when I was 6 and 7. Otherwise known as ages where you’re not able to read yet. My mom didn’t seem to care about that so she kept buying them for me, and books are just not the most exciting present when you’re 6 years old. I tried reading the first one with my grandmother but we didn’t even get through chapter 1. Starting the series from the POV of Vernon Dursley was actually a risky move on Rowling’s part.
So yeah, the books sat on my shelf for a few years until one day when I was bored out of my mind and I thought “I might as well give it a go.”. Proving that old saying that it’s good for you to be bored sometimes.

2. If you could be the hero/heroine in a fantasy novel, who would be the author and what’s one trope you’d insist be in the story?

I love this question. The author would be Katherine Arden. She has written my favorite heroine in fantasy (Vasya) so I would trust her to make me look great and improve the things that need improvement. The one trope I would insist on is the exsistence of a magical library. Preferably for me to live in it.

Now I really want Arden to write a book about a magical library. Any kind really. I just want her words describing it.

3. What is a fantasy you’ve read this year, that you want more people to read?

Talking about magical libraries, The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith isn’t being read by enough people. It’s about a library in Hell which holds all the books that have yet to be written and the ones that never will be. What’s really cool is that characters from these books may materialize to search for their authors. It also has the best group of flawed characters that are so easy to latch onto.

4. What is your favorite fantasy subgenre? What subgenre have you not read much from?

It might not be my absolute favorite subgenre but I want to mention historical fantasy as something I really enjoy. I’m just very picky about it and therefore haven’t read much from it. In my experience, these books tend to very romance heavy and that’s not really what I want. I just want the fantasy in a historical setting. Some of my favorites are The Binding by Bridget Collins and Winternight Trilogy by Kathering Arden. If you know of any similar books, please share.

The subgenres I’ve read the least from would probably be steampunk or paranormal fantasy. Not really something I have an interest in either.

5. Who is one of your auto-buy fantasy authors?

I don’t exactly have one but Leigh Bardugo is probably the closest. I own 4 of her books and at least consider buying anything she puts out. Victoria Schwab is a close second.

6. How do you typically find fantasy recommendations? (Goodreads, Youtube, Podcasts, Instagram..)

Mainly on YouTube or other blogs.

7. What is an upcoming fantasy release you’re excited for?

There’s a lot of course so I’m going for something I haven’t seen talked about much. The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix which is out September 22nd 2020. I mean that is the best title I’ve ever heard so that alone makes me excited.

8. What is one misconception about fantasy you would like to lay to rest?

I think some people have the misconception of fantasy as it being only epic battles, epic quests and epic political scheaming. You know… epic. Especially when talking about adult fantasy. There are so many other facets to the genre. I mean, Circe by Madeline Miller and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern are also adult fantasy just to mention a few. I’ve actually been working on a dicussion post about this which will be up very soon.

9. If someone had never read a fantasy before and asked you to recommend the first 3 books that come to mind as places to start, what would those recommendations be?

Jesus.. Well, first I would have to conduct a 30-minute interview to get to know their taste. In this hypothetical scenario I guess I’ll just throw in 3 great starting points.

10. Who is the most recent fantasy reading content creator you came across that you’d like to shoutout?

Becca and Her Books is a BookTube channel I recently starting following. She reads both fantasy and romance and is a huge Sarah J. Maas fan. Even though I don’t read Maas, I still like watching Becca’s videos. She creates her TBR around a game of bookopoly every month and for some reason that is so satisfying to watch.

Now you know a little bit more about me as a fantasy reader. Feel free to do the tag yourself. I thought it was some really interesting questions and would love to see other people’s answers. You can also just write some of your answers in the comment section. Happy reading!

Posted in Wrap up

April Reading Wrap Up – O.W.L.s Readathon (Part 2)

“There are two things you know.”

First line in Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Hi, guys. Today you’re getting part 2 of my O.W.L.s Readathon wrap up. Remember to check out part 1 if you missed it. Here in part 2, I have 4 mini-reviews for you so enjoy!

The Near Witch

Author: Victoria Schwab

Published: August 2nd 2011

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Buzzwords: Witches, small village, sisterly love

O.W.L. Passed: History of Magic

Synopsis: The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger-a boy who seems to fade like smoke-appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know-about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.

