The Shadow Of What Was Lost / James Islington

Title / The Shadow Of What Was Lost 
Author / James Islington
Publication Date / 2016
Star Rating / ★★★.5
Goodreads synopsis: As a student of the Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war fought – and lost – before he was born. Despised by most beyond the school walls, he and those around him are all but prisoners as they attempt to learn control of the Gift. Worse, as Davian struggles with his lessons, he knows that there is further to fall if he cannot pass his final tests. But when Davian discovers he has the ability to wield the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything. To the north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir. And to the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is…
This is the first book in the Licanius trilogy and is the author’s debut book. I thought this was a solid introduction to this trilogy, although it wasn’t perfect. It took me a little while to get into it but after a couple of chapters I was invested in the story. The world is well crafted with an interesting magic system, although I did want more detail on certain things throughout the book. I wanted a bit more on the different cultures of this world specifically.  Overall though the world is rich in detail. There are two types of magic users in this world – Gifted, who are able to tap into the Essence, and Augurs, who were once viewed as almost Gods. There is a school for those who can tap into the Essence and if you fail to graduate from this school you become a Shadow, a second rate citizen. I really liked this world. It is clearly well thought out and has a lot of potential. I’m looking forward to seeing how it is expanded on in the future books. I will admit to the characters being a little generic, but they are still well written. You’ve probably seen similar characters in other fantasy books but Islington still manages to keep them compelling. The character development is also well done. However I think some of the minor characters were a little flat. This book does have quite a few characters to follow but they are all distinctive. If you are not normally a fan of multiple perspective, than it is perhaps something to be aware of. Personally I think it worked quite well this time and grants the reader a larger scale of the events of the book. I know it can sometimes be quite jarring to switch perspectives but that wasn’t the case this time. I would also say that this is quite a character driven fantasy, so that’s probably something to be aware of too. The pacing is a little uneven at times but the plot is generally compelling throughout. At it’s very core this is a coming of age story with quite a few twists and turns along the way. Intrigue plays a part as well, which I am a big fan of. There is a few instances of the plot dragging, especially during some of the travelling scenes. Overall it was kind of long winded. One thing I got a little frustrated with was that characters would be told to do something and told how important it is, but there is very little explanation as to why. They just kind of accept it and go. Maybe that was just me. Having said all that I think this book shows great potential and I definitely excited to see how things progress in the next two books. There was just something about this one that I didn’t love it but it’s still a good read.
Overall this was a good book and a solid introduction to this new world. It does have a lot of traditional fantasy elements/tropes but it is still an enjoyable story. Although it’s quite a hefty fantasy I think it was pretty accessible and so could be a good place to start if you are new to the fantasy genre. I will definitely be checking out the sequel, An Echo of Things to Come, when it comes out in paperback early next year – the hardback is out now. I would recommend checking this out, if you are interested by the synopsis. I also just want to mention how great the covers are – definitely some new favourites. Have you guys read this book? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.
Pippa

Recent Favourite Music

Hi guys, so today I thought I would talk about something a little different. Basically I am going to be sharing some of the music that I’ve been loving recently. I love listening to music and there’s some great songs out at the moment. I’ve been loving Spotify ever since my mum got the family account thing. It’s a great way to find new music too. Let’s get started.

 

I would say I have a quite eclectic taste in music, although I’m not a fan of heavy metal or anything that involves shouting. I also find it quite interesting how your taste in music can change over time – in my late teens I wasn’t really listening to the stuff I am today. Anyway I would love to know what you guys have been listening to lately. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

TTT: Books on my Fall TBR

toptentuesday

It is that time of the week for another Top Ten Tuesday. It is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010. This weeks topic is books on your fall TBR. Personally I say autumn but you get the idea :). I have quite a few books I want to read this autumn, as well as winter, so I can really just talk about all the books on my bookshelves. I don’t think I’ll be able to read all of them though. So let’s get started.

 

Hopefully I will get to all of these books this autumn or at least by the end of the year. So far this month I haven’t done a lot of reading but I’m hoping to get back into reading a lot soon. There are quite a few other books on my TBR but I think I want to get to these ones most of all at the moment. What books are on your autumn/fall TBR? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Current Favourites

Hi guys, how are you? I hope you are all well. Today I thought I would share some of my current favourites. This is going to be a non bookish post so I hope that is alright with you. So I’m going to be talking about things I’ve been loving over the last couple of months – really since I did my last favourites post back in December, I think. Let’s get started.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn is probably my favourite game of the year so far, but I also really enjoyed Uncharted: the Lost Legacy. Both are fantastic video games. I cannot wait for the release of the new Assassins Creed game in October!
  • My Birkenstocks – I have annoyingly small feet with a wide foot and skinny ankles so I have always struggled to find shoes that fit me well. The ones I have are from the kids section but they fit well and they are super comfortable. Definitely a new favourite, although I probably won’t be wearing them any time soon now.
  • The Electra Jeans from Mango – finding a good pair of jeans is always a struggle but these fit nicely and are comfortable. They are my go to jeans at the moment. I do have to hem them though as they are too long for me.
  • Dua Lipa’s debut album is fantastic. I’ve been listening to it a lot over the past few months. My favourite song is probably New Rules.
  • Two TV shows I’ve recently enjoyed are Orphan Black and Person of Interest. The last season of Orphan Black was recently released and it was so good. I’m currently waiting for the last season of Person of Interest to be released on Netflix.
  • Aussie 3 Miracle Oil – my hair had been feeling a bit rubbish so I decided to try this and I’m happy to report it definitely made my hair feel a bit healthier. I tend to use this before shampooing but you can also use it on damp or dry hair.
  • Almond milk and honey soothing and restoring lotion from the Body Shop – my skin can be quite sensitive so this has been great at soothing and moisturising at the same time.
  • White Company Orange Grove Diffuser – this just smells amazing and lasts really well.
That’s all I have to share this time but I definitely plan on doing posts like this in the future. Unless you guys hate it, in which case I probably won’t Anyway what are some of your favourites right now? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

The Black Magicians trilogy / Trudi Canavan

Title / The Magicians’ Guild, The Novice and The High Lord
Author / Trudi Canavan
Publication Date / 2001, 2002 and 2002 (first published)
Overall Star Rating / 
Goodreads synopsis of book 1: This year, like every other, the magicians of Imardin gather to purge the city of undesirables. Cloaked in the protection of their sorcery, they move with no fear of the vagrants and miscreants who despise them and their work-—until one enraged girl, barely more than a child, hurls a stone at the hated invaders…and effortlessly penetrates their magical shield.
What the Magicians’ Guild has long dreaded has finally come to pass. There is someone outside their ranks who possesses a raw power beyond imagining, an untrained mage who must be found and schooled before she destroys herself and her city with a force she cannot yet control.

 

“It is said, in Imardin, that the wind has a soul, and that it wails through the narrow streets because it is grieved by what it finds there.”

 

This is one of my all time favourite series so I thought it was about time that I did a series review on it. For me this will always be a fantastic trilogy. I am well aware that it has some flaws but they don’t detract anything for me. Basically this is quite a sentimental favourite. I didn’t have a great time during my teenage years and this is one of the series I would escape to. Anyway let’s get started with the actual review.  This is a three book fantasy series set in Kyralia. It is divided up by districts and the capital is Imardin. I would say that this is a fairly traditional fantasy setting, but that is not a bad thing as the world is an interesting one. If you are looking for unique settings though, than you won’t find that here, but if you enjoy fantasy school settings than you may want to check it out. Not only do you get a good grasp of the culture, politics and magic system of the world, but you also get a good idea of the landscape and terrain of the place as well. Everything is well thought out. Personally I think the world is one of the main strengths of this trilogy. The writing is good, although it is a little repetitive at times. These books are very easy to get into and can be quite quick reads. The first half of the first book is definitely quite slow in terms of pacing. It does drag but do bear with it as it does get better and the pacing even outs. Due to this I think the series as a whole could have been shorter overall. I personally think the plot is quite compelling though.

