Children of Blood and Bone / Tomi Adeyemi

Title / Children of Blood and Bone
Author / Tomi Adeyemi
Publication Date / 2018
Genre / YA fantasy
Series or standalone / book 1 – Legacy of Orïsha trilogy
Page no. / 531
Overall Rating / ★★
Goodreads synopsis: Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

 

So I’d been debating about whether to pick this book up for a while. There’s been quite a lot of hype surrounding this book but after hearing a lot of good things about it I decided to give it a go. Unfortunately this one didn’t work for me. Firstly, I think it’s fantastic this is an African-inspired fantasy, because that’s not something that I’ve seen a lot of in the fantasy genre. I enjoyed the setting and mythology of this book, although at times it felt quite shallow. Although I love that it introduces the reader to Nigerian mythology and culture, I can’t help but feel that it was pared down for the masses. I’m not criticising this, however I would loved to have more depth to this world. There is minimal world building in this book but it had so much potential. To me world building is an important part of a fantasy book and unfortunately it’s lacking in this book. There are so many details missing that could have given the reader a better understanding of the world and characters. Speaking of the characters, I was not a fan of the protagonist, Zélie. She consistently makes bad decisions and likes to lament the fact that no one understands her. Cue eye rolling. Amari and Tzain had potential but were underdeveloped in my opinion, and all I’m going to say about Inan is that he bugged me all the way through the book. Generally the characters and their relationships lacked depth.

 

OK, onto the main issue I had with this book – the romance. From the moment the love interest is introduced, you just knew how it was going to play out and it bugged me all the way through. To me the romance felt very forced and manufactured. There wasn’t any connection between them and I just couldn’t get behind it. They literally hate each-others guts and then within like 5 minutes of meeting they love each other. I’m sorry but no. This was a huge instance of insta-love. I don’t mind the whole enemy to lovers idea when it’s done right but this romance had no time to develop naturally. At one point Zélie is tortured and the first thing she does after being rescued is have dream sex with the love interest. Seriously? Get your priorities straight. Basically I really disliked the romance and it detracted from the story. The other main issue I had was the writing. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the short sentences and I found the writing to be so repetitive. Not only did this mean that I struggled to get into the flow of the writing, but it also meant that it dragged for me. I read a lot of long books so 531 pages shouldn’t be an issue but due to the writing this book felt longer to me. I thought about DNFing it multiple times. The pacing is uneven throughout, which also means the book drags a bit. Some parts are so slow and then it suddenly switches to about ten different things happening at once, which can be quite confusing. The plot had potential but I found it to be predictable and I wasn’t the biggest fan of how it progressed.

 

Overall I wasn’t a fan of this book. To me it felt like quite a generic YA fantasy book, although I think it is great that this is an African inspired fantasy book. Now I am definitely in the minority here. There are a ton of good reviews on Goodreads and I think if you are a big YA fantasy reader then you will enjoy this, but it didn’t work for me. Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Charmcaster / Sebastien de Castell

Title / Charmcaster
Author / Sebastien de Castell
Publication Date / 2018
Genre / Fantasy
Series or standalone / book 3 of the Spellslinger series
Page no. / 400
Star Rating / ★★★★

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Goodreads synopsis: Kellen has begun to master his spellslinging and the Argosi tricks for staying alive, and he and Reichis have found a career that suits them both: taking down mercenary mages who make people’s lives miserable. But Ferius is concerned that Kellen is courting disaster . . .

 

*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
This was a fantastic instalment to this 6 book fantasy series. I have done a review of the first two books if you want to my thoughts on them too. Having really enjoyed the first two books, I fully expected to love this instalment and it didn’t disappoint. It was great to be back with these characters and in this world. This book was fantastic from the very start and I loved the progression of the story. Charmcaster is just as fast paced and entertaining as the previous two books. I find this series kind of addictive and once I’ve started reading I don’t want to put the book down. The plot is compelling throughout and the author does a great job at maintaining the flow of the story. Although the pacing is good in this series overall, I found that the first two books start off quite slow but I didn’t have that issue with this book. From the very beginning, the pacing was good and it was maintained throughout the 400 pages. I loved that we got to see more of the world and the author does a fantastic job at building on what we already know of it. As in the previous books, the magic system is wonderfully written and so unique. It is definitely one of the main strengths of this series. I love that the protagonist isn’t the most powerful person but has to rely on his wits to keep himself alive too. Speaking of the protagonist, I love the characters in this series and their development in this instalment was great. The way the relationships develop in this book was such a pleasure to read and I love the banter between them, especially between Kellen and Reichis. Both the old and new characters are so well written and I loved learning a little about Ferius’s past. If you can’t tell I think this was a fantastic instalment to this very entertaining series.

 

Overall I really enjoyed this sequel and can’t wait to see how sees progress in the rest of the series. If you enjoy fantasy books, especially ones that are fast paced and filled with humour, then I highly recommend checking this series out. If you’ve enjoyed the first two books in the series then you will enjoy this instalment too. I know this is quite a short review but hopefully it means my review is concise. Have you read this book? Or do you plan to start this series? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Children of Time / Adrian Tchaikovsky

Title / Children of Time
Author / Adrian Tchaikovsky
Publication Date / 2015
Genre / Science fiction
Series or standalone / standalone
Page no. / 600
Star Rating / ★★★★
Goodreads synopsis: The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age—a world terraformed and prepared for human life. But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them, pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind’s worst nightmare. Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth?

 

 This is a fantastic sci-fi book with a unique premise and compelling plot. I’m not going to go into too much detail about the book  because I think this is one of those books that you should read knowing little about it. I only had a vague look at the blurb when I decided to pick this up. I’ve never read anything quite like this and I loved it. First of all, the writing is fantastic and I thought the two perspective used in the narration was so good. Basically as you can see from the blurb, we have the human perspective but we also have the perspective of the other civilisations on the terraformed world. I’m not going to say anything more about the other civilisation because it can be seen as a bit of a spoiler. Just known that these ‘other’s are incredibly well written. The use of both of these perspectives creates such an interesting and engaging story, because we get to see both sides of the story/conflict, whereas normally when there are ‘aliens’ involved we only get to see the human side of it. The plot itself is incredible. I didn’t really know what to expect going into it but I was blown away. The timeline spans thousands of years and it was fascinating to see how things changed for each civilisation.  You can clearly tell that the author has done his research because there is so much depth and detail to this world and characters. I loved learning about this world and the culture of the other civilisation. There is a wide range of characters that are all wonderfully well written too.

 

This book is epic in scale and I’m impressed with Tchaikovsky for managing to tell this story without us being bogged down or being sidetracked from the main story. Do not be intimidated by the size and scope of this book. At 600 pages it is a long book but it is well worth the effort and time commitment.  I have to admit that I was a little intimidated at first as someone who doesn’t read a lot of sci-fi but there was no need to be. There are many good things to say about this book, from the innovative story to the fantastic world building to the writing that will have you gripped from early on. If you are looking for a fast-paced, action-packed sci-fi book then this probably isn’t for you, however if you are a big sci-fi fan then I think this is well worth checking out.

 

Overall I loved this book. If you are looking for a new sci-fi book to read then I highly recommend checking this book out, especially if you want one that handles the whole alien thing a little differently. Have you read this book? Or have you read anything else by this author? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

5 reasons to read Persuasion by Jane Austen

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. It’s time for another 5 reasons to read style review and today I wanted to talk about one of my favourite books by Jane Austen, Persuasion. If I remember correctly this was Austen’s last completed novel and was published roughly 6 months after her death. This book is just so good.

 

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  1. This book contains a fantastic female protagonist in the form of Anne Elliott. I love her character and think that a lot of people will be able to relate to her. The entire cast of this book are well written, although Wentworth could perhaps be a little more fleshed out.
  2. As with all her books the writing is so good. I find her books so easy to get into and I love the wit she incorporates into her writing. If you are new to classics I think her books are a great place to start.
  3. It’s another interesting look into women’s place in society during this time period. Anne is 27 when we meet her and in danger of becoming a spinster. As with her other books, we get a good insight into society at the time.
  4. There is a good BBC adaptation starring Sally Hawkins, which you can watch after reading the book :).
  5. This is one of my favourite (tied with Pride and Prejudice) Austen books so of course I want to recommend it to you guys.

 

To be honest I recommend reading all of Austen’s books because they are so good. Have you read this book? I’d love to know what you thought of it. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

Under Heaven / Guy Gavriel Kay

Title / Under Heaven
Author / Guy Gavriel Kay
Publication Date / 2010 (first published)
Series or standalone / book 1 of Under Heaven duology
Overall Star Rating / 

 

 

Under Heaven is set in a fictionalized version of the Tang Dynasty of 8th-century China and contains a masterful story of family, intrigue and power. It is a historical fantasy and it is the first book in the Under Heaven companion duology; the second book is River of Stars which is set in a world inspired by the Song dynasty.

