A book I didn’t expect to like but ended up giving 5 stars. An Ember in the Ashes takes place in a Roman inspired fantasy world where we follow Laia who’s trying to save her brother from the Empire. To do that she needs help from the Resistance and one of the Empire’s own elite soldiers in training.
Always going to recommend
I’m recommending an author here instead because Madeline Miller only has two books anyway and I couldn’t pick one. The Song of Achilles and Circe are both mythology retellings, but you don’t need to know the original stories before reading these. Miller’s writing is gorgeous, and I would die for every single one of these main characters.
Own it but haven’t read it yet
I’m someone who don’t usually buy books before I’ve read them, so I don’t own any fantasy books that I haven’t read yet. Instead, There Will Come a Darkness is just a book I really want to read. It sounds like it contains an exciting twist to my favorite trope: the chosen one trope. Even though it has gotten some mixed reviews, I still really want to see how it unfolds.
Would read again
There are so many options to choose from for this question, because I’m quite big on rereading. Shades of Magic by V. E. Schwab is a trilogy that I read very quickly, so I would like to reread it to take my time with it. I plan on doing that in 2020.
In another world
Eragon and The Inheritance Cycle in its entirety takes place in Alagaësia. It’s a vast and highly detailed world created by Christopher Paolini.
Back on Earth
Half Bad was once my favorite series and I still think it’s a very good series. It’s all about witches who live in our own world. There’s a war going on between the good and evil witches (and those in between), and it all gets very dark.
That was it for the Quick Fire Fantasy Book Tag, which was quite fun to do. I’m always up for talking about fantasy. I tag you if you want to do it. I’d love to see other people’s answers for these prompts.
“I didn’t know how long I had been in the King’s prison.”
First line in The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
Hi, guys and thanks for stopping by this post. I recently finished the fifth and last published book in The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner, Thick as Thieves. I can now for sure say that it is in my top 10 of all time favorite series, and I therefore want more people to read it, of course.
It’s far from what I would call a popular series, but whenever I see a review for it, it always seems to be positive. Hence why I thought to take this opportunity to create some awareness about these amazing books. As the title says, I’ll try to highlight the specific reasons why I think you should read this series. First a little overview of the series:
The Thief – published in 1996
The Queen of Attolia – published in 2000
The King of Attolia – published in 2006
A Conspiracy of Kings – published in 2010
Thick as Thieves – published in 2017
Return of the Thief – expected publication: August 25th 2020
The king’s scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king’s prison. The magus is interested only in the thief’s abilities.
What Gen is interested in is anyone’s guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses
Now onto all the reason why you should start reading this series.
This series is filled with characters you can’t help but fall in love with. They will capture your heart with their strong sense of morality and their unbreakable friendships.
Even though we follow a different main character in almost all of the books, Turner will always draw you in and make you invested in the certain character. They each have their own struggles. Turner is amazing at making you see the character’s point of view and thereby understand them. The character development across all the books is realistic and beautiful, so you can’t help but root for them. They are certainly characters you can get behind even though they aren’t perfect. There are also so many characters in this series that I just want to give a hug so bad.
If you’re the kind of reader who hates those cliffhanger endings that are just there to make you pre-order the next book, this is definitely a series for you. Each book essentially works as a standalone with its own set up and conclusion. It gives you the opportunity to take your time with the series and just read a book once in a while when you’re in the mood. Cliffhangers can often make you feel like you need to rush through a series just to know how it ends. At least that happens to me quite often. The Queen’s Thief is a nice divergence from that trend.
I just want to be clear: Even though I said they work as standalones, you still have to read them in publication order unless you want to be spoiled.
Mindblowing Plot Twists
The plot twists you find in The Queen’s Thief are the mind-boggling, life-altering, fall-out-of-your-chair kind of plot twists, and if that doesn’t convince you to read it, I don’t know what will. It’s the kind of plot twists that affect the entire book. You can tell it’s there all throughout the story. There’s something that don’t add up. There’s something you don’t know.
