Monday, 9 August 2021

Book Review: House of Earth and Blood

About the book

Title: House of Earth and Blood
Series: Crescent City #1
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Publication: March 2nd, 2021
Pages: 799
Read: July 2021


My Copy

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Edition: Paperback
Purchase Location: Book Depository

My Rating:


Goodreads Summary

Half-Fae, half-human Bryce Quinlan loves her life. Every night is a party and Bryce is going to savour all the pleasures Lunathion - also known as Crescent City - has to offer. But then a brutal murder shakes the very foundations of the city, and brings Bryce's world crashing down. Two years later, Bryce still haunts the city's most notorious nightclubs - but seeking only oblivion now. Then the murderer attacks again. And when an infamous Fallen angel, Hunt Athalar, is assigned to watch her every footstep, Bryce knows she can't forget any longer. As Bryce and Hunt fight to unravel the mystery, and their own dark pasts, the threads they tug ripple through the underbelly of the city, across warring continents, and down to the deepest levels of Hel, where things that have been sleeping for millennia are beginning to stir ... With unforgettable characters and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom - and the power of love.


My Spoiler Free Review


Wow! I am so glad I brought this book into quarantine with me, because I could not put it down and read through most of this book in 2 days straight. I am absolutely impressed with how good this book was and genuinly surprised that I read so many disappointed reviews before reading it myself. So I'm gladly going to share my thoughts on this book and try and convince you to read it as well, if you haven't picked it up yet!

“Through love, all is possible.”

The story starts with a loooot of information, setting the time and place of Crescent City, an imaginary city in Lunathion. I think Sarah J. Maas did a great job with the world building in this one, even though it might come across like "info dumping" in the beginning. Some might say that the build up of the story takes way too much time and pages, but honestly, that's what's needed in a book like this. Otherwise you would not be able to follow the story and understand the setting at all. However, I have to admit that I had a bit of a hard time getting settled in this new urban fantasy world as it contains literally every paranormal being I've ever heard of and many more.

The rest of this review definitely contains spoilers!


Bryce Quinlan: our half-human-half-fae protagonist is a party girl and a very strong minded woman. Tragedy hits close to her when her best friend Danika, a wolf pack leader, and her entire pack gets killed in their appartment whilst she's out partying. Part of the group is Connor, a guy that has been trying to go on a date with Bryce for five years and finally got her to accept one. When Bryce discovers the murder scene at her appartment, an unknown creature runs away and she tries to follow and hunt it down, unsuccessfully. However, she finds it attacking and injuring an angel and tries to rescue him until help arrives. It's very clear that this tragedy traumatzes Bryce, and she only keeps up appearances of being a party girl to everyone else as a facade after these events. In truth she stops drinking and taking drugs and becomes very isolated. By taking a loan out of her salary to buy a chimera's freedom from her boss, it becomes clear that she also has a truly good heart. So, a party girl on the outside, but a softie with a golden heart on the inside. Just the kind of main character that I like!

“...There's nothing wrong with a party girl. I don't get why the world thinks there is...Its easier for me---when people assume the worst about what I am. It lets me see who they really are -- Bryce”

The build up between Bryce and Connor's possible relationship already made the first couple of chapters seem like such a good intro, because from the beginning I shipped them and I had a very bad feeling that Connor would die too early. Sarah J. Maas managed to break my heart in the first 10% of the book already. Cue Hunt Athalar. A worthy replacement for the love interest for Bryce. The Second Love trope starts to creep up on us, and I feel like all readers expect the unsurprising. Whilst Hunt and Bryce have to work together to try and figure out who murdered Danika, they slowly but surely develop sexual feelings for one another. And boooyyy did I ship them!

Bryce starts off as very closed off and being rude to Hunt whilst she tries and starts to investigate her best friend's murder. The angel Hunt becomes her shadow in order to protect her from any dangers that could arise, not knowing that she is perfectly able to defend herself as she also has a lot of friends in high places. More and more, Hunt discovers the different layers that make up Bryce and they start to like each other, and gradually develop more feelings. When those feelings are nearly at a peak, Hunt gets injured badly as his boss and owner (as Hunt became a slave after a failed rebellion of the angels) Micah cuts off his wings after they wrongly accuse Danika's mother Sabine, the Prime apparent of the wolves, of murdering Danika and things escalate.

Then, Hunt's betrayal (wanting to buy synth to overthrow his master Micah and knowing and keeping the drug details from Bryce) came as a bit of a shock to me. It was very surprising and out of the blue for me, even though I expected something to mess up his "perfect personality" and "boyfriend material" characteristics. Nonetheless, I am really glad that Sarah J. Maas decided against the endless-seeming moping around and feeling betrayed trope of her protagonist and actually made Bryce realize very quickly that she still wanted to save Hunt, when she finds out that he's been sold to his worst enemy.

“I see you, Quinlan, he silently conveyed to her. And I like all of it. Right back at you, her half smile seemed to say.”

This leads to the epic final 100-ish pages of the book, that everybody else has marked as the "redemption pages" of the book, if they did not enjoy the beginning and middle part of it. Action packed like nothing else and absolutely gripping, these pages are what made this book such a great read! Bryce and Hunt face their deaths multiple times in these chapters and every time all hope seems lost, but they power through it! Bryce turns out to be Heir to the Starborn Fae, just like her brother Ruhn, but she's even more powerful than him and their father, the King.