 

The world is not something to be understood. It is vanity, illusion to even try.” – Li-Mei

 

This was my first book by this author and it will definitely not be my last. Simply put, this was a fantastic book. From the beginning I could tell that every word is so well placed and that the writing is very well thought out. It was a pleasure to read this book, because the writing is so good. It immerses you in this world and characters, and makes you want to read on. It is quite a long book at over 500 pages and at times the pacing makes it quite a slow read, but the writing and characters will keep you engaged throughout. Some may find that the slow but steady pacing results in the story dragging, however I had no issues with this. Even in the slower moments, the book was compelling for me. The first few chapters really hook you into the story and from then on it never loses momentum, even when the pacing is slow. The plot is compelling throughout and once I’d started reading I didn’t want to put this book down. Another strength of this book was the world building. Under Heaven takes place in Kitai, which as I’ve mentioned is an alternate version of the Tang Dynasty. From the very beginning of the book I was completely immersed in the world. It is clear that the author has done a lot of research on this period of history. Now I do not know a lot about Chinese history, so I cannot comment on authenticity, but I can say that this complex world is richly painted. Not only do we get a good understanding of the world as a whole, we also get to see some of the inner workings of court intrigue. The politics and intrigue are fantastic. I love political intrigue in fantasy and Kay has done it so well. Everything unfolds at just the right pacing, without rushing it, and it was a pleasure to watch to all unfold.

 

Although we mainly follow Shen Tai, there is a fantastic cast of characters that we meet in this book too. This is primarily a character driven story with compelling narratives for each character perspective. As I’ve mentioned Shen Tai’s perspective is used the most, but each perspective is as compelling as the last and the flow is never disrupted by a switch of perspectives. All of the characters are incredibly well written. There are so many characters that I loved in this book but one of my favourites would have to be Wei Song. She is such a strong and intriguing character and I would love to know more about her. There are many more characters I could talk about, including Li Mei, Sima Zian and Meshag, but then this review would be incredibly long. Just know that all of the characters in this book are all complex, flawed and wonderfully vivid. Even with a character you dislike, Kay manages to make you think twice about them and to see them in a more sympathetic light. The relationships between the characters are also well written. It was so interesting to see all the different relationships between the characters and how they developed throughout the book. The characters are definitely a massive strength of this book and I think I will pick up on new things about each character when I reread this book. Put simply, I adored this book and I want to recommend it to as many people as I can. Everything about this book is well thought out and I loved reading every second of it.

 

Overall, I loved this book and I cannot wait to read more from this author. This is a wonderful mix of historical fiction and fantasy that has resulted in a compelling and fascinating read. The characters are so well written, the plot is compelling, and the writing is fantastic. Kay has managed to weave these elements all together seamlessly to create a complex and layered book. This is the kind of book that you just don’t want it to end and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It has definitely moved into my favourites. I would highly recommend reading this book, especially if you enjoy a mix of historical fiction and fantasy, and/or enjoy character driven stories. However, if you want a quick, action-packed fantasy read then this probably isn’t the book for you. I will definitely be checking out the other book in this companion duology, River of Stars. Have you read this book? What did you think? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Eagles of Rome trilogy / Ben Kane

Title / Eagles at War, Hunting the Eagles and Eagles in the Storm
Author / Ben Kane
Publication Date / 2015, 2016 and 2017
Genre / Historical fiction
Series or standalone / Trilogy
Overall Rating / ★★★★

 

Goodreads synopsis of book 1: AD 9, Germania: Close to the Rhine, a Roman centurion, Lucius Tullus, prepares to take his soldiers on patrol. On the opposite side of the river, German tribes are resentful of the harsh taxes imposed upon them. Suspicious that there might be unrest, Tullus knows that his men’s survival will be determined not just by their training and discipline, but by his leadership. What neither Tullus nor the Roman Governor Varus realise is that ranged against them is the charismatic chieftain and trusted ally of Rome, Arminius, who has long been plotting to drive the Romans from the tribal lands east of the Rhine. As Varus’ legions prepare to leave their summer encampment, thousands of warriors – directed by Arminius – are massing nearby. Eager to throw off the Roman yoke, the tribesmen prepare a deadly ambush. Only the gods can save the Romans now …
This is a fantastic military historical fantasy trilogy based on real historical events. It is set before and after the Battle of Teutoborg Forest in 9 AD and follows multiple perspectives to give us a wider look into this conflict. Now I do not know a lot about this time in history so I cannot comment on historical accuracy but I will say all three books have a realistic feel to them. I found them to not only be enjoyable reads but also really interesting. Despite not knowing much about this time period, it’s one that I find fascinating so I loved the setting of these books. You can tell that the author did a lot of research to write these books. I think even if you know a lot about this period and know what will happen, you will still enjoy this book because it is so well written. The changes in perspective never disrupted the flow of the story and each chapter was as compelling as the last. I can sometimes find switches in perspective to be a little jarring but that is not the case with these books. The build up of suspense in all three books is so well done. These books are action packed and I loved all the military aspects of the story. The action scenes are one of the strengths of this trilogy. They are so well written and gripping to read. The writing is also fantastic and there are some great description throughout the trilogy. I enjoyed each of these books very much and I thought the ending of the trilogy was great.
The characters are another strength of this trilogy, although some of the minor characters were a little flat. However all of the main characters are well written. They are all flawed and complex with good development through the three books. It was fascinating to me to see the daily lives of these soldiers and I think Kane’s choice in character perspective was very clever, because it means we get a much wider look into the events of the book. I personally found Arminius chapters slightly more compelling then the others but I enjoyed all of them.
I hadn’t read anything by this author when I picked up the first book but I will definitely be checking out his other books. If you enjoy military historical fiction and/or are interested in this time period then I highly recommend checking this trilogy out. Have you read these books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.
Pippa