Turner even gives you the clues to figure these things out on your own, but personally I haven’t even been close to guessing where the story was going. It really takes an amazing writer to be able to do these kinds of plot twists.
We all have 1,000 books on our TBRs so you might be hesitant to add a six-book fantasy series to that giant mountain. I say, don’t worry about that because these books are super short. At least when you look at the standard for other fantasy books. Most of the books in this series are about 350 pages long (a little longer or shorter depending on the edition). With the first book, we’re even down to 280 pages.
Rich World Building
It’s the kind of series that starts off in a small corner of its fantasy world and with each book you get to learn more and more about the world. And I don’t mean just geographically. The amazing world building also include cultural, religious and political differences between each area. Turner has really taken her time to develop each area, and it’s wonderful to learn more with every book. It’s all very intricate.
I especially think this is a series for you if you enjoy very political fantasy books, because that is really where these books shine. Everything is so well thoughtout and there’s never a dull moment.
A Wholly Unique YA Fantasy Series
I promise you that you have never read anything like this before. I have to keep reminding myself that this is YA because it bears so little resemblance to those somewhat generic YA fantasy books you see nowadays. The Queen’s Thief almost feels like classic fantasy in its writing style and characterization. Don’t worry about coming across a page long description of a tree though, although you often find that in classic fantasy. That’s not what I mean when I call it classic fantasy. It’s just less modern with everything it does.
Mind you, the first book was published in 1996 when this resurgence we see in YA hadn’t started yet. However, the later books kept the tone of the first so don’t be afraid to suddenly have a love triangle thrown in your face.
Finally, I just want to say that of course, this series isn’t for everyone. If you consider yourself to be a 100% plot-driven reader, I think you might find this a bit boring. It’s a highly character-driven series although each book does have a plot. It just doesn’t come into play before the end of each book.
I also want to point out the first book in the series is the worst. A lot of people don’t like that one, me included, but I urge to pick up the second book even if that happens. If you find the things above intriguing, I promise you that it’s worth it to continue.
I really hope I peaked your interest about The Queen’s Thief with this post. Let me know if you intend to read it. If you’ve already read it, tell me if there’s some highlight I missed that you really love about these books.
Today I wanted to talk a bit about what we all wish we had more time for:
rereading books. I used to do this a lot more when I was younger. I had 3 or 4
series I just went through over and over and over again. I remember my mom
being very confused by this. She never rereads a book *gasp* and would ask me
why I wanted to read Harry Potter for the 12th time when I know what
happens. My answer: Because I know
what happens. When you read a book for the first time, it’s very hard to pay
attention to EVERYTHING. You won’t understand all the hints but it’s so
rewarding to read it again and see all of those connections you missed the
first time. I also find myself loving characters I might have been indifferent
about the first time, because I now know their complete character arc and
appreciate their development.
was actually inspired by my recent reread of Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I’ll
let you know more about my thoughts about the book in my October wrap up but
for now I will reveal that my rating went from 3 to 5 stars. Therefore, this
post is also a reminder to reread books you didn’t completely love the first
time. With Carry On, I definitely read it at the wrong time in my life.
unfortunate thing about rereads however is when you read your favorite book…
and it’s not your favorite anymore. I recently experienced this when I reread
The Maze Runner by James Dashner. That was not like I remembered it.
I have a
lot of books I want to reread and now I’m going to tell you which ones. First,
a couple of books I want to give a second chance.
Dust Lands by Moira Young
Blood Red Road – published in 2011. Read in 2013. My rating was 3 stars.
own the first book and I think I only DNF’d Rebel Heart because the library
wanted their book back. I just never got around to getting it again. I remember
the writing being very difficult because the characters spoke with an accent.
That meant I read it super slowly. I think that as an adult it might suit be
better. Plus, my English has improved (hopefully). I remember that the story
had so much potential and I actually want to know how it ends.
To say that
I’ve read these might be a stretch as I skimmed SO many of the descriptions. I
did not like the series at all and thought it was oh so boring. I’m not
completely convinced that I will feel any different today but I want to give
them a second chance at some point. I WAS very young when I read them the first
time and I’m assuming that I’ll understand more of the story now so we’ll see.
I’ll commit to at this point. Not every book deserves a second chance. Of
course, I also want to reread some of my favorite books. Some of the ones I
know I’ll still love or maybe love even more. I won’t give much of an
explanation for these because ‘duh’.
Our Dark Duet – published 2017. Read in 2018. I rated it 4 stars.
Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
Yes, I just want to reread the second book in Arc of a Scythe because that was freaking amazing! Scythe wasn’t bad, but it was just nowhere near the level of Thunderhead.
I hope you enjoyed this and maybe feel inspired to pick up a book you’ve already read. Remember, the new releases will still be there when you’re done. What book do you want to reread? Have you ever changed your mind about a book for the better because of a reread? I feel like I most often experience it the other way around so I’d love to know if that’s just me.
“Waxillium Ladrian, lawman for hire, swung off his horse and turned to face the saloon.”
First line in Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
Hi guys and welcome to my wrap up of the most pitiful reading month I’ve had in years. I finished… 3 books. 3!?!? I even had a TBR for this month because I wanted to read all the sequels for Sequel September. I only read 2.
However, I’ve also been reading 3 others books this month that I just wasn’t able to finish. Those include The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (reread). I will definitely finish the last two of those very soon.
My personal life has partly been what kept me from reading very much this month. I took a big step and started seeing a therapist for my social anxiety, which I probably should have done 10 years ago. I hope it will end up making my life just a little bit easier but we’ll see. So far, so good. Enough of that. Let me tell you about those infamous 3 books I read this month.
Shadows of Self(Book 5
Author: Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Synopsis:Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the
economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a
growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.
This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance
of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict.
Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the
conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.
I enjoyed this one a lot more than the previous installment in the series, The Alloy of Law. It felt more like Mistborn. Like we actually came back to the world we spent the first three books in. The plot was amazing and detailed. I kept guessing what the ending would be but I didn’t get it right of course. As usual, Sanderson threw in a plot twist that made me question my own sanity but that’s how it’s supposed to be. I still don’t care to much for the western and detective-solving-a-crime vibes from it. I still love Wayne dearly, but I hate how he’s being reduced to a comic relief. There’s really not much of a point to his character.
The Stone Sky (Book 3 in The Broken Earth)
Author: N. K. Jemisin
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
the way the world ends… for the last time.
The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or
something worse will depend on two women.
Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find
her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up
For Nassun, her mother’s mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has
seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that
sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.
This final book in the trilogy is probably my favorite one. I definitely liked it a lot more than book 2 which just seemed like a filler book to me. In The Stone Sky, I really liked how it all came together although the ending itself was a little underwhelming. The lead-up to it was great. I think my favorite part of the book was seeing Essun’s complete character arc. How she has developed through her life really made me feel something. I’m still not a fan of the writing style but the story and especially its modern themes has kept me reading. It’s honestly magnificent how Jemisin has incorporated these themes of racism and love of nature into a fantasy story.
Timekeeper (Book 1 in Timekeeper)
Author: Tara Sim
Genre: YA fantasy/steampunk
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars!!!
Synopsis:Two o’clock was missing.
In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time – and a destroyed one can stop it completely.
It’s a truth that 17-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors. And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems.
Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: He is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.
But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target, or he’ll lose not only his father but the boy he loves – forever.
Timekeeper was such a surprisingly good read for me. It’s has a very sweet romance and the plot revolves around a very cool concept about clocktowers. It felt very unique to me which I really appreciated. When reading YA I often get the feeling that I’ve read the story before but not this time. Also, even though it had a bit of a slow start, the ending was magnificent. I was so enthralled that I couldn’t put the book down. If you want to know more of my thoughts on Timekeeper, I have a full review for it right here.
That was it
for my reading in September. It can only get better from here lol. Maybe this
was proof that I should never make a TBR again. I felt so limited and because I
use my library so much, it also felt kind of stressful. I learned a lot but I’m
not doing that again so hopefully you won’t miss it.
I hope you had a great reading month. What was your favorite book of the month? Also, what is your experiences with TBRs? Let me know what you think of them.
Blurb from Victoria Schwab: “An extraordinary debut, at once familiar and utterly original.”
Timekeeper is Tara Sim’s debut novel and with a starting point that is this good, I’m definitely reading more of her books. I didn’t have high expectations of this book going into it, but it caught my attention for its LGBTQ+ themes and because it’s set in Victorian London (although in an alternate reality). There was never really any doubt of me reading it because of those things, but the book ended up giving me so much more.
As always, I’ll give some headlines about what I liked and didn’t like about the book and then talk about it in a more general sense in the end. Even though I gave the book 5 stars, there are still a few things that could have been better but they didn’t do much to hinder my overall enjoyment of the book (but they might be the reason you don’t want to pick it up). I’ll start by getting those out of the way.
Inconceivable and vague magic system
The magic system
concerns time and that is always a tricky one. It’s very rarely done perfectly
and maybe that is why Sim didn’t give us too many details. At least not in the
beginning. I had so many practical questions about time in this world and most
of those weren’t answered until the last third of the book. The information
wasn’t even withheld because plot points made it necessary, so it felt a little
frustrating to be kept in the dark.
It didn’t bother me too
much in the end because it sort of felt like magical realism. It’s something
that’s there that you’re not supposed to understand completely but it still
functions as a backdrop for the characters to maneuver in. The first half of
the book is heavily focused on Danny’s relationship with Colton and the magic
is not that important yet.
It takes a while for the plot to really unfold and instead we spend the time learning about the characters and their relation to each other. It felt a bit dull when I was reading it, but I also realized that it was necessary when I got further along in the book. If you’re a character-driven reader, I doubt that you’ll mind this slow start.
Timekeeper is a fantasy
book that deals with some very relevant and modern topics, and that is my
favorite part of this book. We of course have the LGBTQ+ representation. It’s
handled very well and the characters actually talk about it a lot, which I find
is kind of rare for a fantasy story. Another theme is mental health and
specifically anxiety (not a spoiler, it’s in the first chapter). I have a soft
spot for anxiety representation in fantasy and this is no exception. Minor
themes include grief, identity and family issues.
I found Sim’s writing
really pleasant to read. She’s very good at depicting emotions and creating an
atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re there in London with the characters.
It’s done very elegantly and without the use of too many words. I didn’t feel
flooded by flowery descriptions which left more room for some beautiful
The main character
I loved Danny as a main character! He is very flawed in this first book in a trilogy, which I like because that means character development. I really appreciated how he actually acted like a 17-year-old (often that meant that he was a bit of an idiot but a lovable idiot). Not all YA authors are able to write realistic teens but Sim honestly nailed it. I’m so intrigued to see how she develops his character over the next two books.
Timekeeper is such a recommend-worthy YA novel for those of you who feel that YA fantasy is all the same nowadays. And I will highlight that this IS YA. Not a New Adult book trying to act like YA, which I really appreciated. The writing is simplistic enough and as I mentioned earlier, it felt like I was reading from a teen’s perspective.
I also briefly want to touch upon that fact that this story is set in an alternate Victorian London. ‘Alternate’ is the key word here. If you’re picking this up to experience the vibe and atmosphere of the Victorian Era, you might be disappointed. At one point, I actually thought that the world was more like our 2019-world just without the technological advances. Culturally and linguistically it felt very modern because Sim kind of just created the world she wanted for this story. It works very well in my opinion but you will feel cheated if you go into this thinking that it’s historical fiction.
Finally, I want to summarize this review by saying that I’m so glad I read this book. And I was so surprised by that fact. Even halfway through the book, I didn’t think very highly of it. I was going to give it a solid 3 stars and stow it away in that giant box of ‘okay, but forgettable’ reads. The last fourth I think changed everything and I couldn’t stop reading it. It gave so much more meaning to what I’d read so far and also promised a lot of excitement for the next books. I can’t wait to continue.
“The man who called himself Bors, at least in this place, sneered at the low murmurung that rolled around the valted chamber like the soft gabble of geese.”
First line in The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan
I’ve started a book and I want to talk about it hence this First Impression Friday post. First Impression Friday is hosted by J. W. Martin and the point of it is to talk about a book you’ve just started to give your initial thoughts and predict whether you’ll end up loving the book or not.
Today’s book is The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan, which is book 2 in The Wheel of Time.
By the way, that is the ugliest cover I’ve ever seen.
Currently, I’m on page 74 of 579 so not very far into it but the first 4 chapters completely held my attention. It starts off pretty intense and I was so excited. However, I’m beginning to get the inkling that Jordan is fooling me again. In the first book, I was kind of bothered by how often he built tension but then wouldn’t let it amount to very much. He’d rather give you an in-depth description of a door frame. I find it annoying to be fooled like that so often. I don’t mind it a couple of times because it’s an efficient way to create suspense. In book 1 it was just such an overused tool.
I do still like the book so far. I’m very excited to see how the overall plot pans out and I’m expecting a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. I don’t think I’ll ever give books in this series more than a 4 because of the writing style. Through that perspective, 4 is pretty good.
“Wax crept along the ragged fence in a crouch, his boots scraping the dry ground.”
First line in The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Series: Mistborn: The Alloy Era (Book 1)
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the
verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting
in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed
skyscrapers racing for the clouds.
Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or
religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old
magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world.
Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the
brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.
One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn who can Push on metals with his
Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will.
After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to
return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns
and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or
so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant
tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains
of the Roughs.
I finally picked
up this book which is a follow up to Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy. As you can
tell from my rating, it was a bit of a let down without being a horrible book. It
takes place 300 years after the events in The Hero of Ages and therefore, it
has a completely new cast of characters. It also means that the world has
progressed to a western inspired setting. I think this book has taught me that
I don’t like westerns. Just keep that in
this review up into what I liked and disliked about the book because there’s a
bit of both. We start negative to end on a positive note.
Pacing of the plot
I felt the plot
was unnecessarily slow for such a short book. The edition I read was only 324
pages long, so I was actually expecting it to be very gripping and exhilarating
from start to finish. That’s not what I got. A lot of time is spent on world
building (which I’ll get back to) and so the plot almost felt like a side note.
Like Sanderson forgot that plot is a thing and just quickly thought of
something. In my opinion, the problems could have been resolved much faster but
was drawn out to flesh out the world and the characters.
is weird, I know. Some of things the characters said just made me cringe to
hard. Especially Wax when the topics just resembled anything romantic.
Definitely not where Sanderson is strongest.
The main character Waxillium
Wax for most of the book with a few short POV’s from other characters. That
just means that your level of enjoyment is very dependent upon whether you like
Wax or not. Well, I didn’t hate him. I just didn’t care very much about him and
found him kind of boring. He’s very dry and always very responsible. He
lightened up a bit when he had interactions with Wayne but there were very few
just a joy to read about. He was a necessary opposite to Wax’ gloominess and I
just wish he’d had a more central role to play in the plot. I hope to see more
of him in the next books. I need more of his amazing lines and quick wit.
favorite thing about this book and the reason I still liked it despite the
dislikes I mentioned. Sanderson spends a lot of this book showing how the world
and also the magic have evolved. I found it so intriguing to read about and just
wanted more. It clearly opened up so many possibilities for the progression of
the plot in the next books which I can’t wait to read.
of Law very much functions as an introduction to the next Mistborn Era and it’s
clearly meant to set up the next books. Maybe that’s why I overall found it a
little underwhelming. Especially for a Sanderson novel. I wanted to be tricked
and surprised, but I wasn’t because the plot felt very straightforward and
predictable in my opinion.
I’m going to continue with the series and hope Sanderson returns to his earlier amazing storytelling.