Audiobooks · Books · Review

Audiobook Review: Crownbreaker by Sebastien de Castell | Spellslinger Finale (Spoiler free)

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Reviews for the others: Spellslinger | Shadowblack | Charmcaster | Soulbinder | Queenslayer

Synopsis:
Kellen and Reichis are settling into their new lives as protectors of the young queen and dealing with the constantly shifting threats to her reign and to her life. For the first time in his life, Kellen feels as if he’s becoming the kind of man that his mentor Ferius had wanted him to be. Even Reichis has come to appreciate having a noble purpose – so long as no one minds him committing the occasional act of theft from the royal treasury.

But what seems to be a simple card game between Kellen and an old man is soon revealed to be a deadly game of wits in which a powerful mage has trapped the queen’s spellslinger in order to kill him.


My Thoughts:

I have no idea where to begin.
I am SO SAD this series has ended. BOY has it been good though. Although not my favourite book in the series, this is a worthy conclusion to what has been an amazing series.

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Side note: the synopsis does not do this book any justice nor is it completely accurate. A lot of stuff goes on, which I won’t spoil, all of which completely surprising after reading the synopsis. It’s definitely a bit misleading but if anything, the book is way better than it sounds from that description.

This book picks up immediately after Queenslayer, as per, we see Kellen causing trouble and being hunted. He’s up to his usual shenanigans, narrowly escaping death constantly with help from Reichis, his murderous Squirrelcat business partner.

This being the last book there are some returns of character, which I loved!(!!!)
Some of my favourite side-characters appear and I was delighted. This book had me on edge, I was dying to know what happened constantly. I was very emotional (I didn’t fully cry but I was super close.) – it was an emotional rollercoaster.

The post-script was amazing. 

I have loved watching Kellen grow as a character through all 6 books, it has been quite the journey! This series will forever stay in my heart and be one of my all-time favourites. These books seriously make me happy, they’re so much fun, the humour is amazing. I look forward to reading more from Sebastien de Castell in the future.

Rating: 4 Stars

*Purchase on Amazon UK: Kindle | Hardback 

The audiobook is AMAZING. The narrator makes this story truly come to life, his voice is incredible. I highly, highly recommend the audiobooks. They really are an amazing experience.
*Free trial of Audible here.


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Audiobooks · Reread Review · Series Review

DISAPPOINTING Reread Review/Rant: Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo (Audiobooks)

SoC

Synopsis for SoC:
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.


My Thoughts:

So… I actually didn’t enjoy the series as much as the first time around. I much preferred reading the physical books than listening. I love audiobooks but these did not do it for me. I felt less interested in the story, the majority of the narrators weren’t good – which really makes or breaks an audiobook for me.

First things first: None of the narrators sound young enough to play teenagers, especially Matthias & Jespers!! Get actual teenagers?! It would be so much better that way. But honestly, the characters are aged way too young to have done/ achieved some of the stuff they have. If the characters had been in their mid-20s it’d be more believable.

Six of Crows – Found this pretty boring.
I struggled to get into the story at first. It was slower/more boring than I remembered – I barely remembered any of the plot so it wasn’t boring because I knew everything. I just didn’t connect to it this time around. Sadly.

Crooked Kingdom – This was, again, slow but I was more interested this time. Maybe because I got used to the narrators by the time I got to this? I’m not sure. This is really a 3 Star read but I basically gave it an extra star because I like the characters and the ending! The ending was heartbreaking in some places and lovely in others. ALL THE FEELS.

Since I read this the first time, I have read SO many other YA fantasy and honestly, this is so overrated. Leigh Bardugo is overrated. I’m not sure whether to read more of her stuff or not. I kind of want to try King of Scars but who knows.

Things I learned from this reread:

  • The story/plot is so unmemorable – it’s the characters that stick with you.
  • Even though Leigh Bardugo’s writing is clearly better in these than the Shadow and Bone trilogy; I don’t think Leigh Bardugo is for me.
  • The series is seriously overrated.
  • Matthias is underrated.
  • I still don’t think you NEED to read SaB before SoC – yes there are hints/ characters from the trilogy but it doesn’t add much.
  • I’m not sure I enjoy full-cast audiobooks.

Characters:
Kaz: I love Kaz. He’s a complete psychopath but I like him. He’s such an interesting character. I wish there were more of Kaz POV chapters because I feel he’s the best/ more interesting character.
HIS NARRATOR IS THE WORST. God, I hated the lack of Kaz because he’s a great character but I don’t think I could cope with any more of his narrator. He sounded like a middled-age smoker.

Inej: Inej is a babe. I like her but she’s no longer my favourite. I just feel there’s a lack of her, especially in CK. I wanted more!! Especially more Inej and Kaz – their interactions were amazing in SoC but it was seriously lacking in CK.
Her narrator wasn’t bad, one of the better ones on these audiobooks.

Nina: I LOVE NINA!!! I thought Inej was my favourite dreg but from this reread I actually prefer Nina. She’s sassy, funny and has a great personality. I really connected with her character this time around. She’s now my fave from SoC! I love her and Matthias so much, too. Such great banter between them.
Her narrator was actually good – I feel like she captured Nina perfectly and got her tones and personality through.

Matthias: WHY does everyone hate Matthias?!! Seriously underrated character. I find him so funny and entertaining. His interactions with EVERYONE are amazing. He’s clueless and oblivious to some things and it’s funny. I don’t see the hate for him at all. I really enjoyed his part. MATTHIAS DESERVED BETTER!
His narrator had such an amazing, deep voice. It was dreamy to listen to.

Jesper & Wylan: Grouping these two together because reasons.
I like these two but there isn’t enough of them. I was NOT a fan of their narrators!! Wylan’s narrator was awful – especially when he did Kaz. OMG. Cannot even deal with Wylan’s narrator doing Kaz; he sounded like a witchy old woman. It was laughable. Jesper’s narrator was bad per se but he didn’t capture his happy/excitable nature, in my opinion.

Ratings:
Six of Crows ★★★.5
Crooked Kingdom ★★★★

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Audiobooks · Books · Review

Audiobook Review: Queenslayer by Sebastien de Castell (Spellslinger #5)

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Hey guys!
I’m currently on holiday in Portugal! This a pre-written and scheduled (how organised am I?)

Reviews for the previous books: Spellslinger | Shadowblack | Charmcaster | Soulbinder



Synopsis:

Kellen and Reichis have just finished fighting a duel in the desert when Kellen inadvertently smears blood on the Daroman flag – an act of treason for which the Marshals have no choice but to arrest him. Just before he’s put before the Queen to be executed, Kellen is given a strange piece of advice from one of his fellow prisoners: kill the Queen and he’ll be given clemency by those who take power. But when Kellen comes face-to-face with the eleven-year-old monarch, he realises she’s vastly smarter than he expected – and in a great deal more danger.


My Thoughts
Plot-wise – this was slower than the rest. It took me a while to get into. Despite being thrust into the action straight away, the rest of the book is quite slow. It does pick up in places but it relies heavily on political intrigue.

I’m glad I listened to the audiobook for this, as the narrator is really good and easy to listen to. I think I would’ve struggled if I had read the physical book.
I would say it was boring but it was a bit meh. It’s my least favourite in the series so far. I honestly think the series has gone downhill since Ferius and Kellen split ways. She was such a good character, I miss her so much!

Kellen is still up to his usual stuff, avoiding being killed by just about everyone, having banter with Reichis and escaping death with wit, one trick and a hint of luck.

I will say: this was so much darker than the rest of the series. This whole series has been lighthearted and fun and it got dark. Real fast. There was less humour and jokes in this one, it was still funny in places but not as much as the previous books.
There was more graphic violence and torture.

Trigger Warning for mentions of depression, abuse and rape/sexual assault.

Characters:
Kellen: 
I still love Kellen. After 5 books, it’s easy to be attached and invested in his journey. His character development has been great – though he still is a one trick pony. His ‘magic’ is still the same trick – which I don’t mind. He’s not the typical over-powered/ all-powerful YA main character. I like that he isn’t the greatest at magic but still manages to get along.


Reichis: 
Still the hilarious, murderous little squirrelcat I adore. I love his and Kellen’s ‘partnership’ – aka friendship – even if Reichis likes to think they aren’t.

Narrator: Joe Jameson – who narrates the whole series, is absolutely brilliant. I cannot praise his skills enough. He is great at doing different voices, it is so easy and entertaining to listen to.

Rating:3.5 Stars


*I have previously worked with Hot Key Books, however, not on this occasion.
I borrowed this from my library. All opinions are my own.


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Audiobooks · Books · Review

Audiobook Review: Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

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*There will be spoilers for the entirety of The Lunar Chronicles*
Reviews for the other books:
Cinder | Scarlet | Cress | Winter


The first time, he had wondered why she liked books so much, and if it had anything to do with why he liked spaceships. Because they could take you somewhere far, far away

Synopsis:
The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.

Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….

The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.

Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.

After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.

The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a young Winter and Jacin playing a game called the Princess and the Guard…

The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.

The Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.

Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century…


My Thoughts:

The Keeper – Rating: 3.5 Stars
This centred around Scarlett and her grandmere Michelle Benoit.
It was nice to see how Michelle was, after briefly seeing her in TLC. I loved her relationship with Scarlet. It was a cute story! I also liked seeing how Michelle cared for Selene.

Glitches – Rating: 4 Stars
Cinder’s backstory and how she joined the Linh family.
The best part was Cinder and Peony! We get a glimpse of their relationship in TLC but this is so adorable!
I still despise Audrey. She can choke!

The Queen’s Army – Rating: 2.5 Stars
One of my least favourites. Sorry but I just don’t care about Wolf that much. I didn’t find his backstory particularly interesting either. I don’t mind him in TLC but he’s not a fave.

Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky – Rating: 3.75 Stars
THORNE!! I love Thorne. This was one of the stories I enjoyed the most, purely because Thorne is so entertaining. Adorable!!

After Sunshine Passes By – Rating 3.5 Stars
This backstory for Cress BROKE MY HEART. This is the story of how she ended up all alone on the satellite. I love Cress, she’s so sweet and adorable and this story was so sad! Poor little Cress. *cry emoji*

The Princess and the Guard – Rating 3 Stars
Winter has always been a bit of an oddball. I’m not sure if I like her or not. She’s fairly entertaining and I did admire her in this story. I cannot stand Jacin, however. He has annoyed me every time he was in TLC and I still can’t warm to him.

The Little Android – Rating: 2 Stars
I’m going to be honest: I had no idea what the hell was going on in this one. I was confused AF. I found the ending especially confusing?? No idea what to think of this one, to be honest.

The Mechanic – Rating: 3.5 Stars
When Cinder met Kai… But from his perspective!
I always loved Cinder and Kai’s first meeting. It was cool to see it from Kai’s perspective instead of Cinder’s. I love Kai as a character so I liked this one!

Something Old, Something New – Rating: 4.5 Stars
My FAVOURITE!
Set after the events of Winter, a kinda sequel to TLC. I loved seeing the gang back together. This was by far the superior story in the collection!

Overall: I’m not the biggest fan of short story collections, so maybe that’s why I didn’t love this. I enjoyed it but it’s my least favourite in the series. I’m not sure it was necessary to give a backstory for everyone but it’s a nice read. Would’ve loved a full sequel novel/novella that was set after Winter but Something Old, Something New was great!

 

Overall Rating: 3/3.5Stars


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Audiobooks · Books · Review

Audiobook Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

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Synopsis:
Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?


Reviews: Cinder | Scarlet | Cress

My Thoughts:

Plot – Fast pace. Lots of action. Lots of twists.
Everything was just so perfect? The series was wrapped up beautifully. Everything was just amazing, the plot, the word, the characters…

The audiobook was a beast of a book over 23 hours long but I was addicted. I finished listening to this in 5 days. I have no idea how. I full on expected for it to take a month to finish since it was so long. I found myself unable to stop listening and picking it up at any chance I could.

I didn’t lose interest at all. I was engaged constantly, on the edge of my seat and I laughed out loud (in public) to many parts. It was overall one of the most entertaining books (and series) I’ve ever read.

Characters:
Cinder: Still love Cinder. She’s such a great main character. I have loved her from book one and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching her character grow and develop.

Kai: He’s still adorable.
I love how far he’s willing to go for his country. He’s such an honourable leader and a genuine sweetheart. I LOVE HIM + CINDER!

Aiko: She is also still freaking adorable. Someone get this girl a droid boyfriend!

Scarlet: She’s cool. I like her, she’s not my favourite but I was still invested in her story/happiness/relationships.

Cress: I LOVE CRESS. She’s one of my faves. I love her relationship with Thorne. I am absolute trash for Thorne + Cress. She’s smart, quirky and relatable.

Thorne: As I’ve said in my previous review(s), I freaking adore Thorne. He’s so funny and cocky. But also a lil cinnamon roll.

Winter: Winter is a bit odd. For reasons explained in the book so, I won’t spoil! She’s quirky and nice but a bit childlike, I guess? I did find her a little irritating/trying at times but she’s overall not a bad character and her story is pretty interesting.

5 AMAZING Stars


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Audiobooks · Books · Review

Audiobook Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

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Synopsis:
In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.


Reviews for the previous books: Cinder + Scarlet

My Thoughts:
Again, as with the other books, the plot was engaging and addictive. Only this time it stepped it up. I was seriously hooked on this book and I am so invested in these characters now!
I am loving watching all the characters grow and develop, as well as their interactions with each other. I also am really enjoying the blossoming relationships! I ship literally everyone who’s been hinted at being together. I am obsessed.

Boy, this was an emotional rollercoaster too! So much action and plot twists happen in this book. It has constant excitement, there honestly wasn’t a dull moment.
The worldbuilding is good; there isn’t tons of description, it gets straight to the point and the exciting parts – which is good. I like this dystopian world, it’s very interesting and I cannot wait to know/see more about Lunar!

This series is rapidly becoming one of my favourites of all time. I’ve actually laughed out loud listening to this! It is such an enjoyable experience. I highly recommend the audiobooks, the narrator is good and it is really easy to listen to.

Characters:
Cinder: I love Cinder! She’s a great protagonist. I am highly invested in her character and rooting for her all the way. She’s very well written and very relatable. Cinder is really entertaining character, especially her interactions with the other characters. I really like that Cinder is instantly overpowered. She finds out her abilities and is still learning (and struggling) to use her powers, it’s nice that she isn’t instantly amazing with them, it’s very realistic.

Thorne:
Thorne is one of my favourite characters, he makes me laugh and fawn over him. He’s charming, sarcastic and ridiculous –  I live for his snarky comments and cockiness. He’s just so entertaining! I love Cinder + Thorne’s friendship/bromance! I also love Thorne + Cress. I can’t wait to see where it goes!

Scarlet:
Although not one of my favourites, I still really enjoy Scarlet as a character. I like her and Wolff’s

Cress: I loved the addition of Cress! We got a hint of her in the first book, obviously, the series is already finished, so I knew all the titles – I was intrigued to see how her story would become intertwined with Cinder’s. She’s smart, cute, socially awkward + so relatable.

Iko: IKO IS FREAKING ADORABLE. I love her.

Luckily, the next book, Winter, is available at my library right away! No waiting. YAY!

Rating: 5 Stars!


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Audiobooks · Books · Review

Audiobook Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

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Synopsis:
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling instalment of the best-selling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison — even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life.

When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.


This is the second book in The Lunar Chronicles, there will be spoilers for the first book Cinder. Review for Cinder here. (Spoiler Free)

Plot:
After the ending of Cinder, I was dying to know what happens. Luckily, this audiobook was available from my library within a few days.
I am officially obsessed with this series.

The plot is well paced and addictive! I am hooked.
In this book, we continue to follow Cinder and Kai’s stories with the addition to some new characters whose story intertwines.

Unlike the first book, I didn’t find this book to be predictable. The writing has improved so much, not that it was ever bad, but you can see the development. The plot twists/turns were good and engaging. I was constantly wanting to keep listening.

The characters are all so interesting and engaging. I love all the new characters (+ ships!!).

Characters:
Cinder: Still love Cinder. She’s such a great character and it was easy to get invested and attached to her. I love her development throughout the books and I am loving reading her journey.

Kai: Aww Kai! I love him. I feel for him.
I still loved following his story, even though Cinder isn’t really part of it, but still kinda is?
I miss his interaction with Cinder and I realllllly hope they get reunited at some point.

Scarlet: I liked the addition of Scarlet. I didn’t manage to predict how her story would end up linking with Cinder’s, which was nice. I liked her as a character, I really felt for her as her Grandmother disappeared. Her chapters were really entertaining and I was instantly invested in her story. I didn’t know at first whether I was going to like the introduction of a new POV character, as I was so invested in Cinder, but I was wrong. I really liked Scarlet!

Thorne: I freaking love Thorne!! I love that he’s cocky, arrogant and self-loving. He adds some comic relief to the story. I loved his interaction with Cinder, they clash and are so vastly different. Plus, he’s definitely a secret sweetheart!

Wolf: I like Wolf. He was a mysterious character, I always sensed something weird about him. No spoilers. He’s an interesting character, I like his interactions with Scarlet.

Rating: 4.5 Stars


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