Goodreads

My thoughts

This was weird but in a good way. Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is quite different from her other works. Instead of missing “the usual Schwab”, I really appreciated seeing another side to her writing. It’s more reminiscent of fairy tales really, with a very atmospheric style and a great focus on nature. However, there were some slight imperfections in terms of the writing that revealed that she wasn’t the most experienced author at the time. For example, it became quite repetitive in some areas, but it never reached a level that bothered me very much while reading.

My main issue with the book was the romance which came out of nowhere. It kept feeling forced until the end, and I didn’t exactly see the point of it. Plotwise, a strong friendship would have accomplished the same thing. It was especially frustrating because I know that Schwab went on to write a YA duology without any romance in it, so I know she’s capable of it.

I still recommend this book if it sounds just slightly interesting to you. It has some great themes surrounding fear and what it can do to people. You also get some interesting family dynamics and of course, Victoria Schwab’s writing.

Challenger Deep

Author: Neal Shusterman

Published: April 21st 2015

Genre: YA Contemporary

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buzzwords: mental health

O.W.L. Passed: Defence Against the Dark Arts

Synopsis: Caden Bosch is on a ship that’s headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench.

Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behaviour.

Caden Bosch is designated the ship’s artist in residence to document the journey with images.

Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head.

Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny.

Caden Bosch is torn.

Goodreads

My thoughts

I don’t have much to say about this book. It was good without being great. I didn’t connect very much with the story or the characters but just found it interesting and educational. It’s a book that deeply explores mental health, and I really liked that Shusterman relied so heavily on metaphors. It worked really well and I had a great time trying to decipher them all.

If you’re suffering from severe mental health issues or know someone who does, I’ll highly recommend this book.

Dark Matter

Author: Blake Crouch

Published: July 26th 2016

Genre: Sci-fi Thriller

My rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

O.W.L. Passed: Arithmancy

Synopsis: Jason Dessen is walking home through the chilly Chicago streets one night, looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with his wife, Daniela, and their son, Charlie—when his reality shatters.

It starts with a man in a mask kidnapping him at gunpoint, for reasons Jason can’t begin to fathom—what would anyone want with an ordinary physics professor?—and grows even more terrifying from there, as Jason’s abductor injects him with some unknown drug and watches while he loses consciousness.

When Jason awakes, he’s in a lab, strapped to a gurney—and a man he’s never seen before is cheerily telling him “welcome back!”

Jason soon learns that in this world he’s woken up to, his house is not his house. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born.

And someone is hunting him.

Goodreads

My thoughts

I can’t begin to describe how disappointed I was with this book. So many things about it didn’t work for me. The characters are flat which means I can’t connect to them. I especially found the MC quite annoying. He’s supposed to be this physics professor aka really smart but he very rarely prooved that. I kept figuring things out but then I had to wait for him to catch up. It gave me the sense that these things were drawn out for dramatic purposes but because the author had given the reader so many clues already, the revelations failed to be shocking.

The plot was based on an interesting idea and that’s what kept me reading. However, the detached writing style and the personality-less characters left me sort of numb to the events I was supposed to care about. The ending was also less epic than what I expected it to be.

Overall, I think this book might work for you if you’re a very plot-focused reader. For me, this was a great idea that I’m sure can be executed much better.

Eliza and Her Monsters

Author: Francesca Zappia

Published: May 30th 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buzzwords: anxiety, web comics, secret online life

O.W.L. Passed: Muggle Studies

Synopsis: In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, smart, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community. Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

With pages from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums, this uniquely formatted book will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.

Goodreads

My thoughts

I wanted to read this for the anxiety rep and was in no way disappointed. The book really delivered on that front with descriptions of how it feels, what its consequences are and most importantly, how to deal with it. I couldn’t help but compare it to Fangirl while reading because they are so similar stories. Both in terms of anxiety and the online fame thing. Nevertheless, Eliza and Her Monsters handles it differently so I would say that the two books complement each other well.

I really liked that Eliza had a complicated relationship with her family because it felt realistic and remind me of my own family. I wasn’t completely on board with the romance though. I wasn’t convinced that they actually loved each other so I felt a little indifferent about them together. There were also some minor things about the ending that I didn’t care for which is why I ended up giving the book 4 stars. Still a book I would highly recommend if you want to read about anxiety.

And that’s all you get. Let me know if you’ve read any of these and if our opinions align or not. Otherwise I hope you’re all doing okay. Happy reading!

Posted in Wrap up

April 2020 Reading Wrap Up – O.W.L.s Readathon (Part 1)

“Night fell as Death rode into the Great Library of Summershall.”

First line in Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Hi, guys. Welcome to part 1 of my O.W.L.s Readathon wrap up. Yes, I read so many books that I had to split my wrap into two. I figured 7 mini-reviews in one post was too many so you get the first 3 today and the last 4 tomorrow.

The total number of books I read this month was actually 9! So not all 12 O.W.L.s but 9 is still way more than I expected to read. Here’s a short overview of what the exams I passed:

  • Transfiguration – A book with shapeshifting
  • Anicent Runes – A book with a heart on the cover or in the title
  • Charms – A white cover
  • History of Magic – A book with witches/wizards
  • Defence Against the Dark Arts – A book set on the sea or at the coast
  • Arithmancy – A book outside your favorite genre
  • Potions – A book with less than 150 pages
  • Astronomy – Read the majority of the book when it’s dark outside

I read 2 books that I won’t be doing mini-reviews for. The first is The Ash-Born Boy by Victoria Schwab which is a prequel novella to The Near Witch. I read it for Potions but as it was only 61 pages, I don’t have much to say other than you should read it if you’ve read The Near Witch.
The other book I won’t be reviewing is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone which I read for Astronomy. I expect people know about that one. I will make seperate post about it but probably not until June.

Let’s take a quick look at my stats for the month:

Basically, I’m pretty proud of myself for doing this well. Enough of that though. Here you have the first 3 mini-reviews.

Sorcery of Thorns

Author: Magaret Rogerson

Published: June 4th 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buzzwords: magical libraries, loyal friendships, book about books

O.W.L. Passed: Transfiguration

Synopsis: All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

Goodreads

My thoughts

This was a surprisingly great book. I had seen a lot of mixed reviews so it was a book I probably wouldn’t have picked up had it not fit an O.W.L. prompt. So glad I decided to read it because these characters are everything to me. I like that there are a few relationships in this book that you can’t completely define by just calling them friendships or romances because those words are not enough. They don’t reflect the love and care between these people that Rogerson spends the entire book laying out for the reader. I love them, and I especially love the character development they go through.

However, I do see why people would have some issues with this book, especially if the plot is very important to them. There were some things surrounding the plot that weren’t completely developed and some things that didn’t really make sense. I, for one, would have loved to know a little bit more about the villain’s motive because it seemed like he was evil just to be evil.

On the plus side, the writing was great and not too flowery. If you’re into character-driven books about books with beautiful writing, I would definitely recommend this one.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies

Author: John Boyne

Published: February 9th 2017

Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary Fiction

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Buzzwords: Life stories, Ireland, LGBTQ+, family

O.W.L. Passed: Ancient Runes

Synopsis: Cyril Avery is not a real Avery or at least that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he?

Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead.

At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from – and over his three score years and ten, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country and much more.

In this, Boyne’s most transcendent work to date, we are shown the story of Ireland from the 1940s to today through the eyes of one ordinary man. The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a novel to make you laugh and cry while reminding us all of the redemptive power of the human spirit.

Goodreads

My thoughts

The Heart’s Invisible Furies is the first book I’ve ever read by John Boyne so I had to get used to his way of writing in the beginning. He has a very distinct writing style with some very long sentences and a lot of dialogue. That might put some people off but I just gotta say that it is done to absolute perfection. It’s not often that I read such a well written book. Boyne is able to convey so much emotion through simple conversations. You can find meaning both in what is actually said but also what is left unsaid, and I’m amazed at his ability to write like that.

That said, this book might not be for everyone as it’s extremely character-focused. We’re literally following one man through his entire life, or rather we see glimpses of his life. But still, life doesn’t have plot so don’t expect much on that front from this book. It’s still worth reading though. It gives you detailed insight into what it was like to be a gay man in Ireland in the latter half of the nineties. So as you might expect, this book will make you emotional. Maybe it will make you cry but I dare say I’ll make you laugh, too. It’s is not without humour and that actually makes the book quite a wholesome one. I would highly recommend it!

Lord of Secrets (The Empty Gods #1)

Author: Breanna Teintze

Published: August 8th 2019

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Buzzwords: Intricate magic system, family bond, necromancy

O.W.L. Passed: Charms

Synopsis: Outlaw wizard Corcoran Gray has enough problems. He’s friendless, penniless and on the run from the tyrannical Mages’ Guild – and with the search for his imprisoned grandfather looking hopeless, his situation can’t get much worse.

So when a fugitive drops into his lap – literally – and gets them both arrested, it’s the last straw – until Gray realises that runaway slave Brix could be the key to his grandfather’s release. All he has to do is break out of prison, break into an ancient underground temple and avoid killing himself with his own magic in the process.

In theory, it’s simple enough. But as secrets unfold and loyalties shift, Gray discovers something with the power to change the nature of life and death itself.

Now Gray must find a way to protect the people he loves, but it could cost him everything, even his soul . . .

Goodreads

My thoughts

No… just no.
This book almost killed my reading spirit. I could tell that the author had a great idea especially concerning the magic system but it was so poorly executed. The magic turned out to be a little too complex compared to how little time went into explaining it. It ended up being the kind of magic that can do anything that’s plot-convenient. That’s always annoying to me, and it was a general problem throughout the book. There were too many conveniences.

The characters couldn’t save it for me either because they didn’t exactly have a personality. I couldn’t connect to them at all. The MC was so boring and annoying. He’s one of those characters who should get a gold medal in self-pity because he spent the entire book feeling sorry for himself. The only slightly interesting character was the villian but he never reached his full potential.

That was 3 reviews from both ends of the spectrum but I hope you enjoyed reading them. How was your reading month? How many O.W.L.s did you get if you participated in the readathon?

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – April 29th 2020 (O.W.L.s Week 4)

“Eliza Mirk is the kind of name you give to the creepy girl who clings to her ex-boyfriend for weeks after he’s dumped her because she refuses to accept that he hates her guts.”

First line in Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Hi, guys. Today I’m giving you the final update on my progress in the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon, and I’m doing it through WWW Wednesday. It’s a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words, and it’s meant to give you all a little insight into my reading this week. I’ll answer the 3 questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish?
  • What do you think you’ll read next

What did you recently finish?

I finished Dark Matter, and now I have another book for the “Popular books I didn’t like”-list. When I updated you last week, I expected to give it 3 stars but the ending bumped it down to 2. It wasn’t as spectacular as I had hoped it would be with such an interesting subject matter. Also still hated the MC. At least it gave me the O.W.L. in Arithmancy.

I also finished Eliza and Her Monster by Francesca Zappia which was a much better experience. I gave it 4 stars and even though it couldn’t compete with my love for Fangirl, it’s still an amazing book. It does a good job of portraying anxiety and doesn’t shy away from showing all the ugly sides as well. This one made sure I got my O.W.L. in Muggle Studies.

Finally, I had to find something for Potions which is a book below 150 pages. I read The Ash-Born Boy by Victoria Schwab which is a prequel novella to The Near Witch which I also read this month. Not really going to rate and review it. Just one I highly recommend if you’ve read The Near Witch.

What are you currently reading?

Guys… I’m reading Harry Potter. I didn’t know how much I needed a reread until I started it. It’s making me want to cry with how good it feels to be back. I’m pathetic lol. I’m even reading my seriously old Danish version so the nostalgia is real! It’s also making me realize that this book was translated in 1999… there are some expressions in there you would never hear today and it’s making me laugh. I’m reading it for my O.W.L. in Astronomy which is going to be my final one. 

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What do you think you’ll read next?

O.W.L.s Magical Readathon might be over but luckily that means that Wyrd and Wonder is starting! The first book I’m going to start is Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth. As the readathon is over, I’m going back to reading two books at a time so I’ll also be starting the audiobook for The Merciful Crow by Maragret Owen.