Posted in Book Memes

Top Ten Tuesday – Book Series I Want to Start

“The end of the world started when a pegasus landed on the hood of my car.”

First line in Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

Hi, guys. As it happens, Top Ten Tuesday is 10 years old! Therefore, the prompt for this week is to pick a previous TTT topic, either redoing one you’ve done before or do one that you missed. I haven’t had this blog for very long so I had loads of options in the ‘missed’-pile. My self-picked topic is: book series I want to start. Remember that Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Let’s begin!


Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta

First book: Finnikin of the Rock

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

First book: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb

First book: Assassin’s Apprentice

Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne by Brian Staveley

First book: The Emperor’s Blades

The Winnowing Flame Trilogy by Jen Williams

First book: The Ninth Rain

METRO by Dmitry Glukhovsky

First book: Metro 2033

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

First book: Unwind

The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan

First book: Theft of Swords

Green Creek by T. J. Klune

First book: Wolfsong

The Licanius Trilogy by James Islington

First book: The Shadow of What Was Lost

That was 8 fantasy series and 2 dystopias that I really want to read right this moment. There are loads more on my TBR but these are the ones I most want to start. But as we all know, starting series is the easiest thing in the world. We’re not going to talk about finishing them…

Let me know which series you plan to start next. Happy reading, guys.

Posted in Wrap up

May Reading Wrap Up #WyrdandWonder

“Lift had never robbed a palace before.”

First line in Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson

Hi, guys and welcome to my May wrap up. As you may know, May was the month of Wyrd and Wonder, an online blogging event with the purpose of celebrating all things fantasy. I had such a great time writing my own posts for this but also doing a lot of blog hopping. I found so many other blogs to follow and my TBR thank you and hate you at the same time.

About my reading this month… Just take a look at my stats:

It’s funny how I read one more book than my usual 5, but still had the lowest page-count of the year so far. I actually expected it to be lower because April was such an intense reading month for me with O.W.L.s where I read over 3,000 pages. So I felt like a needed a break at the beginning of May and also knew I had to spend a lot of time on Wyrd and Wonder. However, it’s always nice when the numbers tell me that I’m not the biggest failure.
My ratings have been great though with only one bad book and 5 amazing ones. Among the six book is Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets but I won’t be reviewing that as it is a reread (there will be another post about it though). But let’s get to the other 5 mini-reviews of the month!

Chosen Ones (The Chosen Ones #1)

Author: Veronica Roth

Published: April 7th 2020

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Buzzwords: chosen one PTSD, urban fantasy, Chicago

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

My thoughts

This book was kind of struggle for me to get through. I didn’t care about any of the characters but all for different reasons, and the plot set a snail-like pace. I have a full review if you’re interested in more of my thoughts.

The Merciful Crow (The Merciful Crow #1)

Author: Margaret Owen

Published: July 30th 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buzzwords: caste system, runaway royal, social injustice

Synopsis:

A future chieftain

Fie abides by one rule: look after your own. Her Crow caste of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin, but when they’re called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime.

A fugitive prince

When Crown Prince Jasimir turns out to have faked his death, Fie’s ready to cut her losses—and perhaps his throat. But he offers a wager that she can’t refuse: protect him from a ruthless queen, and he’ll protect the Crows when he reigns.

A too-cunning bodyguard

Hawk warrior Tavin has always put Jas’s life before his, magically assuming the prince’s appearance and shadowing his every step. But what happens when Tavin begins to want something to call his own?

Goodreads

My thoughts

I was so invested in this story! The world and the magic system were incredibly interesting. I found it especially interesting how this world had a caste system and how the author used that to do social commentary. You really feel the social injustice that the lowest caste experiences and how prejudice and superstitions play a role in preventing change.

I also really liked this book because it had one of my favorite tropes in it, which is a runaway royal. It worked really well and I loved the overall dynamic between the 3 main characters. There were some complicated relationships that made this book interesting even when all the action had to take a break. My only criticism is that the pacing seemed to go down in the last half of the book which seemed a little off because there was so much action in the first half. Still really liked it though and would definitely recommend!

Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5)

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Published: November 22nd 2016

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read the synopsis of the first book in the series The Way of Kings.