 

It does rely on the rather overused ‘special’ main character who is more powerful than other people. I think perhaps if I read it for the first time now I would have got a little frustrated with it but at the time it didn’t bother me at all. I think as a whole the characters are well written and you come to really care about them by the end of the trilogy. Sonea is one of my favourite characters, but the secondary characters are just as good – I seriously love Rothen so much. Yes they can probably be seen as quite cliched and stereotypical but I still think they are well written. Perhaps it’s something to be aware of though. The character development through the three books is great and I loved seeing how each of them progressed. I will admit they are quite simply drawn but you’ll still come to care for them. The relationships are good, although some do develop quite quickly. This one is actually quite a tricky one to review. As I’ve mentioned I am well aware of it’s flaws but I still love this trilogy so it’s tricky to come up with a balanced review, if that makes sense.

 

Overall this is a fantastic trilogy that I have reread a few times. I am well aware it isn’t perfect and has flaws but I still love it. Perhaps if I read it for the first time now as a more critical reader I would have a completely different reaction to it. I don’t know. This trilogy will always be one of my favourites as it helped me through a tricky time. I would definitely recommend checking this out, especially if you love the fantasy genre. Have you guys read this series? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

T5W: Books to read without a synopsis

Top 5 Wednesday was originally created and run by Lainey aka gingerreadslainey (Youtube channel) but it is now being run by Sam aka Thoughts on tomes (Youtube channel). Each week there is a different topic. You can check out the groups Goodreads page here for any more information and the future topics. This week’s topic is books to read without a synopsis. These are basically books that I think you can go in blind without reading anything about it. You know those books that it’s better to know nothing going into it. To be honest, I don’t do this often as I like to know what I’m getting myself in for especially if I’m paying for it. There are a few books I would recommend going in blind or at least knowing very little about the book. Basically I think not knowing will add to the mystery and/or creepiness of these books… Let’s get started.
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer – Annihilation (book 1)
  • The Chrysalids by John Wyndham 
  • Out by Natsuo Kirino
  • The Forgotten Beast of Eld by Patrica A. McKillip
Coming up with these answers actually made me realise how little I do this myself. Very rarely do I pick up a book that I haven’t done some research on, but I think it can add to the enjoyment sometimes. What do you guys think about going in blind? Is it a good or bad idea? I’d love to know your thoughts. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

TTT: Fantasy books released in early 2000’s

toptentuesday

It is that time of the week for another Top Ten Tuesday. It is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010. This weeks topic is a throwback freebie so I’ve decided to share 10 great books that were released in the early 2000’s. Basically roughly between 10-20 years ago. I have read and loved all of these books, so this topic was a great excuse to talk about them/ recommend them to you guys :). Let’s get started.
  1. Son of the Shadow / Juliet Marillier / second book in the Sevenwaters series / first published 2000
  2. Furies of Calderon / Jim Butcher / first book in the Codex Alera series / first published 2004
  3. The Magician’s Guild / Trudi Canavan / first book in the Black Magicians trilogy/ first published 2001
  4. The Gift / Alison Croggon / first book in the Pellinor series / first published 2002
  5. The Amulet of Samarkand / Jonathan Stround / first book in the Bartimaeus trilogy / first published 2003
  6. Wolf Brother / Michelle Paver / first book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series / first published 2004
  7. Fudoki / Kij Johnson / first published 2003
  8. Ruins of Gorlan / John Flanagan / first book in the Ranger Apprentice series / first published 2004
  9. Fool’s Errand / Robin Hobb / first book in the Tawny Man trilogy / first published 2001
  10. Old Man’s War / John Scalzi / first book in the Old Man’s War series / first published 2005
So coming up with the answers to this actually made me aware that I haven’t read a lot of fantasy books written after the 2000’s, if that makes sense. I definitely want to try out more fantasy books written in the 80’s and 90’s. Have you guys read any of these books? Spot any favourites? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa