Artemis / Andy Weir

Title / Artemis
Author / Andy Weir
Publication Date / 2017
Page no. / 384
Series or standalone / Standalone
Overall Star Rating / 

 

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Goodreads synopsis: Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent. Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of Jazz’s problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself – and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even more unlikely than the first.

 

When I heard that Andy Weir was coming out with a new book, I was immediately interested. I thought this one was better than his previous book. First off, I thought Jazz was a great protagonist. She kind of sways between being likeable and unlikeable at times, but you become invested in her character anyway. I will say that I thought that her thinking seemed quite juvenile and immature alot of the time, even though she’s supposed to be 26 years old. I found this quite frustrating at times. Most of the characters had moments like this which detracted a little from the characters. For the most part though I did enjoy the characters and thought their progression through the book was good. It’s just that perhaps they could have had a little more depth and not been so immature. I will say that there are probably quite a few similarities between Jazz and Mark, in terms of their personalities and how they’ve been written. As with The Martian the writing is good and easy to get into. I will say that a lot of the scientific stuff kind of goes over my head, but it didn’t detract too much from my overall enjoyment. It does drag a little at times though, due to the scientific explanations. I have to admit skim reading some of those sections because I don’t really understand any of it. Despite this I still found this to be a compelling book. Once I started I just wanted to continue reading to find out what was going to happen next. Another strength of this book was definitely the world. I think Weir did a fantastic job of presenting us this world on the moon. It was easy to become immersed in the world while reading this book and I just thought that it was a very interesting one. I would love to see more of this moon city. This book is definitely not perfect but I still found it to be a fun, action packed and enjoyable read with a great world.

 

Overall I thought this was a very enjoyable read, although Jazz’s immaturity is a little frustrating at times.  Despite the flaws, I still thought it was great and I would definitely recommend checking it out. After some thought it’s probably more of a 3.5 star rating. If you enjoyed The Martian than I would say that there’s a good chance that you’ll enjoy this too.  Have you guys read it? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Mini Series Reviews

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I thought I would share some mini reviews of two series. One is an urban fantasy series and the other is a middle grade/young adult fantasy trilogy. To be honest I wasn’t sure what to review today, so I thought I’d review some series that I’ve read. Anyway let’s just get started.

 

The Others series / Anne Bishop / ★★★.5
Goodreads synopsis of book 1: As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.  Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

 

This isn’t the type of book that I usually go for, but this series is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. I’m not normally a huge fan of books with werewolves, vampires etc and I tend to avoid them. This series is an exception. There’s something about the characters and their relationship that I really enjoyed reading about. I feel like they definitely could do with more depth and development through the five books, but you still become invested in them or at least I did. I thought that the plot was pretty compelling throughout, as well being quite different to what I usually pick up. Having said that it can be a bit of a slow burn. It’s not a full on, action packed urban fantasy, so if that’s what you’re looking for then this isn’t it. However if you’re looking for a more world and character based urban fantasy then you may want to check this out. I think the world is quite vividly drawn, as well as being one you want to know more about. The writing is easy to get into and I found the books to be quite addictive. Overall I think this is a great series, although a little slow at times and perhaps lacking a bit in character depth. I would still recommend checking it out, especially if you are a fan of urban fantasy. Trigger warning for self harm. Side note, I really dislike these covers.

 

 

Inkworld trilogy / Cornelia Funke / ★★★
Goodreads synopsis of book 1: Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can “read” fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service. Characters from books literally leap off the page in this engrossing fantasy. Meggie has had her father to herself since her mother went away when she was young. Mo taught her to read when she was five, and the two share a mutual love of books. He can “read” characters out of books. When she was three, he read aloud from a book called Inkheart and released characters into the real world. At the same time, Meggie’s mother disappeared into the story. This “story within a story” will delight not just fantasy fans, but all readers who like an exciting plot with larger-than-life characters.

 

This is originally written in German. Firstly I love the concept of this trilogy – that some people can read characters to life. I think that’s quite a interesting idea and I really enjoyed the story. I will say that although I think it can be enjoyed by a variety of ages, I think it is most suited to it’s younger target audience. The characters are all well written, although I wasn’t the biggest fan of some of the character progression (particularly Meggie), but generally the characters are great. The plot is unlike anything I’ve come across. I will say that although I did enjoy this trilogy overall I did think that the first book was the strongest and that it got progressively weaker. It is still a good story though. I think the writing is great in this trilogy and it really immerses you in this world. There are some good plot twists throughout the trilogy too. I haven’t read anything else by this author but I can see why she is a popular writer of children’s fiction. Overall this is a good trilogy, although I personally felt that the books got progressively weaker. I would recommend this if you are a big fan of the author or enjoy a lot of middle grade/young adult.

 

That is all I have for you guys today. Have you read either of these series? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons to Read The Hobbit

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. It’s Friday so it’s time for another review and I thought I would do another 5 reasons to read style review. I wasn’t sure what book to talk about so I decided on a classic, The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. I actually didn’t read it until a couple of years ago (I think). I definitely saw why it is considered a classic. Let’s get started.

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  1. It can be enjoyed by a variety of ages. Originally written for Tolkien’s children, this classic can be loved by children or adults. It is just so good.
  2. The world is vividly drawn with fantastic characters. Middle-Earth is such a wonderful fantasy world and you will become fully invested in the characters.
  3. I think this is a great place to start if you are new to the fantasy genre or if you want to try some of Tolkien’s writing. LOTR is quite dense, so I think reading The Hobbit first is a good idea as it will give you a taste of Tolkien’s writing and it’s not as dense.
  4. Although a little slow to start, the plot is compelling and is so enjoyable to read. I think the atmosphere is also great throughout the book.
  5. If you are a big fantasy genre fan then I think this is well worth a read. It’s fantastic.

 

Basically I think it’s a really great book and I would definitely recommend reading it :). Have you read it? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Child of the Prophecy / Juliet Marillier

Title / Child of the Prophecy 
Author / Juliet Marillier
Publication Date / 2001 (first published)
Overall Star Rating / 

876014

 

Goodreads synopsis: The ancient forests of Sevenwaters are the land of lost dreams for Fainne and now she has been sent to destroy it with the magical arts she has learned since she was small.

 

This is the third book in the Sevenwaters series. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with this one. Don’t get me wrong it was still a good book, but I personally felt that it wasn’t quite as great as the previous two in this series. I loved the first two so much and I just felt that this one fell a little flat in comparison. Having said that it was still a good book and Juliet Marillier is a fantastic writer. One of the main issues I had with this book was the main character, Fainne. I didn’t find her as compelling as the previous female protagonists and I found her a little frustrating at times. There were a few occasions I was questioning her decisions – they just didn’t make any sense to me. As a result I felt quite disconnected from her character and therefore also disconnected from the story itself as well. Also the love interest was infuriating to me. Throughout the book he is constantly saying that she can’t look after herself and she needs him to look after her. No, stop being a patronising idiot. As you can maybe tell I wasn’t a fan of the love interest. I felt that the plot was also a bit less compelling than the previous two books, maybe due to the characters. Another issue I had was the length. I think this book could definitely be shorted as it dragged a few times. I have to admit that I did skim read some sections. Having said that I think each book in the series have had some issues with the pacing, but this book seemed to drag more. Due to this issues it took me longer to read it than it took me to read the previous two. As expected from Juliet Marillier, the writing was wonderful and I find it so easy to become absorbed into her worlds. Obviously with this one I was slightly less absorbed but it was still good. It’s clear to me that Marillier is a talented writer, but something about this one fell a little flat for me. I just didn’t love it as much as the other two books in the series.

 

Overall this was a good continuation of this series, but for me it is definitely the weakest book so far. I just wasn’t the biggest fan of the protagonist, but Marillier is a fantastic writer.  I did still enjoy it though and would definitely recommend checking out this series. I will definitely be checking out the next book in the series at some point. Have you read any books from this series? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

Daughter of Shadow / Tyler Sehn

Title / Daughter of Shadow
Author / Tyler Sehn
Publication Date / 2015
Page no. / 534 (kindle)
Star Rating / ★★★

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Goodreads synopsis: Born with one foot in light and one in darkness, she is torn between both. Melea is the greatest warrior in the world. In service to the Lord of Light, she uses her abilities to kill for his divine vision. Shadows grow larger as the Light spreads—the world and the forces that define it are changing and Melea is caught in the center. Melea denies being a villain, refuses to be a hero, and would rather slash with the razors edge than walk along it. Fate spins, or so it is said, and Melea is cursed with the luck of the dead.

 

I first read this a similar time last year but decided on a whim to reread it in September. I initially gave it a 2.5 star rating but I bumped it up to 3.5. I will say from the start that this book isn’t perfect but I thought it had a lot of potential. The first thing I want to talk about is the plot. I personally found it to be quite compelling, although there are definitely parts of the story that do drag and are perhaps unnecessary. It is also a little confusing at times.  Due to this it was quite a slow read for me and I consider myself a relatively fast reader. However I never felt bored so it didn’t bother me too much. The relative frequent changes in perspectives wasn’t my favourite thing but I managed to keep track of what was going on with each character. If that is something that you don’t like though, it is probably something to be aware of going in. The writing is easy to get into and although the book is long it is not too dense. I think the action scenes were written well. The world is an interesting one too and I thought overall the world building was well done. There are few instances where I wanted a bit more explanation but perhaps that would come in the sequel. I would love to know more about this world. The first chapter definitely opens this book really well and I was intrigued from the start.

 

While the characters are generally well written, I think they were lacking some depth, especially Melea. I think she had so much potential to be an amazing character but in practice she just doesn’t quite live up to that potential. I think the main issue I had was that she’s frequently referred to as one of the best fighters and a ‘child of death’ but I wanted more proof of this. Yes it is clear she is a good fighter but I don’t think it’s clear that she’s supposed to be one of the best. I wanted more depth to her character. There were a few moments where I did get a little frustrated with her.  Having said that I did still really enjoy her character and I would say she is probably one of my favourite things about this book. I really like that she is not a hero but she’s also not a villain – it’s not black or white with her character. There are a few other quite intriguing characters too. I found each perspective to be engaging, although I definitely preferred Melea chapters.

 

Overall I thought this was a good start to this fantasy series, although I don’t know when or if the second book is going to be released. I would continue on with this series, however since there is no sign of a sequel I may lose interest. Hopefully it will be released soon. It’s still worth checking out if it sounds interesting to you. Sorry this is quite a short review. Have you read this book? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Mini Review: 2 Series

 

Series title / Chronicles of Ancient Darkness
Title of book 1/ Wolf Brother
Author / Michelle Paver
No. of books / 6
Star Rating / ★★★
Goodreads synopsis of book 1: Thousands of years ago the land is one dark forest. Its people are hunter-gatherers. They know every tree and herb and they know how to survive in a time of enchantment and powerful magic. Until an ambitious and malevolent force conjures a demon: a demon so evil that it can be contained only in the body of a ferocious bear that will slay everything it sees, a demon determined to destroy the world. Only one boy can stop it—12 year old Torak, who has seen his father murdered by the bear. With his dying breath, Torak’s father tells his son of the burden that is his. He must lead the bear to the mountain of the World Spirit and beg that spirit’s help to overcome it.

 

This is probably one of my favourite all time series. It’s probably classed as middle grade. I say probably because I don’y really know what middle grade is as someone from the UK. I first read it years ago and I’ve reread quite a few times now. The first thing I love about this series is the setting. The author clearly did a whole lot of research for this series and it’s resulted in a wonderfully vivid world. The world building is one of the main strengths of this series. The characters are just as well written. Through the six books you really become invested in them, however I will say that their development could have been better. Wolf is, of course, one of my favourite characters. I will say that these are quite light fantasy reads, so if your looking for denser fantasy worlds than you probably won’t enjoy this one. Having said that these are great, fun reads. The plot is compelling throughout the six books, although perhaps a little simplistic. The pacing is also slightly off at times but it doesn’t detract too much from the overall reading experience. I was hooked very early on and I flew through each book pretty quickly. If you enjoy middle grade, than you definitely need to check out this series. Overall I think this is a great series with one of my favourite settings.