Ruhn Danaan: To be quite honest, I don't really care that much for this character! I know a lot of people like Ruhn, but so far I'm not very impressed. I'm glad he's a good brother and tries to take care of Bryce and doesn't care about their heritage and standing in the royal line. He's not intimitaded by Bryce after finding out just how powerful she truly is and I really like the dynamic between him and his friends Dylan and Flynn! But other than that I feel like his character still has to prove himself to me. Hopefully in the next book! I am rather looking forward to his "relationship" with the new witch queen Hypaxia, because I'm sure this will turn into something very interesting as she's already proven herself to be a very powerful character! She's the one who freed Hunt after all, so that's already all I need to know to make me appreciate her role!

Micah: The big baddie. Turns out, Micah was way worse than I initially thought. I did suspect that he had some dirt on himself, but for him to turn out to be the villain of the story, that I honestly did not see coming! One thing that I really don't like, is when a villain thinks of themselves as untouchable and just tells their entire plan and reasoning for their actions to their victims, who will obviously win against them in the end. This is just such a useless waste of time, but was necessary for Bryce to clear her and Danika's name in front of everybody else (as it was conveniently broadcasted to all the powerful people of the lands). I think Micah made for a great villain and the writing was superb!

Lehabah: This fire sprite was honestly one of the cutest character in the story. I don't know why, but she kind of reminded me of Tinker Bell...

“Then let the world know that my first act of freedom was to help my friends.”

Jesiba: I really don't know what to think of her. The most interesting chapter including her was the epilogue, and I'm guessing she will play a bigger role in the next book, but right now I don't really know if I like her. She always acted very indifferent towards Bryce, even though I think she should have cut her some slack? What I want to know is, if she knew about Bryce's true heritage all this time, or if she was surprised and found out at the same time as everybody else.

Aidas: I'm very excited to see more of Aidas in the next book, I think he's going to play a very big role! Somehow he knew about Bryce's heritage and has been appearing as "a friend" to her since she went to the Oracle as a child. I want to find out what his involvement with Jesiba is and how they know one another!

So all in all after writing this review, I will give this book a rating of 4.5 Stars even though I initially rated this a 5 star read.


I'd like to know

Have you read House of Earth and Blood or any other of Sarah J. Maas' books? Are you as much a fan as I am? I’d love to hear what you think! So please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!


Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Book Review: The Gilded Ones

About the book

Title: The Gilded Ones
Series: Deathless #1
Author: Namina Forna
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic, PTSD, Feminism, High Fantasy
Publication: February 9th, 2021
Pages: 400
Read: April 2021


My Copy

Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd.
Edition: Paperback
Purchase Location: Book Depository

My Rating:


Goodreads Summary

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in Otera, a deeply patriarchal ancient kingdom, where a woman's worth is tied to her purity, and she must bleed to prove it. But when Deka bleeds gold - the colour of impurity, of a demon - she faces a consequence worse than death. She is saved by a mysterious woman who tells Deka of her true nature: she is an Alaki, a near-immortal with exceptional gifts. The stranger offers her a choice: fight for the Emperor, with others just like her, or be destroyed...


My Spoiler Free Review


First of all, I don’t know how to describe all the feelings that I have for this book in this review! This book has now become my second favourite book of 2021 (Legendborn is still #1), and I can only hope that so many more people will read this book and give it the attention that it deserves! If you’re reading this review, I strongly recommend that you order your own copy of The Gilded Ones in case you don’t have it already!!

Once I started reading The Gilded Ones, I couldn’t put it down. I immediately got lost in the world of Deka and alaki and had serious troubles concentrating on school work (tbh, I totally ignored all university work until I finished this book, so I cannot recommend anyone starting this book when you’re in the middle of exams or a stressful phase where you need to concentrate on work). Be warned, this book will capture you from the very first page with its fast story pace and a fascinating new world filled with great characters.

A warning: this book talks about violence, PTSD, oppression, discrimination, abuse and bullying (mainly) towards women in detail.

We are introduced to a very patriarchal ancient kingdom, where women are oppressed and serve no other purpose in men’s eyes other than being useful to their families. Early on, we already get introduced to some very disturbing (in my opinion) passages from their “bible”:

And upon the fourth day, he created woman - a helpmeet to lift man to his sacred potential, his divine glory. Woman is the Infinite Father's greatest gift to mankind. Solace for his darkest hour.
It is shocking to see and read how all the girls and women in this book live by these believes and how little they think of their own worth because this is what they were taught to think since they were born. They to 100 per cent submit themselves to the Infinite Father. The scary part is to think how close to reality this can come. There are a lot of tribes or religions or cultures in the world, that still to this very day think this way and treat their women in this suppressing way. And of course, in our very "advanced" world there are still a lot of people (men) who think very little of women’s worth and capabilities and sadly we probably all encounter this from time to time, which just shouldn’t happen. As this is a topic very close to my heart and I hate seeing women / girls struggle in any way because of “men-who-deem-themselves-superior”, I sometimes had troubles processing what I was reading here. But I feel like this book shaped my worldview on this a bit more clearly and I feel so much richer for having read this. This is definitely a central theme in this book. We see this “ideology” reflected or appearing on every page.

If girls bleed gold (instead of red) blood, they are branded demons, and the priests take them away from their families and most often try to kill them immediately. So when nearly 16 year old Deka’s turn comes up for the ritual where they give the villages’ girls a small cut in order to find out if they’re “pure”, we know something is about to go down. But before it gets to that point, the village is under attack from the Deathshrieks, vicious creatures that attack village after village in the kingdom and kill the villagers. This is where Deka first finds out that she has powers, as she can command the Deathshrieks to go away from her village. But right after she saved the remaining villagers, they all turn on her and try to kill her.

Deka: From the beginning, I had a strong feeling that there was something special about Deka. She undergoes a massive character development, and I am so happy to see her at the end of the book as a strong young woman that can stand up for herself. She isn’t the mindless believer she was in the beginning anymore and she definitely has strong leadership skills. I am looking forward to her using more of her powers and finding out more of the truth of the kingdom’s history.

Deka’s friends Britta, Belcalis, Katya and the others are such an important feature in this book! I really loved how the focus in this book wasn't on a boy/man that Deka fell in love with, rather it was on her friends always helping her through everything and standing by her side. Friendship is probably one of the biggest topics in this book as well and it shines such a great light on this group of friends who help each other overcome their horrible past experiences. When somebody is near a panic attack or uncomfortable they're there for each other and try to help however they can. It's nice, for once, to see the girl friends help the protagonist save herself, instead of her love for a boy do that! Yes, love is nice and important, but it is not everything.

Keita: The romance in this book was just the perfect amount. It did NOT get in the way of the plot and Deka’s self-development and it also did not interrupt Deka’s focus on her friendship. It was just a nice add-on and a great way to see Deka heal with her trust issues towards men. All in all, I don’t think that Keita is a very special character, but I’m glad he appeared anyways.

The message in this book is really strong! If you haven’t figured it out by now, then have you really read my review? The representation in this book is stronger! With Deka, we strongly focus on a main character from a far southern part of this fictious world, and there are many other characters like her with important roles. I mean have you looked at the cover? IT IS ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS and I cannot stare at it enough! I liked the world building and that it was mainly divided into the four compass directions for regions (Western, Southern, Northern, Eastern). But there is also a biiig part on the map labelled with Unknown Lands. I hope that we will read more about this in the next book and see what kind of people live there and why they’re sealed off from this empire.

This series truly has so much potential and promise and I cannot wait for the sequel and hope that it will be just as great! There are still so many obstacles in Deka and her friends’ path in life and it’s going to be so interesting to see what Namina Forna comes up with next! I am truly inspired and hope this author will publish many many more books in the years to come!

The Part That Might Contain Spoilers


I have to admit, that early on I already didn’t believe the whole demon thing and suspected that the four Gilded Ones were actually Goddesses who were overthrown by men instead and then they changed the viewpoint on the Godesses, and I am so glad that I was right about this! I also made the embarrassing assumption when Deka met the Emperor for the first time, that he was actually her father. Which now, having read the last 50 pages of the book, I’m really glad I was wrong about!


I'd like to know

Have you read The Gilded Ones? Are you as excited as me for the rest of this series! I could talk about this book for many more hours, and I’d love to hear what you think about it! So please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!


Wednesday, 31 March 2021

March Wrap Up


This month, I've decided to bring back my monthly wrap ups. I haven't been very active on this blog in the past couple of years, but I'm trying to post my reviews more actively again. :)

BOOKS READ


 

1. Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare
2. Chain of Iron (The Last Hours #2) by Cassandra Clare 4.5

GRAPHIC NOVELS / MANGAS READ


         

1. Trinity, Vol, 1: Better Together by Francis Manapul
2. The Flash, Vol, 8: Flash War by Joshua Williamson
3. New Super-Man, Vol. 1: Made in China Gene Luen Yang
4. Batman Beyond, Volume 1: Escaping the Grave Dan Jurgens
5. The Flash, Vol. 9: Reckoning of the Forces by Joshua Williamson
6. Dark One, Vol. 1 by Brandon Sanderson
7. The Flash, Vol. 10: Force Quest by Joshua Williamson
8. The Flash, Vol. 11: The Greatest Trick of All by Joshua Williamson
9. Disney Manga: Stitch and the Samurai, Volume 1 Hiroto Wada
10. Green Lanterns, Vol. 2: The Phantom Lantern by Sam Humphries

CURRENTLY READING



A Million Worlds Without You (Firebird #3) by Claudia Gray

REVIEWS POSTED ON THE BLOG


  

BLOG RECAP


In case you missed it here's a recap of my latest posts and reviews.

A Court of Silver Flames as my Waiting on Wednesday

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Book Review: Chain of Iron


About the book

Title: Chain of Iron
Series: The Last Hours #2
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genres: Fantasy, Magic, Shadowhunters
Publication: March 2nd, 2021
Pages: 592
Read: March 2021


My Copy

Publisher: Walker Booksbr /> Edition: Hardback
Purchase Location: Illumicrate

My Rating:


Goodreads Summary

Cordelia Carstairs seems to have everything she ever wanted. She’s engaged to marry James Herondale, the boy she has loved since childhood. She has a new life in London with her best friend Lucie Herondale and James’s charming companions, the Merry Thieves. She is about to be reunited with her beloved father. And she bears the sword Cortana, a legendary hero’s blade. But the truth is far grimmer. James and Cordelia’s marriage is a lie, arranged to save Cordelia’s reputation. James is in love with the mysterious Grace Blackthorn whose brother, Jesse, died years ago in a terrible accident. Cortana burns Cordelia’s hand when she touches it, while her father has grown bitter and angry. And a serial murderer is targeting the Shadowhunters of London, killing under cover of darkness, then vanishing without a trace. Together with the Merry Thieves, Cordelia, James, and Lucie must follow the trail of the knife-wielding killer through the city’s most dangerous streets. All the while, each is keeping a shocking secret: Lucie, that she plans to raise Jesse from the dead; Cordelia, that she has sworn a dangerous oath of loyalty to a mysterious power; and James, that he is being drawn further each night into the dark web of his grandfather, the arch-demon Belial. And that he himself may be the killer they seek.


My Review (which might contain spoilers for Chain of Gold and Chain of Iron, beware!)


Wow. Just wow! After having read Chain of Gold just at the beginning of this month, I am so happy that I got my copy of Chain of Iron so soon too! I had ordered the special edition from Illumicrate (a book box subscription service with lovely content) and because of the high shipping costs to Switzerland, I could send it to my boyfriend's parents in the UK instead, and they then decided to send it on to me right away, even though I hadn’t asked (they’re book lovers like me too, so they wanted to make it possible for me to read this asap, even knowing nothing about the book or that I just finished the prior book in the series). With the current situation, we sadly can't travel to the UK any time soon, so I wasn't expecting to see the book anytime soon at all so this was a really nice surprise!

My heart aches and I don’t know what will mend it. Surely, waiting on the next book in this series for an entire year will only piece it back together to let it then be broken all over again. Chain of Gold was great. Chain of Iron was greater! So much character development, unpredictable plot twists and love triangles around every corner! Cassandra Clare managed to write another addicting book that I just couldn’t put down for days. And now that I finished it, I don’t know what to do with myself.

Chain of Iron picks up a few months after Chain of Gold, right before James and Cordelia’s “fake” wedding. Thinking about this now, it feels like ages ago! In reality, it was “only” 600 pages ago and yet I have little memory of the beginning because so much has happened after that. We get to see Cordelia and James grow affectionate of each other’s company in their new house and I really enjoyed seeing them enjoy their “married-life”. But it seems to be over too soon. The story picks up fast, and Shadowhunters are getting murdered.

I have to admit: for a while I thought James was the murderer whilst under the control of his grandfather Belial. Alas, I was wrong about this, which I’m pretty happy about because this means the story wasn’t too predictable and there were enough plot twists that I couldn’t foresee. It is safe to say, the last 50 pages of Chain of Iron broke my heart. I am a sucker for the they-love-each- other-but-neither-admits-their-feelings-openly-so-that-they-can-have-a-happy-ending-immediately trope, but this is killing me! We are left wondering for the next year, where the third book in this trilogy will set off and how the story is going to end! And all the love triangles are shattered at the moment. Cassandra Clare did a great job at taking my heart in both of her hands and crushing it without hesitation.

Cordelia oh Cordelia. Why is it that James and her just cannot catch a break from all the (rude) interruptions and tell each other what they feel for another?? They were so close, SO MANY TIMES! It drove me nuts every single time. But Cordelia also went through a big development in this book. She has become more self-dependent, very sure of herself and what she wants and she accepts no defeats. She stands up for her friends at every opportunity and I just really like her. It is great to read about a heroine who truly just wants to be a heroine and doesn’t let anybody else tell her that she cannot be that. Seeing her struggle with believing in herself after realising she’s become a demon’s paladin just hurt me so much. But she will get through this, because she is such a strong and strong-headed character.

And then we have Lucie, who is slowly developing into a character I’m unsure will find herself on the right side at the end of this all. At the end of Chain of Gold, I already suspected that she and Jesse would fall in love. But now, this love is probably threatening her clear view on things and I fear that she is going to develop into an anti-hero. Surely, she must understand, that any kind of bringing people back from the dead comes from “evil/dark” magic, and that even her powers cannot stem from good. And yet she still tried everything to bring back Jesse and then finally did it herself, by commanding him back to life. But at what cost? It also annoys me that she’s working with Grace and just keeping all these secrets from everyone! How are she and Cordelia supposed to become parabatai if she doesn’t even tell her the smallest thing about this??

So far, I like Jesse and I honestly didn’t think that he would be brought back to life in this book, rather than at the end of the trilogy. This probably means that he will play a crucial part in the war between Belial/Tatianna and James in the next book. I hope he’s going to stay one of the good guys, which is how I’d describe him right now. I do not like that him and Lucie are currently somewhere with Malcom Fade! It’s been a long time since I’ve read the first two books in The Dark Artifices trilogy (and I still need to read the last instalment there), but I remember it being about Malcom and Annabel Blackthorn. That is why I believe Malcom will already start to change his nature in the next book of TLH and slowly become “evil”.

Matthew’s alcohol addiction needs to find an end. Immediately! Nobody wants to talk about it, but they have to. Matthew clearly needs help, and he’s not going to go looking for it himself because he thinks he’s undeserving, which is utter nonsense. Matthew needs to be protected at all costs!

Thomas is still my favourite character, and although we’ve read more from his pov in this book, it still wasn’t enough!!! Please, I need more of Thomas’ story!!! Him and Alastair have finally made such good progress in their relationship and I really hope that Charles isn’t going to come between this again and mess it up for them. I don’t know how Thomas would tell the other Merry Thieves about his love for Alastair, but I am pretty sure that all of them (even Matthew, maybe after throwing a short rant) would accept it without hesitation.

Anna didn’t really leave any kind of impression on me in this book. Previously, she was a major part of observing the other characters and had some secrecy to herself. But I feel like her character could have left out of COI and nobody would have noticed a difference, except for Ariadne’s character development which would have gone missing then. I like Ariadne and I think her decision towards of the end of the book was the right thing to do! You cannot pretend to accept that the person you love doesn’t want to give themselves to you entirely and that should not be enough for someone who clearly deserves love and attention.

And still, Grace is my least favourite character (and I think that will never change). I think she’s unnecessary, her power is annoying, and I hope to read less of her in the last book. I understand that we needed to hear her backstory and see who she truly is, but I could have lived without that. The only decent thing Grace did in this book, was trying to stand up to Tatiana and telling her that she wouldn't do her bidding anymore. I hope she sticks to that and doesn't let her mother control her anymore.

I actually already wrote down my thought on Chain of Thorns and some of my predicitons of what will happen in the last book of this trilogy.

I'd like to know

Did you read and enjoy the Last Hours series, as well? I’d love to hear what you think about it in the comments!


Saturday, 27 March 2021

Book Review: Chain of Gold

About the book

Title: Chain of Gold
Series: The Last Hours #1
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genres: Fantasy, Magic, Shadowhunters
Publication: March 3rd, 2020
Pages: 617
Read: March 2021


My Copy

Publisher: Walker Books
Edition: Hardback
Purchase Location: Book Depository

My Rating:


Goodreads Summary

Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London…and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague. James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers, and the true cruel price of being a hero…and falling in love.


My Spoiler Free Review


How do I express my feelings for this book? I don’t know! But let me try! This feels like the uncountable-th book that I’ve read by Cassandra Clare, and honestly, I could read uncountable many more! I never get bored! I really like the Shadowhunters’ world and it has been a while since I’ve read a book in this setting. I still need to catch up on some stories, but after having started with the The Last Hours series now, I am fully invested again. So far, TID series was my absolute favourite, and that still hasn’t changed. But my emotions for the characters in this new(er) series are just as strong. And obviously, I am so happy to read about Will, Tessa and Jem again! It’s even more exciting to go on adventures with their kids now. And there are so so many of them! I had a really hard time following who was who, and who is related with whom and so on. At one point I just stopped trying to remember everything and saw thought of all of them as cousins.

In Chain of Gold we follow the story of Cordelia Carstairs and her soon-to-be-best-friends-group, as they try to fight against mysterious demon attacks in London. We get to closely know James and Lucie Herondale (Will and Tessa’s kids!!!) and read about the apparently first ever known demon-shadowhunter-pairing’s grandchildren. Without surprise, this means that they have inherited some powers from Tessa and their demon grandfather, whose identity James tries to figure out. I have come to love everyone in the group of the Merry Thieves as they call themselves. It is a Cassandra Clare story, so of course there is going to be a love triangle mixed into this story (or multiple, or love rectangles and worse) next to all the drama of the shadowhunter society and attacks against human- and shadowhunterkind. So, it is not surprising that there are hints of another big “Main Trio Love Triangle”, although at this point it is probably already a love quintuple? I am very intrigued and can’t wait to see what’s in store for the romantic part in the sequel!

Because I cannot fully describe my feelings for every single character in this book, I will have to suffice with some honorary mentions.

Matthew: Oh my god, my love for this character is indescribable! Why do I have such a weakness for such self-destructive characters, that seem to wish for no more than to burn down their own lives (as Magnus wisely described)? It has been pointed out to me that I need to read Ghosts of the Shadow Market to find out what makes Matthew look a bit too closely at the bottom of his flask that he always carries with him. But Matthew seriously has to be protected AT ALL COSTS! If anything bad happens to him in the rest of TLH, I will seriously throw the books out of a window!

James and Cordelia: At the very beginning I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about Cordelia, as she seemed a bit rather curt and not that interesting. She was too focused on her mission to rescue her father and saving the family's face and therefore finding a suitable husband. But with time, I warmed up to her and her strong character has really proven me wrong! James is the book boyfriend all of us have and want! Prove me wrong, if you don't agree! It is so painful to see this lovely character not being able to live his own truth as I'm sure that there are too many things meddling with his destined path!

Lucie: I believe (and hope) that there is more to her friendship with Jesse and that there will be some interesting developments there! I can’t wait to see her get a better understanding of her ghost-powers and I hope we’ll get to see more interactions between her and Cordelia. I don’t quite understand why they haven’t done the parabatai ceremony yet? But Lucie is truly precious and I love that she secretly ships Cordelia and James, too!

Anna: Yes, yes, yes! She is everything I ever needed in a historical setting like this and I really hope that we will get to read more about her in Chain of Iron!

Alastair: Honestly, I have high hopes for him and you probably all know who I ship him with so dearly! I really hope that their relationship will properly unfold in the next book and that Alastair can try and make things right! I do not like bullies, but I hope he finds a way to ask for forgiveness again and to get it.

Thomas: Please, Cassandra Clare, can I get more chapters about Thomas in the next book? Please please please!!!

And now lastly, let’s talk about the character that I really don’t like. Is there anybody who at this point has any positive feelings towards Grace? I have ZERO! I mean it is pretty clear that she LITERALLY has put some kind of spell on James and I cannot understand why not even Matthew, who has also fallen a victim to her magic or whatever that is that she can do, realised something is up! That bracelet is seriously messing with James “feelings/emotions” and whatnot and I just hate that he and Cordelia are not able to catch a break and talk about their true feelings towards one another! Ughhhh, honestly, I know Grace has been through a lot and lost a lot of people, but no! I just really don’t like her. And I really have a longing to re-read the Infernal Devices trilogy now!! But I don’t have the time for it and so many other new books still on my TBR! Ahh, the biggest sorrows of a book-nerd! :3

I'd like to know

I know there are a lot of people who do not like Cassandra Clare or her writing. Or even did like her books at some point but now cannot pick up another series of her set in the same shadowhunter world. How do you feel about this? Are you like me and can never get tired of this or are you of the opinion that she should just put down her pen and not write another shadowhunter related book/series? I’d love to hear what you think about it in the comments!


Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Manga Review: Stitch and the Samurai, Vol. 1



About the manga

Title: Disney Manga: Stitch and the Samurai
Series: Stitch and the Samurai, Volume 1
Author & Illustrator: Hiroto Wada
Genres: Manga, Disney
Expected Publication: April 27th, 2021
Pages: 176
Read: March 2021


My Copy

Publisher: Disney Manga
Edition: Ebook
Purchase Location: Netgalley
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review

My Rating:

Goodreads Summary

While fleeing the Galactic Federation, Stitch's spaceship malfunctions and he makes an emergency landing... not in Hawaii, but in sengoku-era Japan! Discovered by the brutal warlord Lord Yamato and his clan, Stitch's incomparable cuteness is no match for the battle-weary samurai, who decides to bring the "blue tanuki" home with him. Will Stitch's love of chaos turn into a formidable advantage for the samurai's influence? Or will his cute and fluffy form disarm the noble lord's stern fa├žade?


My Spoiler Free Review

Hmm okay, I have to be very honest. As much as I love Stitch (he’s my favourite Disney character ever) and as much as I wanted to love this, it just wasn’t for me. I think young children, maybe around the age of 3-7, would enjoy this (but honestly, I don’t really know a lot about what kids read as I don’t have any kids around me). The story is simple, the art is cute and very well done, and any young child would probably pick up great things from this manga.

However, for adults like me, this is missing some plot and sense to the story. In Stitch and the Samurai, Stitch lands in Japan instead of Hawaii. When Stitch’s spaceship malfunctions it crash lands right in front of a warlord called Lord Yamato, who immediately is consumed by Stitch’s cuteness (who can blame him?). But it goes so far, that he grows obsessed with Stitch, and trying to pet and feed him. This obsession leads him to absolutely ignore the war that he’s actually leading and his samurai don’t know how to handle the situation.

What I had some troubles with, was that Stitch knew the words “Ohana – Family” and there were some other small references to Lilo… But if this is a story about him landing in Japan instead of in Hawaii, how would he know this? Lilo taught him the meaning of Ohana… So this felt a bit more just for sales than for actual story telling, which was a bit of a shame.

Overall I enjoyed this as a quick read, and it truly did make me laugh at some ridiculous parts, but I don’t think I would read this again (however, if this is an on-going series I might pick up the next parts anyways). It’s a nice way to relax after a tiring day, if you don’t want to have to think about too much plot twists and drama.

I'd like to know

Who else has requested a copy of this on NetGalley? Did you enjoy reading it? And are you also as obsessed with Stitch as I am? I'd love to hear your thoughts!



Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Waiting On Wednesday: A Court of Silver Flames


Happy Wednesday everyone! I haven't been very active on my blog in the past couple of years, but I'm motivated to change that again. Starting with a couple of reviews the last two months and today back with a WoW! Waiting On Wednesday was a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. It seems that the blog isn't active anymore, but as I like this feature I'm going to continue with this again.

My choice for this week is A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses #4) by Sarah J. Maas.
Expected Publication Date: February 16th, 2021


Goodreads Summary

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she's struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can't seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it. The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre's Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta's orbit. But her temper isn't the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other. Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts. Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other's arms.


Why I'm so excited about this book?


I read ACOWAR about a year ago and I was so hooked again, that I've been waiting for the next book in the ACOTAR series to be released for ages now. My one problem is, it seems to be sold out everywhere and I cannot get a hands on a paperback copy in the size that I have the trilogy already. Which is annoying, because this probably means that I now need to wait another year until I can get the right version which is such a big shame. But it would also bother me to get another book in this series that won't fit with the books I already have in my bookshelf. Is that weird or does anybody else also have this problem / book peeve?


Other books in the series

    

#1 A Court of Thorns and Roses (My 4★ Review)
#2 A Court of Mist and Fury (My 5★ Review
#3 A Court of Wings and Ruin (I gave this a 5★ Rating)
#3.5 A Court of Frost and Starlight (I gave this a Rating of 4.5★)

I'd like to know

What's your WoW today? Or what books are you currently waiting for that you can't wait to read? Let me know in the comments and don't forget to link me up to your post so I can check them out. :)

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Book Review: Stars Above

About the book

Title: Stars Above
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4.5
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retellings, Science Fiction, Short Stories
Publication: May 2nd, 2017
Pages: 400
Read: February 2021


My Copy

Publisher: Feiwel And Friends
Edition: Paperback
Purchase Location: Book Depository

My Rating:


Goodreads Summary

The enchantment continues. . . .
The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories - and secrets - that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies? With nine stories - five of which have never before been published - and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer's novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.


My Review


Cinder was the first book I read last year after a basically 2-year reading slump (starting University was more stressful than I hoped, and I just couldn’t find the time to read for leisure). I immediately fell in love with the series, like hundreds of others! I’ve heard about the hype around the Lunar Chronicles for a while, but I only picked up my copy from where it was lying hidden in my bookshelf at the beginning of the pandemic last year. Immediately, I joined the rest of the fangirls and fanboys of this series. As I was also on a blogging and reviewing hiatus, I never actually wrote reviews about the series, which is kind of a shame! But that’s why I now decided to review Stars Above instead! It was kind of ironic, that I picked up a book at the beginning of the pandemic without knowing that it would also revolve around a pandemic!

Please be aware, that this review might contain spoilers for the entire Lunar Chronicles series!

Stars Above collects short stories from the character’s childhoods and a story that takes place after the ending of Winter. My two absolute favourite stories in this collection are without doubt Glitches and Carswell’s Guide to being Lucky. I always loved Peony, as she embodies the “good sister” of the two stepsisters in the Cinderella-trope, but in such a sweet and lovely way! I think there’s nobody that can dislike her. The way she accepted Cinder into her home, as the only person of that family, is so precious and makes me miss her even more! Teenage Thorne is just so adorable! Honestly, I wished his story would have been even longer and that we could have read more about him and Kate Fallow. I could read stories about Thorne all day long, they would never get boring to me.

Another character I absolutely adore is Winter. She’s just so precious and I feel like The Princess and the Guard just proves what a strong character development she already went through at such a young age. Her decision not to use her gift is finally fully. In my opinion it takes a very strong character to decide to not use a gift one has to manipulate others even if it means that you would suffer from it. We also discover how exactly she got her scar and it’s a truly disastrous treatment from the Queen and I feel a bit torn between absolutely hating her and starting to understand her character and therefore not hating her. It becomes clear now, that she truly loved Winter’s father and how broken she was when he got murdered. This just makes me want to read Fairest that much faster, as I’ve heard great things about it apparently gives the Queen’s character new depth!

In After Sunshine Passes By, we get to read about Cress’s development as a 9-year-old and how she ended up isolated in her satellite. As much as I like Cress’s character in the Lunar Chronicles, her story here is one that I struggled with. Apparently, a 9-year old girl is the most capable hacker of all Lunars? And she gets exiled to a satellite because she’s the only person capable (or just that the Queen knows of) of spying on Earth. This seems a bit far fetched to me, as I remember myself as a 9-year old and I could just about use a computer to play games. I’m struggling with accepting that a 9-year old would be able to teach themselves how to become a highly capable cyber-spy and basically hack into very highly secured systems… It just seems so very unlikely to me. They even mention that the Shells were barely able to read at that point because the Thaumaturges didn’t see the point in teaching them. So how would a 9-year old that thought herself to read a couple of years prior, be able to write programs and code by herself and then make sense of all the encrypted data that she has to scan through?

Coming from an IT background myself, there’s another story that I have some problems with. The Little Android: I don't really know what to think about this short story. The ending is a bit “trist” and depressing, but overall, I guess it’s cute. However, seeing as I study computer science, I just have a really hard time imagining an Android developing its own consciousness and for it to make decisions based on emotions and pain that it apparently feels… But it was really nice to read a short story in this world’s setting, with new characters that basically had nothing to do with the rest of the characters we already know, except some few mentions of Cinder.

Now the only book set in Cinder’s world left for me to read is Fairest! Can’t wait to start with that one, and I think I’m definitely going to pick it up sometime soon. But first, I need to get some other books off my tbr pile!

I'd like to know

Have you read any books in the Lunar Chronicles or even Stars Above? I’d love to hear what you think about it! So please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!


Friday, 19 February 2021

Comic Book Review: Supergirl (Reign Of The Cyborg Supermen)



About the comic book

Title: Reign Of The Cyborg Supermen
Series: Supergirl (2016 - #)
Author: Steve Orlando
Artist: Brian Ching and others
Genres: Comics, DC Comics, Superheroes
Publication: April 4th, 2017
Pages: 166
Read: February 2021

My Copy

Publisher: DC Comics
Edition: Kindle
Purchase Location: Netgalley
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review

My Rating:

Goodreads Summary

Supergirl moves to National City! As Kara Danvers, average American teenager and high school student, Supergirl must balance her life as a superhero with her new life on Earth. But some demons from her Kryptonian past are coming back to haunt her, and Kara will find herself face-to-face with her father: the sinister Cyborg Superman! Critically acclaimed writer Steve Orlando (Midnighter) comes a new beginning for Kara Zor-El in Supergirl, Volume 1, Reign Of The Cyborg Super-Men a new series that is sure to appeal to fans of the TV series! (Collecting: Supergirl 1-6, Rebirth)


My Spoiler Free Review

So back in 2017 I was very actively reviewing and reading a lot of comics and books. Back then I was also active on NetGalley and sadly after I started University, I fell into a blogging hiatus, that just wouldn’t stop. Now I’m in my last semester of my bachelor’s and I finally found the motivation again to spend more time on reading and reviewing books (and graphic novels). I found out that I still had a couple of ARCs on my NetGalley account that I never reviewed, so I’m gonna try to battle that specific TBR pile.

I actually had already read Supergirl back in 2017, but never got around to reviewing it, so I decided to start with this volume and reread it today! I honestly couldn’t remember much of the story anyways. And rightfully so, it’s a bit confusing, even for the Rebirth series. Supergirl once again battles the Cyborg Superman, who she battled in the New 52 area already. But now he appears to be her father? And he’s obsessed with bringing Argo back to life and basically “revived” the entire population with Brainiac’s technology. But for them to actually come alive they need the people of earth’s life force and attack Earth in order to kill National City’s citizens in Zor-El’s personal vendetta against Supergirl. It seems very strange to me that in such a massive alien/robot attack, no other superhero from Earth tries to save the city. It’s all left to Supergirl, the D.E.O. and CatCo to save the citizens. I feel like this would have been a scenario where the Justice League should have been involved?

But, there’s also good in this volume. I really liked the Artwork! However, I now am surer than ever, I don’t particularly like Steve Orlando’s writing (also after having read his Wonder Woman stories). I had bigger hopes for this volume, as I’m a big fan of the TV show!


I'd like to know

Is anybody else still on NetGalley? How are you keeping up with your reviews? And have you read Supergirl or watched the TV shows? I'd love to hear your thoughts!



Friday, 12 February 2021

Book Review: Legendborn

About the book

Title: Legendborn
Author: Tracy Deonn
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic, Arthurian Lore, Retellings, LGBTQ
Publication: September 15th, 2020
Pages: 503
Read: February 2021


My Copy

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Edition: Paperback
Purchase Location: Book Depository

My Rating:


Goodreads Summary

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus. A flying demon feeding on human energies. A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down. And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw. The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates. She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.


My Spoiler Free Review


Wow just wow! This book deserves a full 5-star review and nothing less from me! It covers so many important current topics in a wild and gripping adventure! Grief and trauma, racist macro and microaggressions, racist violence, ancestral pain, love and more.

The struggle of choosing between going to sleep at 2 am because you have meetings in the early morning again, or just to continue reading throughout the entire night because the book you picked up is THAT good, who knows this feeling? Legendborn is exactly what put me into this situation for 3 nights in a row. The moment I picked it up and got entranced by this story influenced by Arthurian lore I had troubles remembering that I had work to do and other real-life things that needed my attention, like cooking food, sleeping, showering, etc. I was immediately absorbed in this book.

Bree Matthews, the protagonist, is such a strong character. She does not let anybody discriminate her without calling them out on it, and sadly this happened a couple of times. Tracy Deonn puts a lot of Older White Men to shame in this book (and rightly so) and the pure truth behind these happenings, and that this occurs nowadays more often than we’d like to think, made me angry at the world. Bree, being only 16, has to struggle with so much already, and even though there are hints at a love triangle, this is only secondary to all her other problems and her trying to figure out who she is and who she wants to be. Her path to find out the truth about her heritage and her ancestry was filled with plot twists, some not even I could foresee (and I usually pride myself on being able on foreseeing A LOT).

On another note, I have to admit, I felt like I saw some references to Twilight. Am I the only one? In the beginning I already got a Twilight meets Shadowhunters feeling when we got to meet Sel in the woods.

The Part That Might Contain Spoilers


But then on page 349 I felt absolutely given right with this passage: “How would you like me to carry you? What would please you, Page Matthews?” (Sel) […] “Piggyback.” (Bree) “Excuse me?” “You heard me.” “Like that movie-“ “Shut up.” And then Sel says after Bree crushed her forearm against his Adam’s apple: “I do need to breathe,” […] “I’m not actually a vampire.”

I also felt a bit of fear about Nick and Bree, who I absolutely shipped from the beginning, because they “got together” so early in the book. I think it was in about the end of the first half when they first kissed and then I was immediately filled with dread because I’ve read too many stories where an early “coupling” is a very bad sign. Most often, something happens to one of the pair or there’s a love triangle that destroys the relationship or other things. Here, however, it felt quite appropriate and I can think of worse things that could have happened to the two of them (yes I know, Nick being kidnapped is definitely a bad thing!). But I mean, at least nothing big happened between Sel and Bree that could have immediately killed any hope for Bree and Nick’s future, … if you know what I mean. I am 100 per cent on team Nick + Bree! But I guess we will have to wait on the sequel to see how things continue!

The big plot twist I was talking about, that I could not foresee, was that Bree turned out to be Arthur’s heir. The moment Bree discovered this truth was filled with so much ancestral pain and to think that things like this probably happened so many times in those days is just dreadful. So many people today cannot trace back their line of ancestry for that many centuries (because they weren’t given the means to), and it pains me to think how many (slave) women/families have been faced with such evil. I figured that Bree’s ancestry would be somehow connected to Arthur, but I actually thought that she would turn out to be Lancelot’s heir or something of that sort. I am very excited to see how Bree will handle this Arthur heritage and of course her other heritage that comes with Rootscraft in the sequel!

I hope that for everyone who picks up Legendborn, this will become your new favourite book as it has become mine!


I'd like to know

Have you read Legendborn? I could talk about this book for many more hours, and I’d love to hear what you think about it! So please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments! Does anybody have any other Arthurian retellings recommendations?