My thoughts

Firstly, I need to thank this book for putting a smile on my face. The banter between the main character, Lift, and her spren, Wyndle, is such a delight to read. It’s sweet but also plays a big part in each’s characterisation. The only small negative thing I have to say is that it got a little repetitive towards the end. Some of the jokes were a little overused by that point and didn’t carry the same weight.

As this is a novella, my rating is pretty much only based on my own enjoyment. I really liked it, and especially enjoyed that we got to learn more about Lift but also got some more info about the world. It was a good mix of the two.

Chainbreaker (Timekeeper #2)

Author: Tara Sim

Published: January 2nd 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read the synopsis of the first book in the series Timekeeper.

My thoughts

This book has whatever the opposite of ‘middle book syndrome’ is! The way Sim opens up the world and the magic system had me hooked all the way through. You also get some interesting backstory on some of the side characters which was a pleasant surprise. If you’re interested in more of my thoughts, check out my full review.

The Last Sun (The Tarot Sequence #1)

Author: K. D. Edwards

Published: June 12th 2018

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buzzwords: urban fantasy, ruling families, unreliable narrator

Synopsis: Rune Saint John, last child of the fallen Sun Court, is hired to search for Lady Judgment’s missing son, Addam, on New Atlantis, the island city where the Atlanteans moved after ordinary humans destroyed their original home.

With his companion and bodyguard, Brand, he questions Addam’s relatives and business contacts through the highest ranks of the nobles of New Atlantis. But as they investigate, they uncover more than a missing man: a legendary creature connected to the secret of the massacre of Rune’s Court.

In looking for Addam, can Rune find the truth behind his family’s death and the torments of his past?

Goodreads

My thoughts

You know that feeling when a book is so different than what you expected but you’re still left with a sense of “Wow this is amazing!”.

It took me a while to really get into it, though, and I think that’s because the world building is this book’s main weak point. I was kind of confused about a lot of things in the beginning and still feel like there are a lot of questions I need answers to. The magic system is also quite detailed, and I had a hard time wrapping my head around it.

However, what I really liked about this book is that it’s made clear early on that we’re dealing with an unreliable narrator who withholds information from the reader. I love figuring things out anyway, and the author has definitely made it possible to do so.

Without getting spoilery, I just want to mention that I also really enjoyed the themes explored in the book. That’s really what make me itching for the second book. That and the great character work which I just need more of.

Those were all the books I read for Wyrd and Wonder month. Not that I’m going to stop reading fantasy in June. I need to read all the amazing books I added to my TBR this month (or at least try to). I hope you all had a great reading month whether you read fantasy or not. Let me know if you’ve read any of the books I read this month. Happy reading!

Posted in Fun Lists

Intelligent Characters in Fantasy Books

“The letter had said to meet in a bookstore.”

First line in The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman

Hi, guys. Another post for Wyrd and Wonder and for this one I’m focusing on the characters of our beloved genre. Specifically the smart ones. It’s one of those things that’s difficult to qualify because when is someone intelligent?
As someone who’s often appointed “the clever one” in friend groups, I’ve pondered that question a lot. There are many ways to be intelligent and by that I don’t mean that people can be experts on different topics. In my opinion, it’s more about how you think, reason, problem-solve etc. than how many facts you can list even though that’s part of it too.

To emphazise, I always find that Socrates quote inspiring:

“The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.”

With that in mind, let’s look at some fantasy characters who embody what it means to be intelligent.

Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

Let’s just get the obvious one out of the way first. I think we can all agree that Harry would have died a lot sooner without Hermione as his friend. Voldemort would have defeated them all in book 1, and that would have been the end.
The great thing about Hermione is that she’s intelligent in so many ways. She’s at the top of her class every year and knows pretty much all there is to know about magic. Several times, she also proves her skills in general problem solving and deductive reasoning. Personally, I also appreaciate the moments where she proves to be emotionally intelligent. She’s able to read other people’s emotions very well, and we often see her giving advice on that account. This is something she learns as the books goes on, and it’s such a necessary skill when you’re friends with Harry and Ron.

Kvothe (The Name of the Wind)

Even though I’ve only read the first book in this series, it’s very clear to me that Kvothe is in love with knowledge. He seems to be willing to stop at nothing to learn.
Kvothe has several skill sets (which he won’t hesitate to point out to you) that make him highly intelligent in my mind. He understands the world’s complicated magic, he’s muscial and he has impeccable survival skills. Even with limited ressources, he’s able to rise in society and get what he wants anyway.

Quentin Coldwater (The Magicians)

Where to begin with Quentin? He might not be the most obvious entry on this list because his intelligence isn’t always at the forefront in this trilogy by Lev Grossman. He has his share of problems weighing him down but once in a while, we get a glimps of his cleverness.
First of all, magic in this universe is far from easy and requires the user to be an expert on topics such as science and langauges. And Quentin is one of the better ones. Throughout the books, you often find him trying to accomplish feats that very few other magicians has even tried. So even though he does fail once in a while, he also succeeds by taking an analytical approach to the problem.

Marasi (Mistborn: Second Era)

Marasi is badass for many reasons but most importantly because she’s smart. In her world, women still have to fight for their place in society and Marasi is one of the front runners. She’s one of the very few women who went to university, and so she’s very much what you would consider book-smart. However, that is not enough for her and throughout the series we constantly find her on a quest for knowledge. Even when that might put her in danger. She loves to do her research and will approach a problem from any angle possible as a true university student.

Victor Vale and Eli Cardale (Vicious)

I’m cheating and grouping these two together (although they would probably kill me for that). The whole plot of this book evolves around the two of them taking a very scientific approach in their efforts to get… superpowers. They believe themselves able to crack the code and begin extensive research and dangerous experiments to succeed. They are highly confident in their abilities and with good reason. They are the top 2 students at their school and not to be messed with.

Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard)

It’s not the conventional type of intelligence you find in Locke Lamora but it’s what makes him the best at what he does: stealing. As a renowned con artist, Lamora is an expert when it comes to researching and planning a con. He pays attention to the smallest of details because he knows their importance. As a result of this, he’s often able to manipulate people into doing what he wants them to do, even if that is to willingly give their money to him.

Jasnah Kholin (The Stormlight Archive)

Jasnah is a scholar down to the bone. She’s the one who people around her rely on for information on pretty much anything. She’s known for being meticulous in her research of historic events and won’t accept a truth until she has definitive proof. One of her greatest strenghts is her ability to engage in discussion with people she disagrees with. She realizes the potential these discussions have of giving her a new perspective to do research from. That is a great sign of intelligence: to recognize that you don’t know everything.

Kaz Brekker (Six of Crows)

Another entry that might not seem like the most obvious choice. However, don’t kid yourself into thinking that Kaz is stupid just because he lacks any kind of formal education. He grew up on the streets of Ketterdam and had to have a steep learning curve when it came to surviving. You can easily call him streetwise but Kaz is so much more than that. He’s able to manipulate both friends and foes in his efforts to execute his detailed plans. One of his greatest strengths is his ability to read people, meaning no one is able to lie to him without getting caught.

Tyrion Lannister (A Song of Ice and Fire)

Finally, we have the political mastermind. Tyrion is not without flaws and you can question several of his decisions in regard to his personal life, BUT he knows how to talk his way out of a problem. He’s good with people. He knows the importance of good connections in times of trouble and uses those to protect himself. In the few occasions he’s given responsibility, he also proves himself able to rise to the challenge through scheming and talking.

That was 10 characters I highly admire. I always appreciate it when authors create smart main characters so I needed to celecrate to ones I already love. Feel free to write your own favorite smart characters in the comments. We can’t get enough of those. Happy reading!

Posted in Discussions

Wyrd and Wonder: Embracing the Nuances of the Fantasy Genre

“When the letter came I was out in the fields, binding up my last sheaf of wheat with hands that were shaking so much I could hardly tie the knot.”

First line in The Binding by Bridget Collins

Hi, guys. Welcome to this little discussion post about something I’ve noticed when listening to/reading general debates about fantasy (by “general” I mean not a specific sub-genre). That is that there’s a tendency to reduce the genre to something simplistic and thereby forgetting all the many types of fantasy books that exist.

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m also guilty of doing this. We all are, because that’s how we discuss concepts as human beings. We simplify and generalize aspects of a topic or a group to make it easier to talk about. That’s how we talk about concepts and discuss them.

Now what I’ve noticed is that fantasy is often reduced to the same things. For example, I’ve often heard a sentence like this: “This fantasy book is like *insert famous contemporary/historical fiction novel* but with dragons!”. Dragons seem to be the most talked about when it comes to fantastical creatures and are often used as examples. I know fantasy creatures might not be the most groundbreaking topic but I’m just trying to prove my point with it. Because you see, by always mentioning the dragons, we exclude the unicorns, the trolls, the goblins and all the other creatures that are specific to certain books. Again, nothing wrong with dragons but we could get an entirely different discussion by talking about unicorns. This is getting a little abstract but it’s really just to say that I sometimes miss diversity in fantasy debates.

Another nuance I really want to discuss is the fact that not all fantasy falls under the category of epic fantasy. I think there’s a tendency to talk about fantasy in the way of how epic it is. Epic battles, epic quests, epic worldbuilding and magic systems. That’s all good. We all love that but a book doesn’t need a crazy and detailed magic system to be considered fantasy. It doesn’t even have to include a single battle (I know, shocking!). However, these topics are some of the most common when discussing fantasy in general. In these discussions, I believe we’re for one excluding the more atmospheric, slow paced, character driven books. They make up a large part of the market but are often forgotten and maybe not thought of as actual fantasy. Some examples of these kinds of books are The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Circe by Madeline Miller and The Binding by Bridget Collins (not going to talk about the fact that these are written by women because that’s a discussion I’m actually afraid of).

By forgetting these nuances, we reduce the fantasy genre to less than what it actually is and forget what it can do. I’m also sure that this has an effect on how non-fantasy readers think about the genre. That fantasy books are all 10-book series with lots of information and too many dragons. That could scare anyone from dipping their toes into the genre, and that’s a shame when there are so many different types of fantasy books.

All of this of course begs the question: is it even possible to discuss fantasy without specifying a certain sub-genre? I’m not sure I have an answer for that but I would love to know what you guys think.

I understand how easy it is to fall into the epic and high fantasy category when talking fantasy books, and maybe it’s because they don’t really blend in elements from other genres (at least not to a very great extent). They might even be considered the “true fantasy books” (in lack of a better term) and therefore more relevant in a fantasy debate. When a fantasy book also has elements from historical fiction, contemporaries or romance novels, everything just gets a little bit more muddied and harder to talk about in generalized terms.

Here at the end I just want to clarify that I’m not hating on anyone or accusing people of talking about fantasy “wrong”. I just think it’s an important discussion to remember all the nuances in the fantasy genre. But hey, chat with me in the comments. Let me know if you’ve noticed some of the same trends or if I’m just listening to/reading the wrong discussions. Happy reading, guys!

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 Uncategorized

Wyrd and Wonder: May TBR

“I wake with his name in my mouth.”

First line in Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Hi, guys. Welcome to my TBR post for May where I’m participating in Wyrd and Wonder for the first time. Wyrd and Wonder is a month-long blogging event where we celebrate all things fantasy. There are a lot of ways to participate if you’re interested. You can find more information right here or follow on Twitter @wyrdandwonder. I highly recommend following the Twitter account even if you’re not participating yourself. It’s all hosted by Lisa from Dear Geek Place, Imryl from One More and Jorie from Jorie Loves A Story.

So for the month of May, I’m only going to be reading fantasy (yay!), and I’ve picked 5 books to read. That’s like my standard number for a month so I see it as very doable. Among the books, I have one of my most anticipated releases of the year, a few sequels and I’m also starting two new series. Let’s look at them!

Chosen Ones (The Chosen Ones #1) by Veronica Roth

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.

Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5) by Brandon Sanderson

Three years ago, Lift asked a goddess to stop her from growing older–a wish she believed was granted. Now, in Edgedancer, the barely teenage nascent Knight Radiant finds that time stands still for no one. Although the young Azish emperor granted her safe haven from an executioner she knows only as Darkness, court life is suffocating the free-spirited Lift, who can’t help heading to Yeddaw when she hears the relentless Darkness is there hunting people like her with budding powers. The downtrodden in Yeddaw have no champion, and Lift knows she must seize this awesome responsibility.

The Last Sun (The Tarot Sequence #1) by K. D. Edwards

Rune Saint John, last child of the fallen Sun Court, is hired to search for Lady Judgment’s missing son, Addam, on New Atlantis, the island city where the Atlanteans moved after ordinary humans destroyed their original home.

With his companion and bodyguard, Brand, he questions Addam’s relatives and business contacts through the highest ranks of the nobles of New Atlantis. But as they investigate, they uncover more than a missing man: a legendary creature connected to the secret of the massacre of Rune’s Court.

In looking for Addam, can Rune find the truth behind his family’s death and the torments of his past?

The Merciful Crow (The Merciful Crow #1) by Margaret Owen

A future chieftain.

Fie abides by one rule: look after your own. Her Crow caste of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin, but when they’re called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime.

A fugitive prince.

When Crown Prince Jasimir turns out to have faked his death, Fie’s ready to cut her losses—and perhaps his throat. But he offers a wager that she can’t refuse: protect him from a ruthless queen, and he’ll protect the Crows when he reigns.

A too-cunning bodyguard.

Hawk warrior Tavin has always put Jas’s life before his, magically assuming the prince’s appearance and shadowing his every step. But what happens when Tavin begins to want something to call his own?

Chainbreaker (Timekeeper #2) by Tara Sim

Clock mechanic Danny Hart knows he’s being watched. But by whom, or what, remains a mystery. To make matters worse, clock towers have begun falling in India, though time hasn’t Stopped yet. He’d hoped after reuniting with his father and exploring his relationship with Colton, he’d have some time to settle into his new life. Instead, he’s asked to investigate the attacks.

After inspecting some of the fallen Indian towers, he realizes the British occupation may be sparking more than just attacks. And as Danny and Colton unravel more secrets about their past, they find themselves on a dark and dangerous path–one from which they may never return.

Those are the books I plan to read in May. I’m also going to be posting a lot about fantasy. I have quite a few posts I’m very excited to share with you. Also can’t wait to see what everyone else will be doing. May is going to be great! Happy reading.

Posted in Wrap up

March 2020 Reading Wrap Up

“The trees grew dense and close together in the quarantined zone, magic humming through their branches and stretching in their roots beneath soil and snow.”

First line in The Electric Heir by Victoria Lee

Hi, guys. March didn’t exactly turn out to be a typical month. The world has been crazy and strange but it seems like we’re nearing something that looks like an end to it all here in Denmark. Our government has talked about an opening of society in 2 weeks if all goes well until then. It should still be a slow and gradual opening but it’s something. I’m sitting here hoping that the libraries will be the first open. Pleeeeease!

In other news, March was also the month were I started a Twitter account for this blog @FirstLineReader. I’ve never used Twitter before but I’ve been considering starting one for a while. Now with the O.W.L.s happening in April, it seemed necessary to have an account to actually be a part of that. Unfortunately, my anxiety is just spiking over it because there are so many unknown factors involved. So yeah, I have a Twitter account but I’m going to take my time figuring out what I want to do with it.

Reading-wise, my month was actually pretty good. Just take a look at my stats:

The average rating was highly affected by the 2 (!!) 5-star reads I had this month. Some duds found their way in as well but it was an overall good month for me. So here you have 6 mini-reviews of the books I read in March.

The Library of the Unwritten (Hell’s Library #1)

Author: A. J. Hackwith

Published: October 1st 2019

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Buzzwords: Books about books, angels and demons, diversity, magical library

Synopsis: Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing– a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.

But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil’s Bible. The text of the Devil’s Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell….and Earth.

Goodreads

My thoughts

I loved it! It’s a character focused story with a cool concept about a magical library so how could I not love it. I have a full review right here if you’re interested in more of my gushings about this book. 

Infinity Son (Infinity Cycle #1)

Author: Adam Silvera

Published: January 14th 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Buzzwords: Urban fantasy, superpowers, fantastical creatures, LGBTQ+

Synopsis: Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.

Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.

Goodreads

My thoughts

I’m disappointed. This book didn’t manage to live up the quality we’re used to seeing from Adam Silvera in his contemporary stories. His first attempt at fantasy sadly shows that this is not his usual genre. The world building is done very offhandedly which left me confused. I felt like I had to stop reading several times because I was wondering how the world worked and fit together. I wanted that information from the book itself instead. 

I had similar issues whenever there was a fight scene. I didn’t feel like I got enough information. People were moving around and doing stuff without my knowledge and then suddenly they were somewhere else (often a very convenient place). It’s very difficult to write good fight scenes because you can also give too much information and slow down an action-packed scene but in Infinity Son I needed more. 

I did quite like the messages and the themes that this book wanted to highlight. Especially those surrounding family and how to be brave. Those felt very much like Silvera. I also think the ending was quite good although not perfect. It’s making me think that I’ll probably read the next book in the series, even though this first one wasn’t much to my liking.

seperator

A Touch of Death (The Outlands Pentalogy #1)

Author: Rebecca Crunden

Published: February 23rd 2017

Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopia

My rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Buzzwords: Oppressive government, horrible futuristic disease, romance

Synopsis: A thousand years in the future, the last of humanity live inside the walls of the totalitarian Kingdom of Cutta. The rich live in Anais, the capital city of Cutta, sheltered from the famine and disease which ravage the rest of the Kingdom. Yet riches and power only go so far, and even Anaitians can be executed. It is only by the will of the King that Nate Anteros, son of the King’s favourite, is spared from the gallows after openly dissenting. But when he’s released from prison, Nate disappears.

A stark contrast, Catherine Taenia has spent her entire life comfortable and content. The daughter of the King’s Hangman and in love with Thom, Nate’s younger brother, her life has always been easy, ordered and comfortable. That is, where it doesn’t concern Nate. His actions sullied not only his future, but theirs. And unlike Thom, Catherine has never forgiven him.

Two years pass without a word, and then one night Nate returns. But things with Nate are never simple, and when one wrong move turns their lives upside down, the only thing left to do is run where the King’s guards cannot find them – the Outlands. Those wild, untamed lands which stretch around the great walls of the Kingdom, filled with mutants and rabids.

Goodreads

My thoughts

This was an exciting take on a dystopian story with a very dark world. It had adventure and romance, while also dealing with themes of grief and finding yourself after losing someone close to you. If you’re interested in more of my thoughts, you’re welcome to check out my full review of it.

The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms #4)

Author: Cinda Williams Chima

Published: October 23rd 2012

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Go to Goodreads to read the synopsis of the first book in the series, The Demon King.

My thoughts

I was blown away by this ending to the Seven Realms series! Mind you, I went into it with very low expectations because I deeply hated the previous book in the series. The Crimson Crown, however, gave me everything I wanted.

The pacing was great. I wasn’t bored because things kept happening. It was easy to see how all the events were related, and how they were all just small stepping stones to the great finale. Everything had a purpose.

I also loved how the stakes were raised so that I was actually afraid for these characters. There are some dark and brutal scenes that I applaud Chima for putting in a book/series that is quite romance heavy.

Finally, I want to say that I did find the book a bit predictable. Its foreshadowing is pretty obvious but I won’t hold that against a YA book. However, I did not see the final plot twist coming, and that was basically what made me realize that I had to give this book 5 stars.

The Electric Heir (Feverwake #2)

Author: Victoria Lee

Published: March 17th 2020

Genre: NA Science Fiction/Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Go to Goodreads to read the synopsis of the first book in the duology, The Fever King.

My thoughts

After finishing the duology, I can say that these books will stay with me. They tell a very impactful story that really culminates here in The Electric Heir. It’s centered very heavily around the topic of abuse and how victims deal with it later on. I really like it when these kinds of topics are discussed in a fantasy setting, and this is no exception. Lee has managed to create a world that isn’t just a backdrop but actually amplify the story she wants to tell. A story that is based on a very real-life issue.

Along with the well-crafted world, Lee has also created two main characters that you can’t help but root for. They are the heart of the story and each represents a different aspect of the abuse situation that the author wants to highlight. And she doesn’t hold back.

My only criticism is that the story was a little slow sometimes and I couldn’t help but get the feeling that we were just waiting for all hell to break loose. And it could have done so earlier. I wished that some of the sub-plots were developed a bit more so that there were something to fill out the gaps. Still a duology that I will highly recommend!

Master of Sorrows (The Silent Gods #1)

Author: Justin Call

Published: August 8th 2019

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Buzzwords: orphan boy, school setting, detailed culture and mythology

Synopsis: You have heard the story before – of a young boy, orphaned through tragic circumstances, raised by a wise old man, who comes to a fuller knowledge of his magic and uses it to fight the great evil that threatens his world.

But what if the boy hero and the malevolent, threatening taint were one and the same?

What if the boy slowly came to realize he was the reincarnation of an evil god? Would he save the world . . . or destroy it?

Among the Academy’s warrior-thieves, Annev de Breth is an outlier. Unlike his classmates who were stolen as infants from the capital city, Annev was born in the small village of Chaenbalu, was believed to be executed, and then unknowingly raised by his parents’ killers.

Seventeen years later, Annev struggles with the burdens of a forbidden magic, a forgotten heritage, and a secret deformity. When he is subsequently caught between the warring ideologies of his priestly mentor and the Academy’s masters, he must choose between forfeiting his promising future at the Academy or betraying his closest friends. Each decision leads to a deeper dilemma, until Annev finds himself pressed into a quest he does not wish to fulfil.

Will he finally embrace the doctrine of his tutors, murder a stranger, and abandon his mentor? Or will he accept the more difficult truth of who he is . . . and the darker truth of what he may become . . .

Goodreads

My thoughts

Well, the fact that this book took me 2 whole months to finish should tell you how much I didn’t like it. It has an incredibly slow pace because we practically follow the main character for every single minute of his life for 3 days. That means we also get the boring, everyday kind of stuff described in detail and I’m just sitting here wondering… why?

After the slow start and middle, it does pick up the pace a little towards the end but I still found most scenes too long. Like they were being dragged out unnecessarily and that left me kind of frustrated.

On top of that, I don’t like stupid main characters and Annev here is on another level entirely. He’s even supposed to be smart (and also think he is) which makes it even worse. His cringey “romance” with practically the only female character of the book didn’t improve my opinion of him either.

I will say that the one thing that impressed me about the book was the world building. It’s very detailed in terms of mythology especially, and it’s clear that the author put a lot of effort into crafting it. It’s something I expect will come more into play in the next books in the series.

That was all the books I read in the month of March. Have you read any of them or plan to? How was March for you? Chat with me in the comments.

Posted in Uncategorized

O.W.L.s Magical Readathon 2020 – TBR

“Here is the boy, drowning.”

First line in More Than This by Patrick Ness

Hi, guys. Today I’m giving you something as rare as a monthly TBR from me. I decided that I wanted to participate in the yearly O.W.L.s Magical Readathon, which is so brilliantly hosted by G from the YouTube channel Book Roast. I’m been following her for a while and saw how much effort she put into the N.E.W.T.s Readathon last fall. I figured I had to try it out so here we are.

Her announcement video is right here:

If you want to learn more about all the details, you should check out the website. The readathon takes place between April 1st and April 30th.

The career I’ve chosen to go for is

Trader of Magical Tomes

Key traits: Eager to learn – Attentive – Calm – Thorough

It’s basically the magical equivalent of a bookshop owner. Of course, that’s what I’m going to be.

The classes (and prompts) required are:

ClassPrompt
Ancient Runes (Heart rune)A book with a heart on the cover or in the title
Charms (Lumos Maxima)A book with a white cover
Transfiguration (Animagus)A book or series that include shapeshifting
History of Magic (Witch hunts)A book featuring witches or wizards

My Picks

Read a book with a heart on the cover or in the title: The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne.

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.

Read a book with a white cover: Lord of Secrets by Breanna Teintze

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 . .

A book that includes shapeshifting: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

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.

A book featuring witches or wizards: Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Synopsis

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

Those are the books I plan to be the ones which will get me my necessary O.W.L.s. However, things are complicated by the fact that currently, all libraries in Denmark are closed (along with everything else). That means it’s a little difficult for me to get the books but I’m trying to work around it by using ebooks. Just letting you know that yes, this is my tbr but it is subject to change in case things don’t work out according to plan.

I’m so excited to participate in my first Magical Readathon! Please let me know if you’re participating too and what career you’ve chosen. Feel free to link you tbr in the comments if you have one. Happy reading!

Posted in Book Memes

Top Ten Tuesday – My Spring TBR

“The Friday before winter break, my mom packed me an overnight bag and a few deadly weapons, and took me to a new boarding school.”

First line in The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan

Hi, guys and welcome to this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post. This week’s topic is pretty straight forward: my spring TBR. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

I’m so bad at planning so many months worth of reading but I gave it a try. A lot of them are continuations of series but I’m also planning on starting a few new ones. That means that I have 7 books on this list but it’s technically longer with all their sequels. Enjoy!

The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan

I want to continue my journey through The Wheel of Time and get as far as possible before the show starts. The Dragon Reborn is book 3 in the series.

The Electric Heir by Victoria Lee

This is the sequel to The Fever King, which I read last year. I’m so excited for the continuation which is out today!

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

I need to get to this one soon! I made a 5-star prediction post several months ago now, and this is the only one from that list I still need to read. It’s also my last chance to actually have a 5-star read from that list.

Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson

Technically a short story/novella from The Stormlight Archive series but it has the size of a regular book basically. I only need to read this and then Oathbringer before I’m caught up with the series which I would love to be before the next book comes out in November.

Chainbreaker by Tara Sim

This is the sequel to Timekeeper, which I read September last year and loved and then never continued with the series. It’s stupid because I already feel like I might have to read a summary of Timekeeper before I jump into this one.

The Absolutist by John Boyne

This is mainly on here because I need to read a standalone once in a while. I can’t keep starting series. I’d love to just finish a book and not feel the pressure to pick up a sequel immediately. I’ve been in the mood for historical fiction lately, and this one sounded quite interesting.

Those were a couple of the books I hope to read in the next few months. Let me know what your reading plans are. Happy reading!

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith

“Books ran away when they grew restless, when they grew unruly, or when they grew real.”

First line in The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith

Author: A. J. Hackwith

Published: October 1st 2019

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Buzzwords: Books about books, angels and demons, diversity, magical library

Synopsis: Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing– a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.

But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil’s Bible. The text of the Devil’s Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell….and Earth.

Goodreads

Hi, guys. You’ve stumbled upon my review of The Library of the Unwritten. Before going into this book, my expectations were very high. The synopsis on its own presents such a unique concept or rather several unique concepts.

At the center of the story you have this magical library that stores all the books that have only ever been an idea and not an actual book. And oh yeah, it’s in Hell because of course it is. However, what really caught my attention was the fact that characters come to life to look for their authors (or sometimes to just live their own life). Isn’t that the dream of every reader? To talk to fictional characters? Well, all of that made me have really high hopes for this book. 

Because of the world’s originality, there’s a lot for the reader to learn at the beginning of the book. However, the author avoids being info-dumpy because the plot takes off pratically immediately so the reader kind of learns things along the way. It left me a little confused in the beginning of this book because there was a lot of information to grab onto and the plot wasn’t all that clear to start with. 

It became a little bit of a tough start for me but the further along I got, I became more and more mesmerized by the amount of thought that went into this book. It needed that build-up in the beginning because the pay-off later on is a stroke of genius. Or rather several strokes. You can tell the author cares deeply about books and writing because of it. I love when something like that transcends the page.

Another thing that hooked me was the characters. It’s definitely a character-focused story but not the kind that doesn’t also have a plot though. We follow a group of very (!) different people while they go on a quest-like adventure through different worlds. Every single one of these characters is so well written. They are complex and well rounded with intriguing backstories that kept me invested all the way through. They are now characters that I love with all of my heart and yes, I would die for them

I just quickly want to touch on the writing. It was something I had to get used to because it’s a little complex with some very long sentences and complicated words. This doesn’t mean that it’s bad by any means. It just meant that I wasn’t able to fly through it and I wouldn’t categorize it as an easy read. My non-native-speaking English mind had to pay attention in this one. 

Finally, I want to say that this book not only had such cool themes about books and writing, but also about mental health. You read about some raw and honest emotions throughout the book and I felt all of them. Hackwith makes it all so realistic and relevant even though it’s a fantasy book. She proves that the genre can provide so much more than just escapism. 

So those were my thoughts on The Library of the Unwritten which is now one of my favorite books. I can’t wait for the sequel, The Archive of the Forgotten which is out October 6th. 

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