 

 

Series title / Bartimaeus series
Title of book 1 / The Amulet of Samarkand
Author / Jonathan Stroud
No. of books / 3
Star Rating / ★★★
Goodreads synopsis of book 1: Nathaniel is a magician’s apprentice, taking his first lessons in the arts of magic. But when a devious hot-shot wizard named Simon Lovelace ruthlessly humiliates Nathaniel in front of his elders, Nathaniel decides to kick up his education a few notches and show Lovelace who’s boss. With revenge on his mind, he summons the powerful djinni, Bartimaeus. But summoning Bartimaeus and controlling him are two different things entirely, and when Nathaniel sends the djinni out to steal Lovelace’s greatest treasure, the Amulet of Samarkand, he finds himself caught up in a whirlwind of magical espionage, murder, and rebellion.

 

I think this is such an underrated series as I haven’t seen it around the bookish community at all. This trilogy was actually one of the first I read and so I always will think it’s great. It has a compelling story, well written characters and good writing. The world building is also great. If you are looking for a fast-paced, entertaining adventure than you should definitely check these books out. I will say that this book does rely on footnotes to give more information so if that’s not your thing than you may want to avoid this book. I personally find that they worked quite well and add a better understanding of the world and characters – it never felt bogged down. One of my favourite things about this book is Bartimaeus. He is so snarky and it’s amazing. The relationship between Nathaniel and Bartimaeus is great and the development throughout the three books is a pleasure to read. Nathaniel can be kind of irritating at times but I was still invested in his character. I will say that I think this trilogy is aimed at younger readers but it can still be enjoyed by a variety of ages. To me these are quick, fun reads that I’ve really enjoyed reading on multiple occasions. There is also a prequel (The Ring of Soloman) which is also great.

 

Both of these series are great so I thought it was about time to review and recommend them to you guys. My favourite of the two is probably the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series but I love both. Have you guys read either of these? What did you think? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

The Tiger’s Daughter / K. Arsenault Rivera

Title / The Tiger’s Daughter
Author / K. Arsenault Rivera
Publication Date / 2017
Page no. / 512
Series or standalone / Their Bright Ascendancy book 1
Overall Star Rating / 

29760778

Goodreads synopsis: The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach―but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests. Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons. This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

 

This was one of my most anticipated books of this year and I’m sad to say I was disappointed by it. Firstly I think it is fantastic that this is a lesbian romance as it’s something that I haven’t seen a lot of in the fantasy genre, especially with the main characters. However for me I found this too romance heavy. When it becomes the driving force behind the plot, I’m just not that interested. I swear every few pages one of the main characters was expressing her love for the other and I just couldn’t – we get it, please stop. As you can probably tell I found that kind of annoying. The plot had so much potential but I felt that it was a little overshadowed by the romance, which really didn’t work for me.  The fact that I didn’t really care about the characters didn’t help with the romance. To me the two main characters were kind of unlikealbe and I just didn’t care about them. I found that the characters were underdeveloped and flat, which hindered my ability to connect with any of them. The main issue I had with this though is the narrative style. The majority of the story is told through a letter from one of the main characters to the other. First off it’s very clearly a way to info dump as Shefali (main character) is writing to Shizuka (other main character) about things they both witnessed. Why would you write a letter to tell someone about something they experienced? It just doesn’t make any sense to me, unless it’s just there to info dump. I think it would also take the record for longest letter ever – it seemed like it was never going to end. It dragged quite a lot and at times I didn’t really know what was going on. The writing itself is good but again something about it didn’t work for me. I think at times it was quite drawn out – the slow pacing doesn’t help with this either. Consequently I struggled to get invested in this book.  Apart from the narrative style, it was also the plot that let it down. It felt kind of aimless to me and so drawn out, especially the first half the book. The plot did improve in the second half but by then I didn’t particularly care. The premise made it seem like it was going to be action packed with maybe a bit of politics but instead we basically get a very long love letter. That is not what I signed up for. In terms of world building and magic system, I can’t really tell you much as it was pretty vague. These are mostly just personal preference though. One thing I feel I should mention is the appropriation of Japanese, Chinese and Mongolian cultures. I think it’s important to be aware of these things when reading books. For more information about this, please read this review by a Japanese woman who can speak on these issues with authority.

 

Overall this one just really didn’t work for me. It definitely had a lot of potential but personally I felt a little disappointed by it. To me this felt more of an epic romance than epic fantasy. I seem to be in the minority on this one though as I’ve seen a lot of great reviews on Goodreads. Have you read this book? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa