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

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

 

 

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

 

 

Favourite Fictional Places Part 2

Hi guys, how are you all? I hope you are all well. Today I thought I would share some more of my favourite fictional places. There are some incredible worlds out there and I love talking about some of my favourites. I’ve done one of these post before, which you can check out here. Let’s get started with four more fictional worlds I love.

 

Renthia / the Queens of Renthia series / Sarah Beth Durst
Goodreads synopsis: Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . . But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.
With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.

 

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Sevenwaters / the Sevenwaters series / Juliet Marillier
Goodreads synopsis: Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives, they are determined that she know only contentment. But Sorcha’s joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift-by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever.
When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs at ever being able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all…

 

Sharakhai / Songs of the Shattered Sand series / Bradley P. Beaulieu
Goodreads synopsis: Sharakhai, the great city of the desert, center of commerce and culture, has been ruled from time immemorial by twelve kings—cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal. With their army of Silver Spears, their elite company of Blade Maidens, and their holy defenders, the terrifying asirim, the Kings uphold their positions as undisputed, invincible lords of the desert. There is no hope of freedom for any under their rule.
Or so it seems, until Çeda, a brave young woman from the west end slums, defies the Kings’ laws by going outside on the holy night of Beht Zha’ir. What she learns that night sets her on a path that winds through both the terrible truths of the Kings’ mysterious history and the hidden riddles of her own heritage. Together, these secrets could finally break the iron grip of the Kings’ power…if the nigh-omnipotent Kings don’t find her first.

 

Dara / the Dandelion Dynasty trilogy / Ken Liu
Goodreads synopsis: Wily, charming Kuni Garu, a bandit, and stern, fearless Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, seem like polar opposites. Yet, in the uprising against the emperor, the two quickly become the best of friends after a series of adventures fighting against vast conscripted armies, silk-draped airships, and shapeshifting gods. Once the emperor has been overthrown, however, they each find themselves the leader of separate factions—two sides with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice.

 

All of these worlds are absolutely amazing and quite unique. I love that in Renthia everything is built in trees, and that Sharakhai is so different from your typical fantasy setting. Sevenwaters sounds like such a magical place, and I would love to be able to explore Dara. How amazing would it be if you could visit these places? Obviously I know that’s impossible though :). What is one of your favourite fictional places? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

5 Reasons To Read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Hi guys, today I thought I would do another 5 reasons to read type review. I wanted to talk about one of my favourite classics, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte. I read it a couple of years ago now and I loved it. It’s actually probably time for a reread. Anne is such an underrated Bronte sister so I wanted to share my love for this book. I also have the Penguin English Library edition which is stunning. Anyway let’s get started.

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  1. Helen is a fantastic main character, who is so well written. She is quite a guarded character but you can really sense an air of vulnerability from her throughout the book. I just think she’s quite an interesting person. The other characters are also well written.
  2. As with the other Bronte sister, Anne’s writing is fantastic. I found it easy to get into and so I think this could be a good place to start with the Bronte sisters or classics in general.
  3. The content for the plot is so progressive for the time and it’s also interesting to see what things were like at that time. I found the plot to be compelling throughout but I think that some may find the middle drags a little bit.
  4. If you enjoyed the works of the other Bronte sisters, than you need to check this book out too. Or if you just enjoy Victorian literature in general than I would recommend it.
  5. Although this was published in 1848 it was still accessible to modern readers. Personally I think it has aged very well and would recommend it to everyone who enjoys classics, especially people who prefer Victorian literature.

 

That is all I have to share with you for now :). As you can probably tell I loved this book and Anne’s other book Agnes Grey is also well worth a read. 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