Ininiate Brother duology / Sean Russell

Title / The Initiate Brother and Gatherer of Clouds
Author / Sean Russell
Publication Date / 1991 and 1992
Series or standalone / Duology
Page no. / 784 (bind-up)
Overall Rating / 
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Goodreads synopsis of book 1: Plague and warfare has swept across the Orient, ravaging the ancient kingdom of Wa, devastating the royal line, and leaving a new dynasty on the throne–a new Emperor, Akantsu, filled with fear of all who might seek to wriest the Empire from his grasp. Among those out of favor with the new liege is the Order of the Botahist Monks, whose mystical powers have enabled them to hold positions as Spiritual Adviseres to the Imperial court for nearly ten centuries. But Emperor Akantsu fears none so greatly as he does Lord Shonto, the brilliant leader of the most important of the Old Families, whose infludence could rally the Great Houses against the throne and whose adopted daughter, the beautiful and talented Lady Nishima, is the last surviving member of the old royal family. Sent to be military Governor of a northern border province long threatened by barbarian invaders, Lord Shonto knows he is being lured to his death. But Akantsu has underestimated his foe, for not only is Lord Shonto the greatest military genius of the age, but he has with him a Spiritual Adviser from the Botahist Order–a young man gifted with extraordinary martial skills and magical abilities, Initiate Brother Shuyun. And even Lord Shonto does not realize the true potential of this young monk. Only time will reveal that Shuyun’s magical powers have not seen their equal in nearly a thousand years–not since the Perfect Master himself walked the paths of the Empire…

 

This is a fantastic fantasy duology set in an East Asian inspired world with well written characters and compelling plot. I didn’t know much about this book when I picked it up but I’m very glad I did. I ended up loving this book. Firstly I think the world is so well written. From the very beginning I was immersed in the world and I loved the way the author slowly revealed more of it throughout the duology. There are some fantastic descriptions of the landscape within these two books. If you enjoy good world building in fantasy then you will not be disappointed. The cultures of this world are all really interesting and I enjoyed learning more about this aspect of the world. There is so much detail put into these books but it never felt overwhelming and I never felt bogged down. It is all relevant and interesting. One of the main things I loved about this world is the intrigue and politics. I really enjoy fantasy books that incorporate politics and Russell does it so well.

 

This is very much a character driven story, which I personally really enjoy. There are so many wonderfully written characters in this book. All of them are complex and flawed with fantastic development through the two books. I will admit it was a little tricky at first to keep track of everyone but after a couple of chapters I was invested in the characters and story. Due to this being a character driven story the pacing is quite slow. Although there is action in this book, it is not a fast paced fantasy book so don’t expect that. The focus is on the development of the characters and the politics of the world. Despite this slower pacing I found the plot to be compelling throughout. I was hooked from very early on and once I’d started I didn’t want to put it down. Although I will say that the set up of the first book is especially slow, so bear with it as it does pick up. There are some great plot twists too. Russell did a fantastic job at creating intricate lines of plot that all come together at the end of the book. Finally I thought the writing was great. This was my first book by this author and I found it so easy to get into the flow of his writing style.

 

If you enjoy character driven fantasy with a slower pace and/or enjoy fantasy with politics then I highly recommend checking it out. I loved it and want to recommend it to everyone. If you’ve read and enjoyed Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay then I think you’d enjoy this book too. I’m definitely planning on checking out some of this authors other books too. Have you read this book? I’d love to know your thoughts. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa