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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Books · Review

Review: Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff | WHAT A LETDOWN.

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“When all is blood, blood is all.”

* SPOILERS for Nevernight and Godsgrave!*
Click on the titles for my reviews of them!


Synopsis:
The greatest games in Godsgrave’s history have ended with the most audacious murders in the history of the Itreyan Republic. Mia Corvere, gladiatii, escaped slave and infamous assassin, is on the run. Pursued by Blades of the Red Church and soldiers of the Luminatii legion, she may never escape the City of Bridges and Bones alive. Her mentor Mercurio is now in the clutches of her enemies. Her own family wishes her dead. And her nemesis, Consul Julius Scaeva, stands but a breath from total dominance over the Republic. But beneath the city, a dark secret awaits. Together with her lover Ashlinn, brother Jonnen and a mysterious benefactor returned from beyond the veil of death, she must undertake a perilous journey across the Republic, seeking the final answer to the riddle of her life. Truedark approaches. Night is falling on the Republic for perhaps the final time. Can Mia survive in a world where even daylight must die?


My Thoughts:

Oh boy. I have such mixed feelings on this book.
After THAT cliff hangar in Godsgrave, I immediately picked this one up. I was dying to know what happened next. But alas, as with Nevernight, the book was pretty damn slow, to begin with. I felt like a lot of this book was filler. It took a while to pick up, which happened in the middle-last part but slowed down again in places. It took me an incredibly long time to get through this, I could put this down for DAYS without touching it. It got to the point where I was just fed up of it being unread and would read. It just didn’t have me gripped most of the time. In some places, I was super gripped but not for long.

THE ROMANCE = NO.
I am not a fan of Mia x Ashlinn anyways. I literally will never get over her killing Tric and the fact Mia doesn’t really care just annoys me. Like???
The fact Tric is brought back into the mix for basically no purpose other than a love triangle. DISAPPOINTING.

I REALLY hated the ending. WHAT WAS THAT! I feel kinda cheated and unsatisfied.
It’s literally like the ending of Ruin and Rising all over again. Disappointing and stupid!

I said it before, I’ll say it again: this reads like YA. Everyone rabbits on and on about how these books aren’t YA but they literally read like YA. I’ve read plenty of adult fantasy but this even follows the typical YA-chosen-one path. It goes less towards the revenge plot and the chosen one plot takes over. Bleh. This book is basically YA trying to be adult by adding graphic sex scenes and using swear words.

Enough with the ranting about things I didn’t enjoy…

Here’s what I liked:
There was A LOT emotion and feelings going on. (I didn’t cry but I did have the feels)
There were high stakes, to begin with. (Ultimately let down but oh well)
Mia’s Badassery
CLOUD. (If you know, you know) Amazing. Love him.
Daemons.
Gods.

Characters:
Mia: I like Mia but this book lessened her a little for me. I found her predictable and a tad whiny. I did love Mia and Mercurio. That relationship was beautiful.
What I didn’t like were Mia and Ashlinn. Pass.

Ashlinn: I wasn’t hugely fond of Ashlinn in the first two, I’m still not fond of her.
I especially hate her for killing my fave (Tric) and now taunts him??? No bitch. The tension/ love triangle that happens is just pathetic. It was just annoying. Ashlinn is incredibly annoying in this book in particular.

Tric: 
My love!! So happy he’s back. I kinda knew he’d be back. I wasn’t spoiled for the series but I knew somehow he’d be brought back into it. I loveeee Tric but I feel like he was wasted???! I want so much more. (Kinda wanted Tric and Mia back together, don’t hate me)

Rating: I HAVE NO IDEA.
2.5? 3? Maybe
Parts of this book were 4 stars. Some were 2 stars.


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Books · Review

Review: Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

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There may be spoilers for the first book.
I have a spoiler-free review of Nevernight here.


Synopsis:

Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.


My Thoughts:

Oh. My. God. This. Book.

It was absolutely amazing! I enjoy this so much more than Nevernight, which I did enjoy, but this took it to the next level. Nevernight took ages to pick up and get gripping, for me. Godsgrave had a faster pace from the beginning and I was sucked into the world much easier in this one. It still took me a while to read, the writing style isn’t one I find I can fly through but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the story.

Still not a fan of the footnotes, I have to be honest: I just don’t see the point. It just seems like an info dump/ lazy world-building. Most of them are too long and they have a tendency to slow down the story and take me out of the story. It’s just odd. If I were to reread this series I would probably skip the footnotes, they aren’t hugely relevant to the story and I forget them almost immediately after reading. Yet I keep reading them. In hope, it’ll be important at some point.

The setting was amazing: it is a gladiator centred setting – which was so cool! I did not expect this type of setting after the last one being wholely a school setting. It was a nice surprise!

I loved getting to know more about Mia’s power’s/ Darkins in general; I love anything to do with dark magic, daemons etc. I was dying to know more about Mr Kindly from book one and you definitely get everything you want in this book!

The only “bad” thing I can say is: the plot twists were seriously predictable. I wasn’t overly surprised at anything. That’s the only reason this book wasn’t a 4.5-5 star read for me.

I know this book is suppose to be adult but it seriously reads like YA. (Other than the excessive swearing + sex scenes)

Characters:
Mia: I love Mia, especially in this book. I felt so connected and invested in her story and the revenge she wants for her family. I am fully invested, emotionally, in Mia, I had all the feels for her in various ways over the course of this book.
Her character development has been decent, not super amazing but it’s definitely there.

Mr Kindly + Eclipse: These two!! I love that they hate each other and have banter back and forth. I loved getting to know more about them in this book. It was SO cool and interesting to get deeper into the daemon stuff.

Rating: 4.25 Stars


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Books · Review

Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

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Synopsis:
Mia Corvere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.
Destined to destroy empires, the child raised in shadows made a promise on the day she lost everything: to avenge herself on those that shattered her world.
But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, and Mia must become a weapon without equal. Before she seeks vengeance, she must seek training among the infamous assassins of the Red Church of Itreya.
Inside the Church’s halls, Mia must prove herself against the deadliest of opponents and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and daemons at the heart of a murder cult.
The Church is no ordinary school. But Mia is no ordinary student.
The Red Church is no ordinary school, but Mia is no ordinary student.
The shadows love her.
And they drink her fear


My Thoughts:

When I first started this, I was like what the hell is this? Why are there footnotes? Why is everything so slow? It took me a LONG time to get into this, but I really wanted to see why everyone loved this book/series so much. I’m going to be honest: I almost DNF’d this book because of its slow start. BUT I am so glad I didn’t. I ended up really enjoying this book, despite it being a slower pace to my taste. Side note – I was also in a reading slump, which could’ve hindered my enjoyment a little.

The writing style is quite overwhelming – There’s A LOT of flowery, long sentences and repetition. One of the reasons I found this book to be slow was because it was dragged out a lot. I feel like it could’ve been said in literally half the words. That being said, it isn’t a bad thing per se, it completely depends on personal taste. At first, I thought I hated it, but it grew on me and bothered me less and less as time went on.
The footnotes on the other hand: annoyed the hell out of me. I honestly don’t see the point. I feel like they’re there for worldbuilding purposes only, but it feels kind of lazy to put them in footnotes rather than the story itself? This is the first time I’ve ever read a fantasy with footnotes and it is kind of jarring. The only books I’ve really read with footnotes are classics/books for uni – it’s not something I enjoy in reading. I’m not sure I can get used to the footnotes, I read them, but I’m not a fan. I’m not even sure the information was that important in the footnotes of Nevernight, I honestly don’t remember them.

I do really love assassins – this is kind of like the adult, graphic extreme version of Throne of Glass. Or at least I hoped ToG would have more assassin qualities, I still loved that series, but it sold as a completely different story to what it is. Anyways…  Most of this story follows an assassin school/trial/competition setting – which is cool. I know a lot of people love a school setting in fantasy, it’s not one of my favourite settings but I did like it in this instance.

Characters:
Mia:  I loved Mia. I loved her character, her development, her everything. She was a great main character, she had such great development and story. It took me a while to get attached but by the end of the book I was fully invested in her character and story arc, I knew I’d be finishing this series! I NEED to know what happens. I’m loving her journey and cannot wait to get to Godsgrave.

Tric: MY LOVE TRIC!! God, I love him. He’s such a great character and him + Mia are just amazing. I loved their interactions with each other (+others).
Tric was seriously the highlight of this novel, especially through the slow parts. I instantly took to his character; he is one of the main reasons I kept reading.

Mr Kindly: Shadow cat thing. I love an animal sidekick/companion and he didn’t disappoint. I cannot wait to learn more about Mr Kindly. He’s super intriguing!

Rating: 3.5 Stars

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Books · Review

ARC Review: Kingdom Of Souls by Rena Barron (Spoiler Free)

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Finished cover:

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Synopsis:
Magic has a price—if you’re willing to pay.

Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval.

There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit.

She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him.


My Thoughts:

I really wanted to love this book, I wanted it to be a new favourite but it wasn’t. I was a little disappointed overall.

The worldbuilding – by far the biggest strength of this book. The world was AMAZING. Like seriously great to read about. I loved learning about the world, the religion/beliefs and the magic. It was so cool! Completely different from the typical Medieval Europe type worlds we typically see in fantasy, this African inspired world was so refreshing to read about.

However, the plot was non-existent, for about 200 pages nothing happened. Nothing. It was a bore. I kept hoping it would get better so I pushed myself through it. The vast majority of the book felt like filler, it could’ve been edited down so much.
This book is over 400  pages and everything that happened could’ve been done in half that. It doesn’t pick up until the last 70-80 pages. It just isn’t worth forcing yourself through 350ish pages for it.

The pacing is all over the place, it’s extremely slow and boring for the most part and then when things start to get interesting it’s over in a page or two. It was odd.

Also, I find the arc to be misleading it says: ‘My Grandmother said I will be a powerful witchdoctor someday. I cannot wait that long’ – which is completely wrong and irrelevant?? Her Grandmother never says that and it’s never implied she’s going to be a powerful witchdoctor, it’s quite the opposite? Very misleading.

The concepts and the ideas in this book were really good, I really wish it had worked out well but overall, it was just meh. I don’t know if I’ll continue on with the series or not.

I really wanted to love this. I want to love fantasy by POC authors, with POC characters but this just didn’t do it for me, sadly.

Characters:
Arrah: Bland. I honestly didn’t even remember her name for half the book. Her name is hardly mentioned and she’s such an unmemorable character. She has non-exist character development, not much of arc going on and there’s no uniqueness to her at all.
I just couldn’t connect to her, which is a shame and pretty much a deal-breaker for me.

Side characters: Meh. There were some okay ones. None particularly stand out or are memorable.

This book is another Children of Blood and Bone for me, high expectations, good concept but doesn’t play out well at all. If you liked COBAB, you’d probably like this too. I wasn’t a fan.

Trigger warnings: Blood magic, rape, violence, abusive parents, victim-blaming & trauma.

Rating: 2.75 Stars

Kingdom of Souls is out this Thursday; September 19th!

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Books · Review

Review: Skyward by Brandon Sanderson (Spoiler Free)

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Synopsis:
Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul.


My Thoughts:

This is the first YA book I’ve read by Sanderson and the only non-Cosmere book I’ve read. I LOVE his fantasy books so much, they’re my favourite books ever. I was so excited when Skyward was announced because I love YA + Sci-fi + Sanderson. I don’t know why it took me so long to read this!

The beginning started off really well – I was interested and intrigued from the start. Sanderson is really good at creating interesting and gripping concepts/ideas.

The middle – It got a bit slow and repetitive. I found myself getting bored through most of the middle chunk. It definitely picked up again towards the end.

Ending – As with every Sanderson novel: the ending was SO GOOD. He really knows how to end a novel perfectly: the story is wrapped up but it leaves you wanting more and to continue.

Is it as good as his other books? No. I think adult fantasy is his strong point but he did YA sci-fi really well. I’ll definitely be continuing this series!

Characters:
Spensa: I really liked Spensa, she was different from the usual YA heroine. She was quirky and weird – which I really enjoyed! I know a lot of people didn’t take to her right away but I definitely did. I thought her personality and attitude were really refreshing to see.

Side characters: 
Most of them were really meh. I did really like the AI system though. It was so cool!! Also loved Doomslug; I love companions/pets in books!
I really didn’t like ‘Jerkface’ and I seriously hope no romance happens between him and Spensa. It would be seriously unnecessary.
I’m hoping for more development with friendships in the next book!

Rating: ★★★★

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Books · Review

Series Discussion: The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson (SPOILERS!) | NEW Favourites!

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This is going to be a discussion of The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson –  this is going to be a bit more informal/ just me gushing. There will be SPOILERS for all three books! My Spoiler-free Review is here.

Let me start off by saying: OH MY GOD I AM IN LOVE.
Why had I been sleeping on this series? Why is this series not more hyped up?!
I hardly ever hear anything about these books, they deserve so much more recognition. Quite possibly my new favourite YA fantasy series.

I love the fact in book one you don’t know who’s the assassin and who the Prince is. I thought this was such a cool idea – I’ve never read anything like it before. I actually guessed wrong about who was who! Even though looking back it’s super obvious. I thought Kaden was the Prince because at the festival thing that happens he knew all the words to songs – I assumed that meant he was the Prince as I thought Princes would be educated on other religions. I assumed Rafe was the assassin because he knew nothing of Morrighan religion/culture and since the assassin was from Venda I thought he wouldn’t be as educated as they are known to be ‘barbarians’. AND Rafe hid the body of that bounty hunter guy.

The World:
I loved this world. I found it fascinating!
The worldbuilding lacks a bit in the first book, but I loved it in the rest of the books. I love how unique and different the three kingdoms were from each other.
I personally love politics and religion in fantasy it really helps build the world and give you a feel of the culture.

The Magic System:
The ‘magic’ was an interesting one, it was kinda magic but not really? The gift is basically like this world’s version of being psychic but with restrictions. I have to admit I’ve never read anything similar so points for being quite unique. I thought the fact the gift was passed down to the First Daughters (usually) – this was different. Obviously, it’s not a very ‘magical’ magic system but it was well written and I thought it was fascinating regardless.

The Writing:
I love Mary E. Pearson’s writing style. It was a breeze to get through, I devoured these books in a week. Despite the last book being huge (almost 700 pages), I FLEW through it.

The Characters:
Lia: FINALLY a badass, strong female character who is consistently strong and a decent human being. She is everything I’ve always wanted from a female lead character. I love her personality; she’s outspoken, strong-willed and such a great person. I love that she doesn’t dwell/whine about her mistakes/choices in life, she takes it all in and tries to move on and solve the problems. There is nothing I hate more than a whiny character complaining about their bad decisions and mistakes instead of trying to correct them. Lia is not like that, thankfully.

Rafe: I loved Rafe from the beginning. Even when I didn’t know whether he was the Prince or the Assassin. I was rooting for Rafe and Lia from the moment they met basically. I found Rafe really easy to like, he was just such a great character and great love interest. There were moments where I had my doubts – like when he started to get controlling – I thought Lia and Rafe might not work out. I thought there was going to be a bit of a Tamlin incident where he starts off alright but then turns into a possessive asshole to set up the next relationship. I am SO happy that didn’t happen!

Kaden: I liked him. It took a while but he did grow on me. I didn’t really take to him in the first book but over the next two books, I began to like him more and more. I feel sorry for him, his family life and being tossed out like trash – so sad.
Kaden and Pauline – SO CUTE OMG. I love that he’s so good with her and her baby!

 

Ratings:
The Kiss of Deception – ★★★★.5
The Heart of Betrayal – ★★★★
The Beauty of Darkness – ★★★★.5

Series Rating: ★★★★.5

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